Our birth story began in early 2012 when, at just 26 weeks gestation, I was diagnosed with Pre-eclampsia. My blood pressure was steadily climbing, protein was spilling into my urine and I was starting to noticeably swell. I had my daughter at 31 weeks, 4 days. She weighed 3 pounds, 5 ounces. Her home for 43 days would be the NICU.
By the time she was 2, my husband and I were perfectly content as a family of 3.
In 2015, I found out I was pregnant. What should have been one of the happiest days of my life, I found myself curled up in the bathroom crying. Not this again. I knew what an awful thing to think. At that time, I had family who were painfully yearning for a baby. I had close friends who were burying their angels and here I was, incredibly bitter at the thought of pregnancy. My doctor told me to embrace the days, one day at a time. To me, it was a day closer to another emergency cesarean, a day closer to the NICU, a day closer to a Pre-eclampsia diagnosis, and one day closer to a premature baby I wouldn’t get to hold.
To say my anxiety level was high is an understatement. I was diagnosed with PTSD stemming from the traumatic birth of my daughter. Slowly, weeks turned to months and as I approached 32 weeks without a diagnosis, I was starting to believe I might make it to full term. One day, at 34 weeks and 5 days, I woke up with a migraine and started feeling nauseous. Thankfully, I was fully versed in the signs and symptoms of Pre-eclampsia s0 I took myself to the hospital. The very next day, I met my son. He weighed 5 pounds, 5 ounces and stayed in the NICU for 11 days.
I wish I could say our story ends here. But, I found myself checking out daily. My mind would wander instead of focusing on the cries and needs of my son. During my commute to work at 10 weeks postpartum, I would pull over and sob uncontrollably. I can’t even tell you how many times I did this. And somewhere in those days, I wanted out. I didn’t want to live my life anywhere. It wasn’t suicidal idealization that crept in and out but the constant thoughts of getting in my car and driving off to the sunset without my family.
Thankfully, I was able to get help. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression
Thankfully, I was able to find solace in a tribe of mamas who made me feel less alone and embraced me.
Thankfully, I am able to talk about it more and more but some days are harder than others. It’s been three years and I still remember that feeling of desperation and need to flee.
Thankfully, my family has been able to ground me. I have a blessed life and I am incredibly thankful for that.