Visualization

Logan’s Birth Story – Part 2

Part 1 is here. 

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. 🙂 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. 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. 🙂

Self-Care, Anxiety and Post-Partum

I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life. I’ve taken medications on and off, I’ve been in therapy. After years of therapy and reflection I believe that my issue is mainly anxiety, not depression. While they can go hand-in-hand, anxiety seems to be my biggest problem. I’ve had a lot of therapists over the years, and different types. I’ve gone years without therapy or medication. I know that exercise helps a LOT with the issues I have.

The most recent time I was seeing a counselor, I really liked her a lot. She’d also lost a lot of weight (like 80 pounds I think?) and for the first time I was able to work through some body issue stuff that most people, and most counselors, can’t relate to. She understood. She was great! Then she went out on maternity leave and I had the option to see someone else but decided not to. Of course, she decided not to come back so I couldn’t see her anymore anyways if she came back. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen a therapist and decided it was time to go back.

The search for someone new began.

This part sucks. Big time. Like I said, I’ve had dozens over the years. I moved, insurance changes, therapists leave, etc etc. So I am well-versed in the “find a new therapist, give them the cliffsnotes version and see if we’re a good match” routine. It still sucks. I hate starting over.

This time, I was on a mission. My focus was not going to be body issues or other issues I’ve discussed in therapy in the past. This time I had something very specific to discuss: post-partum depression (PPD).

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Knowing my history with anxiety and depression, being off medications for a year and a half, not knowing what it would be like after the baby arrives, I knew it was good to find someone to talk to NOW and make sure I’m on the right track. I felt like it was better to be prepared. Know the warning signs. Learn some coping skills NOW. Try and avoid what may (or may not) happen.

I know very little about PPD. And I find that in my reading, not a lot of people talk about it. I don’t know why. It seems like it’s a common occurrence.

“Postpartum depression is depression that occurs after having a baby.

The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to symptoms for depression, but they also include:

  • Trouble sleeping when your baby sleeps (more than the lack of sleep new moms usually get).
  • Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby.
  • Having scary or negative thoughts about the baby, like thinking someone will take your baby away or hurt your baby.
  • Worrying that you will hurt the baby.
  • Feeling guilty about not being a good mom, or ashamed that you cannot care for your baby.

According to a CDC survey, 8 to 19% of women reported having frequent postpartum depressive symptoms. (CDC)”

I’ve seen stats that are kind of all over the place but the general number seems to be between 11-20% of women suffer from PPD. Reading more into it, I feel like what *I* personally need to be more aware of is Post-Partum Anxiety. Considering that anxiety has been my biggest issue (far over depression), it stands to reason that this could become an issue.

Something that I’ve found disappointing with the blog world is the lack of disclosure and the sugar-coating of things. Blogs I loved to read…I ended up feeling disappointed because they’d have a baby and everything would be portrayed as rainbows and sunshine and everything was PERFECT. Then, sometimes (but not always), they’d share months later that things weren’t the perfect portrayal they presented. They struggled. Baby was tongue-tied and couldn’t breastfeed, everyone was suffering stress and exhaustion, mom suffered from PPD, etc etc.

I just wish there was more of a community, more transparency, more honesty. I feel like women are expected to be perfect, not complain about anything…when the reality might be very different and wouldn’t it be NICE to be surrounded by people that understand? And have been through it? Can relate? Can assist? Why isn’t there more of a community??

Anyways…I saw a new therapist and discussed my concerns with her. I really like the new person I’m seeing. She’s a behaviorist and with just a few sessions I already felt like I understood how to “fix” anxiety better with HER than any other therapists I’ve seen.

My post-partum plan:

Of course this is just a plan, it may or may not happen. But it’s my goal, at the very least.

  1. Take a shower and get dressed every day.
  2. When cleared by my doctor, get back to exercising when I can. I know myself and I know that physical activity helps with my anxiety. Even if it’s just taking the little boy and Bella outside for a walk every single day, I need to do something.
  3. Continue going to therapy and learn coping skills for my anxiety.
  4. Self-care!
  5. Get out of the house, see friends and family, do outings! I know myself and being cooped up in the house will make me a little crazy. 🙂 I get stir-crazy after being home sick with a cold for a few days!
  6. Learn to ask for help, and accept help when it’s offered.

 

I talked to a friend recently who suffers from debilitating anxiety. I understand that my anxiety is not a panic disorder (like hers is) and that I do already have SOME coping skills that help me with my anxiety. I’m doing okay–is my anxiety conquered? Not by a long shot. But I am managing it. Anyways, my friend is in cognitive behavioral therapy and she had a fabulous suggestion that she’s being doing for her anxiety. When the panic and anxiety starts to take hold, she closes her eyes and tries to name 5 sounds she hears in that moment. She said it’s really helpful to get her to focus on something else, calm down, take the rising panic out of the anxiety and try and re-focus her energy and mental thread. I’ve tried it and it works!

I really struggle with vague “just try to refocus your thoughts” kind of advice, which is why some therapists have just not worked for me before. I don’t do abstract. Don’t just tell me to be “mindful” tell me what that MEANS. Tell me what it LOOKS like to be “mindful.” So I tried my friend’s advice and I liked it. Trying to name 5 sounds I hear in the moment of anxiety is a good distraction.

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Self-Care

Self-care is kind of a popular buzzword these days but it really is important. In the past self-care for me looked like this: spending time with friends, working out, treating myself to a pedicure, getting regular massages (thank you insurance!), having downtime to read and watch Netflix, cuddling with my fur-babies.

I’ve started keeping a list of things I want to do. Here are some ideas I found on self-care.

80+ Self-Care Ideas

Seven Types of Self-Care Activities for Coping with Stress

134 Activities to Add to Your Self-Care Plan

You Just Had a Baby

 

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I’m so excited about the baby’s arrival! I want to BE PREPARED the best I can so I can enjoy every second of this amazing journey we are about to go on.

Do you have any advice or can you relate to this? What helped you?