I can't believe it's two days before Christmas 2009. I can't believe we have a healthy little girl with a loving personality, developing sense of humor and growing body. Its so amazing to hold her, look at her, watch her sleep or eat or play in the tub and feel that overwhelming storm of emotions. MC is our world and she makes it a better place.
You see last year was somewhat of a disaster. My father-in-law became ill in September and after a week in the hospital was forced to begin dialysis. He'd been home for almost a week when we got hit by Hurricane Ike. I never thought of Houston as a city in the path of a hurricane, but Ike made me a believer. I was nine months pregnant with MC, taking care of my father-in-law as much as he would allow and my husband, Pop and I were all sleeping in the den when Ike rolled through town taking out the power, most of the fences across Houston and a lot of roofs. We went two weeks with no power in the summertime heat and humidity that Houston is so well known for. Two weeks where I slept on the couch, my husband slept on an air mattress and Pop slept in his chair.
And then when the power returned and we thought we'd be able to return to some kind of normalcy, Pop had another heart attack and this time he was in the ICU. MC was due in a week and we were at the hospital almost around the clock, waiting, hoping, praying for Pop to improve. Unfortunately, God had other plans and Pop passed away on October 4, 2008. It was so difficult for us to lose him. JB lost his Dad and his best friend. I lost the best father-in-law anyone could ever have and my best friend in Houston.
Pop was there when I was tossing my cookies during the first tri-mester. He was there in the middle of the night when sleeping had become impossible. We'd sit outside and play with the dogs or in the den and talk about how the dogs weren't going to be too happy when the baby arrived and replaced them as the center of attention. Once a month Pop would give me money "for you and the baby" he'd say and then everyday he'd ask me when I was going shopping. When I'd return home from babies r us or Target, he'd pretend to be uninterested in the bags I was carrying. But when I'd stop and take everything out on the coffee table I could see a spark of interest in his eyes. Pop was excited about MC from the day we told him we were expecting. He was ready to spoil another grandchild and while he joked that he'd be spending more and more time in his room, JB and I know if Pop were here we'd probably catch him sleeping in a chair in the nursery so he could be close to MC.
MC was born exactly a week after we lost Pop. Her arrival hit me with a bombardment of emotions, anxiety-I'm not ready for this yet; joy-she's beautiful and healthy; sadness-we should be sharing this with my Mom and Pop, etc. I was so confused when they handed her to me and I felt afraid instead of elated. Now granted, between the epidural and the pain meds I felt more drunk than anything else, but I knew something was wrong. I should have been grinning from ear to ear about our beautiful, perfect baby girl but I was mostly frightened.
Around three weeks later when we were home from the hospital and adjusting to life as three rather than two, I crashed one evening. It was almost 6 in the evening ad I called JB to see when he'd be home, he was another hour away, and I felt myself beginning to panic, about what and why exactly I'm unsure. I needed to get out of the house so MC and I went next door to visit the neighbors and her extended family. When JB got home I was trying to explain the panic feeling I experienced but all I could do was cry and cry and cry, I cried for hours. I was so scared, what was happening to me?
JB called the doctor's office the next morning and made me an appointment. We went in and explained what happened and the doctor gave me a depression quiz. I couldn't even complete the quiz without help from JB, I was too indecisive.
Afterwards, the doctor scored the quiz and diagnosed me with Post part um depression. She wrote me a script for some "happy pills" aka Paxil and told me to see a psychiatrist immediately. Well let me tell you, in Houston, its easier to see the Bushes than it is to see a psychiatrist immediately, let alone in the near future.
Anyway, for the past year I've battled with PPD and I do mean battled with it. There are so many things I've learned and so many things I need to share because I know the shame that comes with fighting this illness. And I hope that I can write more about my experiences over the past year and that someone out there will be helped and know you aren't the only one that "went crazy" and was too afraid to tell anyone, ashamed of your thoughts and terrified that you would never be yourself again. It happened to me, but its been a year and I'm better. I'm not 100% recovered but the improvement is significant. And for the first time in over a year I'm not taking any happy pills.
Last Christmas, I was in a fog, a thick fog and I couldn't even find the motivation to get out with my husband and pick out our tree. I was a stranger to myself and to my friends and family. But its Christmas 2009 and while I'm not the same person I was two years ago before the PPD, I'm a stronger person. So I'll focus on my signs of improvement and enjoy this Christmas without the haze.
If anyone that reads this post or blog knows someone experiencing PPD or is experiencing PPD and needs someone to talk to, please feel free to contact me. And remember "It won't be like this for long."