As I laid in the bed listening to my girls’ heartbeats and kicks on the monitor this morning, I cursed myself for making the phone call to my OB. I had been having constant pain in my abdomen for four days, which peaked to a point that I broke down in tears from the pain. She sent me in for monitoring, and it turned out I was having irregular but mild contractions. The doctors concluded that nothing was wrong, and I just needed to continue my high water intake and take it easy. It seemed that the pain I was experiencing would just be my new normal for these last couple of months.
About half an hour in, the on-call residents asked the sweet nurse if she thought the mother-baby unit consultation time would be a good opportunity to present the new initial risk assessment for postpartum depression. One of them made the point that they would be more likely to tell the truth in writing, rather than say it out loud.
My ears perked up-my husband knew I was about to interject my opinion at them through the curtain. I resisted…For a minute.
My nurse came in to adjust one of my monitors. I told her that I had overheard, and as an advocate for PPMDs, and a contributor here at Postpartum Progress, I agreed wholeheartedly. Knowing that many mothers do not seek help because they are afraid to say things, or speak up, I went on to say that a written questionnaire would be a great place to start, especially for a pre-discharge screening. I told her that any screening would be great, since the hospital system did not have a screening program three years prior when I had my son. That it took me six months and a lot of struggling for me to get a diagnosis.
After she left, she told the residents what I had said. One of them poked his head in, introduced himself, and said “Thank you-I feel affirmed.” I thanked him and told him how thrilled I was that any sort of screening had been implemented-that this was a great step.
I settled back in to the beeps and blips and my husband grabbed my hand. “I know you’re feeling silly for being here when there seems to be nothing wrong. But see? You’re in here for a reason.”
I hope so, Honey. I hope so.