"My husband, Shawn, and I were thrilled to be pregnant with our first child. After 22 hours of labor that ended in a C-section, Max was born at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in April 2019. We were so happy. But looking back, utter exhaustion and the uncertainties of being a first-time mom really affected me.
A month after Max was born, my mom worried that I was depressed and called our family doctor, Dr. Becky Jordan. She diagnosed me with postpartum depression and prescribed a low dose of Zoloft®. It was safe for me to take while breastfeeding and it started working quickly.
Fast-forward two years: we’re pregnant again! We went in for an ultrasound around 6 weeks. The tech told us the baby looked healthy. Then she paused and said, “And here's another one.” I couldn't believe it. Twins! I’m a planner, and two babies weren’t part of the plan. My head started spinning: Would we need a bigger car? Will the house fit all of us?When I was 32 weeks pregnant, my ob-gyn hurt his back. I started frantically calling OB offices. I’d been going to weekly nonstress tests at UPMC Magee, and someone recommended Magee Womancare Associates. I was so relieved when I got an appointment. It was reassuring to know the babies and I would get great care there.
On Nov. 17, 2021, at 36 weeks, I woke up feeling different. As the day went by, I realized I was in labor. Shawn rushed home, and we arrived at UPMC Magee at 5:15 p.m. Dr. Andrew Kellerman performed the C-section and delivered Maggie at 7:04 p.m. and Thea just a minute later. Both girls were healthy — Maggie weighed 6 lbs. 2 oz. and Thea weighed 6 lbs. 4 oz.
My homecoming was very different this time. I started taking Zoloft the day the girls were born as a preventive measure. The care from the doctors, staff — and especially anesthesiologist Dr. Matt Yin’s calm, attentive manner — helped me so much.
Once I was back home, support from our pediatrician, Dr. James Tucker, was invaluable. And my own awareness of postpartum depression made a huge difference after I had the twins.
I’ve become a passionate advocate for postpartum anxiety and depression awareness. Many women I talk with look back and realize they probably had postpartum depression. Whether it’s a friend or family member who is pregnant, even their families and friends, I tell them how common postpartum depression is and encourage them to advocate for themselves. Ask your loved ones and friends to look out for signs of postpartum depression, and don’t be afraid to say if you think something isn’t right.