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Brave, Strong, Beautiful

http://www.scarymommy.com/truths-about-c-section-mamas/

1. It really was scary being without David as they prepped me for surgery. The OR is so cold and bright. I️ don’t have any issues with needles or being stuck but this was one of the biggest sources of anxiety for me if I️ needed a c section…and I️ had a student anesthesiologist and a nurse I’d met that day.

They pulled Helmle out and took him straight to the next room without me seeing him. They did the same with Wesley. It seemed like hours before they brought Helmle in for me to see for a brief second before they whisked both babies off to the NICU. I️ didn’t even get to see Wesley for hours. He wasn’t coping well in the outside world. And when I️ did see them both again they were hooked up to feeding and oxygen tubes and beeping monitors that were so loud. I️ so badly didn’t want them to have a NICU stay. My other great source of anxiety. As much as I️ knew they needed these tubes and monitors to survive I️ also wanted to take my sweet babies and run. How could I️ leave them with these strange nurses? They didn’t know or love my boys like I️ did. But I️ could barely move my legs. You can’t run away with fragile newborns with useless legs. So I️ had to leave them with these women while I was wheeled back up to recovery. What if they forgot me?

2 I️ had about 16 hours to prepare..and that time was spent laboring, sick and stuck in bed on a magnesium drip, missing Zara, thinking about all the ways we tried to stop labor that didn’t work. Maybe 2 hours of sleep. But I️ don’t think you can ever really prepare for your first c section. There are so many unknown things even if you have an amazing birth team who explains everything to you.

I️ waited 9 hours to hold Wesley and Helmle. And I️ got 30 minutes with each boy and then they had to be put back in their bed. While I️ was in the hospital I️ could get them out of their bed every 3 hours for 30 minutes. When I️ was discharged I️ could only go once a day.

These boys need the same love and care that their home water/med free birthed sister needed. It doesn’t matter to them that they came out of an incision in my lower abdomen rather than my vaginal canal.

3. My scar is something I️ avoid looking at. So is my stomach in general. They are both just reminders that I️ had the opposite of everything I️ wanted in a birth. I’m only a month out so I have a long way to go in my mental and physical healing. I️t will come one day. One day I️ will be proud of my scar. I️ will be proud of Wesley and Helmle’s birth story just like I’m proud of Zara’s birth story. And maybe I’ll be able to be an encouragement and a help to another Mom who will go through the same thing.

When the boys were in the NICU I️ sang them this song every time I️ was able to visit. I️ thought it a good idea to give them something that was the exact same so they would know it was me. Now it’s something I️ sing to them at least every night before bed. It’s kind of their song to me now.

https://youtu.be/W9I_-ShgVBE

Thoughts about my C-Section

After having Zara I️ admired c section moms even more. Having to go through this major surgery to bring their sweet babies into the world made them so incredibly strong. Not saying moms who give birth vaginally aren’t rockstars. Birthing a baby in any way is such a hard, empowering, life changing, incredible experience.

So, why after having my c section, do I️ feel like this huge failure. Could have I️ done something different? Did I️ not stand up for myself? I️ can say I️ did. The boys were coming, despite all of our efforts. My doctor tells me that I️ did great getting to 34.5 weeks with twins. They were laying transverse right on top of each other. Are those excuses I️ tell myself to not feel guilty? Why does it matter so much how babies come into the world?

When I️ tell people Zara’s birth story they congratulate me like I️ graduated valedictorian at Harvard. Will they do the same with these boys? Or will I️ get a sympathetic, “oh, I’m sorry.” Like it’s something they should be apologetic for.

Before I️ had my c section I️ was able to watch c section videos because I️ could distance myself. I️ was going to have a vaginal birth so these videos didn’t really apply to me. Now I️ can’t watch one without crying. Knowing that it was what happened to my body. Major surgery. My abdomen was deeply cut into…

I️ don’t understand the idea that this is the easy way out. Is it because there is a misconception that we don’t labor? That is not true. I️ labored. I️ labored for 27 hours. I️ know other moms that have labored. Not all c sections are planned in advance. I️ reckon more often than not c sections aren’t pre planned. They can be scary, traumatic experiences. They can be the total opposite of what a laboring mother’s expectations are. They can happen to first time moms or moms who have given birth vaginally before. Either way, the feeling of failure can overcome you. Is my body broken?

