Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Last Year...

...It's so overwhelming, where do I start?

Had the Zoe - She was beautiful and perfect and amazing and lovely. Although I will say, the hormones did a number on me this time. Rob brought Lucy to come see me in the hospital the second day and I cried like a baby when they left. I actually cried pretty much all night long (Rob was going home with Luce so I was alone). The next day I was fine, but that night alone in the hospital was rough even though Zoe was a dream baby.

Miss Zoe continued to be a dream baby for about three weeks. Then Rob went back to work. Then she turned into a screaming banshee. An adorable banshee, but a banshee. She started screaming at about 8 pm at night and stopped at around 2 or 3 am. That is about 7 hours straight of screaming. She also screamed during the day, but not quite as much or as heartily. We thought, like Lucy, that she had colic. I thought I was going to lose my mind. Rob and I would take turns at night walking her around our room and watching re-runs of Food Channel shows on Netflix. To this day I cannot watch Man V. Food without the cringing.

After a couple weeks of this torture I decided I wasn't writing this off as colic. I took her to the pediatrician who promptly diagnosed her with reflux and started her on Zantac, warning me that it could take a couple weeks to kick in. And just so you know, when they told me that my baby, whose baby screams lasted 10+ hours a day would have to wait a couple of weeks for relief, I cried, as much for me as for her because I knew she was uncomfortable but I was losing my ever-loving mind. Well, Miss Z decided to take full advantage of this waiting time for the meds to kick in and proceeded to scream all the way through them. I even took her to a chiropractor (on the suggestion of a dear friend who worked at the chiro's office and had seen some success in colic/reflux babies). However, I cannot tell you whether it was the chiro or the Zantac that did it but as quickly as she started screaming, it stopped at when she hit about 10 weeks old. I cannot describe to you the relief, for all of us! We loved that baby but I would hear her screaming in my ears even during the day when she was sleeping! Also something that helped, Colic Calm. That stuff is like black gold, even if it ruins every outfit we ever put on her.

I'm not kidding when I tell you I thought I was going to lose my mind with Zoe's screaming, and honestly, I was alone pretty much every day. I had a couple visitors here and there but other than that I was alone until Rob came home at night. Not that there is anything bad about that, but postpartum anxiety + screaming baby + mischievous/rebellious toddler = my volunteering to go back to work right around 10 weeks post partum. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

As soon as I returned to work Z's reflux meds started to work and she was a sweet dream, as my mother tells me. She never screamed and an angel all day, every day. This is me, kicking myself now. Stupid Stupid Stupid.

Let me tell you something about my old job. I worked like a dog. I literally did the job of what a whole team of people usually do for a company of that size. 12-14 hours a day and on the weekends. Everyone there in my department did it.  It wasn't set as an expectation but when everyone else is doing it...yep, I was a sheep. I did it too. You would work all day, usually through lunch. Then go home and EVERYONE would log on late at night for several hours. If you didn't log on, you'd open your email in the morning to a gazillion emails from everyone else who was working last night and would feel like the ultimate slacker for not being one of them (rewards for performance were BIG and everyone wanted to be the top, including me). I loved my team, LOVED them and still do, but I couldn't keep it up. I happened across a job posting on Craigslist and, on a whim, applied for a HR Analyst position at a company literally two blocks away from my current company.

I didn't think anything of it, until I was offered the job and had to give notice at my current job. Well, I don't know if you know this but sometimes, when someone does the work of several people, it's NOT a good thing for them to leave! Panic ensues. So, I offer to stay on, part-time, to help with the transition while they outsourced my (one) position to another company.

There is something you should know about me, I CANNOT do anything half-ass. So, while I'm throwing myself into this new job I was also working full-time on my OLD job until the outsourced. So, let me break this down for you. Wake up, go to work - 9 hours at Job A. Come home, dinner, bath, baby snuggling then at 8:00, when they were asleep, I would log on to Job B until the wee, WEE hours of the morning, usually between 12-2 am. Would also put in over 10 hours each weekend. Total I would say I was working, on average, 80 hours per week. And yes, I still spent as much time as possible with the kiddies. Most of my extra work time was at night and amazingly, at first, I was able to function on an insanely small amount of sleep...for a period of time. At the end I really started to go downhill.

I did this from July 2011 to March 2012. Something else you should know. I raked in the Benjamins. So, no, it was not all for nothing. Which leads us to, what was I going to do with that $$? 

