Meet Riley Josephine

HI FRIENDS! It’s been awhile. Do you remember me?? Did you miss me?? (Did you even notice I was gone). This is going to be REALLY long…but there is cute baby spam involved!

Most of you probably guessed why I basically abandoned the blog….I had the baby! I went a week late (her due date was July 11) and had to be induced which was not what I wanted…but it is what it is.

Riley Josephine was born 7-17-17 at 11:08pm and came in at a whopping 9lbs 6oz and 23 inches. I am not a very big girl and was not showing to be THAT big so it was a shocker to us all that she was that big…even my OB was like WHAT? We named her Riley (the other contenders were Eleanor and Eisley and we chose hours after her birth). It was Will’s favorite name and I couldn’t choose between the three. The story behind her name is that when my sister and I were younger we were OBSESSED with Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen and all their movies and shows. There were two characters they played named Chloe and Riley and we always said we would name our kids that. She never did but the name Riley always stuck with me. I was torn on it because APPARENTLY IT IS REALLY POPULAR RIGHT NOW and I’m not a fan of super popular names but I couldn’t choose and Will loved it. It fits her so much. Josephine was not Will’s favorite middle name but I had final say because LABOR and she was HUGE. Josephine was an ode to Jo March…I mean, I had to get something literary in there!

We have been in a whirlwind of newborn heaven/hell for the past 5 weeks. It hasn’t been easy, as I’m sure it’s not for most, but I had a really hard time and you all know me by now….I’m going to be pretty honest about it.

 

It started with her birth. I wasn’t thrilled to be induced but we went in Sunday night and I got the process started and it went into Monday. Labor is not easy or fun but I had Will and my sister and a nice epidural that helped (even though they had to give me something else because I could feel some pretty brutal contractions). I pushed for almost 2 hours and my OB said we might consider a C-section because I wasn’t progressing so I pushed harder because I didn’t want that. Then we got to a total of me pushing for 4 hours (because every time she came back in I was making more progress) but then she said either I needed to have a C-section or she would need to use the vacuum to get her out.

 

So I chose the vacuum even though I was terrified because I didn’t want to recover from both the vaginal trauma and a C-section. She did an episiotomy and then the vacuum came out (sounds a lot scarier than what it looked like) and then Riley made her appearance. The anesthesiologist came back in and gave me something else so I knew it wasn’t good…and it wasn’t. I had 4th degree tearing and it took them an hour to “fix” me. If you don’t know what that is….google it. I’ll wait. Yeah….not fun. And of course I googled it the next day and hysterically started crying as I read horror stories.

So I was in a lot of pain. And my recovery was already going to be harder. I was traumatized by the whole thing. So then we came home….and I was a mess. My recovery made everything harder and Will did mostly everything. I was in pain and taking care of myself felt like a full time job because I was terrified of not healing properly and having long term problems. I was a hysterical mess and thought it was just a mix of the regular baby blues/hormones/and the fact that breastfeeding was not going well.

 

Mentally I just started deteriorating. I was an anxious mess and crying all the time and worrying about EVERYTHING. I couldn’t sleep. At first I thought it was normal but then it got worse. Like so bad. I was hysterical. My anxiety got worse. I regretted getting pregnant BUT I LOVED HER SO MUCH. I was so worried about everything and was spiraling out. I read about postpartum depression and I had some of the symptoms but I was like BUT I’M NOT THINKING BAD THOUGHTS OR WANTING TO HURT HER OR MYSELF. So I let it go a couple more days and then I just realized…THIS IS NOT NORMAL. I was not functioning. Will was taking on the heavy load of everything and we were close to him have to return to work (he had 2 weeks off) and I was not even close to okay to take care of her. I sobbed and sobbed and told him I can’t be alone with her because I didn’t know what to do for her or how to take care of her (which is not logically true because I have taken care of kids for most of my adult life between my nieces and nannying since college).

