I didn’t like my other post on my labor experience so I decided to write it again in a different way. The step by step process with the time frame seems better to me, it flows easier, so here it is. 😄 This also includes (as you can tell by the title) how I realized I had postpartum depression and how I dealt with it.
Had my last OB appointment before baby arrived. She said I was 80-90% effaced and not even a whole cm dilated. It looked like I would need to be induced. I cried on the way home, because every day I was pregnant I was scared something would happen to Aiden and I wouldn’t know since I couldn’t just look in my stomach to see if the cord was where it should be, or check if his heart rate was okay. That night I went to bed miserable and in tons of pain.
My due date finally arrived, and I went though the day contracting, but didn’t want to be turned away from the hospital again. I cried all day from the discomfort and emotional toll of the final week of pregnancy. Towards the evening I started working out super hard, doing squats like a madwoman and eating spicy foods. I was determined to go into active labor w/out induction, since I was terrified of being pregnant much longer.
Around 9-10 pm Bryce and I were binge watching our favorite Netflix show, (it’s Luke Cage, in case you were wondering) and I heard these super loud popping sounds coming from my belly, I noticed they were happening as Aiden kicked. (And it felt like a rubber band snapping hard inside my stomach kinda?) I also felt a “gush” down there, but saw almost nothing in my underwear so I assumed it was not hospital trip (for the twelth time) worthy.
Oct. 7th; 12 am:
Cramping continues and so does the bizzare popping noise and feeling. I debate with myself on if I should go to the hospital. I decide to wait it out until my “water breaks”, which according to my OB meant a stream of fluid would rush out onto the floor like in movies, or I couldn’t handle the pain any more. That afternoon and evening I was miserable but waited anyway. Did a TON of squats even though I wanted to pass out.
Oct. 7th; 11 pm:
Told Bryce and my mom I wanted to go to ER, asked them if we could wait a few hours while I tried to break my water with more exercise. They agreed and it became a waiting game once more.
Oct. 8th; 2 am: I go to the hospital. Something feels different but I don’t know why, I just am relaxed and ready to get checked.
The nurses had me undress and put on the hospital gown and wait, the procedure I’d gone through in the last 3 months more times than I’d care to admit. They checked my cervix, and with a frown, informed me I’d stayed at less than 1 cm and my cervix wasn’t ripe. They could see I was upset and suggested Bryce and I walk around the maternity wing and try to induce stronger contractions. We walk for an hour, come back, and one of the nurses suddenly asked “have you noticed anything abnormal the last few days?” I looked at Bryce and shrugged and said “We heard popping from my stomach on my due date, and I had a little more discharge I guess.” She got a concerned look on her face and asked if I’d gotten a swab yet (to check for amniotic fluid), when I told her I hadn’t, she suggested I do. I agreed, still feeling hopeless and depressed. She did the swab test and said it would read like a pregnancy test. After about 2 minutes she excused herself and said “One sec. I need to call your OB.”
Bryce and I were confused but I instantly had a wave of relief pass over me and I whispered, “I think my water broke honey.” The nurse came back in, beaming with joy and said “Alright we need to do an ultrasound to see baby’s placement, then you’re ready to be induced since your body won’t dilate!” With caution I asked, “So.. Was the test positive?” She smiled and said it was definitely amnotic fluid, and that it can rupture slowly over the course of days, she explained it could become fatal if the baby isn’t born within 48-36 hours of water breaking, since they’ll be exposed to germs and have nothing to protect them.
Excitedly they tell us Aiden is head down and sunny side up, and I’m ready to be induced. I call Kassidee (my best friend) and my friend Izzie (who is the photographer) and they come to the hospital.
Oct. 8th; 4:30 am:
The nurse started a pitocin IV (and penicillin since my water had broke) and my body didn’t cooperate. My whole body starts shaking around 5:30 am, I’m warm enough but trembling, so they tell me they need to give me an epidural then or I wouldn’t get one later (since I’d be moving around too much). In fear I agree and the anesthesiologist came in.
I got the epidural and became so tired I could cry, it was a cold, miserable looking room with the blinds open, letting in a depressing pale blue light. I fell asleep to the sound of the “My Cat From Hell”show playing on the hospital TV.
I wake up, the nurse informed me my OB wouldn’t be coming in and I’d have an on call doctor, he came in when I was 3cm dilated with the plastic hook and tore my amniotic sac open, only to find there was hardly any fluid at all, which is concerning. Bryce’s mom had brought food, and I wanted to eat SO bad but the nurses forced my family and friends to not give me anything even though I was still barely dilated. The doctor leaves after a few moments without a word to anyone but the nurses, and once he was gone I fell asleep again.
No progress yet, still starving, and with no good shows on TV, I decide to try to make as much conversation as possible while as tired as I was. My words are slurring, I’m still very out of it, and even breathing seems like work. I fell asleep again after another cervix check.
