Therapy


I’ve started to see an individual therapist.  I’ve been feeling incredibly depressed lately and it has gotten pretty bad.  I feel completely unmotivated, angry, sad.  I don’t feel like myself and I decided it was time to do something about it.  A friend told me about her experience on antidepressants and how it helped to lift the fog of negativity so she could start to feel like herself again.  I haven’t broached the topic of antidepressants yet but I think I will soon.

I LOVE my therapist.  From the moment I met her and started to share with her (just my background and family history), I felt like she “got me.”  She even was able to articulate some feelings and put a label on them when I’ve been struggling for some time to do so.  As you know, I’ve been struggling a lot with MH and I brought up my “issues” with him.  She said that she wants to work with me on those because I’m committed to working on those but first I need to deal with the TRAUMA (she defined my experience as trauma) of the miscarriage, leading to a difficult pregnancy, leading to bed rest, leading to premature birth, etc.  She believes that when I’ve dealt with the emotions of the trauma of one emotionally challenging thing to another that I will better be able to work on my relationship with my husband.  I love it – I just wish I could speed up time so I feel better faster.

One of the homework assignments was for me to put down on paper each individual experience as a fact and then write about how I felt then and how I feel about it now. I think that I’m able to upload it for you to read (sorry it is so tiny).  These are deeply personal feelings and thoughts and I hope that you will be respectful if you choose to comment about what I’ve written.

Therapy Writing

I realize when looking at the whole picture that I was depressed through most of the last two years.  That I have felt very alone, scared and overwhelmed through the miscarriage, feeling so ill with my pregnancy with Roo, my water breaking, the hospital stay and even now dealing with the ongoing appointments with occupational therapists, nutritionists, etc.  I should probably write about it more here.  I just don’t have the time and I’m exhausted (and depressed, which doesn’t help).

So, maybe some of you feel the same way as I do, even if you haven’t been down the exact same path as me.  Please share with me.  I know I’m not entirely alone here.

xo

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Missing…


All of a sudden I miss being pregnant. For the past two Christmases, I’ve been pregnant. This year I am not.

In spite of all my complaints about pregnancy, I wouldn’t mind feeling a baby kick me from the inside again. I felt kind of sexy with my baby bump. I loved the attention I got and the happy looks.

That said, unless I could guarantee no morning sickness and a full-term baby, I will not be doing it again! Oh, that, and no heartache while TTC 🙂

I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday!! We had a lovely Christmas weekend and even got a date night in on Saturday evening! MH and I have a journey ahead of us to true happiness as a married couple but we can do it. It might be a bumpy road but our date night reminded me why we got married and I hope that those moments continue to grow and add up.

Happy holidays from our family to yours!!!

I’m Not Alone and Will Come Out Better, Stronger


One of the things I love about my mommy group is how open and honest we can be with each other – almost like our online community. Just not quite like it entirely.

I had a couple of the girls over for lunch after our group yesterday and the three of us talked about how hard marriage is after a baby. It felt good to know that MH and I are not the only ones struggling. It was reassuring to know we are not alone in struggling with marriage. It is a lot of hard work.

A couple of you are right in that some of our problems stem from poor communication prior to Roo’s arrival. I made the mistake of not communicating and resolving some issues that I had with and about MH from before we were even married. I always had issue with some things that I pushed aside for one reason or another. They bothered me but since it was just me, I chose to pick my battles and let them go.

Something was triggered inside when Roo was born and those issues are suddenly a problem for me again. Because its not just MH and me. We have a little one to think about and those issues could have an ill effect even if indirectly on her.

I’m disappointed in myself for not forcing us to deal with things before. I’m bitter and pissed at him for not following through on some things he said he would when talked about them before and putting us in a poor position now.

MH is being awesome in that he acknowledges the error of his past mistakes and issues and wants to do everything to make our marriage work. I won’t go into detail about our exact issues but be assured that they have nothing to do with infidelity.

I do know this: I am not alone in this. MH is coming to the table with palms up and open. He’s ready to do the work to strengthen our marriage. I need to do my part and come to the table with the same attitude and I need to let my anger from the past go. We need to look to the future and focus on finding solutions and not blame.

If we can keep doing this, we will come out stronger, closer and better than we were before.

