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Tag Archives: postpartum anxiety

PPA Part 6 – Here and Now

23 Apr

12:57am. I’ve been looking at pictures of Bunny and crying. I miss her. It’s like I’ve barely seen her in a week.

Bunny had an ear infection and a fever all last week. It was mostly up to me to take care of her.

It was a nice healthy dose of emotional detachment that got me through it.

Emotional detachment and Xan.ax.

Because otherwise I couldn’t have withstood it.

She’s been better for 4 days. But I’m not quite better yet. Her being sick made me sick.

I have moments that I’m attached again, looking at my beautiful girl, smiling, being her usual playful self after a week of unbearable pain.

And here she is, good as new, but I’m not.

I’m detached. I detached to deal with it all, and now I have to find my way back.

That happens a lot. These days, that’s what happens more than anything.

When things get hard I detach so I can be there for her.

She’s the one who is allowed to cry.

I’m not allowed to cry.

I cry – but I try not to do that with her. With her I’m strong. I do what I have to do. I take care of her. And hold her. And hug her. And rock her. And sing. And read stories.

But I can’t help but worry that she detects the hints of detachment in me. I can’t help but worry that my way of dealing sometimes puts a wall between us.

Because if I felt all of my feelings all of the time I would not be human.

There would be no work. There would be no sleep. No food. No showers. No conversation.

Just sinking completely into her.

Joy, grief, pain. Joy. Joy. Joy. Fear. Joy. Fear.

“They” say having a child is like putting your heart into someone else’s body.

I think “They” may be right.

I’ve always felt things more strongly than most. Feelings overwhelm me. I see things in black and white.

Which is why I taught myself to shut off feelings so I can function.

Or I’d sink into her, completely. I would disappear into the lovely, amazing, miraculous person that has taken my heart into her body.

It’s cheesy. It’s cheesy because it’s true.

My heart is in her. So when she’s not here it’s not here.

I go to the office. Or I stay at home and work while she’s at day care. And I sometimes forget she’s real.

Not really forget. That’s not really the word.

But I do remember she’s real each time I see her again. Each time. I remember again.

Every morning that I wake up with her. Every time I go away and come back. Or she goes away and comes back. I remember.

She’s real. This is her.

This miraculous, beautiful, exquisite little person is mine.

And if I let myself feel that… Everything that comes with feeling that. The fear. The pain. The ecstasy….

If I let myself feel that all of the time there would be no me any more. I would melt completely into her.

So I throw myself into work. And at 4pm every day I sink into 3.5 hours of complete bliss that is my daughter.

But I always need a wall.

Or I would cry. I would do nothing but cry. Overwhelming tears of joy, of gratitude, of grief, of fear. Of every feeling that chases me each time I hear her laugh. Or hear her say mamamamamamama over and over again.

I know she’s not calling my name but I know that someday that will be her calling mamamamama. Mama.

And that’s me. And I have to be a whole person. For her.

So when I need to, I put up a wall. And hope against all hope that it’s a glass wall.

Transparent enough that she can see me, in all my undying love, devotion, fear, love, love, unconditional, unending, overwhelming love – for her.

On the other side.

bunnycrawling

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PPA Part 5 – Day Care

18 Apr

She’s six months old. It’s time.

I packed her clothes and labelled them. I wrote her name on her bottles with a sharpie.

It’s time.

I can’t be with her during the day while I work any more. She’s getting more active. She’s more of a handful. I need to work.

Burning the candle at both ends is becoming unbearable. I haven’t slept properly in weeks.

It’s time.

8am. I stand in the middle of the day care center. She’s in the small crib they’ve designated for her. I stand there next to her. I can’t go.

I start crying.

Great. Now I’m the weird crazy lady in the middle of the day care center crying.

I can’t go.

Crying becomes sobbing.

I’ve  been here for half an hour. I really need to go.

I can’t go.

But I really need to go.

The day care worker gently suggests I leave.

I can’t go.

She suggests I take her and try again another day.

I really have to go. She needs to be here. I have to go.

I go.

The car is parked outside. 8:30am.

9am.

9:15am.

I’ve been sitting in the car for 45 minutes. I really need to go.

But she’s in there. She’s in there without me.

I need to go.

She’s alone.

She’s not alone – she’s there with a lot of other babies.

