Monthly Archives: May 2010

Graham Crackers & Peanut Butter served with a side of crazy: Part I

I had planned to post my full story here today. But as I typed, it got long. Really long. I’m at five full typed pages with a few more to go.

(You’ll have to wait until I’m hospitalized for the title to make sense. Just go with it for now!)

In Part I, we’ll work our way from waking up the morning of my hospitalization to later that afternoon when I finally called the doctor’s office.

Tomorrow will offer some background on what led up to the day of hospitalization.

This series is the most brutally honest I’ve ever been with anyone about my experience. Including myself. It feels good. It feels oh so good to get it all out in the open.

As I walked with my family this morning, I thought about this post. And for some reason the movie The Goonies popped into my head. You know the scene when they realize they’re in the wishing well?

Mouth gets pissy and says, “This wish was mine! And it didn’t come true. So I’m taking it back. I’m taking them all back.” Then he disappears under the water as he hunts for his other wishes.

Every mother wishes for a good postpartum experience. Many of us get that wish. Some of us don’t.

This is me. Taking back the power that Postpartum Depression had over me. Taking it ALL back. But I’m keeping my head above the water.

Four years ago this weekend, I visited a mental hospital. Involuntarily. This is how I landed there:

As I stumbled out of our bedroom, I remember looking out the living room window. Blue sky, sunshine, green forest stared back at me. Birds chirped, the dogs glanced at me, I heard our two-year old awake and prayed our almost three-month old was still asleep.

One question repeated over and over in my head.

“What would happen if I let go?” Just let go, they whispered. “You deserve to let go. Let go. Reality is a joke. Just.LET.GO. Let go. Let go. Let.go. let go….let go…..” the soft whispers echoed in my head all day long.

I fed our two-year old breakfast as I pumped. Set up our infant daughter’s tube feeding. Took our two-year old to her room to play. Laid down on her couch. Closed my eyes. Slept through her lifting my arms, dropping them down, begging me to wake up and play.

I did not want to play. I could not play. If I was unconscious, I couldn’t hurt her. If I was unconscious, the voices would shut up. If I was unconscious, visions of smothering them both with pillows would go away. If I was unconscious – no wait, if I was not here……maybe…. maybe…..but how… just.. if I wasn’t here, I couldn’t hurt them.

I dozed as she played. I heard her as she begged me to play with her. Yet there I lay, paralyzed, my mind miles and miles away, locked in a deep dark closet somewhere, refusing to come out just like obstinate toddler.

Our infant daughter’s Kangaroo pump alarm sounded. After a few minutes, I finally stumbled into her room to turn it off and disconnect her. Back to the kitchen to make lunch for our two-year old. I think it was a PB&J.

Let go. Jump. Take a deep breath and fall. The hardest part is just letting go. Let go, they whispered. Over and over and over and over and over……

I clearly saw myself with a pillow, hands tightly gripping either side. If I just made them go away, the voices would go away. The pillow would solve everything. I could just make them go away. Then I’d let go and everything would be okay. Everything would be okay. Everything. Would. Be. Okay. It’d be okay.

I put our two year old down for a nap and started another tube feeding for our infant daughter. I hadn’t pumped since 10:45 a.m. It was pushing 1:00 p.m. I didn’t want to pump. Why should I?

She’s asleep now, they both are. It’d be so easy. So easy.

My thin strand of reality shredding, I turned to the voices. They started to push me toward the brink of the canyon. I didn’t have much fight left inside. Home alone, it would be so easy. The monsters were gaining ground. Their battering ram tediously close to knocking down the last door I had shored up against them, I went to our bedroom and closed the door, disgusted with myself.

Our bed saved my children.

I lay down, curled up in the middle with the phone. I clutched it as a stranded sailor clutches a life ring. Tightly, refusing to give it up even as I rocked back and forth, staring past the squirrels scrambling up and down 200-year-old oak tree swaying softly outside our bedroom window.

As the tears began to slide down my face, my breath shallow and my chest felt tight, I dialed my husband at work.

“You have to come home.” I choked the words out.


“You have to come home.”

“I can’t just leave work for no reason. Why?”

“I’m not doing well. You have to come home. I need you to call the doctor for me.”

