No matter how easy the pregnancy, carrying your first child is completely nerve-racking. I don’t think people say that enough, but it needs to be said. We suddenly become a vessel for another LIFE for goodness sakes. It’s no small feat.
When we found out we were having twins I was shocked and overjoyed, but then I realized this vessel had just turned into a minivan, and I’d better slow down and keep two hands on the wheel.
My water broke at 35 weeks, although my c-section was scheduled for week 38. It was the day before Thanksgiving which meant, PERFECT! My doctor was out of town. So was the backup doctor.
My first born, Mikey, arrived when I was 33. A whirlwind pregnancy that seemed to stall at childbirth. He decided he was comfy where he was and had no intentions of joining us out in the world. A few days after my due date, we were induced. Mikey joined us after 25 hours of labor with 4 hours of pushing. It was not a pleasant experience. I did not feel strong enough to actually deliver him and my doctor wasn’t the most supportive. Emotionally drained and physically depleted, I awaited that first glimpse of Mikey.
Recovering from Postpartum Depression/Anxiety and the Light at the End of the Tunnel
Meet Gary (She’s one of my closest friends and this is her nickname)….
July 12, 2018 Journal Entry:
“Every night I pray for strength. I ask God and anyone listening to please continue helping me in my journey to full recovery. I write this now with some apprehension. Part of me does not wish to revisit this most painful time in my life, but the other part of me feels I should document this to remind myself of my strength. My refusal to give up. My refusal to give in to this monster that has its hands wrapped tightly around my neck- taking my breath, taking my mind- all without my permission- all when I woke up on Day 2 of my son’s birth. My beautiful first baby boy….All love and innocence…my creation…all my love in one little boy. I just wish I could feel it the same way as everyone else.”
Today is August 10, 2018. 57 days after my son’s birth. 55 days after waking up with a mental illness. 53 days after seeking treatment and being diagnosed with Postpartum Depression & Anxiety. 52 days after receiving medication management intervention.
As my 39th week approached, I felt as though I could breathe a sigh of relief. I was full term! The nursery was set, house was cleaned, bags packed, towel on the seat of my car (just incase). I would get to meet my baby boy any day now.
The inspiration for Our Beautiful Hope came from this passage:
“When an oyster is hit with trauma – a foreign body that invades the sheltered life it lives in its safe shell, it takes action. It builds upon that painful intrusion in its life, adding layer upon layer of iridescence, until it creates a pearl. An object valued for its depth of beauty, the pearl is the beautiful hope born out of the oyster’s pain. Just like the pearl, we can be inspired to take action in our own lives to create beauty and hope out of times that are traumatic and painful. We can create something strong that will be admired by all we let see it, for the depth of its many layers, and the beauty of its strength. Whether it is illness, loss, pain, or trauma, we can transform what life brings us and use it to move forward with wisdom and grace.” – Strength of Heart, by Judy Fredette
I woke up Monday, July 4th, at 5:30am, and wasn’t feeling much movement from Jack, so I went downstairs. I proceeded to walk in the kitchen and all of a sudden felt a ‘gush’ and thought my water broke…only to find tons of blood when I got into the bathroom. I called the hospital and they told me to call 911 and be brought in. The ambulance arrived shortly after and we got to the hospital in under 30 minutes… Joey followed in our packed up car – we had it packed and ready from the previous day when we were actually at the hospital since I was having tons of BH contractions and severe back pain. The ambulance ride was not comfortable and extremely bumpy, but thankfully, because of that, Jack started moving a ton during the ride – that eased by concerns a bit since he hadn’t been moving much that morning.
As my son’s first birthday approaches, someone recently asked me what I would tell him about the day he was born. And to be honest, I don’t really know the answer to that question. Why? Because my birth story was not typical. It was a day filled with such joy but also unimaginable sadness. In putting my story into words, I have realized that there are many gaps in my memory. I think that this is my brain’s way of protecting me from the trauma of that day. But, here is what I do remember….
They (whoever “they” is) say in order to keep mankind going mothers will forget the pain and exhaustion associated with childbirth so that we continue to reproduce. What “they” don’t tell you is this amnesia doesn’t happen overnight. It took a good few months until the sugarcoating of my memory took over. But, hey, now we are itching for baby #2 so I guess it really does work.
It was a Thursday and my last day at work before my leave. I planned to work from home the following week and try to relax before my scheduled induction the following Sat. My mom was flying in that week as well to be there for the birth and help me afterword. So, as I sat to make my “padsicles” which I was told were a must for after giving birth I was surprised to feel like I was having a contraction. I wasn’t even really due for another 12 days. They thought the baby was measuring small though and didn’t want me going over 40 weeks which was the reason for the induction. I brushed it off and thought it was a Braxton-Hicks being that this was the first time I felt this way.
Do you know what it feels like laying your head down for the night thinking you weren’t waking up the
next morning? And I am not talking about sleeping through your alarm. I am talking about literally not
waking up. Dying in your sleep.
This was my nightly thought process every single night after having my son.