She’s so quiet, they won’t notice when she needs something.

They will. They’ll notice. She knows how to cry when she really needs something.

They don’t have movement sensors on their cribs.

Fuck. Holy fuck.

It’s getting hard to breathe. I need to go. If I don’t go now I’ll run back in there and take her away from this place.

But they don’t have sensors.

Horrible, awful, unbearable images run through my head.

More than horrible. More than awful. More than unbearable. There are no words for this.

The quiet cry I’ve had going for the last 30 minutes starts to devolve into hysterics.

I put the car in reverse.

I need to pull off the band aid. I need to go.

Luckily home is close.

I drive away from her. Hysterics devolve into screaming in terror.

I park outside our house.

I need to get out of the car and go in the house.

9:30am. I need to go in the house.

I try to calm my breathing. I take a Xan.ax.

Just don’t think about the sensor. Don’t think about the sensor. Go in the house.

10am.

I go in the house.

PPA Part 4 – Doctors

13 Apr

“Trust your gut.”

But how will I know if it’s something serious?

“Trust your gut. You know her best.”

(I know her best.)

(Of course I know her best.)

(I also know that I can’t trust my gut.)

So what are the warning signs?

“There aren’t any. Trust your gut.”

 

My gut tells me that doctors can’t be trusted.

My gut tells me that when doctors say “everything will be fine” nothing is fine and I lose my son.

My gut tells me to be afraid. Always be afraid. Always expect the worst. Always.

If I trusted my gut, I’d never take her to a doctor.

If I trusted my gut, I’d be at the doctor’s office twice a day.

Then there’s the history. She’s registered under my health care plan. Her medical history is my medical history.

5 pregnancies. One premature labor. High-risk pregnancy. No other living children.

So the pediatricians. They know. They know I’m scared. They know I’m anxious. So they don’t take me seriously.

But I’m trying to trust my gut. My baby’s not eating.

“Sometimes babies don’t eat.”

But she screams when she has a bottle in her mouth.

“Don’t overreact.”

I’m not overreacting.

“Here – try this formula”

It’s helping but it’s not enough.

“It is enough (stop being so anxious).”

It’s not enough. Should I take her to a specialist?

“Trust your gut.”

But how do I know that thee pediatricians aren’t right? That I’m not just being anxious?

“Trust your gut.”

But my gut is what makes me scared that it’s not just what I think it is – that it’s something 100 times worse. That even the specialist is wrong.

“The doctors say everything will be fine. The specialist gave her a prescription now. They say everything will be fine. ”

Fuck doctors. Doctors are not gods. Doctors can be wrong.

Doctors have been wrong.

Doctors have been so fucking wrong.

“So trust your gut.”

But my gut is even more wrong.

My gut is scared shitless. My heart is scared shitless. My head is scared shitless.

I’m scared shitless.

I’m her mommy. I’m supposed to know. Where does the fear stop and the knowing begin?

PPA Part 3 – Dinner

9 Apr

Bunny is 3 days old. It’s our first night home. We are in pure bliss. The post-labor high hasn’t quite worn off yet. We give her a bath. We take the cutest pictures ever. I can’t stop smiling.

Bunny falls asleep and we order pizza.

Blessed pizza.

I’ve been waiting for pizza for 4 months. It was off limits because of the gestational diabetes. I’ve been wanting this pizza more than anything.

Ok – almost anything.

Blessed carbs.

I have a slice.

Something doesn’t feel right. I feel hot. I run to the bathroom. I bend over the toilet – gagging.

It’s nothing. It’s my hormones acting up. This is supposed to happen around three days postpartum. It’s my body not being used to the junk food. It’s me being tired.

It’s nothing.

Bunny is 4 days old. My milk has come in. The high has worn off. Happiness abounds, but the lack of sleep is starting to reach crisis point.

I make spaghetti.

A few bites in and I can’t stomach it. By the end of dinner I’m once again gagging.

Maybe it’s just too heavy for me.

 

 

Bunny is 5 days old.

Sushi. I waited 10 months for sushi.

Gag. Sputter. Gag.

 

When I was a teenager, my parents used to joke that they knew when I was anxious, because they would hear me cough.

That’s where I used to feel my panic attacks – in my throat. They used to start in my throat.

But not any more. That hasn’t happened for years and years. These days they’re supposed to start with my eyes. With my ears ringing. With a weird buzzing around my head.

