Anxiety, Babies, Beyond Blue, Birth, Depression, HELLP Syndrome, Kids & Family, PANDA, Podcast, Podcasting, Premature Baby, SANDS Australia, Traumatic Birth

Episode 4 | Coming Home From Hospital With A Newborn & Postnatal Anxiety, Depression + PTSD.


Australia Day 2018


Click here to listen to my podcast on PNA & PND

So Zara is 8 months now and i was going to write the below paragragh in past tense but i’ve decided to go back there and write it as i’m living in that moment because i still remember it all to well and it was very raw….still is.

So here i am a new Mum… Still sick from HELLP Syndrome, terribly traumatised, from thinking i wasn’t going to survive my childs birth. I’m Anxious. Depressed and living in this new life at home that doesn’t feel like my life. It feels foreign as fuck and i hate it. When does that amazing moment of newborn life being the most glorious experience of my life start?? … Because that’s what social media shows you, and for me it’s nothing like that. My anxiety is so raw it makes me feel like i’m never going to get through this, my chest is constantly tight, my heart is beating fast all the time (adrenaline?) i have diarrhoea because that’s what always happens when i’m anxious, i can’t eat but i know i have to because i feel better when i do but it’s so hard. I feel like the only way to make this feel better is to run away and leave… oh hang on Zara’s hungry again i can’t run away yet. Let me go stress myself out even more by trying to breastfeed. Oh hey strong let down squirting her in the face and her not wanting to latch. Let’s try the other boob, ok phew she’s latched… oh she’s off… she’s back on *Repeat x 10*. Ok, so i think she’s had enough?… “Brendan do you know how long she was on for, i wasn’t looking at the time”… (This was my breastfeeding experience, i had a couple of successful feeds but in the end, my mental health was suffering severely and it was already fucked so i stopped breastfeeding at 2 months and continued to express till 5 and half months)

So my anxiety levels have gone through the roof even writing this, that’s how badly i suffered. My husband and i fought constantly because i didnt’t want visitors and he did (he comes from a family of 4 siblings and they all have 2+ children so for him having visitors after the baby is born was normal. Plus his friends have had babies and everyone visits you after you have a baby) but unfortunately that’s not how his experience was going to be, i wasn’t coping and i couldn’t bare to have people in my house, my safe zone, especially because no one really understood how traumatised i was and how badly i was struggling.

I think the thing with PNA & PND is that it is the biggest head fuck because you’re expected to feel like rainbows and unicorns about your newborn, except you don’t. So you have a constant guilty conscious and when people ask how you are, you lie and say good (i had a few friends who knew how bad it was) I remember someone saying to me “you’re loving it though” and i was like hmmmmm and they said it again “yeah, but you’re loving it” it was the worst feeling because i wasn’t, not one bit.

I did start seeing a counsellor the first week i got home from the hospital, i rang her in tears and she got me in that week and i’m so grateful she saw me, i wouldn’t have be able to get through this without her. I still see her once a month and i still need her support even 8 months on.

8 months on things are much better (although this week hasn’t been and so i felt like this was the time to write this blog, because my anxiety isn’t great so i could really write from that place again) I do find parenting hard, i constantly apologise to my husband for not finding it a breeze and being a natural at it. I feel like a shit Mum every day because i see all this shit on social media that i can’t relate too and it makes me feel like something’s wrong with me because i don’t feel that way. I Love her so much, but i still struggle more often then i wish i did.

This is week will pass and like everything, there’s highs and lows and i’ll come good again. I just have to take every day as it comes and i hope anyone who reads this and has gone through it knows i feel for them and i get you! Please make sure you see a counsellor because it will help, knowing you have someone who you can talk to about things you might now want to say to anyone else will free you.

Also, i’m not great at writing so excuse my bad grammar and punctuation!

Love to you all,

Donna Xx

Anxiety, Babies, Beyond Blue, Birth, Depression, HELLP Syndrome, Kids & Family, PANDA, Pregnant, Premature Baby, Traumatic Birth

Episode 3 | My Traumatic Birth: When HELLP Syndrome Reared Its Ugly Head.

Click Here To Listen To My Full Story

One night when i was 35 weeks pregnant what i thought was my usual heartburn turned into excruciating chest pain and vomiting. After spending a few days in hospital (being discharged and returning a few hours later) i was diagnosed with the life-threatening pregnancy complication of HELLP Syndrome.

Most people have heard of Preeclampsia but not many people have heard of its ugly sister HELLP Syndrome.

HELLP Syndrome stands for:

H (hemolysis, which is the breaking down of red blood cells)
EL (elevated liver enzymes)
LP (low platelet count)

My liver enzymes had reached 3000 and my platelets had dropped to 22, and the only way to cure it was to get Zara out and get rid of my toxic placenta. So i was rushed in for an emergency cesarean. I was put completely under and my husband wasn’t allowed in with me which was all terrifying (this happened all VERY quickly) I’d always said I didn’t have ‘birth plan’ natural or cesar I didn’t mind, just the safe arrival of my daughter was my end goal. BUT this was 100% not part of my not having a plan plan!

Zara Rose was born weighing 2.5kgs and was in great health apart from some Jaundice, which after 24 hours of Phototherapy basically cleared up, what a little trooper! Zara was allocated a wonderful paediatrician Dr. Shorter who gave Brendan (my husband) a quick Dad to Dad run through of nappy changing and wrapping, then Brendan had to teach me! Haha. At this stage i was still in ICU and Zara was in the nursery so Brendan had to keep juggling his time between us both. All while expressing colostrum from me to take to Zara! Can we take a moment for these incredible husbands who get thrust into parenthood in an unexpected manner and absolutely shine.

I am so lucky to have had an amazing Obstetrician, Dr. Farag who saved my life. I’m one of the lucky ones who one, survived and two didn’t have any long-term complications. Without the incredible and thorough testing Dr. Farag did this story could have had a very different outcome and for that, i’ll be forever grateful to him. Especially knowing there were a couple other women in the hospital that had HELLP, who were unfortunately on kidney dialysis and two women had lost their lives in another hospital not far from me. Knowing that makes me emotional every time I think about it…

To all the HELLP survivors out there, you are all so amazing. After going through something so traumatic AND then having to be a new Mum makes things so much tougher. I don’t even know how i survived those first few months between still being sick (Plus having PTSD, Post Natal Anxiety and Depression) and then the newborn life of sleep deprivation.

7 months on life is different and i’ve come out the other end, but it was most certainly one of the hardest things i’ve ever gone through in my life (I remember thinking I was going to have to run away, it didn’t feel like I was even in my own life anymore and I didn’t know if I could go on) also only a handful of people really understand the severity of it so it can be a very lonely recovery.

Below are some pictures of my not so ideal birth.

Donna Xx

In ICU holding Zara for the first time
First family shot
Being so out of it, and it still not feeling real that i was now a Mum
Little Zara
First skin on skin
Christmas Day 2017