Number of pregnancies/births: 1 of 1.
Months PP: Almost 5.
As I write this, I am really unsure of how to start or properly address the issue at hand. I suppose the best I can do is to start at the beginning and work my way to the present. It would probably be the best solution.
The story starts with my decision to stop taking birth control. I had been on various forms here and there for eight or more years and I felt it necessary to stop as I was no longer reaping any additional benefits. My periods were long and heavy. Oftentimes, painful. They were still eight days long. I felt that no matter which form I chose, I was still hormonally messed up. I hadn’t been really happy in eight years and at first, I had just attributed it to the stress of college, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it might be the BC, so I wanted to discontinue. Well, that was a big giant mistake from the get go.
My husband had been sent on an IA (independent augmentee) to Guantanamo Bay and I had not seen him for a year. Well, you can imagine what happens when soldiers come home from a long absence. Unfortunately, even though I had informed my husband of my decision and had told him that he needed to use back up contraceptives, he disregarded my wishes in his excitement and by the time I realized it, it was too late.
It was never in my life’s plan to have a child. Ever since I was 14, I can recall sitting in sex ed class and being mortified at the video they showed us. It was called “The Miracle of Life”. Miracle of life, my butt. All that video was was one giant, bloody and painful mess. There was no ‘miracle’ there in my eyes. So needless to say, I was scarred for life from that video and was very diligent all through my college career and up until I married to be sure to engage in safe sexual practices. And for 8 years, it never steered me wrong.
My unplanned (and unwanted) pregnancy could not have come at a worse time. Because my husband was returning from a year long absence, we were in the process of moving.. overseas.. to Japan. I was trying to organize our household goods to be shipped across the way and trying to get everything done to ensure that our two cats (my furry children) could come along. You would not believe all the rules, regulations and general crap you have to go through to get an animal into this country. Needless to say, I spent the next nine months of my life being miserable some days and okay the other days. The one thing that never changed (and still hasn’t changed) is how much I resent my husband, but I will get to that in a minute.
The earthquakes that happened here in Japan last year around the same time of year put a stop temporarily to our move.. and so we had to sit.. and wait. And because my husband was still part of a command, he had to travel 1600 miles back to Virginia Beach to go to work every day. And they didn’t compensate him one bit for any of that. So even though he was back stateside, we were still separated for the better part of a month.. me sitting alone and pregnant and wondering how we were going to do this and him being angry and resentful at his former command for all the crap they put us through (which I’m not going to go into).
Eventually, it worked itself out and we proceeded with the move. We finally got to Japan in late May of 2011 and I really started to enjoy my time here. It is actually a very nice place. His new command, unfortunately was a sea rotation command, so that meant he would be gone three months and back for a month, maybe two.. if I was lucky. When it was just me and the cats, I never really minded. I just went about my business like normal and found things to occupy my time. I was very independent.
I spent a lot of my pregnancy arguing with my husband because I was resentful and hateful of what he had done to me. I was conflicted on whether or not I could love this child like he deserved to be loved because of said resentment. It was a pretty vicious cycle.
Anyway, here in Japan because the military base lacks certain healthcare benefits, after 20 weeks into your pregnancy they send you out in town amongst the Japanese OBs to finish out your pregnancy. So at 20 weeks, I started seeing an OB that was a little ways from my home.. and boy, is it different there than here in the states. For one thing, you will wait for hours and it is normal. No one told me that I would be waiting two hours past my appointment time (after arriving thirty minutes early) on an empty stomach, slowly getting more and more vehement. No one told me that you pretty much take your own vitals and hand it over to the nurse or that the exam was so invasive and alienating. It’s pretty bad when you go in for your annual exam and the doctor is digging around down there with equipment and talking to you.. it’s even worse when they strap you into a chair straight out of a science fiction movie, that swivels around and spreads your legs apart while the bottom part of you is exposed and you can’t see your doctors because they are on the other side of a curtain. Oh, and did I mention that you can see inside yourself via the giant television monitor they have on your side of the curtain? Believe me, it was horrifying and I never felt so completely violated.
