Over It

I’m a nightmare to live with. I’m annoying myself. What on earth am I doing to my husband and my daughter?

Meltdowns all the time. I can’t handle anything. I am so angry. I can’t control my temper and I’m just generally not coping.

Please tell me this will pass. I am not suicidal or at risk of hurting Missy or anyone else, I’m just so fucking over it.

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Be PND Aware! PND Awareness Week 2012

It’s PND Awareness week, driven by PANDA .

As a result, there have been many mums and dads come out from the shadows and share their personal and harrowing accounts of their depression, anxiety and trauma. I feel so humbled and so privileged to have been involved in the sharing. I have read some terribly sad stories and have read some wonderfully uplifting stories. All real accounts of parents fighting their own inner battles, where they think they are alone, fumbling in the dark.

What’s so incredibly uplifting about PND Awareness week, is it hasn’t just been about telling those who have not been affected, but it’s also been a wonderful opportunity for those of us in the online community to let other vulnerable parents know that they are not alone. That even on their darkest days, where the isolation and depression is at its worst. When it feels like you’ll never come through the other side. There is another mum or dad out there struggling too. There are mums and dads out there who can tell their tales of triumph. It gives us who are still fumbling in the dark the knowledge that we too can beat The Beast.

I started this blog for a couple of reasons. I needed to get my feelings off my chest was first and foremost. Secondly, I wanted to share my story in the hope that another mum or dad who was hurting, may find my posts and seek help. It’s also this reason that I have linked other organisations to help, like Beyond Blue and also listing the phone number for Lifeline 131114. Proving that no matter how alone you feel, there is always someone out there who will be a sympathetic ear and will help you.

So thank you to everyone who has read my words this week. And previous weeks. Some of you have said that I am a strong woman and honestly, my strength as a whole comes from you all. My friends who’ve known of my struggle for a while now, have also been amazing. The love of my husband and my family. And finally, the absolute love of my baby girl. There have been days where I have resented her. I wouldn’t be sick if not for her, but I also wouldn’t know the greatest love of all without her.

Until next time my friends, xx

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Thank you PANDA

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And just like that, I snapped out if it.

What on earth? Why can’t I just have something wrong with an organ that’s not my brain, that has a plan of illness, response and cure? I can’t work this crap out.

I’m So Tired

I’m stuck in this funk still from yesterday. I’m so angry and so frustrated. I don’t know what to do. I feel depressed, but my depression isn’t organic, it’s reactionary to my trauma and anger that makes me feel sad. This I know and understand. It doesn’t make it any easier though.

I’m sick of making sure other people are ok. I’m sick of trying to minimise my pain for the benefit of others. I keep having flashbacks. They’ve now been constant since last night.

I’m so tired of running. I’m so tired of keeping everything together on the outside, when inside I’m a million pieces. My glue isn’t working anymore. My tough exterior is starting to crack. The tears I’m crying are soaking through all of my tissues and I’m at a loss of how to stop.

I wish yesterday never happened. My psychologist says to minimise my exposure to known triggers. I didn’t see yesterday coming. I didn’t know that I’d be lambasted with that conversation. So do I have to stop associating with my friends now? Cut myself off from the people I like to reduce my exposure?

I’ve already lost so much. I don’t want to lose anymore.

This Beast is a nightmare. One that I can’t wake up from. One that keeps nipping at my heels. One that keeps barking at my door. I want to be strong and fight him off, but he’s so much more powerful than me. He fights me because he wants me left with Nothing.

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I’m sharing this post with PANDA for PND awareness week 2012. #bePNDaware

You’ve Got To Have More Children

No, not the catch cry of a fundamentalist religious zealot, but the conversation starter that fairly much ruined my day.

“She’s 16 months old, are you having number two soon?”

“Well why not? You can’t just have one. All kids need a sibling.”

“Yeah but she’s healthy and so are you. You need to move past what happened.”

Yeah. Seriously. I wanted to crawl into a hole. Even after telling her my story (which you can read here) she still kept on about how I need to have more kids. I suggested that we could foster or adopt and was scoffed at.

“No! You must have your own children!”

The problem with pregnancy and birth, is that everyone has an opinion. Everyone becomes a coffee table obstetrician. Their anecdotal experiences become legend and therefore the only information necessary. The only correct information out there.

I wonder if this is how it feels for women who know they can not have anymore children. Those who have been afflicted with illness or emergency conditions rendering them unable to have more. My ovaries are fine. My uterus is fine. My brain, not so much.

