Friday, June 10, 2011

My Journey Part 1

I am tired today.  I'm pretty much tired all the time but today I am the "sitting and staring at nothing" kind of tired.  When I feel like this it is very easy for me to spiral down-ward.  This is why it is so important for me to sleep well.  I can power through, I've done it many times but it is not healthy for me.  If I push through I often end up crashing and falling into a depression for a few days.  I was visiting my in-laws recently and was feeling this way.  I disappeared for a bit and took a short nap.  Maybe they think I'm weird but I've learned after all these years that if I can sleep for 45 min. I can avoid falling under the dark cloud.  If I sleep longer than that it can make me feel worse.  Forty five minutes is perfect.  It's not being lazy or indulgent it is taking care of myself so that I can take care of others.  (I have to type this out loud for myself as much as anyone else.)

Having said all that you can imagine how hard it was to have babies.  The most well-adjusted, healthy person can be defeated by a little baby.  I FELL APART when I had my first child but I found I had to fall apart to become stronger.

I was paranoid and terrified as a new mother.  My first pregnancy, delivery and baby were difficult.  At 19 weeks my tummy started to get smaller from appointment to appointment.  Enter five-million ultra-sounds to find out what was wrong.  My fluid was low and my baby wasn't growing.  Enter five-million non-stress tests and non-stop kick counts.  This doesn't sound exhausting but it was.  I had to write down my kick-counts, get nervous if I couldn't feel her moving, call the Dr. right away (as instructed) and rush in for ultra-sounds a couple of times too many.  Finally at 35 weeks the Dr. decided the baby would be better off on the outside.  Come to find out my placenta had stopped functioning and the umbilical cord was the thickness of a pencil (not ideal).  After trying to induce labor for three days baby flipped feet first and I needed a c-section.  I was devastated!! 

The good news is my baby was completely healthy.  The hard part was she was 4lbs 3oz and super skinny.  She needed lots of food all the time.  I had to nurse, pump and tube feed every two hours.  This meant about sleep.  I was told she was fragile and if she got sick it would be very bad.  I became very protective and defensive.  I would see all kinds of horrible things happening to her that were out of my control.  Specifically I would see myself falling down the stairs while holding her and her flying into the wall.  I thought these were just my protective instincts kicking in.  When she was about six weeks old I was up in the night feeding her.  I had just finished changing her and she had fallen asleep.  I was getting ready to go back to bed and she proceeded to fill her diaper....a lot.  I burst out crying and could not stop, I mean for months.  Of course I am exaggerating a bit but really whenever I was alone I cried about the tiniest thing.  I remember sobbing uncontrollably because I couldn't screw the cap back on the peanut butter. 

Now as I remember this time in my life I can see that I had a classic case of postpartum depression.  At the time I did not see it and I was really good at pretending I was fine.  However, I was certain there was a reason why I was feeling this way.  I threw myself into figuring out what it was.  I read all sort of books about parenting, pregnancy, childbirth and c-sections.  I learned a ton and had my theories but I would never fully understand what was happening until a few years later.

How's that for a cliffhanger?
To be continued...


  1. I had severe postpartum too. I didn't know what it was either. I could go on and on, and maybe when we see each other this summer, we can talk! Hang in there darlin'!

  2. I was so in denial about PPD, but I struggled with it, too. It was awful, but I wouldn't accept that that is what it was. In the hospital after #1, the nurse had come in and given us the PPD run down, and then I took a brief nap and when I woke up, I just started crying and couldn't stop. It was over an hour before I could pull myself together. And then I was like, "Well, that's it! That was my PPD! Onward and upward!" But then we went home and I just couldn't deal. I mean, babies are hard for the majority of women, but I was just a mess constantly and was not coping well at all. But I had *had* my PPD, so all this sadness and doubt and worry and paranoia was clearly just because I was really, really bad at being a mother, right? A little over a year, I got pregnant with #2 and so it just carried right on without stopping until she was about 18 months old. I was constantly paranoid about their health, about being judged, about being a bad mom, about crying (theirs and mine). It went on so long, that I had forgotten what my "real" was. And then, one morning, I woke up for the day, and it was like I had my old brain back. It was like a switch was flipped back over. Weirdest thing ever. But since then, I've been a lot more compassionate toward new moms, and even not-so-new moms.