[Editor’s Note: Premature birth is a risk factor for moms developing postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. But today’s Warrior Mom wasn’t told anything about PPD. She shares her story so other preemie moms might not suffer alone like she did. -Jenna]
Before I got pregnant and for most of my pregnancy, I had never heard of PPD. It was supposed to be the happiest time of my life. A new little bundle of joy that you cherish and love so so much. How could you feel depressed?
My pregnancy was amazing besides worrying myself through the first trimester. My husband is a Marine, and at the time, we were stationed in Georgia. During my second trimester we made our trip to Twentynine Palms, California and that was absolutely miserable while being pregnant!
I remember getting there and John telling me he had to leave for training for a month or so. I spent that month planning and setting up. I had this amazing birth plan, nursery was set up, and everything was prepared. John got back just in time for Halloween.
At the time I was about 29 weeks and not even considering little man coming anytime soon. We handed out candy that night; it was a beautiful night. I was so hot though and I remember telling John, “I have to shower. I am soaked from sweat!”
We went to bed that night like normal. John had Duty the next morning which meant for 24 hours he would be gone doing Marine stuff. I got up out of bed to help him attach his shirt stays and that’s when everything fell apart.
I had to pee, and when I went, I filled the toilet with blood. John dropped me off at the hospital so he could go to work and that’s when the doctors realized that my water had broken. I was on the verge of infection and having contractions as well. Since Twentynine Palms Naval Hospital does not have a NICU, I was air lifted to Desert Regional in Palm Springs.
I was only 30 weeks.
I spent the next four weeks in the hospital on bed rest. Being moved back and forth from labor and delivery due to contractions. I was induced at 34 weeks, and gave birth to our son at 34 weeks and 1 day.
When he arrived, they placed him in my arms. He was struggling to breathe. It was the worst feeling in the world. They rushed him away, along with my husband, and I laid there for two hours before I could see him.
The hospital had a hotel next to it that offered a free stay for situations like this. We were there for two weeks. I cried daily. All day long. I lost my temper with the NICU nurses, my husband, and myself. I felt like this was all my fault. My body gave up. It forced him out of his safe place into a world of needles and pain.
No one ever spoke to me about PPD.
When we got to take our son home, it felt so amazing. But at the same time, I felt so stressed. I worried constantly.
I went for my doctors appointment and filled out the depression screening and lied. I didn’t want to be THAT mom who should be happy but I was miserable. My marriage felt stressed to the point that it was scary. I did not feel a connection to my son because I just couldn’t see how he could love me when I forced him out so early.
I finally realized I needed help after laying in bed one night thinking, “He would be better off if I was not here.”
I made an appointment the next day and got put on medication. It helped. I will never forget that feeling of actually realizing I was a little happy.
My husband then deployed. I am now back home waiting for him to get back and spending my days loving on our little boy. I have bad days still but for the most part I am getting better.
I realize there was nothing I could have done to stop that situation. My son loves me. I love my son. I treasure those smiles and the kisses.
He’s almost eight months old and I would do everything over again in a heartbeat. I feel like I am finally better. We are just patiently waiting for daddy to get back home and to start our new story.