PND after traumatic birth
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