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Metal

I’m not sure if I wrote about this before but my stomach is full of metal.

Nuts and bolts, screws, and a metal screen. It’s what’s holding the inside of my stomach together after the doctors shredded my stomach. It’s full of this crazy shit because of my botched c-section with the hummingbird back in 2009.

I really want to have a vaginal birth but I’m worried I’ll have to have another c-section.

That is my biggest fear and one of the things that has me so worried. With all that hardware in my stomach, I’m afraid of having a cesarean because of it. Terrified actually. Terrified that because of this, I may have even more complications if they have to open me up and mess around with my pieced back together stomach.

Who knows. Maybe the stars will align at the right time and I’ll get to have a vaginal birth after all. I just really don’t want to be sliced open.

Especially when the doctor that pieced me back together said while yes, it’s safe to have another baby, a c-section could really complicate matters because most of the metal is where they would cut for the c-section and I would also need to have a surgeon on hand “just in case”.

I have this vision of having to get a cesarean done and while they pull this baby bird out of me, all these bolts and screws will fall out of my stomach and jingle around on the floor.

Can you imagine…  it would sound like a piggy bank being dropped in the room. *ding… ding.. ding*

My ob/gyn set me up for a VBAC consultation at another hospital when I’m 20 weeks, along with my “big” ultrasound. I guess they have different guidelines at the hospital close to our house so I wouldn’t qualify for a VBAC here.

My nerves are starting to go away as far as being constantly worried about the baby bird. A lot of it has to do with the exceptional medical care and compassion I’ve received from all the doctors in Maine.

I knew how fucked up and traumatized I was with the horrible care I received with my first pregnancy at Bethesda Naval and Walter Reed but now that I finally know what prenatal care is supposed to be like, it’s such a huge relief.

I also plan on having a doula and I’m in the early stages of researching the process. I think it will be tremendously helpful to have a doula there for the birth. Even if I do end up having another c-section.

But because of all the metal in my stomach, here’s hoping I can push that baby out the way it came in.

Did you have a doula for childbirth? Pros? Any cons? Advice?

*The Raconteurs

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Nerves

Monday is the big day. It’s the first ultrasound for the baby bird. I am fucking terrified. I can’t stop thinking about the what ifs? I admit I’ve been a nervous wreck since I found out I was pregnant last month. I can’t bear the thought of finding out something is wrong… another miscarriage.

When I went to see my ob/gyn a few weeks ago, after asking some basic questions, she stopped and then asked what could she do to help me calm my nerves and feel more relaxed. She also gave me a hug.

I was fucking floored and wanted to cry after that. In a good way.

I NEVER experienced that kind of compassion when I was pregnant with the hummingbird and had to go to the military hospital in Bethesda and dealt with all of those asshole military doctors.

It finally feels like I’m healing from Postpartum PTSD after all this time. This pregnancy experience has been unbelievably better already and I feel like I actually have some say in these things, unlike last time when I just felt like I was ordered around with very little explanation.

Dr. Awesome even set me up to have my 20 week ultrasound along with a consultation for a VBAC with a clinic in Portland. Even if I don’t get the natural delivery I’ve been wanting since I was pregnant with the hummingbird, my doctor has already proven that I can trust her which is such a relief to me.

So, I don’t know why I’m still such a nervous wreck but I’m hoping that once I finally see the baby bird on the ultrasound, all of these nerves will finally settle down so I can enjoy the hell out of this pregnancy. Both the good and the bad that comes along with it… even the awful and constant morning sickness.

*Fake Plastic Trees

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The Panic: Postpartum PTSD

postpartum-ptsd1

It was supposed to be a simple doctor’s visit for the hummingbird last week. She had pink eye, I know, ick, and I knew it would be an easy visit to her pediatrician who would most likely prescribe eye drops and send us on our way.

I usually try to have my husband come along to appointments for the hummingbird but this time it was just me and her.

Two hours before her appointment, the panic started. I tried to distract myself so the hummingbird and I started to play with her kitchen toys. Then the panic and anxiety got worse. I started to feel really nauseous  and my heart started racing.

An hour before her doctor’s appointment, I was a fucking mess. My heart felt like it was going to thump out of my chest and my thoughts become so irrational. I was worried that once we got to the doctor, they would find something really wrong with the hummingbird and I’d have to leave her there, just like after she was born and had to spend 3 weeks in the NICU for low blood sugar.

The panic and nausea became so bad that I threw up, twice. I was trying so hard to keep it together and took my anti-anxiety medication.  It never really kicked in and the panic grew stronger.

20 minutes before we were supposed to leave for the appointment, I was such a fucking mess. I was shaking, my thoughts were irrational, and it got to where I was about to call my husband to see if he could come home so he could take the hummingbird to the doctor.

He’s never really understood what I go through with postpartum ptsd and I decided not to call him after all.

