A Week and a Day Later

The weeks immediately following the birth of each of my babies has always been a struggle for me.  I walk around in a foggy, altered state, trying to figure out this new existence.  It’s confusing and frustrating – physically no longer pregnant but not back to what I once was either, and emotionally all over the place.  In the beginning, there’s euphoria . . . and as the days go on, the blues always set in to some degree.  My hormones are wreaking havoc on me; the night sweats, the tears out of nowhere, the pining for a pregnancy that no longer is – pining because the realization hits, once again, that caring for a baby while it’s inside is much easier than when it’s outside.  There’s a sense of letdown after spending all those months in excited anticipation – and now it’s over and here I am with a baby who cries almost all the time, and six other kids who are being largely neglected by me because I’m tied to the rocking chair with the baby for hours at a stretch.

I’m trying to figure Scarlett out.  Does she prefer to be swaddled tight, as I thought at first, or not so much?  She’s one of those babies – so far, anyway – who doesn’t want to be put down.  Wearing her in a sling would solve some of this, of course, but the sciatic pain I developed over the last few weeks of pregnancy has only gotten worse since she was born.  So I pop ibuprofen and sit against a heating pad as much as I can, and hobble around the rest of the time.  She hates being in her carseat, and the couple of times Michael and I have ventured out with her to run errands, she’s screamed the entire time.

My blood pressure has been screwy still, too.  The first couple of days following Scarlett’s birth, it dropped so low that I constantly felt woozy and on the verge of fainting.  I lowered the dosage (I had started taking a higher dosage towards the end of my pregnancy), and it would go down for a few hours and then shoot back up pretty high.  I tried all the things my midwife suggested, but in the end I finally called my doctor and explained the situation to him and he prescribed an additional medication to take with the one I’m already taking.  Both are deemed safe to take while nursing, but both do pass into breastmilk, and I hate it that Scarlett is getting any of it, but I have to do what I can to stay healthy, too, right?  Ahh, the dilemmas and guilt of a nursing mother with a chronic condition.

Michael goes back to work tomorrow.  He’s been off this past week – or, I should say home, but working from home every day – but tomorrow he has to go back to the office.  I dread it.  I don’t know how I’m going to cope.  Although he’s been working from home, it’s still been nice to have another set of hands here to deal with the other kids.  Plus, he’s really the only one who understands my tears and mood swings.  Friends have stopped by, to bring meals and to see the new baby, and as grateful as I am for these things, there’s a feeling of having to be “on” for other people, which I just don’t have the energy for right now.

Anyway, I’ll adjust, we’ll all adjust, I know we will.  It’s a tough time right now; it’s a little overwhelming.


18 Comments on “A Week and a Day Later”

  1. Amber
    July 1, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    Aw, mama… I get that letdown feeling too. Your friends don’t expect you to be “on”…at least not the ones with any sense. Let them bring meals. And let them come in and put on a load of laundry or fold a basket of clothes for you. As for the sciatic pain, have you tried chiropractic before? I found it really helpful. (((hugs)))

  2. Alyson
    July 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    Oh Lisa (((hugs))) I know exactly what you mean about the anticipation/euphoria/let down. It is very different for a mom to many and why yes we choose to have large families it’s just a different adjustment than having baby#2 or #3.
    I actually hated visitors,though appreciated it at the same time if that makes sense. I remember feeling like that about getting on antidepressants while nursing, and though it’s different than BP meds,a healthy Mom is a must

  3. Deanna
    July 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    Thank you for writing so honestly. After your birth story and pictures of your beautiful new baby, my uterus said “Must have another baby NOW”. But thanks to your transparency, my brain is once again reminding the rest of my body that a good long break is in order. (-: Seriously though, hope the blues period passes quickly for you. I think you’re pretty much super woman to be doing everything you’re doing. One of my friends had a baby that screamed solid for six weeks, so she took her baby to a chiropractor and after several appointments, the baby settled down and was much more content. I hope you figure out what works for her soon- if only every baby was the same life would be so much easier. (-:

  4. Darla
    July 1, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    This is so tough, I know. (((Hugs))) Have you tried putting Scarlett in a baby swing? My kids always loved them. I just wish they had them for toddlers too. lol

    • Lisa
      July 1, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

      Yes, the swing is hit or miss with her.

