Category Archives: midwife

What Does Grace Look Like?

This is what grace looks like:

Leah at park 2010Grace is 5 years ago this little bundle screaming her head off as we put her up to the slide (not down the slide), while her very sick mama battled postpartum depression, anxiety and psychosis in the background.

2015-10-01 18.01.08Grace is a mama still be here, homeschooling, her three beautiful daughters that 5 years ago today she tried to surrender them to her midwife during a psychotic break.

2015-10-28 09.22.43Grace, grace, Gods’ grace is this little girl, who was screaming on that slide 5 years ago while her mama battled for her mind, now wrapping her arms around her mama and telling her she’s the best mama ever.


I May Be Two

I was thinking today about Patrice and how attached she is to her speech therapist and Caitlyn’s teacher. It was a quick connection for her. She adores them.

I worry about the day those associations end.

I also make quick connections and get too attached.

Take my midwife. I adore her. She’s been instrumental in bringing our three girls into this world. She helped me when no one would after Patrice was born. But I highly doubt she cares about me as much as I care about her.

It makes me feel desperate and unworthy. I’ve always struggled with friendships.

How do I guide my girls to strong, healthy relationships?

How do you help your kids learn how to build friendships?

The Sun is Out Today–Secret Mommyhood Confessions

Something Something Button

The sun has come out today

The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar…

Okay, I’m trying to be all creative and it is not working, I just can’t get the Annie song to come together like I am thinking it in my head so I’ll just say what I have to say…

This week was torture.  The thoughts of how to live this life with the pain, anger and anxiety neverending were unbearable.  But so was the thought of putting my family through another hospitalization.

But I was ready to do it if I needed to.

I promised my beloved cousin during a rough phase that I would never kill myself and promised another friend I would make decisions in the best interest of my mental health.  And I was ready to keep those promises even if it meant locking myself in a hospital for the second time in so many months.

Thankfully I had an appointment with my wonderful midwife this week and my psychiatrist.  She just hugged me as I cried Tuesday and prescribed a run when I got home.  It was good and wise advice.  We also brainstormed some other ideas.

Then Wedensday was my weekly psych appointment.  It was hard to talk without crying.  I had talked to him Monday and Tuesday asking for help so he was well aware of how things were before I walked in.  We upped my medication.  Discussed some other things.  I promised to head to the hospital if it got worse.

Thanks to the friends on twitter and a couple others who talked me through the week, I made it to today.  And the sun, at least right now, is out physically and metaphorically.

But this week has taken a lot out of me.  I wished many times that things in my life were different.  I wondered out loud why God was allowing this.  If He was going to help me as I struggled.  If I was going to make it to a brighter day.

Things are still scary in my heart and mind, but they are not as dark and for that I am thankful, because of that, I will dance in the spring sunshine.

This fuzzy picture describes the feelings inside me lately. I fight for that beautiful face.

What I Miss Most

I often hear mamas talk about how they miss time to themselves, sleep, their pre-baby body, sleep, going out with friends, sleep…and I totally understand.  I do.  But those are not the things I miss from my life before motherhood.  Nope.  What I miss is confidence.

You go through all this preparation to have a baby or bring home a baby.  They give you your precious child with one hand and take your confidence with the other.  And nobody tells you about this slight of hand.  Until you are alone with the baby.  Suddenly you realize, you don’t know anything.

In your former life, you might have been very accomplished in your career, even had lots of childcare experience that gives you practical wisdom, but it’s different now. This is YOUR child.  She is your responsibility.  You are the one who needs to make sure she is fed, clothed, taught.  And the crushing truth is, you don’t even know how to tighten the straps on the carseat, how are you going to do the rest?

Slowly, bit by bit, you put together some knowledge.  You get a little more comfortable with your new role.  You find the people you can turn to for advice that you find helpful and figure out who’s advice to tune out.  Life feels good.  For a couple days.  Then the bottom falls out.  Baby changes.  And this stage, has all new questions and challenges.

