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The first year – a Journey through postpartum depression

NOTE; THIS POST IS EMOTIONAL & COULD BE TRIGGERING FOR SOME

 

 

Once the c-section was was complete, I laid there… wondering what was next. They took Benjamin up to the maternity ward, I was left in the operating room for a half hour. The room was cold, I could not move, and my husband and baby had left. That was the longest half hour.

I clearly remember them moving me from the table to a bed, I just looked at my legs.. they felt like weighted 1 000 lbs! I had no control or feeling, it was so strange. I was thankful when I was finally on my way up! I was greeted in the maternity ward hallway by my husband holding our little 4 lbs 15 oz peanut. He was so small, and also not impressed. He had just gotten his vitamin K shot. He was just the cutest little peanut ever! For most of the nurses, he was the smallest baby they have ever had on the ward.

That night the nurses decided to keep Benjamin in a separate room than me. There was no nursery at this hospital … but they needed to keep a close eye on him. He was placed in an incubator, his umbilical cord was kept long and moist to have IV access if needed. (thank goodness they did not need to use it)

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It was really appreciated that they had let me rest for the rest of the night and morning. We had one nurse on staff that night that was a blessing. She used to work at a children’s hospital, she had been around many premies and even super-premies. She had figured out a way to get Benjamin to start sucking, she gave him a pacifier and fed him formula through a syringe and feeding tube! This was amazing, it did not take him long before he was able to take a bottle.

I was trying to breast feed in the beginning, but because he was so small I had to supplement him with formula anyways. I was breast feeding with a nipple shield, pumped and supplemented. This was when I found out that not all women are built to breast feed. I was one of them. Plus having a baby with such a tiny mouth.. there was no way he was getting a good latch. This was all very exhausting, emotionally and physically.

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Finally after 4 days in the hospital we were able to leave. Benjamin left weighing 4.5 lbs, did you know that this is the minimum weight for a car seat… I had never even thought about that until we got so many comments over the fact that he was so small. Unfortunately, this became a trigger for me… that saying that he was so small. Thank you world I know he is small! I was starting to get very frustrated over those comments. No mater how big he got people always thought he was younger than what he actually was. At that time I had a hard time processing this, but I know that he was premie and I should of not taken those comments negatively. However, in that mindset it was just too much for me.

A lot of my friends and co-workers were shocked with the news about the delivery, they had so many questions for me. I was initially okay with talking about everything, but after a while it got really frustrating and really sad. People would make comments like     “well at least you don’t have stretch marks”, that’s just it! I missed 5 weeks of my pregnancy! I don’t know what it feels to be very uncomfortable, I don’t know what it feels like to have your water break, I don’t know what contractions feel like, and the list goes on. All these things are some what of a right of passage into mother hood. After a while I started describing it as being robbed of my last 5 weeks of pregnancy. That’s right, robbed! There was no answers as to why I had a severe placenta abrupto and that really messed with my mind.

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I started loosing my mind. There were times where he would cry so much that I would just make him a bottle, and bring him to my neighbours to care for him for a few hours. I would be in tears, not believing that I mentally could not do it at that time. Other times, I would just place him in his crib and would go sit on the front step of the house. I just needed a break. I hated the fact that I couldn’t not mentally deal with it. I thought motherhood was supposed to be something amazing. I was in denial of having depression. I did not know exactly what was going on. I hated the person that I had become. I used to be oh so bubbly, always able to stand my ground. This was not me. What did I become.