 

Bunny is 6 days old.

I have started a very low dose of a an anti-anxiety med that is safe for breastfeeding. But it’s skittles compared to xan.ax. Does it do the job? Not really. But it helps. It took headphones on at full blast, bunny in another room,  and complete darkness – but I slept for two hours.

Chicken meatballs and rice.

Gag.

Without thinking – I grab a skittle pill.

 

Right. This is what this is. My body has decided. This is how I panic now. Again. It’s back in my throat.

The skittle helps and I finish dinner.

 

New Years Eve. Bunny is 3 months old. We have been to a good friend’s house. Eaten good food, drank good Lambrusco, had an amazing time. Bunny is asleep at her grandparents’ and we are walking distance from our beds.

Shmerson reflects on where we were last year. Announcing my pregnancy to the same people we just celebrated with. Two years ago – pregnant with Nadav, taking it easy. Three years ago – on a break from trying – at a restaurant with friends. Four years ago – planning our wedding – no idea what was to come.

Today. Look at us today.

I realize that there is a baby waiting for us – five minutes away.

A baby. She’s ours. She’s mine.

Gag. Sputter.

I have to stop and catch my breath.

Gag. Retch. Gag.

People walking next to us are starting to stare.

Gag. Gag. Retch.

I lean on a tree. Bend over.

Gag.

I try to breath deep. I start rummaging through my purse, crying.

Gag.

Here it is.

Gag.

Good.

I build up the spit in my mouth between gags. Pop the pill and swallow.

Xan.ax.

Blessed Xan.ax.

 

PPA Part 2: Cognac

8 Apr

It’s 2am. I’m sitting in a rocking chair in the corner of our living room.

My shirt is pulled down, nursing bra exposed. I don’t really care at this point.

It’s Monday night. Bunny is 5 days old. Practically to the minute. She’s fast asleep in my lap. We just had another failed nursing session. She really likes to fall asleep while eating.

I’ve been doing everything to keep her awake. EVERYTHING. Nothing is helping.

I haven’t slept for 8 days.

8 days. Not a wink. Ok. One wink.

Not for lack of trying.

In the hospital I was riding the oxytocin high. I stared at her face for hours. I would just hold her endlessly. I didn’t care about sleep. Sleep meant she would go to the nursery. Sleep meant I would miss out on a moment with this miracle.

When day 4 came around the hormone crash kicked in.

The bliss was still there.

But reality had re-entered my radar like a mac truck.

I need some sleep.

When we go to bed for the night, I’m too afraid. Her bassinet is right next to me. Yes – the movement monitor is on. But it’s not enough. I stick my hand through the bars and put it on hers. I need to feel her movement. The monitor is not enough.

Shmerson takes her to the living room. Maybe if she’s not in the same room I can block out my constant need  to see her breathing.

I lay in bed, and my body begs to succomb to a few hours of blissful darkness. But as my eyelids droop – I jump up – startled.

Maybe it’s because I still hear her gurgling. The headphones come on. Once again – I drift. Only to jump up second later in a panic.

Something is not letting me sleep. It’s no longer in my control. It’s animalistic. It’s a never ending chemical loop.

I’ve managed to get half an hour total – between 4am and 4:30 am on Sunday night using the following configuration: Bunny is on one cushion on the couch. I’m curled up on the other. One hand on her chest to feel her breathing.

Half and hour of blissful sleep. Until she woke up, and my neck hurt.

Day 5. And it’s 2am. And I know I’m in an endless chemical loop and only one thing will save me: Xan.ax. But I can’t. I’m breastfeeding. Failing miserably. But breastfeeding. I’ll be a horrible mother if I can’t feed my child.

I’ll be a horrible mother.

I look at Shmerson and I burst into tears. Not the sad tears. The kind that are tinged with panic. That can spiral into terror at any moment.  He tries to help me gain control.

I just need to sleep. I need to sleep.

I need to sleep.

I go on twitter. He goes on google. We look desperately for a solution. Finally we hit on it – alcohol. I can breastfeed, have a drink, and by the time Bunny feeds again it won’t be a big deal. I’m a lightweight anyway.

I get excited. Yes! Alcohol will do it! Alcohol will make the panic loop stop!

