Friday, April 28, 2017

Projects

I love fiber and textiles. So much so that I've at least dabbled in most of the common crafts and have a continuous rotation of deep dives into my favorites.

As of this typing, I have four knitting projects, three embroidery projects and one crochet project that I work on fairly regularly.
Volt shawl I'm currently knitting for my German Knit-Pal
I don't always finish the projects. But sometimes I'll go back to a project I dropped years ago and finally finish it. (or just close the drawer again and think "later... maybe later.")

Part of me really enjoys this, having lots of creative outlets to choose from at any given time. I love bouncing from one project to another. I'll get stuck, (boredom, frustration, lack of tools, etc.) and work on a different project that scratches an itch I have in another part of my brain. Then when I go back to the original project, it feels fresh and hopeful and good.

Part of me feels judgmental about this. Is it because I don't want to be seen as wasteful? I don't want to be seen as excessive or frivolous? I don't want to be seen as someone who can start but not finish a task? I don't want others to think I'm flighty or flakey? I think it's some mixture of all of these reasons.

There's a running theme amongst crafters of all varieties, and that is anxiety about stash build-up, mixed with jokes about how your significant other disapproves of the mess, or of a potential new purchase, or of a barely completed new purchase. It's like we have to justify our stash to the world or at least ourselves, and if we can't come up with a good reason, then at least we can laugh nervously and hope we're not the only one.

I don't know what the answer to this conundrum is. But I've got a few thoughts.

1) This life has a lot of beginnings and endings, but not a lot of completions. Especially perfect completions. When is it that you can check off the box to "Completed teaching my children. Forever. They're fully baked and are whole beings now"? Or "Completed learning. I've perfected all knowledge"? It sounds ridiculous, especially on that scale. But I kinda think it's ridiculous to expect entirely perfect completions of smaller scale things like my craft projects. We might think that a project will be conceived, begun, worked on, then finished, all like a nice little package, but creation doesn't usually work out like that for me. It's more complicated, less linear, more chaotic, less perfect. A little dabbling here, a long-haul effort there and some glorious learning along the way.

2) My fear about "others" judgement is, I think, more about fearing my own judgement. Which sounds kinda silly now that I've typed it out. Don't I like having lots of projects? (yes) Do I really want to change how I'm doing things? (no, at least not at this point in my life) So, where's the judgement that I've been fearing? Not sure, but I suspect it's the virtue of "trying to become," gone awry. I want to grow and become more excellent at everything (including being able to focus and work hard, and not be, well, flighty). But I've come to realize that I can either wait to act until perfection has been attained, or I can keep moving and trying out lots of things and making lots of mistakes (in planning the projects, in executing them, or in both) and growing through doing. And I have a sneaking suspicion that the latter version is the only one that actually leads to growth. The mistakes are sometimes painful and always uncomfortable, but I can't let myself get hung up on them, or hung up on the possibility of them. I'd never get anywhere.

So the moral of the story is, I think I like having a lot of projects. And I'm gonna try to be patient with myself when I feel anxious about having a lot of things I started but never finished. It's all part of the process. And if I keep moving forward with my eyes wide open, I think, in the end, I'll be glad I did.

Now please excuse me while I go back to the knitting project I just started a couple of hours ago...



Thursday, February 16, 2017

I used to have a brain

I used to have a brain. Well, to be perfectly honest, I still DO have one, it's just not functioning the same way it used to.

I told a friend recently about this analogy I've come with about my mind. It goes like this:
Let's say I was an athlete, a soccer player perhaps, and really in shape and working out all the time at soccer practice. Then one day I injure myself. Maybe blow out my knee during a game. Now I can't even do many of the things people just normally do because my knee just hurts too bad, let alone do many of the things I did as a great athlete. My knee needs rest, physical therapy, maybe some pain meds, all in a long slow effort at recovery.  
PPD is like this for me. Except instead of my knee, it's like my mind is damaged. Things I used to be able to do, mental/emotional stamina I used to have is gone. I try to do the things I used to do, and so quickly, I'm in pain. But not physical pain, emotional pain that manifests itself as frustration, irritability, discouragement, anxiety, sadness, overwhelming-ness, etc.
There's so much beauty in the world around me. Smiling, chubby-cheeked baby, giggling toddlers, snuggling children, laughing with my best friend. And sometimes it bowls me over with how wonderful life is.

