350 days later

It’s been 350 days since the hardest day of my life. Since I spent most of a day in the emergency room. Since my birthday.

That day changed me forever. It rocked my world in ways I could never imagine. I thought about writing this up and posting it on my birthday, but I really want to get this out now, in hopes that I will be able to actually enjoy my birthday, instead of being enveloped in sadness.

I’ll never forget peeing on that stick Monday morning, 5 days before, and it came up pregnant. I was only 4.5 weeks pregnant and was shocked to see the obvious “PREGNANT” on the little screen. I had never tested positive before 6 weeks with my other two kids. We had been talking about having number 3 and we knew it was the right time. I was ecstatic! Another baby meant another round of feeling kicks, another round of tiny newborn feet, another round of breastfeeding. I looked forward to every moment. I also so this pregnancy as the chance to possibly heal a small part of my heart that was broken with the birth of my daughter. I couldn’t wait to tell our friends and family.

Thursday I started spotting. I knew it could be nothing. I had spotted with Will at 7 weeks and he was perfectly fine. It did worry be slightly, but I just brushed it off knowing that my body would tell me if I need to become more concerned. And then Friday morning came and the bleeding wouldn’t stop. I went to work praying it would lighten up, praying that it would stop, but it only got heavier. I *secretly* talked to one of my c0-workers whom I had told earlier in the week that we were expecting again about what I was dealing with. She told me I should go to the ER now. I hadn’t told our family we were expecting, much less called my OB, so the ER was my only option. I didn’t want to go. That meant that something could be seriously wrong and I didn’t want to face that possibility.

I called my boss to let her know what was going on (fyi: that’s not how you want to tell your boss you’re pregnant) and she volunteered to take me to the ER since she was almost to the office.

I called my husband to let him know what was going on – he offered to meet me at the hospital, but his job was very strict about absences and I knew his presence wouldn’t change anything. He check on me throughout the day and we texted a lot.

Then I had to call my mom. I had plans to have lunch with her and my brother that day for my birthday. I was going to tell them our news at lunch. I had been looking forward to that all week! And now I had to call and tell her I was on my way to the ER instead. She was finishing up at an eye doctor’s appointment and told me she would be there as soon as she could.

I wasn’t at the hospital yet and this wasn’t at all how I wanted things to go. I just kept thinking “everything has to be okay.” I didn’t even want to entertain the thought that there might be something going terribly wrong inside of me.

We arrived at the hospital, I was checked in and then triaged. Nothing too special or out of the ordinary for an ER visit.

And then my mom finally arrived. I was grateful my boss took me to the ER so I didn’t have to drive, but I just really wanted my mom there. She asked me how I was feeling. I told her what was going on and I could tell by the look in her eyes that she was worried and concerned.

We were finally called back to a room. I changed into a gown, the doctor came in and the the dreaded pelvic exam was done. She told me she was very concerned with how much I was bleeding. All I could think about were the different stories I had read about where women had profuse bleeding in the first trimester and went on to have beautiful babies. In that moment, I wanted nothing more than to be one of those women. We then had to wait for the blood results. I knew approximately where my HCG levels should be at 5 weeks pregnant. I knew the number I wanted her to say….and it was the 16 that she later told me.

My heart sank. At that moment I knew it was over. 16. That number dashed all of my hopes and dreams right there in that ER room the sliding glass door. I knew this was really bad. I knew that because I took a digital test my HCG was at least 50 earlier in the week. I just went numb. It seems to be how I cope in the face of a crisis. I had the same reaction during the chaos of my daughter’s birth.

I just wanted to go home, but I still had to endure an ultrasound consult that ended up taking 2 hours. That was difficult to endure. Two women probing at my abdomen, looking for something that wasn’t there. And then I had a vaginal ultrasound. That was a first for me. And not a first that I wanted to take at that moment. It was uncomfortable and felt like it went on forever. I just wanted it to be over. Due to the nature of the ultrasound, I could literally feel the life pouring out of me. I’ll never forget that.