I was in a really bad place. I begged my stepmom to come. She took off a week and stayed with us and we hoped that it would help me get my crap together. It just got worse. I’d curl up in a ball and cry. I kept crying that “they” were going to take her away from me because I couldn’t care for me. I’d cry because I was sure Will was going to divorce me. I cried all day. I would sometimes have good afternoons where I felt okay and be able to take care of her and actually talk to my stepmom instead of crying. But the anxiety was getting worse. So I finally called my OB and she was really worried. I knew what I was feeling was not normal at 3 weeks postpartum.

I am the type of person who doesn’t take medicine. Like if I get sick…it’s rare that I will take anything. So I cried about the thought of having to take medication to help me. But I wanted to be sane for Riley and for Will and I wanted to get better. And NOTHING I was doing was helping. I kept trying to dig deep within myself and I felt like such a failure and a bad mom because I COULDN’T DO IT. I was so ready to be her mom but I felt like I was broken or maybe I had made a mistake and wasn’t cut out for it. So I took the Zoloft even though I sobbed about how I didn’t want to. Of course, it takes time to work. Weeks. Which I felt like I didn’t have. Thank goodness for my sister and my brother-in-law and Will’s mom because after my stepmom left somebody was always with me while Will was at work. I had highs and lows that week. But started seeing some positive signs….followed by a really bad day mentally and I would beat myself up.

 

Then the next week Will’s mom was with me and I started to feel semi normal and like myself. She wasn’t coming right away so I HAD to be alone with Riley which scared the crap out of me….but it was actually good? Between the meds finally starting to kick in and me seeing that I COULD care for her (despite what my brain tried to tell me) I was finally making some progress.

This past week I had my first week where NOBODY was here with me….and I did it. I was actually excited to start getting our own little routine down and have nobody here. I feel MORE like myself. Of course there are still times of stress and worry and self-doubt and being so frustrated and so beyond exhausted but I am not mentally breaking down all the time. Sure, I’ve cried. But I feel like that’s par for the course with a newborn? And I’ve always been an emotional person anyways and I cry when I’m happy/sad/frustrated/mad. But we are good right now….I feel really positive. I had my 6 week checkup and I’m finally cleared to GO ON WALKS and exercise and lift things heavier than Riley! She’s pleased with how I’ve healed. It still hurts A LOT especially when I do too much but I feel good that everything has healed nicely.

It’s been a long, long road and I feel kind of sad that my labor experience/recovery/PPD sucked some of the joy out of this time for me. Riley is going to be SIX WEEKS this Monday and I can’t believe it. And I’m sad that I was so mentally unstable for the beginning of it. But I’m glad I got help. I’m glad I had friends and family who said WE ARE WORRIED and who would listen to me and urge me to talk to my OB. I went through things (recovery wise and with the PPD) that made me realize how lucky I am to have Will and how lucky I am that I am surrounded my amazing family and friends. Our families came in clutch and made things work to make sure someone was always here with me. My friends brought meals and Will’s mom was amazing and made sure we were fed for weeks and did all our laundry and cleaning. My friends near and far answered all my hysterical texts. I’m SO SO SO SOOOO lucky.

 

So…that’s where I’ve been. I’m still mostly exhausted every day and look ragged most of the time. I haven’t read a book since she’s been born (I’m currently like 10% of the way into The Girl From Everywhere). I still have a hard time with adjusting to being a mom and feeling confused about my identity now. But I’m in a MUCH better place and I love my little family so much.

 

I’m hoping to be back here soon (though not nearly in the capacity as I was) but it will be nice to have something for myself here in this space!

TELL ME WHAT YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN READING THIS SUMMER! I need book recs for things that will absolutely catch my attention right away and that I will breeze through despite being a perpetual zombie.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. I’m so happy to hear you’re doing better. I was also really traumatized after having Rosalie – I had to have a surprise c-section after 25 hours of labor. Nothing too terrible happened by recovery after a c-section isn’t fun, and then I was also hit with PPD/PPA and two MORE surgeries in the months following. The first two months of Rosie’s life are covered by this dark cloud in my memory. I’m really happy to hear you have an excellent support system.

