Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When Life Gives you a Lemon...

... You must be 14 weeks pregnant! Woohoo! I can't believe it. The time seems to have really started picking up in the last couple of weeks. Maybe that's because I'm feeling a little better, not back to "normal" by any means but better. So, what's up with the Butter Bean this week?

"This week your baby's well-defined face can also make expressions like a squint or a frown. Some babies may even start growing hair on the head or the face, such as eyebrows. If your baby is a girl her eggs will have already developed inside her ovaries. If you're having a boy, his prostate gland is developing."

This past week was very exciting! We had our second appointment with the midwife and were able to hear the Butter Bean's heartbeat (full story here), and then yesterday I SWEAR I felt the baby move. Now yes I know it might have been a gas bubble (adorable I know) or who knows what else since your entire digestive system goes wacky when you get pregnant, but it felt exactly like the experiences of other girls on my board.

Jay and I were laying on the couch and I was telling him about some of the girls having felt the baby for the first time. Now, most of them are a couple weeks further along than I am (since it's a board for girls due in Feb of 2011) or having multiples, but I swear I felt him! It was right below my belly button in the center of my stomach and felt like a cricket running across the inside of my belly. My mouth flew right open and I sat up straight! It was so incredible! I must have laid back down for a half an hour with my hands on my stomach saying, "Come on baby! Do it again!" but nothing. Oh well. All in due time. Jay told me I should probably enjoy it because pretty soon the baby will take up residence between my ribcage and my bladder and I'll be begging him to give me a break from all the moving around. :-) I can't wait!

I bought more maternity clothes this weekend. I seem to have popped out a little bump in the last few days. I can still wear my pants below the bump (although that's becoming less comfortable) but my non-maternity tops are starting to become too short and I was getting tired of fighting with them all day. So, Jay and I went to Destination Maternity and got a bunch of tops on sale. Below you will find my very first "belly shot" picture! Now it's kind of hard for me to look at it since I've been trying to camouflage a definitely-not-flat belly for a while, but I figured if I didn't start taking pictures soon then I'd never be able to see any progress so here goes! I'm sucking in as hard as I can, and have to figure out how to take a non-blurry picture one handed while sucking in for my life but trying not to look constipated because of it! Hehe. I'm taking solence in the fact that I actually lost 2 lbs in the first trimester, so any expansion has to be the baby!

Physically, I'm doing pretty well. Still have some nausea and vomiting every once in a while but thankfully I have the prescription for Zofran that my midwife gave me a few weeks back so I pop one of those if it gets too bad. I'm finding it very hard to keep down the first meal of the day on weekend days. I don't know if it's because I sleep later on weekends or eat differently or what but it seems like no matter what I do, the first thing I eat on a weekend day is going to come back up. It's kind of annoying since we are usually busy running errands or hanging with friends on the weekend. Oh well. Hopefully now that we are solidly in the second trimester it will get better.

I am getting more energy back and very excited about that! Jay and I will be sanding and painting a couple of pieces of furniture this weekend and I'm very excited about it! Looks like it's going to be the perfect weekend for it. And before anyone freaks out, I am going to get a mask and may buy ecofriendly paint (even though we have some left over from the last thing we painted and it's the right shade). Since it's not going in the baby's room I'm not too worried about it other than the actual painting part. Anything we put in the baby's room however, will be painted with low-VOC eco-friendly paint.

Looking forward, our next appointment with the midwife is on Sept. 17th. At that one we will be able to make the appointment for the anatomy scan which will (among a bunch of other things) tell us whether our Butter Bean is a McKinley Jeremiah or Olivia Louise! I can't wait!

Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope your week is going well!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The most beautiful sound in the world!

We heard it! THE BABY'S HEARTBEAT! It was the most incredible sound I've ever heard and I totally cried. In fact, I tear up every time I think about the experience, but that may be due to all the lovely pregnancy hormones. I cry at anything and everything now, both good and bad. But anyway...

I have been super anxious to hear the heartbeat because other than peeing on stuff and in cups for the past few months, I've had no other confirmation that we were pregnant. I know, I know, I'm horribly impatient, but I was really beginning to worry about miscarrying since a couple of the girls on my online message board had lost their babies recently. Also at my 8ish week appt, the midwife had comment on how small my uterus felt during the internal exam. She clarified very quickly that it was appropriately small but still, I was scared to death that the baby had stopped growing.