Not one person has said anything that implied I️ somehow failed in this birth. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’ve been celebrated for carrying twins for so long and going through such rough surgery. If everyone around me believes that why don’t I️?

I️t hurts to hold my daughter. It hurts to cough and sneeze and laugh. I️ can’t clean one room in my house without taking breaks. Simple tasks are exhausting and I’m 3 weeks out already. I’m underestimating the healing time.

I️ have a scar I️’m disgusted by. I️ have a body I️ can’t look at. But I️ have babies who just want to be held. Who calm when I️ song to them and who have the sweetest smiles.

Then after writing this whole thing, I️ realize that I’m part of the problem. I’m having a hard time with having had a c section. I’m making myself feel less. I️ would never make another mom feel that way. Why is it acceptable, then, that I️ make myself feel that way?

My husband had wise words last night as he held me while I️ cried. He said, “as soon as you realize that it doesn’t matter how they came into the world you’ll stop feeling likeyou failed.” Thank God for him.

October

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

8d4fa4f9381e823a19ddf291bb5ddbbe--miscarriage-awareness-sids-awareness

I went to the fair yesterday with my family. They have a Made In Oklahoma building where local vendors of various goods can display those goods. I was walking by one when a picture of an ultrasound caught my eye. My husband got distracted by a shoe cleaning booth so I stayed behind to look at the models of fetus’ they had on their table. They had a six week, 12 week, 18 week and 22 week model. It’s incredible how tiny they all were. It’s incredible how real they look.

They also had these little rubber babies, that before I had a miscarriage, I would have thought were creepy. Now they just make me cry. Yep. You read that right. I started crying right in the middle of the Made in Oklahoma building at the State Fair. The biggest models they had were 22 weeks which I held up to my tummy even though I’m farther along than that now. It’s amazing how big they seem but they’re still so small. Helpless.

I’m 24 weeks now..which means I’ve hit my first big goal. Viability Week. That means, if I go into preterm labor now they will try to save my babies. That’s comforting. Making it this far is a wee bit relieving. But there is still a fear. My next big goal is to hit 32 weeks. And then 35. And then the birth.

Since April I’ve had some mean things said to me. Of course, they were said online, but they hurt nonetheless.

“Maybe you should have been taking birth control.”

“How about you be grateful that you’re able to get pregnant.”

“Quit whining.”

Like, I’m not allowed to be sad because I am having more kids. Like, I’m not allowed to miss them. But I am sad. And I do miss them. My unofficial due date was November 27. 22510ffa624b959fab9c43b826165a91

But missing them and being sad doesn’t mean I’m ungrateful. It doesn’t mean I don’t love these babies. Yes, I’ve had a hard time connecting emotionally. But that doesn’t have anything to do with the babies. It has to do with the fear of losing them. Of connecting with them and then them just being gone. Feeling them kick and punch and watching them on ultrasound has made connecting easier. They already love each other so much. I always get a picture of them cuddling or sitting/laying in the exact same position. Just as much as I always get a picture of them kicking each other in the face or having their butts in the others face. And, they’re obviously adorable!Image_4 (1)

Baby A has a little Zara smirk going on here. But I don’t think they look anything like she did from her 3D ultrasound. He’s pretty chill.

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Baby B has his legs in the air like he just don’t care. Definitely has Zara’s feet. He is the more active one. The attention hog on ultrasound. Always trying to get in the picture with his brother.

But this blog really isn’t about them. I just got off track. This blog is about bringing awareness to the month of October. So I am going to end it with this image. 22 things to know about miscarriage.infant-loss

 

-Regina

Stupid Girl

Depression is a wicked companion. All-consuming and over-whelming. An unwelcome guest who overstays. It knocks ever so quietly on the door of your mind. It seems so sad and lonely that you let it in. It manipulates you into feeling sorry for it. It just wants someone to talk to. But, quickly, you realize how socially awkward it is. It doesn’t register the hints that it is time to leave.