    I promised myself I’d talk online about PPD/A but this comment is actually the first of it. You are not at all alone in how you were feeling. I also struggled with the I’M SUCH A BAD MOM feeling, enough to make me want to pack up and leave (or worse, actually) because I thought Rosalie would be better off without me.

    I’m sure you’ve heard it plenty but here it is one more time: YOU ARE DOING AMAZING. You are a fantastic mom! Being a great mom looks different for everyone and for you that meant you had to take care of yourself so you could be there for little Riley. You made all the best decisions with Riley as your beacon of focus and THAT IS BEING A GREAT MOM.

  2. You are a superhero. I can’t imagine that this has been or will begin to be easy but the fact that you are doing everything you can to care for yourself and your family makes you so strong. One day Riley will know how much of a BA mom she has and will be so proud.

    Recently I read Dress Codes for Small Towns which was great!! Hope you caj get back into reading soon <3

    Also, Riley's facial expressions in some pictures are like "mom, I'm fine I can take care of myself" haha she's adorable!

  3. Thank you so much for your honesty and sharing yourself about birth and PPD! My coworkers & I were talking about it and I wish it were spoken about more. So glad you are feeling better & have an amazing family! I have 4 weeks until EDD, so my summer has been being pregnant & working (blah) BUT I got some amazing YA reading in! Stephanie Kuehn’s new book ‘When I Am Through With You’ was amazing! Read it in 2 days!! I’m currently reading Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis. Next on my list is These Things I’ve Done by Rebecca Phillips (not because it’s Eric’s author-though that helps) but my friend who is anti-YA read it in one day and liked it! I hope things get better with each day! ❤

  4. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of variations of this. But. Being a mom looks different and feels different for every one. Having a strong support system helps immensely and I’m so happy to hear you are feeling better and more like yourself.
    The steps you’ve taken show how great of a mom you already are. You’re willing to do whatever you need to do to make Riley’ s life, and yours & Will’ s, better. I’m sure she has felt nothing but love from you and that’s what matters most. (And she’s beautiful, btw!) Just keep doing what you’re doing & all will be great. 😉

    I read The Couple Next Door recently and really enjoyed it. It didn’t seem to take a lot of brain power to keep into it, unlike when I read Strange the Dreamer & Six of Crows (currently reading SoC, but both of those take a certain amount of mental effort! Lol).

    Xoxo

  5. I’m so glad you were brace enough to talk about this online. I have an anxiety disorder that I take meds for and at first I was so embarrassed but now, 2 1/2 years in to medication I’m pretty open about it. I mean, if I had diabetes and needed to take meds because my body didn’t make insulin I’d have no problem talking about. It sucks that our society stigmatizes SSRIs.

    I had really bad tearing as well. There is a spray called dermaplast that helped me a ton. It took a long time to heal and lots of kegals but it did heal.

    Also, Riley is adorable and so alert!

  6. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    I love you, sweet friend. So wishing this distance wasn’t between us. Please give Riley girl a kiss & snuggle from her Auntie G.

  7. I’ve never had a baby, so obviously I don’t know what you’re feeling, but I can tell you that getting help was the best possible thing you could do for yourself and for Riley and Will. You are an amazing mom who realized you needed help and got the help you needed. I am so glad you had all the support you needed over these past 6 weeks. Support systems are SO important during these times.

    I still say Riley looks like a mini Jamie and she has since the day she was born and holy moly, she’s so alert. She actually reminds me of my much younger brother when he was a newborn in terms of alertness.

    Okay, reading wise, I finished Caraval last week and I’m still so obsessed with that book, it’s insane. I am in the middle of 4 books right now, but it looks like I’ll finish Frostblood this weekend. August has been the best reading month for me since April.

