It’s Shaped Like a Heart!

So, we (finally) arrived at the hospital.  Despite what I figured would happen, we did not in fact deliver the baby in the back of the van on the highway.  That’s a good thing!  I totally scored once we arrived & I learned that the CNM I had been seeing (in case we needed to transfer to a hospital) was on-call that day.  Now, I had my husband (aka ROCK), doula, 3 midwives and the midwife on at the hospital!  In addition, our nurse was hilariously sarcastic (which was perfect for me), so I was having a blast joking with all of these women.  Labor or not, I’ve always got time for jokes!

Sadly, I’d been pushing hard for about 6 hours at this point, and if I was going to get this baby (who’d been in the birth canal for 4 of those hours) out of my body, I needed rest.  This is where my plan fell apart.  I was about to get an epidural to slow the contractions for a while.  They wanted me to get an hour of rest.  The problem was, I don’t listen to instructions very well and I continued to joke around with people instead of resting.  I mean really, my body was still contracting; there was no way I was going to sleep.  (If you’re a man or if you’ve never had contractions, imagine your absolute WORST case of vomiting when you’re actually just dry heaving…now multiply it by 100…that’s about what it’s like to have contractions.)  After about an hour, they then informed me it was time for…(dun dun duuun) pitocin.  UGH!  I worked so hard at preparing for a natural home birth. Now I’m getting slammed with an epidural AND pitocin?  I would have said no, but let’s face it, my baby was stuck in the birth canal and he needed to be out!  Fine, give me the awful pitocin.  Now I can have twice the contractions (because it’s not like they stopped, they just lessened some).  This was in the best interest for the baby, so of course I did what needed to be done.

Back to pushing, pushing, pushing.  I had someone holding every limb, making jokes to keep my spirits up, trying to help me focus on the baby not the pain.  In all honesty, I had one heck of a pit crew!  The OB on call came in & threatened to get out the vacuum.  My midwife put him in his place, telling him I could do it.  I pushed for a total of THIRTEEN HOURS.  Yes, that’s right.  No, I’m not confused.  I was in labor for 18 hours, I pushed for 13.  If one more person tells me I must have that wrong, I’ll be forced to publish my medical records!  At the 13th hour of pushing, the OB returned & asked the nurse to get out the forceps.  By the grace of God that word must have done something in me & my baby because FINALLY he came out!  I couldn’t believe it.  I was finally holding my baby boy, in my arms, on my chest, right away.  This was the moment I’d dreamed about for so long.  There was no anesthesia preventing me from holding him, there was no operating table for me to be strapped to.  There was me, my husband, and our perfect second baby boy.  Just when we thought our hearts couldn’t possibly hold more love, they flooded some more.  We held him until the cord stopped pulsing (which I highly recommend, by the way) and they cleaned him up quickly & we held him some more.   We’d soon learn that the reason he was stuck in the birth canal for so long is because my pelvis is android (heart) shaped.  That’s not exactly conducive to delivering a baby.

Now, it needs to be said that the entire time I was home & at the hospital, I still hadn’t voided my bladder.  I had a fourth degree tear (yup, fantastic) that required quite a lot of stitching.  It was then that I learned what happened to my body.  My body had suffered significant trauma.  I had pushed so hard and for so long, that my body parts were no longer recognizable.  Literally.  Please, lift me up in spirit.  I am breaking once again sharing these details.   It’s like a horror story I relive every time I tell the story I’ve only just begun to tell.  The intimate details I’m about to share are embarrassing, to say the least.  But ya know what?  They’re my story.  They’re my reality.  They’re not my fault.  They’re the reason I’m even stronger today.  I had about 40 different people looking at my lady parts over the next 5 months.  Do you have any idea how much pride that strips from a person?  Just about all of it.  Really.

So, I’d tell my nurses, one after another, that I still couldn’t void.  “Oh, that’s normal after having a baby.”   Finally, we demanded a Foley catheter.  The nurses tried and tried (sure no big deal, it’s not excruciatingly painful or anything!) but because I was so swollen, they couldn’t insert the catheter into my urethra.  A doc finally came and inserted it.  Let me just tell you, having a catheter inserted is incredibly painful to a urethra that’s been abused by previous attempts at insertion.  As a woman who just pushed a big ‘ol baby out, yes, a catheter is extremely painful.  The nurses had me remove it later (also painful, but not nearly as painful as insertion).   Guess what?!  I still couldn’t void.  I was told not to worry, though.  “It’s normal to not be able to pee after having a baby”.  Well, considering my previous delivery was via cesarean, what did I know?  They’re the medical professionals, right?  Every time I’d try to go to the bathroom, all I could void was a drop or two.  Imagine, if you will, having a bladder that’s incredibly full, and only being able to get one single drop out.

