Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, from this generation's Grace Kelly. Hope everyone had a great day!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Getting Better

As I said in my last post, Olivia is now 5 months old.  It seems like things change every week with her and her behavior, but one thing has remained pretty constant--my stress level.  Amidst a pretty awful week last week, I hit a low point and was extremely emotional.  Extremely emotional for most people may be
For me, it's more like
basically all the time.  So after a lot of tears and advice from my sisters and Olivia's pediatrician, my doctor and I ultimately decided I needed to start taking something for postpartum depression.  It was a conversation I'd known for a while I needed to have, but couldn't bring myself to do it.  It's strange, because if anyone else told me they were struggling with postpartum and were going to start taking something for it, I would encourage them to do so.  In theory, I know it's the right thing to do.  I know it's no reflection on that person as a mother or a woman.  I know it's just a matter or hormones and chemicals in the brain and there's nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.  But that didn't stop me from being disappointed in myself.  From feeling like I was less of a mother because I needed pills to feel more connected to my child and my husband.  Once I got beyond the disappointment and just accepted that the medication was the best choice for me, I started to really get anxious.  What if it didn't help?  What if I just kept feeling the way I was feeling until Olivia got older?  What if this was just my personality, to be angry and frustrated and depressed and stressed out ALL THE TIME.  What if I'm like Lucille Bluth and I'm really just a selfish, horrible mother?

Well I've been on the medicine for almost a week now and, aside from the constant, sometimes crippling nausea, I'm feeling much better.  The pharmacist didn't think I'd really start to feel better for 2-4 weeks, so maybe by then I'll really be feeling good and they'll have to adjust my dosage.
Until then, I'm relieved with the results I've gotten from the medicine.  I feel like myself, rather than the raging emotional monster I'd become.  AND, since I've started taking the meds, I don't think I've cried once, which is the longest I've gone since I was probably six months pregnant.  So...that's success, in my mind.

The point in saying all of this is not to be a ridiculous oversharer (though I realize that's in my nature).  The point is to say that anybody out there that's had postpartum, I get you.  It doesn't have to be miserable.  The sound of your baby crying doesn't have to make you feel sick to your stomach.  Don't let Tom Cruise make you feel like you're crazy.  If it can happen to Brooke Shields, it can happen to any of us.  So take that for what it's worth.  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Five Months Old and a Look Back

As of today, Olivia is five months old.  I'd love to say that I've got everything pretty much figured out and parenting is a breeze, but that's certainly not the case.  Don't get me wrong, sometimes she's amazing and adorable
and sometimes she's less than that.
The past few days have been especially challenging, since she's opted to not take her afternoon nap.  If there's one thing worse than a cranky baby, it's a cranky mom.  It's just been really frustrating with her not sleeping well lately when she's exhausted but can't fall asleep.  Out of frustration, she grabs onto anything near her and pulls as hard as she can.  Unfortunately for me, this means that many clumps of my hair have become victims of her sleepiness, as well as my neck, which is covered in bruises from her grabbing and squeezing.  You'd be shocked how hard a 5 month old can pinch.  I think she may be part crab.
My mom's been out of town for the last week and doesn't come home until Sunday, which seems like an ETERNITY from now.  It's just really hard during the day when Olivia's melting down and not sleeping and taking out her fatigue on me and I have no outlet to vent to.  I know Olivia is the way she is because she got my personality, but HO BOY is that awful to be on the receiving end of.   To be honest, I'm not sure how Jacob deals with me all the time.  GOD HELP US if Olivia and I ever end up on the same period cycle because that will be the absolute worst.  FOR EVERYONE.

