Friday, February 18, 2011

Beauty & the Bitch

Hello hormones, welcome back. Now beat it.
Like roller coasters? Great. Give birth and breastfeed. Holy moly hormones. Sometimes I think I have multiple personality disorder but then it occurs to me, “Oh yeah, I’m riding the hormone-coaster from hell… again.
Mood swings have become more acceptable in today’s society for women prior to their cycles- even joked about by most.  What we don’t talk about a lot is postpartum depression after delivering.  It’s still a  hush hush topic and spoken of very delicately. Well, as the big mouth mommy blogger, I am here to hopefully begin to change that. It exists and it landed in my world this time.
I thought I was on top of the world a few days after delivering when I arrived home and was immediately eager to get out and grocery shop, pick my kids up from school, go to the mall to grab a few things, do the usual errands, take all 4 kids to the beach for the day as well as lunch with friends and family. I proudly checked in on Facebook with my status mentioning date night 4 days after I delivered, displayed pictures of my new babe and me with a smile and a “glow,” as I cooked dinner for my new family of 6 wearing my baby in sling. Essentially, I made sure the rest of the world new that I am a SUPERMOM.
That was until the 18 wheeler hormone fun bus from Hell plowed into me about two weeks later. Initially, I decided I was tired and the round-the- clock nursing was taking a lot out of me. As I felt a little disconnected from my friends and began to lose an interest in virtually everything except the baby, I just wrote that off as nature’s way of forcing me in to the cave to bond with baby. My appetite dwindled down and I couldn’t be bothered to eat much, I was just thrilled that I would be shaking my muffin top sooner than later. This continued and I secretly tried to wish it away and hope it was fleeting.
I tried everything. I went for a walk with my two youngest and tried to enjoy a perfect temperature day and the privilege of taking a mid afternoon stroll with these beautiful babies. I couldn’t wait to get home and get back into bed. Screw nature and scenery. I tried spending time at the beach with my kids- the sand was gritty and annoying and the sun was too bright. Back to the cave please.  I tried wearing a little make-up during the day (for myself), wearing the white sexy camisole that I think makes my boobs look fabulous- ( you know the one… you know you wash it three days in a row when you feel like looking sexy).  I drank a goblet of wine before and after dinner. Yes, it’s fine for the baby, back off.  Things just went downhill and soon enough, there wasn’t much room to hide this. Turned out, the rest of the planet had not become especially annoying in the last week, my husband isn’t an insensitive jerk (poor guy almost lost his life to set a Shun knives I received as a Mother’s Day gift last year- that would have made for an interesting newspaper headline)… The ugly truth is I was suffering from a bit of postpartum depression (PPD).
We hear of postpartum depression and many of us think of the ultra depressed new mother who can’t get out of bed, cannot connect with or even refuses their new baby affection… we immediately make judgments about it based on what we have seen in the movies or what we have heard- which for me was limited- No one I know talks about it. While PPD can be as extreme as that, it’s often not.  As I have become more aware of what I am feeling, I have mentioned my symptoms to some of my closer friends who are moms and the response has been more often than not, “Oh, wow, I think I went through that…” or “I went though that too but I didn’t have postpartum depression.”
Yes, you did- you just didn’t realize it. One doesn’t have to display all of the possible symptoms to have been considered postpartum- For example, I never felt disconnected from any of my children- I still maintained my libido (surprise surprise coming from a woman who gets pregnant three weeks after delivering), and I didn’t experience thoughts about hurting myself – just my husband and quite frankly, that happens all the time not just postpartum.
The first few weeks after delivering are supposed to be some of the most special times - a time to be savored. Well, it’s scary as shit to feel your personality slip away only to be replaced with a case of the super BLAHS, loss of appetite, a lack of desire to do anything, including get out of bed. As scary as it is for me, I can’t imagine what went through my husband’s mind as I awakened him out of a deep sleep one night after an amazing and romantic dinner out so I could scream at him about leaving faucet running, cry about something completely ridiculous and command a discussion about one of our other kid’s issues that was keeping “me” up. Actually, I take that back, I can imagine what he thought, “Oh my God. Sybil.”
Yeah, well too bad – if I have to ride the hormone fun bus from Hell, so do you my love. 

That is why I wrote this tonight. I didn’t write it to complain or make an excuse for not having written for two weeks. I wrote it to help.  If we can educate or at least create more of an awareness about PPD, it will become much easier to identify this in ourselves, sisters and girlfriends. From there, we know that it’s much easier to find support and treatment if we know what’s happening and don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed to discuss it.  I do wish this blog entry could reflect more of my usual, quick witted and humorous writing but that isn’t me right now, temporarily.
Through all of this, I maintain that I am grateful for it. All of it.  I am utterly grateful to have crazy hormones caused by giving birth to an amazing baby boy- a perfectly healthy child. I am grateful to my muffin top as it is what allowed my body to stretch and carry my baby. I practically worship my tribal titties (yes, the look like something out of National Geographic)… as sore as they are and as uncomfortable it is to awaken all throughout the night soaked in breast milk (oh, the smell)…I feel very fortunate to have the ability to breastfeed full time and on demand to my baby. I see my dark circles under my eyes and feel privileged to be able to be up with my little guy all night to feed and comfort him as he tries to get used to being out of the womb. The kind of bonding a mom gets from those nights is priceless.  And if the price I am paying is a ride on the hormonal fun bus, I am happy. At the end of this, I am happy again. A little acupuncture to get my Chi stronger and life through my eyes started to play out in color.
My wish for you, my blog readers, my friends and anyone else that reads this is for you to become aware of the power hormones have over us. Whether we are referring to menstrual cycles, pregnancies, birth and postpartum, or menopause, it’s a great idea to respect them. Read up on them, talk about them, they are real and clearly, much easier to deal with if one knows she is at risk for their surges. As soon as I realized I was experiencing PPD, I knew what I needed to do – seek help- but I wasn’t ready to. I think I was a little disappointed that I was going through this and I wasn’t sure I was prepared to mention it directly to my husband or friends ( as if they didn’t know that Sybil was a little “off.”  Smile   It was actually my husband who came home early from work once day and said, “Have you made your appointment with Dan or Susan yet?” “No, I will soon.” He replied, “How about we go down there today?”  He held the baby for 2 hours while I had an intense acupuncture session.
I am happy to say that I feel things looking up and I will be back to my sassy- ass humor in no time. In the meantime, thank you for letting me share my experience with you. I look forward to writing a more typical blog entry in the very soon future. And I have some great news to share with you…. I am pleased to announce that I was able to relocate my ankles. They are back and looking as ankle-y as ever.  And as you would expect with me, I am once again, full of gratitude…Open-mouthed smile