So, I continue this nonsense and then was released. My husband & I told EVERY SINGLE NURSE that came into our room that I couldn’t void.  We’d later learn it was never documented.  Awesome, eh?  So, we finally get home with our new little bundle and our family of four could be together at home at last.  My parents (who’d been watching Brayden while we were at the hospital) brought Brayden to our house and our family was HOME!  Later that night, however, the nightmare began.

Please & Thank You

If you don’t agree with someone, that’s obviously your choice.  In fact, you may have very valid reasons for not agreeing with someone.  HOWEVER, you can disagree and still be respectful, right?  Oh this thought could take me in so many directions, but I’ll try to focus on home birth…for now.  Birthing choices are up to the parents birthing the baby.  If you have opinions, quite frankly, they really don’t matter.  You’re entitled to have them.  However, be kind.  Be compassionate.  Be supportive.  After all, that’s what love is, right?  We support the ones we love, whether we agree with them or not.

So, we had a cesarean section with our first baby.  Our baby was removed from my belly, brought to the other side of the room to be cleaned off & checked over, then they brought him to me for oh, I don’t know, a couple of seconds (crazy generous, right?) before whisking him away.  I wanted Todd to stay with him so off he went as well (he hated leaving his wife on the OR table all cut open & whatnot, but orders are orders!).  I had tears streaming down my face and after what seemed like an eternity (it was only about 10 minutes), I asked if they were almost done sewing me up.  The doc laughed & told me they’d finished soaking all of the excess blood off of my uterus and put it back inside my body (ew), were just about done sewing the first layer and had another layer to stitch.  Fantastic.  I’d just had the baby boy I’d been carrying for 9 months whisked away and I ached to see him.  If you’re a mom, you must know that ache.  Your heart literally hurts.  You NEED your baby.  This was a very traumatic event for me.  It may sound trivial in the grand scheme of things, but I’d had my heart set on a vaginal delivery and here this stubborn baby refused to get upside down (okay, I sort of can’t blame him there) in my belly to prepare for birth AND he decides to check out 3 weeks early, 3 days before my scheduled external cephalic version (to try to squish him around so he’d be upside down).  Then, to have the nurse tell me I can’t go see my baby until I can walk, despite just having had major surgery…it’s enough to make anyone emotional!

At this point, we wanted the complete opposite of a hospital birth where we’d have very little say in what goes on when.  In fact, the closest hospitals to us did not allow VBACs, so that was more of a reason for us to have our triumphant HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean).  We want to have our baby in our home, with no white coats present, no wipe-off board with PIT (pitocin) written down and the time we are to be given PIT because we’re taking too long to progress, no instruments to yank the baby out before he’s ready, no monitors being strapped to my belly for all of labor & delivery, no bed I’m being told to lie down on, nobody telling me I can’t eat or drink (I’m working harder than ever before, and you’re going to withhold nourishment?), and no tub to push the baby out in (labor, sure you can labor in the tub, but try delivering a baby in one at a hospital & let me know how it works out for ya).  I can’t thank “Hope” enough for opening our eyes to an entire beautiful birthing community that we never knew existed.  I started seeing an awesome chiropractor that specializes in pregnancy adjustments, and she game me so much relief.  I had HORRIBLE round ligament pain, just horrible. I‘d wake up screaming in the night.  She took so much of my pain away.   I was so grateful.

Oh hello, Braxton Hicks!  I’d never had them with Brayden, nor had I had any type of contractions whatsoever.  I had no idea what to expect, other than the obvious pain.  I was at 40 weeks and, well, not exactly comfortable.  I decided to ask my chiropractor to do acupressure because the Braxton Hicks were just getting really annoying & (even though I know babies should come when THEY are ready) I just couldn’t be pregnant any longer!  She warned me that if she did acupressure, I’d be full steam ahead in labor later that day.  Well, as much as I adored her, I highly doubted her, lol.  I left there and started on the 45 minute drive home.  I was a bit frustrated because before my appointment, I’d been having Braxton Hicks for several days.  Now, they were GONE!  I remember thinking, “are ya kidding me?!  I went from fake contractions to NOTHING?  I’ll never get this baby out of my belly & into my arms!”    That night, I decided to sleep on the couch (I don’t remember why to be honest).  I fell asleep just before 11pm.  Todd slept next to me in the recliner.  Before midnight I woke up in shock, disbelief, anxiety, excitement, you name it, I felt it!  I remember the first thing on my mind was, “Honey!  Call ‘Hope’ & ‘Peace’-(our Doula & Midwife)!!!  We’re having a baby!!!”   We’d purchased the home birth kit online, so we had everything we needed (I’ll spare you the details, but if any of you reading this have any questions about home birth that you’d like to ask me, please feel free…even if it didn’t end the way we’d planned, we still went through the process).

