Have you read chapters one and two?
My time in hospital in the first days after Sam was born was so incredibly lonely. I was put in a single room at the end of the ward because I wasn’t really ‘suitable’ for a shared room. The midwives came and did what they had to, but it was obvious they had absolutely no idea what to do with me. Most were pleasant, a couple were really lovely, but others were just down right rude. I can’t remember whether it made me angry, maybe it upset me, I’m not sure...my memories of this time are patchy at best, but what I do remember is a complete and utter lack of understanding and support.
My parents came to see me on the day Sam was born, but they were heading to Australia that day for my cousins wedding, which meant mum wasn’t there to be a voice for me this time. When it was time for me to be discharged I never went to a smaller maternity unit, as would usually be the case, because the plan was for me to go straight to the Mothers and Babies Unit for an inpatient stay, but in my usual indecisive, Rebecca-always-knows-best manner I changed my mind at the last minute and went home. In hindsight this was not the best decision I ever made. Unsurprisingly I didn't last long at home, simply because I just wasn't coping. I can remember calling my mum while she was still in Australia, I wanted her to come home, I wanted her to make things better. She had always been the one to push for treatment and get me whatever was needed and without her I felt completely and utterly lost.
I can't remember how long it was before I eventually went into hospital, a matter of days maybe, but when I did go in I was admitted with Sam, and it was just so strange. Everything was about routine - wake up at a certain time, eat at a certain time, therapy at a certain time, medication at a certain time, bed at a certain time. Writing about it feels odd because there are some things I remember so clearly, like what I had for breakfast everyday, sitting in the lounge with other mums, bathing and feeding Sam, but there are other really big gaps in my memory. Like, I know that Mark came to see me everyday and that mum brought Caitlin to visit every day, and I know that I was up in the night with Sam as all new born mums are, but I can't actually remember any of it.
I had to stop breast feeding after only about three weeks because I was put on medication that made my milk unsuitable for Sam to drink. I was put on and off of so many different medications, and combinations of medications, and some of them had absolutely awful side effects which I think probably contributes some what to the gaps in my memories.
It was evident pretty quickly that my depression was not going to be easy to treat. I would start to improve after being changed to a different medication, and a couple of times it was enough that I went home, but then I would crash again and find myself back in hospital. I was in and out of the unit a few times, I can't remember how many, because I always thought I would be able to cope at home (which I didn't), and it was during one of these periods of outpatient treatment that it was decided that I would undergo electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). To a lot of people that sounded absolutely barbaric, I know my mum had her reservations, but my mental health was at such an all time low that if I hadn't had that therapy I honestly don't think I would be alive to even tell this story.
To be continued...
Read chapter four of my story here.
First published in 2019