Tag Archives: pregnancy

When Life Gives You Postpartum Depression

We’ve all heard the saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  But what about when life gives you postpartum depression?  What do you make with that?

August of last year I gave birth to my 3rd baby and I dealt with postpartum depression after all 3 children were born.  With the birth of my first child, my life was a bit hectic.  I had only been married for a year and was still trying to figure out how to be someone’s wife let alone a mother.  I had preeclampsia during my pregnancy and had to be induced 3 weeks early.  There were complications during the birth, but thankfully I gave birth to a healthy baby boy.  But now what?  I had no idea what to do with this baby.  I wanted to nurse but at that time I was so young and couldn’t deal with the pain of nursing.  I literally cried every time he would latch on.   He was also extremely jaundice at birth so I was told that I would need to supplement him with formula until they cleared him.  The formula they gave me at the hospital severely upset his stomach so our first night at home he literally screamed his head off the entire night.  I remember feeling helpless, exhausted, and like a failure.  I was his mom and I couldn’t fix it.  Everyday seemed to get darker and darker from there.  I loved my baby and finally got a formula that he could tolerate, but I was still so down.  A large part of this was extreme fatigue.  But I also found that I had no patience for adults at all.  People breathing just irritated me to no end.  Everyone wanted to come hold the baby or look at the baby.  No one seemed to be interested in how I was doing or feeling.  No one was asking if I needed help with anything.  I was drowning in laundry and bottle washing and all anyone wanted to do was see the baby.   I didn’t know much about postpartum depression or “baby blues” at the time.  I just knew that I couldn’t tolerate being around people and I felt completely alone.

With the birth of my second son I was older and experienced at this mom thing.  I thought I would be ok this time.  Unfortunately, postpartum depression is not the type of thing you can control.  I will say that communication is a big help.  Years after the birth of our first son, I told my husband exactly what I was going through during that time.  He had no idea how bad it was, I wore that mask well.  He remembered what we’d discussed and made sure to be in constant communication with me about my feelings this time around.  He was such a great support system for me, which is crucial in dealing with postpartum depression.  We were also apart of a new church and they had truly become family.  They brought meals over so I didn’t have to worry about dinners for the first few weeks, which was amazing.   My older son has some great friends with some great moms that checked on me and came over to help out. I was also honest with my doctor about my feelings as well.  Again, I loved my baby and never had negative feelings toward him.  It was everyone else that I couldn’t tolerate.  And the wave of emotions were completely crazy this time.  I remember standing in the aisle at my local grocery store looking at rice and tears were streaming down my face.  I didn’t know why I was crying but I felt such a deep sadness in that moment.  I felt stupid for crying, especially in public but I could not stop.  I hated feeling out of control.  I stayed home for 12 weeks with my son.  The first day I went back to work, I literally sobbed the entire day.  I missed my baby, I missed my older son and everything around me was an irritant.  I began to feel more like myself after about a month or 2 after that.

My daughter was born 15 months ago and I was completely prepared…so I thought.  I will say, I did not feel as bad as I did the first two times.  But that impatience reared its ugly head as it had done both times before.  Also my middle child, then 21 months old, was now going to be staying at home with me and the new baby as I have transitioned to being a stay at home mom.  Let’s just say he was less than thrilled about this little girl coming into our home and stealing his shine.  He began to regress, waking up at night crying and wanting to nurse all the time.  Again, thank God for my husband.  He was such a huge help.  He would get up with me and I’d take one child and he’d take the other.  Our church and friends were also there to help as well.  I didn’t cry in the grocery store, but I have had crazy emotions and that helpless overwhelmed feeling.  Fortunately, my now 3 year old had adjusted to our new normal and adores his baby sister but that transition period was hard for both of us.

So to answer my initial question, what do you do when life gives you postpartum depression?  I’m not an expert but I would say you get honest and get help.  Don’t be embarrassed by your feelings.  You are not alone and you don’t have to be.  Find a support system, people you trust.  Whether it’s your spouse, friend, church…tell someone!  Make sure your OBGYN is aware of your feelings as well, especially if you have had thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.  Postpartum depression can be a dark road but you don’t have to go at it alone.  There’s light at the end of that tunnel momma, just hold on!

~1spentmom~

The Truth About Infertility

I’ve just recently started opening up about my miscarriage and infertility. I think it’s extremely important to to talk about these things and shine a light on a topic that can sometimes seemingly seem “taboo”.

Not all of us are built to conceive or carry a child. Infertility does NOT discriminate. Personally, I have no trouble “getting pregnant”- staying pregnant that has been a problem for me.