So goes the cycle.

I will admit, there is a little more confidence with each child you have.  You find your family rhythm and groove a little more easily, but searching and learning is still involved.  This new baby is not the same as it’s siblings.  No matter how hard you try to get them in the mold and patterns, there are differences.  Some big, some small.

But that is not the only confidence I miss.  With the birth of Patrice, I lost a confidence I held even more dearly, my emotional confidence.

This time, along with Patrice, I was handed my journey through postpartum depression and anxiety.  Adapting to life with a third baby was nice in that I knew what to expect in many of the baby care areas.  I knew my parenting style, what to expect sleep and nursing wise.  What I didn’t know how to navigate were the postpartum emotions.

Emotionally I was all over the map.  I was filled with awe and joy over this new baby.  I loved the fun ages Caitlyn and Sue were in.  But I was also filled with tears and anxiety.  My emotions and energy ran too high.  I could not get control of them.

Over the last year, I have been through many hills and valleys.  I am definitely seeing an overall improvement in my moods and emotions.  And then a bad day will hit.  It feels like the bottom is dropping out.  Or something will make me nervous, and the panic that ensues feels overwhelming.  And I feel like I am back where I was a year ago, lost in my emotions and reactions.

Yesterday was one of those days.  Caitlyn is starting school next week.  I have a lot of fears and feelings about that, none of them positive.  I cried all day yesterday.  I was a ball of nerves all day.  It was difficult to focus at work, my words came too fast and my thoughts were going faster.

I am worried about getting Caitlyn to school and the other two to daycare, and myself to work.  I am worried about not knowing where to drop Caitlyn off.  I don’t want her away from me all day.  I am afraid I won’t pack her the right snacks or lunch.  What if I pack peanut butter and there is a kid in her class deathly allergic?  What if she doesn’t have enough time at lunch to eat what she wants and needs?

You get the idea.

And as my thoughts spun and the tears fell, I became more and more concerned that I hadn’t made progress against the postpartum depression and anxiety, that I wasn’t getting better.

Thankfully I had a mental health check appointment with my midwife today.  I dumped it all out there.  How I missed trusting my emotions, how I reacted to a mama in my support network going into the hospital, reading about a mama struggling with postpartum depression killing her baby, all my fears about Caitlyn going to school.

It felt good to get it all out there.  It felt even better to hear her say she felt the same way about sending her kids to school, how she doesn’t look forward to them being away from her,

Oh the relief I felt to hear her say she understood my feelings, how they seemed appropriate to her.  It gave me hope.  Hope that the postpartum depression and anxiety is losing it’s grip on me.  That my emotional reactions are in line.

It gave me hope that I will one day have my emotional confidence back.  That is a good thing.  Because that is what I miss most.

Introducing My Newest Blog Badge

I was going to share today about the battle of loving your life and wanting to leave it all at the same time.  It was a huge component of my struggle with postpartum depression.  A constant tug of war that literally hurt.  Literally made it hard to breathe or function.  And that is a story worth sharing, but some fun things have happened today that I would rather share…

I think I have mentioned a time or two how much I love my midwife.  If you are not sure, check out a few of these posts.

Everyone Should Have Someone

A Very Dark Woods

Patrice’s Birth Story

Patrice’s Name

Mamas and Midwives

And today, my love of my midwife, has gained national attention.  I recently discovered, on twitter, @teammidwife.  They are the advocacy group of the American College of Nurse-Midwives.  I found out I could join them, receive a badge for my blog, Team Midwife, top right hand side, and monthly newsletters on midwifery information.

Team Midwife is also on facebook.  And recently I saw a post where they were looking for stories on why people love their midwife.  So I sent mine.

And today it was published!!!

Check out why I love my midwife.  Mine is the fourth one down.  And then my midwife forwarded me an e-mail she had gotten about promotional materials for her practice.  And there was a flier with Patrice and I on it!!!  Midwives across the nation can order or download fliers to give out.  With a bit of my story on it!  Yay!!!