Then the panic really hit its peak and I wanted so badly to call the doctor’s office and reschedule the appointment so my husband could take the hummingbird instead.

I felt like such a horrible mother. My child needed to see the doctor and here I was trying to get out of taking her.

I kept on telling myself to pull my shit together and rounded up the hummingbird. My hands were shaking so bad as I tried to zip up her jacket and I finally gave up.

We arrived at the doctor’s safe and sound but as I was unbuckling my daughter out of her car seat, I stopped for a minute. I desperately wanted to go back around to the driver’s side, hop in, and go back home.

It took all I had to force myself to get her out of the car and make the walk to the doctor’s office.

I completely blanked out from the time I got the hummingbird out of the car until we were about to open the door to the office. I honestly can’t remember anything about those few minutes.

All I know is when we walked into the office, I was carrying her and holding onto her for dear life. I didn’t want to set her down or let go of her but she found a toy in the waiting room that caught her eye.

Finally we were brought back to the exam room and I really thought about telling the medical assistant that I was in the middle of a panic attack and wanted to ask her if she could help talk me down from it.

Then I was worried that I would sound crazy because after all, it was just a simple visit to the doctor. The shaking started up again and I fumbled with the hummingbird’s jacket and shoes so the medical assistant could get her weight and height.

While waiting for the doctor, it felt like my face was on fire, my hands couldn’t stop shaking, and my mouth became so dry that when the doctor finally came into the exam room, it was hard for me to get much out.

My irrational thoughts started to invade my head again and I became so worried that the doctor would think that I was fucked up on drugs and call the police.

I know. It was completely irrational thinking and I even knew it at that time but with me in a panic and my mind racing, I was worried this doctor would somehow become a fucking mind reader and think I’m an unfit parent.

The doctor asked me a few more questions about when the pink eye started and I was barely able to make out the words and speak.

Finally, we were able to leave that fucking place and we safely went back home.

It took me several hours to calm down after the appointment. I even got to the point where I seriously thought I would give myself a heart attack because the panic and anxiety was so bad.

This is what I deal with whenever I take my daughter to the doctor. This is also why I try to get my husband to go with us since the intensity of the panic and anxiety I feel isn’t as extreme with him there.

This is Postpartum PTSD.

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What the hell? I’m a mom?!

Even after 3 years, sometimes I still don’t feel like a mom. I’ll feel like I’m just pretending to be one. When my little girl calls me mommy, it can make me pause at times and I’ll think “what? me?!”

I used to think once I had a baby, BAM!… my mommyness, whatever that is, would come out instantly.

Ummm, nope, that’s not the way it worked with me.

The first year was especially hard for me. I was dealing with Postpartum PTSD and felt somewhat disconnected from my child. I would think to myself “what did I get into?”

My husband seemed to be a natural father but I felt like no matter how hard I tried, I was a failure at being a mom to my daughter.

While seeing my husband be so at ease with the little hummingbird, I felt so inadequate.

Even after a few years, I still don’t feel like I’m up to par with other moms. I read blogs and see how other moms appear to be the ideal mom. Homemade and nutritious meals, no television, crafts and activities galore, etc.

I used to try so hard to be that kind of my and it drained me. That’s not who I am. It makes it harder that my sister-in-law is that type of mom which make my mother-in-law even more critical of me.

Then I feel even more inadequate and I’ll push myself more to be someone I’m not which is downright exhausting.

I can’t put this pressure on myself anymore. So what if my daughter doesn’t have a homemade Halloween costume since I can’t sew.

So what if I’m too tired to read more than one book at night before bedtime.

I’m not supermom. I’m anything but supermom and that’s okay.

Let’s get it in our heads that what we are is good enough for our children.

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Postpartum PTSD

*Please excuse any writing errors. This was a post I couldn’t read back.

It was the third week that my newborn daughter was in the NICU. I was waiting for my husband to get home so we could visit her in the hospital when I started feeling nauseous. Anxiety came crashing down on me and my heart started racing. The more I thought about the drive to the hospital where I gave birth to my daughter, the worse I felt and I ended up getting sick all over the bedroom carpet.

On the way to the hospital, my nerves start getting worse and by the time we enter the hospital parking garage, I got sick again and couldn’t stop shaking. The closer we got to the NICU on the 6th floor of the hospital, I was in such a panic and started crying.

My husband assumed it was because of our daughter being in the NICU for 3 weeks because of low blood sugar. I didn’t say anything like I should have but it was that day that I knew something was very wrong. It wasn’t until a year later that I first heard of postpartum post traumatic stress disorder.

I had always assumed that when it came to PTSD, it was something only soldiers got when fighting in a war. Then the pieces started coming together.

I wasn’t happy with the prenatal care I received but couldn’t do anything about it. My husband is in the military and at the time we were in close proximity to a couple of military hospitals. If that’s the case, our insurance won’t let you see a “civilian” doctor.

