Tag: Postpartum

Baby Girl Birth Story – My Sweet, Bright Eyed Siena

Having a baby girl is hard enough. As a new mom, you have to worry about the last trimester, the delivery, after the baby is born and everything else that goes into having a baby.

However, throw in ‘move across the world’ and you have a whole new mess of problems to add to the list of ‘Things to Solve’.

 

Uterus Urgency

Austin got his masters at Duke University. We loved being in North Carolina, and the second half of his program was in Kunshan, China. Well, I was due to have a baby just 5 weeks before we were supposed to be leaving. Yep. You could have called us insane and you would have been correct. We didn’t even know how insane we were.

waiting in waiting room
When we first arrived in the waiting room.

We naively thought, “what perfect timing!” We’ll have the baby in December and then hop on a plane in January. However, aside from other aspects of our naivety, like being first time parents, we failed to realize that we wouldn’t be able to get her passport, visa or plane tickets until she was actually born.

Austin had to be in school in China on a certain day and as her due date approached we realized the timing might not be so ideal after all. We started panicking. It takes 6 weeks to get a passport… We have to get the Visa after that… So, there isn’t enough time. Fortunately there is an expediting option, which almost wasn’t fast enough.

The Study

Then, a tender mercy. Duke University happened to be doing a research study where they would induce your labor at 39 weeks. The purpose of the study was to determine if delivering at 39 weeks was actually more beneficial for both the baby and the mom. After 39 weeks the baby is fully developed, and history seemed to suggest that the mom’s health would decline after 39 weeks.

Unfortunately there was no way to guarantee we would be in the induction group. Because the study needed a control group, only 50% of the women in the study would be induced. But we decided to try our luck with the lottery. And another miracle, we were selected to be a part of the induction group. Hooray! Our induction was scheduled for December 9th.

 

No Surprises

Because we had a set day, it was very easy now for both of our moms to fly out to see the birth.

me and my sweet moms
I love our moms.

The ninth was a Tuesday so both of them flew in on Sunday. Austin took all of his finals on Monday and we were all set for our little girl to join us.

Tuesday morning I got up early and put on some make up, curled my hair: the works. I was in a rare situation where I could plan to look cute for semi-spontaneous event. Why would I not take advantage of such a thing? Obviously we were going to take pictures!

 

Excited Grandmas!

We arrived at the hospital at 7:15 in the morning and park in the parking garage (no valet parking if your birth is not an emergency…understandable). We took the elevator up to the tunnel, where Lori, Austin’s mom excitedly announced to the whole elevator. “I’m going to be a grandma today!”

The ladies on the elevator squealed with excitement. I smiled too. My baby girl would be here soon! Clearly I had no idea what was in store for me.

 

Waiting Room

We got to the maternity floor and were told to wait. So we waited… and we waited… and we waited…

waiting in waiting room
Growing a little impatient…

The thing about being induced, is it is not as exciting for everyone else. They can just put you on the back burner while all of the actual labors take precedence, which again, makes sense. My induction was scheduled for 8:00 am. We didn’t even get out of the waiting room until noon.

bored waiting in waiting room
BORED OUT OF MY MIND…

 

Waiting in the Delivery Room

Finally, it was my turn. Then the excitement rose again. All right baby girl, that was a long wait, but now… now we’re on our way.

get this induction going
It’s go time!

I donned my nice hospital get-up and the nurses came in and do their thing. Soon, Doctor Nieves came in. Yay! We finally get to know where I’m at and what the next steps are. So, he checks out how things are going. I’m dilated to a 2 and was like 80% effaced. And I’m thinking, ‘wow, 80%. I’m doing pretty good.’

last pic before baby girl is born
We’re both excited!

Then I found out he’s going to stick in a miso pill. Basically it is supposed to help get things going. So, he put in the pill and then we waited some more. The nurses tell us to get up and walk around to help get the labor going. We did. We walked and walked and walked.

walking to get baby girl out
I went through a lot of those waters.
through the fish tank walking around
We thought this giant fish tank was pretty cool.
talking with husband
Love of my Life

And then we started the “badger dance” (video to come). And pretty soon, we’re laughing and being silly until around 6:00 in the evening.

laughing with austin
He always makes me laugh.