MH has agreed that we may need counseling to help us and I’m so relieved.

I need your help. This is going to be hard but in spite of everything he has and hasn’t done, I love MH and I want our marriage to work for me and for Roo. I need you to keep reminding me that this is worth fighting for even if it gets worse before it gets better.

I need you to let me vent here even if I’m vague on details. I feel lucky in that some blogs have readers who are terribly judgmental and leave nasty comments and I have only once or twice and maybe even never gotten a judgmental comment. I appreciate the support you give me.

Survival


Those of you who are new moms may understand entirely where I am coming from here, or maybe not!

When Roo came home from the hospital, I suffered from major anxiety. I even went to a therapist a couple of times to help deal with it. I was terrified something would happen to her. Like every new mom, I was concerned about whether or not she was breathing. But to the extreme. When she was in the NICU, she was monitored 24/7 and then they suddenly sent us home. And, I was frightened that she would stop breathing and not know it.

In order to survive, I held her or asked someone else to hold her all the time. She was held all day and all night. We hired a night nurse a few times but that was expensive.

My parents took over so that I could get sleep and woke me for her every three hour feedings. Eventually my dad took over entirely and for the first two months of her life, it was routine for her to sleep in my dad’s arms. It was nice bonding time for the two of them and good for my dad and I too to spend time together in the middle of the night.

Eventually, I knew the craziness had to stop. It wasn’t a way of life for anyone. So, I started bringing her to bed with me. She slept in the crook of my arm and I pushed the blankets and pillows away from us. And, we slept.

I have to add also that I was concerned because Roo was spitting up through her nose and suffering from colic. The only way to help her was to hold her upright all the time and to nurse her in order for her not to cry constantly. It was tough and a lot of tears were shed – and not just by her.

We co-slept successfully that way for the past month or so. I come from a family full of doctors. I recognize the dangers if co-sleeping even when done “safely” but I needed to survive and this was my only solution at the time.

I tried several times to get her to sleep in her bassinet in the pack-n-play and a woman in my mom’s group lent me her at arms reac.h co-sleeper. It always failed. Roo would spit up through her nose and become hysterical and panicked. So, we co-slept more.

I finally purchased the nap na.nny a few weeks ago. I tried it and she loved it. But, she was still spitting up through her nose 😦

So we continued to co-sleep.

I knew it couldn’t be the solution and I wasn’t sleeping well because I was terrified that something would happen but I needed to survive and get at least not a good nights sleep but at least some sleep.

With my parents leaving to go back to their lives, I hired a mother’s helper/babysitter, D, to support me a couple of times a week. Roo is such a cuddly and needy girl that she wants to be held ALL the time making it impossible to get anything done.

On Monday, D got Roo to sleep in her nap na.nny without spitting up! She also strongly encouraged me to put her in it at night. D is a former oncology nurse and mom of four.

So, on Monday night, I put Roo in the nap na.nny in the middle of our bed. And, she slept. And, she slept well. Better and longer than in my arms! She’s slept there for the past three nights!

My new mom survival mode is slowly coming to a close as Roo matures. Her colicky nights are farther apart and fewer. She spits up less and less. She can bear to be out down for longer and longer and is able to entertain herself for short periods of time. Its wonderful! My newborn is now an infant.

So, I did another thing I never thought I would do. I let our baby sleep in our bed. But, I’m taking the steps to slowly get her out of this habit. She’s growing up and thriving and I know soon I can move her into her own crib in her own room!! I can move from survival to living and enjoying!

How did you transition from co-sleeping to crib?

Thank you


Thank you for your comments and support. Most of all, thank you for not being judgmental.

One of the reasons I want this blog to be anonymous is for me to feel comfortable. With only a handful of you knowing me in real life, it makes it easier to share myself and what I’m experiencing without censure.

I am also thankful to those of you who shared that you too are experiencing some of the same difficulties that I am. It helps to know that I’m not alone. That I’m not a weirdo.

Marriage is hard. Caring for an infant and a premature one at that is hard. Combine the two and life becomes extra challenging.

Will MH and I make it through this? I sure hope so. It will take a lot of work on both of our parts but that marriage, right?! With or without the added challenge of a preemie, it takes work.

