A travel and lifestyle blog

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Journey to Motherhood: From Birth to Bringing Home Baby


  I was never strict about choosing a particular birth plan. As long as my baby and I were healthy and happy, I didn't mind surrendering to the powers that be.  At 35 weeks pregnant, my stubborn little guy was still breech and showed no signs of turning. He was perfectly content with staying right where he was. My blood pressure was also steadily rising as my due date approached, so our doctor discussed with us that it was best to plan on delivering via C-Section at 37 weeks. I was pretty nervous about the early due date considering our baby was still measuring small.  Yet, there was a part of me that was kind of looking forward to it since I felt like I was a month overdue. I was so swollen, short of breath and just flat out uncomfortable.

   Weighing in at a little over five pounds, my little boy came via C-Section on October 18, 2017. We named him Eli Amos Beal after his grandfather and great grandfathers. Seeing his face for the first time was so surreal. I still couldn't believe I was a mother. We made this perfect little human. 

   My birth experience wasn't exactly what I expected. It felt so strange to be numb from the waste down, but nevertheless, I was so grateful that it was painless. My husband was right by my side comforting me as we were about to meet our little boy. Once he came into the world, I was only able to see a glimpse of his sweet little face before they whisked him away to the recovery room.  It took about a half hour to stitch me back up before I was able to see him again.

  I didn't actually get to hold my baby until the following day since my blood pressure continued to rise after the surgery.  Yet, I wasn't upset. I was just happy that  the medical staff kept me comfortable and my baby safe throughout our stay. It was such an exciting and nerve-wracking time all rolled into one. 

  I was so lucky to have an easy pregnancy and quite easy birth other than the blood pressure problems. The real challenge for me came postpartum. It all started with my inability to produce enough milk. I had to use a syringe filled with formula to both supplement and help my milk to come in. It was exhausting. My mother said she had produced too much milk, so I was quite surprised to find that my experience would be so difficult. I also had to constantly monitor my blood pressure at home, and I had to take medication for about a month or so before it started to normalize. 

  As soon as I started to feel better, another hurdle came. My c-section site became infected. I noticed redness and warmth spreading slowly across my belly. I cleaned and kept the site dry every day, but the doctor believed it might have been caused by the belly band I had to wear every day. She immediately put me on antibiotics and told me there was a chance that they might have to open me back up to drain fluid. I was horrified. Between all these medications I was on, recovering, and taking care of an infant on zero sleep, I hit an all time low. My husband had to go back to work right away as well. I was alone with my baby 6 days a week and I started to feel the postpartum depression creep in. I could tell I wasn’t my normal self. My hormones were just so out of wack. I would be crying one day and in pure euphoria the next. Luckily though, they didn't have to drain and re-stitch my c-section. After a couple of days, my symptoms ceased. 

   The depression didn't really set in until my sixth week postpartum.  I was over the moon happy. Then I noticed a shift in me. I felt like I couldn’t recognize myself. It all hit me like a ton of bricks. Why was I feeling so hopeless? I had crazy anxiety to the point where I had trouble sleeping, and by the eighth week postpartum, I hit a wall. In the past, I was so used to dealing with things on my own, but I realized I had to surrender and ask for help from my family. I couldn't do this alone.

    By twelve weeks postpartum,  I started to feel more like myself again. I know for a lot of women, it could last even longer. So, if there is any advice I could give to other mothers going through this, don't be afraid to seek help. Whether its getting it from family and friends or seeking professional help, sometimes you just can't do it alone. It truly takes a village to raise a child, and I believe its necessary to feel like yourself again for your family’s sake. You are not alone and I've found that a lot of mothers have opened up and shared there own experience with me, which has also helped tremendously. 

   My little guy is almost six months old now and it just gets better and better. It's like there is this new sense of peace and contentment that I’ve found in myself that I didn’t realize I’d have being a wife and mother. I still want to maintain a sense of self and I think its important to, but somehow things that used to matter don't matter as much. I’m pickier about how I spend my time and about what I want to do. It has to be something that makes sense for my family and it has to be something I genuinely want to do. Life just seems like it takes on a whole new meaning as I watch my baby explore the world for the first time. It’s such a blessing.

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