Finishing out my week on Postpartum Progress as part of the Warrior Mom Leadership Team, I posted there today about how traumatic my c-section was and how triggered I was for quite some time after it, especially by that show A Baby Story! It’s become clear to me (and to my therapist) in retrospect that I suffered some PTSD from that experience. As it turns out, an unplanned c-section is a risk factor for PTSD in mothers.

I am in a better place now, whenever I think about it. But for that first year or so, I cried a lot about it. I felt so raw. I could not even look at my scar. Now, I can talk about the c-section in a different way–with less sadness, less anger, more appreciation for the medical advances that sometimes save moms’ and babies’ lives. However, I do still find myself reeling every time I hear about one of my friends being scheduled for or having a c-section. Maybe someday that will change, but for now I’m just giving myself grace to grieve along with them, if that is what they are doing.

Anyway, I hope you’ll join me at Postpartum Progress if you don’t find this topic too intense or triggering for you. If you do, just know the bottom line: It’s OK to run flailing from the things that trigger you.

Knowing What Triggers You and When to Change the Channel

P.S. I also want to give a shout out to a fantastic post that was also published on Postpartum Progress nearly 3 years ago. I found it after I had written my own post. As I read it, I just wanted to hug the momma who wrote it and also thank her for providing so much information about this topic!

Mom Recounts How Childbirth Trauma Led to Her Postpartum PTSD

P.S.S. Here is a post I wrote years ago about what I wish I’d known prior to my c-section:

Arm Yourself With Knowledge

 

Earlier this year, I wrote about one of my biggest pregnancy regrets–foregoing the opportunity to bank placenta blood cells, cord blood cells, and tissue because I thought we couldn’t afford it. Since my pregnancy 4+ years ago, the cost and application of this innovative technology has improved. And things will only get better going forward.

The ability of stem cells to save lives via cord blood banking has already proven successful for replacing abnormal or diseased cells, and treating life-threatening blood disorders such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. In fact, since 1988, stem cell transplants have been used to treat some 80 diseases.

Through cord blood banking, you can collect and preserve potentially lifesaving stem cells, and doing so could one day save the life of your child or a blood relative. You can bank even more stem cells by collecting them from 2 usable sources of stem cell-rich blood: the umbilical cord and the placenta. This service is called Placental and Cord Blood Banking, and it’s available only from LifebankUSA. Whether you choose Placental and Cord Blood Banking or Cord Blood Banking alone, there are many important reasons to choose LifebankUSA.

When you bank with LifebankUSA, tissue banking (tissue from the placenta) is included for free.* Placental tissue contains mesenchymal cells (MSCs) and MSC-like cells. While stem cells found in cord blood and placenta blood have been used to successfully treat patients, there are currently no approved uses for stem cells derived from the umbilical cord or placenta tissue. Possible therapeutic applications are in early research stages and LifebankUSA’s parent company is actively involved in their development.

LifebankUSA will store the placenta tissue for you as part of its complete banking package using their cryogenic tanks for long-term preservation. In the event your baby’s tissue cells are ever needed for future therapies, the tissue may then be processed and cultured using available technology at that time.†  Tissue banking is just one more layer of protection and peace of mind offered by LifebankUSA.

I will always regret not finding the means to take advantage of this service when I could. I urge those of you who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant to research more about LifebankUSA.

LifebankUSA is having another awesome contest on their Facebook page. They’re giving away three top-rated and highly desirable Britax Marathon 70-G3 Convertible Car Seats (value $260 each) in a random drawing from entrants in the Facebook contest. You can learn more about & enter the contest here.

FB-image-post-for-contest

*Storage fees apply after the first year
†Clients will be responsible for the cost of shipping the tissue and any culturing or expansion of the cells.

My inner hippie chick was released as soon as my pregnancy was confirmed. I made the decision early on to try breastfeeding, although the idea admittedly freaked me out a little. However, when Jackson was born, breastfeeding didn’t come naturally for either of us. I remember the first time I tried to nurse him, three hours after he was born. I couldn’t get him to latch correctly, and we both ended up crying and frustrated. I had my first new mom doubts about the decision I’d made.

But I’m a bulldog momma. Once I make up my mind about what I feel is best for my child, I rarely change my mind. I’d had pregnant daydreams of rocking Jackson in the glider, and nursing him gently to sleep. So I let myself be guided by instinct and I buzzed a nurse to schedule a visit with the hospital’s certified lactation consultant.

This was, hands down, the best parenting decision I’ve made to date.

The first time he successfully latched on, as the lactation consultant guided us, tears of joy sprang to my eyes and I knew I’d made the right decision not to give up during those first few frustrating days.

Moments after our first nursing session.

Moments after our first nursing session.

Months later, I was making breastmilk smoothies and pumping at work like a pro! The early days of tribulation had become a fading memory, thanks in part to the support team I’d assembled: the lactation consultant I met in the hospital and called as needed, my local La Leche League, the hospital’s in-person breastfeeding support group, a Facebook group of local breastfeeding moms, and a few coworkers who were also pumping in the office. With advice and support from these women, Jackson breastfed for 33 months.

Milk drunk!

Milk drunk!