So after Jay and I talked to the nurse and then we talked to the midwife about the questions I had accumulated over the last few weeks, she asked me if there was anything else I was worried about. I told her that I was only worried that something was wrong with the baby since I hadn't heard the heartbeat yet. She told me to jump up on the table and we'd take care of that right then.

I knew that sometimes it could take awhile to find the heartbeat even with a perfectly healthy baby. So, I was preparing myself for that. She pushed on my stomach and I asked her if she could feel my uterus since I had not been able to feel it yet. As she was pulling out the doppler she said, "It's still kind of hard to feel it, but I feel it more on this side so that's where we're going to... OH! There it is!" And there it was! Almost immediately! The most beautiful sound I've ever heard in my life! The sound of my baby's heartbeat! My little Butter Bean knew that I needed some reassurance and made sure to make himself easy to find. He's not even here yet and he's helping calm his poor neurotic mama!

Jay was able to record it on the voice recorder on his phone, and although I can text the file to people, I haven't been able to figure out how to convert it into an mpg file so I can upload it anywhere. I may have to do some more research before my next appointment so eventually I can put it up here on the blog. I am fully aware though, that Jay and I (and possibly his mom and my mom) are the only ones who really think it's as cool as it is, but still. And that didn't stop me from subjecting all my friends to the recording all weekend! Hey, that's what friends are for right, sharing in your joy even when they don't find it nearly as interesting as you do. :-)

Everything else looks good too! My records were successfully transferred from my old OB office to the Midwife's office. They went over the blood work done at my last OB appointment and the midwife said everything looked great. I'm Rh+ so that means I won't have to worry about blood type issues between me and the baby. My blood pressure was nice and low, which was a huge load off my mind seeing that I had gotten a normal reading at my psychiatrist's office (blood pressure should and had been running low the entire pregnancy) and then during a health fair at work, I got a high reading and about lost it! I'm sure those were both due to me trying to detox off my psyc meds. I'm so thankful to know that it is back to normal, for the pregnancy at least.

I'm also still doing quite well off my psyc medication. I'm not on the 6th day without the anti-depressant, which probably explains the crying issues. Hum. Anyway, I am feeling just the slightest bit of vertigo every once in a while, but nothing that disrupts my life. Hopefully, even that will go away soon. And we will be able to spend the rest of this pregnancy drug free. My midwife did say that she was not happy that my psychiatrist had taken me off the meds so quickly and made me feel like it was life or death. She said that if I need the anti-depressant especially, that she wouldn't think twice about putting me back on. That reassurance is definitely nice to know going forward but I'm really hoping to be able to get through the pregnancy without the meds, and even beyond because if I'm on them meds, it means I can't breastfeed which is very, very important to me!

I lost 2 lbs since my last appointment, but because of my weight and the fact that I just finished the first trimester they weren't too concerned. I should start putting on more weight soon though. My goal is probably around 15 lbs for the pregnancy. I hope I can stay close to that. Hopefully, I'll be able to eat more soon and that means I'll have to make sure that I'm eating good food and not just fast food and junk.

Well, Happy Monday everyone! Hope y'all had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Baby Heartbeat Day!!!

Today is officially Baby Heartbeat Day!!! Woohoo!!! After almost 5 weeks since my last appointment with the midwife, I can't believe it's here! I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself, and have no idea how I'll get through work today! I have 4 1/2 hours until I leave for my appointment. Yesterday, I even played with the voice recorder app on my phone, so that when we locate the heartbeat, I'll be able to record it and listen to it all the time!

Today is also a big day because it's day 3 without any meds. After dropping down from 20 milligrams to 10 and then to 5 over the course of a few weeks, I decided to take a chance on Wednesday morning and didn't take the pill at all. Since I was already cutting the pills in quarters it was pretty much impossible to drop the dose any further without getting another prescription. I'm doing surprisingly well. No nausea or vomiting. I can feel the vertigo but it's not overwhelming or disruptive like it was before. So, hopefully, this will mean that by the time I go to see the psychiatrist on Tuesday I'll be completely off all my meds! Woohoo! And the funny thing is... I SLEEP! I haven't slept in years! It's amazing to be able to go to sleep without the help of pharmaceuticals and sleep through the night. I have been having very weird dreams but from what I'm reading on some of my pregnancy message boards, that's not unusual.

