Why do I always feel the need to write at midnight? I should be sleeping. I always regret this the next day, but I know I'll toss and turn in bed if I don't get the thoughts out of my head.

I distinctly remember the last time I wrote about "curveballs." I had just arrived home from my best friend's wedding in Utah and had taken a 4th pregnancy test only to receive the same answer that I was pregnant. In disbelief, Tim and I looked at the positive sign in our tiny Peoria apartment, wondering how we were going to have another baby since we had just had a baby 3 months earlier.

I typed the words: Sometimes life throws you curveballs; just don't let them knock you down.

Life has thrown quite a few curveballs at us in recent months. Some good, some bad, some already forgotten. Somehow we are still standing, even though several curveballs have gotten close enough to knock us down. Tonight as I repeated some of my fears and concerns to Tim, I could feel my chest tighten with anxiety, but then almost as quickly as the anxiety filled my chest, peace filled my heart, and I remembered these thoughts from 5 years ago.

What I didn't know when I looked at those pregnancy tests was that I would miscarry several weeks later. I didn't know that my heart would shatter in a million pieces following that miscarriage. I didn't know that I could experience postpartum depression after a miscarriage. I didn't know I would doubt God, religion, and life. I didn't know I would stop believing in everything all together for a time and wallow in a very dark place. And I didn't know that I would somehow find the ability to push forward until I could breathe again.

I didn't know any of that when I wrote those words. I think I wrote them trying to will my brain into believing them. It didn't totally work. But I believe it now. I believe life has a way of working out, even if that means we feel pain for a bit. Things will be okay. I have faith in God. I believe He has faith in me. He will guide me through the spinning curveballs and lead me to where I need to be. He always has.

My Timmy

Timmy is 5 months old today. I'm not really sure how that happened, but it did, and I'm not really sure how I feel about it. Last night I started looking at old pictures of him on my phone, and I started to cry. I just loved him as a cuddly newborn. He is more than double his birth weight now and could literally eat that little baby from 5 months ago. I think he'd jump at the chance.

He is in a state of constant movement--his arms and leggings kicking out every which way. It's impossible to get a clear picture of him. When I lay him on the bed, he immediately tries to pull himself up but doesn't quite have the stomach muscles for that yet. He rolls over and moves all around his crib; I believe he'll be more active than Birdie ever was as a baby. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I think Birdie will stay in a crib until she's married. She has no desire to move or change her current world. Timmy, on the other hand, will be different. He already babbles and coos more than she does. I love his raspy little voice; it's amazing how different it is than the girls. Everything about him different, actually, and I love it.

I think I love the most about Timmy is the way he looks at me with absolute adoration. He smiles biggest for me, and I need that. Because he's my last baby I really need that. (My heart still aches that there will be no more babies, even though I know it is the smartest thing for our family.) I am so grateful for him, and I wish everyone could have a baby like him.

The Outerbanks Part 2

We didn't make any specific plans while at the Outerbanks (except celebrating Cathy's birthday), so we had lots of time to just come and go at the beach as we pleased. My girls are water babies. They spent more than half their summer in a pool so a beach was a welcome change, but they enjoyed it just the same and maybe more. Cathy and Tim purchased boogie boards for the kids, which was just as much fun for the adults when we were able to steal a few minutes away and hop in the water. Towards the end of the trip, Tim's dad told the story of the great white ape, and although my kids have heard it before from their dad, it was fun to watch Tim tell it to all the grandkids.

I think my favorite part of the trip was that I was able to read a 500 page book in 5 days. I forgot how much I love to read, and given the chance, I will read as much as I can in the time allotted. Another fun memory I think I will always love is running the Outerbanks 5K with Joan. Both of us had babies this summer so I think it is pretty amazing we pushed ourselves to get through that.

I think the girls would say their favorite part of the trip was the beach (on the days the jellyfish larvae and crabs weren't all over in the water), the warm, made-to-order Duck Donuts (please get these if you're ever visiting the Outerbanks), and grandpa and grandma. I kinda wish the trip lasted longer. Going home was pretty lame, but we all got over it and have found our way again in boring old north Texas.

The Outerbanks Part 1

Nearly two months ago we spent a week at the Outerbanks in North Carolina with Tim's family. The memories are so sweet and happy still in my heart. It was a week that will not be forgotten. I'm embarrassed that it's taken me so long to upload the pictures, but it was difficult to do so with Timmy sleeping in our room. He is now in his own room so I am taking a minute today to start posting a few pictures. 

