There are some things that not all, but many, pregnant women do while pregnant in celebration of their upcoming motherhood. Due to severe early onset Pre-Eclampsia, there are three of these ‘big-ticket’ things that I missed out on.
For starters, I was hospitalized the week of my baby-shower and told that I would not be leaving the hospital until I delivered (goal was 34weeks). So rather than cancelling the event I sent my husband in my place and we video-chatted the event so that I could say hello to everyone and see my husband opening gifts. It was very beautiful and I am so grateful for my family for putting it all together. But am a little sad now because I was so hopped up on drugs and medicine at the time that I honestly remember very little of the video-chat.
Secondly, My 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimester photo frame wasn’t completed because I delivered Anastasia before I could get a 3rd trimester ultrasound photo. I completed the set with a photo of her and when people see the frame they are usually confused but then we share our story.
Lastly, but probably the one I was bummed about the most, I never got to do a Maternity Photo-Shoot. I had it all planned out. I have some photos of me while I was pregnant but honestly, if the baby-bump stickers weren’t there saying how far along I was, you wouldn’t even know I was pregnant. Since I have been overweight my whole life it wasn’t really noticeable that I was pregnant, my stomach had only started to round out around the time I was hospitalized. I had planned on waiting until I got closer to my due date when I should’ve been properly “popped” and then going to Duke Gardens, with my nephew (who’s a photographer).
So why do I bring these up now?
It’s not in an effort to gain sympathy, nor is it a “poor me” episode. But rather, now that Anastasia is home, healthy, and thriving. I am able to look back a little easier on the whole experience with a little less anxiety. When I was hospitalized and realized I wouldn’t get to go to my baby shower or have my maternity shoot I would force myself to focus only on the health of the baby because that is what mattered and I didn’t wanted to bum/stress myself out because I needed to keep my blood pressure in check. I was already on edge, terrified, and overflowing with emotions; I’m honestly surprised I didn’t run out of tears.
Then after she was born and in the NICU, Joshua had to go to work after a week and I was home recovering from a C-Section and couldn’t drive anywhere. So I was going through stuff in my office and found the 3-trimester ultrasound photo frame I had purchased as a memento. Again, all alone, I was filled with a deep sadness at yet another thing I missed out on. I found 2 ultrasound photos and put them in there and decided to put my at-the-time favorite photograph of Anastasia as the 3rd trimester. The end result was cute and it is now my favorite frame on the wall because it symbolizes everything that happened in a subtle way.
But the reality of it is, everyone hears of postpartum depression. Some may say it is a myth. Some may think it is impossible to be depressed after having such a beautiful blessing and bundle of joy bestowed upon them. But it is very real. I can only say that I am blessed to have such an amazing support system and an amazing husband by my side because I know it would have been very easy to let myself fall into that pit of despair had they not been there. There were days where the weight of it all, having Anastasia prematurely, me being home while she stayed at the hospital, or simply being alone during the day, would feel insurmountable and there were nights were all I wanted to do was cry. Visiting Anastasia was one of the only things that would help me keep my spirits up and I would honestly just go sit at the hospital and hold her for hours, but then would tear up again every time I had to leave her there and go home.
It feels like forever ago, now that Anastasia is home, and it all feels like a bad dream. But then there are moments when women will want to share their birth stories and I will just walk away because thinking back on that time and everything we went through brings with it the wave of emotions, fear, and anxiety that we faced. With the Lord by my side I was able to cross that bridge and He gave me the strength to continue but it was a struggle, keeping the baby blues at bay.