Monthly Archives: June 2012

It’s begun…

Started my Tour de France viewing with SBS’s great doco about Cadel’s win last year, “One Sunday in Paris.” Now the time trial is on, and I’m already loving it. Great seeing those same great riders year after year, and finding new up-and-comers as well. I’ve got it recording to see Cadel’s turn just in case I don’t make it to the end tonight.

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What I Needed (WIN) #1: Life-giving Words

I’m a big fan of YouVersion, especially the tons of Reading Plans they have available. I’ve done several now, and I’m currently reading through the Soul Detox plan. This study isn’t quite as directed as others I’ve done, but it’s still both a challenge and a blessing. Today’s reading–I’m on Day 13 out of 35–is about speaking “life-giving words” and focuses on Matthew 12:33-37.

Now, I’m by nature a very quiet person, mostly preferring to listen over actually talking. (Yes, I get the irony of then starting a blog, but my not talking aloud is probably more of a shyness thing.) But just because I don’t speak to people as often as probably most people do, it doesn’t mean that I get to escape from what the Bible says about speech. I still speak to others, and, at the very least, have an internal dialogue with myself (fancy way of saying I talk to myself). What I say, whether to others or just to myself, is a reflection of what’s in my heart. Furthermore we all know that the more we tell ourselves something the more we believe it, even if at the outset we know we’re lying to ourselves. An example of self-fulfilling prophecy? As a result, my heart and mind can be either down-trodden by continued negative speech, or they can be uplifted by life-giving speech. And that’s just how it affects me; what do my words do to everyone else around me?  Am I beating down their spirit or lifting them up? Is the “treasure of my heart” good or evil, and what am I showing to others? That’s what I needed to learn.

On this vein, I was thinking of some of my society sisters from college. Cristy, Kathy, Heather, Liza, Carolyn, Keren, and Melissa: I miss you, love you, and thank God for you.

An experiment in sleep deprivation

This is the last night before my annual “Month of No Sleep”, i.e., the Tour de France. Other than a couple of rest days the organizers have obligingly included for the riders (and overseas viewers), I’ll be having many a late night through June, this time with a big difference: I’ll have two kids to take care of the next day. It was nearly impossible last year just because Charlotte had run me ragged during the day. Now Charlotte’s more active than ever, and Callum has his own set of demands. Oh, and another thing: it’s followed hard by the Olympics. There goes another three weeks.

It’s about to get ugly.

Hardly Supermom Begins

Charlotte made it into our bed again last night. So I spent the night being kicked, pushed, and actually backhanded in the face. And continually calming her after what seemed like an endless bad dream.

image

Not actually from today, but it gives you the general idea.

Getting up was no better. She didn’t know what she wanted; nappy change, time on the potty, or even Callum’s turn for a nappy change seemed like all impossible choices to her. But don’t worry. It may have taken 15 minutes, but the kids both have clean bottoms now.

Breakfast, that normally happy time when everyone gets what they want. Oh no, not today. Charlotte enjoyed her cereal enough, but then spilled her milk. Know that saying, “don’t cry over spilled milk?” Change that to “spew.” She got so upset that she lost her breakfast. Yeah, that went over well. Now she’s dressed earlier than usual, gladly had her teeth brushed, and you’d never know all we’ve been through already by the way she’s playing.

Time for a cup of tea. I’ve earned it. Question is, how many more will I earn during the rest of the day?

Baby Blues

The early days of a blog are generally about getting to know who the writer is, at least I think they are. In my last post I made a slightly-more-than-passing reference to postnatal depression. I also mentioned that though most of the trouble has passed, I still have the occasional tough day and that same day was one of them. As a result, I don’t think I was focused enough on what I wanted to say about that. So just a little more now….

I didn’t talk to my doctor about it. I mentioned it to the midwife during appointments when she asked how I was going, but I didn’t make a big deal of it. I really rather shrugged it off as just the normal hormonal changes of emotion. I probably should have been less afraid to speak openly about it, especially since I’d been through the same thing with both pregnancies.

So, because I never was professionally diagnosed with postnatal depression, I don’t want to say that I definitely suffered it. But I know things weren’t right with me, and hormones certainly played their part in the whole matter. Stresses did as well; I was (and am) very homesick with all of my family on the other side of the world, and I didn’t have any clue what I was going to do with two kids. It was more than just the famous and short-lived “baby blues,” but I don’t want to offend anyone who’s taken that next step and spoken to a doctor to be treated for postnatal depression, so I won’t self-diagnose.

I also willingly accept that my heart was wallowing in bitterness and discontent. To put it another way, I didn’t live like God was strong enough for me. C.S. Lewis once said, “God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.” Just like the old saying, “there are no atheists in foxholes,” we so often come to God (or back to Him) when we’re at our lowest. It was a couple weeks before my surgery that the light came on. I asked myself, “how much of this is me doing it to myself?” This is in no way a slight or accusation to anyone suffering postnatal or any other form of depression, but I had to recognize my part in my particular situation. From here I have been able to grow again in Christ’s strength. I have a long way to go still, but I hope you’ll come with me. Can I show you what I needed to learn?

