The 4th Trimester – Part II.

February 11, 2011 at 1:07 am 1 comment

It took a few days but here I am with an update on the 4th trimester.  Er, not so much of an update as a continuation I s’pose.  I saved the ‘heavier’ section for this part, mostly because I needed time to process how I was going to translate my brain-stuff into actual word-stuff.  I still really don’t think I have mastered it because (and I’m not trying to sound all elitist up and uppity) it’s complex, and even I am still trying to figure it all out.  Also, the other post was just getting too long and I’m always searching for new post material so might as well split one post into two.  Yup.And of course what would a legit post be without photos of Your Favourite 3 Month Old.  He’s a growing boy, tipping the scale at approximately 15 lbs.  I have so many things to write about him, about our life together, about how he’s changed me.  I totally ‘get’ parenting blogs now.  Cade has consumed my last 3 months in the best way possible.  I’m still trying to make time for myself because I need to make sure I’m in tip-top shape (holistically) to be able to be the best momma I can be for my little dude.  However, the ‘me’ time is not exactly the same.  Granted we’re only 3 months in to the best ride of our life, so things obviously are not the same and will never be.  So it’s that I don’t have other things to write about or talk about, though sometimes it feels like that!  It’s just that this is the most important thing in my life right now, being a mom to Cade, being a partner to Kyle, being a family with Kyle, Cade & Lily.  It’s great, really.

So now where we get down to the nitty gritty.

I feel like I should combine the last two sections – spiritual and emotional.  They essentially go hand in hand for me, things that affect me spiritually in turn effect me emotionally and vice versa.  I really don’t know if I could write about one without writing about the other.  We’ll give it a combination whirl.  Aaannnd post-partum healing journey take 2:

Spiritual + Emotional:

Hormones are running marathons around my body, and I don’t feel the same.  I’m not a huge pile of depression or anything, but I have my off days.  The first week home after being blessed with this little boy was crazyemotionalridehormonalhighhormonallowrushnosleepcrazycrazymanic!  I could not have loved Kyle more, he was the greatest person ever.  It was such a weird and amazing feeling.  It still comes from time to time.  Oh my god that sounds terrible, obviously I think he is wonderful and amazing (and he really really is, such a fantastic father and partner, I could not ask for more, well I could but…) – but there’s just this euphoric rush that I experienced after giving birth.  God.  I bawled walking out of the hospital.  On the car ride home.  Pulling up to our house.  Walking into our house.  Changing his first diaper at home.  Having my first bath at home.  You name it, I cried during it.

Those first post-partum weepy days dwindled – thankfully.  There was a point where I thought they never would.  Couple the post-partum hormones with dealing with physical post-partum pain and you’ve got yourself a fantastic cocktail.  Not fun.  Having a sore bottom made every single thing a hundred times more difficult.  Some days I attempted to tell myself I could not get out of bed.  I think there was one night at 3am where I cried and cried, and told Kyle that I could just not do it, I could not wake up.  Sleep deprivation is absolutely insane and does mean, terrible, nasty things to your brain.

Looking back on those first rough weeks (breastfeeding struggles, pain, a HUGE life adjustment that you cannot prepare for, hormones) I wonder how we survived.  I remember thinking that I wouldn’t get through it, how?  It was not possible.  Obviously it was because here I am today.  That gives me such relief because I have days now, albeit different struggles, where I wonder how we will make it.  There’s always a way.  There’s been days where I’ve felt like my heart has been grabbed out of my chest and mangled with.  I mean that in a good way, if that is even possible?  I can’t accurately explain myself here.  Somebody came and took my heart, rewired it to give me all these ooey-gooey feelings and put it back in and here I am, all lovin’ up and everything.  In simpler terms, I cannot believe how much love and nurturing and protection I have in me.  I’ve always been a kind soul, generous, genuine, a good friend.  I’ve always had lots of love to go around and I’ve always been a peacemaker.  But I wish I could step back from my body and watch me in mom-mode, because it’s pretty cool.  When I was pregnant I was terrified that I knew nothing and how would I be a parent if I knew nothing?  Turns out I knew at least something, because we’ve made it this far, and clearly my boy is thriving.

