Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Postpartum Day 4

When I had Chloe and Preslie, it was easy for me to feel a little right away. I think a lot of that came from all the drugs that were coursing throughout my system when I delivered them. They pumped me so full of so much stuff that it took a long time to work it's way out and it was really hard for me to bond with my new babies. Luckily I've never had to deal with postpartum depression very long - I usually feel funky and weird for a couple weeks at the very most and then things go back to normal.

After having Charlotte, I was on a birth high for a good two weeks. I was so instantly in love, so extremely happy and so proud of myself for carrying, delivering and making this tiny, perfect little baby by myself with no drugs during labor (except pitocen of course) that I had no problems with postpartum depression at all.

I expected to feel the same as I had with Charlotte after I had Magnolia. I was having her naturally, except under even better conditions. I had a midwife this time instead of a doctor who was going to yell at me (like with Charlee), I was delivering at a hospital that was known for their amazing, natural births that are surrounded by good feelings, unicorns and love. I knew no one would tell me I couldn't do things that I wanted to do, and the decision making and planning would be up to me.

After I had Maggie, though, it was hard to have those amazing feelings right away. I think because my birth went so differently than I had planned that right afterwards I was just a little shaken up and it took a while to process emotionally and mentally. The night after she was born, the nurses came in to take my vitals at 4 am, and quickly left. I couldn't fall back asleep for at least an hour, even though both Maggie and Cody were sleeping, because I just kept replaying everything that had happened in my mind. I just needed to process it all and really figure out what had happened. 

That being said, I didn't necessarily feel depressed - again, just weird and different than normal. I was happy to be home and with our whole family. I was happy my mom was there to help me. Maggie refused to nurse, though, which kind of started steam rolling all these very sad feelings. I kept thinking that if she was my last baby, and she refused to nurse, I would never, ever get that chance again. And because I hadn't really nursed Chloe or Preslie, I had only one chance to nurse and I wanted more! Maggie wouldn't even TRY to nurse - I would offer it to her and she would just start screaming. She was hungry, but she still wouldn't even try and we didn't know why. For the first couple of days, I would hand express and spoon or finger feed her, but she was still starving. I didn't want to pump because I feel like that fueled the problems I had had with Chloe and Preslie, but I didn't have a choice. She needed to eat and by day 4, I was completely engorged. So I pumped.

And I couldn't get any milk. 

None. Not one drop. 

I was pretty beside myself. I think I cried the entire day. I felt like everything was against us and nothing was working in our favor and why couldn't we just have one little bit of luck? Why was this happening when this had never happened with any of the other girls? I've always had an over-abundance and I was even thinking this time that maybe after awhile, I'd figure out milk donation because I was 100% positive I would have extra to go around.

Both Cody and my mom tried encouraging me the whole time, that no matter what, we would feed Maggie and she wouldn't go hungry and the rest of our girls had had formula and they were all fine. 

But it didn't feel fine. I just felt devastated. 

We took Maggie to the chiropractor that afternoon. I had had a few other women tell me that because my labor was so fast and intense, she might be all out of alignment and nursing might be painful for her to have to twist and be in different positions. They said a lot of times the baby is adjusted and like magic, they nurse perfectly.

Only the chiropractor said Maggie wasn't out of alignment. At least not enough to prevent her from nursing or cause her pain in any way.

So I cried some more. I cried on the drive home, I cried after getting home. I cried on the phone with three different lactation consultants. I cried after we got home and I tried nursing again, only to be met with screams. I cried when I was feeding her formula. I cried when I was trying to pump and nothing was coming. I cried because I was so engorged and in so much pain and there was nothing I could do. I cried sitting on the bathroom floor thinking about how I was never going to have this experience again in this life and how I shouldn't have weaned Charlotte when I did because I'd never be able to do it again. I cried in the shower when I was trying to get something to come out and it helped a tiny bit but not enough. I cried because the tiny bit of milk that I got to come out was now going down the shower drain instead of to my baby.

It was a pretty draining day.

Then it got even worse.

Around 10:30, we decided to go to bed. My mom had already gone to bed and Cody was changing Maggie. He asked me to get him a diaper from our bedroom. I brought him the diaper and all of a sudden had extreme, sudden eye pain. I thought maybe something was in my eye - even though my actual eye didn't hurt, but behind my eye, in my head. I started going towards the bathroom to see if there was something in it. By the time I reached the bathroom door, my right arm was totally numb. By the time I reached the sink, my right leg was completely numb. I looked at myself in the mirror for about one second until I started calling for Cody to come help me because I couldn't stand anymore.

He quickly came in the bathroom where I was trying to sit/falling on the floor. By that time, I could no longer talk without completely slurring everything. It was so scary. Cody kept asking if he should call 911 and what should he do? In my mind I was thinking - No, don't call 911! I'm sure I'm fine, I don't need 911 - we don't have things happen to us that require 911. But of course I couldn't get any of that out because I couldn't really talk.

