Positive Thinking

Postpartum Depression Update

I wanted to do a follow-up post to this one:ย Self-Care, Anxiety and Post-Partum. Looking back at the post I am really glad I had the forethought to plan things out. I think it helped me a lot. I also appreciated all the comments and advice from people that went through this!

My fear of getting Postpartum Depression was valid, but thankfully didn’t materialize. I don’t know if it was luck, planning ahead, being super-conscious and aware of the signs, being in therapy and loving my new therapist, going for walks, but something did the trick and I didn’t have that issue.

Like I said in another post, the first few weeks were really rough. Now I know it was like 75% sleep deprivation and 25% hormones. I cried a lot. I was emotional. I was easily frustrated (with little things that were dumb, but never with Logan, which was good). I felt dead on my feet. Breastfeeding SUCKED. Michael tried to help me get some sleep by sleeping on the couch with Logan in the bassinet a few nights a week. As much as I hated that, it helped. I got some sleep. FINALLY. (And we haven’t had to do that for awhile now–we are all sleeping well in the same room.)

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I realized pretty early on that the key to my health (physical and emotional) was getting some rest. I’d try to nap during the day and Logan would sometimes cooperate, sometimes not. One thing I noticed — the insomnia that had plagued me for over a decade went away. Now I can fall asleep the second my head hits the pillow. Funny how that works, huh?

Anyways. Getting reassurance from my therapist that the crying and emotional feelings I was having was completely normal and not PPD helped me. Getting more sleep at night helped. Taking some naps helped. Getting out of the house every day helped.

I am really glad that I didn’t suffer from PPD. Just having a glimpse of what it could be like those first few weeks was eye-opening. Somewhere around week 4 I woke up from the fog of hormones, crazy emotions and lack of sleep. Things got better. We got a routine down. Breastfeeding was going so much better and that made me happy.

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I had no idea the toll breastfeeding would take on my body and spirit when it wasn’t going well. It’s a really emotional thing. Maybe it’s the pressure that society puts on women–that if you don’t breastfeed you’re somehow failing as a mother. I felt that pressure and was really upset that it wasn’t going as planned. I thought it would be easy. It looks so easy. Just put them on the boob. Done. Nope, it’s not that easy. And feeling that pressure to do it right is exhausting. Thankfully that’s getting better, too. I’ve come to terms with our early experiences. So what I had to pump. So what I had to supplement. I fed my baby, he gained weight and was healthy. That’s the bigger issue, not whether or not I could breastfeed.

I’m glad we got his tongue-tie fixed and that with a few more sessions with the lactation consultant helped us both learn how to breastfeed. Now it’s no big deal and we can do it and he’s growing like a weed. There are even times when I need a break and I’m glad that I can pump and have Michael give Logan a bottle. It’s helpful. I really appreciate that Michael offered to take more feeding sessions to help me. It gives me a chance to do things–go to the gym, get a little more sleep, go out with friends. We are finding a balance and a routine that works well.

Currently Michael works from home on Fridays. It’s nice that he has that option and it’s really helpful for me! Friday mornings he often goes for a run or a bike ride early in the morning. Then he makes me breakfast and takes Logan so I can go to the gym. He gets his work done for the day, I get home and we can do stuff together or tag-team the day so I can run errands like grocery shopping, etc. For example, today he ran, then went to the garden store to get tomatoes and jalapenos for our garden, then when he got home and did work, I went to the gym, then I took care of Logan while he worked on the garden, then he took Logan for a bit so I could take a nap and go grocery shopping. Then we all went for a walk later.

I am really glad that I didn’t suffer from PPD. With my history of depression and anxiety it could have easily gone the other way. I am so thankful! Another thing that has helped was sunshine. The weather has been pretty nice during my maternity leave and taking daily walks with the baby boosts my mood.

My maternity leave is coming to an end soon. I’m having a lot mixed emotions about this. I know for myself that I can’t be a stay at home mom full time. In some ways it’s been a little hard being home all the time. My world suddenly felt really small. I talked to my therapist about this and she agreed–she said that being a SAHM is not for everyone and with my anxiety it probably isn’t the best thing for me. I agree. I don’t need “too much time to think” and be anxious about stuff.

But on the flipside, even knowing that I don’t want to be home full time, I’ve been feeling moody and sad about going back to work. I can’t imagine NOT spending my days with Logan. I’m having a really hard time with this. ๐Ÿ™

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I’m trying to cherish every day with him, get snuggles and cuddles, play with him, enjoy watching him grow and learn things. I know these days are going to go by so fast and I will look back and wish I could hit the pause button. So when I start to feel sad and moody about leaving him, I try and remember that it’s not always about quantity of time, but quality of time. I am trying to make the most of it.

The good news is that when my maternity leave is up I am going back to work part-time for 90 days. I won’t have to be back in the office full time until the beginning of September and that buys us more time together. I am so thankful for that and that is the single thing that is making it easier for me to go back to work! You better believe I’m already missing that goofy face!

 

Logan’s Birth Story – Part 2

Part 1 is here.ย 

I left off with the jacuzzi tub. The nurse came in and gave me some fentanyl, which was nice and took the edge off the contractions but didn’t take away the pain. It made them still painful but I didn’t feel like I was dying! I lounged in the tub and let the drugs just kind of make me sleepy. It was hard to keep my eyes open and really only became “awake” when the contractions would come.

