Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baby Blues

No, I'm not talking about my favorite color, but postpartum depression, the condition made famous when Brooke Shields told the whole world that it made her feel like throwing her baby at the wall.

Being paranoid, I was sure I was going to suffer from this. You know me, always thinking worst case scenario, I imagined Postpartum Psychosis as some kind of demon that was going to take over my body like a poltergeist and get me to commit some horrendous act which would then result in me being the new "bombshell tonight" on an episode of Nancy Grace where they found the worst picture ever tagged of me on Facebook and threw it all over the TV screen while people called in to tell her how great her twins are and how evil I am.

Disclaimer: I have a very wild imagination. But from what I hear about PPP, it can turn a totally normal person into a psychotic killer. Susan Smith's husband was just on TV the other day saying he had no warning whatsoever and still doesn't understand why she killed their kids. I mean, you just can't be too careful! So that's why I talked to my dr about my fears and made sure he would give me whatever pills I thought I needed if I showed signs of PPD and just knowing that I could get help as soon as I needed it gave me a huge sense of relief.

The doctor said that almost every new mom experiences the "baby blues" due to dramatic hormonal changes and that it was only a cause for concern if it lasted longer than two weeks. That doesn't mean that if a woman makes it to the two week mark without developing PPD that she won't develop it in the future but I was counting down the first two weeks nonetheless and over-analyzing every mood swing, ready to call the Dr at a moment's notice.

Here's the lowdown:

I was fine in the hospital but I definitely noticed a change in me once we got home. I could go from happy as a pig in shit to sobbing hysterics in seriously less than one second. And I had no control over it, either. It was insane.

I thought my baby was perfect. He wasn't ugly (tell me I'm not the only person to worry about this), he wasn't fussy, he was sleeping well at night and even at a few days old I thought he had so much personality. And I kept thinking to myself what did I do to deserve something so perfect? I've never built a house for homeless people, volunteered at a soup kitchen or sent any money to the animals in that awful Sheryl Crow commercial! I think bad things about people in my head at times, especially people on MTV's reality shows. Sometimes I'm mean to my mom (sorry, mom). I haven't even been to church since my wedding day! I don't deserve this perfect child! I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the rug to be pulled out from under me. I felt like the only way something this good was going to happen to me was if something bad happened to me in exchange.

I guess you could say I was acting a little crazy. I checked his temperature about 4 times a day, I googled pictures of baby poop to make sure his was normal and I didn't sleep very much because I was afraid of SIDS. I tried giving him a pacifier since it's supposed to lower the risk of SIDS but he wouldn't take it which caused a burst of hysterics from me in the middle of the night.

That crazyiness lasted about 4 days.

At one week postpartum I went to the OB's office to get my staples removed. We were told to make an appt for my 6-week check-up. On the way out of the office that I'd been coming to once a week, as we walked through the lobby and I smelled the familiar scent of the coffee bar, I realized that after my 6 week appt I would have no reason to ever come here again and that made me cry. The OB office had been such a big part of my life for the last 9 months. It's where we saw our perfect looking sac, where we first heard Ian's heartbeat, where we first saw his cute little profile, and now all of that was over and it made me sad. Silly, huh?

And Brian, bless his heart, just took my hand and told me he couldn't wait until the two weeks were up.

I've been doing fine since then. My mom was staying with us the first week to help out and I think that contributed to my anxiety a little because it made me wonder if I could do it all on my own once she left. Now that she's gone I've discovered I can do it and that's just about as good as any drug the dr could have prescribed.

I still have a few moments here and there. I did get a little sad when I went to the hospital to return my breast pump, knowing I would most likely never return to the place where the most amazing day of my life occurred. And when someone made a comment on FB that I shouldn't take my baby in public so soon I did stay up in a panic until 4:30am checking for signs of meningitis. But for the most part I've been a happy mom. I don't want to spend too much time dwelling on all the bad things that could happen. I'd rather just enjoy the great things that do this face, so content after a bath...

And the perfect day we spent together as a family yesterday...

I made it through those two weeks of baby blues and I feel great! PPD can show up months later out of nowhere so I'm not in the clear just yet, but I'm not afraid anymore either. Being aware of myself and my feelings, knowing I can get help if I need it, and not being afraid to admit when I need it, those are the things that will save me from PPD. One thing I'm sure of is that I'm definitely not going to be making any cameos on Nancy Grace.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Oh, What a Night!

I had my first "mom moment" tonight.

At 7pm I put Ian down for a nap. I figured I had 2 hours before Ian would be up so I decided to make dinner. I stuck dinner in the oven and put the timer on for 40 minutes.

