Please describe your Professional Background. I am a general pediatrician. I completed my pediatric residency at the University of Chicago’s Lutheran General Hospital in 1997. I’ve been working in my present office for 3 years and in the past office for 25 years.
How long have Emma and Mathias been your patients? They have been patients at our office since they were born. Mathias is 3.5 years old now and was seen by Dr. José Wenger MD in this same office and ever since I joined 3 years ago since I took over Wenger’s office. I have been seeing Emma ever since she was a newborn.
Are they your typical clients? Yes, they are good kids. I see about 600 – 800 patients throughout the month.
What experience do you have with postpartum depression? Not all women experience this. I did notice it in Carolina. She seemed depressed and anxious. It was a little concerning. I was in fear for her wellbeing. It seemed to have hit her pretty hard. In my office, she was often tearful and didn’t know what to do with herself. I don’t normally see this in my office. However, I am glad she has recovered so well and seems to be doing fantastic now. I was hesitant as far as the way she was conducting herself.
When do you recommend people to seek help? I think I told her to seek out a therapist at the time I can’t really recall now… But I do recommend at this point for mothers to seek professional support for treatment for their symptoms.
*At this point, I clarified to the Doctor the order of events as I remember them quite well. My husband had recommended that I ask Dr Trujillo for a psychiatrist recommendation and he gave us a business card with a number for some kind of support group. This was in Miami Beach and we live far away so it wasn’t helpful for me. Doctor Trujillo explains he felt we didn’t have that relationship yet and he didn’t feel the confianza (trust) to step in but looking back he feels he should have.
What is the therapy plan recommended for mothers suffering with postpartum depression? If I had realized how serious this was, I would have asked to speak to her husband and sent her immediately to a psychiatrist.
*At the time, I admit to Dr Trujillo I was ashamed and scared to ask for his help so I didn’t. My main concern was the health of my children and I was also scared someone may take my kids away from me. The Doctor says that deep down he felt I was a caring mother and that my children were not at risk. In retrospect, Dr Trujillo says he could’ve been more sensitive and says that my symptomatology was probably the worst he’s ever seen. Dr Trujillo explains that’s why he didn’t feel equipped to deal with it in that sense.
Are you informed of possible medications that are breastfeeding friendly? I would generally refer patients to a psychiatrist for that information. A psychiatrist will determine if parents should be treated as well as the degree and severity of the treatment plan. I would immediately research the medication the patient is prescribed.
*At the time, I don’t believe I shared the medications I was prescribed and taking with Dr Trujillo so he gave no opinions in this regard. When I look back at the order certain things happened, Dr Trujillo told me to start supplementing with formula as well as breastfeeding at Emma’s 8 month appointment because he felt she wasn’t gaining enough weight and said this would be easier for both of us. That was a devastating recommendation for me. One week after, I was hospitalized at the Mercy Hospital psychiatric division and was prescribed several medications that I was informed were not breastfeeding safe so I had to pump and throw away all my milk. I have a gut feeling this recommendation to stop breastfeeding had a huge impact on my mental health. Dr Trujillo explains that with the levels of stress I was experiencing, which he wasn’t even aware of at that point, I could have worsened the quality of the baby’s milk. However, the Doctor shares that he never thought that it could cause me to get more depressed. At the time, he thought he was doing the best possible and believed it could allow me to better take care of myself but now believes he could have been more sensitive when making this recommendation.
What research/statistics do you have on postpartum depression? I have not really dug into this topic too much. I’ve had very few cases in my office. I’d say in my 25 years in office, I’ve seen 2 cases of postpartum depression of which Carolina was the most severe.
*We spoke about the global statistics and how there have potentially been many more patients suffering who Doctor Trujillo did not find out about as he is most often focused on the children’s overall wellbeing.
What are some online resources that people can use? If a patient requests this, I would have Googled and researched for them.
*This interview was much more thorough than expected. We spoke about how Dr Trujillo can begin asking mothers more questions on how they are feeling and if they’ve noticed any changes in behavior/personality. He feels he’s been mostly focused on the kids in his practice. Doctor Trujillo says he feels he gives his patients his undivided attention and does more than your average Doctor in the US as he even shares his private number and is available for any emergencies. As next steps, I shared questionnaire ideas with him as well as all the resources that have helped me and other moms around me. His plan is to develop a set of questions for new moms and have more resources available should they need them. Hopefully, together we can help a few more moms in his practice as well as their children as it has been proven that moms who suffer from postpartum depression can have a direct impact on children’s development (still one of my big fears although I’m working through it with my therapists).
** Perhaps when reading this interview, you may wonder why I didn’t leave this office as I didn’t receive the support I was looking for. However, Dr Trujillo has a small family office where I know the receptionist and nurse by name and they know my kids since they were born. I really appreciate all of his staff and feel the nurse is the one who mostly cares for my children as they had to take a lot of vaccines and get weighed and all of the other many roles the nurse has. I stayed for Carmen, the nurse, and the whole staff. Also, I met a pediatrician in Spain this year who answers most of my questions thoroughly. Dr Trujillo is indeed very available to see us if ever have needed to on a weekend or early morning.