Transitioning to the crib day 2&3

Well yesterday went well. Similar to the first day. She took about half an hour to fall asleep for nap, but didn’t sleep too long. Bedtime was shorter to help her fall asleep but she did the same as the night before-only sleeping about 5 or so hours before crying hysterically. Cam said he heard her up and crying a bit a few times in the night but she ended up putting herself back to sleep which was great. She spent the rest of the night in our bed after the 5 hours but woke up early for the day and so was very tired today. Her morning nap was short-maybe 45 mins, but her afternoon nap was trickier because we were struck with a big thunder/lightning storm and the thunder woke her after about an hour. I knew she would never fall back asleep in her crib with the thunder so I brought her into my bed and she slept another hour and a half and could have slept even longer but we had to wake her for dinner. This afternoon was lovely though, we have a friend come visit so Ruby played lots, then while she was sleeping in her crib I was super relaxed. I was listening to the rain, chilling in my bed with my doula work, some zucchini loaf and oatmeal cookies and a cup of tea. It was so calm. A piece of time to myself that I needed. As I said, Ruby ended up waking from the thunder and since I was already in my own bed hanging out I figured it wasn’t really any harm for her to join me. She feel asleep pretty fast next to me and stayed sleeping so I was able to continue what I was doing and didn’t feel interrupted or annoyed and there was nothing else to really get done around the house at that time.

 

So far Ruby’s been rocked to sleep then put in her crib, nursed to sleep then put in her crib, or just laid down fully awake and played/chatted herself to sleep. I need to stay in the room at this point and stroke her/rub her back and keep laying her back down. So far all of this is working. I’m loving that she doesn’t need one specific way to fall asleep. It’s reassuring that she will eventually do it on her own. Now it’s just a matter of leaving her to do it on her own, which I really am in no hurry for. We only just started this and I think the patience and consistency have been key. We also communicate with her throughout it all. We tell her after dinner she is having a bath a nurse, then bedtime in her own bed. We keep the routine exactly the same every night so she has a sense of what’s to come next and the security that that brings. So far though, throughout this transition, I have been the one to put her down for bedtime and all naps, so tonight, as I am typing this, Cam’s putting her down to sleep. I nursed her in her room, then passed her off to Cam to help her fall asleep. It’s very important to us both that we are both able to do these things with her and that the responsibility is not solely on me. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes. I’m very hopeful it’ll continue being smooth.

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Transitioning to the crib day 1

Sooooo the time has come to end co-sleeping. It’s been beautiful and frustrating and in a way healing, but a couple days ago at nap time I couldn’t get Ruby to sleep and was SO annoyed. Something needs to change. Cam and I needed to snuggle for once, I needed more space in the bed. Especially though, I needed Ruby to learn to fall asleep on her own. She big/old enough now that this is a skill I believe she should have. So recently she stopped nursing through the night and could sleep for 12 hours straight every night. I felt like it was time.

 

So we moved her crib (which had become a clothes rack) back to her own room the other day and started to positively reinforce that the crib was a fun/relaxing/good space to be in. Yesterday (Saturday) I told cam it was time for her to try out the crib. I nursed her at nap time and she fell asleep on the boob-something she only does about 40% of the time. I snuggled her and then I put her in her crib. She stayed asleep during the transition which shocked me. She didn’t sleep too long-only about 45 mins which is unusual for her, but she’s in a  new space.

