While I was pregnant with Oliver, I was hoping and planning for a VBAC with the water birth center (I specifically requested NOT to be on the care team of the midwife who had hurt me at the BWF conference, see previous post). Though this time my eyes were open from Killian’s HBC. I told myself the entire time that it could end up in the OR again. My motto became, “Hope for the best, plan for the worst.” And I am glad that I kept that in the forefront of my mind.
Let me bunny trail for a minute. Anxiety runs extremely heavy on both sides of my family. I have dealt with it for as long as I can remember but it was always a come-and-go sort of thing that I was able to manage on my own.
OK, now we are back.
I REALLY wanted a little girl. We kept calling the baby in my tummy, “Baby Lilly,” who we were going to name after my grandma Lillian. Well, lo and behold, I am destined to be a boy mom. I was so disappointed for about a week or 2 until I realized several things. 1, we were going to save a TON of money because I saved all of Killian’s old clothes and they were in brand new condition thanks to Spray-N-Wash and Borax. 2, Killian would have a best friend for life. And 3, NO TEENAGE GIRL HORMONES!!! (Plus it means I won’t be passing on my PCOS to anyone)
At the beginning of my 7th month in pregnancy, I made an appointment with DR. Johnson, the OBGYN who did the c-section for Killian, so that I would be on his schedule just in case. While I was there he did an ultrasound and guess what he found? Oliver was presenting breech just like Killian was. Of course. At least there was still lost of time for him to flip so I wasn’t super worried. I made an appointment for 2 weeks later and he was still breech. I didn’t want to go through another version because they are painful so I left it in God’s hands. I decided at that point to just switch over officially to his care full-time at that point because I had resolved in my head that this was going to end up in the OR again and was oddly at peace with that. Before leaving the office I scheduled the c-section for my due date and let my family know so that my parents and husband could get the time off work that they needed.
At 38 weeks I went back in and Oliver had flipped and was facing down! At that point everyone already had the time off so I figured if he came before the scheduled c-section then I would try for the VBAC there at the hospital and if not then we would just stay with the cesarean.
Our check-in time was at 5am and Killian was staying the night with my parents who would bring him to the hospital after his nap to meet his new baby brother. And here is when my anxiety starts to kick in. I couldn’t sleep a single second the entire night before. I kept having this fear that something was going to go wrong. I felt a sense of dread and unease. I would be fine one second and then couldn’t stop crying the next. I remember taking a shower with my husband right before we left for the hospital and I cried the entire time.
I kept having to close my eyes and take deep, slow breathes to calm myself down. During our short drive to the hospital, one of my favorite songs came on, Dirt On My Boots by Jon Pardi. It was a great reprieve from my building stress and anxiety. My husband and I sang/yelled and danced to the entire song and right as it was ending we pulled in to the parking lot.
I continued to have an uneasy feeling and would start crying again randomly throughout the entire check-in and pre-op process. Thankfully all of the nurses were sweethearts and told me it was totally normal and fine or blamed it on hormones. After about 2 hours, all of the vitals were taken care of, IV fluids started (and whatever else they did that I can’t remember), Dr. Johnson came in to check on me and let me know that his team was finishing setting up the OR and the anesthesiologist would come in and walk with my husband and I into the OR.
When he asked me if I was ready and excited to meet Oliver, I told him yes with a shaky voice and started crying again. I explained to him that my anxiety had gotten really bad and that I was having a really hard time this time around. I tried to make a joke about how you would think that my anxiety would have been bad before Killian’s c/s since it was so unplanned instead of having it now when I know what to expect. I asked if he would pray with me and he said of course, came over to put his hand on my knee, bowed his head, and prayed over me, Oliver, and the entire surgical team. I thanked him and he gave me a hug before leaving to go scrub in.
A few minutes later the anesthesiologist came in and she helped wrap me in a blanket and get my IV ready so that I wouldn’t get tangled up. The 3 of us walked the short distance into to OR and I climbed up onto the operating table. Because I have a fear of needles they were allowing my husband to come in at the same time as me instead of having him get in his scrubs while placing the spinal block.
I got really dizzy 3 times and each time would start throwing up the little bit of water that was still in my stomach while undergoing the procedure. Of course my dumbass husband decided that would make a great photo op…*insert evil glare* The anesthesiologist said that the dizzy spells were caused by my heart rate and oxygen levels dropping so they kept putting the oxygen mask on me.
Right as Dr. Johnson was about to pull Oliver out, he chuckled and said, “Hey Alyssa, guess what? He’s breech again.” I just rolled my eyes and sarcastically said, “Of course he is! Why wouldn’t he be?!” Evidently BOTH of my children are directionally challenged like their mama. We just can’t live in a world without GPS it would seem.
