Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lost or Never There?

Due to the weight loss, lack of nutrition to both Nathan and I, and my hyperemesis not responding to any medications, Nathan was induced at 38 weeks 1 day. When I got to the hospital it took the nurse and then an anesthesiologist over 2 hours to start the IV because my veins were such a used up mess. Once they got it started, by using a pediatric IV needle, they began the pitocin and Dr. Chen broke my water. Nathan was in a hurry to get out of my useless, starving body. My labor was very quick. He was out in just 3 light pushes. From pitocin to Nathan on my chest was only 2 hours and a few minutes. As my birth plan called for, the nurses allowed me hold him for about an hour, before they began their usual tasks. He was all sticky and white and he wasn’t crying. He was just looking at me with the biggest brown eyes. Those brown eyes were so different from Carson’s baby blues. Looking into his eyes, and seeing his soul looking back at me is unforgettable. For which I am eternally grateful.

For 8 months prior to his birth I was taking the highest dose permitted for a woman my size of Reglan, Zofran, Protonix, Pepcid, and vitamins through my IV, pump, and Picc line. My Reglan was delivered via a pump in my stomach. My home health company told me that directly after his birth it could be removed. As soon as the nurse took Nathan from my arms, I sat up and in a celebration of victory, I pulled the tube from my stomach and Cory, my nurse, pulled out my IV. Finally after 32 weeks of tubes I was free! I was sitting in the shower feeling the emotions of motherhood, but even more so feeling the emotions of freedom. A freedom from the nausea, freedom from the tubes, freedom from the needles, freedom from the twice-weekly delivery of IV bags, needles, tubing, and medicine vials. Freedom from the plastic bags carried everywhere, freedom from the trashcans scattered about the house, freedom from the $30 daily co-pays and freedom from strangers staring in disgust when I got sick in public. An enormous smile of relief overcame me as I took my 6th shower in 8 months. I realized this meant the end of bedrest and starvation. As the water poured over me, I was crying my first happy tears in months. I knew that along with all the mess of childbirth, my worries, anxiety, loneliness, and depression were washing down that drain.

I was sent home on Friday and that night the first anxiety attack hit me. I was shaking uncontrollably, crying, terrified, curled with my knees at my chest. I didn’t know why, didn’t know what I was upset about. I already had a three year old son. It wasn’t the thought of motherhood that was causing this. Greg called my OB, who called in a prescription for Lexapro. On Saturday, my in-laws came into town to meet our newest arrival. I was not feeling quite right that day either. I thought I was just tired from being up at night nursing Nathan. That afternoon another panic attack started. I was curled up again with the same shaking and crying. This time was worse. This time my muscles were tighter, I could barely stand. Greg called my mother to meet us at the hospital and my wonderful MIL took care of Nathan. At the hospital they gave me Ativan, which meant I could no longer try to breastfeed. I knew that after 8 months of starvation I would most likely never make the milk he needed so I agreed to take it. I knew I couldn’t care for him while I was panicking. My mother, mother-in-law, and sister comforted me, called me, visited me, and made sure I had help daily. My father and father-in-law (who rarely speaks and never shows emotion) drove me to appointments with therapists and psychiatrists.

I am still fighting whatever it is that is causing this anxiety and depression and Nathan is now 15 months old. It seems each doctor, psychiatrist, and therapist labels it a different way. I’ve been told that I have postpartum depression, manic-depression, postpartum anxiety disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, clinical depression, withdrawl from the medications (particularly the Reglan), hormonal imbalances of estrogen and progesterone, generalized anxiety disorder and every combination of those. Most currently, my psych says that I am not bi-polar and that's an overused label. I have major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and b/c my hormones are obviously highly involved as well, I "am a complicated case". I don’t care what label they want to put on me. I’m not ashamed. I just want them to ‘fix’ me.

These long two first posts bring me to the reason I created this blog. There is very little that I can remember about Nathan’s first year of life. He’s 15 months old and I cannot believe it. It’s not the way that all mother’s say, “Wow the first year flew by and I barely remember it.” There really isn’t much in my brain from that time. Not only is Nathan’s first year very blank, but that also means Carson’s second year is a big static fuzz. I do not remember when he rolled over or crawled, I do not remember his first tooth, I do not remember who his first visitors were, baby gifts, the outfits he wore. I don’t know what kind of baby foods he loved and which he hated. However this is the hardest thing for me to admit: I mentioned to my husband that I am so excited to have a Christmas tree this year because we didn’t have one last year on account of my being so sick. He looked puzzled and said, “No that was the year before.” We had a tree last year for Nathan’s first Christmas. That’s when it hit me. I don’t remember Nathan having a first Christmas. For months I’ve been thinking that his first Christmas was approaching. Yes, in my head I can do the basic math and I know that he must have had a first Christmas, but where did it go?

Are those memories lost or were they never there?


Maeve's Mom said...

You're breaking my heart. I knew there were things you didn't remember, I just didn't know there was so much. You're always in my thoughts and prayers.

Fern said...

I have just read your first two posts. You poor thing. My sister had hyperemisis and had similar complications -- 24 hr IV treatment and multiple hospitalizations -- but once her mother-in-law started sneaking her the Zofran she'd been prescribed while on chemo, my sister got a bit better and did okay her last month or two of pregnancy.

It sucks that you had such difficult pregnancies and that you're having a hard time now! And I am so sorry for your loss.

I look forward to following your blog and your journey as you get better!!