Maggie was crying this entire time and I was mostly just worried about her. I kept saying, "Get my mom. Help Maggie." But it was coming out like - Geeeetttt my mommmmm. Maaaaggggie. Hellllllppp Maaaaaggggggie.

Cody ran up to wake up my mom and was running all over the house, checking on me, then running to see if the ambulance had gotten there, then making sure Axel was outside, and on and on. My mom said she's never seen him run so fast (I don't know if she's ever seen him run anyway?) trying to make sure everything was ok with everyone.

When Cody left to get my mom, I started feeling better and just dizzy. I slowly sat up and just hung out, sitting on the bathroom floor. My mom came in holding the baby and all of a sudden, I started feeling that way again. This time it was a lot worse. My right arm and leg were spasming but I still couldn't feel them, I definitely couldn't talk correctly, and my head and eye hurt so badly. I thought I was having a stroke. My mom helped me lay back down on the ground and I was looking at her holding the baby when I thought, "My poor baby. She's 4 days old and she'll never know how much I love her or ever remember me." Then I looked at my mom and thought, "She is going to have to deal with losing 2 daughters. I never thought she'd have another kid die, and I can't believe it's going to be me."

I was pretty scared, but mostly just sad for everyone else. When I started having those thoughts, I started having a hard time breathing. Then I started freaking out even more. I kept saying, "Help me. Mom, I can't breathe. Help me, I can't breathe." But of course it sounded like, "Hellllllpppp meeeeee. Mommmmmmmma I caaaaaaan'tt breeeeaaathhheee.

Finally the ambulance got there and a bunch of emts. They started asking me a bunch of questions, What city are we in? Who is the president? What's today's date? And I knew them all right away in my mind, but I couldn't get them out very well. Then I started getting scared that I was going to be one of those people that my brain works perfectly, but I can't communicate and no one knows that I understand and I'm just a "vegetable" my whole life and everyone will end up not talking to me and leaving me alone all the time.

Seriously it was a very scary and depressing little while.

Some of the ENT's started asking my mom questions like if I've ever done anything like this before, if I had been drinking, etc. I know they probably have to ask those questions, but it was making me so frustrated. I wanted to say, "Yeah, I do this all the time. I totally have time for this. I just need all the extra attention and I love paying ridiculous amounts of money to ride in ambulances to a hospital that is maybe 2 minutes away."

Of course, none of that was said...Probably a good thing I still couldn't talk at that point.

Long story short, we got to the hospital, I started feeling better again. They did 2 EKG's - one on my bathroom floor and one in my hospital room - both normal. They did a CT scan in the hospital. I was really scared about doing that because I get claustrophobic, but luckily it was just a head CT and I didn't have to go in all the way - but I still kept my eyes closed the whole time. Everything came back normal so they ordered a CT with iodine to look to see if I had had a brain aneurism.

I've watched Grey's long enough to know I better not have, because Derek Shepherd has lost quite a few of those, and if Derek can't save them, I was a goner. I was also scared about the iodine, because my sister had an allergic reaction to that and I really didn't want that to happen to me. They put benadryl in my IV to help with that and then did the iodine. The woman said it would make me very hot and make me feel like I peed my pants. It was so, so weird feeling the medicine go into my IV SO quickly, then starting at my head getting extremely hot and working it's way quickly down my body. It definitely felt like I peed, and I was so scared! No worries, I didn't.

That CT came back normal as well. By this time it's about 3 am and the doctor said the next test was a lumbar puncture. I had been sleeping off and on for awhile and was feeling better, so we said we just wanted to leave. They discharged us with papers saying I had been treated for "A Headache.".... However, because I had the test with the iodine, they said I couldn't nurse for 48 hours.

Start over with the depressed feelings.

We have a friend who is a medical resident who said he thinks it sounds like I had an Atypical Migraine. Apparently they are a lot different than regular migraines and present as a stroke. Luckily I definitely didn't have a stroke and haven't had any of those symptoms since then (except for a headache pretty constantly).

Also, miraculously, the next morning I woke up feeling fine about not being able to nurse. I really felt like whatever is supposed to happen, will happen, and she really will be ok even if she can't nurse. Now, since then, I have still cried about it and it makes me very sad to think it really may not ever work (we still to this day are working on it. She will nurse probably once a day (or less) but for the most part is only on formula. When I pump, I still only get about 1/2 oz - 1 oz. usually only out of one side), but I'm definitely not as stressed as before.


LynnEl Springer said...

I'm so glad you wrote about this. It is interesting to read about what was going on in your mind while all this was happening to you! It was the scariest thing ever! BTW, I did not help you to lie down! When I went into the bathroom you were already on the floor lying down. It was awful. Never do any of that night again!!

I love you!

Karen said...

Thank you for sharing the whole story. The little bit I knew from Facebook freaked me out! I've been so worried about you!

Ash Kelley said...

This story terrified me and I'm so glad you are doing better. I've got a friend who's husband has the same kind of migraines and he does all of the same things. His speech slurs, loses control of arms and legs, etc. . I hope you never have another one again!


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