PND after traumatic birth

Hi

I have recently been diagnosed with postnatal depression and anxiety following the birth of my son 12 weeks ago.

From 30 weeks pregnant i was having a lot of reduced movement and therefore was induced at 37 weeks. I was in labour for 3 days until i was taken for an emergency c-section. During the section there were further complications as baby’s head became stuck in my pelvis and took much longer to be delivered. Once he was delivered i expected him to be given to me for skin to skin contact. This did not happen due to him becoming stuck on the way out and was presenting some problems getting his breath.

Eventually once he became more stable and i was all sewn back up we were taken down to my hospital room. I expected to be able to hold him in my room but this still did not happen due to him presenting some feeding problems. He was taken to the neonatal unit so they could check him over and he returned an hour later. Less than an hour after returning he was taken back to neonatal as the midwife suspected he had downs syndrome due to his facial features. My partner went with baby and i was then left alone in my hospital room for almost 3 hours after being told they suspected downs syndrome. I then phoned my mother to come up as i did not want to be alone- i had still not held him at this point. 

Once i was fit enough to visit him i made my way to the neonatal unit where we were met by a consultant. He told us that our baby fell into the category of babies that are very very likely to have downs syndrome and to prepare ourselves for the news that he definitely has it- he would send bloods to confirm diagnosis and that they would be back the next day or the day after. Our baby was to remain in the unit due to having antibiotics as a precaution as i had a temperature during labour. 

I first got to hold my baby 13 hours after he had been born. During the next 2 days of him being in the unit my contact with him was very limited due to staff being reluctant. I was often told “we have just got him settled, leave him”.

He was returned to my room on the ward 2 days after he was born. The following day i was told i was being discharged but baby could not return home with me due to the blood test results being delayed. We were told that i could stay with him in the unit or return home without him until the results came back.

At the time i was so exhausted and instead of resting after my C-Section i had spent all day and night in the unit with our baby so had prolonged my recovery time and therefore made the decision to go home to get myself properly rested and on the mend so that when baby could come home i would be able to look after him.

He spent a further 2 days in the unit and we later challenged the consultant as to why he could not return home as they were not doing anything medical with him in the unit and community midwifes offered to visit daily and we would bring him back in for the results. The consultant was very reluctant to let him come home and originally wouldnt let him come home but half an hour later he returned to tell us that the blood results had came back and he did not have downs syndrome. We were thrilled at this news but at the same time a little upset due to our baby being kept in hospital.

When we returned home i remember feeling totally different than i had when we were in the hospital. He didnt feel like my baby, i didnt want to feed him, change him or even touch him and had no bond with him at all. I have put this down to having limited contact with him during those first days. I got over that feeling over the next few days with the support of my partner and mother and noticed that i had started to feel the complete opposite. I had become extremely possessive over the baby and didnt like anyone apart from my mother and partner touching him or caring for him. Being away from him for long periods of time gives me anxiety to the point where i physically cant breathe and i keep thinking back to being in the unit and not being allowed to hold him. 

I feel in a way my PND and anxiety is stemming from the first week of babys life but also i have a horrible feeling of guilt for coming home myself and leaving him in the hospital. I feel like such a bad mum for leaving him. I look at him and my heart just feels like its going to burst with the love i have for him but i cant help thinking he deserves a mum so much better than me.

I have been put on fluoxetine for 6 weeks now and had my dosage upped due to no change. I have been referred for counselling but havent had an appointment through yet.

Since starting the fluoxetine i have developed sever paranoia regarding the baby- Im convinced something is going to happen to him/me. Im constantly checking to make sure he is breathing, i set alarms for every 30 minutes when he is sleeping to check. In the first weeks after coming home i would be out walking with the pram daily but now if my partner is at work i never have the motivation to do anything or leave the home. I very rarely get changed out of pjs and i hate looking in the mirror because all i want to do is cry. 

When i was pregnant i expected my life to be perfect once baby arrived and i feel like such a failure it hasnt turned out that way.

please someone tell me it eventually gets better

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  • Hi, firstly congratulations on your baby. You must have given birth very close to when I did as my little boy is 12 weeks old on Wednesday. 

    I can sympathise with the way you are feeling as the first 6/7 weeks I really struggled and was also put on fluoxetine however I only got prescribed 2 weeks and to be reviewed at my 8 week check up and I said I didn't want to continue taking them. 

    I felt exactly the same as you whilst being pregnant, couldnt wait and thought everything would be perfect, baby would sleep, eat and poo. 

