Monthly Archives: September 2015

Why I’m Glad Postpartum Blues Happened to Me

Two weeks have whirled by since Rachel’s birth. It’s amazing how much easier taking a newborn home from the hospital was this time around. For the most part it was a breeze, until the postpartum blues hit with sudden intensity. We were released from the hospital in the morning and I was elated to be going home and to be able to see Josh again. But as we sat at the table eating the nice lunch my sister had prepared for us, the tears came and they wouldn’t stop. Throughout the next nine days, although there were periods of happiness and relative normalcy, eventually my mood would change and the tears would come back.

It’s really a form of depression, but they call it the “blues” because it’s only supposed to be temporary– two weeks after delivery or less. After two weeks of the blues, it’s then called postpartum depression.

At the time it seemed incredibly unfair. Here we had overcome infertility and stage 4 endometriosis, a subchorionic bleed, pregnancy induced cholestasis, and a preterm delivery –and how did it all go? We ended up discharged from the hospital two days after delivery with a healthy beautiful baby girl. There were zero complications — I couldn’t have even asked for a better experience! Yet when I should have felt elated by how well things went, I felt overwhelmed and depressed.

I only had postpartum blues for ten days, but trust me — every day my husband and I made it a priority to get my mental health back into shape. The first thing I did was exercise. The day I got home from the hospital my sister suggested we go for a walk and I found that even though I had just given birth 48 hours prior, I felt totally fine! So began the daily walks in which I listened to sermons, prayed, and just enjoyed the cooler fall weather. Even though the blues are gone now, I’ve kept it up and I look forward to my walk every day. I also read that omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D3 help with depression so I started taking those as well. Lastly, my family pitched in and supported me through it. My older sister called daily to check in with me. My mom made extra trips to visit us and we made fall wreaths and apple pie together and bought Rachel some baby clothes. My little sister visited on the weekends. They were all praying for and with me, and it made a huge difference.

I didn’t expect it, but the postpartum blues brought about some better changes in my life. My sister and I decided to fast from facebook for a while — at least a month. I’m taking time to pray not just during my walks but also while nursing Rachel. I’ve been reading more and really just enjoying a deeper thought and prayer life and less distraction. As I have been more intentionally seeking the Lord, I’ve noticed a greater satisfaction and contentment with my life.

Postpartum blues aren’t all that uncommon, but I guess I had a bit of a severe case while it lasted for those ten days. I can’t imagine the poor mamas that cope with depression for weeks or months after their babies are born. My heart goes out to them. But I’m learning again and again that God loves to stretch and grow us through hard situations– growth that can’t happen when there is less need to desperately cling to Christ.

So, now that it’s over, I’m thankful for the changes postpartum blues brought about in my life. And I’m thankful for these two kiddos!

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Rachel Noelle’s Arrival and Birth Story

“But He Gives More Grace.” ~James 4:6

Rachel Noelle has arrived!

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After 31 hours of labor, Rachel came on Monday, September 14th, in the mid afternoon. She was 36 weeks and 3 days. I was diagnosed with intrahepatic cholestasis at 31 weeks, and therefore had to have her early in order to prevent the increased risk of stillbirth.

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We were so grateful that she weighed 6 pounds 9 ounces, and was 19 inches long! She did phenomenally well, and except for lower blood sugars in the very beginning, she transitioned into the outside world like a champ.

My induction went a thousand times better than last time, too! (Even if it was longer than I had been hoping — it was only 4 hours shorter than Josh’s induction.) After a long labor, the icing on the cake was that I only had to push for less than 5 minutes and had zero complications!

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Here we are after arriving to the L&D unit at 6 am. At this point I think we’re ready to get the ball rolling but the nurses were waiting on doctor’s orders. Hubby is already bored and checking out the various types of medical equipment in the room…
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And here’s my mom reminding me of Josh’s induction by knitting a baby sweater for Rachel right off the bat! (She sat in the same chair and knitted various baby items last time also.)

