Yes, I know it’s only Tuesday!
Is it Friday yet?
I’ll be leaving in a few minutes to finally go have an abscessed tooth removed. The prospect of a visit to the dentist office has never excited me so much before today! I have been in bed due to this tooth since last Wednesday. Like I said, rough week.
So, rather than writing a new Just Talkin’ Tuesday (which I’ve been unable to do because you see, I have been clinging to the ceiling in pain), I thought we could revisit some of the more recent posts instead.
Here are the five most recent Just Talkin’ Tuesdays. Feel free to jump in and share your thoughts on one or all of them!
The person who coined the phrase, “Sleep like a baby,” clearly never had one. Granted, when babies DO sleep, they are peaceful. For all of what seems like two seconds. And then bam. Right when you hit the couch, they’re up again. Diaper. Feed. Burp. Walk. Rock. Glare at the pile of laundry skulking off to Vegas and wondering how you can hitch a ride without anyone calling CPS. Yeah, I think we’ve all been there a time or two.
I remember the early days. Blurring together, feeling like I had just closed my eyes only to have hubs waking me to inform me of Babe’s infinitely empty stomach. But I JUST nursed! No, it was about two hours ago. What the… really? So I’d jump roll slowly creep out of bed as I cursed the boob monster responsible for ripping me from my nest.
Sleep. My best friend in college. The reason I had no classes before noon my senior year. The reason my last quarter of college only had me in one class well after noon and only twice a week. I mean, really. Whole days of sleeping in – who is going to begrudge you that in college?
Once the kids are in school, I tell myself, I will take the first day off. I will put all three of the children on a bus at 635 a.m. because that’s what time it gets here, I will smile and wave. And then? Then I will Irish Jig ALL the way up the damned driveway, happily skip into my bedroom, reset my alarm for 2pm, and close my eyes. Think I’m kidding? August 5, 2012. I.WILL.SPEND.THE.ENTIRE.DAY.IN.BED. It’s on my calendar.
They say you can’t catch up on sleep. Once you miss it, it’s gone. No sleeping in on the weekend will recapture the sleep you missed out on because Junior decided 345am was an awesome time to wake up and play with trains. Or because Princess decided that 213am was the new 7am. Nope, you’re so screwed out of that time. I don’t know that I believe that. I always feel better after sleeping in on a Saturday.
So let’s get to just talking – how are you sleeping? Falling asleep easy? Feel rested when you wake up? Or are you struggling to fall asleep? Waking up feeling like you never quite got the rest you should have in the hours you were sleeping? Or are you not sleeping at all? Sleep deprivation does feed into Postpartum Depression. And Postpartum Depression? Yeh, it decreases your quality of sleep. Lovely. Oh, the havoc of sleep deprivation!
I will say this – prior to becoming a parent, coffee was not my best friend. It is now my holy grail. For without it, I would never survive.
How do you survive your sleeping issues? What works for you? Any tips for moms with PPD currently struggling with sleep issues? Toss ‘em out there into Comment Land. I’m sure there are some Moms in need of suggestions!
Then Allison from O My Family tweeted an amazing post, “Proof that I am in a better place.”
And I knew.
In her post, Allison thoroughly enjoys cuddling with her son as he sleeps on her chest.
Sure, it sounds innocent and as normal as could be for any mother and child. But for a mom with a Postpartum Mood Disorder, the ability to enjoy a “normal” moment with our babies is often beyond our reach. It fell beyond my own reach for the longest time. Then one day, as I sat watching all three of my children play together peacefully, normal slammed into me.
I wish this moment for every woman struggling with a Postpartum Mood Disorder. We fight so hard against the darkness which envelops us after we give birth. The sunshine is always so much sweeter once the fog has lifted.
As Allison so eloquently closes her post: “By the end I was in tears as the joy flowed over me and I was hit like a brick wall with the realization that this is who I am. This is me, this is my son, this is reality.
It IS good.
I wish you so many more moments like this in the months and years to come. You will certainly have earned them!
