Home life#theknotlife My Name Is Mama: This is Postpartum

My Name Is Mama: This is Postpartum

by angela

My second pregnancy is actually my third, and that is something I’ve never shared with the world until right now.

You see, we always wanted at least two babes- if we could ever be so lucky.

We’d dream of an older son and young sweet daughter. Fast forward almost a decade and here we are…blessed to have them both…

Let me tell you a little about that journey and the roads, detours and road blocks we hit along the way.


BUT FIRST…

I know it can be hard, all the time, but know that you are never alone. There is always another parent at that very moment crying those same exact tears of angst, resentment and unconditional love all bottled into one.

This post is for you mama.

Know that I stand right here with you, anxiety wrapped around my eyes like a ninja-turtles bandana. Instead of walk blindly, we day after day take that blind fold off and choose to walk with our children. Day in and day out cause that’s what mama’s do.

If you need a break, that’s okay. I’m right there with you. 

A photo my husband took as I nursed on one side and pumped on the other. I would sit and stare at her. I just couldn’t believe she was here.

Everyones break looks different so make sure to speak up along the way, no one can read your mind. Imagine driving to work without street signs to tell you when to stop or go…would you feel safe? 

For me, my breaks are showers alone with the door locked or a few hours in the middle of the night to write these choice words for you.

These moments of motherhood are so kind, if you let them be. And before I do a little storytelling, I wanna share this part of a song that always sticks…

“All the good comes in waves.”

QUINN XCII [Song:Another Day In Paradise]

Is that not the truth guys??


WHEN I MET MY POSTPARTUM

So here is the story you came for, I’ll just jump right in.

This is my postpartum body after delivering. I see you toes, it’s been a while…

When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, it was the happiest I could remember myself being in a really long time. It was a boy and we were young but couldn’t wait to see what adventure was before us.

When I found out I was pregnant for the second time it was not only a complete shock, but it was exactly one week before my spinal fusion surgery. I’m sure you can imagine how a positive pregnancy test can throw a wrench into a surgery. It continued to complicate the situation entirely.

When I found out I was pregnant for the third time, I cried hysterically; from fear, pure anxiety, a rollercoaster of adrenaline. I could tell this time it was a girl. My blood was flowing all over, I was so in tune with my body and I was still scared.

Something we wanted badly for so long and I was fucking terrified. It felt  fucked up. 

“We finally get to have our baby girl”-he’d say, trying to get me excited, and I would totally melt down into tears and make my escape to the closest doorway. 

Why was I like that? Why was it so hard for me after we had already successfully had our first born? Lets backup a bit to that second pregnancy…the one that haunts me.

THE SECOND BABY

It was a week before my scheduled spinal fusion I sat on the toilet with my phone in one hand while my anxiety entirely consumed me. I thought we were done with babies… 

My surgery was on the calendar and we had family and friends taking time off work to fly to New Jersey to come and help my husband take care of our 3 year old.

At that time I was in dire need of this surgery. A three-level, dual implant, life or death kind of need to reconstruct what years of ignorance and physical labor did to my spine from childhood into my late teens.

After a really quick phone call and a comment along the lines of… “if you carry this baby you risk snapping your spine and then who will raise your son?”- scared me shitless into having the surgery, if that’s even a thing.

That was the conversation that made my decision final and real that this was happening.

A 50% chance I would survive was the statistic I was given over a heartless phone call.

It was the data I needed to make that judgement call so I wouldn’t be leaving my husband and son both wife and motherless on my quest for another child.

If you can imagine, my husband was in some type of limbo no one can explain, but I’m sure you can try to imagine. I mean— finally a second child but your wife can’t and wont carry it…

He didn’t judge me for my decision, in fact, he held my hand the entire way and made me feel like I made the right decision, even though everything inside me was saying otherwise, and sometimes still does.

You see, for my second pregnancy, we found out early and elected at 4 weeks to have an abortion through a “Medical Abortion” which is basically an oral supplement you take that tells your body to stop the pregnancy.

It doesn’t make it any better that it’s a pill..it’s still abortion. Its still awful. But I had to sacrifice that pregnancy for a shot at a life with the family I already had on earth. Call it what you want.

These three photos were taken the day after I woke up from Surgery

I took that pill on Halloween night before we went trick or treating, I cooked dinner and went along with the day. I felt some cramping, laid down for a little and then it was time to trick or treat.

I’ll never forget the huge baggy ass sweatpants I wore that night. No costume, just huge sweatpants clearly too big for me and hidden inside was what felt like 12 maxi pads layered into a bucket to catch whatever was about to happen to me.

I bled the entire time we trick-or-treated, so I went home before everyone. I changed my layering of maxi pads, took a pain killer- or three for the cramping pain, laid down for bed and that was that.

In those types of abortions the medicine tells your body to stop producing the hormone that keeps the pregnancy and then you pass it just like a miscarriage. I’ll be honest with you guys, I was 4 weeks along and I did not notice one clot that was in any shape of a fetus. It all looked the same, a dark red clotted blood. 

That next morning we drove back out to the only Planned Parenthood in the area that did abortions and it happened to be 3-hours away. After a final ultrasound to confirm I was no longer bearing a child, we got the green light to proceed with my spinal fusion.

In total, I was sedated for 8 hours at Pennsylvania University Hospital in Philadelphia. I underwent a 3 level spinal fusion from L3-L5 vertebra. The surgery was intense and again, my husband was by my side the entire time.

