Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A long time coming

Over the last few months, essentially since Naomi was born, I've gotten away from the writing side of blogging. I miss it. But it's one more thing to add into a day that is already overflowing with "ToDo's". I know you know the feeling! I've made my busy life clear on this blog. But I thought it was time I talked to you a bit... it's only fair. Since I think there's a few of you still life, I thing I owe the blogging world a bit of honesty.

I love honest blogs. In fact, if you're all into fluff and "Blah blah blah" I probably won't read much. Of course then there's the one blogger who's always writing so honestly that you wonder if they really just need their head examined, but that's beside the point. (j/k) :)

The what's been....

Honestly? I've been overwhelmed. Being a momma gain does that to you, but this was different. I had studied up on Postpartum Depression (Postnatal Depression for my Kiwi friends) while I was pregnant with Naomi. I figured that I was predisposed to PPD because of losing Joshua last year. So I studied up. And in my studying I discovered that I most likely had some PPD after Oceana was born as well.

Oddly enough, I don't think I was suffering from in after Joshua. Fair enough though, we had our own issues to deal with there, PPD was probably the farthest thing from my mind.

Armed with the knowledge I'd acquired, and with a brochure I had printed off the internet, I thought that surely if I showed signs of PPD, someone would recognise it and I'd be able to get myself sorted out.

I spent 4 1/2 months trying to hold my head above water, but always feeling like I was just a few moments from drowning, metaphorically speaking. I was so overwhelmed by everything happening in our lives, that I couldn't see what was really happening to me.

It was a few days after I first started having "thoughts" that I realized I'd even had the "thoughts". A few more days of sitting on that, and I opened up one night to my parents and Matt - saying that I suspected I was suffering from some amount of PPD. My mum, in particular, suggested I call and talk to my midwife.

My midwife Shirley (who by the way probaby deserves her very own blog post...) said that I should try some non-chemical remedies before starting an antidepressant. It was sort of a "Let's see if this works, and if it doesn't we'll cross that bridge later" type thing. The list was long...

*Cut the caffeine intake.
*Cut the sugar intake.
*Take a multivitamin
*Take an iron supplement
*Take a calcium supplement
*Start Naomi on solids
*Get Naomi up to 2 solid feedings a day
*Get more sleep

Basically, Shirley said I was sleep deprived. Who'd have thought, right? A mother of two who has a job.... sleep deprived?

I was literally sleeping 4-5 hours of interrupted sleep a night. By interrupted, I mean Naomi was feeding at least 2x a night.

So I did all this. The caffeine suppression is killing me. It feels like my best friend's been stolen from me. I've cut to one... sometimes two... cups of coffee a day and I'm really trying to cut down on the sugar.

I lost 10lbs in just a few weeks, but it was because I was living off of sugary foods and coffee. My body was probably in shock. It's a wonder Naomi didn't lose it on me!

The sugar suppression... well, it doesn't go nearly as well as it should. But I cut back. So, that's something. The reasons for caffeine and sugar suppression: They're masking my tiredness. And something about sugar messing up my iron absorption? I think that's what it was.

The solids for Naomi - an attempt at getting her sleeping through the night. I know this is a debated fact. But I'd started her on solids a few days before talking to my midwife, so that's fine. She was showing a lot of signs of being ready and I was really ready for her to sleep longer than 2 hours at night. She's now up to 2 feedings a day.

*[She's had broccoli, pumpkin, carrot, potato, oatmeal (ground in a blender), rice (ground in a blender), and banana. We'll try apples/pears tomorrow.]*

And then Matt and I were talking to a veteran Momma who suggested we revamp both girl's sleep schedules. Oceana, 3 years and 5 months, was sleeping 10:30 to 5 last week. We'd put her to bed at 8pm, which has been her bedtime since she was 18 months old, and she'd still be wide awake at 10:30pm. But she was taking a 3-4 hour afternoon nap. I had begun to suspect the afternoon nap was to blame, but I was so enjoying that free time ... that I was sort of denying the obvious.

The new schedule:

Oceana to bed at 7:45pm, this will move back to 7:30 and maybe even to 7:00 as we phase the naps out completely. Naomi to bed sooner after, with a bit of crying it out (I don't like her crying to much, but I'm not against it completely), and more solids to see if we can get her full enough to sleep through the night.

And put a clock in Oceana's room that showed her the time, and tell her not to come out until 7:00 (Draw a picture of 7:00 next to the clock, or set an alarm).

Night 1: Oceana slept 7:45 to 7:15. Naomi slept 8:45 to 6:00 and 6:00 to 8:15 (fed at 6).

Night 2: Oceana 7:45 to 7:05. Naomi 8:30 to 4:30 and 4:30 to 7:15 (fed a few times in our bed in that space).

Night 3: Oceana 7:45.... Naomi 9:00 (Naomi had her 5 month shots today, so all bets are off...).

I'm really excited about this.

My mum commented that I seem much more settled. I feel more settled. I feel like I can think logically and I'm not angry 24/7.

Oh, and the "thoughts"? That if I just hurt Naomi she wouldn't cry so much (she was acting really colicky and I was starting to lose my mind). It's really scary to think those things. I wouldn't have acted on them, I was still level-headed, but the thought entered my mind. That scared me so badly.

