I Cry A Lot, But I’m Not Depressed

The boys are four weeks old now. Feeding constantly, especially overnight. Gaining weight steadily. And being ridiculously cute at all moments. It’s a hard life being a baby!

Myself personally, I am coping a lot better this time round. When Raiden was four weeks old I’d already been diagnosed with post partum depression and while I did a good job of looking after him I felt like a failure and struggled to bond with him. 

This time round I’m calmer about the whole situation. I’m getting a lot less sleep, but I’ve bonded with both boys and I have a better understanding of how babies are. I’m so much busier this time, but I’m still managing to get things done like the washing and dishes which I didn’t even attempt last time. It helps that we have home help so the house isn’t an absolute bomb site, plus I’ve had so many lovely people drop off food and meals so that we can eat with minimal effort. I’m feeling good about things.

That’s not to say I don’t have rough moments. I often cry at 4am when I’ve only had three or four sleeps of half an hour each because the boys wake every two hours hungry and Raiden who usually sleeps through has decided he wants up and attention too. When all three are crying and needing attention in the wee small hours but there’s only two parents it can feel a little overwhelming. 

Parenting is easier when 60% of your family is asleep

When it gets to 2pm and all I’ve had time to do is snack or pick at food between the boys feeds and not eat a decent meal I get frustrated and hangry. When I finally get one boy settled and in bed and the other wakes up I sometimes cry, mourning for just five minutes to myself because it seems that’s a lot to ask for. 

And after Zombie leaves for work and I’m trying to get Raiden fed, dressed, his lunch ready and him entertained before he gets picked up for daycare whilst simultaneously feeding both twins or trying to settle them and use the breast pump when all I want is a shower and just half an hour more sleep I often swear a lot in my head and under my breath when the boys are out of earshot just to keep my sanity.

​​And sometimes I’m just so tired that I fall asleep on the couch during feeds and wake up disorientated and feeling worse than before I slept because it was such a short and light nap. Plus I get lonely being stuck on the couch all day with two tiny humans attached to me. 

And of course until recently I was very pregnant and still have a lot of extra hormones running through my body so the smallest things make me cry. Like an ad on TV of a puppy who can’t find his ball.

But it’s all worth it. 

Brotherly love, Raiden and Miles

My boys are thriving and all three of them fill my heart with happiness every single day. Raiden is such a doting big brother, helping to give the twins bottles, giving them cuddles and worrying about them when they cry. And I have help, like I mentioned above plus visitors a couple of times a week which means I don’t go completely crazy.

Both asleep at once!

Parenting is hard and I know a lot of mothers cry or swear or feel helpless on the daily as well, no matter how well they are coping. I’m just happy that I’m not suffering from depression (touch wood it stays away) like last time and that I’m for the most part feeling on top of things, in between my mini freak outs. 

Raiden at a few weeks old, I love this photo

I’m not ashamed to say that in Raidens first few months of life I didn’t particularly enjoy being a mother. I thought he was wonderful, amazing and the cutest thing I had ever seen, but I was depressed and struggling. I was lonely and didn’t ask for help when I needed it. I felt like a failure the whole time until he was a couple of months old, started settling down and him and I found our rhythm together. This time I’m not dealing with any of that guilt and just enjoying each day as it comes, no matter how hard some of the moments are.

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie

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I Felt Them Cut Me Open

Just over three weeks ago I welcomed my little twin boys into the world. It was amazing to finally meet them and to find out their gender, but it was a pretty crazy few days in the lead up. My surgery had been scheduled for the morning of the 15th, but the day before I was advised it could be delayed due to an influx into NICU from out of town. 

Things got weird after that. I was told I could be flown to Timaru for the surgery, but that my family would have to find their own way and we’d have to find our own way back. Zombie and I spent the day stressing and putting plans in place, but hoping that the surgery would just go ahead as planned. 

The night of the 14th I went nil by mouth in preparation in case the surgery went ahead. Then on the morning the surgey was postponed til the afternoon. After that I was all gowned up, had my IV inserted and ready to go for the afternoon slot when the surgery was cancelled due to me having eaten two crackers a few hours earlier (I’d been nil by mouth for 18 hours by this point aside from that).