I finally got back to my room. My mom had gotten me some lunch, which I was really grateful for since it was around 2pm. We waited and waited and waited for the doctor to come back in. Finally we were both fed up and my mom went to find someone to find out what the hold up was. A couple of hours later we were finally discharged.

I was just numb. I didn’t know what to feel or how I should feel. I was sad….but I also felt guilty. I felt guilty for feeling sad about this. I mean, I hadn’t even heard baby’s heartbeat yet. Did this even count? I had friends who had lost babies halfway through their pregnancy. I mean that certainly counted as a miscarriage…..but did mine?

I knew all of my feelings would work themselves out….I just needed some time….and I was about to get plenty of it.

It’s funny how God works sometimes. I spent that horrid day at the hospital on Friday and Sunday we were leaving for our family vacation in Florida. I absolutely hate that I miscarried our baby, but I thank God that it wasn’t while we were on vacation in a different state.

Saturday was hard. I had a million things to do to get ready for our trip….and I had to do them all while dealing with the aftermath of the day before.

God knew I would need the time away. He knew I wouldn’t be ready to face my co-workers and the looks of pity I would receive. The timing of all of the events surround the miscarriage was amazingly perfect.

Our vacation was just what I needed. The ocean is incredibly healing. We had a lot of down time, so I had time to think and pray. My husband made sure I had some time to myself too, which I really needed.

I came home still not really understanding why this happened. I don’t know that I’ll ever understand why. I just have to trust that God has a bigger plan for us.

We took a cruise with my dad, brother and his girlfriend in April. We sailed from New Orleans to Cozumel and back. The cruise was the week I would have been due with our baby. Like I said, God’s timing is impeccable. God knew that I would once again need time away to try to heal, to gather my thoughts, to let the ocean carry away some of my sadness.

I wondered in the weeks after what life would look like a year after the miscarriage. Would we have a baby by then? Be pregnant again (we’re not)? I believe life is exactly what it should be for us right now.

I don’t know why this had to happen ON my birthday. I really wish it could have happened some other day. I don’t think I’ll ever understand the significance behind that. I know every year for the rest of my life that my birthday will be a reminder of what I went through on that day in 2013.

My friends and family rallied around us in the aftermath and for that, I am so grateful. I know I am part of the 1 in 4 women who experience a miscarriage. In my head I’ve named our baby Gabriel. I know they’re in heaven and one day we’ll meet. For whatever reason, it wasn’t our time to welcome another life into this world.

Now I just pray for guidance. I pray that God’s timing and plan will be revealed to me. And if we’re supposed to be blessed with more kids, that we’ll know when the time is right.

If you’ve had a miscarriage and feel the need to talk about it, please don’t hold back! People will support you! If you feel you don’t have any support and need someone to talk to, you can e-mail me at chelsea.kaster@gmail.com.

 

Peace & love♥

Baby girl’s birth

This is the story of our daughter’s birth. It was a much more complicated story than our son’s, but still worth everything we went through that day. I wrote this 5 months after she was born. Enjoy!

I’m giving you readers fair warning – this is a long one. =)

How do I even begin to tell this story that is so full of heartache, joy, love, pain and so many other emotions and feelings. To really understand the meaning of all of this we need to back track a bit, to the birth of my son, Will. I saw an OB throughout my pregnancy with Will, had him at the hospital, including getting an epidural, having my waters broke and receiving pitocin. He was healthy; I was healthy and yet so many things happened on that day that I didn’t like. The nurse telling me to be quiet during pushing, the OB yelling at the nurse for more light while stitching me up and just the general feeling I got from the staff that I was “just another patient” to them. I began wearing Will when he was 5 months old, which lead to cloth diapering at 11 months and my parenting philosophy began to evolve and change. I had become friends with several natural minded moms online through Babycenter’s Community website. One of those lovely ladies had had a homebirth with her daughter and had a slideshow of pictures from it on youtube. I watched it and was instantly moved to start researching this other world of birthing. We weren’t trying at the time and wouldn’t be for a while but I kept on with my research off and on for the next 2 years, until we had Leah. So when we found out we were expecting, we already knew what we wanted – a homebirth. I could go into great detail about why and all the statistics about homebirth but that’s not necessary here. Just know that having a homebirth was truly the desire of my heart.

