Postpartum Awareness

So this convention that I went to was for any medical staff, nurses, medical assistants, Doctor’s, therapists, psychologists, anyone that may come across postpartum on any given occasion, I attended for a few reasons, one to support my PPD group that has been a life saver to me. Two, to meet some of these woman who I talk to on a daily basis but haven’t never met face to face, and three, just to get more information on the awareness and how I can help anybody else that may go through this some day.

Last night took me back to my journey of everything I went through when I had my daughter, having such a wonderful pregnancy, truly getting lucky that I felt fantastic and even had a very euphoric feeling throughout it. I got her room ready, unpacked and folded her cute little cloths, stocked my kitchen with baby bottles, formula and burp cloths, I dreamed of holding my daughter and feeling that complete feeling that I have longed for all of my life. No woman ever thinks that she’ll feel the complete opposite of that feeling……..

After I had my daughter, the nurses and staff were wonderful. I had loads of paperwork to fill out, one of them being a Postpartum Screening. It had numerous questions about how I was feeling, I laughed as I went through the questions because it was absurd that they would even think they could determine postpartum through this piece of paper. For example, I remember one question, “Do you feel overwhelmed?” Uhm YES I just gave birth and now have an infant to take home and care for, who wouldn’t be overwhelmed!! Or how about “Are you feeling tired?” YES! I was just up for 24 hours straight with 4 interrupted hours of sleep following pushing out a baby of 8 lbs and 5 oz!! Would you be feeling tired? LOL 🙂 I’m not making fun, however I was never checked on. I went in for my 6 week check up at the doctor’s and I remember having questions but waited for the Doctor to ask me questions about how I was feeling, well she never asked them. I left that day without having any questions answered. Could I have asked them, of course, did I feel comfortable? No. That’s part of the problem I think, and that was touched upon last night. Knowing the correct answers to ask a patient, the correct screening, knowing the right things to say and things NOT to say.

The hospital that I delivered in is not the same hospital that the PPD group that I belong to is a part of. I found this group from a local Mommy’s group that I was going to, I wondered if I had Postpartum, I didn’t know what to do or what to think so I reached out to Alison she is a Perinatal Mental Health Nurse Coordinator. She’s also the NH State Coordinator for Postpartum Support International. I reached out to her via the phone, with all the anxiety I had, I wasn’t going out that much, she reassured me that I would feel comfortable with the group and that I should attend when ever I wanted to (I have yet to go to a group) I get all of their emails and I’m a part of the support group via Facebook, but I swear………I’m going to a group meeting this month!!!!

When I listened to Alison speak about what they are doing for Postpartum it made me realize that I really wish I had gotten help sooner 🙁 I didn’t know who to turn to or who to go and since my check up with my OBGYN wasn’t scheduled until March, in October of 2011 I reached out to my primary care instead (VERY DUMB!) I told her about how I was feeling and she immediately put me on Paxil (I curse you Paxil the day you were born) because though it worked for a few months, it slowly made me gain 25 lbs which I was unaware of because of everything else I was battling, it then eventually made me so lethargic and down that I barely left my house and I started crying everyday because I didn’t want my daughter to suffer.  After trying to get into see my OBGYN sooner, and even going and seeing my Primary physician again with no answers on what to do I slowly started to wean myself off of the Paxil. Bad idea I guess even though I did it slowly it wasn’t slow enough because I eventually fell into a whirlwind of withdrawals. I didn’t know what to do, I went to Primary again and she told me what I was experiencing was NOT withdrawal signs 🙁 I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t do anything, I even had to ask my husband to stay home and take care of my daughter for a few days so I could zone out. I then thought of Alison and reached out to her. She let me talk, she told me that she was pretty sure what I was experiencing was indeed withdrawals from the Paxil and that it may help to start taking 10 mlg again just to get out of the fog I was in.

All of these reason were why I was so hesitant about going on any kind of medication to begin with, I felt the way that all mothers that have PPD feel, I didn’t want to take a pill to make myself be happy because then I would depend on it forever and I wanted to make myself happy. Alison then got me for an appointment with a psychiatric nurse practitioner that was able to prescribe and talk to me about what medication was best for me, she asked me to not rule out all meds given the bad experience I had gone through with Paxil. So I met with Faith and she was great, she listened to my symptoms the anxiety I had and was able to prescribe something better. After listening to both Alison and Faith and being at this convention last night boy have I realized that Paxil is just sucky! Why would my primary put me on that knowing how the withdrawals were, knowing that I had never been on anything before and I was very hesitant to begin with? Simple, it’s not her area of expertise.

I realize that there are many woman out their that have it twenty times worse than I do. I sat and listened to a survivor’s story last night, getting through PPD after two children. I listened with tears in my eyes because everything she had said I had felt myself after having my daughter. It gave me strength to know that we can all pull through it, that it’s not our fault, that we have plenty of help out their, plenty of support to turn to, and most of all it made me see that I shouldn’t be so scared to have another child, to not give myself that chance to mother all over again.

This is the first time I’ve admitted this to world but I’ve come to realize that I have no shame in my experiences, I’m a wonderful mother who loves her daughter more than life itself and I’m damn proud of that.

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