Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I guess my boobies are working after all

So my little one has always been in the 25th percentile in terms of weight.

It seemed that according to her weight at her last appointment her weight gain was slowing. I asked the doctor about it and she said, "well she's still on the charts."

I found an interactive growth chart, entered her data, and found that she's always been in the 25th percentile.

I am feeling way less worried.

What was I worried about?

Maybe my supply was low, or that her latch was ineffective, that at night she was going too long between feedings... I don't know.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

2 Things:

Slow Weight Gain and Immunization Shots.

At her 2 month check up she gained a lot less weight than I thought. The doctor is not concerned at all. Says she is climbing up the chart appropriately. I, on the other hand, am totally worried - mainly about nursing. Is she getting enough? Is my supply low? What should I do? Then, we nurse this morning and she is only on for like 5 minutes and she is done. Both feedings.

She had her first shots yesterday. She cried so loud and for so long. At first she was inconsolable. We left the doctors with her almost asleep in her stroller. So we walked around the neighbourhood. When we got home she slept for a bit. Then she woke up and started screaming. In the end we gave her infant's Ty1eno1. The hot spot on the one injection site went down and she nursed for 30 minutes. She's been pretty good ever since.

But oh my it was so hard to see her cry like that. She was hurt and scared.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Good

I love it when Baby C nurses really well and gets a full tummy.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

At the Local Nursing Room

I breastfed in public today for the first time. Well I wasn't in public per se. We were in the "Nursing Room" at the mall.

Skipped the PPD support group again this week. 3 weeks in a row... or is it 4?

* * * * *

Then I found myself triggered a bit by a post in a blog of a couple w/new baby. They were talking about the challenges of breastfeeding, that their baby is doing well with it for the most part and they proudly pointed out that she isn't using a pacifier.

Not sure what triggered me.

I guess maybe it's because, we had such a hard time breastfeeding because our baby was in NICU for 5 days being fed at first through a tube in her nose and later bottles (of my pumped milk). NICU nurses gave her a pacifier.

We brought her home and continued to bottle feed her my expressed milk for several days before our midwife could hook us up with the best lactation consultant ever.

We did turn around her nipple confusion - but it was a challenge. At one point I was going to give up and just go to formula.

For one, pumping was a pain in my ass. And ultimately my supply suffered. So then I had to take fenugreek and blessed thistle. Which worked.

And now she breastfeeds - every now and then we have issues - normal stuff. For example, when she is tired and hungry she has the hardest time staying latched on and gets real frustrated. We pause a lot and I talk to her to calm her down. It breaks my heart to see her crying at my boob.

She still uses a pacifier.

But wow! No one really tells you how hard breastfeeding can be. Or painful. In the early days my nipples hurt when she latched on. And then I would feel like I was doing it wrong or something. I think the challenges are minimised so that new moms don't give up. Or something.

I am glad we stuck with it. I have these moments - especially during the early morning feedings - where I look down at her latched on - just sucking away - and I feel so much love.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I can do it on my own

The good that came out of L - my therapist - being out of town for a month: In that month I discovered that I was feeling depressed, more than the typical "baby blues" hormonal adjustment post-partum period.

On my own:

1. I opened up to my midwife and told her how I was feeling at a time when I was not even sure what I was feeling, at a time when I was embarrassed about how I was feeling. But opening up allowed my midwife to share some important details about the birth. She told me that she was there when C came into the world and when she realised that I was going to have a general anaesthetic emergency c-section whe exercised her midwife privilege to attend the birth because she knew that without Abby there I'd need someone there. I told my midwife that I felt sad because "I lost it" during the birth. (I was making the assumption that if I had a natural "normal" birth that I would be the opposite of someone who lost it - that I'd be this amazing and powerful woman, and that I was intuitive, etc). She pointed out that I didn't lose it at all, that I was powerful no matter the birth (and maybe even moreso because of the birth I did have), and that I was so incredibly intuitive and aware of my body because I was the one who kept saying, "something is wrong." "Do you remember saying that to me?" she asked. I said it way before she discovered the meconium in my water.

2. I cried to my mother and told her how I was feeling. Not just once, but several times over the period of a week or so. I have never felt safe sharing my feelings with my mom. In my childhood, she stifled my feelings. But when I told her how I was feeling - I did so knowing that if I had to stand up to her and find safety in my feelings I would. It turns out I didn't have to. We are closer as a result.

