Postpartum Anxiety Part 1 – My Heart did Loop-de-loops – I thought I was dying…
It was during one of my favourite times of day – the house is all quiet, not a toddler nor kindergartener nor husband stirring – just me and my precious newborn baby up for a late night feed in the rocking chair. All seemed quiet and serene until suddenly my heart felt like it did a 180 degree flip inside my chest! If I hadn’t been so freaked out by the sensation, I would have thought my heart was doing loop-de-loops over the fact that I had fallen madly in love for my newborn baby boy! I was shocked and stunned and didn’t know what to think and so let it go thinking it was just some weird random event that would never happen again. Boy was I wrong. And so began my journey of intense postpartum anxiety.
I began to have the heart-flipping sensations daily and they would be more noticeable at certain times than others. Sometimes it was a small “blip” and other times they were so severe they woke me from my sleep! On a couple of occasions I was up late at night with them (they seemed more noticeable at night when life was not so busy and chaotic) and crying on the phone to my mom who lived a 4 hour plane ride away! She is an LPN (Licenced Practical Nurse) and I called her one night while she was on the night shift. She put the RN on the phone to calm me down and find out what was happening. It seemed that everyone I spoke to just chalked it up to heart palpitations or rapid heart beat but I knew that didn’t jive with what I was experiencing and so the anxiety seemed worse because I didn’t feel like I was getting any answers. No one seemed to know what I was trying to explain.
I took myself to the emergency room on two occasions where I was hooked up to their machines, had blood drawn and it was determined that I hadn’t had a heart attack and I was fine. I still didn’t feel like I had any answers. I must have looked like a wreck, on one of the visits the doctor walked into the examining room and within minutes was giving me Ativan for the anxiety the heart problem was creating.
Although I loved my baby to bits I knew the loop-de-loops weren’t because of my undying love for him! They were Premature Ventricular Contractions which the doctor confirmed were likely due to the sudden hormonal changes from giving birth to him! Fortunately for me, I already had an OB/GYN who prescribed natural progesterone cream. Not surprisingly the progesterone I took to help with the postpartum anxiety instantly “cured” my premature ventricular contractions!