enough

First, thanks to y’all out there who email to check on us when I haven’t posted in a while – I appreciate it a lot.

I haven’t written lately because my head’s been in such a bad place. Maybe that’s the PERFECT time to write, but really, its been pretty bad. And I have lots of IRL friends and family who read this, and I don’t want to worry anyone.

I have just been so FRAPPIN ANGRY lately. Angry at Mike because he’s out of town AGAIN. Angry at Emmett for being so hard to take care of – seriously, the boy cries for literally hours every day, whether I’m playing with him, holding him, etc. He’s lost a little weight again, and almost every feeding is again, a struggle. And I don’t know whether he’s frustrated at his inability to do anything, whether he just hates me, whether that’s just his personality, whether he doesn’t feel good, or what. All I know is that I don’t do very well with the constant crying. If you’re going to cry while I’m holding you, trying to comfort you, then after a while I’m just going to let you cry in your crib – at least I can shut out the crying for a bit. And I would expect this in a younger baby – O has colic when he was tiny, and cried unless you were walking him around, but Emmett is almost 8 1/2 months old. The scariest thing to me is that, who knows, we may be stuck in this stage for months or years…if it is just a stage.

Anyway, all of this leads to anger at myself – for being at the absolute end of my rope, for not being a better wife for Mike, for not being a better mom to Emmett, for (Lord help me) just not loving Emmett as much as I do O and Y. And I don’t think that the fact that he’s adopted has much to do with it. I think that I am still having such a hard time with the fact that our lives will probably never be ‘easy’again, and that this child might never be able to live independently, and that our whole family’s life (well, not Mike’s really) revolves around him, and that he just acts like he really, really, really DOESN’T LIKE me the majority of the time. He likes the boys, he likes being around other people – but alone with me – he HATES it. Which makes all the sacrifices we’re making a little hard to take. I think I could take almost any problem, almost any developmental delay, anything, if he would just act like he liked being around me, or if he acted like he was at all enjoying life.

Man, I am having a really bad few months here, people. I tried not to have really high expectations about our attachment process before we went to get him – we knew it was going to be really difficult. But I never expected it to be this hard. Any of it. And the worst is, what if it really never gets any better? Maybe he’ll have RAD – one of my worst fears. Maybe he’ll be in this infant stage indefinitely. Maybe he’ll never love me.

As I was telling a friend the other day, I just can’t think about the long term, because its just too scary to think about – we don’t even yet know the scope of all of his problems. But that makes it really hard to live in the here and now when the here and now is downright terrible.

So all of this is going around in my brain day after day, all the time, and I just feel worse about myself every day, and finally, I have had enough. So I took myself to the doctor the other day, and requested an anti-depressant (so much for us adopting from China one day). Tons of my friends have recommended that I get on one, even before we brought Emmett home, because of my anxiety problem. I have always resisted. Until now. Because I am done with being so awfully miserable.

So I hope this drug works – it’s celexa. Jennifer, I might be calling you soon for dosage instructions :). Of course, I can’t start it yet – I have to wait for the pregnancy test to get back. That should REALLY be negative, and the results should be back on Monday. I’d go and buy one at the store if me and the kids weren’t all sick. Oh yeah, did I mention that part?

Also that Emmett threw up all over Y’s feet this evening (the freak-out from Y was kind of amusing, I must admit)?

Okay – enough of the krazy. Emmett’s heart surgery has been scheduled for Dec 22 in London. Him and I will go down there this Wednesday for a day of pre-op testing. So he’ll definitely be in the hospital over Christmas, which sucks, but is really the only good time for us, because at least my mom can be here. I mentioned to the boys that we might be having Christmas in a hotel room, and they were not at all into that idea, unless we could take our tree and all of our ornaments with us.

So maybe we’ll do Christmas early. Or maybe, if the surgery goes well, one of us can come home for Christmas and have it with the boys. Or…anyone have any other ideas? I’d like to tell the boys to just suck it up, we’ll have Christmas in the hotel, but remember, they are only 2 and 4, and their lives have been drastically changed in the last 3 months. If they want to have Christmas with our own tree and our own ornaments, I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Please start praying for Emmett’ surgery and recovery to go alright. This will be open heart surgery – they’ll stop his heart and put him on a bypass machine while they fix the hole and widen his stenosed vessels. Please pray hard, not only because he needs it, but because I think I will die of guilt if he doesn’t pull through, because I am so angry, because I don’t love him enough. Jeez, Lauren, selfish much?