Finally it was starting to get to be too much. The contractions were getting worse and I was also starting to feel sick to my stomach. I don’t really do well with medications like that and even though they gave me anti-nausea medication with the fentanyl, it wasn’t helping anymore. It was time to get out of the tub and have the epidural. Michael let the nurse know and she told the anesthesiologist. We were told it could take up to 45 minutes to get going. That kind of made me panic a little bit!

Michael and the nurse helped me out of the tub, which was really hard. Not only was I slow and loopy from the medication, but the contractions were coming so fast that I’d have to stop whatever I was doing when they came. I finally got out and leaned against the hospital bed that was in the highest position it could be. I leaned over and tried to breathe through the contractions, tried not to throw up, while Michael held me and the nurse dried me off.

The walk back to our room wasn’t very far but when you’re having contractions it feels very very far away. Finally we made it back. They put the epidural in (it was around 10:30) and within a few minutes I was feeling a million times better!

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I had a little statue of a goddess giving birth that I was using as a focal point and I’d bought two LED candles, which turned out to be the best idea ever. They really helped (and we are still using them now that we’re home). I got in bed and knew that this was pretty much where I’d be for the rest of the journey. The epidural kicked in and I could still feel my body and wiggle my toes but the contractions were so manageable that I was able to sleep!

For the next two hours Michael and I slept in the dark room. At midnight the midwife came in and did the last check. I was fully effaced, at station 0 and 7cm dilated. She said that we should rest for awhile and that she figured we’d probably start the labor process around 3. Sleeping sounded fantastic!

Michael slept and I dozed off and on. I woke up a few times from the contractions and could use a button to kick in the epidural a little more. It was limited in how much and I had no idea how much or how often the button worked. I tried not to press it too often because even though the pain had been so bad I thought I couldn’t take it, now I wanted to kind of experience some of the process without being completely numb to it all.

I woke up one time and realized that I couldn’t feel my left leg at all. I could still feel the right and wiggle my toes, but the left felt completely dead. That disturbed me and I called the nurse. They came in and checked and determined everything was fine, this was just something that happened with epidurals. I still found it really disturbing and I backed off on the button even more and tried to rest without using it.

Around 3am I started to feel pressure. Instead of contractions it felt like…I guess like maybe the baby was trying to crawl out? It’s really hard to describe the feeling. The nurse came in and checked on me and said it was going to be a little bit longer before the midwife came in because she was delivering a baby next door as we spoke. That was fine with me. I just went back to dozing and listening to the baby heart beat monitor.

At 4am the midwife and nurse came in, as did the baby nurse who would be there for the birth. They prepped everything as I just laid there and then things were suddenly moving very quickly. After spending a day just waiting for things to happen it was happening!

At 4:30 we started pushing. Michael was at my side. The candles were still going and we had our music playing. I don’t remember the exact song that was playing when Logan was born but I remember the three songs that were playing as we pushed. CSNY “Suite Judy Blue Eyes” (which is funny because it’s kind of an inside joke between Michael and me), “Take It Easy” by the Eagles and “Easy” by Faith No More.

Because my left leg felt completely dead, I couldn’t hold it up to push so they put that one in a stirrup and I held the right leg. The nurse and midwife coached me on how to push, we did a practice round and then got started. They had me take a deep breathe, lean forward and push while holding my breathe (which I didn’t get at first and kept letting the air out), then inhale again, hold it and push. So three pushes each contraction and then I’d rest.

I couldn’t really feel the contractions so they told me when it was time to push, but I could feel the pressure start building and that told me that it was almost time to push, too.

After just a few rounds of pushing the midwife said he was coming! One last push and all of a sudden there were cries.

His little bird cries were precious. He wasn’t wailing, but just making it known that he was here. ๐Ÿ™‚ They immediately put this little creature on my bare belly and he opened his eyes and stopped crying and just looked up at me and then looked all around the room. My mom said that I did the same thing when I was born.

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His little cries turned into squeaks and he settled down and just chilled while he laid on me and they did some checks–listened to his heart, lungs and took his temperature–all while snuggling with me.

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I just could not get over how alert he was and how he kept looking up at me. There were lots of happy tears and I just felt in awe of what just happened.

The rest of the stuff–I have no idea. I was kind of in my own little world with Logan and Michael. I guess the midwife delivered my placenta, didn’t feel it or remember it, and I guess we got a photo of it but I don’t remember that happening either. Then everyone left for about an hour while we just snuggled our new baby.

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Having that quiet time with just the three of us was amazing.

So after just under 30 minutes of pushing, Logan was here–8.4 pounds and 20.5 inches long!

After and hour they came back and took Logan away to do the other stuff. He was still in the room with us but over on the little baby warmer. Michael went with him while they weighed and measured him, took his foot prints and did some more testings.ย His Apgar score was 8 and then 9. Then they gave him back to me while they did the rest of the stuff they needed to do to check me.

Another hour of cuddles and Michael called everyone to give them the news. Then it was time to be moved to our recovery room. And I ate that piece of apple pie for breakfast. ๐Ÿ™‚