8 Weeks of Anxiety

In the past 8 weeks I have felt so many emotions that some days I wake up and don’t know if I should laugh or cry. I’ve gone through the frustration of my waters breaking but having to wait nearly a full day to go in to labour, then all the stuff that comes with it bringing a baby in to the world: pain, exhaustion, anxiety, fear and disbelief that it’s actually happening.

Next came everything you feel in those first days of having a newborn… the aching from child birth, and the little smug feeling you carry around with you knowing you grew that beautiful baby. The sleepy eyes that are only kept open by sheer adrenaline, obviously love for this little person is ever present but I found I loved Frankie and Dean even more as well. I know that I as well as most Mum’s also feel more of those labour emotions for the first bit aswell: more fear, more pain and more anxiety.

Then came the bit I hadn’t prepared for, the worry that came when Georgie started to look unwell. The lump in my throat whenever she coughed or sneezed, or did her strange little shivers. Not trusting myself to make a decision over taking her the hospital or not, wishing someone else could make the decision for me. Oddly enough, the day it all happened the over riding feeling was nothing, I went in to fight or flight mode and I knew I couldn’t start crying straight away or I wouldn’t be able to stop. Then once I gave in it was like I was drowning in emotions. Guilt for leaving Francesca with various people so we could both be with Georgiana. Physically I was still hurting from labour and I was so angry with the world for not just letting me heal before this happened. More anxiety when I spent time away from her, I hated not knowing what was happening every second of the day. Frustration that my first night away from my baby girl wasn’t for a night out with Dean or a meal with my friends but instead because we both weren’t allowed to be with her when she was just 10 days old. Pure unadulterated fear came on the day she got really poorly. I felt more helpless than I ever had before when I had to watch them switching her machines over, quickly giving her a chest scan, shoving more tubes and wires in to her. All I could do was watch the numbers on her monitor change, mostly in the wrong direction and stand back.

Obviously relief came next and then elation that we could bring her home, and I could have both my girls in the same room. She picked up a tummy bug a few weeks after leaving hospital and we ended up back there, that just piled on my anxiety. I waited for all the horrible feelings to go away and one by one they did, all but anxiety. That got worse. At night she’d drift off to sleep and I’d lay there wide awake watching her. With hundreds of questions and scenarios in my head.¬†What if I didn’t notice her getting dehydrated? Should I stop the breast part of her combination feeding so I know exactly how much she’s keeping down? Should I stop the formula part of her combinations feeding so what she is getting is all natural? Is that cough the pneumonia taking over again? Is the sneezing bronchiolitis again? I’ve been petrified she isn’t making any noise and an exhausted mess when she’s crying in the middle of the night because I’ve poked her awake to check she’s ok.

I know my feelings are irrational and that’s what makes it more frustrating. I am so thankful that my health visitor looked me square in the eye and said “You’ve been through a lot, are you sure there’s nothing you want to talk about?”. At the time I was mortified that I started crying and didn’t stop for 15 minutes, but once I’ calmed down I listened to her and felt a million times better.

Since then I’ve seen another wonderful health visitor whose popping in every Wednesday to say hello and chat until my referral goes through (3 month wait list – woah!), plus a GP whose prescribed me some mild anxiety medication and sleeping pills so I can actually get some shut eye over the weekends while Dean has Georgie.

I’m hoping that by just talking about these feelings they’ll ease off but right now I’m happy for a bit of extra support to make things easier, I can’t carry on like this. It’s not fair on either of the girls or Dean for me to be walking round like a petrified zombie!

Hopefully this is a big step in the right direction.

7 thoughts on “8 Weeks of Anxiety

  1. Oh Bryony, this post made me cry. I know what it feels like to feel so incredibly anxious, I had it when Mads was born and I am generally just an anxious person. I told you about us having to take her back into hospital cause she stopped breathing, well I just became a wreck, I would actually cry as I knew it was going to be night time and the night times were what I dreaded the most. I would set my alarm every 3 hours to wake up just to check she was breathing. Mr E was wonderful, but he isn’t like me and he would say ‘if something is going to happen then there is nothing we can do to stop it.’ This made me actually worse!
    I think we all just have different personalities, and I definitely have an anxious one. I make my Mum ring me to let me know she has got Mads safely to her childminders- this morning she didn’t and I rang her when I was at the doctors waiting for the midwife and her phone was off- I literally start to panic and my heart starts racing. It turns out she was trying to call me at the same time.
    You have been through so much in the first few weeks of G’s life- not only having all the normal new Mum times, but also with the added extra of having to be in hospital with her for a long time. You are bound to feel anxious and your emotions are bound to be all over the place, plus having to adjust to having two on your own when you are tired and over emotional anyway.
    Just remember to ask for help if you need it from family and friends, and I find taking a deep breath and listening to a really cheerful or overly silly song helps (think like Mysterious Girl or something!) as it can’t help but relax you or take your mind off it. If you ever want to chat or just want to have a gossip, we really don’t live too far from each other, so make sure you let me know and we can go to soft play or for coffee or something.
    Lots of hugs and I hope you start feeling a bit better soon. xxxxx

  2. I think you’re doing all the right things and it sounds like you’re doing admirably, although you may feel otherwise! My little girl was a prem so spent months in special care and developed a taste for the dramatic, regularly being hospitalised. I was an anxious person before her, now I am quite a basketcase! I took sertaline (an antidepressant) to control the anxiety, help me relax and switch off and stave off any panic attacks or unwanted symptoms. At first I hated asking for any help or admitting I wasn’t sailing through but I undoubtably think it was one of the besy decisions I ever made. And sometimes you just need to talk and cry on a sympathetic shoulder whom you don’t see every day and worry about them gossiping behind your back. Glad your HV is being supportive until anyone else can step in. Take one day at a time, it gets easier x

  3. You have been to hell and back and as some one who has been though similar with both children I can sympathise with you. The irrational fear actually pervaded every part of my life when Mini was little, so much so that I had to get some help. Poor Maxi when learning to cross the road I scared him to death about being care and not getting run over as I was shit scared!

  4. Ahhh hun I can completely understand why you are feeling the way you do. To be honest I was pretty much as bad and I didn’t even have any reason to be. I had to buy a sensor pad monitor when Iyla was tiny as I was checking she was breathing every five minutes and my anxiety now I’m pregnant is terrible. It’s so horrible to not be able to enjoy live without worrying. It must have helped lots to speak to your health visitor about it though, I hope things improve soon xx

  5. Bryony, you are doing so amazingly well! After everything you’ve been through I would be a WRECK! What a fabulous strong lady you are :) both F and G are so lucky to have a Mummy like you.

    Keep smiling :) xxx

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