Thursday, April 23, 2009

The best part about my job

This teenager (she gets upset if you call her a kid). I walked into the classroom one day a few weeks ago and she walked right up to me and poked me in the stomach. She smiled at me and said, "I like babies, especially Kayla (her way of saying Kaitlyn)." This sweet girl always makes me laugh or smile, even if nothing else seems to be going well that day.

Kaitlyn - 23 weeks

I went to the doctor yesterday and everything is going well with Kaitlyn. It's that lovely time of pregnancy where they test for gestational diabetes, so I get to go in next week for that test. Kaity hid from the heart monitor for about 3 minutes and the lady was getting really concerned. I told her I wasn't worried: I'd felt Kaity playing all day yesterday, she just likes to be stubborn when it comes to other people feeling, seeing, or hearing her I guess. She'll be kicking up a storm and then if Jared puts his hand on my tummy she immediately stops. I'm not worried, though; she'll run out of places to hide soon and then everybody will be able to feel her. One nice thing, though: she's decided she likes to play and there isn't enough room in my back to play, so she hasn't been in my back for a month! I know that won't last, but it's a nice reprieve right now, hopefully we can continue for another month until school gets out.
I actually made a list of questions for my doctor this time, usually I forget all my questions when I get there. She gave me a prescription for Zoloft - I love that this doctor listens to me. She said that I know my body and if I feel like I need the meds then she doesn't have a problem with them. Zoloft, she said, is her favorite for pregnant/nursing moms because it has never shown any effects to the baby. Also, I am cleared to fly to Dallas for my friend Mandy's wedding! Provided, of course, that I'm not having any contractions or complications, I'm good to go up until 36 weeks; I just have to take someone with me in case. Finally, I asked about childbirth classes. There is a nurse who works in labor & delivery at UVRMC (the hospital that we are going to deliver at if we don't move before delivery) who runs a class. She crams everything into one Saturday, all day event. The class costs $65 dollars and includes lunch and snacks for two people, as well as a tour of the hospital. Jared isn't really looking forward to a childbirth class, but he says getting it over in one day is better than dragging it out for 6 weeks. Also, since it's on a Saturday it won't interfere with any jobs, and since it's all in one day we won't have to worry about moving out of state mid-classes. We'll probably be taking it the first or second Saturday of June.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Facebook issues - why we left.

I had a friend tell me the other day about a guy who sent her very dirty messages on facebook. She reported him and his account was deactivated. Two days later, he was back on with a new account and sending her more messages. She reported him again, but apparently it is very easy to get around facebook's security settings designed to keep creeps out.
Next, another friend, Michelle, had a dirty link posted on her wall. When she logged on to take it off, she saw that she had a new message from an old friend. Upon opening the message she got a virus on her computer. Now she gets to have her brand new computer fixed.
Finally, this morning I received a suspicious message about a book that I had supposedly written my name in as well as a behavior contract. The book was then sold and someone's mom picked it up. They wanted my address so they could return it to me. Now, I did own this book, in fact I still do. It's sitting on my bookshelf at home. I never was on a behavior contract with my parents, and they certainly wouldn't have had me write it in a book - they are very pro-don't-write-in-books people. As I happen to know that I am the only Samantha Zaelit in the country (unless a cousin recently had a baby girl), I know that this message is bogus. Not a fan of the fact that anyone can send me a message, I thought that was reserved for approved friends only. Oh well, you'll just have to check here to find out what's new with the Browns. I'm not willing to take the risk and I'm much more comfortable with the security options and control options of blogger.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Depression is Real

My favorite billboards lately have been the Depression is Real ones. You’ve probably seen them and wondered what they were talking about. They have a picture of a chalkboard with words written on them. The slogans say things like “You’d never tell someone with cancer to just get over it” or “You’d never say it’s just diabetes – snap out of it.” Why, then, do people say the same thing to those who have been diagnosed with depression?

About six months after we got married my doctor diagnosed me with depression. We’d thought it was a thyroid problem for a while, but after taking some thyroid medicine with no results we looked at other options. At the time, I was basically always tired and I could sleep for long periods of time. On weekends I’d sleep for 14 hours before Jared would wake me up – I’d still be tired all day long. This was in the spring of 2007. I began taking medication for the depression and things started getting a little better, but I was still fighting the tiredness and lack of interest in doing things.

At the end of that summer we were called to the activities committee in our ward, a calling I struggled with because I have trouble putting myself out there, and neither Jared nor I were particularly active in the socializing department. We worked hard, though, and ended up putting on several fun activities for the ward, with varying degrees of support from committee members.

During the winter of 2007 I began taking clomid to help us get pregnant. I was getting more depressed and would sometimes have days where all I could do was cry. Jared, wonderful man that he is, would just listen to me and then tell me how wonderful and important I was to him. He would make me laugh or take me out to ice cream to cheer me up. He worked hard in school all day and then came home to a crying wife and instead of complaining he just worked harder for me – doing laundry and dishes and helping around the house so I could rest or sleep. Sleep was still the only out for me, although the medication did keep things under control most of the time.

