Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Finding My Way

This little darling was 8 months old on Monday. I can't believe I have an 8 month old. I can't believe I have a DAUGHTER. She is so amazing in every way. I feel so silly to question God. Of course he knew what he was doing! She's the perfect child for us!

Husband and I are still having growing pains. We're still struggling a bit to find ourselves in our life after baby. Plus he's without a job right now which is such a struggle for him, and our house is still a mess and unfinished. We love each other very much, though, and I'm glad we have all of our previous struggles to carry us through this. I know that sounds strange, but it's like each step was a preparation for us to be able to work through this time. I don't know if we would know how to support and encourage each other and deal with our shortcomings if we hadn't had trials and tribulations of an important nature before. Just another strange way I see God working in my life. I will continue to pray that we find our strength and work together. We both have things to work on but we are committed to and love each other and our gorgeous girl.

One of the things I've been struggling with is me and finding myself. Andy is having difficulty communicating/connecting to me these days. He says I am "Mom" where I should be "Erika, who is a mom". If that makes sense? It's very deep. I like being mom. But I realize that as E gets older, I need to have interests to share with her, and also to keep me busy when she decides that mom is just SO lame. I guess he's afraid I'm losing part of myself. I always see it as gaining a new part, but I have completely neglected myself as well. Being a mom can be very isolating. Most of my friends have abandoned me and it's depressing. It's hard to be a working mom, so I want to spend all my free time with her. But that leaves nothing for my husband, and I have to have time for him so we can build the best relationship to be the best role models for E. And I need to take care of me and encourage my own wants and needs as well.

I think one of the big issues is my kidneys. I'm so tired all the time that I put E to bed at 7:30 and I'm asleep by 9. I wake up at 7 and go right to work. In that hour and a half I have to shower, eat, and get ready for bed. I barely see my husband. 10 hours of sleep should be more than enough but I'm still exhausted because of my kidneys. We're going to talk to the doctor about that. I feel like if I could combat the exhaustion and get 7-8 hours a night I'd open up so much time for other things! And it's not like E is a bad sleeper. She normally goes down at 7:15, sleeps until 2:30, is back asleep by 3 and wakes up at 7. I think I need to exercise and get healthier as well as do whatever the doctor says so I can go to bed at 10:30 or 11 and have some time every night with Andy.

I'd also like to start doing things again on weekends. Either as a family, or with my friends. I want to take E to museums, the zoo, the aquarium, play dates, the park... all sorts of things. I can see friends and involve her in all of my interests. She gets bored easily in the house so it will make both of us happy. I need to spend time doing things I love, but I'm not willing to sacrifice time with E, so I'll bring her. I want to get into photography again. She and I can go on nature walks and go to the city and shop and I can bring my camera. She's such an easy baby there's no reason not to go have fun with her and pursue my interests. I feel like that might bring some spark back to my relationship with my husband.

I also miss music. Music was what connected Andy and I in the beginning and it's like I don't have time for it, and he feels like he's lost part of me. I don't like that.  I always wanted to share my love of music with my baby. I always thought about playing her music and singing songs and taking her to outdoor concerts. I still want that. I guess I'm just trying to find my new self. Trying to balance "Erika" with "Mommy". Mommy always comes first. But I still need parts of Erika to show E who her mommy really is. And to teach her the things I grew up loving. So I guess my plan is to allow me to be me a little. And to bring E into my world of music and photography and nature (I love nature) and exercise. We can bond and get healthy and I can show her a healthier lifestyle and some fun hobbies.

I do need to make more time for my husband, so this kidney thing needs to be fixed. He deserves a wife that's there, and not asleep. And E is going to deserve a mommy that's not exhausted all the time too!!

I guess I just needed to get this out to think about it. In all honesty, life is doing ok. I have the most amazing child, a loving, supportive husband who wants to work through issues with me, a great support system in my family... I need more friends, but that's OK. E is enough for me. She really is. I just need to be the best me I can be for her.

Monday, October 15, 2012

It's been another set of interesting weeks. My OCD crept up on me and I have been very stressed. Hubs and I were constantly fighting so he took a few days to go home and see his family and we've been doing better since. I really need to never miss my OCD meds! And he needs to chill out. I'm glad we're doing better. We celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary last week! We did basically nothing, but it was still cool to know we've made it three years and we love each other as much as ever. We may go through rough patches, but I'm so glad my husband is so interested in working hard to resolve any issues we may have.

E and I went on a number of adventures these past two weeks! We went shopping for some 12 month clothes for her (even though when I came home the other day she was in 0-3 pants. Yes, she turns 8 months old next week). She can still wear some 6m clothes, but the 9m stuff fits her OK. I just want to be prepared with a few things because I think she's going to be tall and I don't want t have to run out at the last second. She does have a number of 6-12 things from the Gap. I totally don't understand sizing that covers 6 months at this age, but it's so cute I HAD to buy it. This onesie, skirt, and these tights are from there.

And I bought her this hat because it was SO cold that day and she didn't have a hat!

We also went on an adventure with her friend Ben. She looks so tiny. I think he weighs 20lb and is 3 weeks younger!

She has a new favorite toy. I caught her mid bounce. She bounces up and down and giggles when she plays with it.

