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My Story

A positive test??? I remember leaping out of the bathroom and pacing around the house. I had only glanced at the test that had only been sitting for seconds. I didn’t see that; I just imagined it, I should stop freaking out and go back and actually check. It was still positive no matter how long I stared. I was in utter shock, especially since I tested on the day I was supposed to get my period. I wanted kids, in fact it was a frequent conversation between me and my husband, but I found myself wrestling with feelings of what have I done and oh my goodness this is wonderful. Mixed emotions of being scared, happy, and excited seemed to be crashing into each other the closer I got to telling my husband. Initially we were both in shock. We looked at each other with a knowing, that our lives were due to change in less than nine months. Quickly, my husband’s shock turned into excitement. He dotted on me even more than before and it was sweet to see him talk to nothing but the pizza in my stomach I just ate, under the guise of talking to our baby. At that time, baby was no bigger than a kidney bean. It seemed so strange to know I was growing a person. Slowly, I warmed up to the idea that this was real. I was ready to do all the healthy eating I could and all the exercising possible to keep me and my growing baby healthy. Yoga was my go to warm up for the day, so I went into a low lunge, and suddenly I felt a gush. My body had definitely started to produce more discharge, as is common during pregnancy, and it had been happening more and more frequently so at first I didn’t really react. Then, I just felt I should check. Blood? Maybe it’s just a little. There’s even more now….Why won’t it stop?! It was all over my hands now, and my thighs and underwear. I came out of the exercise room crying to my husband. He read my face and he knew something was terribly wrong. We rushed out of the door to the nearest hospital. Unfortunately, we lived in a rural area and the closet hospital was about 25 minutes away. The lobby was already full and I heard someone mumbling outside about the wait. On the verge of tears, I walked in and was approached by a nurse who asked me why I was there. “A miscarriage… “, I said quietly. “A miscarriage?” She announced back to everyone with in earshot. “Yes.” She explained there would be a long wait to see the doctor and even then, they don’t have the resources to check on baby. An ultrasound??? You don’t have the resources to perform an ultrasound?? Defeated and in disbelief, we left and headed to a bigger hospital about 30 minutes away. The drive there, was quiet. When we left our house, I held onto the hope that maybe if we got to the hospital fast enough, maybe our baby could be saved. I had read over and over that once a miscarriage starts, it can not be stopped, but at that point, it hurt me not to hope it could be ok. After leaving the first hospital, I felt almost every inch of hope leave my body. We drove in almost complete silence there. “You ok? “ my husband asked, “ Yea.” I answered back flatly. “It will be ok”, he said. 


My husband is a calm man, not easily moved, and I looked over to see him trying to hold himself and me together at the same time. I checked out. Emotionally, this was too much too soon. Dissociating, was now my weapon of choice to get through the night. Why did I let myself get so happy. This is why I shouldn’t get so happy in the first place. I was triaged and told to pee in a cup. I was still bleeding and also still just going through the motions of answering questions. In my head, I was there for no reason. If I am having a miscarriage, it’s not like this visit will make a difference. This is just a wasted copay. The ultra sound tech called me back and at that moment I couldn’t help but be nervous. I was about to find out for sure if our baby was actually ok or not. “Is baby ok?” I asked the tech. “We can’t tell you before the doctor sees the images I’m sorry.” Me not being one to try to make someone’s job harder, silently agreed and tried to hold onto my sanity that felt like it was slipping off the edges of my finger tips. My composure started to crack as I fought the urge to turn around and look at the monitor to see if I could make sense of what was going on. “Ok you can’t tell anyone because I’ll get in trouble but look, baby’s fine, they’re right there wiggling their little butt.” I instantly broke down. It didn’t seem real. I just cried and cried. “You’re gonna make me cry.” The ultrasound tech said. She explained sometimes bleeds just happen and everything seemed to be ok. I remember trying to stifle my happiness as the walk back to my husband in the lobby seemed to take forever. “Baby is ok. I can’t say I know because the doctor hasn’t checked yet, but baby is ok.” We were like little kids after that. Whatever was wrong didn’t even seem to matter. The attending doctor explained it was a threatened miscarriage and that I had an uti that she prescribed me some antibiotics for and sent me on my way. I followed up with my OBGYN and explained the situation. My doctors nurse called and asked some questions and then seemed to be suspecting something. “I’ll call you back.” What was that about? She finally called back. “A subchorionic hematoma.” What? I asked her to repeat it. “A subchorionic hematoma. It’s common and usually resolves.” A subchorionic hematoma “occurs when the placenta partially detaches from where it was implanted in the wall of your uterus.”  