At this point, Austin decided it would be funny if he laid on the bed. So, he laid there, my mom laid on the couch and his mom took the nice chair and I sat on the little fold out chair. We thought it would be funny to get our nurses reaction if I was on the hard chair and Austin had taken over the hospital bed. Well, it was also around this time that I could feel my labor actually start to kick in.

our funny joke
Our funny, funny, funny joke…

 

Labor Contractions

Now I was feeling contractions. At first they were just uncomfortable. And the nurse had said she would be back just a minute prior to our hilarious prank we were going to pull. So, we waited in those positions. And we waited… and we waited… She didn’t come back for about an hour.

And I was sitting on this hard chair and felt like I was dying a little more each minute that passed. Where on earth had the nurse disappeared to? Someone better be having a baby!

And by 7:00, she finally came through the door. We did get the reaction we wanted and caught it on video. But, by then, I was really feeling the contractions. She started checking on things. I tell her I want an epidural. I know… I’m a baby. The doctor came in and checked me out. I was dilated to a 3 and fully effaced. A 3?! That’s it! This is what a 3 feels like? But, my labor was in full swing. I was having regular contractions.

They let the anesthesiologist know that I am ready for an epidural and about an hour later, I get one. It was a little scary getting one, but the relief it provided was unparalleled. They had to readjust it a little bit because it was only working on one side at first. I’m glad I asked when I did, because the time from when you ask for an epidural to when you actually get one is quite awhile.

sleeping before baby girl is born

Water Breaking

After that, I felt great. In fact it was so great that it surprised me when I felt our baby girl kick rather violently and suddenly there was a gushing. Stuff was coming out!

I couldn’t stop it. It was a force that stopped for nothing. Once I thought the gushing was over, it gushed some more. My water broke. I was glad they didn’t have to break it for me. It was cool having it just happen.

That was exciting. Now we were all pumped up again! This happened around 10:00 pm.

 

Nausea

The epidural was still working, until I started feeling nauseous. Really nauseous. I woke up and couldn’t move from the bed, but I knew something will be coming up and out of me quickly.

I told Austin I have to throw up and was panicking because I had nothing to catch it with. BLEH… all over the left side of the bed and the floor. I looked over at Austin and he had a trashcan or something that I could have used if he had grabbed it ten seconds earlier.

I let the nurse know. She got me all cleaned up and then informed me they had drugs for that too. Really? Awesome! I did not want to spend the whole labor throwing up. I had done enough of that during my pregnancy. She warned me that it would make me sleepy. Double bonus! That meant I’d be able to sleep better.

 

No More Juice!

Not necessarily double bonus. Sometime in the early morning I woke up in agony. I could feel my contractions completely. We pushed the button for the nurse. I was pushing my pain button like nobody’s business trying to get more of the epidural juice into my body, but to no avail.

resting before baby girl

Thirty minutes later the anesthesiologist came in and said that the epidural had run out. He refills it and I am soon feeling much better again. Now despite the fact that I am sleepy, I am insistent on remembering to push the button, because I know I don’t want to feel that EVER again.

 

Mini Date

That night, Austin and I watched Pitch Perfect and Here Comes the Boom when I couldn’t sleep. It was fun just being with him. Our moms had gone to sleep upstairs somewhere. And we got to just hang out me and him before we got one more added to our family.

At some point, he had to help lift me up higher in the bed because my legs were completely useless and I had slipped and was very uncomfortable. And you would think that I could lift my body with my little arms, but my body was the biggest body it’s ever been. It was like trying to move a dead dinosaur.

 

Pushing Time!

Then around noon on the 10th, (yeah we thought we were going to have her on the 9th… laughable now) I was told that I was dilated to a 9 and we should get to start pushing soon. So exciting!

I was thinking, well, my mom’s whole labor with me lasted 5 hours and she only pushed for like half an hour. We’re going to meet our baby girl soon! So, the doctor, who is now a different doctor and for the life of me I can’t remember her name, starts getting things ready for the pushing part of the journey.

I started pushing around 12:45. The doctor told me that I could be pushing for anywhere between a half an hour to three hours. Three hours? I thought my baby girl would just come out. I started pushing and pushing and pushing.

