Michael’s Second Birthday

My baby isn’t quite a baby any more! I have had MANY a tear fall in the last few weeks, so you can know that I’m not crying as I write this.

He turned two…TWO on Monday. I can’t believe how big he’s getting…

I am fairly certain that this kid is the Energizer bunny and runs everywhere! He love his brother, babies, cars, and stuffed animals. He wants to be outside ALL DAY, but doesn’t care to be dirty. If he could wear only a diaper, he’d be thrilled!

For all his rough and tumble-ness, he LOVES a good snuggle, hugs, and will give sweet, little kisses. When he’s sad and cuddly, he will twirl your hair in his hand to calm himself.

Don’t ever grow up, little boy.

alaina

Mental Health Monday | Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

It’s not Monday, but man-oh-man, does it feel like it!

Hi, I’m Alaina and I deal with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. Well, let’s face it, I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety long before babies and will have to deal with it long after my babies have grown. Sounds fun, huh?!

About a year ago, I shared a post all about this while pregnant. My days of “riding the wave” are LONG gone. Right now, treading water is the most I can do and I am realizing that it might be good enough…

I’m learning that I need to really take time for myself and practice being present. Wanting and taking time for myself doesn’t diminish my feelings for this family we’ve created, or so I’m learning.

For those, especially, who’ve had to deal with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, this is hard, complicated, and maybe a bit embarrassing to admit…

All that brain dump to say, we aren’t dealing with this alone. I’m the first one standing up to say, I love my kids, but this shit is hard!

alaina

The Final Performance, Round Two | Labor & Delivery

And here we are! I can NOT believe that I’m finally able to sit down and write this post! Jack is almost 6 months old and we’ve had quite an adventure since he arrived.

Before we get started, you may want to go back to the Third Trimester Recap to get a better understanding/refresher of what was happening. Also, keep in mind that this post is as much for me as it is meant for you all. This is a way for me to look back in a couple of years when my memory is foggy…

This post will also be very word heavy, as I do not have any photos of this time.

Ok, ready? I hope you grabbed a cool glass of wine as we dive in!

At 4AM on January 5th we started cytotec. Throughout this entire day, we completed 5 rounds before deciding to move on. At the 4th round there was no change.

By 11:30 PM, this was the update parents had received.

We may be doing one more round tonight before moving to Pitocin. I’m exhausted, but have been able to sleep on and off throughout the day. Contractions are slowly increasing, but still no change (2 centimeters). I can’t tell if I’m uncomfortable because of the contractions or the bed they have me in…

text update to parents

The fifth round changed the labor process quickly, thanks to a nurse that was ALL business. That brought about the REAL start of labor.

At 1AM on January 6th, we had started Pitocin, I got an epidural by 5 centimeters, and things were moving along!

Around 7 centimeters, I started to notice that I was feeling WAY MORE than I should be. They rechecked the epidural, which seemed fine and thought that I was maybe pressing the medication release button more than I thought. It turns out, the epidural wasn’t working properly. Period. By 10AM, I quickly realized that the epidural I do passionately loved a few hours ago was a thing of the past.

At 11AM, we started pushing. At 13:43, John Emerson Devens (Jack, as we call him) arrived!

Our second joy-filled moment quickly turned into concern, again. Jack was a healthy 8 pounds 1.8 ounces, with a full head of dark hair. While he was crying, he still needed a bit of help breathing and was taken to the NICU for observation.

As with Michael, breathing struggles are fairly common in Colorado because of the altitude.

Once again, while all of this was happening, I was having complications of my own. It was a flashback to Michael’s delivery at this point…

My placenta would not detach. I was hemorrhaging, which was causing dizziness and confusion. I only had a single second-degree tear that required sutures. I needed Pitocin again, post delivery. After all that was dealt with, I was exhausted and napped for 2 hours.

When I woke up, the baby was still in the NICU. I was cleaned up, taken care of hygienically, and allowed by my nurse to “escape” to visit my baby. We wheeled over and I got to see and hold him!

At 5PM, big brother came to visit and was not thrilled.

On January 7th at 5AM, Jack was brought from the NICU to our room. On the 8th, he was put under the bilirubin lighting for 24 hours to reduce jaundice.

January 9th at 2PM, we had escaped the hospital and were headed home!

Ultimately, everything turned out in our favor. He was discharged from the hospital, we have our second baby boy! Home, safe, and healthy.