 

Bedtime was a whole new story. We started bedtime routine earlier than usual as she was pretty sleep deprived during the day. Had dinner, she played while we cleaned up, then she had a bath, then brushed her teeth, then she nursed. Something I want to point out is that we have been communicating constantly with her about her sleep. Telling her that tonight she will sleep in her own bed. That it will be a change but we are here for her. She anticipated what was coming I believe. So after the nurse we took her to her room and put her in her crib. She happily went in and played with her stuffies. She seemed content so we left the room. We told her we would let her have some time to play and that we would come back if she needed us. She whined and cried a bit but it wasn’t consistent. We set a timer for 5 mins and once it went off her cry changed to a pretty desperate scream so I went in. I picked her up and calmed her down. We sat in the rocking chair and rocked for a long time. She kept wanting down and I talked her through it, telling her no and that if she didn’t want to be held then she can go back into her crib. She seemed to understand and eventually relaxed into my arms. She fell asleep after a long time and started stretching in her sleep to get more comfortable so I decided that was a good time to put her in her crib. I laid her down and she woke and freaked. I quickly picked her up again and she instantly fell asleep in my arms so then I quickly laid her back down  this woke her but she was still drowsy so I just stroked her face and it settled her right away. From there she was content but fighting sleep. She would sit up and play with any stuffy in her bed so i slowly started taking them out of the crib until she had two left. She wasn’t upset at all so I went with it. she’d sit up and without saying much, I’d just lay her back down. Eventually she stayed down and was just chatting and playing with her hair. She was doing exactly what she does in our bed at bedtime, just in her own crib. I stayed and sat beside the crib, reached my arms through the bars and patted/stroked/rubbed her face and back. Eventually she turned away from me, rolled to her back, and fell asleep. All in all it took an hour and a half from the nurse to her falling asleep. She stayed asleep for 5 straight hours, then woke and her screaming/crying woke us so I went in. Cam and I agreed that if she woke in the night I would get her and bring her to our bed so thats what I did. She fell asleep instantly in our bed and stayed asleep 5 more hours.

 

To me, this is an amazing start. Sometimes I forget how smart and capable babies are. This is a change for her but I know in my heart she is fully capable of handling it. With out support she can adjust and learn the skill of falling asleep on her own in her own space. It’s important to me that she has her own time, privacy, and space. When she gets older I want her to have naps and quiet time and I want her to be able to handle it on her own. I want my sisters to be able to put her down for naps when they babysit. This is a great beginning for some healthy sleep habits I think. And oh man it was so nice to have space in my bed and to cuddle with Cam all night.

 

Stay tuned for todays sleep-fingers crossed it goes just as smoothly.

What I’ve Learned in My First Year of Motherhood

Ruby-May will be 1 year old on the 7th of May. How the hell did that happen?? If you know, please tell me. She is a crazy, silly, fun, feisty, smart and loved little girl. She has blown our minds and shattered our worlds with her sweet sweet soul. I still can’t believe I’m a mom. And I still can’t believe that I actually gave birth. It’s just so wild to me that it happened. I’ve been thinking a lot about the personal growth I’ve done in the last year, thanks to our Ruby-May. I’ve changed SO much. I’ve put myself out there in the world in ways I’d be petrified to even think of before becoming a mother. And I have learned so much. Many things people told me about and warned me. But there are lots that I discovered on my own that I’m going to share with you today. Because maybe you’re about to give birth and think you know what to really expect in that first year (You read the book, right?), but you wanna hear from someone who is honest and just went through it. So, here goes:

  1. Your body will never be the same, and thats more than okay. “Getting my body back” is a phrase women use and I’ll be honest, it makes me sad. My body was in the best shape ever, before I got pregnant. Hence, why I got pregnant. Thanks Cam. I was healthy and fit. I ate pretty well and the 25 year old me really enjoyed being young and child free. I was pretty active (though I wasn’t one of those lovely ladies who worked out religiously) and I felt pretty strong. But growing Ruby’s body and pushing her out sunny-side up, completely changed the physical shape of me. My hips are way wider than they were before. My tummy is soft and pretty flabby and I have a few stretch marks. My boobs are stretched and “National Geographic” as Cam and I like to call them. It took a very long time for me to love this new body of mine, but I do. It’s impossible to get my body back because it didn’t really leave me. It grew and changed and thats really a good thing. I tried hard to focus on getting healthy, especially after becoming so weak from retained placenta. So now, I’m chasing around an almost toddler, we go on daily walks, have dance parties, have little mini yoga sessions, and I am on my feet constantly. I focus on eating hearty healthy meals, drinking water and most importantly, not beating myself up about the way I look.
  2. Just when you think you’ve got this parenting thing figured out, something new happens. An illness, 6 teeth within 2 months (yea, that happened and it sucked), a surprise surgery (hopefully that doesn’t happen to you), or maybe a surprise bout of post part depression. It’s important to have a plan for how you want to parent. Which philosophies you admire, what you know from your own family growing up, and what you’ve learned from friends. I think it’s important to have an idea of how you may want to start solids or a sleep routine or maybe your model of discipline. But remember to not be so black and white. Try things and if they don’t work, try something else. Raising a person is all about finding what works for yourself and your child. Read all the things, listen to other parents whose children are kind and appropriately well behaved, and grow and adapt. But most importantly, do not worry if something you had planned on doing doesn’t work out. For us it was sleep. I was huge on sleep. I prided the fact that Ruby could fall asleep on her own and be such a great self regulated sleeper. Then the 6 teeth came in like I mentioned earlier. For two months straight we were up every hour with a screaming, inconsolable baby. I’d put her to sleep in her own crib and then she’d be in our bed after her first wake up and stay there all night. This turned into her going to sleep in our bed at night but napping in her crib, then it turned into her napping in our bed AND going to sleep in our bed. And now we are a co-sleeping family and I’m dreading when we will need to sleep train her. Which is coming up here soon. The co-sleeping thing is something I don’t hate, and definitely don’t judge others for doing, I just never thought it would be us. But, it is. And it’s the only way any of us got any sleep. SO just remember. There is no right or wrong way to do things. As long as you learn who your child is, make informed decisions, and do what is right and happy for the whole family, you are doing it right. Thats all it comes down to.
  3. The Mompetition is real, but only if you let it be real. You know the moms who are sleeping well, who’s house is immaculate, who’s found time to do all the laundry AND that 30 minute workout session as well as prep dinner for the whole week? The ones you’re jealous of. And you don’t know why because you’re also happy for them. Well, we do not know what goes on in people’s homes and lives. Most of what we know from others is what they share on social media and 9 times out of 10 people share the best most lovely parts of their lives (I’m that 1 person who doesn’t show perfection all the time. If I did I’d be straight up lying). They don’t like to post that they had a 45 minute yelling match with their husband the other day, or that they too are struggling with feeling overwhelmed. We truly don’t know the ins and outs of other women’s lives and their personal journeys. And when it comes down to it, we are all in this together. We are all giving ourselves to these little people who repay us by pulling our hair out and biting our shoulders. The last thing we need to send our focus is on who is doing this mom job better because like I said earlier, there is no right or wrong way. We all have our children’s best interests in mind and our focus should be to support that. So give up on the competitive mom mind games. The patriarchy has been brainwashing us to hate each other and it’s time to go forth and stand up with love and support for one another. (although I’ve learned this, I still struggle with it)
  4. Finally, I’ve learned to overcome trauma. Or at least work on overcoming it. I’ve learned to try and find acceptance for what happened to me and allow myself to grieve. I’ve worked on honouring my feelings around sadness and disappointment and allow them to wash over me like that burning hot shower I took the other day when I was overwhelmed. I’ve learned that trauma hasn’t become me. It hasn’t become my identity or my story. It is part of my story and it is forever a part of who I am, but it isn’t me completely. I’ve also learned to find the good things within the bad situations. When I felt serious disconnect from Ruby, I did the things that bring mothers and babies closer. I slept with her, I did skin on skin, I bathed with her and envisioned I was birthing her in the tub. I observed her and allowed her to show me who she is. I responded to her the best that I could and made sure she knew I was there. Even when I wasn’t there mentally, I was still there physically. Because of that I’ve been able to solidify a bond with her that I missed out on at her birth and deeply wanted. Other lovely things have come from our rough start. My body awareness is strong. I know my body so well now and my intimate self is better than it has ever been. I’ve also found a passion for birth that I knew I had, but was buried inside me. My experience has given me a view on postpartum recovery that I could never have learned from reading a book. I FEEL for women now in a way I never have before. My level of compassion and empathy has soared. I want to give to mothers what I didn’t receive as a new mom. I’m not sure if I would have empathy on this level if it hadn’t been for our traumatic experience. I’ve learned to find gratefulness for my trauma, because it has lead me to this new life of serving women and their babies when they are most vulnerable and fragile, while also most powerful and strong. What a paradox to live in. I understand it completely now.
  5. Last, but not least, I’ve learned that dad’s really are superheroes. Or at least Cam is. Dad’s are almost always an afterthought. “How’s baby?, How are you?, oh yeah, How’s Cam?” It must suck to be forgotten like that. I know every family dynamic is different. For ours, I stay home and Cam goes to work. I struggle with not bringing home the bacon and I know he struggles with not seeing Ruby as much as he would like. But this is the dynamic we chose and it definitely is the right decision. But man, dads sometimes really get the short end of the stick. My best advice is to NEVR EVER EVER ask a dad if he’s babysitting the baby when the mom’s out. At least don’t ever ask Cam that question. I’ve learned right from the beginning that I can trust Cam and that he is equally as good a parent as I am. He is learning along with me and he is fully capable of raising Ruby. In July, I’ll be away for the weekend. The first time I’ll spend a night away from Ruby ever. I’m not scared of leaving her with Cam because I know things will be great. I am admittedly nervous about leaving her because I will miss the crap outta her and thats it. It has nothing to do with her not being taken care of by me. And that’s a really comforting thing. So allow your baby daddy to raise his child alongside you. Give him that beautiful opportunity. You’ll be getting a “break”, and you’ll let your child form a relationship with their dad that is oh so important.