My appointments were pretty much clockwork up until 26 weeks. That’s when it went to hell. The Japanese doctor I was seeing stated that he could not visualize my son’s stomach at that point (and hadn’t been able to) and that I was retaining a lot of amniotic fluid. So he pronounced me with polyhydramnios and a possible EA for my son. And because of that diagnosis, I was forced to go back to the states.. away from my husband. Thankfully, I didn’t have to pay for it and I was able to stay with my father and some of my friends for five months, but at the end.. I was still separated from my husband and cats for five or more months.
So I get back stateside and see a specialist. He sees nothing wrong. There was never any problem with my son.. and he didn’t understand why they diagnosed me with severe polyhydramnios. So I came back for no reason.
I passed those five months by knitting and talking to my friends. I got out and about and went to festivals, the movies and shopping. I tried my best to stay active.. but by the end of my pregnancy, I had gained 45 lbs. That was devastating because I have never been of a regular weight for my height and prior to my pregnancy, I had worked very hard (to no avail) to lose weight. The lowest I have ever weighed at a height of 5’9″ is 165.. which is still overweight. So I was very unhappy that I gained so much weight. However, I was spared most of the problems ladies have during the last trimester. My back really never did hurt and I was able to walk around even though everyone kept thinking I was having twins (which just reinforced that I was fat in my mind). The only problem I really developed was that my hip started popping out of its socket when I would roll over to sleep. So I had to be very careful about turning over at night.
At 39 weeks, the OB (who was wonderful, by the way) stated that she would ‘rather me be not pregnant sooner rather than later” because apparently for the last two or three weeks of my pregnancy, I had been leaking amniotic fluid and had never noticed. So they sent me to be induced on 11/10/2011. My son was born the next day (11/11/11) at 11:26 AM. My labor was super fast once it showed up. I had severe pain for about two hours before he was born (those pesky contractions), but I managed the two hours without pain medications or an epidural. When he was born, he was kind of lethargic and not interested in eating, so that signaled something was up. Thankfully, it just turned out that he had a pretty bad bout of jaundice and since he was not ready to be birthed into the world, preferred to sleep.
I had nurses waking me up every three hours to go feed a baby that did not want to eat (who would want to when you have them hooked up to sugar water and under a nice warm heat lamp all day?), so I was severely sleep deprived. When I wasn’t doing that, I was constantly having to entertain my family. So needless to say, my sleep deprivation started early in.
What no one told me while I was pregnant (and what this post is really about) is that sometimes, you can be so overjoyed about the life you have helped to create (and decided to keep) and yet so miserable that you see no point in living. I was already upset about a pregnancy I didn’t want and well.. about three weeks after he was born I started imagining that he was out to get me. That he was waking up to make my life miserable. I never got to sleep because I couldn’t sleep when he was sleeping (my body just doesn’t work like that) and when I would try to sleep (at night) he was waking me up and crying inconsolably. I never could figure out what he wanted.. I was frustrated and alone. My husband never got to see my son being born. His command wouldn’t let him come home and there was no Skype available on ship.. and the hospital wouldn’t have allowed it anyway. So he never got to see the ONLY CHILD he is going to get being born.
The OB stuck me on Zoloft and apparently people noticed a difference, but I really didn’t. I just attributed it to finally having help (my husband came to get me a few weeks after he was born). But then we moved back here to Japan.. away from friends and family.. and because I left when I did, I never had a chance to establish any friends here. And I was okay when my husband was around. Still resentful and having difficulties, but it was manageable. Well, unfortunately, he got called away on ship one day before my 27th birthday and has been gone since. I cry inconsolably almost every day. I went to the doctor on base and they stuck me on Wellbutrin.. which just makes all the things I am experiencing 10 times worse. I have thoughts of committing suicide or harming my son. My anger is off the charts.. and it is over nothing. I haven’t slept decently in a week because of the Wellbutrin (which I stopped taking today). I know they meant well by giving me this anti-depressant, but it most definitely is not working. And I understand that some people have a paradoxical effect that occurs when they take certain anti-depressants.
