Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In Memory Of Baby Ria

Today Josephine and I did something very special and today, I am finally able to write this post.

One of the cardiology fellows that I call on at Rush turned into my pregnancy partner in the fall of 2007 when we realized we were both pregnant and due in May of the following year just 3 days apart. It was early in our pregnancies, but we were sitting next to each other at dinner at Japanais and being pregnant, both of us refused the raw sushi, so we just knew....and she was just glowing. In the months that followed, all we talked about was being pregnant...test results, morning sickness, comparing our expanding waistlines, ultrasounds, etc!! I still remember when both of us found out we were having girls...then of course the name discussions started. The name Ria was always a front runner.

Now she's someone who will forever be in my heart. The last time I saw her before going on maternity leave, we vowed to get together after our girls were born and we emailed a couple times the week before their due dates to check in...nope, no baby girls yet! Those of you who know me well know this heartbreaking story. When Josie was a couple weeks old I found out that her baby Ria didn't survive. Tragically, this perfectly healthy baby experienced severe trauma during delivery and only lived for a few short days. I eventually saw pictures of her...and she was the most beautiful baby.

Months later, some of her closest friends dedicated a tree at the Chicago Botanic Gardens in Ria's name as a tribute to her little life. And today Josie and I visited it for the first time.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

All Daddy, All Day

One thing that I know for certain in this crazy world is that I chose the perfect father for my children. That I know without a doubt. Thank you for being the daddy that fixes all boo-boos, calms all fears, is the King of fun and the ultimate provider. You are the perfect role model for our girls to measure all men against...to me, there is no better gift. Happy Father's Day D.J....thank you for taking this adventure with me! Now for some pics of our fun day:

Anna & Josie with Daddy before mass
Happy Father's Day Daddy!!

Another special day spent with Katie & Jack

Daddy helping Anna win!

Josie slept through it all

Daddy is so happy...he finally gets his Wii!!

Josie says what she thinks...

Daddy's two favorite things...his girls and the Reds!

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'm So In Love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With my wall portraits! They came in last week and they are even more stunning than I imagined. The images are museum mounted onto wood and are absolutely to die for. I actually teared up when I saw these for the first time. Now I get to see them each and every time I walk into my family room....and each time I do, my eyes can't help but linger a little too long. Andrea, you are so incredibly talented...thank you.

still not better than the real thing.... :-)

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Confessions Of A Worried Mother

Last night was a reaffirming example of all the reasons why I continue to share the story of my postpartum mood disorder struggle after Josie was born. Short of just passing me on the street, if you are pregnant and have been anywhere near my vicinity, you probably know my story. I share it not for any personal benefit, but in hopes that if the listener should have the same feelings, she knows exactly who to call. It's estimated that 20% of women experience a postpartum mood disorder and they believe this is actually underestimated due to all the cases that go undiagnosed and unspoken of. I say postpartum mood disorder because it encompasses a much broader range of postnatal mood problems...from depression to OCD. The number of women who actually may be experiencing any one of these disorders is alarming.

So what causes this? It is truly physical and completely due to the dramatic hormonal shifts that take place during childbirth and the months following, which ultimately effects the chemicals in the brain. As someone who had never spent a day of my life not feeling like myself, I spent months just trying to figure out what was going on. Why was I so worried about my baby? Why did I feel overwhelmed just by the mundane task of taking a shower? Why did I not want to see my friends? What was worng with me?

Not having the resources I needed to understand what was going on, it took me much too long to figure it out. Once I started getting the right treatment, I started feeling better almost immediately. So I've made a pact to myself that all pregnant women that I come across for the rest of my life will hear my story. And even though I've made this pact, each time it's difficult for me. I go into it not knowing how the listener will respond...what will she think of me?...will she think I'm crazy? BUT, I always remind myself that I don't really care what she thinks because if telling my story helps just one new mother, it's worth all the uncomfortable feelings that I may have divulging my own struggle.

The first few times I tried this I honestly wasn't sure if I should keep sharing my story...because I don't just share it with close friends, I share it with almost complete strangers...and it's difficult. But shortly after I started this I received my first "pay off" phone call from an acquaintance who could barely talk she was sobbing so hard. Racked with intrusive thoughts about bad things happening to her new baby combined with feelings of isolation and trouble sleeping, it was immediately evident what was going on. And knowing exactly how she was feeling, I teared up and felt overwhelming hope for her. She didn't know it, but I knew without a doubt that because she made that phone call to me, she'd be feeling like herself again very soon.

Since then I've had 2 others with similar stories call me for help. Each time a new mother calls me, revealing my own struggle becomes more and more rewarding. I just want other women to know that they aren't alone and that they will get better. But last night took the rewarding to a whole new level.

As I was driving home with the girls I received a phone call from one of the mommies who had called me herself after her new baby was born suffering postpartum depression and anxiety (we'll call her Rachel). We got her on the path to recovery quickly and now she's back to work and feeling great. When I answered the phone, she immediately said "Kara, Jenny needs our help...she's not OK" referring to a mutual friend who's baby had just turned a year. Jenny had also recently begun the transition of weaning her baby, which also causes dramatic hormonal shifts. Earlier that day she had confided in Rachel that she was having a difficult time. After describing her symptoms, Rachel knew exactly what was going on...and that she needs help. "This is how we help other women in our community...we pay it forward" she said to me over the phone. She's right, we all need to tell our own stories, support other sufferers and guide them in the direction of recovery. If we all do that, there will be far less suffering. The phone call last night was my most rewarding PPD experience yet...knowing that others are also speaking out and helping others because I helped them and so they are now brave enough to share their own stories. The bond that postpartum mood disorder survivors share is quite remarkable.

