Infertility and Postpartum Depression

Infertility, miscarriage, postpartum depression and a pandemic! Ashley Blair bravely shares her struggles and reminds us that we are not alone.

Infertility, miscarriage, anxiety, postpartum depression, a HARD baby, and a pandemic… These are things that are usually kept quiet when you are going through them, but know you are NOT alone!

16 months! 16 months it took us to have our little rainbow and the process was not easy. Months and months of ovulation tests, basal temperature checks, stressing about whether the little line on the OPK test was darker than the day before, and of course, the day you can finally take a pregnancy test. Yup, I went through that for 12 months. A year until I FINALLY got that little + sign. We were pregnant!

All of the emotions hit me at once. We went through a lot to have this little baby and for some unexplainable reason God called this baby home to Him at 8.5 weeks. Long story short, I went through cramping and bleeding that started around 5.5 weeks. My OB stated that if we weren’t pregnant within 3 months after the miscarriage that I would have to have exploratory surgery. Well, 3 months passed and there I was in pre-op waiting to go back to the OR. Surgery went well and we were given the OK to start trying again. 

God answered our prayers, we’re pregnant again! 16 LONG months and we’re pregnant with a sticky bean! I was so excited, and yet I had never been so scared in my life. The emotions were indescribable. We’re finally going to be a family of 3! Every week for the first 12 weeks I went to the OB to check on baby. Thank goodness they were understanding enough to bring me in. After going through a traumatic miscarriage, I couldn’t help but think it was going to happen again. I have never wanted something so badly and I needed to make sure all was well. To be honest I stressed the ENTIRE pregnancy. Fast forward to 37 weeks…this mama’s water broke at home and off to the hospital we went. 

After 24 hours, our little miracle had arrived earthside. He was such a little peanut, and thankfully we stayed out of the NICU and were able to go home 3 days later. Now it’s all on us, no help from the nurses, no help from family members (stupid COVID), just me and my husband. Two days after being home we went to the pediatrician for a checkup and low and behold back to the hospital we go for a high bilirubin. He was admitted and under the light for about 14 hours. After we got his bili down we were able to go home the next day. That just meant many, many more doctors visits and heel pricks to make sure he was OK. Whew, we got through our first hurdle. His jaundice cleared and now we were able to relax and enjoy our sweet boy. HA, just kidding. 

Our next challenge…reflux. Holy spit up! We just couldn’t win. If it wasn’t one thing it was another. Months and months and months of reflux. Here we are 3 months in and he hit his peak. My anxiety and stress were off the charts!!!! He was losing weight, spitting 10-12 times after each feed and it wasn’t little spits, it was ounces. I ended up renting an infant scale from the hospital numerous times because I was still breastfeeding and couldn’t tell how much he was getting at each feeding. I couldn’t do tummy time because it would make his reflux worse. I had to hold him upright for 30 minutes after each feed. And I think we both changed clothes 100 times a day because we were both soaked.

My poor boy went through x-rays, ultrasounds, blood work, tongue and lip revision, multiple lactation visits, weekly weight checks at the pediatrician’s office, a GI doc, multiple reflux medications, colic, formula vs breastmilk, bottle feeding vs breastfeeding, and I cut out dairy and soy (which didn’t help one bit). You name it, we did it. We did everything we could think of. Reflux SUCKS. He was only 4 months old by this time and he went through the ringer, my poor boy. He suffered with reflux for the first 7.5 months of his life. It was terrible and I don’t wish it on my worst enemy.

I got to the point where I didn’t even want to hold my boy. As soon as his dad got home from work I basically threw him in his arms. I cried every single day for months. I knew something was wrong, I knew it was Postpartum Depression (PPD). Even though I knew, I still told myself that I was strong and I would get through this, that I didn’t need to see a therapist or get on any medication. Boy, was I wrong. PPD is a real thing! I talked to many nurse and doctor friends, all which told me I needed a little help with some medication.

Then, I hired Laura, co-founder of Moms on Call, to help my boy get on some kind of schedule. (Hello, type A mom over here!) I prayed she would help me figure out what to do with feedings and sleep training. She was the best thing that happened to our family. She was patient, she heard my struggles and story with my son, I broke everything down on what we went through, and we did it. We developed a schedule that worked for him. She also saw me struggling with PPD as well and encouraged me to seek professional help and I’m so glad I did. I’m so grateful that I listened to these people because who knows where I would be today.

I am here to tell you that you are not alone in this.

You don’t have to feel like super woman, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to have a hard baby, it’s okay to be tired, it’s okay to feel fed up and want to call it quits, but you will get through it! It WILL be okay. Talk to your friends and family about your problems, seek help when needed, don’t keep it to yourself. You can do this mama!

For more information about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, see our More Than the Baby Blues blog post from therapist, Kate Ferguson.

There are also excellent resources (online support groups, information, reading) and also a directory of clinicians in your area that can be found on Postpartum Support International’s website www.postpartum.net .  Your pediatrician or OBGYN can also be a resource for local support (sometimes, not always).  

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