P.S. Allison, grab the graphic above and slap it up on your blog, linking back to this post. Brag about your status as the Postpartum Voice of the Week! You deserve it!
Hang on folks – put your seatbelts on and make sure you keep all arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times.There’s another shocking study involving sleep and Perinatal Mood Disorders.
It IS important to be aware of your sleep patterns during the postpartum period as sleep deprivation can certainly make you grumpy. It can also cause a number of other issues if not corrected quickly.
That said, a new study published in the July 1st issue of the Journal SLEEP, states that Postpartum Depression may aggravate already impaired sleep quality.
What does that mean exactly?
It means that if you’re already not sleeping well, your visits with dear Mr. Sandman may become even more insignificant if you develop a Perinatel Mood Disorder.
Interestingly enough, 21% of the moms involved reported depression during pregnancy while 46% had experienced a previous bout of depression prior to conceiving.
The risk factors discovered by the researchers involved “Depression, previous sleep problems, being a first time mother, not exclusively breastfeeding or having a younger or male infant were factors associated with poor postpartum sleep quality.”
They also discovered that “Better maternal sleep was associated with the baby sleeping in a different room.”
I find it interesting that not exclusively breastfeeding was a factor in poor postpartum sleep quality. Many times mothers feel that if they could just stop nursing and give a bottle so others in the family could help with the feedings, they would be able to sleep better. I know I finally got rest when I stopped pumping and/or nursing. I do concur with the baby sleeping in a different room – all three of my children slept in their own room in a crib from the day we brought them home from the hospital. We did not want to wean the child from our room at a later date. Those who choose to co-sleep should seriously consider this particular risk, especially if depression is an issue.
The lesson here?
Moms - if you’re not sleeping well, tell your care provider. EMPHASIZE that this is not normal for you.
Caregivers – If a new mom tells you she’s tired, LISTEN. Don’t brush it off as just a new mom thing. Dig beneath the surface. She may be trying to tell you she’s depressed and doesn’t know how else to put it.
With last week’s debut so full of seriousness, I thought it’d be best to balance things out a bit with a lighter topic.
As parents, we all know how meaningful sleep can be – it’s precious lifeblood which lets us function – and when we don’t get it, World watch out! Unfortunately, those of us who struggle with a Postpartum Mood Disorder on top of the common parental experience of dazed consciousness are really in trouble. You see, it’s been proven over and over in research that sleep has something to do with our psyche. And guess what – lack of sleep can exacerbate symptoms of Postpartum Mood or Anxiety Disorders! Great, you say? Yeah, well, that was my reaction too when I first read the research. I mean, really, why did they even bother researching this topic? Isn’t it common knowledge? BUT… they did research it… and now we have something concrete to point to when our beloved partners are befuddled at our new-found obsession with sleep.
So here’s today’s topic:
Share with us what effect (if any) sleepless nights had on your Postpartum Experience. Did you sleep? Did you not sleep? When you woke up, were you rested or did you wish you could go back to sleep? What strategies did you use to help regulate your sleep? Did you read? Watch TV? Play on the Internet?
Here are some basic suggestions for those who are STILL struggling with sleep.
Get into a routine. At a certain point in the evening (if you can – we all know how unpredictable babies can be!), start a certain chain of events that will lead to you crawling er, collapsing into bed.
Once in bed, if you lay there awake, GET back up and go somewhere else. Watch TV or read for 30 minutes. Bathe, shower, drink some hot milk. Then get back in bed. Don’t stay in bed if you’re awake. This will cause you not to associate bed with just sleep. (which completely defeats the purpose!)
Have your partner take a night feeding and let you sleep for at least 5-6 hours at night. (Even if you’re nursing DO this – and have your partner get baby ready for nursing by changing diaper, etc, so you can get a few extra minutes!)
Remember – if you are not sleeping and/or have difficulty sleeping for more than a week, call your doctor. This is not the time to hold off on getting relief!
