Tuesday, September 13, 2011

PPD, Part 1

I've tried writing this post over and over, but I always come up short.  I'm hoping to push through and hit "Publish" at the end of this attempt, but only time will tell.  I want to succeed.  I want my girls to have something to look back on in case they go through the same.  Every sentence I type takes so much out of me though.  So here goes nothing.

This year has sucked.  I think it's been the hardest and worst year of my life to date.  

One year ago today I was still pregnant.  I was one day past my due date, and just ready to have this baby already.  I was excited to meet her, but having gone through labor and delivery one time before, I knew first-hand that it sucked and was terrified to do it again.  I had more confidence this time around, knowing that my second baby didn't have the same size issues as my first, and that by all accounts there was nothing to be afraid of.  Everything had been going swimmingly.  Sure I'd been exhausted and virtually unable to play with Bella for the last few months, but I was in the home stretch.

Then I went in the hospital on the night of the 19th and had to be induced.  I'm still saddened that I didn't go into labor naturally.  As silly as it is, a big thing I regret about my decision to be done with babies is that I will never experience this, never have my own story to tell about what it felt like, where I was, how it went.  My story will always involve IVs and Pitocin and being resigned to knowing that I was making the right choice for my baby and myself, no matter how much I hated it.

The next several hours were pretty uneventful, or at least as uneventful as labor can be.  I don't remember very much about that night and the next morning.  I remember playing cribbage with Jason to pass the time until the contractions became too much.  I remember deciding I wanted the epidural, and being disappointed in myself for not laboring on without it.  I remember letting the doctor break my water even though I had specifically said before that I did not want this.  I remember that my nurse's name was Bert.  I remember that I let a nursing student be involved in my care, expecting a 20 something female, and instead got some kid that looked like he might be a college freshman.  But really, most of this is a bit of a daze.

At some point the next morning, it was time to push.  Pushing out a 9 pound baby is not easy, but Genevieve was born at 11:28am.  I wish that I could say that I fell in love with her immediately the way I did with Annabella, but things were different with Genevieve.  She was born blue, and stayed blue for awhile.  My first active part of mothering hurt her, as I tried to pull her up to my chest, but her cord was short and wrapped around her body, and I inadvertently pulled it tighter.  I watched helplessly as every healthcare worker in the room descended on my baby to aggressively run her with towels and blankets to try to pink her up, growing more and more anxious that something was wrong.  Finally, after what felt like an eternity, I was able to hold and love on my baby.  But I felt so weak, and so numb.

I continued to feel weak through the day, so much so that I was afraid to hold Genevieve.  After some time in labor & delivery, they moved me to the recovery wing even though I was still so shaky.  I remember thinking that I felt like I was losing blood, but I told myself that I was just so shaky because Genevieve had been so big and pushing her out had taken so much out of me.  

It wasn't until 6 hours after her birth that I started hemorrhaging blood.  By that time I'd sent Jason home and was alone with Genevieve.  The next few minutes were traumatizing, really.  The confusion, the panic, not being able to care for Genevieve as she lay crying right across the room, watching the nurses continually cleaning my bedding, putting new pads under me, only to rip them off as I soaked them with more blood.  The blood just kept coming, in huge clots.  

With Annabella, I had been so afraid that something was wrong with her.  And I had thought that I would have to have a Cesarean after hours and hours of labor without progress.  So when I was able to deliver her without the C Section, and she was healthy, the adrenaline and euphoria rushed through my body.  My baby was there, she was healthy, and life was awesome.

With Genevieve, I'd been so confident that everything would be fine.  I had no reason to believe anything different.  I don't know if it was that lack of relief (because I hadn't been scared before), or being scared for those first few terrifying minutes after her birth, or the trauma of hemorrhage, or the weeks of weakness after the hemorrhage when I still was uncomfortable holding Genevieve without help nearby.  Or it could have just been plain old body chemistry.  Who knows, really?  Whatever it was though, something pushed me into postpartum depression.  

This postpartum depression is really what I'm hoping to write about, but I'm still not sure I can face it head on enough to address it.  My fingers feel heavy on the keys, and I think of people I know reading this, and not understanding, and the thought is enough to make me stop.  But I want to write about it, for my girls.  Because if heaven forbid either of them go through PPD, I want to help them in any way I can.  And I feel like telling this story might help.

I think I've hit my limit for today though; so I will have to leave the rest for another day.  To be continued, I hope.

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