Woke up ravenous and feeling awake finally, my legs were tingling, and when my mom touched my feet to comfort me, I almost puked from the nearly painful sensations that shot up through my legs. The nurse wouldn’t give me anything but apple juice, and I watched longingly as my friends and family ate donuts, cookies, chips, etc and I hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours. At this point I was 4 cm dilated and stayed awake to chat with everyone.
Kass had left to go home and shower since my labor was taking forever, she’d been gone a half hour when the nurses informed me I was 9 cm dilated and it was almost time to push. I excitedly beg my mom to call her, and she shows up just in time for me to start pushing. She, my grandma, Izzie, Bryce, and my mom are all in the room with me.
My contractions had progressed, I was at 10 cm dilated and started pushing. The nurses turn down the lights so I’m almost in darkness, which I had wanted, before actually being stuck in a dark room with the blue haze from a monitor as the only lighting close to me. I felt alone and scared even in a room full of people and even more family/friends hanging out in the waiting room. The beeping sounds of machines were the only sound I could hear aside from my grandma and Kass whispering on the other side of the room. After about 4 big pushes I started to feel my legs and let a nurse know. She calmed me and said it’s okay and I can use the button on my IV to get more medication. Out of fear I’d have to push without pain relief, I pressed it as soon as I felt even a little bit for about 20 minutes, then the medicine had ran out and the nurses told me I can’t have any more or I won’t feel myself pushing. I try to suck it up and just push with all my might, hoping to have it over quickly before I felt anything else. By 8:45 pm I was in so much pain, the feeling had first come back in my feet, then legs, then hips and back. Aiden STILL wasn’t any closer then than he had been at 8, and I’m BEGGING the nurse to take my catheter out, it hurt so much to push with it in. She kept saying “One more push, one more push” over and over and I was furious after going through this for 30 minutes already. Finally she says “Just a couple more pushes” and I stare her down and ask (threateningly) “You promise?”. She sighs and says “No, I can’t promise. But at 9:15 I’ll call the doctor in.” That was 15 minutes away, I was feeling powerful and ready to get the doc in the room. I gripped the sides of the bed, my mom and Bryce get on either side of me and (as instructed) hold my legs up, so that my knees are to my chest and I’m showing literally everyone there my lady parts in full view. I’m sobbing, I’m exhausted, and had been pushing for an hour. Finally I beg the nurse again to take out the catheter or get the doctor, and she opts for the doctor.
The doctor comes in, doesn’t speak to me or anyone but the nurse who’s looking into my vagina intently (and still hasn’t taken out the catheter), and then sits in front of me and starts wedging his fingers in and feels Aiden’s head. He was about to crown, the doctor removes the catheter, and I can’t see clearly (my glasses had come off while pushing and I didn’t put them on again), so I’m getting more nervous and want everything done already. By 9:45 I had given up. I told the doctor I was done trying to push, and they were going to have to cut me open with a cesarean. I was protesting against natural labor, I was begging for meds even though I knew I wouldn’t get any, and I tried to put my legs down. Suddenly I felt this horrific pain (probably Aidens head hitting my pelvic bone hard) and instantly screamed and put my legs back up. The nurses, Izzie, and my mom kept saying “Channel your anger into pushing! You’re almost there!” And when I tried it seemed to do almost nothing. Finally the doctor said “I’m not going to help you. I’m not getting him out, you are. Push.” I realized at that moment that Aiden could be stillborn if I didn’t get him out soon. I pushed with determination and desperation I’d never felt before, and it was barely enough to get his head out. I felt everything. You know how when you take the filling out of a turkey, you can see how their whole bottom half is like a giant crater? That’s what I looked like while pushing him out. I can only describe the pain as being broken open and apart down there, including pelivc bone, tailbone, and lady parts, while having someone beat your stomach with a baseball bat, and having diharrea and period cramps simultaneously. NEVER would I wish that kind of pain on anyone. It was the worst pain of my life. Aiden’s head and shoulders were out but he was stuck at the chest, and not breathing. I didn’t know I had to keep pushing until the doctor yelled at me, and I pushed with all my might until he had completely come out. The doctor used the little nose suction thing on him, but he still didn’t scream, or move, and he was entirely gray. Bryce was able to quickly cut the cord, then the pediatric nurse took him and put him in the warming bed.
