Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ashlato




Pronounced:  Uh-Shlaw-toe.  Rhymes with gelato.

That is the name Lamp has come up with for the baby.  Baby Ashlato.  She's sort of a crazy baby name genius.  Meanwhile the Mr. and I remain at a standstill when it comes to a real name.

While finding out that we're having another girl has definitely helped me to feel more bonded to this little one, I'm still surprised how little time I find that I have to devote to thinking, planning, and prepping for baby number 3.  Third child syndrome begins I guess.  Since we'll most likely be moving about 6 months after she's born I'm not really planning a nursery.  And seeing how I just finished piecing a huge quilt for our bed, I'm not feeling up to making another quilt yet for this babe...although I really want to.  I've made them for both the other girls.  I have amassed a small pile of soft and cozy baby clothes--including the sweet, vintage number I couldn't resist pictured above--so there's that.

There is one thing I find myself working on more than my other pregnancies--positive thinking.  With both girls I've had post partum depression.  In one case I felt it more mildly but for a longer period of time (think months) and with the other one it was pretty short lived but came on much more strongly and intense.  I think PPD looks and feels differently for everyone, for me it is not just a feeling of sadness and this is sorta hard, it's a completely all encompassing I CAN'T DO THIS feeling.  Not just I don't want to do this, or I so tired, I feel as completely incapable of taking care of my baby as if I were in a full body cast.  If you've never struggled with PPD or even some sort of depression it's very hard to describe.  In fact, even when I look back it's hard to understand what I felt exactly and why I felt that way.  Additionally, I do have thoughts and fears about something being 'wrong' with this baby.  Now that we know there are no limb differences there is a part of me that worries about a new and different special need entering into our lives.  I hate to admit that because if there's anything I try and tell parents it's a message of love and acceptance, not fear.  And of course I know that no matter what, we will love this little one--no matter her weaknesses or strengths she is a part of our family and we love her.

I know that PPD takes more than just positive thinking--for me personally, I know that having people who are just willing to be there if I need them is huge.  And while I also can't change my babies genetic make-up with positive thinking--if she has additional needs, she has additional needs--I can change myself with good thoughts and acceptance.

Anyone else want to talk about post partum depression?  What's worked and hasn't worked for you?  Do you find that you have certain triggers?  Also, any other special needs moms who can also relate to fears (or even the reality) of having more than one child with special needs?    

  

30 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, PPD. I got hit hard the second time. I really didn't think I could do it either and to me it felt like trying to climb Mt. Everest in sneakers. I kept slipping and falling. Thank goodness for my mother and husband who had their crampons and hauled me up! I don't really have any solutions but just wanted to chime in with a "I hear you". I'm not sure what made it all better except for time, patience, and some diversions (thinking about simple sewing projects I had going on) to remind me that I was more than just a milk machine. Good luck. You WILL get through and it seems to be you're doing all the right things now -planning and thinking about how to handle it should it come again. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it all. Even 4 years after the fact, I still feel better knowing I wasn't alone in my experience.

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    1. Yes! I think another thing was doing things that made me happy--listening to good music, working on little projects, etc. Fortunately my husband is a great baby dad if that makes sense (some guys just don't love the babies) and he's a tremendous help and strength. And yes, it really does help to know you're not alone.

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  2. First one, I had horrible PPD. The 2nd two I had none and I attribute it to the large doses of Vitamin D that I took during both pregnancies. Check out your vitamin D level now and if it is around 30, I'd start supplementing 1000+ IUs of Vit D daily. Your levels should be close to 100 (some doctors freak out when it is that high, but try to get as close to 80 as possible). (I'm not a doctor, but do have my ID (internet doctor) from Google :)) Good luck and I'm excited to meet your new little one (you make beautiful babies!) (Sorry for the excessive use of parenthesis).

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    1. Interesting...I've heard a lot about Vitamin D lately it seems. How does one go about getting your levels checked? I'm getting blood work done in the next couple of weeks, is this something that can be checked with other blood work?

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    2. Hi Miggy -

      I have low vitamin D and take 4000 IUs per day (I live in the Pacific NW and a majority of people out here have low vitamin D because of the weather). Vitamin D levels can be checked with a simple blood test; just tell your doctor you would like your levels checked. Low vitamin D is associated with a whole host of health problems, including depression. Ideally you should get enough vitamin D from diet and exposure to sunlight, but often that is not the case, so I encourage everyone to get their levels checked :)

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    3. Thanks Amanda! Will definitely look into this.

