Where is the help when you need it?
Perinatal death councelling. There is a councellor for me in Kamloops. Although I am not surprised they have them available. They are the same social workers who visit you in the hospital after delivery to see if you are emotionally okay. Isn’t having a baby a very happy occassion? I’ve been visited with every child and are usually annoyed by the disturbance in the questions. How are you feeling? Are you feeling overwhelmed? (I just gave birth, was there time yet? I am enjoying my new baby) Here’s my card in case you are having trouble coping and need to talk. I know what that means. You’ll say you lack sleep because new baby wants to eat every 2 hours whether you want to sleep or not. But don’t worry, we can help. A number to a doctor who can prescribe anti-depressants.
But I am lucky with this one. She agrees with the fact that those drugs killed Matthew and will not bring medication up to me. She did ask me the councellors number one question. Do you ever feel suicidal. Of course not, but some other lady might suddenly wonder, “should I be thinking about it?” I hate that question. If you aren’t thinking about it before, it will be in your thoughts after they put it there. I did answer her that yes I did feel suicidal. A few weeks after I started my antidepressants, but that was 10 years ago. Now I say I am a recovering “addict” and have weaned and proudly clean of psychotropic drugs.
Although I feel lucky with her, Amery did bring up a good point. She would have been one of the social workers that would check on new moms after delivery and ask how they feel. Within about an hour my precious baby crashes, goes on life support and ultimately dies. I am forced to hand my dead baby I just met and finally got to hold to give him up after an hour of saying goodbye. I had a right to 12 hours with him. I then went to my room where I lost it on the nurse who was massaging my uterus by screaming at her to leave me alone while she feared I was going to break her wrist and to stop touching me. I than became catatonic for a couple of hours until they deemed me “well” enough to go home and break the news of Matthew’s death to his 6 siblings awaiting his arrival at home. This whole time (a few hours, I delivered in the middle of the night and was discharged by 10 am) I was not visited by a social worker to check my well being. My happy occassion ended in torture and no one came to check on me. The fact I was deemed well enough to leave, I could have easily left the hospital to a suicide attempt. They had no idea. Maybe this hospital felt that catatonic was a positive sign. Maybe the nurse I scared with my breakdown never told anyone. Maybe they felt that was also “well” behavior. I don’t know. This was my first experience with loss, but I really don’t think they should have discharged me. I always thought that if someone has an aggressive outburst or becomes catatonic would be a reason someone was admitted into the hospital. But I’m sure they looked at my medical record and based their decision on the fact that I’m already on antidepressants so I must already be taken care of. It makes me wonder who makes the rules. What do they base their choices on for making these kinds of decisions with someone’s mental health. I am also curious to know that if I wasn’t already medicated and therefore “well” would my room have filled up concerned doctors or councellors or nurses? How did I, a mother who unsuspectedly lost their child be forgotten and left to my own is such a difficult and trying time? A mere 8 hours after my baby was born. I had had a successful birth with healthy baby, I am mandated to stay in the hospital for a minimum of 12 hours. After all, I was induced due to my high risk pregnancy and dangers with my history of hemorraging. Did they get nervous at their mistakes, and there were many made that night, and were eager to remove me, their problem, as quickly as possible in order to “move on”.
Now when I talk to professionals about my situation and what happened and the mistakes made in this hospital, I am immediatly made known that yes, these drugs are probably the reason Matthew died, but antidepressants really help people and I am a rare statistic. Babies don’t die from these drugs. They state that this medication most likely doesn’t pass through to the baby. They are now sending councellors to put groups together to talk about the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. FAS is the number one developmental problem in children today that is completely preventable (I know this well as we have adopted 2 who suffer from it). They tell women that anything the mother takes in while pregnant will get passed to her baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding. So whenever mom has a drink, baby has a drink. That is the same for drugs. They can’t stress enough the importance of abstaining from alcohol at all times during pregnancy to avoid this situation. That’s great. So Amery and I asked this knowledgeable councellor (we believe knowledgable as she knows all things get passed to the baby, something scientists keep wavering on) that if this is true, why not mention prescription drugs. We all know that whether a drug is an illigal street drug or a legal prescribed drug, the baby will recieve it and run the risks associated with them. She agrees. Yes antidepressants will be dangerous to the forming baby and the breastfed baby. But she still did not adress it to the class with the force she should have.
She gave a passing mention that they are not good. But that was it. And she only mentioned it because we brought it up. Why would the government spend so much money to send professionals to talk to our youth and prenatal classes about these dangers, but “forget” to mention that all drugs even prescription drugs have a danger to the child? It baffles me. How many women will non-chalantly mention the antidepressant they’re on since it is an okay drug? Their doctor wouldn’t give them something that will risk their baby’s health. And how many times after I tell women about Matthew that they are so sorry and that yes, that drug killed my son, but it really works for them. Or what about the comment that “it won’t happen to me”. I thought that too. I am appalled at the ignorance of society today. Had I had a woman approach me who lost their child because of their antidepressant, I would have stopped. I could not imagine risking my baby’s health. I won’t take gravol for nausea because the label says not to use while pregnant or nursing. So many do the same and yet we will take these poisons from our doctor because no one ever tells us the risks. It does not say on the label to avoid this drug during pregnancy. How can a handful of people change the way society thinks and how things get passed on?
I am at that spot where I am lost in my own world in my hospital bed after a sudden death with the professionals around me pushing me to remove myself from their prescence and move on without bother to checking on how I feel. Parents dealing with the death of a child due to a prescription drug needs to be adressed and not swept under the rug. I am scared at the true numbers of death due to drugs. Statistically, the number of babies dying from SIDS has been rising with the number of antidepressant prescription drug rise. Who will help these families? They should know the truth about their baby and dealt with in a proper manner the way I should have been at the hospital. The truth is better than hearing your healthy baby just died.