  8. Know that you are not alone in any of this. First off, congrats. She is adorable and you did it! Yay mama! Secondly, I was exactly the same way. Labor was rough for me (3rd degree tearing) to the point where I said for a long time: never again! I had PPD also and was given Zoloft. I did not want to be alone, cried nonstop, turned on all the lights and opened all the windows, and thought I had made a mistake. I remember one night in the middle of the night my mom had to tell me “you cannot give the baby back. He’s here now.” I felt like I had lost my identity and my sanity. I want to assure you that it gets 100% better. These days, Caleb is the light of my life and I think I’ve found a good balance between being a mom and still being me. I take time for myself to read and blog and see friends. I also have been thriving at work. It was a hard road but now I can’t imagine life without my child. If you ever need to talk, please contact me. Know that you are not crazy for feeling this way. Know that it’s okay. I promise. I’m happy to email or text or any thing for support. Take care.

  9. Welcome back! And thanks for speaking up about your experiences. I’m not a mom, but my best friend had PPD and a very rough first few months like you. She kept saying how she wished people had told her, that they had warned her, that anyone had been having these conversations. Then she wouldn’t have felt so alone. Her daughter is like 20 months now and they are all doing awesome. She’s not on meds any more and, even though she has tough days, they are “normal” tough like any parent has. Hang in there! Sounds like you have an amazing support system.

  10. thanks for this! Having a baby is not fun and I thank you for telling your story. I’m not a mom but I undestand the process. So congratulations to you for pushing and figthing to get better and your baby as well

  11. Coming Up for Air was one of my favorite reads this summer even though I haven’t read the rest of the series.

    I loved this post and as always you were so honest. You are by far not alone. Reading through all these comments you have so many people that know what you were feeling. She is a cutie and so beautiful. Congratulations and enjoy your maternity leave!

  12. My sister and I were also big fans of “Winning London.” 🙂 Ahem. And Jo March is an awesome namesake, of course.

    So sorry that you’ve gone through so much, and good on you for being honest about it. It sounds like you got help that was needed and are on the way to getting better though, which takes a lot of bravery. Congratulations!

  13. Riley is absolutely beautiful! Congrats to you and Will. I echo several others when I say you are not alone. My husband and I had a very similar traumatic experience last year during our daughter’s labor and delivery. So much so we may be one and done. Continue to take care of yourself. Use your support system. Get as many baby cuddles as possible. Walking one-year-olds are a lot harder to cuddle. 😛

    I highly recommend Elise Kova’s Air Awakens series or Maria Synder’s Healer series. Ready Player One is a great audio book if you would rather listen than read. And in case you can’t concentrate on any book, I recommend watching Parks and Recs. It got me through some exhausting nights. You’re doing great, mama!

  14. I can’t even imagine all that you’re going through with the postpartum, but I really appreciate you putting it out there. So much of what we see about pregnancy and post-pregnancy is just all smiles and happiness, and I don’t think it always happens like that: it’s good to hear more about the reality. Riley Josephine is quite a cutie though, so I’m wishing you and your little fam all the best! In terms of books: I tore through The Best Land Under Heaven (the harrowing and surprisingly intriguing account of the Donner Party) and Beneath A Scarlet Sky (WW2 historical fiction/based on a true story set in Italy).

  15. Yay! So glad to see your writing on the internet again 🙂 I’m sorry to hear that your experience didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, but I’m glad you were able to ask for help (and get it!) when you needed it. Your daughter is lucky to have a mom like you!

  16. Laura Stine says:

    I’m happy you’re doing much better! Congratulations on your little girl. Riley is so beautiful, and her literary middle name is perfect!

    I recently read GARDEN SPELLS by Sarah Addison Allen. I read it in one sitting on the beach! It hooked me immediately and was a quick, delightful read. Very enjoyable. I can’t wait to read her other books. I’ve heard great things about THE SUGAR QUEEN and THE GIRL WHO CHASED THE MOON.

