(4 weeks postpartum with Syd, forced smile, tired eyes.
This was right before I went on medication for the treatment of PPD. Looking at this picture makes me want to cry.)
I had a check up on Monday with my OB. We did a quick ultrasound and Art and I both looked away when she told us to so we wouldn't see any baby parts. We still feel so good about not finding out the sex of this baby by the way. Excited, but not the least bit anxious at all. I guess people can change after 36 years ;) Anyhow, after the ultrasound, as she's typing in this or that into her computer screen, I ask her about placenta encapsulation. She did a double take so hard and fast she almost fell out of her chair. She sort of just smirked and chuckled and asked "Why on Earth are you asking about placenta encapsulation? You're my last patient I ever thought would be interested in that." She made claim to the fact that I'm so into fashion and don't even wear Birkenstocks or anything. I realize at this point this makes her sound a bit dumb, but it was said in a very friendly banter type of way. She's been my doctor for 8 years and has seen me through 3 pregnancies now, and I like her a lot. We joke together at every appointment and I appreciate her ability to be serious and be silly, and even say sort of stupid things.
Well doctor, clothing choices aside, I'm interested in it for the treatment of PPD is what I went on to explain to her. After she got over her shock, she recovered and said she'd support me with whatever choice I wanted to make to treat this, but the fact remains that placenta encapsulation is not proven to be effective in the treatment of PPD, and I could be wasting time and money taking chances on something that wasn't a sure thing. The zoloft worked the first two times, it would surely work this time as well. It was a sure thing. She always knows just how to say things to strike fear into me the most. The thought of suffering through weeks of PPD to see if the placenta pills would work, was in fact enough to put me into tears right then and there. I don't know if the third time around I have the strength or will to take chances. Unfortunately, since I've had PPD with both previous pregnancies, medically speaking it's pretty much guaranteed I'll get it with this baby.
At this point some of you may be grimacing thinking seriously, eating your own placenta? I'd rather eat worms! But if you've had PPD, you'd know that you'd be willing to try just about anything to prevent it or treat it.
When Taylor was born it didn't take long for the PPD to set in. For me it happened within a day. The second night I was in the hospital I had for the first time in my life, what I would describe as a panic attack. I felt dizzy and overwhelmed, and literally like there was a huge blanket of fog over me. I had a baby now, how was I going to take care of it? It hit me that there was no turning back. I chalked that night up to just being tired and overwhelmed after the trauma that is labor and delivery. When I went home and within a few days I was crying for everything, I knew it was something more. I had never, ever felt so sad or lonely as I did those first few weeks after Taylor was born. I knew that deep down I loved her, but I didn't feel any of the euphoria or goodness that comes with love.
Everything was systematic and rote-like; changing diapers, nursing, smiling at her. I did them out of instinct and because I knew that was what I was supposed to do, but most of the time I just wanted to run away. I remember feeling true anger at my sister and sisters in law, who had all just had babies in the last year. Why didn't they tell me it was like this, why didn't they warn me I'd feel like this? I was truly mad at them. One day about 3 weeks postpartum I started to pump and we began her on 1 bottle a day. I left the house for 2 hours and just cried because I knew that it wasn't really freedom, just faux freedom in a way. My life was no longer my own. Suddenly every single thing reminded me of our old life and how we were never going to go back to that again.
At this point I know it sounds like I was just mourning the loss of my old life, but for me that's just how the PPD manifested itself. When after about 4 weeks I wasn't feeling any better, Art called my OB and explained my symptoms. She immediately prescribed me Zoloft and within a few days I felt better. Not 100% myself, but I could see glimmers of myself peeking through. I started to enjoy Taylor for the first time since giving birth. At the time Brooke Shields had just come out with her autobiography about her journey with PPD and friends and family quickly bought me multiple copies. I read it and felt at least somewhat thankful that my symptoms didn't seem as strong as hers were. I never wanted to hurt myself or Taylor. I just felt so, so sad.
Within 5 months I weaned myself off medication and felt as normal as a new, tired mom could feel. It simply worked, almost like the snap of a finger.
After Syd was born my doctor warmed me that since I had suffered with PPD with Taylor, it might come back again. For the first 3 weeks or so I felt fine and good, with no symptoms to speak of. By week 5 postpartum, the symptoms had surfaced and were in full force, but this time it surfaced in an extreme form of resentment towards Syd, and how he was keeping me from my daughter. My 2 year old, sweet, happy daughter that I wanted to be with as much as possible. Syd cried, a lot. He slept, very little. He needed tons of attention that quite frankly, I would have rather been giving my daughter. Life was tough with him and I grew very resentful of him for how he had changed our cozy little family of 3 dynamic.
Again, I know it's common to feel a sense of loss for your first born when your 2nd is born. But I knew it wasn't common to feel such resentment towards your 2nd born. I still feel guilt over those first few weeks and wonder if my emotional detachment from him caused him in some deep down way to not feel as close to me. To this day, he prefers Art to me any day, any time. I try to not let it get to me, but some days I can't help feeling like I'm to blame.
By week 6 I was back on Zoloft and within a couple of days I felt better again. I was mad at myself for waiting as long as I did but I wanted to try and prove that I was strong enough to tackle this thing. Stupid, arrogant, I know. This time I was off meds within 3 months postpartum, proving that my symptoms were in fact hormonal, and proving that meds did in fact help.
So now here I am pregnant with my 3rd and my doctor says I can pretty much count on PPD returning. She's even offered to prescribe me meds as soon as I deliver while still in the hospital so that I can get ahead of the symptoms. I don't know how comfortable I am with that, in all honesty. Talk about putting the cart before the horse.
I know doctors like to try and fix things with drugs, but I also know that her reasons for wanting me to take the meds as opposed to trying placenta encapsulation first, make sense. And I really don't want to have to make myself suffer if I don't have to. But there's just something gnawing at me that doesn't feel quite right giving up so easily. Even the phrase "giving up" makes it sound like I have control of this thing, when really it's out of my control. But how I treat it is in my control, and if I could treat it in a more natural way, then shouldn't I try to give it a chance?
Have any of you out there ever tried placenta encapsulation for PPD, and did it work? I know it's still so uncommon, but there may be a few of you out there. I would really love any feedback you may have to offer. I have a couple of months to still make a decision, but this thing is what is making me most anxious over anything. More than figuring out a name or where this baby is going to sleep. It's figuring out how I can keep myself as healthy as possible for myself, my baby and my 2 very aware kids. They're 5 and 7 now, and there's not a lot of hiding things from them. More than anything, I don't want them to have to see me sad. Thanks in advance for reading this novel, and for any input you may have.