Monday, November 30, 2015

5 More Health Problems I Had While in Hospital

As if having postnatal depression and anxiety wasn't enough...

1.  The Flu
At first the nurses thought it might be mastitis, but it turned out to be the flu.  My temperature went up to 39 and I had a sore, achy body.  I was kept in isolation for a day so as not to spread it to the other ladies and babies.

2.  Low Vitamin D, Iron and Calcium
I've only ever been low in iron before.  I guess the pregnancy and postnatal period drained my body. Now I'm on a variety of supplements.

3.  A Rash
A hideous rash started on my face and spread right down my chest and my arms.  The doctors think it was an allergic reaction to an antibiotic they put me on (I've never been allergic to any medication before).  In the new year, I'll be heading back to this hospital for testing in the immunology department to confirm this.

4.  Abnormal Blood Tests
Routine blood tests showed there might be something wrong with my thyroid and hormone levels, and there was a possibility there could be a growth on my pituitary gland.  They repeated the tests, just to make sure it wasn't a mistake, and thankfully the initial test was wrong.  Phew!

5.  Abdominal Diastasis

The nurses were concerned that my stomach was still rather protruding and wanted the doctor to check me out.  After ruling out a hernia, he got a physiotherapist to see me and it turns out I have a 3cm abdominal muscle separation.  I carried all out the front with Flynn and my already weak abdominal muscles were stretched to capacity.  I have a few months of physio ahead and, if that doesn't work, I'll opt for surgery.  The last thing I need is people asking me if I'm pregnant again!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Quote of the Day

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except for bears, bears will kill you.
- Unknown

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What It's Like Here

I've been in this special hospital ward for mothers and babies for almost four weeks now, and I'm pleased to say it looks like I'll finally be discharged this Friday.

It has been a turbulent past few weeks.  I entered this place at a very low point and Flynn was the most unsettled he'd ever been.  He screamed so much the first night I was in a strange place of feeling glad the nurses were handling him, yet yearning to go to him at the same time.  For most of our stay, he's been sleeping in the nursery at night, with the night staff bringing him in to me for feeds.  Now he's in my room as I prepare for home.  He was in our room at home for the first five weeks of his life as I felt I needed him near me.  Duncan wasn't too happy about this as he is a light sleeper, but he agreed because it was easier for me.  Now I can't wait to get home and get Flynn settled in his own room.  Every snort and snuffle keeps me awake!

At times it has felt like one step forward, three steps back.  My thoughts have descended to some very dark places as my relationship with Flynn deteriorated at times.  The anger and frustration at his lack of sleeping was like a volcano threatening to erupt, and I'm thankful for staff who have stepped in to help.  Thankfully I am feeling much more settled, and Flynn is now on medication for reflux and is starting to sleep a bit more (it's still a challenge though).  I now have mandatory naps in the afternoon and the staff watch Flynn for me, as they noticed I find the afternoons a real challenge with sleep deprivation.

The staff and patients are lovely and I will never forget the love and support they have shown me.  I have formed good friendships with the other ladies here (we even have our own secret Facebook group) and we plan to keep in touch after discharge.  I have refused visitors a lot as I need to focus on my recovery and I really haven't felt like talking.  Some people don't get it; they think it's going to be like visiting someone in hospital with a broken leg or something.  I don't have time for people who expect me to be my old self.

So, now I prepare for home.

I want to go home.  I want to be with Rory.  It has been really hard on him.

But I'm scared.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Bible Verse of the Day

Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me LORD, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in deep anguish, how long, LORD, how long?
Turn, LORD, and deliver me; save me because of Your unfailing love.
Among the dead no-one proclaims Your name,
Who praises You from the grave?
I am worn out from my groaning.
All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears
Psalm 6:2-6

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How it Happened

How did I end up here again?

I felt so good after having Flynn.  When I had Rory, the 'love button' switched off on Day 3 and I struggled to feel warm fuzzies for him.  With Flynn, it continued and, despite a few teary days from tiredness, I felt well.  I had a good experience in the Albany hospital.  Despite being short-staffed and under the pump, the midwives were lovely and professional.  Yet I still wanted to be discharged three days after giving birth.  The hospital environment was much too noisy, and I missed Duncan and Rory.