    For Riley, these adorable BabyLit board books are the best. Gotta start them young with the classics!! https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s_ss_i_0_8?k=babylit+board+book&sprefix=babylit+

    Take care and happy reading! 📚

  17. Thank you for being real and sharing this! <3 <3

  18. Her birthdate is so cool! SO many 7’s!
    Riley fits her SO well! And I like the other two names that were contendors too.
    Winning London remains my favorite MK and Ashley movie haha.
    Her and her clothes are soooo cute! Can’t wait til she fits in to some of the ones I sent haha.
    Ugh, that 4th degree tear sounds awful D: How is it healing?
    Omg you poor thing 🙁 That PPD sounds absolutely awful.
    I can definitely see some of you in her the older she gets!!

    Hmm… book recs. I’ve read A LOT this year, especially this summer. But I flew through the Lone City trilogy by Amy Ewing in under 6 days. Anything Kasie West is a really nice brain break. If you haven’t read When Dimple Met Rishi, you MUST. And here’s a book by an author with Riley’s name, “Noteworthy” by: Riley Redgate (it’s Pitch Perfect meets She’s the Man, with LGBT+).

  19. Riley is just beautiful, as is your little family. It sounds like the start of motherhood has been tough for you, and whilst it is an adjustment for everyone, I think it’s great that you were able to address your thoughts, feelings and emotions as not being ‘right’ and seeking help to get better for yourself, your little girl and your family. I understand it was probably very hard for you to take what was prescribed, but just know you’re doing what feels right for your family in this moment. You’ve been through a lot in six weeks; just know and remember that you are one brave mama, Jamie x

  20. Ahhhh the cute! Congratulations Jamie (and Will). My goodness reading this, I can’t even. You are an incredibly strong woman and I’m glad you made the decision to push yourself to get help. I googled the 4th degree thing and I just… I’m giving you ALLL the (gentle) hugs. You’re doing great and I hope you find some time to read a bit soon. Speedy read recs include My Lady Jane and The Sidekicks (Will Kostakis).

  21. Aww, now I’m crying! Congratulations on your little bundle of joy. She is perfect! Good for you, taking control and knowing you needed a little help. I remember how hard the early days are.

  22. My sister worked with pregnant women for her internship and she came home with many stories. We never realize what the effect of a pregnancy and delivery can be on our bodies. Most of the times you hear all these butterfly and rainbow stories, but now I’m all too aware that things still go wrong. I’m sorry you had to go through such a tough time, but I bet you are a fantastic mother and I hope you will realize that more and more every day <3

  23. Congratulations Jamie – she looks adorable! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  24. I love the name Riley! It sounds so fun! There are not that many Rileys in my state. Tons of Ava, Madison, and Aisha. 7-17-17 is a cool birthday. (Also easy to remember when filling out forms, wink.) Sorry you had to go through a bad rip. It’s scary. I would have been super upset too. The depression is common, but nobody wants it. Glad you had family and friends to support you. It’s a big blessing you didn’t have to go back to work. I’ve known people who dealt with after baby depression as single moms that had to return to work. It’s crazy. I’m reading Pax by Sara Pennypacker. It’s good.

  25. First of all, CONGRATS ON RILEY! I’m so happy that she’s healthy. Secondly, don’t feel bad or ashamed about having postpartum depression. My mom had it really bad when my little sister was born and it is very common for women to experience it. I’m so happy that you are doing well and I’m wishing you all the best through this tough mental time. I’m wishing you, Riley, and Will all the best on your journey through life together. Congrats!

  26. I actually really love the name Riley, who cares if it’s popular? If it fits and felt right then go with it. I’m sorry your labour wasn’t everything you’d hoped and it was hard for you. But Riley was a big baby all things considered so it’s understandable why it was such a hard labour for you, she just wanted to make you work for it! The tearing sucks and probably didn’t help with the PPD you had because you felt less able right off the bat but it should heal fine and you’ll be okay.

    The fact you had so many people with you to help you cope with your PPD is amazing. I know not everyone gets that so you’re lucky you had an army of people to help support you and that you got help fast. A lot of people assume it’ll get better and it doesn’t so the fact you admitted something was wrong is amazing and I’m glad you’re finally starting to feel like you’re on the right track with Riley and caring for her. It’s scary what your brain can convince you of but at least you got yourself through that worst part. Any new baby has their ups and downs so you are definitely not alone in struggling. You’re ahead of many who had kids because you’ve got plenty of experience to fall back on as well.