The doctors, nurses, technicians, and staff were great! They kept us in the loop, handled my anxiety riddled self with patience and kindness, and loved on my baby when I couldn’t.

My labor and delivery was, once again, nothing like I had imagined. Lightning doesn’t strike twice…right?! I was expecting a faster delivery and birth process, doing skin-to-skin with my baby immediately…all the things everyone talks about. With that being said, nothing about our journey to baby was easy and this fit the mold.

alaina

Postpartum | 6 Months

Ok, so let me start by saying anyone’s hard is HARD. It doesn’t matter what it is.

Holy shit, postpartum is unbelievably hard!

Postpartum after Michael wasn’t…terrible. I had anxiety and a few little issues pop up, but in the grand scheme of things, that first postpartum period was manageable. Granted, I was pregnant five and a half months after giving birth, so my postpartum phase was extremely limited. Really, with Michael’s pregnancy, the prenatal anxiety was worse than the postpartum experience as a whole.

After having Jack, I had severe anxiety, depression, and large hormone imbalances. Not to mention, Jack went back into the hospital at 6 weeks with a bronchiolitis. Two weeks after coming home, COVID-19 hit and it seemed as though the world stopped. Being trapped inside our home for months, with a one-and-a-half year old and infant, was tough.

Depression hit an all time high, I was TERRIFIED and desperate to leave the house, and beyond exhausted. Postpartum this time has been traumatic. It’s as simple and scary as that.

While I’m not out of the dense, overwhelming fog that is PPD/PPA, I do feel like I’m ready to talk about it. To let you know that you’re not alone. Having not had PPD before, I had NO IDEA what to look for. Even my OBGYN, who is trained to recognize the symptoms, had a hard time giving me the PPD/PPA diagnosis.

  • Insomnia
  • Severe hair loss
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Blurry vision
  • No energy/falling asleep during the day
  • Zero motivation throughout the day
  • Hot flashes
  • Inability to remember
  • Episodes of crying
  • Irritability
  • Appetite Irregularities
  • Body image inconsistencies

I feel so guilty and incredibly inadequate.

So, you’re probably wondering what the point of all this is. Well, I want to start a monthly discussion here and on Instagram where we can talk all things postpartum. To create a community where we feel safe enough to talk about it. One thing I’ve learned is that PPD/PPA is very lonely, isolating (mostly self-inflicted), and taboo. Let’s change it, because I’m done feeling like I’m completely alone (and I think you might be, too).

Want more postpartum discussion? Every post related to postpartum is here!

alaina
third trimester

The Ending, Round Two | Third Trimester Recap

Goodbye, Second Trimester! What a rough 13 weeks…there really is no other way to phrase it.

When we hit that third trimester, a wave of relief and dread hit. Relief because I was inching my way closer to full term. Dread because I knew that the longer I stayed pregnant, the sicker I would become…

Month 7

Between the end of the week 23 and week 28, I went from daily doctor appointments to weekly to twice per week. From about week 22 on, I started showing signs of preeclampsia again. Swelling, kidney infections, headaches, vomiting, exhaustion, high blood pressure and/or inconsistent blood pressure…it was horrible. 

At 26 weeks, I was doing a weekly Non Stress Test and biophysical ultrasound to monitor the baby. Contractions at this point were consistent at 25 minutes apart. 

At 28 weeks and 1 day, I went in for a growth scan and glucose test. Long story short, baby looked great, but a bit large and I failed my glucose test. I opted to test my blood sugar 3x per day instead of going through the 3 hour test. They agreed that I could do that, IF I record my food choices along with my numbers AND email them to the doctor before any appointment. I agreed. 

The big positive during this time, aside from seeing Baby of course was Halloween and going to the Army v. Air Force game with friends! 

Month 8

At 30 weeks and 3 days, we went to a brunch to celebrate ALL the November birthdays within our friend group! We had a great time, but I was SO swollen, uncomfortable and my preeclampsia symptoms were slowly increasing in severity. 

This month, aside from having consistent contractions and dislocated ribs, was fairly mellow…until week 35 that is.

