You Capture Autumn - Fallen

For weeks now, I’ve enjoyed Beth’s You Capture carnival, which is hosted at her fabulous blog I Should Be Folding Laundry . This is my first time joining the party, and while I know my picture isn’t your typical autumn portrait, I hope my words will explain why this captures fall best for me this year.

It has been such a weird autumn.

Not only has the weather been downright bizarre – our September was hotter than our August, for example, and October has been freakishly cold and gray and rainy – but I’ve been dealing with the first trimester blahs.

I normally glory in this time of year. It’s so beautiful. The sky is bluer than the brightest peacock, the leaves shine like jewels. The air is crisp, the apples are juicy. We spend every minute we can outside and marvel at the extravagance, even as we ache at its fleetingness.

But not this year.

In fact, looking back over the last few months, I’ve decided that I actually had first trimester depression (which is not a technical medical condition, as far as I know, but stick with me here). I’ve never known post-partum depression, but I’ve had friends who’ve grappled with that dark beast, and I feel like I’ve had my own wrestling match the last few weeks. I hate feeling sick, and dealing with nausea 24-7 for weeks on end drains every ounce of optimism I have. I live in a fog of hopelessness. I isolate myself, mostly because I don’t have the energy to be anything other than a blog. But I also hide in my cave because I’m miserable that I can’t do anything to stop this downward spiral.

I think this depressed lethargy might explain why I didn’t start taking the Unisom-B6 earlier in the pregnancy. As I mentioned in this post, my husband was incredulous when I said I hadn’t been taking Unisom-B6. I protested that it was really due to the fact that I couldn’t find it, even though I knew I had a stash somewhere in the house. He shot back: “But I would have happily gone to the drugstore and bought more! Why didn’t you just ask?”

I had no answer. No answer that made sense, anyway. I guess I just felt so miserable, I didn’t think it could ever get better. “I will be sick like this for the rest of my life,” was a thought that hung at the periphery of my brain. “I will probably die this way.”

I couldn’t even pray. It felt like God’s light couldn’t penetrate my fog. I was alone, miserable and completely without hope.

Stupid? Absolutely. Real? Unfortunately yes.

My experience, small in scope as it was, has given me a new compassion for people who deal with lifelong disability. They must have to fight that battle on a daily basis. Life loses its luster when you don’t feel good. I have a renewed energy to pray for those I know who deal regularly with disease, pain and frustration. Lord, be so very near.

I say this all so you can know: I am getting better. I’m starting to feel again, which is a gift, and I’m starting to regain a sense of hope.

I even see a seed of beauty in this season, this strange autumn that has been more bluster than beauty.

For in the midst of the fallen, there is promise for the spring.

Pregnancy Journal: Baby Bump

Is it ordinary for a woman -- even one of advanced maternal age -- to sport a baby bump at 12 weeks?

More importantly, is it right?

That's the question I'm exploring over at 5 Minutes for Parenting today. Come join me. (And yes, I'm the preggo in question. As soon as I sign off here, I'm sorting through my maternity clothes. So. Weird.)

It's Like A Virtual Baby Shower

You know what cracks me up about baby showers -- besides the annoying games? ("I'm going to show you a tray of baby things and then you'll have five minutes to write down everything you can remember!" Look, lady, I'm lucky to be here remembering my own name. Can we just eat some cake and open some presents?)

The fact that talk inevitably turns to all things pregnancy and childbirth-related. It's like a lure no one can resist. Once someone says, "With my first, I was dilated to 2 at four months. But I was still a week overdue...," we're off and running.

(Not so coincidentally, this is also the time when all men in a 5-mile radius perk up their ears and hear the warning siren that says, "Run for the hills! They're talking labor!")

Anyway. The idea that we women can't resist pregnancy stories is the idea behind my new Pregnancy Journal over at 5 Minutes for Parenting. It's been going on for a couple of weeks now, but I was so tired last Wednesday, I neglected to point you to the post I did on "morning" sickness. (Note: The comments on that post made my whole week.) And today, I share my thoughts on pregnancy dreams. Get ready for some bizarre.

I hope you'll join me over at 5MP every Wednesday, if you don't already, so I can hear some of your stories. This is most likely my last pregnancy, so I'm trying to take advantage of all my accumulated history and wisdom (snort) and write it all down.