So after all that complaining about my baby, I have to say that in spite of all her challenges, I'm super thankful for her and how healthy she is.  A year ago yesterday, Jacob and I experienced one of the biggest scares we've ever had.  I alluded to it in this post, but never went much into detail since it wasn't public knowledge yet that I was pregnant.  Just a warning, what I'm about to describe isn't so much graphic as it is descriptive.  But still, if blood makes you squeamish, this may not be the post for you.
Like I said, it was a year ago yesterday, a seriously beautiful day in North Dakota.  Jacob had made plans to drive to Bismarck (1 1/2 hours away from DikDak) with a couple of his friends who were also looking to build decks for their new homes.  Their plan was to go to Lowe's to pick out the supplies.  Since Lowe's is right next to Kohl's, Old Navy, and David's Bridal, one of the guys (Chris) had his fiancee (Ashli) come so she could do some shopping.  Since the fiancee was coming, Jacob and I decided I should go with her, to keep her company and get some shopping done.  So we all loaded up in Chris's truck, picked up another friend (Jared), and were on our way.  The day was going really well.   Ashli and I were having a good time shopping; while she looked for wedding shoes at David's Bridal, I sent pictures of wedding gowns to Dana that I secretly wanted to try on.  The guys were clearly unprepared for the ridiculous amount of lumber they needed to buy, and the trip started to drag on.  Ashli and I tried to busy ourselves at other stores, even driving across town to Hobby Lobby, but ultimately we ended up back at Lowe's, sitting on the floor, waiting on them.  I believe they spent 5 hours picking out their supplies.  5 hours and $5,000....So at this point, I was really starting to feel exhausted.  I was about 9, maybe 10 weeks pregnant.  And for the last five hours, I'd been on my feet, walking, and even helping pick out lumber and supplies.  I also hadn't eaten anything since we left Dickinson at 1:30pm, and I'm pretty sure we were checking out at Lowe's at like 8pm.  Once we checked out, we loaded up the HORSE TRAILER that we'd hauled.  Somehow, we bought so much lumber that the trailer was full, and stuff had to get returned.  Once everything got sorted out, and we returned enough stuff so that the trailer wasn't dragging on the ground, we went across the street to eat at Five Guys Burgers & Fries.  I was starving, so for a few moments, that burger was the greatest thing I'd ever eaten.  I was just so happy to be done with Lowe's and start heading home to see the dogs.  As we were sitting there, I distinctly remember feeling what I knew was blood.  At first, I thought it was just a drop, and since I was pregnant, I didn't have any tampons or pads, so I wasn't going to bother going to the bathroom.  I figured I'd just check it out once we got home later that night.  After a few minutes of sitting there, I could feel my stomach sink because the blood had not stopped.  I vividly remember getting up and walking towards the bathroom, feeling self conscious because I was sure you could see the blood on the back of my yoga pants.  When I got in the bathroom, my worry was more than confirmed.  I hadn't just had a little spotting, I was bleeding.  It was bad.  Really, really bad.  I tried to clean up as best as I could, then went back to our table and asked Ashli if she had anything.  I was already starting to cry when I asked her, and I remember the look of pity on her face as she handed me the tampon.  I didn't have to tell her I was pregnant.  She could tell something was wrong. Once she gave me the tampon, I had Jacob come with me into the bathroom.  They just have single toilet stalls, so I pulled him in with me and burst out in hysterical crying.  When I pulled my pants down to show him what was happening, the bleeding had gotten worse.  It looked like something out of a scary movie, honestly.  Maybe that's weird that I showed him, but I felt like he had to see it.  I wanted him to understand how serious this was.  In this moment, I just knew we were losing our baby.  I needed him to see what was happening so I didn't have to explain it to him.  He was so calm and so reassuring.  He went back to the table to get my phone so I could call my mom.  While getting the phone, he told our friends what they'd already figured out; we were pregnant but something was seriously wrong.  When he brought me my phone, I called my mom, who somehow made sense of my hysteria and told me to call my doctor.  When I called the hospital, they said I needed to go to the ER.  I explained that I was in Bismarck, asking if I needed to go to the ER right away, or should I drive back to Dickinson to go to the hospital my doctor worked at.  She said it was up to me.  I went back to the table, and even though it was late, maybe 8:30, 8:45, our friends insisted on taking us to the ER in Bismarck.  Jared's mom actually worked in the ER, and Chris had family in Bismarck, so they dropped us off and went to hang out with family while we got checked out.
It was SUCH a long night.  I just remember praying and holding Jacob's hand and feeling so scared.  After awhile, they did an ultrasound and when they found a heartbeat, I remember feeling such joy and such shock.  The baby was still alive!  I just couldn't believe it.  I remember just looking at Jacob and crying.  I don't think either of us could believe that the baby had survived all that blood loss.  The technician did say that there was still some blood showing on the ultrasound, so it was possible that I might have another big blood loss at some point if the baby moved.   The ER doctor didn't have much to tell us.  She wasn't an OB, and she wasn't sure what caused the bleeding.  I remember her talking about what she thought happened, describing it as an "almost spontaneous abortion".  Essentially, she said that if there's too much blood, it can fill the uterus and basically push the baby out, causing a miscarriage.  She told me to see my doctor first thing Monday and to take it easy until then.  It was still pretty scary because even though the baby was fine, according to the ultrasound, there was still more blood that could interfere with the baby.
We were finally discharged sometime after midnight, but since I had bled so much, I didn't want to put bloody underwear back on, so in my exhaustion, I threw them away at the hospital.  Obviously risky, but what can I say?  I was completely drained physically and mentally.  Our friends picked us up, and we headed back to Dickinson.  Unfortunately, since we were so loaded down with lumber, the trip took even longer than normal and we didn't end up getting back to Dickinson until 2 am.  Everything was starting to look up, I even got a little sleep on the way home.  About 7 miles outside of town, however, I knew I was bleeding.  It's such a strange feeling when fear combines with humiliation.  I was TERRIFIED of what the bleeding meant for the baby, but also mortified at the possibility of bleeding through my pants.  When Chris pulled up to our house, I climbed out of the truck and looked back at the seat.  I felt so deflated and awful when I saw the huge stain left behind.  I didn't even have the chance to process it as Jacob closed the door.  I stood on our sidewalk, at 2 am, crying as I watched them drive off.  I had Jacob text Chris right away, telling him we promised to clean his truck if we could just wait until the morning.  I was just SO exhausted.  I went inside and proceeded to have a similar bathroom experience as I did at Five Guys.  But at least we knew the rest of the blood that we'd seen on the ultrasound had come out!  The next day, Jacob asked Chris when we could come over and clean the truck and Chris was so sweet about it.  Ashli had already cleaned the spot and they were so gracious about it.  I'm not sure if they were able to get the stain out.  He was really nice about it, but also kind of vague, and every time I think about it, I'm sure that the stain never totally came out.  I don't embarrass easily, but the idea that my blood stain is in someone's truck forever is humiliating.  Like I said, Chris and Ashli were SO sweet about it, and it's not like I was just dumb and was like "whoopsie!  On my period and forgot a tampon, LOL", but still.  It's awful.
When I went to the doctor the following Monday, he told me I'd had a subchorionic hemorrhage, a pretty common cause of bleeding during pregnancy.  I had to rest and relax for awhile, but the rest of the pregnancy was smooth sailing.  When I think about that night, it's just so surreal.  It was such a scary, heartbreaking experience, but in the end, God gave us a beautiful, healthy, happy baby.  I know I complain about her a lot, but I'm truly so so grateful that my gut instinct and reaction in that bathroom of Five Guys was wrong.  That wasn't the moment I lost my baby.  It was a scary moment.  A horrible one I'll never forget.  But God was in that bathroom with me, and He had his hands on Olivia the whole time.  He kept her safe and protected and I'm so thankful for that.
I have not, however, moved past the experience enough to eat at Five Guys since then.