Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Call The Midwife (a very bad name) {PPD Part 5}

Earlier posts in this series:

Aannnd onward!


I tried to cancel the postpartum check-up. I really, really, really, REALLY didn't want to go.

“I'm, like, totally fine,” I told the receptionist over the phone. "Just the usual adjustment period, you know *crazy laugh*."

"Sorry," the receptionist replied. "You're going to have to come in."

<click, click, click went a keyboard>

"The schedule is pretty tight. Would you mind seeing one of our other midwives this time?"

"Uhhh. Okay." G chose this particular moment to imitate a baby pterodactyl trapped in quicksand, so I hastily confirmed the particulars and hung up.

It will be good, I thought. I can BS the whole thing and she'll think I'm fine. Because I AM fine, dammit! *crazy laugh* We probably won't even make it to the office, anyway ...

A crippling phobia of driving was only one of the things that had bloomed in the void of nothing. If it wasn't a car crash, it would be a terrible disease. If it wasn't that, I would accidentally break her neck. Or drop her. Or she would suffocate. The worst was the fear that I'd completely crack and purposefully do something to hurt her.

My brain had become inhabited by a doomsday prophet.

Appointment day came. The trip to the doctor was horrible. Every five minutes, I pictured some variation of a fiery car crash. Gracelyn apparently picked up on these vibes and screamed so much we had to stop halfway through the 45-minute drive.

I didn't realize the exit was for the Colorado Division of Wildlife office until it was too late. I don't know if you've ever been to one of those in October, but it's not a very good place to breastfeed. I didn't care. I tried that. And then bouncing. And then singing. And then bouncing and singing. And then marching around the car. Two hunters comparing the tongues (really) of their respective kills looked at me like I had completely lost my mind. I didn't care. I took off the baby's clothes and checked her for injuries. I prodded her tummy. I stuffed her pacifier in her mouth. I pedaled her little legs in hopes of squeezing out gas. Nothing worked. After 20 minutes, I gave up and strapped her back into the torture device/car seat. I turned the radio all the way up and death-gripped the steering wheel for the rest of the drive. 

 photo tumblr_lrq2chlfuV1qgd30s_zps8a744621.gifBy the time I made it to the office, my nerves were shot. Gracelyn fell asleep as we pulled into the parking lot. I burst into tears. After a 15-minute pep talk, I dried my face, put on some garish lipstick to distract from the general horrendous-ness of the eye makeup situation, and started to hiccup.

Between the Fireball Fuschia and the random hicc-ing, I was quite sure I would be able to get in and out undetected. 

Besides, I was fine. Totally fine. I couldn't attach to my infant, but that wasn't unheard of. I was terrified of everything, but that was just a side effect of parenting.

Fine, you guys! Fine!

The receptionist was nice. She handed me the usual stack of paperwork and pointed to an empty seat in the waiting room. It was all very bland ... until I got to the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. I read the first question and gasped. Shit. Then the second, and then the third … I was totally failing this test. The waterworks started again. I filled it out as quickly as I could, answering not with honesty, but not with baldfaced lies, either.

By the time they put me in an exam room, I had managed to tamp down the blubbering. The midwife came in. I hiccupped. I remember thinking she was dressed like a witch. Orange shirt, purple skirt, and green scarf. I may or may not have imagined black and white striped tights and ruby slippers.

She took one look at my tear-streaked face (and horrid choice of lipstick color), pursed her own shiny red lips, and flipped straight to the dratted scale. After perusing it for a moment, she set the chart down and looked at me.


“So, tell me a little bit about yourself since we've never met,” she said, a bit tersely.

I explained this was baby number two, that we had just moved from another town that summer, that my husband was working at the hot springs and a few other trivialities.

“Mmmhmm. And how old is your other child?”

“Almost 17 months.” I winced and waited for the inevitable tirade.

Nothing. The silence was worse than the cascade of OMGs this admission usually elicited. As it dragged on, I began to fidget. I felt more tears leak their way out of my eyes and down the bridge of my nose, gathering on my chin before making their final descent to the linoleum floor.

The midwife sighed heavily, then handed me a box of tissues.

“Would you say the new baby is difficult?”


“Not really. I mean, she cries a lot." *hiccup*

The midwife took off her reading glasses.

“Here's the thing,” she said, polishing the rather witchy glasses on the even witchier scarf. “You're very, very young. You're overwhelmed. You're obviously stressed. You've stretched yourself over the limit.”

No shit, lady. Please, tell me something I haven't been telling myself for the past year.

“You need to stop having children.”

I agreed wholeheartedly with her, but what was I supposed to do now? Send the second one back?

“ … what do I do now?"


Drip, drip, dripdripdripdripdrip. The puddle on the floor edged outward like a hungry amoeba.

“You have two children. That's plenty. Make sure you have people who can help you."


“Do you have any questions?”

What do I do? What's wrong with me? Why are you dressed like a witch?


“Okay. "I sincerely hope I don't see you in this office again. You'll regret it.”

Exit witch.

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  1. NO! She really said that, she hoped she'd never see you again. I. am. dumbfounded. And I want to hug you and share a box of Oreos while we cry it out.

  2. I'm passing virtual Oreos your way this very minute.

  3. So..I came to your blog from Ravelry. Those cute little slippers you made for your son. I saw the post about PPD and a midwife or something and I had to read them all, of course. I notice you haven't posted in awhile?

  4. Hi Julie,

    Things have been really crazy lately, but I do plan on getting back to writing (and also crocheting hopefully!) soon. Not sure when that will be exactly. Thanks for your comment and for visiting. :)



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