And lastly, today, while wrestling with a regular shirt, I realized why maternity shirts are so long. Besides covering a preggo belly, they have to cover the waist band of your maternity pants since they all have elastic and look like kid pants or clown pants or pants your grandmother use to wear (and those aren't event he "full panel" ones)! But the pants are so darn comfy that you don't give a crap!! Hehe! I may never wear regular pants again!

Happy Friday everyone! Less than 4 hours now! Yay!!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Feeling much better...

I'm feeling much better today! Thank goodness! Yesterday was hard. I had my first bi-polar down swing. But the important thing is... I came out the other side, and in less than 24 hours! To some this may seem like just a bad day and nothing to worry about. But when you've dealt with clinical depression, and especially bi-polar disorder, you become hyper sensitive to any variation in mood.

I am constantly on the look out for swings. Constantly terrified of slipping back into old habits. Constantly anticipating the darkness that has overwhelmed so many times before. So, knowing that this one passed, was like finding a life raft in the middle of the ocean.

The middle of the ocean... that's actually exactly how it feels. Being in a down swing feels like drowning. I lose all point of reference. Like being trapped in a rip current, you lose orientation so badly that you don't know which way to the surface. You might expend all your energy just to find out that you have been swimming deeper and deeper under instead of towards the surface. All I know at the time is that the feelings are overwhelming, but I have no idea if they are proportional.

And you don't know who to trust. The person you've attributed the negative feelings to often tells you, you are blowing things out of proportion. But over the years, people in my life have used my illness to trivialize my legitimate feelings... first my dad, then my ex-husband. When that happens it causes you to doubt things even more. On the flip side, often times your friends and family see their loved one in pain and just want to make it stop, so they suggest drastic measures.

I think what I've learned through this first down swing, is to handle them like I did the down times during Jay's deployment. I found very early on in that experience that the harder I fought the loneliness and anxiety the stronger it got. But if I would find a quiet, safe place, take a deep breath and let all the negative emotion wash over me, I didn't crumble under the wave like I felt I would. On the contrary... when I allowed myself to truly feel the anger, the frustration, the loneliness, the anxiety, the fear... it's like it passed right through me.

I think this is similar. When the next swing comes on, I need to find a safe place, take a deep breath, and let all the fears and anxiety wash over me. Don't dwell on it and allow it to fester, but truly feel the emotion and give it a chance to wash through. And tell myself, that if I still feel as overwhelmed or offended or hurt or scared the next day or a couple of days later, then I can address it with the people who have contributed to the feelings. But right then, at that moment, when I'm most tempted to send a b*tchy text message or email, I need to be present with my emotions, be gentle with myself, and address others at a later time if I still feel it necessary.

Thanks y'all for indulging me this morning. I write here for so many reason. First because I want to document this process. I hope at some point, to make a book of pictures and my blogs so I will have it forever. I want my Butter Bean to know that I loved him/her before s/he even got here. But I always want to let others know what it's like. I hope that others who deal with the same thing will take comfort in knowing they are not alone, which is one of the hardest things about this illness. But finally, I hope that people who know someone with this or another mental illness will learn more about what it's like to walk in their loved one's shoes. When you've never experienced anything like this before, when you don't know what it's like for your brain to turn on you, it's hard to even fathom and sometimes it's hard to have compassion. Hopefully, I can have a little part in putting a personal experience on a difficult subject.

Have a great Thursday everyone! It's almost the weekend! And we get to hear the heartbeat tomorrow! Woohoo!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Peaches & Dreams (week 13)

Welcome to week 13/14 everyone! We have officially made it to the second trimester! Woohoo! This means that the chance of miscarriage is drastically reduced. And hopefully, very soon, some of the more bothersome pregnancy symptoms will begin to subside. I've heard many women say that the second trimester is there favorite and that many get a boost of energy during this time. I'm really hoping so since I am looking at getting a second job in order to save money for the baby.

So what's going on with baby this week? Let's see:

"Up until now, your baby's head has been proportionally larger than the rest of the body. But around this time your baby's body will start to catch up and grow more proportionally to the head. If you could peek inside your womb, you could see your baby's motor skills starting to work. Your baby is able to move and flex the arms and legs, but you won't be able to feel this movement until later."

