Birthing Classes prepare you for your pregnancy and your delivery and some of the basics of when you bring your baby home. As soon as I delivered Emma it was like everyone scattered! Phillip and I looked at each other and were like, "What are we supposed to do with her now? Where's her manual? Why did everyone just leave us?" From Day 1 we could tell Emma had a sweet spirit. She was such a good baby. But sometimes good babies do cry. "She's crying! What do we do?" This parenting thing isn't so easy. Boy are we in for it!
I think God heard our prayers because he sent the nurse in. She showed me how to nurse Emma and it quieted her down instantly. God is Good!!! It was the most amazing experience. I had what she needed and only I could give it to her. She took to nursing right away. Later on that night Emma was still fussing and another nurse came in. She looked at Emma and said, "this little girl is hungry!" So we introduced the bottle to her. This was to supplement her in the meantime while my milk was trying to come in. This seemed to help her.
We kept Emma in our room all night. There was no way we were ever giving this baby up! She is so precious! She might have slept nice and cozy swaddled in her blankie but Phillip and I sure didn't. Poor Phillip had to sleep on the make shift sofa/bed and I on the not so comfortable hospital bed where I was still attached to all my iv's, etc. By Tuesday morning we were so tired.
Wednesday was the welcome home day! Being the end of November the weather had taken a turn for the cold. It was about 30 degrees when we left. Emma fit nicely into her car seat but I did not! I was a little worse for the wear. After a 3rd degree episiotomy and hemroids, I was not doing so good down there. They let me have a tiny little "doughnut" to sit on for my ride home. Do they really think that was going to help? Not really. I was hurting so bad when I got home. But it was so awesome to come home and be welcome'd home by my Mom and Dad, Uncle Mike, Auntie, Brooks and Claire! We all got to visit for a little bit before everyone (but my Mom because she ended up staying for a few weeks) headed back to Florida.
Here's where the hard part came in. I ended up getting a bladder infection. Note to anyone after having a baby, get tested for a bladder infection before leaving the hospital. I had my catheter in much longer than usual because I was so swollen down below. So we had to deal with that and Phillip had to run back and forth to the pharmacy. After I was done with one medicine the infection would come back. I eventually got it fixed and felt better.
Saturday came. We had been living in the glorious land of everything pink until everything turned blue! I cried all day Saturday. For no reason. Cried and cried. The weird thing was that I would be fine one minute and all of a sudden I would just start to cry. Then it would go away. It continued into Sunday. I know was crying all the time because Phillip was supposed to go back to work the next day. I feared him leaving. I feared him driving his truck. I feared him on the interstates. I didn't want him to get hurt. I needed him more than ever now and I couldn't do it on my own. My Mom took Emma for us and we went into our room to have some quiet time. We took a nap with the radio on. Sunday's on "NPR" they usually have cool music playing and sometimes they read stories. It had started getting dark outside and I woke up with a start to this deep voice talking on the radio. I started to panic. Phillip woke up and I started crying and hyperventilating. I couldn't control myself. He ran to get my Mom and we just all sat together crying and trying to get me under control. I was having a panic attack. It was the scariest thing ever! This was the very first time that I have ever had a panic attack.
Phillip's work was so gracious to us. They let him have an extra couple of days off to take care of things at home. He ended up going back to work on Tuesday for a 1/2 day so I could get used to him being back at work and me handling things at home. Some of his co-workers could tell that he was upset and had a lot on his mind. They had kids at home too and so he opened up and told them what we were going through. They confirmed that it was normal and that their wives had also gone through similar situations. Ugh hello? Why hasn't anyone said anything before now? I was having baby blues/postpartum depression or whatever you want to label it as. What I was going through was normal. Then why did everyone talk about how having a baby is such bliss? This is not bliss.
Looking back at this I can now say that God is Good. He is always there for you. He used this situation to bring Phillip and I closer together. We prayed everynight together for healing and guidance about what to do and how to handle it. This was the only thing that seemed to make me feel better. Wednesday we decided to call my Doctor and they said they could see me right away. My Mom drove Emma and I up to the Dr.'s office and we met Phillip there. I went in first and told them what had been going on and how I had been feeling. They then brought Phillip in and we all talked together. They suggested that I start taking a low dose anti-depressant and she gave me some anxiety medicine for the panic attack as well.
It took several days to get into my system but each day I started to feel better and better and back to my normal self. This was what parenting was all about now. Bliss. Being able to fully function and be happy and ok with having a wonderful husband and baby. A week later I was self-sufficient and my Mom, to her regret, was able to go home.
I can honestly say that God did spare me from a terrible case of post-partum. I completely and fully loved Emma, took care of her, interacted with her, changed and bathed her everyday. I loved her. My anxiety was with Phillip and fearing that I would loose him. Being a full-time working woman previously to a stay-at-home Mom was a shocker too. I was used to a schedule and always running around with lists and things to do. Having a newborn in the cold months was hard in itself because you were told not to take them out in public places. I needed to get out of these four walls that I staired at 24 hours a day literally. It was too cold to walk her outside because it was 40-50 degrees outside. I was going nuts. That was the hardest adjustment.
Choosing to take medicine to help with my post-partum was a very hard and personal choice. I needed to be the best Mom I could be for Emma. To be able to do that I needed help. Help came in the form of Lexapro. This medicine was safe to take while nursing so I was able to continue to do that. Unfortunately at 3 weeks I tried pumping and realized that I could not cover the bottom of a bottle. I then realized that I needed to give up nursing and switch to 100% bottle feeding. I have no regrets not being able to nurse. I tried my best to nurse but my body physically could not produce enough to satisfy Emma and give her the nutrients she needed to grow healthy and strong. It was also nice because Phillip or whoever was around could help feed Emma which gave me a little bit of a break. Bottle feeding still gave us the ability to bond because you still hold your baby close, you still look into their eyes, you caress their heads and play with their fingers. It doesn't make you a better Mom if you nurse and it doesn't make you a bad Mom if you bottle feed. You need to do what allows you to be the BEST Mom you can be. In turn you will have a better relationship with your child.
I praise the Lord for the lessons I have learned during these very hard times. I pray that Post-Partum depression would be talked about more and addressed in birthing classes. I think it's important for girlfriends to talk to their girlfriends about post-partum if they've experienced it. But most of all I pray that you will be a friend to someone who may be going through it. I pray that you will be there to listen to them and be a support system for them. I feel extremely passionate about post-partum depression because we've all heard such tragic stories of the most extreme cases that if only someone could have listened more or helped them and not judge them, then hopefully we can keep this from happening to others and woman can get help earlier and faster.
If you know someone who has it or you would like to talk about it please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.