My crazy busy mommy life

I have been very busy lately.  Tuesdays, J and I go to classes at Gymboree an hour away.  That basically eats up 3-4 hours of the day.  Wednesdays we go to therapy and that is also an hour away and eats up a lot of the day.  Fridays we go to swimming lessons and that is an hour long on Fridays, but is close to our house.  I am working on Saturdays which is also an hour away and we have been moving since the beginning of September.  We finally have all of our belongings in the new house, but we still aren’t completely unpacked.  The house is coming together nicely though.

My moods have been unpredictable lately.  I have been very sensitive to little things.  I will be totally happy and laughing one minute then so angry the next.  Then, 2 minutes later I will be very sad and break down in tears.  At first, I attributed this to PMS.  This is not a typical type of bipolar set of symptoms for me.  They aren’t long-term mood changes that appear to be chemically triggered.  They are specifically associated with different stimuli and triggers.

I had Mirena placed and I contacted my doctor to see if Mirena could contribute to such mood fluctuations.  She said it’s possible, but highly unlikely.  She had me schedule an appointment with the social worker in her office to dig into the cause of this problem.  This has me thinking.

I honestly wonder what the causes are.  Is it that I’ve got a 7 month old who is starting to teethe?  The only way we could calm him this evening was to blow bubbles.  Is it the move?  I don’t know anyone here and my husband has been obligated to go to more client events for work.  I feel lonely and sort of overwhelmed on days where I have no help with Jimmy V.  I was also physically ill a few weeks ago and I’m still tired and a bit sick.  I wonder if that’s not contributing to it as well.  I have been sleeping when Jimmy V is sleeping as often as I can to try to regain my energy.  I don’t think I should still be fatigued from a cold or from the flu a couple of weeks after being sick.

I guess long and short is I don’t know what is causing my mood issues.  I really wish I did.  My therapist and I are trying to tease it out.  I’ll track my cycle and see if the mood shifts go away.

I also need to meet some other parents of young children in my area.  I need things to do.  Being alone with a baby all day every day is so hard! I have a visiting mom who will stop seeing me November 1st because I’m out of the region.  Advice for meeting new people?  I tried finding a baby playgroup, but there were too few people for the group to start.  Hopefully, there will be a group in November.  I was going to join a gym that’s like a YMCA, but they wanted too much money for the first month. I got a free month family pass though so I am going to use it.  They also gave me information about a “matinee membership” which is good for Monday – Friday 11 AM – 3 PM which would work pretty well for me especially since they have child care.  Maybe I’ll meet some people there.

I need to stop having these crazy mood fluctuations.

Busy Busy Busy

I have been very busy lately which has caused me to neglect my blog.  I got a new job and we put an offer in on a house.  The offer was approved and we are due to close on August 28th.  We have so much to do before then.  We still have to find a lawyer.  We are getting home insurance quotes and the home inspection is scheduled for July 10th.  We are cutting it close with the home inspection as we have to have a list of things to negotiate on based on the home inspection by that evening.

Anxiety

I am having trouble sleeping from all of the stress which I know is a horrible thing for me.  Sleep issues can trigger an episode of depression or mania.  My husband wanted me to talk to my psychiatrist prior to the problems getting like this.  We discussed that I would do it at my next appointment.  I only have to wait it out until July 19th.  I will talk to my therapist about it as well and I meet with him today.

I have been having catastrophic thoughts lately.  My anxiety is high.  Often, the thoughts are that my son will die of SIDS.  I’ll wake up and he won’t be breathing.  It’s terrifying.  My therapist said part of it is that things are going so well I need something to worry about. We talked about the fact that I don’t know what it’s like to spend a day without worrying during our last session. We also talked about the fact that a lot of this stems from the past trauma that I experienced.

We came to the realization that I have had a lot of uncertainty and instability in my life in the past.  Often, I had legitimate worries that lead to me worrying all the time.  Now, I need to worry.  We also talked about my need to have control of things.  I have worked so hard on radical acceptance, but it still feels like things are chaotic when I don’t have control.  I feel like I’m free falling.  We talked about the fact that I don’t trust things to work out because they haven’t so often in the past.  He said I need to learn to trust things – to trust people.  It’s so hard to do.

Work

I start the new job on Saturday.  I have been taking my son to classes at the new job.  He seems to enjoy it, but he’s not getting everything I wish he was out of it.  He has been eating at the start of class which means he misses part of the class.  He is only 4 months old though so I have to pay attention to his cues.

