Ye Olde Gag Reflex

I’m so glad Pippa is my firstborn.  She spit up plenty as a baby, but once she got past that, the spit up was over, aside from puking when she is legitimately sick.

I wish I could say the same for Julian.

Julian has a mighty gag reflex. Which, I suppose, is a good thing from an evolutionary standpoint. He still puts tiny things in his mouth, which is less than ideal, but I don’t have to worry about him choking. He’d puke long before it came to that.

For example, today.

At Starbucks.

A crowded Starbucks.

Julian had been eating a peanut butter sandwich. Some crumbs were bugging him.  He started to cough.  And cough. And then whee, he emptied the contents of his stomach on to the floor.

I looked at the line of patrons behind us. They were horrified.  I assured them Julian just has a strong reflux.  Not sure they were convinced.

As I bent down and cleaned up the mess, one woman started to clean up Julian. I looked up and said, “You must be a mom.”

“Yup,” she said, “I have five kids.”

You got to love the kindness of random mothers.

Also, I’m so glad this sort of thing did not happen with Pippa. I was not nearly as strong then as I am today. If Pippa had puked all over a crowded Starbucks, I would have wanted to puke myself.

But today? Meh. I’m sure some people were telling their friends or colleagues about the horrible mother who took her sick child to Starbucks. Doesn’t matter. I still got my iced coffee.

It was delicious.

 

Deleted Scene: Checking the Burners

Here is yet another deleted scene from my forthcoming memoir about postpartum depression.  This scene comes from a chapter about the OCD rituals that I developed during the postpartum months.  

Our kitchen had a 1950s stove with gas burners that sometimes went out.  Even before we had Pippa, the stove terrified me a little.  I checked the burners every day to make sure they were lit.  If I discovered an unlit burner, and Nathan was home, I scurried out of the kitchen and held my breath as he struck a match with an extra long stick.  That way, if a fireball erupted, I could drag Nathan to safety.

If I was home alone, I opened all the windows and turned on the ceiling fan.  After a few minutes, I would lean as far from the stove as possible before lighting the match. 

It was not long before the stove was added to my nightly rituals.  While walking from front door to back, I would pause and hover my hand over the burners to feel the heat of a lit flame.  Not trusting myself, I then crouched down on the floor and looked until I had visual confirmation of each little blue flame. 

Soon, I was checking the burners every time I walked through the kitchen.  Since the kitchen is in the middle of our house, that meant I was hovering/crouching at least a dozen times a day.  Sometimes, if I was feeling extra anxious, I passed my palm against the burners so I could really feel the heat.   

More than once, I felt compelled to check a burner just after using it.  I would press my palm on the burner itself and gasp as the metal scorched the skin.

I did not mean to burn myself intentionally, but the pain felt good.  So long as my palm ached, I knew the burners were lit and Pippa was safe from invisible toxic fumes.  And for a few minutes, my palm would hurt so badly, it would even eclipse the anxiety.

Deleted Scene: Alcohol and Depression

I am revising my memoir about having a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder and sharing deleted scenes here on the blog. In this scene, I talk about the effects that wine had on my postpartum depression.  My psychiatrist told me it was fine to drink an occasional glass of wine, but wine actually exacerbated the symptom of physical fatigue.  

Early on in my treatment, I asked my psychiatrist if I could still drink wine.  He told me it was better to avoid alcohol but an occasional glass would not make my head explode.

In college, I drank more than my fair share.  My friends could humiliate me with many tales regarding Courtney’s inebriated antics.  But after college, I only got drunk a few times.  The hangovers were too brutal.  The last time I have ever been drunk was December 30, 2006.  (The culprit: red wine.  When I moved out of my apartment in September 2010, there was a still a pink stain on the carpet next to my bed.) 

Nathan and I have never been drunk together, but we have shared many bottles of wine.  We love the movie Sideways and have gone wine tasting in Santa Barbara County at least a half dozen times.  We love the whole experience: driving along windy country roads, past vineyards and horses; sniffing and sipping several different wines; tossing around pretentious descriptors like “smoky” and “forest floor.”  Our trips to wine country were always relaxing and romantic.

One of my favorite bloggers often wrote about the trips she took to tropical islands with her husband while her mother watched the baby.  Her parents were divorced, and she thought these weekend getaways were vital to the health of her marriage.  I read her blog posts as if they were written by God Himself.  If Nathan and I did not go on a romantic getaway immediately if not sooner, our marriage would turn to ash and dust. 

Never mind the fact that our marriage was showing no signs of wear or tear.   In my mind, a romantic getaway was imperative, and the getaway had to happen in wine country, and if we went to wine country, by God, I would have to be able to imbibe at least three glasses of wine during the day.

OR TERRIBLE SHIT WOULD HAPPEN.

In the hopes of rebuilding my alcohol tolerance, I made myself drink a glass of wine at least once every two or three weeks.  I did not enjoy these drinks.  Before I got pregnant, a glass or two of wine made my body hum pleasantly.  Now every sip of wine made me feel edgier and edgier.  It felt as if I was forcing myself to drink poison.

Months after my psychiatrist said the occasional glass of wine was fine, I finally noticed something: there was a cause-effect relationship between my fatigue and the wine.  If I had a glass of wine with dinner, then the next morning, my depression-fatigue kicked in and I felt as if I was being dragged into hell by Satan himself.  

If I wanted to avoid my fatigue episodes, I would have to stop drinking wine and abandon my Santa Barbara romantic getaway dreams.

To wine or not to wine?  It took me all of 0.8 seconds to answer that question.

I stopped drinking wine in February 2014. 

Nathan and I are still very much happily married.