Hoping for some advice:): Hi everyone... - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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Hoping for some advice:)

Summerflowers44 profile image
14 Replies

Hi everyone, I’ve just joined :)

just to warn you that my story might trigger some people.

A couple of days ago I found out I’m pregnant (it’s still very early, 3 weeks ish)

I have one child, he’s nearly 13. When I had him the birth was traumatic and I went on to develop acute postpartum psychosis, I was sectioned and stayed at a mbu in the mental health hospital in our nearest town for 2 weeks. The whole thing was obviously awful and I was so ill that my son wasn’t able to stay with me overnight in there. The doctors put me on a very high dose of antipsychotics and ultimately when I can home I was completely numb to the point where I couldn’t really move or do anything and felt the most awful feelings I’d ever felt in my life. The worst part lasted about 2 months, then I started to slowly get back to normal over a year or so. I still suffer with anxiety on and off now and take sertraline daily.

Finding out that I’m pregnant again has brought all of this back to me and left me wondering how me and my partner could ever cope with going through all of that again and coming out the other side. We’re both feeling really overwhelmed and are not sure what to do for the best. We also have our son to think about, I wouldn’t want him to see me go through all of that. I’m also older now 38 and my partner is 41 and have been looking up all of the increased risks to pregnancy and to the baby that come with being older.

I wanted to ask for others experiences of having a second baby after having postpartum psychosis the first time round.. anyone else’s stories would be really helpful thank you :)

And sorry for the long post!

14 Replies
Zebunisa_at_APP profile image
Zebunisa_at_APPAPP

Hi Summerflowers44 , welcome to the forum & congratulations on the baby news!

Sorry to hear you went through that postpartum psychosis experience when you had your first child. I did too, but reassuringly you get through it and you did/I did too. For your second time round maybe raise your concerns with your GP and ask for extra support/guidance. I know the second time round you will have more care and they will make a care plan with you/discuss steps with you to try to help you incase you do become unwell again.

Remember if you feel worried communicate this and you can get that extra help & support.

Keep us updated whenever you like, we are here ❤️

EmiMum profile image
EmiMumVolunteer

Hi Summerflowers44,

Congratulations on your pregnancy. I am so glad you've found this forum, where many mums will be happy to share their experience with you.

I am sorry to read that you went through postpartum psychosis after the birth of your son and how your recent news must have brought back so many memories that can be quite painful and overwhelming.

I had pp in 2018 and went on to have another baby last year. We always wanted to have more than one baby and although it felt very nerve racking, it was the decision we both wanted at the end. As Zebunisa says above, the first point of call is your GP, they should be able to refer you to your community perinatal mental health team who would follow you during pregnancy and after the birth of your baby. Having their support meant a great deal to me as we draw a plan together to manage my risk of pp recurring and I also had a team of doctors, nurses and therapists behind me. They were also fantastic liasing with the hospital in which I booked myself to have my baby.

I don't want to overwhelm you with the details of what we put in place to manage pp from happening again, please feel free to ask any questions here or dm if you prefer.

Take good care and do let us know how you are getting on

Koala2021 profile image
Koala2021Volunteer

Hi Summerflowers44 👋 congratulations on your baby news. I thought I'd share my recent experiences with you as I am also 38 😁 and had my second baby 18 months ago after 17 years with my first. Don't let age worry you.

I did alot of planning with the Perinatal team second time round, which was very encouraging and helped settle my worries. I was also consultant lead with maternity services.

Medication was something that made me stiff first time round and unable to feed my baby. But the positive thing this time round was that they knew what medications made me stiff from looking at my MBU admission records and I was able to take medication that agreed with me.

I have always been open and honest with my eldest child about my health and did planning with him and my husband. I put a white board up up in my kitchen with all the signs to look out for, medication to take and my professionals contact numbers. This included a Specialist Midwife, CPN, consultant Gynaecologist and my Consultant at Perinatal. So although I was worried about PP returning, I knew deep down I would be well looked after it did.

Fortunately it didn't return this time round.

My advice to you if you choose to continue with your pregnancy would be to speak to your Midwife or GP about making a referral to Perinatal after the dating scan. There is no wrong or right answer and it's your families decision. I just wanted to reassure you around planning x

Denizt profile image
Denizt

dear Summer . Understandably you’d be very anxious and your old anxieties would come flooding back of the tough time you had ( but recovered from ). I also had ppp with my first born but went on to have 3 more babies , and did not have the psychosis return . My fourth was at 38 years old , and I’m very happy to have taken the plunge in what were v difficult circs at the time ; living with my alcoholic husband , owing our home thru his bankruptcy, and his suicide when the children were small . Having the children was the best most wonderful thing and even though the risks were high , I feel very blessed that I put aside my fears after the first episode of ppp and depression .

Wishing you best of strength and luck and send you love and best wishes !!

Denise

Carmen25 profile image
Carmen25

hi Summerflowers44

Similar to the previous posts, I had post partum psychosis after the birth of my first child. I was in hospital for 2 months.

