The Rocco Report: 33 Weeks

Buenos Dias, squeezers! Hope you all had a very lovely weekend! I’m bringing you week 33 of the Rocco Report and today’s post comes chock full of OB updates and a taboo talking point- those dreaded baby blues experienced by some new moms. But let’s start with my check up! 

Yesterday was my first appointment (actually two appts)  since getting back from New York so there’s lots to update you on. The first appointment was a sonogram to check Rocco’s weight and measurements and the second was a regular OB apppointment to go over those sonogram results and to see how I was doing overall. By the way, I have become an expert at peeing in a cup. I could basically aim and shoot with my eyes closed at this point. I’m like the Lebron James of urine samples. Every OB appointment you will have from the moment you find out you’re pregnant, you will be peeing in a cup. 

As of yesterday, Rocco is weighing 4lbs and 11oz, growing big and healthy and still within average weight but we will still continue to monitor his weight gain for the sake of my vagina. Though it was a 2D sonogram, we still saw him moving around and putting his hand in his mouth and touching his face. I just can’t wait to meet this baby boy! He’s already stolen my heart! Funny story to share. So while we are doing the sonogram, I have minimal view of the screen, so I’m anxiously waiting there while the technician finishes doing the measurements so I can get a better view of the baby. As I’m waiting, the technician screams, ‘Oh my goodness! You have to see this! I have to show you!’ and the other nurse in the room keeps saying, ‘Oh My God!’ So of course my first thought is, ‘OMG there is something wrong with my baby,’ proceeded by ‘what if they see two babies in there?! Holy F.’ Well, it was neither. Instead it was, ‘Look at your baby’s penis! It is so big! It’s just so clear. Look! Look!’ And there stood these two nurses admiring my fetus’s giant penis. Slightly awkward. Clearly having a big penis is a good thing, but seriously, so much fuss at 33 weeks? Too much too soon. Then they kept saying, ‘He is so proud. Just look at it.’ They continued the penis praise by printing out close-up photos of his junk for me. Uncomfortable giggles from me because what else was I going to do?  We’re talking about my kid’s big baby penis here. I took the copies of Rocco’s rocket, smiled, and tucked them in my purse. 

I spy with my little eyes…a giant baby penis! 

Now I’m off to see Dr. Bonilla, which thankfully did not involve any mention of a penis. We went over vitals- blood pressure was great and weighing in at 133 (so a 17lb gain from my 116 start). Rocco is positioned head down so all that pressure and pain I’m feeling in my lady parts is because he’s pushing down at almost 5lbs so I’m feeling the effects. Overall though, the pregnancy is progressing as it should, everything looks great, and while induction date might change depending on baby’s size, she expects history to repeat itself in terms of me carrying full term. 

I’ll be back next week for another appointment and three weeks after that for another sonogram! Stay tuned. 
This pic was taken on Coco’s birthday and if you can’t tell by my swollen face and eyes, I was knee deep in my baby blues.  
This week we’re going deep with our topic of discussion- one that I can speak about from experience because I went through it after Maya was born- the baby blues. Those baby blues unexpectedly hit me 3-4 days after Maya’s birth, once I was already home from the hospital. I used to always say (and I still do) that what they should be focusing on in the hospital or in those useless childbirth classes you are encouraged to take that ‘teach’ you how to recognize contractions or how to push a baby out of your vagina (I mean, really people. Women have been doing it for centuries) or how to swaddle your baby, is that emotional upheaval that new moms can experience after having a baby. No one tells you in these ‘wonders of birth’ classes that sometimes, you may cry non-stop for no reason. That’s called baby blues. Anything from a commercial to a baby’s burp might reduce you to a blubbering mess. One minute you’re happy and cooing with your baby, the next you’re in the shower sobbing uncontrollably because you ‘re just inexplicably sad. That’s what they should be educating new mothers and fathers about at the hospital and classes- how to survive and work through those baby blues. I can figure out how to swaddle a newborn thanks to You tube and sheer common sense. Thanks.  

