The one question that I always thought about with my first pregnancy and even with my second was the delivery and healing process after baby. Sure I can tell you all the things you have already either heard or read about in maternity and pregnancy books but what REALLY happens afterwards? Like what does your body feel that and go through besides bringing a miracle into this world….well this post is going to answer that. It feels EVERYTHING and there are really no words and or statements that I can put together that is an easy way to simplify and or explain it…but I am going to try.
With my first daughter I was induced due to being high risk with preclampsia. Now that in itself is scary but we made it to 38 weeks and induction happened. I arrived at the hospital at 12:30 am and received my first set of medications of induction about 1:45 am (easy breezy just an IV). At about 6:30 am that morning I was not dilated much so they put a balloon foley in and after everything is said and done; I would rather have another epidural than that foley in. The foley for me was uncomfortable; it made me nauseous and it constantly made me think about what was happening because I could feel it making changes to my body. The good news is that after you are 3cm dilated it comes out. It was my prayers being answered when it came out. Now later in the afternoon I decided to opt for the epidural and it was so simple. No pain, I felt nothing, and afterwards my contractions were easier to manage and by 5:54 pm that day my miss Mary was born.
With my second daughter it was completely different. Now I did not have preclampsia but I had gestational diabetes and that is just a post for a whole different day! But I was also induced this time at 39 weeks and did not need a foley. I was already 4 cm dialated when I got to the hospital for my induction. I got to the hospital at 5:30 am that day; they started my pitocin at 7:00 am; I received my epidural and it was the worst pain of my life. They had to do it 3 times and left me a permanent bruise on my back. Well with finally getting the epidural in and starting to throw up due to nauseousness at 10:17 am my second daughter Paisleigh was born.
Regardless of which birth I am talking about healing process was the same; it was long and a lot for a newborn mother to handle but I am going to try to help explain it the best way possible. Now there are some essential items that I ALWAYS recommend on getting for the post birth and I will make sure to post those on my page as well but this post I just want to focus on what you will feel and can or may expect. First there will be a lot of blood; there is no sugar coating that. You just carried a human being for 9 months your body went through a lot and it is going to take some time to get it back to the way it was. Your whole body will hurt and be sore along with that; make sure you take it easy. (Easier said then done right?! You now have a newborn you do not get rest.) Well at least try to. When the baby sleeps you sleep it is that simple. Leave the dishes in the sink; order out, let that laundry pile up, forget about the stack of mail piling high on your table, who cares if you did not brush your hair this morning; WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS YOU SLEEP. It is such a simple statement and plan to action but it does go a long way.
You will be worried with every little sound that comes out of your baby’s mouth and or nose; this is normal. You now have bionic hearing and every little thing wakes or startles you with your new baby; it gets better if you plan on having more children I promise you. You might also forget to eat and or drink…PLEASE DON’T. If you have to set a reminder in your phone please do it. You will be so consumed with your precious little one that you might forget the most important thing; that little nugget of love needs you and you have to stay nourished and hydrated at all times.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and take it when it is offered. You are going to go through a whole world of emotions and feelings after the birth of your baby that it is OK to take a moment to yourself. Have your mom, dad, aunt, uncle, sister, brother, friend, co-worker, come over and sit with your baby for a little bit that way you can shower. You can have some “me time” without feeling guilty about it. I remember always wanting to do everything no matter what time of day or night it was. I actually got so upset when people would ask me to help because I thought if you help me how am I ever going to learn what to do when it happens again and they aren’t there…then what? It is OK your mother/father instincts kick in and you get through it and finally realize you got this and you can do it.
If you do not get anything out of this post; please take this next few short statements I am about to type and read them. Postpartum depression happens and it is OK. With both of my daughters I blamed myself for every little cry and sickness. I constantly thought I was not doing enough or I was not enough for them. I even had the terryifying thought of not even wanting to be around anymore because everything was just too much. The diapers, the cries, the rashes, the feeding, the reflux, the sleepless nights, the spit up, the lack of self care, the laundry, the responsibilities were all just TOO MUCH. As I sat in our cold garage on the concrete step rocking back and forth praying that everything would be alright I heard my oldest daughter crying and knocking on the door behind me wanting to make sure I was alright. That is when I knew I needed those two little girls and my husband more than then would ever need me. They were my lifeline. They were my reason for everything. That same night this happened to me I got online and I researched help and talked to my husband about it. We then made sure going forward we always talked about how we are feeling and made sure we took the right steps to feel better and or get the help we needed.