Dr appt.–high bp into hospital immediately

Just got back from my appointment. The baby looks good on the monitor and my levels all are stable, although it’s on the higher side of normal. I am officially in the books to be induced on 1/14/20, as long as nothing crazy happens. If something happens (my blood pressure gets high again, the baby needs to get out earlier, my swelling worsens, Etc.), I will be induced earlier. They wanted me to get in the books because it’s easier to move my date to an earlier time once I’m in the system. 

quote that I sent to Mike, updating him

All that being said, I am almost 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. The doctor said she’d be surprised if I made it to 39 weeks with the amount of contractions that I’m having and the progress that they are making. Last week (12/16/19), in the hospital, I was 0 cm and 0% effaced”

Month 9

On December 27, my contractions were consistently every 3 minutes. I went to Labor and Delivery and was informed that I’d be given medication to stop contractions. After talking through my concerns, my doctor, nurses, and I decided against medications. They’d give my body 3 hours to stop contracting before revisiting giving medications…when they got to, and stayed at, 7-9 minutes apart they let us go home to rest…at 3:30AM.

I had my L&D follow up and regular OB appointment on the same day. On December 30, my blood pressure was quite high. The follow up doctor’s goal was simple…make it to Thursday’s appointment. I’d continue to track my blood pressure and diabetes, and if anything felt bad or got high, I’d be delivering. If I could make it to Thursday, we’d be moving my induction date up. I’m seeing the same doctor that I saw today and she said that if I’m feeling the same way and having similar blood pressure readings, they will induce me by Sunday.

On Thursday, January 2, my induction rescheduled for the 7th at 7PM.

On January 4, around 1:33PM, I was feeling REALLY bad. I had a horrible headache, was vomitting, the swelling was increasing, vision was worsening, and could not keep my eyes open. All of that and my blood pressure was lower than ever before. EVERY. THING. HURT.

By 2:53, I was in the hospital, getting blood work drawn, some pain management, and monitoring baby.

At 7:03, I texted my parents with an update, that you’ll read in a second. Between 2:53 and 7:03 the following happened…Keep in mind that Mike was home until 5PM taking care of M3.

They gave me phenergan to help with the vomiting and headache and are going to see what that does. I can’t drive with it in my system and they still aren’t sure what the doctor is going to do. the doctor to admit me, but the nurse doesn’t think it’s safe for me and the baby to go home. The meds they gave me aren’t touching the nausea and headache and my BP is still all over the place. We’re waiting to hear back with official word from the doctor/high risk team, but they told Mike to come with a bag and no baby.

Text update that I sent my parents

7:03 PM I was officially admitted to Labor and Delivery and moved out of triage. I received medication to help with pain and force me to get some sleep. At this point, the plan was to re-evaluate at 5AM. If I still felt horrible or things get worse overnight, they’d induce.

At 4AM on Janurary 5th, we started the induction!

General Info

Weight: I have gained about 40 pounds, total. Way less than M3’s pregnancy, but still WAY more than I had hoped for.

Going to the chiropractor during this pregnancy has been SO helpful. I can’t recommend it enough!

Cravings/Aversions: At this point, I have a VERY limited appetite. Nothing sounded great, except for Christmas Eve dinner. I had steak for the first time in YEARS.

Sleep: If I could sleep all day, every day, I think I would. I am exhausted!

Now, I sleep whenever M3 sleeps. Naps? Check! His bedtime? Check! When he’s awake (if I have another adult in the house with him)? Check! I can NOT get enough sleep. It’s a bit ridiculous!

Medications: Prenatal with methylated folate (3 pills/day), Baby Aspirin (81mg AM), Zyrtec (10mg AM), Pepcid (20 mg AM, 20 mg PM), Bonjesta (anti-nausea (1 pill PM), Magnesium (200mg PM), Potassium (200mg PM), Macrobid (general antibiotic for kidney infection), Amoxicillin (for the ear infection), Z-PAK and inhaler (bronchitis), glyburide (1 pill/day).

sign off!

Quick Update | Baby Has Arrived

Baby Boy #2 is here! After 34 hours of labor and delivery (and some complications)…we had an 8 pound 2 oz little boy! Today is the first full day that we are all HOME! Two adults, two boys, two dogs!

John “Jack” Emerson Devens arrived on January 6 at 13:43.

Stay tuned for some ADORABLE (if I do say so myself) baby photos!

I’m hoping that some time soon I can get writing. Until that time, I will be basking in that newborn smell, noises, and overall baby bliss! I’ll also be enjoying and helping the newest big brother transition!

Check out Instagram for some baby photos, if you just can’t wait until the next post!

baby sign off