Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Baby Blues

This is Part II of "The Birth Story."  I started writing this about a week ago, so the good news is I'm adapting and learning to cope with my new life. This past weekend was wonderful--filled with family and sacred experiences, especially Naomi's blessing on Sunday. (More pictures of that to come). She is and continues to be a delight!

Naomi and George (Hylan's Favorites)


I asked myself which is more difficult: the last two weeks of pregnancy or the first two weeks postpartum and taking care of a newborn.  While both have been exceptionally demanding physically and emotionally, hands down, these past two weeks have been way more difficult in so many ways.  Needless to say, I think I've just experienced the hardest month of my life so far!

I can honestly say that I've never felt so overwhelmed and out of control of my emotions lately than I have at any other period of time in my life.  I've had black and blue moments and experiences in the past, some of which lasted for long periods of time, but this has been different in so many ways.  Before it was only about me and just me; now it’s about me and a helpless little person who needs the best me to take care of her.

That’s why I decided to open up about this topic, because I know for sure I’m not the only woman who has ever felt this way, has dealt with the “baby blues.” 

Because I know myself and my tendencies and susceptibilities, I actually prayed quite hard during my pregnancy that I wouldn't experience the baby blues or anything close to postpartum depression, but I guess it has been my lot to grow in understanding—in faith and patience—so that I can empathize with other women, including my own daughter someday!

I have had these moments where just a thought would trigger and inconsolable sobbing.  Last Friday when Hylan called in the morning to tell me he wouldn't be home at 3:00 pm like he thought he would, I immediately started to weep.  Obviously exhaustion, feelings of being overwhelmed, physically still healing, adjusting to a new circumstance, feelings of inadequacy, and feelings of loss of a former life/body, and wacko hormones all contributed to this.  It has been difficult but I've learned that I have to talk about it.  I’m not one to cry a lot and I don’t even like to cry in front of Hylan, but it doesn't do me any good to try to bear the burden alone.

All of these emotions have been confounded by the complications of breastfeeding.  I know it’s important.  I've read everything on the subject ten times over, but after many tears, prayers, and another blessing, we've decided that Naomi needs formula.  It has been frustrating and I have definitely felt like a failure, although I know I’m not, but it just wasn't working.  She was never getting enough milk from me.  We were supplementing with a syringe and she still wasn't getting enough.  On Sunday, I nursed her for an hour and a half and that was “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”  I was emotionally exhausted. 

After that, I've pumped and pumped and pumped some more.  It took 4-6, 20 minutes sessions to get about 2 ounces of milk!  It’s frustrating when everything you read says that every woman thinks they have low milk supply but it’s usually because of a supply and demand issue, or because your not drinking the right teas or taking the right herbal supplements, drinking enough water, too high of stress levels, or that you need to take a two day nursing vacation in bed and do nothing but nurse and pump…blah blah blah.  Well, that’s all fine and good, but at some point enough is enough.  I have cried a thousand tears over this but have also realized that my baby can be healthy on formula and I need to embrace the modern convenience for both my mental sanity and Naomi’s physical growth!       


And that's as far as I got in my original post.  Like I mentioned above, I am adapting better.  Talking about it helps so much.  It's hard not to feel alone but because of family, friends, and even this blog, I do feel like I have the tools to be happy in spite of middle-of-the-night feedings, etc.  I have mourned enough over breastfeeding and now have started to embrace the convenience of formula.

It has been hard work, especially now that my parents are gone from their two week baby vacation in our home, but I still have good support and yes, those sweet smiley--I recognize you mom--moments make it feel worth it.  So, here are some pictures from Naomi's first couple weeks of life to make you say, "aww." 

Strawberry Girl

(Totally Staged) Kingo, Leopard, and Naomi!

Kitty kisses

(Hylan took all of these and yes, they are staged; Kingo is still jealous/scared of Naomi)

Sleeping Strawberry Girl

Pink Boxer

Sleeping Naomi
Thank you for all of your kind comments!  I so appreciate them.


Katie Jo said...