MH is so sweet. He likes to live in a world where hard things go away once they are said out loud. He thinks that because we talked about it once that it goes away. So not true and I need to help him figure that out.

We got lucky both literally and figuratively today. My dad took Roo out for a walk and it was the first time that we’ve been alone in the house since we left for the hospital. I kind of forced it but I’m glad I did.

I also told him that I’m really feeling angry and resentful and that we need to figure things out. He said that he didn’t know I was still feeling this way about things. (Like I said, he thinks if I mention it once that since its been said that it will go away). I hope that I’m able to help him realize that we really need to work on things together.

I need courage and patience to get through this tough time. I have the courage. But, I lack patience. I need it. I have it with babies and children but I don’t have it for adults. I don’t know how to get it. My lack of patience shows through my tone of voice and it drives MH nuts. Any suggestions on how to keep an even tone when I’m feeling impatient?

Thanks again for being on this journey with me.

Xo

New Way of Life


My life since Roo was born has changed tremendously. Life has changed even from the time she was in the NICU versus when she’s been at home. I don’t know what it is like to have a full term baby and so I’m sharing my experience as a first time mom of a preemie.

When Roo was first born and in the nicu, I spent at least 8 hours a day with her. I would wake up and drive into the city with MH and stay with Roo at least until 1pm. Then I would go home for a nap and them return again in the evening to meet MH and spend a few hours with her again. We would go home and have dinner and then sleep and start again the next day! But, at least I was able to get sleep between pump sessions.

Since she’s been home, my day is even less structured and a whole heck of a lot harder. In the hospital, she had a care schedule that meant she ate every three hours and not a minute sooner or later. Now she eats on demand. When she first got home, we stuck with that schedule for the most part because she did well with that schedule and even though she could eat on demand she pretty much stuck with it. I would pump and someone else would feed her a bottle of my pumped milk with human fortifier. Then because she spits up a lot after eating we have to hold her upright for 20-30 minutes. The whole process took about an hour. I would almost immediately go back to bed and someone else would watch her for me. My body was exhausted from being on bed rest for two weeks followed by the stress of having a preemie in the hospital and, oh right!. I had just given birth!!

Either no one told me or I didn’t listen but the first few weeks/months with a new baby at home is based solely on survival. Helping your new baby survive by feeding her, making sure she is clean and allowing her to sleep. She needs very little else. It is mind numbingly exhausting. I has no idea it would be this hard.

We have left the house with her only a handful of times for pediatrician appointments, a visit to the lactation consultant and for the first time this past weekend for lunch at an outdoor cafe, where we sat very far away from other tables.

We have no routine other than the fact that she eats around every 2.5-3 hours, give or take 30 minutes on either side. Since I started exclusively breast feeding her, it can take a while. She can be a slow eater. That means if she is cluster feeding, she might want to eat every other hour and it might take her 30-45 minutes to eat before starting over.

I don’t get a lot done. In fact, I get very little done. Some days especially in the beginning I don’t even get a shower in. There are some days when I don’t get out of my pajamas.

Roo is now considered full term. That means we can follow the books and she will start to behave like a newborn baby instead of a preemie. I’m looking forward to watching her develop especially as she starts to eat and sleep like a newborn!!

I’m dreaming of the days when she will sleep quietly without being held. I dream of the day when she will be able to lay on her tummy time mat and entertain herself for a few minutes. I can’t wait until she has her vaccinations and we can take her out in public. I can’t wait until I feel comfortable taking her with me as I run errands. I haven’t run an errand since she came home from the hospital – crazy as it sounds I am excited for my new normal to start.

Motherhood is way harder than I thought. I love it though. Today, she and I were snuggling on the sofa and I stared at her in wonder. MH and I made this beautiful baby and I birthed her into this world. She is a little, amazing creature that I worked hard to bring into the world. She is worth every bit of pain and sorrow.

I’m sad we lost our first little one but if we hadn’t lost that one, Madeleine would not be here. And so, I’m reminded that everything – good and challenging – happens for a reason.

My life has changed and it will never be the same but it is better and will only continue to get better as Roo grows up! I’m so excited!!

Keeping It Real


Just keeping it real here. Being a new parent is hard. Being a part of a parenting team is really hard. MH and I do things very differently and there have been moments when I would rather parent on my own.

