A mum share’s her story of PND from then to now.
Week 32 – admitted with high blood pressure and tiredness! Daily monitoring, scans, bloods, urine tests, poking and prodding.
Week 33 – went home for a few days and by then end of 3 days at home felt really tired. Friday monitoring was not good so back into hospital for probable induction at 38 weeks
Week 34 – more poking prodding, bouts of gall stones
Week 35- tiredness increased, monitoring was showing things were not going well
Week 36 – reassessment after a long weekend – but things were so bad that 35 minutes from having a discussion about Baby girl needing to arrive today she was born in theatre, her daddy made it there in time, texts were sent to other family members as I was being prepped in the ward for theatre….
Day 3 post caesarean – could get to SCBU with support, mum arrived to help me (hubby was at work as he was self employed) – got to SCBU and the relief of being able to finally pick her up and cuddle her were overwhelming. The tears and feelings of joy and sadness were just overwhelming.
Day 4 attempted breast feeding – no latch – still not sure about my feelings, but was crying all the time and feeling like I should be able to cope better. Blood pressure had started to drop.
Day 6 I went home with just me and my stuff, I collapsed in a flood of tears and anger when I got home – hubby just held me for hours and then reminded me that I needed to get pumping!
Day 9 – first latch and breast feed – the pumping 3 hourly was tiring as were the 4 times a day trips to the hospital – the driving was being shared by different family members so that they all felt like they were helping
Day 10 stayed at SCBU getting ready to go home, was tired and felt a bit sick
Day 11 – vomited in the morning, but ignored it and carried on – put it down to tiredness
Day 12 – taken to ED by midwife from SCBU – kidney infection
Day 14 – finally came home – I was angry that I did not have everything perfect like I had imagined for bubs to come home too
Month one – there were tears most days as I was tired, feeding, pumping (was having to use a nipple shield for latching so had to pump to keep supply going in between feeds), forgetting to feed myself, or not bothering, keeping this amazing facade to others who thought that bubs was gorgeous, all I could see was this monster that would not sleep, 2 – 3 hourly feeds were normal (we trialled some formula again but what went in came straight back out – the same as in SCBU) Breast milk was the drink of choice
Month 2 – getting angry with hubby but would not let him help me with settling etc, felt like a real failure, confidence plummeted, I still put on the magic face every day. By this stage, mum came every morning and helped me get breakfast, sort out some basic housework
Month 3 – finally had surgery for gall stones arranged, maybe once the pain was gone I would feel better? Bubs now latching and feeding well, but was still up every night, would she ever sleep more than 4 hours?
Month 4 – surgery went well, bubs was an angel in the hospital with me! I was very proud of her. Home to be looked after for a few days. Feeling tired, tearing, angry and taking this anger out on hubby, feeling like a complete failure as he would come home from work every day and have this angry person that pushed him away. I would not let him help with bubs, that was a big part, letting go of her was the hardest thing, being away from her for a few minutes was awful.
Month 5 – went back to work 5 hours a week (not a lot but was a nice break).Bubs went to mum and dads while I was at work and they loved it. She was an angel for them but seemed to cry all the time for me. I had ordered a perfect baby that never cried, got fed, put down and settled herself to sleep – why did mine do none of these things on the list?? How crap was I at not being able to get her to do them. At work I felt normal! Back to the old me, but then being at home with a baby that would not go to sleep when she was tired, fed 3 hourly and still woke at least once a night…
Month 6 – pretty much the same – the anger and tears were worse. One night hubby came home later than I had hoped for and I exploded. I was leaving and taking bubs with me, we spent a few hours arguing (in fact I am surprised that the police were not called!). Finally when I was so exhausted I collapsed in another flood of tears and finally asked him if he thought any less of me if I admitted that I was having trouble coping and that maybe I might need to see the doctor about PND. He was so relieved that he held me and cried and cried too, luckily bubs slept through all of this! Typical as normally she would wake up!
The next day I phoned mum and asked her to come round ASAP – she came straight round, we discussed that I thought that I had PND and she cried, she had wanted for months for me to ask for help, but wanted it to be my decision. I had a doctor’s appointment later that morning and she came with me. My GP suggested that medication was the best start, I was not sure about taking anti depressants and continuing to breast feed but knew that I had to get better, if we noticed any issues with bubs then I would wean her, but he said that continuing was a good thing for both her and me. I started the medication the next day, although a little nervous. By the end of the day I felt a bit light headed. The next day I felt really light headed all day, mum spent that day with me so that was ok. I then spent some time with our local Plunket/family centre the next week and we tackled some of the settling and sleeping issues that we had. We spent 3 days getting a little routine going and I was to work on this for a week and see how we got on. Things started to fall into place, feeding more food did not help with sleep, bubs was not that interested in food anyway. The night waking was still hard, but we were so used to it by know. I then spent about a week telling others about my diagnosis and condition. At home we put in place strict rules, if I woke and was having a bad day I was to call mum and tell her. She would then come and get me and take me to her place for the day, or spend the day with me. I was to have at least one hour per week of doing something that I enjoyed, even if was reading a magazine! By this stage my self confidence was about zero. I socialised with some girls from our antenatal class, but struggled to go out anywhere really. We became really reclusive at home, but this was nice. I felt safe there.