We found out we were expecting May 13th with a home pregnancy test. We were instantly surprised but very, very happy and excited. We didn’t tell many people of our plans for a homebirth, mainly because I didn’t feel like defending my decision for the rest of my pregnancy. I had been recommended a midwife from a friend of mine who had had a homebirth just months before we found out we were expecting. I contacted her, we did an interview, and we knew instantly that Mary was the midwife for us. I began seeing her for my prenatal appointments and LOVED the time I got to spend talking with Mary about everything pregnancy related. When I would go to see Mary, I didn’t have a wait and spent an hour (sometimes more) with her. It was already so much better than my experience with my OB during my pregnancy with Will. Everything was going well until one day I was having some minor cramping and lower backache at 15 weeks pregnant. I called Mary and was given a list of products to pick up from the health food store and told to go home and rest. Mary was concerned that the pain was possibly being caused my uterine contractions. The rest and the products didn’t help – by that evening I was timing my contractions like early labor. They weren’t painful but they certainly were very concerning. Finally, she recommended that I drink some wine. I couldn’t go to the hospital because they wouldn’t stop early labor before 20 weeks. My husband ran down to my mom’s house just down the road, got some wine and sure enough, it did the trick. I rested for the next few days after getting an ultrasound to make sure that nothing was wrong with the baby. Baby was perfect.

At 20 weeks, we had our anatomy scan done. We found out we were having a girl (yay!), but we also found out she had a little bit of excess fluid around her heart. It was recommended to come back at 26 weeks to check to see if the fluid was still there. At 26 weeks, the fluid was still there. We set up an appointment to see a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor. After having another ultrasound and having a video of her heart taken and sent off to a pediatric cardiologist, they saw nothing threatening with the fluid. The structure and function of her heart was perfect and there wasn’t fluid anywhere else. Thank God she was ok. Two scares already this pregnancy but we were so grateful to know that our little girl was ok.

The rest of my pregnancy went pretty smoothly. Leah’s position was constantly changing. So when she was sitting breech at 36 weeks, I wasn’t too worried yet. Mary massaged on my belly and was able to get Leah head down. Yay! However, at 39 weeks, my stubborn baby girl decided to flip…again! I went to the chiropractor, had the Webster technique done, put ice on my belly and even took a flashlight to my belly before bed and the next morning she was head down once again. Now it was a waiting game, just waiting to go into labor.

I started having irregular contractions during the day December 29th, almost 2 weeks before my “due date” of January 12th. I knew we were in the safe zone for having a homebirth, so I was okay with her coming then. The contractions continued after I got off work, so I went to Walmart after picking up Will from the sitter’s to pick up last minute food and supplies should this be the real deal. Jay and I got everything ready that night, including hanging the clear Christmas light in the bedroom for the soft ambiance I wanted for our birth. It was calming and peaceful. I had texted Mary that my contractions were 3.5 minutes apart but weren’t painful yet. I took a nice long warm bath and went to bed knowing that if it was the real deal, I would be back up soon. About 1am I couldn’t sleep. The contractions were irregular and I was uncomfortable.  I went to the living room, sat on the birth ball, and put on a movie. By the end of the movie, my contractions had fizzled out and I went back to bed. I took off Friday to rest, just in case we were in for a long night. After a few days of off and on contractions almost continuously, I had to get in the frame of mind that I wasn’t in active labor until I had to stop and breathe through the contractions. That night finally came almost two weeks after my labor initially started.