Anyway, when I went to see the doctor about this issue (because I have no desire to hurt my son as he did nothing wrong and I hate that he is the only person I really have to communicate with), he suggested that I take the medication in conjunction with talking to someone about this because it is obvious that I am having a lot of difficulty adjusting to this change. He suggested FFSC (Fleet and Family Support Center), but when I called them up, they refused to see me because I had been diagnosed by three different doctors at that point with PPD. So I set up an appointment with the only psychologist on base (who is unfortunately a stand-in). I came away from that meeting knowing I would never be able to talk to her about the problems I am having. She strongly encouraged me to file an FAP against my husband (that’s a Family Advocacy Plan). That’s something you only do if you are in an abusive relationship.. or your military member is irresponsible with their money or habits. My husband is a good person. I wouldn’t have married him if he weren’t. I am the victim of rape and abuse by two different men, so I am quite aware of what those things are. While I do feel that my husband disregarded my wishes (which led to my son being born), I do not feel that he raped or abused me. So I walked away from her realizing I could never talk to her or open up to her.. which leaves me with no one to talk to about this issue. I have no support and no real friends to speak of here in Japan. And while I love being here, I hate what I have become.
I hate that I feel that I can’t leave my house because my son doesn’t have a consistent nap schedule.. and that he gets cranky really often when we go out. I don’t like that he can’t play by himself and that I don’t have the energy every day to play with and interact with him. I hate that I sit here alone and crying and that when I try to reach out for help, the military has proven itself completely useless. I hate that my being miserable is affecting my husband and his work. I hate that I resent my husband and sometimes my son, too. I hate being this weak, sniveling and completely dependent person when once upon a time I was independent and resilient. I hate that I cry at the stupidest things now. I hate so much about my life right now that it is really hard to keep going. And what I hate the most is that my son is taking the brunt of this problem because he is the only person I have to communicate with.
No one talks about what it is like to live with this kind of depression. Or tells you that it might last for months.. or years. No one tells you that the anti-depressants that are supposed to help you may actually hinder you because they react negatively with you. I don’t sleep (I wake up after only three hours of sleep and cannot go back to sleep.. and my son sleeps all night (12 hours)). I barely eat. I have lost 6 lbs since he left.. and most of it is because I haven’t eaten well. I don’t have time to cook because my son is kind of in a needy phase and I have no one to help out.
And what’s really sad is that most of you that come to this site (not all) complain about the weight you have to lose (I gained 45lbs and am still working on losing it.. I am about 6lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight.. which is still overweight) or how you are having difficulties coping with your new body. And I am not belittling those concerns or problems, because they most definitely contribute to a person’s well-being. I just find it so very funny that most of you complain about the stretch marks you have or the extra weight you gained.. and I know I should possibly care about those things (because I received a bunch of new stretchmarks from this pregnancy), but I find that I don’t have the energy to care. I could care less what I look like.. how much fat I have, etc. And that’s not because I didn’t care before (I am very obsessive about my weight and have been my entire life due to emotional abuse I sustained when I was younger), but it’s because I am so overwhelmingly depressed and cannot for the life of me get the help that I know I need that is creating this lack of concern for anything.
I feel I could sleep forever and not care. I wouldn’t care about whether or not my son needed me.. and I know that’s horrible, but it’s very true right now. I do love my son, but I find that this dark cloud (for lack of a better term) is so poisonous and so belittling that I can’t enjoy connecting with my son. I can’t enjoy what should be the most enjoyable part of our lives. Sure, I have some bright days where I connect really well with my son, but most of the time, I am a big ole’ ball of rage and resentment. And at this point, it really doesn’t seem like there is a silver lining or a bright spot.
Maybe one day, I will post a follow-up post with pictures of my weight loss (I am still losing and that’s great, although I would prefer it to be because I was exercising (like I was before)) and how I finally beat this thing, but right now.. I just feel like I’m going to get lost in the void. I want to crawl out.. I want to survive, but what do you do when you can’t get any help from programs that are supposed to be put in place to help you.. and the people and places that can help you are more than 3000 miles away??