My issues tend to start early on when the baby is still a teeny tiny tadpole alien. Most people have heard of the pregnancy hormone HCG. Well if you’ve ever had a baby before, then you know that in early pregnancy your HCG levels double every 24-48 hours in a healthy pregnancy. It’s also the hormone that causes your home pregnancy test to turn positive. But the other less talked about hormone needed to have a successful pregnancy is Progesterone.

If you’re like me, then you had probably never heard of it before becoming pregnant. Progesterone is a female sex hormone. It’s produced mainly in the ovaries following ovulation each month. It’s a crucial part of the menstrual cycle and for the maintenance of a healthy pregnancy. So in other words- it’s super important, and like the HCG hormone it’s number needs to be going up and doubling as well.

Remember when I said I don’t have a problem getting pregnant? Well once a fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall, progesterone helps maintain the uterine lining throughout pregnancy. Basically it keeps the lining thick enough for the baby implant and grow…or as my doctor so delicately put it “favorable conditions.”

For whatever reason, my body just doesn’t make enough progesterone on it’s own to maintain a pregnancy. My number stopped going up which resulted in miscarriage at 6 weeks and an almost miscarriage this pregnancy at 6 weeks as well. Fortunately, my doctor monitored my levels weekly starting at 4 weeks pregnant. She caught the progesterone early on and put me on suppositories twice a day until I reached 10 weeks, which was supposed to be the safe zone.

That’s when it got super fun..

When I went into my 12 week check up, I was feeling pretty good. Any mom who has suffered a miscarriage knows that the 12 week mark is a biggie! Chances of miscarriage drop tremendously at this point…in a normal pregnancy. She did a couple routine tests and broke the news to me that I still wasn’t making enough progesterone to maintain the pregnancy.

As frustrated as I was, she dove right into an action plan. She prescribed me a progesterone injection once a week in my hip to keep my levels high enough to carry the baby to term. Attachment.png

With my first pregnancy I had the hardest time not delivering early. I had a different doctor back then, who never thought to check my progesterone levels- so I was constantly in the labor and delivery room having my labor stopped. At 28 weeks I started dilating. By 33 weeks I was at 4cm. By 35 weeks I was at a 6. I was placed on bed rest and a contraction stalling medication for the last month of my pregnancy, ultimately delivering her at 36 weeks. She was healthy- but the whole ordeal was a bit stressful for me and Brett.

This time around is proving no different. My doctor has been super proactive and covered everything preparing for a premature baby..it doesn’t take my fear away..but it helps a ton. This week I had a serious of steroid shots that are designed to mature the babies lungs and get her ready to breathe on the outside. As painful as they were to actually get- I’m so relieved to not have to worry about my baby having breathing troubles if she decides to come early. Along with those shots, they gave me a shot to boost the baby’s immune system- since premies tend to be more susceptible to infections.

So now we are in a waiting game. Hoping she cooks for another 7 weeks at least, but prepared if she decides to come sooner. This whole experience has been so humbling. I’ve had a great support system, and a ton of support from family and friends. Attachment_1.png

Before I went through this, I never realized how common issues like mine are. Why isn’t it talked about more? I’ve spent countless hours online trying to find information and testimonials from other women who’ve gone through this, only to discover it’s fairly common…yet unheard of at the same time!? This needs to change. Early miscarriages, and premature births could go down tremendously if more women knew to ask their doctors to check for low progesterone. Remember, 1 in 4 women will suffer from a miscarriage. That number is way to high. Especially when its something like I have that is treatable if caught early enough. Attachment_2.png

Start talking. If you’re planning on trying for a baby, have your progesterone level checked, most women go their whole adult life not even knowing where they stand. Low progesterone levels cause irregular or heavy periods. I suffered for years, thinking it was normal. So if you’re suffering from either of those- get checked out! It’s a simple blood test, and like I’ve stated before, it’s treatable.

If this helps even one baby or mamma, I’ll be satisfied. Everything starts with a a conversation.

~Andrea

‘Trisomy 18.’ ‘Incompatible with life.’… Why would anyone want a baby like that?

“’Trisomy 18.’ ‘Incompatible with life.’ ‘Why would anyone want a baby like that?’

I think back to the day those words shook my pregnant body to the core and crushed the deepest parts of my soul. I quickly went to Google searching for hope. Instead, I found none. I closed my web browser feeling worse than when I opened it. I didn’t understand how the baby so full of life within me could be THAT sick. I didn’t understand how she was so beautiful in her ultrasounds, yet the doctors would only tell me about how ‘scary’ she would look.