So, wow!  THIS is what contractions feel like!  I don’t love them, not one iota!  Our Doula arrived and shortly after that, our Midwife arrived.  From this point on until a few months down the road, some things remain foggy, but I’ll share what I do know.  In less than 2 hours, our baby was in the birth canal!  I started dreaming of eggs, home fries, sausage & toast with my birthing crew!  We would all have breakfast together because our amazing baby is going to be born in no time!  I was in pain, but excited.  Now I’m going to share some things that I’m truly scared to share.  I tell you this because I want to be completely honest with our readers.  I’m going to be extremely vulnerable, but you need the whole story, so here goes.

We’ve got a few (yes, I was one lucky mama!) Midwives (Peace, Patience, & Faith) and our Doula (Hope) at our home now, all trying to help ease my pain through the birthing process.  I was in & out of the birthing pool (by the fireplace in our family room, oh so peaceful).  My poor husband suffered the pain right along with me.  Each contraction I had, I put my arm around his neck and I’d bear down on him, taking him down forcefully with me with every push.  He’d later be in complete agony from my abuse (oops! – love you, honey!).  Every once in a while they’d ask me to try to use the restroom.  I’d laugh telling them they were nuts, there’s no way I could go to the bathroom when I’m trying to push out a baby!  I tried, but couldn’t   No biggie, after all, I’m trying to push out a baby, my body was a little distracted.  I continued trying to push, and they continued checking in on his heart rate.  His heart was beating perfectly the whole time.  For some reason (I’ll explain later), I just couldn’t get him out of the birth canal (good thing they’re flexible, he’d be there for a great many hours!)  After several hours of trying with all my might to push our baby out, our Midwives & Doula advised me to go to the hospital.  I was crushed, but knew they were right.  So, somebody got a few of my things together while I kept pushing.  I made it out the front door and paused to push again (no matter what, anyone that tells a woman to “stop pushing” is completely certifiable, you can’t stop, you just can’t).  Then I made it around to the other side of the porch, down the steps, and all the way to the back of the minivan!  Woo-hoo!  Now I had to stop to push again (keep in mind I’m making crazy loud Amazon Woman noises, while my neighbors all stare at me from their driveway, awesome).  After that round I had help getting into the back of the van so I could lie down & keep pushing.  Ugh.  One of my midwives (Patience) drove us 45 minutes down the highway, all the while I was screaming & pushing in the back of the van.  She’s awesome for being able to get us there safely with a screaming banshee in the back (and for many other reasons!).

I’ll give you the details of the hospital arrival next time.  It’s going to get raw.  Thank you for taking this journey with us.

DeMatteo Family Easter

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

We went to the 9:45 service at church with friends before we all headed to the Original Pancake House for brunch.  The food was delicious!  It’s so hard to find a restaurant that’ll actually crisp up my home fries.  This is a place we’ll visit again for sure!

I’ve decided it’s just not possible to get all four of us looking at the camera (not talking, lol) at the same time.  Oh well.  We had a great time!

More about our adventures soon…

Invisible Pain

Hi everyone!  Charlotte set a new record in the wee hours of the morning today, 26⁰ out this morning!  Yikes!  It broke the record of 27⁰ from 126 years ago!  Now that’s cold!  Our oldest son has the next week & a half off from school, so today we’re taking full advantage of staying cozy in pjs and slowing down our lives for the day.  We all need those days once in a while, right?

