My Story: I was flooded with problem after problem, worry after worry immediately after I gave birth to my daughter back in February (18th). Hell, even during labor. This being my first, I was losing my mind because after 10 hours of labor, I still had not dilated....not one centimeter.... I finally broke down and got an epidural and even needed another bolus because nothing was progressing. Nothing was going the way that I had planned it. As soon as I gave birth to my little angel, they told me that she's extremely jaundice and may need to be in the NICU.
Once they came back in to check me to make sure all was back in order, I hemorrhaged.....for 4 hours I had arms up my vagina trying to extract the piece of placenta that refused to come out. I only remember hearing "calm down" and "she's losing too much blood. Hang in there for your daughter"; "emergency surgery", "chance you'll never have kids again". Quite frankly, the manual evacuation was more painful than labor, so I told them I didn't give a shit what they did at that point, as long as they would stop reaching inside of me and trying to pull my cervix out!
After everything settled they finally got the bleeding to stop. My baby girl didn't have to go to the NICU, just under the lamp 75% of our hospital stay. I did not get any sleep the first 48 hours after birth. Nurses and doctors and family.....around the clock. Checking and poking and asking questions.....I was so tired I was literally delirious.
By the time we were discharged (on a Friday), bilirubin levels were safe and I was cleared to go. I was so paranoid that first couple of nights that I only slept for 30 minute intervals. By the following Monday, my daughter had lost 2 2 pounds, and her pediatrician couldn't determine as to why. We were back in the hospital for another week, and a half, and they determined that she had a severe case of G.E.R.D. While all of this was going on, my body was under it's own stress from the delivery ordeal and now my newborn was very ill and very tiny.
I had decided before I ever officially went to the doctor that I would breastfeed. My milk didn't come in until that Saturday after discharge and it came in full force. I ended up with mastitis! Fuck my life at this point! To make matters worse, my daughter couldn't get a good latch because my nipples were inverted...I was miserable... Here I was a new mother, and I was crying for my mother to make everything better.
After my daughter was discharged from the hospital, I was a mess. I was afraid to sleep because she strangled on milk and stomach acid in her sleep. I wasn't eating either....in the first two weeks of postpartum, I lost over 27 pounds and my iron was low from all of the blood that I had lost. I had no energy.....no will to keep moving for myself or my baby girl. I wanted to hit the reset button. I broke down on March 3rd, which ironically, was my birthday. I couldn't take it anymore. I felt alone, exhausted and like I had failed at everything. I wanted to die. I planned my demise.
My mom began staying over and helping around the house and even pumping my breasts because at this point, I only had a manual pump. I wanted my daughter to breastfeed SO BAD. I felt like I was worthless because I was like every other mom who used a bottle and I wanted, no, I NEEDED to breastfeed my baby. I wanted that more than anything for her, because I wanted her to be as healthy as possible. I didn't want her to have allergies like me or have to suffer thorough different illnesses as I did growing up.
This started to calm down a bit for about a month and some change, and then all hell broke loose. My daughter was right back on the hospital Easter weekend for the same issues 'failure to thrive' due to the acid reflux. She had lost a significant amount of weight yet again. This time, I was forced to give her formula....I hated the thought....it meant that I wasn't good enough to supply food for my baby. I was humiliated..... Not only that, but I had an infection from where they had done the manual evacuation and had been experiencing a lot of pain. I was at a point in my like that I never wanted to go through this ordeal again. I never wanted another child inside me.
I lost my full time job, because I exhausted my leave between my daughter's illness and my own (mentally and physically). This was the lowest that I had ever felt when it should've been the highlight of my life.
I began going to a counselor and church and openly expressing myself to my family and friends about the true affects of postpartum depression. It has taken me a long time to rebuild myself and I'm still working on it, but the dark clouds of life don't seem as scary anymore and I've found peace in knowing that I made it through another day and my daughter made a helluva comeback! We are getting there day by day! To God be the glory! I underestimated my own strength!
Krista McDowell | North Carolina | Mama to one