Around 10 pm on January 11th I noticed that my contractions were different than what I had been having for almost 2 weeks. I tried to lie down and get some sleep. Knowing how long my labor had been with Will (28 hours); I wanted to be rested in case I was in for a long labor again. Around midnight, I realized I was barely sleeping and was going to have to start working with my contractions soon. I had read some natural child birthing books about how to cope with labor and was putting those methods into full use. Back labor was in full swing already and I could tell this was going to be an intense labor. I kept telling myself that I would have the birthing pool later to labor in – I just had to make it until I could get into the pool. That was my motivation – that is what kept me going, knowing that some type of relief would be not too far down the road. I woke Jay up at 1:30am to come put counter pressure on my lower back – it helped tremendously! I had been texting Mary during this time as she was finishing up at another birth an hour away. I continued to work with Jay through my contractions. Mary let me know that she was sending her assistant, Corina, to get the pool and she was on her way to my house. I was so relieved to know that my method of relief was on its way. I was so excited that our baby girl was on her way. We called my mom at 3 – she was here within 15 minutes, with Corina and Mary not far behind her. The back labor was already so intense that I had thrown up twice and was nauseous by the time Corina and Mary got to the house. Corina and my mom began setting up the pool and I was so looking forward to getting into it for some type of relief from all of the intense contractions. It was during this time that my mom realized our carpet was wet. Apparently I was leaking water and hadn’t realized it yet.

And then Mary needed to check me. She told me I was at 5.5cm. I was so excited to hear that! I had been a 2 at my last appointment so knowing I was in fact making progress was a real joy to hear. And then I could tell something was wrong. I could see it on Mary’s face. She asked Corina to come check me as well. I had to get up to work through a contraction and then she confirmed what Mary had found – Leah wasn’t head down anymore. But she wasn’t butt down either. She was presenting foot first (at the time they actually couldn’t tell if it was an elbow, foot or a knee). Mary immediately told me that she thought it was best that we transfer to the hospital. Right then I just went numb. Everything I had hoped for, dreamed for and yearned for for this birth, was slipping through my fingers and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. Because my water was already leaking, there wasn’t anything Mary or Corina could do to try to turn Leah around. Mary was most concerned about her cord prolapsing because there was a lot of space near my cervix due to Leah’s odd positioning. There were also some dips in Leah’s heart rate during all of this, which could have indicated a compressed cord. My biggest fear of having to deliver at the hospital was quickly becoming a reality that was no longer in my control. Corina went to call for an ambulance, Mary kept me lying on my side and Jay and my mom gathered our things for the hospital. I continued to work through the intense contractions during this time, which were now intensified because I had to stay laying down. The paramedics were on their way and I remember thinking I can’t believe this is happening. I didn’t cry. I didn’t act like I was upset. I was just…numb. I also wondered how in the world the paramedics were going to get a gurney into our bedroom. I started wondering how things were going to go at the hospital. I didn’t know if I would be able to continue to labor with this much pain in the position once we got to the hospital, if that would even be an option. I even remember talking briefly with Corina that if I had to get an epidural and deliver vaginally, that would be better than getting a c-section. It would all just depend on what they would say when we arrived at the hospital.

The paramedics arrived. It was 5am now. My mom stayed at the house with Will. I wanted her at the hospital with me but my son needed her more. I shimmied onto the gurney, they covered me blankets because it was snowing outside, our first snow of the year, and they wheeled me out to the ambulance. Mary rode with me in the ambulance so she could monitor Leah’s heart rate and Jay rode with Corina, who followed the ambulance, even through the red lights. The contractions continued and now I didn’t have my rock of support with me. Mary tried her hardest to give me some relief with counter pressure on my lower back, but we were in a moving vehicle and she’s just not as strong as Jay. But I know she did her absolute best to help me. The paramedic kept trying to ask me questions. I was like really? You want to talk to me now? They got an i.v. started and took all my vitals on the way to the hospital. We arrived at the hospital and I remember thinking, wow, I’ve never entered the hospital this way before. I work for the hospital I delivered at, but never had I been through the ambulance entrance before. I’ve walked those halls that they wheeled me down several times, but I didn’t think they’d be wheeling me down the hallway because we couldn’t have the homebirth we wanted.

