Motherhood, Year Three, Year Two

Month 2 with 2

My 2nd son was born two months ago, and let me tell you these first two months have been a whirl-wind of activity. It has required a lot of adjustment.

I am going to follow the same format as I did throughout my eldest son’s first year. I found keeping track of his milestones and my own mental state was a great tactic for my posts and getting out my thoughts. I realize I didn’t really do a post for the first month like I did with my eldest son, however if you have more than one child you understand that first month takes a lot of adjusting. I’m honestly surprised I have the time or energy to pump out this post out.

Mental Health:

Honestly, I feel like having a second baby fixed me. With my first I was so depressed, I was crying and angry all of the time. With this baby, yeah I have had a few crying fits, masks-833421_1280but life around here has been very stressful and I’m pretty sure I would have cried even if I had not just had a baby with some of the things that have been going on. I feel like I have a renewed sense of energy and purpose. I also feel guilt though, because I didn’t feel this way with my first. I feel like I made a lot of mistakes after he was born, because I allowed my depression to control me. However, even with that deep sense of guilt I find myself becoming even more connected with my first born son. He is such a good big brother and I couldn’t be more proud of him. Overall, I’m pretty excited most days, I’m excited about our future, and about this new bundle of squishy joy we have in our lives. I know we still have a long way to go and that Post Partum depression can pop up anytime within the first year of giving birth to a new baby. I’m being diligent and I’m doing my best to stick to a routine and get myself and the boys out of the house regularly. This combined with my daily magnesium supplement seems to really be helping a lot.

How baby is doing:

He is just the most beautiful little squishy thing I have ever laid my eyes on. We learned at around 3 weeks that he is allergic to pork. He had green runny diarrhea poop for about a week after Christmas. We ate ham for Christmas and had it for leftovers most of the week following. The one day I didn’t eat any of the leftover ham his poop started to go back to normal, so I completely avoided all pork for a week and by the end of the week his poop was back to the mustard yellow you want with breastfed babies. His gas issues even cleared up for the most part. The poor little guy also appears to have eczema, which I have been treating with coconut oil. So far so good. He doesn’t sleep well at night, unless he is next to me, which is fine, but I am looking forward to us being able to start sleep training. He doesn’t mind tummy time, though I really should be more consistent with it. (Again working on that routine.)

How Brother is adjusting:

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My son’s baby Charles Joseph, and Wesley Dominique.

Wesley has his good and bad days. There are days when he really wants attention and gets into everything and wants to help with everything. I am working really hard with him on providing things for him to do to be helpful as well as making sure he gets individualized attention and social interaction with other children his age. He really seems to love his little brother and asks to hold him at least once a day. I usually place brother in his arms, while I support his head for a couple of minutes until Wesley becomes bored and then I take him back. This whole experience of finding new things for my eldest to do, both while breastfeeding and changing diapers has been an interesting one. I am learning so many new tricks as a mom in terms of multi-tasking.

Life as a Breastfeeding Mama:

This go round I feel like an expert. My milk came in pretty quickly, thanks to Pineapple juice and oatmeal cookies. I also don’t get engorged as often, however I feel like I am leaking a lot more. It seems every hour or two I’m having to grabbaby-21167_1280 a burp cloth or towel and shove it down my shirt to keep from turning my floors into a sticky milk mess. So many mama’s talk about their issues with under supply, and I really wish I could collect all the milk that I feel gets wasted into my clothes and onto my floor, because I feel like I could feed an army of rugrats with the amount that leaks from me constantly. I also can’t wear a bra, because I can’t find one that will still fit me a week later after I have bought it, being well endowed with both milk and boobs definitely has its cons. My plan this time was to do more baby wearing to make feeding on the go or while I did other things easier. I have mastered the newborn setting of my k-tan and wear Charles on most outings, he really seems to love it and it definitely makes feeding on the go easier. All around I am really starting to love and enjoy breastfeeding and am starting to understand what other mothers mean about the breastfeeding bond.

circle-304524_1280Tips and Tricks:

  • I had two in diapers for most of the past two months, we have started potty training so hopefully we will be only buying diapers for one very shortly. What I learned about having two in diapers is its best to change the eldest diaper first, because theirs tend to be messier as they are eating a more solid diet and the blowout from that could be tragic.
  • Coconut oil is very helpful with eczema on babies.
  • When you have one kid who is no longer breastfeeding and one who is, make sure the one who isn’t breastfeeding has a meal or snack already waiting for them when you feed during the day. If they have already eaten make sure they have an activity to distract them.

So do you have any tips for raising two boys? I’d love to read them, share in the comments below.