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  3. Oh Miggy, I am sorry you have struggled with PPD. I participated in a special needs spotlight just days after my son was born and was trying to figure out what was happening to me at that time. I had PPD similar to your experience (intense, came on quick, but was gone with medication in about a month.) I remember feeling completely paralyzed and I cried more in that month I think than in my whole life combined. The night he was born, I was laying in the hospital bed and it just came on. I couldn't shake this dark feeling and I asked my husband for a priesthood blessing. The worst part I think was that I was so tired but I just could not sleep. I couldn't nap while he napped and every night I would go to bed between 11-12 but I would wake up between 3-4 and couldn't go back to sleep. I really felt like I was going crazy. Gosh, what a horrible thing. About 2 weeks into it,and after being encouraged by several people who had dealt with PPD, I went to my doctor and got on an antidepressant. It took 2 weeks but it was night and day different when it kicked in. I could function again!
    I am scared for it to happen with subsequent babies. When I think about it now, I feel like positive thinking and calming measures could get me through if it were to happen again, but it is so irrational and so all-encompassing that i don't think thats true. Like you said, so hard to out into words.

    Good luck with Baby #3! You have a beautiful, wonderful family :)

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    1. Yes, I too got on medication the second time around, but I have to say I'm not sure if it was the medication or the help I received from a good friend...I have a tendency to think it was the help. Either way, I will definitely be prepared to do what it takes to deal with it head on.

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  4. Well, first off I can relate to the whole not really preparing for baby. While this is only my 2nd, between our 3 year old and working full time at work and at home, I feel a lot less stressed this time about pregnancy in general... no in depth dr. googling session or stacks of baby books on my nightstand. I really do feel at peace, like this is exactly where I am supposed to be. But every now and then I remember those first few months after my son was born. I was never officially diagnosed with PPD, but looking back on it now, I definitely had the baby blues. I can remember sitting and crying, apologizing to my husband for turning our lives upside down, etc. And then the screaming/colic/reflux issues began... and that only added to my tears as well. After being married 8 years with no children, bringing home our son was definitely a life altering experience that I never really prepared for, which is ironic since we went through IF treatments. My whole focus while I was pregnant was on staying pregnant, I never thought beyond labor and delivery b/c I was afraid it wouldn't happen. And that was not a good plan! So as of right now I feel good about my positive thinking in regards to Baby No. 2. I am hoping I am more prepared this time around, but I also know that going with the flow is going to be the best option, I know it will be unpredictable and I should keep an open mind. But as we all know, "knowing" something is completely different than "feeling" something. Sending prayers your way as you prepare more for your little one to arrive.

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    1. Emily--yes I don't think there is any transition quite like parenthood... like you I was just really unprepared. Then again, I'm not sure there is anything that really can prepare you. And yes, knowing and feeling is a huge difference. But yes being more aware and in tune with my body, emotions, triggers, is a big part of dealing with any fallout. Good luck to you!

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  5. I had a daughter that passed away shortly after birth, with Turners Syndrome. Some people feel relieved after the first trimester is over. I feel relieved when the baby is here and coming home with me. I think it is natural to have those feelings. Not because you are afraid of having a child with differences but because of the unknown of what those differences are and a feeling of unpreparedness and inadequacy.

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    1. Exactly. If I knew our baby was having limb differences in a way I would be relieved because I know limb differences. It's the idea of something new, the unknown that is a little scary.

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  6. I didn't have it but am a huge worrier and never sleep. I have enormous empathy for those who have experienced it because I am surrounded by many friends who have. I wish you strength and peace with whatever is to come xx

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  7. I had an excruciating PPD after my daughter was born. It is something I still struggle to reconcile three years later. This summer I did a series on PPD on my blog and it was helpful to compile the stories of other women and to talk openly about it.

    You can visit it here: http://www.livwrites.com/search/label/postpartum%20depression

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    1. Thanks Liv--I'll check it out.

