Tuesday, January 12, 2010

PPD and Me (Part One)

This was originally going to be just one (blathering) post about my experience with PPD and beyond (because can it still be called that when your youngest is 4-1/2 years old?), but I found when I started writing, I couldn't stop.  Lucky you!  Hang on for the ride...

After Eldest was born over 8 years ago in October 2001, I would describe my mood as euphoric.  I never, not even once, experienced any sort of sadness, letdown, melancholia or gloominess after his birth.  Hubby and I were both blissful, for we thought Eldest hung the moon, the stars and the sun.  He was our world.  It helped that he was a perfect baby.  From Day 1, he breastfed like a champ.  10 minutes on each side, every 3 hours.  Like clockwork.

I also had 2 close friends who also gave birth to their firstborns shortly after me.  So the three of us were able to compare notes, to kvetch, to seek advice.  I had a sounding board.

After Middle was born over 5-1/2 years ago in June 2004, I would describe my mood as optimistic.  Optimistic that yes, I could love another child as much as I loved Eldest.  Optimistic that yes, I could juggle being a mother of two.  That optimism was short-lived, however, for Middle was nothing like my first.  I realized this right away, while still in the hospital, as a matter of fact.  Middle cried.  Constantly.  The nurses would bring him to my room and inform me, "He's hungry."  Yet he wasn't a great nurser.  On, off, on, off, his little head would bob.  3 minutes here, 5 minutes there.  And yet, still crying.  This lasted weeks.

I was beyond frazzled.  Uncertain.  Constantly feeling guilty that 3-year old Eldest was suffering because his newborn brother was demanding all my time, energy and attention.  After 3 weeks, I took him to the pediatrician.  After further testing, he was diagnosed with colic (no shit, Sherlock) and reflux.  My decision to quit nursing him came as a relief.  He began taking Enfamil with Nutramigen from a bottle, along with prescription Zantac.  Yet he still cried.  Rocking him didn't help.  Holding him didn't help.  Bouncing him didn't help.  The hours between 5pm and 7pm were the worst.  I don't think we ate one dinner that summer without Middle's high-pitched screams echoing in our ears. 

When Middle was 4 weeks old, I went back to work one day a week, for my sanity.  Do you know what a constantly crying baby can do to your psyche?  It wrecks it, that's what it does.  I became so unsure of myself, indecisive about every move I made.  What kind of mother was I to not be able to bring comfort to my own child?  My Sis watched the boyz that one day a week.  When I would walk in the door at 5pm, she would practically THRUST Middle at me and say, "Here.  He cried all day."  And then she would leave.

By September, things were seemingly getting better.  I went back to work 3 days a week.  Eldest started preschool.  And Middle's colic seemed to be lessening.

I was actually able to accompany Hubby to San Diego for his yearly conference in late September.  It was a much needed break.  From everything.  For those 4 days, my Mom watched the boyz, and was certain that Middle's crying was now stemming from hunger.  Perhaps it was time to start him on rice cereal?

2 weeks later, in early October, Hubby and I attended a wedding in Connecticut.

At that point, I felt like I was BACK.  More myself.  More in control of my life.  Able to handle this motherhood gig.

And then?

I took a pregnancy test.

To be continued...


HaB said...

My daughter has reflux. It is a nightmare - it still can be a nightmare. Those early weeks, when she was an infant, were some of the darkest most trying days of motherhood. There is no words to describe what it is like to not be able to take the pain away for your new born child and make them comfortable enough to eat, to sleep and just be a baby.

Vodka Logic said...

My sympathies. My oldest didn't have colic but we didn't adapt to breastfeeding right away and she cried a lot. I thought she hated me and I would walk around the block, alone, crying.
We soon learned what we were doing and things were much better... why don't babies come with a manual.

Rita Templeton said...

That's how I was, almost exactly! After having Colin I was perfectly happy. But after Cameron, it was a little different story. He was overwhelming and not a good nurser, either, and to give myself some relief I switched him to the bottle after about a month. With my youngest, Coby, it's been good so far - he's nursing like a champ and a reeeeeally mellow and good-tempered baby. Thank goodness! :)

Can't wait to read the rest!

Michele R said...

I have always said I was glad that I got my colicky boy as the firstborn. He only slept from 12 midnight to 2:00 a.m. Then he nursed and cried till 8:00 a.m. I was a zombie for 12 weeks. Then when I went back to work he was sweet and smiley.......
Twenty months later I had boy #2. he was like your fist one. I had no complaints nursing him every three hours and then going back to work because he was quiet in the middle of the night.
Boy #3 was easy too. By easy I mean not an all night crier (but did want mom once or twice a night and was shushed buy the boob). But at 9 months I reached my limit of getting up in the middle of the night. And none of them have ever had sleep issues since they started sleeping through the night at around 5-6 months.
The 1st few months with boy#1 was miserable but we quickly learned how it is a small timeframe relatively speaking.

Kmama said...

Stopping by from SITS.

Your story has me intrigued.

My first was also a perfect baby. PERFECT. I didn't even want a second for a long time because I knew the second couldn't be so perfect. I was right. Second came along and rocked my world. He wouldn't sleep without being held. Sometimes it would take up to SIX HOURS to get him to bed at night, and the worst was that he used me as his pacifier. He wasn't hungry, but wanted to suck and would get irate when my milk let down. I was miserable.

But here I am, thinking about a third. Silly me.

Confessions From A Work-At-Home Mom said...

A cliffhanger??? No! The impatient person in me needs Part 2 NOW!

I am assuming from the title of this post that you ended up with PPD with #3? I wanted to thank you for sharing your story. I went through a mild case of PPD with my daughter, which led me, in part, to start my blog as an outlet for all the thoughts in my head. I think more women need to share their stories to disspell those misnomers about PPD!

Confessions From A Working Mom

Jen said...

I can't wait to read more. I can't tell you how defeated I felt after the birth of the triplets. I know you would expect that but still, I felt like I was failing.

AZ Mommy said...

I had PPD after my son, now I'm pregnant with #2 and scared to pieces.
Thanks for posting you story :0)

Debbie said...

Those difficult babies are, well, difficult. Can't wait to read the rest of it.

Petit Elefant said...

I totally had PPD with BOTH kids, lucky me. Hate it. Makes me want to punch Tom Cruise in the kisser for telling me to take vitamins to make it go away.


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