Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Back Again...and Expecting

Hello readers! No you are not imagining things...I am back again. And by looking at the above picture, you can see I am pregnant! This is baby #5 and it's for sure our caboose. I'm filled with a lot of mixed feelings about ending this jounrey in my life.

I must admit that this pregnancy has found me sad and weepy a lot of the time. Sometimes I start to worry because all I can think of is how afraid I am of having a "Hailey" experience all over again. But I know I am in control and I can do things to prevent that from happening again. Recognizing the warning signs is the key, and I am doing that. Just tonight I sent my OB a lengthy email explaining some of my feelings, so we will jump on a game plan.

I'll try to go into detail about my feelings in a later post. As of now I took a Lunesta 30 minutes ago (Yes, a Lunesta. GASP!) It does happen on the rarest of ocassions. I may be an expert at this, but I am still human.

I am due the second week of April and am so excited to meet the final member of our family. My big U/S is scheduled for Nov 17th, in two weeks. Wish us luck!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The First Night Back

Journal Entry- February 25, 2006

This has been a crazy day. I went to see Schneiman this morning, not having any idea what would take place by doing so. Now I am sitting back on the 4th floor of the hospital. Maybe part of me always knew I would end up back here. I fought it tooth and nail. I haven't done this much crying in so long. Crying means I'm alive, right? I didn't want to come back. But I was afraid that if I resisted too much, it would be the end of my marriage. SO here I am.

Yesterday I went into that appointment with Draper feeling totally cynical. But I was surprised. We ended up not doing the exam. We just talked. I know as I look back at the course of events in the last several months, certain people have been placed in my life- not by chance, but by plan. Draper is one of those people. When I first learned back in August that I would have to see a parinatologist, I was beyond devastated. But I now see that it was a blessing in disguise. I now consider Mike Draper MD a friend. Yesterday Cody, Draper, and I sat in his office and talked and cried.

Despite all that, my appointment with Schneiman landed me back in here. I don't think I really want to die, but he still thought I was a danger to myself and I needed help. Dr. Neuman and Dr. Draper both agreed.

Leaving Ethan and Hailey this afternoon was pure hell. I held them as long as I could, which wasn't long enough. Right now my shirt still has the smell of Hailey's spit up on it. I want to hold them right now. It hurts. I find it hard to breathe with out them. I thought I wasn't bonded with Hailey, but this aching in my heart says otherwise. I love her. I love him. I don't want to die. But I don't want to hurt either. I have to get better for my wonderful husband and precious children. I just don't know if that is possible. What if it's not? What if I am always sick?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Episode 37- Meeting Eric

After the sun went down I found myself in the recreation room. The lights were off and I sat on the couch, thinking I was alone. However there was another person in the room, sitting in a chair across the way. Before long the two of us were talking. I don't know how the conversation started, but I remember it being strange. It all felt so surreal. *Eric was 28 and had tried to commit suicide. Obviously he had been unsuccessful. Eric would turn out to be a great friend to me. He had a sad story and to this day I think about him. Although he and I resided in the same town, I don't know what became of him. We shared those weeks together and he taught me a lot. But His story is his own, and because I respect him I will not share it here.

During those weeks I grew to love Eric. Kind of as a brother, and kind of as a stray puppy that you want to take home. I have more stories than I can count about Eric and me. Our adventures in the looney bin...that would make a great story in itself. In fact, I journaled details about each of the hospitalmates that I shared that time with. Each had a specific, interesting, and sad story. However, I was the only one in there who thought about drowning her newborn baby in the bath tub.

Episode- Another Round Of Hell

It was the day my life seemed to end. I was all but committed. I cried the entire way to the hospital, literally hoping to die. I was already deader than dead on the inside. I look back on this time and I wonder what it was like for Cody. He has never talked about it much, but I know he was terribly hurt by this whole nightmare. He felt powerless to save me. He couldn't save our children's mother. He couldn't help me. So he did the only thing he DID have power over. He sent me back to the hospital.

It was the same as before. The sounds, the smells, the scenery. The process was the same too. I was admitted through the ER where they evaluated me, decided almost immediately that I was a threat to myself, so within an hour I was back on the 4th floor of the hospital. The psychiatric unit. I wanted to die. But again I thought of my babies back home and I think it was the only thing keeping me alive.

This time I had a roommate. I had been lucky before that I had the room to myself. But now I shared it with a middle aged woman named Becky. I don't know the problems that Becky had, but I know she was a cutter. She had knife marks all over her body. She would sit on her bed every day rock back and forth. Sometimes she would go to group, but mostly she wouldn't.

