Posts Tagged ‘post partum’
Zen will be 4 months tomorrow and I finally had the chance to finish the recap of his 1st week. That is how busy things are over here!
This post has been in the works for over a year. It started by floating around my head before I decided to write it, then a draft kept changing and changing, sitting idle and then changing again.
As much as I enjoy motherhood and my son brings me immense joy, the whole journey has not been entirely rosy. As you already know from my birth story, my homebirth plans went down the toilet and resulted in an emergency c-section. I ended up suffering from PTSD which evolved into PPD, people immediately assume that it was from the surgery but that is not so.
As detailed in my birth story, when I was hooked to the monitors and I could hear Shammy’s heartbeat, I would notice that his heart rate would drop every time I had a contraction and would practically stop every time I pushed. The doctor wasn’t in the room most of the time so I had the midwife still telling me to push while my husband and doula cheered. Nobody noticed but me so I did the only thing that I could think of at the time I started to fake push.
I didn’t expect my husband or doula to catch on because they’re not trained and not even focusing on the monitor but the midwife kept looking at the monitor to check for contractions yet seemed oblivious to the drop in heart rate. It wasn’t until days later that I shared with my husband what had happened in that room.
I realized that I couldn’t fake pushing forever so as soon as the doctor came back into the room I pushed for real, it took 1 push for him to notice and immediately ask me to stop and say that for baby’s safety a surgery would be best. By then I already had plenty of time to evaluate the situation and had come to the same conclusion so I admit that for a moment felt relief knowing that there was an end in sight.
I was surprisingly calm for the circumstances but at the same time I was terrified. By then I was sure that Shammy would be alright so I only had to deal with my fear of the surgery itself. And the rest as they all say, is history.
After the birth I had to deal with frequent flashbacks of being told to push and listening to the beeps in the monitor slow down only to pick up again when I stopped. This scene has replayed in my mind endlessly for the past year. I was so happy to have a healthy baby yet I was crying regularly at the reoccurring memory. After several days of nightmares I realized that this wasn’t the typical baby blues brought on b the typical hormonal changes.
At first I didn’t know what to do, therapy wasn’t an option at the moment and I was too exhausted and overwhelmed with a newborn to really apply my spiritual practices that have helped in the past.
At 1 week postpartum I broke down crying while the OB checked the healing of my incision. I could see by how uncomfortable he was that talking to him was not an option so he helped in the only way that he knew how but pulling out his prescription pad. I was prescribed an anti depressant but I didn’t immediately take it and instead chose to suffer longer.
The prescription for Zoloft had been filled, the pills were sitting on my desk but I wouldn’t take them. I kept researching it’s effects on breastfeeding. I was scared that the OB said that I would have to take them for a minimum of 3 months and couldn’t just stop them cold turkey, it felt like such a huge commitment since I couldn’t expect immediate results either. My fears were somewhat calmed by Dr Punger sharing that I could only take it for a week if needed.
At 3 weeks postpartum my parents were flying in from Puerto Rico to meet their grandson. Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t have a very close relationship with them and any sort of interaction with my family brings a wave of anxiety oftentimes resulting in full blown panic attacks. In the past a shot of tequila would help but that wasn’t an option this time.
At the encouragement of my husband that is when I finally surrendered in hopes of having an amiable visit with my parents. It helped a lot and I could see results sooner than I expected but I also started to experience side effects just as quickly. I had to take the daily pill right before bedtime and I had 15 minutes to get settles before “the high” would kick. But this wasn’t a good high, I felt like I was on a bad trip along with hallucinations, the only way to really deal with them was to sleep through it. If Shammy woke up within 4 hours of me having taken the pill I couldn’t walk with him because I was just too unstable and would literally walk into walls. Despite all of that I felt that the benefits were outweighing the side effects.
I did have to keep a close eye on how the pill was affecting Shammy. I did notice that the fat content in my breastmilk had dropped greatly while I was taking Zoloft but that is something that I knew would happen and I just made sure that Shammy’s weight was regularly monitored. He may not have gained weight as fast initially as other breastfed babies but he still held his ground on the growth charts and it was never an issue.