  5. DS 2008
    July 1, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    I’m with you my friend, those first 18 months are killer. Don’t be on–be you and send kids out of house with visitors. That’s what you need visitors for, bring you food & play with rest of brood.

    But it’s sooooo worth it and it’s your destiny, you can and are doing it. Mostly. And as best as you can. Help her everyone! Love and peace and prayers from your friends and thanks for sharing. We appreciate your thoughts & amazing writing!

  6. Caryl Becker Phillips
    July 2, 2012 at 12:30 am #

    Let me know when you are ready to get rid of the girls and Joey (& of course Kev if he wants) for the day. They can come swimming at my house or I will take them to the book store and lunch. Or both. I really want to do that so please don’t feel like you are putting me out. It is fun for me.

  7. settoncrew
    July 2, 2012 at 6:12 am #

    I love your honesty, makes me feel like what I went through was totally normal. Having baby should NEVER be sugar coated, it is hard work and yet we survive and flourish at the same time.

  8. Anna
    July 2, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    Hugs darling… You really are a miracle worker

  9. Meriah Nichols
    July 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    Hang in there… sigh. You have so much on your plate.. and I admire your stamina – and honesty – as always. Wish I lived near you so I could do something like leave food on your doorstep and whistle for your troupe to meet me in the front where I’d take them out

  10. Holly F.
    July 2, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    I recall after each child there was a moment when I thought (and sometimes even said aloud) “This is more than I can handle.” Then the fog lifted…days or months later. It was especially bad for my last child as we adjusted to the diagnosis of Ds and the usual health problems that go along with Ds. I also knew he would be my last pregnancy so it was all very bittersweet.

    The fog will most certainly clear…you already know that. Please just keep in mind that the “baby blues” can turn into a full blown depression fairly quickly. I have been on antidepressants most of my life but after each child’s birth, the dosage was upped as much as possible so that I could continue breastfeeding but not end up very sick.

    Best wishes getting your blood pressure regulated and figuring out Scarlett soon. She sure is a cutie even when she is fussing! That last picture is perfect!

    • Lisa
      July 2, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

      Thanks, Holly. I have ended up with full blown PPD after
      two of mine, so I’m watchful of it.

      • Holly F.
        July 2, 2012 at 6:00 pm #


        I’m glad you are on top of it. 🙂 I also had PPD after my first because I had stopped all meds while pregnant. There were some scary moments with him where I felt very little emotion for him. By the time I admitted I needed help, I was extremely sick. Because of that, I’m a huge pusher for women to make sure they are not sinking into PPD. Some women feel shame so they don’t seek help. I think OBGYNs need to be more mindful of that.

      • Darla
        July 2, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

        I wish you could call in a helper until you recover. You must be so exhausted. (((Hugs))) I think fatigue and lack of sleep definitely contribute to PPD. I have also had this a few times.

  11. Stacey
    July 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    I’m a firm believer in The Fourth Trimester. Babies are born about three months before they are really ready (in a lot of ways) to be in this world, so they need to be held closely & fed constantly until they figure out that they’re on the outside now. New moms, and yes, even seventh-time-new — remember, this baby has never done this before! — should never be expected to be “on” for anyone except the baby. I’m so sorry you feel that way. That’s actually why we did a babymoon, we didn’t have any visitors for two weeks after each baby. You should see a chiropractor about your sciatica; the process of giving birth can really throw everything out of whack. Get back into adjustment & sling that baby like the pro you are!

    Have you checked the blood pressure meds on Dr. Thomas Hale’s website? Even if they do get into your breastmilk, they might be at such low levels that they have no effect on baby, or they might not be easily absorbed by the baby’s gut and pass right through. The website is closed to public questions, but you can read questions that professionals have asked & see what Dr. Hale says in response. http://www.infantrisk.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?12-Antihypertensives

  12. Crittle
    July 3, 2012 at 11:33 pm #

    Yikes! I feel totally selfish for rattling on the other day. Please know that I understand. It all takes time.

    • Lisa
      July 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      Not selfish at all, C! It’s good to reconnect 🙂

  13. Rebekka K. Steg
    July 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

    I hope things get easier soon 🙂 First weeks are the toughest (or so I hear, peanut gallery here 😛 )
    My best friend just had her first baby back in January,and her wonderful baby boy is definitely a social one, needs to be held or at least close to you at all times.

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