Anyone had PPD w/ #1 but not #2? What was different? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 05-20-2010, 02:03 AM - Thread Starter
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I read this forum occasionally but I'd like to ask a question. DH and I are planning on TTC #2 in the next few months. DD #1 just turned six years old, and I am now finally arriving at the point where thinking of a new baby doesn't make me nauseous. Please bear with me while I share my story, in hopes of finding someone who has gone through something similar. Thanks!

My planned pregnancy with DD was physically easy, but I had a lot of stress during the pregnancy. I lost a job that I loved, got a new job at 28 weeks, and also met my birthmother for the first time during my pregnancy (I was adopted at birth.) Also, I was hiding the fact I was planning a homebirth from my co-workers (L&D nurses) because I knew another RN who'd had a HB and was subsequently fired from her job.

I had a wonderfully quick and easy, almost painless birth at home at 39 weeks. I felt amazing afterwards, like I could run a marathon. It was such a high!

Two or three days postpartum, I had the normal baby blues and figured they would go away pretty quickly. But they didn't. They got much worse, but I just learned to work around them.

DD wasn't able to nurse because of an oral problem, and long story short, I exclusively pumped succesfully. DD had my milk for 18 months. I was very jealous of nursing Moms and I secretly wanted to put a breastmilk label on DD's bottle. LOL, I know, ridiculous.

DD was a hideous baby. I know that sounds awful but I don't know how else to put it. She cried non-stop unless she was in motion, and sometimes even then she squalled. She was very rigid and hated being held. She slept very little and woke easily. We intended to do AP and co-sleeping but how to do that with a baby who didn't like being touched? I dreaded hearing her wake up and start crying. Every photo I have of her from birth to a year old, she is crying. We ended up finding out that DD had sensory issues when she was 2. I wish I would have known earlier, it would have helped me understand her.

I don't remember any specifics about her babyhood, but that it was a nightmare. I guess I've blocked a lot of it out. DH took 6 weeks off, and I took 12 weeks, but I don't remember any of that time, other than being afraid to stay alone with her. It was like living with a siren that loudly goes off at random and which you can't turn off. DH and I both felt the same way. Many nights we just all cried together.

I sometimes had horrible, very vivid thoughts (fantasies?) about killing her, though I never would have done it. I thought about giving her up for adoption. Every day was just spent surviving. My Mom and MIL were very helpful and came to watch her pretty often so DH and I could sleep. We didn't take turns on baby duty because when she would wake, I would pump and he would be feeding her during that time. It took 1-2 hours to get her back to sleep each time she woke. DH and I felt very little attachment to her. It was awful, knowing we were supposed to love her and yet we didn't. I felt like the worst parent ever, a failure. I know I had PPD but just didn't realize it at the time. This went on for about 9 months when she began sleeping through the night and then gradually improved to where I felt human again and started enjoying my daughter.

Now DD is an awesome kid. She's sweet, smart, funny, and loves to snuggle. Go figure. I can't wait to pick her up from kindergarten and go do things with her. When I think about how I feel about her now, it's like she and that horrible baby are two completely different people. I love and enjoy her so much. DH also feels the same.

I know I want another child, but I am so scared of going through that again. It was the most despondent, hopeless period of my life.. I'd like to hear some stories from ladies who have gone through something similar, and how you worked through it and if you had an easier time the next time.....I'm open to any suggestions. I'm planning on encapsulating the placenta. I'm planning on having a postpartum doula. My Mom just moved into our neighborhood so that will make it much easier. I'd be willing to try anti-depressants. I'd be willing to do anything that might help.

Thanks to anyone who read this novel. I appreciate it, and any stories you may want to share. Thanks!
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#2 of 11 Old 05-20-2010, 06:20 AM
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I'm so sorry to hear of your experience of the babyhood of your DD.

To answer your ?, I had a similar experience with severe PPD after my DS was born. Like your story, there were a lot of life changes surrounding his birth, and a lot of psychosocial stress during pg... and he was a HN infant.

I was scared during the pg of my DD (terrified, more like it- and nearly NINE years after) of the experience repeating itself. It was even difficult for me to articulate to my MW my fears. I finally did at like 38 wks and we came up with a plan- I went on bio-identical progesterone the day of her birth (using the theory that it is the sudden huge drop in progesterone (after the birth "high") that can lead to PPD). When I was still getting pretty lousy "blues" a few wks later, I switched to antidepressants very briefly. I didn't like the way they made me feel and I'm not a big "drug" person, so I went off them and was very open with my support system and family that I was going to need extra TLC plus many mental health check ins.