It was so exhausting. I pushed and pushed and every time it felt like something incredible should be happening but I was seeing no fruits for my labors. I was so tired.

pushing out baby girl
You know that feeling when you want to cry, but even that is too much…

At some point the doctor said that I could take a break. I didn’t even know you could take a break in the middle of pushing. Wouldn’t baby girl suffocate in the birth canal? But then I remember that’s what the umbilical cord is for. And in retrospect, she probably hadn’t moved much at all. I wasn’t making a whole lot of progress.

 

Come on Baby Girl!

All right, it was time to start again. I pushed some more. Then I started feeling severe pain. *Contractions so intense that it felt like lightening zapping through my uterus and culminating right between my hips. Bearing down intensified the pain and then they wanted me to hold it there while the pain ripped through me.

I kept pushing my pain button but nothing was coming and nothing was helping. At some point, I accepted that the epidural was not going to help me through it. And then I also had to accept that the only way to get the baby out was to greet the pain instead of escape it. So, I focused on bearing down in a way that intensified the pain the most and those were the pushes that everyone shouted, “that’s such a good push!” “You’re doing so great!” “Keep doing them like that one.”

I did it again and again and again. And two and a half hours from the time we started pushing, at 3:19 pm, our little Siena was finally born. As soon as she was out, I remember collapsing on the bed with the most relief I think it is possible for the human body to experience.

baby girl brand new!

*I have since learned that they most likely turned off my epidural so that I could ‘feel the contractions’. NEVER AGAIN.

 

Scary Reality

We found out after she was born that her umbilical cord had been in a knot. If it would have tightened at all during the pregnancy, we could have lost our sweet baby girl. I am forever grateful that she was protected and watched over so that she could be in our family. She lights up our life.

 

Baby Girl, My Sweet Siena

My little baby girl was laid on my chest and I got to see her bright, big, beautiful eyes for the first time. At first she didn’t cry. She just looked around. She was so beautiful. I couldn’t believe she had been inside my body for the last nine months.

baby girl
Look how big her eyes are!
holding baby girl
I couldn’t believe my baby girl was already here… 30 hours later.

She had such long fingers, which as I held her I remembered them moving around by my hips when I was pregnant. She was chubbier than I thought she would be, especially at 39 weeks. But she came out at a healthy 8 lbs 8 oz and 19 inches long.

family pic with baby girl

looking at our creation

She weighed more than any of my mom’s kids had been. No wonder I had pushed for 2 1/2 hours! If I would’ve waited for her to come out on her own I might not have been able to push her out. I was really grateful that we had been a part of the study. A C-section could have really affected our trip out to China. So, grand total: 32 hours in the hospital, 20 hours of labor and 2 1/2 hours of pushing.

holding my baby girl

Me snuggling my baby girl

Afterthoughts

I remember being so tired, so shocked, so amazed, so out of it, and so grateful that it was all over. It was almost the feeling of, now what? I had been preparing to have a baby girl, but I wasn’t sure what to do with her now that I had her.

She was beautiful, but I didn’t know how to be a mom! I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I didn’t know how any of this was going to work. But it did.

I believe that Heavenly Father has been helping us throughout every step of the process. He loves His children and He would show me how to raise His child the right way, even though I am imperfect.

Cute Pictures Below:

first time daddy holding his baby girl
First time daddy holding his baby girl.
family pic with baby girl
Family Picture!
baby girl in daddy's arms
So cute in daddy’s arms
Grammy with baby girl
Grammy was in love with little Siena.
grandma with baby girl
Grandma loves Siena too!
cute baby girl
Look at her eyes!

baby girl

hearing test for baby girl
Hearing test
baby girl in daddy's Christmas stocking
Austin was born in December too and he was sent home from the hospital in this hospital, so obviously we had to put her in it and get a picture of her in his stocking. Our little December babies!
beautiful baby girl
This is seriously one of my favorite pictures of her.
first family picture with baby girl
Another Family Pic!

 

You can also check out my Son’s Birth Story.

It’s amazing how different they are!

Copycat Toddler – 7 Times When You Wish they hadn’t Seen

My daughter has reached an age that most mommies know well. If I tickle Grayson, Siena tickles Grayson. I blow on his belly. Siena blows on his belly. If I poke his nose, Siena pokes his nose. She’s my little copycat.