Anyway, I realize that I never really explained to you what my life is like. I’ll be honest, straight forward, and descriptive.  I’m disabled, permanently.   <gasp! And you want to adopt?>  Yes, that’s right.  I am one heck of a mama, too.  Toot! Toot! {that was my very own horn}   Sure, I have days every now & then that I question my mothering capabilities, but recently in a meeting with a bunch of women in the women’s ministry I belong to, I realized that literally every single mother questions herself from time to time.  Sure, friends of mine have mentioned it here & there, but this group proved to me that we ALL question ourselves.  Do you know why?  Because we, as women, want to be perfect versions of ourselves.  We do this to ourselves from an early age, too.  Am I wearing the right clothes?  Does my hair look right?  Is my make-up smudged?  Did I really just leave the house without make-up?  (Okay, most days I DO leave the house without make-up, since having children, lol.  I cared at first, but now, I can’t be bothered to care about such unimportant details.)  Then we enter motherhood, and the questions now are; will he behave if I take him to a restaurant?  Will she be nice to the other kids at preschool or daycare?  Is he strong enough to stand up for himself?  Have I given her the tools she needs to feel confident in all she does?  Do I spend enough time on the floor playing with my children?  Was I on my iPad too much today?  Are we spending enough time reading & writing?

You get my point.  We all question ourselves.  Now, here’s a little known secret I’d like to share with you all.  WE ARE IN FACT ALL PERFECT VERSIONS OF OURSELVES!  Stop doubting yourself, if you know you’re doing almost your best (because let’s face it, there’s always at least a little room for improvement, that’s what keeps us going!), then you’re Mom of the year in my book!  Moms are in fact superheroes.  True story.

Okay, so back to the details of my health.  I have Chronic Intercostal Neuralgia and Fibromyalgia.  I have interesting days, to say the least.  What’s great is, I’m given the choice each day I’m blessed with, to either wear my pain on my face for all to see, or slap a smile on this freckle-filled face and take charge of my day!  I bet you can guess what I pick!  Yup!  Who wants to waste time being miserable?  Not this girl!  Sure, the pain is awful, but it’s mine.  It’s all mine and it’s mine every day, so it is just me.  It’s really all I know.  I don’t know what it’s like to live a day without pain.  I don’t know what it’s like to be able to go run several errands in the morning, then go to an amusement park in the afternoon, then go out to dinner with friends in the evening.  (Honestly, that would tire even the healthiest of superhero moms, admit it!)  So, I plan out my days.  Two days ago, I had a busy morning that consisted of getting gas (easy, right?  NOT!  The paper was empty at the pump and I’d purchased a car wash, so I had to unstrap my 2 yr old & go inside to get my receipt…for a healthy mom, annoying; for me, it cost a spoon-I’ll explain those soon).  After the gas, I went to Target to buy a bucket for an Easter egg hunt at my son’s school.  Did they have buckets?  NOPE!  So now my 2 yr old & I head to Party City (this was NOT in the spoon planning I’d done earlier in the morning) to get a bucket.  After that, I had to stop at Lowe’s to get seed trays so I could finish my planting (we’re selling herb/produce plants and then the crops we produce all season as part of our adoption fundraising).  By now, I was in a ton of pain, but still smiling!   We get home, have lunch, and then head back out to pick up my 4 yr old from preschool.  (The average woman probably thinks it’s obnoxious getting her child in & out of the car seat.  For me, getting my child(ren) in & out of their car seat costs spoons).  We get home, I get the boys upstairs, we read a couple of stories and they take a nap.  Normally, in this time frame I’d push myself onto the elliptical  (bitter sweet, getting/staying fit can help us be healthy, but it also costs spoons!).  This day, however, I went straight for the recliner with my heating pad.  I remained there for as much of nap as I could, so that I could get back to being a superhero once my kids were up.  It’s all about time management.  Normally, I wouldn’t do so many errands in one day, but sometimes, these things do happen.

What I’m trying to explain is, yes, I’m disabled.  However, my disabilities do NOT interfere with me being a good mom.  I’m not happy to be in excruciating pain every day, but I’m thrilled that because of that pain, I get to be a stay-at-home-mom.  You see, God does provide.  I don’t dwell on the bad stuff, why would I?  I have a loving husband and two beautiful children to live for, and hopefully sooner than later, I’ll have a third child to love unconditionally.