I'm happy to say she's nearly 14 months and no real PPD this time. Her infancy was a joy, especially bc I knew how much to appreciate it (like you, I have only scant memories of my DS crying through his )

I wish you the best of luck. My advice is to be proactive (which it sounds like you already are). Every mama deserves a peaceful babymoon and, remember, there are people there to help and love on you like you and your LOs deserve.


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but a lesson must be lived in order to be learned.
and the clarity to see and stop this now
that is what i've earned (a.d.)
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#3 of 11 Old 05-20-2010, 05:51 PM
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I had some PPD after my first. It wasn't severe, but PPD nonetheless. I cried ALOT, had the scary thoughts like you, thought I had made the biggest mistake, etc. I think a lot had to do with the complications I had after the birth. I too had a very easy pregnancy and delivery with baby #1 but had a lot of complications after - I had nerve damage of the pelvic floor (painful for 6 months), a baby who refused nursing at 5 weeks old, and several other smaller issues that all added up to lots of stress. So of course I was so nervous for baby #2 and I was SURE it would come back and probably be worse. I had already talked to my dr about my options since I never got the help I needed with baby #1 and I wasn't going to make that mistake again. To my surprise, I had nothing more than a week of baby blues. I just kept waiting for it to get worse, but it didn't. I think expectations had a lot to do with it - and yes, maybe because the recovery was easier the second time too, but I felt much better prepared to face whatever was coming.

You have already experienced the bad and you are a better stronger person for it. You are armed and ready for this and I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Is sounds like you have already taken the right steps. Good luck!
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#4 of 11 Old 05-20-2010, 06:05 PM
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I had severe PPD with my first but it didn't really happen until after he weaned - and it was early like 6 or 7 weeks. Supply issues were a problem and other mamas were having an easier time bf'ing than I did and it really brought me down - I felt like a HUGE failure.
With DS#2, I had PPD in a similar way that you did. He was constantly fussing, took him a while to be put to sleep, nursed ALL of the time and that was driving me crazy, sleep deprived and questioning myself if we did the right thing. He's now 11wks old and is PERFECT. I had to wean early with him, too, 8 weeks - pumping problems and I had return to work earlier than expected, but I became more at peace with it all then I did with DS#1 and has seemed to help quite a bit. Plus, we quickly realized that he was adjusting, just like we were adjusting to him, having a newborn in the house, taking care of a 4yo and other things - it was overwhelming. But now, I couldn't ask for two better boys and I couldn't imagine my life without EITHER one of them.
I still tear up just typing this - it's still emotional to me how I sometimes lost my cool and would cry and get frustrated.

One happy mama to 1/06 , 3/10 , and married to my best friend
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#5 of 11 Old 05-20-2010, 10:31 PM
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I had a rough time with my first, didn't have severe ppd, but had enough to not be able to form a real connection with him for a while and was feeling overwhelmed. It eventually went away and I fell in love with my son and it was all good.

I think the main difference when I had my second was that I had fallen in love with my son, I knew the type of connection I had and I was super confident that I would have it with my second. When she was born, even though she was a much and I mean MUCH tougher baby, I was easier on myself and relaxed a lot more and found that I enjoyed the experience a lot more and was able to bond to her immediately.

I think once you have gone thru it once it doesn't necessarily mean it won't happen again, but you are more prepared, not only to deal with ppd but to deal with the baby as well.

I wish you the best and I mean the best of luck! Sounds like your older daughter is ready to be a great big sister.
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#6 of 11 Old 05-21-2010, 10:52 PM
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's mama

I had severe PPD and PTSD with dd1.....My p/g with her was really tough but only because of the stupid dr's....I had 2 m/c's prior to dd1's p/g, so I didn't really allow myself to get attached to even the p/g until I made it past 14 weeks (which was when I lost the others) then i went in for my "18 week" u/s and they called and told me that they found something with her heart and that we would need to see a perinatologist...didn't tell me any specifics, just that I needed to call and make an appt. with I called and they said I was coming in for genetic couseling, I asked them why and again they said that it would be discussed at the appt...well we went in and they said they found a marker for downs syndrome....being naive about everything I just about lost it..they told me to come back in 2 weeks to check again, well that 2 weeks was hell and of course I went back and they found forward to the end of the p/g and my OB was starting the whole LGA bit and I would need to be induced no later than 40 weeks....I was naive but not that naive so I refused before 40 weeks and then we had a major hurricane headed our way so i panicked and let them admit me to be induced, which led to the typical cascade of interventions....everything short of a c-sec....I didn't get to see her until she was all cleaned up and wrapped tightly all I could see was her face. Plus they gave her the Vit. K shot without asking and dh said he didn't know what to do because at the time they gave it to her I was in severe pain because the epi had worn off towards the end of pushing and the OB was stitching me up without numbing me. I could feel that I wasn't myself even before I left the hospital which was a nightmare in itself....they wouldn't let me sleep with her next to me and every 10 mins the stupid alarm on her warmer went off and she like your dd was NOT a good sleeper at all!!

