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Sunday, January 6th, 2013
It’s 2013. Time to toot my horn! Time to tell you my favorite blogs that I wrote from 2012. This, in hopes you have so much free time, you’ll dive in and read all of them! Yes, I’m starting off the New Year giving you work and working on my own issue with modesty (screw those resolutions).
In all honesty, I’m going to throw my editor, Sherry, under the bus and tell the truth: She asked me to give a list of my favorite blog posts from last year. I’m not saying this to brag, but it was actually really hard to choose. Do I go funny? Serious? Newsy? Controversial? Each post I do is so personal and most of them I really try and put something out there that I feel strongly about. Whether by humor or conviction.
In the end, I picked a variety of subjects and tone. The ones I left out, but am still really glad I wrote (in case you feel like getting extra credit) are the saddest. The nanny who allegedly stabbed two kids to death, the Connecticut Shootings, the Penn State (my alma mater) molestation scandal. There actually is one that is incredibly sad that I did choose. But it’s a more personal sadness. You will know which one I’m talking about below. Here they are, in no particular order.
1. The Failure Hour. My most brilliant invention yet, and what I think every mom should do!
2. Fia Turning Three. Before you roll your eyes or skip over this one, I urge you to read it (assuming you have kids. Why else would you be reading my blog unless you’re really really bored?). It’s not just about Fia. It’s about the unquenchable love these babies bring to our lives. And our quest to hold onto it. Tight.
3. Losing Justin. The magnitude of loss is still hard to fathom. Father of two young boys. Son to my Baba Yaga. My first cousin. When Justin was killed, so many hearts shattered. I would do anything to turn back time and say it isn’t so. I want people to read this to understand how quickly life can change. And to send peace and light to all of us who will forever grieve his death.
4. Losing My Mom. I wrote this on the one-year anniversary of my mom’s death. It actually gave me great peace to write it and to know she is in a better place. Especially since much of her life was so tragic.
5. My Embarrassing Pregnancy Problem. Okay, this has the word “Ugly Vag” in the first sentence. How can you not be intrigued?
6. Should Depressed People Procreate? Hell yeah! I did and I have the happiest babies on the block. Lots of judgment here from those who have never been depressed.
7. The Death of Rody. I’m happy to report we have a new one. He is blue. And he’s an indoor Rody now. This, after the still-mysterious toy killer hit our yard. Last night we saw SIX–yes SIX coyotes on our street. I have my suspicions…I’m thinking coyote puppies who are teething…
8. Homebirth–I Don’t Get it. And still don’t. But I will say I am lessening my judgement with baby #2 on a few things…like cosleeping. I still believe strongly in sleep training. But I do get on some level why people sleep with their babies–because they are delicious. I do it from time to time. And did quite a bit with Emmett for the first 8 months. I just think you have to have a baseline of good sleep, both yours and your baby’s, before you go down that road.
9. A Monkey Made Me Lactate. Enough said.
10. Why The Boob Rocks. You would think this post would have been well-received by most. But oh no. There is a line in there that stirred so much controversy, I had to open another bottle of wine while blissfully nursing Emmett. In fact, I got so drunk I passed out and decided to make drinking to oblivion while breastfeeding a nightly habit. In fact, I’m in a blackout now.
Blog icon courtesy of Shutterstock
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Milestone Monday, Mom Situations, Must Read | Tags: alcohol, antidepressants, breastfeeding, Connecticut shooting, cosleeping, depression, drinking, failure hour, homebirth, penn state, popular blog posts, Rody, sleep training, taking antidepressants when pregnant, toddler birthday
Wednesday, April 25th, 2012
I am seeing a hypnotherapist. I found him on Yelp. Really.
I know how “LA” I sound, but I must say; this guy–Peter Bedard– is extraordinary. I decided to go this route versus traditional therapy to help me deal with my obsessions. I figured getting hypnotized would be a quick fix. However, as Peter puts it: it’s not about cleaning up a corner in your room. It’s about cleaning the whole house. Apropos considering I have a major cleaning obsession.
Ever since Emmett was born I have become increasingly uptight about our house. I literally cannot walk past a crumb on the floor without stopping to pick it up. My mind never stops racing about all I have to do. Having our gaggle of guests week, after week, after week, only made matters worse. My anxiety level reached an all time high while my milk supply went low. In short, living in my brain became exhausting.
I went to Peter hoping for a miracle. In him, I found a healer.
While I like to keep a clean house, I knew my obsession was largely about control. He took it a step further by pointing out that our bad behaviors “benefit” us in some way. In my case, the “benefit” was my license to be angry, to be a martyr. I would storm around pissed off that Phil forgot to scoop the cat liter or take out the garbage (I have to do everything myself); I found myself angry at our friends who wanted to come visit (why are they here when I have a newborn? They should at least be getting up in the night); and ultimately angry with myself for not coping better (you suck at this).
I was reeling.