Month 8 – settling to sleep was going ok, as were the naps times that we had, I was ruled a bit by the clock, I did not want to be like this but it made life a lot easier. Bad days have become a thing of the past – I was feeling like me again!
Month 12 – we are doing ok, work has been a fantastic break from being a mum, bubs was a bit slow with some things, but she was still small compared to others her age… no real worries with her. I have no real bad days now, just getting back on track with mundane things like tackling one room to tidy/clean maybe 2 days a week if I can manage
Month 18 – finally walking happened. I was feeling good in myself, we spent a lot of time at home, and getting out at weekends was hard with hubby working most weekends still. We started playcentre and I loved the company of the other mums at the sessions. This was great for us both. I still struggle to let bubs go and she heads straight for me when I am around, we have an amazing close bond that I love, but sometimes wish that she could amuse herself or play by herself a bit more.
Month 22 – it finally happened, sleeping through the night was a reality for us. I felt that some of the tiredness that I had experienced may pass, but an active toddler in the day did not let this happen. I noticed at playcentre that I had way more energy and exercise tolerance than some of the really young mums, maybe I wasn’t so bad after all
Month 24 – I felt that I could trial not taking the pills, this didn’t work, and I went back to being tired and really irritable, back on the pills….
Month 25 – I forgot to take my pills again for a few days, so thought that we would do another trial – have a stash in the cupboard, but GP is only a phone call away to get more if needed. Seemed to go ok
Month 26 – new job, new me?? Well not quite, still struggle with self confidence. Through all of this we identified that my bad hours of the day are 3.30 to 5.00 pm, also bubs time of day when she is tired and grizzly, so we have to use distraction for both of us, luckily hubby is home by 4.30 ish each day so he is able to cook etc. I still feel like a bit of a failure, I have a beautiful daughter that loves me too much some days, a wonderful hubby that I push away from being affectionate with, but can’t mange to get the housework under control and dinner cooked by the time he comes home!!
Month 28 – bubs decides to wean… we made it this far. I had been over it a few months before, but was her decision so this was easier. Few uncomfortable days, luckily I was at work so not too bad. New job is going well, I work alternate weekends from 8.30 – 12.30 and 2 days each week, so the agreement is that on these weekends I get up, get showered, make my breakfast (and mine only) and head out the door. I don’t organise clothes, snack boxes, pack bags for outings etc
Month 36 – I still don’t have a lot of confidence going out, I feel that I have a child that is not perfect and that others are judging me on my parenting skills! Hubby helps out as much as he can. I have to plan days the night before so that I know what I am doing for the day. This means that I am not very spontaneous some days, but I cope better with the day if I do this. Recognising what strategies work for me has been a long journey but they are a great help
Month 42 – hubby changes jobs, we have lots of changes at home with his new hours etc. I have up and down days (a few more down than up). I manage to get some housework done some days that I am home, I would still love to be able to blitz the house and get on top of the cleaning, but that may never happen. I get both of us ready 2 days a week and out the door on time. I talk to hubby if I am feeling a bit down. or tired and try to get some rest/early nights when I can – most nights for me I am under the duvet by 8.30 pm…
I have been away 3 times now with bubs on my own since the end of last year – I think that I coped really well even if the stress levels were really high. Maybe it might be time that daddy took her away for a weekend on his own??
I adore my little girl, she is so much fun but exasperating some days. I have to plan and have routine in my day otherwise I feel lost. I enjoy having an hour or two on my own at home – I do this at least once a week….I exercise regularly, we have just gone down to one car so I have to bike everywhere now! Bubs loves being in her seat on my bike.
I love working as this is the one time that I really feel normal! I have good days and bad days, but they are communicated to hubby and we deal with them. He has been my rock through all of this and amazingly still comes home from work at night. We are working on getting out more, both individually and together. My parents have supported me through the whole journey. A big part of this has been to talk with others about my journey and where I am at.
I am a really changed person. I don’t have a lot of self confidence or confidence in my parenting skills, hence the fact that I have never read a book about how to raise a child – I have done it all on instinct and I think that so far we have done ok. I would love to go back to being what I was, but accept that maybe the new me is a better person?? People often ask about another child – there is no way that I could go through this and put my family through this again, so I am happy with just one! (which surprises me also!)
I give them all big hugs as often as I can and thank them for all of the help that I have had over the past 4 years – I live life every day and love it most days………………………