Monday was Charlotte’s cleft repair, pharyngoplasty surgery, and ear tubes.
Tuesday morning she got the nasal tube they put in to aid in breathing removed. Then she ate. And ate some more. And drank.
So we were discharged Tuesday afternoon.
She stopped eating Wednesday morning. Stopped talking by the middle of the day. She was also refusing all medication and foods.
We were instructed to return to the hospital.
So we did.
And there we stayed until yesterday morning when her appetite and fluid intake finally picked up enough to make me feel comfortable with bringing her back home.
Our stay was riddled with issues.
The first issue was failure to get written consent for her ear tube surgery. The surgeon took the time to track down where the breakdown in communication happened and did apologize to us but then just a few sentences later admitted that post-consent happens quite a bit in her practice with her adults. Yeah. We’re SO not going back to see her.
Second issue arose during our return to the hospital. The ER had a hard time getting ahold of Charlotte’s doctor to approve admission even though we had been instructed to return by them. We arrived at the ER at 830p but did not get a room until nearly 2a Thursday morning.
Third issue was our day nurse on Thursday. She was a bit flighty and had a propensity for over-explaining things and failed to be prompt in her attention to us. My daughter’s med pump went off repeatedly as did her fluid pump with no response from her whatsoever. She was apologetic and spent some time trying to kiss Charlotte’s behind but I had the nurse replaced. It’s not my kid you have to impress, lady.
Fourth and fifth issue happened on Friday.
Fourth: A tech walked into our room and asked if I wanted to give Charlotte a bath. I said that I did. So she got everything ready and decided we needed to give Charlotte a sponge bath in bed. We had Charlotte lean back over a bowl of water and wiped her hair down. The tech realized she didn’t have water to rinse with so she went and got some while I tried to keep Charlotte calm and still. The tech returned with the water and began to pour it on Charlotte’s head. Charlotte screamed. I reached up and felt the water. It was absolutely scalding. I immediately told the tech to stop and get out of our room. The water she had gotten was entirely too hot! She acted surprised and I had to ask her several times to leave the room. I asked our nurse to make sure she was not allowed back in our room. I didn’t see her again during our stay.
Fifth: At about 1p the phone in our room rang. I answered. It was a prank call. I hung up. They of course, redialed. I was very unsettled (they said horribly mean and rude things to me) and called our nurse. He came right away and handled the situation beautifully. Unplugged our phone and had our phone number changed. A report was filed.
I don’t tell you all of this to complain. I’m telling you all of this to stand strong. I got flustered only twice during our stays. The first was immediately after surgery when we had to hold Charlotte down as the anestethia worked its way out of her system. She was angry, confused, and frustrated. Kept pulling at her IV, her nose, and wanted to be done with all of the pain. I admit that I cried. It took four hours for her to finally calm down.
The second time was when we got prank called. I was very very scared. I didn’t know if it was someone from inside the hospital or outside. I felt very vulnerable and afraid. I even had a plan in place if someone we did not know were to burst into our room. But nothing came of it and I was able to get back to sleep within the hour.
I am glad this past week is behind us.
On a positive note, Charlotte’s speech is ALREADY improved. She’s saying words that we can now understand a lot more often. There are sounds she struggled with before that she is now making with seemingly no effort. We still have quite a bit of work ahead of us but for now, we’re miles away from where we were this time last week.
Last night was rough but I have hopes tonight won’t be as bad. I think she’s got some night terrors and trauma residuals going on as a result of spending the week at the hospital. Teething tablets and a night light finally helped her go to sleep on her own last night but she spent the bulk of the evening in the living room with me. We’re going to have her return to school so her mind will have other things to focus on as well to help leave the memories of this past week behind.
Mount Nittany Medical Center has instituted a new policy – Quiet Bonding Time for new parents between 1:00p.m. and 3:00p.m. Visitors are allowed but encouraged to respect the wishes of new parents wishing to take advantage of this bonding time. They are also required to place their cell phones on vibrate and use low talking voices. Non-urgent care is also placed on a hold during these hours.You can read the article for more information here.