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This was the finished product of my mom's knitting endeavors during my labor. I think it's adorable!

This was the finished product of my mom’s knitting endeavors during my labor. I think it’s adorable!

The progression we chose for the induction started with Cytotec, foley bulb, pitocin and then an epidural, which was placed sometime in the middle of the night (maybe 3 am?). I was very afraid when it came time to place the epidural because I was so very scared that I’d have a repeat of my last epidural’s horror show. But praise God that it went in just fine with minimal pain this time!

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Cytotec on board here. Regular but mild contractions. It wasn’t long after this that I got out of bed and walked-walked-walked and then spent most of the rest of the day and night sitting on the birthing ball or on the rocking chair.

Feeling nauseous here. Sometimes you just have to find the humor in a hard situation.

Feeling nauseous here. Sometimes you just have to find the humor in less than ideal situations.

My birthing coaches: Hubby, my older sister and my mom (my younger sister was also there for most of the day). It was wonderful to have all the support and encouragement. I will always look back on this time with fond memories. Everyone is pretty tired here as I’ve already been in labor for 24 hours and no one has really gotten much sleep.

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And a huge thanks to my mother in law for watching Josh the first day and night that we were gone! She brought him to visit after Rachel was born but he burst into tears as soon as he heard her cry, and hubby had to take him out of the room. They explored the hospital patio for a while.

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My younger sister holding Rachel for the first time.

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After we got moved to the Postpartum floor. As you can see with the bottle in the background, I had to supplement Rachel with tiny amounts (1/2 oz) of formula after each nursing session to help keep her blood sugar up. I was able to stop giving her formula after my milk came in a few days later.

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My mom and Rachel.

My mom and Rachel.

Keeping it real with this photo. I was so tired here that I seriously look like a drug addict. This was taken the evening of the day Rachel was born, and I had slept a total of 3 hours in the past 72 hours! (Thanks to my Dad for bringing me See’s Candy, though!) I was falling asleep mid-sentence by this point.

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My Dad and Rachel.

My Dad and Rachel.

40 hours after Rachel was born, they let us go home! My fears about her needing phototherapy (for jaundice) or her not nursing well never came to pass. Thank you Lord!

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And lastly, some photos of Rachel taken from home:

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Auntie and Rachel.

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My little snug-a-bug. She is so cuddly!

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Our sun bathing beauty. Even though her bilirubin levels were stable, I opted to put her in the sun for 15 mins a day to help with her jaundice.

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Great Grandpa holding Rachel. She’s his third great grandchild!

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Mimi and Rachel. (Unfortunately I didn’t get a better pic.)

Auntie and Rachel.

Auntie and Rachel.

In the meantime, hubby is off work for a few more weeks and we are adjusting to being a family of four. Josh has had a bit of a rough transition so far and has been throwing many tantrums, especially when I’m nursing Rachel. We have good and bad days with him, and never know which it’ll be! I’ve been dealing with postpartum blues which has been a drag and I’m praying that I’ll be back to my normal self again soon. Until then, the tears seem to flow quite easily, even though I’m so delighted to have a new precious daughter. So, despite various difficulties, we are enjoying Rachel; we are in awe of her tiny stature and are loving getting to know her sweet personality!

Thanks to all who prayed over her safe delivery! 

 

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The Day is Finally Here

My alarm is set to go off in 3 hours. We head into the hospital for our baby’s induction soon. I’m not off to a very good start, because (again) I haven’t slept.  I’m excited– but I’m also already exhausted. It’s been a long week of not sleeping much. I sure hope my body returns to normal after our baby girl is born!

My friends threw a beautiful baby shower for me yesterday and it was so good to pray together at the end. To ask God for a shorter induction than last time (34 hours) and that our daughter would be delivered safely. To thank God for giving us children, when we had previously thought we would have none. As much as this last month has been a big challenge, I still get choked up thinking about God’s kindness to our family.

