I have been a mother of two for five weeks, and it has been a very difficult five weeks. Before giving birth to my second son, I was occupied by my toddler and a full time teaching job. Since then, adding a newborn has been the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was depressed during my third trimester and sadly, that depression carried over into post partum depression. They say one of the best things you can do is have a good support system in place. That’s the major factor I’m missing. My husband works from 5am to 9pm six days a week and sleeps most of the seventh day. My family and friends live hundreds of miles away. I am alone. Add sleep deprevation on top of that, plus financial stress due to the loss of my job and benefits and you’ve got one sickly cocktail. I have thought many times in the past few weeks about “disappearing” from my family’s lives. I think about how my husband will be closer to the kids because they’ll cling to him if I’m gone. My oldest son will no longer have me screaming at him just for being himself (a noisy, wild, and crazy two year old). My new son will never know what a terrible mother I am or will be as he grows. But then I think about how they will hate me for leaving them when they are older. I think about how much I will miss watching them go to their first day of school, ride their first bike, learn to sit up, take his first step, celebrate his first Christmas, and those thoughts keep me here.
It was hard to tell my husband how I have been feeling so alone for so long, as well as these feelings of worthlessness. I had such a hard time saying it out loud I had to write a letter and watch him read it. He is trying to help out around the house and with the kids more, but it’s not an overnight fix. I have to tell my doctor at my appointment on Monday, which is also scary because in this day and age you worry about the kids being taken away or being committed to a mental facility.
I spend most of my days crying and trying not to lose my temper on my toddler. PPD is no joke. It’s not anything to be taken lightly either. I’m glad that I’ve been able to admit (at least to myself) that I need help. The next scary step is asking for and accepting help.
About a month ago, on Friday, February 13th, my little Superman came into this world. He was two weeks early, but healthy. He also has a unique birth story.
On the 12th at 4:00 PM I had a doctor’s appointment. At that appointment I was 2 cm dialated with no effacement. I went to bed that night as usual with no unusual pain. At 1:00 AM, I awoke to my first big contraction and started timing them after I felt the second one. They were 1 minute long and ten minutes apart. By 2:00 AM they were almost 2 minutes long and five minutes apart. At 2:30 I woke my husband because they were 2 to 2.5 minutes long and only two minutes apart, not to mention they hurt like crazy. He ran around getting a bag packed for himself and an overnight bag packed for our two year old so he could stay with his grandparents. While he was doing that I called my doctor and she told me to go to the hospital. My husband, however, insisted we take our toddler to his grandparents because he was embarrassed at how messy our house was and didn’t want his mom and dad to come over and stay with our son because of it. I honestly could have killed him at that point.
We finally got to the hospital at 3:30 AM, at which point I was feeling a lot of pressure in my lower back and in my pelvis. I was put into triage right away and found to be at 8cm dilation and 100% effacement. A few minutes later the pressure was more intense and my contractions were one right after the other. The emergency staff doctor came in to let me know my doctor would be there shortly and they were going to move me to a room and see about getting me something to help with the pain. About 20 seconds after he walked out I started screaming, “he’s coming! He’s coming now!” Don’t know why I screamed it, don’t think I meant to, it just happened that way. My husband yelled for the doctor who came flying in with 5 or 6 nurses. I was at 10 cm and the baby was crowning. Someone asked if they could get me to a room in time, to which someone else replied they could try.
No sooner had they pushed me out the triage door than I said, “He’s coming! I need to push!” It was not a conscious decision. It was more like a reflex, I just couldn’t stop it and the pressure was so intense at that point. One push, my water finally broke, and there was my son lying on the gurney with me. I remember seeing the surprise on the nurse’s face who had been at the end of the gurney and the doctor jumping across me to take care of the umbilical cord that had become wrapped around my son’s neck. A few moments later my son was placed on my chest and they continued to take me to a delivery & recovery room to finish everything. From the moment my son was placed in my arms, I noticed nothing else, heard nothing else. I couldn’t tell you how many nurses were there or where my husband had been during all of this. I saw only my second child in all of his perfection. I took in every detail of his tiny body.
My doctor arrived in time to finish everything with the later part of the delivery as I lay there watching the nurses weigh and measure my newborn. At that point I notice my husband watching as well and then smiled when I saw the joy in his eyes as he got to hold him for the first time.
We named him Clark Anthony and at that, all the nurses began calling him superman (after the comic character). We had a lot of fun in choosing Clark’s name. It is fun in two ways:
1. Our older son we named Louis after a family memeber. So even though it is spelled differently, we have two sons, Louis and Clark (like the explorers).
2. My husband is a big comic fan so Clark was named after several superheroes. Clark – Clark Kent aka Superman; Anthony – Tony Stark aka Ironman; and his initials are CAP which is short for Captain America.
All in all, it was quite a different experience from my first delivery. I recovered much quicker this time as well. The past several weeks have been challenging. I’ve been home alone with my toddler and my newborn and had quite the battle with Post Partum Depression, which in and of itself is a topic for a different post. I will admit though, I am not looking forward to returning to work on April 1st. I had wanted to take eight weeks maternity leave, but after being forced to resign from my teaching position because I didn’t qualify for FMLA (also a topic for another post) I have had to cut my time with my baby short and return to employment at just six weeks post partum. In all honesty, I don’t want to work at all. I just want to stay home with my little ones. I try to remind myself that six weeks after I return to work, summer break starts. So I just have to make it through six weeks.
