Saturday, October 26, 2019

Five Things I Didn't Expect {Part 1} ~ Postpartum

I've never done a series on my blog before. The idea has been circling around my brain for a while now, so I'm going for it.
There are many things I didn't expect when it comes to being a wife, pregnancy, becoming a mom, going through the crazy postpartum hormones. These are things that I had never heard tell, not listened to in conversations that my mom or married sisters had... completely took me by surprise. So, I thought I'd do a blog series on those unexpected things for any women out there who are about to become a wife or mother, so they can be a little bit more ready than I was. I understand that everyone's experiences are different, especially when it comes to the changes that happen in your body while growing a human for 9 months. Some of these things are just funny unexpected little experiences, and others are things that I wish I would have heard about before it all happened so I could have been better prepared.
Anyhow, let me get started.

I know this isn't exactly in chronological order, but this one is fresh in my mind, so it shall be part 1.

  1. The bombarding of tear inducing hormones.
Once I got home from the hospital I suddenly couldn't control my emotions. Literally, I maybe cried two times my whole pregnancy (One of those times was when we watched the Titanic together and my hormonal self began equating Jack sinking to the bottom of the ocean to losing my husband, I bawled and bawled at the thought of it.), but I already cried probably 5 times in the first day after we had gotten settled into our house as a family of three.
The tiniest little things would set me off. Like the sight of our tiny human. Or Ben telling me he loved  me.
I told Ben to take advantage of my unbridled sobbing incidences because they wouldn't last forever. I heard often in that week how beautiful I was, and how much he loved me. :)

     2. The struggle with change

I loved my baby, loved being a mom, but while those hormones were on a rampage, there were times that I resented the change from two to three. Especially having had a c-section, I struggled with guilt about not being the wife that my husband was used to. Not at all to say that Ben expected me to do and be exactly who I was, He was AMAZING through my surgery recovery and never made me feel like I had to do more than I felt up to doing. For a solid week, I only got out of bed to use the facilities and occasionally get myself some food (Ben brought me food in bed many times, which, yes, did make me cry :).
The feelings of guilt were completely unexpected, and I was unprepared. Life had made such a sudden change. It was hard to deal with the feelings of overwhelming love for this new little miracle that had made her way into our lives, and guilt that she was taking all of my time and I wasn't able to be there for Ben. The first few months were rough in this regard because Abi would be grumpy, and I was basically as I would put it "Stuck under a baby" from 5:30 - 10:00 or 11:00 most evenings, which is when Ben and I normally spent time together. It was an adjustment that I learned I needed to take, and had to remind myself over and over that this was just a short season. Of course, the joy of being parents to our sweet Abigail is more than worth a few months of shifted focus, I just had not been expecting to have those feelings.

     3. The subtle disappearance of cravings and food aversions

I expected that the cravings and aversions would leave as soon as the 7 lb bundle left my body. But it took close to a month before my eating habits were back to normal. I had been excited to drink coffee again, because I hadn't been able to put down more than a few sips from a cup since the beginning of pregnancy (and I really missed it!), but it took several weeks and several attempts before I could down a cup in one serving. I also expected my hair to immediately begin falling out, but it took until just recently. I guess I didn't really understand the gradual entry and exit of those hormones. It's probably a good thing, that would be another overwhelming slam to the body after all it had already been through.

    4.  The return of my period after less than six weeks

Sorry guys, but I've got to talk about this because for me it was a big deal, completely unexpected, and something I wish I had been more mentally prepared for.
I had decided to breastfeed Abigail, and because of that, I expected after pregnancy that I would have at least 6 months to a year for all of my insides to recover before I had to deal with the running course of the menstural cycle. But there I was, in the vehicle feeding my baby after having spent the day shopping (those who have shopped with a newborn before know this is way easier said than done), struggling with my milk supply because I had recently come through having plugged ducts, and the worst cramps I've ever had in my life hit me out of nowhere. It was brutal.
Thankfully it was just a one time thing and my menstural experience has returned to normal. But wowsa, watch out for that first one girls!

     5. The desperate need for help and support

I was so blessed be loved and supported by so many special people in my life. I'm not typically one who will ask for or accept help, so it was quite humbling to me to realize that I simply couldn't do it all.
I remember one day after a particularly sleep deprived night, my mom texted me and asked if she could come over and take care of Abi so that I could rest. I burst into grateful tears, because I was so desperate for sleep... and my little one wasn't that great at taking naps during the day! She also weeded my garden, and made me supper that day which was a huge blessing!
For a couple of weeks my mother-in-law did all of my laundry, she looked after my garden for me for all of the summer (looking back... I was quite silly to plant a garden right before having a baby!), and would come and randomly clean our house.
My hubs would come inside after a long work day and do all these little things that I used to be able to do, but now was unable.
I also literally didn't have to make a meal for two months because of all the fresh and freezer meals that were gifted to us.
All of the help was such an overwhelming blessing.
Go help out a new mama if you can! I guarantee that she will appreciate it!

