Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My Story: Part 1

Did I want to get well?

Yes, I can honestly say that I always did. I didn't always look for healing in the right places, but there was always a part deep inside me that WANTED to get well. Many depressed individuals give up hope, they seek a way to end it all, but I think there was something deep in my spirit that knew that depression was wrong, and I had to fight it.
I went about it all wrong of course, I tried to do it on my own: "I just need a different medication... I just need more medication. I ought to see the reflexologist, the hypnotherapist, the psychologist, the massage therapist (and some of those can be pretty strange), the acupuncturist, the support group..." You see what I'm saying. I was a willing candidate! I tried every avenue! None of them worked.
So how did I get well, in all my willingness? Well, let's go back to the beginning.

To see the end of a thing, it's full meaning, you must go back to the beginning. The first chapter of my favorite book begins: In the beginning...
How can I bring you back to the beginning to understand my situation, so you can see how deep of a pit I was in, and how did I get out? I can't. Just like I can't really know the pit that you are in right now, but He knows. When God wanted us to understand His story, He used words, and began: "In the beginning..." And in so doing, He transferred to us a piece of Himself, and we understood some of His story. Even some of our own. So as I share my words with you (just like God did), you will understand some of my story, and in it see some of your own.

I was three months pregnant when my husband and I married. We decided to marry because I was pregnant. There was a certain amount of stress involved in that. Not to mention the stress of not planning to be a parent, and really having no qualifications whatsoever for becoming one.
It's the unique thing about becoming a parent: You can get the job even when entirely unsuited for the work.
I was unsuited. I was selfish, for one! For two, I didn't know anything about babies! Over the course of those nine months, I tried to ready myself. I read "What to Expect When You're Expecting", I took prenatal classes, I "buffed up" on baby stuff. I had an image in my mind of what it would be like, and yet I knew NOTHING.
First of all, labour was not "uncomfortable" like I had expected. My baby was posterior, and I had terrible back pain. I really felt like I had been shot in the back. I did take a half dose of Demerol, but it just made me feel dopey between my agonizing contractions. Not nice. It was a 12 hour labour, which I'm told is fine for a first baby, but I was really in shock afterwards. I could not sleep (at all) for three whole nights. Now compounding this problem was that something was wrong with my nursing. Now remember, I know nothing about babies: therefore nothing about nursing. My milk didn't come in for the first three days. When it did, my breasts got so engorged and inflamed (infected later), that it compressed the ducts for the milk to escape. It was a bad situation, and the nursing consultants didn't really know what to advise. However, my son was very dehydrated, and was crying nonstop unless he was suckling. So my husband, savior that he is, went to London Drugs and bought formula. The baby stopped crying, and things were looking a bit better! Not so.
I started having very unusual thoughts, that really weren't my own. I said to my husband: "Maybe we made a mistake!" How could I think this newlywed life to the man I loved; raising our son was a mistake? I had waited for nine months for my son! I spent those months carefully wallpapering his room, and picking out outfits for him. The bible says "If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small." Let me tell you, my strength was very small at that moment. My thoughts then were not my own. They were more than out of character, they were crazy.
My husband never changes. He looked at me in horror, and at his baby, which was the pride and joy of his 25 years of life and said "No!" What was I saying? I didn't know. But I knew that something was wrong.

We bottle fed from then on, but my baby wouldn't sleep the way I expected. I was more than exhausted. I was spent. He would wake up every one and a half hours or so, and not knowing what to do, I gave him the bottle. I was really surrounded by advice, but none of it was working: Demand feeding is doesn't work for a bottle baby, and the pablum I was encouraged to try made no difference! This kid was not hungry, but he wouldn't sleep at night. He was becoming an expert at crying.
Was this Elijah's fault? No. He had been innocently born into a trying situation, and was just crying out for help. We just didn't know how to help him, or ourselves.
This really wore my nerve down. The crying was very stressful for me. We learned to live with it as normal, but I can see now that it was still affecting me. Every night I was up heating up bottles. We were told not to use the microwave, so I would stand over the hot water and the bottle waiting impatiently while my infant screamed in my ear.
One night I found myself on the floor. It seemed I had the sense to tell my husband that I felt funny, and gave him the baby. I headed for the bathroom and found myself on my face. What was wrong with me? I was hemorrhaging. The health nurse had said it was normal to bleed quite a bit, and remember: I knew nothing. I praise God for my obstetrician who didn't think I needed a d/c, but gave me some medication to make the uterus contract, and the bleeding stopped. I remember lying in bed, and feeling like I was falling/ dying, or the world was shutting down. It was a scary feeling.
I had just run out of gas. All of those stresses on my body in such a short period of time were more than I could take. I would go into my son's room in the morning, and try to smile at him, but there was nothing in me to do it. I faked it. I went to see the doctor, knowing it was probably postpartum depression, and asked him what to do. He said it would only last 3 months or so. Three months? It was like a death sentence to me. I cried. I had never felt so lost as at that time in my life.
I will end here for tonight, but come back. Remember: this is just the beginning.


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