Hello blog world! As I hinted to in my last post (over three months ago, yikes!), it took me a while to get back to it since having my baby.
Yesterday, my baby girl turned 3 months. THREE MONTHS!!! So much has happened in that time, it will be difficult to recall everything, but some of it I will share if only for posterity’s sake.
Baby girl Bianca Nur (= ‘white light’ in italian and arabic respectively) arrived a week early, 15th of December 2013. I am living in Mexico for the time being, and my mother came to meet and help me with the baby. She arrived the 14th at around 5 pm. I had been in pre-labor for about a week and was sure my mom wouldn’t make it here on time. But baby was waiting for grandma! Very early in the morning (~ 3 a.m.) my proper labor contractions began, and by 9:44 a.m. we met our little lady.
As far as labors go, I do believe mine was pretty speedy. Terribly painful, good gosh, SO PAINFUL. For those who are wondering, I did get an epidural. However, it was really kind of pointless because by the time I got it, I was almost 9 cm dilated, and baby arrived within the hour or getting said epidural. Also, my right arm fell asleep and my right eye closed shut almost completely. I don’t think I will be repeating it for future babies. Despite this, all went well. Momma and baby were healthy, in spite of the Gestational Diabetes affecting me.
That first month with the baby is pretty blurry. The physical and emotional changes, for me, where so fast and pronounced it really affected my memory. I was terrified of becoming a mother up until the moment I held my baby. I mean streams and streams of tears, terrified. This is probably the norm, right? Once I held my baby and was at home the next day, the terror was gone and absolute instinct took its place. I figured, the enormous jolt of changes happening made it difficult to feel anything. I figured it would pass. However, it didn’t. I really felt none of the overflowing-with-love many new mothers talk about. Aside from the instinct to constantly check and care for the baby, and exhaustion, the only thing I was really feeling was sadness, emptiness, solitude. Even with a house full of visitors!!
This is where you are thinking, post partum depression. Yes, probably. Between you and me (ha!), I am not sure sure if it’s PPD or just my friend of many, many years, plain old depression. During my pregnancy I felt so much better (emotionally) than I had in a long, long time. I say it was the insane circus of hormones coursing through the body, and doing what they would with me. I am not so sure if having my baby just allowed for my chronic depression to reclaim it’s stake in me, or PPD?? Either way, it has been difficult, particularly since all my family (read= help with baby) left in early january. I once again found myself alone day in, day out (my husband works at a hospital and is rarely at home), with my three dogs and now a baby. It was easy enough to feign happiness with visitors. Just hide in the bathroom for a really good cry, get it under control, and put on your best smile after, all while someone else was tending to baby. Once they were gone, it was all me. No more hiding, no more lying to myself, let alone the husband. It became a marathon of feeding, changing, tending to baby, most of the time in tears. Many, many tears. Sometimes I couldn’t even get myself to hold the baby, because of said tears. This is when I realized something was wrong. Soon enough, it became obvious to my husband.
Then, my fur baby Lola died. From what seemed like one day to the next, my once lively shih tzu was still, low spirited and wouldn’t eat. We took her to the vet and once there the Dr. and his assistants started running around getting her an IV, checking her blood, everything. Words that I didn’t understand came straight at me, followed with the assurance that she would most likely be fine. The vet has cared for my pups for years, and is like family, very trusted by us. So I believed. As fate would have it, my Lola got worse. She was very anemic, her blood was coagulating at a severe rate. They started talking about septicemia and transfusions. My heart sank. I knew my baby was going to leave me soon, despite continued assurances of the contrary.
Two days later I was called to come in to the vet, as my dog was doing poorly, post transfusion. We live a ways away from the vet, so by the time I rounded up baby, my sick husband and myself all the way into town, it was too late. Ten minutes earlier and I could have at least said goodbye to my baby and comforted her a little. Something was said about heart failure, or something failure. I proceeded to cry my heart out, probably at the horror of others present. I’m not even sure who was watching the baby while I mourned my dead dog.
What kind of horrible mother leaves her baby’s side to see a dead dog? I know. But I assure you, everyone there is like family, and my dog was my first baby. That was almost two months ago, and thinking about it still makes me cry. I still see her shadow around, and her little body sleeping.
After a short time with my dog, I had to leave and take my husband to the hospital. There, he was diagnosed with influenza. Really fun times!! A very long story short, my dog died, on that day my husband was so ill with influenza he stayed at the hospital. Two days later my 1.5 month old baby was positive for influenza, and two days after that I came down with it too. As they say, when it rains it pours. Tell me about it. I was really happy to say goodbye to the month of January. So far, February and March have been an improvement.
In retrospect of the last three months, I have done a great deal of growing and learning about life, myself, the depth of my strength and how to deal with it when that strength disappears. I am very happy to say that sometime around the two month mark, I fell in love with my baby and that alone has helped immensely with other things. My depression has not, however, gone away. This much I anticipated. It is a long time companion of mine, and I do not say that lightly. I still have really bad days, when I have to find a place to hide, cry it out and will myself not to cause myself additional pain to stop the pain. Have I considered seeing someone? Yes. I do have a standing appointment. My husband is now fully aware of it all and very supportive as well as vigilant. But as I am breastfeeding and wish to continue doing so, the medication I may need to take will be a difficult choice to make. Until that time, I am taking it one day at a time. I take comfort in the fact that my baby and I now share a very strong bond, and she makes me smile every day, even on the bad ones.
Today is a good day so far. That is the only reason I can write any of this. And mostly, I write it for myself and not the readers (??) as it feels worthy of documenting somehow. Too self absorbed? Maybe. I don’t really care. I am, after all, also exposing myself to potential criticism and judgement. I guess I felt like sharing. I do apologize for the lengthy post, and the rambling.
I leave you with some photos of my delicious baby girl, as it happens, the light of my life.