The marvelous Kimberly Meyers, currently 23 weeks pregnant, with Molly (6), Spencer (4), and Rogan (2). Kimberly also lost a pregnancy to miscarriage at 10 weeks when Molly was 10 months old.
Kimberly got pregnant with Molly just a couple months after she and her husband married. Her pregnancy was what she'd expected - nausea early on, an uneventful second trimester and the typical discomforts of the third trimester. During the end of her pregnancy, she noticed Molly had drastically slowed down and felt like something wasn't right. People assured her that as babies get bigger, they run out of space to move and that's all that was going on. At her next few appointments, there were no red flags that there were any problems. Although, her non stress test was non reactive, Molly looked fine during the ultrasound but Kimberly still felt like something wasn't right.
Kimberly's water broke at 40 weeks and her labor and delivery were described as "textbook". Once her contractions started, she progressed as expected. Kimberly, had wanted an unmedicated delivery and was able to do so, she only pushed three times and Molly was born. Molly was very floppy and lethargic and her fears that something was wrong only got stronger. She could not wake her up to nurse, she felt limp in her arms and her head was tilted to the left. They did a lot of blood work but there was nothing indicating there was a problem. Kimberly couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong and began to think Molly was going to die. Because of her low tone and lethargy, they stayed in hospital a couple extra days and were discharged with no answers. At their follow up with the pediatrician, they were told Molly had benign congenital hypotonia and had them begin physical therapy immediately. On top of the stress of the unknown, Kimberly's anxiety became out of control. She experienced the typical baby blues and the crying every evening was something she had expected. She started getting intrusive thoughts she could not shut off and had horrible images of the unthinkable happening to Molly. She never wanted to hurt her but in her mind, she was harmed and tortured. Kimberly felt like she was being forced to watch a horror film and there was no stop button. If she heard of something bad happening on the news, it played out in her head but with Molly the victim. "I lived in fear. I didn't want to be alone. I was also afraid the world would end. I could not talk to anyone about these things because if I did, in my mind, they would become a reality. Getting help was not an option because of this fear and the shame I had."
Kimberly had been on antidepressants before pregnancy and went off when she found out. Kimberly was afraid to talk about her thoughts and afraid that if she went back on medication she would have to stop nursing. Finally, her mom told her, "you need to take care of yourself first and if that means you need to stop nursing and go back on medication, that's what needs to be done." She started on Zoloft and was able to continue nursing. The medication helped a lot but the anxiety was still there.
Molly was so far behind with developmental milestones that her physical therapist voiced concern over her lack of progress to their pediatrician and they were referred to a neurologist. During this time, Kimberly was newly pregnant with our second which had been quite a surprise. She says the second she saw positive flash on the test, she had a gut feeling something was wrong but as time went on and I felt more sick and gained hope that everything was okay. At her 10 week ultrasound, Kimberly learned the heart probably stopped beating the week prior. She had to have a D&C the same day Molly saw her neurologist. An MRI was ordered and they were able to get her in right away but the nurse came in after with a worried look on her face asking if Molly had every had a fall. As a nurse herself, Kimberly knew they saw something but she had to wait to find out. The following day the neurologist called to say that Molly had a stroke during pregnancy. Hearing those words, Kimberly says she was actually relieved. She finally had answers and knew that her daughter's health was not affected, only that her development would be delayed going forward. They don't know what caused her stroke and likely never will but Molly is doing great and that's what is most important.
Kimberly conceived Spencer right around Molly's birthday and her pregnancy was very smooth. She was induced on her due date for low fluids but went on to have another unmedicated birth. Breastfeeding came much easier this time and as Kimberly went on Zoloft during her second trimester her recovery mentally, was much better. Kimberly dealt with some anger and resentment towards Molly in those early weeks as she became very jealous of her new sibling and screamed and cried whenever Spencer made any noise. Thankfully she knew that it was okay to ask for help this time if she needed it.
Kimberly's pregnancy with Rogan came when Spencer was about 18 months old. Things went smoothly once again and she was induced, this time for high fluids. Labor and delivery went well and nursing came easy. They continued to nurse to 21 months though she admits she never saw herself breastfeeding past one year. She didn't think she'd be comfortable with it but it's what worked for them.
While they were happy with three children, Kimberly didn't feel their family was complete and found out she was pregnant again in April. "I would love to think I have this mothering thing down and I'll know what to expect but I also know to expect the unexpected. I'm still, and always will be, learning."
"I fell in love with the idea behind 4th Trimester Bodies. It was something I always wanted to be a part of. I want other mother's who have PPD and anxiety to get the help that they need and they are not alone. It is such a lonely and scary place and ultimately we need to take care of ourselves first to be present for our children. I also hope my story shows the power of a mother's intuition and to always go with your gut, that it's not silly to think you might just be worrying about nothing."