So as good as I feel there is still some negativity, some ‘hardness’ floating about in me.  I have things on my mind and they keep poking and prodding at my mind, confusing it, telling it that it is okay, and then telling it that it is bothered.  I’ve done reading about birth trauma and convinced myself that I don’t have birth trauma.  I had an amazing labour and delivery experience, such great supports, was in wonderful spirits, and no life-threatening complications.  I tore pretty bad (3rd degree – can I talk about my perineum any MORE than I have these last couple weeks?) and the stitches was the worst part, the part I still think about and I think that is somewhat traumatic for me.  My doctor did not stitch me up – she had an OB who was in the hospital do it.  Him and a student.  It took forever, or at least it felt like it.  The doctor was not sensitive and at that point my emotions were running amok, I just wanted to spend time with my son and my family, and I was in pain.  So much for freezing, because I don’t feel like it helped.  Even the epidural wasn’t helping.  The stitching was the most painful part of my journey and like I said, I still think about it.  I think about the awful parts, of how I was in pain and so sensitive at that point and asked him if he was almost done.  His reply?  “No, it will be awhile yet.”  Really?  Can you not have been a tad bit more sensitive?  Like say, maybe… “We’ve still got awhile to go, I know it’s probably painful but I want to make sure that we can do this right so you don’t have complications from it.”  And I must have been tense and squirmy – not I must have, I WAS – because I remember him saying “do you want me to fix you up or not?”  and telling me to relax and what not.  REALLY!?   I thought he was joking but I really don’t know now.  I did not get good vibes from him or his insensitivity.  I wish that some of those doctors could realize things.  (I should also give a shout out to my doc – she is amazing and the best doctor I have ever had.  She is calm, caring, nurturing and respectful of my family and I.  We give her two thumbs up!  The OB and some of the other hospital docs though…..?  I just don’t know…) He was fixing my most sacred, intimate, personal area of my body.  An area that had just been traumatized.  (I should clarify that I have a hard time seeing it as trauma.  I have a hard time acknowledging that this was possibly traumatizing to me, because I see trauma as totally life-changing AWFULNESS.  However, it was an injury that I sustained, and people often struggle with trauma after injuries.)   And then I can remember him saying “I just have to put a finger in your rectum” I don’t remember the reason, but I’m thinking to feel the muscles/tear and to establish how it was going to be repaired.  And then I remember him doing that a couple times.  I know it’s something he had to do but it’s just all these no-fun things rolled into one ball of plain and simple NO-FUN.

And of course, I already wrote about my issues with healing afterwards.  I finally am starting to feel normal, but not 100 %.  I’ve still got weird sensations in my perineum at times.  Will it ever feel ‘normal?’  I have no idea.  Will I ever feel normal about it?  I have no idea either.  At this point I am terrified to give birth again.  I can’t imagine tearing again, I can’t imagine healing again.  I feel like I just want to ignore that ever so special sacred part of me at times.  That is an awful thing to feel and I don’t think I really mean it, but it sort of feels easier than the alternative – dealing with it and getting on with my life.  I don’t want to even attempt sex, I don’t want to attempt tampon usage.  It freaks me out and I’m sorry if this is too much information, but I’m kind of not sorry because it is my reality and hopefully that is what you’re here to read.

My body image has been toyed with as well.  The last couple of years I have done my own personal healing and inner work to come to terms with who I am, and to attempt a sort of ‘love’ with myself that I never thought possible.  Not that that has gone down the drain, but that ‘love’ is not as prominent as it used to be.  I feel like I’ve taken a few giant steps backwards and I’m not sure how to go forward again.  I’ve got a soft and squishy belly that I poke at regularly, almost in disdain.  I am constantly asking Kyle if I look ok, if this shirt is alright, etc.  I am way more sensitive to how I look and how I present myself.  I look at my stomach and feel sad, but excited that it held this little being who is brightening my every day.  It’s a weird dichotomy and I’m not really sure how to come to terms with it.