I am so thrilled.  I am thrilled to support midwifery and hopefully raise postpartum depression awareness.

PS–I would also love your help in sharing this post and information.

Everyone should have Someone Multitude Mondays 128-130

Isn’t she beautiful?  Hard to believe we are less than a month from her 1st Birthday!

And she now looks like this.

And as you know the journey of the last 11 months has had it’s ups and downs.  Never because of my girls, never once did I regret any of them, blame any of them or wish life with them were any different.  But it has still been a challenging ride.

As you might remember, part of the ups and downs started at 35 weeks gestation when our baby decided to go breech.  My midwife immediately came up with a plan.  She knows me.  She knows I would go crazy knowing things were out of whack without anything to do about it.  So she sent me to her chiropractor, gave me exercises and lots of hugs.  The next 5 weeks were a crazy topsy turvy experience as baby went breech, not breech.  Breech, not breech.  Over and over.

Through it all I was a nutball of emotions.  So many people encouraged me.  And one that really stuck with me was my midwife.  She sent me encouraging e-mails, answered my pleas for help.  She was a friend.

And with her help, her namesake Patrice came into this world safe and sound.  (not breech)  Her care continued through the postpartum period as it became apparent I needed some help sorting out the hormones and emotions that came after Patrice arrived.  She answered more e-mails than I can count.  Let me cry.  Encouraged me.  Walked every step of the way.  Above and beyond all call of duty.  Her compassionate care and friendship saved my life more than once during the postpartum depression.

She and I continue to communicate via e-mail.  I am so glad to report that I am feeling much better when it comes to my emotions and hormones.  Much better.  But there is one area that still eats at my soul.  I had a partial shot of Nubaine (narcotic painkiller) during Patrice’s birth.  I had planned on a completely unmedicated birth.  But in the end I couldn’t do it.  And this has caused me no end of consternation.  My midwife and I were talking about that today.  And that sweet woman told me to blame her instead of myself.

She is amazing.  She is truly amazing.  I don’t  blame her.  It was my failing.  It was too much for me to handle.  It is no one’s fault but mine, but my heart will forever remember how she was willing to take that burden away from me.

Everyone should have someone like her in their life.  And for her I am thankful.

128.  my midwife, my friend

129.  my Patrice who has learned to crawl on her knees, pull herself to a stand and the ASL sign for more

130.  my girls who still absolutely adore their baby sister

Join me over at A Holy Experience as we count that which we are thankful.

The Gypsy Mama hosts a fun blog hop, 5 minute Friday.  She gives us a prompt to write about for 5 minutes flat.  No rewriting, no editing, just honest writing.  She then asks we link up with her site and give comment love to the person who linked right before us.  Here goes…
If I knew I could handle going back to school and raising kids, I would go back for a whole new career field.  I would go back to school to become a certified nurse midwife, especially if I knew I could be an amazing blessing to women like my midwife has been to me.*
I would want to be the blend of midwife I see in my own.  She loves and embraces the women she works with.  She loves and embraces the birthing process.  She blends the natural elements of birthing with what can and should be done medically to give women a successful birth. 
Yes, I know in a perfect world, birth would require no “help” but it does.  We are told in Genesis that birth would now be accompanied by pain.  I believe, like all other things affected by the fall, the element of sin continues to degenerate things, so birth is not only accompanied by pain, but can also be accompanied by complications. 
I understand birth is not always a medical emergency.  I know people who have carefully and wisely chosen very natural births, but for me and my household, we love the blend of care our midwife provides. 
Now it is your turn!  What would you do if you knew you could?!

*Just look under tagline midwife if you have any question about the impact my midwife, turned friend, has had on our family

Things About Me and An Award!

I was surprised to realize today I am at 150+ blog posts.  That is fun to think about.  And I found out I got an award from a fellow blogger.  Please check out her lovely blog.