    I’m currently reading Wintersong and it’s stunning. I don’t know why I waited so long to pick this book up. The winter feels aren’t exactly going with the warms days we’ve been having but that’s okay.

  27. Riley is absolutely adorable, and I am sooooo happy and relieved that you are starting to feel better. Your ability to open up and share about the good, the bad, and the ugly does nothing but inspire others. You keep doing you, and things will fall into place. Love seeing all the pics!

  28. Thanks for sharing this! She is so cute and Riley is a lovely name:-)

  29. Emily Ritter says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. My sister recently had a baby and it made me realize how little society tells women about having babies! I think it’s so wonderful you’re sharing your experience-the good and the bad- so others know they’re not alone. Sending you and Riley (love the Mary Kate and Ashley AND literary connections for her name) lots of love!

  30. Congratulations on your beautiful daughter! And I’m glad to hear that you’re getting better and that Riley is healthy. I can imagine how stressful that time was and it’s so awesome that you had your family and friends around you to help you get through that! Such an honest post. The best book I’ve read this past months was by far A Court of Mist and Fury, so if you haven’t started the A Court of thorns and roses series yet, that might be something for you. But I’m probably really the last person here that hadn’t read this yet.

  31. First off, congrats on your new baby. She is adorable!
    Second, you are not alone in your feelings. After I had my son, I wondered why everyone lied to me that having a baby was a wonderful thing, because those first weeks were hell a lot of the time. I loved my son, but I struggled. Know this…it does get better. Everyday gets a little easier and next thing you know they are about to start 3rd grade!
    I commend you for speaking out about your experiences because I feel as women, we are expected to just get motherhood and if we ask for help, we are seen as a bad mom. It’s so not true!

  32. Oh, my friend. Your bravery and honesty always astounds me. Thanks for sharing your experience w birth and labour and PPD. Ngl, I’m terrified that I’m going to have PPD because I’m already on medication for Regular depression. I’ve read so many terrifying stories about birth. But the thing that got me about this – and most every other story: you got through it. It’s totally rough, but you made it and you’re getting better, and throughout all of it you just wanted the best for your daughter. That’s what’s keeping me from freaking out. There’s something to hold onto and itdoes get better. So thank you for sharing. And I’m so glad you’re doing better and I hope and believe they’ll continue to do so. Also, I’m so glad you had your family and friends around you.

    Also Riley is friggin adorable and she does not look only like Will. Her eyes are yours as well. 🙂 Cant wait to see more about her.

    Also, there’s an NYT article that a mom recommended to me about coming into your mom identity. It helped me a bit in thinking about how it’s going to affect me. Maybe it will help you? https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/05/08/well/family/the-birth-of-a-mother.html

  33. I’m glad to hear you’re doing better and that you have such a wonderful support system who has and continue to help you during this transition. I hope you continue to get better! *hugs*

  34. cyborgcinderella says:

    I’m so sorry you went through all this. I’m glad you’re doing okay now though and that you have such wonderful friends and family to help take care of you and your sweet baby. Riley is sooo beautiful and I love how expressive she is!

    As for recommendations, I really love Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram, Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett, and The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee!

  35. Congratulations on the birth of your baby. She is adorable! I’m proud of you for speaking up so honestly. Birth and child-rearing isn’t always cupcakes and unicorns. It’s hard to do it alone sometimes, and it’s great that you were able to realize that with the help of family and friends. I wish you and baby all the best in the future.

  36. I am so glad you are doing a lot better. <333
    And Riley is so beautiful. Congratulations!!!! *o*

  37. I’m so glad you have people in your life who are there for you when you need them most! And lots of hugs, you’re doing amazing! Love all the Riley pictures <3

    Giving birth is unfun, I didn't have nearly as hard a time of it as you and I'm still grateful for the epidural because holy wow, I had no break between the contractions from the moment they broke my water for me on. I pushed for over an hour and then Julia's heartrate started dropping so they had to use the vacuum as well.

