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.