Its pretty lonely when the person you spend 90% of your time with not only doesn’t talk or respond to your funny faces, but also sleeps a lot. I find myself talking to myself all the time. And sometimes others answer back.

These little convos are getting a bit out of hand. I’m trying to rein it in.

The other day I was just chilling on the couch with G when a man yelled ‘son of a bitch!’ right beside me. Of course there was no man. It was the loudest hallucination I have had in a long time. Unsettling to say the least.

Most of the time I just ignore the noise. Its often not voices but machines running or music so its pretty easy if you throw the radio on. But I have to admit without the much-hated Clozapine I am coming to realize how noisy my brain can make my life.

Ever since I went on this med I have detested it. It has the wonderful propensity to make you drool and sweat. On my original high dose I would have to wake up to change my pjs and pillow case at least once a night. Gross- I know. Once I got used to it and decreased the dose a bit it became much more manageable and I just got used to waking up…moist. So long story short; I was stoked to get off it.

I realize now that it is so easy to forget what things were like before. Meds suck- its hard to deny the side effects and the dulling effect they have- but once you stop them you realize being crazy kinda sucks too. So now I face a challenge: to medicate or not? Can I live with this? Get used to it again? I’m not trying to do something high-level like med school, a little distraction may be okay.

Surprisingly, this evening my pharmacy delivered my pre-baby meds to the door. I didn’t request them. They took it upon themselves which is very strange. Sometimes I think the universe sends us pretty clear messages, but I don’t think I am prepared to listen to this one quite yet. I am enjoying feeling like old Me. It’s like I’ve gone back in time to who I was before. I thought a lot of the changes in my personality and thoughts were just age and experience creeping in, but I see now that it was all medication.

Its not a myth that psychiatric medications change who you are a little bit. I would never lie to a noob and say they don’t. It’s a chemical designed to alter your brain chemistry after all. Now don’t freak out! I whole heartedly agree that medication is often both necessary and helpful. But I also feel it is over prescribed.

That’s why I love my psychiatrist. I’ve gone back to one I was seeing before being transferred to the psychosis intervention program. She almost never suggests a change in medication as the first action when there is a problem. She always asks whether more sleep or exercise or socialization might help. She also has touted CBD and melatonin for anxiety and sleep instead of throwing more commercial meds in my face. Its so refreshing. I’m not scared to go see her and I’m honest with how I feel instead of hiding everything for fear of an increased dosage or changed meds. I feel like we are a team and that together we decide what is right (and what I’m willing) to do.

I feel like with her on my side I can try to tackle this challenge. If I fail I know she will catch me. But if I succeed what a wonderful thing it will be!

Body Sharing

I mistakenly believed that at the end of my pregnancy I was going to get my body back. I had shared it with G for 8 months and I was looking forward to more freedom. Little did I know that it would not end- only change.

I still have to be careful about what I’m eating and drinking. No alcohol and no coffee. Even my beloved bananas are gone. G goes crazy if I have a coffee and gets gassy with bananas. Le sigh. Decaf for me still. Also, though I have an okay supply, G is growing at a (somewhat alarming) rate and demands huge amounts of boob food. So I find myself baking lactation cookies and downing gallons of water.

The amount of time I spend hooked to a pump or my child would have shocked and disturbed pre-baby me. Heck, it disturbs me now. Breastfeeding is lovely. But also boring. Just a warning to pre-mums, save up some shows on Netflix you want to watch because you will need many (many) hours of handsfree entertainment.

Because of the C-section I am very limited in what and how much I can do physically. At first it was a chore and a painful experience to hike down and back up from our laundry in the basement. Now I feel much more capable and the twinges sneak up on me and remind me: ‘you just had major surgery, slow the f* down’. The most frustrating thing is no vacuuming or lawnmowing. As the primary (read: only) one who does these chores it has been a frustrating experience. Watching the dog-fur dust bunnies blow by, or wading through the jungle lawn to the compost makes me cringe. Luckily, my sister came to stay for a bit and managed to tidy things up for me.

I am DYING to get back to my pregnancy fitness routine. I miss long walks, Zumba and weight training. I felt so good going into the final months and I really want to feel that way again. Not to mention it would probably help me lift this expanding child without all the back pain.

As G gets bigger and takes more naps not on my boobs I am getting more freedom and mobility during the day. This is awesome. I LOVE my baby more then anything. But I also love knitting. And that needs two free hands. Plus our dinners have become more then cereal and freezies. Yay nutrients! (Another pre-mom tip: make your freezer stash early! I thought I had so much time. Wrong.)

While I somewhat enjoyed this last month of hysterical crying (both me and G, and sometimes hubby) I am really looking forward to having my body back all to myself. To eating what ever I want, to exercising without pain, to use both hands at the same time… its going to be wonderful.

