I remember being in the hospital after having my oldest son, like it was yesterday. Before I could leave with my new little bundle of joy, the nurse handed me a paper. It was a questionnaire for Post Partum Depression. It was supposed to tell me if I was at a higher risk or not. I filled it out and the results said that I was at a low risk. I won’t say that I wasn’t sad after I had him. I knew I would get a small dose of the baby blues. This didn’t phase me all that much.
When I had my second son, that is when everything changed.. The birth was non eventful, no complications or anything. I was just so happy to meet my second little man. Once again, before leaving the hospital, the nurses had me fill out the same form as before. Results showed that I was low risk for PPD. After taking him home, I started noticing little signs that showed something was not quite right. I was tired all the time, not as excited as I should have been, having a new baby at home. Sadly, at one point I didn’t even want to spend time with anyone. Thankfully my hubby was staying at home with me at the time, and watched both boys, while I locked myself up in my room and sobbed. Even though Post Partum Depression was so hard on me, I wasn’t even at my worst yet.
I woke up one morning feeling the worst I had ever felt.. My heart was racing, palpitating, I saw blurry vision, sometimes even spots. I was so dizzy and nauseous. I felt a burning sensation run through my body on my left side. I ended up going to the ER a couple of times due to these symptoms. After many tests and exams, the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong. The only thing that helped me feel better was sleep. Needless to say, I slept almost all day, while my hubby watched the boys. I could feel myself get weaker and weaker. I couldn’t keep anything down. My blood pressure would jump. I ended up being scared to leave the house or even drive. Made me feel crazy that no one knew what was wrong with me.
Until one day, after receiving an EKG and being told that my heart had perfect rhythm, I explained everything that I was feeling to my Primary Doctor. She immediately told me she was 100% sure that I was having panic attacks. She said I wasn’t having normal attacks either. That my body for some reason was on the flight or fight mode all day, except for when I was sleeping. My body was constantly pumping out adrenaline…I was prescribed Xanax and Zoloft. Until the Zoloft started working, I would have to take the Xanax to calm me down and let my blood pressure lower. I ended up only taking the Xanax for a couple weeks because the Zoloft kicked in right away. Suddenly my symptoms started disappearing. I was happy, playing with my kids, gaining the weight I had lost… and just enjoying life.
Today, I can tell you I feel great. I do have times where my hormones will go a little haywire and I will have small panic attacks, but nothing remotely close to how I felt a couple of years ago.. I have learned techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, etc. Also, to allow myself to have a little mommy time. I also started eating right! I no longer eat or drink anything with caffeine or sugar, as these jump-start a panic attack. I would rather not add fuel to the flame.
One thing I tell new mommies… Make sure you take care of yourself after baby. Watch for signs that something isn’t right. You may get the baby blues, but there is a limit to how much you should feel without getting help. If you feel like hurting yourself or your child, you need to seek help immediately, because sadly, these thoughts may creep up without a warning. The hospitals that I had given birth at never explained anything about PPA (Post Partum Anxiety). I would hope that one day that that changes because so many women wont feel like they are going crazy and that they are all alone.
Please know that you are not alone. You are loved. You can get through this.