My Journey with Postpartum
Today marks the 5th birthday of my amazing Lachlan Kane. He came into my life and completed me as a person but the journey leading up to his birth and the months afterwards were far from picture perfect.
I was diagnosed with post partum even before Lachlan made his debut at 842 am on April 27th, 2012.
Let me rewind. After I was diagnosed with anorexia at the age of 20 I was told if I ever carried a pregnancy to term the likelihood of being diagnosed with post partum was high. My first pregnancy went smooth, no signs of post partum, I thought I was in the clear when I got pregnant for the second time. I was wrong.
My pregnancy started out as normal as a pregnancy can be. Touch of morning sickness, low energy, irritable, all the fun things. Lachlan was due exactly 2 weeks after my 25th birthday. When we found out we were having another boy we were beyond thrilled. This was always my dream, two boys.
As my pregnancy carried on I started feeling off. At 11 weeks I started bleeding, I thought I was having a miscarriage, I rushed myself to emerg and they quickly performed tests and an ultrasound. The dr was preparing me for the worst explaining to me that it would be normal not to see a heartbeat. Once the Doppler was on my stomach we were all relieved to see baby moving around, heart beating strong. Nobody could explain why I started bleeding but everything else checked out. Things for me though mentally were never the same. That is when the anxiety started, my fear of losing the baby strong.
As my pregnancy continued the anxiety got worse. I was working full time and started taking panic attacks at work, I had no idea what was wrong with me. I found myself in emerg a couple more times during the tail end of my pregnancy convinced something was wrong with the baby. At 30 weeks my doctor put me off of work because the panic attacks were getting worse, it was at this point my doctor, who by the way is beyond amazing, informed me that this was my body telling me I would have post partum.
I always thought post partum was depression, we all hear the stories in the news of mothers with post partum. I was the opposite; I was terrified something was going to happen to my child or myself.
One of my last check ups before Lachlan made his debut was on my 25th birthday. I will never forget my doctor asking me how I felt about my birthday. I told him I felt like it was a big one and said to him “ I am 25, married, two kids, own a house and have a dog… whats next? Is it all downhill from here?” I will never forget the look on his face. The anxiety running through my body was so high at the time, I didn’t know what else to do in my life. I had accomplished so many life events in the short 25 years.
The day Lachlan was born was normal. I am blessed to labor quickly. Start to finish I was in labor for 5 hours, 2 pushes later Lachlan was born weighing 8 pds 4 oz. He literally flew out of my body and if anyone knows Lachlan this makes sense. The kid hasn’t stopped since the day he was born.
The months after Lachlan’s birth were rough. Not just for me but my husband at the time and our families as they all struggled to support me through my post partum. Immediately I was placed with a therapist and introduced to some medications to try and help even me out. My panic attacks were debilitating. I was terrified that something was going to happen to me and my kids would never know whom I was. This was a real fear.
More then once I found myself back at the hospital thinking I was having a heart attack. One night I took a huge panic attack at the house and made my husband at the time call 911. I have had numerous EKG’s performed because my heart kept racing and skipping beats because of my anxiety. I couldn’t function normally. I got to the point that I was too sick to function on my own. I flew back home to Calgary with the two kids and spent a month at home surrounded my close family and friends for support.
Getting myself better was a journey and a lot of work. Educating myself on post partum and all that it entails was so important. I felt so alone and isolated going through my struggles. Having the support of my family, friends and my husband at the time were crucial.
I truly cannot picture my life without Lachlan and I will always remember the journey that we had together and now the unique bond we have., Lachlan got me better, I truly believe that.
I wrote this today because I want to be honest and transparent with my journey with mental health. I want people to know they aren’t alone in their own journey and story. If I can be a voice for others I will take it.
Remember that we all have a story and nobody is alone, together we can shatter the silence