The problem from that entire lineup was that my body was not only waking up from surgery, in pain, and in shock..my body was also grieving from loosing a child. I had no idea what would linger on…I had NO idea what was even going on.

We stayed in the hospital for over a week and started the day-to-day of what life would now look like for us.

Despite not being able to bend or twist for 3+ months, I was restricted to my bedroom and lived off my husbands compassion, massages and in-home pedicures. We began my recovery and continued to live in the solution at that moment in our life. It was changing.

I did intensive physical therapy, started working again, we moved to a new state, life went on…

THE THIRD + LAST 

For a while it seemed like we would be that couple that only had one child and we at one point even had “the talk” with my son about being an only child…little did we know, God had other plans for our family.

Two years after my surgery, I discovered I was pregnant…again.

This time I cried hard.

I think my husband thought I was crying because of the hormones and the fact that he would be deploying in a few months…but I couldn’t mutter even one word before my ugly cry would take over my face and I’d slip away to the closest doorway until I could compose myself in some way.

You might be wondering, “why all the tears? You guys finally get your chance?!”

And that’s ‘the thing’…

The first photo I took on my phone of Charly Rae and Sylas.

When I found out about my third pregnancy, the immediate fear flooded me, quite literally. I had gotten so used to the idea of being the mother to an only child and had come to terms with my choice I made- I couldn’t help but ask “do I even deserve this child?”

After some self-guilt, a lot of conversations with friends and family…I knew this was game time. We got what we had been asking for.

WHAT BEING PREGNANT FELT LIKE + WHATS WRONG

The pregnancy itself was fucking awful. I’ll just tell you that.

No glow, no cute outfits, no cravings, just pain.

The worst was that there was no real way to explain it because it was coming from every direction in my body and treating it was nearly impossible because we still didn’t really know what was brewing within me.

To give you an idea, I suffer from a slurry of side effects that stem from surgery, unnecessary procedures, failed western medicine practices and insurance deals to deter you from seeking real help. decided I needed at one point or another.

Fibromyalgia, Bipolar Mood + Anxiety Disorder, Lyme Disease, Muscle Spasticity Disorder with a sprinkle of asthma and ADD. Thats me 🙂

The result of the multitude of diseases and effect can be summarized by a few symptom and day to day descriptors.

Descriptors of how I feel:

  • electrically pules muscles
  • burning nerves
  • throbbing joints
  • overwhelming anxiety
  • manic episodes
  • static-prone muscle spasticity

I like to be transparent about the fact that I’m aware I will always live in some type of pain. There is no real cure for me yet. Only maintenence and self care that is how I live my day to day.

Processed with VSCO with u3 preset

When I was pregnant it felt like my body was rejecting the baby, if I had to sum it up.

I would puke from pain in my stomach that was explained to me as a side effect of my back surgery, a double disc replacement I had done through my abdomen.

In my case, something went south and there’s a kink in the hose….meaning, my stomach now only holds enough food for a 4 year old and it hurts (like knives in my stomach hurts) when I eat too much food and ask my digestive system to do the due diligence + flush.

1 Week Postpartum with Charly Rae

Having issues can give anyone anxiety, but having these specific issues was almost torture. A double double animal style no longer sounded good because I had to consider how I’d feel digesting it. My favorite foods soon became my enemy. I cooked less for my family, it trickled its way down…

The less food I ate, meant the more room there was for my baby to grow, I thought.

– angela vasquez journal 2016

Eating clean made me loose weight, 48 lbs in total from my highest pregnancy weight, 146 lbs compared to my most recent 98 lbs.

The last time I weighed 98 lbs. I was 10. And I’m not bragging…

Loosing that much weigh changes things in your mind and in your body you didn’t know were there. Your body becomes easier to communicate with.

LIFE AFTER HAVING BABIES

When my daughter was one month old, my husband deployed right on schedule. He came back for a couple months around 5 months old and then again last month when she turned 9 months old. 

I would cry at the thought of him, and I honestly still cry time to time. That part hasn’t gone away- but I also haven’t begun seeing a therapist. 

This is how you’ll find me now, baby girl always in mamas arms.

I found that crying became really therapeutic for me. My ‘cry time’ is in the shower- because you can ugly cry in privacy and conveniently wash your ugly cry face off afterward and blame it on the shower. Crying is good for you, but therapy…getting that therapy in is really important.

I would cry and then I’d see my son developing this amazing relationship with his little princess sister and I would just melt, ugly-crying all over again.

For me, it’s been more of a headache… I went for my postpartum checkup, asked for what I call “help” and was given a phone number to call. I was told to press a number after the beep and I tuned out after that part.

“This” thing I was going through was bigger than me.

I still haven’t seen a therapist yet (I will soon I promise). But really, I get so much anxiety about the steps it even takes me to connect with someone, I end up not calling at all. And then I have to cross my fingers and hope that I picked a good name off the list….don’t get me started…

Instead, I’ve been dunking my head into growing my business goals, building real connections online with like-minded mama’s and really just doing the mom thing, and it’s working for me.

This was a bad day turned good…a dear friend mailed me a surprise box of her daughters belongings and I broke into tears reading her card. Still touches my heart till this day. Thanks girl!

Everyday is different. Some days are good, some awful, but it’s a journey…right?

I know I’m not alone.

If you’d like to share your story with me directly, you know where to find me mamas!

Till next time…

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