Oh how I get clucky. I see a delicious little newborn, all wrapped up in a bunny rug, or nestling in his mothers breasts whilst being worn in a wrap. I hear that little whisper in the back of my head saying “Baby! Baby! Baby!” Yet I feel compelled to suppress. How could I possibly, knowingly put myself through it again? The risk of the known happening is far too much for me to contemplate.

So while today the Beast has been quietly lurking, I can’t blame my anger and sadness on him today. I’m laying blame solely on this one woman, who while I know meant well, really should have just shut up when I told her my deeply personal story of what happened.

I hate having a story. I just want to feel normal.

Until next time xx

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Linking up with PANDA for this blog post. November 18 – 24, 2012 is PND Awareness Week

Post natal depression doesn’t only affect mums, but entire families. Dads can also be diagnosed with PND.

For more help, please see my welcome page or visit

Beyond Blue

TABS A great website that no longer posts new information, but has wonderful archived information.

Lifeline (Australian residents only:) 131114

Or in case of emergency (Australian residents only): 000

The Day My World Changed

I’m prefacing today’s blog with a disclaimer:

This is my birth story. It’s a little edited still as I just cannot share one hundred percent of what happened. It’s just too personal and still too raw. Please do not ask me any questions, it’s ok to comment but I do not want to discuss this. It’s still incredibly difficult, but I feel it’s time to share. There are some contact details for organisations that may be able to help you, if you’re experiencing PTSD on my welcome page.

If you are pregnant, think carefully before reading my story. It’s not pleasant.

Also, I am a registered nurse and have been a nurse for eleven years. The system I worked for, failed me.

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I had a fairly uneventful pregnancy. Morning all day sickness until about 20 weeks, migraines until 22 weeks. Baby was always growing well according to the ultrasound reports and I was actually liking being pregnant. Then I got to around 33 weeks and like all mothers to be, was totally over it. I was in pain all day and the Braxton hicks were getting more intense in nature. I was chugging raspberry leaf and hoping that I wouldn’t have to wait much longer to be put out of my pregnancy hell. At 35 weeks I felt her move up. I can’t really explain it, I just experienced intense lower back pain and I suddenly became unable to do anything. Plus my ankles had disappeared and replaced with fluid filled space occupiers.

At my next appointment my doctor told me that the baby was posterior and that’s why I had so much back pain. Also that her head was not engaged. I was distraught, the back pain was getting me down, I couldn’t sleep, then to be told she wasn’t engaged was a massive blow. She had been fully engaged at 35+1 when I had a ‘sizing’ ultrasound. As she had always measured on the lower side of size, my doctor wanted to ensure she didn’t have IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Retardation) which I felt pretty certain of that she didn’t.

After it was confirmed that my baby was a healthy size, we continued with the pregnancy as per usual. The same story continued through weeks 37, 38 and 39 though, that she wasn’t engaged. It was at 40 weeks that I started to get super worried. Why wasn’t my baby engaged? Why wasn’t I starting to show any signs of labour other than Braxton hicks? I was in pain 24 hours per day and was at the end of my tether. We decided to wait until 41 as I still very much wanted to avoid induction and or cesarean, so did my obstetrician, so I started doing more exercises to try and encourage the baby to engage. Unfortunately all my efforts were futile and at 41 weeks and one day, I saw my doctor again and we booked the cesarean. I was advised against an induction as there was high probability I’d end up with a cord prolapse an end up in cesarean anyway. My doctor had been doing ultrasounds at each appointment in the end to monitor the babies progress and check cord location.

I was booked in for 41 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I had to be nil by mouth from 6am and at the hospital at 10am for check in. To say I was terrified was a total understatement. I didn’t sleep the night before and I sobbed the whole way into the theatre and also while the operation happened. I’m a registered nurse, I know the risks to both mother and baby from cesarean.