The attending doctor must have missed it or just didn’t care to look hard enough. I felt mad I wasn’t told, but it wasn’t like I could do anything. I was put on pelvic rest and it resolved by my next appointment. Even though things seemed to be on track again, I was in a perpetual state of , What if something goes terribly wrong again? What if it can’t be fixed this time around? The rest of my pregnancy was overshadowed by my inability to let myself be truly happy and enjoy the experience. I also felt guilty because part of me thought I should just be grateful nothing truly bad happened and the acid reflux, the sciatica, the sleep apnea, lightning crotch, and all the other things I experienced were just par for the course and I felt like I didn’t have a right to complain because I wasn’t sick in the traditional sense of being pregnant. I would only throw up twice my entire pregnancy and I counted myself lucky that I didn’t have it too bad. Physically I was hurting though, and mentally. Anxious thoughts never seemed to leave my mind. Going to sleep at night felt like pressing pause, and waking up felt like pressing play. The thoughts were so loud in the morning. I got more and more and anxious as I neared my due date. My job wasn’t know to be pregnancy friendly and near the end of my pregnancy, I found out they would be retroactively applying my FMLA to all of my past appointments since August and I was due in March. I just knew it couldn’t be right to do that but legally, my job was well within their rights. I had to travel about 40 minutes to my appointments from work and I knew that would take a huge chunk of time off of what I thought I was getting with my first born child. It stressed me out every time I thought about it. In an effort to save as much time as possible, I took the latest appointments I could so I wouldn’t miss too much work. This left me in a mad dash to get to my doctors office. By the time I got there, I was even more stressed out than I had been at work. I was 37 weeks. The nurse took my blood pressure. She looked concerned. “Tell me about your blood pressure. Are you nervous?” I was and she agreed to take it again later. It went down but my doctor wanted me to come in the next day. I talked to him about how it was maybe due to work and that the accommodation I had requested at one of my recent appointments due to my edema in my feet was outright ignored. “Well that’s it. You are not going back to work.” I remember being frustrated, not really even concerned about my health. In retrospect, this allowed me to give myself permission to get myself together, but at the time, it was just another hurdle in the way of me spending time with my son. I came into the doctors office the next day just knowing I’d be sent home and I’d enjoy the rest of my time preparing for my son to come into the world. 144/99. That was my blood pressure the very next day. I had an ultrasound and baby boy was diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction. (IUGR) “A condition in which a baby doesn't grow to normal weight during pregnancy. Causes of intrauterine growth restriction vary but include placenta abnormalities, high blood pressure….”  Cue the guilt and shame and feelings of being a terrible mother before he even got here. I was scheduled to be induced in a few hours. My husband and I tried to compose ourselves and go out to eat one last time as a twosome while we waited for the hospital to call and say they were ready for us. 


I still felt like it was a lost cause. My back pain started to clear up but I was still pessimistic about my recovery mentally. I had my first appointment with my therapist and didn’t expect to, but I let everything out. How I felt inadequate as a mother and that what if it lead to me messing him up? How I just wanted to be better for him but something was wrong because at the same time I couldn’t stand to be near him. Session after session we worked through it. Suddenly I felt like I wasn’t sad anymore, I felt mad, exceptionally so. When I explained to my therapist that I no longer thought I was depressed, she explained that they aren’t necessarily two different things. Being angry is often a symptom of depression. Underneath my anger I realized I was upset that I couldn’t have my old life back. Fully accepting becoming a mother felt like a dying of self. During that time, my grandmother had recently passed and the feelings I was getting around the loss of my old life were eerily similar. Of course I cared for my grandmother more, but the feeling of loss and sorrow went hand in hand. It brought to my remembrance Spider Man 3. We can discuss later how good or bad of a movie it was but one scene sticks out to me. Here is the scene if you don’t know the reference. Peter is trying to remove the symbiote Venom from his body. This leads him to a church bell that aids him in peeling off the symbiote due to its weakness of sound. Peter struggled and struggled to peel it off of him and at one point he is ripping it from his body while screaming and so does Venom. You can tell it took every bit of him to separate himself from the symbiote for the better. Accepting I was now a mother and that my life had ultimately changed felt exactly life this. My failure to accept things as they were caused so much grief. I could not and would not for too long see my life for what it had become. When I realized this, it allowed for a positive change to take place. Around May, we turned a corner, baby boy's first smile. That was my first glimmer of hope in weeks. It lasted for a split second but it felt like somebody had just jump started a car that had been sitting idle. He had started to become a person to me. Logically, I knew this, but he couldn’t understand me and I couldn’t understand him, but even if it was just a small smile, he was saying something to me. Eventually, I could tell he didn’t like the cold