Rocking the boat (Anonymous)
My son is now 20 months old (I’m 27) and is the most AWESOME gift life has ever given me, aside from my husband, yet I am still having a hard time overcoming a tough bout of post-partum depression. Before the birth of my son, I was a super-fit triathlete, vivacious and die-hard optimist, fresh out of college and had just started my own small business. I had a clear plan for myself and my future and was having a ball being the single social butterfly. Suddenly everything changed. My future husband and I conceived our son after a mere 4 months of dating, but decided we were in it for the long haul and decided to marry when I was 7 months pregnant. Talk about a scary start!
My pregnancy was fairly normal, just NOTHING what I had expected! I always romanticized the idea of pregnancy, always assuming I would be at a place in my life where a baby would be the icing on the cake. This was hardly what I had planned! I decided that I wanted as natural a delivery as possible- we’re talking NO drugs, IVs, post-birth eye drops- the whole shabang! Unfortunately, my plans were dashed the day I went in for my 36 week checkup and found that my son was breech. Again, my plans were turned upside down. The natural delivery plan was shot to hell, but I tried to keep my chin up and go with the flow. I opted out of an external cephalic version to avoid the risk of early delivery and to see if my son would turn on his own. I tried everything I heard of to encourage him to turn in an attempt to salvage my birth plan. I tried shining a flashlight down my stomach to encourage him to follow the light, laying inverted on an ironing board,
diving into a pool, even moxibustion and accupuncture! My efforts were all in vain. I even held out on a scheduled c-section until a week past my due date just to see if during the last few days he might still turn. That was no easy task, considering I was still working up until the day before I gave birth, standing for 8 hours a day and having gained 60+ lbs!
Five days past my due date, my water broke early in the morning and I scampered into the bathroom as fluid rushed down my legs. I noticed that there was a funny color to the fluid and immediately thought of what it must be- meconium. Not a good sign. Even so, I was elated that I was able to experience a small bit of a normal labor and will always cherish those last few moments that I was alone with my son still inside me. Knowing that meconium could be inhaled by the baby and cause complications, we rushed to the hospital to begin the cesarean delivery I had so dreaded. I relished the feeling of contractions and welcomed them, and felt calm spread over me as I accepted the situation ahead.
The c-section was actually pretty easy and I surprised myself that I was so calm. I tried to ignore my feelings that the doctors were rushing too much, that they weren’t paying attention to me, that I was just another surgery that morning. The whole thing progressed like a well-oiled machine. There was no soft lighting, no spiritual music playing, no SOUL to the whole event. I just let the doctors do their thing as I laid down and tried to breathe normally as the epidural affected my diaphragm and lungs. I didn’t even recognize my husband when he sat down next to me and held my hand. I was shocked when I asked the doctors if they had started yet and they said,” Oh yeah! We’ve got a hold of his legs! Now there’s a big baby!” (At 9.5lbs, I should say so!) I saw my beautiful son and his bright pink face screeching for all the world to hear for a split second before he was whisked away. I don’t recall seeing him again for what seemed like hours. The drugs they gave me caused me to become violently ill and I vomited almost non-stop for several hours after the birth. I was so drugged up that I have almost no clear memory of the next few hours. Bonding with my son was a distant urge. I do recall being wheeled down to the NICU to see my son, and having to stop several times along the way to vomit. One stop was so violent that I felt a distinct POP in the stitches holding my stomach together. This didn’t seem to bother any of the doctors or nurses, despite the fact that the skin around the alleged POP was now bulging.
My son was being held in the NICU for reasons that remain unclear to me. They said that there was a concern over his circulation post-birth and they wanted to check out his heart (this really means that they wanted to use their fancy machines and keep any possible lawsuits at bay). My son was fine and they released him soon after, but I have no recollection of his homecoming. I do recall a nurse prodding me several times to get me to nurse him and finally threatening to give him formula if I didn’t liven up. I fought through the drugs and tried to nurse. Let me just say that overcoming two inverted nipples while on morphine was not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Breastfeeding proved to be THE most challenging feat of my life! I summoned up every nursing consultant I could scrounge up before I left the hospital, and was given every tool and doo-dad to encourage breast feeding. My mother-in-law must have thought I was a total moron when it was nursing time and I whipped out my avalanche of tools! Despite about 4 bouts of mastitis, cracked and bleeding nipples, latching problems and SEVERE engorgement (A cup to a D+!), I managed to breastfeed for an entire year! If my hubby hadn’t prodded me along and given a mountain of support, I might have quit after two weeks. It was a NIGHTMARE. I didn’t know a single other mother who had such a hard time of it. Nobody could compare stories with me or even come close!
Overcoming the c-section was a cakewalk compared to the struggles I had breastfeeding. It was so painful I actually used my leftover pain meds for the c-section recovery to make it through a nursing session. Since my brand-new hubby was still in law school and studied all day and all night, I was pretty much on my own with the baby. I suffered such exhaustion that I would lay on the couch weeping and say that I just wanted to die. I was also concerned over the strange bulge on one side of my birth scar, as well as the deflated balloon I had for a belly and the 30+ lbs I still had to lose.
