PTSD is not just for soldiers

This blog is a hard one for me to write…if I’m being honest, I’m not even sure where to start. This past week has been a hard one that has forced me to face demons that I was perfectly content ignoring until the end of time.

Let me start with a little back story.(I’ll try to keep it simple but there is a lot)..I got pregnant in February of 2015 with Connor, I feel like I expected to have morning sickness because it comes with the territory right? You get pregnant….puke for the first trimester…..have a blissful second trimester….than by the third trimester you’re nesting and ready to meet this sweet bundle of joy. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case for me. I puked all day, everyday no matter what I ate. I pushed through the first trimester hoping that it would go away but eventually had to quit my job doing hair because I physically couldn’t stand there for long periods of time without feeling like I was going to be sick. This was hard for me, I loved my job, my coworkers, and especially my clients! I became a stay at home dog mom at 20 weeks pregnant up until we had Connor on November 1, 2015.

Connor was born at 37 weeks and his blood sugar levels were low which led to him having to spend a week in the NICU to make sure he was ok to go home. Let me tell you, no one has a baby and expects not to go home with them. That was probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. We were lucky that it was only a week and I was constantly told how he was too big and healthy to be there. The NICU nurses were absolute angels and I will never be able to fully express how grateful I am for the laughs and love they provided in that week.IMG_7311After a couple weeks of being home I started to have terrible back pain, like crippling back pain…to the point I couldn’t even hold Connor. I eventually went to the ER and after 8 hours of being there they said that I had small gallstones and needed to see a gastro Dr. I ended up making an appointment for who they referred me to and the soonest I could get in was 3 weeks and the issue with my back had seemed to calm down so I totally thought I could wait….cue God laughing. Long story short I ended up having a huge attack which led to me being insanely sick. I was seen the next day (Monday) and was told that I needed to have my gallbladder out either Tuesday or Thursday of THAT WEEK. You can only imagine my panic as I’m 4 weeks postpartum (a week of that spent in the NICU with my sick baby) and now myself has to have surgery…oh did I mention besides as a infant I have never had any sort of surgery in my life….(I hope you can feel me eye-rolling  as I write this!) I had the surgery and was told that was more than likely the cause of all my sickness while being pregnant. I was hopeful that my next pregnancy would be NOTHING like my last…

After deciding to sell our condo and buy our forever home in the town I grew up in we decided to try again for baby #2 when Connor was 8 months old because, well….Connor took 6 months to conceive so that would make them 2 years apart…cue God laughing again. Well folks, it took ONE try, I was about to have two under two (a term my brother in law loves, just ask him haha!) I spent that entire pregnancy once again being sick, just this time I got to chase around a toddler as well. We welcomed Weston into the world on March 25, 2017 leaving the boys just UNDER 17 months apart. Do you hear the circus music I’m always hearing in my head? (see first blog if you don’t get this joke) IMG_2032

Weston’s delivery messed me up bad. As you can tell in this picture I look like death and its not because I had just pushed out a baby but because I was actually dying. My placenta decided not to detach after I had delivered Wes leaving the doctor to manually go in and try to “detach” it. Yep, it’s just as gross as it sounds. After what felt like an eternity but really it was closer to 45 minutes they finally got it all out…or so they thought. I continued to bleed for the next hour (even while the picture above was being taken) the nurses and Dr.’s all remained calm while they weighed the amount of blood I was loosing and continually checking on me to see if it had stopped. I never once felt like anything was wrong and I can thank God’s protection for that. All the sudden I got light headed and felt sick, next thing I knew a bunch of nurses and Dr.’s were running around my room getting things ready and my Dr. comes up to me and explains to me what is going on and that I was going to have to go into the operating room and they were going to look for the piece of the placenta that they assumed was still inside and the cause of all my blood loss. I was told if they couldn’t get it manually again that I would have to have a DNC and if they couldn’t stop the bleeding with that than I was going to have a hysterectomy, a hysterectomy at 29 years old. I knew I was done having kids but there is something about signing that paper that made it all so surreal. Luckily they were able to get in manually and I didn’t have to go through any of the other procedures(shoutout to Dr. Gail Gerber for saving my life and my uterus) sorry I have to add some humor in all this otherwise I’m pretty sure I’ll loose readers with this heavy blog. I ended up loosing almost half my blood and needed two blood transfusions but in the end of it I was ok and so was Wes. We all resumed our new normal as a family of 4.

