Know The Signs of Postpartum Depression vs Baby Blues

Know The Signs of Postpartum Depression vs Baby Blues

Hello all, if you didn’t know May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I wanted to share my own experience with postpartum depression – something few speak of.

While having a high risk pregnancy with my fifth child – due to Chiari, and off my Chiari  medication – due to the lack of medical knowledge on side effects the child may have, all resulted in postpartum depression. My decompression surgery for Chiari was done in 2013 and despite having had surgery, I continued to have chronic pain. I was also told of the possibility of a second surgery. The thought of a second surgery and being pregnant without taking pain medicine had me feeling an intense sadness. On September 2015, what I thought would be a quick trip to the ER for abdominal pain, ended in an emergency c-section. I’ve been through four prior c-sections and so when the baby didn’t cry, my motherly instinct told me something was wrong. In spite of my concern the nurses and doctors assured me everything was OK and the baby was taken to the hospital nursery. Once there he began to turn purple, began gasping for air and was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU. His lungs were underdeveloped and he was not receiving enough oxygen. He would stay in NICU receiving medical treatment for the next 15 days. My depression just continued to grow. But, with a baby in NICU, making sure I was pumping enough breast milk to provide his nurses and thinking of the other children at home, I did not have to time to think of myself.

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Baby #5, NICU 2015

Fast forward 2017, I was pregnant with my youngest, this again was considered a high risk pregnancy due to my Chiari diagnosis. After multiple trips to the ER with early contractions, I received steroid shots to help the babies lungs. She was born on February 2017 by emergency c-section. Her lungs were in great shape, thanks to the medication they had given me while still pregnant. She was still though considered a preemie and had to spend time in NICU for preventative measures. I again, continued to spiral in my depression. I knew it wasn’t the baby blues. She was the most perfect baby girl, with these piercing light eyes and there I was feeling no bond with my child. I unable to get out of bed – not because of the obvious pain from a c-section, but because I felt this internal sadness. The thought of even having to feed my new born overwhelmed me with anxiety and fear. I laid in my hospital bed not knowing how I would get up to visit my baby in NICU. The view of the door seemed eternal as if it would take miles of walking just to reach it. When I got home, the deep sadness continued. I mentioned it to my obstetrician and he assured me that it was the baby blues, but to have peace of mind, that I should go see a therapist. I didn’t.

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Baby #6, NICU 2017

However, by the end of 2017, having to care for a new born, 5 other children and still feeling sad, anxious, uninterested in just about everything and fatigued, I sought help in form of a psychologist. I also began thinking what going to a therapist would mean, I felt a sense of embarrassment, what would people say if they’d find out, what would my family think, would they think I’m crazy, unstable, unfit?! The thoughts were overwhelming. It went against what I thought the world would think of me. But it became the best decision I could have made for myself and my family.

Know The Signs

Postpartum Depression (PPD): This occurs after the baby is born, you have insomnia, feel sadness, loss of appetite, noticing difficulty bonding with baby, irritability, loss of appetite, hopelessness, you find yourself not being able to concentrate. This requires medical diagnosis and if you go untreated, these symptoms can last months or even longer.

Versus

Baby Blues:  The symptoms for baby blues can be very similar to postpartum depression and can include mood swings. However, the symptoms are short lived, you experience them for a shorter amount of time. And with help from your spouse, partner and family, you can overcome the baby blues. The baby blues is the least severe of postpartum depression, it tends to be ‘normal’ for moms that have just given birth, however if they don’t go away in a few weeks, it may be postpartum depression.

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If I could tell you anything from my experience with postpartum depression is not to wait. I waited and missed vital time in receiving medical help. I was too embarrassed to speak on feelings I thought people would view as lunatic and absurd! On the contrary, my family were the most supportive. The one thing I am in constant need, is the reminder that I shouldn’t care or think of what the world thinks of me. Put yourself first, your mental health is a priority. If you feel in need of mental help, seek it – because acknowledging that you need help is vital and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Also, speaking one day on this topic of postpartum depression, my therapist – whom also has patients at a local hospital, told me that the hospital is now screening pregnant women. They are screened before and after the birth of their child for signs of postpartum depression. How amazing is that! I can only say that we are truly moving in the right direction, just as a newborn needs care, the mental state of the mother does too. I can only hope that this same protocol is done in every Hospital nation wide, so that no mother goes untreated.

