Upon completing my studies at Naturopathic Medical School in February 2001, my husband received a promotion and move to Hawaii! It was literally a dream come true! Upon completing my clinical residency and board exams, my husband and I agreed to have another baby, hoping for a girl to join our son. I conceived her on September eleventh of the same year.
During my pregnancy, I developed gestational asthma and heart palpitations due to air pollution caused by the nearby volcano. That is a real problem in Hawaii and is called “vog” (volcanic smoke). Later I would learn how to treat patients with the detrimental effects of this pollutant.
As a result of the asthma, it was difficult to get enough oxygen, and I felt tired all the time. My ability to function was at an all time low and I could barely walk to the kitchen in the morning. I was home alone with a toddler, in a new place, with no family and a only few new friends. Everyone was thousands of miles away and I was literally living on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!
It was necessary to use inhalers to function and was so happy when my due date was near. Many women with gestational asthma will not have it once the baby is born. I certainly was hoping that would be my case!
The morning of my labor my good friend Katherine had come from Arizona to stay with me to help with my son and the birth. She had been my doula during my son’s birth and flew to Hawaii to support me again. I highly recommend women have a doula to support them. A doula is a woman dedicated to caring for the mother only. Often during a birth in the excitement about the baby’s arrival, the mother gets lost in the process of birthing. A good doula will advocate on your behalf and help you to stay focused, supported and as comfortable as possible.
I was in labor as we drove the 45 minutes through tiny winding roads to the hospital in North Hawaii where my OB/GYN practiced. During the drive, Katherine breathed with me and I used a beautiful shell my son had given me a few days before as my focal point. A we neared the hospital I asked my husband to call my colleague Michaela and ask her to meet us at the front door with a wheel chair. When I sat on the chair I could feel the bag of water between my legs! My daughter was born 20 mins after we arrived at the hospital, so it was quite frantic. There was meconium in the water & she was blue when I saw her for the first time. I was terrified as I thought she was not going to breathe. As luck would have it, a neonatal pulmonary team from Honolulu happened to be visiting our rural North Hawaii Hospital that day & rushed in to treat her immediately. It was quite scary but she was fine and did not need to be airlifted to Honolulu.
My time after her birth was very difficult. I felt isolated and overwhelmed. I developed OCD cleaning constantly. I was not really depressed I just felt either nothing or hopeless. I am so grateful to my husband and naturopathic medicine. When I told him I was having bizarre and violent thoughts, he suggested I call Dr Anne Marie Lambert, ND and ask for her help.
We tested my hormones and I had no Progesterone! No wonder I was anxious, irritable and could not sleep! I was experiencing obsessive thoughts and behaviors. Amazingly within a few days of starting treatment I began to feel better. Further testing showed low adrenal function, Candida, heavy metal toxicity and low body temperature.
With ongoing treatment I was able to heal my body and my life, and go on to open not one but two successful naturopathic practices in Hawaii helping thousands of women with hormonal imbalances.
I hope my journey has inspired you to realize that if you struggle with PPD, you are not alone! Please visit my website for more information or to schedule an appointment.