No, there’s no cure for me, but my condition is not life threatening.  It’s never going to require me to be living in assisted care, in a hospital, or anything like that.  It stinks, but it is what it is and I’m okay with it.  I truly am at peace with it.  Do you know why?  You should!  I’m okay with it because while it’s taking away from some things, it’s giving me others.  I may have to sit on the sidelines while my husband takes the kids on the rollercoasters (my Mom did, and I never thought she was less of a mother for it…in fact, I stayed with her because I was a total Mama’s Girl), and I may not be able to go do bumper cars, but I can do so many things with my children.  Did you know leprechauns have green pee?  It’s true!  Come look in our toilets on St. Paddy’s Day!  Have you witnessed the wonder and amazement in a child’s eyes when they see the seeds they planted, grow into seedlings, then eventually bear fruit?  Have you helped a child learn to balance on those curbs at the grocery store, and see the pride in their eyes when they reach the other side?  THIS is what life is about.  It’s not about who’s mom can do the best braids, or who’s mom can drive a bumper boat, it’s about who’s mom is present in life, no matter what the experiences that family participates in are.  Be present.  Be fulfilled.

Now, go read Christine Miserandino’s, The Spoon Theory.  It’s amazingly insightful.  If you know anyone at all with a disability, visible or not (like my invisible disability), I promise you will have a new understanding of their day-to-day life.  Thank you for taking the time to understand me.  God bless you all.

http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/wpress/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

Building Networks

Hi everyone!  We’re sorry it’s been several days since our last post.  Sometimes things come up and life just gets in the way.

I left off talking about helping women to avoid & helping them to work through postpartum depression.  One of the main reasons I was able to get past that rather quickly was because of friends.  I decided it was time I made some friends that had babies so that Brayden & I could do some socializing.  I found a playgroup and started signing up for any event I could make it to.  Immediately Brayden & I found these other moms with little babes and the babies would lie on blankets next to each other just having a great time with their baby babble. It was adorable.  While they “played”, the moms would have coffee or tea & just chat about anything and everything.  It was such a great outlet for all of us to have this network we could rely on for socialization, in a crowd that “gets” how frustrating it is when that nasty diaper leaked through the clothes and you forgot to replace the back-up outfit the last time there was a diaper blow-out; a crowd that understands your baby is coming with you so yes that means you won’t be able to give others your undivided attention and you will come with a fair share of noise, a crowd that understands why Lansinoh is a must-have in your purse at all times as a newly nursing mother.  Yes, this network is vital for every mother’s mental well-being.

Time went by, I made more friends that I really enjoyed seeing, but the drive to get to those meetings was just too long & far.  Todd & I talked a great deal about starting up our own family playgroup.  While I really enjoyed meeting all of the moms in the mommy group I’d been attending, I always wished there were more events that my husband could join in on when he had a day off.  After all, new dads deserve socialization, too!  So, we started a family playgroup on our own that would give people that lived near us a more local group of events to join in on.  It took off!  We never expected so many families to join, but it ended up having about 65 different families involved!  WOW!  It was awesome.  Every week we spent time with different friends, anywhere from 1-3 days a week.  We both met other folks with young children that we could really connect to.  We loved having families over for bbq & s’mores nights, potluck parties, holiday parties, and one of my favorites…Coffee Talk.  One member had the great idea to start a regular event where everyone who wanted to would show up at the chosen destination and we’d have this massive stroller walk with each other.  It was so much fun, gave us a good dose of fresh air, and we got exercise! This play group helped create lasting friendships for our oldest child and for us as well.  One of the things that was so humbling was that every time a family had a new baby, or there was a death in the family, or someone had illness in their family, moms and dads would pitch in to make a dinner & deliver a hot dish to the family in need.  It was a drop at the door to avoid making mom more stressed out (we all do a little extra tidying when we’re expecting company, so a drop at the door avoids the stress of feeling like that must be done, because that would defeat the purpose!).  When a family had a new baby we’d get 2 weeks worth of meals on the sign-up sheet so that the first 2 weeks they were home from the hospital, they didn’t ever have to worry about dinner.  What a wonderful thing these families did for each other!  I feel so blessed to have been able to be a part of that.

Time went on and Todd & I decided we were ready for baby #2.  We were so excited to have chosen a different path this time.  I knew if we were to deliver at the hospital a half a mile down the road, they’d require me to have a scheduled c-section due to my previous c-section (for breech presentation).  We wanted to research other options.  Through a friend I’d made in the playgroup, I was introduced to an amazing and inspiring woman who I’ll call Hope.  This woman, a Doula who was training to become a Midwife, would end up having such a deep impact on our hearts that she’d have a lasting effect on our lives and our children’s lives.  We met with her and explained the trauma of the previous cesarean section.  One of her many wonderful qualities is the ability to teach that there are always other options, but she did so in a way that fully supported whatever path we felt was right for our family.  She would point us to information, but was always clear that it was just information, from every angle, so that we could make truly educated decisions.  After all, this would be OUR BIRTH.  The previous birth was more of a hospital policy birth, we just did as we were told.  That’s just not how it should be, and it’s not how it has to be!