Happy Mental Awareness Month.

A-

Photo: Daniel Páscoa

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OUR NICU BABE TURNS ONE!

A few days ago our youngest baby turned ONE! While I wish she’d stay one forever, I couldn’t be happier she’s reached this milestone. This mama had a tough time with the last three pregnancies and I am a true believer of someone being here for a reason – beyond my humble comprehension. My last two babies spent time in NICU and although I never had a set number of babies I’d have in my life, I’m so thankful God knew better and knew what our family needed.

So, I wanted to go back in time a bit and tell you my Hannah girl that you’ve come a long way since your time in NICU. I feel incredibly humbled and blessed that God chose me to be your mama and know I couldn’t adore you more than I already do. I love your resilience since day one, I love hearing your joy as you play with your sisters, I love your excitement when you see your brothers, I love your open mouth kisses to this mama’s cheeks, I love how I spend 10 minutes to do your hair yet you manage to remove it all in 1 and I love how you have us all wrapped in your chubby little finger.

Wishing you the happiest of birthdays ♥

– ♥ Mami

Eczema + Food Allergy Alerts For Kids

My children have sensitive skin and this has been a struggle for some time. Not all, but most have Eczema, Atopic Dermatitis. Eczema consists of dry scaly and itchy skin, peeling and redness. The main visible complaint is behind the knees and on the arms but it can also appear in other areas. We’ve had to change things like dish soap, laundry detergent and fabric dryer sheets to ones from brands like all Liquid Laundry Detergent, Free Clear for Sensitive Skin, 46.5 Fluid Ounces, 31 Loads or Arm & Hammer Liquid Perfume and Dye Free Dual He, 50 Fluid Ounce These brands in particular carry a selection for sensitive skin, are free of dyes and perfumes. These changes have prevented my kids from getting major flareups, getting irritated and ultimately itchy. Their dermatologist has recommended over the counter hydrocortisone and brands like CeraVe, Aveeno and Eucerin, to name a few. And none have worked. I’ve also tried prescription creams, but even using these have not given us any results. So, I will share with you what has brought my sensitive skin little’s some relief, all from the brand TruKid.

For Eczema
⇒ Hair and Body Wash TruKid Eczema Soothing Face and Body Wash, Unscented, 8 Oz

⇒ Bubble Bath, this one has Oatmeal, Aloe and Vitamin E TruKid Eczema Bubble Podz, Natural Bubble Bath with Oatmeal, Aloe & Vit E., Unscented, 24 count

⇒ Body Cream TruKid Easy Eczema Cream, Soothing relief therapy, Unscented, 4 Oz

⇒ Serum Spray, I keep this one in my diaper bag, it’s small and best of all, a spray. TruKid Rockin’ Relief Remedy, 100% Natural, Rash & Dry Skin Soothing Serum, 1.78 Oz

⇒ Sunscreen TruKid Sunny Days Sport, Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30, Water Resistant, Broad Spectrum, Unscented 3.5 Oz

I also have one of my kids with food allergies. In the beginning of each school year his pediatric allergist will give us new Epi-Pen’s to have. We receive two, one Epi-Pen we will keep and the other we will give to the school nurse.