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18 Comments

Filed under attachment/babywearing, health issues

18 responses to “enough

  1. Sarah

    Not selfish, just human and tired! Call you later!

  2. Donna Hassen

    Lauren,
    I have the upmost respect about what you have been doing with Emmett. You love him but it would get so hard not to resent him after all the care you have been giving him. That is just human nature. And that definitely is not being selfish (just human). Keep your chin up and I hope the surgery goes great.
    Donna Hassen

  3. Jeannie

    Lauren, You have no reason to feel bad for ANY of your feelings and frustrations. I babysat my perfectly healthy 4 month old niece the other night, and she screamed for over 30 minutes. I nearly lost my mind. She wouldn’t let me hold her, so I put her down. I felt guilty for not holding her. Repeat. No SANE person could do what you are doing and NOT be pissed off and sad and overwhelmed and afraid. I mean, I’d worry about you more if you were writing that everything is hard but you’re feeling just fine. I’m glad you took a step to help yourself out a bit. Are you eating??
    Christmas…that stinks. But I really believe that this surgery will make him feel better, at least in the long run. From what you told me, his body is probably worn out from his heart having to work so hard. It’s scary to think about such a little guy having such serious surgery, but I have a feeling that this will help him and you guys out a lot. It is my hope but also my gut — if that means anything 🙂
    I’m sending you a big ole mess of hugs right now. Wish I could do more, though.
    I love you!

  4. Beth

    I’m so glad to hear some news from you. I know you well enough to know that when you stop writing, you’re feeling bad. Or things are going bad with E.

    I’m so glad that you went to see the dr. If the celexa doesn’t work, there’s another one called Lexapro. It’s actually a newer form of celexa…or what drs usually prescribe over celexa. Celaxa is good. Lexapro is really good too. There is NOTHING wrong with getting on an antidepressant. Maybe it will help you get a different perspective on things.

    Don’t feel bad or guilty for the way that you’re feeling. Everything you’ve said are the exact thoughts I’ve had just thinking about your situation. Having a severely sick child was not something you were prepared for. And to feel like you aren’t bonding has got to make the feeling worse. I know there are times when Griffin will have a bad day and it won’t matter if I’m holding him or not…he’ll just fuss all day. And by the end of the day, my nerves are shot. I can’t IMAGINE if the child was crying for hours every day. I would feel the same way you are feeling.

    My heart hurts for you. I wish I could help you out and be there for you physically. All I can do right now is send lots of love and prayers your way. Please know that you are in my thoughts daily. I’ll be sending lots of prayers for E and for the surgery. I think the surgery will make him feel a lot better. His tiny body is working so hard right now.

    One idea for xmas: What about buying a litty xmas tree and bringing along one string of lights? The boys can each pick a few of their favorite ornaments to put on the tree in the hotel. That way they can have a tree.

    Keep writing. And stop feeling so guilty….I know…easier said than done!

  5. Lauren,
    I’m so sorry things are so difficult with Emmett right now. You and he have been through so, so much, and so have your other boys.
    Could you get a small tree to have in the hotel room so the kids still feel like it is Christmas? Maybe make it seem like some kind of Christmas adventure? I know they want to have Christmas with their own tree and ornaments, but in the long run I think what they’ll remember (if they remember this Christmas at all), what will be important to them, is that they had Christmas with everyone together as a family.
    As far as seeming like he hates being around you, and I could be totally off base but I’m going on my own parenting experience here (since that’s all I have) . . . Could he maybe just need extra stimulation? NOT that you aren’t doing everything you can. Please don’t take it that way. It’s just that one of my girls was the most horrible baby. Once the colic cleared up she was still crying all the time — except for when I had her out around other people, in the grocery store, in the mall, just anywhere that had new sights and sounds and commotion. Oh. my. word! She needed commotion. The first time we took her to Chuck E. Cheese and I just wanted to run out the door screaming because of all the noise and flashing lights? She was the happiest I had ever seen her, and was totally at ease. She needed commotion around her. So, and again please don’t take this personally, could he be bored in addition to not feeling well? I probably sound like a real nut job now, but I’ve seen the baby boredom first hand, so I just thought I’d throw it out there.
    I wish there was something more concrete I could do to help. I’d be glad to take Emmett for the afternoon to give you a break from the crying if I could. I know how hard the non-stop crying is (see colic and grumpy baby stuff above).