3 years later I became pregnant with twins. I was referred by my GP to the regional perinatal psychiatry team and had some very helpful appointments with him. I also created an advanced care plan and identified risks and how I might address/be supported with these. I believe one of my triggers was lack of sleep as my first child was premature and was in SCBU where I was told that I should express milk every 4 hours throughout the day and night.

Second time around I was completely fine.

Sending you warmest wishes

HelenMW profile image
HelenMWVolunteer

Hello Summerflowers

So glad that you have found this site. Plenty of women here who have been through PP and had more children. We can encourage and strengthen one another. There is hope!

Congratulations on your pregnancy!!

I wanted to share my own experience just in case any of it is helpful.

I had PP in 1988 with the birth of my first daughter. It was as bad as it can be and my marriage did not survive. We did remain friends though for the sake of our daughter. I was never going to get married again and certainly no more children. I had asked to be sterilised but a lovely GP talked me out of it.

To jump ahead, I met my husband at work. Told him I was never getting married again and could not have more children. Very happy to go to the cinema, theatre dinner etc etc. You can probably guess the rest. Anyhow we did want children. I was able back then to liaise with three specialists in the field and thoroughly plan the second pregnancy. I had found one MBU at the time in Basingstoke. My mother moved in with me and attended to all the jobs other than feeding the baby. She stayed with me for two weeks. The key thing I focussed on was sleep. I was in a position to sleep whenever I could as mum had the baby. My daughter at the time was 7 and was a great help and felt very much part of the whole process. I followed a diet which included regular starch to keep my blood sugar level. In my hospital bag I had oatcakes , I am not diabetic but I still eat oat cakes if and when I feel a bit wobbly. I will never quite understand why I experienced PP but one of the things on my birth plan was 'no pethidine' I am not sure whether I reacted badly and I understand I had rather a lot of it. I also opted for epidurals to avoid a traumatic birth, which my first was. I contacted my midwife and talked to my GP too. Have to say it really was wonderful to give birth without pain and to have a really positive post natal period. So much so, I went on to have another baby in 1999. All girls!!

So in summary, find out as much as you can, let the people who need to know to keep an eye on you. Arrange support for the post natal period and sleep, sleep sleep! Forewarned is very much forearmed. My PP in 1988 was completely out of the blue and we had absolutely no idea what was happening to me. I understand now that the earlier it is detected then the better.

Hope you feel encouraged and I look forward to reading how you get on.

With warm wishes, Helen

Summerflowers44 profile image
Summerflowers44

Hi everyone, Thank you so much for all of your lovely replies - you have helped me to stop panicking quite so much 😊I’ve arranged to speak to my gp this afternoon and and hopefully be referred to a specialist to discuss the risks and what precautions can be put in place.Can I ask, did anyone have a planned c- section the second time around? I’m pretty sure that one of my triggers was being left in labour for far to long and my son was stuck, I feel like there just weren’t enough doctors available to deliver him. I should have had a c -section but someone else was having twins delivered at the time. So in the end I had an epidural and forceps. I feel like if I was to have a planned c-sec this time around then it might help remove some of the stress and anxiety but wonder if I’m being naive as it’s a big operation with risks. Thanks again for all of your kind replies 😊

Rachel_at_APP profile image
Rachel_at_APPPartner in reply to Summerflowers44

Evening Summerflowers44,

Firstly congratulations on your pregnancy. I hope you’re finding a little space or tiny moments to feel a bit of joy, in amongst what I can totally empathise with can feel a bit unknown and maybe scary.

I had PP after the birth of my first, now nearly six. I was lucky enough to go on to have a second, now nearly two(!), with no reoccurrence of PP. You’ve had some wonderful replies from others already, and I’m pleased to see you’ve found them reassuring.

I had so much “baggage” if you will, around what happened with my first baby. I was certain that I didn’t want to have my second in the same hospital as I was worried I’d find it too triggering. Long story short, I did end up having her in the same hospital - but I cannot describe to you with enough thanks how grateful I am to the wonderful NHS staff who helped me so much.

A lot of planning went into helping me feel safe, and to help me stay well. I took preventive medication, had a specialist perinatal mental health team and specialist midwives, a planned five day stay in hospital after the baby arrived to help support us both among lots of other things. All of it was necessary and helped.

The professionals are there to listen and I hope they will support you in hearing from you what happened before, and supporting you to look at the best birth preferences for you. It sounds like you had a really difficult time last time. So I hope with support you feel you can talk openly about everything - this is your family that you and your partner are growing together- so lean on them too for support. I feel extremely grateful for the support I had on all fronts. Sorry I didn’t have a section, but I’m sure others will have and will be happy to offer their experience if it helps.

Take care, Rachel x

Koala2021 profile image
Koala2021Volunteer in reply to Summerflowers44

Me again also! Glad all these comments have helped the panic 😊

I requested a c-section due to food poisoning I had on the day I was planned to be induced. If it wasn't for the food poisoning I would of probably of requested one from the Consultant Gynaecologist as my friend was recommending that I had one. It also gave me a good excuse to rest and take the load off me without feeling guilty.