The Rules of Acceptance:

1. Link back to the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass it along to 7 other stylish bloggers.
4. Contact those bloggers and tell them about their award.

Hmmmm, 7 things about myself…I look forward, when I am expecting a baby, to labor.  No, I don’t exactly enjoy the pain, but I love how empowered I feel once I am holding our new daughter.  My health has not always been good and I often was not able to do things, it felt like my body failed me often.  Having our girls has renewed my faith in my body.  I have a strength to tackle new things that I never had before. 
I feel like I failed for using any pain medication during my labors.  I had an epidural 12 hours into my first labor.  I was so disappointed, and was much more determined with my next to use no medications whatsoever.  Then I have to say, the pain of labor was, wow.  And I took a shot of sta-dol.  I was very pleased with how Sue’s labor went, but really yearned to go through labor without any medication at all.  As soon as I found out I was expecting Patrice, I began to prepare myself for labor. I exercised, stressed to my midwife I did not want any meds and mentally worked through it.  But once labor started, I found I could not get a break in between contractions.  I was getting no control over the contractions and was wasting energy yelling instead of using the power and pain to bring our baby into the world.  I finally agreed to a partial shot of Nubain.  They couldn’t give me all of it as Patrice’s heartrate started dropping so they stopped.  But it was enough to allow me to rest for a moment before the next contraction engulfed me.  It did what it was supposed to, but I feel like I failed.  I wish I could change things.  Or at least forgive myself for the meds.
I want to some day start a cloth diaper service.  Sounds a little weird since I failed at my first attempt at using cloth diapers, but we are almost 6 months into using them this time.  There is no cloth diaper service in our area and I think one is greatly needed.
I am addicted to Twitter.  I am loving the sense of community it gives.  I am often encouraged by other women’s tweets.  I am even doing a Proverbs reading project with other ladies on there.  We read on chapter a day, to match the date of the month.
I have been looking on Craigslist for cross country skiis or snowshoes.  I need to lose 25 lbs in order to fit the snowshoes that are the right size for me.  I am short so need kid ones, but weigh too much for them.  It is my goal to be the right weight by next winter.
I am hoping to do a half marathon in a year.  I was up to running 6 miles at a time before my pregnancy with Patrice.  I am back up to 4 miles now, but still have a ways to go!!!  Feel free to ask me how I am doing to keep me accountable.
I am too vain to color my hair.  It is still blonde for the most part, kind of a honey blonde.  I am afraid it will change if I highlight it or color it, so I don’t.  For now that works for me, I wonder how I will feel when I get silver or grey blended in there????
Now for 7 other blogs.  I enjoy

Several Random Posts Put Together

I didn’t have a chance to pop in Tuesday and show off my work getting an area organized, but I did do something 🙂 And shocked my hubby in the process by cleaning off the staircase up to our room. Putting stuff on the steps is a bad habit I developed growing up. It drove my dad nuts and now drives my husband nuts. Is that what “they” mean when “they” say girls look for someone like their daddy to marry?

Well regardless, here they are, our clean steps.  (so be honest, how many of you just turned your head sideways to look at them?)

How is Body after Baby Morphed going?  Pretty well.  I have continued to do the 30 Day Shred and even ran one night too!!!  I missed working out last night and am totally feeling it today…I gotta get down there and workout.  Tomorrow I am going to move my workout OUTDOORS.  I am going to try cross country skiing for the first time in roughly 20 years.  I lost much of my balance when the Multiple Sclerosis got bad.  With it went skiing.  Now mind, I had not done a lot of it, just once or twice, but I had enjoyed it.  For some reason it is something I really missed and am now feeling confident enough to try it again.  One of our local parks, Independence Oaks, is offering a two hour ski lesson and ski rental for $10.  And my wonderful hubby is going to keep the three kidlets while mama heads out.  He doesn’t mind me heading out, but he sure is bummed he is not going to see my adventure.

