Monday, March 11, 2013

How I Almost Spent My Saturday DEAD: How a Breastfeeding Mother's Fight to Do Right Went Horribly Wrong

One minute I was feeding my baby, the next I was staring at almost a dozen paramedics, all of them telling me that I would have been dead if they'd gotten there a minute later. 
Last Monday I started to feel like a prisoner in my own body. Something inside of me was screaming to get out. I knew it would get to that point. For the majority of my life I've fought an uphill battle with depression. It's always been coupled with a cycle of emotional eating and starvation. Leaving an abusive marriage 8 years ago laced my body with anxiety attacks. The ups and downs of relationships and their failures, a brief stint with alcoholism, celebrating the high points in my life with food, moving to a new region of the country with new foods to explore, and a new baby landed me at 171 pounds. I've never been this big before. At 5'2" I'm considered obese. Visually I look sloppy and unhappy. My pregnancy was high risk. In fact, I had to stay in the hospital for a week after giving birth due to high blood pressure.  Breastfeeding has landed me in the hospital fighting vitamin deficiencies and hormonal imbalances. Nightmares cut deeply into my already lacking sleep schedule. Since the day I came home from the hospital with my new baby I had - and continue to have - nightmares about either being killed, raped, or attacked by a dog. 
In no way have I been ignoring the whimperings of my body. After that last hospitalization I sought counseling for my depression and started changing my eating habits. I bought organic, started eating "clean," and when my body was ready I started exercising. My family bought a puppy, and he and I became jogging buddies. Gradually we worked our way up to jogging a mile. I loved the way working out made my body feel, so I wanted more. I was excited about getting in shape, looking better, feeling better, and living a long, healthy life. I downloaded every fitness app Android offers, logged my food obsessively, and lived on YouTube, becoming strangely addicted to Tabata and HIIT workouts. After being told I was at high risk for diabetes I went on a sugar detox. I started to feel much better, but no matter how many meals I ate I just couldn't get enough calories. 
This past Monday it all came crashing down. The whimperings of my body turned to screams. Something inside of me was raging to get out. I started lashing out at my fiancĂ©  whether he deserved it or not. Saturday morning the puppy and I went out for an Interval run. It felt amazing for all of fifteen minutes. Then everything started to get very scary. I started to close in. Rather than trying to explain what was happening, I elected to flip out on my fiancĂ©  (He was getting on my nerves anyway, so that's how I justified my explosion). We had a really silly argument over absolutely nothing at all that he blamed on my love affair with PMDD, so we went into separate rooms while I cooled off. I cried for about ten minutes, wishing for this all to end. I couldn't figure out what was happening or why, but I wanted it to be over. 
When the crying stopped, I sat down with my son and fed him.  By his third spoonful of baby food the tears were back. It felt like my body was a maximum security penitentiary and my soul was determined to break out. Inside I became very cold, almost freezing. I couldn't breathe. I heard my fiance calling my name, but I couldn't answer him. The last thing I remember hearing was him telling me he was calling the ambulance. The next thing I knew I was in my bed, surrounded by paramedics who were telling me they knew I could hear them. One of them explained to me that my blood sugar dropped to 26 and that if they'd gotten there a minute later I would have died. I was confused, because I'm not diabetic. I've been tested twice in the past year. Everything was normal. Of course I couldn't verbalize that to the paramedics. I was completely out of it.
They got me to the hospital, where the nurse explained to me that I was hypoglycemic. I was finally able to verbalize all these really great changes I made. The nurse listened to me and then told me that the things I did meant nothing if I wasn't refueling, if I wasn't eating enough calories during the day, if I wasn't getting enough protein. 
Since Saturday I've been trying to convince my family that I'm not starving myself, that I'm finally at a point where I am getting professional help for my depression, and that I'm eating right and exercising. It would be the case that the minute I started doing the right thing, everything would go wrong. Such is the story of my life. I can't help but laugh, take it easy, and eat more protein.