Aiden was born. He had been pinched and warmed up under a heat lamp for a few seconds and finally turned red and let out a strong warrior cry. Aiden had been to hell and back, teetering on my pelvic bone for hours and finally coming through (as I was screaming hysterically). He was as much of a trooper as I had been, and I admire him for even making it through such a traumatic birth. I hadn’t even got to see his face yet, and didn’t have glasses on to see him from a distance, but everyone was saying “he’s so beautiful, he’s so precious”, and I was beyond jealous that everyone got to see him before me, and that he was getting all the attention while I was being stitched up (I had torn internally) and crying the whole time. Bryce and Izzie stayed by my side, but all I wanted was to see my son. I didn’t want to hold him, because I was scared I’d resent him for the pain I went through, but seeing his little face and knowing he was okay would’ve been enough. I sobbed, the doctor was abrupt and rude and yelled at me to “stop screaming” (as he was pushing with all his strength on my stomach to stop the hemorrhaging), yanking my placenta by the umblicial cord (which is supposed to deliver on it’s own), and stitching my lady parts. My placenta tore from the force and came out in three large chunks, so I said goodbye to the idea of turning it into capsules or checking for a true knot in the cord. Because of the placenta ripping, I bled more than I should’ve. I felt so drained and miserable, I felt like once Aiden was born no one, especially nurses, cared about my wellbeing and only cared about him. I was in no way jealous of MY SON, but I was shocked everyone completely ignored me as I was laying there crying because they could go look at Aiden instead. Finally the nurse gave me a shot of meds (probably morphine) in my thigh but it was not even enough to take the edge off. Thirty minutes after birth they laid him on my chest and told me to nurse him. I did NOT want to after being in as much pain as I was in, but they forced me to sit up and pulled my bra down so he could latch. His mouth was so small he didn’t latch right, and the nursing felt like burning on my nipple. As soon as he was done I handed him back. The nurse told me afterwards that I didn’t feel the pain completely or I would be able to walk. I immediately got up (without accepting help) and tried to go pee, only to discover I couldn’t actually make my urethra work with me. I sighed, got up, washed my hands, and tried to walk out the door. The nurse stopped me and said I proved my point, apologized, and offered me a wheelchair. I sat down and as they wheeled me to the recovery room, I heard the chime to “Rockabye Baby” (the sound they play through the speakers in the maternity ward when a baby is born) and it seemed like a blaring, taunting, and almost creepy tune, after going through everything.
We were in my room, I was so tired, and Aiden was still fussing. I held him for a little bit, but I felt very reserved and distant from him at first. I had massive guilt for not feeling “connected” yet, but I also knew I couldn’t force myself to. I slept for an hour and a half before being woken up for a “massage” on my stomach, which felt like being karate chopped and punched in the gut. Then as I finally fell asleep again, Aiden woke up wanting to eat. It was like I couldn’t even give my body time to recover without being interrupted, and I could barely function.
My mom left the hospital to go home and sleep, Bryce and I let the nurses take him to the nursery room and we were able to get some sleep. At 3 am, a nurse woke us up to let us know Aiden was sent to the NICU. Since he wouldn’t calm down, and was acting constantly hungry, they tested his blood and saw he had jundice since he wasn’t getting enough milk to filter out the red blood cells through his pee/poop. He stayed there three long days. Before going into labor, for weeks I had white milk in fairly large amounts that would soak the bed during the night and leak through my shirts in the day. I had to wear breast pads daily. When I gave birth, I had almost no milk and it was gold/yellow in color. I don’t know how it decreased so much but I didn’t get a good amount back until I was 3-4 days postpartum.
Vag recovery? Like 5 weeks postpartum. Took FOREVER to feel human again down there. The first week I could barely move, and couldn’t wash there without feeling like I ripped my stitches. At two weeks I could sit down without crying. At three weeks I could walk without much pain. By the 4th week I could bend and walk without pain and started walking on the treadmill again. At week 5 I still couldn’t do anything sexual but could function pretty normally. I couldn’t have intercourse until 8 weeks postpartum, and even then it was painful until week 10.
- One week postpartum I’m beyond stressed between seeing Aiden every 3 hours in the NICU to waking up constantly to nurse him once he was home. I’m getting only 1-1.5 hours of interrupted sleep in a row.
- Two weeks postpartum I notice I’m really irritable and tired 24/7. I’m fighting with everyone over small things and don’t want to breastfeed or do anything but sleep. My lady parts are barely feeling less painful.
- Three weeks postpartum I’m yelling at everyone I love, and still not feeling connected to my son. I took pain medications almost daily (even when they weren’t 100% needed).
- 1 month postpartum I tell my counselor and get help.
By 7 weeks I really started bonding with my son, his expressions and smiles have blossomed since then and I feel back to my old self (in the best ways) again. ❤
The 1. way I fought the depression was simply TALKING about it with people I care about. I didn’t need antidepressants, though some women do, and it’s okay to need them.
- PLEASE, if you don’t like breastfeeding, DO NOT let people pressure you into it. The choice is personal and only YOU get to decide what to do.
- It’s okay to be overwhelmed and ask for help! You are still a great parent even if you can’t do everything on your own!
- Try to budget enough to eat delivery/fast food meals the first couple weeks postpartum. You probably won’t have energy to cook.
- Don’t stress about your postpartum body for the first 6 weeks after giving birth. Your body is just fine and you can work on it later. If you work out too soon your muscles can move into the wrong places and you will be in pain for years.
- It’s okay to not feel a bond to your baby right away, sometimes it takes days or weeks, and that’s normal.
- It’s okay to cry (or mourn) your labor and delivery experience. It doesn’t always work out as expected and can be the opposite of what you want, it’s okay to be upset, just don’t wallow for weeks.