Okay, so Baby Ames isn’t technically one month old until Friday, but since it is happening this week, I am saying he is a month already 🙂
Before I get into the personal talk, I just gotta say, Ames Anthony is THE cutest baby boy in the whole entire world. And no, I am not biased at all 😉 Really though, that little guy has me wrapped around his long little finger. He is currently taking a nap and I have been tempted to go wake him up just because I miss him. He is an awesome sleeper (he has already had a couple 4-5 hour stretches at night!), he is awesome at smiling at people, awesome at pooping (and farting!) and is awesome at making everyone fall in love with him. Seriously, he is an amazing baby. He has the sweetest spirit about him and is just a sweet, curious, little one. I am proud to be his Momma 🙂
Now, some personal talk:
I wish I could write a post gushing about how amazing these past 4 weeks have been. Don’t get me wrong, I am so in love with my little boy and have had so many amazing times with him, Nate and our families. And he really has been an angel baby – however, it has been ME that has had a rough go. I don’t intend this post to be a ‘pity me’ post, but rather, I want to be real & possibly help other new moms.
Before I had baby Ames, I heard many, many stories about the lack of sleep, and the emotions – good and bad, that comes with motherhood. I prepared myself to get up every 2-3 hrs, and cry a lot. My body/I handled pregnancy well, so I just assumed I would handle motherhood just as well. However, what I didn’t expect was not being able to fall asleep, even when Ames was sleeping perfectly, not having an appetite (especially when I heard that breastfeeding made you super hungry), and having a flow of adrenaline constantly flowing through my body, even though I knew that I was extremely tired. I didn’t expect to have moments where I felt like I didn’t have enough love for my baby or moments where I felt like my body was failing at being a Mom. To some it up – I didn’t expect to get Postpartum Depression/Anxiety.
The first couple days after Ames was born were perfect. I felt great and everything seemed to be going well. But then one night I couldn’t fall asleep at all – my heart was racing and I couldn’t calm my mind. I figured I just had lots of adrenaline because of everything that had happened and it would fade away. However, after 4 days of not being able to sleep, I was not doing super good. I couldn’t eat very well and because my body was constantly in over drive, I lost weight, and fast. I got within 5 lbs of my pre-pregnancy weight in less than a week. You would expect that this would make me feel awesome, but it didn’t. I felt hollow and my body seemed to go into some kind of shock because of the drastic change in just a few days. After the first week of not sleeping and being really anxious, I actually did start doing better. I realized that snuggling with my baby calmed me down and actually helped me fall asleep…I had to have him on top of me to not feel so hollow!
After a few nights of getting some decent sleep I thought things were starting to calm down. My mom was staying with us and talking/hanging out with her and Nate put me in a good state and I thought that I was somewhat returning to myself. However about 1.5 weeks after Ames was born he started to become really fussy. Each day he got more and more fussy and I didn’t know what to do! I knew that babies cried, but I could sense that something was wrong. We thought he was just gassy because he would act like he was in pain and would startle awake with a shudder. Then on the first day that I was home alone with him (my Mom left and Nate went back to work) he cried the entire day. He acted like he wanted to nurse all the time but then would become frustrated and fuss while I nursed him. I didn’t know what to do! And obviously it took a toll on me. The next day he still was pretty fussy, and after nursing him for 2 hours, I cracked and gave him a bottle of formula. He GULPED it down and fell fast asleep. I realized that he probably had been hungry the past few days and those shudders weren’t gas…they were hunger pains. It made me feel so sad/guilty. The next day (after not sleeping all night again) he had his 2 week appointment and they confirmed that he was indeed not getting enough. He weighed 7lbs 2oz at birth and at his 2 week appointment he weighed 6lbs 5oz. I felt terrible. Nate and the doctor both tried to comfort me telling me that it was perfectly okay to supplement him with formula and that I had no way to know that he was fussy because he was hungry. My logical side knew that they were right, but I couldn’t keep my emotional side from reacting. Right after we had his 2 week appointment I met with a lactation consultant to see what I could do. After she checked me and we talked about a few things she said that I probably wouldn’t ever have enough milk to feed him 100%. I always was kinda worried that my small boobs wouldn’t be able to breastfeed, and thought it was a little weird that my boobs didn’t grow too much while I was pregnant, but after I was had Ames and had my milk come in I thought all was good. However I have something called Insufficient Glandular Tissue (IGT) – basically I don’t have enough of milk producing tissue. The consultant told me lots of ways I could try and get my supply up, but most of the ways stressed me out even more. I was comforted knowing why Ames was so fussy and that he didn’t have anything major wrong with him. But the fact that I couldn’t exclusively breastfeed, on top of feeling so bad for starving my child, on top of next to no sleep…Postpartum Depression/Anxiety (PPD/A) set in.