Now with that being said I know everyone is different but I want you to know if you feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to please reach out and know that I am here for you.
If you have already read one of my posts you know that I have two children, just a week ago I had two under two….YIKES! But my oldest just had her second birthday; HAPPY BIRTHDAY my beautiful girl! For those of you that do not know now I have a two year old and an almost 4 month old; both girls; sorry hubby you are outnumbered! LOL! One thing that I constantly searched for before I was pregnant was my purpose. I believe everyone at some point of their life wants to find that purpose. I remember telling my husband that I felt like my purpose was to have a family and have children….when it became a challenge to get pregnant as fast as I wanted to I started to second and third guess that purpose. That’s normal right? I am pretty sure it is, actually I know it is. I think we put so much pressure on ourselves that we forget to just let go and let God. With that being said I want to focus this blog on what I learned from my two daughters. So many times I have sat here and thought to myself I am not a good mother; their trials and tribulations are because I am not doing something right….right?…WRONG! It is all part of their destiny and life. They too have a purpose and they have taught me so much at such a young age already that I cannot wait to see what comes next.
My first born taught me something completely different than my second born and it could not be more fitting for the little lady she is turning out to be. My rambunctious and sassy Mary taught me how love from deep within. She showed me how much more I needed her then they needed me….(SHHHHH don’t ever tell her that…like I said she’s a sassy one LOL). I wake up every morning and find purpose in her sky blue eyes, her conversations in her crib while mom and dad get ready for work. She taught me how much love a human can physically possess deep within without even trying. With all the frustration and learning experiences we have encountered; the sleepless nights we have had and have yet to have; I need her more than she does me. I need both of my girls more than they need me. These tiny little humans that I get to call my own, my flesh and blood, God’s great image they wake up every morning with the great unknown and they find joy out of everything. Teaching me it is ok to make mistakes that at the end of the day no one is perfect and you know what she loves me just the same. She loves me for all my mistakes, all my terrible singing to “Moana”, all my food she never eats, all the “no’s” I tell her; she loves me for it all and even after it all and that makes me love deeper than I can ever describe.
My second born; my happy little “baby chunk fats” as my husband calls her taught me to love my battle scars. She taught me to love my body. So many times as a new mother; whether we are pregnant or just had a baby or trying to conceive we constantly still worry about our “image”. How we look in these pants or in this top. Or why don’t any of these pants fit me anymore?. From the “all I can wear now is leggings” to the “I don’t want to wear anything but leggings because I don’t even have time to button a real set of pants” it is OK. After my second daughter was born this past fall the first thing I did when I got home was look in the mirror with nothing on besides hospital mesh underwear that went up to my boobs (if you have been there you know what I am talking about), a pad bigger than a doggie pee pad and a nursing bra. I just stared at myself for a good 5 minutes. Looking at every inch of my body, looking at every stretch mark that I had now from carrying not only one child but now it has been two. In that 5 minutes as I was looking at myself and before I could even think about anything negative my husband brought in my daughter and she was just sleeping so majestically. At that moment when I looked at both of them and saw what a miracle I did for the second time; I loved my body. I loved those “tiger stripes” on my tummy, and my milk producing breasts. I loved them all. I loved every single pain I was having, and every single pain I had because at that moment was when I realized all those posts I looked at of gorgeous women bouncing back to their bodies right after birth was a mom just like me. They were thinking the same thing; they might look perfect but every mother worries in some way shape or form about their image. I mean it is what society tries to tell us to do every waking second of the day. I am here today to tell you to STOP.
You are beautiful the way you are…Bruno Mar’s said it best and that song will continue to bring joy to lots of people that need to hear it. WE are worth every scar, every pain, every tear, every roll, every piece of imperfection. I thank both my daughters for the teachings and gifts they have given me. I cannot wait to share it with them and teach them what they taught me.