  6. Oh Lauren, you are just so human and I can relate to everything you’ve written. The anger, the guilt, the fears. My situation never was as complicated or as difficult as yours, so it would be totally off-base for me to say I’ve been there or anything, but I can empathize to a degree. I just can’t even imagine having all the medical concerns on top of the rest.

    I have felt that range of emotions with Shane and he, too, turned into a grouchy kid who was miserable to be around because he fussed and complained CONSTANTLY. It wasn’t always that way with him, which is where my guilt came into play, but it started after Finley was born and he was not getting the attention he needed. I know E.’s situation is different, but I really do believe both your feelings AND his attitude are just symptoms of where you are with the attachment stuff. It’s a process, and like Shane and I had, I would bet that you and E. have had many setbacks because of the medical stuff, hospitalizations, Mike’s travel, etc. I HATED myself for getting so frustrated with Shane, for not loving him more, for having such significantly less patience with him than I had for Jack or Finley, and for just being instantly irritated with his cry. I started worrying that we’d really messed up, that I might never feel the same degree of love for him as I do for my other 2 kids, that he was always going to make our lives so hard, turn every could’ve-been-fun family outing into a nightmare, that he was going to be forever resentful of me for being such a crappy mom to him, and that he was ultimately going to develop RAD because I sucked that much.

    Well, THANK GOD, it’s almost a year after we first met him and it’s taken me this long to turn it all around. I’ve discovered that it’s not at all his personality to be an unhappy, grumpy whiner. He’s a sweet, happy, affectionate, loving little guy underneath it all, and I love and adore him more than I ever thought possible. We’re still on the journey, but we’re in such a good place that I couldn’t see 6 months ago. I think he’s just now getting through his frustration and finding his place and his role in our family. I don’t know if it was the chicken or the egg – did I open my heart fully to him once he showed me a different side of himself, or did he show me a different side of himself because I’d finally been able to let myself bond with him? I don’t know, but either way, we are in a different place now and I thank God every day for that.

    I truly believe Emmett will be a different kid in a year from now too, once his surgery is a thing of the past, once his blood draws, GI issues, and every other painful thing in his system is better. This attachment stuff truly is a journey, and it WILL get better for you guys. I know that in my heart, I truly do.

    As for Christmas, since your guys are so little, they probably have no idea what calendar day, day of the week, etc., it is, right? Maybe you could go all out and tell them it’s Christmas Eve, celebrate Christmas before E.’s surgery. Then you could just do something special on the 25th in the hotel (maybe you and Mike could exchange gifts and fill their stockings once more in the hotel room?) and just say it’s one more celebration of Thanks since Emmett’s surgery will be done. Just a thought. We wanted Jackson to have the Christmas experience so badly last year, but were in VN again, so we had “Christmas in February,” and it was a blast. He didn’t know the difference!

    Sorry this was a novel. I just also want to say that I’m really glad you’re starting Celexa and that you’re taking care of yourself. I hope it at least makes things more even keel for you during this really difficult, stressful time in your life.

  7. Jennifer

    Oh sweetie. What you are going through is so very normal given the circumstances. Not that it helps to know it’s normal, or maybe it does help at least a little.

    You are going through a grieving process and anger is a part of that process. I’d be angry too. You didn’t sign up for this. This is not what you had in mind. Yet, here you are. And there’s nothing you can do but put one foot in front of the other and do your very best.

