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Sherj’s gift

Sherj came over yesterday to spend the day and the night with Amy and sent us out of the house.

We went to Binghamton where we bought a mobile at Babies R Us to hang on the changing table, hoping it will give Amy something more interesting to consider than the fact that she’s being changed, which she usually hates.

We also wandered around the mall. For whatever reason, I felt rather faint and light-headed — maybe a side effect of the Zoloft plus not having eaten much or had much to drink yesterday, plus crying a LOT in the morning with what seemed to me a very fussy Amy.

We had an early dinner at the Olive Garden, then came back home to check on things and get our overnight bags. Sherj was having a great time with Amy, and found her very easy. I’m sure Amy was the same with Sherj as with us, and Sherj just handles it better than I do. She also only had to do a day and a night with her, coming in well-rested and fed, too.

Keith and Marty offered all three of us their home for the night, and it was nice to hang out with them a bit before going to bed.

I had a small panic attack at bedtime, but Marty helped me get through it. And it was nice to be with Mark.

Keith and Marty sent us off with a really nice breakfast, and now we’re back home.

Mom P is convinced that Amy has smiled a few times. I’m not yet convinced but it sure looks cute.

I am still full of fear, and quick to feel defeated, inadequate, and frustrated with myself. Therapy, Zoloft, and continued interaction with Amy should help — and I trust God to continue carrying us all.

Church

Our little family went to church today.

Amy slept a good bit of the time, but missed part of the service for a diaper change (actually a complete outfit change — she peed through the diaper, the cover, the onesie, the outfit, onto Mom P’s leg…) and a feeding.

It was nice to see everyone, to sing “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed” (from the Messiah) with the choir, to participate in the Lord’s Supper, and to have some wonderfully reassuring conversation with a few people.

Two women in particular really understood what I meant when I talked about the fear of the great cost of mothering — fear that investing in this little soul will drain my little soul until there isn’t any me left.

It reminds me of the verse about losing one’s life for Jesus’ sake and how scary I’ve always thought that verse is. And yet it promises that, paradoxically, those who lose their lives for him will actually gain them.

It also reminds me of my very favorite passage, Jeremiah 2, about how we’ve abandoned the Lord, the fountain of living water, in order to dig our own cisterns, broken cisterns that can’t hold water. I fear the draining of my little soul because some part of me believes I’m essentially an orphan, left alone and defenseless to make my way as best I can, so that I had better protect myself fiercely from anything that might drain me unto death. And God (and Amy, and lots of other things) sometimes seems like such a threat, requiring my very life and soul from me. I need to understand more and more that God is for me, that he defends my soul, and that whatever he might require of me, he will carry me through it and provide all I need.

Easier said than believed.

Weekend

First of all, I have an appointment next Wednesday with a new therapist recommended by my pastor. I am still receiving calls from some of the others I called yesterday, and I’ll go ahead and interview them in case this new person is also not a good match.

I had a lot of anxiety and depression last night even at my friends’ house. I called the midwives at 10:30 and got to talk to Graham, which was reassuring. I was feeling like this was going to last forever, and that I was a horrible mother, and she reminded me that I’m still in the throes of hormonal adjustment, there’s still the brain chemistry stuff since the Zoloft hasn’t kicked in yet, and that evenings are typically when I’m most anxious. She also assured me that this won’t last forever, and I’m not a horrible mother.

Amy had a difficult night, too; Mark and Mom P will need naps today.

When I got here this morning Amy was lying awake in her basket, working hard at passing gas. I stood talking to her while she worked, and when it seemed she was done, I changed her diaper. I sang to her while I worked, and also offered her a pacifier, which she held onto half-heartedly; she was fairly quiet, perhaps because of the novelty of being sung to. I had to take a phone call, so Mark took over and fed her and is holding her now.

My goals for the weekend are to sleep here both nights, to remind myself to keep perspective, and to play the dulcimer for Amy sometime when she’s awake and alert.

Tamara will be visiting this morning, and later one of Mark’s lab friends might be making dinner for us (and staying to eat with us).

Tomorrow we hope to go to church. I’m nervous about that — we haven’t really had to deal with crying, diaper changes, or feedings outside of the house yet. But I’m looking forward to introducing Amy to the church, thanking everyone who has been offering us help, and updating folks on how things are going. Plus it’s Advent, the time to be thinking about Christ’s first coming and why he came, and there will be the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

The past two days

It takes a while to be able to write again…

I’ll go backwards.

My friends Keith and Marty were just here visiting Amy and kindly tuning my dulcimer for me.

I just got back from the midwives’ office where I dropped off some of my What Child Is This? CDs for them as thanks for all their help and support during this time. Graham was there, and it was good to see (and hug) her.

Before that, I was across the street at a surgeon’s, where the doctor looked at the pyogenic granuloma on my right index finger and said I’d need to reschedule for a longer appointment since today’s wasn’t going to be enough time to cauterize it.

Before that, we all had lunch together: Amy in her bouncy seat on the table, Mark, Mom P, and I. We’ve done dinner that way the past few evenings, too. It’s nice to all be together. Good to establish the family meal.

Before that, I was able to greet Amy when she woke up, change her diaper, feed her, and read her more of The Scarlet Ibis, one of my favorite stories. It’s not a children’s book, but at this age what matters more is hearing the language and the tone of voice, not the story content.

It was good for me to be with her and do these things with her, but it also took a lot out of me emotionally. But every little tiny step helps.

Before that, I got home, spent a little time online, did the dishes, and put on a pot of spaghetti sauce — enough for dinner tonight plus maybe ten or so portions to freeze for future dinners.

Before that I was at my friends’ home; breakfast of toast and a clementine preceded by a fitful night’s sleep preceded by the tail end of the newest version of Pride and Prejudice.

Yesterday I had my first appointment with my therapist, Herb. It was good. I’m excited about the progress ahead working through various issues. I see him again tomorrow.

Yesterday I also made it through the whole day without any anxiety meds; I just took one at bedtime for sleep.

Today on the other hand, I’ve needed them; I’m anxious about staying here overnight for the first time since before I was hospitalized. Considering that it was extreme sleep deprivation that sent me to the hospital in the first place, and considering that I don’t have normal healthy sleep patterns to begin with, and considering all the high anxiety I’m still carrying, it’s not surprising that I’m nervous about learning to sleep at home again with the addition of a new baby. My goal for tonight is just to be here overnight, whether I sleep or not. Tomorrow night I will be back at my friends’ so I can catch up if I don’t sleep tonight.

Mark and Mom P continue to be doing very well. The church has lined up a host of people who are willing to help out in any way, but Mark and Mom P feel they’re doing just fine so far. Mark’s even going to work a few hours each day.