Baby’s First Month

The first month has been rough. Today my daughter is a month old and it’s been a tough experience. My partner went back to work on Tuesday and so for the last 3 days I’ve been looking after my daughter on my own.

In all honesty, I spent most of my partners paternity leave secretly pissed off. He took a month off (two weeks paternity and two weeks holiday unlike most dads who just take paternity) to help in case I developed mental health issues. One of the biggest triggers to that is lack of sleep but I found myself with majority of the night shifts and sleeping 1-4 hours a day. My partner in that whole month maybe did 3 night shifts and that includes the first night in the hospital where I was in too much pain to walk or stand. The next was a few days later and there was an odd one during that month. That’s because the night he did it out the hospital (where he was fairly caught up on sleep) in the first week, he got annoyed and told her to shut up and later admitted he had been feeling down about everything and it sounded like he was describing postnatal depression. I could cope with less sleep so I took over.

When she was 8 days old, we took her to see my partner (GC) family. I was working on very little sleep and we spent 1 and a half to 3 hours at 3 different houses with his family. The first house I coped well, actually enjoyed it despite the fact it was his SIL. Second house was his sister who wouldn’t give me the baby back for the time we were there except for a feed. Her kids held the baby which was nice. But there was barely any talking so my partner found it boring. We then went up to his aunties.

Everyone was forewarned we were coming up.

We came up and she had her at least 6 cats in the same room as where myself, her, my daughter and partner had to sit. The cats getting cat hair everywhere and jumping in the pram. Despite the fact she’d promised if we came over, the cats would be out the way. So I was pretty angry and then one of the cats snared my jeans (which doesn’t sound like a big deal but they’re the only ones that fit well so don’t need them ruined). Coupled with the lack of sleep, postpartum pain, lack of food and drink, how angry I was and the fact I hadn’t actually held my daughter in about 4 hours. I just didn’t want to hold her. I feel horrible about that but it’s true. I didn’t want her near me I felt so down and like the bond between us had gone. Whenever my partner handed her to me I passed her off back to him or just held her like Rachel did Ross’ son in FRIENDS.

When we got home, rather than ask how I’d like to feed my child, he went and used one of the bottles of expressed milk. I went upstairs, but angered myself and came back down and told him if he thinks I’m doing such a bad job he can do it all and I’ll move the moses basket to his side of the bed. He told me he didn’t think I was doing a bad job but we should move the basket. So I went upstairs and chucked the basket onto his side. Laid down for a few minutes and then just got up and walked out of the house.

I never told my partner I thought about getting on the bus or the train and just not coming back. I just walked down to the shops with half working headphones and brought a ribena before heading back. I was gone about half an hour and as I was heading back GC met me and I told him off for coming – “arent I allowed to go and get a drink without being hassled”. GC tried to talk to me but I didn’t want to hear it. We came home and I just went to bed, rushing past my daughter. GC followed me up and we talked. I can’t remember what was said. All I remember was ending up crying because I wanted my daughter and ended up cuddling her most of the night.

I had a few wobbles but it was easier with my partner taking over the mornings and getting some sleep without waking, worrying if my kid is okay. I don’t think I truly appreciated it until he went back to work. I also don’t think the added stress of trying to not wake him up helps.

But since he went back to work, the tearful episodes have increased. I’ve felt more overwhelmed and upset, overprotective, sad… I guess depressed. I don’t know if it’s ‘normal’ depression or postnatal depression but I’m really struggling.

Life After Pregnancy: Labour

I’m lying in bed, able now to put my laptop on my stomach, next to my 3 week old baby and I’m finally able to write a blog that I’ve been meaning to write since she was born. My daughter was born on the 22nd of July.

I was booked in to be induced for week 39. Literal week 39 after it was found my water level had rapidly decreased (and was too low for someone with diabetes especially) and my daughter’s size was estimated to be over 8lbs. I found this out on 38+6weeks and was taken in the next day. I had to go to asda immediately after my diabetic clinic appt to pick up diabetic friendly meals for labour – high protein and low sugar. I’ve been saying I wanted to be induced for weeks but when it was moved up, I panicked. I realised that long to-do list I’d rewritten over and over and over again was not completed. So rather than follow my plan of spending the entire week finishing that list except Thursday where I would rest, I rushed as much as I could through the list on the Tuesday for my inducing on Wednesday.