So there's the real deal. That's what been happening.

More posts to come, hopefully. In my spare time.


  1. Aww, thanks for sharing. I am glad you are feeling better. Sleep does make such a difference!

  2. Giving up that time in the afternoon... aaaahhhh!! I know the feeling.
    The earlier bedtime and the later wake up are wonderful, but can't we just have the best of both worlds?? :)

    More settled is a great feeling. God is good, putting veteran mamas in our lives...


  3. Not sure how I found your blog...I think through a prayer request for your precious Joshua...and I stayed because, as you said, you are real, no fluff. You are an amazing young lady, wife and mom...don't ever let Satan deceive you into thinking you are not. Thank you for being real, for letting us have this tiny window into your life. I will be praying for you as you embark on this new journey...and will rejoice with you as you pick up the pieces and carry on!

  4. Susie, its a hard thing to be totally open like that and major cudos to you for doing so. Im glad things are getting a little more settled for you I can't even imagine what you're going through. I remember the frustrations I had when DD was going through what the doctor said was 'collic' but turned out to be much more serious in the end, I just wanted to scream sometimes.

    Keep it up my prayers are definitely with you.

  5. Wow! Thanks for being so honest with us...I'll definately be sending some extra prayers your way. I have three daughters, 13,11 and 9, and bedtime routines still rule our house - they really do save my sanity. God bless, Kara

  6. Thank you for this post. I just had my 3rd boy six weeks ago...I have been losing my mind and having anger issues. I needed to read this to help me get myself straight.

  7. Thanks for sharing this Susie. As hard as it is to sometimes admit it, other moms out there have had the same thoughts and feelings but might be afraid to talk about it for fear of someone thinking they are a bad parent. My sister had PPD after her twins were born and at the time she already had a 4 year old and a 2 year old.

    It sounds like the new sleep schedule might help and hopefully the "home remedies" you are trying will work for you. My sister did use the anti-depressants and felt like a new person...she hated that she NEEDED them but knew it was worth it in the long run.

  8. Hang in there. It gets easier, I promise. You are an amazing mom. You are so strong, stronger than I think you know.

    Naps are hard to give up but the extra sleep in the morning is nice. Oceana is doing such a great job! Naomi will get on board and you will get some peace. And as far as losing your peace and quiet in the afternoon, you are actually gain time in the evening which is nice because you can spend it with your main man!

  9. I have been following your blog for a long time and want to tell you that I am proud of your honesty in this post. I think more of us women have struggled with the things that you mention above, but have been willing to admit what we have thought or felt. I am glad you were able to see what was happening and had the strength to reach out for help. You have been through a tremendous amount in the past few years and are still healing from the loss of your son......and then to be dealing the post partum and being so busy. I will be praying specifically for your emotional health and for sleep and peace.
    Ginny Streeter

  10. My son is almost 2 1/2 and I was recently diagonosed as hypothyroid(too little thyroid hormone). The endocrine dr. was telling me that pregnancy can mess up your thyroid. She she was telling me that the current theory on post partum depression is that the thyroid is temporarily put out of whack and putting out too little thyroid. When that happens you can get depressed, absolutely exhausted, dry skin and hair, and just generally feeling really awful day after day. I chalked up all the stuff going on with me to having a small child and it wasn't.
    Laurie in Washington

  11. Bless your heart! Alot of new moms don't want to admit such weird, strange, out-of-character thoughts or feelings. I'm glad there is plenty of information out there so these new moms can get some help. 30 or so years ago, we just lived with it and hoped it would go away sooner or later.

  12. I have been praying daily for all my grandchildren that schedules would be rooted and grounded in their lives and that peaceful uninterrupted sleep would fall upon them in the evening and that they would not wake until the morning sun is in the sky. I will continue to pray diligently as I know you've been greatly sleep deprived. I can only imagine what kind of attitudes I would have on such little sleep. I need my sleep...we all need our sleep. Love and prayers always,
    Mom Sams

  13. Susie,

    I have been following your blog for a long time and have not posted until now. Thanks for your honesty and you and your family will be in our prayers. I have a son a little older (3 yrs 8 mths) and another son who is 13 mths old. We, too, had to phase out naps and implemented the stay in your room until 7:00am rule. He also goes to bed by 7 or 7:30 (should say is asleep by 7:30 or 8:00pm with the regular routine). When we phased out nap time, my sister suggested "quiet time" for my oldest so that I could have a hour or two of my own quiet time. He plays in his room, listening to music, coloring or whatever. Quiet time for him is at the same time as nap time for the baby! At first, it was a struggle, but lately after we had been busy and not had quiet time, he ASKED for quiet time!! Praise God!! You might want to try this also!! Again, you and your family will be in our prayers as you make this transition. Happy sleeping!!