“I should really be getting up now. Take a shower…get dressed and eat breakfast,” I say. “It was good to see you. Let’s talk again soon.” 

“STUPID GIRL!” Depression mocks, “YOU DON’T GET TO DECIDE WHEN I LEAVE. YOU’RE NOT STRONGER THAN ME. I’M HERE TO STAY.”

A relentless bully that you can’t walk away from. You can’t turn the other cheek because it is your own hand who will slap you twice as hard leaving thick, red welts and bruises no one else can see.

“Wait, this isn’t what I signed up for when I let you in. Let me go. I can’t breathe,” I beg, but depression just laughs in my face and drags me farther down into this black abyss of despair and loneliness and grief.

“STUPID GIRL! YOU BELONG TO ME AND I HAVE NO PLANS ON SETTING YOU FREE.”

“WHY DON’T YOU JUST GO AHEAD AND END IT? YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO. CAN YOU EVEN NAME ON PERSON WHO WOULD REALLY MISS YOU?”

“I DIDN’T THINK SO,” Depression whispers. So, why am I still here?

“The knives are right there in the kitchen. That is the way. You’re too much of a wimp to use a gun and you would give up with pills having to swallow them one by one. Just take a knife and stick it in the base of your wrist. Then cut deep until all you are is a pool of dripping blood.

These are some of the thoughts that go through my head over and over and over again. Obsessively. If you knew the rest you would have me admitted? Maybe I should be. It’s not fair to surround my family with this…my husband and especially my daughter.

On the good days I can laugh and smile and tell a joke. And I’m classified as a functional depressed girl. Still clinically depressed but at least you’re able to get out of bed. The words, ‘at least,’ have become curse words to me. There is no, ‘at least,’ in this dark cruel world. There is only depression. And even on the good days I am still an empty void who is just going through the motions.

On the bad days I am barely able to get out of bed. I don’t eat. I just want to sleep. I hear my daughter crying so I force myself off the couch. Make sure she isn’t in any real danger then it’s back under the covers I go. I need relief. I need help.

“IT’S NOT COMING,” Depression taunts. “IT’S NEVER COMING.”

“YOU’RE A FAILURE AS A MOM…AS A WIFE AND DAUGHTER AND SISTER.”

“GET USED TO IT PAL, BECAUSE THIS IS MY HOUSE NOW.”

I can’t remember a time before depression started regularly visiting. Maybe when I was three, before sexual abuse came and stole my childhood away from me. 

“Quit feeling sorry for yourself,” the mirror says. “It was almost 18 years ago. You didn’t know any different. That was YOUR fault. You could have said something right from the start. But, you didn’t! You kept quiet when your friends were included.”

“But I was just a child. I didn’t know any better. I thought that was happening to every girl in the neighborhood.”

“STUPID GIRL! YOU’RE MAKING EXCUSES.” If you thought it was normal you would have said something to your mom.

Maybe you’re right. He never threatened to hurt me if I told. And I knew it was supposed to be a secret because he only did it when the adults were away.”

I can still smell and taste things..disgusting things that a 7 year old should never have to experience.

Besides, others have it so much worse than you. You sound like a fool.

Don’t talk about anything unpleasant. Nobody wants to hear about that.

“Why don’t you just try being happy?’

“Have you tried medicine?”

“Have you tried changing your diet?”

“Depression is just an excuse to get out of your responsibilities.”

All things I have read and heard. Like you can just choose to heal your broken arm by eating kale and rubbing it with coconut oil. The difference here is, It’s my MIND THAT IS BROKEN, not a bone. You can’t wrap it up in a cast and not use it for 6 weeks until it fuses back together. That’s not how any of this works. I’ve tried. Therapy doesn’t work because therapists are just there for a paycheck. Medicine has decided that I am too far gone.