3. I found and attended a support group and told them how I was feeling. I attended for only three sessions over three weeks. I found out that I was not alone in my feelings. I was not the only mother who felt this mixture of sadness and anxiety and confusion.

4. I got in touch with my family doctor and told her how I was feeling. She gave me a prescription for an anti-depressant. I never filled the prescription because I learned that anti-d's show up in breast milk. I reasoned that while my brain is fully developed, C's is not and I didn't want to introduce chemicals to her system that alter brain chemistry. The side effects to the baby could be listlessness and trouble sleeping. Not worth it to me when I considered her beginning and the medications she was on during her hospital stay. I was scared though to not take the anti-d, at the time I really felt so low and so stuck that I believed it would be my only way out.

5. I started writing in my paper journal very randomly and very non-judgementally. I decided to do this after deciding not to take the anti-d. It was my way of facing my fear that maybe I wouldn't get better for a long time. I was settling in for the long haul. Writing is therapeutic.

6. I made sure that I stayed open to my partner by sharing my feelings on a regular basis. This helped me to shift my perspective. This also allowed me to ask for help if I needed it. "Can you take the baby while I write in my journal?"

7. I made sure that I stayed open to myself by not running from my most difficult feelings. I wasn't always successful with this, but I tried. And some of my most powerful realisations and perspective shifts came to me when I was open.

I wish that during the most difficult time post-partumly that I could've opened up more to my friends. I couldn't. For whatever reason. And the truth is no one friends-wise really knows that I have been struggling with depression.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Post-Therapy Reflection

The birth experience was really hard for me and I keep going back to it in therapy.

I wanted to bring Carys into the world gently and calmly. I wanted to be present when she came in to the world. I wanted A (my partner) there. To greet her, for us both to marvel at the birth of our daughter in those moments after she came into the world. I wanted to hold her and nurse her right away.

I had an easy pregnancy once things got going and I surrendered to it. I felt amazingly healthy. I ate well. I moved my body. I relaxed often. I loved to feel her kicking. I loved watching body change. I loved sharing this experience with my partner.

Together we practiced hypnobirthing - self hypnosis to manage pain during birth. We had to do meditation together nightly as part of the practice. We chose music for the birthing that would have a calming effect on me.

With my group week after week I talked about how I wanted a calm birth, no intervention, non-medicated. And everyone in my group supported me in that.

L (my therapist) reminds me how I like to be in control. I like to plan. I make lists. I organize my world. I make things predictable. She tells me that you can't control birth (like I couldn't control getting pregnant)... and I can't control my child. Carys' path involves being born her way, the way she was born. Carys is already on her path and proved that to her mom and baba in a major way on September 8.

Because I like to control, however, I have started to blame myself for how the birth went. What did I do wrong? What is wrong with my body? Was it because when the contractions came they were so hard and so fast that I got scared? Did I scare my little baby because I couldn't cope? Or was it something that I did or didn't do before that day - something I did in the pregnancy? Because blaming myself is about feeling responsible and feeling responsible is about control, in this situation anyway.

And if I am to accept that I am not responsible for how the birth went that day; If I am to accept that shit sometimes happens no matter what you plan and practice for, then I have to accept that the world is a very unpredictable place. Very unpredictable. Where little baby girls are born without heartbeats and not breathing in limp bodies. She lived - but she might not have, that is how unpredictable the world is. Unpredictable is fucking scary. I mean how am I going to keep this little girl safe and well in this unpredictable world? I am overwhelmed.

I used to be very controlling in my relationship with A. She went to therapy and really started calling me out. It was hard. But I remember the day that I stopped trying to control. I realised that she was a individual separate from me and I felt relieved that I no longer had to tell her what to do and how to do it. When I realised that and felt the intense relief it was hard to go back. From that moment on the intimacy between us grew because we were on common ground, I was no longer responsible for her, she felt safe to be (defenses went down), I felt her honesty, etc. A viscous cycle stopped.

Thinking about how I was controlling in my relationship and how I learned to stop seems like a good place to start as I try to make sense of my feelings around birth experience. I just don't know where to start.

A has a different take on the whole experience - yes she would have preferred to be there when our daughter came into the world - however, she believes that the universe actually picked us up and carried us in its arms and finally set us down when Carys was well. We were cared for. We made it through. She is here with us. A never believed we could control the birth - from the very first day we knew I was pregnant she went for the ride and took every day as it came. She had no expectations for the birth. She practiced hypnobirthing with me because I wanted to, it was a fun way for us to connect, and maybe it would come in handy. [I wish sometimes I could be more like A].