Saturday, October 27, 2007

Two Things

My therapist is back from her month long trip in Africa. I went to see her this week. I was amazed at how my emotions just surfaced immediately when I got there. I thought I was feeling fine. And when I left, I really didn't feel better.

Two things are influencing my PPD:
The Need to be Perfect
The Need to be in Control

Parenting and motherhood is imperfect. I choose to do things that I know I can do. I walk around with a sense of confidence and competence. But when it comes to being a mom, I am not always competent and not always confident.

I also like to control my world. Pregnancy, birth, motherhood, etc., cannot be controlled. They just are. They are unpredictable.

Of course, I see all of this in theory. It is the in practice part that is challenging.

My ears have been open lately. I am looking for messages. I want to face the challenges of motherhood. I want to get through the depression, sadness, and anxiety. I want to get the lessons. I want to grow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another Baby?

Today was the last appointment with the midwife. I was actually feeling a bit tearful as we waited for her.

She checked Carys out. She's now 9lbs 8oz and 22 inches long. Strong and alert. Meeting milestones.

Then she talked to me. She asked if we'd ever do it again (have another baby). I asked if what happened during the birth (fast/ hard contractions, water breaking w/meconium, placenta separating, baby distress, emergency c-section under general anaesthesia) would happen again. Not likely. Would I be considered high risk? No. But you probably couldn't do a homebirth (because of the c-section). Would you be our midwife again? Absolutely.

I felt good that she'd be our midwife again.

We have two more tries (Carys' donor) at the clinic.

To tell the truth, I think I am considering another baby because I want another pregnancy because of my birth experience with Carys. Not exactly the best reason to want another baby. Good thing I have to actually go to a clinic to get pregnant.

If and when we get pregnant again it will be because we want another baby. I will have healed by then. My motivations will be clear.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Feel Good When

I feel best when I have had enough sleep. Whatever enough is.

I feel good when I am able to get some jobs done. Like today I was able to fold some laundry and start a new load, clear the summer stuff out of my closet and get out my fall/winter stuff. Uploaded a bunch of photos to be printed - I will pack up and go to the mall later on to pick them up.

I feel good when I am breast feeding at 10am when Ellen starts - and I can laugh through the feeding.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I am jealous of people who are pregnant right now. Mainly because they are going to go through the birth. And I keep thinking their birth experience will be better than mine. They will get to see their baby come out. They will get to hold their baby right away. I feel jealous like this less and less... and when I re-read it I feel like I need to grieve and move on. My birth experience is holding me back. I worry about how I am mothering my baby because I am so caught up in the birth experience.

I worry about bonding because I did not get to see her until the next day - well over 12 hours after the birth. I worry that because she didn't see me / hear me / feel me that we've not bonded. She didn't see her other mom (her baba) either - until several minutes - maybe 10 or 15 minutes- after the birth. Because she was not doing well, she was not aware her baba was there. Her baba could not hold her. In fact, we both held her for the first time late the next day.

I worry about bonding. And I wonder what exactly bonding feels like. How do you know that you and baby have bonded?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oh Perspective...

I did get a prescription for anti-depressants. Then did some searching on the internet and found out that they show up in breast milk - and in some studies have been shown to affect the baby, so I am not going to fill the prescription. I decided this at some point in the week. Then decided that I'd better go to the PPD support group (on Thursdays) and start writing in my paper journal. I am not sure what to do next. But I want to start feeling better soon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

From an e-mail sent to a friend, re: PPD

From an e-mail sent to a friend today:

We here are crazy busy. I am contemplating going on anti-depressants - I went to a post-partum depression clinic last week and I scored high on a post-partum depression scale. I cry a lot - still and I feel overwhelmed. I have a few options - like I could continue to go to the clinic which has a therapy group for new moms, I could have a few sessions (I think 6) with a therapist, I could go on anti-depressants... I could also wait for Linda to come back from Africa and see her... um, but last night I cried so much that I started thinking anti-d's might be the way to go.

I attached a picture of Carys from today - she found her thumb for a brief moment and looked adorable sucking it while her baba held her.