Well, enough talk. Here’s what you know you’ve been waiting for: baby pictures.
Day of his birth:
One month old:
So I’ve been off the grid for a while now thanks to my first year teaching in a private school, going back to school to finish my education certificate, keeping up with my two year old, and with the expectation of my second baby (10 weeks to go). I’ve been so busy with those things I’ve had to put my photography business on hold, and have even found I have almost no time to snap a photo of the day. The one thing I have recently started making time for again is knitting and crocheting…to keep my sanity. If you think public school kids are stressful, try dealing with private school parents. I almost quit at the end of the first quarter because I had a lot of parents angry that their kids had earned a B in Art instead of an A. And they weren’t very civil about how they approached me on the matter. Most were aggressive and some even got nastily mean. I would honestly trade a year in a public school with 85 kids in one class than deal with those parents for a single day again. So I picked my needles back up after a long hiatus and made some pretty cute baby hats, and I’ve got the two sides of a pillow complete. I just have to stitch the pillow pieces together and stuff it. Five more days until Christmas break.
If you’re looking for a unique handmade gift for a loved one this season, check out my store on Etsy. Now through Thanksgiving day use coupon code GIVETHANKS14 for free shipping on your order. On Black Friday (Nov. 28) use coupon code BLKFRI2015 to get 20% off your order. Check back here on Sunday to find the coupon code for our amazing cyber Monday deal as well.
So much has been going on since my last post. The beginning of June was crazy, wrapping up the end of my first school year. During the last two weeks of school, I found out my position had been cut, so I applied and interviewed for a position at a Catholic school. Well, I got it! And my first day is this Wednesday. Ironically enough, after I accepted the position, I got offers from four other schools. Crazy how that works out.
Another big piece of news is on Father’s Day, I found out I’m pregnant again. My husband and I couldn’t be happier! This pregnancy has been very different though. I have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder so this pregnancy is high risk. That means twice as many doctor appointments and twice as many ultrasounds. On my last ultrasound, the doctor found a small hematoma, which they are monitoring. They are hoping it will be reabsorbed by my body. I find out next week if it has gone down any or gotten worse. It’s scary because just when we got my autoimmune disorder under control, this pops up and could cause a miscarriage too. I have full confidence in my doctors though. I’ve been very tired and nauseated most of these 10 weeks, but I don’t mind it because that’s how I know baby is still with us.
Other than the new job, and a new baby on the way, I have been working two jobs all summer, as well as going to art workshops, so unfortunately I have not been able to clean and organize my house the way I was planning to this summer, and I haven’t had a lot of time to spend with my son. Somehow, I have managed to find time to work on a few crochet projects. I made two toy hammocks for my son’s room and I’ve been working on an earth toned granny square pillow. I’ll have to take some photos later.
Speaking of photos, today I helped photograph a charity event with Locks for Love and ended up donating my hair in the process. Here are some before and after photos.
Pretty big change, but I think it’s cute.
Every morning, ok maybe not every morning, I water the little seedlings of squash I’ve planted in my little four shelf greenhouse. A few weeks ago, when I first got around to planting them, I noticed a bird’s nest in one of the flower pots (last year it was in my watering can). A few days after that, I noticed four eggs in it. I have been watching mama bird for weeks, and keeping my cocker spaniels away from the nest. I even moved the flower pot up to a higher shelf, out of their reach. Well, this morning, mama was not home, but a little movement caught my eye and this is what I found.
At a recent guild meeting I won a one year pro subscription to Animoto. So here is a recent client’s slideshow. I can’t share it with her yet though because She hasn’t picked up her canvas yet (the very last image). When she does, I’ll be able to post this to my website and Facebook. I just don’t want to ruin the surprise for her. Since I’ve never really told any family, friends, or clients about this side blog, I don’t really have any worries that she might see it. I’m just so excited about it I can’t wait to share it with someone.
Sorry I’ve been neglecting this blog. I’ve been so busy with school (teaching and as a student), my photo business, and life in general that I haven’t had time to post anything in almost two months.
The only reason I’m posting now is because I can’t sleep. I have an interview tomorrow for a teaching position in a Catholic school. It really is the perfect job. The school is less than a mile from my house, I would have a classroom instead of being on a cart, it’s full time in one school, it’s a private school, and it would mean my own kids get a 50% tuition discount from K-12 grade. It’s the second time I’m interviewing for this position at this school. The first time was in 2008 right before I graduated from college. Not enough experience, I was told. Let’s hope this time I have what the principal is looking for. I don’t know that she even remembers me. I had a different last name then. Ironically enough, my husband has her daughter as one of his students, and since she tells her daughter almost everything, chances are I’ll find out if I get the job before she even calls me back. I really am hoping for this job. Guess I better try to get some sleep then, huh.
With that being said, I’ll leave you with a picture from Mother’s Day. It was a nice day. Our little family went to church in the morning, then went to have launch with my in-laws.