I had officially lost my smile…

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The Birth – a journey through postpartum depression

Caution: this blog post might be triggering for some people

 

I find it so ironic that when you are expecting your first child people always recommend that you attend a prenatal class. Both my husband and I being trained paramedics, we have done obstetric rotations… we knew the medical aspect of birthing. With that said, we still decided to attend a local prenatal class offered by public health. It was fun, we had some good times. did we learn anything? no. However, one thing that they do push towards is having a birth plan. Know what you want…. What kind of birth do you want… do you want family there? And the list goes on. I did not really have a plan. Just basic generic stuff. But the more I thought about it, the more I decided, “okay I’m running the show, this is how its going to happen.”  Boy was I wrong…

I was 34 weeks pregnant, I had a doctors appointment and my obstetrician checked everything with his fancy little ultrasound machine in his office. “EVERYTHING IS PERECT”, he would tell me. This was always a great relief, so I went home and back to my day to day activities which still included full work days. This was okay, I was getting really tired in the afternoon but my work was very accommodating. The following day I remember dropping off some stuff after work at a friends house. She too was expecting a baby and I had gotten some free baby stuff for her. After that visit I went home to cook supper. As my husband and I ate our supper on the couch, I remember telling him that I had just peed myself.  I was so upset, upset that I didn’t even feel the urge to urinate. It was normal for me to have a weak bladder at this point in my pregnancy…but not to the point of being incontinent. I went upstairs to the bathroom to sort myself out. Nothing was out of the normal initially, so I took my time. Once I was “done” I got up … my heart sank and I screamed!! The toilet bowl was FILLED with blood! My husband ran upstairs, and then rushed me to the local emergency room (rural) which was thankfully only 2 minutes away.

Once I got to emerged I swiftly waddled my way to triage and told them I was having third trimester bleeding. Immediately, they rushed me into a room where I could get into a exam robe. My wonderful husband was helping me undress and get into a robe. As I removed my pants, I saw a good litre of blood pour out of me… all down my legs and on my clothes. I screamed in fear as I shook, my husband held me up. Nurses rushed in to see what was going on. They immediately laid me on the exam bed. I had several doctors come in an assess the situation. There was no going back. I was rushed to the hearest General Hospital to be assessed by my obstetrician. I faintly remember in the ambulance the nurse was asking me if I was having contractions… I told her yes because I could feel squeezing in my abdomen followed by a gush of fluid between my legs, but there wasn’t much pain.  I was getting weak, things were blurry. My husband was such a huge support for me, but he feared for our lives.

After arriving at the nearest general hospital my obstetrician was waiting there for me. He was absolutely confused as to what could of happened. He confirmed that with what he could see that I was a grade 3.  I was so out of it at this point. My husband had to tell me all about it again because my memory was not really there. My doctor mentioned that I needed to be rushed to the a the Ottawa General Hospital (Ontario, Canada). My son would need to have access to CHEO’s (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) NICU, because the hospital that we were at were not equipped for premie babies.  We were located 2 hours north west from there. But because of the shock that I was in and the severity of the blood loss (and still loosing) my doctor mentioned that we would not survive the 30 minute helicopter flight down to Ottawa. They asked for my blood type and prepped for an emergency cesearian section.

As they rushed me down the hallways and into elevators my husband almost missed the boat because he was trying to get himself all scrubbed up. He mentioned to me that I was getting my spinal anesthesia, and if I wasn’t getting numb fast enough for them I would be put totally under and my husband would no be able to be present for the birth. Apparently for my husband, waiting in that hallway was the longest wait of his life.

I specifically remember this part… they were constantly pinching my abdomen to see if I was numb. As soon as I said I can’t feel it, they began to cut me open…and then the curtain went up… that memory was not a good one for me for the longest time.

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My doctor told me (afterwards) that my amniotic sac had not broken and all that I felt was my placenta ripping off the uterine wall.  That mental picture haunted me.. but I had asked for those answers. Three quarters of my placenta had ripped of. The cause is still unknown… I do not fall into any of the “high risk” category.

That night my son Benjamin was born. 4 lbs 15 oz. he was a small little guy. But had a strong cry! Thank goodness! Doctors were please and he would not have to be sent to the children’s hospital. I truly believe that being physically active during my pregnancy enabled my son to be as strong as he was.

My son and I are alive today thanks to a doctors swift decisions… I am forever grateful. But this is when the true battle began…

 

for more information on abruptio placentae;

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/252810-overview