They got me up to the room and immediately they started asking both Mary and I a bunch of questions. Not a minute later, Jay walked through the door of my room and I was so glad he was there. They hooked me up to the monitors and did an ultrasound, confirming that Leah was sitting completely breech. I wondered what the different members were thinking. Did they think I was the crazy homebirth chick who couldn’t hack it? Did they think I was stupid for making the decision to have my baby at home? None of that really mattered but the thoughts were still running through my head. They told me I had no choice but to have a c-section. Once again, my choices were taken out of my hand and I was just along for the ride. I just look at Jay and his face just told me everything would be ok. Mary told me she would be waiting for me when I got out of surgery, which was just amazing. I gave Jay a quick camera tutorial so that he could get those first few precious moments of our girl on film.

They wheeled me to the OR and I had to once again move to a different bed. The OR table was very flat, hard and not comfortable at all. And cold – man was that room cold. They had me sit up at this point while I waited for anesthesia. I was praying that Leah was safe and ok as my contractions continued. I probably sat there for 10 minutes waiting for my spinal. As much as I hated the way things had turned out, I was very much looking forward to the spinal because I needed some relief from the pain. The nurse in the OR was really sweet and held my hand through my contractions as I breathed my way through them. I got my spinal, my toes got tinglely and they started to prep my belly to bring my daughter into the world. I was still very concerned about Leah since they didn’t have a monitor on me. After they put the brown stuff all over my belly, they had to wait 3 minutes for it to dry. Those 3 minutes felt like forever. I just wanted Leah here, safe and sound. I’m so glad Jay was in the OR with me that day. The surgery itself was a very strange sensation. I thought they would have her out pretty quick. I’ve watched so many baby shows and have seen how quick they can get a baby out. After feeling them tug and pull and tug and pull I was starting to get concerned. I know Jay was completely oblivious to the fact that it was taking longer to get Leah out than what it should have, which I was ok with. I didn’t need him to panic on me in the OR. And then I heard the OB say that Leah was stuck and she couldn’t get her out. I almost lost it right there, but I knew that hysterically crying on the OR table wouldn’t be a good idea so I fought back the tears and sheer panic. The thought of are we going to be one of those families that leaves the hospital with no baby? Am I going to be the woman who planned a homebirth for it to go horribly wrong and end up with a c-section and no baby? I quickly snapped back to reality when I heard the OB ask for another doctor to come assist her. I could hear the panic and concern in her voice which worried me even more. They finally got Leah out at 6:36am, but we missed that moment. I knew she was out when I looked over at the warming table and it was surrounded with staff. All I could think was cry, Leah, cry. After what seemed like an eternity, she finally cried. I had never been so, so happy to hear a baby cry before! They said she weighed 6lbs 2oz, almost 1.5lbs lighter than Will. I was surprised she was so small. They wrapped her up and I finally got to see her. Our eyes met and I instantly fell in love. I gave her kisses and they took her away to get cleaned up. As they began to sew me up I started to get really nauseous. I needed to throw up but was too scared I was going to aspirate it. The anesthesiologist told me it was from the spinal, gave me some more fluids but it didn’t help. I finally did get sick in a bed pan, but it didn’t really make me feel any better. They finally finished sewing me up, put some warm blankets on me since I was freezing and took me to recover in the labor and delivery room we started in.

