This subject is really hard for me to talk about, but I feel that now is as good a time as any to post on this subject. This is me and part of my story...
Ten years ago, after a year of trying to get pregnant, I looked at the two pink lines on the test and burst into tears. There was no way that I was pregnant. All of those built up emotions and disappointing months leading up to that day all came out in complete excitement. I quickly rushed to the doctor’s office and they did a blood test and confirmed, YES I was indeed pregnant. However, that joy and excitement was short lived. About a week later I began to bleed. I found myself back in the doctor’s office getting an internal ultrasound. Talk about feeling like I was being invaded. The next day, it was a confirmed miscarriage (something I had never really heard or talked about) that happened naturally. The pain was unbearable and the most excruciating pain I have ever felt. I was alone and scared, as my husband was in another town working, and listened to the nurse’s words of what “it” would look like. And as I balled up the toilet paper and wiped, I shouldn’t have looked at it. It was exactly as the nurse described and I saw my unborn fetus on the toilet paper while I flushed the toilet. I cannot even describe the heartbreak. I cried for days, weeks and even months. I was 21 years old and had never felt so alone in my life. I sat in my little apartment with the blinds closed, and wept. My husband did not know what to do and he called the pastor of our church for help. The kind words of everyone helped a little, but I was lost.
So fast-forward another year… I let myself go completely – emotionally and most of all, physically. I was not happy at all and very depressed about not getting pregnant. Finally, thirteen months after I had my miscarriage, those two pink lines appeared again! I was ecstatic but my heart was also heavy; what if I lost this one again? I could not go through that pain another time.
Throughout the pregnancy, I struggled. I struggled with fear. I struggled with doubt. And I struggled with depression. Overall, my pregnancy was tough. I developed gall stones and was constantly in pain. The heartburn was awful. I was not happy. This was NOT what I thought pregnancy was about. But I kept telling myself it was worth it.
When I went into labor, I was so ready to get my baby girl out (as I’m sure every mom is)! I was admitted to the hospital and thought to myself that this would be quick – take this from someone who up until this point, had never been hospitalized, broken a bone, or even had a bloody nose. It would hurt for a while and then I could get some drugs, I would push her out and be all fine. I did not realize what I was in for. Once I was dilated to about a 4 (after most of the morning having painful contractions), I had the choice to get an epidural. OF COURSE I wanted an epidural! Are you joking? I do not handle pain well. So the doc came in and injected the epidural. Within seconds, I could not feel my legs at all. I could not move anything lower than my stomach. So they helped roll me back on to the bed and got to work on adjusting the levels of the drugs. That didn’t help. I had (what I thought was) every side effect from the epidural – itching, convulsing, etc. My heart rate was up and down but more importantly, my baby girls heart rate was up and down. They were watching us both closely. After 20 hours of intense labor, when I finally was dilated to an 8, the doctor told me in about a half hour I would be checked again and most likely be able to start pushing. But when they checked thirty minutes later, I had gone backwards and was at a 6 due to the swelling. At this time, my baby’s heart rate dropped drastically. Everyone was running around me and shoving papers in my face to sign consent for a c-section. I looked across the room and my husband’s head was in his hands bent over. He was scared. I was scared. But God was with us. My little girl was born a healthy 8 lbs 2 oz and was as beautiful as can be. I was now a mom. My dream had come true. But the story doesn’t end there.
The next day I developed a spinal headache. If you haven’t heard of those, it is where the spinal fluid leaks out the puncture of the epidural. So basically you do not have enough of the fluid that is in your brain and flows down your spinal cord due to the leak. To me, this was a migraine times 1,000. So incredibly painful and guess what? It lasts for 7 days until the puncture can heal itself. So I was flat on my back since the pain was worst when I was upright. Nothing like having a c-section as well as being flat on your back for the first week + of your first baby’s life. I was not a happy camper. I cried. I didn’t know what was happening to me. This was the most scary time of my life. Not to mention that I continued to have gall bladder attacks and was still in pain from that! I had scheduled surgery to get my gallbladder taken out a few weeks after giving birth. I was scared. The doctor told me I would be obese after getting my gallbladder removed from not being able to process fats correctly which scared me even more.
Needless to say, I was depressed. But there was NO WAY that I was the one with postpartum depression. NOT ME! Even though I worked in a counseling office and worked directly with children with mental illness, I had no understanding of postpartum depression. What were these feelings I was experiencing? Why was I crying all the time? Why did I not want to hold my new baby – the one I had prayed for for years? Why did I not want to do anything or go anywhere? Why did I have thoughts of driving off the road next time I drove to the grocery store? All of these thoughts constantly went through my mind. Why was I not normal?!
Postpartum depression is real and many women struggle with this all the time. I think mine stemmed from years of underlying depression topped with a difficult labor and delivery as well other health issues after delivery. But after help from my Jesus, my doctor, and my family, I was able to pull out of it. I was on an anti-depressant for about 4 months until I felt I could handle life again. But I want my readers and followers to know, it has not always been easy for me. And this is just one of my stories. But I did it; I overcame. And so can you.
To all the ladies out there, if you are here, or have been there in the past, and are looking for support in your health and wellness journey from someone who has gone through it, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Leave your information below and I will get in touch with you just to chat, so you know you are not alone. I understand what depression can do to you. And I understand not wanting to take care of yourself and the last thing you want to do is exercise… but I promise you, it is worth it and it can help. And now, even 8 years later, I continue to struggle with some situational depression from time to time. But I never give up. I keep on pushing. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you find yourself in this same position and not knowing what to do next. Leave your email below or send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get in touch with you.
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