And A's mom bought us this last weekend. She LOVES this toy. She's standing up in it, but she's holding herself up with her arms. She stands normally in it all the time though. I think she could pull herself up these days if she ever had anything to pull herself up on.

She was mad at me for going to work.

This is the seat she has to sit in while I'm getting dressed for swim class. She makes lots of friends this way as it's right in the aisle and they all walk by and talk to her.

Dressed and ready. She's so excited to get in the water and not interested in pictures. I have no makeup on and look like crap, but whatever. She's cute.

I actually have makeup on here. You can't tell, but I do. And new glasses from Coastal. Heck yes! Also, I was stopped. I swear.

We also tried to go to the pumpkin patch last weekend. So much positive karma in that place. My friend Megan (Ben's mom from the picture above) and I were standing in the (45 minute) line for the hay ride to the punpkin patch. This guy walked up and handed us tickets. So sweet! We took the hayride out, but E hates being in the carrier so I had to hold her the whole time and my arms were dying. My friend Nikki carried my lone pumpkin, and I couldn't get any pictures of E because when I put her down she wanted to eat dirt. I forgot to turn auto focus on I was so involved in trying to get her to not eat dirt, so that was a pain. Then she started whining while we waited another half hour for the hay ride back. I'd forgotten water for her bottle, so I had to buy some and THAT line was long. By this time she's crying and I see the woman in the line next to me looking at me and talking to her husband. She asked me to go ahead of her since all I had was water and she'd "been there" (they had a 18 month old or so with them). OMG again. So sweet. I have so much karma to pay forward now.

We're going back to the pumpkin patch with 4 grandparents and a husband in tow this time, so more people to hold E and my mom to run intervention on keeping E from eating dirt while I take photos.

I did hear again that E has my eyes! She definitely favors A, but people are coming around to the fact that she at least has my eyes, which is the one thing I was hoping she'd get!

Monday, October 1, 2012

It's been a hell of a weekend. My anxiety level is at a crazy high, and I really wish I could just take a few days off, but I can't. We had to be out of our old house by last night, but Andy and I got into a huge fight on Friday. We've been arguing a lot, and for a while, really. Y'all know I have OCD, but he has severe ADHD, and so he says ridiculous things all the time and so do I, and we end up hurting each other and upsetting each other by accident. I know I'm tough to handle. Especially when my OCD is at its worst, and I didn't have my medication for a while, so our communication level just dropped to basically nil.

Fortunately, we are both pretty good at fixing things when they get broken. Right now we're pretty broken, but we're working hard.

Back in January of 2010, Andy was diagnosed with a pituitary adenoma, and he STILL hasn't taken care of it. I told him he needs to take care of it because I'm not going to sit around and have him get irritated every 14 seconds when he might very well be a lot calmer if he didn't have a giant tumor on the "master" gland. He's going to do that, and take medicine for his ADHD. I'm going to take my medicine religiously. He's also going to go home for a few days and try to clear his head. Right now our life is in complete disarray. Our house isn't finished, let alone organized, and that really affects him. He needs some time in an organized environment. Plus he needs his friends. He never admits it to me, or he didn't until yesterday, but his mom called him out on how much he misses being home in Philly. I have always known that, but we're stuck here because my job is too good to leave. He'd like to go back, but we can't, and especially now with the baby.

Our life has been so stressful from the get-go. He had to move away from everyone he loved to be with me. Then I developed a progressive kidney disease. Then he got a brain tumor. Then we had infertility. Then we finally got our baby, which is AMAZING, but it is stressful. And the house, a month later, is still in shambles. Sometimes it's hard for us to keep our heads above water with all of this stress. One thing we DO know is we love each other, and we made the most perfect baby there is, and we love her more than anything. We need to work on ourselves individually, and we need to work on our relationship. For us, and for her. We need to get back to happier, less stressful times, and learn to deal better when times are tough.

Andy apologized last night for being difficult. He says I have so much on my plate, and it was honestly really nice to be recognized for that. OCD is a hellish disorder, plus kidney disease, a full time job, and a baby? It's a lot to keep straight and I get cranky sometimes and it was nice to hear that he realizes how much I really do.

I'm making it a priority to try to be as stress-free as possible. I'm joining the damn Y today (I keep saying that but I mean it this time). I'm going to start exercising again. I'm going to see my doctor and take my medicine. I'm going to try to be as organized as possible for Andy's sake, and he's going to try to relax a bit for mine. We'll be ok, we just have to make sure we prioritize the right things in life. Evie is number 1, which is a given. And our individual healths, and our relationship have to be next. We need to focus on that. 

I don't talk about negatives in my relationship much because I don't like to, but the fact is, a lot of couples have trouble coping as they move into new roles as mom and dad. I know it's been 7 months, but it can be quite a transition. I don't know how people who haven't been through as much as we have already do it. I hope things really do improve. I think we're both at a point where we're ready to put nonsense behind us and really start marching forward together. We have fun stuff planned for this weekend and we deserve it. We never get to just do fun things together. I can't wait to be with my hubs and baby girl and go to the Pumpkin Patch!

And in the mean time... we have the happiest baby on earth.

OMG this face