We’re sort of getting caught up to where Will is now. Last we left off, the boy had popped his way into my heart and into the lives of many who now adore him as much as I do.
I’d love to say that our journey to now was smooth sailing with a bit of your typical new mother bizz thrown in. And it was that way for awhile but then it wasn’t. I promise that this will be the last time I use an entry from my old blog but this entry was particularly difficult for me to write – which is uncharacteristic – so doing it again isn’t appealing.
It’s about my journey (ugh I use that word more than the damn Bachelor show) and not Will’s. I’m alluded to my post partum before but to get the whole picture of where we’re at now, I thought I should share it again. It’s a fitting time to share it as I’m about to jet off for four days without him – something that a year and a half ago, I would have been begging for. Now, as excited as I am, I’m sort of sad too. I’m going to miss the little dude. I intend on having a beer or twelve this weekend and celebrating how far we’ve come.
WARNING! WARNING! This could be long and maybe not particularly funny. Let me preface this with saying, like everything in my life, I’m incredibly open about it. I’m not embarassed or ashamed. It’s like getting Montezuma’s Revenge when you’re on vacation. Sucks to be you – but it could be anyone catching it and having it ruin their vacation, so why not you?
Will and I spent a week in the hospital. In retrospect, it was the best thing that could have happened to us. Our mothers used to spend a week in there. I think my mom had so many kids because it was the only vacation she could have. She said it was awesome, they could lie in bed and smoke and do each other’s hair because remember…no baby in the room with you! It was like a freaking pajama party! My week allowed me to rest, recover, learn how to breastfeed and get my head around the fact that this was not like ‘pegro’ my egg baby from high school….he was real and he depended solely on me.
The first four weeks at home were a dream. Mitchell called my house the ‘haven of peace’ and people were remarking that maybe it was the dad’s that make thing so stressful because it was all rolling along quite nicely. I was out every day, visiting people, walking, shopping. I cooked dinners, washed my hair – I didn’t quite get what all the bitching was about.
I knew I was struggling and so did my friends and family – well Mitchell and my sister did. I think they were in secret discussions about my inability to hold my crap together. My sister from Texas was due to arrive to meet Will with my niece that Friday. On the Wednesday, I had a my six week doctors appointment, my ob took one look at me and said I looked like ass. I burst into tears and told him I was struggling and needed some help. He got me a psych consult because he was worried, and so was I, about post-partum. He added that it could take awhile and that if I felt desperate I needed to go to emergency.
Two anxiety riddled days later, I was at Mitchell’s and was losing it totally. She took Will and ordered me to bed. After 15 minutes of lying there, I felt like my whole body was going to explode from the inside out and I was so happy because I thought it was finally going to be over – and then I started to scream in a pillow. And then we decided I was desperate. Even during this, Mitch and I kept our sense of humours. After calling the doctor to make sure that no one would take my baby away and letting him know to have someone meet us, we went to the emergency room. Besides having Will, it was the best decision I ever made.
But let’s back up for a second….because if this can help anyone, I want it to. What was happening to me? I couldn’t sleep; I couldn’t eat; I cried all the time; I became physically sick everytime I’d hear him start to wake up and then I couldn’t stop barfing. I’d hold him in my arms and hang over the sink crying and being sick. I would sweat – like I’d played a five hour straight shift of ultimate. I couldn’t turn my brain off from saying to me ‘you made the worst mistake of your life’ or ‘you can’t handle this’ and ‘you chose this, you have nothing to complain about’. What wasn’t happening to me? I never thought of taking it out on Will. I didn’t resent him or blame him for anything that was happening to me. I just felt sorry for him. Sorry that he got stuck with a useless nut case for a mother. I planned out who I could give him to because obviously I couldn’t keep him.
So the hospital. My step-mother met us there and the four of us got shown into this weird isolation room in the ER. We saw a social worker, a case worker and some other dude, who by that point could have been a janitor, I didn’t care. I just wanted someone to help me. And they did. After a few hours we saw the doctor who said the magic words, ‘how do you feel about drugs?’. Praise the lord!!! I told him that as long as I could still breastfeed…bring them on! They arranged for a psychiatrist to see me that week (since the other consult had never come through!); for a nurse to come to the house to see me and got me into a couple of mothers groups in my neighbourhood. I took the anxiety drug that night and that, combined with my sister arriving and staying with me, allowed me to sleep that very night. I started taking an anti-depressant. And my father arranged for a night nanny, Nadia, to come in for a few weeks.
I hired Nadia over the phone because I loved her Jamaican accent and because she told me she would get Will sleeping in a week. Done lady, you’re in. She arrived the first night and backed her car into my garage. Like the building…not the empty space. But it wasn’t an omen. She was incredible. I started to live for 7pm when Nadia would come, we would listen to Bob Marley and give Will a bath. She would tell me about her kids in Jamaica and I’d cry because I felt like a selfish bitch for being SO fortunate to have a healthy baby and a house and my family nearby and here was this woman who went to school ALL day and looked after other people’s babies ALL night. Night after night for a month, she built my confidence and let me sleep.
Anyway – as my mood and sleeping improved…so did Will’s and little by little I took control back. Because ultimately what caused my post partum? If you didn’t know this already – when you have a child, you lose control of everything. As a self admitted control-freak, losing control was more than I could bear. So was not sleeping. I think the sleep deprevation is like nothing you can imagine unless you’ve been a new mother or a POW.
(&^%# this is long and dull…but let’s get it over with).
So how did I get better? Sleep, drugs, love and support and time. Take any of these out of the equation, and it wouldn’t have worked. I would have lost my mind. Tom Cruise? You can take your Scientology opinions and ram them up your tight ass because drugs are necessary. Your hormones are SO out of whack, something needs to offset them. I’m off the anti-depressants now. There are times when I think maybe I need them again, but then I think I just need a good night’s sleep. The anti-anxiety goodies? I have some left and I use them very VERY sparingly when things are bleak. In talking to my psychiatrist, I realized that I’d always had anxiety issues…it used to be mainly around my lovelife (note again…can’t control).
When did I know I was better? Well, I went to this mother’s group when I was bad. All the mom’s would sit in a circle with their babies on their lap and one-by-one say how old they were and what they’d accomplished that day. God…shoot me now! One woman said ‘I’m blah and my son cut his first tooth today.’ Everyone cheered – I secretly sat there thinking how I didn’t belong there and what a bunch of freaks. It came to me and I said ‘I’m Sara and I haven’t cried yet today.’ Dead silence. Cut to six months or so later – and my response was a bit different, as I sat surrounded by my new mommy friends I said, ‘I’m Sara, this is Will and he cut his first tooth today.’ And I was sooo happy.