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  8. Oh gosh, where to start. When I was about two months pregnant with my second child we found out that there was possibly a birth defect with our then two and a half year old son. We were sent to Primary Children's and saw the entire team of genetics specialists. They had a pretty hard time telling us definitively what was going on. They were pretty sure he had Arskogs Syndrome, very rare and not lots of information. With out going to great detail, it was a syndrome that had different degrees of severity. Kind of a wait and see game. It was very scary being pregnant and not really having the answers I so desperately wanted and needed. My second son was born and did not have special needs. My older son had mild symptoms of Arskogs. He is married and living a full happy life. There were definitely ups and downs. He had some physical characteristics that some would comment about. Junior high was not always kind to him, high school was so much better. He found his comfort zone and some good friends as well. As a result of having Arskogs he and his wife will not be able to have biological children. Not because they are afraid; but because it is one of the symptoms that happen to some men. It makes them sad but they are excited about being able to adopt one day. We also had a scare with my fourth pregnancy, I had some questionable results from a blood test. The doctor suggested a amniocentesis. I just could not face another pregnancy without knowing. Knowledge is power and I needed to feel like I had some power. If my child was going to have special needs I wanted to do my research and not be blind sighted. The results came back and there was nothing genetically amiss. We were very relieved. So, do I have any advice? Prayer, deep breaths, long walks, girlfriends, gratitude, loving on my family and ONE DAY AT A TIME!

    PPD, had it, hated it, never want to have it again. Yuck,yuck and more yuck! Advice....address it sooner than later. Don't procrastinate getting help. There is no reason to struggle with depression when there is so much that can bring you relief. Therapy, medication, diet, whatever is right for you, have faith in your ability to cope with the ups and downs that are sure to come. I love your blog! You rock!

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    1. Good advice! In the long run I know I can't control things, so I'm really trying to just let go. Not easy, but better than the alternative.

      And as far as PPD I have to say, if there is one thing that I'm good at it's asking for/seeking help when I need it. I don't try to power through--so I know that if I need help I'll do what it takes to get it.

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  9. My daughter had PPD a few months after her first child was born. She is a psychologist and knew the symptoms....thank goodness. When she first told me I went to the library and read the book by Brooke Shields. I was able to tell her about what I read. My daughter's depression was severe. She had visions of terrible things happening to the baby. Not by her but while with her. Awful things. It was so scary. I know that I flew out to be by her side. I remember walking over a bridge with a rather rapid river flowing underneath. Before we crossed she made me promise that if the bridge collapsed that I would save the baby first. It was so sad to have these feelings.....and this was a minor feeling. She was able to get on medication and that did the trick. She lost her next baby early in the pregnancy. Then she went on to have another baby and suffered no depression. She was prepared to do what it took if need be. I think what triggered this depression was when she returned to work and her daughter went into day care. Even though she totally trusted the woman caring for her baby but she just started to spin out of control.
    When my daughter in law had her second baby she was so worried about being able to take care of both children. I was a little shocked but now I see that as another form of this depression like you said. at that time her mother took care of her while in the hospital. I tended to the new baby......
    I am guessing and hoping that you will be just fine this time around. The important thing is to know what to know the symptoms and do what you need to do.
    Happy New Baby.

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    1. So tough...it really can be scary.

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  10. Our only child was born with club feet, which his father also had. We don't know, and won't know for many years, if he also got my genetic kidney disease (50% chance). I've certainly lived a full life with my failing kidneys, as has my husband with his club feet, and our son is already 2 years into correcting his club feet....but it is safe to say I worry immensely about having another child and possibly giving it both club foot and kidney disease. It's an awful feeling.

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    1. Lisa--yeah, I can see why that would cause a lot of worry. Like you said, both of you have lived full lives, but still...you never want to see your kids struggle.

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  11. I had PPD really, really bad for a long time and looking back it is so easy to say "hey! I needed help!" but when I was in the middle of it I had no idea what was going on and I just tried to power through. This was so foolish. I have a lot of regret and guilt about it because our son was recently diagnosed with Autism and I always wonder "what if? If I hadn't had such bad PPD would that have helped my son?" etc. (I know that this is silly but, gosh, mommy guilt. You know.)
    Anyway, I am pregnant again and I have vowed to not suffer through the PPD thing again. I am a firm believer that knowledge + action = power and so I am trying to learn more about it and be sure to get help this time if I feel myself slipping into it.
    Thanks for your blog and especially for the special needs spotlights. :) Good luck with the wee one once she arrives.