I am now a volunteer for the PPD Alliance of Illinois, the IL chaper of Postpartum Support International. If you think you may be suffering from a postpartum mood disorder, please call someone now! There is no need to suffer, this is completely treatable.

PPDIL Hotline: 847-205-4455

Northshore University Systems PPD Hotline: 1-866-ENHMOMS (364-6667)

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

WWE Wrestling Match?

No, just attempting to diaper and dress a 13 month old for bed! I have never known a toddler to detest any form of getting dressed or diapered like Josie and tonight was just a little over the top. As soon as she laid her little eyes on the diaper, the writhing started...you know, the hands over the head, arched back kind of writhing? oh, haha...for fun, I just googled the definition of the word "writhing". Here it is: wiggly: moving in a twisting or snake-like or wormlike fashion. So, ya, that's the right word.

Anyway, she was especially fiesty tonight, but somehow I nailed her to the ground. The real challenge, though, is getting her to stay on her back once she's there....for all of you mommies also struggling with your own little WWE wrestler, I have the answer...here it is: Sitting on the ground in front of the child on his/her back, lift your left leg in the air and gently place your calf across sumo baby's chest. Apply just enough pressure so that the child is pinned and cannot roll. Then grab both of the tantrum kicking legs with your left hand and do your diapering moves with the right. Be prepared, as this manuever will unleash a fury of ear piercing screams and tantrums from your little Hulk Hogan. This move also does not address the dilemma that is getting the child dressed...but, as you attack those flailing arms and legs, at least she'll be dry! :-)

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Wedded Bliss...

...does it really exist??

I spent much of my drive home tonight thinking of all of the things I wanted to blog about and how I wish I had more time to spend writing. I just genuinely love to write. It started as soon as I got the hang of writing all the letters of the alphabet and putting sentences together....I think I started writing books and silly stories immediately. Throughout my years in school, I was constantly told that I was writing at levels far beyond my years. So, why didn't I ever consider a career as a writer or journalist?...maybe even an editor? I really have no idea.

Anyway, so as I was driving home my mind was just racing about all the stuff I'd love to sit down and write about, but seriously do not have the time to do! Then I remembered that I needed to do something for one of my BFF Alex's upcoming wedding and today was the deadline! Hold the phone...I better get cracking! I can't spill the deets b/c it would give away a fun surprise (alex, if you're reading!) So as soon as the girlies were off to dreamland, I sat down with a glass of wine to reminisce. One of the tasks required me to contemplate marriage a bit....hmmm, so does wedded bliss exist?? My answer?...No, not in a long lasting, healthy and mature relationship. Marriage is hard work, well worth fighting for and while I was on-line I found this post below. Well written and well said!!! Let's put to bed the unrealistic expectations that marriage should be all roses and butterflies and rainbows...maybe then the divorce rate would not be as high as 50%.

Marriage is Hard Work

Posted byCynthia PetersonMay 1, 2007
Long after the vows are exchanged and the rice thrown, two people are left to face life together as a team. They have promised to hold their love sacred, forsaking all others. Announcements of staying together for better or for worse, for richer and for poorer have been declared. How is it then that most marriages end in divorce?
I believe that couples tend to focus on the day (wedding) rather than on the commitment (marriage). More preparation goes into the celebration than the union. As a result, when the dust settles and daily life ensues, boredom, frustration and disillusionment set in.
Marriage is hard work. The feeling most identify as “love” or “being in love” is more closely related to “lust”. The passion, the fire, the instant chemistry felt at the beginning of a relationship does not last much longer than the honeymoon. Real “love” is built on trust, daily living, predictability and loyalty. It occurs over time and fully matures as the couple grows together through life’s challenges.
If a relationship is based on the fledgling immature love enjoyed at the onset of a relationship and never matures past that stage the outlook for the marriage is not good. It takes time, dedication, patience and selflessness to nurture a marriage into maturity.
You may not always feel love for your spouse. Do not let that deter you from working on your marriage. Love is not only a “feeling” it is a decision that you make everyday.

I just couldn't have said it any better....and the real thing is honestly so much better than the fantasy!

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

This Is Not A Joke...

...but don't worry, I'm still laughing....


5:00 Dinnertime
5:05 Toddler tantrum b/c she wasn't allowed to pour her own milk
5:07 Time out for Toddler
5:45 Bathtime
6:00 Draining bath water and hanging up towels
Sometime between 5:45 and 6:05 Dog takes a crap and leaves a poo trail up the stairs
6:05 Toddler is screaming for me and pointing at dog poo
6:06 Find Baby playing in dog poo
6:07 Baby gets bath #2 and on to 2nd pair of pajamas
6:25 Baby is confined to crib and screaming bloody murder
6:26 Pick up piles of crap while attempting to keep my cool around the dog
6:30 Get sippy cups with water and start bedtime routine
6:35 Sitting in chair reading books
6:37 Baby barfs all over me, herself and blanket
6:38 We both strip down and Baby gets bath #3 and on to 3rd pair of pajamas
6:45 Brush Baby's teeth and straight to bed
6:48 Toddler is screaming again
6:49 Find toddler in bathroom with poo on her finger
6:50 Wash Toddler's hands vigorously
6:50 Realize poo is hers and ask her if she did a poopy
6:51 Get an affirmative answer and change poopy diaper
6:57 Brush Toddler's teeth
6:58 Toddler has meltdown b/c she wants to brush her own
7:00 Toddler back in time-out
7:03 Toddler straight to bed
7:05 Start poo/barf laundry
7:10 Take carpet steam cleaner upstairs and disinfect the entire 2nd floor
7:30 Glass of wine and blogging

I am not kidding!!!!!!!!! :-)

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Got Press?

Josie does...

Click HERE :-)

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