He was a chunky little guy with a full bladder who decided that the guy cleaning and weighing him needed to be peed on….5 times! HE weighed the same 8 lb 9 oz that his brother did and was half an inch longer at 21.5 in long. And of course they both have their daddy’s big dome so it was probably good they were both breech and c-sectioned or I would need a full on vaginoplasty or some shit.
Anywho, so while I’m getting closed and glued up, Zeb took Oliver to our room and was sporting the sexy skin-to-skin look with our newborn baby boy. When I was wheeled into the room on my bed, my body temperature was down to 94°F so they quickly threw heating pads and blankets all over me. I felt like I was literally dying from heat! I am a normally very warm person so this was seriously hell. I had Ollie on my chest but eventually Zeb took him back because he was getting overheated. I kept telling them that I was so hot and needed out of them but they would just tell me that my body temp was still to low and that I needed to stay under them until I was back at 98.6°F.
Everything after that went great. Killian came and met “his” baby and gave him his big brother present which was a super soft stuffed bunny (Killian has 2 bunnies that he loves and sleeps with every night so he picked out a bunny for Oliver all on his own) and then Oliver gave Killian his baby brother present which was a monster truck toy from the Dollar Tree that he thought was cool on our last trip there. My parents fell in love all over again, my little brother and SIL came to visit, and one of my best friends came to visit. Life was awesome.
Fast forward a few months.
I had been feeling like I was constantly angry. Every little thing Killian would do was setting me off and I felt like I was constantly yelling at him. I loathed the stupid Hot Wheels tracks and wanted to nut-punch my brother for giving it to him on his 2nd birthday because he would bring them out, dump the pieces all over the living room, and be upset because he would ask me to build the track which took forever, and then get upset about not being able to get the cars to flip, and I would have to clean it all up while he threw a fit. So really nothing that out of the norm with a 3yr old. But it would get me so angry and frustrated regardless. I hated the feeling like my relationship with my son was going to shit because I couldn’t seem to calm this feeling inside. It was that feeling like I had done something incredibly bad and had gotten caught. Like I had cheated on my husband and he found out. Or something else that gives you the horrible impending doom feeling.
One night I was scrolling through Facebook and read an article, I think it was by Scary Mommy but I’m not totally certain of that, about a mom who felt like she had this rage monster within her and she kept lashing out at her family. She went on to explain every single thing that I had been feeling, doing, and thinking. At the end of the article she explained that that was how her anxiety was manifesting. It was like all of a sudden this light bulb went off over my head and I knew that I needed to see my doctor and get help if I wanted to save my relationship with my son.
The next morning I called my doctor and was able to get in with his PA the following afternoon. She asked me if I wanted to take a prescription or do counseling. I explained to her that I would like to do counseling but I needed a quick fix in order to repair and reverse the damage I had done between Killian and myself. She agreed with me and set me up with the lowest dose of Zoloft aka Sertraline since it is safest to take while breastfeeding. Thankfully, I didn’t need to try anything else or adjust the dosage like she had warned me might be the case. I did 3 counseling sessions, once every other week, and things started getting so much better!
Finally, I was feeling back to normal. I could play with my son and not be irrationally angry with him just because he asked me to get on the floor and play with him. I was enjoying being a mom again. I was able to come back as needed to speak with a counselor which I have done multiple times since just to touch base and get a new perspective or advice on how to manage life with a child of special needs and a husband who is not on the same page (that’s another post for another day though). It was like I could finally breath again.
Back in October I emailed my doctor and told him that I was noticing a change and that I was becoming more anxious and agitated lately. I felt like I was in a constant state of running super late for something important. He said to go up to the next dosage which was double what I was taking. After I did that, within a week things got better again.
I’m afraid to think about what I would have become had I never took the time to read that article and realize that my anxiety was manifesting itself in the form of anger and rage. I am so thankful to the mom who took the time to tell her story that led to me getting professional help.
Mental health is so important to keep track of and unfortunately is shamed in our culture. I know that people are speaking up and advocating on behalf of seeking help and I am definitely a supporter. I honestly feel that everyone should be in counseling or therapy. I mean, who DOESN’T have something stressful going on in life or need an unbiased person to talk to about life?
If you aren’t already in counseling, I implore you to do so. If you think that you need something that will work faster, then talk to your doctor about starting an antipsychotic and couple it with therapy. I guarantee you will be happier and live a healthier life.
-The Lazy Mama