Tuesday, February 2, 2016

the Egg Drop Project

When I was in middle school we held a big competition in our science classes to see who could construct a safe chamber to protect an egg that was to be dropped off of a ladder, then increasing heights up until the roof of the building. If you are in my age range, you probably did a similar project, because a quick google search shows all sorts of lesson plans, videos, and other resources.

From what I recall, my group managed to do OK. We survived at least one drop. I don't remember much other than the construction process, and the actual dropping. Whatever happened after is a bit of a blur.

It is a lesson on gravity, really. Also it deals with resourcefulness, as you have to construct the chamber with certain materials.

I bring this experiment up because lately I'm feeling like this is rather like this last month and a half of my life. My wife and I have been in various stages of "complete disaster" with the lack of sleep, mood swings from ppd, adjustment to odd new social norms (other people vacuuming my living room has been really tough for me) and for me the addition of going to work and trying to maintain my work commitments and still be present and supportive at home.

We have our good days and bad days, and we have stretches of them where things seem really impossible -- communication starts to break down and we need to slow everything down and reassess.

The baby is perfect, though. She is happy, she babbles and makes all sorts of vocalizations, cries, eats, gets changed, and sleeps in really irregular intervals.

I feel like we are throwing ourselves through a really hard-to-survive gauntlet of social and emotional challenges, all with the goal of protecting and nurturing this perfect little parcel. We are certainly going to come out with some scrapes and bruises. We're going to have our share of battle scars. But we're doing everything we can to protect our child and make sure that she comes through OK. We have learned a lot in this last month and a half.

My wife is a really tough woman. She takes a lot of the responsibility on, and it can be hard to talk her out of that sometimes. This past week I have been trying to prioritize her care as well, though. I know some of the separation anxiety that comes with PPD/PPA is part of that. Hopefully the doctor's appointment she has coming up will help with that. She can just be very strong headed about it at times, and at the very best it means less rest for her -- at the worst it makes me feel like a terrible partner who is incapable of helping.

I understand that these feelings and mood changes aren't her fault, and since we've been talking about that we have been fighting less and working as a team more. Heck, I've noticed my own array of mood swings popping up, and I can only think that that is due to my own history with depression and this new stress combined with the lack of sleep.

Everything I've read on PPD/PPA seems to suggest that communication is the most important part in surviving the condition, so we are continuing to put effort into our communication. We had a really rough weekend, and the days continued to be rough up through today so I'm putting my time into my family and making sure that my wife gets some rest today. I'll cook dinner later and make sure that she is very well prepared for the next couple of days. It is a situation that is really hard to predict, but hopefully if we can get the anxiety sorted she will be able to sleep for more than two hours at a stretch.

My wife's family has stepped up -- tidying up the entire house and nursery yesterday, which really did good things for our mental state. The biggest misconception people have about raising a newborn is this idea that what parents need relief from is the child. This couldn't be further from the truth. Being in this situation my first priority is always to my wife and child, myself and then the pets. I make time to bag and gather trash, but I have found it much harder to run out the door to throw things out. I find it nearly impossible to put things in their right place. So the house gets cluttered fairly quickly. People helping on this matter is really awesome.

Due to a number of really late work commitments my training really suffered last week. I have been telling myself I will really start training seriously in February, so that would be this next week. Given that, taking a few days off won't kill me. I'll still be in good shape to hit the roads. Eastern States is going to count as a long training run in my plan for Big Sur, so I am not terribly worried about the pace for it. I would like to keep it around three hours, but I may try to push it a bit at the end depending on how I am feeling.

I've managed to cover 28 miles in the last four days. A 14 mile long run followed by 7 miles of recovery and 7 miles easy the day after. My easy run last night really felt easy. I felt as if I was gliding up the hills, even if I wasn't cutting the ideal clip.

Today is cross training so I will do some strength and core exercise. I am looking into a stationary mount for my bike -- I don't bike much, but I could put some time in for aerobic cross-training purposes. We'll see how that goes but I'll need to pick up the equipment for the stationary mount sooner than later as the New England winter can hit really hard in February and March.

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