After a LOT of researching, questioning, soul searching, and praying, we decided we wanted to plan a home birth for this second baby.  We were so excited to have a HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean).  I’m sure you can imagine the shock that most people felt when we told them this was our plan.  I’m okay with shock.  If something is different than what we’re used to, it surprises us sometimes.  No problem.  The only issues I had with reactions were from people who felt it was their duty to tell us that it was wrong, dangerous, and just unhealthy altogether.  Clearly they had not done any of the learning that I did.  No, they in fact followed along with policy just as I and so many others had done.  That following is okay, it’s their choice, but it’s never okay to tell someone they’re making the wrong choice.  It’s THEIR choice to make.

We read several books & watched movies about natural, home, and water birth.  My ultimate favorite is by Ina May Gaskin and it’s called Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth.  This woman is a huge inspiration.  A couple of the other books I read were Water Birth: A Midwife’s Perspective by Susana Napierala, and Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon.  Ina May herself is enough to get you thinking about how you want YOUR birth experience to be.  I highly recommend reading over her website and learning a bit about what she does & what she stands for.  One of the movies that comes to mind instantly is The Business of Being Born produced by Ricki Lake.  I also strongly recommend every expecting parent watch that.

http://www.inamay.com/books

http://www.amazon.com/Water-Birth-Perspective-Susana-Napierala/dp/0897892852/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363980283&sr=1-1&keywords=water+birth

http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Childbirth-Bradley-Way-Revised/dp/0452276594/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363980208&sr=1-1&keywords=natural+birth+the+bradley+way

http://www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com/

 

So by this point, we’re certain we want a HBAC.  We do all that we can to prepare, including establishing ourselves as patients of Midwives (awesome Midwives, I might add) that assist with home birth, and as a backup, a Midwife that has practicing rights at hospitals just in case we ended up needing one.  I won’t get into how ridiculous it is that there is this line drawn to keep women from having birth where THEY  want it by not protecting the practicing rights of ALL midwives.

Next time, I’ll begin to explain the process of preparing for home birth, and soon after you’ll get to read about the actual birthing process.  It was,…interesting.

Between Thing One & Thing Two Lies a Little Thing Called…PPD

It’s a beautiful day!  It’s 76⁰, the birds are chirping, the sky is so bright we don’t need a single light on, and there’s a lovely breeze blowing in the windows.  One child is napping, the other is having quiet time.  It’s as good a time as any to get some more thoughts “down on paper”.

We had Brayden in September 2008.  He was every bit as perfect as I’d always imagined my baby would be.  As I mentioned previously, I’d done a LOT of babysitting, so I knew babies cry/eat/sleep/poop.  That truly about sums it up for the first weeks of life.  What I didn’t know, was just how common PPD (Postpartum Depression) is.  It’s not something I think I ever hear anyone talk about.  Nobody gave me a little lesson on signs to watch for, nobody told me it’s perfectly normal to start to feel depressed after having a baby, nobody explained that our hormones go completely bonkers because we’d had a baby and that those hormones can have devastating effects on us personally.  No, that did not happen.  Instead, I’d heard all of the wonderful things about babies (with a few, “it’s going to hurt like crazy”’s thrown in).  Sleep when the baby sleeps was a common helpful tip.  One thing that would have really helped though, is to hear from women who ADMIT to suffering from PPD.   It’s very taboo, that PPD discussion.

So, here I am, my beautiful baby boy & I, alone every day just about.  We’d go through the typical motions that any new mom does.  Sadly, I didn’t even notice myself getting depressed.  I mean sure, I was completely exhausted (hello?!  I just had a baby, that’s normal sweetie).  I was still in quite a bit of pain (well no kiddin, you just had your insides pulled outside then cleaned off & put back inside!).  But then, there was this baby; this perfect little gift from God.  This baby was greatest gift I’d ever received.  I had no idea what it felt like to love like this.  Love really is different for different loves.  I mean, the love I feel for my husband is so comforting, so intense, so safe.  I always assumed my parents loved me like that, but slightly different because I was their child, of course.  However, the moment Brayden was put on my chest, my heart started to swell.  I can’t describe it well.  I literally felt my heart hurt when they took him from me.  A piece of me left with him; a piece I could never get back until he was in my arms again.  It would be this way every time someone wanted to hold him.  I worked so hard keeping him safe all those months inside my belly, and now people want me to hand him over?  Seriously?  I mean, logically I completely understood I should let others hold him.  However, hormones know no logic.  I didn’t want anyone taking him from me ever again.  The nurses at the hospital took him & didn’t bring him back to me for 3 days!  Why should I let anyone else hold him ever again?  This all sounds completely loony, I know, but those hormones man, they’re no joke!