Approximately 37 minutes later Ian started crying from the bassinet in our bedroom. I went in there and saw that he had peed outside of his diaper. Oh, the joys of having a boy. I had a waterproof pad under him to save the sheet but it was under the bottom half of his body and the wetness was towards the top of his body. So now I had a wet baby, wet pajamas, wet sheet and a wet bassinet pad.

I took Ian into the nursery to change him and the oven timer started going off. I can't leave him on the changing table and I can't set a wet baby anywhere else so I left the dinner in the oven.

His sleeve was soaking wet and so was his hair. Great. If it was just his skin that was wet I could have wiped him clean with a washcloth and Mustela water but pee in the hair means an all-out sponge bath.

I put on a fresh diaper and carried him out of the nursery. The oven timer was blaring. I needed both hands to get the food out but I can't put him in his bassinet because it's wet! So I set him on the couch, put some pillows around him, grabbed the food from the oven and threw it on top the stove.

I got Ian and gathered supplies for the sponge bath. Body wash, bowl of water, towels and washcloths. He cried the whole time.

Eventually I had a clean and dry baby in a fresh pair of pajamas making hungry faces at me. I made him a bottle. He sucked on it for 15 minutes and only ate 1/2 an ounce before he fell asleep.

I got a new waterproof pad, cleaned and dried the bassinet pad which, luckily, has a waterproof liner, and put him back in the bassinet sans sheet (we only have one). I got my dinner on my plate and just as I sat down to eat, Ian started crying again. Yup, soaking wet. This time the waterproof pad did the job but I still ended up with 1 wet sheet, 2 wet pee pads, 2 pairs of wet PJs, 2 wet towels, and 2 wet washcloths and there was no way I could wash them because it was only 55 degrees out and they would never dry on the clothesline before dark!

When he soaked himself the first time I thought maybe he was growing out of the NB size diapers so I put him in a gigantic size 1. It didn't work because he still managed to be a Pee Houdini (I call him this because he pees outside of his diaper without getting his diaper wet). However, because the diaper was so huge, when he started crying he brought his knees up which made the diaper hit the umbilical cord and when I took off his 2nd pair of wet pajamas I saw that his umbilical cord stump had come off halfway, had blood around it and smelled horrendous!

When it was all over I ended up eating my cold and overcooked dinner with a cranky baby on my lap while Googling infected umbilical cords on the laptop.

All of this happened in less than one hour! It was a pretty hectic hour but I made it through just fine. I know I will have days a lot worse than this one but I'm ready for them because this is what I get to look at when the hectic times are over:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Happy Birthday!

After two hours in recovery (I'm not sure why it took so long), it was time for us to make our way to our room. They turned on the "baby charms" music and wheeled me down the hall towards my parents who were waiting impatiently to see their grandson! Brian pushed the crib behind us.

Everyone stayed out in the hall while the nurses got me into bed. My parents had decorated the room for us. There were cupcakes with blue sprinkles, a Happy Birthday banner, an It's A Boy balloon, It's a Boy suckers, party hats with Snoopy stickers on them, champagne on ice and the dry-erase board said "Welcome Jodie, Brian and Ian." My mom had even wrote Ian's name on the champagne glasses!

By this time I was feeling pretty loopy from the Stadol and crazy-itchy from the Morphine but I do remember feeling like this "birthday" was better than all 32 of my own birthdays combined!

Once they got me settled into a bed that worked (the first one was broken), and everyone had taken a bajillion pictures and sent out text messages and facebook updates, it was time for cupcakes and a champagne toast.

It was truly the best day of my life! I can't believe I was so afraid of it! I understand now why some people are addicted to having babies, lol. It's the most beautiful and incredible experience. I love being a mom and I look forward to giving Ian a lifetime of experiences just as incredible.

The First Moments

When they wheeled me into the recovery room the first thing I saw was Brian sitting in a chair holding Ian. They had put a turquoise knitted hat on Ian's head. I will never forget, as long as I live, the proud look on Brian's face.

They already had Ian's identification card placed in his crib with his name, weight and measurements. Brian had given them the name to write on it. Now it was official. We had a tiny baby boy named Ian.

They set Ian and his bundle of blankets in my arms and I held him for the first time. He was so quiet and peaceful and seemed to have a perpetual smile on his face. I could tell he was happy.

The anesthesia started to wear off right away. I could move my legs all the way up to my knees within about 5 minutes. Brian ran to the waiting room to show my parents pictures from the camera since no visitors were allowed in recovery.

At the one-hour mark the nurse said it was time for his first bath. She told Brian to get the camera ready because babies love it when you wash their hair.

