I know, it's been a long time, too long. But I needed to take a break from the very serious, emotional subjects so that my brain would be free to roam where it needed to help me decide on what to post about next. *deep breath
And now, I delve into a subject rarely spoken about, much needed, a little embarassing...but, it shouldn't be.
We came home from the hospital and the first night was wonderful. He slept beside our bed in the little white bassinet. I could hear every breath, every groan. I could peek over and see sweet angel dreams playing smiles on his cheeks.
The next day we went to the hospital to have his bilirubin levels checked. Tyler was already back at work. My parents were still in town, so they went with me. He was so orange, people thought he must've had "my skin tone" instead of Tyler's pinkish-white hue.
As he laid in the little plastic bed and looked around the room we were in, I saw him...really saw, how tiny he was. He had lost not just the normal amount of weight, but a significant amount. I cried until I heard footsteps coming down the hall. I quickly dried my tears and listened as the nurse explained what I needed to do in the next few hours. "Cook's will be coming with lights." And I didn't think it would be that big of a deal, he'd just be beside us with the lights at night.
We got home. They set up the lights, but not in our room. They needed something heavy to rest it in. The bassinet couldn't hold them. He had to sleep in his crib. "What?" I wasn't ready for this. I held in the tears as the man showed me the equipment, knobs, switches, lights. As soon as he left, I broke down again.
I had basically been up for 5 days and nights straight now. I couldn't take much more.
The nurse had instructed that since he wasn't eating enough, due to the extreme lethargy associated with the bilirubin levels and lights, I needed to breastfeed him, then pump between feedings, wake him back up and cup feed him what I pumped. So, I was feeding him pumping, cup feeding, waiting about 30 minutes then breastfeeding him again for the next three days and two nights. Elusive Sleep evading me once again. Tyler tried to help. He stayed up the first night in the room with the lights, I would wake up every 2 hours to feed him. I stayed up the second night. Feeling so alone, crying because I couldn't sleep. Finally at about 1:30am I called my mom.
"I don't think I can do this, Mom. I feel so scared. So much responsibility, what if I don't do something right? What if he doesn't get better?" She assured me he would. She talked to me lovingly for a good while, I insisted she go back to bed, I was "sorry for bothering" her. "No bother." This was her job, she replied.
That's when it happened. That night. I had never been so scared. Responsibility, hormones, lack of sleep and vitamins, all ganged up on me at the same time. I cannot describe it any other way, than to say that I was absolutely terrified. Of the dark, of the quiet, of being alone. Everything scared me.
He got better, the lights left. He moved back into our room by Friday night. I thought I would sleep better. I didn't.
The lights would go out and the World would slumber, but I would lie awake in bed. Scared. Too scared to think, to move, to pray even. But I couldn't pinpoint what exactly, was scaring me. "Are you afraid of the dark?" Tyler would venture, "No, but I get scared, almost anxious when it gets to be nighttime." I begged him to sleep close to me. It helped. But the feeling didn't go away.
I would wake early to feed my little man, then he'd go back to sleep in my bed folded gently in my arms. And I would sleep too. We would sleep and sleep. Then wake and play for a few minutes. Then he'd sleep some more and I would rise and try to do housework. My Mother-in-law had come to help so much the first week. I was starting to sleep a little more at night as he would sleep a little more, and felt as if I could do more. So I did. To the point of exhaustion. Then I'd break down again.
It had been a month, I was still sruggling. "Shouldn't this be over by now?" The 'blues' kept haunting me. This depressive state of lonliness, dread, exhaustion and worthlessness would come and go. Not to mention the many other things I was facing physically, just like any other woman post-partum.
I was fearful of people taking Will away, fearful of taking care of him on my own. Fearful of having to talk to people, fearful of having no one to talk to. Fearful of everything. I had no reason to be afraid. I would pray, "Lord, please help me. It's so awful." And I know He heard, and He helped this lonely little child of His to lean on Him. But the dread was still there.
A few times I would even see shadows near me. This scared me more than anything. And so I didn't tell Tyler. Time went on and they stopped. I searched the internet. "Hallucinations are a common side effect of post-partum depression."
I had read all about it. I had seen it dicussed in Magazines. But no one ever told me that it could happen to me. I felt ashamed. No one could find out. So I kept "my secret". Only Tyler and my best friend knew I was struggling and even they didn't know how much.
After about four months, I felt normal again. Four months is a long time to be sad. A long time to be tired and lonely and withdrawn. I finally started to talk about it to some other women in my church. I wish I had done it sooner.
Why am I writing this? I don't know. I guess that I'm hoping I can help someone else who may be struggling with something they don't know or believe is real. It's real. When the darkness creeps in, talk to someone. Tell a friend. More than anything I learned how important a daily Bible reading routine is. I needed to talk to my Saviour out loud, during the day, all day long.
I'm so thankful, that I have a Saviour Who cares for me when I'm hurting, Who listens when no one else can, Who fixes the problem and doesn't dismiss my fears. When darkness crept in, my Saviour stayed close.