I was then booked for first thing that following morning, but ten minutes before we were due to go into theatre I was bumped down the list again. Luckily this was the final delay and a few hours later I was making the walk to the theatre.

I was a lot less nervous this time round. I knew how the surgery would work and what to expect, so I didn’t spend the buildup freaking out and practising breathing exercises to calm myself down.

Of course this time it was different. Zombie wasn’t allowed in until after the spinal block had been performed, which of course was the part I was the most scared of. And then there was the fact that the spinal didn’t work properly.

The anaesthetist did all the temperature checks and prick tests as normal, I could kind of feel them and wasn’t convinced that we were ready to get going, but the fact that I could feel the ice colder in the areas that weren’t supposed to be numb was a good sign and so they got started.

And then I felt them cut me open. It was agony and I screamed. They quickly stopped and went into damage control mode, but all my composure was gone. I have never been so scared in my life. 

They covered the incision and then removed all the tape around the surgical site. Have you ever had a bandaid the size of a car wheel removed from your body in one hit? It hurts a lot. If nothing else, that would have been a great indication that the spinal hadn’t worked. 

After this they rolled me onto my side, performed the spinal again (Zombie was sent into the corner so I lay there silently crying and trying not to freak out) and this time it worked. I felt my body slowly go numb and I felt calmer at the same time.

Aside from a brief moment of nausea when I was being sewn back up and an inability to throw up (I was angled upside down, cut open and with abs that hadn’t been used in months) the rest of the surgery was fine. Zombie watched the boys be removed and told me that we had more sons. 

I wasn’t allowed to see Miles for a while. He could breathe on his own, but his oxygen saturation was low and he ended up being taken away to NICU for a day and a half to be given help breathing. Mason was fine however and it wasnt long before I got to hold him in my arms and feel like the whole ordeal was worth it.

The team in the theatre were lovely. One of the surgeons was a twin and two of the others had twins of their own. While they were waiting for the first spinal to work we all went round telling our best dad jokes and having a laugh. They definitely know how to put a nervous person at ease when they’re on the table.

I just wish I’d spoken up about my concerns about the spinal not working. Zombie and I spoke about it later and he told me that he wasn’t convinced it had worked either, based on the fact that I was a lot more ‘with it’ that time than when Raiden was born. 

I’m relieved that I won’t have to go through it again though. Our family is complete now and although the hard yards are by no means over and there are sure to be plenty of anxiety inducing events in front of me, the years ahead of me watching my three sons grow are going to be exciting and well worth any bumpy starts we had.

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie

Family of Five

Miles Alexander (right), 7lb3oz and Mason James (left), 8lb6oz born on Friday 16th March at 10.46am and 10.48am. Raiden has unlocked Big Brother Class!

Big brother is so loving and excited

We are still in hospital but hopefully will be going home tomorrow. I cannot wait to start our lives as a family of five.

Mason and Miles

Mason and Mummy

Miles and Daddy

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie

Mini Holiday

I’ve been in hospital for three nights now in preparation for the c section, whenever that ends up happening. And it’s been good.  I get food delivered to my room (and it’s good food), I can nap whenever I want and I have no responsibilities. I’m enjoying it while it lasts. 

Nachos! Hospital food is not bad!

I found out a few weeks ago I’d be coming in for steroid injections and monitoring as the injections can wreck havok with blood sugars. And for me it did. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 29 weeks and at 33 I had to start taking slow release insulin. Since being in hospital I’ve had to also take quick release before meals so I’m starting to feel like a bit of a pin cushion! 

First chance I’ve had to read in over two years!

It hasn’t been all great though. I’ve had blood sugar lows due to meals coming later than expected which have made me faint and nauseous. I’ve been harvesting colostrum for when the twins are born and was getting good results at home, but the steroids have slowed down production and then one of the midwives misplaced the 0.3 mls I’d managed to get which was heartbreaking as that stuff is liquid gold.

My wee man usually falls asleep before he gets here for visits but I still get sleepy cuddles

I also get daily CTG monitoring which is tiring because at least one of the twins won’t stay still during the sessions and they end up taking an hour and a half instead of 20 minutes. It’s super exciting and reassuring that they are so active, but over an hour being unable to move with my belly covered in jelly and being prodded with sensors is exhausting.