When we color, I could pick red and she will want red. If I choose a blue, guess who’s got blue too. She’ll copy what I say and mimic my actions. My little girl wants to be just like her mama.

posing with my little girl, my copycat

So, because I was sure I wasn’t the only one who has had such antics from their toddlers, I asked for some juicy copycat toddler stories from the mom experts I know. Here they are in their juicy glory.

I saved my daughter, my copycat for my embarrassment at the end. Enjoy!

 

Slam it, Dammit!

As a little girl being so attached to my Grandma, there was nothing she couldn’t do that wasn’t ok. Until one day as she was trying to shut the trunk of her car. For some reason it just wouldn’t catch and stay closed. After several attempts you could see she was frustrated and offered one word in anger at her trunk. “Dammit.” This was so not like her.

I, as a small child had never heard such a word.  But as she stood there trying to figure out just what was wrong with the trunk, she hadn’t realized her shadow, me. She looked down at me, completely embarrassed and I looked up to her and said, “slam it, dammit grandma” The look of horror came across her face as she looked down at me and processed the words that had just come out of her 3 year old granddaughter’s mouth. That day she was reminded to be careful of what you say as you never know who can hear you.

-Karen, One Helluva 3 year old & Homemaker

 

Choice Vocabulary

I am an incredibly clumsy human. When my oldest was about two and a half, I was making an effort to be less dramatic when I injured myself. So I would just say, “balls!” and move on.

One day I was getting her out of the tub and she stubbed her toe on the metal frame (I had an annoying sliding glass door in the bathtub). She sobbed out a tiny, sad, “Baaaaalls!”

I decided I needed to adjust my vocabulary from that point on.

-Liz, One Helluva Homemaker

 

Like Pregnant Mother, Like Son

When I was pregnant with my second son I had a lot of morning sickness.

So, since I was sick all the time, my first son would grab a mixing bowl and pretend he was throwing up just like his mommy! Ha!

-Gabriela, One Helluva Homemaker

 

Haircut Copycat

My mom used to watch my grandpa cut hair in his barber shop. One day a woman came in with a little girl. So while grandpa was cutting the woman’s hair, my mom, who was about 5 or 6 at the time, took the little girl in the back and gave her a haircut too.

barber shop of grandpa

So then, grandpa not only couldn’t charge the mom for the haircut, but he had to “fix” the little girls hair for free as well.

-Catherine, One Helluva Daughter & Homemaker

 

The Little Things

My kid says “shoot” every time something goes wrong.

He also loves doing the big frustrated sighs I do.

Oh and my grumpy faces. Oops!

-Gabi, One Helluva Homemaker

 

Five Little Fingers… or One

Let me tell you about a time I will never forget when my daughter was about three years old. We were pulling out from the Sears parking lot onto a busy 4 lane road. It was early spring, so there were still some patches of ice on the asphalt. I was also driving my parents car, a stick shift, and the clutch was different then mine.

So, I was hesitant to pull out in front of someone without plenty of room in case I stalled the car. The inpatient “gentleman” behind me had already honked his horn a few times at me. So my redheaded temper got the best of me when he did it again.

I extended my middle finger to show the “gentleman” my exact opinion of his honking.

Then I hear, “what does this mean?” from the back seat and see a little tiny hand displaying her middle finger for the “gentleman” too. I was so ashamed of myself. I laugh now, but I can say I never did that again while the kids were with me…and had to explain to her that that was an adult thing that meant ugly adult words.

-Tanya, One Helluva Homemaker

 

Holes is Holes

I have always had a hard time breastfeeding. I did with Siena and again with my son. So, my all time favorite invention has been the Nipple Shield, which literally saved my daughter’s life and made me feel like I could handle being a mom.

When Grayson was born, I used them again for as long as I could breastfeed. This was only for about four months.

Well, a couple of weeks ago (long after I have stopped breastfeeding), I was sitting on the couch with my husband and suddenly he points at Siena. I look, and she has the nipple shield on her belly button and her baby doll is apparently getting a drink… from my daughter’s belly button… through her mom’s nipple shield… Holes is holes, right?

my daughter, nursing her baby doll to copycat mama
She was very focused…

 

More Copycat stories and Mom Moments?

