This is a Public Service Announcement

For many years I’ve been on anti-depressants. I’ve gone off them a few times and find that I just do better on them. I’ve never been suicidal – my symptoms generally manifest themselves into lethargy, low energy, and an unwillingness to go anywhere or do anything. I cry easy, am more easily affected by things that happen to me and have increased anxiety. It’s something my friends and family are all aware of and love me just the same even if they don’t totally understand it.

I stopped my meds about a month before trying to get pregnant. I knew that anti-depressants weren’t recommended or considered safe while pregnant so we knew that it might be a struggle but it was something necessary in order to try and have children. I did ok for the most part except for the first two months that I ended up not pregnant. The first month was the hardest and I cried bitterly off and on for a few days. The second month I fared a little better but still spent several hours crying in bed. I don’t tell this to many people because I’ve found people judge you very harshly when it comes to your emotional reactions to situations in general but trying to conceive and pregnancy specifically. Someone always has it worse and you should never complain or be upset. This is what I’ve found being on pregnancy blogs and boards. We got pregnant the third month but I still had a high anxiety level and worried a lot those first 12 weeks. But I fared emotionally very well until the situation happened at work and I fell into a deep dark hole that I couldn’t climb out of. That, coupled with the fact that I was disappointed about not seeing my family for the holidays, caused my husband and I to wonder if I needed some help.

The final event that sealed the debate was the ultrasound that showed us we were having a boy. I tried not to, but I had my heart set on a girl first. I knew from the beginning of the ultrasound that it was a boy – I had “seen” and spent the rest of the time trying to keep myself together. When she confirmed it was a boy, I teared up. After that I just couldn’t stay composed. When the doctor asked me a little bit later how I was doing, I broke down. That’s when she suggested I try going back on the anti-depressants. I had held off and debated and told myself I could be ok; that things would get better and I’d find my way out of the hole. But the rest of my evening was spent mostly in tears. The floodgates had opened and I couldn’t shut them. Please don’t get me wrong – I love my little man already and I will never love him less than I would have a girl – I had my hopes set on a girl and my emotionally worn out brain just couldn’t let go. That combined with everything else I had been feeling the previous weeks was more than I could manage. It was literally the straw that broke the camel’s back. If I thought of myself as a camel.

I made the grave mistake that night of writing a post on a pregnancy/baby-based board about my disappointment and how I was feeling. I suppose in my less than stellar state I forgot how hateful, judgmental, and downright nasty people are. I know, really? How could I have forgotten that? The responses I got back were just short of verbal stonings. I was called every name in the book and basically made out to be a disgusting person who shouldn’t be allowed to procreate.  I also took for granted that my depression would be understood and my already damaged emotional state taken into consideration. But often, those who don’t understand, judge. This, dear friends, did not help me feel any better. I thought that these women, who were all in the same position I was in, would understand another woman’s fears and feelings. I was, unfortunately, very wrong. It took me a lot longer than I like to admit to get over their hateful responses.

What’s interesting is people ask all the time “what do you want?” in reference to the baby’s gender. This is disguised as a real question, as though the asker truly wants to hear what you have to say. What’s even better is when you tell them what you ARE having and they ask you if that’s what you wanted. Then you’re REALLY in trouble. But apparently though the politically correct mommy response is “Oh, we just want(ed) a healthy baby!”  Then you win the good mommy-to-be award and you get a cookie and a pony. Ok, not really – you just don’t get publicly flogged. Now, I’m pretty sure no one has ever answered that they want an unhealthy baby. People just don’t do that. And I understand not having a preference. But why is it so bad if you do have one? You can prefer dark chocolate over white, paper over plastic, trucks over cars, but you most definitely cannot prefer to have a girl child over a boy child (or vice versa). Shame on you for thinking of it.

So back to my mental state. I started a very low dose of Zoloft that night and have been on it since. The first few days were rough as I was dealing with the fallout from my online verbal diarrhea, continuing hatred for my job, and the typical anxiety that comes from starting new anti-depressants. I also had some internal struggles as, like I mentioned earlier, anti-depressants during pregnancy aren’t proven to be 100% safe. My family was also concerned and I struggled with that as well, feeling like I was disappointing everyone and risking hurting my baby. But the medicine helped – is helping. There are risks either way as stress hormones can cross the placenta and also harm the baby. I’m entering my third trimester now and I am weaning off as everything I have read shows that the main risk is during the third trimester and near birth. I am now on half a dose and am doing ok. I’m praying I will continue to do well after I am completely go off of them.