At 27 weeks gestation we went in for an elective 3D ultrasound. I was so excited to see Lillian’s chubby cheeks and her sweet face, after all, this was going to be the very first time we got to see her in 3D. All of her prior ultrasounds deemed her perfectly healthy, so we had no worries, right? I remember my biggest fear being that the last ultrasound would be wrong and that we would find out she was actually a boy. I had desired a daughter since I was a little girl. I already had a perfectly healthy little boy, despite being born at 33 weeks gestation, and now I was getting my little girl. What a perfect family!

Our ultrasound technician kept looking at Lillian’s heart. I knew something was wrong. Fear fell over me like a giant black drape. My brain started getting foggy and my heart was racing. “Jeanette, what’s wrong?” I said. “Well, I’m just seeing some things. I’m going to run a diagnostic and send it over to your midwife. I see some things with the baby’s heart and stomach. I’m concerned she may have Down Syndrome.” I honestly don’t remember much after that. I was hysterical. One of my biggest fears is losing a child. We went home that day and got a call from my midwife telling me that she wanted me to go to a specialist for a level II ultrasound the next day. The urgency had me very concerned. I had been reading up on Trisomy 21, trying to learn everything I could about Lillian’s possible condition. We went to see the specialist, and after a very long ultrasound, she rattled of a bunch of things they found wrong with my baby girl. “So, you think she has Down Syndrome?” “Oh, you’ll be lucky if it’s that. I’m thinking more along the lines of Trisomy 18 or 13.” I can’t even describe the feeling that I felt. It was just an indescribable emptiness surrounded by fear. And then anger. How could God allow me to think my baby girl was healthy and then take her away? How could He do that to me? It’s hard for me to even type that, let alone think back to when those emotions and thoughts were so raw and real.

Over the next few months, I went through the waves of emotion. Denial, fear, anger, hope. My husband and I found a hospital that would be willing to treat Lillian after birth. We moved 2 hours from home to be closer to the hospital while juggling a high risk pregnancy, appointments, a lively 2 year old son, and the waves. It was hard. Life was so hard in those moments. My prayers changed as we went through the motions. “Please, let her be healthy.” “Even if she’s not healthy, let it just be a heart defect and not Trisomy 18.” “God, just let me hear her cry.” We did our best to survive those day. And then I blinked and it was delivery day! We hoped to have another all natural birth like we did with our son, but knew a c-section was very possible due to Lillian’s fragile state. My doula and husband were there supporting me through an epidural free labor. We had the lights dimmed, music, it was peaceful. I remember the nurses being amazed by the environment we had created. The day was long and the emotions were strong but I tried so hard to be happy and excited to meet my girl. I had faith that she would be born alive and do amazing things.

At 12:58 am on August 3, a baby girl was born silently into the world. She was rushed over to a stabilization area and bagged. I remember the room being so quiet that you could hear a pin needle drop. We were all waiting. And then, she cried! It was music to all of our ears! You know those movie scenes were life is almost paused, and then something happens and it just gets loud and busy again? That’s what happened that day. They swaddled my 4lb baby girl, and brought her to me. I was in awe of how beautiful she was. I remember just being totally amazed by her. Her weight on my chest melted all of the fear away and I knew she was going to live.

 

When I was pregnant with her, my view of Trisomy 18 was so different than it is now.

Now, my view of Trisomy 18 is this gorgeous TODDLER. It’s her long auburn hair. It’s her blue eyes. Her perfect little hands and her crooked pointer fingers that reach up and touch my face. It’s her button nose that scoops up on the end and has the most perfect curve to kiss. It’s the curls that fall at the end of her hair. Trisomy 18 to me is night time snuggles, telling her I love her a million times every day, making sure I give her a lifetime of kisses, and showing the world how perfect she really is.

When people think of Trisomy 18, I want them to think of this picture. I want them to think of Lillian. I want them to see how beautiful Trisomy 18 is. I want them to look past that label and see children like my daughter for who they really are—perfect.

Lillian is a sassy, strong warrior that has overcome more in 2 years than most people do in 90. She still has daily struggles, and health complications but we take life one day at a time and do our best to live it to the fullest. I spent the majority of Lillian’s first year in constant fear of her death. Around the time of her first birthday, I realized that we are all going to die. Lillian has surpassed her life expectancy 10 gold, why was I so afraid? Tragedy could strike at any moment for any of us. And in those moments, I chose to live. I chose life for Lillian, again. I chose life for my family. We still go out and have dinner or shop. It’s not every week, but it’s as often as possible. We make the most of our situation. We laugh through hospital admissions. We sing through the storm. And we love more fiercely than we ever have. All because of one extra chromosome.

**If you are interested in learning more about Trisomy 18 or following Lillian’s journey, please check out her Facebook Page herehttps://www.facebook.com/trisomy18princess

As reported first by lovewhatmatters.com

Written by: Alivia Kraft