Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Miss W is Here: Part II

EH and Miss W hanging out in the hospital
I'm all about the honesty these days so I decided to share the mix of crazy emotions that occurred soon after we bought Miss W home.

A couple of days after we got home from the hospital, I started feeling strange. I knew that my hormones might be out of wack for a few weeks. I read the thick packet on post-partum depression given to me in the hospital with reluctance. Even with my history of depression and anxiety, I didn't think it would happen to me. How could it!? This was going to be the happiest time of our lives. In my mind it wasn't possible to feel anything less than ecstatic after what we'd been though trying to get Miss W here.

But I was wrong. Not only was I wrong...I had no idea about the roller coaster of emotions that would follow. It started innocently enough with just a vague sense of annoyance at EH. I couldn't put my finger on why I was annoyed with him. He  was truly the perfect caretaker, attentive to my needs and the baby's needs and taking care of the house on top of all that. But I was annoyed. I hated the sight of him and I hated how happy and carefree he seemed in contrast to how exhausted and sad I was. My milk hadn't fully come in yet and Miss W refused to nurse on one of my boobs because it was slightly inverted. We had an extreme lack of sleep in the hospital and weren't doing that much better once we got home. I always knew that I loved to sleep; and I would never turn my nose up at a good nap so I simply was not mentally prepared for what a lack of sleep combined with falling hormones could do to my state of mind.

Every time I set up to pump my "bad breast" I would feel the most incredible rage. That's right....rage. I wanted to throw things, scream, cry and I wondered if I really loved my husband. I immediately got on the internet because I knew these feelings were not normal for me. I mean, like any wife, I've been annoyed here and there at an errant sock on the floor or EH forgetting to take the garbage out but I had never questioned whether or not I loved my husband or if I wanted to be married or if I wanted to be a mother.

I mean I would have laughed my ass off after reading this if I wasn't feeling so crummy because of course...OF COURSE...something would happen to mar this experience for me. Luckily for me I never felt feelings of anger or regret toward Miss W...I still loved her like crazy. But I couldn't stand my husband at all for at least the seven or eight times in a day that I would pump or breastfeed. Things came to a head after I asked my husband if he had done something I asked him to do. He took offense and asked me to be nicer to him and I. LOST. IT. 

I was washing my hands in the bathroom at the time and I exploded in the craziest demonstration of rage known to man. I slammed the door repeatedly and told him he wasn't my priority anymore and that he needed to stop telling me to be "happy" and then I spent the next hour holding Miss W and crying uncontrollably. The episode was so bad it scared EH. He said he just wanted me to be happy and it was upsetting to him that I was acting completely opposite of happy. I was stressed and angry all the time and he didn't understand why because he was feeling great. I didn't understand why I didn't feel happy either until I did some research and found that I wasn't alone in my feelings. Turns out a bunch of women have had the same experience.

Turns out it was a mix of my crashing hormones and this condition called dysphoric milk ejection reflex or D-MER, which is described on KellyMom as a condition affecting lactating women that is characterized by an abrupt dysphoria, or negative emotions, that occur just before milk release and continuing not more than a few minutes.” This is a physiological response (not a psychological response) that appears to be tied to a sudden decrease in the brain chemical dopamine immediately before milk let-down.

We spent the rest of the night after my major mental breakdown talking about how we could be more sensitive to each others' needs. For instance, when he sensed that I was getting angry he could give me a tight hug instead of telling me to be happy and do some research about how to help me. When I sensed that I was feeling icky, I would visualize something relaxing instead of focusing my rage on him. Thankfully, that was the first and only episode of disturbance that I've had but I know it could have been much worse and IS much worse for a lot of women. We also shared the incident with my OB/GYN so that she could evaluate me for post-partum depression. It turns out my PPD is episodic and not an ongoing thing, which I'm thankful for. Everyday it gets a little better and I don't feel batty and rageful when I pump or breastfeed anymore, thank God.

A large part of me believes these shenanigans are some kind of evolutionary bonding system that serves to bond mother and child more securely against all others, including your mate. Ain't that a kick in the head!!??

I learned that I have to take things easier. My type A personality totally glosses over the fact that I had Miss W early and that of course my milk wouldn't have come in properly yet or that having a c-section can further delay that process. I learned that I cannot be perfect in this process. It is simply out of my hands. I simply had to stop thinking I was a bad mom because of my "bad breast" or my half-clean house. And that's where I'm at today. Miss W tried tummy time today for the first time and promptly decided it wasn't for her and fell asleep...that's my girl!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Miss W is here!! Part 1

I started this post a week ago and am just getting to continue it now....smh

Hey Everyone! I'm peeking my head out of my hole finally. This first week with Miss W has been equal parts wonderful and equal parts rough. I'm counting this post as a breath of fresh air for me since I've finally gotten a little sleep today. Sleep deprivation is no joke, ya'll. No. Joke. Now, onto the birth story!