Have any fun copycat stories of your own? Please leave them in the comments below! I would love to hear more. Kids are so funny sometimes!

 

I seem to have a never ending supply of Mom Moments that make me want to cry, but will probably make you laugh.

12 Moments When Your Baby WILL NOT Sleep Through the Night

Some parents are lucky and their baby starts sleeping through the night. Other parents are extremely talented and they lull their baby into a tender unconsciousness for the duration of the night.I have not been so lucky. My baby will not sleep through the night.

We have tried everything it feels like. He eats a ton and wakes up to eat all the time and he REALLY eats! I think we are just doomed to endure. When your baby will not sleep through the night, I think you are with me on these 12 moments you get to embrace.

1. When you make sure his bedtime routine has been performed with perfection and he has been properly pampered:

2. When you got him to go to sleep and you’re pretty sure tonight’s the night:

3. When you just have to check on him one last time:

4. When you hear him start to fuss and realize once again, your baby will not sleep through the night:

5. When you wish your husband would shout this:

6. When you climb back into bed, are on the brink of falling asleep and you hear him:

7. When you wake, but you knew it was coming and it’s probably the last time:

8. When it wasn’t the last time and you’re up 30 minutes later:

9. When that wasn’t the last time either and you’re up 30 minutes later again:

 

10. When your alarm clock goes off:

11. When you try to be a normal person every day:

No one can know for certain how long this will last. Our son is almost 6 months old… and that baby will not sleep through the night. I long for and pray for the day when I find moment number 12.

12. When you finally wake up and realize it’s the morning and the last time you were conscious is when you chose to go to bed:

 

If you want to read about one of my ACTUAL horrible nights, ENJOY!

Postpartum Anxiety & OCD without Medical Help

There are few experiences written on the web about Postpartum Anxiety or Postpartum OCD. They frequently get swept into the category of Postpartum Depression. But if you have ever experienced this, you will know that they are not the same and hearing about PPD all the time can make you feel that you are all alone in your struggle.

You are not alone.

taking care of my daughter after months of battling postpartum anxiety

 

My First Baby

I was obviously anxious about having a baby, but I was more focused on the delivery part of it. I figured that since I was the oldest of five, having a child would be easy. Having helped my mom change so many diapers, feed my siblings, gone babysitting, I just assumed that I wouldn’t have a problem with that.

 

The First 6 Weeks

For the first 6 weeks, postpartum, I was fine. We were with family and felt like we had a great support network. Our moms would gobble up any opportunity to hold Siena. They helped her fall asleep, changed her bum and were there for us to lean on physically and emotionally.

Literally, the day after my daughter was 6 weeks old, we flew all the way around the world and began living in China. There is nothing that could have prepared me for that kind of culture shock, but that is a story for another time.

 

Living in China

Facetiming to help cope with postpartum anxiety
My mom helped me through so much just by being available to talk to me whenever I needed to.

We were excited to go on this great adventure, but we weren’t entirely sure what it would be like with a baby. We had planned everything out and felt like we were prepared, we just didn’t anticipate the very real possibility of the mental health issues that might arise.

I was alone frequently during the day. Before we had left I didn’t think this would be a problem. I could make friends, and if not I could catch up on some of the things I’ve been wanting to do. I could blog, I could read, I could watch movies and of course I would be caring for our little angel.

Then I realized there was no one around me who spoke any English. And my Spanish only served to frustrate my attempts at learning Chinese. That was fine. I still had friends online… except that Facebook, Gmail, Youtube and any other American social networking site was blocked by the government. My saving grace was FaceTime, but the time change also made that very challenging. If it was four in the afternoon in China, it was two in the morning back home.

The afternoon was usually when it would start to get hard. I knew Austin wouldn’t be back from school for another couple of hours and by then I was at the end of my rope with Siena. I didn’t know how to make her happy. Being a Mama was much more difficult than I had anticipated.

 

Signs of a Problem

From the beginning, I was always a little paranoid about my baby girl. I was terrified she would just stop breathing while she was sleeping. A kid was coughing into her hands and then touching Siena’s hands… I about lost it. Fear gnawed at me constantly that something would happen to her.