    Also: OMG I read it before, but how did you produce such a big baby?? And some crying is totally normal, I cried last week because I was SO tired, so even after 5 months it still happens.

    Wishing you a non-snale-like recovery from this point and if you ever need to vent, just shoot me a message!

  38. Congratulations on your beautiful girl! Love the name!! I just wanted to give you a big hug reading your story. I had similar experiences with PPD after my kiddos were born (especially my first) and I absolutely feel your pain. It’s terrifying to go through and it’s wonderful that you’re sharing it and even better that you’re starting to feel more like yourself and can hopefully enjoy this time now. Thank goodness for a great support system. It’ll get better, honestly!

  39. Wow!!! so glad you are doing better. I too had a 9lb. 7oz baby girl 23″ long. I had a c section. SOme PPD not near what you experienced. I just want to encourage you. Things will get easier. You will settle in to a routine. NOthing like your old one but a new one. 🙂 Hang in there!

  40. Congratulations on that sweet baby girl!

    I was reading your post and nodding my head along with all that you were saying, because I went through something very similar! I call the first five weeks of my daughter’s life “my forty days of darkness.” I was completely unprepared for the amount of anxiety that I felt. I had been so excited for her to come, but then once she got here I was a complete mess! Like you, I couldn’t sleep and was paralyzed by anxiety. I cried ALL. THE. TIME. My poor husband had no idea what to do and it was an incredibly hard time for both me and our marriage. A newborn is a completely perfect storm for mental crisis- crazy hormonal shifts, physical damage and recovery, and no sleep to boot!

    Good for you for getting help! Please know- IT GETS SO MUCH BETTER! Each stage gets easier and more fun 🙂 Just remember that to be the best mom to sweet Riley, you have to take care of yourself. Don’t forget to make yourself and your health a priority.

    It’s wonderful that you’ve had so much support. You are doing great and that little girl is beautiful! You’ve got this, Mama!

  41. She is beautiful, Jamie. You have every right to be a proud mama!

    And your birth story is very similar to what mine was. I don’t think it is something from which you will ever recover totally. 17 years later and I still remember way too much of that night. But you will make peace with it. And if you decide to have more children, make sure it is documented how many problems you had because a good OB will make sure you don’t even try to have a natural birth. After my traumatic labor/delivery for my first one, my OB refused to let me go into labor. My second baby was a scheduled c-section and the complete opposite of what I experienced with my oldest. I say this so you know you have options with any future children.

    In the meantime, enjoy those newborn snuggles and baby deliciousness and take care of yourself!! Thank goodness for an amazing support network!

  42. She’s such a cutie. So happy you have an amazing support system and you found the help you needed. Can’t wait to watch her grow and for you to settle in.

  43. Oh, I’m so glad you had a support network and went back to your OB!! Also you are wonderful and brave and your daughter is *kisses hands* magnificent!

  44. I’m so glad you’re taking care of yourself. The main thing Riley, Will, and Finn all want and need is you to take care of yourself. You’re doing amazing and you’re such a good mom.

    I love that you named her after the MK&A movies! I loved their movies growing up. If it helps I know a lot of people around our ages who have recently had babies and there are no Rileys. And Josephine is such a perfect way to work in a literary name!

    Book recs – I’m currently reading Summer Days and Summer Nights and it’s really cute and light hearted. I read Alex, Approximately recently and it is super cute as well.

  45. I’m so glad you have such a great support system around you. What an amazing thing to see others rallying to help you heal/adapt/embrace the changes in your life. I’m glad you had help and are feeling more like yourself. It’s hard enough to adjust to being a new Mom let alone the recovery you needed and the emotions that make you feel out of sorts.

    Let me know if you need someone to chat with or bounce ideas off of. I remember the days of sleepless nights but loving my little girl so much it didn’t matter. It’s so hard at first but you’ll find your groove and routine. Sending lots of love your way.