So people can stop worrying…

Knock on wood but- things are improving.

I am cheating a little by starting a new medication that is breastfeeding safe for the voices/music/apparitions. Not being constantly distracted by them is helping IMMENSELY. I can also sleep properly at night without the noise and a slower brain. It’s a low dose that shouldn’t be too hard to get back off of when the time is right.

Mood-wise I guess it was just the pregnancy hormones because the clouds have certainly cleared. I am definitely exhausted and worn down by the time I crawl into bed every night but the crying jaggs have passed. Yay motherhood!

We found help with the nights that hubby cannot cover due to work which eases the stress significantly. I’m also starting to nurse and the amount of washing and sterilizing of bottles has greatly diminished (although the laundry has not!). Meal planning simple dinners that create leftovers is helping keep us less hangry.

I am still nervous to take G out with everything going on and his erratic schedule of inconsolable crying, but I am eagerly looking forward to a return to somewhat normal soon. I think his first big outing will be the library (he’s been to the lake quickly, but he slept through it!). I’d like to instil a healthy love of books early on if possible.

There are still many moments where I ask myself “what have I done?” but I am really looking forward to so many things! I can’t wait until he is more interactive and we can play and sing and dance. For now though, baby snuggles are pretty awesome.

Lessons from G

  1. No two days are the same. Somedays I scream bloody murder all day. Somedays I’m a little angel.
  2. The days I’m an angel are ALWAYS the days someone comes over to help/hold me.
  3. I make more laundry then your tired ass can keep up to.
  4. I go through more diapers and take more shits then you ever thought humanly possible.
  5. It seems as though I only pee when diaper is off and dick is left unattended (though amount of diapers would prove otherwise).
  6. When you think its safe to sit and pick up your knitting I WILL start screaming. Its the law.
  7. I insist upon eating too fast and getting milk all over my face and in my neck folds. I will then spit up a good portion of every meal instead of just burping like you seem to want.
  8. Most of my naps will be on/squished under one of your boobs.
  9. Mom learned she can blog with only one hand because I am so helpful.

Restless nights

Sleep is one of those things that you don’t appreciate until it abandons you. Laying in bed awake is possibly one of the worst feelings. When you know you have a full day the next day, yet your fevered brain is running a marathon in your skull its enough to make anyone freak out. I spend most of my night trying to meditate, make lists, count sheep… anything. The music plays, my thoughts wander everywhere, and my eyes won’t stay closed.

Sometimes I drop off and have these incredible dreams so vivid I wake up to do things and realize minutes later that its not real. Its disorienting, upsetting, and I’m pretty sure it means I’m not getting good restful sleep.

During the day I run as if powered by steam. Constantly moving, never settled. I feel awake- which is strange and probably not healthy. I can’t nap. I don’t even feel like I need to. The only symptom of my 2-4 hours per night (so far) is being bitchy and forgetful. The hysterical sobbing seems to have passed and left behind a kind of strange detachment.

Hubby goes back to work Wednesday. We are going to run a little experiment in coping this week. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Dredging it all up

I recently spent 7 days in NICU with my 4-week premature son G. While the experience was vastly different, it brought up a lot of trauma from previous psychiatric hospitalizations.

Post c-section I was in too much pain and was too worried about G to be bothered. But as we improved being there chaffed. I had a key card and ‘could’ leave at any time. But that would mean leaving him. I began to feel totally trapped. The smell of the hospital sheets was the same. The food was the same. The boredom was the same. Suddenly I was a psyc patient again.

As an involuntarily committed psyc patient you have no control over your stay. They say when and if you can go home. The worst part is they often tell you things are going well and you might be home by end of week and then they yank it away because of some small thing.

When this happened with G I totally lost it. He was doing so well. I had even gone home for the night to get the house ready. When I returned in high spirits the next morning he was back in the incubator under the jaundice lights again. The nurse told us at least another two days. I freaked out. This had happened to me so many times before and something in me just couldn’t hear those words again.

I feel selfish even writing this article because my poor baby was the one unwell and I should have been entirely focused on him, but I also have to be honest about how I feel.

G is really grappling with his bowels because his little immature digestive system is struggling to keep up to his voracious hunger. The little dude is up to 6lbs 3.5oz already and wants tons at every feed but is then gassy after. We have tried every method to help his poor little belly but the doctor assures us only time will help. It is hard emotionally to listen to him cry and exhausting to hold and burp/belly massage/comfort all day and night. Hubby and I are totally drained and hoping it passes soon.

