the winding road to postpartum depression

You never really pay attention to the signs, even when they’re staring you in the face. Carlos kept asking me what was wrong. I could feel my mom tiptoeing around me, always around the corner making sure I was never left alone with the girls for too long. My dad made sure to make himself scarce to avoid my wrath. And my poor baby girls got a shadow of my normal self.

Postpartum depression hit me hard. I didn’t notice it right after Catalina was born, it could be because my sister came from Holland and I was distracted, or maybe it was something that developed later on. All I know is that in the beginning of May I started secluding myself. I hid in the bedroom under the guise that I was breastfeeding the baby but really I just wanted to be alone. I couldn’t handle leaving the house unless it was absolutely necessary, and even then every outing was full of anxiety and self doubt.

I couldn’t bring myself to take a shower because the water on my skin felt like knives. I wanted to eat any and every thing I could get my hands on. No amount of sleep was enough and so I just wanted to be in bed all day hiding, trying to sleep while Catalina slept. I couldn’t be bothered to cook or clean, let alone keep up with my own personal hygiene.

I kept apologizing to Carlos. I kept telling him I would get better eventually. I kept telling him how much I loved him and our girls but I just wasn’t myself…and I didn’t know how to get back there. And my husband lovingly replied that there was no need to apologize and reminded me that adjusting to a new person in our family was going to take it’s time.

Finally, my mom sat me down and told me I needed help. Not just help around the house but professional medical help. I broke down crying because I knew it was true. I knew that this wasn’t going to go away on it’s own. A few days later I was seeing a psychiatrist who sat down with me and after listening to me cry, rant, and rave for what felt like forever prescribed me an SSRI and told me to come back to her in ten days.

Here I am, about six weeks later and I finally feel back to normal. Taking  a shower isn’t torture, I’m working out and eating right, and most importantly, I’m able to be present when interacting with my family. I feel free.

To all my fellow mothers out there, please do not be afraid to ask for help. Do not be ashamed or bound by the stigma society has placed on depression/mental health. Finding help makes you strong and honestly will give your children just another reason to look up to you.

I think we’ve got an emergency.

Last night was our first middle of the night trip to the emergency with little Paloma.

During dinner I noticed that she was only eating with her right arm, at bed time she didn’t help me get her dressed, and while drinking her bottle she only held it with her right arm. I thought it was a little weird but since she wasn’t screaming or anything I figured she was being particular.

She went down at 8:30pm like normal but at around 10:00pm she started crying in her sleep. Nothing serious at first, just random cries, but as the night progressed her cries got more intense and at around midnight she was screeching. I pulled her into our bed thinking she might be hot from the heater in her room. But after getting her undressed and giving her some water I realized something was up.

When Paloma throws a tantrum she normally gives it her all kicking and punching with all her limbs. But last night I noticed that she only used her right arm. At that point I knew something was odd and we should take her to the emergency room. It was 1:45am and I was dreading the hour drive to the hospital but it needed to get done. After waking my parents to get the car keys and successfully freaking out my mom we headed to the hospital. It was freezing last night. There was ice on the windshield and even Paloma didn’t object to being bundled up in three different blankets.

After a very bumpy and scary ride thanks to my dads driving, we got to the hospital in 35 minutes. We walked up to the window to speak with the secretary about needing to see a doctor. We were quickly processed and taken to triage. The nurse took down all her info and we waited about two minutes before we saw the doctor. Our doctor was hesitant at first to see if anything was wrong but after attempting to play with Paloma she realized that something was bothering her arm. She had me undress her slowly and she noticed that she was definitely having issues moving her left arm. She did a another physical examination and felt that her elbow was dislocated.

Hearing that my heart dropped. I felt like it was something I did. I pulled her arm too hard to get her away from something dangerous or maybe she fell too hard at the park. Why hadn’t I noticed it earlier? I felt like an awful parent.

The doctor was very quick to tell me it was a miracle I even noticed it when I did considering PJ wasn’t crying. After popping it back into place she gave her some Ibuprofen and kept her for few minutes for observation. While she wasn’t comfortable using her left arm all that much afterwards you could tell there was a HUGE difference in how she moved. She slowly started using her arm to hold my cell phone and she used both arms to ask to be picked up.

Once the doctor saw that she had improved mobility she sent us home. I’d say we spent a total of half an hour at the hospital. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of such a short emergency room trip in my life. I have friends with kids in the States and when they tell me of taking their kids to the emergency room it’s literally hours before anyone gets seen by a doctor. It’s moments like these where I’m extra appreciative of being in Uruguay. The healthcare here is amazing, people are treated like people and not like money. I wish that the States could adopt this, that hospitals could be stopped being seen as businesses and could be seen as healing centers.

Today we’re taking it easy at home. Carlos has the day off so we’re at home trying to recoup from a long night. Thankful for that our adventurous little girl is feeling alright.