Friday, April 30, 2010

My journey through PPD - Post Partum Depression

I've had this post written for quite awhile now, but I just haven't been able to hit the "post" button. I've added to it as I have felt the need to and today I feel like I wrote the final chaper, for now. I know this story will never have an ending. But for right now, it does in my mind. I don't know who I am writing this for - reliving what I have gone through the last three months is hard. I think this has been an incredible test for Dave and I's marriage - I'm so happy we passed the test.

I'll preface this by saying, I have had anxiety since I was very young. I have never thought I had suffered from depression, but as I look back on my years as a mother, I can see the warning signs creeping in. I never suffered PPD with either of the girls.

Drew was born at 37 weeks after a rough last 5 weeks of pregnancy. It started with PIH (Pregnancy Induced Hypertension) I was put on bedrest. My blood pressure continued to creep up. I was sent to the hospital 5 times over the last 3 weeks of my pregnancy. I was officially diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. At my appointment on 2/6 it was discovered that my condition was worsening and the baby need to come out. We waited till Monday when he was "officially" full term, but technically he was still born 3 weeks early at 37 weeks.

Labor and Delivery were fine - as were the first few weeks at home. I felt like we fell right into a groove. Drew showed symptoms of both Reflux and a milk allergy but being through both two times before we knew what to do and how to help we thought. We started Drew on meds, I stopped breastfeeding and he was put on formula. And then another formula. And then another. And then back on the first. And then another. And then the screaming began.

At first I thought I could handle it. I tried everything I could to get him to stop crying. But he wouldn't stop. He would scream and scream and scream. I started crying along with him. He kept crying, and I eventually stopped. I started to resent him. What was he doing to my family? Ava and Ella were getting NO attention because it took both Dave and I to try and help Drew.

I started thinking about how I could get out. What could I say? Could Dave handle all three kids if I left forever? No, I couldn't put that all on him. I wanted a new life. I stopped sleeping. I would just sit on the couch at 2 in the morning rocking back and forth with my hands over my ears crying and pleading with god to please make him stop crying.

One night Dave came out at 2am to find me on the couch in a a fit of hysterics. I was yelling at Drew. I told him at that very moment I understood how parents shake their children. I kept telling myself I would never do it, but I understand how they felt when they did. Dave sent me to bed and took over the night shift. I thank god that he did because I really in my heart think I was about 5 minutes away form walking away from them all.

I called my doctor the next day. I was started on meds and was given a referral to a therapist. Unfortunately my first appointment was not for a month so I was forced to start meds and pray they worked till I could find out what was really wrong with me.

The next few weeks-months were really the darkest in my life thus far. I completely shut myself off from everyone (and I am sorry if I didn't return a call, answer my phone, etc - it wasn't me doing that, it was the depression) I stopped sleeping. I snapped at my kids over and over and over. I begged and pleaded to god to make the meds work. I wanted to feel that love for Drew like I did with the girls. I wanted nothing more than to love him.

After 2 weeks I still didn't feel any better. My OB uped my dosage. Repeat above steps. I really thought I was going to crack. Getting up each day was a struggle. Dave works 6 days a week and works crazy hours. I was doing wake up, bed time etc all by myself. I was a slave to my house with three kids I couldn't take them out.

My meds were uped 4 times. I am now on a dose 175mg higher than where I started. But you know what, it is working. It's not immediate. Looking back I keep realizing I am having 1,2,3 good days in a row instead of 1,2,3, bad days. Last week I remember thinking this is never going to get better. I am never going to love Drew. I am always going to resent him.

And then it happened.

Drew and I were just dancing around the room. I have The Fray's I'll look after you playing as we spin around the room and he looks into my eyes with the biggest gummy grin - it was like the last 3 months didn't happen. His mommy never had PPD. Like him mother never told him to shut the eff up, never wanted to leave. Never regretted him being born. Like this was our fresh start, the horrid time we have had up till now was forgotten. I think I have finally fallen head over heels for my little boy.

Do I think my PPD is gone? Nope. I don't think it ever will be. I think I am going to fight with this for the rest of my life. Therapy and meds are going to be part of my daily life and I have come to terms with that. Today I love my kids. All of them. And I can only pray I feel the same way tomorrow too.

Picture FAIL

So I had the bright (or not so bright) idea that I was going to take the kids to get a group shot done. Knowing Ella I should have just pushed that thought right out of my head since no way in hell would she EVER let that happen. But as Ella is getting older her temperament seems to be improving, so I picked out the outfits, lathered up on the deodorant and off we went.

I should have known. I think I did know, I just didn't want to admit it.

When we arrived the photographer asked me what my "wish list" for pictures were. I asked her if she wanted to know what I REALLY wanted or what I knew I was going to get. In a perfect world - a group shot of all three, a few shots of Drew and a few of the girls together. What did I get?


And ONLY this. 3 seconds after this picture Drew puked on his shirt. Ella was dancing with fake flowers and Ava was sitting on some porch bench. Pictures = FAIL. But I did get one, and even though Ella is planning her escape, Drew's buddah belly is hanging out and Ava is just smiling away like always, it's our family. This picture makes me laugh and smile every time I see it. And that is all that matters.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Oh yeah, I have a blog......

What can I say, I forgot I had a blog. With three kids, Dave working long hours and Drew being, well, Drew.....who can blame me. but I have vowed to bring the blog back, writing is therapeutic and I need any type of therapy I can get ;)

So let's play catch up....Drew is here! What a surreal, amazing experience his birth was. I was induced at 37 weeks due to pre-e. Induction was long and tiring, but relatively pain free. I went in at 8am on Monday 2/8/10 and started the process. I felt my first twinge of pain/contraction at 1:36 Tuesday am 2/9/10 and my beautiful baby boy was born at 2:16 a mere 40 minutes from my first labor pain. Not knowing the gender of Drew was a.m.a.z.i.n.g. We have now experienced it both ways and I am honestly sad that we won't be able to do it that way again! Hearing Dave yell "It's a Boy!!" was by far one of the best experiences EVER!

Drew David Askren
2:16am 2/9/10
7lbs 0.4oz 19.5in

The girls love their brother to pieces. Ella was a bit standoffish, but has come around and loves him. Ava has been mother hen from the start.

She keeps asking if we are going to have another baby since Drew is getting so big. I told her we would buy her a doll. While I have my days when I want to cry because I can't believe this chapter of my life is over, that I won't be pregnant again, I won't go through another labor and delivery, the smell of a newborn, I remember that it also means no more PPD, getting my body back, enjoying my family, my husband, SLEEPING (which, has yet to happen, but it will!) I'd love to have 1 or 2 more, but I also would rather not be in the poor house. So unless we hit the lottery, our family is complete. and every day I am becoming more and more ok with that.

The girls are doing well. Ava is going to be 4 in May. It's amazing how fast she is growing. Ella turned 2 in December. She is so strong willed, she reminds me so much of my sister. The girls love each other - they are definitely best friends. They have such a bond with each other that I love to watch grow.

I am planning to update this more often now, so check back often!!