I feel like I should start off by saying, I really do love my son.
However our journey together so far has certainly been one that has tested me.
I suffered anxiety prior to my son being born, however when I found out I was pregnant my gp recommended I weane myself off my medication by my third trimester. I was really eager to come off my medication and found myself feeling great mentally.
During my pregnancy I had only one small issue. I had additional fluid. However I had no signs of gestational diabetes, or fetus abnormalities. It was put down to my body just producing too much fluid and when bub was born they would check his throat to ensure he was swallowing ok.
I had planned for a natural birth with epidural. However i was eager to go with the flow, being my first baby i had nothing to compare it to.
I reached 40 weeks and 4 days. Still no sign of our little baby was ready to make his entrance, however he had become stressed. So my OB reccomended we do a csection to be booked in that day.
The next thing I knew I was on the operating theatre, husband beside me and we waited eagerly for that cry.
It’s a boy…. HARRY was born, but where was his cry?
My husband’s face was in aww. His mouth was open but he couldnt speak, he was so happy. All I could think was “where was his cry?”
They brought Harry around and the nurse said it’s definitely a boy. I took one look and something wasn’t right. Mucus was coming out of this little mouth and I could make out a faint small bird like cry. My first words were “what is wrong with him?”
They then whisked him away to the “nursery” and my husband in tow and I was left there.
“… So this is birth”
“I can’t remember what he looked like”
” what does “nursery” mean?”
I was wheeled into recovery and my mind was racing. What was going on. Is our family members surrounding my baby and I haven’t touched him yet? What’s a nursery? Why do I have to wait? Did he have my eyes?
I started to feel myself going into a downward spiral. I felt empty. Emotional. Uneasy. Unsure. Scared. Where is my husband? Is my baby ok?
I asked how long I needed to wait. I was told ” Didn’t anyone tell you, you need to stay here for 2 hours?”. Tears streamed down my face, what was going on. The nurse noticed I was crying “your baby doesn’t need this right now.”
But the aswer to her questions was no, not at any stage was I told this was to happen. I genuinely didn’t know. But her words hurt, and I felt stupid that i didn’t know.
These words hurt my entire soul. What was going on.
5 hours went by from when I last saw Harry. I was wheeled into a shared room of four beds. There was 3 other new mums, all with there babies.
I was still unsure as to what had happened, where was my husband? was my baby ok?
I asked a nurse to phone my mum as I knew her number off by heart. The nurse called my mum. My mum was amazing she called my husband to let him know where i was, he had been waiting outside the ICU, he too had no idea what was happening. Apparently they refer to the ICU as the nursary. I’m guessing to make It sound less scary.
An hour later I was wheeled into the ICU,
Harry was put on cpap, a breathing device to help him breathe, his lungs were too weak.
6 hours had passed and it felt like days.
Not because I was overjoyed with emotions like everyone talks about when you first clasps eyes on your baby. I cried because I felt nothing.
6 hours had pass, 6 hours of complete heart wrenching torture. I laid around for 6 hours stuck in my own head.
I was angry and I was heart broken. What was wrong with me, why didn’t I feel that overwhelming all consuming love and happiness.
Our Harry spent 4 days in the ICU. I was able to hold him, 24 hours after he was born. My first hold lasted for 60 seconds before he became too stressed and needed to be back on the cpap machine. My husband held him 3 days after he was born.
I remember making my way down to my room from the ICU after a feed. I was greeted to the same happy three new mums and their brand new babies. Beaming, over joyed, sharing their magical moment with family members. We were only able to share photos.
I cried and cried. I still felt nothing. My husband started to notice something wasn’t right. When I opened up about how I felt, i was met with relief. He felt the same way. “We will learn to love him, and get to know him” This sentence was exactly what I needed to hear.
And looking back if he wasn’t so supportive at this very moment it very well could have been the final straw for me mentally.
However these words of encouragement didn’t make me snap out of this funk.
Harry was able to leave the ICU after 5 days. And still I wasn’t happy. We came home and still I felt empty. I started to think horrible thoughts.
My husband and mum both suggested I see my gp about my feelings.
The GP suggested I go back on my medication. I was breastfeeding at the time and my husband was incredibly supportive.
I didn’t know what to do, would this harm my baby if I started on the medication and continued breastfeeding? At this point in my life I genuinely couldn’t make a decision for myself. Mentally I had checked out. Prior to Harry I was outgoing, bubbly, motivated, hard working and extremely determined and looking in the mirror i genuinely didnt know who was staring back at me.
My husband said to my Dr, I want my wife to be happy. If the medication will effect the breastmilk then we will formula feed. My wife needs to come first.
And other mum’s need to know this. If you are not taking care of you first, then how can you expect yourself to take care of someone else. It’s not selfish. And this was something I struggled with.
It was a hard three months. It was tough with or without medication. I certainly went into a dark place. Lucky for myself and my situation I was surrounded by a supportive family, a fantastic husband and a great gp. I was diagnosed with PND.
My love took time with Harry. Like falling in love or meeting your significant other. Some people fall in love at first sight. Other people take time, some even years, before they realise how madly in love they are. And for us it took time. I needed to get to know Harry. Learn what he likes and dislikes. Discover his quirks and what made him unique.
When I saw Mummy Time Co, reach out for birth stories. I wanted to share mine. I wanted to share a not so glamorous, happily ever after, because this is the reality for so many women. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed because this is my reality and my story. And this journey has made me really appreciate where both Harry I are today, I’m proud I survived. Because there was many moment I didn’t think I could go on.
I do believe not having that moment together in those first few moments of his life effected my mental health. I do believe that having a pre existing mental health condition triggered my mental health again after having Harry. I don’t feel it was appropriate to have been put in a 4 bedded room with three other new mums and their new babies. It was like having an instagram feed right in your face of all these happy moments and picture perfect images thrown right in your face. While your baby is in a completely different floor not knowing how he is.
And all these different factors resulted in my not so perfect birth story.
And this is my reality.
My birth wasn’t like the movies, it was possibly the hardest and darkest moment of my life. However reflecting from then and now, we are 1000 times better, and if your going through a similar situation it will get better. You are doing a great job and dont be scared to speak up if you dont feel ok.
I couldn’t imagine my life without Harry. It just took me time to fall deeply and madly in love with him.