Monday, June 30, 2008

taking it easy

So, I mentioned in my last post about how everyone and their mom (literally, everyone and their mom; I'm not just saying that as a figure of speech) is telling me to take it easy these days.

Here's my confession: I have no clue what "taking it easy" should look like.

Sure, I'm only working 20 hours a week. That's a start. But even when I'm at work, everyone -- including my boss -- is telling me to take it easy. It's a simple thing to say...but it's a hard thing to do. I don't want to neglect my work duties in the name of "taking it easy" but I don't want to overdo it, either. I'm not sure how to find that balance.

And that lack of balance is bleeding over into every area of my life, really: housework, caring for Elanor, etc, etc, etc.

I'm not really sure how to take it easy. I've always been a go-go-go kind of person. I struggle to let go of things like my floors being filthy (which they are) and the bathroom being a mess (which it is) and dirty dishes piling in the sink (which they aren't, only because I spent 30 minutes doing them last night -- probably not in line with "taking it easy") and laundry -- both clean and dirty -- piling up (which it is; our bedroom and Elanor's room both look like the closet and dressers exploded).

I know, I know -- in the grand scheme of life it doesn't matter if my floors are dirty or if the bathroom is clean or if the dishes are done or if the clothes are put away. I know. I am here, I am alive, that is what matters.

But what if I feel better, less anxious, less stressed, more able to relax if all of those things are done?

It doesn't seem fair to put this burden onto Brett or his sister Rachel when they don't care about those things as much as I do. So then I feel obligated to do them myself because I'm the one who cares if they're done or not. And then afterward I feel guilty, because clearly I'm not "taking it easy" if I'm cleaning the bathroom or doing all the dishes or doing the five loads of laundry that need to be done.

Sigh.

If I were still working full-time, I'd just say we'd hire a cleaning service and be happy with that compromise, but now that I'm working part-time, we're on an austerity budget for the foreseeable future, so that's out of the question.

Do any of you have any ideas? Do I just need to unclench and let it go if my floors are dirty or the bathroom needs a good scrub or the dishes are undone or our clothes are piled everywhere? Or do I need to humble myself and ask for help with this stuff, from Brett and Rachel and even from other friends?

What should taking it easy look like? And how can I get over my guilt at not doing what I feel like I should be doing, whether at home with regard to Elanor or Brett or the house, and also at work?

I don't expect anyone to have the answers to my questions, but if you have any ideas or insight, I'd appreciate hearing them.

Friday, June 27, 2008

finally summer!

It's finally feeling like summer around these parts. We had several weeks of crappy, rainy, windy, wintry weather, which left Brett's mom (who was visiting at the time) and me shivering and looking outside with confusion and, let's face it, a small sense of being personally affronted -- how could it be early June and 40 degrees and raining? HOW?

Anyway, it appears those days have passed. The forecast for this weekend is that it's supposed to be in the mid-80's, the low 90's, even! While that's a bit too warm for my comfort, hey, I'll take it -- at least the sun is out!

One awesome thing about having the sun out is that it's doing wonders for our garden. Brett's been working hard on getting yummy things to grow since sometime in March, when he started seeds inside. He has since built a raised bed in the back yard, lined it with hemp coffee bags, filled it with rich soil from our compost pile, and planted in it a large array of yummy, yummy things.

We were worried when it was so cold and rainy that a lot of the plants wouldn't survive. But thankfully it appears that they were hardier than we thought -- we were able to harvest and eat the firstfruits of Brett's labors this week!

Here he is next to the garden, holding up the first results: a radish. Hooray! Good job, Bretto!

And here he is, munching the radish. We each took turns taking bites of it until it was gone, and boy, was it tasty. Sweet and watery and crisp at first, and really sharp and spicy on the other end. SO good.

Hopefully we'll have some more veggies soon. The tomato plants and squash plants are flowering, and the carrots are thriving, and several unidentified plants are growing well, too. (Brett didn't label them when he planted them from their seed pots into the ground, and now we are completely stumped as to what they are. We think some are arugula, and some possibly leeks...I may have to do some Googling to figure it out.)

We had a salad last night that included radishes from the garden and cherry tomatoes from our indoor tomato plant. Not only was it really tasty, it felt wonderful to be eating things we'd grown ourselves! I'm so excited to eat more out of our garden as the summer progresses.