Another weight related side effect that I did notice was in my personal weight loss. Before the pill I had lost 32 pounds of pregnancy weight by just sitting on the couch and breastfeeding but that stopped once I started the medication. At first my weight just plateaued but after a month I gradually started to gain weight. It wasn’t until I stopped taking the pill that I started to loose weight again but even then it has been slow but I blame that on my sedentary lifestyle and being less careful with my nutrition.
My original plan was to take the pill until my parents left town but then it became time for me to prepare to go back to work and that brought a whole new round of anxiety so I took it a little longer. As you already know if you’ve been reading this blog a while. I didn’t last long at work. I was hopelessly depressed while at work and I spent more time crying at my desk or in the bathroom than getting any work done. Add to that the challenges with pumping and management trying to change my schedule I don’t want to imagine how it would have been if I was not on medication.
Overall I took Zoloft for almost 4 months, once life started to feel stable and I felt like I had the hang of motherhood I started to self wean. By then I didn’t have health insurance so even though I was supposed to step down with a doctor’s care that was not an option for me. I started to take the pill every other day, after a while I went to once every 2 days. Until one day I just forgot to take it, and forgot again the next day, and the day after that.
During that time I was experiencing some weird symptoms that had started to scare me, for a moment I even thought I had vertigo or some other sort of weird disorder but with no health coverage I couldn’t seek a diagnosis. I had problems with vision and balance. After about a week my husband wondered out loud if my symptoms were related to me not taking the pill anymore. The thought had not crossed my mind!
So I consulted the doctor for the uninsured, Dr. Google and found no shortage of people in my situation. I was experiencing withdrawals and my only option to feel better was to start taking the pill again. I did not want to become a junkie, it had already been over a week so I decided that cold turkey was how it was going to be and I would just have to grin and bear it. It took over a month for my body to fully detoxify and for all of the withdrawal symptoms to disappear.
For months I lived in fear of a relapse but thankfully it didn’t come to that. I regret not having been able to have gotten traditional counseling but thank the support of strangers in PTSD/PPD and C-Section recovery forums for doing the part that the pill could not do.
I consider myself lucky that things didn’t get as dark as they could have and I have to give credit for me accepting that there was a problem early on. It would have been a much steeper hill had I been in denial.
I am disabling comments on this post because just like I didn’t want to talk about it during the first year, I still struggle with bringing my vulnerabilities out in the open so this is being posted for that new mom days, weeks, months or years down the line that finds herself in the same situation and just needs that stranger’s story to know what she needs to do. Just like that stranger mom with her blog post did for me.
So I officially quit my job, I don’t miss it, I feel relieved and haven’t cried since. Shammy is thrilled. The clock is ticking though to get a part time job to avoid falling behind on bills. I also need to partially restart Bandora’s Lair so that I can once again do readings, healing sessions and Reiki classes, etc.
Meanwhile I decided to post the diapers that we don’t use anymore at www.myuseddiapers.com it’s a low traffic site but easier to navigate and understand than the popular Diaper Swappers which usually overwhelms me.
Shammy is rapidly outgrowing his cosleeper (aka bassinet), I’m not ready for him to move and hope that we can squeeze some more time out of it. He’s got a tendency to sleep diagonally on it, something that he inherited from me.
My husband complains that I take way too many pictures of him sleeping, I just find it so cute, I actually hold back and don’t take as many pictures as I would like for fear of waking him with the flash.
Some people have asked me to review my experience with cloth diapers and wonder how could I possibly stand to touch the poo. Very simple, I’ve never had to touch the poo with a cloth diaper, I cannot say the same when Shammy has had blowouts with disposables. ::knock on wood:: I’ve never had a blowout with cloth diapers.
As for the different types of diapers that I’ve tried, Shammy hates and I mean HATES prefolds. He tolerated them when he was a few days old but that was the end of that. Laying the prefold in the cover wasn’t as effective as using a snappi, the snappi is an awesome invention. I have been selling the unused prefolds online and keeping the used ones to use in the changing table.
