Depression, Zombies & Being Q

You know that corny commercial “Depression hurts“?  Well, it does.

After I had Smash-N-Break, I was diagnosed with PTSD, and depression.  I had flashbacks and hallucinations of the surgery.  I smelled it, saw it, felt it.  I had a recurring nightmare of zombies attacking our house and trying to get to the kids.  Plus One would fight back with wine, while I would ran upstairs to get to the kids.  The zombies would stop and a female head zombie would come in to Smash-N-Break’s room.  I would wake up just as she started to speak.  Every night.  It was awful.

Depression Zombie About To Speak

I refused to admit I needed medication help, so I tried to just do talk therapy.  I went to an idiot.  About the third or fourth visit, he told me that I just needed to get pregnant to get over it.  That at least my baby was alive and fine, and it wasn’t that big of a deal.  Dude.  I felt my uterus be cut open.  I felt my organs being moved out of me.  I felt the OB pulling a baby out of me before I mercifully was put to sleep.  Yes, I don’t think I should have PTSD from this.  It wasn’t war, I don’t do or have ever seen as much as our soldiers have.  I feel weak for even having it.  But, to me, it was a big deal.

So, I stopped going.  I tried to tough it out and act fine.  And, it worked.  Until Littles.  I broke down to my OB about being afraid of going home because I knew I was going to bleed out and die.IMG_2425  She put me on Zoloft immediately, and told Plus One to watch me carefully.  About six weeks later, PPD really hit.  I hurt everywhere.  I knew I was worthless.  I knew everyone would be better off without me.  I knew everyone hated me.  I planned my suicide in such a way as to not leave a big mess for Plus One to have to clean up.  Do you know what stopped me?  I was apologizing to Littles that I would miss out on him growing up.  He was the only one who wouldn’t repeat it.  I could be honest with him.  Then, what I was saying actually hit my ears.  I knew I needed help.  I told Plus One.

He got me help.  He got me in to a counselor.  I probably should have been put on a mental health hold, but the anxiety of leaving Littles alone, and not having the kids because I knew they would be taken away from me, prevented me from being absolutely truthful.  I went through EMDR.  I did therapy for 6ish months.  The PPD was better.  The counselor specialized in PPD.  She couldn’t help me past that.  She wanted me to stay on antidepressants.  So, I did.

Then, once I weaned Littles (done breastfeeding after 3 1/2 years total between 3 kids!), they stopped working.  My general practitioner prescribed a new medicine, along with more therapy.  I discovered some skeletons in my closet that I still haven’t dealt with completely.  Those bones are better in the closet for right now, but I need to deal with them to not pass them on to my kids.

We moved to Texas. I thought I could deal.  I went off the meds.  Holy hell, that was fun.  The one they had me on is super addictive.  It took me two months to wean off of them, and then another IMG_1521month of “zert zert” sounds in my head.  I stopped caring again.  I hurt again.  My energy plummeted, which is saying something.  Plus One liked that part of my depression – he could keep up.  He asked me to get back to a doctor and talk to them.  My new general practitioner gave me a new drug.  It’s good.  I’m becoming Q again.

I still feel weak for having this.  I have a good life, a great family.  I shouldn’t have this.  But, I do.  And it has a stigma attached to it.  Some people don’t even want people with depression to have the ability to buy guns.  I’m not suicidal anymore.  I haven’t been since Littles was a baby baby.

I’ve lost me.  I’ve lost who I am.  Plus One is helping me find that again..  I’ve always tried to be who everyone else wanted me to be.  That didn’t make me happy.  I need Q.  My kids need Q, whoever that is.  Plus One needs Q.

 

Depression hurts, but you don’t have to.   Reach out for help if you need it.  You won’t regret it.  We’re all a work in progress.

 

editors note: The suicide prevention hotline phone number is 1-800-279-8255. If you, or someone you know, is contemplating suicide please call. I am thankful every day that Q didn’t follow through and stopped herself.