I got off track (it happens…a lot).  So, my husband obviously had to go back to work.  Here I was, alone most of the time, with my beautiful babe just a couple of months old.  There was a problem though.  He’d cry, and he’d cry and cry and cry.  He wouldn’t stop!  I’d pick him up, rock him, feed him, change him, sing to him, dance with him, beg him to stop, etc.  You name it, I tried it.  I remember very clearly a phone call I made.  I called my Mom. I was hysterical.  She put my mind at ease because moms can do that just by being moms.  Unfortunately, that eased mind didn’t last.  He kept crying.  I began to weep.  I felt like a complete failure that day.  My baby was so unhappy and the one person who’s supposed to be able to make everything better isn’t making anything better at all!  How was I ever going to be a good mother if my child didn’t find comfort in my touch?  By the grace of God, I received another phone call.  Admittedly, I ignored the phone a lot.  I was fall-on-my-face tired and didn’t feel like chatting with anyone.  For some reason, I answered this time.  It was the County Public Health Nurse.  I probably rolled my eyes thinking, oh great, she’s calling to tell me how awesome motherhood is when I’m in the middle of a crisis and I’m all alone!  The real reason for her call, however, was simply to check in on me.  Wow!  Okay!  Let’s chat!  I started sobbing to her on the phone about how my baby won’t stop crying but he’s healthy and has been given everything he could possibly need.  She urged me to put him somewhere safe (crib, pack’n’play, etc) and go outside for 5 minutes.  Once I do that, my body temperature will change and therefore my whole mood will change.  I thought, ‘yeah lady, that’ll fix everything, sheesh’.  Well what do ya know?  IT DID!  It’s literally my favorite advice to give anyone with high blood pressure due to a stressful situation.  I went back inside after about 4 minutes (it was NY winter, I had no coat, I couldn’t handle another minute!  Lol).  Guess what?  He was sound asleep!  I couldn’t believe it!  God answered my calls.

One thing I want to stress to all people everywhere, is that we need to take care of women.  I was lucky, my PPD ended pretty quickly after that.  In total, it lasted about 4 months.  I know some others who had no issues until 5 months after giving birth, or even a year.  Any time our hormones change drastically, we’re at risk for PPD.  That happens when we’re nursing, when we stop nursing, and just in general because of all the stress of having this little life completely dependent on us.  Reach out to the women in your life.  Don’t ask if a mom who’s got little ones needs a hand.  SHE DOES!  Of course she won’t tell you that, it’s not polite.  Just take charge.  Carry her bags for her.  Call to get permission to come over.  Bring a meal, or 3.  Get the floors vacuumed.  Unload the dishwasher.  Fold her laundry.  Bring her a cup of coffee or tea.  Ask her if she minds if you take her older children for a play date (even if it’s in her own yard!).  Women are (now) programmed to think we NEED to be able to handle it all.  If we can’t handle motherhood on our own, we’re failures.  Well guess what?  That’s poppycock!  (love unpopular words).  It truly does take a village, folks.  None of us are superwoman, nor do we need to be.  In fact, trying to be superwoman will often lead to a mental breakdown, so knock it off, will ya?  It’s time to step up & help out.  Any mom of young kids could use a cup of coffee with another grown-up.  Any mom of young kids could use a hand with the dishes.  Any mom of young kids could use a night off from cooking.  Random acts of kindness go a long way, folks.  Men & women everywhere have the power to help moms avoid PPD.  We’re an amazing mammal!  Let’s reach out & take care of one another!

This entry may have been a little all over the place.  I apologize.  My brain starts going and I just tag along for the ride.  It keeps life interesting.

Until next time…

http://www.postpartum.net/

http://www.ppdsupport.org/

http://ppdsupportpage.com/

Our First Boy Was Born…

Wow!  We can’t believe how much support we’ve gotten in such a short time!  Thank you all!  It’s very touching.