There was a purpose of why I continued to do it. We decided this housing market was our chance to get into something that better fit out expanding family. So, we sold our house. Oh man, was that hard. I looooved our little house, but it was just that, little. Bursting at the seams for a family of four, a dog and two cats. We thought it would be on the market forever with all the hype about the down housing market. Wrong! Listed in September sold by November 23rd. Granted, we took a loss and paid to get out of it, but it was what we needed to do to move on. The sale went so quickly that we didn't even have time to find a replacement property. So we moved in with my Mom who I love and adore but also REALLY, REALLY likes to give "advice" and REALLY, REALLY thinks that I should take EVERY PIECE of advice she every gives me and if I do not she immediately takes offense and gets all huffy and offended for extended periods of time and generally makes me miserable (not necessarily on purpose, it's just the way she is). Which is fine, when you don't live under the same (small) roof and feel like you're going to go all REDRUM on one another if it doesn't end soon.

We found a Short Sale and made an offer. We thought, oh yes, we can wait because its an AMAZING house, GREAT deal, we're SURE those reports of people waiting 6 months for Short Sales is totally an exaggeration. Um, WRONG. Totally NOT an exaggeration. Short Sales are the devil. So started the waiting and waiting and waiting.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to feel...panic. Sheer panic. I feel like I am drowning under the pressure of Job A, Job B, House, Kids, Mom, Husband, Animals. OMG. I call my doctor to let her know I've been short of breath lately and am shaky. Also, terrified that something terrible is going to happen. What if one of the girls falls down the stairs, what if they get cancer, what if we get in a car accident. Cannot. Breathe.

I see the doctor and she, gently, suggests that I should probably 1. take this RX for Zoloft and 2. Speak to a Counselor. I do both.

I'm going to be frank here. I don't think the Zoloft did me any good. Even after waiting a couple weeks I didn't see that much of a difference. On the other hand, the counselling was great. Honestly, the first time I went in it was like. Oh yes, I'm fine, everything is fine but... 


And she's all "Um, Duh?". OK, not in so many words but basically:

  1. I have what appears to be a history of anxiety and depression.
  2. Working 80+ hours a week is not sustainable and is detrimental to your mental and physical health.
  3. I am living with my lovely but HIGHLY opinionated mother in a cramped living space that is not my own.
  4. Rob, who also is lovely, is a totally oblivious to the fact that I am on the edge of a complete breakdown.
  5. I'm not sleeping due to work and the fact that Zoe wakes up every other hour at night. You can go for awhile on less sleep, but then you get to a point that sleep deprivation is TRULY a form of torture.
  6. See above - lather, rinse, repeat.

So, I nixed the Zoloft and continued the counselling. It felt good and finally recognized that we had MORE than enough money in savings and that Job B was more than ready to go on without me and that I needed to be done with all that nonsense like NOW. So, as of March 1 I had one job and it felt incredible. Because really, I hadn't had a normal work-life balance in years. I worked long hours throughout my career at my previous job, including through two pregnancies, and I could not backtrack away from the expectations that I had created for myself at that company. Even though I had been working, very successfully at Job A since July of 2011 I felt like I had a clean slate and man, it felt good.

Fast forward to present. May 2012. Last week the offer on the Short Sale was approved by the major lien holder. We still need approval from the junior lien holders but luckily they are all at the same bank, so there shouldn't be too much haggling now that the main loan has accepted our offer. We're hoping to be IN THE HOUSE by the end of June. Hallelujah!

I'm going to tell you why this house purchase was so worth every penny that I saved. Our old house - 1200 square feet, in a not-so-good neighborhood and a terrible school district (even though we loved it and I wouldn't trade our newlywed and new family years there for anything). New house - 2270 square feet, great, tree-lined neighborhood, solid school district. The best part about it...the difference in our monthly mortgage payments? Less than $100. AWESOME. Thank you terrible housing market and incredible mortgage loan rates! 

Bigger house = more kids? Well I hate to disappoint but I'm not pregnant again...but I want to be. Am I crazy or am I CRAZY? Yes, I want more. At least two more littles hanging around. Probably in another couple years. First, I've got to figure out a couple things about work and being at home and all that jazz. I've got some thoughts up my sleeve, but they're a discussion for a later date.

Some of you have asked about the Rob. My husband, though oblivious to the fact that sometimes I feel like I'm losing my mind, is also incredible. He gets the short end of the stick sometimes, because I'm damn busy, but takes it like a champ. And I promise I'll make it up to him when we're no longer sharing a room with a baby (living with mom, remember?) who decided that as soon as we moved into my mom's house she would STOP sleeping through the night and proceeded to wake up 2-5 times per night until last month (oh sweet relief). 

