Preemie/NICU and depression... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 07-04-2008, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well we have been in the NICU almost 4 months. The end is in sight, but I think I have become depressed. Normally I wouldn't consider medication, but I feel like I won't be able to turn to my normal self-help strategies with a high-needs preemie at home. I am worried that it will get worse and I won't be a good mom. I will be somewhat isolated because we can't take the baby out for a good year...anyone else deal with depression after so long in the NICU? Does this still count as postpartum depression even though it has been almost 4 months?

shannon
mom to Charlie-26weeker
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#2 of 10 Old 07-04-2008, 08:44 PM
 
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mums with NICU babies are at a higher risk for PPD than others. i had it bad after my dd was born and she only spent 16 days in the NICU. i would talk to my doctor about what you are feeling. if you feel that meds are the best thing to help you cope don't feel bad. i'm on meds and it really helped me cope. do you have any close friends or family that can help prevent you from efeeling isolated. isolation can make depression worse so if you can think of strategies to deal with it or prevent it you will be a step ahead. i hope that things work out for you and hope that your babies homecoming goes smoothly. there are lots of mothers who have been there and don't hesitate to look in the PPD forum if that would help too.

Mummy to dd (Jan 13, '07) born by emergency c-section at 35 weeks due to severe pre-e  :ribboncesarean.gif and ds (Jan 30 '09) :hbac.gif and stork-suprise.gif    (06/11)
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#3 of 10 Old 07-04-2008, 08:52 PM
 
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We had five months in the NICU and yeah, I was very depressed. Even now I'm having trouble with it. It does count as PPD which I think you can get up to a year after the birth of your baby.

For me, it really hit me when Erin was nearly ready to come home. She'd been moved into the step down nursery as all she needed to do was learn to feed and things started to slow down. It got worse once I came home because I was totally alone. DH was at work and I had plenty of time - too much - to think.
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#4 of 10 Old 07-05-2008, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yup, I got depressed when my baby went to the step-down nursery. He is learning to eat. He is coming home on oxygen and the thought of being stuck at home for so long gets me down. What helped you? Did you get some help? Meds? I am not psychotic or anything but I wonder if meds would be a good idea for me...
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#5 of 10 Old 07-05-2008, 03:17 PM
 
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I don't have any advice, just wanted to throw some support and understanding your way. We spent some time in the NICU and it was very hard on me. It does take a toll. Best wishes.
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#6 of 10 Old 07-05-2008, 05:39 PM
 
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Yes, it is common, especially with isolation (which I also had to do). If you feel you need meds, then take them. Do what you have to so that you can feel better and be present for your LO!
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#7 of 10 Old 07-06-2008, 03:33 AM
 
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Addiction is something that's very common in my family. So I don't take anything that's not strictly necessary because I worry that I'll somehow become addicted. That said, during the past year or so I've come very close to going on anti-depressants. In hindsight I wish I hadn't been so stubborn because things would have been a lot easier if I'd just accepted help. Of course I'm not at my rational best when I'm depressed.

I wasn't psychotic either. I never had any scary thoughts about harming myself or DD but I did dwell a lot and go over and over the "what if's" still do on occasion.

I think the biggest part problem for me was not getting enough sleep. Erin's never been a good sleeper, she still wakes during the night and she's always tossed and turned all night and she didn't sleep well through the day either (turns out she was hungry but wouldn't eat). I don't think it was the whole problem but lack of sleep was what sent me over the edge, ya know? Past the point where I could deal with it myself.

My mum had to come and take Erin one day a week and I'd just sleep the whole day. That was the start of feeling better, to be fair, she probably would have taken Erin for the day a lot earlier then she did but I didn't want her out of my sight for a long time. By that time we'd also started to move into summer so I started taking Erin out in her bubble (the stroller with the rain shield covering it) so I didn't feel as trapped as much.

I still have the moments where I think "I just want to be normal. I want to go out to big shopping centers like normal mothers". DH has become very good a picking when I'm starting to not cope, usually before I notice myself so I can take some time out to sleep more or whatever before it gets bad.

hhhmmm...That's probably not particularly helpful...
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#8 of 10 Old 07-06-2008, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought being home-bound only lasted a year or so? Are you still restricted from going places? I am have decided to really work on adjusting my attitude. I will go on meds if I need to, but I hope to hold off a little bit! I hate feeling sorry for myself!! I am so blessed and I keep focusing on the negatives! Yuck. Months in the NICU do take their toll, so I need to balance being gentle with myself and telling myself to just snap out of it!!!
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#9 of 10 Old 07-06-2008, 07:14 PM
 
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We're in Australia so it's winter here and we're apparently coming into a bumper cold and flu season.

During summer Erin went a lot of places she's not allowed to go during the winter, at least this winter. We've been told be careful with her until September when we can treat her like any other toddler. At the moment our only real restriction is going to the larger shopping centres because there are just so many people. Coughing still sends me to battle stations.

The other thing is, Erin's not like most other prems. Our limitations are because she was SO small and because she was ventilated for so long (six weeks which is quite a long time for a 26 weeker). Her paed said our biggest worry is that she'll get sick with one thing after another, particularly in light of her getting RSV recently and getting over it within two weeks with no lung problems and no hospital admissions (she only had SLIGHT chest recession but she was always satting up in the high 90's even while eating).

We're also really busy going to therapy and doctors appointments (she has been diagnosed as failure to thrive and has an NGT so her weight and growth have to be monitored) so it doesn't feel like we're trapped because we're out so much.

A lot of the people I know (in person) with babies born at the same gestation or slightly older only had to keep their babe's away from people for a couple of months, in some cases a couple of weeks. I don't know what the specifics of your sitch is, what do your LO's doctors say?
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#10 of 10 Old 07-06-2008, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yup, my baby was on the vent for almost 7 weeks. I was told to keep him isolated for a year, I plan to isolate him thru RSV season which ends here in April. He was born in March. I guess I may get more rules later. Actually, we haven't really been given official guidelines, the one year thing just gets tossed around.
I am just trying to decide if I should just give in and get medicated so I won't suffer so much. I am not really into the idea of meds!! I think I am suffering from the trauma of losing the ideal or even normal pregnancy/birth/breastfeeding/infant experience as well as the stress of being in the NICU and the several weeks of thinking my baby was going to die. And now the isolation. It is a lot to take in isn't it? I am inspired that you have done in without meds, Le Bec. But it seems you still suffered/suffer a lot...
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