23 April 2011

PP but not D

I am now 2 weeks post-partum. M was born on April 10, a beautiful baby girl. From when I woke up that morning having contractions (early labor) to when I delivered was maybe 12 hours at the most. I went into labor on my own without being induced and was able to go all natural without any pain medication or epidural or anything, just the way I wanted it. From the time I was admitted to the hospital at 6cm and 100% effaced to when I delivered was only 3 1/2 hours and I only pushed for about 5 minutes. I had one small tear that didn't even require any stitches. I honestly can not think of anything I would change about my experience. It was so totally and completely different from last time.

Post-partum has been totally different as well. 10 minutes after she was born, I felt better than I did 10 days after I delivered E. And when I say that, I mean it in more ways than one: physically, mentally, and emotionally. In the last 2 weeks, that has stayed the norm. I have consistently felt better than I did last time. I actually sometimes do more than I should and push myself harder than I should because I feel so much better, it's hard to remember to take it slow and be nice to my body.

This time, I don't have the insane mood swings. I don't cry all the time. I think I've cried once, maybe twice, since I gave birth, and that was because there was some stuff going on that would have made me cry even if I hadn't been pregnant, post-partum, PMS'ing, or had any other type of hormonal weirdness going on. I don't want to just stay home all the time. I don't want to just seclude myself constantly. I have found myself being so much more interested in what's going on around me and who's around me, more interested in both my daughters, wanting to take care of them and play with them. I don't feel like I'm in a haze constantly.

I'm not sure how much of the difference is due to the fact that this time I'm not taking anything stronger than Ibuprofen for pain (last time I was on Percocet for 2 weeks), I'm not nearly as tired b/c my labor wasn't nearly as long and hard, I'm not upset about how my childbirth experience went, my thyroid is under control, and I'm not fighting PPD (last time I think I had the PPD really really really early on).

I am living proof that just because you have one horrible birth doesn't mean you have to have another, just because you have to be induced once doesn't mean you have to be induced next time, and just because you have PPD with one baby from day 1 doesn't mean you have to repeat that with the next one. I know that I'm not out of the woods yet. I could still end up with PPD. I'm aware of that, my family and friends are aware. We are all keeping an eye out for symptoms that things are going bad. But for now, everything is fine and I choose to believe that things will stay fine and that I will not have to deal with PPD again. If I do I do and we'll cross that bridge if we come to it, but for now I choose to live in the moment, enjoy the victories, enjoy my time with my family, and look forwards with anticipation to the great things to come.

04 April 2011

Just decide to be happy

I was reading a friend's blog ( http://www.our-journey-through-life.com/ ) and she was addressing the issue of people saying "Just snap out of it" to those with a mental illness. I have personally experienced this. I was told when I had PPD that I needed to just decide to "stop wallowing" and make up my mind to overcome it and just start praising the Lord. This is essentially the same thing, only couched in Christian-ese. Yeah, because I WANTED to be miserable, have to take medication, be a hormonal/emotional mess, never know what would set me off crying, and not fully enjoy my husband, daughter, friends, church, pets, and every day life. I really actually preferred to go through life in a haze of darkness instead of making that simple choice to just start praising God or just snap out of it or just make up my mind to be happy or whatever.

I think that for anyone who has never experienced first-hand what it's like to live with a mental illness/emotional health problems/whatever you want to call it, it's pretty much impossible to understand what it's like. It's easy to roll your eyes and say "Oh whatever, they're just having a pity party. Why can't they just make up their mind to get over it?" but it's really not that easy. Not with a legitimate issue. It can actually be damaging to have someone tell you that. When you say that to someone, do you realize that you are essentially saying that they are lying? Do you realize how hurtful that can be to someone who is already in a fragile place?

Next time you want to just roll your eyes and dismiss someone's issue and say "Well if you're not happy then just make up your mind to cheer up" or something of that type, stop and think about whether that is really a helpful thing to say. Consider that if it really were that easy, they probably would already have done it.

01 April 2011

I started Zoloft this week

I'm now 38 weeks and 4 days. I have 9 days left until my due date. So far, my thyroid levels have stayed under control and so have my weight and my hormones/emotions. Well, as much as hormones/emotions stay under control in pregnancy. LOL My perinatal doctor continued to check my thyroid levels every 4 weeks all the way through pregnancy and since my levels were normal at my 36 week check-up, I won't have to see him again. Yay for normal levels!

My midwives started me on Zoloft this week. It's an antidepressant (an SSRI) that is safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. I haven't had any symptoms of depression but we're doing it as a preventative measure. I suspect that as long as we keep my Thyroid managed, I won't have any issues with PPD but I'd rather be safe than sorry and to know that I did everything possible to avoid issues this time around.

It was actually a hard decision for me, whether to start Zoloft or just rely on the thyroid medication. I know, I know, it should be a no brainer to take it right? The problem was, I felt like starting Zoloft made the possibility of having PPD again seem that much more real. Sort of like, if I ignore it and don't treat it it's not really a threat and won't happen. I didn't want to take it and remember the place I was at before, when I did have PPD last time. The deciding factor for me, after wrestling with the decision, was when a girl I knew from an online forum killed herself. It was sort of a slap in the face, a reminder of what depression can do from an outside perspective instead of just looking at it from "what did it make ME feel". It was also a reality check that "Hey, this is nothing to play around with.". I came to the conclusion that nobody will judge me or look down on me for taking it, and if they do then they are probably not someone I really want to be friends with... but you better believe that before I say Adios there'd be a little chat about PPD and the effects it can have on the mom, her family and friends, every aspect of her life, and how the stigma attached should not be there and how no it really doesn't mean someone is crazy or any less of a human/woman/Christian/whatever.