Thursday, June 6, 2013

School's Out For Summer!

I can't believe that last time I blogged was at the end of my maternity leave which was over 2 months ago! Adding little Micah to the family sure kicked things up a notch! We have gone from busy to extremely busy and so summer always allows us a little time to breath. A little I said! Ross will be working two jobs this summer and I will be teaching kids yoga (Yea!). Elyse and Micah will be out of daycare all summer so we will be doing lots of walks, visits to the park, and library days. I can't wait!

Because this blog was started to share about my journey into, through, and out of anxiety, I have to say that I have been anxiety free since the baby blues went away. I've had my ups and downs, but through those I remind myself that it is normal to have that. I am hyper-aware of my emotions and worry that one small setback can lead to months of misery, but I have been feeling really "normal" for over two months. That is wonderful considering the fact that I am working full-time with a husband who does the same, plus coaches, I've managed to figure out how to get two kids ready in the morning and into bed at night, and I've made the difficult decision to leave my current job and go back to where I taught two years ago. All the while, staying anxiety free. I know it is a combination of things but so much of it is taking care of my body and learning to let go mentally. Worrying is waste and so if I can focus my attention elsewhere I am so much better off. Another big piece is avoiding negativity and trying to see things from a positive perspective; a perspective where we all are humans who make mistakes, need support from others, and must find a level of respect for others even in times of disagreement.

That leads me to my job change. This is a decision that has been two years in the making. It is one that was very difficult to make because I had planned to work in my current school possibly until retirement since this is the community we live in and planned to send our children too. But as I am quickly finding out, Someone else has bigger plans for me. Sometimes I just need to go with my gut and do what feels right. I think these two quotes have been the best "thinking words" I have come across to remind me why I made this decision.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~Steve Jobs

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again." -Eric Roth

So summer is here! We are excited for all of the time we get to spend together, for new adventures that await, and we will continue to ask that God will Bless This Beautiful Mess! 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Good-bye Maternity Leave

It is hard to believe, but my maternity leave is almost over. I am very sad and have shed some tears already. I want to stay at home with my babies. I don't want to go back to work. I can feel the stress and tension coming already. I enjoy getting up in the morning and enjoying breakfast with Elyse. I like having time to cuddle with my babies. I love watching each little milestone and seeing my babies change from day to day. I like knowing that I can make supper at a relaxed pace. I like knowing that each night when I go to bed, I can wake up without rushing around the house trying to get everything in order and out the door by 7 am. I like knowing that even if I don't get a good nights sleep, we can have a more relaxed day at home and stay in our jammies if we want. I like taking the day one minute at a time and it has been really good for my mental health. But, it isn't reality for us. So, back to work it will be for 2 months and then summer will be here. Thank goodness! Until then, I'll do my best at work but always remember that my babies are #1!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy 2 Weeks Baby Boy!

Micah is 2 weeks old today! Was it really 2 weeks ago already when our Valentine's Day baby came into this world? Well, on his two week birthday he proved to me that I am the perfect mom for him and my love for him is so strong already that it brings me to tears!
We had his 2 week check up at the clinic today. I expressed my concerns about his acid reflux and how I can hear him spit up and swallow several times after eating and how sometimes when the spit up actually comes out it comes out his nose and mouth causing him to gag and look very scared.
Dr. H. didn't seem too concerned until she measured his head and noticed that his head was measuring off the charts. This, combined with the reflux issue, caused her a little more worry and she wanted to have an ultrasound done on his head to make sure that there wasn't any swelling in the brain. I guess the reflux could have been caused by this if the ventricles in his brain were swollen. Dr. H. continued to reassure me that everything would be okay and we just needed to check to be sure so we could take the correct approach, but when I questioned what we would do if it was an issue with the brain and she said the word 'neurosurgeon' I felt my heart sink. So, off we went to the hospital to have an ultrasound done on his brain.
The whole time I kept praying that Micah is just a boy with a big noggin, like his father! But the unknown and waiting game for results sure tested my ability to stay calm. The whole time I kept swallowing the lump in my throat and blinking away the tears that wanted to come pouring out. I practiced my yoga breathing and knew that whatever the results were, I was being trusted to handle this.
After the ultrasound, we headed back to the clinic to meet with Dr. H. and the results were good! We just have a boy with a big head! Praise God! We are seeing a chiropractor to try to ease the reflux and now have a prescription to try out as well.
Micah and I left the doctor feeling pretty happy and we even had a sticker and a sucker in hand for big sister Elyse. Dr. H. did not forget that Elyse is doing a great job of being a big sister and wanted to make sure she was praised for that! :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Should I Whisper It or Shout It...

