As promised I wanted to share a bit more of what is going on since Seth was born. This is really long, so if you don’t want to read it all, that is fine. You can skip to the end to read the specific prayer requests I have.
As you all know, I have a history of post-partum depression, so shortly after labor I was reminding the doctor that I wanted to start the anti-depressants as soon as possible, especially since I was already feeling nervous about it all. He said it wasn’t surprising that since I had had it before that I was already anticipating it with anxiety. Two and half hours after giving birth I had taken my first dose. The rest of the day I did pretty well, but I was also distracted with lots of visitors.
The night in the hospital went fine, though it is not a quiet place. They ended up having several more deliveries including an emergency c-section. Though I couldn’t actually hear the deliveries themselves, I could hear the added commotion outside our door. Seth ate and slept pretty well. They took him to the nursery for me once. We were both doing fine, other than the fact that I had lost a lot of blood and so was pretty light-headed and weak.
We were discharged yesterday morning. I was starting to deal with a bit of tension, but not too bad. The only difficult thing really that morning was watching the cpr video that they make you watch before being discharged. I sort of watched it, but found it really hard to pay attention to something I have experienced much too closely. I have thought about mentioning that fact on my hospital survey. I know they consider it useful information and it is, but for a family that has lost a baby, it may hit too close to home at that time when they are introducing a new baby into their life. Plus dealing with anxiety already with the post-partum depression adds another dimension.
Anyway, we were soon on our way home with little Seth. Elise and Will had visited twice on Monday, but are staying with John’s parents for now until the anti-depressants completely kick in. I really can’t handle all three kids right now. Thank you to Becky for coming and sitting with me yesterday while John went back to work for awhile. I actually was doing alright at that point, and even after she left I went and took a nap with Seth before John got back. Being home alone was no big deal and I was encouraged that things were going so well.
Yesterday evening though as we vegged and watched TV the anxiety began to hit. Soon I had that distinct feeling of nervousness in my chest. It feels like someone has their hand on my heart and is squeezing and twisting it. By bedtime I found it really hard to sleep. My mom came to spend the night and help with Seth. Seth, who up to that point had been very laid back suddenly decided he was just unhappy. He was fine while nursing, but in between feedings he just acted uncomfortable. We think he is dealing with gas pains. It was fine since I was not able to get my body to relax for sleep either. I found as I held Seth I completely related to him. I knew he was tired, wanted to sleep, but just couldn’t and I felt the exact same way. Somehow, by holding him on my chest I was able to drift off several times, as if I could focus that extra energy outside myself and into caring for him.
He finally slept a good long stretch with John and I after my Mom left at 6 this morning (she and my Dad are headed today to Indiana for Thanksgiving). This morning he has continued his uncomfortable squirming between meals, but is finally asleep again, hopefully for a good stretch. I on the other hand and feeling even more anxious and have had at least one complete meltdown this morning. I told John, I just wish I could fast-forward through the next couple of days to the point where I feel like myself. But I know I can’t. Physically, I am not in very much pain, but I am still losing a lot of blood, and would appreciate prayers for that as well. My strength is very low and it doesn’t help my frame of mind any to feel so physically weak as well.
For the depression we are fighting it in 3 ways. 1) Anti-depressants. Anti-depressants are always what help me get rid of the physical symptoms that send my mind into the downward spirals. I was discussing with Bekah this morning (she is here spending the day with me and Seth since John is at work), that it is really almost all physical, but because the physical symptom doesn’t seem to have a cause, my mind starts to search for one. The feeling of anxiety is like what you would have if you were really nervous about something, like speaking in front of a group of people or something. That feeling that you can’t sleep or eat until the ordeal is over. But there is no reason for the feeling, so my mind starts searching for a reason: “Maybe you are dying, maybe you won’t be able to handle being a mom of 3 kids, maybe something awful is going to happen.” And that leads me to the next method we are using to fight it: 2)The truth. Since I have been through this before, I know that these feeling are not signs of something wrong with me or an emotional fear of something going wrong. They are merely physical symptoms, basically of withdrawal from all the pregnancy hormones that your body so quickly flushes out after you give birth. It makes me wonder why God didn’t build in some self-weaning cycle into the postpartum cycle, perhaps he wants to take that opportunity to walk closely with those women who have an issue dealing with it. Perhaps he wants us to have compassion for those that deal with depression and insomnia on a more consistent basis. I don’t know, but another truth is that he is there, and he does walk through it with us. If he has asked me to walk through this, then he will walk through it with me. And no matter how much I feel like I am spinning out of control, he really has tight control on me.
