Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cesarean Aversion

Today as I was drying off from my shower I caught sight of my c-section scar. I don't pay much attention to it's just become sort of a part of me. I was reminded of the night Sammy was born, with all the drama and miracles that surrounded it, and was filled with a sort of odd gratitude for the scar and what it meant for my sweet baby: a healthy, problem-free birth.

From time to time I talk with other moms about our birth stories. It's sort of how I picture soldiers must converse when they return from war. We all have had something happen during the extraction of our children from our wombs that makes for great story telling. Whenever I get in one of these conversations I mention, of course, that Sammy was a c-section. It's odd to see people's reactions. Most always give some sort of small condolence or shake their heads at the 'tragedy' that has become a Cesarean nowadays.

In such situations I immediately correct any feigned or sincere apologies. I remind them that Sammy would have lost his arm, and I may have died, had we not be in a hospital and privy to excellent and immediate medical attention. Sammy came out happy and healthy...that was the only part of any sort of 'birth plan' I was adamant about.

I think it's odd we have become a society where things like c-sections and 'medical intervention' have become taboo when it comes to child birth. I am so grateful for my midwife who recognized immediately Sammy was presenting arm-first and for a doctor who was able to get him out within 10 minutes of this discovery. Had I opted for no 'intervention' the outcome would have been much much worse.

C-sections may not be the ideal way to pull a baby out of his or her aquatic habitat but if it saves a life, or two, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. There should be no stigma attached, and no apologies given, to a birth that happens surgically rather than vaginally. I feel sometimes like we're losing focus on what is the essential part of a birth; getting a baby out of the mother in a healthy and logical way. If you want to sit on a ball and sing sea-chanties so be it, but don't begrudge me of my 'intervention' birth...I am so eternally grateful I was in a hospital when Sammy was born and that the medical team around me was able to make educated and thoughtful decisions on behalf of me and my family.

I read a quote in my birth book (written BTW by a CNM). She said, "Remember no matter how it's done you are still 'giving birth'". C-sections save lives and should not be marginalized...especially by those who have never had to hear those life changing words "we have an emergency here...we need to rush you into surgery".

***In case you didn't catch the post on Sammy's birth here's the second half here.

Monday, May 21, 2012


I realize I've been blogging WAY too much lately but I just have to get a few thoughts out here. I just read a story of a woman who lost a baby during pregnancy. I read these stories from time to time but they never really hit me as hard as I feel tonight. I am so very very grateful for my boys. I am so very unworthy to have these sweet little lives surrounding me. I don't know why I've been so lucky to have them in my life. I really don't. But here they are and I am in constant awe of their existence.

We took Eli to Thanksgiving Point tonight and as I watched him run around and play my heart just wanted to jump out of my chest. He is my life. Him, and Dan, and Sammy...I would not survive long with out these people around. Sammy is the sweetest little soul. He cuddles and smiles and warms me up by just being in the same room with me.

I need to realize how very very fortunate I am. Sometimes I get in a rut of silly self pity but I need to be much more grateful than I am. I've been thinking so much lately about my relationship with God and Jesus Christ. I feel like spirituality is sort of like a light can fade occasionally but we just need to replace the dimness of doubt with the brightness of faith. I sometimes loose sight of the most important things in my life...but in reality all I want to be right now is a mom. All I want to do is hold my little boys close and thank Heavenly Father for the chance I have to be a part of their lives.

Occasionally I sneak into one of their rooms when they go to bed and sit and watch them sleep (they may someday read this and think I'm creepy). I like to whisper things to them I didn't find the time to say during the day. I hope that sometime my words will find their way to their a sort of osmosis of words.

Life is beautiful. There is so much good in the world. I just need to remind myself of that from time to time. My husband, my children, my faith and my family...these are the most important assets I will ever posses.

Sorry for the dumpage of emotions...I just feel so overwhelmed with gratitude right now.

Hobby Horse

Before I had kids I would look at moms I knew and think "why do these women have such intense hobbies?". Scrapbooks, crafting, sewing, quilting, canning, furniture restoration, gardening, running, cooking, etc....these things all held some mild interest for me before I had kids but only as past-time snacks. I've always loved to cook, enjoyed sewing, and dabbled in craftiness, but never with much intensity or dedication. And then I had kids.

Now I find myself starving for a creative outlet. I've thought a lot about why it is I blog so much, why I spend so much time working on seemingly pointless crafts (see: fabric salad bowl covers, re-covered throw pillows, and so on) and I finally get it. I spend so much time everyday working on temporary projects. Eli needs his shoes put on...ten minutes later, ten tries later, and they stay on for ten seconds before he takes them off. Sammy needs a diaper change and then immediately poops in the clean one I've just put on his. I need hobbies because I need. something. to. stay. put.

There are other reasons I like to work on non-related kid projects. There's something satisfying in knowing I still have a me-ness. I still can do things I enjoy that are separate from kid work. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE being a mom and am SO very very grateful I get to stay home with my boys...but there are times I just need to do something non kid related.

The problem is...I kinda suck at most conventional hobbies. I'm a mediocre sewer..even though I enjoy it. I can cook...but not anything fancy-pants or cable TV worthy. I mostly just love love love to write but many of my personal writing projects have been sitting in dusty files for months if not years. I just don't seem to have to time to open up stories and writing projects and dig in anymore.