We hadn’t been living in China for very long, maybe just a week or two when I started having the thoughts. Siena would be crying for hours and I would have no idea how to calm her and these unsolicited, unwanted images would flash through my mind. The images were a constant stream of me doing horrible things to my daughter. I couldn’t stop them. It seemed like the more I tried to rid myself of the thoughts, the more they permeated. (I will not get specific about what those thoughts were because I know that such descriptions can trigger images in people who suffer the same things as I did.)

I used to sit on my bed, sobbing and clutching my daughter with fear, terrified that somehow, I would do something that I had seen in my head. The fear that I would somehow do those things without wanting to may sound irrational to anyone not in my head, but it didn’t feel impossible to me. It felt terrifying and very real. 

 

Logical Explanation

mama who looks perfectly happy but battling postpartum anxiety
No one would know how I struggled unless I told them. You never know who could be going through this.

At first I thought that the only explanation for me having these thoughts was that I was a horrible mom. After all, how could I be a good mom if I was seeing all of these things in my head? It reaffirmed my belief over and over again because I couldn’t make them stop. If I was really a good mom, I wouldn’t keep seeing atrocities in my head. A good mom would never think these things.

The bad thoughts persisted so I finally looked it up online. At first the only articles I found were about postpartum depression and as I would read those, I thought, see… it’s just me. I’m the only one who thinks this way.

I finally clicked on a link labeled Postpartum Anxiety/OCD. OCD was never something that described me, but I certainly had a history of anxiety. As I read the article, everything made sense. I felt a relief just knowing that I was not the only one who had experienced this. Maybe, just maybe I wasn’t having these thoughts because I was a bad mom!

 

Postpartum Anxiety & OCD Explained

When someone experiences Postpartum Anxiety or Postpartum OCD they feel extreme anxiety about the well-being of their infant. The OCD describes ritualistic things done to help avoid the dangers that the mom foresees. As a mild example, a mom could constantly be washing her hands to make sure her baby doesn’t get sick. Another example is getting rid of items they perceive as being potentially harmful to the child.

For each of these mental illnesses, bad thoughts are a central theme. They could be bad thoughts about things in general, happening to your infant or things that you are specifically doing to your child.

Another core feature of Postpartum Anxiety or Postpartum OCD is repulsion at the images you are seeing. If you are experiencing a desire to do the things you are seeing or feel like someone is telling you to do those things, it is imperative that you stop reading my blog right now and seek medical attention. This is something called Postpartum Psychosis and is very treatable if you get help.

For all of these Postpartum Anxiety, OCD, Psychosis & Depression… it is not your fault. They don’t make you a bad mom. Merely the fact that you are worried about it and researching it on the internet proves you are a great mom. You are worried about the safety of your baby and yourself.

 

Postpartum Anxiety without Medical Help

I don’t recommend this. If you are experiencing any Postpartum Anxiety, Depression, OCD or Psychosis, please seek help ASAP. There are professionals who know how to help you.

I did not have this luxury. I was in a country across the world where very few people spoke English and it would have been extremely good fortune to find anyone who knew anything about Postpartum Anxiety. It was also hard to talk to my family about it because I was afraid they wouldn’t understand. But I did find a couple of things that were helpful in my battle for it alone.

I share these with you if you are in a situation like I was and cannot receive medical help. This may be a rare circumstance, but it was extremely frustrating to receive no guidance online beyond, go seek a medical professional when that was something I couldn’t do. If nothing else, these things might help until you can receive help.

 

Things that Helped

Talking to my husband was one of the first things that helped. I told him of my thoughts even though I was ashamed and embarrassed. Getting them out in the open helped to normalize the situation. He also shared his fears and even though they were not the same as mine, it helped to know that I was not the only one struggling during what should be “the most joyful time of our life”.

My beautiful angel who I fought for during my postpartum anxiety

When I did get back to America, I went to a group once. It was helpful to an extent. The other women there struggled with postpartum depression and it was hard to really share with them because I was embarrassed about the bad thoughts I was having. However, before anyone else arrived, I got to talk to the psychologist there one on one and having a medical professional validate my experience was helpful.