Ruby-May’s Surgery

We are just over 4 weeks post operation and Ruby-May is doing amazing.

On April 3rd, we took her into the day surgery unit. I had been up since 3 am (expecting to give Ruby her last nurse feed) and was so scared/nervous/stressed. We said a very brief goodbye to her when one of the residents swiftly took her to the OR and went to find the family room to hang out for the next 4 hours. It was an excruciating 4 hour wait. Her surgeon came and talked to us, just under the 4 hour mark, and told us everything went wonderfully, she needed a blood transfusion, but that was normal and we can expect to see her in the ICU shortly. We were finally able to see her and I was expecting her to be super swollen, bloody and passed out. The swelling hadn’t started yet and she was very clean considering. She was extremely pale even her lips were white, and she wasn’t super active. She would whimper and whine and cry every so often, but mostly the morphine had her pretty sleepy. It was really hard for me to see her this way. Her incision made me pretty queasy and I was all around still really worried. The first 6 hours after surgery are the highest risk for neuro troubles, so her vitals were being checked every hour on the hour. Then, after 6 hours it was every 2 hours vitals check. Once we were out of the 6 hour window and she was responding well, I definitely felt more at ease. Earlier on when she was in the ICU, Cam and I decided to go out and get some lunch since we could relax a bit and it was an opportunity to leave her while she was still drugged up! That was nice, but we missed her so much. I had tried pumping that whole day during the times I’d usually nurse her so I wouldn’t get engorged but I wasn’t getting much milk. I became really uncomfortable and realized I had a blocked duct. I had one a few weeks prior and saw my favourite people at The Alex Breastfeeding Clinic and the doctor there was able to release the blockage. In the hospital though the pump wasn’t releasing it and it was getting so painful. This is where I’m reminded of how primal we mothers are. I had let stress and worry overcome me that whole day (and probably the day before too). I was exhausted, my back, shoulders, and neck were hard as rocks, resulting in a bad stress headache. I was emotionally drained and it was becoming clear in the way I kept breaking down crying throughout the day. Cam and I had decided that it would be best for me to go home that night and have Cam stay with Ruby in the hospital. It would be the only night where she wouldn’t wake to nurse and it would allow me to get some proper rest and take care of myself. This decision was difficult because it felt SO selfish. But then I quickly kicked myself and said no. I need to take care of myself for Ruby. I need to be in a healthy space. I want my children to be aware of their mental and physical health and what kind of example am I setting if i don’t take care of my own mental and physical self.