And yet at the same time, I'm trekking through a mist of darkness. It's like my mind is drudging through a murky bog just to get up, move, do the things that need doing, and have the stamina to do it.

You know the part in The Two Towers when Frodo says to Sam: You and I, Sam, are still stuck in the worst places of the story, and it is all too likely that some will say at this point: "Shut the book now, dad; we don't want to read any more."

I'm in that part of my story. And like Frodo and Sam, I'm going to keep walking. I sometimes want to stop reading the book, too. But I can't. I have to keep walking.

And deep down, I believe the white shores are calling. That's where I'm headed in the end.





Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Lucy's Birth

July 12, 2016

Think back to the early part of July 2016. That's when this miracle of a baby came into our home. Here's the story of how it happened (written when she was 9 days old. And reading it now I laugh because I can almost hear how sleep-deprived I was, I did a little editing for grammar and clarity, but mostly left my sleep-deprived voice stay the same):
At 38 weeks and 5 days I was still only dilated to a one. Despite the fact that I had way more contractions with this pregnancy than with my previous two, this baby was not going to make a very early entrance. 
So at my appointment, the doctor recommended we set a date for induction. Because of my gestational diabetes she thought it was a good idea, and frankly I was so tired of being pregnant I thought it was a fantastic idea. So we set the date for June 12th all the while hoping that she would come before then.  
On Monday July 11th, we packed clothes for the kids and for us and spent the night at Grandma and Grandpa's Machado. Then July 12th, Chris and I got up early and left the house at about 5:30 so we could get to the hospital for the 6 a.m. induction.  
The check-in process began smoothly, and a nurse named Melissa helped start my IV and various other things. Originally the doctor suggested starting with a vaginal medicine but Lucy's heart rate kept dropping and because of that and because I was contracting on my own, we decided to go straight to pitocin. A little bit after 7 a.m. Melissa finished her shift and transferred her job over to two nurses, Tiffany and Sarah.  
Throughout the whole pregnancy this girl's been a very active baby, and her birthday was no exception. We had issues with the monitors all morning. The nurses had to keep coming in and adjusting the monitors so they could pick up her heart rate. Finally at a little after 8am, we were able to start the pitocin (I really really really really don't like pitocin contractions. Really.) All the morning I'd been having contractions which was uncommon for me to have that many in the morning.  
After about an hour of pitocin contractions, I started thinking about getting an epidural. I asked the nurse for her suggestion and she said because it was my third baby they didn't need to wait to a certain dilation before giving me an epidural, so at about 9:50 I decided I wanted one. The contractions weren't so bad that I couldn't handle them but I could tell they were getting to that point. Tiffany also said that most women seemed to ask for an epidural at about 11 a.m. so if I was going to get one it would be a good idea to ask for one before that so I wouldn't end up at the back of the line as it were. The nurses called the anesthetist, and in less than an hour she had the epidural up and running. The nurses placed a big, orange peanut shaped exercise ball between my legs which was way more convenient than several pillows, and turned me to both sides for a time in order to let gravity help the medicine distribute evenly. By the time the epidural started working I was really having to work to manage the contractions. 
Sometime between 11 and 11:30 they checked me and I was at a 5 or 6. It was hard for them to know for sure because my water hadn't broken. The nurses figured since my water hadn't yet broken they'd call my doctor and have her come break it, and then they figured it would be very quick until the time the baby came.  
Both they and Christopher needed to get lunch, so before leaving the nurses asked a technician to get the birth equipment table ready and then Chris and the nurses went and got their separate lunches. Chris got back just before noon and he hadn't been in the room for four minutes when my water burst like an over-filled water balloon. I just been thinking that I hoped I'd be able to tell if my water broke when, boom! It popped. I pushed the call button right as Sarah was walking back into the room and she and Tiffany helped clean up the huge amount of water. I could still feel contractions pretty well, in fact the best of any of my three children so far. I could also tell there was a lot of pressure from that baby's head starting to head down the birth canal. Since the doctor hadn't arrived yet Sarah told me if I started to feel the need to push I should pant like a dog to get through the contractions to stop myself from pushing. 
Tiffany paged the doctor and I love how she tried to convey a sense of urgency but not emergency to the doctor. She told Dr. King that "she's fully dilated and effaced and is trying hard not to push." "Trying not to what?" I heard Dr. King ask. "Push," Tiffany replied calmly and firmly.  
Dr. King booked it over to my room and quickly got ready to help me push. I was glad that Sarah gave me the advice about painting because I needed it through two or three contractions, I needed to push so badly! 
But I was able to wait until Dr. King was ready. And the next contraction I started pushing and by the end her head was nearly out. Dr. King asked if I wanted to push in between contractions to which I said yes! And we got her head out the rest of the way. Her body soon followed and they placed my little Lucy on my belly so I could see my little girl for the first time. 
I cried so hard. It was just so sweet to hold her and see her face. The nurses wiped her off while the doctor stitched me up. And I just marveled at this little girl who in some ways I've known for months and in some ways I was meeting for the first time.  
Lucy weighed 7 pounds 1 ounce, and was 19 and three quarters inches long. She's smaller than either Nathaniel or Eva were. And she's already stolen my heart. Nathaniel and Eva are so sweet with her baby sister. They love to ask what she's doing, and they love to give her kisses. Eva loves to give her toys to Lucy and then quickly take them back so she can play with them again. So far at Lucy doesn't seem to mind. We have a beautiful family of 5. And now if I can just get some sleep, I might feel like a regular human again.
 So there you have it. Lucy Annalise Machado. Her middle name is a conglomeration of her grandmothers'. Chris's mom and grandma both have the middle name Anne, and my mom's name is Lisa. Lucy we just loved the sound and meaning of, and Machado, well. yeah. of course.

