Friday, January 11, 2008

The Conclusion

We got through Christmas somehow and over the next few months, I slowly got better. Several things happened that facilitated my improvement.

First of all, Dr. J switched my antidepressant to Wellbutrin XL. I had been on Zoloft and it just wasn't helping. Within two weeks of being on Wellbutrin, I began to feel a little better. I was able to come off the anti-psychotics, which also helped me general demeanor because they made me so sleepy.

Secondly, after hearing about the dire situation between Big B and I, Dr. J referred me to an absolutely wonderful therapist, Laurie. I began to see her on a weekly basis. Her office was a place of sanctuary for me and she helped me see my situation in a different light and really helped to build me back up.

Laurie and Dr. J suggested that we put Sweet Pea in a preschool program to give me a break during the week and also give Ladybug and I some time alone together. One of my very good friends and the mother of one of Sweet Pea's best friends told me that there was an opening in her son's class and spoke to the director of the school on my behalf, explaining my situation. The school, a church-based preschool, took mercy on us and enrolled Sweet Pea, even though there were people on the list ahead of us. The decision to put Sweet Pea in school was one of the best we have ever made. He loved it and really excelled in the class. His speech improved greatly (he was a late talker) and it did him good to get out of the house and play with new friends.

That same friend also turned out to be a wonderful support for me. Other friends were supportive as well, of course, by this friend was able to personally relate to my situation and was always there for me if I needed to talk. She would email or call and check up on me every few days. I do not talk much about my religious faith, but I very much believe that God worked through this friend and placed her in my life for this reason.

Also important was the diagnosis of Ladybug's severe reflux and milk protein allergy. After Christmas, she suddenly started refusing her bottles. We were able to get her in to see a pediatric GI doctor and she was diagnosed with severe silent reflux and a milk protein allergy. She was put on Nutramigen formula and prescription Pepcid. We saw improvement within days and finally, finally the crying stopped. I felt awful that she had been in so much pain for so long.


Finally, the most important factor in my recovery was my mother. In her greatest act of motherhood, my mom retired early from her job as a teacher and moved in with us for four months. At 65 years old, it can not have been easy for her to take over care of a infant, night feedings and all, but she did it and seemed to love it. Having her there made a huge difference to me. Her presence allowed me to get to all the doctors' appointments and gave me time to take Sweet Pea to playgroup and playdates. She made us all go on walks everyday and get out of the house. She helped to temper some of the arguing between Big B and I. As I began to get better, she gradually turned over some of the Ladybug's care to me. Finally, in March, she thought I was well enough for her to leave. We were both worried about how Ladybug would react to her departure since she had really been Ladybug's primary caretaker. It was an adjustment for Ladybug and for several months, whenever she would see my mother, she seemed happier and more secure. This has all faded now and she definitely sees me as her mother, but she and my mom will always have a special bond. There is no way I could ever repay my mother for the huge sacrifice she made for us. Suffice it to say that when she is older and needs care, we will be the ones to take her in and provide that for her (not that my sisters wouldn't, but I see that as something we in particular owe her).

Although I was getting better, my marriage was still suffering. Dr. J referred us to couple counseling and we went several times. What pulled us through, though, I think was time and perseverance. As time went on, we began to forget the things we had said to one another. And we just did not give up. Today we are happy together and I feel that we could go through almost anything together after having weathered this.

Today, I am back to being the happy mother I was before Ladybug was born. I am still on Wellbutrin and will be for a long time. Both Dr. J and Laurie advised us not to have any more children and if we did, to be prepared to fight this again. We made the decision for Big B to have a vasectomy. We had already been leaning toward just having two, but this sealed the deal. There is no way we could go through this again. Hopefully, with medication, it would not happen again, but you never know. I would rather not take the chance.

I love my children beyond belief and Ladybug and I now have just as close a relationship as any other mother and child. I often look at her and feel such a rush of love that I get teary-eyed. I am very, very sad, that all this happened and I so wish it hadn't. I worry about Ladybug, that I might have damaged her with my hate so early in her life. I wonder how her self-esteem will be and whether she will have abandonment issues. Time will tell and I just hope that my love and care for her now will erase any early damage.


I have definitely felt judgment from people about PPD. Some people seem very uncomfortable talking about it and seemed to treat me a little differently after hearing about. Other make ignorant statements about how they must have done everything right in their pregnancies. These statements offend me and anger me because they imply that I did something wrong when I did not. The bottom line is that PPD or PPP can happen to anyone.

When I started to get better, I read several of the PPD memoirs and was disappointed that none seemed to fully and honestly describe the horror of PPD. Granted, I had PPP and my case was dramatic, but I always felt like these accounts sugar-coated things. I began this story because there are many women out there who suffer PPD and PPP and feel very alone. I especially want mothers with PPP to know that there are those of us out there who have felt all those horrific thought and we made it through. I wanted to give an unflinchingly honest account of what PPP is like and I hope that I have done that.


Several people have questioned my judgment in writing my story, asking what I will do if Ladybug one day reads this and questions my love for her. My answer is this:

When Ladybug comes to me, questioning my love for her, I will gather her into my arms and hold her close to my heart, look into her beautiful blue eyes, stroke her hair and say, "Oh yes, my darling, darling baby girl, I love you. I love you so much that I walked through hell and back just to get to you."

4 comments:

Suzy said...

The conclusion!?! Does that mean your story is over? Well written...honest and real, and I've enjoyed reading it, and thank you for sharing it.

I think Ladybug will one day appreciate you in a way only daughters can appreciate their mothers...when she has a child of her own and understands what sacrifice and true love are all about...just as you and your own Mother learned. (I love your Mom btw.)

I also love that you included photos at the end. Faces to the names.

Thanks!

Mrs. G. said...

Wew!!! That was some story! I'm exhausted just reading it. You and your mom are both amazing women!! You lived to tell the tale, and I'm sure you know that many women don't.

Love the photos.

Debra said...

Liz,

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for your story. I can relate to everything that you went through, It is literally HELL to go through what we did. HELL!!! It is something that only women who have walked the same path can understand.

Your mom is AMAZING. AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL!!! The support you had is just incredible. I so wish my mother had helped me the way your did. or even helped at all. After my twins (babies 4&5 for me) were born. My mom and dad just took my DH aside and said you better get her some help before she kills herself or the kids, and left to go to their home, 5 hrs away. That was it. We ended up going into debt $10K on CC's to pay for a nanny. But the Lord did send her to us, I am sure of it. She was there 5 days a week from 3-8 (when my older 2 kids were home from school.. dh worked from 7-7 everyday). I would have made it through it A LOT faster if I could have received help from a counselor though. I just found one through my church that I am going to start seeing. I still have anger issues with God (and for sending us twins!)from getting pregnant again the month before the 3 month wait on dh's Vasectomy. I am off my anti-psychotic meds now, but will always be on something.

Ok, I have written a novel here... BTW.. I emailed you back did you get it? It might have went to your junk mail folder.

Thanks again for sharing your experience. It helps me to know I am NOT alone! And not crazy!

KBAB said...

That was an amazing story. It sounds extremely scary and hard, but I think you're right--that putting it out there for people to see will be helpful.