    I went 6 days overdue and after a failed sweep as cervix was unreachable on 5 days over I woke up the next day and went to the toilet and realised my waters had broke but the was meconium (baby poo) in them. I went to hospital and was placed on the hormone drip however after 8 hrs of what ended up being unbearable pain I was checked and cervix was still very high up and had only just started to soften so was taken for an emergency caesarean. At the time I wasn’t really bothered I think the pain took over and I just wanted it to stop. It really hit me hard afterwards though, I had to stay in for 2 days as baby was only on 2nd percentile for weight and to check he hadn’t got an infection from the poo and I just felt an overwhelming sense of anxiety that something was bad was going to happen. I tried breastfeeding but the first day he pretty much just slept and wouldn’t latch on so I ended up formula feeding. I was listening to every single noise and panicking, it kept sounding like he was choking and I couldn’t move quick enough due to the pain from the caesarean and I was petrified. After I got discharged it didn’t get any better, I was exhausted from being awake for nearly 3 whole days and I just couldn’t relax. I felt like I was doing everything wrong, when he was sleeping I couldnt duento worrying he’d stop breathing or listening out to his noises. I didn’t want to leave the house do anything. 

    Luckily my mum lives near by and came over a lot to help and now we have mended up moving in with her due to selling our property and our new one falling through. She has my little boy overnight once a week and we stay out to catch up on sleep. My little boy is a terrible sleeper, he can only fall asleep on me and then once I put him down during the day he wakes up after 30 mins max, at night he will sleep for a max of 4 hrs straight and is still feeding twice in the night but from 3-4am onwards he is continuously moving around flailing his arms and legs and body all over the place. His eyes are closed but he eventually wakes himself up and I cannot sleep through it even when he is anyway. 

    I felt so guilty at first leaving him like I was a failure and it does still get to me but I’ve come to realise that if I don’t get the help and am sleep deprived continuously it really does affect my mood and outlook. 

    I like to do everything myself as well and the moment he cries it has to be holding him I don’t want anyone else to. It does get better though, I still feel very anxious and there are days where I just want the day to be over but they are very few and far in between now. I don’t think the worry ever goes but you just have to try and manage it and sometimes take a step back. 

    We have had a few issues with reflux and potential cows milk protein allergy so we are on prescribed milk, I feel my PND stemmed from these issues. 

    Try and get in touch with a place called think action, google it and they will get in contact with you. If you need to talk just message me as I know what it feels like x

  • Hey girls sorry to but it but I had my baby 3 weeks ago and she was 5 weeks early and what use are describing is exactly how I feel now like I can’t sleep incase something bad happens like choking. When she was born she had a heart murmur which thankfully has mended itself now but every night I feel like if I sleep she will stop breathing.

    i went home today after a hospital visit and cried for 4 hours straight just feeling like I have failed as a mum and like my baby girl deserves someone better than me. I opened up to my mum who has said to stay with her for a few nights to see if that helps as am alone at home as my partner walked out when I was 4 month pregnan.

    am scared to go to the doctors because am ashamed of myself for not been able to cope on my own and I know it’s silly but it’s just so hard to shift the feeling away 

  • You have not failed your little girl at all. You are giving her everything she needs right now despite how you are feeling. Never feel ashamed, it is so difficult being a mum let alone on your own. It is such a big change and you become petrified something is going to happen. Not sleeping is like torture and the less sleep you have your feelings will get worse. 

    If you feel like its not getting any better go to your gp, do not feel ashamed or less of yourself, you will be surprised how many people feel this way and get help, it just doesn’t get spoke about. X

  • Oh hun your post just made me cry, what an incredibly hard journey you have been on. You really should congratulate yourself for still going after 12 weeks 🙂!

    I has terrible anxiety after having my little girl and it’s still not ‘fixed’ But is better. I was told that it was good i  pinpoint the cause (a hospital admisson at 3days old) and for You the lack of contact and misdiagnosis because it gives you something to work through, so sounds like counselling will be helpful. 

    Oh and Lizzie I distinctly remember telling my mum my little girl deserved a better mother! I’m now 8weeks and some days I still think that but then there are always the times when only I can settle her and I realise that to her she has the best Mum ever even if I dont agree! 

    I also still check my baby is breathing, my partner thinks I’m bonkers but the way I see it is, if that’s the worse thing im doing then I’m doing okay. 

    We all just need to keep going 🙂 x

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