Postpartum Experience

Cakey turned one this summer. In our nostalgia, we looked back over the photos from last year. My hubs had some videos on his phone from the first few weeks with Cakey; one video made it all come flooding back. This particular video was of our struggle with breastfeeding. I was trying desperately to learn a new skill (as was Cakey) and we were struggling. There was arching, crying, pulling off, pain, bloating, rashes… And that was just her. I struggled with mastitis, over production, sore nipples, exhaustion and horrible, awful anxiety.

Watching the video brought me to tears a full year later. Along with the guilt I feel/felt, which is a whole other post, I was struggling with anxiety.

I had nightmares, racing thoughts, I didn’t want to have anyone touch/hold her. I was afraid to leave the house. Afraid I would die and leave her motherless. I was worried of someone breaking in our house. I also had terrifying thoughts where I could almost see myself in various frightening situations like falling down the stairs with her, someone chainsawing through our bedroom, and periodically an ominous presence I could feel and almost see! That coupled with the overwhelming responsibility of caring for a high needs baby.

I was struggling. I knew these feelings weren’t “normal”. I struggled privately. Only a few close friends really knew the truth. It was incredibly isolating. Most of our family members couldn’t understand why we were acting so strangely. I couldn’t understand why everyone was so demanding of our time in those first few months!

I had panic attacks, numbness in my arms and legs, chest pain and difficulty breathing. We had seen our midwife shortly after Cakey’s birth who recommended I take fish oil supplements. But I stopped taking it after discovering that it made my breast milk sour. But when I became lightheaded and almost fainted during a panic attack; we knew it was time to seek medical help.

I saw my PCP. I was offered medication but  that meant I would have to stop breastfeeding. (I wasn’t going to give up nursing after we had come so far!) So we opted to do nothing.

We had good days and bad days. We stayed home a lot and limited our visits out and our visitors in. It was exhausting. Even short visits were draining. We told each side of the family they would see the baby once a month. Which was still too much for me. After a 3 hour visit both Cakey and I would be worn out for several days.

It was hard. I learned new things about myself, my husband, our families, and a thousand other things…

I eventually “recovered” and the intensity of my terror eased. I am forever grateful to the support from my hubby, and my dear friends K & V and all the prayers. God sustained me during a difficult season.

I didn’t end up taking any medication for my anxiety because I was so focused on breastfeeding. It was more important to me to breastfeed my little lady than anything else. I think it was how I coped. Breastfeeding was something I could sort of control in a world where nothing was as it should be.

Looking back, I am still happy with my decision to breastfeed. It is so precious to me and I am glad I persisted. I am happy to report that while the anxiety was temporary the breastfeeding is still occurring!

I know that my decision is not right for everyone and I would have probably advised any friend in my situation to cease the breastfeeding and take the medicine! This post isn’t to shame anyone or guilt a struggling mom. This is simply my story and how I struggled, coped and survived. P

 

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A New Diet

On Thursday morning, I got the call from Dr. D. Our sweet little Cakey is allergic and or sensitive to a lot of the foods we eat and consider to be healthy! Foods like: almonds, sweet potato, coconut, eggs, avocado, flax, yogurt! As well as foods we already avoid like dairy, gluten, cane sugar and casein.

Dr. D gave us a game plan to help heal Cakey’s gut and to remove her food triggers from both our diets (since Cakey is breastfed) for probably 6 months!

I spent most of Thursday in shock and feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. I knew there had to be food allergies; I just never suspected coconuts! I had already planned to make a healthful birthday “cake” for Cakey’s first birthday, but those plans included coconut. I messaged a few family members to update them on the new developments… some supportive and some unsupportive… Then I headed off to work.

It was a rough day, but I managed to get through it without crying (even though I wanted to). I didn’t sleep very well and neither did Cakey. I kept dreaming about the allergy chart and coconuts!

After lots of praying, I had a plan…. shopping!

So after a trip to Walmart at 7:00 AM for some rice milk (so so thankful for no rice allergy!) we had our usual green smoothies and toast for breakfast. I whipped up some walnut butter, with a touch of raw honey, in my (amazing) food processor and we spread that on our toast!

At 10, I had a wonderful and helpful discussion with my health coach. An appointment that was scheduled a month ago… Isn’t that just like Jesus?!? He knows just what I need!

When moments like this happen, I always harken back to that scene from LOTR where Frodo comments to Gandalf about his being late, to which Gandalf replies, “a wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to.”

God is always on time!

We are back home now, after our successful shopping venture to Whole Foods. We have alternatives for coconut oil! I purchased a few other items for frosting “experiements” that I will test out sometime this crazy, busy weekend. I am determined that Cakey will at least have a decent tasting first birthday cake, even if it doesn’t look it.

First blog post

I had been toying with the idea of starting a blog back in January. I read some blogs on Pinterest and the whole thing seemed like this grand endeavor! I had an infant and it seemed like a lot to undertake at the time. But when my brother and sister-in-law started their blog and I saw how easy WordPress made it, I jumped onboard!

So here I am starting a blog… Which to me means it’s like a journal that sometimes others (or no one) will read. Maybe my journey will help someone else… if not it’s a great outlet for me!

I love to be creative. So I will blog about projects and crafts I am working on. I love cooking and eating! In April, I stated on a new health adventure with an integrative and functional medial practice. I am changing some of the things I eat and healing my body with food! So I may be posting some of the meals/snack I have created or tested!

Just like anyone, I get stressed out and burdened with life sometimes. My goal is to think positive and rejoice in all circumstances. But I also want to be real.

So this is the start of that adventure! I’m excited to see what’s next!