So. I went home, ate, drank lots of water, and slept 5 straight hours. In the morning I woke up, boob still blocked, and had a long hot shower. I was ready to see my girl. Everything was going well, and Ruby was having a textbook recovery. She was moved to the Neuro recovery where we stayed until Thursday afternoon. We were home for dinner.

Everything just went so well. I look back now and honestly often forget that it even happened. She still has some stitches but they’re melting away every day. Her head is so perfectly round. I couldn’t have imagined it to look like this. I didn’t realize how oblong it was until the made it round. Modern medicine is incredible. We are so thankful we were given this opportunity to have it done and so glad we did it. I’m amazed her recovery was so swift and non complicated. We got our funny, crazy, happy, girl back after only a few days. Truly amazing.

I thrived off the lovely messages from all our family and friends. I couldn’t have gotten through those days without it. If you were one of the people sending us love, please know it did not go unnoticed and it was so appreciated.

Sagittal Craniosynostosis

About a month ago Ruby caught a cold. It was a snotty and painful and resulted in a barky cough. She woke up in the middle on the night on friday night/saturday am and by sunday it hd gotten much worse. We ended up taking her to the children’s hospital because of the sound of her cough. They diagnosed her with croup, gave her a steroid and sent us home. The cough got significantly better but she was still very sick. On tuesday night we tried to feed her but she didn’t have an appetite at all. I tried to latch her twice in the middle of the night and she bit me hard both times so I figured she needed to rest and to let her sleep. She was waking on and off every few hours after that. I ended up needing to pump because I was getting so engorged and she wouldn’t nurse. We spent all of wednesday morning on the couch where she was extremely lethargic, pale, and sleepy. She kept flopping her head on my shoulder and it seemed at times she was struggling to breathe. I was worried. I kept trying to feed her some pumped milk from a bottle (something we haven’t done in months) and she ate about 1.5 oz which, in and 11 hour time frame is just an unacceptable amount of nutrition. I called Health Link and they advised we take her right away to the children’s hospital again. So Cam finished up what he was working on, rushed home, and by around 4 we went to emerg. They took us in right away and started Ruby on and IV for fluids, blood tests, x-ray, heart rate monitor, and they stuck a bag to her vagina to catch urine for a sample (less invasive than a catheter) Ruby was PISSED. So mad. After a few hours of the fluids she perked up a bit but was still very sick. Her oxygen levels were great but her heart rate was very high and her lungs sounded “crackly”. Her x-ray came back showing possible pneumonia and so she was treated for it with an antibiotic. They ended up transferring us to Peter Lougheed at around 2:30 am. They blocked Ruby’s IV and allowed us to drive her there ourselves so we didn’t have to wait for an ambulance. On the way there though Cam started to feel sick. He had to pull over to barf, and if any of you know Cam well, you know that he’s a big puker and this isn’t completely out of the ordinary. He was clearly having a hard time and feeling so sick. I grabbed him by the shoulders and loudly said, “I’m sorry you don’t feel good but I need you to PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER! We’ve got bigger things on our hands right now.” And he did. He breathed through it and we made it to the hospital. I’ll add that we had been up all evening/night with Ruby and didn’t eat lunch or dinner so we both were starving.