As far as covers for the prefolds, I got several WAHMS that were very cute but not very effective. The Bummis cover got the job done but I would not feel confident with it overnight. The best one hands down is the Thirsties Duo Wrap, the double leg gussetts was just what Shammy’s skinny legs needed.
I also tried some hybrid systems, gDiapers is a really cool concept but I have found that it isn’t idiot proof, I have to be very careful putting it on or else it’s major leak town. I like that I can use a prefold as an insert but Shammy doesn’t approve of that.
The other hybrid that I like is the Flip, this one is way better, the cover is great, the insert is great, but I feel that the cover is not great to hold the insert in place when putting it on (once on it stays in place nicely) so I haven’t used it for night because I’m afraid to put it on wrong in my barely awake state and end up with a flooded baby. It has worked well during the day though.
Then we move on to the Bumgenius, the 3.0 and earlier versions don’t fit Shammy’s skinny thighs well. The 4.0 on the other hand is just awesome, it fits him well and contains even his most spectacular excretions to date. I find that the snaps version is better as the velcro shows wear and tear after just a few washes. So since it isn’t broken I ain’t fixing it and I’m trying to refrain from experimenting with other brands and sticking to what works. The only downside is that Bumgenius doesn’t come in tie dye.
I’m currently trying to gradually build my Bumgenius stash, right now I have enough to diaper a full day every other day or for half a day on a daily basis. The biggest challenge is that the inserts take a full day to line dry since the dryer has not been installed due to an incompatible electrical outlet that hasn’t been changed. Hoping to soon be able to have 24 diapers that will allow me to stop using disposables and cloth diaper full time.
On the postpartum recovery front, at almost 10 weeks since Shammy was born my hemoglobin levels have recovered enough that I’m almost not anemic anymore, yay for that!
When it comes to nursing pillows I have both the “Boppy” and “My Brest Friend” pillows, I like them both. The boppy is comfy but still requires support, I love it to prop Shammy up to play and read to him and he tolerates it for tummy time. The Brest Friend pillow is excellent for almost hands free nursing, no need to support with my arms so I can caress baby more and it is easier to read while nursing, but it is only convenient if put on before picking baby up.
On amusing news…. I only wear nursing pads when going out because I have few cloth ones and I find the disposable ones suffocating, I don’t care if I leak around the house. Lately I’ve woken up in the middle of the night in a puddle of milk because I was having dreams of Shammy and my boobs thought that it was real.
In more news… the CPSC is pissing me off by trying to eliminate all baby carriers by using bullying tactics and with no scientific evidence to back up their claim, that really makes me grrr.
Some creative mamas have come up with some nifty ideas for halloween costumes for babies in slings, I’m not particularly crafty but this one is simple enough that I could potentially pull it off.
A few weeks ago I read an article about an Australian doctor that wants formula to be sold by prescription. This really got my attention, I know that this is a very controversial subject especially in light of the whole “freedom to do what you think is best for your child” but bear with me as I fantasize about this…
The reason that this appeals to me is the fact that by this method mothers have to make an educated decision instead of just what marketing, family, friends or media portrays as the norm.
This would help solve a lot of the “breastfeeding didn’t work for me” excuses because they have to get help for that problem before being able to get the formula. A one time prescription would be needed and only those mothers for whom breastfeeding truly isn’t an option such as being HIV positive or mothers than insist in formula can get it. For those that make it a personal choice they would have a counseling session with their doctor and sign a consent form agreeing that they understand that the formula they will be getting is substandard nutrition for their baby when compared to breast milk.
Even if it was only implemented for WIC recipients as a condition for the government to pay for that baby’s formula it would have a large impact on informed decision and increasing breastfeeding rates.
I know that the above greatly differs from my usual viewpoints and is a radical approach, I agree, that is why I’m just thinking out loud and not proposing it as public policy.