Well, this is LONG overdue. Thank you all so much for not pressuring me to tell this story before I was ready… so, without further ado, here is Jamie’s beautiful birth story. And the aftermath.
I went into labor on a Thursday afternoon. I didn’t know it until about 6 hours later when my contractions had strengthened and become pretty rhythmic, so I spent the afternoon admiring my perfectly spotless house, eating macaroni and cheese for lunch, and waiting for my mom’s flight to get in. BTW, don’t eat mac & cheese the day you go into labor. Trust me, just don’t.
Anyhoo, my back was pretty sore around 7-8pm, so Ellie and I sat on the yoga ball and stretched/bounced for a little bit. Adam left to go get my mom at 9pm, and by the time they returned at 10pm my contractions were about 5 minutes apart and getting stronger. We left for the hospital at 11pm – my mom hadn’t even had time to take her suitcase upstairs!
Once we got to the hospital, I wasn’t admitted into Labor and Delivery for another HOUR, even though I was at 5cm. About half an hour after we got there, however, I made everyone leave the room because I was feeling SUPER nauseated. Adam of course was like, “yeah you guys should leave…” and I yelled through clenched teeth.. “EVERYONE. GET OUT.” Yep, I banished him to the waiting room along with my mom, my sister and her boyfriend, and my friend/birth photographer Kaile.
I got wheeled into L&D around 1am, where I proceeded to dry-heave until 3:15am when I got my epidural. The little bucket they gave me to hold in case my lunch came up was mangled by that time, because I was apparently using my super-hulk-strength to squeeze it with my left hand during contractions. I allowed Adam back into the room when I was sure I wouldn’t barf on anyone, and then my water broke (read: exploded) all over the nurse’s shoes (luckily for HER it was only her shoes, because — no joke — 1 second before that she had her face in my vagina checking my cervix).
The doctor (not MY doctor, who apparently is never on call when I want to have babies) came in to check my cervix at 3:30 and immediately proclaimed that we’d better get everyone in the room because baby was coming. Four pushes later and out came a tiny, screaming little beebee.
6lbs, 5oz , beautiful baby girl Jameson Lea greeted us at 4:01am on Friday, November 16th, 2012. I was ecstatic, smiling, and laughing immediately. TWO GIRLS!!!! OMG!
Adam and I didn’t get to our mother-baby room until 7am or so, and we started getting visitors at 9am. Jamie was perfect, quiet, sleepy, and hey!– I remembered how to breastfeed! Everything went great. We even left the hospital as soon as they would let us — Saturday morning we were outta there!
Aaaaand then my life turned upside down and went all to hell.
Some of you may remember my semi-public meltdown on Facebook… I posted daily little quips about how I didn’t think I would EVER be able to leave my house again, wondering how ANYONE ever had more than one child and had a normal life, etc. Starting on Day 4, Jamie cried NONSTOP. Unless she was eating or sleeping, the girl was SCREAMING.
I didn’t sleep. I ate like crap. I cried. A LOT. My house went to shambles. None of my clothes fit. I cried a lot more. I picked fights with Adam. I cried even more. I scared all of my friends who were thinking about trying to have a second child. I scared my sister and her husband, who were about to have their second child any day.
I beat myself up daily with guilt — I felt like I was neglecting Ellie, who had been my little #1 best friend for the last 2 years. All I wanted to do was put down this screaming, red-faced baby and hold my EllieBelle. I didn’t want my Mom to EVER leave me, and I didn’t want to see anyone else in my life. I was embarrased because I felt like a crap mom, like I didn’t have it together at all. I felt guilty for feeling guilty, which lead to a never-ending cycle of tears. I cried all the way through Jamie’s 2-week appointment, using a burp cloth to wipe my eyes while Adam did most of the talking to the pediatrician.
My best friend had had her second baby just eight days before I had Jamie, and she was making it look so easy! I felt like a complete failure. I felt… like I was drowning. And I absolutely could not get and keep my head above water.
My sister-in-law tattled on me to my doctor, who called to check on me the same day. I of course said I was fine… then I spent the entire day crying and wondering how I was going to get through a babyshower that night with lots of people who wanted to meet Jamie when all I wanted to do was crawl into Ellie’s bed and snuggle.
At my 6-week postpartum checkup, the nurse who took my bloodpressure asked how I was feeling. I jokingly said, “a little crazy, but that comes with the territory of having two kids I guess.” Then when my doctor came in, all she had to do was LOOK at me and she said, “Feeling a little sad?” … to which I replied by bursting into tears.
So, Zoloft it was. It hadn’t quite kicked in by the time I took both girls, by myself, on a plane to Idaho to visit my family… luckily I was able to keep myself calm enough not to flip completely out while traveling, though I did have one scary panic attack where I was thisclose to throwing up. I didn’t though, and the guy sitting next to me never had a clue how close he was to disaster.
My sister had her baby a few days after I arrived, and when she came home we had FOUR children in the house. FOUR. And she was so calm about it! My anxiety was through the roof, of course, and I had to actually focus internally on breathing so I wouldn’t pass out or throw up. And my Mom had the NERVE to LEAVE US! Sheesh.
I struggled with more feelings of guilt and inadequacy as I watched my little sister seamlessly integrate her new baby into the family. She was *glowing* with happiness, and I was jealous. The only thing I glowed with was sweat from panic attacks about being a terrible mother.
Of course, I didn’t notice the Zoloft starting to kick in until about a month later. I began to feel lighter, less guilty, and more confident. Coincidentally, Jamie began to smile more, cry less, and calm more easily right around 7-8 weeks old. In the following weeks, I cheered up. I cried SO much less (actually, as of today I can’t really remember the last time I cried). I quit worrying about the house (so much). I spent the majority of my non-working time on the floor with my kids, laughing and playing.
So… here’s an update as of today: Jamie is now SIX MONTHS OLD. She is absolutely THE smiliest baby I’ve ever met. This girl has a perma-smile! The only time she really cries is when she’s hungry, or really really tired. I don’t feel like I’m neglecting Ellie anymore, because blessherheart she adores her little sister and spends as much time as she can with her. My house is kind of a wreck still, but I care much less about it. I focus on doing fun things with the girls, and making sure that I get in as many snuggles and giggles and kisses as I can. And I am SO happy.
I quit taking my Zoloft this week. I really feel like I’m over the post-partum depression and anxiety hump, and the plan was never to be on the drug for longer than I needed it. While I think it was time, and I’m not extremely worried about side effects other than headaches and slight dizziness… if you notice me having another public meltdown on Facebook, maybe let my husband know. ;)
And on that note, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Today is actually Mental Health Blog Day, which is what prompted me to get this on the page. If you know someone who seems to be suffering, please reach out to them.