Cody left me in my room after the hundreds of evaluations were over. As he left me I desperately wanted to run after him and plead with him to take me home. But at the same time as I watched him leave I wanted to hurt him. I wanted to hurt him like he was hurting me. I wanted to throw something at him. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to rip his heart out and make him feel what I was feeling. But instead, some drug overtook my body and I lost consciousness for a while.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Episode 35- Stop Breastfeeding and You Will Get Better

I have to preface this by saying that people are morons. And more specific, a lot of psychiatrists are morons. Big ones. Big fat turd morons. Not to say that they all are because I am sure that somewhere in this world there are some good psychiatrists. But I have yet to meet one.

I nursed Hailey. I nursed her from the moment I finally met her. I have had great luck with all of my babies in that they have never had problems nursing. Yes I was on so many medications I can't list them all. But most of them didn't go into my milk so it was okay. I nursed her and I loved it. During out nursing sessions I felt calm, peaceful, and a little happy. I cherished those moments because when I wasn't nursing, I felt crazy.

When Hailey was almost five weeks old, I went for a session with Dr. Neuman. Did I mention that psychiatrists were morons? This guy took the cake. He should have gotten an award. He told me that a huge part of my problem was that I was nursing. Everyone told me that my problem was hormonal. Really? Is that right? Then how come all of my hormones were normal? How come all of my blood work always came back to show that there was in fact no chemical irregularities? Right. But still, people said it was hormonal. I had a "chemical" imbalance.

Dr. Neuman told me that the only way I would get better is if I reset my hormonal clock. Breastfeeding was throwing things far out of wack so I needed to stop. And you know what? I listened to him. I recall with clarity what it was like when I got home that day and told Cody that Neuman told me to stop nursing. I remember the anguish I felt. I remember the pain in my chest as I thought of giving up the one and only thing that made me feel connected to my baby. It was the only thing that made me happy, and I was going to give it up. Tell me, where is the sense in that?

So I said goodbye to those cherished nursing sessions. Hailey began formula and I went downhill from there. Instead of getting better, I got worse. And knowing what I know now about the importance of breastfeeding, it fills me with rage when I think that I gave it up. I am angry that medically trained professionals advised me to stop it. I remember the day that my milk dried up in the psych hospital. I was devastated. I cried for an entire day. There was no going back.

I have since started a blog devoted to breastfeeding issues. It is my hope and prayer that I can save another mother from going down that un-necessary road of bottle feeding. In the past four years I have educated myself as much as I can on the benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother AND baby. You can follow that blog here.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Episode 34- Five Weeks of Hell

February 25, 2006

The spacious walk-in closet seemed infinite in each direction as I sat in the dark silence. No one will find me here, I thought to myself. The previous hours had been a complete blur. I hadn’t slept much during the night and I knew I had been awake since at least 5:00 a.m. which was the last time Hailey woke up hungry. Outside of my isolated world I could hear life going on. It was a far distant and muffled sound, almost like I was hearing it under water. Ethan was running around rambunctiously and Hailey was beginning to fuss, but I knew that Cody and his dad were there taking care of the simple things I couldn’t handle.

I’m completely useless.

My appointment that morning with Dr. Schneiman was at 10:00 and I had promised both Cody and Dr. Draper that I would see him. Schneiman was the last person on the planet I wished to see. He had been the one to “commit” me to the nut house the last time and I knew he would try to do it again. At this point I was still convinced that I did not need hospitalization. This will pass one way or another…it’s just a matter of time, I kept on telling myself. I wanted to handle things in my own way. All others were certain that with out the constant supervision of idiots in white lab coats I would surely parish. I hated them all. I hated every person who seemed to care about me. I hated the fact that I DID want to die but they wouldn’t let me and they were trying to make me see that I needed to live. Rather than being freed of this pool of misery I was engulfed in, they assumed it was better that I be locked away in that Godforsaken institution and be pumped so full of drugs that I didn’t know who or where I was. Oh yes, that was far better. Of course a drug could fix it. A drug could make me want to live and will this demon out of my body. Well maybe I didn’t want to be fixed.

