GUEST BLOG POST: Babies, Babies Everywhere by Linda Beeso Rosendale
I was 40 when my first child was born. We had lived in Virginia for a few years; my husband was active-duty military and was deployed for most of the pregnancy and when our son was born. He was trying to get back home, after finding out he’d be granted leave. In the meantime, I was at a military hospital, with a close family friend and my doula (a birthing coach and in this case, she became a good friend); and a doctor I couldn’t stand. He asked me, didn’t I know I was “too old to have babies”. And when he found out I’d had in-vitro fertilization done, he REALLY blew up. I was a little too shy and withdrawn to talk back to him then—not so later on.
I did everything right during my pregnancy; limited caffeine use—a big deal for a caffeine-addicted woman, eating right, taking my prenatal vitamins. I’d even decided to go through a completely drug free birth. Yep! That’s right, no pain medications whatsoever. I lasted through 13 hours of Pitocin-induced labor—my baby’s heartbeat was irregular and I was at 41 ½ weeks. After that time, I had them give me an epidural because I was exhausted and needed relief. Then we had to do an emergency cesarean-section because his heart-rate was dropping and I had developed a fever. I was scared out of my mind. Here I’d done everything I should, and this was happening!
He was born on July 4th, and he came in with a bang! It turned out that he had the cord wrapped around his neck three times. Thank goodness they delivered him quickly and he was breathing well. He was healthy, everything was normal. I remember lying there, with my doula standing beside me, asking if he was okay. She said, “He is beautiful! He looks so much like both of you and he has a little cleft in his chin, just like his daddy!” His dad arrived around 24 hours after he was born. I’ll never forget the look on his face when he saw our first-born child; wonder, awe, fear, excitement, and love. Even now, my eyes fill with tears at the joy we felt looking at our child.
At 40, I was just as terrified as any new mother. Weighing over 8 lbs., he was a healthy, strong, baby boy who adjusted well. I, however, was a nervous wreck. I couldn’t produce milk, so breastfeeding was out. I was afraid to let him cry, so I didn’t sleep much. I found myself short-tempered and moody. “Hormones”, everyone said. After six months, I went in to see a physician at the military base who was my primary provider. I described my symptoms and he said it was post-partum depression.
I felt like an idiot. I knew the symptoms, had read about it, had listened to my doctors and nurses about the possibility, but never connected the dots. I went on a mild antidepressant and the symptoms abated. And one year later, off the antidepressants, I was pregnant again with twins. This time, I was alone for most of the pregnancy and had a toddler to keep up with but I was more aware of how this all worked.
I went in for my first OB visit and guess who it was?! Yes, the very same one from my first pregnancy. This time, a little wiser and more confident, I spoke up. It went a little something like this.
“I remember you from my first pregnancy.”
He said, “Really? Great!”
Then, bursting his bubble, I continued. “I thought you were a jerk then, and I doubt much has changed. As a doctor, you are great but your patient management skills are horrific. I don’t want you near me again unless there is a medical emergency that requires you to work with me. Is that clear enough?”
Because of my age and the fact I was pregnant with twins, I was referred to another set of doctors. I managed to last until 37 ½ weeks (a long pregnancy for twins), before a scheduled cesarean-section, when my twin sons were born. They were each over 6 lbs. This time, before I checked out of the hospital, I told the doctor of my history of post-partum depression. I was put on medication before I left the hospital, and remained on it a few months.
I’m now the proud mom to a ten-year-old and eight-year-old twins. Two of my three boys have ADHD. I’m a full-time, stay-at-home-mom and have been since our first child was born. There are times I think of going back to work as a mental health therapist, but my boys still need me here. So, I write and blog and speak out, in the hopes that it helps someone else. If I can help even one person, just a little, it’s totally worth it. Thank you for reading.
Linda Beeson Rosendale is a stay-at-home mom and blogger. She is currently working on a thriller, and collaborating with three other authors on a horror anthology. Her home is in the Midwest, where she resides with her husband and three sons. Her sarcastic wit and snarky sense of humor keep her (relatively) sane. You can follow her on Twitter @writerlinda2008, on Facebook L.B Rosendale, Author and Blogger, and her blog http://momstime2write.blogspot.com.