I am such a Loser!

I don’t even want to look at the date of my last post. I am a blogging failure! Secret: I wanted so desperately to keep up with the minimum of a posting a week for 3 consecutive months so I could potentially be featured at blogher.com

Where have I been you may be thinking? Or, you may not care. Have I no loyalty to you all, my readership? Is readership a word?

I know it’s been a good two months. I have missed you blinking cursor! Shame on me!

You know how you intend to do something and a certain amount of time passes and you don’t accomplish it and you keep putting it off because when you do think about it it makes you feel yuck that you haven’t done it? I did that once (or maybe twice or more). I actually packed a cover for a blow up mattress into our moving shipment from Sicily that belonged to a friend who graciously provided me and Michael with a bed when we had none in transition. “Send me your address! I’ll send it back ASAP! So sorry it was packed in the big shipment!”

It sat in my closet for 2 years before I finally threw it away.

Ok, enough of the guilt trip. I carry enough guilt for probably, um, all of North America as a Mommy. Let’s not add to it.

In my absence my husband made it back from a month long stint to a not so fun faraway place. Wonderful family has visited, including my cousin, his wife (my secret sister), and their three children. My mom came and spent a fly by week with me and a short two weeks after that he was home. My in laws came for a fun visit. All these visits were a surprise to Michael who probably expects someone famous to stop by soon…..Michael started his soccer season and has scored multiple goals every game (Yay! This was with me coaching the first 2 weeks of the season since my husband was not available).

I also lost some weight. A significant amount. On purpose. With Shaun T from the Insanity workouts. And some healthful eating. I completed the “Insanity Challenge” and am smaller now then I was in high school. My arms look amazing. Though, the jiggle is still there, you know the one your peripheral vision never fails to catch while waving to someone with a sleeveless shirt on? I figured out if you wave slowly, like a princess wave, it doesn’t jiggle as much. I went down 6 clothing sizes. I love to run again. Am I bragging? Yep. But I won’t mention it again.

Except to say that it is a huge element in healthy thinking and mental well-being (duh).

Most recently and probably the most difficult was the privilege of sharing my journey through and out of postpartum OCD with my MOPS mommas. Twice. (Two separate groups….unfortunately my delivery was not so great the second time around….) I tried to be like a speaker who spoke to us during the year about parenting and raising three boys. So calm. So clearly well-spoken and purposeful. Stood next to but not behind the podium. Captured my attention. Elegant and graceful. Yeah, you know who you are, K. (My writing muse, whom I aspire to be anything like).

Not me.  No…. I bop up there and spoke for 40 minutes the first time (whoa….) and packed a lot into it. I tripped over the podium, in both sharing times, I think. When I stood away from the podium I lost all ability to control my arms and hands. I am not quite sure what I did with them. I could have been picking my nose….

But God’s grace was shown and He used me to reach mommas who needed to hear a scary story to know that you know what happens and He is the Only One who can pull you out of it and make you better for it.

Noooo…Sammy is rolling around in his crib….don’t wake up….I am going to sign off now, and sit in my mother’s day gift, my fabulous anti-gravity chair that is on our deck and watch the sunrise. Pray he gives me 30 (60?) good minutes.

Glad to be back. 🙂

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“I’m gonna write a letter” (ever seen the movie White Chicks? :)

I sent this to ACOG today via snail mail. It speaks for itself. Pray that it makes a difference for future women who will battle postpartum illness.

To The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:

On February 22, 2011, I developed significant postpartum mood disorder symptoms.

At 3 months postpartum with my second child, I sought care from my OB/GYN office immediately. As a registered nurse, I have a moderate knowledge base of postpartum illness and knew what was happening.

My scheduled appointment was with a physician whom I preferred not to see due to a lack of bedside manner. I could have waited three weeks to see my “regular” OB/GYN for my previously scheduled annual exam, but I was desperate for help as soon as possible.

When I tearfully shared what I was going through, this physician looked at me and said, “Well, I don’t know what this is, but it’s not postpartum depression. You need to see a psychiatrist. I’ll write you a script for Prozac.”

I felt CRUSHED. I walked out of the office, script in hand, wondering why he would say such a thing. I was taught that postpartum illness could develop within the first year of birth.

The following weeks brought an appointment with a not so helpful psychiatric nurse practioner and untoward side effects from the Prozac. When I followed up with my preferred OB/GYN for my annual exam, she apologized for the comments the first physician had made and said, “This is SO postpartum related.”

After searching for more resources, I found a therapist who specializes in postpartum mood disorders. She directed me to a reproductive psychiatrist that assured me I was not going crazy, and the exact nature of my symptoms were experienced by many women. My medication regimen was adjusted, and she was astute enough to recheck my TSH after noting I was trending toward hyperthyroidism about a month before the onset of my symptoms.

I was then referred to an endocrinologist when my TSH level had swung in the opposite direction.  After a thyroid ultrasound and a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease, I began taking Synthroid.

After months of therapy, medication, and support I have been healed.

But I am angry. If I had been a patient lacking the nursing knowledge I have, I shudder to think what may have come of my situation. The first time a mom seeks help for a postpartum mental health related issue sets the tone for her entire recovery.  Encountering this particular physician’s response appalled me then, and it appalls me now. Did I mention he is the head of the practice?

My purpose in writing this letter to ACOG is to ask the following:

Why, why, why in 2012 are physicians who practice OB/GYN not all on the same proverbial page regarding the mental heath care of postpartum women?

What is ACOG doing to educate these physicians to prevent a situation such as mine from happening?

Why is it so difficult to find postpartum resources? I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person. It took me many hours of searching for the “right” people to help me.

I can tell you that at least 12 people directly contributed to my ongoing recovery. That’s not including people I encountered along the way who weren’t already directly involved in my life.

Twelve people helped me, and one physician nearly ruined me.

I literally have to fight the urge to tell my story to every pregnant woman or mom with a newborn that I see.

I truly look forward to hearing a response from ACOG and hope that my questions will not be overlooked or brushed aside as my initial road to recovery was.

Sincerely,

My Real Name Here 🙂