I went in on Wednesday and I was straight on the ward. A few things I realised was that the hospital I was in is TERRIBLE at communicating with others. The midwife knew I was coming in but didn’t really know why I was being induced which I had to tell just about every midwife who dealt with me about. Talk about repeating yourself.

They did an exam and found I was already 3-4cm dilated and so didn’t need any hormones and all I actually needed was my waters to be broken. If I was actually left, I think I would have gone into labour on my due date. I was 3rd on the list at about 10am Wednesday morning. I was 1st on the list come Wednesday evening. Nothing all of Thursday. You can imagine just how impatient myself and my partner were getting. Especially me. I hate hospitals.

But Friday at 30 minutes past midnight, I was taken down to the labour ward. I was monitored and so was my baby and at about 1:30am, my waters were broken. A big gush of clear liquid and that was that. I was told to keep mobile, given gas and air to bring on the contractions but honestly I probably didn’t need to do that as the contractions came on hard and fast. At about 2-2:30am, I asked for pethidine as I had been advised against an epidural due to low blood pressure but I don’t think it did much as I felt every contraction and my about 6:15am I was pushing.

Now here is where things got pretty bad. The midwife I had said I wasn’t allowed the gas and air anymore and the pethidine was now pretty much out my system. I was on no pain relief. But the pethidine had made me tired which isn’t exactly what you want and due to gestational diabetes, energy drinks were off the table. The midwife half way through took her gloves off and put her ring on and she kept saying “hurry up, I want to see this baby before I go off shift at 7am”. My partner was the one who ended up having to be the other end through the pushing because if he wasn’t I would have no idea what was going on.

The hour of pushing past and the midwife went off shift and brought in someone else. She was a lot better, gave me more help and one last chance to push. I was so close to getting my daughter out thanks to her but I hadn’t much time for a few more pushes. They brought out the ventouse (like a plunger), some local anesthetic (which was shot into my vagina) and gave me an episotomy (a cut)  and then used the ventouse to pull my daughter out. They pulled her out and I bleed heavily, I had a cut and a 3rd (borderline 4th) degree tear (which is a tear through the vaginal tissue, perineal tissue and muscles that extend into the anus… TMI) and needed to go into surgery an hour after I was finished with labour.

That hour though, I got to hold my precious baby, I breastfed and got to see her and got to see my partner with her. It was honestly so amazing.

I was then taken down to surgery where I had to be given spinal anaesthetic to numb the lower half of my body. It took no less than 20 attempts of sticking a needle in my spine to find the right spot and having to get into multiple positions (including having to sit – imagine that!) and my spine is actually pretty easy to see as I’m pretty boney. They finally found the right spot, laid me down, put my numb legs in stirrups and began…

I remember feeling panicked but honestly I was so tired, I fell asleep on and off during the operation. I awoke just before I’d finished and there was a clock just opposite me. I had been in surgery for over two hours… It was only supposed to be 45 minutes. Turned out I began to heavily bleed during surgery and it took longer.

When the surgery was over, they took me to the cold recovery room and the stress, the cold and the spinal made me shake as if in shock. One of the people who performed my surgery got my baby and partner and as much as I wanted to hold my baby I knew it wasn’t wise with all the shaking. I got taken up to the labour ward after 15 minutes, I laid there with a cathider in and no feeling in my legs, feeling pretty rough.

My partner and I then spoke about what he saw during the labour. I lost a lot of blood, my daughter had the cord around her neck and came out blue and he described the tearing to me. Honestly, I didn’t care about what happened to me but I was pretty furious that the midwife had taken her gloves off with my daugther having the cord around her throat. How was she supposed to help being unsanitized and if she did, I risked infection…

I won’t go into the grisly details of healing or even what happened when my dad and brother saw her. But as of all of labour, I loved my daughter and seemed pretty postnatal depression free.

27 weeks: pregnancy and medication

I had an appointment with the perinatal psychiatrist recently. I’d recently got discharged from my old mental health team and am now with them and again I have a psychiatrist and a community psychiatric nurse. The first opinion I had of my new psychiatrist was that I didn’t have one. When I told people my opinion of her after the first meeting I said that she hadn’t really left much of an impression – good opinions take a while to form whilst bad ones of someone can take an instant. But I had some faith she’d do the job.