When I explained it all he said, “How’s it working out for you?” I nearly burst into tears. “Not so good,” I replied in misery. We talked at length. He threw out the old adage, “Would you rather be right or happy?” And more importantly: “Would you rather be right…or be a mom? Because your kids are going to f-ck up a lot, and if you are wound this tight, you’re going to have some f-cked up kids.”
Cue the sirens in my head: Time to avert disaster.
Through a series of visualizations, he had me fire my “critical self”–that voice inside that keeps you spinning. Then he had me “rehire” it, but as my personal assistant. After all, it is a part of me. But I was back in charge.
Rather than controlling my environment and the people in it, he told me to visualize governing–graciously. I pictured myself in a white flowing outfit, looking out onto our beautiful garden. My arms are outstretched and my children are playing. It is a picture of happiness. Of serenity. And ultimately, of surrender.
I have had 4 sessions thus far and each time I feel like I’m making great strides. We are now working on “pattern interrupts.” Like at this moment I am wearing a purple rubber band around my wrist. When I start to spin, I snap it–hard–to jolt my brain back. The goal is to keep that personal assistant in his place (I decided it was a man). The breath of fire is another technique. The other day I was playing with Fia when I found my mind racing. I immediately went into the breathing and boom–pattern interrupt. Fia’s giggling at her strange mama didn’t hurt either.
At the end of each session we do about 15 minutes of the hypnosis. It’s really just a deep meditation. If I had to think of it as hypnosis, then the whole time I’d be obsessing and my brain would go like this: “Am I hypnotized yet? I don’t know. How about now? Now? Not sure…” and so on. But a deep meditation I can relax into and absorb his words.
It all comes down to training your brain to stay positive. As an example, I asked him how I could go into something with positive intention if I dread it, like paying bills. Without skipping a beat he said, “Be grateful you have the money.” The next day I sat down with that intention and those old thoughts of– why am I always the one to do this?– stayed away.
It’s a simplistic example, but sometimes that’s what resonates most.
In my September 11th piece I said that parenthood is a privilege. So is life. I only get one. But I gave life to two. I don’t want to waste this time controlling them. Or the crumbs.
Meditation Picture via Shutterstock
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
I wrote at length about my decision to stay on my antidepressants while pregnant. It was the right one for me, and so far, knock on wood, Emmett is nothing but alert, healthy and happy.
I did end up going off the Wellbutrin at around 7 months. It was sort of by accident, because I ran out of pills and hadn’t ordered any more. There were no side effects to the instant withdrawal and I felt fine without it. I did stay on the 10 mg of Lexapro until 3 weeks before my C-Section.
At that time, I decided to taper. The reproductive psychiatrist I had met with told me that there was a 10-30% chance of having a baby who is slightly fussy (or fussier) post birth if you keep on the meds. Still, she encouraged me to stay on them, because the fussy-factor dissipates within a few days. However, I tapered with Fia and I wanted to do the same this time around. I can live with .01% risk of staying on an antidepressant while pregnant. But 10-30% felt high to me, even though it’s a short-lived problem.
My taper wasn’t fun. I felt that dizzy/spaced out feeling pretty constantly. But I went with it because when you’re that pregnant, you feel exhausted anyway.
Emmett was born on January 25, 2012 and he has, knock on a forest, been an incredibly easy baby thus far. However, about a week after he was born, my hormones were raging, my nerves were getting frayed and my husband was pushing me to go back on the Lexapro before things went south.
I consulted a lactation consultant who informed me that Lexapro is now an L2 drug. Here is the website that explains the categories and gives a list of drugs. An L2 is a drug which, has been “studied in a limited number of breastfeeding women without an increase in adverse effects to the infant. And/or the evidence of a demonstrated risk which is likely to follow use of this medication in a breastfeeding woman is remote.”
L1 is the safest, L5 is the most risky.
I was so relieved to hear that Lexapro had been studied, that the first thing I did when I got home was take a 5 mg dose. I’ve been on that for about 2 months, and just last week went up to 10 mg. I was feeling a lot of anxiety and intensity about things. I was hoping 5 mg would be enough, but it wasn’t. I have noticed an immediate difference in my state of mind.
Wellbutrin is still an L3, which means it’s moderately safe, but no controlled studies have been done. I may go back on a small dosage of that as time goes on. We’ll see. I have some semi-obsessive issues I’m trying to deal with that seem to be getting worse. Like my obsession with cleaning. I feel like it is getting a bit out of control–which is ironic because I think “control” is what it’s all about. I will blog about that soon, as I have some ideas on how I may try and tackle this.
Anyway, I just wanted to update all of you who were interested and/or in similar situations as I was with the whole antidepressant arena. Thanks for listening.