I still feel (fill in choice word here, I can’t quite thing of the perfect word to capture how I feel) about my breastfeeding struggles.  I tried to hard.  Sometimes I wonder if I could have done more, but I know in my heart that I did everything I could.  I did so much.  I’m still breastfeeding, but we do have to top up with formula.  Mostly he gets formula, I think?  It’s hard to tell, but he takes 2-4 ounces of formula per feed, though some morning feeds he won’t take more than an ounce of formula.   I wish it could have worked out completely, but it didn’t.  There is nothing I can do about it.  Hell, I even tried making ‘lactation cookies’ last night.  I’ve tried the herbs. Pumping. Frequent feeding. Waking Cade to feed. Warm compresses. Medication (which I am still on).  Cookies.  SNS tube at the breast to stimulate the breasts. Switch nursing. Lactation consultants.  Doctor consultation.  Message board.  Tons of research on my own.  Breast compressions.  I constantly feel (not because anyone makes me feel like this, but because of my own insecurities around the issue) that I need to defend myself, that I need to explain this to everybody – why I am giving my son a bottle.  When I pull out a bottle of formula in public, it often will cross my mind that somebody is likely judging me.  But why do I even care?  Why does it matter to ANYBODY else how he is being fed?  He is at least being fed, he is growing. That is what should count.  There are so many issues around breastfeeding/formula feeding and the ‘lactivists’ that I could write about but won’t, at least not now.  Simply put, I couldn’t and can’t exclusively breastfeed, at least not with this child.

I am scared of discrediting anyone’s stories or experiences by saying that I feel ‘traumatized’ by something that probably seems super minor.  Sometimes I feel like I am overreacting, and since I can pinpoint what my issues are, I feel like I should just deal with it, move on, and smile.  Maybe once I do that I can feel okay about things.  When Kyle and I were talking about this a week ago and when I was really bringing everything to the table for the first time, I found myself in tears, having to end the conversation because we were having supper out in public.

I’m sure a lot of this is hormonal related.  I’ve never been this sensitive really, and I know my body has gone through a big change – an amazing change at that.  I don’t think I have ‘diagnosable’ postpartum depression, but I’m keeping an eye on myself and how I feel.  On a day-to-day basis I feel typically fine, good even.  Cade is a lovely and needy (let’s just say, spirited :) little guy, so I don’t get much me time during the day until Kyle is home.   Then when Kyle is home, our interactions mainly revolve around the little guy, so when we were able to get out, all of these feelings and thoughts poured right on out.

A woman on a message board I frequent mentioned that her therapist suggested all women who have given birth should talk to a therapist or someone in a ‘caregiver’ position, as birth changes women and it is helpful and positive for women to talk about their experiences.  I’m deeply considering this, it’s just a matter of finding someone with experience in working with post-partum women.  I think it would be helpful, and honestly?  I’ve always wanted to go to counselling.  There’s things I could hash out – for instance, the fact that I have stuff I could hash out but choose not to because I feel like I can handle it on my own.  That’s mostly it.  Then I trudge along dealing with people’s baggage.  So true though – the life of a person in a caring profession.  We’re all going to burnt out, strung out if we continue on this path that I am choosing!

I’m all over the map with this one, and I should go back and read this over but it’s late and I’d rather just sleep.  Hopefully when I decide to proof this in a day or two it will make sense and it will do justice to everything that I’m feeling and thinking.  Thank you for letting me share my story and thank you for supporting me by reading this, even if you think I’m out to lunch.  I’m doing my best and this is it!


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The 4th Trimester – Part I. Breast Blog.

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. 1/2 – The 1st 3 « tristadawn  |  May 2, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    […] that was coupled with a colicy babe, and a perineum that didn’t want to heal.  It made for a sad and emotionally fragile mama, though with a lot of talking, reading, and writing, those days are mostly behind us.  I cannot […]

    Reply

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