I asked Dan last night "am I really good at any one thing?". After some thought he said, "you make a really good crock-pot lasagna". I decided then and there to make this year the year I get good at something I can be proud of. I really do think I need to start writing again. It's been too long. I just don't have the skill and patience to get really good at conventional mom stuff. I do love home-making stuff....just don't really have to stick-to-it-ness of it all to be The Best at anything domestic. Every time I finish a project that made me happy I realize that my widow's mite of a craft holds no comparison to the golden-robed proverbial Pharisees of the Craft Masters (see...I'm being a pretentious writer already!).

This post seems a nut shell...moms (and I think anyone working a full time job really) need a creative outlet. Finding what that might be may take some trial and error. If starting a female fight club or learning how to knit with your toes is your thing....go forth! There's nothing more satisfying than doing something, even if its just once a day, that stays put.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Baby Blues

I've debated and debated writing a post about my postpartum depression. I really don't like to be that person who goes on and on about my personal life to any and all who pass by my electronic door. But I really feel like talking about it here will in some way help me to cope with the illness that has taken a hold of my brain since little Sammy made his glorious entrance a few months ago.

When I had Eli I was so overwhelmed the first few months with the duties of motherhood it was dizzying. But I was also so amazed at the fact that I had indeed produced viable offspring and that that offspring was still alive despite my *worst* efforts I didn't notice any real depression issues.

When Sammy was born I was similarly dizzied. Having two kids rocked my little world. I noticed right away that every time I'd nurse him I'd get this rush of terribly dark hormones during the first few minutes. I looked it up and found out that sometimes women experience what is called something like "let down depression". Most of the time when a woman nurses, her dopamine levels shoot way up. For whatever reason, mine plummet. It was getting so bad that every time I nursed I felt incredibly despondent and dark. That was a huge factor in my decision to stop nursing Sammy so early on, along with the fact that I really produce little to no milk.

I noticed though that after I stopped nursing I still got these terrible spells of darkness and despair. They came on with no provocation and lasted anywhere from 30 seconds to 20 minutes. I knew it was hormonal, not just situation reliant. I went to my doc and he prescribed me Zoloft.

The Zoloft didn't really seem to do anything for me. I took it for about 6 weeks but never seemed to get any better. The spells kept coming and things seemed to be getting worse. I eventually just took myself off the meds and decided to figure out another option. That was a BAD idea. Apparently the Zoloft was doing something because when I went off it I crashed hard. The spells of depression came more and more frequently and I felt like things were getting out of my control. I cried all the time for no reason. It got so bad that poor little Eli would just look up from what he was doing and say, "Oh, mommy sad..." and go back about his business.

My biggest worry was what this depression was doing to my kids. I could deal with being chemically out of whack...Dan could deal with it and had been incredibly supportive with everything I'd gone through but I did NOT want it affecting my 2 year old. I wanted him to have a happy mommy.

I made an appointment with my midwife and we counseled together about what may be the best course of action for me. She prescribed me a combination of Xanax and Wellbutrin (sp?) and gave me some great suggestions for coping with depression.

For whatever reason I filled those two prescriptions but never started taking them. I knew I needed to...I just couldn't do it for some reason. Things seemed to be improving but then one day I had a serious anxiety attack at church. I came home and decided to take a Xanax just to see it if would help.

Within 20 minutes I was immobile. Turns out I'm one of the like .0001% of  people who have serious adverse reactions to Xanax. I couldn't move, could barely talk, and was so dizzy I just sort of drifted in and of consciousness. Dan was understandably nervous so he dropped the kids of at a friend's house and drove me down to Instacare. The doc checked me all out and said I was to never take the full dosage of Xanax again. He said maybe cut the pill in fourths or try something different.

After that I was VERY wary to take any sort of anti-depression medication. I started exercising more and tried to get more sleep. This didn't cure things up in a day or anything but things did improve. My dark spells come less frequently and I felt better more often.

Now that Sammy is almost 4 months old I feel good most of the time. I still have times when the chemicals go wonky and I feel depression kicking in. I'm a total advocate of anti-depression medication...I just never found anything that I particularly liked.  I feel lucky that the worst of it has subsided without having to be permanently dependent on any medication.

Being a mother is incredible. Somehow my life is so much bigger now with these two little spirits in it. Dan has been so amazingly supportive through everything and I am so thankful I have such am amazing husband.

 A few weeks ago I went to a church meeting where a woman spoke who had been a counselor for women with postpartum depression for many years. She started the meeting by asking us to list things that brought peace to our lives. People said things like going to the temple, reading scriptures, praying and meditating. She wrote them all in a list on one side of the board. The she said, "ok, so when these things don't work, here are some suggestions", and wrote down items on the other side like "medication", "therapy", and things like that. I really liked that. It made me feel like even though I was doing the right things, and still felt depressed, that I had more and probably better options for my situation.

God wants us to be happy. Sometimes it takes more than just singing a church song or saying a prayer. Sometimes we need and have to rely on medical help, professional counseling, and above all, on the kind ears of friends and family who are there to help and do not judge us. I'm actually really grateful for my experiences with postpartum depression. I learned that I need to rely on others more for help and comfort. It taught me that I have limits emotionally to what I can do in my life. Above all I learned that I'm not alone. Millions of women struggle with similar sorts of pregnancy related depression. I now feel like, even though I still have rough days, I can get through them and maybe I'll be able to help someone else in a similar situation someday.

Whew! Sorry for the long-winded personal monologue. I really feel like writing all this down is one more step for me to get feeling like my old self. Group therapy and all that. If you checked out and went to get ice cream a few paragraphs back, bring me over some and we can talk about much more silly things. Like reality TV, and the existence of things called 'jeggins'.