I feel better! (Now that I've said it I best knock on wood!) That's the part of anxiety that I like the least...afraid of when it might come back. But for right now, I feel like my body and mind are both returning to normal and I'm able to really appreciate the gifts I've been given.
Mid-day Monday was really a turning point. I could feel the doom and gloom slowly lifting. The nervous stomach is still there once in awhile because I'm still getting used to the responsibility of raising two beautiful babies, but my guess is that that mommy-worries never really go away. That's just love!
I can see how God is using this baby to teach me even more than I've already learned with Elyse. It is amazing the message that you hear if you listen. I've learned patience, letting go, seeing blessings, appreciation for stay-at-home moms, trust, imperfection, open expression of emotions, forgiveness, understanding, and even more love. Just when you think you can't possibly love any more than you already do, you do! I'm thankful that I have the ability to love, even though that love makes me nearly sick to my stomach sometimes because of how strong it is.
Elyse, Micah, and I are becoming more comfortable in our days at home together. We like to have a little something to look forward to each day, and on those days where we have nothing scheduled, we are a little stir crazy by the time Ross gets home. Last night he said he felt like zombies were attacking him. We sort of felt like that too! A trip to the grocery store was a treat for me! Oh, the little things in life. It is always good to get outside and get a little fresh air.
I don't want anyone to think that we don't still have our moments. I still lose my patience once in awhile. I still question how I will manage being responsible for these two little lives for the rest of my life. (Don't think about that...It is totally overwhelming!) My house is messier than it has ever been. Supper sometimes consists of whatever you see when you open the fridge. My babies have to cry for longer than I'd like sometimes. I might give a little moan in the middle of the night when it feels like I just fell asleep and one of the kiddos is calling for me or crying. Elyse has way more tv/computer time than the American Academy of Pediatrics would ever recommend. But you know what, there is no rule book for this job. As long as there is love, hugs, kisses, and kindness, then we are doing well!
I'm thankful that I trusted Dr. Troy, again, and waited out these two weeks. I really feel like I owe that man more than I could ever give. He understands me better than I understand myself. He believes in me and I can't say thank you enough to him for setting me up for success with this pregnancy. I do feel guilt that Elyse's entrance into the world was so different and I wish I could have a redo, but again, God has a plan for me and I would not be who I am today without that experience.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

This is Normal

If you haven't read Micah's birth story, see the previous post! :)

I prayed and hoped and wished that when Micah came into this world, my anxiety would disappear. Probably a little unrealistic, but a girl has to hope right! So here we are at 10 days post delivery and the baby blues are here. As I've said before, I wish this was all black and white and that there was a medical test for this.
Is this the baby blues? Will it go away soon? Will it become postpartum depression? Am I making this all up in my mind? What if it gets worse? What if I go crazy? What if I'm a bad mom? Why do I feel like this? Why can't I just enjoy this? Why can't I be happy? Do others really feel like this? Why doesn't anyone talk about it? Am I just a big baby? How bad will it be? The questions continue to swirl.
My symptoms include worry, anxiousness, feeling tired, irritability, sadness, guilt. I miss being a family of 3. I miss all of the one-on-one time I had with Elyse. I miss having more time with Ross. I miss having time for myself. Yes, I love little Micah, but this is a huge change and it has sort of flipped my world upside down, again. I see a pattern here...anytime I have to deal with a big change, I struggle!
Is it different than the postpartum I had with Elyse? At this point, yes, very different. With Elyse the onset was about 5 days after birth. I couldn't eat, sleep, listen to her cry, stop shaking, stop having nightmares about her being suffocated under my pillows at night. This time feels much more mild. This time I can actually feel emotions. Last time, I felt like I was in a different world and that I was numb. I'm hoping this is a good sign that this is just the normal baby blues, and that it will get better after the two week mark.
I saw Dr. Troy for an adjustment a few days ago and he said that my body had held nicely during delivery and he doesn't not anticipate any postpartum depression. He said 3 bad days in a row would be a reason to start worrying, but everything else I feel is totally normal.
Normal? Then why doesn't anyone talk about this. Everyone presents birth and motherhood to be a beautiful thing where everything is roses! Let me be honest and say that there are so many emotions I feel right now I can't even sort through them. I shouldn't try to really. I should just accept them as they come, acknowledge them, and then let them pass.
My biggest struggle is sharing my time with Micah and Elyse. Elyse has been an only child for almost 4 years and even those she loves and adores her little brother, I feel extreme guilt that now she has to share us. And when you are wearing your emotions on your sleeve, any little comment that she makes brings me to tears. I know she will adjust. I'm still adjusting too! It will take time.
I pray and hope and wish that this is simply the baby blues and I will feel better soon! Say a prayer if you will that my next post is about getting over this hump and having more happy days with my babies at home!