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Again, a small footnote-style update on my health and Elanor...
  • Health: I'm doing ok after my first week back at work. I worked 20 hours -- five hours a day, for four days. It was tiring, that's for sure, and I'm so very thankful I didn't have to work 40 hours because I don't know how I would have managed it. As it was, I had to come home and nap on both Wednesday and Thursday...which was lovely, I must admit, to climb into bed in the middle of the afternoon and snuggle with Elanor for an hour or two. Blissful. That said, I don't feel 100% great. In fact, after working, I feel more tired and yucky (read: out of breath and having palpitations) than I have in several weeks. (Don't worry; I'm going to call my doctors this afternoon to ask them about all of this.) But I'm managing, and I'm hoping it will get better. "Take it easy" seems to be my theme these days. Everyone says it: Brett, my boss, my mom, Brett's mom, co-workers, friends...everyone. I'm not really sure what taking it easy should look like...but that's a topic that kind of deserves its own post, so maybe I'll address that later this week.
  • Elanor: She's great. I love her. She woke up at 9 this morning, stretched really big, opened her eyes, saw me, grinned, looked over and saw Brett, and grinned again. It's like she saw us and thought, "Oh, YOU'RE here! Hooray! Oh, and YOU are, TOO! I am so HAPPY to see both of you!" We'll have to take her in her pool again this weekend since it's supposed to be nice. I am looking forward to that!
Also, a hello to those of you who are visiting my blog for the first time after (finally) getting a baby announcement. Welcome! I'm glad you are here! Don't be shy, feel free to comment if you like!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Elanor update

I haven't talked much about Elanor lately; it's time I updated a bit!

She is growing so fast; she is so much more of a big, interactive baby than she was a couple of months ago.

Her five-month birthday was last week. Obviously, she can sit up and likes to reach for everything these days!

She's very aware of the environment around her. She won't nurse or sleep in loud/crowded/distracting situations anymore, and she loves being out in the world and looking at everything. The grocery store and Target are two of her favorite places; she loves seeing all of the people and colors and objects.

One of her bottom teeth popped through last week. Her Noni calls it her "razor ridge," since it is as sharp as a razor. We joke that Razor Ridge sounds like a subdivision name. Ha. That said, we are waiting for Razor Ridge, Phase II -- it looks like bottom tooth #2 is ready to pop through any day now.

Elanor can now roll from her back to her tummy and to her back again. She loves to play on a blanket on the floor and will roll over and over and over again until she is off the blanket and across the room. We have to watch her every second. Now that she is mobile, I know our lives will never be the same!



She likes to chew on EVERYTHING now, and she's starting to show preferences for various toys that are chew-friendly, like spinny bird (she loves nom-ing on his beak) and Elo-the-Elephant (she loves nom-ing on his crinkly ears).

Diaper changes are becoming a huge challenge since she learned how to roll. Now all she wants to do is roll around and reach behind her to grab anything and everything that's sitting there. She arches her back and reaches her hand back; it looks like she is trying to do a bridge or something. Getting the diaper and clothes on is...well, not easy anymore.

She also looooves the sound of her own voice. She squeals and laughs and coos, and it's just adorable to hear. I guess we shouldn't be encouraging the really loud happy screaming...but it's just too cute to discourage.

We fed her some rice cereal the other night for the first time. She loved it and ate it all up. She was a complete mess afterward (um, duh, Mama should have used a bib) but it was really fun to see her gobble it up.

There are tons more details I could add about her, but I'll stop here. I can say for certain that we are majorly blessed with an incredible, happy, adaptable baby. That's been key this past month, with so much chaos and with so many people coming in and out of her life. She's still a ton of fun and Brett and I love her more and more every day!

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A short update on other items: I go back to work on Monday, which I am not really looking forward to. Lots of reasons for that; I definitely miss my co-workers but I just love being home with Elanor...plus I get really tired during the day; I am hoping I can handle it. Thankfully I am only going back for 20 hours a week, at least to start -- so I will be working 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday for at least a few weeks, but hopefully indefinitely.

Also, a big shout-out to all of the PPCM-ers from the PPCM board...*waving*...I'm glad I found you guys! Welcome to my blog!

We have a busy weekend; some friends are getting married tomorrow and Brett is the best man. In fact, I should wrap up this post because I just looked at the clock and realized I have less than an hour to shower and get ready before I have to meet them at the rehearsal dinner! YIKES! I'm out of here...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

checking in

Hi! I am still here, just not super-bloggy lately, which is kind of weird considering I feel like I'm tied to my new laptop all day long right now. Most of what I'm doing online is completely unproductive stuff like reading blogs and message boards and visiting I Can Has Cheezburger, instead of doing productive things like updating my own blogs and writing emails that I really, really need to write.

Elanor has been really wakeful at night lately. It's better now than it was last week, but it's still frustrating, because while I was in the hospital and for the first week or so after I was home, we were having my mom or Brett's mom take her at night and she really wasn't waking up much at all, maybe once if that. She was also sleeping in her co-sleeper. Now that she's back in the room with Brett and me, it's all gone to pot and she's in bed with us and practically nursing all.night.long. She's teething (first tooth popped through yesterday!) so that is part of it, but although knowing that is nice, it doesn't make my nights much easier.