Since I still struggle to sleep, even when given time, I have been dealing with a lot of symptoms creeping in around the edges. I keep telling myself it is just stress and fatigue- but I am also researching the earliest possible time to get back on meds. Everyone keeps telling me this is normal for new moms to be all over the place, which I am doing my best to deal with, but it’s the music that is really getting me. Some days it is so loud it distracts me from everything and keeps me awake. A few days ago (after 1 hour sleep in the last 24) there was a lovely mix of random disconnected talking, a few screams and MUSIC. I finally caved and took my rescue med Olanzapine and 10mg of Melatonin. After a solid 6 hours of sleep things improved dramatically. I was not cured, but I was coping again.

The part that scared me most was my anger toward G. That was really the straw that made me medicate, I could never live with myself if something happened.

I think it is this feeling of ‘crazy’ that is bringing back all kinds of junk from my past. I find in this state I can remember things that happened when I was in this state before. I’m sure it is because I don’t have the mental resources to block it, but also I think you just connect to those feelings better when situations are similar. I have been having very realistic and upsetting dreams about old things and potential new things. Since the meds I have started to ‘unpack’ my night with tea the next morning and put everything away so I can focus on my baby and the (seemingly endless) daily chores without being distracted. It is helping.

I think G and I are still bonding well. Hubby and I are trying to find little moments together now that my sister has come to help out (a total godsend!) and we are less snappy with each other. Overall things are not burning down. They are not ideal- but what life ever is?

Getting off meds

I can’t remember if I had mentioned before but I was/am weaning off meds to breastfeed my son. It was all planned out to be free and clear for his due date. But as we all know- ‘the best laid plans..’ Of course, he INSISTED on arriving 4 weeks early. This meant I had to ramp down my doses faster then originally intended. This, combined with the stress of NICU and normal birth hormone fluctuations means this last 2 weeks have been ROUGH.

I mean, laying sobbing while my baby screams. Sleeping about 3-4 hours a day. Forgetting EVERYTHING, including when last fed baby leading to very cranky baby. TMI but explosive poos for weeks (I have lost so much weight). Hardly eating and then stuffing my face. More crying. Waking up from 20 minute naps feeling like the world is spinning and I’m going to throw up.

Its been hard.

I feel like I am detoxing/depressed/manic most of the time. The first week home I was super mom, now I’m a shipwreck just hoping he stays quiet for at least 30 mins this time. Everyone keeps telling me ‘sleep when the baby sleeps!’ That would imply that I could turn my brain off, which would be lovely. Hubby drops off in 30 seconds. I stare at the ceiling all night, even when I am not ‘on shift’ and am SUPPOSED to be sleeping.

The lactation nurse in the hospital said: ‘you need to be on these meds’. I brushed her off and confidently told her I had felt amazing all pregnancy. Now I’m starting to wonder if she was right. The worst part is G won’t latch and I am still having to pump and bottle feed him. At least its not going down the sink anymore and into my baby. Dumping that bright yellow colostrum out felt like a sin. I keep telling myself (through tears of frustration as he screams in hunger while my boob is right there) that eventually we will figure it out and things will get easier and it will all have been worth it.

Having a baby was my dream for so long and now, through some miracle, I have one. I need to remember that and realize he won’t be a baby forever- I just have to make it out alive.

A little early but…

Arriving into this world amidst much drama is our son G!

On July 23 I noticed less fetal movement but I didn’t have a vehicle and didn’t want to bother anyone for a false alarm. When my hubby got home he calmed me down and we went to bed. On waking I had a huge cup of coffee and a sugary breakfast hoping to get a big reassuring kick as usual. There was nothing. So I woke hubby in a blind panic and we went to hospital.

The emergency room attendant sent me immediately to labor and delivery where a nurse swept me into an assessment room and put on a heart rate monitor. The baby’s heart sounded out and I collapsed into relieved sobs. Unfortunately, she did not look happy for very long looking at the strip. She quickly left and called in my doctor. My GP arrived about a half hour later, she also looked concerned but trying to look nonchalant at the strip. She left to call in the OB/GYN.

The OB/GYN felt around my belly, looked at the strip, said we ‘had time for an ultrasound’ and told me to prepare to be there ‘for the night’. At this point I was trying my best not to panic and absolutely willing the baby to move, even a little, so I could calm down. Waiting for the ultrasound was the longest hour of my life.

The tech said things looked good, and I breathed a sigh, but returning to the room the OB/GYN came back right away and said baby is now suddenly breech and ‘throwing decels more and more often’. She didn’t think baby would make it through an induced labour and that we needed a c-section, like now-ish.

The whole time she was so calm and confident. I felt safe in her hands but TERRIFIED to go into surgery. I had seen about 6 or 7 c-sections in med school. They are pretty brutal, and the recovery is long. I also had been preparing for weeks to warrior-goddess this baby into the world through my hoo-hah and was so disappointed I wouldn’t even get to try.