Since I felt like I missed out on enjoying Rory's newborn days, I was determined to relish the cuddles with Flynn.  On Day 1 he mostly slept.  Day 2 was a different story.  He wanted to feed constantly and wouldn't settle when I tried to put him in the bassinet.  That was fine with me.  I enjoyed having him in my arms and holding him close.  I even co-slept with him, despite it being against hospital policy.  Too bad, I thought.  The midwives were too busy to help me sometimes and I'd be waiting for ages.  Plus, I couldn't get out of bed all the time after my c-section.  Flynn just wanted to be nestled in my arms, so we made it work.  I told myself it wouldn't last forever.

When we went back to my parents' house, Flynn continued to want to sleep in my arms and would wake immediately if I attempted to put him down.  Sleep deprivation started to take its toll, but I thought I was still coping well.  My huge stomach was slowly shrinking and I was in good spirits compared to when Rory was born.

After we went home to the farm, Flynn's pattern of only sleeping when held continued.  His cries broke my heart and I didn't want him to feel abandoned.  I just wanted to protect him.  As the weeks went by, I realised I had not slept longer than two hours at a time for a fair while.  But still we were back at church when Flynn was 11 days old and the week after that I even did mission news.  I couldn't wait to get out and about and show Flynn off, even though there was a lot more organisation involved with getting out of the house with two kids.

Gradually old patterns of thinking began to take hold.  I was frustrated with the restrictions placed on me after my c-section.  I felt like I was stuck in Groundhog Day.  My mum came to stay after Duncan went back to work and despite our good relationship this time, it was hard on both of us.  Rory was tiring my mum out.  We played pass the baby as Flynn still wouldn't sleep in his bassinet.  I missed spending time with Rory.  I rarely went outside.  It annoyed me that I didn't get to have a shower until midday, if at all.  I felt Duncan and my mum were getting tired of doing a lot of things for me.  I was getting very little sleep at night and no chance to nap during the day.  I started to shut myself off, refusing visitors and no longer looked forward to going out.  I was starting to get fed up with Flynn's refusal to sleep on his own.

When Flynn was two weeks old, I discovered he had thrush in his mouth and I ended up having to be treated for it, too.  Then I suspected he had reflux, but when I raised this with health professionals, they just fobbed me off, saying lots of babies were windy and vomit etc.  But my gut instincts told me it was more than that.  I'd seen it with Rory, but it was worse with Flynn.  It explained why he liked to sleep held upright.  We tilted up his bed, but it didn't make a lot of difference.  He appeared to be in pain when lying flat, gulping, burping, farting and vomiting.  His nose was congested, like he had a bad cold, but I knew it was the reflux getting into his nose.  Flynn spent many nights sleeping on Duncan's chest as it was the only way we could get any sleep, but Duncan still wasn't getting much sleep.

On Wednesday 28th October, I finally crashed.  I had an argument with my mum and she said some things that hurt me deeply.  Rory was having a tantrum, Flynn was crying, I was crying and just couldn't cope anymore.  I called the PANDA Perinatal Depression and Anxiety Australia helpline because some dark images had started to come into my mind and I wanted to end my life.  They called Duncan and he came back from Perth as fast as he could (he'd gone up just for the day for an appointment).  A lovely friend from church came over to help.  I spent that night in our little local hospital where I could be kept safe and get some sleep.

They wanted to get me a bed in a Mother Baby Unit, but I didn't want to go.  I didn't want to be away from Rory as I was already feeling guilty that Flynn took up so much of my time.  When I was in the MBU with Rory, there was only one with eight beds.  Now there was a second one (also with eight beds) at Perth's newest hospital.  That one had a bed available and I eventually agreed I needed to go.  I was angry at myself for 'failing', that I hadn't learnt anything from last time, that I'd slipped back into old ways of thinking.  Like last time, the staff and patients are lovely and supportive.

So, here I am.

Monday, November 09, 2015

It's Happened Again

I thought I'd beaten it this time.

I thought I was doing well.

Maybe I was fooling myself.

I'm back in the Mother Baby Unit with Flynn - a different one this time - after relapsing with postnatal depression and anxiety. I've been here for 11 days so far and discharge seems like a long way away.

I'm reading Trusting God by Jerry Bridges at the moment because it's a fight to trust God when I feel so angry and I don't understand why He's allowed this to happen again.