Could this be our last photo as a family of three?

I still don’t know when the twins will be born, but I’m ready. It’s a strange kind of ready, because I can’t actually fathom having two more babies let alone one, but I miss my bloke folk terribly and I’m definitely ready to not be pregnant anymore. This pregnancy has been very tough on me and as much as I am grateful for the ability to reproduce I am also grateful that I will not be doing it again. 

Hopefully my next post will be an announcement post! 

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie

Caesearean Section, This Time It’s My Choice

It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted, the main reason being I’m just tired.  I’m 34 weeks into my twin pregnancy and I’ve been running on empty pretty much the entire time.  I have little inspiration for writing, despite having plenty going on in life and absolutely no motivation anyway.  I spend my days going through the motions: work, looking after the wee man, running errands and doing chores that need doing before collapsing on the couch after Bubbles bedtime, too tired to even think.  My brain shuts off as soon as I sit.  I absentmindedly play games on my phone for a while, not really paying attention to anything before going to bed.  I sleep alright and wake just as tired as the day before.  In many ways I am thankful this will be my last pregnancy. It is so much harder with two little people growing inside of you.  In other ways I’m sad.  I love feeling their little kicks and watching my belly bounce around.  They’re as busy as their big brother was but being two of them it seems like so much more.

 

I have around three weeks to go until the twins are born, that being said they could decide to arrive at any moment.  If I do make it to the 37 weeks they’ll be born via elective caesarean.  If my waters break or I go into labour earlier it’ll still be a caesarean, but the doctors will try to delay the labour as long as possible before opening me up.  I have mixed feelings about having another caesarean.  This time it’s my choice and I’ve chosen this route based on all the information I’ve been given and looked into.  I view it as the safest option for the three of us, but I’m sad that I will never experience a natural birth.  What makes it even harder for me is a lot of peoples reactions when I tell them I’m having another caesarean.  Most people are supportive, but I’ve had a lot of disapproving reactions too.

First cuddle after my wee man was born

When Bubble was born it all happened very quickly.  I found out I was having a c section the day before and went through a million emotions.  I was scared, no, I was petrified.  The thought of being awake and cut open made me feel sick.    I was angry.  I felt like this was all the babies fault, I even decided for a fleeting moment I wasn’t going to love the baby because of ‘what it had done’.  Of course I came to my senses, felt guilty and disgusted at myself, shed a lot of tears and sometimes to this day still feel guilt about those thoughts.  Mostly though, I felt ripped off.  I was being pushed into having a major surgery I didn’t want.  I thought I knew better than the obstetricians.  After talking to my midwife I was still upset, but I trusted her a lot more than the doctors and while she wasn’t able to abate my fears or disappointment, she was able to convince me it was the safest option.  She knew I wanted a natural birth but as the scan was showing an estimated 12lb of baby, the risks of a natural birth were too high.

 

Looking back I realise it was the best option. Bubble was 11lb5oz with wide shoulders, he would absolutely have gotten stuck on the way out and needed assistance which could have caused trauma to both of us.  Instead he came out healthy, happy and fully intact.  I had a textbook recovery.  I didn’t even need painkillers the next day, although the midwives at the hospital made me take them a couple of times because they didn’t believe that I wasn’t in pain.

Moments after he was born and checked over by the neo natal team.

Everyone was very supportive afterwards.  I felt no judgement for having a c section, despite seeing many articles online and women in forums talking about how they’d been shamed for caesareans, regardless of the reasons.  However I personally had mixed emotions and I truly believe that a large portion of my PPD was due to the caesarean.  I blamed myself but felt anger towards the hospital.  If only they had acted sooner and induced me I could have had a natural birth while he was still small enough for me to safely do so.  They had gone on and on about how I had gestational diabetes, despite the fact that several blood and glucose tests came back showing I didn’t.  But why else would I have had a big baby?  The fact that Zombie and I were big babies and a lot of our family members were also apparently wasn’t a good enough reason.  No, it had to be diabetes.  I still feel angry and mixed about it sometimes, 19 months later, despite the fact I know that we had the best outcome possible and that Bubble is a thriving toddler who lives and enjoys life to the fullest.  Some feelings are hard to shake.

