Showing posts with label placenta encapsulation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label placenta encapsulation. Show all posts

Monday, September 10, 2012

Let's Talk About Those Placenta Pills

When I initially wrote my first post about my PPD, I tried my best to accurately describe what I was feeling 5 and 7 years ago after giving birth to my first two.  But living in the thick of the newborn stage the last two weeks, and having my experience this time around be so startlingly different than the previous 2 times, I've been able to pinpoint just exactly what PPD felt like for me several years ago.

Simply put, I felt like an entirely different person, a stranger living in my body, looking in on my life.  I know that seems and sounds so out there and ridiculous, and perhaps unless you've experienced depression on some level, you can't fathom what that means.  But I literally felt like I was living another person's life, which is why it was so hard for me to bond with my newborns at first.  They were in a nutshell, little strangers.  I knew I loved my babies because they were born from me, but I felt no real connection for the first couple of months, other than what I knew I was supposed to feel.  There was no instant falling in love, no baby moon that I witnessed others experience and talk about.  They were my babies and I would love and protect them and care for them because I was supposed to, but it took me months to actually feel that (and have no doubt, I did eventually feel that way, it just took a little while), more than just believe it as a rote response to nature calling.

And the only reason I can differentiate the two feelings, is because this time around, I feel that love with every bone of my body, down to my core.  And it's beautiful and refreshing and awe-inspiring, and it also sucks because I feel on some level, a form of guilt for my other two, because I wasn't able to experience those feelings and that connection immediately with them.  My greatest fear is that one day my 2 older kids would read this and believe that I didn't love them at first, and that couldn't be further from the truth.  Rather, I did not bond with them at first, and that's an entirely different thing. Perhaps I will eventually pull this post to prevent those questions from even coming up, but for now I think it's vital to note the differences between the different postpartum periods. 

The good news is that I feel blessed to finally feel that intense love that I've always heard about, and I know that I am capable of feeling that love, which will serve as a reminder to me if the PPD does sneak up on me in the next few weeks.  But for now I'm hoping that this feeling doesn't leave me.  It's not so much a feeling of elation or even happiness, but just contentment, which might be even better than happiness.  I feel at ease, relaxed, and in love.  I guess maybe it is happiness.

So let's talk about those placenta pills, and how much of this contentment has to actually do with them.  First off, I want to set the record straight and, think it's worth mentioning, that I am not "eating" my placenta, I am "ingesting" it.  There is a difference.  Eating implies chewing, which I am doing none of.  Rather, the placenta was taken by a certified and trained doula and dehydrated, then ground into a fine powder and encapsulated into a pill format.  I take 2 pills a day, just as you would a vitamin, and the pills are odorless and don't really taste like anything.  I haven't felt any "side effects".  The doula delivered 250+ pills to me, so they should last me for a few months, but she suggested I save about 40-50 for when my period returns and/or I stop nursing.

I've had a few people, including friends, mention how gross they think it is that I'm doing this.  And while I can certainly understand people getting a little freaked out by the thought of it, let me also put something out there.  With both previous bouts of PPD, I took Zoloft, a pill baked up in a lab consisting of who knows what type of chemicals, additives, and overall unknown ingredients.  Now this is not a statement against anti-depressants, and both times these pills helped me.  But when you really think about it, what's more bizarre and gross, taking a pill that you have no idea what it is really made out of, and where the ingredients came from, or taking a pill that is a completely natural byproduct of YOU?

The other thing I would say to those that think it's "gross", is that they must not have dealt with  Postpartum Depression, because if they had, they would be willing to try anything if they thought it would help, and/or prevent it from happening again.

So are the placenta pills really helping me this time around?  Well, I don't really know, and quite honestly I don't care.  I don't want the pills to work so that I can prove a point.  I want them to work because I want to feel good, and continue to bond with my baby, and experience happiness and peace during this time.

Beyond the placenta pills, I've been more devoted to taking care of myself and being mindful of what I need to stay content and rested.  I truly believe that chemically, PPD is out of a woman's control, but I do believe that we can do things to ourselves and put ourselves in situations that will add more stress to our lives and make our lives more taxing, which can prove to intensify the feelings of PPD.  It's pretty common knowledge that everything seems more insurmountable and bleak when exhausted, so I've been taking extra care to give myself rest.  Saying no to visitors if I'm tired, asking for help from family, taking a nap when I feel tired, not waiting for my next chance but taking it when I can get it.  We also introduced a bottle much sooner than we ever have with our other babies, and Hayden has been doing great with 1 feeding a day off the bottle and continues to breastfeed just fine.  Art has now taken the midnight feeding so I can get a good 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

So overall, I guess I feel pretty fantastic all things considered (lack of sleep, recovering body, sore nursing boobs and all).  I pray that I continue to feel this way, but if the other shoe drops and I start to feel the symptoms again, I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, that I will get through it and so will the kids and my husband.  It just feels so good to be like this today though, and that's what I try to focus on.  One day at a time.  I'm sure it also helps that so far, Hayden is a pretty spectacularly easy baby.  I've never had one of those, so again, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop and don't want to get too excited since he is only 2 weeks.  But I've heard that easy babies do exist, and so maybe I got my baby unicorn this time ;)

Thank you all for your love and support and kind words.  If you have it in your heart, please continue to lift me up in prayer if you think about it, and pray that I continue to feel this good.  Because at this point, I don't ever want this feeling to go away.  It's pretty crazy, but finally, after all these years, I understand why people love newborn babies.  It does feel pretty fantastic to hold a sleeping baby on your chest and smell their heads while doing so.  Nothing really can compare, can it?