Ya, so needless to say... there were many things about postpartum that I didn't expect, these are just a few! I give mad props to all of you mamas out there (especially my mom who did it 14 times!). This motherhood journey is definitely not easy... but so incredibly rewarding!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Abigail's Birth Story

If there is one thing that I regret throughout my pregnancy with Abigail, it would be my lack of documentation. If I am being honest, I was so swollen during my last trimester that I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin, to be more blunt... I didn't feel cute AT ALL. When you can press your ankle with your finger and make a deep indent, it doesn't exactly make you want to snap selfies. Needless to say, the pictures taken during the last few weeks of my pregnancy and our stay at the hospital are minimal.

Despite the lack of photographed memories, each moment of the story of our baby girl's birth is still deeply etched in my mind.

I had extensively prepared myself to go overdue. I didn't want to be the person that expected to go into labour early, and then wait an agonizing two or three extra weeks until it was finally go time. As June 12th approached, I kept telling myself that nothing would happen until at least another week.

We had a dr. appointment the morning of June 10th. We were told that if the baby didn't come on it's own before 41 weeks, then we would go to the hospital on a day that my dr. was on call and be induced. I had my membranes stripped that day in hopes that would get labor started and we could avoid further unnatural intervention. Looking back, I wish I had forgone this procedure. I'll explain why later.

Weeds were beginning to overtake my newly planted garden, so I did what any 39 week pregnant person would do... I tilled it. That evening saw me tired and putting my sore feet up high, trying to get some of the swelling to come down. As Ben and I went to sleep, he mentioned that he thought my water would break during the night. Of course I told him "not even maybe, I've still got a ways to go."
At 3:45 a.m., on the way to one of my routine trips to the bathroom, my water broke.
I was in complete shock.
I woke Ben up, and we called ahead to the hospital, called my mom who had graciously agreed to coach me through labour and delivery, and began to prepare ourselves to leave. As I was in the shower, my body began to shake uncontrollably. I fought off wave after wave of fear. I was afraid of all the unknown, afraid I wouldn't be strong enough, afraid that there would be complications and we would lose our baby girl. I told Ben of my struggle, and he held me and prayed that God would be with us and that He would bring our little girl into the world safely and in His time.

We were on our way by 4:30. I remember being surprised that the sun was already peeking over the horizon. I was expecting contractions to begin, but I felt nothing. It was a calm, quiet, pain free ride to the hospital... definitely different that what we had been expecting.

We got checked in and settled into a room. I was told that my cervix was still very hard, and the baby was very high. The dr. told us that we could try to get things going naturally, by walking, pumping, and bouncing. By 9:45 a.m. I was only having slight contractions and making no progress, so my dr. administered cervidal which was supposed to work over 12 hrs. Contractions picked up a bit, but nothing that caused discomfort.
We spent the whole day trying to get labor started. Pumping, walking, bouncing... I did get a little bit of sleep in the afternoon, but I was determined to try everything I could short of running the halls to get labor started so I didn't rest much.

We got permission to leave the hospital, we went out for supper and shopped a bit. I was having slight contractions still... but again, hardly anything that made me uncomfortable.
At 10 p.m., my dr. checked me again. My cervix was still thick, 0% effacement. Nothing to speak of.
It seemed silly to have been in the hospital all day with absolutely nothing to show for it.
My dr. then inserted prostin, which was supposed to work over 8 hrs.
The clock was ticking, and nothing was happening.
I kept pumping and bouncing, getting about 3 hrs of sleep that night. My poor, sweet mom was still with us. She and Ben tried to get some sleep in various positions on the chairs that were provided in the room.

At 2:00 a.m. my dr. came in again, said they would start antibiotics at 24 hrs, and to begin to prepare myself for the possibility of a c-section. My heart sunk. I was upset that there was absolutely nothing that I could do to get labor going. I think at this point, I would have felt better if I was actually in pain, because it would have made me feel like I was doing something. But I was just sitting there with barely uncomfortable contractions every 10 minutes. I had been doing some sleeping up until this point, but after I heard whispers off a possible c-section I started bouncing, walking and pumping again. We all prayed that we would be able to avoid surgery, but also surrendered to God's will.
Finally got some sleep from 5:30 to 7:00 the morning of my official due date, June 12th.

That morning I met the dr. that would preform my c-section should it come to that. He told me that there was no progress during that night, but he wanted to try a new pill called Mispoprostal that was commonly used in South Africa and had just been accepted in Canada. I was given a dose every 4 hours, as well as continued antibiotics.
12 p.m. still not much change.
My contractions would pick up a bit once the drug was administered, but would slow down once it began to wear off. At this point, I was almost constantly on the monitor as they wanted be sure the drugs weren't putting stress on the baby.

As you can see by this picture, I was HUGELY swollen. 
It's hard for me to see this picture, because it reminds me of how uncomfortable I was. 