 

 

 

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*Zombie images from the pitch trailer for Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo

 

 

Plus One – Meet The Adventures Family

Plus One has been my better half since 1998!  My dad got a job offer in Colorado my junior year of high school.  He didn’t want to make me change schools for one year, so my mom found a wayIMG_4815
that I could finish high school in college.  So, I went to a community college to finish high school and get college credit.  Bonus, I got in state tuition when I went to a normal university.

 

Spring semester of 1998, I decided to take Anatomy and Physiology.  Plus One walked in, and I knew I would marry him.  I was dating some other guy at the time.  Plus One figured it wasn’t going to happen.  I flirted, he was oblivious.  I flirted more, he was more oblivious.  Finally, we went out on a date, and then I broke up with the other guy.  (I told you I was going to hell!  I’m not an innocent angel!).  That summer, Plus One went off to Philmont Scout Ranch to work as a ranch hand.  He had done this the previous 5 years.  He called me a couple of times.  I wrote him letters.  He didn’t respond.  I left him messages, he didn’t call back.  I was heartbroken.

 

IMG_4811I went off to college that fall.  My roommate let me use her computer, and I saw him online.  I IM’d him (we’re old – this was AOL).  I just said “It’s Q” except I used my real name.  I saw the little dots indicating he was typing for a few minutes.  No response appeared on my screen.  So, just as I was getting ready to disconnect and cry more, I got “Hi”.  Yeah.  After months of being ignored and no contact, minutes of him typing, “Hi”.  He asked to come up and see me.  He didn’t want to talk over IM.  I let him.

 
The first thing I said to him was “You have a lot of explaining to do.  Not talking or responding to me for months hurt.”  He said “I know, and I’m sorry.” (editors note:I was a schmuck, I admit it) We reconnected.  Remember, I’m head over heels in love with him.  Lots of ugly family things happened, where I was asked by my mom to make a choice, and I did.  They saw how much he hurt me, they didn’t like him.  I lied to them about his age, because I knew they wouldn’t like a 17 year old dating a 22 year old.  We eventually hammered all of that out.

 

IMG_4820We did the long-distance thing the rest of that year.  I stayed at my parents house that summer.  He proposed.  I said yes.  I went off to college that fall, and he paid for my apartment (still family issues).  I was probably depressed, and stopped going to school.  I moved down with him.  I got a job as a bank teller.  He worked graves for a police department as a dispatcher.  We planned a wedding.  We got married.  We bought a house.  I went back to school.  His mom caused major major problems.  He supported her and told me to suck it up.  I was finishing school, and decided I was done with is mother.  I told him that I was moving to the other side of the state, he could follow me or we could end the marriage.  He followed me, but made sure to run me over with a bus when telling his family.  This caused further problems with me and his “mother’s” side of the family.  I passed my CPA exam.  He finished college.  He got a new job on the other side of the state (we both wanted this), and we moved back down.  We had a baby.  Things came to a big head with his “mother”, and we eventually cut her off.  I’ll explain all of her glory later.

 

He saw the error in how he was treating me, and expecting me to suck up everything to make sure his “mother” was happy.  Our marriage improved.  We had another baby.  It improved more.  I IMG_4809almost died.  We both saw how much we meant to the other.  We’re recommitting to each other next year at our 15th wedding anniversary.  We moved from Colorado to Texas.

 

He’s put up with so much from me.  I know a lot of bad happened in our relationship, but he’s my rock.  He supported me when no one else did.  He was willing to walk away from me completely so I didn’t lose my family.  I knew then that he was a good man – he was willing to lose me just so I didn’t lose my biological family.  He’s helping me find out who I am.  He’s been so patient with my ongoing depression (no longer just PPD), my mood swings, my lack of desire to do anything.  He listens to my needs and helps meet them.  He tells me his needs, and I help meet them.  He is my best friend, my better half, my soul mate.  I would be lost without him.  We both give 100% to the marriage.