I love how he hugs her and tells her his dreams for her. I love how he is so gentle with her and jumps in to change her diaper.

I struggle with how he is slow to react when I need help with her – for example, tonight Roo was hungry and screaming her head off for a bottle and he wanted to watch Italy walk into the Olympic ceremony. Really?! Your baby is hungry and crying and you are putting her off to watch f’ing tv? I’ll do it myself.

I am so annoyed. He bugs me. He doesn’t do things fast enough. I have moments when I really dislike him right now.

Because my parents are here helping out, he gets to sleep in and he seems to do less around the house. It makes me mad because he’s stepping back and letting them take over. He needs to step up.

Is this hormones? Is this normal or not normal? I feel bad but I can’t help but be annoyed. Ugh!

Sorry for the vent. I love my husband but right now I’m really annoyed.

Update on Therapy


My first therapy appointment was ok. I wasn’t blown away by the therapist but I also wasn’t disappointed. I have mixed feelings about therapy but I am all for it for the most part.

The therapist confirmed that she doesn’t think that I am depressed and that my anxiety is “normal.” She also confirmed that our first loss may be adding to my fears and that it is legitimate to feel exactly how I feel.

She gave me some good tips and things to think about when I start to get anxious. She also is referring me to a public health nurse who works with parents of preemies. I hope that a home visit from a nurse will help – more than having my doctor dad in the house 😉

I go back again next week and we’ll see where we are and go from there.

********

I want to say thank you for the comments in support of my sharing my anxieties and fears and going to therapy. It is very helpful to know that I’m not alone. I feel for each of you who have also faced post-partum anxiety and I’m glad to know that it will subside.

Even though I’m not able to comment as much, I try to read and keep up. You all are in my thoughts every day.

Xo,
Michelle

Supply Issues


Even though I’m pumping every three hours, I worry about my supply. Roo currently takes about 90mls of milk plus fortifier at each feeding. Three times a day, we give her 30mls followed by my br.east. She nurses for about 20 minutes and then I pump to see how much she got and to empty the opposite breast.

It is a rigorous schedule. I’m exhausted and it is adding to my post-partum anxiety. Not news to anyone who’s been reading lately!

I’ve been able to meet her needs but barely. It worries me that I won’t be able to keep up with her increased feeding needs. My lactation consultant doesn’t seem worried but I am. I saw her nearly two weeks ago and I should go back. Like everything else, going to see the LC costs money and may oral not be covered by insurance (which I have to submit for on my own-like I have the time).

I’ve been taking Fenugreek, which is supposed to help but I don’t know if it really is helping. I suppose I could increase my dosage from one pill twice a day to two pills but I’m just not sure. If you are taking Fenugreek, what dosage do you take?

Are there other tricks to increase your supply when you are primarily pumping that I should know about?

Xo,
Michelle

Anxiety Provoked


I thought a lot about this before writing and hesitate sharing with you but I’ve always been very open with you for authenticity and so here goes…

I always heard about post-partum depression and how common it is for women to suffer from it. What I never thought was that it could happen to me. I actually think that I have more of post-partum anxiety than depression. I’m not suffering from any of the classic depression signs but my level of anxiety is at an all time high.

Since Roo came home, I haven’t been able to sleep at night because I’m terrified that she is going to stop breathing or that she will choke on her own spit up. I won’t let her sleep without someone watching her at all times. It means that no one is getting good sleep. I am constantly checking to make sure she is breathing and I always need to know that she is ok.

It has gotten to the point where I need help. So I have an appointment with a therapist on Monday morning. I hope that it helps because I need to sleep, I want my family to sleep and I need to lower my anxiety levels.

I think a lot has to do with the miscarriage and that loss. I think it has to do with the premature rupture of membranes and Roo’s early arrival. I hope to work through my fears and anxieties and get to a better place. I want to be able to breathe and enjoy my daughter instead of being afraid all of the time.

Has anyone else experienced this anxiety? I know that most new moms feel this way but I feel like my level of anxiety is off the charts. I’m not pleasant to be around.

If you have experienced this heightened sense of anxiety, how did you manage it? What did you do? How long did it take for it to go away?

Xo,
Michelle