I am looking forward to this job as I think the experience will help me with my long-term career goal of working as a preschool teacher.  I need to get back to school to get my masters degree in order to do so which we can’t afford right now.  The job will help me save for that and help me learn developmental milestones of 0-5 year old children.  I’ll get the hands-on experience of working with those age groups as well.

The weather and my mood

I have been down lately and I think the weather is to blame.  I tend to feel down on rainy cloudy days and we’ve had several in a row.  We finally have some sun this afternoon and I’m a bit more cheerful today.  We have been experiencing a great deal of cloudy rainy cool weather.  Since I’ve been down, my sleep has been thrown off.

Two nights ago, the night I started this blog, I tried mindfulness meditation to sleep.  The meditation was a body scan where you relax your body one part at a time – starting from your toes.  I couldn’t concentrate on the recording because of my mood.  I have this fear of SIDS – that one day Jimmy V will stop breathing and I won’t be able to revive him.  I don’t want to buy a house with a pool or near water for fear he’ll drown.

Last night, I couldn’t sleep.  I was up every couple of hours and it wasn’t because my son, Jimmy V, was awake.  The alarm on our baby monitor went off at 1 AM last night signaling that it couldn’t detect movement.  I felt like my worst fears were being realized.  I nearly had a heart attack and my first thought was call 911.  I ran into Jimmy V’s room where I discovered he was fine and stretching.  He moved off of the motion sensor in his sleep.  I had already been having trouble sleeping and this made matters worse.  My heart was racing.

Jimmy V woke up for the day at 3:50 AM.  Typically, Daddy gets up with him when he gets ready for work, but the baby was awake before 4 AM.  I walked into his room and he smiled at me.  I fed him and changed him and put him into his swing.  He just kept cooing and speaking baby talk.

Fortunately, I got to take a nap that lasted 30 minutes this afternoon.  Jimmy V took a short nap which gave me the opportunity to rest.  I felt a little bit recharged – especially when I saw that the sun had finally started shining.

It is supposed to be sunny here for Fathers Day weekend so hopefully my mood will pick up.  I don’t qualify for a clinical diagnosis of depression yet since it’s only been about a week downturn.  I am not due to see my psychiatrist for a while so I will keep an eye on it.  I will contact her if things do not improve with the change in the weather.  I will talk to my therapist about it tomorrow.

A Dozen Things Reference Books Won’t Teach You About Raising A Baby (Guest Post from Kristine Wise)

Bipolar Mom:

I thought this was interesting and I could relate.

Originally posted on Science of Mom:

I’m so excited to roll out ScienceofMom’s first ever guest post today! I love the idea that this blog can be a platform for the voices of other parents. In today’s sweet post, Dr. Kristine Wise touches on many of the joys and challenges of first-time parenting, and I’m sure you can relate! I met Kristine when we were both students in the doctoral program in Nutrition at UC Davis, and last year we gave birth to our first children about one month apart. She is a scientist, a teacher, a runner, an amazing cook, a steadfast friend (as in the kind who calls you up after 6 months have slipped by since you last talked and says, “ahem, we need to catch up!”), and now a fabulous mother. Her post is focused on the surprising lessons she’s learned as a stay-at-home mom. Any working moms want to weigh in…

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A little about me

I decided to start this blog with a little something about myself. I live in New England with my husband and my son. In 2002. after periods of highs and lows, mainly lows, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I did not genuinely seek help until after I was married in 2007.

In 2008, I took myself off of medication cold turkey so that I could have a child. I would never recommend this to anyone. If you want to come off medications, talk to your psychiatrist or other prescribing physician. Little did I know that having a child would be such a challenge.

In 2009, I became pregnant. Shortly after I discovered I was pregnant, I began bleeding. I was told that I was having a miscarriage. Then, the bleeding stopped, my hormone levels doubled and the doctors told me to be cautiously optimistic. Two weeks later, my hormone levels dropped and I was again told I was had a miscarriage. They did an ultrasound which showed nothing. They continued to monitor my hormone levels which plateaued. They failed to drop appropriately and my diagnosis was changed from complete miscarriage to ectopic pregnancy. I received shots of methotrexate to treat the ectopic pregnancy and it was monitored for several weeks. Fortunately, the levels dropped after a few weeks.