I was so ready to see our baby girl. We got back to the room, Mary was still there and then the OB came in to talk to us. She then told me I had a 7cm fibroid on the top of my uterus, which probably contributed to Leah not staying head down. And that she had to give me a t-incision in order to get Leah out. Out of everything that had gone horribly, horribly wrong that day, this was the cherry to top everything off. With a c-section, I knew that I could attempt a homebirth again someday if we decided to have any more kids. But a t-incision…that just took everything away from me. All of my choices, all of my options went flying out the window with those words. I tried not to focus on that. I just wanted to see Leah. They brought her in not too much longer after that. They told me she was having issues regulating her temperature, but they brought her to me anyways so I could nurse her for the first time. I prayed that this first nursing session would go well. After a few latch attempts and some repositioning (nursing after a c-section is not easy since you can’t sit straight up), she latched on. It was amazing. They took her back to the nursery needing to monitor her temperature and blood sugar. Sometime after the surgery I found out that her 1 minute apgar was a 1. I couldn’t believe it. That made me wonder how long she had been in distress before they were able to get her out of me, but I was just glad that they had gotten her out.

They got me moved to a room, Mary and Jay left to go home and get some sleep and I was left with my baby girl. I wanted Leah to room in with me so that we could get as much time together as possible. The first night, they did take her to the nursery since I was still so fresh from surgery and still had an i.v. and my catheter. They brought her to me for feedings though so I was happy about that. Nursing was going well, not perfect, but very well. There was lots of relatching with most of the feedings, but I was determined to have a successful nursing relationship with Leah. Friday night she got to stay in the room with me. She slept peacefully on my chest with the Boppy wrapped around us. She knew that where she was supposed to be and I was so happy she was ok. I remember waking up Saturday morning to see the sunrise through my window. It was beautiful and it reminded me that even though we had just been through something very intense, there were beautiful days ahead. They drew blood from Leah Friday night which showed her to be jaundice, enough for light therapy all day on Saturday. It was hard to be away from her for most of the day except for feedings, but I knew the more time she spent under the light, the quicker her billirubin would go back down to a normal level. We were finally able to be discharged on Sunday. I was so happy to be going home. It was a tough recovery after my c-section. From not only the t-incision, but all of the tugging and pulling left my abdominal muscles very sore. We got home on Sunday and I was ready to settle into a new normal. I’ll never forget putting Leah’s first cloth diaper on her thinking we can do this. If we could get through the past 4 days, we can do it.

It’s  5 months later and I look back and know that there’s nothing that could have been done differently. That c-section saved my daughter’s life. My heart is still continuing to heal. I know it will continue to take time. I will never have the birth I wanted. I’ll never get to pull my child straight to my chest and latch them on right away. I’ll never get to delay cord clamping because that cord blood belongs to my child. I’ll never know what it’s like to crawl into my own bed right after birth with a new baby. But for everything I will never have, I have gained the world with the addition of Leah to our family. I have mourned the birth I lost and will never have and still have days where I mourn it. It is getting easier with time, but I think there will always be a part of me that will at least be sad for what I will never get to experience.

I am so very grateful to Mary and Corina, the two best midwives a girl could ask for. They may not have been able to bring my daughter into this world, but they provided me the support I needed in my time of need, not to mention the best prenatal care I could ever ask for. My mother was amazing and just stepped in the fill the role of taking care of Will while I was in the hospital. I will be forever grateful to her. And my husband, which whom I would not have been able to get through this experience without. He was and continues to be my rock. I love him more and more each day. Breastfeeding is still going strong and has been a large part in the healing process for me. It was been incredibly bonding and I am very grateful that it has been without issues. I have a healthy baby girl and our family couldn’t be better.

Chelsea

Little man’s birth

I originally posted this on my previous blog, but I wanted to share it here, in my blog home.

There is so much I could write about when it comes to being a mom. And there is a lot I want to share, but I think I’ll start here, with the day I became a mom. I wrote this 10 months after Will was born. I have learned and changed so much since then, but that day will always be the day that I became a mother.


Welcome to the world, William Thomas


It all started on a Tuesday night. DH and I had eaten at Red Lobster, knowing that might not happen again for a while, and then gone to the mall to walk. It was the day before my due date and I was ready to have this baby already! As we were walking I started having contractions. I decided that if I was still having them by the time we got home (20 min drive) I would time them just to see where they were. They were very irregular, but didn’t stop. I tried to get some sleep, but just couldn’t.