Depression isn’t something a lot of people talk about or understand. You hear about postpartum depression a lot but you don’t hear about the depression that happens during pregnancy very often. It’s like one of those things about pregnancy no one ever tells you until you are in the middle of it, but worse. You must be happy you are pregnant and happy you’re having a healthy baby and you cannot have bad thoughts or wish things were different, because, dang it, YOU ARE BLESSED. Ok, so that might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s close. Pregnancy makes you extra emotional to begin with, so determining what is “normal” and what is “too much” is not an easy thing to do. It’s also not an easy decision on how to deal with it. I think I’ve done the best I can do for my little boy and me. So now I will foray into the third (and thankfully, final) trimester med-free. I have an appointment tomorrow and plan to find out the final weaning steps. Keep us in your thoughts, and more importantly, your prayers. I’m sure we’ll need them.

8 Things that don’t all have to do with pregnancy. Just mostly.

1. I hate handwashing dishes. Hate hate hate. I also feel like handwashing them never gets them as clean as my dishwasher. I know lots of people handwash their dishes. I believe they are more proficient than I am and therefore should come handwash my dishes for me.

2. I don’t like the direction in which my belly button is heading. I liked my very innie belly button. I’m not looking forward to it being flat. Or an outie. I also wish someone had told me years ago what my belly button piercing would look like once my belly button stretched out. Not pretty. Don’t like it.

3. I plan to do a natural birth. I am a little nervous about this but no less nervous about having a needle shoved in my spine and a catheter shoved somewhere else. Neither one sounds wonderful. I do think it’s a little weird that this is a question random people ask you though. “So, are you planning to get an epidural?” This question generally comes right after “What are you having?” and “Have you picked a name yet?” Then, when you say you’re going drug-free they look at you pityingly and say “ok.” But what they are really thinking is “Oh, you poor delusional crazy pregnant person. I will try my best to not say ‘I told you so’ when you are writhing in pain screaming for the anesthesiologist to put you out of your misery.” Very heartening.

4. I am obsessed with my nails in their current state. I’ve never had long nails that didn’t peel and break off that weren’t put on by someone else. I look at them all the time. I’m constantly filing and trimming them to keep them neat and tidy. I will be sad when they go back to their pre-pregnancy state of peely and thin. I also wish my right hand looked as nice as my left hand.

5. After almost 8 years of working retail, I am amazed how people can still surprise me with their rude, ignorant, and often offensive behavior. I should not be surprised. Retail has taught me to dislike people (which is sad, I know) but for some reason I can still be taken aback by their ridiculous behavior and comments. A few days ago, a customer who I have known in the store for several years said to me “You’re only 26 weeks with as big as you are? Are they sure it’s not twins?” Ok, really. Who says that?? And it was a woman. I feel I handled it very well. I didn’t punch her in the face or call her names or burst into tears. I gave some random answer that hopefully accounted for my apparent ginormous body and then proceeded to cry several times later that afternoon. This is just one example of how stupid people can be. I have many more.

6. I love Bruegger’s Bagels jalapeno cream cheese. It’s delicious. Especially on a toasted jalapeno cheese bagel. *drools* I have been looking forward to breakfast tomorrow morning since yesterday. It’s that bad.

7. I don’t always “feel” pregnant. My belly is smaller in the mornings and when the baby isn’t kicking a lot I don’t truly feel pregnant all the time. This changes as evening approaches though and my energy level drops drastically and all of a sudden I FEEL pregnant. I notice that it’s harder for me to walk and not waddle, stand with good posture, and get up and down from sitting to standing. My lower back hurts at night and it’s like all energy has been drained from my body. Then I honestly don’t feel so pregnant as just wimpy.

8. My brain is like a sieve. It holds some pieces of information (name, where I live, where I work, how to drive) and lets everything else go through. I can’t remember where I’m going, what I’m going there for, where stuff is. I feel dumb. A lot. Pregnancy Brain is real. It should be studied. Heck, we probably wouldn’t even remember we were being studied. Or to show up for the study. Maybe that wouldn’t work.

Maybe I shouldn’t be fed after dark.