2008 dawned with some bright hopes for the future. I changed jobs so that I could work in Alpine district, where the insurance covered infertility. We continued working on the activities committee, but Jared was increasingly doing things solo. In the spring I would go to activities and help set up, then go home and watch TV or go to sleep. By summer, I was genuinely scared. During our last activity, a picnic, I helped Jared set up then went home. I sat on the couch and TV surfed and let my brain wander. For the first time since high school, I began to think about hurting myself and ending things permanently. I was petrified of these thoughts and no longer wanted to be alone. I called Jared and asked him to come home and bring someone else with the priesthood with him. Luckily, the bishop was giving Jared a lift home at the time and came over. He and Jared gave me a blessing, and I felt better for a short time. We told the bishop that we were struggling with infertility and he was very understanding and supportive.

Fall was the worst time for me. I started a new job and liked the place, but I missed my friends. I tried very hard, though, to make new friends at Orem. I was spiraling downward, though, and could feel it. By October it was all I could do to get up in the morning. I rarely made it to church or even out of the house on weekends. I’d come home from work each day and just go to sleep. Jared took care of all the cooking, housework, laundry, etc. He’d wake me up at 5:30 to eat dinner and then sit with me until I’d go to sleep again between nine or ten. Jared stayed supportive and loving through all of this, but when I told him that I’d been thinking about suicide a lot, he had to turn to someone else for help. He left me at home one Sunday morning and went to church to ask the bishop for help. He came home with some ideas and we spent the afternoon talking candidly about how we were feeling and how things were affecting him and me. I also talked to my mother in law when she called knowing that something was wrong. We decided it was time for me to get some professional help.

I made an appointment with my doctor to talk about upping my dose of anti-depressants, and Jared made an appointment for me with LDS Family Services. I went and talked with a therapist every 2-3 weeks, and it helped me a lot to understand that I’m not in charge of everything, and I needed to start loving and forgiving myself.

When I found out I was pregnant in December, I had cut back on the counseling to once a month. I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe that after trying for 20 months our Kaity was finally on the way! Things started looking up for me, but a comment made by a coworker right before Christmas break put me in a funk for about a week. Finally, Jared was able to get through to me and after an email to a friend I was able to put those hurtful words behind me and enjoy the Christmas season.

Because I was pregnant, I decided to stop taking my anti-depressants. I went cold-turkey, which I later learned was a really bad idea. Luckily, my adrenaline was so high that my body was able to take it. Things are still going along pretty well and Jared and I love spending time together and preparing for our little girl to join our family. All is not rosy, though. Now that my hormones (and excitement) have leveled out, I have started having down days again. Nothing big, and I don’t have any harmful thoughts anymore, but there have been one or two days where things make me sad and I just want to sleep. I feel just like I used to when I’d forget to take my medication for a couple of days. I am planning on talking to my doctor this week about going back on anti-depressants – there are a few that are safe for pregnant and nursing moms. I still go to see my counselor once a month. He said that I’m doing fine and he’s pretty sure I’ll be okay; but he just wants to keep an eye on me since I’m not on medication anymore.

This post is really long and congrats if you’ve made it through. I’m not writing this for pity, I’m doing great and I’ve really appreciated the support of my friends. I’m also extremely grateful for the gospel and the saving qualities of the Atonement that have helped me. I’m grateful for this experience, for the things I have learned. I am especially grateful to my wonderful husband who never once gave up on me or thought I was a lost cause, even though sometimes he was pretty scared and must have felt very lonely. I am writing this to chronicle my own struggle and to hopefully let others who are struggling know that I understand and am a great listener. I also wanted to help dispel the myth that depression is nothing important – that you can just snap out of it. We all have our disabilities to deal with; some are more noticeable than others. With the love of our Father and our Savior, however; and the support of good friends, neighbors, and loved ones, we are able to make it through any trial that we are given. I know this to be true.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Prehistoric Peas and Shot Guns