What helped me the most though was realizing that my fear behind all of the thoughts was that I was a terrible mom. I was scared that deep down maybe I really was this horrible person. Once I realized my fear, I also learned that this was a lie. I was not a terrible mom. I’m not a bad person. From that point forward, whenever I would see the horrifying images, I would repeat to myself “I am a great mom.” I would repeat it until I believed it and then they would leave me alone for a time.

To me, it seemed like infusing myself with truth was the only way to combat the lies that accosted me constantly.

 

Spirituality is Helpful, but Not a Curemy husband rescuing me when I needed help with postpartum anxiety - an answer to prayers

I am a very religious person. While I was going through this, I used to read my scriptures, go to church, pray and plead with my Heavenly Father to take this away from me. I tried everything I could think of to implore heavenly help. It came, but it came in the form of ways to cope until I could find professional help.

For example, I found an article that reaffirmed I was sick, that there was a name for something I was going through. That felt so liberating.

Another example is my husband would have strength when I had none. I have a picture of him standing, silhouetted in the dark while he held our crying baby and had saved me from emotionally crumpling in on myself.

Even though I was doing everything I could to stay close to my Heavenly Father, I still had the bad thoughts. And part of me likes to think that I went through that so I would know that this is a legitimate illness that is not imagined or something that you can just control. Because I know this, I can now be there to support other women who are struggling in the same way.

 

Length of Time

After I returned to America and was around family again, my bad thoughts almost went away. But they didn’t completely. Sometimes they would return full force and I would find myself crippled in emotional hell.

They came back more frequently when we moved to Detroit. I had read somewhere that it would last throughout the first year of your child’s life. This seemed impossible to me. How could they just go away? I would never be able to forget the images that had tortured me.

While that is true, it is also true that the illness went away. After a year, I was no longer consumed by it. I still remember every horrible thought I had with impeccable clarity. They are not easily forgotten. But, they don’t replay in my head over and over again, threatening to strip me of my sanity.

Instead I think, “my poor new mom self. I wish I could tell her how amazing she was for being strong when she felt impossibly weak.”

 

Will it Return?

Postpartum Anxiety and OCD is most common with your first pregnancy, but that does not mean it is impossible for it to return. As I prepared for the birth of my second child, I talked to my OB/GYN about my experience with Siena and she helped me take some precautions. She recommended some mental health professionals and prescribed some anxiety meds.

Taking the medication gave me extreme insomnia so I quit taking those. And I never did get to go see someone before my son was born, or after for that matter. I am happy to report that I haven’t needed to so far. He is 5 months old and I have been so happy. I didn’t know this kind of happiness postpartum was possible.

And in case you were concerned or wondering, the postpartum anxiety I had with my daughter does not in any way affect how much I love my children. I love them both the same and am so grateful that this time around, I got to enjoy all of the experiences that being a new mom can bring.

my angel baby and her big eyes helped me battle postpartum anxiety
My beautiful girl was a light to me during the trying times.

 

You Always Have Help

I am not a medical professional, I don’t have a degree or a license. I just have a lot of experience that can at the very least, assure you that you are normal. You will just need some help getting through this.

If you are struggling with this and have no one else to turn to, I am here as a resource. It will get better. It doesn’t last forever and you are an incredible mom.

If you would like to reach out to me, please send me an email or leave your comments below. I am sure there are many people who struggle with this and would be able to offer even more insight than I can. 

5 Mom Moments That Were NOT Funny at the Time

Mom Moments = Memories

Mom Moments may find us as soon as we see that we are going to become mommies. Three of the ones I will share with you today occurred while I was pregnant with my first child. The other two are ones that happened within her first 4 months of life. You cannot have too many Mom Moments because those are the memories you talk about until you die.

Passed Out

I was only four months pregnant when I had one of my first Mom Moments. We had spent all day shooting a wedding, that night I had walked a midnight 5K with my two sisters and then we had had to spend the whole night packing up our apartment to move. The next day, we had somehow managed to get everything out of our apartment.

I had ended up without a car, stuck at the apartment with just me, the cat and the litterbox. All the furniture was gone and I was exhausted. Finally, I laid on the ground and immediately fell asleep. Less than ten minutes later, my cat let out these long mournful cries like I had never heard before. I got the distinct impression that he had literally thought that I had died. As soon as I moved and called to him he came over and plopped next to me and demanded to be comforted.

