Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Out of The Fog part 2

Back in 2009 I wrote about the journey of 'my fog' This time in my life was tough, and now with the help of a great doctor, can probably point to post partum depression. Well, now that Liliana is 9 months old, I thought I would share My Fog part 2. Thankfully, this story went a little better, but not without its struggles. I hope that for other women out there can see two stories of birth, life, hormones, and the unexpected and see that there were two different approaches, with similar but yet different outcomes.

Liliana was a 'planned' addition, she was prayerfully considered and prayerfully anticipated. We started praying for my emotions very specifically from the moment we began thinking about 'adding on' to the family. I discussed with my new (and wonderful!) doctor about my past experiences and from her understanding it was most definitely PPD. I was given surveys periodically to test my emotions and anytime an emotion moved from the 'never had' or 'seldom have' category to something more frequent, it would raise a red flag. In October, so about the 6 month mark in pregnancy my emotions went bonkers. I was having anxious thoughts, couldn't put together sentences at times, I was easily overwhelmed, all of the symptoms from Izzy's post birth came flooding back. Little did I know that once you have experienced PPD you are more likely to experience it prenatally as well! While we were fervently praying for this to not be the case, Paul and I realized this was yet another way for Satan to attack and we needed to face it on a spiritual and physical level, therefore we made the choice to go on an anti-depressant, in my case it was a low dose Zoloft.

While this drug took a few weeks to take effect, it did help tremendously. It was only in extreme circumstances that I would have the spikes in emotions. Towards the end of the pregnancy things got worse and we changed the dosage and spread it out throughout the day. Due to the circumstances of Izzy's birth, we opted for a planned c-section with Liliana which went very smoothly. Thankfully, we made the right decision for her birth due to some other findings. Everything was peaceful, calm, and went great! I was able to enjoy having a baby.

With the help of modern medicine and the power of prayer we were able to keep the PPD at bay for the most part. Unless I was in extreme situations such as large parties or extra tired, I felt in control of the PPD emotional roller coaster. It was freeing. At about the 6 month mark we began to (slowly) wean off of the zoloft. This was a tedious process as I was not prepared for the withdrawal effects I would face. While this was not pleasant, I still wouldn't have changed the decision to go on the drugs in the first place. What I wish now is that I had stayed on the medicine longer. I still have terrible days, but they are outnumbered by the good days. For some, PPD is short and sweet, some it is intense, some it is long and drawn out...and for some it changes with each baby and pregnancy. I apparently hang onto this hormonal nightmare longer than average. I hope that as we near the 1 year birthday of our Lili-Monkey I will again get out of the fog of PPD.

I am so thankful for great family, a wonderful husband, a faith that keeps me going, a great doctor to help guide through the medical side of things, and a Savior who loves me even on my bad days. That's my story- well God's story. If you had told me 5 years ago that I would go on this journey I would have told you you were nuts. Oh how God changes us and brings us through deserts to draw us closer to him. I am thankful for my journey- but ever so glad it is turning towards the next one!

Book Review: Really Woolly Bible Stories

I love finding Biblical resources for my little girls. I long to make the Bible relevant, meaningful, and applicable to their little lives. I was given the opportunity through Thomas Nelson Publishers and BookSneeze to review Really Woolly Bible Stories by Bonnie Rickner Jensen.

This hardcover and cardboard page book tells some of the most well known Bible stories (Creation, Noah, Jonah, Daniel, Jesus, Good Samaritan, etc) in simple rhyme format. With a 4-8 sentence rhyme and adorable picture, the basic lesson of these bible stories is told. In many ways it reminds me of classical nursery rhyme books with the ethereal drawings. While child-like and quaint, these stories still tell Biblical truths and some even provide a command of application- such as the conclusion of the Good Samaritan which asks the child "will you help out today?"

I found this Bible adaptation to be wonderfully thought out, creative, and appropriate. I would start reading this with my babes as soon as possible. I feel the ideal age for retention and application would be for ages 1.5-3 years. My four year old daughter enjoyed 'reading' the book to herself and liked some of the poetry. One of my favorite parts was also the scripture reference after each story so the parent could find the source of each story.

With a market filled with Biblical adaptations for every age and need, I found the Really Woolly Bible Stories a fresh, fun book to have for young children. Two thumbs up!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Book Review: The King's Christmas List

We are born in sin, with a selfish nature. It is at its basic level seen in children- why is it so hard to share and give? While especially appropriate around Christmas time, the book The King's Christmas List by Eldon Johnson is a wonderful story to share with children (and even adults!) what it means to truly give.

Following Emma's journey as she gives her favorite, her best, and her new items to other people in need- she comes to find out that when she gave her gifts she was like she was giving to the King- Jesus. While at His birthday party (Christmas celebration) she finds that what Jesus enjoys most of all is seeing others give to one another- because it is like giving to him.

I find this story hits on two main levels. One- that is is good to give and share. It is important to give our best, our favorite, our new things - not just what is left over or what we don't want anymore. By giving our best, we are really giving God our best. By giving to others in need, you are really giving to God and fulfilling the commandment to 'love our neighbors.'

Secondly, this book does an excellent job of explaining to children why it is custom to give gifts on Christmas. The holiday can quickly become commercialized and gift focused. The King's Christmas List shares how giving is an expression of God's gift to us in Jesus.

I thought this book did an excellent job of sharing the concept of biblical giving to a child geared for ages I'd say 4-10. My four year daughter did great with the concepts. The only downsides to the book are that I feel it is a little 'wordy' and uses a lot of extra phrases that are unnecessary and make it more difficult to read. An example: the continuous validation of the 'pretend aspect' with the letter, voices, and talking dog. Kids will take a story at face value and don't need the constant validation that it is pretend. Also, I felt the illustrations were not very captivating. Overall, I give this 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishers and BookSneeze for giving me the book to review and enjoy!