My pregnancy with my little boy was pretty straight forward, I had the normal morning sickness, and nausea most of the day, and the biggest hassle I had with it that I retain fluid, like everywhere. My feet, and legs were constantly swollen, my hands so swollen that I suffered carpel tunnel, and in the last three months my hands were sore and my fingers started to go numb….oh, and I was huge, with a big baby.
I was due on the 27th November, 2000, on the 30th I woke up with slight contractions, I had an appointment with the hospital that morning anyway so off we went. After a ultrasound we found out that he was sitting in my groin, he was big, and he wasn’t going to be able to come out naturally. So I was booked in for a c-section. At 1.00pm my little boy was born. Moments before he was born I had the overwhelming sensation that he would be a boy, not sure where that sensation came from.
Everything seemed pretty straight forward and Mum and baby were transferred back to our room.
A couple of hours later, the nurses seemed a little bit panicked, and they soon told me that I was haemorrhaging. I didn’t know because I was still numb from the c-section. Anyway, I began to feel excruciating pain in my stomach, and I was losing a lot of blood. The pain was unbearable, they tried gas, and morphine, but I was still screaming with pain. I remember yelling at them to knock me out. A doctor was finally called and yelled at the nurses asking why they hadn’t called her sooner and I needed to go to surgery immediately. Next thing it was like Grey’s Anatomy or one of those hospital shows where you are on the stretcher and the lights above you a whizzing by, and everyone is running.
As soon as I got to surgery, they finally knocked me out, I was unconscious and not feeling any pain anymore.
I awoke in a daze of pain, nausea, and feeling quiet disorientated. I was put on an antibiotic drip, a blood transfusion, and a saline drip. I don’t remember the next 48 hours, it was a blur, probably from all the drugs, and going through two major surgeries within hours of each other. During this time I was told that my baby was just chucked onto my breast to be feed while I was out of it, my now ex-husband was left to nurse him, burp him, and give him his first bath.
Eventually I made it out of ICU in the maternity ward, and put into a normal ward with other new Mum’s. I was still really sore, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, and it appeared my new born was a lot bigger than the other tiny babies in our room.
The whole experience was traumatic, painful, and I feel like I was deprived of those new Mummy moments you have straight after the birth of your child. I missed it, because I was out of it on drugs. I’d lost nearly five litres of blood so I was weak, and the pain medication was making me throw up. The blood transfusions, three in total, were just plain gross. I stayed in hospital for another 14 days, trying to recover from two surgeries, trying to learn to be a Mummy, and dealing with being so sick. I would cry at night, and the nurse would come in and say I was going to be okay, yes it is overwhelming. Overwhelming, this was just insane. Nobody tells you that you could nearly die from bleeding out, nobody tells you how much pain it is when three nurses and a doctor are trying to stop the bleeding by pressing down onto your stomach, and it doesn’t work. There was nothing like this in the mum-to-be-books.
I am sure that from this experience I post traumatic stress disorder that escalated my depression, which I hadn’t been ‘officially’ diagnosed with yet, so it went untreated, in a daze of new baby stuff. I found being a new Mum extremely hard, I didn’t have any help, didn’t know anyone in Melbourne, and my now ex-husband was not only useless but I was still expected to do everything around the house, which would’ve been fine if my stomach wasn’t so sore, and I wasn’t so weak from losing so much blood.
I wasn’t enjoying being a Mum, it wasn’t what I expected, and I was all alone.
A few months into being a new Mummy I learnt that there was more that nobody told you to expect. Like that the whole ‘sleeping’ concept for a newborn is not so simple. My little boy didn’t want to sleep. He was awake every two hours, and up for hours at a time. I ended up trying to feed him whenever he woke up, but as soon as I lay him down again, he would wake up again. My ex would end up yelling at me because I couldn’t settle him and he had to go to work in the morning, he didn’t seem to see or care that I was getting absolutely no sleep, and I was pretty sure neither was our son. In the end the nurse where I took him to be weighted gave me a letter for my doctor and ordered me to get a referral to a hospital which had a sleep ward for babies. I was so relieved that to know this wasn’t normal, it wasn’t my fault, and that there was somewhere I could get help.
So the following week I was off to sleep hospital. They were amazing, they taught him a whole new routine, and taught him how to sleep and feed properly again. He started to sleep in a normal sleeping pattern again. I was given a pre-admittance test on my anxiety and depression score, I didn’t do so well. They said I scored in the very depressed category and that I need to seek treatment. I didn’t get treatment, I didn’t have time, and I just put it down to the baby blues. The routine the hospital got my baby and I in to I stuck to like glue, paranoid that he would end up being awake constantly all night again.
So the birth, the first 48 hours, the months that were to follow, nothing was what they told me about in the new mum books. I had no family support, I knew nobody so I had no friends to talk to, my now ex was no help at all either with the baby or around the house. I felt like I was a struggling new Mum, and his slave. I was miserable, and felt so alone.
I didn’t know then, but I know now that the extreme feelings I had were not healthy, and that I had severe depression. If I had been treated being a new Mum may not have been so extremely hard, to the point that I didn’t get any enjoyment from motherhood. It wasn’t what I expected and I was filled with guilt that I wasn’t the Mum I was meant to be for my son.