EH and I were scheduled for our c-section at 7:30 in the morning on 7/3/14 so we had to wake up basically at the crack of dawn to get to the hospital by 6 AM. On the way to the hospital we were full of excitement for what was to come and totally clueless about what was to come. We knew that it would be a c-section and I had watched enough Baby Story episodes to know what that entailed but the process beforehand included a lot of what I like to call "getting ready to cut" work. We checked into our pre and post recovery room and EH took some pics of me to get the jitters out.

Things moved pretty quickly after that. Nurses came in to introduce themselves. My IV was started with difficulty, of course, because I have some rolling veins in my arm. I got stuck a couple of times with no success and then finally another nurse was able to come in and get it right.

I said goodbye to EH about an hour after that and they wheeled me into the operating room. The walls and the ceiling were decorated with some kind of faux fairytale mural which I found incredibly tacky...LOL. It didn't put me at ease at all. What struck me the most about the room was how small it was and also how small the operating table was. It was basically as wide and as long as a stretcher.

After I got on the table, it was time for the dreaded epidural. I'm happy to say that the idea of it was a lot scarier than the reality. I actually was more terrified after all the needle work was done. After the shot, I lay back and felt tense in my neck and shoulders. It made me so uncomfortable that I started to panic a little. The anesthesiologist kept telling me to calm down and I seriously wanted to punch her in the face. This chick's manner was not soothing at all! Eventually, I took matters into my own hands and started visualizing a nice tropical vacation on the beach. This helped to relax me until EH was allowed in.

I was so relieved when he was finally sitting next to me. The c-section was already in full swing by that time so it seemed that he wasn't there more than five minutes before the doctor told him to look over the shield at our daughter. He stared open-mouthed as she was brought out and placed in the bassinet. I wasn't able to see her fully because I didn't have my glasses on. Everything was a blur until I got them but when I finally saw her, it was an amazing feeling of pride and joy and happiness filtered through the fog of anesthesia. After she got checked out, the baby nurse/doctor brought her over to me and pushed her up right against my face. She was making the cutest mewing sounds like a little kitten and I tried to soothe her as best I could.

6 lbs 4oz, 18 inches!!

Not long after that they whisked her away to the recovery room while the doctors finished me up. I wish I could say that I remembered things shortly after that but everything after me being brought back to the recovery room is sort of a blur. I don't remember paying much attention to Miss W, I was way more concerned about monitoring the feeling coming back into my lower half.

The rest of our stay in the hospital wasn't that bad but it wasn't that great either..lol. We definitely did not get much sleep which made my interactions with EH a lot less civil and patient. EH had to handle almost everything because I wasn't able to walk yet and I hated depending on him for everything because he didn't do things the way I would have done it or as quickly. I tried to distract myself from all those feelings and focused on the fact that he was doing the best he could.

Isn't this the lament of every wife!?

Later that day, it was time for the parade of grandparents. It was nice to see how happy everyone was to welcome Miss W. Our parents took what seemed like a million pictures of her and very little of EH and me. I was looking a hot mess, by the way...straight up Celie in The Color Purple type of hot mess. I'll spare you.

Miss W got a great latch on the day we started breastfeeding but it didn't stay that way. Turns out Miss W is one of those babies that freak out on the breast. Even when she had the nipple in her mouth, and was latched correctly, she would scream bloody murder and shake her head frantically from side to side. And if she did manage to latch on without a fuss, she would fall asleep almost immediately.

Needless to say, I was never sure she was getting enough milk and it caused me a lot of anxiety. Eventually, over two days, she started to lose more weight than they thought she should and we had to supplement with formula. I felt like a complete failure when we started supplementing but I tried to think of all the advice I had gotten from new mothers in the weeks prior and tried to get over it. I told myself that she needed to eat and it didn't matter how she got the food.

After two days of asking, I finally got a breast pump to use in the hospital and was able to give her some breastmilk. It made me feel a lot better but I resented that fact that I had to use a pump at all and envisioned more pumping in my future. I prayed that she would get over her breast freak outs so I could feed her from the breast.

Overall, our experience was a good one at the hospital. Except for a particularly nasty nurse on our last day. This lady saw that EH and I were Black and immediately assumed that a) we were not married and b) we were paying with Medicaid instead of insurance. I literally had to talk EH down from cussing this lady out. When we corrected her and told her that we were indeed married and had insurance her response was "Oh good. Then we don't need a paternity test."  Cue jaw dropping to the floor here! I wanted to roll on the floor with this chick but I didn't want her doing something to Miss W behind my back or stalling with our discharge paperwork so I made myself act right. You can be sure we will be skewering her in the hospital survey though.

We weren't sure we would be able to go home together because of the staff's concerns about her weight. After a visit from the neonatologist on duty, and a promise that we would see the pediatrician as soon as possible, we were finally given the all clear. We packed like our asses were on fire just in case they wanted to change their minds.

