Postpartum Blues … but no one told me

I honestly don’t remember a whole lot about my first pregnancy. I do remember that it was easy. I counted calories and walked 5 miles a day, so I lost weight, which was no problem, since I had plenty to spare, per the OB’s office. (It still stings a little that a medical professional actually said to my 21 year old self that I have plenty of fat to spare.)

I had Bud at Women and Babies Hospital through May Grant. At the time, I didn’t know there was anything besides hospital birth. At the time, it never even crossed my mind that women had their babies at home.

I didn’t have a completely terrible experience at the hospital, but it was not relaxing or comforting at all. I was 3 days “overdue” with Bud. The doctor asked me at the 3 day late appointment when I wanted to have the baby. Of course, not knowing any better, I said, “Uhh 3 days ago.” He scheduled my induction for October 20th.

Bud came on October 21, 2009. At the time, obviously, I had no idea that my second husband and father of my next child would have the same birthday as Bud. I guess he was supposed to be “7 days late.”

When I was in hard labor and at 10cm, Ethan was popping his head in and out. The midwife was doing his hair and laughing, as I’m screaming in pain. Thinking about that right now makes me boil. I was pissed at the time, too, but it’s awfully hard to vocalize anything but a scream while you’re pushing a 9lb 4oz baby out something that’s normally the size of a dime.

I remember feeling very pressured into things. I remember being bothered every 10 minutes despite having an uneventful birth. I remember the awful lactation consultant who was rude and acted like I was a complete idiot.

Bud was healthy. I was fine. We had to stay two days after he was born. No issues, but there were too many births for them to discharge me, we were told.

Finally, we headed home. It was late in the day, and the sun was setting. I was an emotional disaster. I was passenger seat driving hardcore out of fear of crashing with our precious new baby, probably driving my first husband crazy.

Darius Rucker’s song, “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” came on the radio.

Just slice me down the middle.

I cried and cried. I had no clue what I was doing. Could I nurse this baby? What do I do with the cord? How do I help him heal from circumcision? What was I going to do when his dad went back to work?

The first days home, as always, were so rough. Postpartum blues was in full force. They didn’t tell me about postpartum blues. Never one mention of it. Depression that lasted months to years – that might’ve been mentioned, but no one told me that days 5-10ish were emotionally intense.

My husband had to go back to work after a few days. He had a week off altogether, but some of that time was wasted sitting around at the hospital.

So many days I sat at home with this little newborn baby and cried. Not many of my friends had kids yet. Some of my new church friends did, but I didn’t really know them well enough to say, “Hey I’m clueless and sad.”

I was bleeding from birth. My nipples were raw. The baby was screaming. I was pretty much home alone from 7am-5pm or later.

In hindsight, I really don’t know how I survived that time. God was certainly building resilience in me that he knew I was going to need just 9 months later.

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