“I can’t leave work. Why can’t you call the doctor?”

I gasped for air. The one person I felt safe in reaching out to was shooting me down. I needed help. I needed… I needed…

“Because I just can’t. I can’t… I…. “ burst into tears.

“Call them and let me know what they say, okay?” his voice was slightly softer.

“But I… “ argh. I hung up on him. I had tried to call the doctor’s office for the past four days, dammit. Yet somehow today had to be the day I made it happen. The day I had no strength left in any corner of my mind. Yeh.

I dialed the doctor’s office. And hung up.

I dialed again. Hung up.

I dialed again. Hung up.

Dialed. Ring. Ring…..ring… automation. Press 0.

Hang up. Dammit.

And now my husband was calling me back as I tried again. Ring…ring. Automation.

PRESS 0, dammit, said the only sane part of me. Press it! Say something when they answer. SAY something.

“Hello, this is Dr. X’s office. How can we help you?”

“I… I… I need help. My name is Lauren Hale and I’m not okay. I need help.”

It felt good and so horribly wrong all at the same time.

(Click here to read Part II.)

Postpartum Voice of the Week: Kristine Brite McCormick opens up about PPD in the infant loss community

If you asked me how I met Kristine, I’d have to say I don’t know. I think it was on Twitter. Or maybe Facebook. No, I think it was Twitter. When did our paths cross? Not sure about that one either. It’s been a couple of months at least. We seemed to hit it off from the start and I’ve been wanting to share her story here for quite some time. Kristine is a Mom. She’s Cora’s mom. Cora isn’t here with us anymore but that doesn’t make Kristine any less of a mother. She’s championed on, fighting for Congenital Heart Disease awareness, opening up about her very own experience with infant loss. Cora left us at just five days old but those five days have made a huge difference in Kristine’s life.

I’ve asked Kristine to share her story here because it’s important to remember that Mothers with Angel Babies are still mommies too. They hurt just like we do. And while those of us who have never lost a baby will never truly understand their pain and grief, it’s just as important for us to hold them close as well, to check in on them to see how they are holding up. Mothers with Angel Babies don’t deserve to be hidden in a corner simply because we’re not sure of what to say. You can help by simply asking “How ARE you today?” and then listening without judging. It’s okay to admit you don’t know what to say. Chances are they don’t know either. But we can learn together.

Thank you, Kristine, for sharing so openly here. Your words and experience are truly invaluable. You’ve already helped so many and I know there are many more waiting to be touched by Cora’s Story. You’re both making a huge difference in this world!

And now, in Kristine’s own words, her postpartum voice, is her story and advice to those in the PPD Community:

The no-baby blues? Post-partum depression in the baby loss community

For over ten months, my body was taxed and tolled and hormones and body chemistry changed. Then I labored, which sometimes is traumatic, sometimes goes beautifully, but always means work. I gave birth to a beautiful daughter after laboring for a day. For days, I wasn’t allowed more than an hour of two or sleep, and finding time to was a feat.

After going through all that and then adjusting to life with a new baby, depression seems so a given.

But, what if there is no baby? What if there are no late night feedings? What if your body goes through all the pain and change of child birth and then the baby dies?

I still gave birth, so I am post-partum, and my daughter, Cora, died in my arms early one morning while breastfeeding, so I certainly feel depressed.

When diagnosing me, professionals and laypeople usually call my depression Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, certainly applicable because I watched my daughter die, or simply manic depression.

I’ve started a quest to learn more about post-partum depression, because after all, my days aren’t that much different than mothers with babies here.

I’m kept up late with insomnia. My eating habits are terrible. I get pressure from family and friends to act a certain way. I feel alone and isolated because grieving mothers sometimes get treated like they suffer from a contagious disease. All conditions new mothers find themselves in for the first few months after giving birth.

Only, I have trouble relating. Other grieving mothers get it, most of the time, but I find it difficult to not feel badly for them. And, them for me, too. So we’re a tightknit group, but with so much pressure on ourselves, we’re not always the best support for the times we’re hidden away taking care of ourselves.