A tid bid a humor to add to this:
So, tonight my husband and I grabbed a quite dinner at D'Angelo' in Fort Laudy. We were seated near a very large (300lbs+) man who kept peering over to me.Many like to look and check out the sling we have  the baby in so I never think much of it. Later, we were all in the valet and Mr. 300lbs turned to us and said, "Well, I am relieved to see she has  baby in there. I spent my dinner worrying she was severely deformed."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Birth, Fembots & Muffin tops

Sabbatical is over. Sorry, had to go deliver a babe.  Luke was born January 17- he was 8.5 pounds and over 20 inches- but let’s be honest- WHO really cares about what babies weigh if they’re healthy and in the normal range?  Why is it we all feel compelled to include the weight and inches on every piece of literature and in every conversation when a baby is born? Is it because we are all competing to have bigger babies?  Who’s vag had to stretch more?  Who was able to eat more steroid injected foods and pop out an 11 pound babe with a tooth sticking out? Well, for me it was definitely not about the poundage, I was 38 weeks and ready to pull Bam Bam out myself if he didn’t make an appearance (refer to previous blog post).
Some things about the hospital stay I must admit I enjoy- staying in my pjs all day and night, not having to do anything but anticipate Nurse Battle Ax with my Scooby snacks every 4-6 hours (Motrin & Percocet),visits from friends bearing gifts and flowers and of course, no other kids to tend to for a couple days. Things I can do without- well let's name them in order… THE BATHROOM, Nurse Battle Ax and friends coming in every hour the first 24 hours for some reason or another ( I mean really, do I need to sign my refusal for the flu shot for Bam Bam and me at 3am in the dark after a dose of Percocet? I could be signing my organs away for all I know). PLEASE.  Wouldn’t it make more sense to let a woman who just labored 9 hours to sleep a couple of hours?  Love having my meals delivered but I would rather eat graham crackers and peanut butter for 2 days than eat what they bring. I’ll need more Percocet for that please.
Then it’s time to return home and bring on the postpartum fun. It’s a paradox to me as to the rush we are in to deliver the baby to welcome all that we experience postpartum. As I stare in awe at my new little mini-me, and all those maternal loving thoughts flood my mind and heart, I cannot believe the pain as my uterus contracts during breastfeeding, the pain in my udders is utterly unbearable. Don’t tell me the bleeding and cracked nipples is from latching wrong! I have done this 4 times and this kid apparently came into this life to EAT (he began on the L & D table 5 minutes after birth). I could pass on the super hot mesh diapers I have to wear the first few days. Love the hot flashes and chills during the first few weeks of breastfeeding.  Nothing like showering before bed to awaken to your hair stuck to your neck and your boobs feeling like they are super-glued down with sweat and dripping breast milk. Hungry yet?  Oh, and I had a little Pitocin during labor and doc said it causes water retention for up to a couple weeks. I have yet to find my ankles. 
I’ll never forget after the first baby my husband and I had, the “Fembot” moment.  If you have nursed and been intimate with your partner shortly thereafter, you know.  If you haven’t, prepare yourself. Oxytocin is fabulous. It is a neurotransmitter synthesized by the hypothalamus at the base of the brain. During sexual activity and in childbirth, it prompts the desire to nuzzle and protect infants. Oxytocin induces feelings of love, warmth, calm, bonding, tenderness and togetherness, sexual arousal and sexual fulfillment. It is during orgasm in both men and women that oxytocin floods through our bloodstream. It also makes your tits squirt milk after an orgasm. A little advice, avoid the top position. Your husband will thank you.  Refer to my Fembot reference… remember Austin Powers? Memorable moment for sure.  My husband is still talking about it 3 years later.
Oh…. and the muffin top. The DAMN muffin top. We knew this was coming. Yet, I still would rather the muffin top as it droops over my pants and shapes me like a Bosc pear:
than third trimester pregnancy… So, welcome back teletubbie belly.  I'm going to get my friend Pilates to kick your ass.
This blog could get quite long as we list the Joys of Post Pardum Bliss.  I couldn’t be happier, however.  I am quite confident that Mother Nature plans it this way- She casts the spell of misery over a woman in the end of the pregnancy so memorable that she will be all the more grateful for baby Bam Bam upon arrival. Welcome back Fembots and muffin top. So happy to see you.
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