 

 

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Littles – Introducing The Adventures Family

IMG_1432Littles is our bonus baby.  Yeah, breastfeeding isn’t birth control. God sure knew what he was doing, though, because if we had waited a year, the difficulties that are Smash-N-Break may have made me not want to try again.  And Littles completed our trilogy.

I found out that Littles was on the way at 4 1/2 weeks.  When you’re used to skipping half of the first trimester, it makes it hard.  I’m also a pessimist.  He was such a welcome surprise that I was a nervous wreck convinced I would lose him as a punishment.  Hey, I’m pretty sure I’m hell-bound, and figure God needs to punish me while I’m alive.  My hand basket to hell is very well decorated.  You’re invited to ride it into hell with me.  So, Littles let me know he was in there securely.  I puked.  Constantly.  For NINE MONTHS.  One day, I puked over 50 times.  I just stopped counting at that point.  It was only 3 in the afternoon.

Littles birth was a cluster.  But, he was an easy baby.  He was just so attached to me.  Still is.  Part of that was because of me – I had bad PPD and PPA, and would panic leaving him.  Part of that is his personality.  He had acid reflux to – 3 for 3!  But, by now, I had learned about the Rock’N’Play.  Love it.  He slept!  It kept him at the right angle so his reflux could be controlled.  Yes, I know now that it can increase the SIDS risk.  We were fortunate.

When Littles was 18 months, he wasn’t talking.  We had an evaluation, and he was diagnosed as having a speech delay.  They also thought he had SPD, too, but not severe enough to needIMG_2413 intervention.  By the time we moved to Texas (he was a month shy of 2), he didn’t need the intervention anymore.  He still won’t talk to strangers much,  but he’s quite the chatterbox at home and once he’s comfortable with you.

Littles is very possessive.  He tells his brothers “My Momma” often, and can have a meltdown if they get near me on his bad days.  He hates the sound of the lawn mower, and has started to hate the sound of the vacuum.  Slapping his ears is commonplace (by him, not me).  Tags are often removed from his clothing because texture.  Certain clothes won’t be worn because texture. He gets his hand wet, or a drop of rain, and crying commences because texture.  He does like bath time, as long as it’s his idea.  He avoids senses, where Smash-N-Break seeks them out.  Food is challenging, because texture.  I swear he survives on air right now.  If it keeps getting worse, another evaluation may be necessary.  He also watches TV on his head, just like Smash-N-Break (editors note:it looks like Mork’s kids are visiting our house sometimes).

IMG_1529Littles wants to learn.  He tries to write his name, and will sit to be taught with me (as long as it’s in my lap).  He’s cautious with his adventures, but will follow his brothers anywhere.  He is quieter than his brothers.  He’s content.  He views Plus One as a discipline.  Don’t get me wrong, he loves his Daddy.  It’s just that when I have to discipline him, he views it as his world collapsing.  I have to be very careful in how I discipline him.  I’m his safe place, and with this SPD, I have to be careful.  There’s tantrums, and then there’s SPD meltdowns.  When we hold him, we have to use more pressure than with Bubba.  We do the same with Smash-N-Break when he’s still enough to cuddle.  I worry that I’m sheltering him too much.  There are just days where I know that the status quo will be easier for me to handle (and him), so I don’t push him outside his box as much as I probably should.  He got his Daddy’s brown eyes and brown hair.

He loves elephants.  He’s very smiley.  You can see the love he has in his eyes.  He may just not show it to you physically.  I can get all the hugs and kisses I want, but everyone else has to ask him permission.  I hope I’m not stifling him.  I worry I’m doing everything wrong with him.  With all of them.

 

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Smash-N-Break – Introducing The Adventures Family

IMG_3620Today’s introduction is for Smash-N-Break.  He’s 4.  He’s the result of giving up after a year of unexplained secondary infertility.  We decided to be happy with Bubba, and stopped.  I decided to lose weight seriously, and signed up with a personal trainer.  (I really need to get back on that….) They tested my metabolism, and it was way high.  It didn’t make sense, because I’m very fat and round.  With the metabolism as high as it was, I should have been losing weight.  So, I tested.  Hey!  Look!  Two lines!