I never thought too much of postpartum depression until I became pregnant with my first daughter and I was in the waiting room of my doctor’s office and they asked me one question….it took one question for me to just completely break:
“How are you really feeling?”
I broke down. I broke down and completely lost it while my husband sat in the chair next to me with worry in his eyes and just a huge weight on his shoulders. He wanted me to be OK but was not sure what was going on. I cried. I cried and stated I hated everything. I hated going to work, I hated waking up, I hated throwing up, I hated having to think about what to eat because I knew I would just throw it up a couple minutes/hours later. I even hated the sun! It was summertime and I was 8-12 weeks pregnant and I hated the sun. I waited so long to become pregnant this is what my future husband and I wanted (we were to get married in 3 months at the time) and now I was just miserable. I didn’t know what was going on but that one question opened a whole new chapter in my life. Antepartum depression happened. My doctor reassured me that what I was feeling was completely normal and that there were a lot of hormones and changes happening throughout my body and it is going to be OK.
Even though everything turned out to be OK I cannot stress enough on how embarrassed I felt because of this depression. I felt like I did something wrong when in reality it is something that is very common just not a lot of people talk about it. With the help of my amazing team of doctors and the support from my husband I was able to get the help I needed during my pregnancy.
One thing that was never told to me that I wish was beforehand was that if not treated correctly it the depression can come back ten fold in the future if you were to get pregnant again. Well welcome to my life and getting pregnant with baby #2. Before getting pregnant with my second daughter; I had stopped taking my medication after my first daughter turned one. I thought to myself I feel great and I must be alright to just ween myself off my medication. This is NOT RECOMMENDED and before you even think about this please consult your physician. I wish I did. I am the type of person that thinks that I know my body better than anyone else…well because it is MY body and I should know the best about it right?….WRONG. Postpartum depression hit me ten times harder with the conception of my second daughter.
I talk to a therapist and have been on medication that is safe to take while I was pregnant and post pregnancy. I will say it was extremely hard to convince me to do any of it because of course I was that person that didn’t want anything to affect my baby even if it cost me my sanity. I am so glad that I did what was recommended for me because I don’t know if I would be where I am at now without it. I will say if you are in a similar situation do not be afraid to talk about it. Reach out to your doctor’s and you support team (family/friends) they are your biggest advocates and want the best for you and will do anything they can to make sure of it. I am also here to say I HEAR YOU. I know how you feel and there are answers for you. It is only temporary and treatable.
A year….that is how long it took, just a year. Some might think that a year feels like forever but for some it takes years, even decades and I cannot fathom that. Countless days temping, testing, writing, reading, and crying. The only logical explanation for the countless negative tests is…”it is me…..maybe I am not supposed to be a mom”. Maybe my life is supposed to go in a completely different direction; not a baby. It wasn’t until the morning of June 4, 2017 that I received terrible news of my Godmother passing, my cousin going missing, and my grandmother being extremely ill that I knew God had something more for me.
That morning I received two lines; yes you read correctly….two lines. After 12 tests, and 24 lines….I was pregnant. I remember it like it was yesterday. My mother and father drove 2 hours all the way from Ohio (we live in Pennsylvania) to tell me about my Godmother. They arrived at 9 am on Sunday morning with no calls or texts…why did they show up so early? We just took the test, they couldn’t have known. They drove all the way from my hometown of Ohio to tell me about the news of the family; especially my Godmother. We were close. I loved her more than words can describe and I just texted her on the Wednesday of that week to tell her I was praying for her and that I loved her (I still have the text). It was then after speaking to my parents and seeing the look on their faces that I knew we had to share the news with them. After so much turmoil and grief our family was going through I wanted to tell them…WE ARE PREGNANT!
After screams, hugs, and tears we all went to breakfast and enjoyed each other’s company. This day….this June 4th Sunday was the day everything changed. This blog is my journey not for just me but for any woman who ever thought why me?, why not me?, did I do something?, why do I hate it and others love it?; this is for all of you. This is my journey from the beginning to current day….I will take it one experience at a time; one feeling at a time; to ensure that you are not the only one. You are not the only person who thinks the way you do. You are special, you are God-sent, and so is motherhood. We are all in this together; so let’s talk about it.