Thankfully, we have had family here (Brett's mom is here now) so I can get some rest during the day. I have to admit that I feel guilty when Brett hands Elanor off to his mom or my mom when he leaves for work and I go back to sleep, sometimes until as late as early afternoon. But I do feel like I need a lot of sleep right now, so I guess it's just a blessing that we have people here to help. I seriously do NOT know how I would handle her lack of sleep if I had to get up at 6:15 every day and haul my butt into work. I would be soooo sleep deprived and miserable!

I have slowly been processing everything mentally and emotionally. I was talking with my dear friend Marci (who is home in Seattle for the summer! YAHOO!) about it last week. I've gradually been going to the place in my mind that I've been walling off, the place that says: You could have died, and left Brett a widower at 26 and Elanor without her mama. And that place scares the shit out of me.

Marci made the point that when everything was going down on the 13th and she didn't know whether I was alive or not that she was more afraid for Brett and Elanor than she was for me, because if I had died, I would be in heaven with Jesus but Brett and Elanor would be alone on the earth. And that totally clicked...she's right. That's the scary part, that they would be alone here, with no wife and mama to take care of and love them.

This came up in kind of a humorous way a couple of days ago. We've been talking about starting Elanor on rice cereal soon, and Brett's mom and I were talking about it the other night at dinner.

Brett said, "Rice cereal? You mean like Rice Krispies?"

His mom and I exchanged a glance and started giggling.

"No, it's like Cream of Rice," I said.

"Oh. Well, then I guess it's a good thing you're still around; if you weren't, Elanor would be eating Rice Krispies."

Seriously! Heh.

All humor aside, I've been experiencing a lot of anxiety over the past week or so. As the doctor said when we visited him yesterday (more about that in a minute), "I'd be worried if you didn't have any anxiety right now." He actually said he'd expect me to have some degree of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Yikes!

I think part of why the anxiety has been sinking in lately has to do with the fact that it's beginning to hit me how very differently things could have turned out. What if Brett had already left for work that morning, which he normally would have done? (He had an off-site training that started a few hours later than his normal day starts.) What if Brett's mom hadn't been visiting and hadn't been able to give me CPR?

I'm trying not to think about those what ifs. Because the reality is that those things were they way they were, thank God. And I'd like to believe that's for a reason -- that it wasn't my time, that God has plans for me here. Clearly, he chose to leave me here, and I thank him for that.

This anxiety is coloring everything right now. The whole incident has hit home the lack of control I (or any of us) have in the macro -- you know, whether I live or die. And it's making my reactions to the micro -- like whether pots and pans are put away where they belong, or how Elanor's onesies are folded, stupid inconsequential stuff -- that much more intensified, because I can (supposedly) control them. (Which, HA, because when other people are taking care of you and your house...there's really not much control involved.) The anxiety is just magnifying all of those stupid little things and I am freaking out about them, and I hate that.

Anyway, I'm feeling a little better about the anxiety the past couple days, but it's still there. We are going to talk to a pastor at church this week; I feel like I need it. We both need it. On top of all of my health issues, we have some other stressors in our lives right now that are only intensifying the effects of the anxiety. It's nothing I can talk about here, but suffice it to say it's making both of us more anxious than we want to be.

So, yeah, moving on. I had an appointment with one of the cardiologists yesterday. He said that I seem to be doing fine, and that it appears this incident can be chalked up to postpartum cardiomyopathy, also known as peripartum cardiomyopathy. There's lots of information on the web about it; dork that I am, of course I googled it extensively when I got home last night.

Peripartum or postpartum cardiomyopathy is heart failure that happens either during the last month of pregnancy or within six months postpartum, when there is no other cause for the failure. That certainly fits my case. They can't find anything else to explain this: no lifestyle issues -- I've never smoked, I don't drink much, I've never done any drugs, I am not overweight, I exercise (I don't have a CAR for pete's sake! I walk everywhere!) -- no genetic issues, nothing else to explain this.

So that scares me, that it's apparently something related to pregnancy and/or birth. The doctor said they don't know why it happens; there's not, that he knows, any correlation between a stressful pregnancy or delivery and this condition. It's just a mystery.

Dangit. And I wanted answers!!

I'm going to make an appointment with my OB to talk about this, to try to figure out what she'd recommend in terms of another pregnancy someday (because I really want more kids) and just to see if she can offer any more insight.

Really, that's the update. I'm not quite sure about going back to work yet. My short-term disability currently expires 6/23. There are plans in the works to make me part-time (I'd just like to note here that I have an amazing boss and amazing co-workers who are willing to help me and let me work the amount I need to and can handle working), but we're working out some things with regard to my health benefits right now. Hopefully it will all come together. If you're the praying type, you could pray that it does. I'd appreciate it.

I am hoping to be around more in the coming days and weeks. It's funny; since this has happened, many, many people all over the country have confessed that they read my blog, which is totally great, but it also makes me want to stop being lame and actually post regularly.

Ok, this entry is random and rambling and long enough already. I'm cutting myself off now and hitting the publish button...