Thanks guys...I'll continue to keep you updated.        

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Please Let Me Introduce To You...

Introducing Hayden Arthur Howe.  Born on Monday 8/27/2012 at 9:20 am, weighing in at an even 8 pounds and measuring 20 inches in length, he is healthy and handsome, and we are in love. 
We survived our first night at home last night.  After a beautiful and blissfully happy 2 days spent cuddling and holding baby more than I ever had held one of my other newborns, I hit a bit of a dark cloud last night.  What I can best describe as a panic attack, I suddenly got a very sad and overwhelmed feeling of the enormity of it all.  I talked it through with Art and came out feeling good, then spent a restless night with baby Hayden.  He nursed fine until his 3 am feeding and hasn't nursed since.  When my milk comes in I get incredibly engorged and I think he's just a bit frustrated.  We will press on and I'm sure it will work out.  I've faced different nursing challenges with each baby and we've always worked it out, so I pray this is no different.
Today we are just spending the day getting to know each other, as I deal with my new found DD's, and trying to accomplish my first bowel movement, always a scary thing right?  Life is beautiful and I see that, and truly know that, just praying no more dark clouds hit me tonight.  The doula is set to deliver my placenta capsules tomorrow afternoon, and while I have no real reason to believe this, I feel deep down that they will work on some level, even if it's just purely psychological.  I'm sorry to mix such a beautiful post with some sadness, but I feel on this matter it is beyond important to be honest.  Tuesday night I cried with such emotion of how happy I felt, how truly in love with this little boy I was.  And then to have such a rush of sadness the next night is nothing short of maddening and frustrating.  It's not right, and it certainly doesn't make much sense, but it's the truth and I want those of you that have been through the same thing to know you're not alone.

I'll be back over the next week or so to update you, and share the birth story with you.  I have to say, I kicked this labor's ass.  It was hard and painful and long, but I am certain of one thing, I am proud of how it all transpired and will forever have those memories in my heart.

Thanks for everything you guys.  For the well wishes, prayers and support.  They have meant the world to me, more than you could ever know.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Down Came the Rain

(4 weeks postpartum with Syd, forced smile, tired eyes.  
This was right before I went on medication for the treatment of PPD.  Looking at this picture makes me want to cry.)
It's been about a week since I've written a true post here, I know.  There's been a few topics I could write about in the past few days, talking about the pregnancy, the kids, prepping for Syd's Boba Fett party.  But it's like I'm stuck in this zone where I can't move forward in talking about anything else until I write about the thing I most don't want to write about; my fears of PPD resurfacing after I have this baby.  I've let go of the notion that I can write this post with any sort of beauty or message to it, or whatever, and just need to write, especially since a few of you have reached out to me offline about different options.

I had a check up on Monday with my OB.  We did a quick ultrasound and Art and I both looked away when she told us to so we wouldn't see any baby parts.  We still feel so good about not finding out the sex of this baby by the way.  Excited, but not the least bit anxious at all.  I guess people can change after 36 years ;)  Anyhow, after the ultrasound, as she's typing in this or that into her computer screen, I ask her about placenta encapsulation.  She did a double take so hard and fast she almost fell out of her chair.  She sort of just smirked and chuckled and asked "Why on Earth are you asking about placenta encapsulation?  You're my last patient I ever thought would be interested in that."  She made claim to the fact that I'm so into fashion and don't even wear Birkenstocks or anything.  I realize at this point this makes her sound a bit dumb, but it was said in a very friendly banter type of way.  She's been my doctor for 8 years and has seen me through 3 pregnancies now, and I like her a lot.   We joke together at every appointment and I appreciate her ability to be serious and be silly, and even say sort of stupid things. 

Well doctor, clothing choices aside, I'm interested in it for the treatment of PPD is what I went on to explain to her.  After she got over her shock, she recovered and said she'd support me with whatever choice I wanted to make to treat this, but the fact remains that placenta encapsulation is not proven to be effective in the treatment of PPD, and I could be wasting time and money taking chances on something that wasn't a sure thing.  The zoloft worked the first two times, it would surely work this time as well.  It was a sure thing.  She always knows just how to say things to strike fear into me the most.  The thought of suffering through weeks of PPD to see if the placenta pills would work, was in fact enough to put me into tears right then and there.  I don't know if the third time around I have the strength or will to take chances.  Unfortunately, since I've had PPD with both previous pregnancies, medically speaking it's pretty much guaranteed I'll get it with this baby.