 

I have little to no feeling on the skin from my belly button to the bottom of my stomach and I don’t like touching that area at all.  It feels strange.  It’s not completely numb, but numb enough to be confusing to the touch.  Over time the area that’s numb has gotten smaller, but it still catches me off guard when I least expect it.  The strangest part about the numbness is that I can feel under the skin and that is constantly tender.  Many a time Bubble has kicked me there during a nappy change, making me cry out in pain, yet if he gets me somewhere that’s not numb it doesn’t hurt at all.  The other remnants of the surgery are mental. They are worse than the numbness.  I have talked about it with peer supporters and I don’t feel as bad as I used to, but I’m guessing it’s going to take me a while longer to get past it.

My handsome wee guy

It took me a while to decide on a caesarean this time.  With Bubble I felt like I had missed out on an experience; childbirth.  It’s ridiculous because he was born and I got to experience the delight of bringing a baby into the world, but that’s how I felt.  When choosing a caesarean for the twins I again felt like I was missing out, but at least this time it’s my choice.  The twins are very active and have spent most of the pregnancy changing positions, top and tailing, breech, transverse, breech again…  They are all over the place and likely will not be in position when it counts.  Even if they are, there is an very high change I’d need an emergency section for the second twin, which is something I’d rather avoid as having to heal in two areas with two newborns and a toddler is not something I’m keen on.  There’s a lot of other reasons I’ve chosen a caesarean but probably the biggest is the simple fact that often once the first twin is born, the second needs to be positioned manually.  By a person reaching in, grabbing them and moving them into the right place.  No thanks.

 

Of course this time round the obstetricians are keen for me to go natural, despite this time having a genuine gestational diabetes diagnosis and the fact that both twins have consistently measured 3-4 weeks ahead the entire pregnancy.  Go figure.  My midwife said it’s because they get excited about natural twin births because they are less common.  Of course plenty of women have their twins naturally, many with no issues.  But I personally feel the risks and potential intervention requirements are too high.  I just need these two to be born safely.  They already face challenges due to the fact they will be born early, let’s just get them out in one piece each.

He’s full of beans and loves life

I don’t understand why some people are having less than positive reactions this time round, but I wish they wouldn’t.  I know there is a stigma when it comes to c sections.  Some people have strong feelings about them, claiming it makes a woman not a ‘real’ mother or that it’s the easy way out.  Others just seem to think that natural is the way to go but like me with my first born a lot of us don’t get a choice and often a caesarean is the safest option for everyone involved.  They are NOT the easy way out.  You have scars, you still have numbness and pain years later.  It takes around six weeks, sometimes more to heal and in that time there is not a lot you can do, even picking up your baby can be difficult.  If you want to breastfeed your milk takes longer to come in, sometimes over a week. You can’t drive, you have to rely on others to do things for you, walking down the driveway can seem like a 5km hike and for a lot of women the mental scarring never disappears.  No one has been rude to me about my decision, but the disapproving reactions I sometimes get hurts.  I’m not hurting anyone by having a caesarean, other than maybe my own mental health but that is my battle to fight.  This is my body, my babies, my decision.  It does not make me any less of a mother.

Smiles and Sunshine

Katie

Me Too

In response to the news of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct a copy and paste trend has risen on Facebook where if you have been a victim of sexual harassment or assault you share the status ‘Me Too’ in the hopes that the gravity of the situation can be demonstrated and it’s not okay. 

It’s not okay that there are countless women AND men who are victims of this. In the last two days I have seen ‘Me Too’ statuses from more friends and family members than I can count and that doesn’t include the people who will be too scared to post. It’s not okay that any of us have been subjected to sexual harassment or assault at all. 

At 16 years old I was raped by an older man I knew through my job and whom I trusted. I was a virgin. Yes, I had a schoolgirls crush on this man. Yes, I agreed to go to his house to watch movies. Did I consent to have sex with him? No. Did he give me a choice? No. 