    But you are human, and you’ve got a breaking point. I am so very glad to hear you got some meds. I’d rather see you on Lexapro, and my earlier offer stands. Celexa is good, but Lexapro is an isotope of Celexa. They took the good part of Celexa and isolated it, knocking off much of what causes typical SSRI side effects, and voila! Lexapro was born.

    Either one of them should, in theory at least, result in some improvements in 10-14 days. Full effect for Lexapro is typically a month or less, and I think Celexa is fairly comparable. It’s not like taking a pain pill where you feel good 6.4 minutes later. You wake up one day and think ‘Huh. Maybe this stuff is working afterall.’ Then a few weeks go by, and you look back and realize just HOW BAD you really felt. It’s hard to even realize it in the moment.

    If you find the side effects to be too much, adding Wellbutrin can be like a magic combination. I don’t know anyone that’s taken an SSRI with Wellbutrin that didn’t really, really, really like the combo. Wellbutrin will also do more for your anxiety than an SSRI typically will.

    As for bonding with Emmett, I don’t know that there’s an easy answer, or even an answer at all. He’s turned your entire world upside down. Even more so, he’s turned your other two boys’ world upside down. I’d be upset, sad, angry, anxious…you name it…too. I don’t think you’d be normal to feel otherwise to be honest.

    Hang in there. I think of you guys daily and will continue to pray for all of your needs. God is listening, even when we think He’s forgotten us.

  8. I am so sorry for the pain you are going through now. I vote for Christmas early at home–we would do that when my dad would be flying on Christmas, and we didn’t care. We just wrote a letter to Santa to come early.

    I think it would be good to find pictures (I am sure there must be bloggers who have posted pictures, or I know on Ds forums there are sections for heart surgery pics) so you know what to expect after the surgery. He will prob. look pretty bad–but the amazing thing is how quickly the babies recover! And maybe he is just exhausted due to the heart issue, and when that is repaired you will see a happier side of him.

    I will pray for your attachment on both sides, I know it can’t be easy. Your feelings are understandable.

  9. Oh Lauren, I’m so sorry. NO one (except yourself, of course) blames you for feeling angry or(and) resentful or(and) sad about your situation. I think we all would be in exactly the same place. I know I would be — have been — with much less suckiness in our lives than you’ve got going on. I’ve tried to hint about anger in some of my comments to your posts these past few months but didn’t want to put words in your mouth…but I’m glad you’ve let them loose. I hope it was cathartic, a little bit.

    You wrote that you don’t want to look to the future becuase it’s so scary, but it seems to me that’s what just might help. If you can just put yourself a year — six months, even — down the road, I’m so confident that you’re going to be in a different and better place. Part of Emmett’s rage/dissatisfaction/grumpiness must be attachment-related, part must be health-related…and both of those things will surely be better with time.

    Is it possible to wear him in a baby bjorn or sling during (or all) the day — as opposed to holding him in your arms, I mean? That might be a compromise…no guilt for leaving him in his crib, but still a lesser …ah, I don’t know how to say what I mean. A lesser level of intimate interaction, maybe, that might be easier on you? He’d still be crying for a while, I’m sure, but at least you’d have more freedom and two hands free? Not sure if his medical problems make that kind of arrangement unworkable, or if you already do that (I know you’re a babywearing fan).

  10. Christina

    It’s not talked about much, but the truth is attachment is a two-way street and sometimes it is just as hard for mom to bond as it is for baby. I felt a lot of guilt that I didn’t fall instantly in love with my son – and to be honest, two years later I still sometimes wonder if I love him as deeply as I love the other three. In your circumstances? I can’t imagine. I know guilt is a standard emotion for all moms, but I’m praying that God will lift that from your shoulders because it is completely undeserved. And totally unproductive too. You are doing all you can and it is enough. My prayers are with you today – and with Emmett as well.

  11. m

    I think you are doing a great job. He is a very difficult baby with a lot of unknowns. In your entire life you will look back on this year and think this was my finest moment.

    If you had not adopted him would he even still be alive at this point?

    Of course you love him, no one could be so devoted to his care (getting nothing back either) with out fiercely loving this child.

    It is just hard to like him at the moment because you are getting a lot of nothing right now and probably no sleep. You probably don’t like him very much and who could.