What about 5 Question Friday?  Okay, you asked for it, here it is.

1. What movie could you watch over and over again and not get tired of?

Steel Magnolias, Fried Green Tomatoes, Back to the Future and Three Men and a Baby
Guess I don’t feel like narrowing things down today.

2. What’s your biggest pet peeve right now?

Hearing my child say “I don’t like that.”  So now they have to say, “I don’t prefer that.”  Same obnoxious thought when they are rejecting dinner, but it sounds cute when they say such big words.

3. If you had to describe your best friend in five words or less, what would you say?

Does my hubby count?  A funny, sweet, strong, smart companion.

4. If you did not have to worry about money or go to school what would you do for a living?

Either a stay-at-home mom or a midwife.

5. What is your one “splurge” item, that you will always buy, no matter the cost?

Diet Coke!  I considered giving it up last week.  Then I woke up.  The only time I ever gave it up was at the end of my pregnancy with Patrice when she kept going breech.  I thought maybe the caffeine was making her too hyper.  So I gave it up for about 2 weeks.  We brought some with us to the birthing center so I could have one right after she was born!

And what would be a post without mentioning my wonderful midwife?  I saw her yesterday and she was as always her wonderfully encouraging self.  I am so thankful for her investment in our family.

Okay, I thing this post has been the epitome of randomness…now back to your regularly scheduled weekend…
After this cute picture:

Very Dark Woods

Have you ever been in a forest where the trees are extremely close together?  You know it is a summer day, because you were in the sunlight when you got to the edge of the woods, but now that you are in them, you’re not sure where the sunlight has gone.  Every once in a while a sunbeam breaks through, but for the most part, things are dark and cold.  And even the long sleeve shirt you brought is no longer enough to keep you warm.  It is darker and colder in these woods than you thought it would be.

Or have you gone into the woods at one path and come out, not where you expected, but far off course of where you thought you would arrive?

I have been in both of those places, both literally and figuratively.  I grew up in Northern Mitten country.  And was lucky enough to grow up in a rural area on 20+ acres.  Our property backed up to some woods.  My mom and I would sometimes head in there to hunt for morel mushrooms.  Now, neither my mom and I are terribly blessed when it comes to directions.  And we never managed to come out where we planned to.  Rather, we always ended up behind the neighbors, two houses down from our house.

We went in one place, and intended to come out at the same area, but in our wandering, we never quite found the same exit.  So we then had to get ourselves home. We knew where we wanted to be, but it wasn’t quite that easy.

I have, as of late, been where I wanted to be, but some of the trees have gotten too close together and the area around me has grown dark.  My land has been that of new motherhood.  Not for the first time, no, I blessed to be here a third time.  I know what to expect.  I enter the woods at one place, expecting to come out at the same place, knowing myself and my family, but this time I ended up coming out a very different place.  I have come out, not to the clearing, but darker and darker woods.  I came out in postpartum depression.

I knew to expect baby blues.  They hit me after each birth.  This time was no different.  Day 2, into day 3, I started crying a lot and my emotions got erratic.  I also felt a little abandoned.  During pregnancy I am blessed to not only be cared for by my midwife, but also a wonderful family doctor.  There is a schedule of appointments, there are people making sure you are okay, making sure the baby is okay.  You are never alone.  All the sudden, you bring home this baby, and especially with the third, it seems now you are just out there.  Alone.  Yes, you’ve walked into these woods before, but never with this baby, never with this number of children.  And for the first time, my baby was a good weight gainer, so where in the past we had lots of appointments with the family doctor, this time, Patrice gained well and once the jaundice resolved, our doctor didn’t need to see us for several weeks.  I was terrified to be doing well enough to be this alone.

