A Final Farewell to Postpartum Depression

Today I took off my last bandages from my surgery and breathed both a sigh of relief and of saddness. This decision took me a few months to finalize and knowing that I am forever done holding a newborn of my own was not an easy pill to swallow. I have heard so many opinions over the years as to why this decision should not be made or taken lightly, but the alternative was far more frightening to me.

Postpartum depression is something I never thought I would struggle with (having never dealt with depression prior to my childbearing years). The thoughts that consumed my mind bring me to tears and the possibility of ever going through it again was too hard to bear for me. 

I am a year away from my thirties and have had three healthy pregnancies and babies. From a medical prespective I am an ideal candidate to give birth to healthy babies due to never having any complications. And as much as this makes me happy, I also feel guilty that unlike myself I have so many friends struggling with infertility, loss of an infant, or miscarriages. My hope is that although my season of childbearing is over I can now have the time, energy, and emotional capacity to better come alongside my friends (old and new) to love on them and pray for them in ways I was unable to before. 

I know at this point what some of you may be thinking: Why didn't your husband just get a vasechtomy? We tried. He wasn't a candidate. End of story. 

In fact my husband came home from going on a walk with our youngest the other day and told me how he was getting teary-eyed thinking about the fact that this is our last biological child together. It was a reminder to soak up the good and the bad, the sleepless nights and the endless teething, becuase one day our kids will be out and about on a skateboard rather than begging to be sitting on our laps. 

This decision was really a decision to put an end to my postpartum depression. I have been off meds for a few months now and besides the emotional changes I go through when the seasons change, (See post Here) I've been feeling great. I am not going to be naive and say depression cannot ever effect me again in the future, but I am more hopeful. In the years to come I hope that we can bring the joy of life into our house again in the form of adoption or foster care, but for now I am thankful for the three little boys God has entrusted us with. My three tiny marks are now a reminder on my body of the remarkable gift of life and how each child brought me down a road that brought me to where I am today and has helped shape me into who I am today. 

If you are struggling with any form of depression and anxiety know you don't have to get your tubes removed like I did. I am not saying this is for everyone, it was a decision for me. But know that you do not have to go through your journey alone.

Ask for help. Find a friend who can listen to you. Go outside. Practice self-care. What you are going through is harder to overcome when you are alone. Message me if you want to talk.

Thanks for letting me open up and be vulnerbable with this decision I made. It may or may not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but for me it marked a closing of one door and an opening of many others. 

Farewell Postpartum depression, you sucked!

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Instead of a “push present” I got a “sterilization present.” 

Instead of a “push present” I got a “sterilization present.” 

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babies and choking.

Choking is probably one of most frightening things a parent has to go through with their child. It is something that even if we are trying everything we can to prevent it from happening, it can still happen. I have not taken a CPR class in a few years, but I am familiar with the general steps on how to handle someone who is choking. But when I see my own baby choking, for some reason I am paralyzed by fear and I lose all reason and common sense with how to help them.

This past Sunday in our church nursery I was giving Max his snack, like normal. This time he was having some flat pretzels and an applesauce squeeze. All of the sudden I noticed him gagging and then...gasp...choking! and I immediately panicked inside. I managed to throw him over my knee and gave him 5 back blows. He threw up a ton of pretzels and applesauce so I thought I got every obstruction out of his airway. He then started choking again and after some more backblows he threw up a few more times. This continued and one of our church members helped me and he also gave him some back blows. At this point I was completely freaking out inside and told him we needed help and he ran to get my mom and Nick. Fast forward a minute and Max's airway was finally cleared and he was breathing fully again. He immediately grabbed my neck and was visibly tired and scared. I wanted to cry so badly but held my emotions back so that I could help Max feel better. In a few short minutes my entire world nearly ended. I am not sure what it looked like from other people's perspectives, but for me all I could think was "Dear Lord, save my baby, please don't take him from me." 