By 9:00 p.m. I was checked, and had made a little progress... but again not much.
At close to 10:00p.m. the obstetrician came in again. He was about to say that we would go ahead and do the c-section, but he glanced over at the monitor and noticed that I was having contractions 3 min apart, so he went to consult with the dr. on call. He then came in and told us that c-section was the very last resort. They wanted to try to do everything possible to allow me to have a natural birth, and that we would try one more dose of the misoprostal before giving up. I was so thankful that he wasn't one to jump the gun. I needed to be able to try everything that we could.
Contractions slowly got stronger, but still, nothing I couldn't sleep through. I got a couple hours of sleep that night, but it is hard when you are hooked up to the monitor, and nurses are coming in every hour. Needless to say, it was a long night.
At 5:00 a.m. my body was finally ready to induce. After 48 hours.
The contractions became real then. We all had hope that maybe now things would finally start happening.
But my body was just not ready. This is where I'm going to interject and explain why I wish I hadn't had my membranes stripped. My theory is that my body just wasn't ready to give birth, and my water breaking was a result of the premature attempt to get labour going.
5 hrs later I was checked and little to no progress was made. After 52 hours, it was finally decided that I would be taken in for surgery.
At this point, I was just relieved that something was happening. I had gotten approximately 5 hours of sleep from the time that I had gotten to the hospital to this point, and was emotionally exhausted. Plus, in just a few hours, we were finally going to meet our baby girl!

I was prepped for surgery, and wheeled into the OR at 12:10 p.m.

There were two fears that I had when I imagined experiencing birth. One was having a c-section, and the other was getting an epidural. Now here I was, about to face them both.
The room was MAJORLY cold. But the sweet nurse wrapped me in some warm blankets, and held me tight while I had the epidural. I was shaking again, not sure if it was from the cold or the fear, but I was glad for the arms of the kind lady.
The whole experience was not nearly as bad as I had played it up in my mind to be.
Everything happened so fast. Before I knew it, Ben was allowed into the operating room. As soon as he got there I asked him if they had started already, when he replied that they had, I was so surprised!
I'll never forget the moment that I heard our baby girl cry for the first time as I watched her daddy watch her begin her life outside of my belly at 12:35 p.m.
Ben was crying, I was crying, we were a mess to say the least.
Our baby girl finally got to be held by her daddy. He brought her by my head, and I can just remember being in awe of how beautiful and perfect she was. She had her eyes opened, already exploring this new world that she was now a part of.
I kissed her sweet little face over and over. We immediately fell in love with all 7lbs 13oz of her.
We had decided not to officially name her until we saw her, so it was in those moments that we gave her the name, Abigail Rose.
Abigail was picked just because we both just really loved the name.
Rose we chose because my middle name is Rose, my Mom's name is Rosalie, and Ben's little sister that passed away when she was a week old was named Roselyn.

Ben took Abigail to meet my mom while I was being closed up. I just realized that I don't have any pictures of my mom at the hospital... but I promise she was there! :)
I was SO thankful that my mom was with us through this whole process. She literally stayed at the hospital with me the whole time except to grab food, and was such a great emotional support. The journey was a little different than expected, but it was amazing to have someone there who had given birth so many times. :) Not to mention that she is one of my favourite people.

I was wheeled to recovery. Once I got there, I fought so hard to stay awake, because I didn't want to miss anytime with my girl! In my exhausted state, I had in mind that if I went to sleep, my body might relax to much, and set the machines off, which would make me stay there longer. I just wanted to hold my baby.
I can't remember ever having felt so tired, I finally gave in to sleep, and woke up to the nurse trying to refuse having my baby brought to me because I needed to rest. I was wide awake then. :)
Ben brought Abigail down to recovery. The nurse laid her on my chest, and she latched on before she had gotten her settled in. Those moments of bonding were so precious. I still couldn't believe that I was actually a mommy to this beautiful baby girl.

We stayed in the hospital for two more nights. Had a bunch of visitors, and spent time getting to know our baby. <3

Finally going home!!

And that is the story! I'll be sharing more in the future about postpartum recovery, and how things went as far as adjusting goes, but that is all for today.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Abigail's Debut

3 months ago, our little miracle entered the world. Since then, I've been doing life one day at a time, as I have learned that adjusting to an addition to the family is not something that happens the moment you bring your bundle home from the hospital. It is a journey, a process, even a challenge... but of course it is one that I am thoroughly enjoying!!
Slowly I'm finding time in each day to do more than the bare necessities, though my baby girl's naps are still a bit of a struggle... I never know when a nap will be 20 minutes or 3 hours long!
Today she went to bed at 7:00, so I decided to take a few moments to update you all on how life is going, and to share more than a few pictures of our sweet Abigail Rose.
Ben and I are totally and completely in love with our little girl. We are so thankful for her safe arrival and that she has been happy and healthy.
My goal for this upcoming season is to blog every Saturday (keeping in mind of course that days with a baby are unpredictable) I've got a lot to share with you all!

Anyway, get ready for a boatload of completely adorable pictures. :)