After the pregnancy loss, without medication, I began cycling. I was initially, as expected, down. Then, one day, my thoughts began racing and I began acting like a fool. I began “cleaning” the house which entailed tearing the bookshelves apart. My husband and therapist convinced me to go to the emergency room where they had me sent to a partial hospital program. I was started back on medication, which turned out to be the wrong medication, and treated with extensive therapy. I found a new psychiatrist because the one I had seen before becoming non-compliant was no longer with his practice.

This psychiatrist was a women’s health psychiatrist meaning she understood the impact hormones have in mood swings as well as kept up with the research on medications in pregnancy. She put me on a medication regiment that closely resembles the one I am on today. Unfortunately, she was not readily available and I had to switch psychiatrists. In the meantime, I received a consult with another expert on the effects of medications on a fetus.

In 2010, I switched to a psychiatrist who specialized in bipolar disorder and understood my desire to become a mother. She worked with me on the medications through my ups and downs. My lows still outnumbered my highs.

In the summer of 2010, after trying to get pregnant again for a year, my husband and I received a diagnosis of unexplained infertility. Month after month of negative pregnancy tests took its toll on my mental health. We tried IUI with Gonal-F. It failed. At the holidays, I needed a break from trying.

In spring of 2011, we decided to try again. I contacted the fertility specialist only to be told that we had to start over because we had waited more than 6 months. I setup a consultation again, but in June 2011, I discovered I was pregnant. I considered this my miracle pregnancy. It had been 2 years since my last pregnancy. I couldn’t wait to shout it from the rooftops!

Unfortunately, in August, I discovered my baby no longer had a heartbeat. On August 17, 2011, I had a D&C. We named that baby Alex. We never knew the gender of the baby. I was totally heartbroken.

In February 2012, around my due date, I became depressed. It was so bad that my psychiatrist encouraged me to enter another partial hospital program. I entered in late February, but in early March I became an inpatient for a mental health issue for the second time in my life. I was suicidal and no longer trusted myself.

In the hospital, they adjusted my medication and increased my dose of Wellbutrin. I think this was my lifesaver. It has made such a difference in my life. Things are night and day to what they were. I emerged from this period of depression within a month or so of my hospitalization. We decided to see the fertility specialist again.

Over Independence Day weekend in 2012, I learned I was pregnant again. I was afraid. At six weeks, I had some light pink spotting and I called the doctor in tears. I asked why is this happening again only to be told that the bleeding wasn’t necessarily indication of a miscarriage. I was scheduled for an ultrasound 2 days later, but the doctor told me that they could set one up for the following day.

I went in for the first ultrasound and there was my baby – complete with heartbeat. They couldn’t find an indicator as to why I had bled. They believed it was just an irritated cervix. From this point on, I was paranoid about every little twinge, every little itch, and I looked for blood constantly. I was afraid to tell anyone I was pregnant. I thought that telling people would mean the end of the pregnancy.

At 13 weeks,  I announced my pregnancy and all was well. At 18 weeks, we discovered the baby was a boy. We also discovered I had a low lying placenta with blood vessels from the placenta sitting on my cervix. This would need to be monitored because it put me at risk for a bleed. I was put on travel restrictions.

Around 32 weeks, we discovered that the placenta and blood vessels had moved. We also discovered that the baby was still breech. The doctor monitored this, and, at 36 weeks, we discovered he’d rotated to the head-down position.

At 37 weeks, my water broke. It was 5:30 in the morning and my husband was up, getting ready for work. I walked into the kitchen and I thought I had just peed myself. I called the doctor and they told me to come in. I took a shower as our childbirth class told us not to rush in such a situation. As I stood, I continued to leak and they didn’t even test to see if it was my water because I was dripping down the hall.

We tried to see if nature would take its course, but, at noon, I was given pitocin. Unfortunately, the baby was stubborn. I wasn’t fully dilated until the following morning at 8:30. I pushed for 3 hours and then had a c-section. Finally, I had my rainbow.

At birth, the baby had low blood sugar so they took him off to the special care nursery. He rebounded and was back in my room that evening. After discharge, we discovered he was jaundice and went back to the hospital. Now, he is a healthy 3 and a half month old.

I had some issues with postpartum depression. I was afraid to take the baby outside, to enjoy the world, after he was born. I worried he would get sick. It wasn’t until he was a month old that we even went to the grocery store.

Now, I have some supports in place. I go to a new moms group that meets once a week. I talk to other mothers. I have my mom visit often. I have a therapist. All of these things make a difference, but it doesn’t make bipolar disorder go away.

My hope is that this blog will discuss my journey and help someone else. I hope to pass on the skills that I learn to deal with life with a child.