It is truly amazing!

I'll admit, the last couple of weeks have been a challenge. I'm finding it hard to control my emotions. I cry more than usual, and take things more personally. Things people say and do hurt my feelings more easily. It is also very frustrating feeling like you can't trust your own judgement. It's hard not knowing whether I have a right to be hurt and upset at someone for something they said or did, or if it's just hormones/bi-polar issues. It's hard being unable to determine if you are overreacting to something, and of course the person you're mad at is going to tell you that you are blowing things out of proportion. But when you tell close friends and family, and they see how upset you are, they sometimes recommend drastic measures that don't feel right either. I feel trapped. Caught in a body that can't process information correctly. Unable to know what to believe and who to trust. Now I remember how drastically my life changed when I went on medication for the first time.

Physically, I've been doing ok. The nausea and vomiting is only intermittent now. I'll admit, I probably take the anti-nausea medicine, Zofran, the midwife prescribed for me more often then I should. But oh well. Hopefully, that will get better now that I've hit the 2nd trimester. I'm beginning to feel a little more energetic which is great! Like I said before, if I end up getting a second job I'll need the extra energy!

My clothes are still fitting really well, but I'm beginning to see a difference in my belly and possibly even a bump. It's hard to tell though, since I'm carrying more weight then I should be. According to my scale, I've gained a lb from last week (which puts me down 2lbs over all). That is probably due to the stomach issues over the last week. I did buy a few maternity clothes a couple of weekends a go, and a friend gave me a bunch. I'm just not quite big enough for most of them yet. I do admit, though. On the weekends I wear the maternity clothes and pretend that my belly is all baby. :-) It's fun. I can't wait until I'm really showing, and then until I can feel the baby. I'm tempted to get a fetal doppler heart monitor, but just haven't actually done it yet. I've heard such mixed reviews. Some women have great luck with them, others just find it frustrating and anxiety producing when they are unable to find the heartbeat.

This Friday is my next appointment with my midwife. We'll have lots to talk about since the psychiatrist took me off my meds since the last time I've seen her. I also want to ask her about a comment she made about me possibly having a tilted uterus. I want to know if that could explain some of the "girl issues" I've had over the years and if she thinks it'll cause any problems during labor... and if it'll put me at a higher likelihood of having back labor. We should also be able to get the results of the blood work done at my last appointment with the OB. I figure if there were any major problems they would have called me, but I'm anxious to go over the results. And finally, and most importantly, we should be able to hear the heartbeat on Friday for the first time! If for some reason she is unable to locate it, she said she'd do an ultrasound right then to make sure the baby is ok. There are possible reasons why she might not be able to find the heartbeat that are perfectly normal. If my uterus is still tilted to the back then she might not be able to pick it up with the doppler. Also, having an anterior placenta (where the placenta has attached in the front) would make it hard for the doppler's sound waves to reach the baby. But one way or the other we will have proof on Friday that the Butter Bean is in there and doing well.

Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope your weeks are going well! Talk to you again soon!

p.s. I just realized today how stream-of-consciousness these weekly blogs have become. Sorry about that. Unfortunately, that's pretty much the extent of the brain power I have right now. Trying to organize my thoughts would take way too much energy! Hehe!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Plum-tastic! (week 12)

Welcome to week 12 everyone!

I can't believe this is the last week of the first trimester! It has flown by so quickly, but then again, I feel like I'll never get to my appointment next Friday! I guess that's the way life always is. The anticipation seems to last forever, but then in hindsight times seems to have flown. I'm sure that's the way this whole pregnancy will feel when it's over... then again, I'll probably be saying the exact same thing in 18+ years when I'm sending my Butter Bean off to college.

I'll admit, this week has been a struggle. I only lasted 4 days into the withdrawal period before I cried uncle! Last Thursday, I called my psychiatrist and told him that something had to give! The shakes and dizziness were getting worse instead of better and the only reason I was keeping anything down was because of a prescription for Zofran my midwife had called in for me. His assistant returned my call and said for me to just go back on the anti-depressant (which is the med I knew was the ones giving me the withdrawal symptoms). But wait... I thought this was the medicine I was absolutely not supposed to be on while I was pregnant. I thought it was very, very important that I get off them? Grrr! This doctor is driving me nuts.