Smash-N-Break came about 7 1/2 months later.  His birth was painful, even though he was a repeat c-section.  I’ve written about that.  He was harder than Bubba, plus I had to get used to going from one to two.  It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but that was because all Smash-N-Break needed was a boob to become happy.  Seriously.  The kid never took a bottle, and nursed for 15 months.  Eeesh.  He also had acid reflux.  He wouldn’t sleep in the cradle we had.  He wanted to co-sleep.  I wasn’t comfortable with that.  We got the arms-reach co-sleeper and tried.  I didn’t sleep much.  We angled it some, but it wasn’t great.  He was a giggly, happy, baby.  Boy howdy could Bubba make him laugh.  So many pictures we have of them are of Smash-N-Break looking at Bubba with hero admiration, and Bubba doing whatever he could to make Smash-N-Break laugh.

Smash-N-Break makes active people look lazy.  He is constantly moving, talking, asking, doing.  He was walking at 11 months, crawling at 6 months.  HeIMG_3579
wanted to ride a bike like Bubba, so we got him a balance bike.  That made him faster.  It was a bad decision.  He embraces life with every fiber of his being.  He is so creative.  He’s smart, just like Roddy.  He just doesn’t have much patience to actually learn.  He loves to laugh.  He loves to eat.  He’s so adventurous.  He’s broken both arms once already, 366 days apart.  If it can be climbed/swung/bounced on, he does it.  He’s so curious.  He likes to try new things, just not new food.  He’s broken so many things around the house. Hence, his name.  I mean, the kid tried to shove a marker up his butt because he wanted to color his poop.

He has ADHD and SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder).  He’s tough, but he also makes me want to be a better mom for him.  My parenting that worked with Bubba doesn’t work with Smash-N-Break.  I’ve felt like a failure more often than not with him.  I just pray he doesn’t resent me when he’s older, and knows I try.

 

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Bubba – Introducing The Adventures Family

So, Plus One said I have to explain all of us. I’ll start with the kids – they’re more entertaining anyway.

Our eldest is Bubba. He’s 7. He’s the result of 3 years of trying for a baby, and giving up. I’ve already given you TMI before, but here comes more! I Bubbadidn’t get a cycle for like 2 years. Then, it came back. Then, I thought it stopped again. I got like one period, and then nada again. I assumed it was just off having a vacation again. It was busy season (CPA here), so I figured stress, 80 hour work weeks, and lack of sleep was causing it. Plus One had gotten a new job, so we were moving from the Western Slope of Colorado back to the ‘burbs of Denver. Plus One asked me to take a test because he didn’t want me lifting bunches of heavy stuff if I was. I was mad that he wanted me to see another stark white test, so I peed on a stick. Boom. Two lines. I didn’t believe it, so made Plus One go buy like 3 more. All of them had 2 lines. We were pregnant!!!!

Bubba was born about 5 1/1 months later. He was one day past term, I just didn’t know I was pregnant for the first 2 1/2 months. That’s the way to go through pregnancy! He was dehydrated from birth and couldn’t’ maintain his temperature, so he was in the NICU for a few days. Then, we got him home. He had acid reflux, and didn’t sleep, but he was otherwise an easy baby. He was born with hypospadias, and had that corrected when he was 6 months old. The day after that surgery, he started crawling. That’s his personality. He was walking and running at about 11 months. I’ve been trying to keep up ever since.

IMG_1003He’s persistent. He gets back up and tries again, sometimes with tears. He’s sensitive and so sweet. He loves to cuddle, and loves to make us laugh. He’s smart as a whip. He inherited my grace, unfortunately. He did get more athletic ability than me (and possibly Plus One). He’s fast. He’s creative. He is passionate (when it interests him). He can clear a room when he farts, too. I’d also rival his burps against a grown man’s. I’m so proud.