Josh still has no clue that his world is about to be drastically changed. Even when he’s sitting on my lap and little girl is kicking away at him, he never seems to notice. I’m not sure what to expect out of him but I know he’ll be a good big brother.

Thanks for praying for all of us today. This chronic lack of sleep has me feeling like I’m about to run a marathon after a week of fasting. At the moment I don’t have any idea of how I will handle it well. But I know the Lord will get me through it.

Hopefully I’ll have pictures of our baby girl to share very soon!

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35 Weeks Pregnant – 9 More Days to Go!

Just 9 more days until we get to meet this little girl. I can’t even wrap my head around it. My belly doesn’t feel big enough to be having a baby yet. My house may be look mostly ready for a new family member to join in, but my body doesn’t feel anywhere near ready to have a baby.

I’m busy chasing a toddler around all day and I’m trying to imagine what it’s going to be like to do that while also caring for a newborn. I know this is something families do all the time — that is, having another baby. I’m sure it’s hard and wonderful and well, rather commonplace! But the reality that our family of 3 will soon become 4 is still bewildering to me. Maybe it’s from the combination of struggling with infertility for so many years (i.e. not expecting to ever have children) to then having 2 children rather close together?

As for this week, it’s been a busy one. Honorable mentions for the week include:

— After saving up for almost a year, we finally saved enough to replace our yucky tile & grout counter tops with quartz counter tops. They we installed yesterday and I learned quite a bit about having a toddler in the same house as a construction zone. All I can say is: one day of that was plenty. We also got a new sink and faucet and are touching up the cabinets a bit with new hardware and hinges, and paint where needed. I’ll show some before/after pictures once it’s all finished (the hubs is working on the sink plumbing as I type).

—  Josh managed to get a direct karate chop kick in at my poor nose. It was one of those ‘throwing a tantrum while being placed on the changing table’ moments by Josh and somehow my nose was in the direct line of fire. It hurt pretty badly but thankfully it’s not broken. (As a side note, my husband is also relieved it’s not broken because he said no one would believe that a 17 month old had broken my nose. But I feel like 17 month olds are plenty dangerous in their own way and I’m sure there are lots of parents who have been accidentally hurt by their small children. One lady’s blog I used to read reported that over the years she had inadvertently gotten FIVE corneal abrasions from flying objects about her household from any one of her five active young sons. So I say it’s very possible!)

— NST’s have been going well. The nurses keep commenting (unsolicited) that they think I’ll be having a little baby, though. This is not based on anything scientific, so I hope they’re wrong. They have also been commenting on how low her position is. I hope they’re right about that.

— Speaking on NST’s, only 3 more to go! My mom and mother in law have been saving my bacon with their faithful offerings to watch Josh while I’m gone for that.

— Josh had his 18 month check up early (because I’m paranoid of the pediatrician office germs and didn’t want us all to be sick around the time little girl is born) and all is well there. It was kind of strange when our pediatrician left the room while saying “See you in two weeks! Can’t wait to meet your little girl!” I just can’t believe how fast it is all happening.

— Sleep has been elusive. Two nights ago I had two friends specifically pray for me to sleep and I slept for an amazing 7 hours straight (but then I got kicked in the nose by Josh right after I woke up so that put a damper on things — ha!). The night before that I had only slept 2 hours, so I was in desperate need of rest. It has been a challenge to say the least but it hasn’t been the end of the world. I remember barely sleeping while pregnant with Josh because of constant contractions keeping me up. This time it’s hot feet and itchy skin. So it seems to always been something. Thankfully taking naps is not an issue for me.

Thank you again for your prayers — for rest and for the safety of our unborn baby girl. Please pray that she will tolerate labor well and do awesome once she’s born, even though she’ll be a little premature. And please pray that I’ll hold onto Jesus no matter what happens as He is the unmovable Rock.

The verse on my chalkboard right now says:

“I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8

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