Sunday, December 23, 2007

How I felt During Labor and When she was Born

Last Saturday (Dec. 15) I woke up with contractions at around 5:30 a.m. and I knew my big day had arrived. The night before I felt like something big was going to happen. Around 6:30 I started writing down the contraction time & length they were at 12 minutes apart, then 10 minutes, then 8 minutes ... by 9 a.m. I decided I should probably wake up my husband to let him know. This whole time I felt very anxious -- I honestly started thinking "oh no -- what have I done!" Followed by -- "baby can't you just stay inside another 6 months maybe then I will feel ready".

We left for the hospital at 10:45 when the contractions were 5 minutes apart, for more than an hour. When we got there I was hooked up to a fetal heart monitor and contraction monitor and all the sudden the experience really started to feel surreal. I also felt detached from the whole process -- all the while I started to think - what if I don't make a good parent? What if my life changes too drastically? Things progressed along and I finally got an epidural around 3:30 pm (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the epidural.)

At 7:20 I started pushing. This is when I really started to feel like I was not even mentally there. During the delivery my doctor was talking to me about the show "Flipping Out" and we were laughing about some of the interesting personalities. It was a total distraction from the exhaustion that I felt. My husband later told me that was the most unexpected thing that here I was having a baby and had HGTV on in the background and was discussing a real estate show with my OB/GYN. At 8:05 Leila was born. MY first reaction was relief -- I was thankful it was over, and tired and really hungry.

And then they handed me my daughter. And I looked at her and felt like she was this little creature that I didn't know what to do with. The nurse showed me how to breastfeed her -- and I thought it was the weirdest sensation. I was expecting to be flooded with feelings of love and affection -- and yet I really didn't feel any of that initially.

At the hospital I delivered at they never take the baby out of your room (unless there is a problem with the baby) so from delivery to checkout she's there. Which is great -- except when you are so tired and all your baby wants to do is cry.

The day after delivery was the hardest. Physically I felt bad and then Leila refused to breastfeed. And I started getting worried and nervous. In fact she went 13 hours without eating. And I tried to feed her every 2 hours -- to say I was frustrated would put it mildly. I was also angry. I'm not sure at who -- her or me. And I seriously considered giving up on breastfeeding and it hadn't even been 24 hours since delivery!

Luckily we kept trying and then miraculously she finally got the hang of it. I am so glad I decided to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is what started the bonding process between Leila and I. The skin-to-skin contact made me feel better.

Fortunately all the feelings I had about not knowing who this creature was, was unfounded. I am madly in love with my baby now ... so next up how I overcame the emotions I was feeling.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Surprising Emotions During Pregnancy.

I was prepared to be weepy or depressed. I knew I had the chance of getting manic. I was ready to be an emtional basketcase during this pregnancy. I was worried that my pregnancy could trigger a bipolar episode. But it never did.

I am amazed. My sister told me when she is pregnant she starts crying at TV commercials, she is very emotional. So I figured this too would happen to me. And yet it never did.

So what did I feel. Pretty stable almost the entire time. Don't get me wrong there were days were I felt a little down. Days I felt a little up. And days I felt really angry for no reason. But I never felt weepy.

What I was suprised at was how physically demanding pregnancy has been. I developed Hyperemesis (excessive vomiting) around week 7. By week 8 I was on zofran to control the nausea. I remained on zofran until the day I gave birth. Whenever I tried to stop it I would start vomitting again. And when I say excessive I mean by the time I went to the doctor to discuss the vomiting I was throwing up 10-12 times a day. I couldn't even keep down water. When I got to the doctor I was dehydrated and was in a starvation mode (evidence by the ketones in my urine). MY doctor diagnosed me very quickly and I was put on the right medicine and was then able to eat - however for the first half of my pregnancy I was still nauseated everyday while on the medicine but it wasn't bad enough to make me throw up. It was manageable.

In the first trimester I went to a conference in June and caught a nasty cold -- I ended up in the ER one night with symptoms like menegitis (luckily I didn't have that). But I was sick for over two weeks. I couldn't do anything and especially not sleep. My doctor even thought I was starting to get manic becuase I wasn't sleeping. And I became scared that he would put me in the hospital. Luckily he finally realized my problems were physical not mental.

During the second trimester I started getting pretty bad heartburn. It would be so bad I couldn't sleep. Then I had an allergic reaction to Zantac. And had to switch to Pepcid -- eventually that started working and I was able to once again sleep through the night.

In the third trimester the nausea increased ... and once again I had to start learn how to control it better.

In the last month, I had my sciatic nerve bother me every day. Which disturbed my sleep however I was taking long naps to make up for it.

The point of this is -- I expected pregnancy to be mentally challanging for me given my history of depressions, mania and psychosis. And yet -- that was stable. It was the physical issues that were a problem.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Healthy Girl is Born!

Last Saturday, December 15 at 8 p.m. my new daughter was born. She was perfect in every way. The model of health. Which is such a relief. During this whole pregnancy I was worried that the medication I take to control my bipolar disorder (Lamictal) or the medicine I take to control the hyperemesis (Zofran) would affect her -- even though statistically they are safe.

An interesting thing happened -- I had a nurse whose daughter was on Lamictal during her pregnancy. Her daughter has actually been part of a research study on Lamictal use during pregnancy. She told me her daughter has heard as part of this study there are trying to get Lamictal classified as a Cat B drug instead of the current Cat C classification.

She also told me that her daughter used Lamictal while breastfeeding and had no issues. Which was nice to hear since I too am now breastfeeding.

I'll post soon about -- my emotions towards the end of the pregnancy and also about how I felt after the birth.