Birth #3

This blog was intended to go beyond fitness and health topics.  I hoped to write about anything that affects moms and hopefully help moms move through (move it momma) their (our) busy, hectic, sometimes overwhelming lives.

It has been years since my last post and with my 2.6 year old daughter starting full time school this Fall (two more weeks still the start of school!), I aim to change that – I plan to write more and fulfill my original intention to blog blog blog even if what I write is not “perfect.”

One glaring omission in my blog is the birth story of my 3rd (and final) child – Adeline Lou Nusbaum.  I wrote about my shittiest-hospital-first-birth experience and my no drugs-10-pound-posterior-hurt-like-hell-but-never-felt-so accomplished 2nd-birth experience, but somehow with three kids, a job, a household to manage, I never got around to talking about Addie’s birth.

I mentioned that in my third trimester, I had polyhydramnios – a condition that affects 1% of pregnant women and means you have extra amniotic fluid and have to be continually monitored.  It also means that you feel extra large and uncomfortable.

Not knowing why I had this condition and feeling like my belly was going to explode, it comes as little surprise that somewhere in those last few months of pregnancy, I experienced something that never happened to me before – I had severe insomnia and two separate panic attacks during which I could not breathe and just wanted to rip that baby out of there.

I saw a cognitive behavioral therapist a few times to help me learn how to manage/avoid another attack, and thankfully, there were no more.

When I visited the hospital for my weekly check-in at week 36, the tech detected that there was some sort of distress and sent me upstairs to labor and delivery for additional overnight monitoring.  I remember that last night before she was born as being one of the most uncomfortable 24 hours of my life – I had this monitor attached to my belly that felt like I had 10 babies in there and just could not find a comfortable position.

In the early morning, my doctor appeared by my side, telling me that we had to induce because the blip in her heart rate was still there and outweighed the concerns they had about her coming at 36 weeks.  The idea of another “induction” certainly scared the crap out of me, but this time, both my husband and I were communicating with the team of medical people and understood from my doctors that this induction was actually medically necessary.

And that it was.  After she came out hours later, the doctor found that the umbilical cord was fraying and the placenta did not look good – both signs according to my doctor that had we waited, I might have “come back days later for a still birth.”

She was ok – at 36 weeks, she was 6 pounds 13 ounces and her lungs were good.

The weeks after her birth are at this point somewhat of a blur.  I know that I had a lot of rectal problems and thank goodness, with my husband back at work after a week, my amazing mother in law (who has since passed away) was with me for a good amount of time taking care of me so I could take care of the baby.

This is what postpartum really looks like — for me, anyway.

The postpartum depression signs were not there in those first few months.  I was busy dealing with my own pain, and my first-ever colic baby who wasn’t gaining enough weight.  At around month 4, I came to recognize that I just felt this blah feeling all the time, a lack of energy that I never experienced before.  Something was off.

Postpartum depression does not always manifest in those first few weeks, and more often than not, it is not a feeling of wanting to avoid or harm the baby.  For me, it was just a shitty feeling all the time and thankfully, I knew that when moms experience severe anxiety during their pregnancy, they are at a greater risk of PPD.  So, even though I never experienced PPD before, I suspected that this was what was happening to me.

After seeing a psychiatrist, I first tried Zoloft because it was breast-feeding friendly and at the time, I hoped to breastfeed Addie for longer than I had with the boys.  But, Addie had severe reflux and was not gaining enough weight so my pediatrician directed that we supplement with a special kind of formula.  Ultimately, that supplementation resulted in a decreased milk supply and I breastfed for 7 months.  When I stopped breastfeeding, I took wellbutrin.  Using medication to alter my experience was hard for me.  But, it worked.  I encourage all moms who feel “off” and don’t understand why they are feeling that way to seek medical intervention.

If reading this helps just one mom, then telling this story is worth it.

P.S. Though those first several months with Addie were filled with colic, reflux, depression, anxiety and sleeplessness, at 2 and a half, she is the greatest little creature and brings us an unbelievable amount of joy and happiness.  So, yes, despite the crappy start, the answer to To Three or Not to Three is a resounding yes!

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