Anyway, he put me back on a half dose, and told me to just stay on it until my next appointment in over 2 weeks. I've however decided that I want off this medicine if at all possible, so after being on the half dose for a week, I've cut the dose in half again (so from 20 milligrams two weeks ago, to 10 last week, and now 5). We'll see how this goes. If I start experiencing problems then I'll just go back to the half dose I've been taking for a week. Hopefully, though, I'll be able to wean myself off more slowly and be free of the meds within a few weeks.

I'm completely off the other two meds, however, and very happy about that. I seem to be adjusting to being off those meds fairly well. I can tell that my emotions are closer to the surface then they have been lately, but I am still able to control them. I cry more easily then normal, but that may just be the preggo hormones, so who knows. I'm trying my best to just relax and take things one moment at a time, trusting that I have the strength to handle anything life can throw at me in the future. Worrying about things that might or might not happen, certainly won't help any.

So enough about me and my struggles! What's going on with the Butter Bean this week? Here's what my app says:

The features of your baby's face are becoming more defined. The eyes have moved towards the front of the face and the chin and nose have taken more shape. Your baby's tiny fingernails are now well formed on fingers that will be able to open and close. In your baby's brain synapses are rapidly growing.

A week from tomorrow, we have our next appointment with the midwife. We should definitely be able to hear the heartbeat then. She said, if she can't pick up the heartbeat with the Doppler, then she'll do an ultrasound right then and there to check on everything. I'm so anxious to finally hear my little one's heartbeat. Since we decided to decline the genetic testing, and since I have a regular cycle and was pretty confident of when I became pregnant, there has been no need to do any ultrasound. If everything goes as planned, then we won't have one until our 20-ish week anatomy scan. I can't believe that in only 8 short weeks, we'll know if we are having a little boy or a little girl! I'm pretty much convinced that my little guy is a boy, but I'll be overjoyed for whatever we find out.

Still no baby bump over here, but I hear that's not unusual for first time moms who sometimes don't show until closer to 16-20 weeks. I did buy a couple pairs of maternity pants and a t-shirt the other day when I was out shopping. The pants were just so comfy, and will still be when I get big, and the shirt was just too cute to pass up!

I'm currently doing a lot of research on things we need for the baby. Still haven't made a final car seat decision. I've found the stroller I want, but Jay thinks it's out of our price range so we'll see. At least we've decided on a crib, a highly rated model from IKEA. Woohoo! Finally got the baby gear bible in, Baby Bargains, the other day. It's quite overwhelming but I believe it's going to be an extremely helpful resource.

Well, I think that's it for this week. If I don't write again, I'll see you all next week! Have a wonderful rest of the week and a relaxing weekend!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Da Lime in Da Coconut... (Week 11)

Or the Butter Bean in the Mama!

Sorry for the lack of a Wednesday-fruit-week post! I ended up staying home from work yesterday. After not being able to keep ANYTHING down (no solids, no liquids, no nothing!) from about 3pm Tuesday on, I was hoping that it would be better after getting some sleep. But no such luck. I got up, took a shower, and stumbled back to bed, sick and dizzy. At about 9am I finally called my midwife and begged for help of some kind! The nurse called in a prescription for Zofran (an anti-nausea/vomiting drug) and things got better after lunch.

I've never been so thankful to not be throwing up in all my life!

Beyond the stomach acrobatics, yesterday officially started our 11th week! Here's what my tracker says:

This week your baby is officially developed enough to be called a fetus. The good news is that the most critical part of your baby's organ system development is over. Your baby will grow very rapidly and will double in size by next week. On your baby's head, the ears are moving to the side of the head. Reproductive organs are becoming more distinguished.

This has been by far the most challenging week. According to the research I've done, I'm experiencing what is called SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome. It's essentially my brain freaking out while trying to adjust to not having the anti-depressant to help level out the brain chemistry. It can last anywhere from a week to several. My psychiatrist said that the symptoms should lessen over that time though. Well, I'm hoping for a week which will make the end around this weekend. If I'm not feeling better by Monday, though, I'm going to call my psychiatrist and insist that we do something else. What is the solution...? There's isn't one other than going back on the anti-depressant and coming off more slowly.