Food Allergies
⇒ Epi-Pen – We have attached to the zipper of our diaper bag, these pull charms let’s everyone know that there’s an Epi-Pen inside. These have come in handy say on our trips to Disney when we may forget to let security know there’s an Epi-Pen inside. EPIPEN INSIDE Medical Alert Black 1 inch Zipper Pull Charm

He’s young, yet has responsibly learned the foods he can’t eat. I still however have him wear allergy alert bands, he wears two, one that read “PEANUT ALLERGY” and a second one on the other wrist that reads, “FISH ALLERGY.” He wears these all the time, even during bath and bed time. Although the bands I have are no longer available, these from AllerMates are my next option if whenever mine need to be replaced. This one for peanut allergy AllerMates Kids Medical Wristband – Peanut Children’s Medic Alert Allergy Awareness Bracelet (2 Pack) or this one Allermates Kids Allergy Health Alert Multi Charm Wristband that you can customize to show your child’s specific allergies using charms.

Adult Relief from Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis this has been the only thing that has worked for me. Simply. The. Best. For hands this cream in tube form from Working Hands  O’Keeffe’s K0290004 Working Hands Hand Cream, 3 oz., Tube   O’Keeffe’s K0350002 Working Hands Hand Cream, 3.4 oz., Jar
and this helps your feet from cracked or dry heals O’Keeffe’s for Healthy Feet Foot Cream, 3.2 oz., Jar

Xo-Ana

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Specific Must-Haves For Baby + Mom

There’s one thing you’ll notice when you’re pregnant is how quickly people want to chime in and tell you what you need. But if you’re a first time mom, you’ll quickly realize the many choices one has for these items. So, I’ve created a list that will help you get items that you need – the exact items, a few of course – don’t want to make this overly long. I won’t list things like onsies because, we all have our own unique style and an idea of how we want our little ones to look. All these are specific must-haves for baby and Mom. They have worked for me and hope they will for you.

GEAR

Stroller ⇒ No one tells you that there is such a thing as a Travel System, this includes the stroller and car seat! This is the Evenflo Pivot Modular Travel System, Sandstone As for a car seat cover Nursing Cover, Car Seat Canopy, Shopping Cart, High Chair, Stroller and Car Seat Cover for Boys and Girls – Best Stretchy Infinity Scarf and Shawl – Multi Use Breastfeeding Cover Up – Arrow Pattern living in Florida Dream Baby Stroller Fan, White/Blue – 2 Pack makes these a must.

Swing/Sleeper ⇒ This Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper, Luminosity is a life saver in times when you need a few minutes to shower!

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Crib + Playpen ⇒ I have a small space to work with, so this Dream On Me Full Size 2 in 1 Folding Stationary Side Crib, White is perfect for that and this Infant Nuna Sena(TM) Aire Travel Crib, Size One Size – Grey playpen can be set up without having a second person to help, because it can be done one handed in seconds. And if you need extra padding for the portable crib and/or playpen LA Baby Waterproof Portable/Mini Crib Mattress, 2″ – Made in USA with Easy to Clean, Hypo-Allergenic, Anti-Microbial & Non-Toxic Cover, 24 x 38 – Made in USA is fantastic.

Diaper Bag ⇒ This  Skip Hop Forma Travel Carry All Diaper Backpack with Insulated Bag, One Size, Jet Black is so spacious – especially when packing for more than one baby.

BATH TIME

Bath ⇒ This  Angelcare Bath Support, Aqua bath tub is not only easy on the eyes and it can also be hung to dry or this  Summer Infant Comfy Bath Sponge  if you opt for a bath sponge. I use the Baby Buddy’s Natural Baby Bath Sponge 4-5” Ultra Soft Premium Sea Wool Sponge Soft on Baby’s Tender Skin, Biodegradable, Hypoallergenic, Absorbent Natural Sea Sponge sponge over the bath cloths only because they dry quicker

Spout Cover ⇒ This Skip Hop Moby Bath Spout Cover Universal Fit, Blue does the job!

 Towel ⇒  Have loved these Puj Hug Hands Free Hooded Infant Towel, White for a while now.

Shampoo + Body Wash ⇒  I have been using Baby Dove Tip to Toe Wash, Rich Moisture 20 oz and Baby Dove Lotion, Rich Moisture 20 oz for close to a year now and it’s fantastic!

