Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Finding my way post-pregnancy

We'll I am glad pregnancy is over! 

I'm not glad about what is left in it's wake... weak muscles (from not working out), flabby tummy, and six weeks of not being able to do anything other than lift the weight of the baby. Which means no working out. My skin feels a little odd too. Almost thicker. 

But the baby that came as a result? Definitely worth it. 

I always thought that once I had a baby, all was lost. My youth, my body, my sex-appeal to Herbie. I really had felt like I'm giving up all else in return for an amazing little gem. I went into this prepared for that. I also went into it with preconceived notions of how parenting would be and life with baby. Man was I wrong. 

I went into it thinking it would be worse than what it really is. I let myself get lulled into what other mothers told me. 

"Get as much sleep now as you can, because you wont after." What was I going to do? Bottle up my extra sleep and use it when I needed it? Pointless to tell someone that. 

I also would observe what other mothers did with their kids, how they looked, how they struggled, or their general attitude about kids. Most were positive, others were realistic, and some were completely negative. 

I didn't know what to feel! So I just felt negative. Like two years of my life will be flabby and dedicated to keeping this little man alive. I don't mind the dedication, I was honestly just scared of losing myself... I was scared because I thought I was going to have the lives of those other moms and I didn't want them. I wanted my own blissful, amazing life with Herbie and our little honey. 

And you know what? My life turned out to be nothing like theirs after he was born. Surprise! I had been putting myself in their shoes dreading it. What a mistake. My experience is completely different than theirs and I don't feel the same as them about a lot of things. 

I thought I wouldn't get time to work out. Well, Herbie takes the little man so I can go on a run in the afternoon. 

I thought I wouldn't be able to get out and about and go on walks or go to the grocery store without someone touching the baby or having him scream. I don't know why, but this terrified me so much I stayed in the house for almost a month. Well, I got an ergo baby for walks, and a carseat that I can put in shopping carts and after feeding little man, he is fine and quiet when we go to the grocery store. 

The biggest lesson I have learned through this whole thing is that you learn to make it work for you, and that I should never listen to someone else's horror stories or put myself in their position. I felt helpless like I wouldn't be a good parent or know what to do on my own. You totally do, and it is never as bad as it seems.

My Pregnancy and Delivery

I am pretty sure we all have some idea of how we want our pregnancies to go and not go. We also have some idea of what life will be like after baby gets here by observing friends and family who have kids. I for one, had the notion that it would be constant pain, screaming, disheveled hair and frumpy-ness. I mean it's all partially true to some point... if you let it become that way.

Let me get out of the way that I am beyond ecstatic that my little man is here. That was so worth it. I can't stop staring at him and talking to him and loving him and, and, and. However, my pregnancy and the delivery were definitely something I choose to not go through again.

During the first trimester of my pregnancy, I suffered from random and severe panic attacks. So many a day that I really thought I was going nuts. It lead to severe depression and the only thing that made me feel better was going to work and having my students distract me. I can honestly say now that I will never again scoff at someone who says they're suffering from depression. It is a real and debilitating thing. Thank goodness it only lasted for three months! I talked with my doctor about it and it turns out that I have hypothyroidism and that is just a term used for low thyroid. Your thyroid regulates all the other hormones in your body and with low amounts of the thyroid hormone, the rest of my body was freaking out. This will cause your body to go into panic mode, which caused my issues. To top it all off, the first trimester is when your baby uses all of your thyroid hormone for itself until it develops its own. So on day one of month 4, I felt normal again. Isn't that nuts?

The reason I say that I never want to go through another pregnancy is because the depression was so bad that I almost contemplated how nice it would feel to just not exist anymore. I really thought that anything would be better than feeling what I felt. The only things that kept me going were the thoughts that I had to go on to protect my baby of course, and for my family. Let me tell you, those are the darkest days I have ever had. I don't think I could risk another pregnancy to my thyroid issues.

The swollen ankles that resembled tree trunks, not being able to breathe, and any and all smells making me want to throw up all the time were nothing compared to my first trimester.

Now, we come to the delivery.... Little man was a week late and we scheduled to induce me on the 11th of Jan. I came to the hospital with my entire family in tow. My entire family minus two people were there! The doctors and nurses that came into my room almost walked in shocked each time. It was hilarious.

