*Please excuse any writing errors. This was a post I couldn’t read back.
It was the third week that my newborn daughter was in the NICU. I was waiting for my husband to get home so we could visit her in the hospital when I started feeling nauseous. Anxiety came crashing down on me and my heart started racing. The more I thought about the drive to the hospital where I gave birth to my daughter, the worse I felt and I ended up getting sick all over the bedroom carpet.
On the way to the hospital, my nerves start getting worse and by the time we enter the hospital parking garage, I got sick again and couldn’t stop shaking. The closer we got to the NICU on the 6th floor of the hospital, I was in such a panic and started crying.
My husband assumed it was because of our daughter being in the NICU for 3 weeks because of low blood sugar. I didn’t say anything like I should have but it was that day that I knew something was very wrong. It wasn’t until a year later that I first heard of postpartum post traumatic stress disorder.
I had always assumed that when it came to PTSD, it was something only soldiers got when fighting in a war. Then the pieces started coming together.
I wasn’t happy with the prenatal care I received but couldn’t do anything about it. My husband is in the military and at the time we were in close proximity to a couple of military hospitals. If that’s the case, our insurance won’t let you see a “civilian” doctor.
Every time I had a prenatal appointment, I had a different doctor and was never able to put my trust in one. That was when I started to feel like I had little control over the care I was getting and would be very frustrated that there was never a time when I could actually sit down with one of these doctors and discuss my first time mom jitters.
At 37 weeks, I had my monthly appointment and the doctor was really concerned about my blood pressure. She was worried that I was starting to develop preeclampsia and by that afternoon, I was checked into the hospital, waiting to have a baby. I was pretty reasonable about my birth plan. I was hoping for a natural childbirth but there was no way in hell I was going to say no to an epidural.
During my labor, I had several medical interventions and was very frustrated that most of the medical staff coming in and out of my hospital room seemed to be burdened when my husband or I would ask questions about what they were doing.
I ended up having an emergency c-section and while they were pulling my daughter out of me, it felt like a cement block was starting to crush my chest. Then my daughter was brought to me and the joy of that put the way I felt physically on the back burner.
I was wheeled into a recovery room and across the room, my freshly baked babe was getting her first bath while my husband stood there in awe while filming it.
I started to have trouble breathing and my nurse got the oxygen mask. The cement block that I felt I had on my chest turned into a cement wall and I was having more trouble breathing. It was getting more difficult to talk with the nurse and that’s when she said it appeared that my lungs were filling up with fluid and I had pulmonary edema.
She told me she was going to get medication for it but first she needed it approved by a doctor. I still have absolutely no idea who delivered my daughter so I didn’t have any idea who my doctor was supposed to be.
Medical staff was walking in and out of the room and finally the nurse spotted a doctor that I’d never seen in my life. My nurse rushed over and quickly told him the situation while I was trying so hard to stay conscious. It was at this point that I couldn’t even say a word because I felt like I was drowning.
The doctor sauntered over and started asking me several questions. I was trying to keep my shit together because I was absolutely terrified over what was happening to me. I couldn’t answer any of these doctor’s questions so he stood there beside the hospital bed I was in and was waiting for me to answer.
Some of the last things I remember was hearing my gorgeous new baby crying across the room and my husband comforting her. I was feeling so dizzy and knew I was losing conscious and couldn’t stop it no matter how hard I tried. I remember the nurse leaving my side and the same damn doctor kept on asking me to describe my symptoms to him.
I truly believed this was the end for me. I don’t mean for it to sound so dramatic but I thought I was going to die right there in the recovery room with my daughter just several feet away from me. My husband had no idea what was happening in my corner of the room as he was understandably so wrapped up in our beautiful baby girl.
That’s when everything went blank and I remember the nurse shaking me and saying my name. When I came to, that asshole doctor was still there but standing farther away from me. I don’t know if the nurse gave him a piece of her mind or what happened but after I came to, that doctor just walked out of the room without saying a word.
When I was finally able to speak again without the oxygen mask, I said “Please tell me that wasn’t a doctor but instead a janitor”. The nurse replied “I wish I could tell you that”. I don’t remember the nurse’s name but I will forever be so thankful that she didn’t put up with this doctor’s bullshit and instead jumped into action.
It took me nearly a year to tell my husband what happened after I gave birth. I didn’t want to ruin the experience for him by letting him know what happened but was so relieved when I finally did.
I’ve been trying to write about my experience with Postpartum Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for 3 years and 2 month but would panic each time. It wasn’t until I read this by Tricia that I finally felt “safe” enough to go through the emotions of my experience. Even as I type this, my heart is racing and my hands are shaking.
I’m currently in therapy and finally getting more control over this but it’s still a struggle each day. One I’m finally getting strong enough to fight.
Have you experienced Postpartum Depression or Postpartum PTSD? If you’d like, please share your story in the comments.