Even a year and a half later and only 5lbs away from my pre-baby weight (pretty darn good, right?) I still have a few body issues. What mom doesn’t? Mostly I am struggling with my sense of self, the identity I am remodelling and the new life I have. I try not to seem ungrateful for all the blessings I have in life, but at the same time I struggle to find the “old” me, if she even exists anymore. With such a tumultuous start to my marriage, an unplanned pregnancy, unwanted cesarean, troubles breastfeeding and now a diagnosis of a prolapsed uterus and possible hernia, it’s a wonder I can carry on a normal conversation! Things are actually a lot better than they sound here, but I still have tough days. Completing my first triathlon at 5 mos post-partum was a real boost for me and something I remain proud of. It’s good to know that I have family and a great husband I can count on, as well as the awesome advice and inspiration from strong women like you! Shape of a Mother ROCKS!!!
13 thoughts on “Rocking the Boat (Anonymous)”
You look awesome, what body issues? I also stuggle with PPD as did my husband so I’m not looking forward to ever doing it again, but I will. I didn’t even know that men could get PPD and I thought he would be my support. He tried but he just couldn’t. I think the high expectations are the hardest to get past. I had also planned a completely drug free birth only to be induced with a posterior baby, terribly long back labor, and finally got an epidural. I had also imagined breastfeeding to be this wonderful, relaxing bonding experience just like my mom had described only to find that I hated it. It hurt and I felt completely tied down, it really hurt worse than labor. I also stuck it out and am very proud that I have also made it to the year mark and now beyond. I now enjoy it. I hope you have brighter days ahead and get the help you need next time if there is one. You had such a beautiful pregnant belly and have a beautiful son.
Wow! You have nothing to worry about!
Your post really moved me. What a strong, amazing woman you are! You did a triathalon at five months post-partum? Awesome. It wasn’t a physical feat, but at five months pp, I put on my first concert post-baby (I’m a musician.) I was pretty proud of myself for that, too, and so were my friends and family. I also went through ppd. I am on the other side of it now, though, and things are going really well. I was wondering if you had been treated for depression. I was very hesitant to go on medication, but I did, and it was so helpful. To be honest, I’m not sure how I would have gotten through it without them. Good luck to you! You are beautiful.
Damn you are smokin!
Holy! You look amazing, every part of your body looks firm and toned! Good job on your triathlon, and only 5 months PP you should be very proud.
You are definitly not alone with the breast feeding issues. Like you I was the only one I knew that had such a hard time nursing. I too had flat nipples and only managed to nurse my daughter 2 months as I did not have any good help. When I had my son I was determined to nurse for a year. I’m all about the natural ways also. I had a natural water birth for my son who was also 9 1/2 lbs. It was hell OMG! I was at a birth center so could not get drugs but I would have if I was in the hospital. I nursed successfully for a few weeks then got a nasty case of mastitis that would not go away. I too was so horribly engorged went from a DD to god only knows what. My mastitis would not clear up and I abcessed in two places. I had to have them drained in the hospital. Thanks to the pump at the hospital and really good support from the doctors I kept nursing and nursed my son for 10 months on just one breast my other one dried up as they severed a couple ducts. He weaned himself. He thinks he’s a big man. I think it’s all worth it and so important that you stuck it out and gave you baby the best norishment you could. Good job!
I think that you look awesome.. I lost all of my weight in the first month, but I havn’t been able to find the time or motivation to work out to get my prebaby body back.. :( That aside from my husband deploying I find it hard to even want to be away from my baby girl because it’s the closest thing to my husband I know.. :( I’m trying really hard to want to work out, but looking in the mirror, I don’t even think that my body would look semi decent with the stretch marks that I did get, not too bad, but still a purpleish color.. I am having a hard time dealing with them.. You are very lucky.. Your story rocks :)
We have an almost identical birth story, including trying to turn a stubborn breech, the major problems breastfeeding, PPD (but minus the vomiting). I was having problems even til a few months ago (prolapsed bladder and rectum) and my doctor referred me to a physical therapist for pelvic floor rehab (myofascial release). Let me just tell you, I feel so MUCH more like my old self since the pelvic floor rehab!! A must for prolpases!
Im in complete shock looking at your pictures. im due in a few weeks and ive been so depressed thinking about how im gonna look after the baby is born. im scared i may never look the way i used to but your pictures give me hope that i might. you look amazing…keep up the good work!
You look absolutely beautiful, I wish you and your family all the luck in the world.
you look amazing! I can really relate to your post. I’m an athlete as well, gained 60+ pounds, had a c-section and found breast feeding to be the single most difficult thing I’ve EVER tried to do. Latching issues, supply issues and 2 cases of thrush each for me and baby led me to exclusively pump for 2 months and then my supply went to crap. I formula feed after and felt free!!! Good for you to stick with it. I had PPD and like you was exhausted beyond belief. You should be proud but anyone reading this… if you have to switch to formula don’t be ashamed. Formula is food!!
I’m sorry that your c-section wasn’t what you’d hoped it would be. I actually hoped to have one and was happy when the doctor recommended it. It was a great experience for me. I got to hold my baby immediately after he was cleaned up, weighed, etc. which by the way was done right next to me. We spent the next 3 hours together and then he went for a bath with my Husband and then was brought back to me. For the next 4 days, he stayed with my Husband and I in our hospital room. It was wonderful!
Anyway… I just wanted to say that life might not always go the way we planned but how boring would that be right?!? ;) Good luck to you and your family.
u truly rock. i wanna see more of u if possible. u r an inspiration to the artist in me. u r a complete beautiful woman. i wish u and ur family all the best in life.
you look so wonderful! congratulations on everything you have accomplished. breast feeding was really trying for me too, and i have bad ppd up until a few months ago, which i still battle some depression, but looking into the eyes of your child, that you carried and love just makes anything look better. God bless you and your family and thank you for sharing your story!