I like you don't remember much about her early days, we did co-sleep with her and was a good nurser but as soon as it was daylight I was handing her off and went back to sleep and didn't even want to see her....all the same feelings as you had.....I felt no attachment what so ever....Had horrible thoughts of either killing her or myself, I felt like I lived in my own personal hell....when I did sleep I would have flash backs and nightmares about her birth. It was truly awful.

Finally when she turned a yr. old I started to come around a little bit, then when she was only 14 mos. old I got p/g with dd2 and was horrified!! I was hoping I would have another m/c because I figured it would be the same hell all over again....well fast forward to her birth....It was AWESOME I had the most awesome m/w(I vowed NEVER to set foot in a hospital again to birth anymore babies!!) and I couldn't believe how awesome I could feel!!

Plus, she turned out to be THE MOST wonderful baby I could have ever asked for! She had hardly any "colic" and never woke more frequently than every 2 hrs. and then went right back to sleep. I finally knew what it felt like to be a "real" mom.

Well, fast forward again to ds's birth again wonderful birth of a big beautiful 10+lb. baby boy with the same m/w's.....but afterwards I ended up with a cystocele and could hardly sit for the first 3 mos. of his life I was in a lot pain constantly and he was the "WORST" baby EVER...I don't think he ever stopped crying for the first 6 mos. of his life...I spent many nights at 1 and 2 o'clock in the morning pacing the sidewalk up and down in front of our house with him crying (the poor neighbors!! ) it was truly awful..But I never got to that PPD point, there were times of frustration(we had tried every gripe water, and remedy on this planet and even cranio sacral therapy, nothing helped) but I never felt hopeless or helpless.

So I guess the moral of my novel is that just like the others have said you have been thru the worst of it and so now you will more than likely be prepared.....I told dh that I am so glad we got that horrible experience first because now we could face anything! Although I will have to add that dh had a vasectomy when ds was only 2 weeks old!!
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#7 of 11 Old 05-22-2010, 02:27 PM
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For me, it boiled down to preparation and circumstances.

I had a traumatic life event when I was pg w/#1. My dh was in a near fatal accident and hospitalized most of my pregnancy so I ended up with PTSD that contributed to PPD after dd's birth. She wasn't a particularly difficult baby but she didn't sleep AT ALL and the sleep deprivation kicked up my PTSD symptoms and I ended up going on medication when she was 8 months old for a few months.

I was fairly certain I didn't want more kids until a yr or so ago when I changed my mind and got pregnant very quickly. Being pregnant triggered all the PTSD symptoms that I thought were resolved... I ended up with panic attacks and insomnia and it was a little piece of hell. I decided to go back on medication when I was 15 wks pregnant with #2 and things started to settle down. I also did tons of therapy.

I decided that I was going to do whatever it took to have a different experience with baby #2. I was going to prepare myself for the worst and try to stay present with this new experience.

I encapsulated my placenta which helped a TON with exhaustion and mood. I stayed on a tiny dose of medication. My circumstances were completely different... I had a healthy husband this time.

My experience with #2 has been totally and completely different. I adored him from the moment I met him and have thoroughly enjoyed every stage so far. AND he doesn't sleep any better than his sister! I'm still able to roll with it and know that IT WILL GET BETTER. That's a huge difference the second time. You know it will get better. When you're in that hellish place the first time, you just assume this is your life now and it sucks. But now you have your sweet girl to prove to yourself that even the most difficult babes change.

Good luck!

mumma to sweet 7 year old girl
and darling 2 year old guy

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#8 of 11 Old 05-22-2010, 03:45 PM
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Sleep. It all boiled down to sleep. I feel that sleep management is probably the most important factor in my PPD. There are always other stressors and issues, but how I emotionally react to them is completely dependant upon sleep.
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#9 of 11 Old 05-22-2010, 05:35 PM
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I totally agree with the sleep factor, and that's exactly what I was going to mention in my post.