So many women never speak up about the feelings and emotions that come with baby blues. From the many I have spoken to, they feel guilty and ashamed for having them. We’re conditioned to think that as soon as you pop out that baby, it’s all rainbows and butterflies from there on out- ‘You should be happy with your new baby?!’ ‘Motherhood is amazing so why are you crying?!’ But sometimes the adjustment and the life-changing experience throws you a bit of a curve ball in the form of the blues. And of course you feel this way! You go from having a childless life to becoming a parent overnight-literally. It is undeniably the biggest life adjustment you will make and it happens in an instant even though you’ve been prepping for it for nine months. When reality sets in, there’s no turning back. And guess what? These feelings that come with that startling adjustment and that “what now?” moment, are completely normal and expected. And don’t even get me started on the hormonal surge women experience after giving birth that still lingers in your system post-baby. Add that to the mix and well, you have a recipe for a weeping and disoriented new mom.  Baby blues are often confused with Post-Partum Depression, which is also normal. Baby blues, however, can last from a couple of days to 2-3 weeks after birth and slowly dissipate by themselves. If you find yourself experiencing baby blues for longer than three weeks, your doctor will recommend a consul to check you for signs of post-partum. 

I had the baby blues for 10 days. I can tell you exactly when they started and the day they ended. They turned my world temporarily upside down. I thought something was wrong with me and I couldn’t explain it. I went from being completely fine, to waking up one day in a puddle of tears. I was inconsolable. I didn’t know what was happening. I was riding the most terrifying roller coaster of emotions I had ever experienced. I thought, ‘I should be walking on a cloud of bliss, instead I’m non-stop wiping tears from my face.’ I compared it to my emotional breakdown two years after losing my mom- when my boyfriend and I at the time- broke up for two days and I woke up in an anxious panic of tears and fears (bless his heart). That temporary break-up triggered an outpouring of pent up grief and feelings of abandonment I had never dealt with when my mom passed, and here I was now, dealing with those same tears and fears but for a whole new reason. I was terrified. 

I cried because I was sad. I cried because I was exhausted. I cried because I couldn’t understand why I was feeling this way and because I felt I was being a bad mother. I had 1000 what-ifs and thoughts racing through my mind. I kept saying to myself, “What if I’m not a good mother?” “What if I fail?” “I’m responsible for this human for the rest of my life.” “What if I drop the baby?” “What if something happens to the baby?” “This baby depends on me for everything from now until forever.” “There’s no turning back.” “I have a baby.” “What if I don’t know what I’m doing?” You name it, I thought it and that vicious cycle during such a vulnerable and precious time kept repeating itself like a jammed record in my head. It was exhausting. All I wanted to do was hold my baby and be with Coco. Coco couldn’t leave my sight or I would have a breakdown. Holding Maya or just looking at her would reduce me to tears. I would think, “This little girl is all mine. I can’t lose her.” “I can’t imagine life without her.” “I don’t know what I’m doing.” “Don’t leave me alone with her because I don’t know what to do.” And then I would cry. Coco’s presence was reassuring. He confessed that at times he just didn’t know what to do or say except let me cry and hug me and tell me it was going to be okay and that this was normal.  We would go for walks in our neighborhood, grab breakfast or lunch at one of the outside cafes, and I would see all these city moms pushing their strollers, laughing and talking on their phones, and I would think, “Am I ever going to be able to do that? Because right now I can’t see it.” And then I would cry. 