and hated diaper changes but loved when his dad sat him on his hand and held him up so he could get a view of everything. And sure enough one day he didn’t hate diaper changes and his smiles were a frequent occurrence every day. He still hated tummy time and was still crazy about his food but I could tell he was  definitely coming into his personality. Breast feeding had gotten better but I accepted the fact I had to combo feed and it worked for him. I ended up being put on 100 mg of Zoloft and made an effort to continue my sessions with my therapist. Make no mistake, my feelings for my son did not change because he did, they changed because I started to see him differently. He is still by no means an easy child, but that’s just who he is right now. The first few weeks of his life have taught me that things change so quickly, and nothing, not even the hard times last forever. One day he may be an easy child or maybe not. It’s not in my control whether he is or isn’t. I’m just trying to focus on being the best version of his mom I can be, so he can be who he’s supposed to be. That’s it. We can only ever do our best. Self improvement is a life long journey and it becomes a lot easier when we are taking it one step at a time. The purpose of this blog is to share with you how I am improving my mental health and life while also making positive changes that will positively impact my husband and son in hopes that it helps you on your postpartum journey no matter how easy or difficult it is. I’ll also share things you can do proactively to help encourage better outcomes on your journey, as well as support for partners.This blog is also here to let you know, it does get better. No matter how sick you are of hearing that, it’s true.

I remember going into a sort of tunnel vision, and started to have a panic attack shortly after we got seated in the restaurant. I couldn’t enjoy the food, or focus on anything, I was devastated that things were not going how I thought it would. I felt humbled because I use to think to myself why would someone obsess over a birth plan? It’s not like we can control this type of thing. And here I was, completely distraught in the middle of a Bonefish Grill, obsessing over how I lost “control” over a situation that was never in my control in the first place. We headed over and I was given a room and I was told I would be given Cytotec to thin my cervix throughout the night and then pitocin would be started in the morning. The nurse informed me I was slightly dehydrated and gave me some fluids and also told me I was having some contractions. Really?! I couldn’t feel a thing, besides the annoying and painful IV in my hand. Initially when it was placed, the nurse seemed to be having issues. She called another nurse over and said something about does it look right. “It’s flushing but..,? Nurse two interjected, “As long as it’s flushing it should be fine.” It felt sore and uncomfortable and by the time I had the courage to say something, the nurses had changed shifts. I timidly explained to the new nurse something didn’t seem right, and it kind of hurt. She looked at it and said it seemed fine but if I wanted to switch hands I could. Thinking I was just overreacting and overstimulated, I agreed that maybe it was just me and left it at that. Besides putting it in hurt more than I expected so I wanted to avoid anymore additional discomfort, knowing what was to come. Unfortunately, some time passed and another nurse came in and noticed my fluids weren’t properly moving through my IV. I ended up having to get it redone anyways. In the morning another nurse came in named Lexus. I will forever be grateful to her. She was actually a nurse in training and she was assigned to me. She did my cervix checks and checked on me all throughout the morning. Every time she needed to readjust me or check me she always asked permission and was super accommodating and did everything she could to make me feel better. She stayed positive for me and kept me in a good mood. I had it in my head that I wanted to wait until at least 7 cm before I got my epidural because I heard it wears off. Since the pitocin had started taking effect, I could now feel the contractions coming in full force. I tried to use heat packs to stave off the pain but it did little if anything. Lexus came back and offered to call anesthesia. I explained I wanted to wait until I was further along because I didn’t want it to wear off. She checked to see how far I was dilated and I was only about 2-4 cm. I was humbled again. She also explained it shouldn’t wear off and everything would be fine if I got it then. The anesthesiologist came and pretty soon I could breathe again. I could “feel” the contractions, but it was more of a feeling of needing to poop honestly. I napped and not too long after I woke up ,Lexus checked me and said I looked to be at 8 or 9 cm and she called the head nurse to check. The head nurse checked me and said I was at completion and I could start pushing. It was very hard to push as I couldn’t feel anything. My doctor came in at the end and ended up having to vacuum him out because he kept going back in. My husband was there with me the whole time, supporting me though wisely choosing to stay on the upper side of my legs. I had already told him I did not want him to talk to me while pushing, as I knew I would already be overstimulated with a whole audience of people getting front row seats to my insides. At best that would just irritate me and the most helpful thing he could do was be by my side. When my doctor pulled baby boy out, there was a split second where he didn’t cry and I was already in anxious mode. Then he let out a full wail and I immediately started crying. 