My new CPN  I didn’t much like. She said that everything I was experiencing with my mood was normal when I knew that it wasn’t and she also made me feel pretty bad for not wanting to do antenatal classes. I got invited to some a few weeks back, but I have since been umming and ahhing over whether to do it for numerous reasons but involving the fact that it was at the old youth group centre I used to go to and I didn’t want to bump into the old youth group leaders with their judgmental opinions about a 19 year old getting pregnant. But also another reason is that I had been feeling disconnected to the baby and that I didn’t want to spend an hour or so being reminded of the fact that I was. Plus antenatal classes haven’t always been a regular thing for pregnant women to attend and women have had babies just fine without them.

Another thing she said that annoyed me was that it didn’t matter if I was ill because I could get someone else to look after the baby. It’s true, I have my dad and the father of my baby but if it doesn’t matter whether I’m there for the baby, why am I even bothering to get better? After cooling off from the appointment I realised how she actually meant it but seriously? You work in this profession, you HAVE to know how to word this properly.

But the thing I want to talk about is my second appointment with the perinatal psychiatrist. I get called in and she has basically forgotten who I am which isn’t necessarily bad except when she got things wrong about my life e.g. she said I lived in a studio apartment when I live in a 4 bedroom house with overcrowding issues and I then corrected her, she actually argued with me and told me I was wrong… I have to live there everyday, I know exactly where I live.

She then was reading the appointment notes from the new CPN and she told me that “wanting to cut the baby out” was not normal – which I knew. Then went onto imply I wanted to hurt the baby except I’ve never had any intention of hurting the baby. Hurting myself, yes. Hurting the baby, never. She said if I’m having these thoughts and feeling depressed (and I am but only every so often and I haven’t actually felt that depressed in a while) then I needed to go back on medication whilst pregnant. I’ve always been against it. I don’t judge anyone who does, I really don’t. Every situation is different. But I know that I’m sensitive to side effects, I know I can handle the low moods as they are every so often, I don’t think taking antidepressants (as were the only medication mentioned at the time) is wise for an unborn baby to be exposed to.

But rather than talking rationally about my fears and answering questions she snapped at me telling me I needed the antidepressants and when I said to her about being bipolar and that JUST being on anti-depressants could cause mania or like last time, rapid cycling moods. That would be way worse than what’s going on now. She didn’t really give me much of an answer, just that she’d talk to my old psychiatrist (whom never actually prescribed antidepressants alone) and that if need be a mood stablizer would be added.

To be honest, when medication was mentioned way back in the first appointment, I researched what people said and yes the antidepressants have been found, in recent studies, to have minimal risks to the baby (so not completely risk free like she tried to make out and when I asked about the minimal risks, she had no answers for me) but mood stablizers are very dependent on which ones and even then the research is very split between the risks to an unborn baby even in the third trimester (everyone agrees that no meds of these sort should be taken in the first trimester).

But the fact I don’t like her isn’t based so much on the her different opinion on medications and stuff, it’s that she had very little respect for me. Wouldn’t discuss options, just told me what I had to do and several times implied that if I didn’t follow her opinions I was going to be a bad mum. So when she handed me a piece of paper to take to reception to make another appointment, I just walked out and didn’t make one.

I moaned to my dad; ranted. Then GC phoned me when my dad went to pick up my brother but could only stay on the phone for 5 minutes and once he hung up, I just balled my eyes out. I felt so guilty and bad and just cried. Until I hit this point where I got pissed off. Being  pregnant hasn’t been easy for me – physically or mentally but I’m doing better now. I actually have formed a connection with my child now (which if she actually let me speak I could have said) but even so still experience lightheadedness, feeling faint (up to the point of passing out), nausea – all sorts of stuff that make pregnancy still difficult but I’m doing well with it now and coming out of a perinatal psychiatric appointment feeling worse about myself as a mother is not something I think is good and is kinda the opposite reason why I go.

That afternoon, the CPN called me but it was on an unknown number and I wasn’t in the mood so ignored it, she left a message asking if I could call her back to confirm an appointment for the 6th of May. I haven’t called her back. Partly because I just don’t want to but also because she asked me my preferred method of contact and I said text and she calls me so I’m just waiting to see if she calls me back.

All in all, I’m very underwhelmed by the perinatal team and regret being changed to them.