 

PLC was great, they were expecting us and had a room ready. Once we got there and kinda settled, Cam and I decided it was best if he went home to get some rest since he was expecting to work the next day. Our room in paediatrics had a crib and a bed and that’s it so there wen’t room for all 3 of us anyways. I tried my best to get some rest with Ruby but it was difficult with nurses and doctors coming and going. I was scared and exhausted and having hard time keeping track of time and remembering everything that was happening to Ruby. By the wee hours of the morning I started to get stomach cramps. I frantically called a nurse in to hold ruby so I could run to the washroom. Ruby was still attached to an IV and I couldn’t bring her with me anywhere-not that I wanted to. I started to get super sick and I knew right away that it was the stomach flu. By about 7 am I called my mom and asked her to bring me some food/drinks/and a change of clothes etc. She ran to my house and saw that Cam was still in bed and phoned me, I told her to wake him and get him to work, thinking he had overslept, but alas, he had the flu too. He had been up all night barfing. Thankfully, my mom was able to take the day off work and come be with us in the hospital. She hung out with Ruby the whole day while I was sick in bed unable to move.

 

I’m telling this part of the story because of two reasons. First, I find it hilarious. It’s one of those events as a parent that you will remember for the rest of your life. By the time it was all said and done in the hospital, Cam, Ruby, and I all laid up in our bed moaning and groaning. It was a sight. My mom offered to stay the night that night and we didn’t even have the energy to respond. We were pathetic, sick, helpless people. It was awful at the time, but now looking back it’s freaking hilarious.   The second reason is, if we hadn’t taken Ruby to PLC when we did, we would have never found out about Cranio Synostosis.

Ruby’s blood tests came back fine, she was septic which apparently was what they were worried about (??) She did have quite a bad ear infection so they sent us home with amox and wished us well. However, the paediatrician who was in duty during our stay came and chatted to me. He checked Ruby out many times and kept genie-in-the-lamp-rubbing her head. She was pretty pissed about this and made it known with screams and cries. he asked me if anyone has ever said anything about her head. I told her about her instrumental birth, the MRI for her hematoma, and her history with torticollis. He told me it appears to him that her two back skull plates have fused prematurely, meaning, as her brain and head grow, it will be restricted in the side/back. Her two front plates and the one plate at the very back were all separated like normal, but the other two were fused. He promptly asked if he could refer us to a specialist at the Children’s who would give us more answers. I agreed, though slightly annoyed. I asked if her head issue had anything to do with her being sick and he said oh no it’s just something he noticed. I Just thought, ok well thats being put on the back burner for now, I have more important fish to fry.

 

We had our appointment with he specialist who is a plastic surgeon. He took one look/feel of her head and agreed, she has  Sagittal Craniosynostosis. He told us all about it. He said it doesn’t have any impact on her brain/growth/development/health. It’s purely an issue about looks. He couldn’t tell us what she would look like as an adult or even an older child, but said her forehead would be even more prominent and the back of her head will narrow and be pointy. He said this “deformity” is completely spontaneous. I asked if it had to do with her birth or her torticollis and he said no. It was most likely fusing while I was pregnant with her. He said theres no real explanation and it’s not hereditary or genetic. It affects 1 in 2000 babies and Ruby’s form is mild-moderate. That being said he recommended we do the surgery. He reassured us that he does about 4-6 of these surgeries a month and the greatest risk is blood loss, so they prepare with blood for a transfusion. Now the surgery itself is very invasive. They essentially cut her head from ear to ear, open up her scalp, the take off the top of her skull. He then physically bends and reshapes her skull using his hands. He may saw off a bit of bone in order to open up the plates again and make more space. He will also use dissolving plates and screws to help achieve his shape. This information is equal parts fascinating and horrifying. He reassured us that he’s been doing this for 9 years and hasn’t had one case of death or brain damage. The babies spend 4 hours in surgery, 1 day in ICU, then 5 days in hospital. Then they are sent home with tylenol for pain management. He said they bounce back incredibly fast. Their incision usually heals after 2 weeks and then hair grows back over the scar in time. isn’t that just incredible?!