And so I sat there in the darkness of the closet, my legs pulled up to my chest and my arms wrapped snuggly around them. In some part of my brain was a hidden trace of logic and it was telling me to get up off the floor. If they find you like this they will know you’re crazy. I was making a deal with myself that I could feel exactly like I was feeling as long as I didn’t let anyone else in on it. I was a good actress…I could fool them all. I would simply walk into Schneiman’s office with a half smile on my face and tell him “You know, I think things are really starting to turn around for me. Today I feel good and hopeful. I’m going to be fine. All I need is some rest and a little perspective.” As I began to get ready for the day I rehearsed those words over and over again. I went over every detail from what the expression on my face would be to the sound of my voice. Inwardly I wanted to die but no one had to know about it. The day before as Cody and I sat in Draper’s office, I had spilled a few beans but I knew I could rack that up to just having a bad day. It was fixable. I didn’t really mean it, or at least that’s what I would tell Schneiman.

I stood in the bathroom and starred blankly into the mirror. The realization came to me days before that I didn’t recognize the person looking back at me. This person was hollow and lifeless, not anything like the woman I once knew. The woman I once knew glowed. She was beautiful and radiant. She had a smile about her even when she wasn’t smiling. She laughed and danced and was silly. But this retched woman starring back at me was dead. She had moved into the soul of the forgotten woman and taken over. As I stood there and looked into the mirror I should have felt sadness at the loss of the old me. I should have cried as her memory swept over me and I remembered what it was like to be her. I should have felt bitterness, but rather, I felt numb. There was nothing to feel.

It’s almost impossible to recall what took place between that moment and the moment Schneiman gave me the news. It’s all so fuzzy. But I do remember that as I left the house that morning Cody reminded me that I needed to take my journal. He wanted me to take it to show Schneiman. What I didn’t know is that while I was driving to his office Cody called him and said he wanted him to read what I had written in the last few days. He made sure that Schneiman would see my innermost thoughts on paper. I hated Cody for that.

Journal entry
February 24, 2006
I guess I just have to survive. It’s the “law”. And when I look into my little boy’s face or hear his precious voice say Mama, I know I can’t end my life. But sometimes I feel so resentful that he and all my family are keeping me from doing it. They are a road block. I want this drug so badly…the fantastic feeling of my life slipping slowly away from me. When I think about Ethan, I feel so guilty as if I’ve already done it and he must now endure a life as the kid whose mommy went nuts and over dosed on pills or carved lines down her arms with a knife. Perhaps both methods at the same time? I can’t let him be that kid. I know Cody could move on. There are other women for him, women who are way better than me and deserve a man like him. But I am now and always will be Ethan’s only mommy. I am so hungry but I don’t want to eat. Food sounds terrible like a poison. I’m shaky and I know it’s because all I’ve had today is half a bowl of Fruit Loops. Ethan ate the other half. I don’t want food. I’ve lost all desire for anything. Eating. I hate it. Things that once brought me joy and fulfillment…I plain don’t care about them now. This afternoon I have my (probable) last appointment with Draper. I don’t care. He’ll ask me how I am and I will lie. I’m good at it. I wish there was a bullet in my head but I’ll tell him I’m fine. I won’t tell him that I hear voices and see things and I can’t decipher what’s reality and what’s not. Cody wants- no he insists on going with me to the appointment. Okay fine, whatever. Cody can’t bear this burden with me. I can’t let him know how deep this thing goes. So from now on until that delightful day when my life ends, I will keep on pretending. I only have to survive.

“Veronica,” I could hear Schneiman say but it was like he was a million miles away. He closed the journal and moved his chair closer to where I was sitting. “I am going to call Cody and tell him that the best thing for you right now is hospitalization.” His voice was soft and soothing, almost fatherly. But all I could see him as was this terrible monster who was ripping my life apart. He was a beast.

“It’s useless,” I said coldly. “You know, I have rehearsed this scenario several times in the last few weeks. I have played it over and over again in my mind. In it I am sitting with Dr. Rassmusen, one of the psychiatrists from the looney bin. We are sitting there talking and he asks me how I’m doing. How am I doing? He wants to know how I am doing? And then I let him have it. I tell him that all he cared about last time was getting me medicated enough so I appeared to be stable so I was no longer a legality for him. All he did was get me hooked on those devil pills and then sent me on my way to endure the next eight months of living hell. Neither he nor any of the other doctors or nurses or shrinks at that evil place gave a damn about me or my unborn baby. They didn’t listen to me. I hate that Dr. Rassmusen. And in this scenario I tell him that.” I took a deep breath and closed my eyes as the tears began to fall. “So send me back. Send me back to that awful place so I can be healed. Healed just like I was last time. Send me back so I can get this false sense of hope and security while I am there. And then what? Where do I go after that?” I was almost pleading with him.