Bath Brush to Prevent Cradle Cap  This Bean b Clean Cradle Cap Scalp Massaging Brush or Baby Bath Silicone Brush by Fridababy | DermaFrida The SkinSoother Baby Essential for Dry Skin, Cradle Cap and Eczema (2 Pack) will not only work if your baby starts to develop cradle cap but it’ll help to prevent it – use it during bath time. The Frida is just a newer version of the Bean B and both will work.

FEEDING BABY

Pacifier  This Natursutten BPA-Free Natural Rubber Pacifier, Orthodontic, 12 Months and above pacifier and this pacifier clip  Leather Suede Braided Pacifier Clips By Zelda Matilda. Handmade, Expertly Crafted, Highest Quality, Beautiful! For Boys and Girls

Nursing Pillow ⇒ This Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner, Sketch Slate Gray serves multiple purposes as baby continues to grow. And this light will come in handy when nursing Born Free Nighty Night Nursing Light, Neutral in the middle of the night. A must!

Teether  The handles on this Sophie La Girafe – So Pure Teether Giraffe makes it easier for baby to hold.

Formula Dispenser ⇒ I’ve been using  Philips AVENT Powder Formula Dispenser and Snack Cup, Pink and when you stop the formula feeding, you can use it as a snack cup.

Sippy Cup Toddler Zoli ‘Bot Xl’ Sippy Cup, Size One Size – Pink I. Love. These. The flexi straw feature is amazing! It can also be found on these Munchkin Click Lock Weighted Flexi Straw Trainer Cup, Orange, 7 Ounce The difference is that the Munchkin cup is more affordable but the concept remains the same.

Bottle Drying Rack  You can get this  Great Essential Boon Grass Countertop Drying RackGreen or this Boon PATCH Countertop Drying Rack which I use in the kids bathroom to hold their toothbrushes and toothpaste. Also, accessory works great to hang the pacifiers or bottle nipples Boon Twig Grass and Lawn Accessory White

Bibs ⇒ aden by aden + anais Little Bib Life’s A Hoot, 3-Pack Such a beautiful design on these. And these  aden + anais burpy bib 2 pack, paper tales burp cloths.

MISCELLANEOUS

Receiving + Swaddling Blankets  I like these  aden + anais Muslin Swaddle Plus, Sweet in Pink or aden by aden + anais Disney Baby swaddles, mickey and have found that the one’s that say “muslin” don’t shrink and get softer after each wash. As for a thicker blanket, these  aden by aden + anais Stroller Blanket, Dove stroller blankets are great. I also use these  Little Unicorn Cotton Muslin Swaddle Blankets (set Of 3) – Cabana Stripe, Yellow, Orange, Pink and they’re just as good as the Aden + Anais!

Nose Aspirator ⇒ Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator with 20 Extra Hygiene Filters and the extra filters Nosefrida Hygiene Filters

Ear Thermometer ⇒Braun Digital Ear Thermometer Suitable for Baby, Infants, Toddlers, and Adults, ThermoScan5 IRT6500 and the lens filters Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer Lens Filters (20 Pack)

Hamper ⇒ This Household Essentials 148 Hanging Cotton Canvas Laundry Hamper Bag | White is great when space is limited. I hang it on a hook behind the door or in the closet.

Nursing Pads ⇒ These Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads, 36 count are the absolute best I’ve tried. As for milk storage bags Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags With Convenient Pour Spout and Patented Double Zipper Seal, Ideal for Storing and Freezing Breastmilk, 100 Count, BPA and BPS Free

Baby Book ⇒ This World of Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar Soft Book  

 DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOURSELF WHEN PREPARING FOR BABY

Hospital Gown ⇒ I absolutely love my hospital gown. There’s something to be said about feeling comfortable and beautiful in what you’re wearing at the hospital. I’ve worn it at my deliveries and at my other surgeries – just remember to size up to be feel more comfortable. Gownies – Labor & Delivery Maternity Hospital Gown, Nicole S/M pre pregnancy 0-10

Have a great weekend!

Xo-Ana

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