My midwife continued to be her wonderful self, but I must admit I felt a little guilty still contacting her.  Like my time was up and I needed to move aside for other mamas.  So I tried.  I really did.  But it continued to feel very dark around me.  I just cried so much.  For no reason.  I was ecstatic with Patrice.  Thrilled beyond words to have three girls.  Happier as a mama of three than I had been as a mama of 2.  And yet, terrified and in a very dark place.

Then week three of Patrice’s life came and I felt better.  A lot better.  I had found the sunshine again and was out of my woods.  Yay. I felt like running in the meadow.

But what I ran into was more woods.  And it got really dark.  And I couldn’t tell people.  They would think I wasn’t happy with my life.  They would say we shouldn’t have had Patrice.   They would say I was ungrateful for my three perfect children.  And how could I ever explain being deliriously happy and crying all the time and feeling like I could/would fall apart at any moment.  I couldn’t tell my husband.  How would I explain such a thing?  I didn’t understand it.  And I hated it.

As hard as I tried, I couldn’t make sense of it.  So I didn’t.  I did find that if I was busy, I didn’t fall apart as much. I felt a little more in control.  I learned to hold in my tears until I was in the basement.  I didn’t want to upset my girls with my unexplained tears.  Above all I did not want my girls to suffer or think they brough me sadness. So we had fun, lots of fun.  We went to the park, the library, made cookies, pie.  We had fun.  And mommy stayed busy.  And told only 3 people, including my midwife, what was going on.

I owe a great deal to those three people.  They were, and are, a gift from the Lord.  I am alive due, in large part, to those three people.  They checked in on me via text message and phone calls.  They reassured me there was hope when I didn’t see any.  But they could not help me will away the darkness.  It refused to leave.

Finally, when Patrice, was 7 weeks old, I consented to trying a medication.  And at the insistence of my midwife, told my marvelous hubby what was going on.  His reaction was loving and an amazing gift.  But having told him left me feeling depleted.  And during the first weeks of the medication, I continued to feel awful as I waited for the initial period to pass.  But it did, just a little, but it did.  So we tried a little more meds.  And that did not help.

After one week of the higher dose, I was completely destroyed.  I ended up at my midwife’s office unannounced, totally distraught.  Begging for help.  Pleading.  Terrified there was no help.

I ended up in the hospital for 24 hours.  That was like descending into the depths of hell.  Truly.  Now I was desperate for help and separated from my children, from everyone who I loved or loved me.

When I got out I felt even more lost.  I felt like I had used my one chance for help, going to my midwife, and the people she trusted to help me had let us all down.

I felt abandoned, but the Lord continued to bless me through the people He had in my life.  My midwife continued to be very responsive to my e-mails and told me, “I will always listen, I will always try to help you.”  I asked her if I could e-mail her sometimes for a reminder that some day I would be okay.  She said, yes, daily if need be. Not only did she support us emotionally, but she gave me the name of a doctor who specialized in postpartum depression.  She thought he had left the area, but I set out searching and was able to find him.  He got me in that day.  That same day.

In the ensuing 7 weeks, I have started to improve.  It is not the straight path from dark to light that I would like it to be.  But it is better.  I am no longer crying, much. The constant unease has lessened significantly and even the dark days are now just minutes or hours of a day.

My hubby and I have shared with more people where I have been walking.  What we have found is the path is full of others experiencing the same, but none of us are talking to our fellow sojourners.  We think we are all in the woods alone.  Nothing could be further than the truth.  It turns out there is someone who understands near every tree.

And there is visible meadow again.  I now get to be in that meadow more often than not.  This journey is by no means finished.  Nor is my sharing, but for now, I will leave my story of a very dark woods.  If you are a mama who has walked in these woods, please let me know.  And know you are not alone.  I am getting help with a map to the meadow and you can too.  Maybe we can find it together.

I have had many great resources so far and will share more about them, but for now, please check out if you, or someone you know, is walking in these woods.  Don’t continue without hope, without a lantern.  Reach out.  To me or to someone who can help you find a hand to hold, a lantern to light your way.