Last night I had the weirdest dreams. All night long. I’m not sure what was in what I ate last night, but it seriously affected my brain. This is actually happening on a regular basis now. The main part of the dream that I remember had to do with my baby shower but it was filled with anxiety and stress. Apparently my subconscious decided to blow my wardrobe issues out of proportion and continue to torment me with them throughout the night. The whole dream was basically me trying to find something to wear and failing miserably. I find dreams to be very weird as they don’t really make any logical sense most of the time. I have anxiety dreams about time a lot – generally it has to do with flying and being late for my flight. Most of the time in the dream I haven’t started packing yet and my flight leaves in an hour and then I’m still frantically packing after the flight has left but that doesn’t seem to phase me as I still madly pack. Last night it was essentially the same thing except I hadn’t found anything to wear and then was late to my own shower. Somewhere near the end of the dream a specialist was called in who brought in a bunch of clothes for me to try on. My self-deprecating sense of humor decided that the first dress she pulled out was a size 4. Haha, self. The last part of the dream I remember is putting on a white dress and shoes and having the lady dye the dress blue while I was wearing it. Oh, and she dyed the underside of my hair (which ended up blond and short) pink. What? Why??

Now, I am having a little anxiety about the baby shower. Not only about what to wear (because I can’t find anything that fits me that hides the blob that is my belly) but the planning of it too. It’s a non-traditional type of situation, with me being involved in the planning, as well as three other people. But the theme is great and so far everything is working out to be fantastic. The biggest problem I’m having is finding something to wear though. I’m not really happy with my pregnant body at this point or my apparent lack of self control when it comes to food. I was doing so well for awhile until my sweet little child decided he no longer hated sweets. It doesn’t help that my equally sweet husband has no ability to tell me no if I ask for a treat. Add both of those to my deep lack of self control and the result is that I’ve packed on quite a few more pounds than I had intended to at this point. Then there’s the fact that I was at a higher weight when I started this pregnancy than I wanted to be and it’s no wonder that my dreams won’t let me rest.

I realize that I haven’t told you about being on anti-depressants or finding out we are having a boy. I think for fear of censure I left it all out. But it’s truly hard to tell my story without you knowing the whole thing. So I will go into more details in another post and hopefully catch you up on my mental and emotional state pre-pregnancy through now.

Who fed my baby jumping beans??

Someone fed my baby jumping beans when I wasn’t looking. Seriously. Most days he just lays in there and sporadically kicks. Today, on the other hand, my child truly earns the nickname Thumper. Before he would just kick me. Today, he is a whirling dervish of unexpended energy. Maybe he’s still hyped up on all the sugar from all the Party Punch this weekend. Now, before you go thinking that Party Punch is something I shouldn’t be drinking (although I really shouldn’t from the sheer amounts of sugar in it), it’s really just a tasty punch recipe that uses pineapple juice, gingerale, and a couple other things. But it’s really tasty. And we made a LOT. So therefore someone had to drink it.

This weekend was my nephew’s second birthday party and I flew down to Tampa so I could be there for it since I missed Christmas. Cool thing was EVERYONE was there. Well, not everyone. My poor husband was here all alone and lonely.

So when I flew out I was just past 24 weeks. I had gone to the doctor earlier in the week for a checkup and to make sure everything was ok for flying. They had already said travel up to 36 weeks was fine but due to the Braxton-Hicks I wanted to make sure flying was still safe. Which, thankfully, it was. While I was sitting on the table waiting for the Dr. I was so tired I laid back and rested. I felt Thumper kicking so I laid my hand on my belly and got rewarded with a pretty hard kick to my hand, right around my belly button which is much higher than I’ve felt him before. He still won’t kick for his daddy (the little toad) but as soon as the Dr. put the Doppler on my belly he aimed a kick at it a few times too. Apparently he was feeling a little feisty that day.

So onto Tampa. It was awesome to see my whole family and to get to hang out with my nephew. He’s so cute and so smart!! And we made the coolest cake and cupcakes for him! He was so cute running in and out of the kitchen asking if we could eat the “Mater cakes” and the “race car cake.” He thought they were the coolest things! His party hat was a traffic cone and dinner was Dad’s delicious chili (tamed down for the tasteless masses though – the rest of us had to add habanero sauce to ours).

     

We had so much fun the whole time and laughed so much I almost wet my pants several times. Which, these days, isn’t anything exceptional. I think it’s more exceptional that I didn’t actually wet my pants, truthfully. We were laughing pretty hard. The weekend was great if not a little tiring – we didn’t do much relaxing the whole time, but it was totally worth it. But I think all that fun unleashed the beast within and now my little man has turned into the Tazmanian Devil.