It is moments like this that truly put life into proper perspective. Something as simple as giving my baby a snack could have turned my world upside down in a second. Thankfully, God spared Max and Max will never remember that day, but it changed a lot of things for me. For one, I want to get CPR/First Aid certified again right away (I am thinking of hosting a husband/wife event at the house where a group of us can learn together). I want to be as prepared as possible if something like this were to happen again to one of my boys or another friend's child. Two, it reminded me not to sweat the small stuff. Too often I get caught up with what I should be doing to take care of the home and do not focus more on the little things. I want to be more present with the kids because we never know what the future holds. And lastly, this choking incident reminded me just how much I love my kids. Their smell, their smile, their personality, everything about them makes me fall in love with them even more. Whenever I am away from them I feel like a piece of my heart is missing and they truly have brought more joy to my life than I ever thought possible.

Maybe your child has not had a serious choking incident lately, or if you are extremely fortunate--never. But maybe your child fell off their bike. Maybe your child has an illness or maybe your child has night-terrors. Whatever it may be, as mothers we always want to be able to help our kids and if possible even take their worries and pain away. While we cannot fix all the boo-boos and problems, we can always pray for our kids. My prayer is that all of these life events would further increase our love and care for our kids. I also hope that I will never have to experience choking incidents again. Watching your baby gasp for air is never something a mother wants to experience. Max was happy as a clam at Sea World today, but you better believe there were no pretzels involved. In fact, he might never get a pretzel again. ;)

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Our one week pup that has a new great home with my best friends co worker

Our one week pup that has a new great home with my best friends co worker

From 1 to 2

To say I was scared to go from having one child to two is an understatement.

I like consistency and am not a big fan of change. Adding another sweet baby to the mix was going to mix all of that up. I expected to go through PPD again and to feel completely overwhelmed like when I first became a mom and it scared me to go through that with two.  But we still decided to try for another one since Calvin was very social and outgoing and wanted him to have a sibling to grow up with like we had. 

To my surprise, going from 1 to 2 was much smoother than it was going from 0 to 1. This time around we had already gone down this road before and knew that the love we would have for this child would be worth all the hard times and that their was always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Everything with Max was and is easier. I had a quick labor and delivery. I had a fast recovery. I didn't experience PPD. I was able to nurse without complications and I had a two year old who likes to help out mommy by throwing dirty diapers out. Nick and I were both so excited to meet Max face-to-face because we knew how wonderful it was to have a child made in our own image. Seeing Max for the first time was pure bliss. It was the kind you see on TV and the kind I didn't experience with Calvin. Seeing Calvin hold Max was equally as enjoyable and it was in those first few moments that I felt like this time around: things would be different. 

I'll be the first to admit: those first few weeks of having a toddler and a newborn is very exhausting, even with all the help I had daily. The boys needs were both very different and it was a challenge for me to see Calvin growing up and not being 100% present for every moment of his life. Since sleeping (ha...what's sleep when you have a newborn?) the first month or two with a little one is rough, I figured a great way to have one-on-one time with Calvin and to get some rest was to go to bed with him. We would read books, pray, and I then would get a good 2 hours of rest in before my "night stretch". Calvin loved the extra snuggles and those two hours gave me the boost I needed for the looooooonnnnngggg night ahead. Calvin and I would also have our outdoor time in the morning while Max took his long morning naps. Having these two times of the day as only "Calvin and mommy time" helped me to have peace of mind knowing if Max was a little needy that day that Calvin and I had our special time together. 

Fast forward to today. My boys are already forming a great brotherly bond. Max crawls around everywhere following Calvin, and Calvin loves the fact that Max laughs at his every move. Most days they even take one nap at the same time. Those days are golden!

I am at the point where I can manage dinners again and the laundry is under control, even though it is twice as full each day! I still wake up tired and I need my morning cup of coffee, but I do wake up excited for the day with these two. Life is still chaotic at times and rather loud, but I love being a mother to two boys. I don't think we will have any more kids biologically (although I hear this can change at the 1 year old mark...after all, it changed when we went from 1 to 2!) but we do want to adopt in the future! I am thankful to have had two healthy pregnancies and deliveries, and we do wonder what a third (possibly a girl!?) might look like, however we also desire to raise a child who has no mom or dad and raise him or her in the fear and admonition of the Lord. One of my good friends will hopefully write for us soon on her heart and zeal for adoption. Stay tuned!