So, here I am at 12.39 a.m. writing all of this out. Everything is jumbled. Grammar is atrocious. But that doesn’t matter because anger is seeping out of me like a leaking faucet. Bursting like a frozen pipe in the winter not allowing me to sleep until I get all of this out of my head and onto paper.

And now comes the guilt. Because when I look at my life, there is nothing I should be depressed about.

My Hopes For Zara

I don’t think one truly realizes how fast time goes with your kids until months later when you realize they’ve stopped doing something super cute. David used to make Zara laugh by squeezing her cheeks. That’s all it took. She was the heaviest crawler I’d ever seen. She’d throw those hands down in front of her like she was trying to break the floor. She used to be able to fall asleep on me. I miss that a lot. She would roll and roll until she hit the wall and then get frustrated that she couldn’t go any further. I wish I would have been writing down all of these things as she was experiencing them. Now I don’t remember. Luckily I have some pictures and some vidoes of some of the things. I wish I would have been better with documenting though.

So, right now she points when we point. She gives us kisses. Sometimes when we ask and sometimes without us asking. She LOVES being read to. She will bring us books and if we don’t go to take them she will take and open our hand and shove the book in it. She smiles and laughs. She helps turn the pages. She signs all done. She ‘repeats’ what we say. She loves peek-a-boo. She has the most awesome side-eye. You definitely know when she doesn’t want something.

Every single morning I pick her up so she can see herself in the bathroom mirror. I repeat the same things every morning.

Say, “hi Zara!”

Say, “I am beautiful. I am strong. I am confident. I am happy.’

Say, “I love Jesus. I love momma and daddy. And I love everyone!”

Say, “Bye Zara!”

When I was pregnant with her I prayed that she would be an outgoing extravert. So far I don’t think that is going to be a problem. She loves new people. Does not have a problem with them at all. It’s a challenge for me because to have her continue being that way I have to start being that way. I never want her to doubt her natural beauty. I mean have you seen her? She is such a happy baby. I don’t want her to lose that. And I want her to love people. I sometimes have a hard time with that. So basically I want her to be everything I am not.

Mother’s Day

Can I be real honest with you guys? As if, I’m not always really honest with you guys? I’ve had two Mothers Day’s and they have both sucked. I was really excited for both of them…I had hope they would be great.

My first was just terrible. Zara was just about 6 weeks old. We were in Utica to celebrate May Day. Zara cried all day. And when I say all day I am not exaggerating. I knew she was hungry…and I breastfed her all day. But she would just cry. She would latch and cry. She would unlatch and cry. There was no real napping. I didn’t understand why she was so hungry if I was feeding her. At the end of the day I cried. What was I doing wrong?

I had hopes that my second would be better. When I found out I was pregnant in March I knew it would have to be better! Then I miscarried in April and didn’t want the day to come. How could I celebrate being a mother with two babies not with me. I was also having a hard time bonding and connecting with Zara at the time so that made it harder. I didn’t even go to church that day. They did give my husband a little plant for me though. That was nice. Another thing that I wouldn’t be able to keep alive. David did get me a really beautiful bracelet with a giraffe, fox, and lion charm with hand stamped ‘z,’ ‘e,’ and ‘j,’ on it. I cried. Duh.

I don’t have much hope for next Mother’s Day. Maybe that is better. Maybe if I expect hardship and disappointment anything less than that will be marvelous.

Desperate hours.

July 4, 2017

I wanted to do the same thing today as I did yesterday. I didn’t and I still don’t feel like I’ve won. Almost all of the kitchen is clean though. I got myself and Zara dressed. I went out to a barbeque.

I’m just so tired. So exhausted. I feel helpless. Useless. If I didn’t KNOW I had people who would notice I was gone I would love to disappear. Take the care and drive until I couldn’t anymore. I don’t have a specific place in mind. Just anywhere really.

How selfish is that of me? I know I have people that care about me and would miss me and I’d still rather just…be gone. As much as I don’t understand it, Zara loves me. David tells me that I’m her favorite. She gets so excited in the morning when I go to get her out of bed. She ‘runs’ up to me when I come back from being gone. She gives me kisses and hugs. David loves me. My family loves me. Jesus loves me. Why is that soooooo difficult to believe and accept?