Every year for Easter Sunday my family goes to the Lakefront Gun Club. By every year, I mean every year since my grandmother was a little girl. It's fun to go see everyone, but I wish we'd do it at a park or something. You see, when you read Gun Club, you're probably thinking of a nice building with a target range and lots of nice couches in a comfortable posh looking atmosphere. No. This is the view from the car:And another one of the clubhouse up close:There is an outhouse that hasn't been moved in a while, so thank heavens Kaity didn't need to pee while we were there (although there was a scramble for the bathrooms when we got back to my parents house). Why do we keep going out there, do you ask? Because it's important to Grandma and it's fun to spend time talking with family members. Dad & Jared like shooting ( I also have a shotgun that my grandpa gave me, but he says that I can't shoot with the baby because it's not good for her). I thought that was cute. I didn't want to shoot, though. My gun is a 14 gage and very old, it belonged to my great-grandfather. This means that the kick is quite something and I don't have very good balance right now. I shoot a 14 instead of a 12 because my arms aren't long enough to support the barrel of a 12 and aim properly. Anyway here are the boys:And here's the girls in front of the clubhouse talking. Aunt Linda is either trying not to be in the picture or her granddaughter just told her that she has to go potty again - Lex had to go 5 times! Sean dislocated his shoulder a few months ago and didn't want to re-dislocate it shooting, so he hung out with us. I suppose I shouldn't call it the girls out front then. Oh well.
So, when we returned from the gun club, we had a birthday dinner of pork roast, mashed potatoes, and creamed peas and onions. My other grandma (my mom's mom) turns 85 tomorrow and we had a little birthday party for her. She was very out of it, we think she had another small stroke Saturday night (she has 2-3 a month), but she appreciated having her family around. Anyway, my mom HATES peas. Flat out doesn't like them. Consequently, Jennie and I aren't too fond of them either, mainly because we never ate them growing up. My grandmother, however, likes peas and pearl onions in a creamy cheese sauce. So, my mom made them and Jared and Sean both said they were pretty good. Well, we asked my grandma how they were and she said that the peas were old and didn't taste good. Not sure what old peas means, but we all had a good laugh and teased Mom. Luckily, Mom thought it was funny, too. We told Grandma that when our neighbor Scott's peas come up in his garden we'd go get some from him and make her peas again. She can't think they're old if we pulled them off the vine the same day we made them, can she? After dinner we asked her if we could name Kaitlyn after her, and she seemed pleased (still a little out of it, we'll ask her again on a better day). My grandma's name is Vera Lenore, by the way, so Kaitlyn Elenore is now official. Dad, Jared and Sean gave her a blessing that she would regain some strength and enjoy her family and be able to accomplish the things she has left in this world. I am so grateful for the wonderful presence of the priesthood in our lives and the calming, peaceful effect of blessings. It was a great Easter Sunday. (We did go to church in the morning, by the way, but nothing really amazing happened there except that the first speaker spoke for 45 minutes and we were sitting by this guy who hadn't showered in three days and tried to cover it up with cologne. Needless to say, we weren't paying too much attention)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Car for Sale

My parents are selling a car. It is a 99 tan Buick with leather interior. It runs really well and has cruise control, a great sound system, and has been really well taken care of, only about 50,000 miles. It does need about $600.00 worth of work on the main gaskets. You could probably search around and find a better price, that's just the estimate of one mechanic. They are selling it for between 3,500 and 4,000. If you are interested let me know. It would be a great car for a growing family. I would buy it myself if I hadn't just spent a bunch of money putting in a new clutch on my own car.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Seriously, folks

My mom has been complaining that I haven't updated my blog, but I like to look at the picture of Kaity whenever I get on, which is why I haven't updated. Also, nothing really good has happened lately, which means that if I blog it will just be to unload on you all. Oh well, here goes:

1. My job - I am burned out. I have been since January when I started doing 2-3 days a week of solo time (time without an aide) in my classroom. One of the aides was sick, then her daughter was sick, then we let her go because whether or not you're sick you can't just miss five solid weeks of work. Then it took two and a half weeks to get approval to replace her, since the district's hiring freeze includes replacement positions. Also, my other aide is pregnant, so she misses at least one day a week. I know that it's rough to be pregnant and work full time, but still. Only six weeks of school left, and next week is spring break!

2. My car - driving back from Idaho over Christmas I noticed that it was being sort of funny when we were in 5th gear. I just thought it was the fact that we'd had an extremely cold spell and the car had been sitting outside in the elements getting cold for the week and a half we were in California. It kept getting worse. We thought that we should probably get the engine flushed and the fuel injections system cleaned (we've never done it and I've had the car for six years). We did that and it didn't help a whole lot. We took the car to a mechanic thinking maybe the clutch needed replacing - he said it was fine. Last Saturday we were driving up to my parent's house for conference and couldn't get the car to accellerate. It took 15 minutes to get the car over the 50 mph mark and up to 65 so we could drive on the freeway. Understandably, we asked my dad about it when we got home. (Although a computer programmer, my dad used to work on cars and motorcycles with his brother in high school, so he knows a fair bit about them). He said it's definitely the clutch. After 70,000 miles, apparently, they get pretty used and need replacing. 1,000 dollars later, our car is working fine. We did not take it to the mechanic who said it was fine, by the way. And thank you so much to mom for lending me her car and carpooling to work so that Jared and I could get around town. Thanks Paul & Renee for an excellent, trustworthy mechanic recommendation.

3. Michigan State - Dang it, why couldn't you have pulled off a miracle and won! If you had done so, I would have won the Elder's Quorum bracket competition and, therefore, bragging rights that a sister who knows nothing about the teams and just picked names randomly beat all the brethren who put so much thought and planning into their brackets.

I should probably put together a nice, touching post about how I liked conference this year. I did, and it will probably put me in a better mood...look forward to that.