On the way home, I sat in the backseat of our car for the first time. The fact that we were driving our daughter home from the hospital still didn't really register with me. EH drove slowly all the way home and I stared at our little bundle wondering what exactly lay ahead...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

37 weeks/D-day is Here!!

37 Weeks! This girl wants out!
Folks, tomorrow is the DAY!! We had our amnio yesterday, which wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and the doc says the fluid looks good so hopefully we are still set to go tomorrow. I'm sitting here waiting for the phone call to confirm.

Meanwhile, Miss W has dropped...and has become increasingly insistent on getting OUT..to the point of butting her head against my youknowwhat repeatedly at night! Well guess what, honey, I want you out more! It has become more difficult to move around in the bed at night and I always need some sort of warming up period whenever I get up to walk after sitting for a while. And my feet have turned into boats..no yachts...so there's that.

I'm happy to report that we have made an awesome dent in the To-Do list! Miss W's nook is finally finished, with the exception of one more row of gold polka dots.

The whole job wasn't as labor intensive but maybe I'm saying that because all I did was pass the dots to EH! In the end it turned out to be really pretty. We placed the maternity pics on an adjoining wall next to the bookcase because EH thought it would be too much placed on the polka dot wall with the baby photo shoot pics and I agreed. We love the initials for some nice color contrast.

Speaking of photo sessions...Miss W's photo session has already been booked! It'll be our first professional photos as a family and we can't wait. We went with Briliana Photography in our area and chose to have a mini session instead of a full..it was cheaper and we figured we'd be taking so many pictures of her ourselves ("around the clock" per EH) we didn't need her to have a full-on portfolio, just a few nice shots and maybe one or two family shots to hang in our living room.

I even got myself together enough to add some photos above the bed!

After a whirlwind trip to Ikea and Target, here's the To-Do List update:

[ ] Get below 40 watt bulb for changing table. We're going to take this one day by day and see how we do with the bulb we have and the night lights we bought.

[ ] Extension cords.  Still pending but can be picked up quickly.
[X] Artificial plants for living room window. I saw some really cute artificial plants at Ikea for like $3. I love plants but my black thumb is no joke. I've avoided artificial plants in the past but I know I'll be paying even less attention to real plants when W comes along and our view of a brick wall needs some serious help. Also, I don't want Josh's curiosity to ,literally, kill him. A lot of house plants are toxic to kitties.

[X] Aloe Vera plants for windowsills in bedroom. I do want at least some real plants in the house so I'm gonna start with a couple of small aloe vera plants..also at Ikea. The window needs to be prettied up since we face out onto the garbage area in our building. Aahhhhh...nyc living...

Summer curtains for bedroom. Because it's time!! I've already put up my summer curtains in the living room. I'm probably gonna pair these with some mini blinds because EH hates too much light in the morning.

[X] Carpet runner 3 x  ? for entryway. Our entryway is pretty long so the longer the length the better. I'm only sure that I need the width to be 3'.  I'm really excited about going back to the carpet outlet for this one. We scored so incredibly with our living room rug that we can't not go back and see if lightning strikes twice. 

[X] Clock for bedroom wall. I've been wanting this one for a long time. The only "clocks" in our bedroom right now are our cell phones. It'll be nice to see how insanely late it is without blinding myself with the phone light when I wake up for feedings and changings. Also, I love the soothing sound of a ticking clock.

[X] Gold/white spray paint for frames. This one is overdue. I may do this tomorrow just to get it over with. I've wanted to update my dark frames in the living room and now is the perfect time to do it.
[X] Blue/gold/cream throw for poang chair. The green throw that's currently on Poang doesn't go with my color scheme at all. This is a pretty easy and inexpensive fix and requires a trip to TJ Maxx/Home Goods, which is always nice.

[X] Rugs for bedroom. I'd love to get two matching, washable, his/her throw rugs for our bedroom. This also requires a trip to TJ Maxx/Home Goods/IKEA. Yay!

[X] New garbage cans for kitchen. Our current ones don't have covers. 99c store

[X] Clean the refrigerator.This is embarrassing but I've only cleaned my fridge once since we moved in. I know that folks will be bringing food by after W's arrival and I need the fridge to look somewhat presentable.

[X] Make canvas art for the living room. Also long overdue and requires a trip to Michaels for some paint and canvases. 

[X] Get 8 x 10 frames for wedding pictures that will hang in bedroom. IKEA

[ ] Get mirror to hang above bed in bedroom. Decided to hold off on this one until I find the perfect mirror. IKEA

[ ] Get and install new toilet seat. Home Depot

[ ] Get coat rack for entryway. IKEA

[X] Get 16 x 20 frame for maternity picture collage. Michaels

[X] Get 13 gallon bags for diaper pail. 99c store

So, we made huge progress and I'm done for a while! You may not here from me for a week or so but I may pop in to post some pics at some point in my sleep deprived haze...lol.