I got prescribed a higher dose of my depression medication. It hasn’t really been long enough to see if it is making a difference.

David says I read and watch too many depressing things. Real crime shows about murders. Stories about miscarriages. Ultrasounds of missed miscarriages. War movies. Maybe that is part of the problem. I used to make fun of my SIL for doing the same thing. Now I’m the one who should be made fun of.

 

Confessions of Depression.

 

I Let Depression Win Today

July 3, 2014

I let depression win today. It’s a terrible sinking feeling. Like falling into a black hole. Suffocating. I can’t remember the last time I let depression win. I’m usually very good at hiding it. Coping…at living through it. But today, I couldn’t. I wasn’t strong enough to fight.

I let depression win today. My sink is still full of dishes from two days ago. There are books scattered all over the floor from my daughter pulling them from the bookcase. My bathroom floor is wet from her splashing in the toilet. And my bed is sheetless because they’re still in the washing machine. I’m not a good house keeper by any means…But I hate when my house looks messy.

I let depression win today. I was supposed to go on a walk with Zara. I was supposed to drop our water bill in the depository. I wanted to stop at the post office and ask a few questions I had. I wanted to get on periscope and just talk or do a sale. Instead, I watched Beasts of No Nation…and Kilo Two Bravo…and The Way Back…and The 9 Months that Made You. It’s embarrassing, really. I’m so disappointed…in myself…in my diagnosis….in my lack of ability to overcome it today.

I let depression win today. It’s been hitting me so so hard since April. Since I lost my sweet Emerson and Judah. Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m doing. I don’t know what I’m thinking. It’s just blank.

I let depression win today. That’s all I have to say.

A Miscarriage Story: Part 4

I really didn’t mean to make this story so long. I shouldn’t say I’m surprised though so I do tend to be quite wordy.

I thought I passed the pregnancy the night of April 6th. I truly thought it would just be a bigger blog clot. So I thought I was through the worst. Boy, was I wrong.

I didn’t pass the first baby, Emerson, until the next afternoon. David had already arrived home from work that day. I didn’t know what I expected but I didn’t expect for her to look like a real actual baby. We wrapped her up and a paper towel and a Ziploc bag. I called Jade and texted Faith and they both said they fully expected for me to not see anything. I was angry that nobody had warned me that this is what would happen. But, not even the most birth smart people I know knew that would happen. So, I guess there is no way they could have told me, right? We went and picked out a little wooden box and stickers so we could write her name on it. We already had this little stuffed fox that matched one of Zara’s stuffed giraffes. So, that is how we were going to honor and remember her.

My mom arrived late that night. It would be nice to have her here to help with everything.

On Saturday, April 8, while David was at work I passed Judah. Even though I had an inkling at around 5.5 weeks that it was twins I still completely didn’t expect to see a second baby. I went to the bathroom and felt something heavy trying to drop. I closed my legs really quickly until I would be able to catch it. I just knew it was something important. Not just a blood clot. And when I saw it I just screamed. Again. There has been a lot of crying and screaming in this blog. My mom came in and I just fell on the bathroom floor. I vividly remember saying, “Did I lose two babies? Did I lose two babies?” over and over again.

David was texting me about our lunch plans and I was getting angrier and angrier. How could he even think about food at a time like this. I didn’t understand. But he wasn’t home so he really didn’t have any idea what was going on. My mom and I went to Wal Mart to pick up another little wooden box and stickers. We stopped at Veronica’s along the way and she just held me while I cried.

I really wondered if this was every going to end. It did, of course. My period lasted longer and was more painful than normal. But that ended. I didn’t know what was worse. Having a period, which was a reminder that I had babies. Or the period stopping which meant I didn’t have anything left of my babies. I eventually stopped crying every single day but that hasn’t ended completely yet. The sadness and depression seems greater now. I’m even less patient than before. You’d think I’d be more patient. But no. There’s internal anger at that. Why can’t I just be better. I still miss them.

I still miss them.

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