Me&My-Sisters-before-the-5K-during-one-of-my-Mom Moments
Selfie-on-My-Birthday-to-Get-Oil-Changed-Before- the road trip of one of My-Mom Moments

Pit Stop in the Canyon

The second of my Mom Moments: The day after my birthday, we were driving and I was pregnant. I had had some bad sushi (all cooked fish) that morning and was already prone to morning sickness. We were driving out in the middle of nowhere to get to a family reunion. The road was on the side of the mountain and on the left side of the narrow road there was a cliff and on the right side of the road, a wall.

My nausea kept building and building. I told Austin that I had to throw up, I couldn’t hold it in. I looked for something, anything to catch the vomit and found a grocery bag. Barely opening the bag in time, vomit spewed from my mouth.

I quickly realized that my grocery bag had holes in it. “Austin, there’re holes in this thing!”

He was already pulling over in the first tiny alcove he could see in the canyon wall. I hadn’t even noticed that he had already rolled the windows down. Apparently the fumes from the vomit had been immediate and it was all Austin could do to keep driving and not throw up himself. “Get that out of the car!”

I am not proud of us that day. We definitely littered. We left that grocery bag full of vomit on the side of the road and I still hope that no one has found it.

A Memory Lapse

Mom Moments #3 - I was driving and Austin was giving me directions on how to get somewhere. He said, “K, now turn left at the next stop sign.”

I nodded and silently took note. I pulled up to the intersection, stopped at the stop sign and went straight.

Austin stared at me in shock. “You didn’t hear me?”

“What?”

“I literally just told you to turn left at the next stop sign.”

I started laughing. “I’m so sorry. I seriously forgot.” I could suddenly remember him telling me, but not a second after he told me to turn, I had already forgotten. He was in disbelief.

Jennifer-at-the-Steering-Wheel,-representing-one-of-her-Mom Moments
hotel-room-in-china-location-of-one-of-my-mom moments

No Boundaries

Mom Moments like this are ones that few people in America will get to experience this viscerally. Six weeks after Siena was born, we moved to China for the next 5 months. During our stay there, our parents came out to visit and we stayed in a hotel. One evening, I was inside of our room breastfeeding and a maid comes in to prepare it for the nighttime.

She puts the candies, adds the towels, oh and makes sure to peak down my cover at my nursing baby. That’s right, she walked all the way around the bed, came over to me, grabbed the top of my cover and looked down at my naked breast and my hungry child.

Although she was more assertive than other Chinese women, she was definitely not the first or the last to attempt such a thing so while shocked, I was not surprised.

The Great Wall Disaster

The Great Wall Disaster

My Mom Moments will make you feel better about any Mom Moment you may have, especially this one. We obviously had to see the Great Wall when we were in China with our parents. We put little Siena in our “Joey” (front pack) and went off on our grand adventure. The Wall was quite a ways from our hotel and we realized as we got off the Wall that Siena had pooped.

I looked in my backpack for a diaper and with crippling fear realized I did not have another one. It would be at least a couple of hours before we would be able to get back to the hotel and that included a miserable, hot bus ride.

We pulled out what we did have in the diaper bag and realized we had a “cloth diaper” that we had been using as spit up cloths.

Then I spotted a Subway. I wasn’t sure how I was going to communicate with the server there as no one speaks English. I walk in and play a game of pantomime and charades until she finally hands me a plastic bag, big enough for a 6 inch sub.

We took Siena to the main reception area for people wanting to go on the wall where there were some chairs. I tore holes in the corners of the bag and we made a makeshift diaper for her. She hated it at first, but you know what? It held up. She peed on the way back and her clothes stayed dry.

My-poor-trusting-baby-during-one-of-my-mom moments
My-poor-trusting-baby-during-one-of-my-mom moments

Share Your Mom Moments!

Do you have a Mom Moment that can stand the test of time? Please share it in the comments below. It will make the rest of us feel better about our own Mom Moments. 

If you want to read about an epic FAIL of many Mom Moments about potty training, check out my blog post: Potty Training, Poop Everywhere Edition

Want to see more embarrassing Mom Moments? Check out Embarrassing Mom Stories