When I was wheeled into the theatre, the anaesthetist had to put a cannula in my arm. This was for syntocinon (pitocin) and also in case of emergency. Then it was time for my spinal. The anaesthetist kept telling me to lean forward, but with an almost 42 week old foetus in my womb and an extra 18 kilograms (just under 40 pounds) of weight, I was quite literally as far forward as I could be. It hurt like hell going in. I yelped, but stayed perfectly still. Then my legs felt hot and heavy. I was swung up on the table by the staff and then I had a catheter put in. I told them I could feel it. Then they put betadine solution on my belly. I told them I could feel it. The doctor had to shave some of my pubic hair, I told him I could feel it. They ignored me. I was terrified. They started the operation. I could feel lots of tugging and pulling. They said it was normal, I kept telling them I could feel it and they kept telling me it was normal. I shut down. I totally dissociated from what was going on. Then the doctor told me that I would feel some pressure as they pulled the baby out. The pain was incredible as they pulled her out and I screamed. Everyone went silent. They all stopped. I just cried. Then it was business as usual. They kept going. I was still awake. Next thing I know, the baby was brought over and we had ‘happy’ snaps. Then they took her away. I was on my own in the theatre with the doctors. Stupidly the staff took the surgical screen down after the baby was born and I was able to see my reflection in the reflective coating on the light on the ceiling. The things I saw happen to me is stuff nobody should be privy to. I still can’t really talk about it. It’s so traumatic and violating. I can’t remember feeling it after that. I tried to zone out. I wanted to just be anywhere but there.

When the ordeal was over, I was in agony. My abdomen hurt so much. I was moved into recovery and I told the nurses I was in pain, but they didn’t believe me. They kept telling me that I had a spinal and I shouldn’t be in any pain. Which compounded my feelings, as I am a nurse, I know I can never ever tell my patient that they are not in any pain. I was in so much pain. I wanted my baby but I didn’t know where she was, nobody could tell me. I wanted my husband but he was gone too. I was on my own with a nurse who kept telling me about her baby, who kept ignoring me and who kept wanting to look at my ‘bleeding’. She didn’t ask either, she just kept lifting the blankets and looking at my vagina and telling me how “easy” post op cesarean ladies are to care for.

When they finally believed me that I was in pain and that I needed something, they told me that I would have to wait longer in recovery before I could go to my baby. I was so scared, so I told them just to take me to my room. I finally got some Endone or something a few hours later.

To add insult to injury, I suspected my daughter had reflux and was fobbed off by the nursing and medical staff. She would lie in the crib in my hospital room crying and screaming, then would vomit fountains of milk out. I was told she was just a “difficult” baby and as a “first time mum, you should expect to be nervous and unsure”. I finally had my daughter diagnosed and treatment commenced at 16 weeks old. We both suffered so much in those early days.

I physically recovered well from the operation and thankfully bonded well with my daughter. I’m still not ok in my head, it’s very early days. She’s now 16 and a half months old and really is the light of my life. There have been moments where I have regretted having her. In honesty, I would not be where I am in terms of my mental health, had I not had her, but she makes all the trauma and aftermath so worth it. I know also if we were to ever have another child (I’m still very much in the ‘no’ camp) and I needed another cesarean to ensure that babies safety, I’d do it without hesitation, but likely under a general anaesthetic.

Without the constant support and understanding of my husband and my parents and his parents, I know I would not have gotten through.

Without my amazing support network of friends. Some of them have been able to give me the greatest hugs and their shoulders to cry on. Most of them live inside my computer. However I count them all as the closest friends a girl could have. Such amazing women, willing to give so much of themselves to me in support.

My European Adventure

I just woke from a dream.

I was on the TGV (train) in southern France after spending some time in Monte Carlo. I was gazing out of the window over fields of lavender and basking in beautiful sunshine as the countryside flew past me at high speed. Silent and peaceful. I sipping café au lait and eating a croissant, whilst reminiscing about the beauty of where I had been.

Currently a Facebook friend and work colleague is over in Italy and has been visiting all of the places I have been. Firenze, Pisa, Roma, Venezia, Milano. She’s posting photos of San Marco Basilica. The Leaning Tower of Pisa. David. The Duomo in Florence. The Colosseum. And I find myself horribly jealous.

I click through my own European photos on Facebook and sigh as I remember the delicious food, the vast natural beauty of the alps, the friendly people. I can’t believe it’s two and a half years ago since I was there myself. Standing under the Eiffel Tower watching the light show, placing a bet at the Monte Carlo casino, standing on the beach at Nice looking out to Corsica.

Life was simplistic and wonderful.

It’s so hard to not come back to trauma. Back then I hadn’t experienced it. I was carefree. I didn’t have this Beast lurking behind me, waiting to take hold.

My psych says I should talk about if to my friends. However I really don’t want to. I don’t want to physically verbalise it all. I’m much preferring to blog about it here. I think when my friends talk about it, they want to ask about ‘the day’, they want the gory details. Whereas I want to talk about the aftermath, which essentially is not as interesting as the actual event.

I would like to return to Europe one day, I’m sure I will. We saw so much, but also missed a lot as we simply didn’t have the time to do it all.

For now I’ll just keep dreaming about Europe.