As it is World Mental Health Day I thought I would share my story with you...
In 2011 I fell pregnant with my world/my daughter Polly and obviously I was so excited to become a mum for the first time, at the same time my nan (Nanny Pat) had been battling with COPD for the past 20+ years and since I had been pregnant she had taken a turn for the worse which resulted in her going back and forth to the hospital. She was released for Christmas (which she demanded) but ended up going back into the hospital on boxing day which would be her last time. Luckily I kind of knew my nan would not have long so we made that christmas as special as it could be as all she wanted was to be at home with her family.
I would like to tell you a little about my nan she was the most wonderful woman, did not have the easiest of life, but she was happy and so proud of her family and wanted nothing more then to meet my unborn baby as she would be a great nan for the first time. I remember she paid for me to have a 3D scan done and I took the scan photo straight to the hospital and she was so proud she showed it to everyone even the nurses and doctors. But she said to me "I won't be here to meet this baby" and that always stuck with me because I honestly thought she would.
After a couple of weeks of being back in the hospital she seemed to be getting better so we got our house ready for her as she was going to come live with us but one night she had a stoke in the night and would not wake, this went on for another 2 weeks and in the end we had to let her go as she was not breathing on her own, I went to the hospital the night before she went and I told her that it was ok for her to go as I did not want her to be in pain any more so not to worry we would be ok. The next day 31st January 2012 I held her hand as she died peacefully in her sleep this was by far one of the hardest days in my life but I remember thinking I cannot cry as I am pregnant and I do not want to upset or cause stress to my baby, so I didn't. I kept it all bottled up.
I took on a big role in with helping organise her funeral and making arrangements as I wanted to take as much stress away from my mum as possible as if I felt like I did and I could only imaging the pain my mums as in so again through all this I kept all my emotions bottled up.
Then on April 10th 2012 (2 weeks before due date) I had been in severe pain for days, I finally passed out and got rushed into hospital and at first they thought I was going into labour but then after a day of tests they realised I actually had Acute Pancreatitis and the bile had leaked out and had started to attack my organs which made them start to fail. After they found this out they told my parents there is a good chance that either me or my baby would not make it and the worse thing that could happen was that I would go into labour and they need to put a tube in my neck asap to access bloods. I remember hearing the nurse say to the other nurse "there is a good chance this lady will lose her baby if we do not get this tube put in asap", so when to came to me and had to cut my neck to input this tube she said "you must not move" I just remember laying there and not moving an inch as I was so scared.
After a day of this with no-one knowing what the outcome would be I felt wet in the bed when I asked a nurse what had happened and she had said my waters had broke as you can imagine my family were in panic mode as they were told the worst thing that could happen is labour. The doctors then came to me and said they needed me to try this naturally as putting me under for a C Section right now would be dangerous so I tried and failed. I remember passing out again and I woke up on a operation table having an emergency C Section. I am very lucky as I was awake for this procedure and got to experience my daughter being born on the 11th April 2012 and my world was she beautiful, the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. ❤️
The doctors had warned me once I had her that I would not be allowed to have her as I was to sick but for some reason before they took her they let me give Polly her first feed which I will be forever grateful for. After this I was taken straight back to the high dependancy unit where someone took my bloods every 2 hours from my neck and had a nurse to my bed at all times to make sure I was ok.
In the morning when I woke I remember feeling like last night was a dream I could not believe I had a baby, my parents and my partner Paul took photos of Polly and gave them to me as I was not allowed to see her as I had a feeding tube and my neck tube could cause infections to a new born. The doctors could not tell me how long I would be in hospital for and how long it would take to recover as there is no medicine to make you better it was simply time. I was not allowed drink or food and would only be fed through my feeding tube. Over the next 2 weeks I had to learn how to sit up, walk again and finally went to the toilet. After roughly a week and I remember seeing myself in the mirror for the first time with no bump, no baby and I felt this deep sadness as I had a beautiful baby girl but was separated from her.
I got to see Polly around 3 times over those weeks for around 5 minutes each which was like torture and every time someone took her away it would literally rip my heart out. I eventually had to release her from hospital to my partner Paul as it was unfair keeping her in hospital and I wanted her to be surrounded by family but this again hurt as I wanted to be the person to take her home as I was a proud mum and wanted to experience all her firsts. After the 2 weeks they let me go home as they said they did not think I was completely well enough but where I had the C section this allowed the doctors to remove the bile which made me heal a little quicker and at this time they was more worried about my mental health as I was deeply depressed being separated from my baby.
Finally I was home and I was with my daughter and I got everything I ever wished for but something was not right a deep sadness followed me everywhere and I could not understand why. Why was I sad, I had nothing to be sad about I had survived and so had my daughter everything I could wish for had come true but it kept getting worse and worse and in the end all I wanted to do is sleep and be by myself.
I did not want to tell anyone how I felt as I was embarrassed and felt guilty for feeling such a way as I had nothing to complain about my life was brilliant but people around me had started to notice something was not right,finally my parents sent me to the doctors and they diagnosed me with Post Natal depression and suggested I take anti depression tablets and go to counselling. I tried the tablets but they did not work for me and I hated the thought of needing tablets to make me happy so I thought I would try counselling and see how that works. My mind started to going crazy with all my thoughts like only crazy people need counselling, what am I going to say, are they going to laugh at me, what have I possibly got to moan about. I got there and for the first 5 minutes I felt very awkward after that I started to speak and I did not stop for a whole year so I must of had a lot to say, all I know is each week I felt a little lighter, a little more free and my mist was starting to clear.
The counsellor had told me what I had done is over the last year which had not been pleasant I had pushed down all my emotions and not let me self greave or get upset with everything and in the end my emotions were needing to pour out and they were eating me alive. From this I have learnt so much its ok to say you need help, its ok to be having a bad day, it's ok I am not perfect and I am not ashamed to say I needed help and I suffered from depression.
I was so worried that I would always suffer from depression and let my sadness take over, well that was 5 years ago now and I now have a healthy little boy called Alfie and no depression in sight. I still have the odd bad day but who don't.
All I know is how sick I was when I was in hospital with Polly there is no way she should have been ok and so healthy with nothing wrong with her, I TRULY believe my nan was looking over me and left this earth so my Polly could be born, so in one way she did meet her as she is the reason she is here my Polly Patsy.
So if there is anything I would want for someone to take from my story would be Its ok not to not be ok and it's ok to ask for help. We all have our demons but its how we come out the other side which matters.