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  12. I had PPD with all 3 of my girls, but the third was by far the mildest and I think it was because I was able to surrender to it. I thought why God gave women PPD, perhaps to make them want to stay at home and not have a lot of company and by doing so not expose brand new baby to unnecessary germs or danger? Once I accepted PPD as natural, stopped seeing it as 'bad' it lessened its grip on me. Sunset was the hardest time of day for me, I don't know why. I would hold baby in my arms and ask hubby to snuggle me on the couch. :-) also for the first week I forbid him to leave the house. "Stay with me honey, we don't need groceries or diapers." ;-)
    Thanks for your blog, such a beautiful place.

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  13. Thank you for sharing. Reading your thoughts are always a highlight. Oh and congrats on the new baby # 3! :)

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  14. Sleep. I know it's not the cause, but I really think sleep deprivation can exacerbate PPD. Let the house go, let the laundry go, let the blog go, and take a nap.

    Ashlato...I think she's onto something. It would be unique!

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  15. Oh Miggy, I had severe PPD with all five of my children, one child almost verging on psychosis. It was awful. I think sleep was huge for me, having a husband who was rarely home and so many small children while living in NYC with a limited support network almost pushed me over the edge. I'm worried for you with a move coming so soon after your baby is born since I truly feel having a support network is so crucial. Read lots of books about PPD before the baby is born. Have a plan in place since once you're in the depression the last thing you want to do is research doctors who can help you (that being said there is a HUGE lack of people who specialize in PPD). I begged my mom to come for an extended period after my last was born, knowing it was going to be a traumatic experience. Sunlight. Lie still and soak in the light.

    About the Vitamin D, four of us in our family have been told we have extremely low levels and the doctor told me to just assume that you are deficient and start taking supplements. She said billions of dollars are wasted every year on testing for it and pretty much everyone needs more. Vitamin D helps with many things including the strength of your immune system, I don't know about PPD but it couldn't hurt to make sure you have good levels.

    Good luck, I"ll be praying for you!

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  16. i had PPD with my first two boys.. it was so awful, and hard on our marriage.. with boy/baby #3, we were expecting it, dreading it. and? it never came. i basked in it's unexpected absence, still not trusting that it wouldn't show, and therefore appreciating fully what good times i had, and i actually enjoyed a newborn for the first time! so, you never know. maybe third time (and with the same gender!) is the charm!

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  17. It's so interesting to me that when you open that can of worms -- PPD -- you find out that there are a lot of people out there that have experienced it. With my first child, I felt utterly alone with it. It was worsened by so many things: colic and reflux, a wintertime newborn at the beginning of the highest recorded snowfall year so I was stuck inside, and just the sudden isolation of being a full-time work-out-of-the-home person to staying at home. I felt helpless and hopeless. The first six weeks though, I felt NOTHING, and I would say the nothingness feeling is the worst of all. I could not bring myself to give a flying crap about anything. It scared me. I slowly got better over the months, and I remember the tears of joy and relief when I realized at about four months that I did truly love my child, but I did not feel completely normal until she was weaned.

    The second time was completely different. Early on I could feel a wave of baby blues coming and I would hand the baby to somebody and just walk outside. And breathe. But that passed after two weeks. Then it was anger. So much anger. It was so weird. I felt attached and I felt in control and I felt like an okay mom that had some decent coping skills, UNTIL something would annoy me and I would spiral so quickly to this angry place. I think a lot of people don't realize PPD can manifest as anger so I try to talk about it now. Because the anger threatened my children I was much quicker to act and got on antidepressants, which placebo or not made a big difference. So next time I plan to just start taking them as soon as the theoretical child is born. I think there are a lot of things you can do to lessen the effects of PPD, but sometimes the simplest answer (the one I avoided for a while-- yes medication) can pack the biggest punch. Other things that make a big difference to me are asking for help and getting outside as much as humanly possible. I will definitely check into the vitamin D thing, though.

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  18. Okay, I just made the obvious connection that outside = vitamin D. So yeah. Also I love 3-year-old brains. Mine is always making up the greatest names too.

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  19. Some people just would not even consider this but more and more people are doing it.....I did placenta encapsulation with my third baby's placenta and I noticed a big difference. Maybe something for you to look into. I've read a lot about it and it seems to help a lot of women with PPD.

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