Picture of breastfeeding via Shutterstock
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Must Read, Newborn Care | Tags: antidepressants, anxiety, breast feeding, breastfeeding, depression, L2, L3, lactation, lexapro, obsession, obsessions, pregnancy, pregnant, taking antidepressants when pregnant, wellbutrin
Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
Author’s Note: Join me every Tuesday or Wednesday for “Moving Mid Pregnancy,” to read about my ongoing search for a new “everything” (from nannies to mom friends to health providers) while pregnant and living in a new city.
Me and My HUGE Belly
Last night I had stomach cramps. Bad ones. I also just felt “off.” I was thinking maybe labor was imminent. As uncomfortable and miserable as I am right now, I’m like the boy who cried wolf. When it comes down to it, I’m not ready for the new baby. I mean, for god’s sakes: I still have wall decals to put up!! Not to mention a wax to schedule (it’s all about the timing of it, right?) and lexapro to wean off. I’ve started the process with the lexapro, but it will take about 3 weeks to complete.
BTW–I decided to wean off the last few weeks based on the conversation I had with the reproductive psychiatrist (I wrote a blog about this). She said there is a 10-30% chance of the baby having some sort of withdrawal. Just general fussiness, but I think newborns are already ass kicking enough. I want my guy to be happy when he gets pulled out. So I’m going to wean off. I did this same thing with Fia and was glad I did.
I went to my OB today and they put a monitor on to see if I was contracting. Turns out, I wasn’t imagining the stomach tightening. There were a few contractions, though nothing regular. I’m also so thirsty lately. So the doc just told me to go home, hydrate a lot and take it easy. I asked if I could go for hikes still. He said yes, but just not to push it. He wants to keep that baby in as long as possible. I guess I sort of do…. it’s such a catch 22. Being so uncomfortable right now, but also needing more time before baby Leroy rocks our world.
By the way, I do love my new OB out here. He came recommended from a few friends. It wasn’t that hard making the transition from my NYC OB-GYN to this one. I knew I wanted to deliver at Cedars Sinai, even though it’s a bit of trek from our house. It’s kind of the celeb/famous hospital, but the way I looked at it is this: if anything should go wrong, you want to be at the place with the best medical and neonatal care. Especially in my, ahem, AMA (Advanced Maternal Age). And UCLA and Cedars are two of the best.
Also had my iron re-tested today. Hoping the pills and the 8 hamburgers I eat a day help get my levels back up.
More to report but it’s 9:30 pm, which means bedtime. I’ll add more to this tomorrow when Fia’s at preschool. Night night.
Follow up: it’s the next morning. Fia’s at preschool. Right before bed, the cramps got pretty bad. But then once I laid down, they subsided. I ended up sleeping really well. So I guess the doctor knows what he’s talking about when he says to get off your feet. He told me if I lay down and they continue, or become more regular, to let him know. So far so good. I’m going to make a conscious effort to sit more, and nap when Fia naps (I’ve been doing that on and off lately and it makes a huge difference in the rest of my day).
Oh, and we just found out my C-section time got moved up. This is great news. It was scheduled January 25th at 4:30 pm. and you can’t eat for 8 hours prior. I didn’t know how I’d do it. Now we just got in for a 7:30 a.m. C-section. So I can wake up and just go to the hospital. That is, if this baby doesn’t come sooner!
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Moving Mid Pregnancy, Moving to Los Angeles, Must Read | Tags: anemia, antidepressants, antidepressants and pregnancy, c-section, lexapro, moving mid pregnancy, moving to LA, pregnancy, pregnant
Tuesday, October 4th, 2011
Just a quick follow up to my follow up (follow that?) on taking Antidepressants When Pregnant. I met a second time with this amazing Reproductive Psychiatrist from NYU. In talking to her, I explained how even though she and many other widely respected doctors have told me the facts, I still easily freak myself out about my decision to stay on my meds. Most of my doubt and angst is directly related to Google. She suggested this website as a great go-to resource that states THE FACTS on just about any type of drug, drink, herbal concoction—even hair dye–that has been studied in relation to pregnancy. She explained it’s not a fear-mongering site, (like many of them are), so stop googling to save your sanity!
It’s called otispregnancy.org.
Now I will admit, the whole alcohol intake thing on Otis did scare me a bit, because I do have the occasional glass of wine. However, like the study states, they don’t know how much alcohol is too much, thus the reason to abstain completely. They refer to heavy/regular drinking, so I guess that depends on your definition of “regular”. For me, at my doctor’s approval, it’s maybe a glass of wine every week or two–if I feel like it (I often don’t. Well, actually, yes I do). But logically, I think many of us would agree that a glass here and there or an occasional beer is not going to harm a baby. Hmmm…I feel another controversial blog post brewing (thought this subject has been debated to death!) Let me stew on this for a bit! Cheers!
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations | Tags: alcohol, antidepressants, antidepressants while pregnant, anxiety, depression, drink, drinking, drugs, drugs and pregnancy, medication, medicine, meds while pregnant, pregnancy, taking antidepressants when pregnant