She's almost 7 months old now. We thought her brother and sister were mellow babies, but man. This girl takes the cake. There's a reason #MomIsMyFaveJob.

Christmas Day, 2016

 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Until tomorrow

Dear Little One,

Tomorrow, if all goes well, you will come into this world. I'm so looking forward to seeing you and holding you. Smelling your baby smell, hearing your baby noises, seeing your squashy cheeks. Ahh.... some of the sweetest moments of motherhood.

You are baby number three in our family. I was also baby number three, as was your Grandpa Dean. I had two older brothers who, when I was born, were almost the exact ages that Nathan and Eva are right now. You have some powerhouse siblings. Your brother loves telling jokes, making Eva giggle, learning about cars and anything that goes, imagining he's a deep-sea explorer, and giving hugs and kind words at just the right moment. Your sister loves to snuggle soft toys, especially her bunny, and say "Awww!" while she give them a hug. She loves singing and joins in on the last word of each phrase of the songs she knows. She's starting to understand that other people have wants and needs and she loves asking about them. Like today when she asked if my crackers were all gone, and then asked, "Mommy, more crackers?" wondering if I wanted more. Oh, and of course she loves food. It's probably her true passion.

Though Eva is a little too young to understand that you're coming, Nathaniel understands quite well, and he can't wait. You should have seen the look on his face when I told him that tomorrow, Daddy and I would be going to the hospital where the doctor would help you be born. He ran right over to Grandma Kimi and excitedly told her the good news, which of course, she already knew!

This pregnancy has gone by so slowly and so quickly all at once. I think about you every day, and I feel a calm assurance that you're coming to our family and coming at this time by design. This pregnancy has been hard on me, and yet, I feel so deeply that you are worth all I've been through and overflowingly more.

I wanted you before I even new you were coming. A week or two before I found out I was pregnant with you, I attended a conference all about families in Salt Lake City. I thought so much about my own family and felt such gratitude for the shape our family had already taken. And I was already looking forward to the day when we'd have another child in our home. Wouldn't it be fun, I thought, if I was pregnant with that baby right now? Well, it turns out, I was pregnant with you. Right then. I just didn't know it.

