Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Who, me?

     My first child was born in 2005.  My husband and I had waited for so many years to get pregnant, and had lost two pregnancies already.  We wanted children so badly, and in fact had been researching adoption at the time I became pregnant.
     I was on bedrest for the last third of the pregnancy, due to preeclampsia, which is a condition in which a pregnant woman's blood pressure reaches dangerously high levels. On the day of my 38 week well visit, it was discovered that my blood pressure was 160/100.  My doctor announced that I was being induced that day.  Immediately.
     "I left the coffee machine on.  I am completely unprepared.  I have no bag packed.  I have no birth plan.  I have two more weeks!"  The thoughts were racing through my mind.
     I was admitted and induced.  My labor lasted for approximately 30 hours.  I was attached to a monitor that was broken (which we did not learn until later).  They did not see contractions on the monitor, and even though I was screaming in pain, the nurse insisted that I was not having contractions.  They kept turning up the dose of pitocin.  Even through the epidural, I could feel the pain.  It was excruciating.  I wanted to die.  I hoped for death.  I should have been more careful what I was wishing for.
     After pushing for 3 hours with no progress, I was taken in for a C section.  I was shaking so badly from all of the pitocin that the doctor could not see what she was doing.  She could not get the baby out because he was so stuck from 3 hours of hard pushing.  She was pulling him so hard that my hips were coming up off the table.  That is the last thing I remember.  They put me under general anesthesia in the middle of the surgery.
     I found out later that I nearly died.  I lost so much blood during the surgery that I needed a blood transfusion.  My son, who they brought to me as soon as I was conscious, could not nurse.  He threw up green bile every time I tried to feed him.  He cried and could not be consoled.  They took him away to the NICU and I didn't see him for a couple of days.  No one would tell me what was wrong with him.  They couldn't because they didn't know.  I found out later that on the third day of his life, he passed his meconium.  It was about 6 inches long and solid.  He had basically had an intestinal blockage for the first 3 days and could not nurse because it hurt.  I had a neonatologist from Children's Hospital in Chicago that could not figure out that this baby had not pooped and that is why he wasn't eating.  Any mother in the world could have told her all she needed to do was give him a suppository or take his temperature rectally.  Anyone with common sense could have figured that out.  But Dr. Wonderful had him on two different IV antibiotics, she was taking abdominal x rays, she gave him a feeding tube through which they were feeding him formula- the last thing on earth that I wanted.  She had no regard for my wishes as a mother and used my new baby as a science experiment.  I had no control.  Or so I thought at the time.
     It took me a couple of days to recover from my surgery and the blood loss that accompanied it.  Once my head was clear, I walked in to the NICU at that hospital and fired my son's doctor.  I took him home that day, and that, not the day I gave birth, was the day I became a mother.
     I realize now that mistakes were made.  I know now that a lot of what happened when my son was born was hospital error followed by hospital covering their collective rear ends.  A doctor I spoke to about the experience later called it "defensive medicine."  I know now that I had the power all along to refuse any treatment that they wanted to give him, that as his mother *I* make the decisions.
     A year passed, and what a wonderful year it was.  Except for the worry.  Except for not sleeping.  Except for the flashbacks to the birth and the nightmares about a nurse telling me my son was not going to make it.  It was not until my son was a year old that I found a therapist who could tell me what was wrong.  It was Postpartum Depression- PPD.  And Post Traumatic Stress Disorder- PTSD.  And so begins my journey.  So begins the rebirth from PPD.  I hope that my story and my research can be helpful to new moms and dads.


  1. Thanks for sharing your story! I'm going threw PPD/aniexty attacks my child is 3mths old. I developed preeclampsia after my daughter was born. I had an ER c-section also. I'v always been & happy person but PPD has take over mylife that also brings aniexty attacks. When I have my attacks my BP goes up & that brings on more stress. I just want to be normally again/happy. I wanted this baby for so long now I can't even enjoy her life. I'm currently on meds for the first time. I just wish I could relax my Brain it seems like I'm going to die. Thanks for writing this blog extremely helpful God Bless

  2. Hi Zellmom,

    I'm so glad that reading about my experience helped you. You are NOT alone- there are so many people out there with the same condition. I'm so happy that you are taking meds, and hopefully you are also in therapy? If you need help finding a therapist, let me know, I can try to help you find one.

    I wrote this blog as part of an assignment for a class that I am taking. I am on the path to become a therapist myself, as a result of what I went through. I want to concentrate on helping women with PPD and other perinatal mood disorders.

    I know what you are feeling, that anxiety is such as awful feeling. How long have you been taking medicine? Did you doctor give you anything to take while you are adjusting to your medication? Sometimes it can take 6 weeks or so, and while you are adjusting to the medicine, your anxiety can get worse temporarily.

    I want you to look up "tapping for panic attacks." EFT- Emotional Freedom Technique- is something I discovered while researching natural anxiety treatments. It can literally give you instant relief. I will post a link here soon. It can be helpful to you in the meantime, while you adjust to medication.

  3. I tried to fight it but I had to go on meds I've been on meds for 4wks now. I have my first therapy session on Wednesday. I don't no what's worst my PPD or my anxiety attacks. I never felt like this & I never been to therapy this is all new for me. I'm a low dosage of Buspirone maybe I need a stronger strong. Been a new mom is very stressful even with a loving Hubby & mom. I still feel overwhelmed.

  4. Of course you do! This has been a major change in your life. It is very normal to feel overwhelmed. Also, no guilt over feeling that way. However you feel, you are entitled to those feelings. People who mean well can often say things like, "I don't understand why you are anxious, look at all the blessings you have," and this can make you feel even worse.

    I am so glad that you are starting therapy! I had never been to therapy prior to having kids, either. Finding a good therapist is so important in your recovery.

    I wonder if you would mind telling me which doctor wrote your prescription. The reason I ask is that sometimes a person needs to try more than one medication before finding one that works. The best person to give you advice on psychiatric medications is a psychiatrist- they know the medications best and can give you the best advice on how they work, side effects, and what to expect when you are taking them. If you have not already visited a psychiatrist, and your medication does not begin to help you soon, I am sure that your therapist could refer you to a good doctor.

    Another technique is not to try to fight the anxiety. Let it come, and know that it will also go. Think of waves on the ocean. They come in, they go out. The anxiety does come, and it does feel awful when it is with you. But it will also go. By fighting you are actually focusing on it more, and it will take longer to go away. I like to use an example like this.... whatever you do, for the next five minutes, do NOT think about zebras.

    What is the first thing you thought about? This is similar to "fighting" the anxiety. The more you fight it, the more it will come.

    I wish you all the best, and please keep me posted on your recovery. You WILL recover.