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09 June, 2014

My Five Pregnancy, L&D, and Recovery Fears Revisited

Back in February I wrote about my rational and irrational fears of having a repeat end of pregnancy, labor and delivery, and recovery experience.

I wanted to revisit and follow up with how I did and how I am doing.

1. Preeclampsia 

Concern: Having preeclampsia again.

Outcome: While I did not have full blown preeclampsia I did end up with pregnancy induced hypertension.  I had to have urine tests and be monitored every 3 days for about 2.5 weeks.  At my 38/39 week check up the midwife said it was time to get the baby out.  I was induced again but had a much better experience.

2. Labor & Delivery 

Concern: Since Evie was induced, I feared spontaneous labor and making it to the hospital on time.  Also, I was knocked out on Ambien while I delivered Evie, so I feared the pain of being alert and coherent for the birth this time.  Would I be able to do it completely unmedicated?

Outcome:  Maggie was induced just like Evie.

I was completely coherent for Maggie's unmedicated labor and delivery.  The pain was awful but extremely empowering.  I think back on that day and want to high-five myself.  To me it was an even better sense of accomplishment than finish my first half-marathon!

I didn't do it to show off or brag but because it's what I believe in.  I could not have done it with out Eric or the BEST nurse at our hospital.  Now I know I can do it while awake, I will go confidently into labor when we (hopefully) have #3.

3.   Nursing

Concern:  After weeks of struggling, I ended up exclusively pumping and bottle feeding Evie. I was worried that Maggie wouldn't take to nursing either.  I was worried that I'd feel obligated to pump again while juggling a demanding two year old.

Outcome: Maggie took to nursing like an old pro.  The lactation consultant was impressed and just assumed I'd nursed Evie too!

I don't love nursing, as you read on all the breastfeeding support blogs, but I do it.  I do it because I won't want to wash bottles all day and I don't want to spend the money on formula if we don't have to.  I have no idea how long this is going to last, but I passed my first two goals:  one week and six weeks.  On our way to my next goal: three months!

4.  Recovery and weight loss

Concern:  I did not take my post-baby recovery seriously.  It turned into exhaustion, screaming fits, binge eating, depression and weight gain.

Outcome:  I took recovery seriously.  My mom was able to help out a lot more this time (THANK YOU!!) We ended up with enough meals from friends that I made it almost 7 weeks without major cooking.  I reminded myself that the laundry and dishes could wait, because my mental and physical health was/is THE most important thing.  I allowed myself plenty of naps.  I let Evie watch TV if we needed.  I can't say that I feel 100% back to normal, but for being 8 weeks post partum, I feel pretty awesome! My mantra has been "On an airplane they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first, and then help others"  I use this to remind myself that I need to be healthy and taken care of before I can help my family.

As for the weight loss.  Oh the weight loss. I lost the actual baby weight as in the 15 pounds of human and placenta.  And then I plateaued. I've been stuck at the same weight for the last 4 weeks. After a long talk with the NP at my OB's office, we have a plan of attack.  And we also have some goals.  Long story short, I have a lot of work to do before she recommends we try for a third.

5.  Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Concern:  Reliving the dark cloud of depression.  And the horrible panic attacks that would strike in the middle of the night or out in a crowd.

Outcome: Well, I am happy to say within an hour of the birth I told Eric that this recovery was going to be different.  By the end of the hospital stay I knew I was going to be fine.

I know there is no way to 100% prevent depression, but I know for me that long term exhaustion can be a major trigger for me.  I made sure to nap when both girls were napping. I got Maggie on a "schedule" at two weeks so we could leave the house. And made sure I took a shower first thing every day. If nothing else it gave me the sense of control over my life!  Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference.

The only little thing I've noticed that falls in the PPD&A family is having a touch of OCD.  I'm not sure if it's *actually* OCD or just a coping mechanism for needing to have control over something.  But I HAVE to be doing laundry all the time.  I walk around the house and find things to wash.

Overall -

First of all, y'all were so supportive with your responses to my original post.  Lots of great suggestions, sympathy and encouragement.  I went into the last few weeks of pregnancy with a much better game plan.  Thank you!

Secondly, man oh man, being a first time parent is so hard!  I had taken my cues for recovery expectations from mom-friends who were having their third or fourth.  That's such a different ball game.  I was really hard on myself after I had Evie.  Having experience with one plus the added research, going into number has been much easier!  Thanks be to God!

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