Today I learned how easy it is to be a part of something BIG.  A fellow blogger posted a story about a couple that’s trying desperately to adopt a precious baby girl with Down Syndrome, that will be born in the coming days.  I was so moved by the family’s story, I simply couldn’t ignore it.  I shared it on the Facebook page for Big Dreams, Little Feet.  I promise not to ask you daily for money for random people, but this little babe was tugging at my heart strings.  Adoption is tens of thousands of dollars, so being able to donate however much we can, is an amazing feeling.  I’m happy to report that they raised everything they needed to move forward with the adoption of this baby girl.

So, how did Todd & I come to the decision that we want to adopt a baby?  Today I’d like to give you some background information on how our family grew, blessing us with two perfect babies.  When Todd & I found out we were expecting our first baby, we were over the moon excited!  We’d both wanted babies right down to our core.  The day we found out it was a boy, it was all finally becoming so real.  Soon, we’d hold our little angel in our arms and feel a love only a parent can know.  Brayden was breech, despite my constant nagging for him to flip over, and every attempt I could find on www.spinningbabies.com and through personal contacts.  I’d put ice packs on my belly where his head was to try to get him to wiggle away, I’d play music where his bum was to try to get him to wiggle down to hear it, and I even turned myself upside down on an ironing board.  You haven’t lived until you’ve done that, by the way.  Finally, we made an appointment with the doctors to attempt an external cephalic version (ECV or, manual version) http://www.aafp.org/afp/1998/0901/p731.html .  Well, Brayden was impatient even in the womb, and decided to come three days prior to that appointment.  Since I knew that hospital food isn’t exactly a 5 star meal, I finished up my Chicken Parm and then we headed down the road a half mile to the hospital (crazy convenient, huh?).  I was prepped for surgery & off to the OR I went.  This is where some life-changing events took place, and not just in the obviously beautiful form of having a baby.

So, Todd was waiting to be called in.  I’m about to give some details that are not for those with weak stomachs.  😉   Don’t say I didn’t give you ample warning, this blog will be very raw at times.  When they called him in, the poor man entered the door near the foot of my OR table.  Well, it was great that I couldn’t see anything; it was all on the other side of the sheet.  My husband, however, unexpectedly witnessed his wife on an OR table with her insides cut open.  That has to be such a chilling, horrible, and scary thing to see.  He joined me and together we waited anxiously to hear those first cries.  It felt like an eternity, or so I thought.  I’d soon learn that wait was cake.  Once Brayden was finally “born”, my husband was under strict orders not to let him out of his sight, ever.  They both left the room & the doctors started stitching me back up.  HERE’S where the eternal wait came into play.  😉   I could feel what they were doing (I can’t lie, it was gross to think about), and they kept giving me the play-by-play (also gross).  I was weeping at this point, because Brayden had briefly been put in front of my face, for a few seconds, then whisked away with my husband, leaving me to feel completely alone, while everyone else was below the sheet.  There was an anesthesiologist, but he was too busy with his back turned.  He had no time (read:  desire) to try to calm me down.   Finally, after a long time of putting me back together, I was wheeled out to the recovery room, where Todd & my precious babe greeted me.  I was still very loopy, so Todd guarded Brayden while I held him, just to be safe.  Oh how perfect that moment was, having my husband and our little baby boy in my arms.  Bliss.  The flood of emotions isn’t something I can put into words.  What an amazing and beautiful feeling.

Eventually, we were taken to our hospital room, where they informed us that Brayden had an irregular heartbeat and needed to go to Special Care.  WHAT?  Okay, I know that there are clearly people in much harder situations than ours, but in that moment, the only people in the world were the three of us.  So, off he went.  When my nurse came in, I fought through the tears & asked her to take me to Special Care.  Do you know what she said???  “Once you can walk, you’re welcome to head down.”  Lady, I just had a cesarean section.  Did you really just tell me to walk?  Oh my.  It’s a good thing my husband chimed in.  One does not separate a mama from her baby & put up unnecessary road blocks between them.  Todd found another nurse who was more than happy to get me a wheelchair.  After 3 days, he was finally better & allowed to remain in the room with us until we were discharged.  Dressing your newborn in their “going home from the hospital” outfit is so much fun!

These details that I’ve shared with y’all (yeah, I said y’all) are important.  These details are the reason we ultimately decided to plan a home birth with our next baby.  Stay tuned…