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Motherhood, Year One, Year Three, Year Two

Preparing for and Dealing with Postpartum Depression

I originally wrote the following post back in September of 2017, while I was still very pregnant with my second baby boy. He is of now 6 weeks old and I am feeling absolutely amazing. Its a complete 180 from my first postpartum experience and if I’m being honest I think having a second baby is what finally pulled me out of the long depression I had myself stuck in. I’m choosing to go ahead and post this in hopes that it might help another mama out there. 6 weeks postpartum and I have so much energy, I feel even more bonded to my first baby who is now 2 in a half and I am working hard to help get my family to the place it needs to be financially. In fact I had so much energy after the birth of my second I went out and found a job just one week postpartum. I feel like a combination of supermom and crazy.

It is estimated that 80% of women will deal with some form of postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, or postpartum psychosis following the birth of a child. Some women may even experience pre-natal depression or anxiety. It is important for anyone experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression to speak with their Dr.fear-2903342_640

I’ve been doing a lot of healing exercises lately. I realized recently that I’ve been in a cycle of depression for I’m not sure how long. I estimate I have been in this cycle, probably since I hit puberty. For as long as I can remember summer break was always depressing and anxiety ridden for me, because I no longer had the mandatory school schedule and day to look forward to. After graduation I had a plan for my future, but an unplanned pregnancy threw my plan off road. I was no longer able to just “fake it till I made it.” then postpartum depression set in and I could barely function for a while. I am pregnant again and I sort of have a plan, but again I know I’m just going with the flow, taking those baby steps expected of me to move forward. I know once this baby is born I’m going to once again find myself in the overwhelm that is postpartum depression.

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Postpartum depression has many forms and showcases in many ways. For me I was exhausted, unmotivated, irritated, angry, and just sad. The sadness was probably the worst part, because it made me feel lonely, my loneliness fueled my anger. My anger caused me to push away the one person who was meant to support me and he tried he really did. Since I took notice of the cycle that I have been caught in for who knows how many years I’ve been setting small realistic goals for the right now and I’m brainstorming goals and the steps needed to reach them for the future. I’m trying to decide  and I mean really decide before this baby arrives what it is I want to do with my life. I’m attempting step five from my post, What to do after trauma?

Since I have been through postpartum once before and if I’m being 100 percent honest have yet to fully recover from. I know I’m likely to experience it all over again. As a result I’ve been doing some research on postpartum depression and anxiety. I’ve learned about a number of different vitamin deficiencies that can lead to it one of which I already know I suffer from and another that I suspect to be a key player in my depression.

As a result it is my plan for the first three months postpartum to partake in a vitamin regimen, which I plan to discuss with my Dr. and child’s pediatrician (since I breastfeed). In addition, once my bleeding stops I plan to start taking daily walks around my apartment building and once approved by my Dr to begin exercising I plan to increase that walk to around my entire block at first with just the babies, but after a month I will likely add the dog. I’m also planning 10-20 minute yoga/meditation sessions everyday. I’m hoping that 3 months of vitamins and exercise will be all I need to see a difference in my state of mind. However, if after 3 months of doing all of this consistently I still feel sad, angry, unmotivated, and irritated I plan to have a serious talk with my Dr. regarding anti-depressant medication.

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I wrote this poem to help describe the emotions I felt following the birth of my first baby.

Postpartum Thoughts

By Leeann Minton

 

I sat there staring adoringly at you.

I cried heavy tears in adoration of your newborn face.

I felt like a river overflowing its banks,

My soul cloudy with lifes’ debris.

I feared my actions would be your downfall.

 

I hated your touch.

The need you had for me.

Though innocent all I could think was,

But why is it always me.

Sleepless night after sleepless night I stared at you.

I held you to my breast to feed.

 

As time moved forward you consumed me.

I forgot everyone else,

I could only see you and me.

I lost my motivation.

I forgot about my goals.

 

Keeping you alive.

Keeping you from crying.

Keeping you away from the pain.

Pain, which I felt every day.

 

I wanted so much to be good for you.

So much to do what was best.

I didn’t always succeed.

I almost always felt I failed.

I tried walking away.

 

I thought it would be better if I was gone.

I thought I should take my life.

I thought maybe I could run away.

However,

Your face it always had a smile.

You knew just when to learn something new.

You managed to pull my heartstrings.

 

Your father he protected you.

He saw me falling.

He never gave up.

I hope you are like him.

 

Mommy is getting help now.

One day I will feel all better.

 

I have spent years avoiding medication as a means of controlling and “fixing” my problems, but recently I’ve realized that sometimes we need the extra help. Sometimes will power is not enough to move past the hurt and to get out of the darkness.