Speaking of sleeping, we actually made a deal a couple months ago. I get up with the baby during the night and he would get up with her when she woke up at early every morning. Sounded like a good idea at which point she promptly stopped waking up early and then woke up multiple times at night (see mind-losing #5). I didn't say a word because I knew that there would be sweet relief soon enough and I was right. For the past two weeks Z has slept ALL night and gleefully woken up at 5:45 in the morning, at which point I jab Rob in the side with my finger and say "Rob, get the baby". Then I laugh evilly and go back to sleep. To his credit, he has only complained about it once or me. I'm sure he tell grumbles to Zoe every morning when she sees him and demands "UPPY!" at 5:45 am. But she's so dang cute I'm sure he can't be grumpy for long. He hasn't mentioned reneging on our deal yet, but I'm sure there will be an expiration of the deal at some point, but for now I'm going to keep it going for a long as humanly possible!

And peeps, my girls. My girls are amazing. They are the lights of my life. Lucy is so, so smart. It's ridiculous how smart she is. Zoe too. I'm not just saying that. She can count to FIVE people. FIVE. I tell them that, every day. That they are so smart and I love them so,so,so much. Sometimes I feel like my heart could burst into a million pieces because it is just so full of love for them. I cannot even begin to describe them. They are THAT amazing. You'll see. Now that I've brought you up to date with this enormous, rambling post that possibly makes no sense to anyone but me I can start telling you about all their hijinks and adorable-ness going forward. I can't wait.

Phew. That was a lot. Did I lose you all out there?

"And remember that behind every successful a basket of dirty laundry."


AP said...

No wonder you were MIA! I'm glad to hear you will be in your new house soon, and life has begun to resemble something more manageable :) I think everyone should go to counseling- there is something awesome about being able to unload all your thoughts, etc on someone who has absolutely no connection to your life! I had to start seeing one, and I'm only a SAHM to one toddler- I don't know how you didn't have a nervous breakdown! Though good for you for seeing the signs and getting help and making changes :) Cheers!

MrsB said...

Now THAT was a great wrap up, but... :) -,I do not know how American mothers go to work so soon after babies... I do not know how anyone has that much energy to work so much... The main thing is that you stopped and seeked help before it was too late (for a major breakdown) :)

Simona said...

Just WOW. You, woman, are incredible. And if you didn't lose your mind through all this and survived to tell us about it, nothing ever on this world will kill you. Which gives us hope. We're a lot stronger than we think. Of course, we're MOTHERS :-)))

sassyshell said...

Wow! Glad things are settling down! I hope you get into the house soon! :)

Amber said...

I read it all AND it made since! I am glad you are back and you have gotten so much off your plate!

Emily said...

Heck of a year! So it sounds like things will be settling down soon? Which should be great! Remember to take care of yourself. I've been stalking you online since theNest. Back before you had a blog! I don't think I can handle it if you disappear again! ;-)

Sarah H. said...

Loved this post. Thank you for taking the time to write it! No wonder you had no time to blog--WOW! I'm so glad things are much more calm now and you are moving to a bigger place :) I am also so happy you want more kids! I only have one, but want 3 and for some reason people keep telling me I'll change my mind after 2--so it's nice to hear you didn't.

Meredith said...

I'm so sorry things have been rough on you the past year! But I would hate it if you stopped blogging again. I have missed reading this blog! The girls are precious - I have a daughter close to Lucy's age and another daughter (named Zoey) who is 4 months old now. & I'd love 1 or 2 more (I never in my wildest dreams thought I would say that!).

FSD said...

Yikes! What a crazy work situation. I get grumpy when I get extra busy for like 1-2 weeks. I couldn't have worked that hard for so long, but I also have zero family in the area and a hubby that travels weekly.

It sounds like our lives were parallel universes with our second kiddos. Zachary had reflux (we discovered it around 7 weeks) and would scream from midnight until between 3-6 am. It.was.miserable. Unlike Zoe, though, he got relief by the 3rd dose of meds. Thank God!! I went through a bout with PPD, which started to set in when Zachary was extremely fussy. Bonding with him was incredibly difficult. But I can say that I'm completely smitten now.

It sounds like you're in a much better place no. That's great. Congrats on the new home. I hope it's ready by June. Can't wait to see pics. :)

Beth Anne said...

We are the same woman, my friend.

I finally resigned from Microsoft last week because I was doing four jobs & living in my mother's house without my husband & our house is contingent & we're just waiting for our buyer's to sell their home & OH MY GOD.

The only difference is that I crumble without my Zoloft ;)

Unknown said...

I think my favorite part of this is the image of you all going REDRUM on each other. I totally, totally get that. Frankly, I feel that way whenever we stay with my in-laws, whom I really do adore, but after a week I feel like I'm just going to jump out of my skin. So good for you for living with someone else for so long!

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