I rouse bunny for another pathetic feeding session – filled with moist towels and foot tickling  – begging her to stay awake.

Back to sleep she goes. My glass of cognac awaits.

A blessed glass of cognac.

I hate cognac.

But this will make the loop stop.

I hand Bunny over to Shmerson and drink the entire glass in a minute flat. Then I head to bed.

My eyes droop – my body longs to succumb to the darkness.

And I jump up with a start.

The loop didn’t stop.

Maybe I’ll be able to get another half an hour on the couch.

If my neck can take it.

PPA Part 1: Empty

7 Apr

Thank you all for your support on my last post. “Coming out” so-to-speak has brought on a renewed barrage of inspiration. This is a first in a series of slightly more abstract posts that have come to me. I’ll get to the practicals later. I’m still in the process of writing these, and it is cathartic. I hope you stick around to read them. 

Empty

Bunny was born three hours ago. I barely held her. Barely registered her being and they took her to the nursery. That’s what they do. They need to monitor her. She’s a gestational diabetes baby. They need to monitor her.

The nurse that took her at 4am – I asked her to let Shmerson come too. She said he could come, but couldn’t stay. I was upset. I don’t remember how, but somehow someone told her about Nadav. I didn’t want to leave my baby alone. She promised she would hook her up to a heart monitor. Just so I could feel better leaving her without us.

Just so I know they’re making sure she’s breathing. But that’s my job. I need to make sure she’s breathing.

4:15am. Shmerson texts me a picture of this wonder – this miraculous creature who I only got to hold for a few minutes. She’s hooked up to a monitor. They did what I asked.

I send him home to sleep.

5am – I get wheeled into the ward.

“When will I see my baby?”

“Probably around 7am. You should get some sleep”

Yes. Sleep. It’s Thursday morning. I haven’t slept since  Sunday night.

“Ok.”

I get to my room.

6am – A nurse helps me out of bed so I can rinse off two days of induction and a hard-fought labor.

“When will I see my baby?”

“The doctor checks them between 6am and 7am – then there’s a shift change. They’ll probably bring her to you around 8am. Get some sleep.”

Ok.

In my room I stare up at a ceiling and close my eyes.

And I do what I’ve done 100 times before in the last four months – since I felt the first flutter.

I start to count. 10 in an hour. But usually with Bunny I get ten in 15 – 20 minutes. I wait for a kick.

A kick doesn’t come.

I start to panic. I put my hand on my stomach.

Where is she?

She’s here. She’s just not with you. But she’s here.

I start to cry. Is she really? Is she really here?

6;30am.

I jump out of bed. Barefoot. Wearing a half-open gown. Traces of the last 48 hours still all over my body.

I don’t care. I run to the nursery.

The door is locked. The doctor is checking them. The door is locked.

The panic rises. I start to cry. I start to pace back and forth, back and forth in front of the sliding doors. Waiting. Panic tickling my throat.

My hands are on my stomach.

I feel so empty. Where is she? I’m empty.

An eternity later the door opens. A nurse sees me. She sees my distress. Nobody is supposed to come in at this hour.

I cry. I beg. She lets me in. I walk up to the bassinet. Bunny. She’s here. She’s here and breathing and sleeping. She’s here. She’s breathing.

But the nurse says I have to go.

“Can’t I take her with me?”

“We’ll bring her to you at around 8:30.”

“No. I want her now.”

“We need to check her blood sugar again.”

I see the small bandage on the bottom of her foot where they drew her blood. Tears well up again.

“When will you check it?”

“Very soon.”

“Then will you bring her? Please. I can’t wait until 8:30. Please bring her to me.”

The nurse looks at me with pity. With exasperation. With something.

“Ok. Try to get some sleep.”

Sleep. I haven’t slept since Sunday.

I go to my room. 7am.

Sleep? Who can sleep?

7:30am – my amazing, miraculous, beautiful baby girl is wheeled into my room.

I sink into three days of blurry, sleepless, unadulterated bliss.

Clearing the Air

5 Apr

The truth is, dear readers, I have not been honest with you or with myself for the last couple of months.

I have been busy – no doubt. But the truth is that I’ve started at least 10 posts in the last month. And I haven’t been able to bring myself to publish a single one.

And the reason is because I let someone else take away my voice.

