the inner workings of postpartum ptsd

Story time Tuesday. I will be sharing bits and pieces of my journey it’s a lot for me to process and it takes a lot for me to recall and put things into words. But it all needs to be said to gain understanding of where I am today …

The day is August 12. We woke up to take my son to his first check up.

I had just given birth that Monday with a 3 day hospital stay. As soon as I arrived home I started feeling really off. I was so extremely dizzy I felt like I had been hit by a bus. Every time I tried to breast feed my son my heart would race and the room would spin. I didn’t know what breast feeding should feel like so I just kept doing it and dealing with the really uncomfortable side effects …

that morning I stared at myself in the mirror. I looked like a ghost. There was this emptiness inside of me. I was happy to be home, happy to know kai and I had made it through the birth (which was a miracle)  There was a sense of pride in my heart. But I felt EMPTY.

We showed up at my sons appointment that Friday and I started feeling worse. I started feeling really hot and nauseous on top of my extreme dizziness. His pediatrician offered me water then asked me if I felt ok. I told her what had been going on the past couple of days. She looked at me and said “I think you should head back to the hospital. You don’t look ok.”

( looking back now nothing up to that point had been ok. It was silly of me to think the storm had passed)

I arrived in the ER they rushed me back. My blood pressure was 198/122. Normal range is 120/80. With my background in health care I knew that kind of reading was not ideal to say the least. They ran a few labs and sent me home with blood pressure medication (they had decided I was safe to leave)

On our way home we had to make a quick stop. I sat there in the target parking lot waiting for my boyfriend to run an errand when all of a sudden this rush came over me. Like a cold chill. My hands and face started getting sweaty I could feel my heart racing and literally see it pumping through my shirt. I knew something was terribly wrong. I called 911 and shortly after the paramedics arrived.

I will never forget that ambulance ride.

I don’t remember what my readings were when I was picked up. I remember the paramedics asking me questions. I was answering them back then I slowly felt my foot go numb.. then my leg.. then my left hand.. and my arm.  I remember asking him with what little voice I had in me still (fear was coarsing through my veins) “I can’t feel my left side is that ok?” He stared at me and starting doing tests on my legs and hands but at this point I couldn’t move my left side at all. Apparently, I had failed his exam.  All I remember him saying to the driver was…” I need you to hit the lights she might be stroking out” 

Those words…. I can CLEARLY  hear them in my head even 8 months later. They fell on me like a giant boulder. At that moment through the sirens and the rush of getting poked and prodded I remember looking out the window of the ambulance in complete shock. 1,000 questions running through my mind..Was I seriously about to die? I hadn’t even been home more than a week with my baby? How the hell is this even fair?!

I arrived at the hospital to officially be put on stroke alert. I was put in a room with maybe 4 doctors and 3 nurses. All My clothes were removed I had blood being taken from both arms. At this point I could see what was going but I had mentally clocked out. I saw my boyfriend arrive, I remember staring at kai in his car seat so innocent and small I remember thinking “I’m sorry you’ll never get to meet your mom” ..”I’m sorry I wasn’t strong enough for you” .. “I guess I won’t be there to watch you grow up”  

The reality of that set in and a sadness so incredibly deep swept over me. A gigantic wave of pain flooded my heart. I was then wheeled away to the CT scan where two neurologist poked me with needles on both arms and legs. Still nothing from my left side  it was completely lifeless. At this point I guess I had reached an epiphany.  I remember thinking to myself  “ok, this might just be my time to go” all the fear in me subsided completely, I decided To just breathe, relax, and let it happen. If this was Gods plan than what can I do?

I guess that wasn’t his plan. It took 3 more days in the hospital a lot of therapy, crying, yelling, panic attacks, praying, magnesium sulfate drips, medication I don’t remember,  numerous ekg’s because my standing heart rate was 188 and higher (I couldn’t even walk without fainting) and a few MRI’S to come to the conclusion of 1) An Acute migraine or 2) an adverse reaction to the medication that made my blood pressure drop too suddenly. I was eventually discharged that Monday night. (The strength in my left side eventually came back over the course of a week and a half)

Those were the scariest 3 days of my life. When I got home from that hopsital stay I knew mentally something was really off . I would see kai and I felt like there was a huge wall between us. I couldn’t really recognize him or myself anymore. Those 3 days away from my newborn did so much damage. Damage I’m not even close to fixing yet.

So, at this point one week postpartum I had racked up an illness that lasted 9 months, a birth that left me scarred, and a scary terrible event that left me completely shattered.

This was the straw that broke the camels back.

The event that sent me into the abyss.

This is the moment PTSD came Rearing it’s ugly head into my life

My first night back home

10 thoughts on “the inner workings of postpartum ptsd

  1. I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that! Your beautiful boy will grow up to know what his amazing beautiful mom did for him! I think my sister in law is going through this. She is 4 months and have to keep getting injections. What do you think I can do to help her get through this? I’m not sure if she was diagnose with HG but it sounds like she has it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a couple support groups on FB I found helpful she can vent on there and find stuff out. There is also the HER website for hyperemesis. You can ask her what she needs .. help around the house or maybe just speaking words of encouragement to her so she knows she’s not alone 🙂

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    2. A couple tips. Do not minimize her experience. She isn’t “just pregnant”, she is sick with a severe pregnancy complication that is usually terrible to go through.
      Housework is amazing help. Try to limit the amount of smells in the house and on you when you visit though as it can make it worse.
      Ask her what her safe food is and buy it in bulk.
      Get her in a support group. There are some amazing ones on facebook and the mommies there are usually amazing and so so empathetic.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was diagnosed with EDNOS after HG because I had such a mental block towards food after my pregnancy. I would hardly eat because I was so scared of getting sick again.
        There really needs to be better support and resources for women after HG (or pregnancy in general) because that first year is hard enough taking care of a new baby without all the last issues that come with!

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      2. Oh no! My body rejects food on its own all the time now it’s probably a mental thing but it is getting better.. just some days I don’t eat Since I’m so grossed out. How long did that last for you? Did you also get PPD?

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      3. Yup. I thought that was a given. Haha but it’s gotten a lot better these days.
        And I saw a dramatic improvement at about 6 months pp for me! I actually started gaining weight!!

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