Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Not quite happily ever after

I have been living with a pretty nasty case of postpartum depression/ anxiety. By anxiety I really mean terror and panic. I cry for hours every day, needless to say I am not enjoying my infant very much. I worry constantly . If he vomits, I freak out. If he poops too much. If he coughs, snorts, or grunts. My biggest fear is that he will slip away silently in his sleep, so I keep a vigil. Checking him often which cuts into my sleep. He is so precious an irreplaceable to me. If anything happened to him I wouldn't survive it.

 Today I saw the clinical social worker that works out of my OB's clinic. I had seen her about a dozen times a couple of years ago, right after the miscarriages. I like her very much but my feeling has always been that when it comes to real illness, she is slightly out of her depth. Back then I switched to a psychiatrist, insurance paid but shes out of network and to see her again would require paperwork and probably a wait. She is always booked solid. The clinical social worker asked my OB to prescribe zoloft which I had taken in the fall/ winter of 2009. I also asked for ativan to get me over the hump, but she said she would really rather not ask the doctor for that as its addictive. I almost laughed considering the amount and duration of narcotics they had me on  after my C section. A little ativan until the zoloft kicks in seems like small potatoes. I know I need to do the hard work of being positive, relaxation breathing and all of that. I just want a little help. I wrote the OB and asked her myself today. If she says no, then she will need to write me a new refferal to the prescriber.

I have not been able to nurse the baby. Long story short, I never got any milk in. Ive pumped 6-8 times per day for the past 3.5 weeks with very little to show for it each time. Titus wouldn't really properly latch and nurse until last week. now that he will there isnt any milk. I get anywhere from 10 to 30ml. per pump. Today I had to say enough is enough. Ive seen lactation consultants. While they have lots of great tips for getting the baby to latch and drink.. not so much for building a milk supply. Of course I had a rough start with the C section, the NICU time etc. Still gutted about the whole thing. I really dont want this baby to live on fortified cows milk. Formula even smells bad to me.  There are no opperational milk banks in my area.

I wanted to switch to my baby blog but to be honest I havnt had the energy to set it up yet, and until I dig my way out of this hole I dont feel like I am quite done here. I so much wanted to enjoy this early time with my baby. He is doing fantastic by the way. All the concern is all in my head. I know this. At the rate he has been going he should hit 7 lbs tomorrow.  I am healing up reasonably well from the C section. Brian returns to work tomorrow, after his 3 week paternity leave. My mom will be with me for the better part of a week.

If any of you have experience with post partum depression or anxiety please share.


  1. Oh Emily,

    I'm so sorry you're going through this. I didn't experience PPD/PPA myself but a close friend did. She ended up taking whatever SSRI she had been on earlier in her life and felt much better within a couple of weeks. I will say that when I was going through some intense anxiety issues during pregnancy Zoloft helped very quickly, within two weeks the worst of the anxiety was under control. Hopefully it will have the same quick effect on you.

    Things will get better, I can promise you that. The first weeks are so intense - the sleep deprivation, the newness of everything, the hormones. I think once you get some medication in you and things normalize you will feel much better.

    I hope that is the case. Keeping you in my thoughts and in my heart.

  2. Me! Me!!! (raising hand)!!

    I suffered with PPD and let me just say.. If I can come through it with a smile at the end... Anybody can! I was prescribed Zoloft, and it helped immensely within a couple of weeks. Even though I still had my rough days.. At least I wasn't welcoming a head-on collision or scheming how to leave my baby on someone's doorstep and run away. Yes, I realize that this makes me sound like I néed to be locked up... But I am completely back to a normal sane person now (my baby turns one on the 5th)... And if throwing myself under a bus ends up helping another brand new mommy in need, then so be it!

    I would really push for the Ativan though! To get you over this initial hump! Oh sweet sweet Ativan... How I miss you! It IS addictive.. I'll admit.. But If youve got the balls to admit that you need it in the first place, then you are a strong enough person to call it a day when the bottle runs out! So, my suggestions are to :

    1.breathe. ((this too shall pass.. I promise))

    2. Get on Zoloft/Prozac --whatever anti-depressant fits you best

    3. Plead your case about the Ativan. It will help the most right now.

    Here's my email addy if you need to talk to someone who was in the same deep hole that you are in just 12 short months ago:

    Hang in there... It gets easier/better! ((((hugs))))

  3. I'm so sorry to hear that you are struggling, Emily. PPD and anxiety bring many new mom's to their knees, so you are not alone. I haven't experienced it myself because I'm still TTC, but I know women who have. I have a resource for you, and if you're interested please email me.

    In regards to your milk supply...fenugreek and blessed thistle are great herbs that can help build your supply. Truthfully, the best way to bring your milk in is to let your little one suck. Breast pumps aren't as effective because they draw out the milk differently than a baby actually sucking. Finally, there is a program in Oregon called Eats On Feets. It's informed milk-sharing, and has gone nationwide in the last year. Check it out!! They have a Facebook page The main page is

    Hope that helps!! Hang in there, Mama!! You're gonna make it!!


  4. Emily- I am so sorry you are struggling and you remind me that I have the same predisposition to depression and I need to be aware. Push for your avitan. It sounds like Titus is thriving and that is good. I hope you get help and start feeling better soon. You worked to hard to get him, to feel bad.

  5. Emily, I just want to say that it takes an incredibly strong person to admit this, especially in writing! I do not have first hand experience with PPD (I was certain I would have PPD because of prior depression, but it passed me by), but I just had to comment to say good for you for saying this out loud. That courage tells me that you are going to get through this just fine!

  6. I had PPD with my first. And, though I tried meds, the thing that helped me most was (not that I recommend this) going back to work full time as soon as I possibly could.

    Though I had a bunch of paid maternity leave, I ended up not using it because I was just too stressed and panicky.

    Now, I'm not suggesting that you do this, but maybe some modified version of spending some more time out of the house and away from the baby, especially while your mom is there.

  7. Oh Emily - I'm sorry you're dealing with this. I can't say that I've been there, but others have so listen to their advice. Love to all of you.

  8. Oh hun, I have no experience with PPD personally, but do know other moms - and every single one emerged. You will too. Also, you tried SO hard with nursing - sometimes it just doesn't work. I'm surprised your lactation consultant didn't suggest domperidone. I have been on that since Addy was 6 weeks old and it is what keeps me nursing. Without it, she did not get enough milk. Thinking of you....