These days I have a lot of readers from different places. People find me when browsing through parenting blogs on wordpress, or by finding a couple of my satirical “miscarriages suck monkey balls” posts through google, or through a facebook share, or a tag search.

But the core of this blog started as a part of a small, niche blogging community of women living with infertility and pregnancy loss. Known affectionately as the ALI community (adoption, loss, infertility). I “cut official ties” to that community for my own sanity by no longer participating in blog rolls, link exchanges, awards, and the like. But I am still a loyal reader (and friend) to a lot of women who I found there, and I know that many of you found me through there.

I cut ties because the fact is that that the ALI blogosphere- though an often beautiful community that has saved me more times than I can count, can sometimes be cruel and judgemental. And I no longer wanted to conform to what was “expected of me” through it.

I have once actually quit this blog because of those expectations. I am very happy that I came back, and also very happy that I made the conscious decision to stop conforming to one small circle’s expectations.

That being said – a month and a half ago, I was once again exposed to the cruel and judgemental side of the community, and as a result, I have found myself silenced once again in this space.

And though I was considering doing it again, I don’t want to abandon ship.

This blog has too many loyal followers who I don’t want to abandon. This blog tells a complete story. That story is not over. Not even close. So there’s no reason to end it now. I like it here. I’d like to stay.

So I have decided that rather than keep my silence – I will hit “detonate” on a bridge  that I never wanted burned. So I can clear the air and reclaim my voice.

I don’t like airing dirty laundry in this forum. In fact – I hate it. But in this case, if I want to keep this space safe for me, I have no other choice.

This is about me reclaiming something I was labelled, so I can talk about it and address it without the petty bullshit. This is about me admitting something so I can take this space back.

So I’m going to recount a story here. And unlike the woman I am talking about, I will keep any details that may reveal her identity a secret. Because this is about me, not her. The only way you will know who I am talking about is if you happen to read both of our blogs, and put two and two (and two) together.

I am not mentioning names. I do not want this to become a war. I hate this petty bullshit. If you happen to read us both, and you figure out who I’m talking about, good for you. But please keep it to yourself.

I had a friend. I met her through the blogs. I never met her face to face but after Nadav died, I don’t know how, I don’t know why – she became my wailing wall. She was there for me in a way that nobody else in my life could have been. We talked every day, sometimes twice or three times. I would cry to her over skype at 2am. Often. She was a huge reason that I survived the year following his loss.

When I got pregnant with Bunny I emotionally detached from the world. I didn’t talk to anyone. I couldn’t. I was literally in moment-to-moment survival mode. I explained this to her, and at the same time felt like a crappy friend. Especially since she got pregnant shortly after me. But as I slowly got out of the fog, our friendship was slowly rekindled.

This woman and I had our babies at around the same time, through very different paths. We shared experiences and pictures when we could, then one day – we had a fight.

We were both tired. We were both dealing with our own shit. We fell victim to the mommy wars.

I stepped away, giving her space, but clearly leaving the door open for her to come back. Some time had passed but to be perfectly honest – I kind of figured we would both get in the whole parenting groove and then talk it out when we were good and ready. That’s how I usually handle this type of stuff. There are few fights I’ve had that have been deal breakers. Apparently, this woman felt differently.

Then – TWO DAYS after Nadav’s birthday, (TWO DAYS!) this woman published a blog post. In that post, she doesn’t name me. But any person with half a brain who read us both could figure out in a minute who she was talking about. She didn’t go to great lengths to disguise my identity.

I even received several private messages about the post, asking for my side of the story. In fact – that was the way I found out she had posted. I hadn’t opened my blog reader in ages.

My readership is much broader than hers – but we have plenty of the same readers who are a part of the ALI community.

In her post – this woman published one-sided lies about the fight we had. She put words in my mouth which I never said. She claimed I “walked away from the friendship” when she in fact was the one who was abandoning ship by publishing the post. She said things about me that weren’t true and were incredibly hurtful.

But I don’t care about those lies.I didn’t feel the need to address them – especially not here.

What I did – and still do – care about was that this woman betrayed a confidence of mine. Something that I only slightly alluded to on this blog soon after Bunny’s birth, but was not ready to fully share with the world yet, as I was still working through it.

Something that I told her in confidence, which in her blog post she passed on as her own “observation”.