 

We’ve debated and have made the hard decision to go through with the surgery. My greatest fear would be if we said no and in 13 years she comes home from school crying because some jerk kids made fun of her big funny shaped head. I would be heart broken. There is a window when it comes to this surgery and it’s closing fast on us. She will be 11 months old and the doctor said he doesn’t do the surgery on babies older than 12 months. So we needed to act quickly.

 

I obviously have a lot of emotions about this. Im terrified. I feel ashamed for some reason. I also feel lucky that we were at PLC the exact time we were and were given this opportunity. I always knew Ruby’s head was very large and a bit oblong, but I always figures it was from the damn forceps and in time would round itself out. All the doctors and nurses we’ve seen in the last 9 months have never mentioned anything about her head shape or her plates. We would never have known if it wasn’t for our hospital visit. So in ways I do feel thankful. But I am still so scared. I’m very worried. I feel confident about our decision and I do trust this surgeon, but this is my baby. She’s so brilliant and sweet and gorgeous and I don’t want her to go through this invasive surgery. I don’t want her to be in pain. This has been a very difficult time for me, emotionally, JUST as my self-care was great and my mental health was strengthening. I feel constantly knocked over by something. Ruby’s first year of life has been the most emotionally and physically taxing year of my life and I do wonder when we will ever catch a break.

I am not a religious person, but I do know some of my reader and friends are. If you pray and or even believe in the power of positive thought and energies, please, send them our way. I promise I’ll take good care of them with much appreciation.

A little update

I’ve been off social media now for a month. I will admit I occasionally go on Facebook on my computer, briefly. And I deleted my instagram account and the app off my phone, but shortly signed back in and added my account to our iPad to occasionally scroll through. I surprised myself in that I haven’t wasted a lot of time on it. I’ll go in, check a few of my family and favourite follows, and re-read some of my own posts, then turn it off and find something to do. I’ve been so good at checking myself. So yay pat on the back for me. April 11 is 100 days from Jan 1st and that is still my goal.

So since being off I’ve noticed a few things.

  1. I have WAY more time. I can get shit done. I wash our dishes or actually nap during the day. I’m not up for 2 hours straight in the middle of the night looking at my phone. Its actually SO nice.
  2. I am happier. I have no one to compare my life to, thus am starting to feel good and content with what I got.
  3. Ruby’s milestones aren’t shared and plastered all over the place. The kid has done a lot since Christmas (crawling, pulling to stand, trying to walk, saying mamma) She also had a scary stint in the hospital and was pretty sick (along with Cam and I too) for a few days. I found myself not needing attention/feedback from others. I also don’t have any urge to brag about her development or about her in general.

All in all it feels really nice. I’m considering keeping off insta for a long time. I guess we’ll see after the 100 days but yea, i feel good.

 

As far as my mental health, I had a great discussion with my breastfeeding doctor (Dr.C) I mentioned her before and how incredible she was at the beginning of motherhood for me. She basically put in my referral for perinatal mental health program. She also offered to take on my prenatal care and be on call when I go into labour if I was to become pregnant again. She gave me so much reassurance that second births tend to heal bad firsts and that I’m much more likely to have a positive and healing experience if the doctor delivering is someone I know and trust and have a relationship with. She is definitely one of those people. Words can’t describe how freeing and reassuring hearing that was. I felt so supported and cared for. For her to offer to not only take me on as a patient for prenatal care, but for me to be bale to call her when I go into labour and essentially be my midwife doctor, it was just such lovely news. Just that reassurance alone has put my mind at ease. I’m currently on a 12 week wait list to see a counsellor for mental health, more specifically, PTSD and I am ok with that wait as I’m feeling quite good these days.

Postpartum Depression

Why do I feel shame just writing that title? Why is there that stigma?

They tell us about baby blues. You can feel an occasional sadness, often coupled with sleep deprivation and a sore body post birth. These things are normal but the more you learn your baby, your body heals, and your routine begins, the more the baby blues disappear and you can live in this blissful, happy parenthood life. But what if that sadness doesn’t go away? What if you have it extremely so for 3 months, then it does go away for a few months, then it comes back and knocks you right over?