    His life would be dreadful with out you. You are his only hope at any sort of life, and you are doing a wonderful job.

    Hang in there. You know what so many parents advise on on FRUA (the Russian adoption chat group) “fake it to make it”. He is a little kid he will only know that you are the one who is always kind and always there. He will only know you are holding him and patting his head, not that you are thinking shut up you little brat.

  12. Lauren,

    As most of the other moms have already said, everything you’re feeling is 100% normal. I can remember having such horrible feelings toward one of my bio babies years ago, because he was just such a terrible little person- lol! I had moments when I wondered if I’d ever love him like my others, or even ever love him period. I felt awful and so guilty. I even wished at times he wasn’t mine. He was never happy, and it’s so, so intensely draining (in every way) to deal with that. Being a mom means giving 250%, 24/7 and getting nothing in return. But being human means you can only take so much of that. Don’t beat yourself up for being normal. You’ve got to find ways to get a break from him at times- even short ones- and take care of yourself. That’s not selfish- it’s necessary. I’ll be thinking of you and lifting you up in prayer. You hang in there, sweetie.

  13. Lauren,
    I think you are doing a great job. All things in good time. Patience is a virtue and all that crap. 🙂 Have you considered hiring a babysitter to take care of him once a week or so? Your sanity is important and you need a break! You shouldn’t feel guilty about that at all. Heck, lots of moms with perfect little babies put them in MDO just to have a minute alone!

    As for Christmas, I agree with having it early. Don’t even tell the kids that it’s early. They won’t have a clue. Just celebrate a day or 2 before you leave for the surgery. Make Christmas dinner. Do the whole bit. It will help make you feel like it’s normal. Normal is good. Fake it to make it is so true. You want Y and O to look back and have happy memories of this Christmas and that’s what really matters…their happiness. Because if E is going to be unhappy no matter what, you may as well try to please the other kiddos instead. Try taking some time out to play a game with them or do a holiday craft. Make some cookies. Sugar makes everyone feel better, right? 🙂

    Hugs,
    Holly

  14. Sally

    Lauren,

    I’ve never posted a comment before on your blog, but I read it often. I really relate to your honest way of stating your feelings. I have three adopted from Asia, one from Vietnam and two from China. The older two are girls, 9 and 8 with NSN. The youngest is a boy from China who is 7 now adopted at age 2.5 with repaired cleft lip and palate as his special need. Except it turned out after we adopted him that he also has epilepsy. His seizures started when he was 4 and continue to this day, but we are continually seeking solutions.

    I knew while we were in China adopting our son that something was not right with him. I saw his eyes stare for moments that did not seem normal and he had behavior problems from the get go. We never considered not following through with the adoption, but our time in China was much less romantic than our adoption experiences for our daughters because of his behavior problems. Now it has been over 4 years since we have adopted our son and the medical challenges with how to fix the seizures are enormous compared to his cleft lip and palate needs. I used to feel like “Hey, I signed up for the cleft lip and palate, but not for this epilepsy and behavior problem stuff!!” It’s really difficult because he has had seizures at school and we kept him back a year in kindergarten, but now he’s still behind in the first grade. We still search for answers for his seizures and have been traveling further away for medical analysis.

    My point is I can relate to your situation right now. It is not what you signed up for. It is harder than you could imagine and is life threatening as well. My advice is to just take it day by day. Don’t worry about bonding and that sort of stuff. Just keep doing what you are doing to keep your son alive. That’s your only goal right now. Keep him alive. You are doing it and the rest will follow.

    Once he is healthier, you will realize, “Hey, I did it!” but until then just keep plugging on, for his health is the only concern right now, and the bonding really will follow down the road.

    I’m rooting for you all and wishing you the best.

  15. Liz

    Selfish?! NO! Normal – absolutely. Oh my gosh how you are feeling is SO normal…perhaps the most normal thing in your life right now!