Since my son was born 6 weeks ago I have been taking my regular dosage of magnesium, which helps to prevent my seizures, but its also been known to help combat depression. In addition, I have been purposeful in getting out of the house. Its a little more difficult with a breastfeeding newborn, however my husband has also been extremely helpful in this regard. Sometimes though it can’t be helped the newborn has to go with, in those instances I have been wearing him both so he stays warm and so strangers do not try and touch them during cold/flue season. I have not managed to do the workout routine I originally set up for myself, however I’m so busy that I might as well be working out. Staying busy seems to have definitely helped keep the depression at bay.

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Motherhood, Year Three, Year Two

Birth Story Baby #2

*Warning, graphic imagery.

We welcomed baby Charles Joseph into the world on December 8, 2017. He was born 9 pounds 7 ounces, 22 inches long. A full pound heavier than his brother. By comparison this pregnancy was very different from my first. I was in labor for weeks, and had multiple false alarms/trips to L&D. In addition, to the on again off again labor, I also gained 17 more pounds with this pregnancy.

On 12/7, I went into my OBGYN, 39 weeks pregnant, miserable and having been contracting on and off for 2 weeks stuck at 4 centimeters dilated and a negative two station. Baby was also measuring two weeks ahead. I asked the Dr to try a membrane sweep and scheduled an induction for the following Wednesday on 12/13. I woke up on 12/8, having regular contractions 3 minutes apart. This wasn’t completely unusual as I had been experiencing this type of situation for two weeks. The difference this time being that the contractions were much more painful. So my husband and I packed it up found someone to watch our son and headed to the hospital. When we arrived I was 5.5cm dilated, so things were definitely moving along.

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I experienced a lot of back labor and just knew baby was not sitting right. 4 hours later they checked me again and I was only at a 6. This was nothing like my first labor where I arrived at the hospital at a 5 and 4 hours later was holding my son in my arms (after two hours of pushing). Nope it appeared the contractions were just not doing what they were supposed to. So the Dr requested to break my water. Now I was very adamant in my birth plan about not wanting my water broken unless I was trying to push and changing positions didn’t help. My biggest fear being that it would place me on a 24 hour timeline towards a c-section. They assured me that if they broke my water they would not put me on a 24 hour time limit and the only way a c-section would occur was if I or baby were in serious distress. So I agreed. They broke my water and placed me on my side with my legs wrapped around  a peanut ball to help the baby turn. Contractions become crazy close together, and the pain intensified so fast I was unable to get myself to the meditative state, which ultimately saved me during my first labor. I screamed, cursed, and squeezed my partners hand.

It was maybe 20 minutes before I was ready to push. I literally felt my son’s head and body turn and push its way down. I pushed for about ten minutes, and felt the ring of fire. That was probably the most painful part of the whole experience as I literally felt myself being ripped apart. With my first I was in such a deep state of meditation I didn’t feel the ring of fire and didn’t even realize that I pushed for 2 hours, and thought the pushing lasted only fifteen minutes. This time I pushed for 10 minutes and it felt like an eternity. With my first I ended up getting an episiotomy (because of babies head size), which became a 4th degree tear. This time I experienced a 2nd degree tear, which included some un-sewable tissue loss. Despite the awkward tear, I have a million times more energy this time than I did the first.

I was able to jump back into things much more quickly as well. I also have not had any issues with baby blues or ridiculous crying boughts’. I have cried on a couple of occasions, but only about things one would expect an overly hormonal newly postpartum mother to cry about. It appears at least for now that I am/have avoided postpartum depression.

After pushing baby out, he was immediately handed to me, and I got to hold him while I delivered the placenta. I also got to watch my husband cut the cord this time, and was able to feed him right away. With my first he was immediately whisked away, because there had been mecconium and they were worried he might have swallowed some. There was no mecconium this time, in fact baby pooped for the first time right in my hand as I held him. I was so happy to just finally be holding him that I didn’t care. I was left alone to feed baby, and after holding him for two plus hours they finally took him for measurements and testing. They were quick about it though handing him back to me within 20 minutes and giving me yet another hour with him before they took him away for vitamin k shots, eye goo, and whatever other testing they do while they switched me to a recovery room.

I was at the hospital for 2 nights and three days, they took baby each night for testing, and knowing I wasn’t going to be getting any sleep at home I allowed them to hold him there until it was feeding time so I could get extra sleep. On the second night, while baby was out of the room for testing I had a small scare where it appeared like I might have a seizure I felt the early signs with the numbness forming in my jaw. I learned during my first pregnancy that I have a magnesium deficiency, and I had not had my daily dose. I managed to inform the nurse in enough time and they brought me a magnesium pill, which seemed to really help things and I avoided a seizure.

The entire experience while painful was incredibly beautiful and amazing. I didn’t realize how much I had missed out on with my first. I feel so much more bonded to this baby than I did at this point with my first.

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