The words “postpartum depression” get caught in my throat and I choke on them. But I keep saying them in hopes that I’ll feel less alone, and less ashamed. I talk to mom friends I know (who are in their 40’s) and say those choking words. Some easily relate. Most give me a lot of reassurance.

“It is SO hard”

And it really is. No one really tells you just how hard it is, until you are in the thick of it, drowning, gasping for air. Silently begging for someone to relate to you. Feeling weighed down by the appearance of perfect lives splattered all over social media. The shame kicks in and you are embarrassed that you feel this way. You are SO worried about what other people think of you. You overcompensate by first posting #humblebrags then by getting real, then, when thats not making you feel better, by breaking up with instagram for an indefinite amount of time. You feel sad that you’ve fallen into this category. You stress about how your husband feels about you and your skills as a mother. Does he worry about the welfare of our child every morning when he leaves for work? Does anyone else worry about her? Do they think I’ll hurt her? If I say the words: postpartum depression to the wrong person will they want to take my baby away from me? You begin to doubt your feelings: I am fine. Women with postpartum depression drown their babies, or leave them in a dumpster, right? Thats not me. But then why do I feel this way? Why am I sad? Why am I overwhelmed? Who do I hate my body? Why am I not loving myself anymore? Why am I not like all the other new moms on my phone who have immaculate houses and great sex and go for runs and cook good meals everyday? How come when they share their lives, it looks nothing like mine? Am I just lazy? Then you really start doubting yourself as a mom: Are we wrecking our child by co-sleeping? Should I stop breastfeeding her soon? Maybe we are doing her a disservice by not letting her watch tv, or play in a jolly jumper?

 

 

I know the specifics of my experience are the reason I’m traumatized. They’re the reason my sadness doesn’t float away like it should. I know this and I’m getting help for it. But I really want to know why the fuck do I have so much doubt? Why is it that I question everything, doubt my instincts, ignore the obvious fact that my child is extremely healthy, happy, and clever? Why is it that theres this competition and pressure to uphold an image of perfection 24/7? I’m sick of it. Social media is the culprit in my eyes. For New Years, I decided to go 100 days without social media. Specifically without instagram and Facebook. I want to ignore the bullshit fake lives people are living just to get a “like”.

I want to live my life and raise our daughter without constant comparison with other moms. I want to increase my mental health and I believe the first step is to delete my apps and spend more time outside. Spend more time observing Ruby. Playing with her. Connecting to her. We shower together and she sits in the tub playing with her bath toys, happy as a clam. Every few mins I pick her up and hold her under the hot water. She gets water in her eyes but doesn’t mind. She laughs and giggles and shows me all 6 of her teeth. I feel like a mom. I feel like she’s mine. I chat with her and make up songs and clean her body. We get out and I put lotion on her and she smells incredible and is so baby soft. We lay in bed and I nurse her and then we take a nap. We wake up sweaty and groggy and itching to play and move. In those moments I forget the self-doubt. I know what I am doing is good and right and she is so well cared for. So I decided I’m going to really try tuning out the perfection of social media. I’m going to focus on her, on myself, on getting better, and on being Cam’s girl again. I’m going to continue talking to my doctors and therapists. I’m going to try hard at not feeling ashamed for something that affects about 10% of postpartum women. I’ve become that stat and I’m trying to be ok with that, because what I’ve experienced can hopefully become a beacon of hope to another struggling mom one day. I get it. It’s SO hard. I’m recognizing it and making changes for the better. I tell myself I WILL get better. I WILL find myself again. I WILL work hard for this, just like I worked hard to get pregnant, I worked hard to have a vaginal birth, I worked hard to breastfeed, and I worked hard to heal. I can persevere and I will overcome this, even if that means admitting I need help, and getting that help. I can do it. And if you’re reading this and feeling similar feelings, you can do it too. Our babies are worth it, our husbands are worth it, but especially, we are SO worth it.