For the next week I was all over the place. I would get the shakes and feel so anxious for no reason, I wasn’t sleeping still, and just felt like my body was failing me. I kept it together on the surface pretty good and I had a couple good days that made me able to survive, but in a fragile state. I was trying so hard to ‘will’ myself to get better. I was proud and didn’t want to admit that I fell into the PPD/A category…that couldn’t happen to me! But towards the end of the 3rd week after he was born I knew that something was not right, and I knew that I needed to do something about it. Luckily for me, I have AMAZING families. I am about to cry right now just thinking of them. My sister and I drove home for Halloween/that following weekend (Nate was out of town on a XC trip) and I was able to start getting better. The first night up there I didn’t sleep again. But the next day I was able to talk to my Mom, Mother-In-Law, and all of my Sister-In-Laws and they all helped me so much. More than they realize. My Mom volunteered to take Ames for the night so I could just sleep as much as possible. My sisters let me vent to them and pick their brains about everything and anything. My mother-in-law, who conveniently is a nurse practitioner, did a ton of research on the best things to do to help with PPD/A. That weekend helped me in so many ways. I was able to sleep for over 8hrs for 3 nights straight, knowing that my baby was in perfectly good hands during the night. I was able to get advice from my Mom, Mother-in-law and 3 sisters who are the greatest examples of Moms. I was able to realized, that it was okay that I couldn’t exclusively breastfeed him. I realized that he needed a loving, happy Mom waaay more than a Mom with a big, milk-producing boob. I realized that in order to be that loving, happy Mom, I needed to take some steps to take care of myself. And I realized that it was okay that I had PPD/A. Nate made me realize that it wasn’t me just not being able to handle things…when your body has a baby your hormones get thrown waaay off sometimes, and it isn’t possible to just ‘will’ them back into place. Elder Holland’s talk, which I luckily listened to again as I was having rough time, gave me comfort and made me realize that I needed to do more on top of having “square shoulders and a positive attitude.” All-in-all, I felt more love from my families than every before, and more love from my Heavenly Father. I knew that I was being prayed for, looked out for, and loved so intensely by many people.
So, what have I done to get better? I am taking time each day to do something I enjoy…aka, I started running again. I am eating and drinking lots (though I probably could eat a little healthier…), I am smiling when I go to sleep at night and…I am on meds. I was super, SUPER hesitant to take medication…mostly because of my pride. Thanks to the OTC sleep-aid Unisom, I was able to sleep so much better. And with more sleep I was waaaay better. I thought that just by sleeping more I could be okay. However, deep down I knew that something still wasn’t quite ‘right.’ But I was still looking for a way to avoid taking medicine. But thanks to my loving husband, sisters and Moms, they encouraged me to at least ‘try them.’ I have been on them for almost a week, and I don’t know if it’s the meds or more sleep, or some special experiences that I have had, but I am doing SO much better. I am starting to feel like myself again. I am enjoying being a Mom more than ever. I am not perfect, I still have moments of anxiousness or worry, but I am able to cope with them and I know, without a doubt, that I am going to be okay. More than okay. I know that overtime I am going to be happier than ever, and I am starting to feel that joy more and more each day.
Phew. All of that might make it seem that I was a total wreck/crazy person the past few weeks. And as much as I kind of felt like that on the inside at times, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The biggest problem for me was not sleeping…that definitely takes a toll on you 🙂 But I have heard stories of mothers being suicidal and the such – my heart goes out to them and I am grateful I didn’t get PPD/A severely.
Again, I am not writing this post for anyone to pity me. I am writing it because I want ‘soon-to-be-moms’, new moms, or even old moms realize that it is okay to admit that it wasn’t all giggles and joy when their baby entered the world. For most, it is mostly giggles and joy, and I am so SO happy that most people don’t have to go through PPD/A. But just know that it is okay if you do get PPD/A. That was my biggest accomplishment so far – realizing it is okay to have it and that it wasn’t my fault. Please, please don’t feel guilty or feel like you are a bad Mom! And remember that you can get through it!
I would absolutely LOVE to hear from anyone that reads this and their personal experiences. Even if you didn’t have PPD/A, I love reading new-mom experiences 🙂 But if you did go through PPD/A, don’t be shy to tell me how you dealt with it 🙂 I am getting better, but it is always encouraging to hear from others about it.
Lastly, I again just want to thank my amazing families for all they have done for me this past month. Especially Nate and my Mom. Nate has been super amazing through everything. Always there to give me a hug, wake up with me in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep, and just BE there for me. My love for him has grown so, so much since having baby Ames. And my Mom is seriously the best, most giving, loving, woman on this earth. She did so much for us when she stayed here and continues to do so much for us. I hope to be as good of a Mom as she is 🙂 Thank you family, Thank you! I love you all so much.
And now for pictures of the cutest baby you will ever see ;):
|Waking up – being very curious 🙂|
|First bath he actually enjoyed.|
|My boys 🙂|
Oh and P.S. Ames is gaining weight like a champ! He eats so well (and so much) and is getting somewhat chubby 🙂