I told a friend about it the next day and she dragged me to the local police station, where I had to relive everything over and over in statements and examinations. A few months later they told me that despite at least two other women who had been victims of the same man (one too scared to make a statement) there was nothing they could do as the man’s flatmate had been home at the time, which meant that I could have called out for help. The policeman was sympathetic towards me and didn’t doubt my integrity, but his hands were tied.

What was worse than this was the backlash. My so called friend went straight from taking me to the police station to my workplace and told anyone who would listen. For months afterwards I endured conversations ending abruptly as I entered a room. People would stare at me and call me a skank as I walked past. Plenty of people thought I had made the whole thing up and someone really close to me even said to my face that they thought something like that would happen to me.

The torment I put myself through was the hardest part to deal with. For months afterwards I had a recurring dream that I had fallen pregnant from the rape and would wake up petrified that it was true, despite knowing it wasn’t. Then I started to doubt myself. Had I even said no? Was it my fault for spending time with him? Did I ask for it? Sometimes to this day I still doubt whether it can be classed as rape or was I just a silly little girl who got what she deserved.

Over the years I have received plenty more unwanted attention. I’ve had men pinch my bottom at clubs, wolf whistle and yell obscenities at me from their cars and had men get angry at me and call me names when I’ve turned them down. I’ve had men and women grab me and try to kiss me against my will and endured countless hours of people talking about me in a sexual manner when I could hear them. 

A much older married man spent months pursuing me, sending me dirty text messages and trying to guilt trip me the countless times I turned him down and I even had my drink spiked while out one night by another man I trusted and have a blank patch of several hours where I somehow ended up in my bed at home with a couple of friends knocking frantically on my door to check I was okay. Apparently I had left the bar with that man although I have no recollection nor have I seen him since. Thankfully I woke up fully clothed in this situation but it scares me to think what could have happened had my friends not followed.

I am afraid to publish this post. I am afraid that I will get victim shamed again, that people will not believe me or that friends will look at me differently. 

But I also do not want sympathy for this. I want this to stop happening to men and women period. Our bodies are our own and no one has the right to touch them without our consent. If a man or woman turns someone down it does not make them a bitch or an asshole, it means they have respect for themselves. I want victim shaming to stop as well. What a person is wearing or how drunk they are does not indicate consent, consent can only be given by the person and them alone. If they are too drunk to know what is happening or passed out, they cannot consent, no matter where they are or what is going on. No one deserves to be touched against their will or harrased. 

But most of all I want all victims of sexual harassment and assault to stand up and say ‘Me Too’ without fear of consequences. I did not want to go to the police after my incident and I rarely talk about it, but despite my friends betrayal I’m glad she made me report it as more assaults and harrasmemt cases need to be reported. No one deserves to be violated ever and I hope that one day these situations will be history.

Double Trouble

It’s been a very long time since I posted, but I have a good reason. It wasn’t intentional, I finished up my 100 Happy Days with all intentions of writing regular posts and keeping my social media updated, but then I got sick. 

So sick. 

I couldn’t keep much food down and I was exhausted. I wasn’t worried though, I knew exactly what was going on. Zombie and I had decided it was time to start trying for another baby. We just didn’t expect it to happen so fast!

I booked in for a scan right away and had it at five weeks. I’ve mentioned that I had an ectopic pregnancy in the past and I wanted to make sure that bubs was in the right place. While the radiologist was performing the scan I told her about how sick I’d been as it was a so much more than with Bubble. That was when she told me it was probably because there were two yolk sacs.

Twins! And identical twins at that!

Twins don’t run in our families so Zombie and I were understandably shocked but it wasn’t long before we got used to the idea and even got excited about it. It’s not easy though. I was hospitalised for three days with dehydration due to hyperemesis, I’ve thrown up several times a day for the past three months, I have less than zero energy no matter how much rest I get and I’ve lost twelve kgs which while pregnant is NOT a good thing.

The two parts of our again video game related announcement.

But I can’t wait. I’ve spent the last couple of months either sleeping, throwing up or trying not to do both and all because Zombie and I decided it was time to make Bubble a big brother. We just never expected him to be getting two siblings!
Smiles and Sunshine

Katie