Postpartum guilt, or how I’m learning to love myself again, and let go.

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Today Alexandr has been in the NICU for two weeks. The good thing about this is that he’s doing extremely well. There’s an industry inside term in the NICU for Caucasian male preemies, they’re called whimpy white boys lol. One of the nurses was talking to me about this and said “well it’s not the most professional of terms but it is one we use” Alexandr does fall into this category, but, he’s absolutely stunned everyone by stepping completely out of this norm. The norm dictates that white male preemies have longer NICU stays, they tend to be sicker, and they take longer to grow/adapt outside the womb. Alex is progressing much much faster than they thought or guessed. He proved this last night. Alex is now four pounds two ounces, and is being weaned out of his isolette. His isolette temperature as of tonight was 28 degrees Celsius, and depending on the doctor, they’re typical goal is 27 degrees. The temp will be dropped to whatever the neonatologist in the morning decides is the best temp. Once it’s down to that level it will stay there for twenty four hours, and if he is able to hold his own temperature up to 37 degrees (roughly 98 degrees Fahrenheit) he’ll be allowed to move to an open crib and will no longer need his isolette. His suck swallow breath evaluation went well, and they discovered that the avent bottles we brought in have too large a nipple and the flow is too fast. It’s wearing him out faster than it needs to and he can’t keep up. Because of that he’s getting too tired to finish the bottle, and is having mouth flooding from too much milk coming out at a time. Today I went out and bought some of the Dr. Brown’s bottles with a smaller nipple and hopefully better flow for him that I’ll be taking in tomorrow. I also got a disposable camera for the staff to take pictures of each other, and some scrap book pages for them to write messages to Alex for when he gets older.

On to the topic that created the title. In the hospital I mentioned having a break down, and break down I did. I’ve had a lot of depression since Alex was born. Not toward him. I love Alexandr to death and want nothing more than to be his mother and have him home with us. What I was/am depressed about is my pregnancy, outside of being tortured and depressed from seeing him confined to the NICU. See, I’ve waited my whole life to have a baby. I’ve always wanted to be a mother and nothing has made me happier than that. I always had this idea in my head of enjoying being pregnant, waddling my ass around and having that “glow”, and just in general BEING pregnant. I was pretty happy during my pregnancy, if you read back in my blog you can follow that. I had my days, but for the most part I was super happy with the idea that I was harboring a tiny hitchhiker. The last few months of pregnancy tend to be the most exciting, you get to watch your belly grow quickly, you can see the baby moving around like crazy from the outside, you can see the big kicks, you spend your time nesting and getting ready for baby. I spent the last month of my pregnancy in and out of the hospital, terrified he wasn’t going to make it, in pain, sick, and stressed the hell out. No sooner did I get to thirty weeks in my pregnancy before everything started going to hell. Things moved quickly and my condition just got worse. The last month has been a complete blur in my mind. I have no idea where February went and then by the end of it Alexandr was here. March is moving even more like a blur without him here.For a large part of time I felt responsible somehow, like something I had done had caused it. I did everything right. I cut out things that were bad for me, I did a lot of things that were very good for me, over all I tried very hard to take good care of myself and baby and I did a pretty damn good job. My body failed me, and I was mad, and somehow felt responsible. Through the help of my loving husband, my doctors, and my nurses, I don’t feel so guilty about that anymore. Daniel told me that I should consider the fact that he’s doing so well. Perhaps if I HADN’T done all those things right, he’d be in a much worse off position than he is now. He’s right. I MUST have done something right because he’s seriously kicking ass. The other thing I had to/have to start getting over is the loss of that last few months. I felt and do still a little bit, feel robbed of that time. Alex is still supposed to be my little hitchhiker. He’s still supposed to be in my womb kicking me, listening to music with me, listening to me read to him, sleeping with me, and being a part of mommy still. He’s not. He’s in the NICU where he’s been for two weeks…that’s hard. It’s selfish in a way for me to long for that, but I think of it the same as mothers who feel robbed of their birth plan. I didn’t really care about any of that stuff. My birth plan was to have a c – section that was pre scheduled, and he was planned to be bottle fed. The one thing that was important to me was getting him to 39 weeks. He came a full six weeks earlier than that, a full seven weeks before he was due. I wanted that time, and it feels a bit like it was stolen from me.

I have had excellent support from Daniel in all of this. He’s been there literally at every turn, and we have had time to talk and deal with this together. I feel like he’s there with me and that we can lean on each other. He’s helped me feel better about the things that are hurting me, and helped me deal with the fact that I can’t change what happened, I can only look to the future and do the best that I can to be the best mom in the world to my son. It will take time for me to be okay with everything that happened, but in the meantime I’m going to start trying to love me again. When we did our photoshoot the other day I actually started to feel pretty again, and like a woman. I dressed up and put on makeup for the first time since Alexandr was born. My bump is starting to disappear and I’m starting to look like me again. I still have some weight to lose now that he’s here BUT I know that will come with time, and it’s really not that much. My incision is healing so well that it literally looks like a friggin paper cut. I will honestly be super surprised if it even scars, if it does I’m sure it will be super light. In short I’m learning to love myself again, and I’m getting myself ready for the idea that I’m finally going to get to be a full blown mother and that Alex will be coming home to be with us all the time. I’ll finally get to have the things we were working for, and what we, and I have always wanted. To be a family. No matter what road got us here, Alexandr has changed us and me forever, and I can’t wait to hold him in my arms while I read to him in my rocker, and put him to sleep in his crib.

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