Postpartum Before NMO
Last updated: April 2023
Postpartum is a roller coaster of emotions for most mothers after giving birth. Some can manage on their own. Others need a bit more help to get through. I certainly was affected but, thankfully, was able to manage on my own. It was after 90 days when I started experiencing symptoms that would forever change my life. For me, postpartum accelerated my diagnosis journey with NMO.
After giving birth in April 2015 at 37 weeks, I was full of joy and delight to have my family complete. It was surreal to be a mom of two boys. I knew I was going through some baby blues because I was very overprotective of my baby.
A protective momma
I did not want anyone holding him, much less cuddling him. The feelings were different, and I felt like a momma lion - ready to pounce at anyone.
Postpartum or NMO symptoms?
I had not been diagnosed with NMO yet, and after 3 months of postpartum, my NMO symptoms came on like wildfire. It was like my body was counting down the 90 days after birth.
Once more, I started experiencing bladder incontinence.
I was stumbling and falling with more frequency. My leg spams got worse, and it looked like I was dragging my right foot. It almost felt like the leg didn’t belong to my body. Then, I started to get abdominal spasms, which I assumed was my body composing itself after birth.
But it felt different, and didn’t last long. I never paid enough attention to it to get it checked out by a doctor.
Life didn't stop: Postpartum and NMO
I got into the swing of life quickly. I went back to work after 12 weeks of giving birth. My schedule consisted of dropping the boys off at daycare, going to work, coming home to cook dinner, bathing the kids, and then going bed, all to repeat the next day. But, there was something noticeably different to me.
I was tired, like extremely, incredibly tired, even after sleeping through the night. I would drive to work and almost fall asleep at the wheel while I was driving. Caffeine did me no justice.
Trying to understand my extreme fatigue
I mean, I knew I would be tired. It was expected with a new baby in our family. It was an adjustment for all of us in our family. But I was so tired that I couldn’t function in my daily activities and others started noticing.
My family even questioned if it was laziness, which of course enraged me. I was literally falling asleep on the dining room table during dinner, that’s when my husband knew something wasn’t right. This was different kind of tired, and I knew it.
Realizing my symptoms were not typical
February of 2016. 10 months after giving birth. Things were getting extremely difficult for me. I had a very important work event in which required a lot of physical energy from me. I remember trying to get things done and running around like crazy.
The onset of another NMO symptom: Leg spasms
But my right leg would not let me do anything. My leg wouldn’t bend as I walked. I looked like a pirate with a limp. It was bit painful, and my knee really hurt.
Everything all at once
In the midst of everything, I had bladder incontinence and peed my pants (which were khaki by the way). I felt weak and mentally overwhelmed. It wasn’t even 2pm and I was bawling my eyes out, crying with 2 co-workers by my side trying to comfort me.
The moment I decided to seek out help: Receiving my NMO diagnosis
I called my doctors office in tears begging her to please help me! I felt like no one believed me, like I was going crazy, like I was being judged for having invisible symptoms, it was a horrible feeling.
It was then when the journey to finding my NMO diagnosis began. Thankfully it was not a long journey - but it was emotional and painful.
Typically, how much time passes between attacks for you?