At 6am the next morning, we went to L&D. They checked me and I was only a 1-2. We went and walked for an hour and they checked me again. I was now a 2. They hooked me up to all the monitors and what not for a while, waited to see if I had progressed, checked me again and I was a 2-3. We went and walked for another hour; when I came back I was still only at a 3. Now my OB was on vacation when I went into labor so I got the pleasure of dealing with the on call OB who had sausages for fingers (the exam was NOT pleasant!). He was talking like he might send me home, but if I got pain meds and allowed him to break my water to try to speed things up, then I could stay. So I went for the epidural.


I finally got admitted to an actual L&D room (the triage rooms were TINY!) and things got underway. Now I forgot to mention that when I was only at a 3 and the OB was talking about sending me home, my contractions were then 3 min apart and I was having intense back labor that took me by surprise.


I got the epi…I only had 3 solid hours of relief. I started to feel the contractions on my right side. They told me to push the boost that was hooked up to my epi machine – that didn’t help at all. They actually had to get someone to come and give me more meds – this had to be done a total of 3 times before everything was done and over with.


The OB came in and broke my water while checking me after I had gotten my epi. And then I got my catheter – that’s something I never want to do again…I won’t go into graphic details, but the nurse had a hard time with it. I was numb from the epi, so it didn’t hurt, it was just umcomfortable.


Throughout the rest of the day I chewed on ice chips, sucked on popsicles and had to breathe through the contractions that I could feel from my epi wearing off. I never thought this baby was going to come out!


I FINALLY got to 10 cm and started pushing around 10:30. Things start to get a litttle foggy here for me. I know I was put flat on my back for some reason, I had an oxygen mask put at me a one point (which I kept trying to take off, but was told to put back on), and I threw up twice. I also remember the nurse yelling at me to push. I felt the need to scream while pushing – that was one of the things helping me, and I was told I had to stop pushing and HAD to hold my breath. The epi was somewhat still working so I couldn’t really tell how efficient my pushes were. I pushed for 2 hours and was exhausted by the time Will made his debut. While finally pushing his body out, I was yelled at by the OB to stop pushing after I got his head out, she didn’t tell me why, she just yelled at me to stop. (I should mention that this is a different OB than from earlier in the story – this was a woman who was only with me for about 5 min before I pushed Will out and I had never met her before!) It turns out the cord was wrapped around his neck. He finally arrived at 12:20am Thursday morning.


I remember the brief moment they showed Will to me before wisking him away to the warming table and thinking omg, our lives just changed forever.


I ripped pretty bad (don’t know to what degree) – all I know is that I ripped up both sides on the inside and one side on the outside. I felt like she was down there stitching me up forever! During that I was actually grateful that the epi was still somewhat working.


After getting stitched up, I finally got to hold my boy! He nursed for a few min before being taken to the nursery for his first bath (daddy went with him).


I have to say, my story is horrific or terrifying, but looking back on it now, it’s definitely not the experience I want to have the second time around. I now know that the interventions that took place are probably what cause my long labor and very long pushing stages. I don’t regret anything, but I am making an effort to be more educated for our second one (whenever that is) so that I can make the best decision for me and my child. I just kinda went with the flow b/c I thought “Doctor knows best!”, but I now know that’s not always the case!

 


Chelsea

My personal struggle

So many people currently or have previously struggled with what I do, but not many like to talk about it. Depression. Anxiety. Baby blues. Post-postpartum depression. They are all interlinked in the world of mental illness. Mental illness – I don’t like that phrase. It makes me feel like the world thinks I’m a crazy person if I am linked to these words…conditions and struggles that you cannot control, for the most part, but yet talked about so very little.

Please note that I am not claiming to be any kind of expert in this field. This is my story about my struggle and what has helped me.

