Who is Emily Luise? - a perinatal struggle with Anxiety to birth of the Emily Luise Brand.
Hi, my name is Emily and I am a 30 something married woman with 2 young boys. William is turning 13 on 16/10 and Jaxon is 15 months on 25/10, RIGHT! a good decade between the pregnancies.
Having William in my early 20's vs Jax in my early 30's has been 2 very different pregnancies, 2 very different experiences and 2 very different body changes. I won't bore you with my entire life story, but the stuff that matters to Emily Luise.
Finding out I was pregnant with Jaxon was a shock to say the least. We were excited and looking forward to William having a sibling (he sure was too). The pregnancy was hard, it was the breakout of Covid throughout the world and our business (Direct Sales & Marketing) was one of the first industries to shut down. Although scary times it did allow me to rest, and with no concerts and all the pubs closed I didn't feel left out haha.
Towards the middle of the pregnancy things got bad, I was hospitalised a few times for fear of early labour, a partial placental abruption and a few other things. I had sever hip and pelvic pain where I could barely walk. Despite that, Jaxon's nursery was all set up MONTHS before arrival as I was excited to even have a nursery. William never had one as we were young and SUPER broke when he was born, he spent the first 2 years sleeping in our bedroom as we had housemates. While pregnant I would come and just sit in the chair to enjoy the peacefulness that is Jaxon's Dumbo themed nursery.
The day was here! my water broke just before midnight. Mum and Mark (my hubby) got to the hospital shortly after, standard labour, pain was terrible, Mark did nothing but sleep and Mum kept feeding me water. 2:30pm came and it was time to push, OMG THE PAIN!!! The midwife said there were baby doctors just outside the room as a precaution because of my pregnancy problems made me a high risk, "But don't worry, we won't need them."
After pushing (I'll spare you the details, but lost of swearing was involved) Jaxon came into the world.... Dead... Blue.... lifeless with the cord wrapped around his neck HARD twice. All I hear from the midwife is "bring them in" (The baby doctors) My husbands face, white, shocked. Im asking a million questions as they take the baby to the other side of the room and start working on him. I begin to bleed, a lot, I remember saying "Is my baby dying?, wait am I dying?" The midwife is working in me while the doctors work on baby Jaxon. My husband told me after he thought he was going to lose both of us.
After resuscitating Jaxon, my husband and the baby went to special care ward. I was left, my poor mother hadn't slept and went home after Jaxon was breathing and taken to special care. Alone with my thoughts while they stitch me up, help me bathe and get me settled into clean clothes. This was the start of my mental decline. As new mothers we are on high alert as it is. My anxiety was through the roof. We stayed extra days in the hospital but after the initial birth drama all seemed well with baby Jaxon and we went home.
My world quickly became all about Jaxon. My husband, William, my Chihuahua's, nothing else could 'need' me because I didn't have the emotional capacity to care for anything else but this tiny little baby boy. Lots of little things happened along the way that I would say fed into my anxieties from business related problems to feeding problems and all in between. I will leave all that out as it gets away from the bigger picture.
At 2.5 weeks old Jaxon's heart rate spiked to 330bpm. He was rushed to PCH (Perths Children's Hospital) where we spent the night. That night was hard, it was lonely and cold. Just me and my baby boy in that hospital room. I relished in the company of the nurses coming in every 4 hours to check on Jaxon just to have some connection outside my thoughts. We were sent home with a 24 hour monitor on his chest. He was diagnosed with SVT (Supraventricular tachycardia) and has been on heart medication ever since. Now at 14 months we have it under control. Again I will spare all the incidences that happened along the way.
From there, at 7 weeks old we ended up in Bunbury hospital where Jaxon was placed on a diary free prescription formula and I stopped breastfeeding. Currently Jaxon has the following medical team, a Cardiologist, a general paediatric, a dietitian, a physiotherapist, a neurologist and a speech pathologist. He has gross motor delays and oral motor delays. He started crawling a week before his 1st birthday and at 14 months is not walking yet.
A lot has happened. During these 14 months, especially the first 8/9 months, Emily as a person changed. She was not the woman everyone knew. She wasn't fun, wasn't excited about things, wasn't spontaneous, bubbly or funny. Was this the new me? Is this the person I am now? I was scared. I was scared I will never be able to enjoy or look forward to the most basic of things ever again. I needed weeks to mentally prepare to go out for dinner, and even then when the time came I cancelled. I cancelled a lot of plans. I remember getting in my car with Jaxon all set, drove down the street, went round the round about and went home, because the thought of parking the car, getting Jaxon out and walking around the shops with people around gave me the craziest anxiety. My world was myself and Jaxon. I cried a lot, I screamed a lot, I broke things, I was overwhelmed but didn't know how to ask for help.
I am seeing a therapist (this only happened after things got really bad, I smashed a lot of things, I needed rescuing while I was in the isle of Coles, I couldn't move, I was crying staring at flour, I rang my mother as she was looking after Jax so I could do grocery shopping, my step father needed to come to Coles and help me check out and get to my car) and my marriage was tested (my husband doesn't struggle from mental illness and couldn't work out why I could not just 'get over it' and move on, like being unhappy was a choice I made) we are now in October 2021 and Jaxon is nearly 15 months old. My body is not where I want it to be and I still struggle with my moods, but I am progressing, I am seeing 'a light'. I am gaining more confidence every day and learning to let the small things go.
Emily Luise was born at 3am on a cold August night when Jaxon wouldn't let me sleep. I am a creative person by nature, I am 'normally' quite quirky, driven and stubborn. I have always wanted my own brand and to be a boss bitch in business. So at 3am I created the Emily Luise logo.
The past few months have been CRAZY! I have thrown myself into creating every you see and also things you don't see (such as back end, sourcing, networking, researching) I knew nothing! I have taught myself, website design, back end business stuff, POS, packaging and sourcing, creating the products, promoting the products, google, FB, insta, analytics.... Not sleeping hasn't been due to Jaxon put it that way. I have so many ideas and goals. I am excited again. I am still SUPER up and down even on an hourly basis. It will take time for me to be the Emily I was before Jaxon but Emily Luise is helping me find 'my purpose' again.
Woman all over the world struggle with perinatal anxiety and depression. Jaxon has health issues and in the grand scheme of things they are minor compared to what many other children and parents go through. I've also had a more 'terrible' experience than many other woman go through. Regardless of the perspective struggles we are facing 1 in 10 woman will experience some degree of antenatal anxiety and/or depression according to PANDA.org.au.
Everyone's struggles are relative to them. As woman we sometimes lose ourselves for a period of time during the perinatal stage. Our bodies are no longer our bodies, our hormones are different, our sleep is off.
Emily Luise represents the confident, independent, quirky, spontaneous part of our personalities. Lighting your candle or applying your cosmetics reminds us everyday to always secure your personal oxygen mask before helping others with theirs. We need to look after ourselves to be able to look after the ones that mean the most to us.
You ARE beautiful, You ARE enough and you ARE anything you set your mind to.
In a world gone crazy, keep dancing.