So as many of you may know, I had blood pressure issues during pregnancy which was an indicator of preeclampsia and what saved our lives. I came home on a lot of BP meds after Xander was born but was able to wean off of them fairly quickly and was back to normal BP levels.
Prior to pregnancy I hadn’t had much of a problem with my BP, I had pre-hypertension but with exercise and a decent diet I had been able to control it. Well now I have gained around 25 lbs since after Xander was born (I was down to my pre-pregnancy weight within a few days of birth after losing all of the water weight). I have not reached my highest weight ever(Feb 2006 before I lost a bunch of weight before our wedding) again but am close and determined not to get there.
Last week when I had my blood pressure taken at work it was about 152/106… not good. The health nurse recommended getting it checked the next day and seeing my doctor if it wasn’t getting lower. I ended up making a doctor appointment anyway to get it checked and see what she thought. It has gotten higher (140s/90s)in the past few months, and we had been keeping an eye on it, and I WANTED to do something about it, but it never seemed like there was time to take care of me.
When Xander was born and when we brought him home in the summer we had a lot of help; my sister was out of school and came frequently with her kids. But since going back to work, and the flu/RSV lock down season, the help hasn’t been as frequent and I suppose people assume we are back to “normal” with having a baby at home. For the most part things are more normal. We are having less doctor appointments for Xander except the odd things coming up here and there which have really depleted my PTO at work. Working full time, having a family, I feel a lot of expectations and I hate to disappoint people so I end up at the short end of the stick. Xander has been #1 priority for a long time now, but I think the pace of his care is getting a little more reasonable but it can still be overwhelming.
I didn’t realize how much it helped to have my mom come even just one day a week and she would do our dishes and wash all the bottles and pumping equipment. And it was great when my sister would bring over meals. Cory and I are pretty terrible about planning ahead for meals and then we get hungry and cranky and it’s hard to decide what to have at 7:30 pm so it is usually something quick and most likely not very healthy.
So back to the doctor appointment. My BP was down back to the 140s/90s so to me it was “normal” but my doctor said it was way too high. She asked if we were still breastfeeding and if yes would I be willing to stop to get my BP under control. I gave her the “are you kidding?” look and reminded her that I had a preemie at home. She said “Oh yeah, that’s right. You went through hell and back with that baby.” which made me feel like maybe she understands, but soon realized she really doesn’t with other things she said. She said she had to go look at what medications she could put me on for my blood pressure since I am still pumping. I told her Labetalol was one, remembering what I had been on after coming home from the hospital. Five minutes later she came back and told me I was right and she would be putting me on Labetalol. *Eye roll*
Not quite sure what happened next but all of the sudden I was just crying! (I think it was mostly due to it being that time of the month) She asked what was wrong and I started talking about being frustrated with not being able to find the time to take care of myself. I really want to but haven’t figured out a good balance yet with pumping, baby, work, husband, barely getting 6 hours of sleep a night which in itself is broken up in the middle by a pumping session.
Next thing I know she is recommending I start taking anti-depressants. No thank you. Then she is reconsidering the recommendation to stop pumping. She says “the baby is what, almost 10 months old now… he’s past all that preemie stuff, it wouldn’t hurt if you stopped pumping now” This is what made me think she doesn’t understand the “preemie stuff”. And she said she wasn’t able to lose weight while still breastfeeding so she didn’t think I would either. And as the mother of 6 kids she understands how crazy things can get.
I stuck with my no thank you to the anti-depressant medication and told her I was most likely more emotional at the moment due to hormones and that I have been waiting for our plan of action to go from 4 pumpings a day down to 3 and that could change a lot to help me reach my goals in taking care of myself. She made me promise that I would take at least an hour for myself each week for the next 2 weeks until I came back to see her to see how the Labetalol was working for my high BP.
Once Cory learned of my high bp he was ready to help get things set up for me to get myself back into shape. He was ready to move the TV downstairs that we had been discussing right away. He had thought we’d wait til the end of February to go down to 3 pumpings but now agreed we should do it sooner. Sunday Feb 10th, Xander’s 7 month adjusted date was they day we made the switch. Instead of pumping at 1am, 7am, 1pm and 7pm; now I am pumping at 5am, 1pm and 9pm. This has made things a lot easier for my schedule! I actually get a span of 7 hours to sleep if I can get to bed on time! Then I can get up to pump, feed Xander his early bottle, exercise and get a shower every day before work! Who knew how much just dropping 1 pumping can make such a big difference, I can only imagine what it will be like to quit altogether!
I believe I can decrease my BP with exercise and eating better without having to use anti-depressants. I am considering calling up our EAP at work to get another opinion, I could be having PPD. Everyone asks you a million times while you are in the NICU but once you are home you are on your own for figuring that out. We have the plan in place where I can exercise which should help also with making me feel better and eventually be happier. I have already done 3 days of Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and boy am I sore! I ordered the elliptical I wanted (thanks to my friend Sandi for doing the research) and it should be coming this next weekend so I will have another option besides workout DVDs. It was even $1 under the budget Cory gave me! The extra sleep should help also. And I don’t think Xander will mind if Mama starts taking care of herself. I want him to grow up seeing me exercise and learning that physical activity is important and part of a healthy lifestyle.