Birth Story #3

 

Sugar and spice, and everything nice came into our life on a warm and sunny May day! Being the third birth, I wanted to assume I knew what labor and delivery would bring. Following the patterns of birth #1 and birth #2, I should have been able to cut this labor down to about two hours. I was happy to be having another home birth with our midwife, and a friend of mine training to be a Doula would be in attendance as well.

Thanks to the quick and pleasant experience of my second birth, I was much more at peace and relaxed this time around. I was also excited to be having a girl after two boys, and excited to be having a Spring baby after two Winter babies.

On the evening of mother’s day, I began having contractions. As soon as the contractions started, my husband and I both thought this was it – we would have our mother’s day baby before midnight (considering my previous labor was under four hours). But midnight came and went, and the contractions remained regular throughout the night. When early morning came, I decided to inform the midwife.

The whole birth team was on edge, not wanting to miss the birth of the girl who has super-fast labors with little warning. After texting back and forth for a bit, the midwife sent the message out to the team and headed over. Her birth assistant, who only lives about ten minutes from us drove like a mad woman to make it on time. Unfortunately not necessary.

To our daughter’s credit, she did come a day before her due date. I’m sure this was in the spirit of having a leg up on the competition – as both of her brothers came right on their due dates. The funny thing is that although this labor seemed so much slower than the last two, in reality I was only in labor for four hours from the time the midwife arrived to the time our daughter was born. But again, I was mentally preparing for the experience I had the time before.

I was prepared to power through contractions in bed like I had before, without time to think about birth balls, stools, or any other interesting techniques. This time however, every time I sat down or tried to lay in bed my contractions stopped. To my great displeasure, it was every time I stood up and walked around that they kicked into full gear. This was not what I had planned! And yet, I found myself pacing for hours in my bedroom.

After four hours of walking back and forth in the confined space of my bedroom, with the birth team waiting, I began to feel like a zoo animal. Thankfully the midwife became attune to this, and she and the birth team went downstairs to give my husband and I some room to breathe.

Things progressed immediately after they left. I was able to refocus and take the pressure off of myself. Within twenty minutes the baby was coming and my husband was running to the top of the stairs, screaming wildly for everyone to hurry back into the bedroom.

They all ran up the stairs and within only a few minutes of them re-entering the room, our little “gem of Christ” entered the world – safe and sound! She was beautiful and perfect in every way. Her brothers were practically beating the door down to meet her, and when they did they were in awe of her. Their faces were a beautiful thing to behold, when they finally encountered her.

Another incredible birth that left us all equally in awe of God’s miraculous gift of life.

Postpartum

As soon as I found out I was pregnant with #3, I began to greatly fear the postpartum depression experience I suffered after my second child was born. My main focus throughout those 9 months of pregnancy became preparing for just that.

I talked about it at great length with my healthcare providers and made sure to have my midwife and spiritual director on speed dial. I had a prescription filled for progesterone and set things in place with my family doctor and OBGYN, should I need additional support. I even met with a counselor to prepare an additional backup if needed. I seemingly had all my bases covered.

I was hopeful that the sunny weather, preparation, and positive mind-frame would surely create a better postpartum outcome. Yet despite my best efforts, that dark cloud began to set in only a few days after birth.

For me, the cure for my postpartum  depression is the “miracle drug” known as progesterone – credited with being the most effective defense against postpartum depression. Progesterone is a natural hormone that can be taken in a bio-identical form.

What Causes Postpartum Depression?

The placenta supplies the woman’s body with a high level of progesterone, which “enhances the function of serotonin receptors in the brain.” In other words, it is a “feel-good” hormone that is amped up during pregnancy, and then depleted suddenly upon delivery of the placenta. This stark depletion gives many women the post baby blues, but women like me, who have naturally low levels of progesterone previously, or do not adjust well to sudden hormonal changes, experience more severe and varying levels of postpartum depression.

Statistics

Sadly, despite the fact that 40% of women suffer from postpartum depression, many suffer alone. All this with the shame and guilt of not being able to bond well with their new baby. In fact, because of postpartum depression, “up to 32 percent of women may alter their future childbearing plans by resorting to either adoption, sterilization or abortion.”

I’ve seen the reality of these statistics through personal conversations with women who have decided against the continued growth of their family, based on a negative birth or postpartum experience. The fear of my own experience  challenged me in this area as well.

It’s because I have worked through this, that I have made an effort to be vocal about both my own experience with postpartum depression, and the positive effect progesterone has had on me. While progesterone may not work for every woman, the statistics are very favorable for many. Instead of seeking more harmful and long-term methods of treatment, I hope women will take matters into their own hands, in having progesterone levels tested.

I hope that this wisdom can help other woman who are struggling, and give them some peace for the future. You are certainly not alone!

Covered in prayer and surrounded by a community of support also greatly help to quickly began feeling wonderful again. Because every mother desires to properly bond and enjoy her growing family – new addition and all!

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