Something tells me, I'll never miss the nausea, though.

Miracle Drug

Saturday night, I found my hidden stash of Unisom and B6.

It was at the very bottom of my box of maternity clothes, stuffed down with the medical paraphernalia the hospital sends home with you after you've had a baby. I have no idea why I didn't look for it there sooner. Maybe it has something to do with living in the pit of misery every moment of every day for the last six weeks. Or maybe I was just being lazy.

All I know is, I was thinking once again, "Maybe I should send Corey to the drug store to get me some Unisom and B6 because I think that helped the nausea last time," when I had an ephiphany about where it was located.

After I consulted the Internet about the correct dosages, I cut my Unisom pill in half, grabbed a B6 and popped them all with my prenatal vitamin. Then I fell into bed and lay in the dark, waiting for sleep to descend so I could fall into oblivion and escape the nausea for a few hours.

And lo, I woke up Sunday morning, and I felt better. Not perfect, not second-trimester pregnant, but better. When I shared the news with Corey, my husband looked at me like I was a total dork and said, "I can't believe you haven't been taking this all along. You took it religiously with Teyla, and you said it made a huge difference."

So I went to church and drank my tea and ate lunch at Chipotle. I felt queasy, but never nauseous. I even managed to get through the afternoon and evening, which is usually the worst time of the day for me, without laying on the couch and sending death wishes skywards.

Needless to say, I took my miracle drug again last night. And I woke up this morning with the same, "I don't feel awful" revelation.

But now, I can't wake up. I don't know if the caffeine withdrawal is setting in a month after I gave up coffee (because it is boiled mud to me in the first trimester) or if the Unisom is stacking up in my system. Either way, I've fallen asleep three times already this morning while the kids are destroying the house around me. (One time, I woke up to find Teyla playing with the tube of Desitin. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!)

But I'm not nauseous, and for that, I'm thankful. I think I'll go have some toast and tea. And this time, I'll make it black.

Pregnancy Journal

I'm over at 5 Minutes for Parenting today, sharing the first update in my Pregnancy Journal. It's something I brainstormed as I was laying on the couch last week. (Which should mean it's highly suspect, given the state of said brain at that time, but whatever. I'm going with it.)

The idea is that I'm not a new player to the pregnancy game. I've walked down this road three times before (four if you count the miscarriage). I have thoughts and opinions and trends. What if I were to reflect during this final pregnancy on the joys and tribulations of childbearing as we know them today?

What I don't want is for the journal to be a record of how much I weigh (God forbid), what I ate for breakfast and how developed the baby is at 9 weeks, 2 days. Those are just the statistics. I want it to be a more of a record of what pregnancy is -- the crazy, the amazing, the wonderful.

And my favorite part is -- moms share this worldwide. It's one of those bonds that pulls us together and gets us talking (and, coincidentally, scares the bejeepers out of our husbands). So I hope you'll join me at 5MP each Wednesday and add your voice to the journal. We're in for a crazy ride.

The Excuse

If my blog were to get a grade right now, it would get a D for updating. I've been horrible the last few weeks. Not only have I not written here much, I've even put off posting over at 5 Minutes for Parenting a couple of times.

But I have an excuse.

I'm pregnant.

And because I'm me, that also means I'm nauseous all day every day until I reach the end of the first trimester (which should happen in roughly 24 days, not that anyone's counting). And nausea isn't the best muse.

I also came down with a killer cold last week, one of the worst I've ever had in my life. And since I'm in my first trimester, I can't take any medicine. Breathing, which I hear is important, has become my new daily focus, consuming all my time and energy.

I wanted to pop in here and let you all know because, well, I really love my readers. So many of you have become friends that it felt wrong not to share this joy. (And while it doesn't feel very joyful right now, as I crawl through each day trying to take care of the kids while Corey is one back-to-back business trips, I know deep in my heart that this is joy abundant.) I even got to see the baby's heartbeat at an OB appointment last week, and that was both exciting and reassuring.

I also wanted to tell you that, while I'm not commenting much, I am online a lot, looking for a way to distract myself from the bleh. I'm praying and laughing and thinking and encouraged because of you and your posts. Thank you.

And now, I'm off to my regular perch on the couch, where I will blow my nose and try to entertain Teyla and Connor without actually doing anything. Maybe I will teach them the Quiet Game. That's also a hit, right?