She said it in a condescending, holier-than-thou tone which took away the power of it. She used it as a “reason” that I said all those things she claims I said but were never said (in reality they were perceived and inferred).

In writing out her own agenda, she took away my right to tell you about it myself. Yes – there are a hundreds of you who have never come across her blog. But there are enough of you who have. That know enough to know she was talking about me. That made what she wrote a betrayal of confidence.

And she did it less than two days after Nadav’s birthday.

Exactly at the moment that I was getting ready to share it with you.

I had been planning a long post about it. It was sitting in my drafts, waiting for one last pass before publishing. Instead, I deleted it.

I was so afraid of confirming the link between me and this woman’s post. I didn’t publish because I was afraid it would eventually lead to me having to write something like what I’m writing right now. Instead of that post – the post I needed to publish – I wrote another post in a deliberate attempt to distance myself from the situation. And I have barely written a lick since.

She took away the power of what I wanted to say. And she did it at a time when I was finally ready to “come out” so-to-speak, and unpack my experience here.

She took it away by making it her “observation”, rather than something I admitted to her in confidence. She took it away from me, by not letting me tell you myself.

And now I’m taking it back:

Before Bunny was born, I was scared of postpartum depression. I luckily dodged that bullet.

Instead, I was hit with the train that is postpartum anxiety.

I have been living with it, dealing with it, and trying to come to terms with what that means since Bunny was 4 days old and I had my first panic attack.

It colors all of my decisions. It makes me question myself as a mother. It makes some things a million times harder than they should be.

Postpartum anxiety sucks.

And I have it.

And it was MY RIGHT to keep that information to myself until I was ready to share it and process it. And unpack it. Because this is the space where it should be unpacked. Nowhere else.

And it’s been waiting in a suitcase in a corner because I let somebody take away my voice.

I have no anger toward this woman any more. I already said what I had to say to her in an email, and I have nothing else to say to her.

I’m saddened because of the way she chooses to deal with the people in her life who love her. I am not the first in the line of abandoned friends in her wake. I hope I’m the last, but I doubt it. I truly hope she finds peace and happiness in her life. I told her as much.

I am saddened because she was a friend to me at a time when being a friend to me was an almost insurmountable task. For that I will always be grateful. And I profoundly feel the loss of her friendship. Though now I no longer desire it.

But I refuse to let this drama stop me from expressing myself here. I am not abandoning ship. I am reclaiming my space right here and right now.

So now it’s out in the open air. Please respect my wishes and if you understand who I’m talking about – keep it to yourself.

And let’s move on from this. The air is clear.

I am Mo, and I have postpartum anxiety.

Let’s talk about it, shall we?

The Hard Stuff

14 Sep

Like I promised in my last post, I want to be honest about this experience. So bear with me, this one is going to be long, and hard.

We got released from the hospital when the Bunny was 2 days old. The first day home was awesome. I was still riding on a complete high. Breastfeeding seemed to be going ok (though the Bunny kept falling asleep while nursing), we were getting in a groove. Mind you, I hadn’t slept a wink literally for a week, but at that point it didn’t bother me.

The next day, my milk came in, my hormones crashed, and that’s when the fit started hitting the shan.

My back started spasming and hurting like a mofo.

I was beginning to feel anxious, all the time.

I didn’t have an appetite, and was having problems keeping food down.

I couldn’t sleep a wink. Even when Shmerson sent me to the bedroom while he watched the Bunny I would shut my eyes, and nothing would come. It was like this animal instinct. Whenever I would start to fade into sleep I would immediately wake up with a start, feeling panicky. It was like this chemical cycle was triggered in my brain to stay awake at all costs, and nothing would shut it down.

This went on for three days. I had gotten all together maybe 3 hours of sleep. The only time I could sleep was when I would put the Bunny on the couch, and then curl up right next to her on half the couch and put my hand on her chest so I could feel her breathing.

By the third day I was melting down. I knew this was a chemical thing. I was frustrated beyond belief because I also knew that all I needed to make it go away was a single dose of Xan.ax. But I knew I couldn’t take it, because it would transfer into my breastmilk. I was in hell. I’m not exaggerating. Here I was, with this beautiful baby girl, so exhausted I couldn’t function, and too anxious to enjoy her even one little bit.

