I struggle with panic and anxiety disorder, which was a big challenge through my pregnancy. It was a hard, hard road, and without the support of the Healthy Moms program at St. Francis I don’t know how I would have done it.
Ryker, my second son and third child, was born August 22, 2022, at St. Francis Medical Center. Ryker joined older sister Paisley and brother Charles.
This last pregnancy was a surprise. Mentally I went through a lot, and while I was able to do all the basics of going to the prenatal appointments and caring for myself physically, I was still struggling.
I went through Healthy Moms, and my provider Mandy Barker, NP, understood where I was at mentally and emotionally, including with having two older kids I was taking care of.
I had a little bit of sickness up to about 20 weeks with my pregnancy with Ryker. With my first pregnancy I had hyperemesis gravidarum, extreme morning sickness, and threw up the whole nine months. The staff at St. Francis got to know me very well, as I had to go in for fluids a lot!
With my first son, I ended up hemorrhaging, it healed on its own although we had to monitor it. Charles was born at 36 weeks and didn’t even have to go to the NICU he was so strong.
During this last pregnancy, my anxiety was my biggest issue. Other than that, overall I got three really healthy babies.
A Grandmother’s Dream
Honestly, it’s the craziest thing. My mother-in-law has a dream every time I end up pregnant. She called me to say “Pamela, I have to tell you I had a dream you were pregnant.” I said “no, ma’am!” But then realized I was late, although I hadn’t been paying attention to my cycle.
My daughter’s birthday was coming up, and my mind was on that and Christmas. I went to get a pregnancy test, and I was the only one who saw the very faint line. I didn’t say anything to anyone. Two days later on my daughter’s birthday I took another test and it was bright pink. A digital test popped up YES.
Packing a Bag
With my third I knew to pack minimally. If you put anything by my name that I learned from pregnancy it would be minimalist. I am not the over achiever, and I go the easiest route. I packed easy pajamas, my hygiene products and makeup. I made sure I had my hair done a couple weeks before and got a manicure and pedicure, since I knew I would feel yucky after birth.
I didn’t pressure myself this time with what I brought: my phone, my charger, cozy PJs and pull-over dresses. Anything flowy but pretty. Being in color made me happy, a way to make me feel perky after having a baby. I packed things that were easy but still made me feel better and pretty and put together.
Ryker was my longest pregnancy, I had him at 39 weeks. I actually had contractions too toward the end, all the time but never close together. That was new compared to my other pregnancies. Contractions were not fun, and I was not sad that I’d missed that part with my other two children.
My water actually broke while I was at work. I was due to go in for my C-section the next morning, I worked up until then. I work at a school and was leaving from car pick-up duty, and I was coming back into the classroom I felt my water break. It had never happened to me before but I was pretty sure that’s what had happened and kind of freaked out.
He was born, and I looked at him. He was my smallest baby, 7 lb., 10 oz. We all expected a bigger baby because my belly was huge. I didn’t have weight anywhere but my belly, and it was the largest my belly had ever been. He was super active and looped around in my stomach, but he came out my smallest little man. He was just perfect, so relaxed. It was a special kind of calm and reassurance.
Once Ryker was here it was instantaneous, I was in love. My husband and I had the best experience the third time around. It brought us closer together, and we laughed a lot more in the hospital.
With all three C-sections I was up and around the next day, able to walk. We went home pretty quickly with Ryker, staying just two nights.
I made the right choice for me to formula feed Ryker, mainly because of my anxiety and needing to get back on medications to treat it. The shortage of formula has been insane, it’s so difficult to find. We’re pretty sure he has acid reflux, so we have to use a specific type of formula.
Back to Work
I was a stay-at-home mom after my first two children were born, so the emotional guilt I felt at first when going back to work after Ryker was born was not fun.
When Ryker rolled over at two months old, I wasn’t there to see it. But my husband was. He has a different job now, with a more flexible schedule than when he worked on oil fields. He missed a lot of firsts with our older two, but now he’s experiencing them with Ryker.
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