The nurse who tried to put my i.v. in blew out two veins, so they had to get a phlebotemist to come in and do it. That was a great start. They gave me pictocin to induce me and I had tiny contractions all day until about three in the afternoon. That was when they decided to break my water and right after that... my contractions were intense and came quickly. I went from four cm to fully dilated within a few hours.

The doctors finally asked that my herd of a family leave the room and my mom and Herbie were left with me to labor. It is interesting to me that they turn off all the lights accept for two spot lights above you (which I appreciated... I didn't want to be naked with all the lights on in front of a huge medical team). There had to be at least ten people in there running around while I pushed. They were all amazing. The men and women who go into this field that really love what they do should be applauded because they made me feel like I was in good hands and did what needed to be done to get the baby out safely.

I pushed a few times and the babies heart rate dropped to almost nothing each time. The medical team decided that it was too dangerous for him to keep doing that and the lead doc came in to tell me they thought I should have an emergency C-Section. Of course! I'm not going to keep pushing when I hear the babies heart stop. The crazy thing about it was that as soon as I said yes, I was probably in the operating room with in five minutes. They do not joke! Ten minutes later (probably less... I was drugged up and in pain, and had a ton of adrenaline going through me) I was cut open and they were getting little man out. Herbie was right beside me with his scrubs on rubbing my head and comforting me. I am sure he was freaked out because I was shaking so bad. I asked why I was shaking and the anesthesiologist told me it was normal. Most women do it. Its the adrenaline running through your body. I believe it. Imagine knowing that over the sheet there is a team of doctors and nurses cutting into you to pull the baby out and you're fully awake. That thought is definitely scary and would make your heart pound.

As soon as they brought little Herbie into the world I could hear the doctors and nurses saying, "wow, look how alert he is. His eyes are already open!" Then I saw him and he wasn't making a sound, just looking. And when I heard his little cry, I started to cry. It was the most world changing feeling. Not just joy, but something else. I almost feel like it was pure love. Like the love that God has for us... I don't know how else to describe it. Then Herbie was holding our little bug. 

I was so happy he was there. He was holding the little man and rubbing my shoulder. It was a crazy moment that was so full of emotion. He put the baby on my chest and I just couldn't believe my eyes. I finally got to see what was making all of those movements in me and what was growing in my tummy. He was perfect.

Once we were in the post-op room, he latched on and started nursing right away. It was nuts. The nurse asked if I was ready to nurse and I said yes. I really hadn't even thought about it. I thought he wouldn't nurse for a long time, but she squeezed out some colostrum and he went to town. He ate for two whole hours before we left to go back to the room. Everyone was able to come in and meet the little man. It was wonderful.

After everyone went home, the really hard post-op stuff started. I'll never forget the nurses who took care of us. They were angels. Seriously. I have not met a group of individuals who are so caring and do not mind going the extra 100 miles for you. The night I delivered, I was so exhausted and nauseated from the drugs, I couldn't stay awake. I asked the nurse if she could just give the baby a bottle of formula. They knew I wanted to breast feed but I literally couldn't keep my eyes open. Whatever medicine they gave me to keep me from throwing up knocked me out. My nurse came in and hand expressed my milk to feed to the baby while I was sawing logs. Who does that? I mean I know it must have taken a lot of her time, but I cannot thank her enough or say enough good things about her and my other nurses. I hope they get paid what they're worth! I appreciated it more than I could say because I really did want little man to breast feed.

Of course, I had no idea what to expect. The doctor said that the reason he couldn't come through the birth canal and why his heart rate dropped was because his umbilical cord was too short. I felt so awful for him. I can't imagine the stress that a baby would go through to be pulled by your umbilical cord and pushed by momma. Then I thought, what if c-sections couldn't be performed... as in we were still back in the era before that medical possibility. My baby could have died. I sobbed for days at that thought... which made me appreciate my delivery team so much more. Their training and experience probably saved his life. They were so quick to action, and took such great care of us. In the delivery room I didn't say much and someone commented, "wow, Casi, you are so quiet and calm." I literally had no other way to keep my cool other than to be still and silent. I didn't want to move or do anything to hurt the baby.

I could go on and on about the delivery and my experience, but those were the most important things I felt like I had to share with the world. The recovery process is different for everyone and I am so grateful I have time off to recover and spend with my little honey. I certainly hope someone can benefit from this story and share theirs.

It's no wonder people say pregnancy and delivery are miracles. It really has been for me.

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