Within 15 minutes they were wheeling me to the OR and I was fighting tears, trying to stay brave for hubby who was freaking out. They took him to get ready and I went into the cold operating room alone.

Again, the nurses were warm and competent, and I was prepared to surrender my body to them. Terrified of the epidural a lovely nurse held my shoulders and coached me through. After the freezing I couldn’t even feel the needle go in. It was so surprising. And then my legs felt bizarre and I was turned onto the table and the real business began. In a flurry of activity everything was set up and they were cutting before hubby even arrived. I was so worried he would miss it, but our baby had to be wrestled out and he made it in time. Apparently, the cord was wrapped THREE TIMES around baby’s neck.

They took baby to the warmer- and it didn’t cry. I have NEVER been so scared. After a few seconds of me yelling ‘why isn’t he crying!?’ I heard that first scream. Immediate, uncontrollable water works. I was told he was a HE and weighed 5lbs 8oz. They brought a teenie-tiny little bundle over for a quick picture with daddy and then whisked him away.

I sent hubby with baby. I lay there now very much alone while I was sewn closed. The doctors had seemingly forgot about me and chatted about their lives while I lay and worried silently. It was the strangest sensation to be aware that they were pushing and prodding but not feeing any pain or discomfort.

What felt like forever later I was moved to ‘recover’ in labour and delivery. This involved a very brisk nurse filling out paperwork and occasionally coming over to see if I could move yet. Eventually she noticed my (normal apparently) uncontrollable shaking and brought many warm blankets. When I finally stopped shaking and didn’t feel like I was going to throw up any longer they let me get into a wheelchair and be rolled over by hubby to see my little boy.

He was unbelievably small but entirely beautiful. He was sleeping soundly despite being hooked to many wires and on a glucose drip. They let me hold him for a few minutes, but I felt like I was going to throw up/pass out and reluctantly put him back in the incubator.

By the next morning I insisted on (very slowly) walking with IV pole and catheter bag over to NICU. I stayed until the pain was so great I had to return for drugs and a lay down. The doctor visited and I was saline locked and catheter removed. The freedom was a relief and I made the seemingly enormous (300m) journey back and forth to NICU to feed and snuggle.

Unfortunately, his recovery was not smooth and was under jaundice lights for several days with and without a feeding tube. BUT within 6 days he was eating fully on his own and out of the incubator and the lights. At one week we got to bring our little boy home.

The relief of being out of hospital (which was incredibly triggering, more to come later) and in my own home was immense. I launched into getting things organized and running smoothly. It was hit and miss, and the lack of sleep and meds (also more to come) made things VERY hard. Now, 8 days later I feel like things are starting to come together. G has put all his birthweight back on- plus quite a bit- and seems to love being our baby. We are pleased as punch and can’t wait for the rest of this journey… I just hope it’s a bit less dramatic then the start.


I have come to the realization that being an adult is at least 50% swagger- confidently doing things or giving advice on things you really don’t know much about. Now when I go out I encounter people my age or younger in these professional roles and all I can think is ‘how much of this is bluffing?’ I know I am bumbling through life, just making it up as I go. Surely, they are too?

Now that I have all these children in my life it is fascinating to see how they develop. They all look up to us ‘adults’ as the authority. No questions asked- everything we say is gospel. I don’t feel like I understand how the world works yet, and I am now going to have to teach this little tabula rasa how to survive in it. It’s nuts. Which is why you need swagger. And Google.

Don’t get me wrong- I don’t advocate for blindly following your gut on complicated or important things. But I’m also pretty sure the reflex to call your mom is not always helpful. She was making it up too! Or read it in some horribly outdated book.

We must do our research and not latch onto the first thing we hear or read. There are so many opinions out there and we do ourselves (and our children) a disservice by not weighing them all. Obviously blatantly horrible opinions can be avoided, but as the expression goes ‘there’s more then one way to skin a cat’. What worked for you as a toddler may not work for YOUR toddler.

Sometimes though we just have to listen to ourselves. Like right now I am beyond tired and hired a woman to deep clean my house because I just CAN’T. It embarrasses me that I am ‘weak’- but it needs to get done and no amount of coffee is going to get me in that tub with Vim and a sponge. When the lady arrived I was so relieved to pass this chore on- it was worth every penny. But now I vocally extol the value of a cleaning lady to all! My swagger is in full force- I KNOW SOMETHING NOW. Ha! Nope. Some people ‘nest’ by cleaning. Some people enjoy the feeling of self-sufficiency. I know nothing! I have an opinion that should be taken in, weighed, and compared. But heck if I won’t tell everyone about it!