Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pregnancy and Depression--how it's going thus far

I am now eleven and half weeks pregnant. I saw my OB on Monday and she got some good shots of a squiggling, half-alien, half-frog (but soon to be human!) creature--complete with beating heart. Never has any whooshing been so calming to my mind.

Mostly I've been trying to not think about this pregnancy so far. I mean, my family has already outgrown our little 1400 square foot home so we've been caught up in the busy-ness of putting our house on the market and my husband has been crazy-busy at work and we had a family sealing to go to last weekend and, well, I've pretty much been thinking about everything but the blessing/complication that is currently inhabiting my womb.

Of course just because I wasn't thinking about it doesn't mean I wasn't worrying. Every night as I go to sleep I chant "Grow little baby. Grow little baby. Grow little baby." And in every personal prayer I can't help but add, "Lord, if it's thy will, please help the tummy baby not to die!" I know it sounds little nutty, but worrying is what I do.

So, the appointment went well and I'm almost out of the first trimester danger zone and I'm starting to think about this pregnancy as a person. I can see the light at the end of the nausea and fatigue tunnel. I've never been visibly pregnant during the winter so I get do some (frugal) shopping. I'm starting to get excited. This is starting to be fun.

Especially when I remember that this is most likely my last. Barring any divine intervention I don't plan on treading the path of pregnancy again. It's too hard on my chemistry. And therefore my family. And therefore me.

So far the chemistry is doing okay. It was a little wobbly the first couple weeks off the meds, but I think it's mostly settled. My ups and downs are more intense, though. My temper seems to flare up more often. I screamed at the kids at bedtime. I cussed out my husband. I had to pray for the patience to make it through Church. Whenever my kids do something cute or someone does something nice for me I cry. I tear up at cheesy television voice-overs and commercials. I decided--unilaterally--the put our house up for sale and my husband got on board, but I was just overcome (consumed?) with the urge to find a better home for our family. It wasn't a bad urge, but it was an awfully powerful one.

I'm trying to stick with the supplement regimen that my psychiatrist and OB agreed to. I did a bunch of internet research and then called them both to get their okay on it. It was a lot of work and it made me wonder what most depressed chicks do. Knowing how bad it can be, having some pretty solid, scary memories of my own personal insanity, I was pretty motivated to figure something out. And I was lucky that I'm good with the internet and have a pretty good network of other depressed folks to hit up for advice. And that I live in an area where supplements are part of everyday life for most people; the people at Vitamin Cottage were full of info that correct and germane(!).

Here's what I'm supposed to take:

*AM: 1 prenatal vitamin (I've got the kind where you take 3 a day) which includes inositol. My OB had never heard of it but psych had; both agreed it was safe to take during pregnancy because it is a naturally occurring substance and (I think) similar to B vitamins so it's water soluble and you can't overdose on it. 1 fish oil For info on fish oil and mood disorders read this article at Webmd and this one at from the Mayo Clinic. 1 vitamin B. For info on vitamin B and mood disorders here's another article from the Mayo Clinic or try this one from the Linus Pauling Institute, you'll have to scroll down a ways to read about depression.

*NOON: 1 prenatal (inositol included) and 1 vitamin B.

*PM: 1 prenatal (inositol included), 1 vitamin B, and another fish oil. I'm thinking of switching out this second fish oil for a flaxseed one. Fish oil is an anticoagulant and so is potentially dangerous to the fetus when taken in large doses--which it usually is when being used for depression. I'm wondering if using flax oil instead would be better. . .

I asked both my docs about vitamin D and they both said that was an unsafe supplement to take during pregnancy. For info on vitamin D and depression read here. Actually the whole article, which is about nutrition and depression, is really excellent so here's a link back to the beginning!

It adds up to a lot of pills each day. I feel like I'm always popping something--especially when you add the probiotic yogurt smoothly I drink to ease the morning sickness. (Probiotics are also supposed to be good for your mood disorder. Seriously. Read this. It's only an abstract, but it's got some good info. It's also supposed to help my unborn baby avoid eczema--which is a total bonus given the saga we've gone through with J and his eczema. According to the internet probiotics are the source of all good things. I admit that all that enthusiasm makes me a little suspicious, but I like yogurt so I'm going with it. Anyway, back to the point here . . .) All those pills are a much bigger hassle than my one Cymbalta and my one mulitvitamin and if I get busy I do forget to take them. They were also very expensive. All the supplements added up to more than twice the cost of my monthly Cymbalta prescription. Now, that's mostly because my insurance covers most of the cost (lucky me!) after we meet our deductible--which we usually do in January when I fill my first month's worth of SNRI. Some of the supplements came in big bottles so they should last longer than a month, but still, it adds up. However, I do feel better when I take them so in my mind it's worth it. Because I'm getting a baby out of this.

So it's all worth it--mood disorder and all--it's worth it.


Anonymous said...

Yes, it's a lot of pills... but you know what, this all might be a bigger blessing than you already know it is. Nutrition can play a HUGE rule in mood disorders. None of us eat a perfect diet, but if we have some genetic tendency to soak up more bad stuff, or NOT soak up enough GOOD stuff, it affects every cell in our body. Maybe if you continue on your nutrition "journey" after pregnancy, you might be able to reduce the other meds.

It can get expensive, but it feels SOOO much better knowing you're giving your body what it should have anyway.

Good luck!

m said...

Yay for you and your beautiful baby. Good luck on finding your new home!

Anonymous said...

I am happy to read an update from you! I have been wondering, ya know...

So far, so good. I'm happy for you! I hope your entire pregnancy goes so smoothly for you.

If it doesn't, please share that with your readers, along with getting some pregnancy-approved antidepressant medication, and let other women learn from your journey.

We're all rooting for you!

Pregnancy Supplements said...

[...]However, if we want to consume supplement, we can choose one that safe for our pregnancy. Foods like fish, meat, vegetables, egg yolk are beneficial for the body because it will grow that blood cell number in mother and baby’s body[...]

Kaylanamars said...

You brave, brave woman...After one child and the worst possible nine months of my life, colic, postpartum depression, and now just plain ol' depression I can't even begin to imagine another child in my life, it fills me with udder dread and actual panic attacks.

So glad that you're on top of your illness and taking care of yourself and your family! Your blog is so important! Thank you!