He was so little and cute and I couldn’t believe this was my kid. I noticed he was cold and he was a bit blue. He was weighed and he turned out to be 5.9 oz. Shortly after his weigh in he had to be whisked off to the nursery because he was having trouble warming up. I ended up having a second degree tear and a periurethral tear, though I’m not sure to what degree. Though I was happy to have it over with, I recalled this strange feeling upon holding him for the first time. Indifference. Don’t get me wrong, I cried and was happy to know he was ok, but I felt something was not right. That ethereal feeling people talk about when they get handed their baby seemed to skip over me. I was tired and sore and just wanted to lay down. I was wheeled into my postpartum room, and though I’m terrible about expressing myself I tried to do my best to be appreciative and say something super nice to Lexus ,but all I could manage was a thank you. By now I could just walk around a bit and my postpartum nurse helped me to the bathroom room while another helped set up my room. The nurse helped me to the toilet and closed the door to give me some privacy. I finished and tried to stand up to wash my hands and immediately realized something was wrong. I turned just in time to not hit the floor. I collapsed onto the toilet and my nurse came back. "Are you ok?? ", she asked. "I think I’m about to pass out." After that a lot of it is a blur. A bunch of people were trying to come into the room to help and get me up. I was being asked my name and told to look up. I remember feeling like my mouth was glued shut. Every part of me felt so heavy. An alcohol pad was placed under my nose to help me come to. I eventually made it back to my feet and was greeted by my husband holding our son and staring at me. I can’t remember if he had just gotten there or if he was already there but it was comforting to know he was ok. I looked over and realized my arm had begun to bruise badly from the misplaced IV. My vein was blown and it only added to my mental woes. Slowly this empty feeling kept creeping up. I remember they offered to take my son to have his first bath. I obliged and remembered thinking, I hope they won’t be back soon.There were thoughts like that for the duration of my hospital stay.  We were discharged and when we got home it felt like the proverbial shoe had dropped. The anxiety and depression set in. Due to my anxiety, we ended up taking baby boy right back to the hospital the very next day because I became convinced he was having trouble breathing. We were told everything was fine and he looked super healthy, save for his jaundice that should clear up. To make matters worse, breastfeeding was going terribly. He would latch and unlatch. One day my let down was too much, then one day it wasn’t enough. Slowly I stopped producing enough for his growing appetite and I felt like a failure. I felt like I failed in doing the most basic thing for him which was providing food and something I thought was essential to being a good mom. After all, how could I be bad at something only I was supposed to do for him? I was convinced I couldn’t handle this. I remember walking around the house one night trying to put him to sleep and just crying telling my one week old son I wasn’t sure I could be a good mom to him. At first, I hid it from my husband because I was ashamed of all the thoughts I was having. I’m not cut out for this. This was such a mistake. We are never gonna be happy again. This kid is going to tie up all of me and my husbands time together. I wasn’t meant to be a mom. In fact, I’m sure of it. Matter of fact, I want to leave, run away from my husband, child, all of my family and never come back. I battled thoughts like this daily. I had previous mental health struggles, but I came out on the other side of them, still able to function. But this felt like I got hit by Mack truck. In his first weeks, I relished being in the shower because it meant I would be away from him. It would take over an hour to feed him and an hour to put him back down and by then it was time to feed him again. He slept all day and was up all night. I felt like I was losing my mind. Despite all these things, he was doing great. He only lost one ounce at his first doctors appointment and by his next appointment he was 7.7. Again, I was happy he was doing great, but at the same time, I resented him. He only cried, pooped, ate, and slept. I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around how I was supposed to be in love with something that demanded so much of me. Things came to a head when I felt like I couldn’t physically or mentally take it anymore. Unbeknownst to me, my epidural failed the first time. I had no memory of this. My husband told me later and they had to try it again. I’m guessing as a result, this caused some issues for me. Shortly after I got home I noticed pain in my back and thought it would go away. It gradually got worse. One night we were feeding baby boy and I couldn’t even sit up straight. Nothing felt comfortable. I handed my husband our son and cried and screamed into the sheets. My son was crying, I was crying, and my husband was powerless to fix everything at once so he did the best he could trying to tend to the both of us. There was one thing that happened that I’d refer to as a God wink. Something that happened to me to make me realize I wasn’t alone and that God was still there. A friend from church I spoke with from time to time, texted me one day out of the blue and said she had a dream about me and thought she should reach out. She explained postpartum depression is real and I needed to contact someone if I needed help, including my doctor. I was shocked because I made it a point to not tell anyone just how bad it was. I remember telling myself that no matter how bad it got, I would never resort to taking drastic measures and decide to take my own life, but ever so slowly I found myself not fighting those thoughts anymore. Initially, I would talk aloud to myself when I had those kind of thoughts and say , “I wouldn’t do that."  Day after day, I stopped speaking to myself. I fought a little less each day. I let the thoughts fester and I honestly got tired of fighting my own mind. Additionally, I was unbelievably anxious. I never wanted to harm my son, but I kept having anxious thoughts like What if I’m such a bad mom I end up hurting him anyway. What if someone hurts him and I fail to protect him. Due to her intervening, I contacted my care coordinator who urged me to immediately call my doctor after she screened me for PPD and I scored a 23 on the Edinburgh scale. I got a call from a seemingly worried nurse at my doctors office who urged me that if I felt like I should go to the hospital I should and that it was totally ok if I felt I needed it. I held on until I got to my doctors office and was prescribed Zoloft. My doctor also recommended I go to therapy. 


