January 29, 2015

Postpartum and all that jazz.

OMGosh. I better keep on writing about pregnancy/after pregnancy stuff now before I forget/block it out of my mind forever like I want to block out Lola's stupid teething nights from my mind. I mean, I don't mind if she needs to eat or something (usually that happens anywhere from 2:30-4:30am and it only takes 15 minutes if I don't fall asleep in the overly comfortable pillow chair) but this whole "I'm going to wake up, whine whine whine, fuss fuss fuss, pretend cry pretend cry then go back to sleep and do it 30 minutes later" deal is getting quite annoying. Yeah yeah, I should be sympathetic but that doesn't mean I have to luuuuv it. What do I luv? COFFEE. Hashtag ALL THE COFFEE.

OK, stop complaining Kristine. I guess God made Lola cute for a reason...

The postpartum phase of all the baby jazz is the phase I always get most nervous about. Well, not with Avila because I had NO IDEA what I was doing and the postpartum phase hit me like a truck and I was sidelined with Postpartum Depression for a few months before getting treatment. And it's safe to say that it was one of the lowest and most difficult times of my life. I cried everyday, I was angry, I wanted to hurt myself. I wanted to hurt my baby. It was scary and debilitating and oh so hopeless. No amount of prayer or support or anything else could pull me from the mires and I ended up on an antidepressant which, after a couple weeks, lifted the fog. My first recollection of being me again came on a Saturday morning, out to coffee with Michael and our then 5-month-old Avila. I caught myself smiling. And at peace. Another thing that helped my PPD? Sleep training. But more on that later 'cause I don't feel like opening cans of worms. Unless they are laced with COFFEE.

So, in the efforts of keeping it short and sweet and to the point here is a list dealio of what I did postpartum to have the best postpartum experience thus far.

**Planned Ahead.
I prepared myself mentally for all the stuff about to come. I tried to keep all the sleepless nights, the lack of control, the feeling off, and whatever else in perspective and I reminded myself that it is just a stage that passes sometimes slowly but most of the time ever so quickly.

**Have Mental Checkpoints. 
6 weeks. 12 weeks. 4 months. 5 months. It was like running a marathon - I just had to make it to the next mile. With each checkpoint came a different sort of routine with the baby (because they change all the time) and once I made it to the date I felt a surge of confidence and excitement that the hard phases were ticking by.

**Clean Eating.
Again, this one is HUGE. With my emotions all over the place I needed to keep things as even steven as possible. Although Serotonin is manufactured in the brain, 90% of it IS FOUND IN THE DIGESTIVE TRACT. That's why people with IBS, gluten intolerance, food allergies have HIGHER RATES OF DEPRESSION. I capitalize this because of experience. When I was "on gluten" I was so up and down and I had no control over my emotions. I lashed out. I hit peaks and valleys. If there is one thing you can do for yourself to have a better mood/less stress/happier days it would be to eat as clean as possible. What do I mean? Here is a short list: fruits and vegetables (if they're the dirty dozen then organic if possible. or get a good vegetable wash like THIS ONE). Nuts. Lean protein (I eat organic chicken and wild, not farmed, fish. I actually get nauseous eating farmed fish - true story. I'm not a liar I promise. I have the most sensitive stomach in the world and I can be your guinea pig as to whether food has been tampered with or not...) No dairy and No gluten. Very little grains. It sounds restrictive but I'd rather be happy dappy than mean Kristine.

**Bare Minimum Mode.
I started this with Levi, but I wrote my "bare minimum" list on the chalkboard to remind myself that, at the end of the day, these are the only things that matter: 1) feed baby 2) eat healthy and take meds/supplements 4) do dishes 5) rest in the afternoon. Some days the house got picked up, most days it didn't. Some days dinner got made, some days it didn't. But if I checked these things off on my "to do" list it was a good day. And bare minimum mode houses some of my favorite memories when I look back on the baby stages.

**Make Rest/Sleep a Priority.
I am the type of person that needs a minimum of 7 hours of sleep, preferably 8. That's just how I roll. Too many sleepless/restless nights in a row send me spiraling downward. Every third day or so (or when I felt like I hit a wall) I would plan a nap day. No, not easy with 4 kids, but when Levi and Lola would nap I'd put on a movie for the big kids and tell Avila to come get me if there was a fire or something. Michael would take the big kids out for a couple hours on the weekend and I'd nap. If ever anyone was over to help I would use that time to take a nap. My goal nap time was 10-20 minutes (because sometimes a power nap is where it's at) but sometimes I'd end up snoozing for at least an hour. Again, I let go of everything else and made sleep a priority.

**Stay Active/Get Fresh Air.
OK, I'll be the first to admit that I did too much during the first 6 weeks postpartum. Not because it had any negative side effects (I recovered quickly physically and felt good to start running 3 weeks PP and I totally listened to my body........) but I should've just let that go too mostly because there is no better time in life to have the excuse of DOING NOTHING except LOVING ON A BABY. Oh well, next time...But the fresh air part is a must for me (hence probably the running itch) and I tried to get outside as much as possible. And the starting to workout/run again really did help my mental energy and overall happiness.

**Placenta Pills.
Yup, you heard me right. I had my placenta encapsulated. At the risk of sounding like a pyscho weirdo just hear me out. I had first heard of this thing whilst pregnant and did some looking into it. I went through Puget Sound Placenta and figured it couldn't hurt to try. Plus it was a third of the price of having my placenta thrown away at the hospital so there you go. I didn't have to do a thing: the nurse packed it on ice in my cooler, the placenta lady picked it up that day at the hospital and I was delivered a jar of magic pills. Literally. MAGIC. I took 2 every morning and 1 at lunch (sometimes 2 at lunch if I needed an extra kick) and I had never been happier, had more energy, or felt better during the postpartum period than I did after Lola. They are most effective the first six weeks and once you start running out you have to wean off gradually as to not kick in any withdraws - almost like an antidepressant. My energy actually started to drop once I stopped taking them and I wished my placenta was like 20 times bigger to GIVE ME MORE PILLS. Bahahaha, don't you love me all talking about placentas and shiz? PS: they're supposed to help with milk supply (which I was actually worried about since I create enough to feed quadruplets) so if you have that issue I would totally go this route. OK, the end on placentas.

There are probably lots of other things I can mention about "how to have a good after baby is born" experience - like good support, letting go, etc etc etc but that'll be good for now. Or I can talk about placentas some more.

But I won't. You're welcome.


Kelly Halverson said...

I did the placenta. I think it really helps. Great list!

Jenny said...

I love you for writing this. Going off to google "serotonin lives in the gut" for the rest of the night.

Alicia said...

Great tips!!!im hopeful that baby #2 will be a better experience post partum. Thank you!

Kristine Mauss said...

Kelly, oh good! Magic pills!

Kristine Mauss said...

Jenny, I know right?! When I heard that it finally all started to make sense why I was so grumpy and mad all the time hahaha.

Kristine Mauss said...

Alicia, you're welcome! Prayers sent your way for your PP experience with baby #2.