Breastfeeding him helped us both in so many ways, in addition to giving him the best nutrition possible. Jackson was a high-needs baby, and nursing soothed and comforted him when nothing else could. As a mother who suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety, I, too, was comforted, as breastfeeding provided me with a few quiet and calm moments every few hours, when we would stop whatever we were doing and simply enjoy some skin-to-skin contact alone together. Further, once I got the hang of it, breastfeeding boosted my confidence—which, as a new mom, I desperately needed!

This post is part of BlogHer’s My ‘I’m a Mom Moment’ editorial series, made possible by Seventh Generation.

Happy Mother’s Day!

It’s an extra special Mother’s Day for me this year because I’m part of something very meaningful to me and many others–the fifth annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health, hosted by Postpartum Progress–the world’s most widely read blog on postpartum depression (PPD) and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth.

The Rally is a 24-hour event that features 24 letters (one posted each hour) from survivors of PPD, postpartum anxiety (PPA), postpartum OCD, depression after weaning and/or postpartum psychosis. Their purpose is to inform and encourage pregnant and new moms who may be struggling with their emotional health. In Katherine Stone’s (of Postpartum Progress) words, the rally is a “massive dose of love, understanding and wisdom from lots of moms who’ve had postpartum depression and anxiety and the like.”

You’ll find me over there tonight. My post goes live at 8:00 pm (Eastern). It’s a post I wrote last year, but did not publish here, about my personal experience with PPD and PPA after Jax was born. It was difficult to write and required courage and strength to share. This holds true for the other 23 letters, too, so your support and words of encouragement over at Postpartum Progress are greatly appreciated.

If you’re active on Twitter, you can join the conversation by following and using the hashtag for the rally, which is #momsdayrally.

Here is the posting schedule:
Midnight – Welcome message and Sarah Pinnix, Real Life
1am – Lauren Hale, My Postpartum Voice
2am – Miranda Wicker, Not Super Just Mom
3am – Ana Clare Rouds
4am – Arja Lytle, Balance Body & Soul
5am – Yael Saar, PPD to Joy
6am – Cristi Comes, Motherhood Unadorned
7am – Robin Farr, Farewell Stranger
8am – Jen Hajer, The Martha Project
9am – Lori Bollinger, I Can Grow People
10am – JD Bailey, Honest Mom
11am – Abby Berner
noon – Andrea Scher, Superhero Life
1pm – Lori Garcia, Mommyfriend
2pm – Jane Roper, JaneRoper.com
3pm – Katie L., Overflowing Brain
4pm – Jenna Rosener, Blogged Bliss
5pm – Ninotchka Beavers, Twice Blessed
6pm – Alison Parson, Ms. Moody Mommy
7pm – Jessica Cohen, Found the Marbles
8pm – ME! :)
9pm – Kristen Chase, Motherhood Uncensored
10pm – Amber Koter-Puline, Beyond Postpartum
11pm – Jennifer Marshall, Bipolar Mom Life
I am deeply honored to be included in this event and look forward to reading every letter. May is Maternal Mental Health Month, and I can’t think of a better way to spread awareness than this rally. Click the image below to join us!
Mother's Day Rally

When I was pregnant in 2008-2009, during one of my OBGYN visits, my provider asked my husband and me whether we were interested in cord blood banking. Being interested in science and healthcare, of course we were very interested, especially given the health status of some of our family members and the uncertainty of the future of anyone’s health. However, we had just bought a house months earlier and found ourselves in a tanking economy, complete with my husband’s job loss and my impending reduced paycheck during a 12-week maternity leave. Can you say scary?? There were moments in my pregnancy when I didn’t think I could afford to have a baby, let alone bank his cord blood.

It isn’t cheap, but it’s something we should have invested in. Looking back, I now wish I’d thrown the expense on my credit card. It would have been paid off by now, and I wouldn’t have this regret in my gut.

Through cord blood banking, you can collect and preserve potentially lifesaving stem cells, and doing so could one day save the life of your child or a blood relative. You can bank even more stem cells by collecting them from two usable sources of stem cell-rich blood: the umbilical cord and the placenta. This service is called Placental and Cord Blood Banking, and it’s available only from LifebankUSA.

The ability of stem cells to save lives via cord blood banking has proven successful for replacing abnormal or diseased cells, and treating life-threatening blood disorders such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.  In fact, since 1988 stem cell transplants have been used to treat some 80 diseases.

LBUSA_WebHeader_FINAL (2)

Like I said, I regret that we did not think more about how we could have banked Jackson’s cord blood and placenta tissue. Every parent, I’m sure, has his or her regrets when it comes to the birth of their firstborn. This is one of my biggies.

So if you are pregnant or thinking about having children eventually, I hope you’ll visit LifeBankUSA’s website and learn more. Throw it on a credit card if you must. It’s that important.

LifeBankUSA is having a contest on their Facebook page that runs until midnight on 4/30/13. You can visit the page and enter the contest here: www.facebook.com/lifebankusa. They’re giving away THREE top rated, Britax Marathon 70-G3 Convertible Car Seats in a random drawing. The value of each car seat is $231.99. Winners will be notified the week after the contest ends.

Thanks for reading! Good luck in the contest!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, but all opinions–and regrets–are completely my own. Please check out LifeBankUSA. :)