Sunday, August 30, 2009

PPD In Review

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My heart is heavy with this subject. I've been pondering it for weeks. I've been wanting to blog about it for some time, but I just haven't had the gumption to do it yet. But I need to get it out. It's eating me up inside.

Post labor with Nadia

It seems that my life took a swing, a twist, got bunched up the day Nadia was born. I had had 20 hours of hard labor, a placenta that fell to pieces and the dr had to manually get out and I believe I hemorrhaged. My bp was 80/50. I was seeing the visual aura I usually see before a migraine off and on for about 24 hours after she was born. It was bad. I plummeted, physically, mentally. I hit rock bottom. And I had a newborn to care for. I believe the PPD hit me before I left the hospital. I did not feel like myself at all, no baby-lovely feeling time ever. I struggled to feel something for her. To this day I am ashamed to say that. I didn't feel like myself until she turned a year old.
I used to tell myself that I loved her because I cared for her needs, but I didn't feel anything. I hated that. I felt horrible about it. And I felt alone. I felt so alone I thought I was going to implode. The anxiety, the fear, the sadness and the loneliness were so crushing.
The time after I have a baby is so surreal. I feel sort of lightheaded, like everything is swirling around me and I'm just kinda there. I hate that.
The way Nadia and I's relationship started has bled into our relationship today. I still struggle with feeling close to her, with having a bond. I have to work at it. I love her, I do. But it's not like I see with other mothers and their children.

Post labor with Rhys

So naturally when I got pregnant with Rhys I was scared. I did research. I thought maybe the PPD with Nadia was just circumstantial. It might not come back. My midwife told me the supplements to take to help since I was already at risk. He was born on Saturday. I had the euphoria, the baby-loveliness, the high that a lot of women feel and that I didn't with Nadia. But by Friday I could feel the blanket already being pulled over my head. Dread filled me, I knew IT had found me again. I called my midwife. She checked in on me every other day and by the next week she urged me to see a dr to seek medicinal care. I did. I should've seen a woman. Stupid dr.
It took time for the Zoloft to kick in. During that time I can remember the anxiety, the fear. I remember sitting in Rhys' chair in his room holding him and bawling. I remember Nadia standing tentatively behind the door frame, scared, asking what was wrong. How do you explain depression to a toddler? I remember wanting to hurt my children. Oh I am so ashamed to say that. My precious, precious babies. I can remember fantasizing on hurting myself. I remember thinking that my family, my husband would be better off without a lunatic wife to have to worry about. I believe the hand of God stayed me. He carried me through the first time and He carried me through the second time. Oh I was on drugs and I believe He used that to help me. But it was Him.
I will never forget the crushing fear and the overwhelming loneliness that comes with this. It was bad with Nadia and it got worse with Rhys. From what I read it does that. It's for this reason we have decided we are done. And for that reason I grieve. Oh I don't want to be pregnant again. I live in fear monthly that just 'one' broke through. I don't breathe again until I start. I suppose being done would be easier to accept if I had known Rhys would have been my last when I was pregnant with him. This decision came out of necessity. My children's dr and a good friend of mine both say I probably had Postpartum Psychosis. What would happen next time? Maybe I'd end up in the hospital. Maybe I'd be dead. I read up a lot on Andrea Yates. When she did this to her children I was younger and thought, along with alot of other people, how could she do this? Now, I see how she could do this. She wasn't in her right mind. She was sick. For the first time in my life I've made a decision based on a limitation. I feel like PPD has won. Perhaps that's why I grieve.
This weighs so heavily on me. I feel cheated. I feel like something I was supposed to have was taken from me. Now my relationship with my daughter is tainted because of it and I hate that. I just weaned off my meds and I'm glad for that. Rhys will be one in a month and I feel good. Probably better than I've ever felt in my life. Healthy in body and mind. But I am still sad. So sad over this. I suppose this is therapy. Thanks for listening.

7 comments:

Sandy said...

good for you. Not enough women talk about the "dirty" details of PPD. I had terrible depression and PPD with Wes. It's amazing that we both survived his pregnancy.
With your permission, I'd like to link to your post on my blog.
Think on it would you please?
I'm proud of your honesty, and I think you're fabulous. =)

Kim said...

Kathryn, you hit it on the nose. It's a sickness. Just like a cold, well, except that a cold isn't something that lasts a year.

Have you discussed taking meds throughout the pregnancy (or at least later on in pregnancy) so that the occurrence of depression wouldn't be so bad afterward?

(((hugs))) I have never dealt with PPD, although I know MANY women who have. A woman I know suffered from severe postpartum psychosis and was admitted to hospital following the birth of her second child to be monitored and medicated - she, I believe, had thought about throwing her child down the stairs. Her dedicated husband brought their newborn every 2-3 hours to nurse. She is such an amazing rock for other women I know to speak to about PPD as I know this post will be to many women.

Good for you for speaking up. For (hopefully) doing some healing. Perhaps it would be wise to seek some counseling to work through your decision not to have another?

Anonymous said...

I'm posting this anonymously only because I want to tell you that my daughter had PPD (I am not ashamed of her... I am just protecting her privacy). I think you are brave to post about this. I hope it helped to write about it.

In time, I hope you will realize that this is something that happened *to* you. You *know* it but you still don't *feel* it in your heart. That is why you feel (false) shame.

I am sort of glad that there was no internet when I had children. We had to stop at 2 children (both girls... and there was some pressure to try for a boy) for a different medical reason. I had never heard of the "quiverfull" movement and did not feel any guilt over our decision for my DH to have a vasectomy. Most people didn't know about it, of course.

Good for you for writing about your experience. I hope it will help other mothers who struggle with the same condition.

Bethany said...

Thank you for sharing the terribly difficult experiences that you've been through. I'm sure it will be an incredible encouragement to other women who feel alone and misunderstood. I'm so thankful you are doing much better now!

Donna said...

Thank you for talking about this! It's way more common than people think!

Prayers for your heart to grieve and heal. It is a loss to know you have to make that kind of decision, but when you know, you know. Don't feel bad for grieving though.

Shannon said...

I've had very similar feelings and I know I had postpartum psychosis. We are likely done having children too, even though we don't feel "done." It's just too hard to deal with and I don't think I can do it again.

Thanks so much for sharing. I've thought about writing something about this too. Maybe their coming birthdays are bringing these feelings up.

You rock, by the way :)

Ryanne said...

PPD and PPP are such real things. As is APD(antepartum depression). I've suffered from APD for almost 3 years. It started when I was about 9 weeks pregnant with Gabby and has yet to leave. I've managed it ok, but it's to the point where I need medication to cope with it+stress.

I think that with counseling and maybe even a change in your meds that you could do fabulous! I know that sinking feeling and it sucks. My depression tends to just zap my motivation and make me feel like I'm living in a 6 foot deep pit. It's awful. Just plain old awful.