As a kid I used to hate merry-go-rounds because I would get so dizzy on them. I have actually fallen off one before because of being dizzy. In the old McDonalds playground there used to be a little blue round plastic merry-go-round. Perhaps you remember it? You would sit in it with your friends and then turn the wheel in the middle to spin it around faster and faster. I don’t know why I ever got in it, but I would. One time as I sat there, my friend informed me that it was especially fun if you closed your eyes. So I tried that and instantly had the sensation that I was flying out of the merry-go-round. Of course when I opened them, I was still seated firmly on the seat, but the sensation had felt so real. I’m not sure I ever got on it again. In the same way, I can feel that I am spinning out of control with no anchor, but really I am still here in God’s lap with his arms around me.
3)Support and distraction. If I can keep my thoughts from ever entering the realm of wondering what is wrong, I can stay farther away from the depression, and that is where distraction comes in. I have found that the more people I surround myself with, the better I feel. In this way, I guess it comes in handy that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I will be spending it with family. Perhaps the distraction is just what I need. Other than that, I am just not allowing myself to be left alone and I am talking when I need to talk, and right now writing my feelings. Expression helps me a lot. That is why this is so long. 🙂 But, I tell you this last one, because if you had wanted to visit but thought it better to wait until I am doing better, I would encourage you to come now if you want to. I would love to visit with you and it will take my mind off of things for awhile. Of course I do warn you that if I am in tears or pacing nervously up and down, that is completely normal. And on the other hand, I may appear completely normal to you, as I often try to hide the tension inside.
No matter what, your prayers are greatly appreciated. Here are some specific things to pray about:
-John. We had not completely transitioned my business responsibilities out of my hands when Seth decided to come (our fault, not his, he gave us plenty of time). John has been having to work quite a bit to do my work, plus his. He is trying to set it up so that it will be done be someone else, but for now, please pray for him. He would much rather be home here supporting me and can’t right now.
-My anxiety and weepiness. Pray for peace and grace to get through this completely natural time. Pray for normalcy in the way I feel so that I can deal with getting back to life. It is not currently overwhelming me that life will be completely different. I was well-prepared for that mentally. But I don’t even want to deal with it until I can sleep peacefully at night (even in short spurts). I know that I can handle it with God’s strength, it is just overwhelming to do with the extra emotional and physical symptoms of post-partum.
-Seth. Seth is doing well, all his tests came back normal and he actually seems older than my other children did when born. Probably because he is a bit older, he just spent that extra time in the womb. 🙂 But though his fussiness is just part of my day right now, I know it will get harder and harder as we try to parent two other children and take care of other things as well. Pray that the gassiness (if that is what it is) will subside quickly and we will not have to deal with colic like we did with Will. If we do have to deal with it, pray for patience and strength as John and I learn to handle it again as I am sure we will. Also, he looks a bit yellowish today, and though I am not worried yet, I do know that jaundice could become a problem, so pray that his numbers will stay down on their own. He nurses quite a bit, but until my actual milk comes in, I don’t know how effective that will be to holding off the jaundice. In the meantime I am trying to get him some sunlight as well.
-Me physically. Pray for my bleeding to slow on its own. I was given quite a bit of pitocin after the birth to help with this and it seemed to work. My bleeding slowed and the nurses seemed quite pleased with my uterus tightening well. But today it is picking up again even though I am taking it quite easy. I had this issue after Elise’s birth and learned that it takes many months to get your blood levels to get back up to normal. So pray that this will be fine. Oh, and because of the anxiety I find it hard to eat. I am trying to force myself to eat (and I ate a lot before it hit), but pray I will get the nutrition I need to keep my strength up and produce what Seth needs as well. Perhaps Thanksgiving day food will tempt me enough to get a good meal in. 🙂