    My bio daughter has a food allergy that was undiagnosed for 2 years and it made her a terrible crying screaming baby that didn’t sleep during the day and would get at best 6 hours at night. Then she was a crazed raging maniac toddler. She would spend hours screaming, whining and crying. I cannot tell you how resentful I was. Resentful that I was so exhausted. Resentful that I didn’t have the energy to be a good wife and friend to my husband. Resentful that the exhaustion caused me to be VERY impatient. Resentful that her behavior didn’t allow me to be the kind of mom I wanted to be – laid back and fun. Resentful that I felt so miserable all the time…being unhappy is emotionally draining! Resentful that I was so stressed that I had lost so much weight by pants were being held on with binder clips, my hair was falling out by the handful and I looked like I had been pulled out the backend of a dishwasher all the time. Resentful that each day when I tried to start fresh and do special fun things with her that she would end up right back where we always were – with her screaming on the floor. It’s such a snowball! I even felt resentful that I felt resentful towards her – something I never wanted to feel towards any child, let alone my own!

    The worst was I didn’t want to share any of these feelings with anyone other than my husband and it would just make him sad. It’s embarrassing when you’re on the phone and people say “oh, do you need to get off, sounds like someone needs you” and you say or think “no, there is nothing I can do to comfort her – it only makes her more mad when I try – besides, this is just a normal day at our house”

    We did have some hours of peace some days and I could see clearly thru the fog that I did love her…but a lot of the time I really didn’t like her much.

    I’ll also add that my husband was injured during this time and spent most of his time either in the hospital or recovering from surgeries so I was basically on my own.

    Finally at 2 we got a diagnosis. By 2.5 we had it fairly under control and by 3 I feel like someone dropped a different child off at my doorstep. The thing I’ve learned is that I just kept trudging along and when we did get little breaks I was grateful. As the breaks got longer I was overjoyed and now that normal behavior is the norm around here, I never missed a beat transitioning into loving and liking her all the time. It’s amazing how much easier it is to feel that way towards someone who isn’t raging at you, hitting you and throwing things at you all the time…DUH! But I felt like I had a hard, crusty shell around me that was so beat down and beat up that it was hard to feel any strong emotions other than frustration. But once the fog clears, things fall into place on their own and it will seem like the time went really quickly (even though it seems forever right now).

    Sorry for the book! Just want you to know you are SO NORMAL. I’m thinking about you daily. Functioning in survival mode isn’t easy but just take it in baby steps with whatever you feel like you can handle. This wouldn’t be easy under any circumstances – doing it in another country without your family nearby and your husband gone most of the time calls for superhuman strength. Perhaps you should borrow O & Y’s superhero capes and wear them around – it would be more appropriate dress for what you are dong right now…and might put a smile on your face.

  16. Britta

    Hey there. Hang in there. I can relate to the anger and frustration over feedings. I was getting so very angry with JEnsen when I couldn’t get him to eat- didn’t he get that he needed it and I was trying to help him get better- to live for that matter! Finally and luckily we are through the danger and now he is doing considerably better. It took me a day or two to get back to adoring him again after him being on me and needing me 24 /7. I can not imagine the extended time frame that you are dealing with- just remember “This too shall pass” God will somehow step in- I know I would be asking …why isn’t he carrying you and lessening the anger, pain, frustration, and agony? Where are the footprints in the sand? Where’s the romance of having God with you? I so wish I knew. But I do understand the anger and hopelessness.
    My sister (and her son) take Lexapro and she swears by it. I am on Wellbutrin LOVE IT. I can make it through my day. I must say it took about a week of dizziness and lightheadedness but it was sooo absolutely worth it. It gives me the extra patience and softens my anxiety form being here in my ohhh so great new cow town alone with out friends and carrying on with small children.
    I am in a bible study group “loving your military man” and it is nice to hear others frustrations with the military marriage and lifestyle.
    We celebrated Christmas on Valentines on year. The kids didn’t know any different. It would be great to do it early I think then just have a bonus mini celebration on the day. Santa came twice because he knows how hard they are working to be good brothers etc…
    Try wearing him on your chest so you are hands free (if you can stand the screaming so near to your ears) and try to get out as much as possible. It is nice to sometimes just be out of the lock up (for all involved). I’m crossing my fingers for yall. hang in there… “this too shall pass”

  17. Beth

    Been without a computer for several days. I hope everything is okay. Love ya!

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