Mothers suffering from post-partum depression seem apprehensive to say anything. They fear us being offended that they’d dare relate their depression to ours. And, no doubt, some grieving moms would be offended, but in the end, we’re all in the same bout.

Grieving mothers need the support of the PPD community. PPD might only be one of the many daily mental struggles for a grieving mom, but I think it’s the forgotten factor. My doctors haven’t really wanted to label what I’m going through at this point, but, sometimes I wish they would, just to acknowledge that I might suffer from more than one disorder at a time.

I don’t want to speak for every grieving mother, but I’m glad I’ve found an online PPD community and find value in joining more than one community, communities for grieving mothers, communities for new moms, communities for children that suffer the same condition that killed my daughter, congenital heart disease because in doing so I can relate to everything I face a bit better.

I hope more grieving mothers realize they too have a multi-headed dragon to slay and begin reaching out. Depression after giving birth, whether you have a baby on Earth or somewhere else, only gets better with help.

Kristine Brite McCormick writes about her daughter Cora (almost) daily on her blog, Cora’s Story , where she often opens up about grief and depression.

If not on her blog, she can be found on Twitter, @kristinebrite or Cora’s Facebook Fan page, telling Cora’s Story.

Whatever Wednesday: My Jacks hit the Road and only Bauer’s coming back

Along with most of America, I bid adieu to Dr. Jack Shepherd this past Sunday night.

And then on Monday night, I said goodbye to Jack Baeur.

Both Jacks were unbelievably stubborn, amazing leaders, and seemed to have a decent moral compass. We loved our Jacks. But sooner or later, they had to go.

At least I’ve got the promise of Jack Baeur coming back in a movie. Maybe.

But there’s no hope for Jack Shepherd. I won’t be seeing him again. Matthew Fox played him well for six years. Certainly a role he was born to fill.

Same for Kiefer Sutherland. He and Jack Bauer were like brothers. Sutherland always seemed at ease as Jack.

I do have a few questions though –

Why did we never see Jack Bauer pee? Or eat? Or well, do anything even resembling something normal like gulping down a slurpee from the neighborhood 7-11? Oh, that’s right – he couldn’t drink because you guys never gave him time to PEE.

And Jack Shepherd – did he really have a son or was that his imagination? What in the tarnation was going on there?

All those flash forwards before they ended up in the church – was that when they were alive or were they – what the hell? The Lost finale really didn’t answer any questions. And now I’m missing 6 years of my life. Maybe it’s on the island and I should go get it… maybe…

Who the hell decided to have Jack Bauer promise to do things he couldn’t do? Hubs and I would laugh whenever Bauer made a promise after the first season because it meant that person wasn’t getting what they were promised. A promise from Bauer might as well have been a nail in the coffin after the first season.

And Chloe. Can we talk about her? I HATED CHLOE. There. I said it. She annoyed me. So did her husband, Myles. The Myles from Lost was cool. The Myles from 24, not so much.

What’s up with the same names for the characters on this show? Were you guys sharing writers? If so, you should have made Jack Shepherd promise people shi…oh wait. He did, didn’t he. Hrmmmm.

Now that the good folks from Oceanic 815 aren’t using that deserted Island, can we at least strand the Pres of BP oil there for a bit? Just a few days? Please?

So maybe the real question is – Did the Lost finale suck because they swapped writers with 24?

Or was it just that we, the American public, are not ready for the kind of wisdom shoved at us this past week.

Either way, I just know that I’ve got two Jack sized holes in my heart. And I am sad.

Introducing the Just Talkin’ Tuesday Button

I don’t usually post again on Tuesdays. But this is related. And I didn’t want to just add it into the regular post in case some of you have already read it and moved on with your day.

About 30 minutes ago, I got asked to do a button for the Just Talkin’ Tuesday feature by @momgosomething at Twitter. She’s been answering the posts at her own blog the past few weeks. I think it’s a great thing she’s sharing my questions with her readers as well. (I’m sure she’s not expecting a button so quickly though!)

So now, if you feel the urge to answer the questions on your own blog, there will be a button included with every Tuesday post for you to grab and slap up at your place. All I ask is that you link it back here to the Just Talkin Tuesday post or to the main URL.

Enjoy and let’s get Just Talkin’ Tuesday on the road!