Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Stocking the shop and sewing again

So, despite being depressed - or maybe in an effort to snap myself out of it - I did start sewing again sometime in the past few weeks. I reclaimed the kitchen table and started making some Open Wide zipper pouches. One of the large size and three medium ones. It's taken me painfully long to work on these ... cutting them out, piecing them together, quilting the panels ... as Ella seems very content to start screaming the minute I try to start sewing. I had high hopes of being able to put her in her wrap and sew away, but alas, no such luck. So, instead, I tell my husband "I need a hour of sewing time" and then have him watch the kids. So, hour by hour, I make a little progress.

The largest pouch will have a combination of number fabric and Essex linen while the other three medium pouches all feature a variety of camera fabrics with the same Essex linen (which is a favorite of mine for this project!). They are all quilted with 1/4-inch lines, which add detail and give the pouch a little more structure when it's finished. All I have left to do is assemble all of the pouches - all the pieces are ready to go, I just have to find the time.

I also re-opened my Etsy shop. There's a link to the right. All that's listed so far are a handful of vintage feed sacks. My shop has always been a combination of modern fabric creations and vintage items I love and I'm working on getting it stocked with some sewn items as I write this. But, for now, the few feed sacks I have sold have brought me a little extra spending money at a time when money is pretty tight. (Maternity leave will do that to one's budget!).

On post-partum depression and anxiety

I've blogged over the years about my struggles with depression, during the good times and the not-so-good times, through med changes and other treatment options I've entertained. My depression has been relatively stable the last two years or so and was until I got pregnant - and stayed pregnant - this past fall. I wouldn't say that I was so much depressed while pregnant as I was just exhausted. It meant that I stopped doing many of the things that I loved and that gave me such enjoyment - such as sewing, painting, blogging and gardening. I had high hopes that following Ella's delivery, my energy would return and I'd be back to doing those things I loved. My psychiatrist thought the medications I was on during pregnancy would go a long way to help avoid post-partum depression following delivery. We had high hopes.

And then I had Ella. It didn't hit immediately. At first there was just so much relief at not being pregnant anymore. At marveling in this brand new person my husband and I had created. At remembering how to breastfeed again and the joy that came with that. At adjusting to having one more child. At adapting to a changing routine. And I had my mom around for the first couple of weeks, which helped immensely.

But eventually, as the weeks went by, the depression - and this time overwhelming anxiety - crept back in. I had two goals every day: take a shower and take a walk. I tried not to put too much pressure on myself to accomplish much more than that. And many, many days, that was all I was able to do. I met all Ella's basic needs, but beyond that, I was a mess. There were many days I would just lay with her on the couch and cry. Sometimes for a reason - she was growing up so fast... I was overwhelmed - but more often for reasons I couldn't even identify. I was sad much more than I was happy, at a time in my life that I had so looked forward to. And I was angry about feeling sad.

As if the never-ending sadness wasn't enough to deal with, I got hit with the double-whammy of anxiety on top. While I've been on anxiety medication in the past, it was more to help me sleep than to deal with actual anxiety - and according to my psychiatrist, wasn't safe to take during pregnancy or breastfeeding, so I had stopped it when I became pregnant. I quickly became anxious about everything. Was she a "normal" baby? Why didn't she cry more? Where the meds I was taking harming her in some way? Why did she cry so much? Was she eating enough? Was she gaining enough? Was I making enough milk? Was she breathing? And on top of the things I wondered about every waking hour, I was suddenly having anxiety about everything I couldn't control ... of horrible things happening to me or my family, especially my children. I had horrific mental images of Hannah getting run over by a car in a parking lot. Of finding Ella dead in her crib. Driving became challenging because suddenly every car, every semi truck was a weapon, destined to crash into us as we drove. I began having panic attacks while driving - my chest would tighten, I would sweat, be swallowed up by nausea to the point I'd have to pull over and dry heave on the side of the road, and I'd just have the most overwhelming sense of dread that something terrible was about to happen and I was powerless to stop it. I thought perhaps these attacks would be better if I wasn't driving, but that just made it worse because it was one less thing that I could control. Eventually, I just stopped going anywhere that wasn't absolutely necessary.

And with all this anxiety came extreme irritability. At everyone. At my husband. At my daughter. At my step-son and my son. I just wanted everyone to leave me and the baby alone. Perhaps if it were just the baby and I in some sort of bubble, everything would be okay. But it wasn't. It clearly wasn't. I finally went and saw my psychiatrist and asked for some help.

Last week we started changing my meds around. We doubled my Saphris dose. We started a Prozac taper. We're adding Lexapro this week. And I started taking my anxiety medication again. After talking with the kid's pediatrician, doctors at the Infant Risk Center and my psychiatrist, we decided that it was probably safe to continue breastfeeding on the medication I was taking provided we monitored Ella for excessive sedation. This was huge, as it is really important to me that I breastfeed Ella. So far there have been no issues. I'm trying to be patient and give the meds time to work. I also started seeing a counselor and have a place I can talk about all my fears and develop some coping mechanisms to deal with the anxiety.