I had no PPD with DS #1, but had it pretty bad- and went untreated for 18 months- with DS#2. With him I had the ideal pregnancy, beautiful birthing center birth, breastfed, everything all natural. However, DS 2 was extremely high need like you mentioned of your daughter- cried ALL the time, he had to be held/walked/rocked/nursed 24/7 and he never slept more than 20 minutes at a time. I was in hell, and dealing with a 2 year old on top of it literally made me feel crazy. My PPD was more anger than sadness, although I had a bit of both at times. I would yell and shout at my family, break down and cry, beg nobody in particular to releive me of this burden. I remember putting DS out on the back porch in his walker one day and let him scream for a half hour while I slumped in the corner of my kitchen and sobbed, with my bewildered 2yo watching me. It was the most awful emotional time of my life.

Around 18 months old, I finally started to "feel" better. I think mine resolved on it's own and I wish I had gotten help sooner for the sake of my kids, but we all survived and now that little stinker is a fantastic, peaceful, and easy 4 year old. But we did find out later that he had severely swollen tonsils and adenoids, which were causing him to be sick constantly and also he had sleep apnea from them, thus resulting in the physical inability to sleep properly. At age 3 we had them removed and he's been a different kid ever since! I think a lot of times when babies are THAT unhappy, there are other problems at play.

I had such severe lack of sleep that I beleive was a huge contributor, because I did not have that with the first baby and I felt fine after the birth. I am 12 days postpartum with my daughter now (baby #3) and I am very nervous about what to expect. I've had "baby blues" from day 8-10, but seem to be feeling fine now and I hope that no PPD develops. I didn't notice anything wrong last time until a month or more went by, so all I can do is keep a close watch on myself- and I also encapsulated my placenta and am REALLY hoping that works. Some women never get PPD and others get it with just one pregnancy...rarely, it comes with all pregnancies. I think all you can do is use preventative measures and watch yourself- and have others watch you- after your birth to make sure things are going well. This time, I also made sure I had PLENTY of postpartum support- DH's Grandma stayed with us the first week, we're on our own this week but DH is off work, and my mom is coming next week and she'll be staying with me until DD is 6 weeks old. This should get us through the hardest parts

Don't overthink things, but do be cautious. Good luck on your journey!!

Jessica- married to David- parenting our 3 monkeys- DS #1 (age 7) DS #2 (age 4) and a brand new DD (born 5/10/10)
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#10 of 11 Old 05-22-2010, 06:58 PM
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I had it pretty bad with my first. He was pretty high maintenance, we were fairly young, ds didn't sleep and I didn't asked for/accept help. I suffered for two years and missed out on any enjoyment of ds babyhood.

With dd and the twins, I didn't have it. When the twins were about 10 mo olds, I was severely sleep deprived and felt like I was going to lose my mind. I tried many things for a better night sleep and in the end I did some gentle sleep training. In my experience, sleep deprivation is different than depression, but not any easier to take.

Joanna - wife to Mike, mamachicken to Cub(8/98), Kitten (4/07), Dew-man, and Woe-boy(twins, 10/08)
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#11 of 11 Old 09-24-2010, 03:12 PM
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I am so happy to read this post. I had PTSD from a traumatic labor & birth along with some PPD - not severe depression but I couldn't feel anything for months and got waves of anxiety every evening for several weeks after she was born. I knew I loved her, but didn't get any pleasure from those emotions.

Other than being low-functioning and stressed from her 5 months of cry-cry-cry and her short, lousy sleep and long falling asleep process for all two years so far, I didn't feel much of the PPD after the first several months until about 2 years when I started having more anxiety and intrusive thoughts around my moon time.

I am still sort of dealing with it... It seems better this month since I have been taking fish oil and hormone balancing herbs. I need to do that with more regularity and I am feeling like weaning soon. I just feel depleted. I feel hopeful, too, though, because the anxiety hasn't been plaguing me this month like the last few.

So, we are considering when and if to have another child. My heart says to do it, but like the OP, I was getting waves of nausea and anxiety when I thought of having another child.

My fear is around the nausea of pregnancy, as I am a bit of an emetiphobe. I am not as afraid of a traumatic birth because I feel like I know what my mistakes were the first time around. But what I am afraid of is the anxiety tendencies resurfacing, or getting worse. And having them forever!

I am eagerly looking forward to read more responses. This is the most encouraging thread I've read.

Mama to DD luxlove.gif born June 2008 and Wife to my dear Magyar foreign exchange husband. Expecting again in September!joy.gif 
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