Everything comes down to a risk-benefit analysis. The problem is you can't really do double blind, scientific research on pregnant women. I mean, who's going to sign up for that study??? Dear pregnant women, we would like to give you this drug, the effects of which on your unborn child are completely unknown. Could be harmless, could cause massive defects. Sound like fun? Um... no. Therefore doctors have to extrapolate from limited data gathered from women who have chosen to take the meds while pregnant.

Some would say to always err on the side of caution, and I'm usually in that boat. But then comes a day like yesterday. Although we don't know what the effects of the anti-depressant are on the Butter Bean... we DO know what the effects of dehydration due to not being able to keep anything down and those are seriously NO GOOD! That is why I knew I needed to get some help, and I'm so thankful I did. It was also the first time I'd called and spoken to a nurse at this new midwife practice and I was so happy with the response. The nurse I talked to was very understanding, helpful, and never made me feel like I was a bother. That is so reassuring knowing that I have another 6 months of this to go.

I will say though, that I know understand to some degree the pull of illegal drugs and alcohol on someone. I find myself thinking, maybe if I could just take like a quarter of a pill or maybe just one today then it will make the dizziness/shakes go away! Amazingly, I didn't have any noticeable symptoms when I quit smoking cold turkey after finding out we were pregnant, and I am very thankful of that. Hopefully, this will pass and soon.

I have another appointment with my psychiatrist in three weeks, although he'll be hearing from me next week if I don't feel significantly better by Monday! A week from tomorrow is my next appointment with our midwife. We will be able to hear the heart beat then! I'm really hoping Jay is able to get off of work for that.

Oh, even though I'm not showing at all, I can tell that my uterus is growing. I sleep on my stomach/side and always have. It's going to be hard to find another position once I get really pregnant. Well, I can tell that my uterus is pushing on some stuff now because when I lay like that, I feel like I have to pee even if I just came back from the bathroom. It scared me the first couple nights. I was afraid I had a UTI and was already dreading the agony. But I soon realized that when I was laying down was the only time I felt like that. I'll probably need to get a body pillow soon as throwing my leg over a pillow seems to help.

I think that's about it for this weekly wrap up. Hopefully next week will be more uneventful! And involve less throwing up! Sorry that this update seems to be chaotic. I think my writing is feeling as dizzy as my head is today. Next week will be better! I'm counting on it! Happy Thursday everyone! It's almost the weekend, which means SLEEP!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Make the world stop spinning!

Dear Universe,

If you will just make the world stop spinning for just a minute, I promise to never drink ever, ever again!

Oh wait............ I HAVEN'T HAD ANY ALCOHOL IN MONTHS! Grrr...

At least I have an appointment with my psychiatrist this morning. Hopefully, he can shed some light on how long the world will be spinning! Oh and there's nothing that will make a first-trimester if-y stomach rockier than constant dizziness/vertigo! At least my breakfast appears to be staying put this morning unlike yesterday. FYI - Chick-fil-A Chicken Minis in reverse... not cool! And I don't think I'll be drinking root beer again for ages.

I've tried really hard to only be upbeat about this whole thing. :-( I know how hard it was to hear pregnant friends complain when all I wanted was to be pregnant and would have gladly taken all of their symptoms if only I could have had a baby. But today is just a little overwhelming.

On the bright side though, I took two Tylenal PM's last night (safe according to my Midwife) and FINALLY got some sleep. It's amazing how it can make the difference between feeling human and zombie-like. Hopefully, after my appointment this morning, I'll know more about what to expect and how long the withdrawal symptoms will last.

Also on the bright side, it feels so nice to not have to hide the pregnancy at work. Most of the people I work with know and are super excited for me! AND on top of that... we got a new project in my department and will hopefully be getting very busy very quickly! Yay!

Tomorrow starts a new week! I can't believe it's almost the 11th weeks! Where has this first trimester gone?????

Have a great day everyone, and thanks for letting me vent here for just a few minutes!

Monday, August 2, 2010


Well, Friday I was handing my biggest pregnancy challenge yet. If you've been following my blog for long, or have read through the archives, you will know that I have Type II Bipolar Disorder, which is a less sever, yet still very disruptive, version of Bipolar (also known as Manic-Depression).