Gives an idea of where I am. Very mixed. Sad, depressed, overwhelmed - and yet very much in love with my baby girl. It is a hard place to be.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

4 Days Past My Due Date and I Gave Birth

I felt crampy on the morning of the 8th. Like menstrual cramps. Not unbearable. By about 1:45 that afternoon, I paged the midwife because I hadn't felt the baby move. She suggested I have a snack, lie down, and do a kick count. I paged her again at 2pm. I was having contractions that were about 3 - 4 minutes apart. They were unbearable and I could not do a kick count.

"You are in early labour..."

The midwife came by. I was dilated 1 cm. And having a hard time keeping up with the contractions. I threw up. A lot. She checked me again and I was 3cm. In like 1/2 hour. Then my water broke. There was meconium in it.

"It's time to go to hospital..."

We live 2 minutes away from hospital. The leading children's hospital in Ontario. The midwife went ahead of us. She actually left most of her stuff at our place and practically ran out the door.

I remember now the hot hot sun and contracting in the hospital parking lot... then contracting in the walkway leading to the floor with the birthing centre. Contracting again in the reception area of the birthing centre.

They took my blood when I arrived. Somehow I found myself dressed in a hospital gown. Still trying to cope with contractions by staring at my partner and repeating "calm and relaxed... calm and relaxed..." Sometimes I could cope and would actually close my eyes and almost sleep between contractions. They were 2 - 3 minutes apart by then.

I was hooked up to a monitor. The baby had a heart rate monitor attached to her head.

Everything was happening so fast and everything was a blur. It is amazing what the contractions did to the way I was seeing the world. I couldn't focus.

Every time I contracted the baby's heart rate would dip. The OB/GYN came to me and said that she is "conservative" and only does c-sections if she truly needs to... she could not continue to look at the data (baby's heart rate) and I was still not dilated enough to be giving birth any time soon.

I was so present. (Perhaps that was the hypno-birthing training).

I made the decision to have a c-section. At some point I remember the midwife telling me that it is always okay to change my mind - meaning change my mind from my original no pain med/ no intervention/ natural birth... I think it was before the OB suggested c-section.

The bloodwork results came in and my white blood cells were elevated. Suggesting that I was fighting an infection. This meant that it would not be safe to do an epidural. I had to go under general anesthesia. This also meant that my partner could not be in the OR with me.

I signed some papers. And was whisked off to the OR. I remember being prepped and worried that I could feel them prepping me - perhaps the anesthesia wasn't working. I said something to this affect, and was assured I'd be feeling nothing soon. My last memory is the anesthetist putting a mask over my face and asking me to take a deep breath.

When I woke up, I was looking at the clock. 10 minutes to 8pm. (Carys was born at 10 to 7pm). I remember thinking, oh good I am alive. I thought someone told me I had a girl. Then I thought someone told me I had a boy. Then someone came to me and said, "you had a girl." I was confused. I wanted to see my partner.

C G was born at 6:50pm. She weighed 6 lbs 15 oz. She was 19 inches long. Her 1 minute apgar score was 2. Her 5 minute apgar score was 8. She came out not breathing and with very little heart beat. She had to be resecutated. She had meconium in her lungs and in her stomach. She was intubated. Attached to monitors. And stayed in the pediatric critical care unit - with one to one care - for 2 days, before she was moved to the 7th floor (still intensive care, but not one to one) for 3 more days.

My partner took her picture that evening. I didn't get to see her until the next day.

I looked at her picture before I went to sleep. I think I was in shock or something because I didn't have much in the way of emotion. Maybe it was the pain medicine. The next morning though I had to get up and go see her. And I did.

She recognised my voice. She was so little. I remember repeating over and over to her how good she is doing. I was like a cheerleader. I wanted her to know I was there and rooting for her to get better. It really didn't look good in the first day.

I pumped colostrum and later breast milk for her. In the early days she was fed through a tube. By the time she got to the 7th floor she was drinking from a bottle. I was released after 3 days. We sat the entire day in hospital with her - only leaving at night to sleep.

We brought her home on the 13th.