He made the call to Cody while I was still in the room, but I wished he had asked me to leave. He and Cody talked about me and my delicate condition as if I had a disease and was under sedation. They were making all the decisions for me, not caring at all about what I thought or how I felt. Why wasn’t anyone listening to me? I am going to be fine! I was screaming in my mind and no one could hear me. Let me handle things my way! Looking back on it I know that “my way” would have been to peacefully end my life. I wouldn’t have admitted it at the time, but I know that’s what I would have done if I had been allowed to or given the chance.

In the rare moments of sleep that I was getting I had a reoccurring dream. Some might call it a nightmare, but to me it was more of a fantasy. In the dream I am at the swimming pool in the neighborhood where I grew up. Only now it is old and abandoned. There are giant cracks in the plaster of the pool and weeds are growing up into it. I slowly climb the high dive ladder and the wind is blowing viciously. I get to the top and I look out over the pool to find it empty of all water. The only thing in the pool is a tiny bassinet sitting on the bottom of the deep end and I realize that Hailey is inside of it. She is crying and I am panicky. I must get to her! I step to the edge of the diving board and slowly begin to bounce up and down. And then I raise my arms above my head, arch my body forward, and dive. I begin to fall head first into the empty swimming pool. And then I wake up. That is how the dream would end each time. I never dreamed long enough to see if I crashed into the plaster below. Oddly enough when I would awaken from the dream I would be overcome with this feeling of disappointment, as if I was sad that I didn’t follow through with the fall from the diving board. I was still living and that truly sucked.

“Okay, I will be in touch. Goodbye.” Schneiman hung up the phone and turned to me. “Cody is going to make the necessary calls to get things lined up for your hospital stay.” He then said he was going to call Draper and give him the details of our session. This time he asked me to leave the room and I’m grateful that he did. I hated being treated like a na├»ve child while I was in the room and people were talking about me like I wasn’t there. So I was glad to wait in the other room while they conversed.

The next thing I really remember was the car ride home. Cody had pleaded with me on the phone to take Schneiman up on his offer of driving me home. But I had insisted on doing it myself. I was going to savor my last few moments of freedom before being locked away and treated like the crazy person that I was. I turned the car stereo up to full blast as if to drown out the rage of emotion that was pumping through my veins. I was so angry and bitter and full of sorrow, all at the same time. I don’t know how I even made it home because I couldn’t see through the clutter of tears in my eyes. The one thought that kept popping into my head was that I couldn’t go away to the hospital because Hailey was going to be blessed at church the next Sunday. My parents were flying in on Wednesday to spend the week with us. My parents!! They can’t know what is going on! It’s so humiliating! At the thought of that I began to cry harder and harder. Everything was getting screwed up and I had control over NOTHING! Precious things were getting ripped away from me left and right and there was nothing I could do about it. The most precious thing of all was my freedom. Again the feelings of hatred began to circulate through my mind. I hated everyone who was taking away my freedom.

Once back at the house Cody met me with eyes full of tears. “I’m so sorry sweetie,” he embraced me sincerely, but I just stood there hard as a rock. You bastard. All I wanted to do was get this thing over with. I wanted to get to the hospital and get pumped full of drugs and inundate all that I was feeling. I wanted to be cut off from reality, and the sooner I got to the hospital the better.

Kissing Ethan goodbye was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I held his little body close to mine and I breathed him in so deeply. He was the reason I was still living. Not Cody, not Hailey, not anyone but Ethan. Inside that small two year old boy was my whole world. Through out all of the craziness that I was enduring, my love for him was constant and the only part of me that was sane. In him was hope and peace. I inhaled his sweet little boy smell, a mixture of sweat and Cheerios and slobber and dirt. To me at that moment the smell of my little boy was the most pure and true thing I knew. And that one small part of me that still held a shred of sanity knew that I had to get well.

I had to do it for my boy.

Skipping Ahead

Hailey was born. She made it here safely, unharmed. To this day I consider it a miracle that she was 100% perfect. So much could have gone badly for her during that pregnancy. But somehow she remained sheilded from it all. The next 5 weeks were a blur. Scary things happened to me during that time. So scary that it has taken me months to muster the courage to write the next chapter in this saga. For my own sanity, I've decided to cut to the chase. In the next episode Hailey is 5 weeks old.