I guess the first time things really hit me was right after I had my son, March 2009. I had baby blues almost immediately. I remember having conversations on the phone with my mom that contained phrases like “I’m too young for this” (I was 22.) or “we should have waited longer” (we got pregnant on our honemoon). But what really tipped me off to the fact that there was something off with me was how often I was snapping at my husband. Any little thing would just set me off. Will was 5 months old at the time. I called and made an appointment to see my OB. I actually got to see the nurse practitioner, who took the time to really listen to me. At the time, we were looking at the possibility of having to find Will a new sitter and that was making me spaz out like crazy. I didn’t want to take him somewhere new. (We did eventually have to find a new sitter but that didn’t happen for another 4 months.) The nurse practitioner could see how I couldn’t stop fidgeting while we were talking. So she prescribed me a 10mg dose of Prozac. I took it for a few months, finally started to feel like I was bonding with my son at 9 months old, and weaned myself off of my meds a few months later. (Please consult your physician before taking yourself off of any medication.)

I felt like the fog that I had been living in for the past 9 months had finally been lifted. I loved my son dearly, but at his birth there wasn’t that high that I had read about and anticipated and I felt let down that I didn’t feel that. I took care of him. I was certainly a mother to him. But bond? That came so much later. I just thank God every day that my amazing husband was there because they were instantly bonded the moment he was born.

Over the next couple of years, I became more aware of my anxiety issues. I have looked back to my childhood and have realized that I was probably dealing with minor anxiety issues then, I just didn’t know it. I took the time to try to learn my triggers – things that overwhelm me is one of them. If I get what I feel is sensory overload or have 50 thing being thrown at me at the same time, I just can’t handle it. I’ll either shut down, crying in the floor or get really angry and start yelling. I’ve learned how to walk away, take a deep breath and conquer one thing at a time.

When we found out we were pregnant with our daughter in May 2011, I immediately began to wonder if I would deal with these baby blues and postpartum anxiety/depression issues all over again. It worried me, but I tried not to hard to think about it. After she was born, things were so very different. We had a successful breastfeeding relationship going, I knew what signs to watch for before things got too bad, and I think I had grown so much as a person, that some of the things that used to make me anxious, just didn’t anymore. I felt at peace after her birth. I honestly believe that breastfeeding had so much to do with helping me bond with her right away. I still had my emotional days for sure, but I wasn’t in a fog, just drifting from day to day and not really living and experiencing. There have been SO many times since she’s been born that I’ve looked at my husband and said “Did Will ever do that?” or “Was Will doing this at this age?” There is a lot I absolutely do not remember.

Now? Now I still deal with my anxiety. It’s something that I’m always aware of. I know how much I can handle and, for me, knowing my limits has been a huge help. I’m not currently on any medication, but if I ever feel that it’s out of my control, I will talk to my physician to see what would be best for me. One remedy I have used is Frankincense essential oil by DoTerra. It grounds me and centers me. I put one drop on one wrist, rub my wrists together and then rub both of them down my neck along my artery line. I will sometimes stop and smell/inhale the aroma of the oil off my wrist. It has a quick calming effect.

Eating better and regular exercise also helps clear my mind and keep me focused. When I eat too much fast food or processed food, I get very scatterbrained and can’t focus on what I need to get done. I try to eat real food that doesn’t come out of a box most of the time. Exercise helps me clear my head, especially when I go for a run. It boosts my energy and helps me feel better knowing that I am taking care of my temple.

And I pray. A lot. I am a very flawed person and I struggle and make mistakes every single day. But I know that God still loves me and will listen to me and help me throughout my day.

If you are struggling or even suspect that you are struggling with baby blues, postpartum depression, depression or anxiety, please find someone to talk to. A counselor, physician, OB or midwife. There are many ways to deal with these issues and everyone is unique. Please don’t hold it all inside. You are more than welcome to leave comments below or email me at chelseakaster@gmail.com with any questions or comments.

Have a blessed day!

Chelsea