My second pregnancy brought about a lot of decisions that I needed to make. Considering my history of postpartum depression, emergency cesarean and hyperemesis, there were some difficult choices I had to make.
Taking Antidepressants as a Precaution
This time around, I was under the care of a psychiatrist. I wanted to seek out the advice of someone whose sole focus was psychotropic medication. After the horrific experience I had coming off of the last antidepressant, which was prescribed by the nurse practitioner in my former OBGYN clinic, I wasn’t going to take any chances.
I’m so pleased with this psychiatrist. He helped me wean off of the last medication right before I got pregnant. We discussed a second pregnancy and how he recommended I approach caring for my mental health. He recommended I go back on an antidepressant at about 34 weeks to prevent the sudden postpartum hormonal drop. I heeded his advice and started Zoloft in the beginning of April. I was getting to the point that I really needed it, as the intrusive thoughts were returning.
The Zoloft has not only diminished the intrusive thoughts, but it has also kept me on an even level after having Baby Jo. I have not noticed any drops in my mood. I’m handling things really well, even with as stressful as it can be right now while C adjusts to having a sibling.
Repeat Cesarean or Attempt a VBAC?
Being a c-section mama, there are some moments that I will never experience. I’ll never know the joy of having my baby given to me immediately and looking at its sweet face. I’ll never feel the empowerment that some women say they feel after they’ve delivered a baby vaginally.
My emergency cesarean with C was ordered because of a failure to progress. I had pushed for 2.5 hours and he was not making progress. Later, I was told that my pelvis was too small for him to fit through. I decided not to take that risk with Baby Jo and opted for a repeat cesarean. I can’t tell you how many times I was asked why I wasn’t going to attempt a VBAC. For me, it wasn’t worth the risk of another traumatic birth experience.
I opted for the repeat cesarean and I’m so happy that I did. When I went into labor early, I was whisked into surgery just two hours after arriving at the hospital. My surgery went very well this time, and my recovery has been excellent. I credit both the amazing surgery team and medical care I received at this hospital as well as the fact that I didn’t experience the exhaustion of days of labor and hours of pushing.
To Breastfeed or Not To Breastfeed?
This was a rather controversial decision to make. In the culture of the mom-blogosphere, breastfeeding is pretty much the only choice you should be making. Well, I’ll tell you what. There are some cases when breastfeeding may not be the best decision and there are also some instances when breastfeeding doesn’t work out – AND THAT’S OKAY!
Breastfeeding was a source of stress for me when I tried it with C. It was so difficult to be the only one that could feed him in the beginning. Then, when I decided to exclusively pump, it was exhausting to get up every couple of hours not only to bottle-feed C breastmilk but also to pump. After trying what felt like everything to figure out C’s gas issues and stomachaches, we tried formula. C was so much happier, like a different baby. I felt like a failure because breastfeeding didn’t work out. That all contributed to my PPD.
I wasn’t going to let that happen this time. Formula feeding Baby Jo has allowed Hubster and me to switch off the nighttime feedings. I’m getting more rest. I’m not stressed about being the only one able to feed Baby Jo, pumping, figuring out anything in my diet that isn’t agreeing with her. Formula feeding is stress-free for me; and when it came down to it, I was making all of these decisions to do my best in preventing a recurrence of PPD.
It’s been five weeks since Baby Jo was born. I’m tired, but I’m getting enough sleep. I’m stressed, but no more than normal for a mother of a newborn and a toddler. I’m not experiencing intrusive thoughts, anxiety or depression. I’m happy to say that I’ve made all of the right decisions for myself when it came to protecting my mental health.