At this point some of you may be grimacing thinking seriously, eating your own placenta? I'd rather eat worms!  But if you've had PPD, you'd know that you'd be willing to try just about anything to prevent it or treat it.

When Taylor was born it didn't take long for the PPD to set in.  For me it happened within a day.  The second night I was in the hospital I had for the first time in my life, what I would describe as a panic attack.  I felt dizzy and overwhelmed, and literally like there was a huge blanket of fog over me.  I had a baby now, how was I going to take care of it?  It hit me that there was no turning back.  I chalked that night up to just being tired and overwhelmed after the trauma that is labor and delivery.  When I went home and within a few days I was crying for everything, I knew it was something more.  I had never, ever felt so sad or lonely as I did those first few weeks after Taylor was born.  I knew that deep down I loved her, but I didn't feel any of the euphoria or goodness that comes with love.

Everything was systematic and rote-like; changing diapers, nursing, smiling at her.  I did them out of instinct and because I knew that was what I was supposed to do, but most of the time I just wanted to run away.  I remember feeling true anger at my sister and sisters in law, who had all just had babies in the last year.  Why didn't they tell me it was like this, why didn't they warn me I'd feel like this?  I was truly mad at them.  One day about 3 weeks postpartum I started to pump and we began her on 1 bottle a day.  I left the house for 2 hours and just cried because I knew that it wasn't really freedom, just faux freedom in a way.  My life was no longer my own.  Suddenly every single thing reminded me of our old life and how we were never going to go back to that again.

At this point I know it sounds like I was just mourning the loss of my old life, but for me that's just how the PPD manifested itself.  When after about 4 weeks I wasn't feeling any better, Art called my OB and explained my symptoms.  She immediately prescribed me Zoloft and within a few days I felt better.  Not 100% myself, but I could see glimmers of myself peeking through. I started to enjoy Taylor for the first time since giving birth.  At the time Brooke Shields had just come out with her autobiography about her journey with PPD and friends and family quickly bought me multiple copies.  I read it and felt at least somewhat thankful that my symptoms didn't seem as strong as hers were.  I never wanted to hurt myself or Taylor.  I just felt so, so sad.

Within 5 months I weaned myself off medication and felt as normal as a new, tired mom could feel.  It simply worked, almost like the snap of a finger.

After Syd was born my doctor warmed me that since I had suffered with PPD with Taylor, it might come back again.  For the first 3 weeks or so I felt fine and good, with no symptoms to speak of.  By week 5 postpartum, the symptoms had surfaced and were in full force, but this time it surfaced in an extreme form of resentment towards Syd, and how he was keeping me from my daughter.  My 2 year old, sweet, happy daughter that I wanted to be with as much as possible.  Syd cried, a lot.  He slept, very little.  He needed tons of attention that quite frankly, I would have rather been giving my daughter.  Life was tough with him and I grew very resentful of him for how he had changed our cozy little family of 3 dynamic. 

Again, I know it's common to feel a sense of loss for your first born when your 2nd is born.  But I knew it wasn't common to feel such resentment towards your 2nd born.  I still feel guilt over those first few weeks and wonder if my emotional detachment from him caused him in some deep down way to not feel as close to me.  To this day, he prefers Art to me any day, any time.  I try to not let it get to me, but some days I can't help feeling like I'm to blame.

By week 6 I was back on Zoloft and within a couple of days I felt better again.  I was mad at myself for waiting as long as I did but I wanted to try and prove that I was strong enough to tackle this thing.  Stupid, arrogant, I know.  This time I was off meds within 3 months postpartum, proving that my symptoms were in fact hormonal, and proving that meds did in fact help.

So now here I am pregnant with my 3rd and my doctor says I can pretty much count on PPD returning.  She's even offered to prescribe me meds as soon as I deliver while still in the hospital so that I can get ahead of the symptoms.  I don't know how comfortable I am with that, in all honesty.  Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

I know doctors like to try and fix things with drugs, but I also know that her reasons for wanting me to take the meds as opposed to trying placenta encapsulation first, make sense. And I really don't want to have to make myself suffer if I don't have to.  But there's just something gnawing at me that doesn't feel quite right giving up so easily.  Even the phrase "giving up" makes it sound like I have control of this thing, when really it's out of my control.  But how I treat it is in my control, and if I could treat it in a more natural way, then shouldn't I try to give it a chance?

Have any of you out there ever tried placenta encapsulation for PPD, and did it work?  I know it's still so uncommon, but there may be a few of you out there.  I would really love any feedback you may have to offer.  I have a couple of months to still make a decision, but this thing is what is making me most anxious over anything.  More than figuring out a name or where this baby is going to sleep.  It's figuring out how I can keep myself as healthy as possible for myself, my baby and my 2 very aware kids.  They're 5 and 7 now, and there's not a lot of hiding things from them.  More than anything, I don't want them to have to see me sad.  Thanks in advance for reading this novel, and for any input you may have.

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