June 16th is a very memorable day for me when it comes to my transition into motherhood. Though my story officially started the day Riley was born, 4-7-2010, this day will forever haunt me as one of the darkest and most depressing days of my life.
I had severe anxiety which turned into complete insomnia. I was so exhausted my mind had taken over and rest was just not possible any more. So after another long night of racing thoughts and no sleep, the ride to hell continued. My morning started with a desperate call to my obstetrician's office. I had been struggling for 10 weeks, doubting myself as a mother. I blamed the heart palpitations, shortness of breath, anxiety and panic on exhaustion, both physical and mental. The fluctuation in hormones didn't help either. But on this day, I felt like my deceiving mind had taken me to the brink of hopelessness, the little light at the end of the tunnel had vanished...I had come unraveled. I was scared and ready to give up, I could no longer stand to be in my own skin.
That afternoon, John and I rode to the doctor's office for an urgent visit. Life seemed surreal once I was outside of the house. Others seemed to function just fine, life was progressing for them, they were "living". On the other hand, I felt like I was on a hamster wheel in a constant battle with my own mind.
My physician knew the minute she saw me that I was in the midst of a crisis, I was in need of help, more help than she could offer. I told Dr. Bennett that I knew I had a great life, a wonderful husband, supportive family, and a beautiful baby girl but I just couldn't feel it any more. My mind was on a one way train, headed to nowhere, and no one could stop it, not even me.
After discussing my birth trauma, anxiety, the intrusive thoughts I was having, OCD tendancies, sleepless nights and stress on our marriage, she confirmed that I was suffering from Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder. I hoped that meant someday I was going to recover and feel like myself again. As she stepped out of the room momentarily, I felt some relief because there was actually a diagnosis for the emotional roller coaster I had been on. However, the relief was short lived.
When she came back she stated that I was to go straight to Pine Rest to be evaluated by a psychiatrist. She gave John strict instructions to stop at home for my breast pump but I was not to leave the vehicle for any reason. This devastating news almost jolted me back into normalcy but my brain was too sick to find that on its own. I needed help, alot of help...
When we arrived at home, my mom greeted the car. She put her arms around me and held me tight like so many other times in my life. She reassured me she would take great care of Riley and support John for as long as we needed her. In a hysterical, yet deeply depressed state I said good-bye to my 10 week old baby. I sobbed the entire ride from downtown to 68th Street. Once we arrived at the Pine Rest campus, again I felt like I was detached from reality. Was this really happening? All I wanted was a baby, not a nightmare...
Please follow my story over the next couple of days as I document my weeklong stay as an inpatient at Pine Rest and my road to recovery.
Your Village Doula,