He loves Monster Trucks, art, and superheroes. His dream right now is to be an artist who drives Monster Trucks. He sets up Monster Truck shows with his toy Monster Trucks and invites me to watch them. He’s even made me tickets for them as admission. He loves being a big brother, and is so caring and gentle with Smash-N-Break and Littles. He recently taught Smash-N-Break how to swing on our backyard play set. He’s so good about letting them be their superhero of choice on a kind-of even basis. He still is Batman quite a bit. He’ll take the time to drive Littles in the Power Wheel where he wants to go.

He got the good parts of Plus One and I, and seems to not have gotten too much of our bad. I’m so lucky that he chose me to be his mom.

 

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Easy Stuffed Shells Recipe

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After I typed this stuffed shells recipe out I realized I may not be the best at giving directions so sorry if it’s a little jumbled or out of order. Please read it through entirely before you start cooking. Everyone makes them a little differently, as with any dish, and my recipe may not be of much help because I always just kind of wing it but here’s what I’ve got. Please note I do everything to taste so I suggest you do the same if you plan on following.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Dried basil
  • Dried oregano
  • 1/2 box jumbo pasta shells
  • 1-1/2 finely chopped onions (more or less depending on your preference)
  • About 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 lb each ground beef and ground sausage
  • 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 large tub ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • Any kind of sauce you prefer (my grandmother makes her own but I have yet to get her recipe…)
Ricotta & Cottage Cheese for Stuffed Shells Italian Cheese for Stuffed Shells
I use generic as much as possible, it tastes the same and saves a lot through the year.
Instructions:
Bring your pot of water to a boil, you can a little olive oil and a little salt to it. Put your shells in and cook them almost through, but not all the way done as they will finish in the oven. Drain these and CAREFULLY (super hot) separate them so they do not stick together.
While your shells are cooking, you can put a little olive oil in a pan and toss in your minced garlic and onions to cook until soft. Then add your meat and continue to cook, seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Add the spinach last and cook only for a few minutes. Drain your meat of the grease when finished.Sauce & Meat for Stuffed Shells
In a bowl, mix together your meat/spinach, ricotta, parmesan, and HALF of the mozzarella. Also add your basil and oregano and more salt and pepper if you’d like. Since everything is cooked, I taste as I go and determine what else is needed.
Seasoning & Cheese Mix For Stuffed Shells

You will need a baking dish, I usually go with the throw away foil ones you can get at any dollar store because they make for easy clean up. My grandmother uses olive oil to coat the bottom of the dish, I prefer using the sauce. Spoon your bowl mixture into the shells, fill them however full you’d like. I always end up with too many shells or left over ricotta. Arrange them in the dish open side face up. Pour your sauce over the shells, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top, and bake uncovered at 350 until the cheese is nice and bubbly and there you have it. Stuffed shells.

Layer of Meat Sauce On The Shells Shells Stuffed and Resting On Meat Sauce Almost Finished Stuffed Shells

Three Minutes: Peeing On A Stick

Three minutes. Peeing on a stick is the longest three minutes for a woman. And the new First Response tests? Why is the handle so big!? Why did they curve them!? Yes, it’s been a long time since I used a pregnancy test. My husband had the big V when Littles tried to kill me. Like, less than a month later. You listen when your OB says do not have any more children because you may not survive the birth.

Test

Doing this brings up so many emotions and memories. None of my births were easy. Bubba was an emergent c-section due to fetal distress. I’d been induced and went through 12 hours of back labor first. He ended up in the NICU because he was dehydrated and couldn’t hold his temp. Yes, he was full term. My water was broken for 8 of those 12 hours. I believe that he was without fluid too long, plus the distress. NICU moms are badass, y’all. I had my first baby who just needed a little help and I was a wreck seeing him with an IV in his head. They had preemies who were fighting for their life and looking at long term NICU stays. I admire their strength. I ended up with an infection at my surgery sight, and got very sick. That was a week in the hospital for both of us.