Recent History, Part 2

Now to get you caught up to the present.

After Callum was born, the pain didn’t stop there. Oh, no. Of course there were the regular difficulties of bringing a second child into the house while maintaining the happiness of the first. Charlotte was naturally a bit jealous of the new interloper that took so much of Mommy’s time. And all he had to do was cry and he’d be fed more milk! But we were fortunate; most of this settled down within a week or two. Truth is, Charlotte really wanted to be more helpful than anything; just maybe a bit too helpful. She was quick to want to jam his pacifier down his throat should he make the great mistake of letting go of it.

Charlotte's 2nd Birthday

The morning of Charlotte’s 2nd birthday, complete with bedhead.

But I still had the upcoming gallbladder surgery hanging over my head. My parents came over from the States to help manage both kids, primarily during my recovery from the surgery, but also to be here for Charlotte’s 2nd birthday since they couldn’t be here for her first. My pre-surgery consultation with the specialist kept getting put back, and then the date of the surgery was scheduled for later than was originally planned, so Mom and Dad had to extend their stay with us. That wasn’t bad, of course. But this whole time I was dealing with something else that had returned from the time when Charlotte was on her way two years earlier.

I had this dreadful feeling of unexplained sadness and unshakeable lethargy. And well, you know moms. You can’t really tell them everything that’s on your mind, or they’ll start worrying themselves sick. I never had it diagnosed the first time or this, so I can’t officially say I suffered from postnatal depression. By the way, that’s a bit of a misnomer, that “postnatal” part. It can actually start while you’re still pregnant. In fact, that’s when I dealt with it the first time: before Charlotte arrived. I don’t remember that horrible fog after she was born, just sheer happiness (and exhaustion) because we had waited for her for so many years. But with Callum, it came back a few months into the pregnancy, and stayed solidly for sometime after he was born. It was only a few weeks ago, not even two months, that I started to feel like myself again. Maybe part of it all was the worry and frustration around the gallbladder surgery which, by the way, went much better than expected. But that wasn’t all of it, I’m sure. Even as I write this now, today is one of the tougher days.

But I think that sufficiently brings you up to date. Now it’s the endless stream of child wrangling, laundry washing, cleaning (although admittedly that doesn’t take up too much of my time), and cooking. I don’t really have much time to spend doing things I want to do like reading, crafts, or music (I was starting to teach myself ukulele). So I’ve decided to spend the time I don’t have writing a blog. Please read it so I’m not wasting my time.

Recent History, Part 1

Where do I begin? Well, how about the beginning of this year? Or more precisely December 31st, 2011, New Year’s Eve. Matt and I planned on ringing in the new year by a quiet evening at home with our toddler Charlotte. We splurged a little on dinner and dessert, but that was the end of the fun. I got another attack of tremendous pain, like a band of knives had been tied around me, digging into my ribcage. I’d had a handful of attacks like this before, mostly in the middle of the night, for the past couple months. I was pregnant at the time with our 2nd child, a boy, due the end of January. This time though, the pain would not stop. I spent the entire evening writhing around on either the couch or the bed, trying to find any position or motion that would make the pain stop. Any time I wasn’t in one of those two places, I was in the bathroom sick. I didn’t see the fireworks on TV except a second at a time when I dared to open my eyes trying to ignore the torture I was in.

The rest of the night was no better. Not the next morning either. Happy New Year to me. Unable to take any more and not know what was going on, I called the maternity ward of the hospital I was booked into for the upcoming birth. Hearing my explanation, the nurse on the other end of the phone told me to come in for at least an overnight stay. She had a feeling about what the problem was, and she was right: gallstones. But the official diagnosis wasn’t that quick in coming. It took two more days of chasing doctors, specialists, and getting ultrasounds done before they could finally give me some sort of plan for how to cope until the baby was born. I would have surgery to remove my gallbladder about a month after the baby’s arrival. I was put on a virtually fat-free diet in the meantime, and the rest was left up to me to learn what other triggers there were to bring on attacks. (Did you know a banana is like throwing a hand grenade down your throat if you have gallstones? I didn’t. And the doctors didn’t tell me so either. Learned that the hard way.) In the end, I stayed a full week in the hospital, able to go home only after having a day and a half straight without any major pain attacks. The nurses were friendly and took good care of me, but otherwise I was alone except for the too-short visits when Matt would bring Charlotte to see me. The doctors and nurses all told me that if I had another attack, I was to come back right away and plans would be made on the spot for how the baby would be delivered, whether by induction or C-section. They gave me steroid shots to help the baby’s lungs develop because they didn’t expect me to reach the due date.

Callum's ArrivalOf course, the baby came late. One week after the due date, Callum was born on February 6, 2012 at 7:45am. The labor was uneventful, really. All over in just 5 hours from the time my water broke in the middle of the night. But the result wasn’t expected. OK, yes, we knew we were having a boy, but this fella was a whopping nine pounds! That’s a far cry from Charlotte who was only 6.5lbs at birth. And from there, well, let the mayhem continue….

Coming Soon

I’ll be here in a bit. Just give me some time. I’ve got a couple of kids to wrangle first. But check back soon!