Understanding postpartum depression

I've been fairly open about my postpartum depression (PPD). Some people shake their heads at this, and sometimes I get disapproving phone calls or messages, telling me that perhaps I should deal with things in a more private manner.

I absolutely disagree. Before I had Timmy, I read a story about a mother from Utah that suffered from PPD after her 5th child. She had never experienced PPD before, and the effects of the disease crippled her in the most tragic way. She died as a result of PPD, and she was seeking professional help and had the support of her family and friends. 

I remember aching for her young family and grieving husband, and I remember hoping I would not suffer from the disease after Timmy's birth; I felt, perhaps foolishly, that I had already been through so much during my pregnancy that I might sail through postpartum easily. Within weeks, I realized this would not be the case. Because I had been diagnosed with PPD before, I recognized the signs. I expressed concern to Tim and my closest family and friends and immediately received love and support. 

The thing about PPD is that it's never the same. It changes from woman to woman, and baby to baby. My experience with it after my miscarriage was much darker than what I currently feel (so much so that I even wondered if there was a God). I received an email a week ago asking me if I was not connecting with Timmy, and although it is a valid question (because most people associate PPD with not connecting with children or wanting to hurt oneself or the baby), this has not been my experience with Timmy. In fact, he and I have a very special bond. His smile feels like sunshine; it hits me with such a wave of warmth that I truly feel special everyday. So for those of you wondering how I'm doing with Timmy, the answer is remarkably well.

So if that is not my problem, what is? I feel I am in a constant state of spinning, like I'm standing in the middle of a tornado, and I can't quite grasp solid ground. I reach out, but things and people slip through my fingers. It is exhausting and overwhelming. I continuously feel like I'm letting people down, and I apologize so much that I'm tired of apologizing. I feel like wearing a shirt that reads: I'm sorry. It's probably my fault. Obviously I'm not always at fault, but my brain refuses to process that fact so I just feel a lot of exhaustion and guilt, which leads me to feel sad and angry a lot. More than a lot. I have a difficult time enjoying myself because I never get to relax. Every moment of life is calculated; I am excellent at multitasking, which is great, but it also means I don't rest. I'm always doing 3 things at once, and I almost feel like I'm failing at 1 or more thing. 

So that's where I am. I want you to know I have superb help, and I do feel a lot of love. After having a severe panic attack on Sunday, I have been the recipient of so much goodness. A friend took my kids to church, fed them dinner, and let them play so I could rest. My neighbor helped me pick everything off the ground so I could sweep and vacuum any potential fleas. On Monday, a friend helped me fold 10 loads of laundry and she took Elle home with her to give me an afternoon break, another friend took over my duty at carpool this morning, and another friend watched Timmy and Felicity while I went grocery shopping this morning. 

My world often feels crazy, but even with the constant crazy, there is so much goodness. So much kindness. I am undeserving of much of it, but I am grateful for all of it. I hope I grow out of PPD as time goes on, but while I'm experiencing it, I'm learning to do less.


Tuesday night confession: Tim and I watch a lot of Family Feud. We may or may not have a thing for Steve Harvey. ;)

Help me erase the last 10 days

I'd like to erase the last 10 days.
Nearly 90% of each day was a living hell.
There were a few shining moments.
Like when Elle told me I was a fun mom.
Or when Genevieve wrote me a note declaring I was the best mom ever.
Or when I played soccer in a dress with Mya after her practice, and she beat me badly.
Those were a handful of good times.
The rest of the moments felt pretty dark.
Full of carpet beetles, larvae and fleas.
And mulloscum--a contagious skin rash spreading rapidly on Genevieve's body.
I'm fairly sure I stopped breathing a few times.
Only to be revived and reminded I still had 10 loads of laundry to fold.
My chest has felt so tight and heavy.
My eyes are so damn tired.
And I keep praying tomorrow will be better.
Postpartum has been real bad lately.
I thought it would get better with time, but it seems to be getting worse.
Like I said, I'd like to erase the last 10 days.
Soon they will be a distant memory.
But today they are so raw and real
And my wounds are still so fresh.
I'll collect myself soon.
I promise.