Welcome to the World Micah Robert

On the evening of my last post, contractions started! Micah knew we were more than ready to meet him! Wednesday nights are "Survivor" nights at our house and so Ross mentioned that it would be okay for contractions to start when Survivor was over. Little did we know, that was soon to become reality. About midway through the show, I started timing my contractions at 5 minutes apart. They were continuing and I was hoping with all my heart that they were the real deal.
Papa Randy came to spend the night, just in case. By the time he got here, Ross and I were in bed trying to sleep through the contractions. It was not working. I decided that it was time to get up, get ready, and head to the hospital. The contractions were still about 5 minutes apart and getting stronger. They would stop me in my tracks and I had to focus on breathing through them.
We got to the hospital by 12:15 and were checked in, epidural started, and waiting for our baby boy by 1:00. The nurse kept suggesting that we try to sleep or rest a little. That was nearly impossible, but we dimmed the lights and put on some music. The nurse was in and out checking on us, but at 4:30 she came in asking if I was feeling any extra pressure. I could feel nothing. The epidural was doing it's job. We were dilated to a 10 and ready to push! The doctor was called and by 5:04 we had our baby boy here. He was beautiful and we enjoyed our quiet time together for the next few hours.
Family started arriving later in the morning and most importantly, Elyse got to meet her brand new baby brother. It was love at first sight! We are now a family of 4!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

41 Weeks!

That's me! With a 41 week baby bump! I never ever thought this little boy would still be snuggled up inside. Just one more simple reminder that life is about letting go, trusting, and taking it one day at a time. Hitting 40 weeks with no baby yet was difficult mentally. As a planner and goal-oriented person, going past my due date really wasn't anything that I had even thought about.
But here we are a whole week past that with each day just coming and going. Evenings are a bit rough when my mind starts to chatter and I feel like he might never come out, but a lot of that has to do with the aches and pains my body is feeling at that point in the day. I wake in the morning, after a decent night of rest, and get on with my day. Elyse and I have enjoyed our cuddle time, figured out how to "just be" when we are home, and are enjoying our life without a schedule.
Learning how to "just be" and go with the flow of the day is incredibly difficult for me. I crave a schedule otherwise I don't know what to do with myself. Maybe God gave me this week to do just that...learn to enjoy the simplicity of life where every waking minute is not planned. It is enjoyable once I get over the hump of learning how to do it. I'm almost there!
I do believe that my job as a teacher has created a bit of the anxiety that I feel when I don't have a schedule to keep. All day long, from 8:20-3:10 my minutes are scheduled. My body and brain are in a constant state of go, go, go (fight or flight even). I am multi-tasking for myself and the 18 kids in my classroom who all have their own unique needs, always planning for the minute, day, and week ahead. Unfortunately, there really isn't a lot of "living in the moment" because if I did that, I'd always be behind. It's just not a job where I can do that, and I suppose most jobs are the same way. But people, let me tell you, there are days where I go pee at 6:45 am and do not go pee again until 4:00 pm. That is no lie and that's how intensely my body and brain are working all day. I really don't even have time to think about that also tells you how little water I'm drinking too. It's like being a mother to 18 kids all day long, and I do love being their mother, but I'm just explaining how I feel that it has driven me to be the anxious, constantly needing input, exhausted, can't let go, living for tomorrow and next week, person that I am. It's like going through detox or withdrawls when I don't have that rigid schedule. Which is difficult because it seems to ruin a bit of each holiday, weekend, and summer learning how to just shut off the mind and be content with just being in the stillness of the day.
I love this blog because I am able to really reflect on my life. It gives me a safe place to process my thoughts and put them down so that I can come back to them anytime I want. Will this maternity leave motivate a career change? I'm not sure, but it is always a possibility. I'm letting go, trusting, and listening to what God has to say.
So with that, I make no promises about my next post, but I sure hope it involves a cute picture of Mr. Micah!