After the bath the lactation specialist came in to give me my first "lesson." She unwrapped Ian from his blanket and set him belly-down on my chest. And this little tiny baby lifted up his head, opened his eyes and looked at me! He knew who I was! He loved me and he trusted me completely. I could tell all of that in just one look. I have heard that new mothers get disappointed because they don't bond with their babies right away. Some people say it took them like 4 or 5 days to really feel love for their child. But I guess I got lucky because I loved him right away. The moment our eyes met our bond was sealed for life and I was filled with love from the tips of my toes to the top of my head. My heart felt bigger than ever before. This is another moment I will never forget.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

And We Have A Baby Boy!

Sorry it took me so long to write this. At first I couldn't sit up to type because of my incision. Then it was the massive swelling in my legs. And then I was just too busy being a mom. But here it is, better late than never.

The night before surgery my dad took me out for my "last supper." I was acting calm but inside I was seriously freaking out. This was going to be the biggest day of my whole life. Bigger than getting my driver's license, graduating high school, turning 21, graduating college and getting married all rolled into one. I was starting to think Brian and I had bitten off more than we could chew. What if I didn't like being a mom? What if I wasn't good at it? What if Brian thought he wanted kids until he had one and then decided he didn't and left me? And the usual fears of surgery like what if he doesn't realize my anesthesia didn't work and starts cutting me open and I feel the whole thing?!? I was so scared that I actually wished for time to stop so I could stay happily pregnant and looking forward to the future forever.

But time didn't stop and we arrived at the hospital at 5:45 Friday morning because no matter what happened the baby had to come out of me one way or another. My mom took this last bump pic of us.

After changing into a hospital gown it was time for my IV. Nurse said she didn't see any veins on me and wrapped up my arm in a warm towel to draw them to the surface. Then she poked me. Then poked me again. And again. And again...and then she apologized. "It's ok", I said. "At least it's over." But it wasn't. Oh no. Not even close. She said the vein blew and she tried again on 4 different places before calling someone for help. I tried to imagine myself at my favorite beach on Grand Cayman but it was hard to maintain any kind of Zen-like trance because all I could do was wonder if the surgical team was as good at their jobs as this nurse. I now have 5 bruises on my hands, wrists and arms. I didn't know it then but the IV incident ended up being the worst part of the day.

There were about 8 people in the OR. It was a pretty small room with lots of bright lights. I had on booties and a hairnet. I had to go in by myself to get my spinal while Brian got dressed. The anesthesiologist was great. He explained everything he was doing and described exactly how it would feel. I had a surgical tech on each side of me. They were kind of like hugging me and telling me I was doing great and that the hardest part was almost over. P.S. The spinal block was nowhere near as bad as the IVs.

After that they sent Brian in in his jumpsuit, hairnet and face mask. I was so happy to see him I almost cried but somehow I held it together. I knew that if I freaked out I would be put to sleep and I definitely did NOT want that. Brian played the role of supporter perfectly. He knew just how to touch me and just what to say to keep me calm.

I thought that the spinal block would numb me completely and that I would feel nothing at all but this was not the case. I could feel things and I could even wiggle my toes. I asked the anesthesiologist is that was ok and he told me that the surgery had already begun. He said they gave me a test cut and when I didn't respond to it the dr went ahead and started. So that part thrilled me! I could feel a lot of pushing around inside of me. It felt very similar to the baby's movements but much stronger which makes sense I guess since it was a man's hands in there and not a baby's.

It seemed like only 5 minutes or so went by when a man on the other side of the curtain yelled, "And we have a baby boy!" Everyone clapped! Brian jumped out of his seat and looked over the curtain. "Honey, I saw him! I saw him come out!" He was SO excited! I have never seen him that giddy before. He had tears in his eyes and gave me a kiss through our face masks.

Everyone seemed to be talking at once. Butt first. What a beautiful little boy. Looks like his daddy. He's a small one. Congratulations, mom and dad. I listened to everything going on around me. I was so happy I felt like my whole body was shaking. And then I heard him cry and it was the sweetest sound I've ever heard.

Brian went over to the crib to watch Ian's exam. He was so giddy! He kept taking pics on the camera and running back to show them to me then running to Ian again. Before I knew it Brian came around the curtain with my baby boy wrapped up in a blanket. One of the techs took pics of the three of us. They put Ian next to me but I couldn't touch him. Then a nurse said it was time for Brian and Ian to head to the recovery room. It didn't take long for them to finish me up. Thank goodness because I couldn't wait to get my hands on that baby!

I didn't think this experience would be as special as it was. I thought it would be scary. I thought I was missing out on something. I figured the surgical team wouldn't really care about another baby being born since they deliver babies everyday. But I was wrong! I felt no pain. I don't feel like I missed out on anything at all and there was tons of celebrating going on in that OR and there would be more celebrating to come. It was only the beginning of the most amazing day of my life!

Here's my little Bub. Ian James. Born June 3, 2011. 7:39am. 6lbs, 1oz.
Look at that smile!