It's something I was born with and probably dealt with since I was a kid. Most of that time I just blew it off as being a "passionate" person. A few years ago, it became apparent that it was time to seek help. I found a great psychiatrist who put me on a wonderful medication and for the first time in my life, I understood what it was like to be emotionally even.

A few months later, I decided to go back on birth control since it was pretty apparent that this was not the optimum time for us to have a baby. I mentioned this to my psychiatrist and he said to keep a close eye on my mental state because they might have to adjust my dose to compensate. Huh? Since it would be a few weeks before I could start them, I figured I had time to look into it. Then, when I filled the prescription, the pharmacist warned me that there was an interaction between the bipolar med and the birth control. I figured it was like how antibiotics make birth control less effective. So, I started researching it. Come to find out, it's actually the hormonal birth control pills that effect the ability of the bipolar med to stabilize my moods.

Being that I'm selfish, I talked it over with Jay. I told him that I was feeling emotionally even for the first time in my life, and I just didn't want to mess with that right now. We'd gone for months off birth control without getting pregnant and figured we'd chance it some more (also knowing that we'd be ok if we did get pregnant. Don't want anyone thinking we were fooling ourselves!). I told my psychiatrist this at my next appointment and he assured me that there would be no problems if I found out I was pregnant. He said to let him know if we found out, and we'd talk from there.

Four months later, we were surprised by our little Butter Bean. Since the psychiatrist had implied that it was no big deal, it took me a couple of weeks to get in touch with him about the pregnancy. Not telling my office made that exceptionally hard since the Dr's office is only open while I'm at work and you have to leave a message when you call in. So, it took a couple more weeks to coordinate with the assistant to get the information.

Well, on Friday, I finally talked with the assistant and she told me that the psychiatrist wanted me off the meds... immediately! I hate to admit it but I burst into tears on the phone with the assistant. Because of the conversations I'd had with him and my midwife, I had not anticipated the need to go off the meds and especially not that quickly. Friday was not a good day. I was having nightmares of the next 6 months spent in an ever downward spiraling depression, causing me to lose my job, my marriage, my friends... everything. Last fall, as I fought with this illness, was one of the darkest times of my life. The thought of going back there was terrifying.

Childbirth doesn't scare me. I look pain-med-free natural childbirth straight in the eyes and say, "Bring it on suckah!!" But the thought of going off my medication makes me shake in my boots. But if it is best for my Butter Bean, then I'm willing to do it. My deepest fear is that my emotional instability will hurt the baby even more than the meds might have. I fear that a spiraling depressive state will cause harm to my Mackie. (Yes, I think it's a boy. Yes, we'll name him McKinley. Yes I'll call him Mackie... or Mac-Mac. And yes I'll still love him if he ends up being a girl!)

So after only two days on a half dose, last night I took no meds (other than a Tylenol PM to try and sleep). With withdrawals are a little gnarly right now, mostly relentless dizziness and a stomach that is not upset, but not settled either. Oh and an inability to sleep, but that's because one of the meds I was on was purely to help me sleep. I guess I'll be relying on my old standbys of Binadryl and Tylenal PM (both safe during pregnancy, thank goodness!).

I'm going to have to learn to control my emotions on my own. I have a prenatal yoga video I plan to start tonight. And my friends and family are all on high alert. The major challenge of having an emotional disorder like this is that you have no concept of "emotional normal" so you don't know when you're feeling abnormally. It's like having a ruler that constantly changes, so you have no standard to compare anything to. So, it will become very important for me to rely on my close friends and family to help guide me through this time, to gently let me know when I'm acting unusually, and help me see that things might not be as bad as they feel. Add pregnancy hormones on top of that and it becomes a challenge unlike anything I've experienced before.

I am on standby for an appointment with my psychiatrist and will be called my midwife this morning to let her know that I'm detoxing. Hopefully, the withdrawal symptoms will pass soon, and it will not be as difficult as I fear. But as I always believe, "Expect the best, prepare for the worst!" and hopefully, the worst never comes.

So here's to my first major motherhood challenge. I'll keep you updated.

p.s. since I may be looking at more frequent appts with my psychiatrist, I broke down and told my office about the pregnancy. They were very supportive and not having to hide it will make things easier! So, as one challenge presents itself another is relieved.

Happy Monday everyone!