Every time I had a prenatal appointment, I had a different doctor and was never able to put my trust in one. That was when I started to feel like I had little control over the care I was getting and would be very frustrated that there was never a time when I could actually sit down with one of these doctors and discuss my first time mom jitters.

At 37 weeks, I had my monthly appointment and the doctor was really concerned about my blood pressure. She was worried that I was starting to develop preeclampsia and by that afternoon, I was checked into the hospital, waiting to have a baby. I was pretty reasonable about my birth plan. I was hoping for a natural childbirth but there was no way in hell I was going to say no to an epidural.

During my labor, I had several medical interventions and was very frustrated that most of the medical staff coming in and out of my hospital room seemed to be burdened when my husband or I would ask questions about what they were doing.

I ended up having an emergency c-section and while they were pulling my daughter out of me, it felt like a cement block was starting to crush my chest. Then my daughter was brought to me and the joy of that put the way I felt physically on the back burner.

I was wheeled into a recovery room and across the room, my freshly baked babe was getting her first bath while my husband stood there in awe while filming it.

I started to have trouble breathing and my nurse got the oxygen mask. The cement block that I felt I had on my chest turned into a cement wall and I was having more trouble breathing. It was getting more difficult to talk with the nurse and that’s when she said it appeared that my lungs were filling up with fluid and I had pulmonary edema.

She told me she was going to get medication for it but first she needed it approved by a doctor. I still have absolutely no idea who delivered my daughter so I didn’t have any idea who my doctor was supposed to be.

Medical staff was walking in and out of the room and finally the nurse spotted a doctor that I’d never seen in my life. My nurse rushed over and quickly told him the situation while I was trying so hard to stay conscious. It was at this point that I couldn’t even say a word because I felt like I was drowning.

The doctor sauntered over and started asking me several questions. I was trying to keep my shit together because I was absolutely terrified over what was happening to me. I couldn’t answer any of these doctor’s questions so he stood there beside the hospital bed I was in and was waiting for me to answer.

Some of the last things I remember was hearing my gorgeous new baby crying across the room and my husband comforting her. I was feeling so dizzy and knew I was losing conscious and couldn’t stop it no matter how hard I tried. I remember the nurse leaving my side and the same damn doctor kept on asking me to describe my symptoms to him.

I truly believed this was the end for me. I don’t mean for it to sound so dramatic but I thought I was going to die right there in the recovery room with my daughter just several feet away from me. My husband had no idea what was happening in my corner of the room as he was understandably so wrapped up in our beautiful baby girl.

That’s when everything went blank and I remember the nurse shaking me and saying my name. When I came to, that asshole doctor was still there but standing farther away from me. I don’t know if the nurse gave him a piece of her mind or what happened but after I came to, that doctor just walked out of the room without saying a word.

When I was finally able to speak again without the oxygen mask, I said “Please tell me that wasn’t a doctor but instead a janitor”. The nurse replied “I wish I could tell you that”. I don’t remember the nurse’s name but I will forever be so thankful that she didn’t put up with this doctor’s bullshit and instead jumped into action.

It took me nearly a year to tell my husband what happened after I gave birth. I didn’t want to ruin the experience for him by letting him know what happened but was so relieved when I finally did.

I’ve been trying to write about my experience with Postpartum Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for 3 years and 2 month but would panic each time. It wasn’t until I read this by Tricia that I finally felt “safe” enough to go through the emotions of my experience. Even as I type this, my heart is racing and my hands are shaking.

I’m currently in therapy and finally getting more control over this but it’s still a struggle each day. One I’m finally getting strong enough to fight.

Have you experienced Postpartum Depression or Postpartum PTSD? If you’d like, please share your story in the comments.

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Mommyhood, the real deal.

Wendy from A Nervous Tic Motion wrote a very real and honest post that is a must read called Anger Management.

When the little hummingbird had been home a week, I thought I was going to lose my mind from lack of sleep. When she was down for her morning nap, I climbed into bed and started crying. I was trying to figure out what in the hell I was doing wrong as a mom to have her cry so much.

I was thinking of all the people who have a baby and a few days later say motherhood is the best thing ever and my life is complete now. I thought what the fuck because I was far from feeling that way. I knew I loved my daughter but at that moment, I just wanted to walk out the front door.

I felt so ashamed that I had been waiting years to have a baby and now that she was here, I wanted to have some peace and quiet and not be bothered by a crying baby who wouldn’t let me get more than 2 hours of sleep at a time.

It took some time to really feel like a mom and fall in love with my daughter.

Have you ever felt ashamed or guilty because of how you felt about your child? Did you keep it to yourself or did you share your feelings with someone? And don’t worry, this is a safe place to vent and not be criticized. xx

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