    Penne Hatcher
    Santiago, Chile

  14. I am glad that things are feeling more settled. I know how you feel with a colicky baby. My first was very colicky...every nite he would start to scream at about 7 right on the money and carry on for at least an hour. I can remember being so upset with myself for not being able to console him... I would have to lay him down and walk outside. There I would sit and cry and eventually clear my head. Thanfully I was able to identify some dietary things that helped a bit. Eventually he grew out of it. It is amazing that the little bundles that bring us so much joy can also bring so much pain! :) Praying you through this...

  15. Susie, You are so sweet! You are an inspiration to me. PPD is an odd monster..I remember after I had my 3rd baby in June of 2008 I spent alot of time feeling like I was failing as a problem was more like the "baby blues". My mom & my sister were really the ones that noticed that I seemed sad. By the time I realized what I had been feeling I was already better. It's so important for women to know that it's ok to talk about how your feeling after you have a baby. More than that,it's necessary. Being sad or tired doesn't mean failure, it just means you need a little help. I am proud of you for sharing your story & once again, you have such an impact on so many lives! I feel so blessed that I found your blog!!!
    Emily in Mississippi

  16. Susie,
    First of all -- HUGS! Love ya girl.

    Second-- I'm so glad things are turning around for ya. I know I'm on the other side of the globe, but let me know the time difference again (I can never remember!) and what time of day would be a good time for me to pray for you daily. When is it hardest? Bedtime? Morning? During the phased out naptime? Let me know when would be most helpful.

  17. Susie,

    thanks for your honesty. It's good to talk about PPD & the difficulty motherhood brings. Not enough women do - they just suffer in silence, all while feeling like a failure.

    I have been in your shoes ~ with the sleep deprivation, the thoughts, and the PPD. My second son was a difficult baby, and an even worse sleeper. When I don't have enough sleep, I get angry. I was like that for months....until he eventually started sleeping, and I did too. What a remarkable difference!

    I'm praying for you: for sleep, for new schedules, for changes...

    With love & hugs from Michigan!

    Mama to 3 boys:
    Jacob - 3
    Wyatt - 21 months
    Nathaniel - 4 weeks

  18. Susie,
    I have been following your blog for quite a while, and have marvelled at your strength and faith. You have had more than your share of sadness and trials, and to the outside world have endured with grace and dignity. To be so honest about this new challenge in your life is the first step toward healing. Hang in there and don't be afraid to ask for help. Sounds like you have a great support system and many people who care about you. I don't know you, but I love you and wish you a better day.
    God bless you and your family.

  19. I'm so glad you figured out that there was a problem, and your midwife helped you figure out how to fix it. I'm glad your new schedule is working well for you. Thank you for sharing honestly about your struggles - I had a difficult time, not quite PPD, but close, after my first son was born, so I can't help being a little nervous about how I'll feel after my daughter comes...she is due to arrive in 11 weeks and 1 day!

  20. Thanks for the advice, now maybe I won't have to call my midwife! I had PPD a bit, and got a hold of it, but feel like it comes and goes and I don't know why. I'll try those things though. I LOVE your pics!

  21. Thank you so much for your honesty! It is refreshing to hear that there is another mom out there that has the same feelings and doesn't sugar coat things!! FWIW, I know to work on my frustration/anger feelings, it helped for me to take extra vitamin B complex and some E. And on bad days a chocolate milk break! ;) but thanks for posting the other methods because I never thought about how sugar and caffiene could be affecting me. THANKS!


  22. Thanks for your honest blog! I'm pretty sure I had the exact same issues with my first LO...went to my doc about PPD and she diagnosed me with lack of sleep. Something about nursing every hour or two all night long at five months of age will do that to a mommy! I remember telling DH that I just wanted to "throw her out the window" and that "surely the hospital would take her back if her mommy was having such thoughts" I was shocked when my doc didn't give me a prescription for something then and there.

  23. Love your honesty! I always heard going from one child to two was the hardest (then it gets easier adding more they say! we'll see I say!) I went between euphoric daydreams that my first would continue being an amazing angel after the second arrived and we'd all be sitting in gooey bliss all day, to horror about the terrible things that could happen. Well, it's in the middle, somedays we have great days, somedays I swear I'm going to rip my hair out and there's tears from everyone, me included. Granted my second is just 4 weeks old and we're still adjusting.
    BUT! I am so happy you posted exactly what I had been thinking, confirmed my need for change. The last 2 weeks I"ve been living on sugary stuff, anything I can get my hands on and I knew I shouldn't. I kept teling myself, after this bad day I'll eat better tomorrow. Tomorrow keeps coming. I too was needing that sugar to get a lil momentum for just the next hour. I read your post and was like, oh that's me, I gotta stop too! And going to bed early is hard for me, but I need to do that too.
    So, I'm joining you in the sugar cut back, the healthier eating, more water drinking, etc. I am so sleep deprived it's making me a miserable wife, mother and human being! Here's to brighter, less stressed days with lots more sleep!

  24. I just stopped by to check and see how you and the girlies are doing? Take Care!

  25. How ya doin' sweetie? Still hanging in there? I'm praying nightly.

  26. here's my little tip for my sugar fix: dried fruit! i love any dried fruit, but especially cranberries. but i feel like i'm getting some sugar AND it's healthy, instead of candy, cookies, etc. sure there's some sugar but not as bad as the other stuff. maybe that can help?