I am no longer breastfeeding. (this is ~not~ what this post is about. keep reading.)
Writing that sentance was the hardest thing I have ever written.
Due to all my surgeries post baby, Karl had more formula than my girls from the get go. I pumped and dumped a lot of milk and when I knew I was meds free, karl would still nurse like a champ. But due to pain meds from the 4 surgeries I had, I just didn't want him to injest too much of it and gave him enfamil formula.
I think breastfeeding is best. But I've always said I am not anti formula. I would say Karl got 85% breastmilk for the first 7 months. For my girls, they got 99.99% breastmilk until the one year mark. I was always so proud of it. And now, at 8 months old, Karl is 100% formula fed.
I haven't mentioned this because it's so private and although I don't hide much, there are some things I keep private, such as my marriage. That's just something for me and my husband - our personal thing I like to keep sacred. But maybe talking about it may help me deal with what's been going on.
About 5 weeks ago, I started taking anti depression medication. I've never had depression before in my life and I really didn't know I had it until my husband confronted me about it. It started around the time we got in the thick of things when trying to conceive Karl. I was depressed and I chalked it up to the ttc failures - all my surgeries, failures and disappointments. Once I got pregnant though, I didn't change much. Sure, I was thrilled to be pregnant, but I wasn't myself. I assumed it was because of all the scariness with having placenta accreta and the velamentous cord insertion. I figured knowing I could lose the baby at any moment was enough to make me sad and scared. Then I had Karl and all the trials of having a newborn were there. Karl was a great baby too, yet I still didn't "snap out of it". And due to the fact I felt this way long before I gave birth, it obviously wasn't post partum depression.
Many of you noticed the change in me. There were times I simply didn't post for days and days. And when I did post, it wasn't anything happy. I tried to fake it and I did a good job faking it to my friends, but I couldn't hide it from my family. All I wanted to do was sleep and even after sleeping hours on end, I would be exhausted. I didn't want anything to do with my husband other than the day to day stuff. I just couldn't be a good mom, instead, I was just going through the motions. When I woke up, I literally counted the hours until I could sleep again. I was a terrible employee (and probably led to the reason I was picked to be laid off). I felt guilty. I felt guilty I wasn't being the type of mother you'd see on tv. I felt guilty I wasn't being a good wife. The house was a mess. The laundry wasn't getting done. I simply laid on the couch and passed the time, doing the minimal amount of things, until I could go to sleep again. I would daydream about dying and suicide. I would NEVER leave my children, but I thought how much easier it would be if I was no longer around.
About 2 months ago, Tom confronted me. He asked me if I still loved him. I burst out in tears. I finally opened up about how I was feeling and he sat and listened. He held me. He told me he loved me and he would support me anyway he could. I asked him if he thought I should go see a psychiatrist. He said if I wanted to, then yes, I should go. It was a bad night, all my guilt gushing out at once. I was puffy eyed from crying by the time it was over, but he understood.
It took a few weeks to get the referral and to get in for the initial consult, but I did it. I took a test and it showed in black and white that I was clincally depressed. Her diagnosis was really a form of PPD, brought on by hormones, but what probably happened in my case was my depression was triggered by the fertility medication. Looking back at it now seems so clear! It all added up. I did have PPD but it was from the hormones of the IF treatments themselves, not the hormones from having a baby. It's like a lightbulb went off and it all made sense.
I was put on the lowest dose of an anti depressent. The problem was I couldn't breastfeed. At 7 months, I weighed the aspect of getting better with the aspect of stopping breastfeeding early. I picked getting better. The medication is a class C of drugs and this is what it said about breastfeeding: "Excreted into milk can cause toxic effects on newborn such as vomiting, watery stool, irritability and decreased sleep. Unknown long-term effects on neurobehavior or development of infants exposed to drug." That's something I couldn't chance and I stopped breastfeeding for the time being, simply pumping and dumping until we knew if I would continue the medication long term.
Two to three weeks after I started the med, my life changed. Drastically. I'm back to my old self. My house is clean. I'm keeping on top of laundry and the cooking. I'm back being a wonderful mommy, doing the extra things like art projects and reading books, instead of just doing the minimum. I'm back to being interested in my husband. I'm back. It's amazing that such a little pill can help me be a better person, but it has. I could be the fucking poster child for the medication.
So. That leaves me no longer breastfeeding. And while that breaks my heart to a zillion pieces, being Nancy, Mommy, Wife and Friend is more important.
This picture was taken before I knew I'd have to stop breastfeeding and I'm so glad it was taken. It's one of the last nursing sessions I had with Karl. It makes me cry to know it's over, but I'm not torn up over wondering if I made the right decision or not. I know I did.