  46. Congratulations on you baby and all the best moving forward.
    Cute pics too 🙂

  47. aw i love her name. i’ve had my first girl’s name picked out for like 10 years, and definitely literary lol. lucky my husband likes it.
    i am so so sorry about your labour experience and how much pain you are in. good to hear you are recovering well – i mean, according to your doctor. i am a very emotional person as well, and i’ve had mental issues in the past so it’s something i really worry about. thank goodness for your support system. i am so sorry you went through that, and are still going through it, but thank you for being so honest.
    Riley is absolutely adorable. Congrats again 🙂

  48. I’m so glad you’re feeling better! I’ve been taking Zoloft since the beginning of my second trimester when prenatal depression got too much. I was so worried about PPD down the road that it took me some time to realize what was going on. I didn’t want to be pregnant, but
    I felt really protective of the little peanut. Once I started having panic attacks, crying all the time, and stopped wanting to eat, I knew I had to do something. I am grateful I had supportive doctors. Riley is such a cutie, and I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself so you can enjoy being with her!

    My baby girl is 5 months old, and I just got back into reading in the last couple of months. I’m currently reading Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

  49. Congrats Jamie on Riley! She is absolutely adorable! I’m so sorry to hear about your difficult labor experience, but you are such a trooper and I’m so glad you’re surrounded by loving friends and family.

  50. Oh, Jamie. That must’ve been quite a trial. *HUGS!* I’ve always been a fan of how your personal life interweaves with your blog and, especially with this one, you’re very brave to do that. To share such a personal and vulnerable moment of your life takes courage. But above anything, I’m glad you sought help. I’m glad you have such a loving, supportive family and friends around you. I’m glad Riley is healthy (she’s adorable, too). And I’m glad you’re recovering well. Maybe you and Riley can listen to audiobooks together?

  51. Hugs. It really sucks so much when things don’t go the way you had them planned in your head. I wanted a home birth but ended up being induced in the hospital that didn’t work and after a day and a half in the hospital had a c-section. I also have PPD (though mine appeared a bit further down the line) so what you went through with the anxiety and the crying days and the up and down, I’ve been there too. It does get better. It’s great that you found help. It is much needed and nothng to be ashamed of. It is so hard to adjust to being a mom. And taking care of such a tiny human being is serious and scary business.

    The Epic Crush of Genie Lo made me laugh really hard. Maybe it will do the same thing for you. <3

  52. Congrats! She is such a cutie and I love the name! I really appreciate your honesty about your postpartum experience. I have not had a baby yet and sometimes the trauma of the pregnancy/labor/possible postpartum depression scares me, but I always appreciate honesty about these subjects and to know that even when it’s a crappy experience, it’s really worth it for that sweet little person.

  53. Riley is insanely cute. What a gorgeous baby. I’m so sorry that you had such a rough delivery and then all the post-partum stuff on top of that. That transition to parenthood is hard enough as it is. You will be an awesome. I’m pretty sure that you have way more experience taking care of kids than most of us do as new mothers. We all middle through somehow. It’s great that you are sharing your story. Hopefully it will help other people in similar circumstances. Thanks for having the guys to do so.

  54. Congratulations, Jamie! She’s so adorable!

    *HUGS* I’m so sorry you have had a tough few weeks but that’s so great that you’re starting to feel more like yourself again. That’s so lovely that you have such an amazing support system as that’s such an important thing to have! <3

  55. So adorable!! I’ve seen some udpates on twitter too. Hope you have many happy memories ahead for your family.

  56. First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! She’s so cute <3 I'm glad you feel better now, and evenr more happier that you had amazing support from your family and friends! I'm so sorry you had to go through all those things, but hey, I think you've been doing amazing <3 I'm not a parent, but I think parenthood is such an amazing thing and no matter how many books you read or how much do you prepare yourself, the experience is insanely scary! Glad you feel better now! *hugs*

  57. Ah, baby spam is the best! Glad you are feeling better. Pregnancy/birth is such a different experience for every mother. I’m glad you were able to reach out and get the help you needed. Hang in there!