After I had Connor I would always look at the women and children’s building at St. Alexius where all of this had happened and I would get a weird pit in my stomach, it was never overwhelming but I would find myself counting floors because I knew the NICU was floor 4, mother and baby was 5, and floor 6 was where labor and delivery is.I can still to this day picture our “view” from Connors window in the NICU. I never really thought anything of it until I had Wes and my traumatic birth with him. I no longer could look at the hospital, if I looked at the 6th floor I would get sick to my stomach and remember smells and everything that happened there. I always felt it was kind of silly especially because I’m not a overly emotional person so in true Sarah fashion I just pushed it deep down and pretended like it didn’t exist until one day it was so big I couldn’t ignore it. To make a long story short I ended up going to talk to someone and was diagnosed with PTSD.

This was a hard diagnosis for me. When I think of PTSD, I think of soldiers, I think of people who were abused and here I was just a woman who had two pregnancies and births that were very different but both traumatic in their own way. I never realized how much I struggled with not being able to bring Connor home that first week or how scary it was when my placenta didn’t detach.

Now that the longest back story is over…that brings us to this week. Sunday we went to church and decided to go to my in laws after. As I was walking up to their house I somehow tripped on absolutely nothing but grass and concrete while holding Wes. I somehow managed to throw myself onto the concrete and Wes into the grass but there is nothing like good ole mom guilt. Wes seemed fine but was fussy. We stayed at my in laws for a few hours and than decided to go home. Usually Wes is a kid who calms down in the car but instead he was getting progressively worse and crying unlike I had ever heard him cry before. We decided it was best to take him to the ER and just make sure he was ok. Do you feel my panic? Remember that whole PTSD thing? Thank God my sister in law offered to come over and watch Connor so it was one less thing we had to worry about.

As we drove up to the hospitals campus I started balling my eyes out…anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not a cryer and here I am sobbing because I have to go into a hospital. That was the first time I really felt the weight of my PTSD. Luckily the ER wasn’t busy and we were able to be taken back to a room pretty quickly!

Wes was a total trooper and luckily nothing was wrong with him! The Dr. did notice his wheezing which has been a constant battle with my current pediatrician who didn’t seem to be concerned with it and telling me it’s probably asthma, yet no asthma medications have worked. After the ER Dr. heard that he decided to refer us to a pulmonologist and hopefully we will start to get some answers and Wes can start to feel better.

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The pulmonologist’s office is in St. Alexius. We already had our first appointment with them since our ER visit on Sunday and days leading up to this appointment all I could feel was panic. Even writing that out it sounds so dramatic yet the feelings are so real. Like I said earlier I don’t think I ever really fully felt the weight of all this until this past week. I believe God has a plan in sending me back into that building to help my baby and am praying by the end of all of this that, that building, will be just that, a building. A building where I birthed my babies, where I met amazing nurses and Dr.’s who truly love their jobs and the people they are there to help.

If you have gotten this far in this blog you are a saint and now know a whole lot about me. I feel like there are so many people out there who struggle after having children and yet never talk about it. I hope and pray in writing this and being vulnerable(not something I do often) that I bring some light to that darkness. IMG_6610

As always, thank you for reading this and supporting me! ❤

4 thoughts on “PTSD is not just for soldiers

  1. Sarah, you are such a strong person! Just putting this out there shows that you’re able to face your fears for the well being of your kids. Those little boys are lucky to have you as their mom. Some people are faced with more struggles than they’d like, but god will never send you a struggle that you can’t handle. Stay strong my dear friend!

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  2. Wow! Honestly its like looking into a mirror sometimes. Ive felt so many of these same things.
    I ended up having a pretty traumatic birth with Harrison (VBAC) and no matter how much i tried to explain to people what i was feeling, nobody seemed to get it. I would have flashbacks, crying, anxiety attacks. It was crazy and very unlike me. Luckily a lot of that faded over time, However i think just pushing those feelings down is maybe what led to my postpartum depression… Now that im talking to my doctor more and feeling so much better, i have actually started talking to another friend of mine, who i noticed was going through some of the same things. She just chalked it up to OCD, stress and having toddler, baby etc… I really believe God allows us to go through the things that we did (and still do) to share our story and experiences with other women. So keep writing!!! You are an inspiration!

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