Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Post Partum Hell...

As you guys have come to see, I am a completely open book. 
I love sharing raw and real details with people because it can help others and in turn it helps me talking about it also! It's amazing what just a raw conversation with people will do for your life! 
So here we goooooo!!!

In December we welcomed baby #4, 4 babies in the span of 5 years. 
That gives some people panic in itself! 
I am not new to anxiety, mine all started in college. 
It was the night before I was to get on the bus for my first BIG football game.
I cheered co-ed and was the youngest to get to travel that game.
I was so excited and VERY nervous. We were cheering at Purdue.
A huge step up from the typical fan size of the University of Akron.
Anyways, that night I could not sleep, usually I would just fall asleep out of sheer exhaustion but something different happened. My heart started to race, uncontrolably. Literally I felt like I was going to die. I called my cheerleading parter Leo and he came and took me to the ER. I could not explain what was going on, it just felt like I could not control my heart and that I was literally going to explode. It was horrid. 
Needless to say I got through it and drank some water, from that point on I got the occassional panic attack but nothing too crazy.

I read books and found ways to cope with it on my own, thank God.
As you will also come to learn I am not huge on modern medicine and try to avoid it at all costs!
After baby #2, when he was 6 weeks, I also had a horrible bout of panic attacks that would not ease. 
It was terrifying, nothing would stop it. 
I finally gave in and took the doctor's advice and took zoloft.
I was on it then for about 5 months while I got it under control. 
Baby 3 came and went with no panic attacks, but this last pregnancy panic started to hit me during the last few weeks of the pregnancy.
I wouldn't have full blown attacks but the vivid memories of what it was like to have a newborn and panic attacks was semi freaking me out. I tried my best to push those negative thoughts out of my head.
December 13, Sam was born. All was well.
He came home and was perfect, I was handling it all as best I could.
Literally things were running smooth, I was sleeping, he was sleeping and I still had enough stamina to take care of the 3 older boys, with my husbands help of course.

Then BAMMMMMM, I believe it was day 13, I could not sleep.
I don't know what came over me but for some reason I would lay in bed AWAKE.
Hours would pass by, everyone, including our newborn asleep and me wide awake.
2 days went by of this, no sleep whatsoever. It was horrible.
I began to then obsess over sleep and panic that I would never be able to sleep.
Hello sleep deprivation, which ALSO causes panic. I was a hot mess. 
I went to my OB right away and asked for help. I knew I could not do this alone.
My panic would not stop. It was literally one attack after the other. 
(if you have never had a panic attack, think your worst fear, hearting a million beats per minute and you start sweating and feel out of control inside your body)
It was to the point I would shake and cry and shake some more. I was completely and utterly miserable.
I could not eat, I clearly was not sleeping, I was a complete train wreck.
I vividly remember the one afternoon shaking and screaming crying because the panic would not stop.
I was falling to the floor in our bedroom sobbing, Jordan was hugging me and trying to help.
There was literally nothing he could do. It was that bad. 

I started zoloft after visiting my OB.
The crappy thing is that it takes the drug 2-6 weeks to actually start working, when you take it right.
I will spare you the crappy details of the next month, but let's just sum it up to more shitty panic.
I could not eat, I was buying Ensure drinks and protein bars to get me through. I would force myself to eat those just so I had enough calories to be able to feed the baby. 
Not the best way to loose your pregnancy weight. 
I finally went to sit down and see a psychiatrist because I still felt horrid after weeks and weeks.
I wanted this figured out and I wanted answers NOW!! 
After the world's most awkward questions, he realized I was just a normal (panic filled) mom.

I found out that I was taking my medicine at the WRONG time of day. I took it at night when I was supposed to be taking it in the morning. So the whole past month I had been doing more worse than good. He told me zoloft activates your brain, which is why when I would go to bed I could not sleep, I felt wide awake but tired, yet no sleep.
I switched my dose to the morning and shockingly ALL HAS BEEN WELL!!

I remember just finally getting a 2 hour stretch of sleep and thinking I was on top of the world!
Slowly I have been able to learn to fall asleep again, I do chamomile and melatonin usually just to be sure! 

But it was honestly such a horrible ride, it sucked so bad because Sam was a perfect baby.
He slept all the time and just woke for feedings. On top of the anxiety I felt guilt.
Guilt that I could not relax enough to enjoy my newborn and my older boys.
Post-partum can do a whole plethora of crazy things, but catching it and controlling it is so key.
Like I said I usually hate medicine, but man sometimes it is exactly what you need.
I could not control this monster on my own.
Anxiety is completely normal, sometimes you can handle it on your own and sometimes you can't.
That doesn't make you weak at all. 

There is such a stigma around mental health and it totally needs to stop.
I know this blog is about being healthy but I think controlling your mental health is huge.
Taking zoloft right now does not make me any less of a woman or a mom.
It actually makes me a better mom, the woman I was a mere 2 months ago was scary. It was not me.
Envision yourself running on zero sleep for days, breastfeeding a newborn and still trying your best to be a functioning mother to three full of energy toddlers during the day.
I never want to go back to that dreaded place, ever.
Hormones can do crazy things, but right now I am in a good place.
Working out has also given me an extra boost.
I am lucky. I am very very lucky that I caught mine early and it did not get more severe.
Most people think post partum is only depression but it can be anxiety. 
If you are ever having those feelings, talk them out with your spouse, the worse thing you can do is hold them in, your doctors can help and are there to help. Push aside any cultural pressure and do what is right for you, if it means taking zoloft, so be it. This life is yours and you can't live in constant fear from anxiety. I see my OB this week and will talk about weaning off zoloft but man, I could not have made it through that patch without it. Always ask for help! As always I am here for you if you need someone to chat with!



  1. Thanks for sharing your story. Everyone in blog land makes life seem like butterflies and rainbows all the time. I'm sure your story will help many women.

  2. Thank you. I guess I will start taking my Zoloft in the morning. My littles have started sleeping more at night, and I find that I am not. That would probably be why. I am definitely feeling better from the anxiety and general sense of being overwhelmed since they were born, but this little not sleeping thing has thrown me for a loop.

  3. I experienced the SAME thing after giving birth to Kaenan. SCARY and TERRIBLE place to be! So glad you are doing better and thriving now!

  4. I was on Lexapro for about half of my pregnancy due to terrible anxiety. I am still taking it now at 2 months postpartum and my anxiety is really well under control. I have struggled with anxiety in the past and mine started in college as well, but the pregnancy anxiety was out of control. I couldn't keep it together and I had to get help. I'm so glad that my midwife was so understanding and got things under control for me and I'm hopeful that soon I won't need the medicine anymore!