I think this is a wonderful idea and hope more and more hospitals implement this practice in their Maternity wings. Not only is there a ton of research extolling the importance of Mom and Baby having time to themselves to bond but if new parents are given the chance to see the difference it makes prior to heading home, maybe more parents will realize that it’s ok to say no to visitors during those all important first weeks home. And let’s also remember that new moms who aren’t as fatigued are less likely to experience postpartum depression as well.
Oh how it royally bites to be sick on a holiday. Especially when you’re the one cooking THE MEAL and it’s your first time at the helm for such a big event. I somehow managed to hold it all together and pulled off an awesome Christmas Lunch of (get this) Roast Beef Tenderloin with Beef Mushroom Sauce, Carrot Souffle, Green Bean Bundles, Creamed Corn, and Yorkshire Pudding. I baked a Scripture Cake the night before in honor of the man of the day, Jesus.
Yet once I stopped moving frantically about in the kitchen and sat down, my body realized the rush was over and apparently gave itself permission to implode.
My left hip? Out of alignment for the better part of the afternoon and evening. Only heat and a whopping dose of Tylenol and Ibuprofen cleared that up. And thank goodness it did because I was unable to bear weight on my left side without almost collapsing and crying outloud.
My head and chest? Obscenely Congested. Tylenol Cold did nothing for me. Ended up making a Walgreens run at 10p last night for myself and for Cameron. I got Severe Cold Meds and Nasal Spray. He got a little Flowing Vapors desk thingy by Triaminic. (Have I mentioned Charlotte’s sick too?)
All of this started last Friday when Alli was coughing slightly. The cough got worse and by Sunday evening I was at the ER with her. First thing I did when we got ushered back to a room? Turned on the NY Giants game! (Thank GOD they won!) She had to get a strep swab, flu swab (which is a nasal swab and not an easy thing to watch), take some ibuprofen and tylenol, get some chest x-rays, get said x-rays done again, and finally ended up with a diagnosis of Possible Pneumonia. She was given antibiotics there and we were sent home with a prescription. Half an hour after she took the antibiotics she threw up. Repeated this again in the morning when we tried to give Motrin. Off to the ped’s office with a feverish uncooperative toddler in tow.
Much of this past week has been spent in a headlock with Alli to get her to take her meds and trying to conserve the tissue use because her nose has been running a freakishly long marathon. We’re all coughing (except for Chris) and today has found me in bed for the better part of it – I’ve been awake a couple of times but not very long. I’m due to take some more medicine here shortly (I think – how bad is that!) and am ready to crawl back into bed and rest. I just can’t take being awake anymore. My head is pouding, my voice has apparently bought the last ticket to Clarksville, and this cough and congestion is driving me insane.
And for the record, Chris has been absolutely awesome today. He’s really taken the reigns and let me pass out. I can’t even begin to express how much that has meant to me!
So forgive me if I haven’t posted much the past week or don’t post much for the next few days. I’m taking my own advice and doing some much needed self-care.
Seems taking that tech free weekend is finally catching up with me.
Also doesn’t help that I’ve got a to-do list now however; i don’t ever check it and it’s not emailing me my tasks on a daily basis as it’s supposed to do. (Time do find a new one, right?)
I know what projects I have on the burners and in what order they are and I also knew this month was going to be tremendously arduous and hectic. Boy was I right.
Maternity fair, an exciting initiative here in GA to start a statewide support network (YAY!), another ATL meeting at the end of the month, and oh yeah, Alli starts pre-k the same day as my ATL meeting.
And of course, there’s self-care, family care, house care, etc. Yanno- Life!
I know I haven’t posted any new Grace Awards and trust me, I’ve come across some articles that are well well worth it but frankly I tell myself that I will do it later and then later comes only to find me sound asleep at the other end of the couch! I’ll catch up one of these days. (I’m hoping this weekend maybe?)