My first baby was stuck face up. I dont think this was the reason for my PP but if a C-Section is something that will give you less panic then request one.

If you want to ask me anything else fire away at any point. Happy to support you with my experience advice x

hgallo profile image
hgalloVolunteer

.Hi Summer flowers 44, I had pp after the birth of my twin girls in 2016. I had an elective c section with them. There are definite pros and cons to having a section but I did like the certainty of knowing when it would take place. The procedure took about 15 mins in total. So an anaesthetist does the epidural first. Then they take you through to theatre and put a screen up. Your partner can come in with you. It's just a weird sensation when your waters break and I could feel them pushing on my tummy. It's not painful though. After I got skin to skin with my girls till they were taken to neo natal for a bit. Then your in recovery for about an hour or two and I then went in a wheelchair to see my babies.

I was able to walk very limited within about 48 hours. Then it's 4 to 6 weeks till you can drive. So main thing to consider will be what help you have at home to look after your other child. You'll need help lifting etc in the first couple of weeks.

I hope that helps a little. And I really hope you stay well this time but either way you'll be more ready. I had a second episode 2 years after the first and recognised I was getting ill much faster. Stay strong mamma, we got you xx

EmiMum profile image
EmiMumVolunteer

Hi Summerflowers44,

So glad that you are feeling more reassured after getting replies here. I did not have a planned c-section with my second baby but I did went on to have an induction at ~38 weeks. Having a planned induction took away the uncertainty element in many aspects, it made it possible to book a private room in the postnatal ward, we were able to arrange for childcare for my eldest, we could also choose a working day to have it to ensure that the perinatal mental health team will be available for an assessment while I was still in hospital and in case we needed to make changes to the medication plan, and last but not least we managed to get the midwife that followed me and baby during pregnancy to deliver him.

My second birth could not have been more removed from my first where I delivered with no pain relief (not my choice) after a long active labour and ended up tearing quite badly. I did find the experience healing the second time around and I am sure that can also be in the cards for you.

I just wanted to mention that APP also offers one to one peer support as well as our support here on the forum, I put the link below:

app-network.org/peer-support/

Take good care and let us know how you are getting on, all the best

Ellie_at_APP profile image
Ellie_at_APPPartner

Hi Summerflowers44

Congratulations on your pregnancy. You've received so many great replies, I'm glad they've helped ease the panic a bit.

I'm Ellie, one of APP's peer support coordinators, and I had pp after my son in 2011. I didn't ever have a second child, and can understand your panic about being pregnant. However, I did want to reassure you, as others have done, that a lot has changed in terms of the professional support that is available, from your last child. You should be referred to a specialist perinatal mental health team, who should be able to support you during your pregnancy and afterwards, and can help you with a birth plan etc. Definitely I know of people who chose an elective c-section, for similar reasons you have described.

I just wanted to make sure that you had seen our guide for planning a pregnancy if you are at risk of postpartum psychosis. It is hopefully a helpful read, and might help you to think and plan a bit, and also reassure you that there are things you can do to stay well.

You can download it for free from our website, and also we can send you out a paper copy if you'd find that easier to read. The guide is here:

app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

I do hope that you can get some good advice and support around you, that will help to reassure you. Do know you can write here any time for support,

Ellie

Summerflowers44 profile image
Summerflowers44

Hi everyone, thank you for all of your support and reassuring replies, you’re all so lovely 😊 I’m at a point where I’m struggling in my mind to get past all of the overwhelming risks, I’m so worried that the psychosis will return and will change me forever. It took so long to recover from it and the depression last time, I consider myself very lucky to have recovered fully. And don’t want to ruin my son and partner’s life’s by forever being a completely changed person. My partner is on the same page as me and is really worried about it. He’s also a bit hung up on our ages and how old we will be when it’s 20 etc. it’s a lot to get our heads around. I really appreciate everyone who has taken the time to reply to my posts, and I didn’t want to go into to many detailed replies as we’re still not sure what we are going to do. But thank you all ❤️

EmiMum profile image
EmiMumVolunteer

Hi Summerflowers44,

Your worries are quite valid. Perhaps these are things to raise with your psychiatrist when you have your first appointment? Information and knowledge are really powerful tools to have by your side.

I am also an older mum, I had my first baby at 36 and my second one at 39 and 11 months. It is true that on the one hand you feel more tired running after little ones, our bodies feel it more, but it is also true that the personal growth I have gone through in my thirties makes me a better example for my children, I sweat less stuff than a decade ago and I have shifted my perspective on what is most valuable for me. There are also more generations between my children and me, and I am aware that the world will be a very different place when they are grown, it makes me a bit nervous sometimes, but I do hope to transfer sufficient tools to them so that they will thrive under circumstances I cannot predict.

Take good care, thanks for replying and I am glad that sharing here is helping

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