And tomorrow morning, at 6am, we're to be at the hospital where they'll start the induction process. And then a few or many hours later, I hope to be holding you in my very own arms and kissing your very little cheeks.

Until tomorrow, then. I'll see you soon.

Love,
Momma

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Lessons from today's anxiety

This afternoon I was floundering in a sea anxiety. I've had depression/anxiety for long enough now that I'm a lot better at identifying when I'm feeling actual anxiety or sadness that needs to be taken care of in a normal way, and when it's emotion brought on by whatever hormonal/chemical/psychological imbalance that is ppd. This afternoon's episode was definitely the second type. One warning sign for me is I'll find myself irrationally impatient with my kids. Entirely unable to roll with their toddler quirks. It's a weakness I have confidence can be overcome, but let's be honest, I'm not there yet. Thankfully Chris was around to help take some of the parenting pressure off of me. His help enabled me to have the mental faculties to really learn from today's anxiety episode.

I was hoping, when I realized what was happening, that the rush of irrational anxiety was brought on because baby was coming asap. That maybe my body was sending out all kinds of "get ready for labor" hormones and that's why I felt so terrible. Baby hasn't come yet, nor do we seem to be immediately heading in that direction, so I'll have to wait and see if that hypothesis will hold true.

But regardless, my emotions peaked, and for about 20 minutes or so, I just sat and felt the feelings. Some of the time I held on to the couch, turned so I could hug the back cushion for support. I felt like I was shaking, though I'm not sure it would have been noticeable to someone else. And I felt worry, distress, frustration, inadeqacy, weariness, uncertainty, all banging around in me. None of those feelings had a clear focus, like, "I'm worried about x, y and z" which is another clear sign for me that it's a hormonal episode, not a rational one. It was just a general cacophony of those emotions nobody enjoys feeling. A blech-y mess of feels that I'd probably never choose if the choice were mine.

And almost imperceptibly, the episode faded out. I helped my children again, changed a stinky diaper, even made dinner for the family. And I felt like me again. Still tired, still very pregant, but somehow, still moving forward and meeting the challenges of the evening.

The ability to survive such episodes without seeking to block them out, without trying to numb the discomfort, comes only through the enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. The power to keep moving forward afterwards and do what has to be done in daily life is the enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ. The incresed acceptance and peace that I feel about the future comes because of the enabling power of the atonement of Jesus Christ.

This is a gift that He extends to everyone. In Isaiah, the Lord asks, "is my hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem, or have I no power to deliver?" And the answer, "Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make their rivers a wilderness and their fish to stink because the waters are dried up, and they die because of thirst. I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering." (Is. 50: 2-3)

Trust in that hand. It is not shortened. Trust in that power. It is not diminished. If ppd has taught me anything, it's taught me to trust more in that hand and power. I invite you to join me on that journey. Come, and we'll keep moving towards more perfect trust and faith and hope and together.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Done any good?

A couple days ago, I took the kids shopping at the grocery store. At the checkout a twenty-something-year-old gal, who was standing behind me in line, asked if I'd like her to help me bag while the cashier was checking out our food. I readily accepted. It was such a small thing really, and yet it meant so much to me. She saw a woman about her own age, with two toddlers and a swelling belly, saw a way she might help, and simply offered. God bless that girl. She did good in the world that day. And I want to emulate her example.


(We filmed this my sophomore year of college. You can find me at about 1:00)

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Speaking of which...

So you know how my last blog post I mentioned not being able to choose the time and place of your meltdown? 

Yeah. That happened today. 

During the closing song of sacrament meeting, I totally broke down crying, almost sobbing. And right afterwards I was supposed to go teach singing to the primary kids. And likely about half the ladies at church thought I was having a nervous breakdown. It seems kind of funny now, but in the moment it was kind of dramatic. 

I'm exceedingly grateful for all my friends who reached out in word and deed. A hug, tissues, an understanding smile, a word of encouragement. I'm surrounded by good friends and family.



P.S. Oh yeah, and I found out on Friday that I have gestational diabetes. Failed my 1-hr glucose test with flying colors. Nice.