Ooooh baby blues are HORRID! I had them BAD, and postpartum depression for probably 3 or 4 months. With my 1st. I breezed through baby #2 gloriously though.. and I like to think that it was because it was a boy and maybe there wasn't as much estrogen floating around in my body. I don't know. But, it was awful with my first. I almost got on some anti depression drugs, but knew I couldn't do it with breastfeeding because I just don't trust them enough... so I prayed and PRAYED and PRAYED ALOT! Priesthood blessings are the best in those situations. Just to feel comfort. I am NOT a crier. Trent knew there was seriously something wrong with me because I cried so much. It was insane. I think I disliked my baby in ways for a few months. I never got to fully enjoy having a baby girl because I was so overwhelmed and stressed. I wanted another girl so bad just to have a redo! haha Probably doesn't make any sense at all, but that is how I felt. Luckily, I got through it. I never had any hurtful thoughts toward my baby, but I can totally see how some people could! I did have suicidal thoughts for myself though... which was so odd and crazy. I knew what was going on, and with prayer and talking to my husband, it helped so much. I kind of felt like I wasn't meant to be a mom, and couldn't do it! That I would be better off dead. So CRAZY! I soaked in every moment of my 2nd baby because it was ALL SO MUCH BETTER!

Breastfeeding is so hard for almost everyone. People who say it isn't are lying or they forgot. And it's hard every time! Every baby sucks different, every baby is so different. My sister in law has the same issue as you, she just does NOT produce milk. There is a lot you can do to get more milk, but it's HARD takes dedication. And I can attest for all 4 (soon to be 5) nieces and nephews from this sister in law, that formula is GREAT! They are all above average smart, healthy, normal, kids ages 2 to 10! My brother did studies on formula, and he found that Enfamil is the best. I always have to supplement at about 8 months and I do Enfamil. My kids always liked it. Don't beat yourself up over it, and don't let other women give you glares when they see you bottle feeding. It's hard, and just know that YOU are better off not stressing about it!

My last bit of advice, give yourself about 7 weeks. It's like living in crazy town for 7 weeks and then it's like all of a sudden, you realize how easy it is and that you can do it! I swear! :)

Katie Jo said...

And.... one more comment because apparently I am an EXPERT on everything. BAHAH. I know you're a pro yoga super body, but I found this AMAZING post pregnancy video. Obviously I am too fat to believe ME, but my cute sister did it, and SWEARS by it. It's the Tracy Anderson Method Post Pregnancy Video. It's like $30 or something, but it's free on youtube! She talks about why it works and what her method is, so search it and see if it's something that will interest you. My sister is a gymnast so she really wanted her abs back, and she loves this work out so much. I've been doing it for 2 weeks just to help with my abs that haven't been changing even though I've lost 60 pounds, so I'm hoping they start to flatten out. We shall see!!!!

Marissa Marie said...

First of all, you're going to get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people and I really don't want to be one of those people because I realize that MY circumstances aren't YOUR circumstances and therefore whatever worked for me isn't always going to apply to someone else. I wish everyone realized that, but that's another topic. BUT...my boys didn't breastfeed. They were in the NICU for 7 weeks and I pumped and pumping sucks and then they had to have formula added to my breastmilk and then after they came home I was feeding one, feeding another, pumping, and then starting the feeding process all over again and I just decided enough was enough and went to formula. Felt awful about it. But they survived. :) Anyways, just wanted to say that when you love your littles, you are going to do your best by them, and sometimes the best thing for them is to figure out how to destress mom! And the body will come. It really will. You're a healthy person with healthy habits, you probably won't have to do much to get back to your former glory. Just give it time.

Marissa Marie said...

OHHH, and I don't mean to be rude about the other people's comments here. They have some valuable insight. I was thinking more about how people love to give unsolicited advice to new moms for some reason, and sometimes it contradicts, and it's confusing...and I'll just shut up now.

Staci said...

Hi Emily! I just got caught up on your blog and first off, congratulations! Naomi is beautiful. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your birth story and your post-partum process. Your birth experience sounds fairly similar to my first, 3rd degree tear and all. And yes, the tear is the worst and a beast to heal from. Everything about pregnancy and motherhood is new and crazy and dang hard. And that is why it is so important. Nothing else in life can force us to grow as much and as fast as being a parent. I will echo another comment someone already left and say that #2 is SO different. EVERYTHING is different. For me, pregnancy was easier, birth was easier, postpartum was easier... probably because your body a) has experienced it all before so it's less jarring and b) you just have a better idea of what to expect. I did a natural childbirth for both of mine and while the first was "traumatic" exactly like you said, the second really was that peaceful, spiritual, loving experience I had always hoped for. I will add, it took me a full 9 weeks after my first before I started feeling ok, and 11 weeks before I went back to teaching yoga. It's ok if it takes more time than the textbooks say. Soon you'll find a new normal and life will make sense again. :)