My mother’s absence was also a signifying factor in my baby blues, something I didn’t learn until recently. While reading my Motherless Mothers book a few months back, there was a whole chapter dedicated to motherless daughters making the transition to becoming motherless mothers without the presence of their own mom. These moms (moms like me) tend to be at a higher risk of experiencing baby blues because they are entering a new chapter without the support, love, and reassurance of their own mother at their side. I never thought about that. When you’re a new mom, chances are you have your own mom right by your side helping you through those first couple of days, weeks, and even months of taking care of a new baby. If you need to cry, you have your mom. If you need to call her to ask about why your baby doesn’t stop crying or how many ounces you need to give him or her in the middle of night, you’re probably calling your mom. Because that’s what moms do. No matter how old you are, or how many babies you have, you will always be their baby, their little girl, and they are there to help you through your motherhood journey. And I didn’t have that and never did it cross my mind how much it affected me until I read that book. And I was crushed. But I also realized that thought I didn’t receive that motherly support myself, I would one day be able to give it to Maya. I missed out on it with my own mom, but I would get a second chance of doing it with Maya the day that she has her own children. And I’m very much looking forward to that (just not anytime soon)! 

When we took Maya for her first pediatrician appointment, the doctor asked me, “And how are you doing?” And I just unleashed everything I was feeling on this poor man. And he just sat and listened and said to me, “what you’re going through is normal. You will feel a little better as each day passes but this happens to many new moms.” My OB at the time, Dr. Jennifer Wu (she’s a rock star), also said the same thing. She said, “I know it’s a little tough right now but give it some time and you’ll be feeling like your old self.” It was reassuring, but I just couldn’t shake off the feeling that this was permanent. Thank goodness for Coco’s two week paternity leave because his support and presence were crucial in dealing with the baby blues. Thankfully, I’m not one to stay quiet. I’m a ‘speak-up-ask-questions’ kind of girl and I use it to my advantage.  I reached out to a few mom friends as well as some fellow Access Hollywood co-workers that were moms as well, and I can’t even begin to tell you how cathartic that was. I am so happy I did! So many of them shared their stories with me- how they would cry in the shower, or before going to bed, while nursing their kid, while running errands- also feeling the same feelings and asking themselves the same ‘what-ifs’ I was. I was not alone and yet, if I wouldn’t have asked, I would never have known how expected this was. I spoke to these moms everyday via Facebook or email and I started to feel better. When Coco had to leave me alone for the first time to go to Apple and get our computer checked, I was a mess. I begged him not to go, not to leave me alone, and he kept telling me, “you are going to fine. I will be back in a few hours. You know what you’re doing because you’ve been doing it. Call me if anything.” I was dreading him going back to work after his paternity leave. But in those those few hours of him leaving me, I realized I was going to be okay. They were the baby steps I needed. After a 2-3 hour absence, he came back and I thought to myself, “I did it and I’m fine.” And that’s how I started building up my confidence. 

Sharing my feelings, talking with other moms, and having Coco’s support, were huge in working through those baby blues. Everyday I was a little bolder and felt a little better. Coco would go run errands and leave me at home, which I pushed him to do so I could get acclimated to being by myself. I also went out on my own and those happy-go-lucky stroller moms were no longer a distant illusion. I was becoming one of them too. I was relieved. On day 10, I woke up feeling like me again. I was happy. I felt refreshed. And when I didn’t shed a tear that day, I smiled. I was going to be okay. Coco went back to work one day after I was feeling back to normal and I was no longer worried. I was ready. Now, those ‘what-ifs’ and plaguing thoughts that I was having were still there but they weren’t consuming me and they weren’t driving me mad or making me cry in despair. I knew they wouldn’t go away because as a mother, you never stop worrying and you never stop thinking about what you can do to keep your child happy and give them a healthy and wonderful life. The day you become a parent, you become emotionally raw. You will wear your emotions on your sleeve and you will spend everyday of your life worrying for the well-being of your child figuring out what else you can do and what more you can do for him or her. You will look into their eyes, or see them laugh or cry, and all you will think about is how you will protect them and how you will love them from here until eternity because that’s what parents do. 

And I’m okay with that because it’s the best feeling in the world. All those tears were worth it. 

Bumpin’ love,

Rocco’s mom