Smash’n’Break- the spinal block didn’t work on the inside. Want to know what a c-section feels like? No, you don’t. Really. Trust me on this. It fucking HURT. And fuck the anesthesiologist who said I was just feeling pressure. No, ass cactus, I’m not supposed to be able to kick my OB. And I could. And I did. Sorry, Doctor. But that did get me knocked out. Poor Plus One – I went from whisper-screaming to nothing. He thought I died. Then I snored. Smash’n’Break also had a big head and they had to vacuum him out. Yes, he was a c-section baby that was vacuumed out of my uterus.

Littles. I was so scared. Littles was a welcome surprise because I was too afraid of another c-section to try for another baby.  Side note – breastfeeding isn’t birth control. The doctors actually mean that when they say it. Littles birth was a dream. I felt nothing. Not even pressure. They let Plus One stay with me until I was going to recovery. Littles was there with us, of course. Called my parents to tell them he was here. Brothers met. It was perfect. And then, it stopped being perfect.

I normally don't tell people how close I was...this about sums it up. I almost didn't get to see my kids grow up.
I normally don’t tell people how close I was…this about sums it up. I almost didn’t get to see my kids grow up.

I was in more pain than I remembered from the other two. So I waited longer to try to stand up. It took me 6 hours instead of 4 to try to stand up and walk. That hurt, too. I felt off. I got back in bed, and fainted. All the nurses come in my room. I fainted another 3 times from “massaging” my uterus.  My blood pressure was 60/30. Something was wrong. They did an ultrasound to see what was going on. They could tell there was something wrong there. Too much blood or leftover placenta or something. Okay. Let’s do an emergency D&C. Anesthesia stat. Who walks in but the ass cactus from Smash’n’Break. Fuck. I think I was able to say goodbye to my husband and baby, but it was “go now!” type of emergency. He heard a nurse say as I was leaving “This is what moms die from.” Yay happy times!

 

My depiction of Ass Cactus.
My depiction of Ass Cactus.

They are putting me in stirrups as Ass Cactus is getting me ready. The last thing I heard was my OB telling Ass Cactus that if I feel so much as a poke, he will be castrated. I love my OB. Three surgeries and 8 hours later, I wake up in ICU. I’m told to not move because there is an IV in my femoral artery, and my chances of surviving will improve drastically if I survive without any more surgeries for the next 24 hours. When I ask if I’ll be okay, they tell me they don’t know. I had a placental accreta. It grew through my (thin) uterus and attached to my abdomen wall. When it was removed, I started to bleed out. They did the D&C, an exploratory surgery, and finally a vascular surgery with MRI-type imaging. I’m fuzzy on details and don’t really want to know. Twelve units of blood products later, they hope the magic foam (my term) they used to stop the bleeding works. I’m separated from Littles while in the ICU. The wonderful nursery workers snuck him down to me twice in the 4 days I was in ICU. My mom brought me my other kids with Plus One’s help. The nurses looked past the rules for me. They brought me pictures of Littles and his blanket. They brought me a pump. Plus One helped me pump milk while I was flat on my back. They took care of him while I couldn’t.  Plus One did take care of him, but he also had 2 kids at home and me in the ICU. He had it harder than I did.

Littles is an amazing little boy, I am so lucky to be able to hold him. Plus he makes me "coffee".
Littles is an amazing little boy, I am so lucky to be able to hold him. Plus he makes me “coffee”.

I was eventually released back to L&D and reunited with Littles. Yay! I felt like my world was right again. I was sent home after a week in the hospital. My fantastic FIL and SIL flew from Florida to Colorado to help. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without them. They helped keep the kids, cooked, cleaned. They were a lifesaver. I was released early because he’s a nurse and could help me. I had a drain that I had to empty multiple times a day. I had to measure the output. I was still scared that I would bleed out at home and die. Post partum depression and anxiety hit hard. That will be a later post. Just know it’s real and it’s a bitch.

Whew. Hey look! Ten minutes went past. Better go read the stick. Seriously, this bendy curved design makes light bounce all over the stick…

One line.

 

So why am I sad?