Hannah started going to daycare three days a week as well, which has given me some much needed just us time at home with the baby during that day. I have bowed out of all non-essential social and family events and am just trying to focus on being well. My family is going up north to our cabin for the holiday weekend and I will be staying home with the baby - enjoying just us time. I'm looking forward to it. And I know if things suddenly seem too overwhelming, I can call my mom and she'll come up and stay with us.

If you or someone you know is suffering from post-partum depression, please reach out and get some help. It's okay to not be able to do this on your own. Postpartum Support International is a great starting resource. Check out their website here.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Favorites: Kids Clothes Week

Kids Clothes Week kicks off June 22 and runs through June 28. The idea is that you spend one hour a day for those seven days sewing handmade items for your children. I've participated in the past and it's been a lot of fun. This time around, I'm going to be happy if I can finish up the five pairs of pajama pants I have for Hannah. This year's theme is "traveling." More information can be found on their website if you're interested in joining - as well as links to many wonderful children's clothing patterns (many of which are free!).

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday Favorites: Go Anywhere Bag

A round up of some of my favorite bags made from Anna of Noodlehead's Go Anywhere Bag pattern. I have made this bag three times and loved every one of them. Since I've been carrying them for years, it's about time I make another one as mine looks, let's just say, very loved! You can buy Anna's pattern here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My go-to breakfast

This homemade Egg McMuffin has been my go-to breakfast as of late. When my mom was visiting following the birth of Ella, she brought up a dozen pre-made muffins - we kept some in the fridge for quick eating and put the rest in the freezer. I loved how handy they were for quick meals in the morning while balancing a baby in the other hand. When I visited my mom a couple weeks ago, I bought all the ingredients and had her whip me up a batch to take home.

Since being back home, I've made two more batches - half with english muffins and half with plain bagels. The ingredients are really simple:
- 1 dozen eggs
- 1 package english muffins
- 1 package plain bagels
- 1 package sliced cheese of your choice
- 1 lbs. sliced lunch meat

To prepare, separate muffins and bagels and place cheese and meat on one side. Fry up the eggs, taking care to break the yolk (you don't want it runny in this case). Add egg to muffin or bagel. Allow to cool, then wrap up individually with plastic wrap and either place directly in the fridge or in a Ziplock bag in the freezer. Then, as you need them, simply defrost them one by one by placing in the fridge. I usually pull out what I need the night before and they're ready to go by morning. To serve, simply unwrap and microwave for 50-60 seconds. Preparing a dozen of these takes only minutes and gives me a week's worth of healthy breakfasts - well worth the time investment.

And the best part, the ingredients cost only about $15 ... so your cost per meal is roughly $1.25. Much cheaper and healthier than you could get at McDonalds!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday Favorites: Pillows

Here are some pretty pillows for you this Friday. I recently found a bag full of pillow forms in my basement along with my fabric stash, so I'm thinking that a couple new patchwork quilted pillows are in order. I've made special pillows for each of my children, and I'm thinking Ella will need one of her own too!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Ella - 1 month old

At one month, Ella is adjusting to life outside the womb. At her one-month doctor visit, she was 9 lbs. 4 oz. and 21.25 inches long. She is generally a happy baby, unless her tummy is bothering her, then she's a little crabby. The first two weeks she was home, she barely made a peep and Mommy questioned whether something was wrong with her ... however, at about two weeks of age, she figured out how to cry and is very much a normal baby!

She loves to be moving - especially in the car or in the stroller. Those two things can always stop the crying. Mommy likes wearing her in a wrap for this same reason. She seems to like the security of being wrapped and will usually fall asleep within minutes of going in the wrap. She's been eating on a pretty consistent schedule of every two hours, though she's starting to go longer stretches at night.

We are all adjusting to having a new baby in the house. Everyone is getting used to a distinct lack of sleep. There are days it seems like all Mommy does is nurse the baby and change diapers. But there are also days where Ella lets Mommy get a lot of other things done. Hannah is an amazing big sister and is always wanting to be involved with Ella! We are looking forward to what next month will bring (hopefully more smiles and cooing!).

Isaac - nearly 12

Isaac will turn 12 in just a couple of days. Yesterday his baseball team took on another team from the same town (and crushed them). Isaac played first base and pitched and did an awesome job for his team. He is truly a team player and it's so nice to see him interacting with his peers and doing something that he loves. I had the opportunity to shoot a bunch of great photos last night, so I figured I'd share them here.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Hannah pictures - 6 years old

I can't possibly post pictures of Ella without also including some of her big sister Hannah, who has been so amazing with the baby and is totally embracing her role as a big sister. Here's some fun poses from the couch the other morning!

Ella pictures - 1 week old

Yes, these are a little late in coming, but better late than never! I wanted to get them up on the blog so I have a record of them and the time that she was so little. Anyone with small babies knows that it seems like all I manage to get done during the day is nursing and changing diapers. If I'm lucky, I get a shower and a walk in too. Look for her 1 month shots soon.