At my current age, Albert Einstein had discovered the “Theory of Relativity,” but in 30 years I have called four states home, got married, lived in six houses, earned three degrees, bought a house of my own and had twins.
Boom. Take that Mr. Smarty Pants.
If you had asked me where I saw myself at age 30 I would have never guessed I would be living the military wife life. I also didn’t think I would have been able to own a home at this age and I am super stoked that I was able to bring two humans into this world before I hit the big 3-0.
I also never thought I would be dealing with post-postpartum depression six months after I became a mom.
All I have ever wanted was to be a mother and my current reality is a far cry from the fairy tale I had conjured up in my head. I expected what all new mothers expect: a joyous experience getting to know my babies. Instead, I was terrified of my preemie twins.
Everything was going well with my pregnancy last year until I hit 34 weeks. Then I got pre-eclampsia and checked into the hospital for two weeks. My idea of a traditional birth was nixed when my son went into distress. I didn’t have time to wrap my head around being cut open while awake.
When they came into the world at 36 weeks, there were no cries. They were whisked away into the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU. I didn’t get to take the picture with two babies on my chest. I didn’t even get to see them for six hours after they were born. When I did finally get to meet my son and daughter, they were so small and covered with wires.
We couldn’t even hold them. But my husband reminded me that they were here and healthy they just needed to beef up a bit.
The first three months were all a blur. All I was focused on out of the gate was getting both kids out of the NICU ASAP. My son was discharged with me after a five-day stay and I drove back and forth every three hours to visit my daughter before she finally got the go-ahead to come home four days later. It felt like an eternity at the time, seeing as how some babies, even singletons, can spend weeks if not months in the hospital.
Postpartum depression is very different from the “baby blues,” a heightened emotional state that can hit 80 percent or more of new moms in the first days after the baby is born. Baby blues usually ebbs within a couple of weeks. Between 10 percent and 20 percent of new mothers experience postpartum depression and the percentage is even higher for moms of multiples: 43 percent.
My anxiety started with the “Are they breathing?” checks. Then it was the “Wash your hands. They could get sick,” thing. Let’s add in taking their temperatures to see if they were too hot or cold. And soon it was just like an avalanche of worries and checking and thoughts.
At first, it was very difficult to recognize the difference between sleep deprivation, the complete life-changing event of having a baby (much less, twins) and depression. Having preemie twins knocked me and my husband into oblivion.
I just didn’t expect it to be that hard.
Lucky for me I have a super hands-on spouse and a great group of friends always willing to come over to talk and hold a baby so I can take a real shower and have a few minutes alone to breathe.
I’m ready to get off this emotional roller coaster and kick this depression to the curb. After being in denial about having an issue, I finally made an appointment to talk with my doctor about treatment options so I can be the best mom I can be for Rory and Makayla.