The next day in the morning I made some phone calls, talked to my shrink, and finally found a pill similar to xan.ax (though much weaker) that was safe while breastfeeding. Shmerson went to pick up the prescription, and within hours I finally got some blessed sleep. The pills are helping to keep the anxiety managed, but I’m still feeling anxious and I find myself crying, a lot. I know some of this may go away in the next week and it’s normal, but I’m not sure how much of it will linger. At least now I can sleep.

But even with the pills, things kept on getting harder. No matter what I tried, Bunny would not stay awake while nursing (and I really did try EVERYTHING). And with every session, she would detach quicker and quicker, and fight me at every turn. Every feeding was becoming a battle, and yet another source for anxiety.

My cousin, who is a lactation consultant, was supporting me through this, but all she could do was give advice. At this point I was truly getting worried that Bunny was not getting enough to eat.

Then on Thursday, when she was a week old we went in to get her weighed, and my concern became justified. She hadn’t gained an ounce since we were discharged. She wasn’t eating enough.

After losing it for a bit, I talked to my cousin and we started a new regimen: Every three hours we try the boo.b, then I pump for 20 minutes while Shmerson bottle feeds Bunny either pumped milk if there is any, or formula if there isn’t. Feeding has become an hour long ordeal, where I fight with Bunny for her to stay awake and latched, we fail miserably for about 30 minutes, she finally latches but barely sucks anything, and then off she goes to get real food from her daddy while I pump.

24 hours after starting this, there was another crisis. Bunny hadn’t peed for 20 hours straight. After consulting with a nurse she told us to go straight to the ER, so we did. I was crying hysterically the entire way. I don’t think I’ve ever been that scared in my life.

Of course, the second Bunny was put down to get examined, she peed like a champ. Shmerson and I laughed with relief, the doc examined her, and she was pronounced perfect as usual.  She also gained a little weight since the day before, which made me feel better.

So back to the feeding nightmare we went.

I think what happened was that I have a supply issue as a result of Bunny’s sleepiness in the first days when my milk came in. At that point I was in such a haze that I did what I could to keep her eating, but it obviously wasn’t enough to get my supply up to scratch.

I’m on day three of pumping and I’m not feeling as if there’s an increase in my supply, and we’re still in a serious struggle to get Bunny to latch, stay awake, and suck when she’s on my boo.b.

I know when we bring her in to get weighed tomorrow she’ll have gained because of the bottle feedings, but I just don’t know what’s next. I’m not sure my supply will increase, and once we’ve started supplementation, is there really any going back?

I’m starting to think that maybe it’s time to give up and move to formula. I hate that every feeding becomes a fight. I dread the clock going off and having to start it all over again. I’m not enjoying my daughter enough because of this, and I’m seriously starting to wonder if it’s worth it. Why not just give her formula, stop the fighting, and always know for sure that she’s getting enough to eat?

Do I really need MORE reasons for anxiety right now? If I move to formula I also know I’d be free to take whatever meds I need to get my moods stable and truly enjoy my daughter.

But then there’s another part of me that says that we’ve worked so hard, it’s a shame to throw it away now. And the guilt of course, and the fear of missing out on all of that bonding and all of those benefits that are supposed to happen when you breastfeed (though right now there’s really none of that, just the anxiety).

But I was brought up on formula, and so was Shmerson, and honestly – so were a lot of people I know. We all came out just fine. Is it really worth all of the drama?

As of now, the decision is to give it till Wednesday and re-assess. If my supply isn’t up by then and we’re still relying almost completely on formula, I think I’ll probably give up the boo.b. Shmerson is going back to work in a week and it’s critical we get a good routine established (and my mood stable) before that happens. So Wednesday seems like a good day to cut things off and assess the situation.

I’m at a loss about what to do. I thought that giving up or pushing on would be an easy, clear-cut decision, but it’s murky and emotional and anything but clear-cut.

I just want to enjoy my daughter, and know that she is eating enough. But I don’t want her to miss out on things that would be good for her. This is so freaking hard.

Just a note here: I know breastfeeding is a touchy subject. I appreciate all of your feedback and please do leave it, but for FSM’s sake – no preaching, it’s the last thing I need right now. And no fighting amongst yourselves either. Breastfeeding and formula feeding are both legitimate choices and we shouldn’t judge anyone for choosing either. That being said, I would love to hear what you guys think. Let’s just keep it civil and non-preachy please. Thanks. 

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