Sometimes what makes a mom feel the best, especially one who thinks she may be suffering from some sort of post delivery depression related issue, is to hear thoughts and other words from moms feeling the same way. I know when my PPD started settling in well after we were all home from the NICU, I just wanted to hear that I was going to get better from an understanding person. So this post is just a compilation of moms venting about their issues surrounding PPD, baby blues, and PTSD, following and during their NICU journey. Feel free to comment about your experiences.
"I feel so depressed latley. I dont even want to go to the hospital. not because I dont want to see natalie or take care of her - I just dont want to do it there - I WANT HER HOME. I dont want someone standing over me while I am trying to get her to eat, or asking me every two minutes if she latched on when i am doing non nutritional breastfeeding (breastfeeding during a tube feeding). I am not producing as much milk - which i personally think it has to do with giving her a bottle while I am there. I pump like maybe 250ml a day but they are giving her 320 ml a day - I had some stocked from the week she wasnt eating but I know they have to be running out now so at some point they are going to start giving her formula and that bothers me becasue I dont see how it can be good to give her some feedings of breastmilk with human milk fortifier and then do some feeding with similac special care 24 cal formula. I also think they are feeding her too much at a time. out of the bottle she will eat 32 ml and they will force another 6ml into her with a tube (the difference in formula is waste becasue they always put extra in the tube feed that just stays in the syringe after it is done). then I have to be really really careful moving her because she spits some of it back up - maybe that should tell them she is getting too much??" -Shannon
"Mine was delayed. I have baby blues complicated by bipolar disorder, and while the baby blues typically hit after birth, mine didn't start until we left the hospital, and I'm struggling with them now. Don't get me wrong, I cried 3x a day while he was there, but focusing on absolutely every procedure and test and goal distracted me for awhile. Once I got home and he was doing well, the mood disorder, hormones, and cumulative stress hit me like a freight train." -Becca
"Hi...I used to be active on here, but had closed my account and recently rejoined. My son, Logan, was born at 25 weeks and spent 123 days in the NICU. I had my own "hotel" room in a portion of the hospital that I lived in the whole four months he was there because the hospital was over an hour away from home. There were days when I would dread going to his room, and I felt major guilt over it. For me it was a fear of how his night had gone, or some new infection he may have. When he came home he was on oxygen until he was over a year old and we were homebound for several months. I think I was in survival mode during that first year. I didn't address any of my depression or grief while he was in the hospital or when he came home, and it caught up with me later. Once he was about 18 months old and was doing well and healthy in my eyes I started to recognize the depression. My doctor told me post partum can occcur up to two years after birth, and most likely mine was delayed because I was so busy surviving and taking care of Logan. I have also read some stories about moms having some PTSD when they have had a traumatic birth. I am a therapist myself, so it was hard for me to acknowledge my depression and that I couldn't handle it on my own. Talk to you hospital social worker or OBGYN, they can help you identify if you need any medication or an evaulation for post partum. Best of luck!!" -Jen
"I coped with the NICU through denial. I pretended everything was perfectly fine and normal...it helped that Jim was mostly a feeder and grower, but even on the bad days, I just told myself, "This is normal, he'll be fine." Even when clearly he WASN'T fine and even though nothing about the NICU experience was normal. It was about a year later that I started to really be a mess, right around the anniversary of my water breaking. That's when I started bursting into tears over random stuff--like, the if I smelled Ivory soap because that's what they had in the pumping room at the hospital, or one time I went to check on Jim and I realized his bed is pointed the same way that his crib was at the hospital, so it was like looking at him in the NICU again. I still do that sometimes, although it's better since we started therapy (DH and I go together--DH has full-on PTSD symptoms like nightmares and anxiety).
This stuff is hard, seriously hard. All the guilt and the anger and the grief and the fear, it's not easy to live with. It is a really good idea to get help, I wish I'd done it much sooner." -Anna
I had moments where I dreaded going to the NICU. I remember one particular day when I was driving there and I was praying. I said, "God, I know we have a LOT to handle and I know I just have face this, but I REALLY need a good day today." It was a good day (it was actually the first day I got to hold her), but that drive there I just dreaded the walk from my car to the NICU.
Still when I smell the soap they use in my hospital my heartrate jumps. I'm not so much nervous, but I feel it. It is ingrained into my very being now.
"If you doctors are really saying she isn't doing well, they are idiots. I mean honestly... any baby in the NICU who is able to move to a crib and be off oxygen is doing GREAT! My doctors NEVER said anything like, "she isn't doing well." Even on the days we were waiting to see if this treatment worked or she would die. They were constantly positive. On the day we were being discharged, one of her doctors came in and said, "I never wanted to tell you until I was sure she was going home, but Beth had the worst lungs of any child I've seen in my 35+ years of practice who has lived." I was thankful he said it then (when we knew she was going home and doing well) because I know it was a miracle that she is so well now. So, next time your doctors say something like that, tell them you really don't need to hear it." -Sara
"I have post traumatic stress disorder and had postpartum. McKenzie spent 2 months in the NICU and Madison spent 5 months before she passed away. i had a lot of things to deal with. I still can not drive past the hospital without bawling." -Daisy
"I have to agree with the others. In a way I am thankful for this post because I know I am not alone. When my son was born, my husband was in Iraq. He was born at 23 weeks and was a very sick little baby for a very long time. My husband came back and forth a couple times before he got to stay for good. We went through a lot with him coming back from Iraq to THAT. A sick baby. He was having his own issues while I was having mine. We were both on survival mode. We communicated about....never. It was very bad, but oddly enough, I never felt "depressed", I felt overwhelmed and was only able to take things a day, hour, or minute at a time. My son came home on oxygen, an NG tube, and a monitor. It was like the NICU at home, and we continued in survival mode. 10 months after my son came home, DH and I separated. I became EXTREMELY depressed to the point that I literally did not ever want to get off the couch, not even to play with my own amazing son!! It was horrible and I finally got help. I was also experiencing some pretty intense PTSD symptoms, to include flashbacks and severe OCD. After two months, DH and I decided to try again, and we got counseling. All of that has REALLY helped, but it is still hard. I think that as NICU moms we definitely go through a much different type of post partum/PTSD. Hang in there and don't be afraid to get help, and get it NOW before it gets to the point that I let it get to. Good luck!" -Dianna
"I had a significant depression post NICU, and my twins were adopted-they were born at 28w in Feb 09, we moved to the NICU in May 09 for a month, they came home healthy, but I had a 2 year old at the time, a husband doing shift work, and no family to help us out. By Aug 09 I was on antidepressants, and feel better than I have in years. NICU is exhausting, mentally and physically for the entire family. I'm glad we're talking about this, I felt like an awful mom for a long time b/c I had these three (now four) amazing kids, and I was so overwhelmed and exhausted and crying all the time. I didn't feel I deserved them since I couldn't cope. Once the meds kicked in, I felt great and got my resources to gether and we're coping and thriving, but those first few months home with the twins were very dark." -Marie