I still felt like it was a lost cause. My back pain started to clear up but I was still pessimistic about my recovery mentally. I had my first appointment with my therapist and didn’t expect to, but I let everything out. How I felt inadequate as a mother and that what if it lead to me messing him up? How I just wanted to be better for him but something was wrong because at the same time I couldn’t stand to be near him. Session after session we worked through it. Suddenly I felt like I wasn’t sad anymore, I felt mad, exceptionally so. When I explained to my therapist that I no longer thought I was depressed, she explained that they aren’t necessarily two different things. Being angry is often a symptom of depression. Underneath my anger I realized I was upset that I couldn’t have my old life back. Fully accepting becoming a mother felt like a dying of self. During that time, my grandmother had recently passed and the feelings I was getting around the loss of my old life were eerily similar. Of course I cared for my grandmother more, but the feeling of loss and sorrow went hand in hand. It brought to my remembrance Spider Man 3. We can discuss later how good or bad of a movie it was but one scene sticks out to me. Here is the scene if you dont know the reference. Peter is trying to remove the symbiote Venom from his body. This leads him to a church bell that aids him in peeling off the symbiote due to its weakness of sound. Peter struggled and struggled to peel it off of him and at one point he is ripping it from his body while screaming and so does Venom. You can tell it took every bit of him to separate himself from the symbiote for the better. Accepting I was now a mother and that my life had ultimately changed felt exactly life this. My failure to accept things as they were caused so much grief. I could not and would not for too long see my life for what it had become. When I realized this, it allowed for a positive change to take place. Around May, we turned a corner, baby boy's first smile. That was my first glimmer of hope in weeks. It lasted for a split second but it felt like somebody had just jump started a car that had been sitting idle. He had started to become a person to me. Logically, I knew this, but he couldn’t understand me and I couldn’t understand him, but even if it was just a small smile, he was saying something to me. Eventually, I could tell he didn’t like the cold and hated diaper changes but loved when his dad sat him on his hand and held him up so he could get a view of everything. And sure enough one day he didn’t hate diaper changes and his smiles were a frequent occurrence every day. He still hated tummy time and was still crazy about his food but I could tell he was  definitely coming into his personality. Breast feeding had gotten better but I accepted the fact I had to combo feed and it worked for him. I ended up being put on 100 mg of Zoloft and made an effort to continue my sessions with my therapist. Make no mistake, my feelings for my son did not change because he did, they changed because I started to see him differently. He is still by no means an easy child, but that’s just who he is right now. The first few weeks of his life have taught me that things change so quickly, and nothing, not even the hard times last forever. One day he may be an easy child or maybe not. It’s not in my control whether he is or isn’t. I’m just trying to focus on being the best version of his mom I can be, so he can be who he’s supposed to be. That’s it. We can only ever do our best. Self improvement is a life long journey and it becomes a lot easier when we are taking it one step at a time. The purpose of this blog is to share with you how I am improving my mental health and life while also making positive changes that will positively impact my husband and son in hopes that it helps you on your postpartum journey no matter how easy or difficult it is. I’ll also share things you can do proactively to help encourage better outcomes on your journey, as well as support for partners.This blog is also here to let you know, it does get better. No matter how sick you are of hearing that, it’s true.

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