the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again

by christy on October 29, 2009

Dear Max,

I need to finish up this story so I can get on to other things! Tomorrow we head to Maui for ten days and your first Thanksgiving!

So that Wednesday morning I sat in the cafeteria, reading Brooke Shields’ Down Came The Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression that Sam’s husband had brought me in between the two sessions of weekday visiting hours. I’d been slowly making my way through it, and also spent time writing your birth story (below in this blog). Dr. S came in and asked me if I wanted a day pass to go home and visit you and your daddy. I immediately said “no”, because I didn’t have any money on me for a cab, as I’d given everything valuable to your daddy for safekeeping. Or so I led myself to believe. I’m sure the root of it was that I was just scared. After a little bit I thought about it and how stupid it was to turn down this chance. It would be an opportunity for me to go visit you at home, to see how I felt around you and the apartment, but know that I was going to go back to the hospital that night. So I found Dr. S. and told her I would go, and of course daddy could pay for the cab once I got home.

Leaving the ward was strange and exhilerating. I hadn’t hardly been outside in about three weeks (the last bit of my pregnancy I hardly left home at all – your head was down low and walking took more time than I cared for, and even walking 10 blocks you pressed on my bladder so I’d have to find a bathroom ASAP. Fortunately most businesses are sympathetic to a 9-month-pregnant lady). It was quite cold but it felt great. I was still in mostly maternity gear so I looked a bit worn, and no make-up, but this was a hospital I was catching a cab from.

A lump rose in my throat the closer I got to home, particularly crossing the bridge into Queens. Walking inside felt good, though. Your daddy hadn’t had a chance to do much cleaning (being that he was virtually a single parent of a brand-newborn for a week), so gifts were still in their packaging, my bags from the maternity ward still out, clothes everywhere. So after taking a quick peak at you sleeping soundly in your crib, looking so delicate, I ran around and cleaned and put various things together, figuring I had probably just one more night in the psych ward to get a good night’s sleep. Then I sat down with your daddy and watched some tv and cuddled.

You awoke and I believe I had your daddy feed you. I was still a bit nervous but you were just so beautiful. It was amazing. Our friend Sarah was then on her way to get me back to the psych ward in time, like Cinderella. If Cinderella were rushing away from her loving husband and child to the nurses at the psych ward where she’d be penalized if she were later than 7PM, her alloted time. I was sad that Cathy had left during the day and I didn’t get to say goodbye to her, but since then I’ve seen her and she’s still in my heart.

It had been a good visit and the following morning, I felt pretty ready to go home. Your daddy was set to come in at about 1PM so we could meet with the psychiatrist, a nurse and a social worker, I believe. As the hour drew near, and I’d had breakfast and lunch and attended a class, I grew more anxious, though. I would be leaving the safety of the ward and be back to wear all this had began. You and your daddy arrived and we went in for the meeting. I felt nauseous and my head began to swim and I was dizzy. As everyone entered I began to have a full-on panic attack, but hid it well. I had daddy hold you and I told them how I felt. But we agreed that it was the fact I was discussing it, more than anything, that made me so freaked out, and that I was ready. Not all of my fears and anxiety would disappear overnight, but I had your daddy, and your grandma and Kelsye would be coming to visit soon. We made an appointment to see my psychiatrist, Dr. S, for the first time the following week, and I packed everything up. I asked that my big bottle of detergent be given to the lady who did laundry every night, they gave me back all my electronics, and we left. It was very strange, because in some ways it was sad. Just that morning at breakfast several of us had been hanging out around the cafeteria, talking and laughing. Me and all my “crazy” friends.

But getting home was good. You were wonderful, as usual, as was your daddy. Your aunt Kelsye came a few days later. She was so wonderful. She said that since she would only be there for a couple of days, she would get up every night to feed you, which helped greatly. We didn’t really get to go out. The first time she was in New York City and we didn’t even go into Manhattan. She watched you while your daddy and I went to a movie. That was pretty awesome. Then her last night she and I went out for dinner just down the block, me in my maternity pants and old black shoes, she in a cute little outfit with high heals. But I didn’t care, she was here for me, and that was awesome!

The day after she left your grandma came. She also gave your daddy and I a night or two out. Every morning we watched shows on TLC, like What Not To Wear and 10 Years Younger. We’d usually get out in the middle of the afternoon. She came with me to my first appointment to Dr S. so she could watch you while I talked, telling my story yet again, and we did some shopping for you at Babies R Us. We walked around Astoria and went to the bakery where she got some bread pudding. It was lovely. The week went by fast. She left on a Saturday.

Sunday I had with your daddy and that Monday was to be my first full day alone with you. Under the advisement of Dr. S, I contacted a couple friends to be on-call in case I needed someone to come over and be with me, in case of a panic attack or something. I still didn’t like knives lying around and still had a hard time with even sharp corners of tables. I couldn’t watch the action movies I liked, not even CSI or Bones, and House was hard to watch, even, because of surgeries and murders, any of the like. So I watched things like Survivorman, Meerkat Manor, and Perfect Strangers from Netflix. Your daddy and I had a schedule where I would care for you during the day (he was working from home Tuesdays and Thursdays, though, to help out), he would take the 6:00 feeding while I took the 9:00, then he would do midnight, I would do 3:00AM, he would get 6:00AM, and I would resume at 9:00AM. It worked well, so we each had long stretches of sleep, and you were amazing. So anyhow, that day, that Monday, I’d been nervous about. Your daddy left for work and told me to call whenever I needed, and I asked him to call, as well.

At 11:00 or so, I was changing your diaper. I suddenly looked at the clock, and realized that it hadn’t crossed my mind once to be nervous about being alone with you. No, I was doing ok. And that was the breakthrough moment: I would be ok. You and I would be ok. I wouldn’t let anything happen to you if I could help it, with all my power. I would love you and you would love me.

And I always and forever will.

Love,

Mommy

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