Archive for October, 2011

October 3, 2011

Depression in Pregnancy?

Pregnant and depressed sounds weird to me. It just doesn’t seem “right.”

Previously, I assumed pregnancy was always the happiest time in a woman’s life. It had always been in mine. I truly had no idea depression in pregnancy was a real thing until I began to experience it myself. I wrongly thought anyone who was depressed during pregnancy was either already depressed before falling pregnant or the mom really didn’t want the baby. That’s so harsh and I realize it now, but I didn’t understand that a pregnancy could in fact cause depression.

After writing this post yesterday, I realized how little I knew about what I was experiencing and how much I needed to know more. So I started searching, Googling, looking for others who were or had experienced what I am. To my surprise, I discovered it’s not that uncommon.

Shockingly (at least to me), it is more common than postpartum depression. Anywhere from 5-25% of women will experience prenatal depression. How had I not heard of this before? With all of my researching, reading, and discussing with fellow mamas, this is a topic I am not sure I have ever been faced with until now. How? More importantly, why???

I found this in one study I read, “We were surprised by the paucity of such evidence in this area. If one assumes that perinatal depression is a significant mental health and public health problem, then larger scale studies are needed that involve each of these domains. The small number and small size of relevant studies are not adequate to guide national policy.”

Turns out, similar to PPD, many mamas are simply too embarrassed or ashamed to discuss being depressed during pregnancy. Pregnancy is supposed to be a happy time, right? Women going through it often feel alone and afraid and do not want to acknowledge what they are experiencing. Some believe it is a regular part of pregnancy since the symptoms of pregnancy and prenatal depression can be very similar. Others do mention it, but their doctors blow it off as being “normal pregnancy symptoms.”

I am pretty sure I am experiencing prenatal depression and I don’t really understand why. I have had unexpected pregnancies before. Only one of my children was “planned.” I don’t recall ever feeling this low. Yes, I had my moments in each pregnancy and the planned one was by far the happiest, but I don’t remember feeling so hopeless and lost.

Here is a list of possible reasons for prenatal depression to occur:

• A woman who has a history of depression
• Substance abuse
• A family history of mental illness
• Little support from family and friends
• Sudden change in life ( a move, separation from spouse, etc.)
• Anxiety about the fetus
• Problems with a previous pregnancy or birth
• Giving birth at a young age
• Marital or financial problems

It is said that prenatal depression is more likely to occur during the first and third trimester as that is when hormones fluctuate the most. However, that is not the case for all women. I have been experiencing it since the first trimester, but it didn’t magically go away when I reached the second trimester like I thought (really, really hoped) it would. It almost seems like it has gotten worse. For some it continues throughout their entire pregnancy. This can be very scary as depression that occurs during pregnancy is associated with a threefold increase in the risk of postpartum depression.

For me, the symptoms of depression have been problems sleeping, disinterest in my normal activities, and an overall inability to just be happy…about anything. I also don’t feel attached to this baby at all, which is killing me and no doubt making things worse.

General symptoms of prenatal depression are:

• Feeling very sad, anxious or cranky
• Frequent crying
• Not feeling up to doing daily tasks
• Not feeling hungry, or eating when not hungry
• Not wanting to take care of yourself (dress, shower, fix hair)
• Trouble sleeping when tired, or sleeping too much
• Things don’t seem fun or interesting anymore
• Trouble concentrating
• Feeling hopeless
• Trouble making decisions
• Worrying too much about the baby or not caring about the baby

If you are experiencing this or you know someone who is, you probably don’t care about causes or symptoms. You probably just want to know how to make it stop, how to help someone feel better, or how to go back to feeling like yourself.

Unfortunately, there is no definative answer. Therapy can be a great help, being able to express yourself without judgement and getting positive feedback can have a large hand in helping you feel better. Adding supplements, changing your diet, changing prenatals, and/or starting an exercise regimen can help too. Sometimes doing everything “right” cannot help entirely and medication is prescribed. Many women are uncomfortable with this and understandably so, so be sure to address any concerns you may have with your healthcare provider.

Whatever treatment you decide is best for you, it is most important that you seek help. If your provider is unresponsive or tells you it is normal, do not let them make you feel you are wrong about your own feelings. You know yourself better than any body else and no matter how difficult it is to confront your doctor or midwife, be sure you are heard. If you still feel you are being ignored, seek a second opinion. Studies show stress and anxiety in pregnancy can significantly effect your baby and with the risks associated with prenatal depression and postpartum, it is best not to think you can deal with it on your own. Remember, you are not alone. Reach out, there is always someone waiting to help. 

Here are some informative and useful links:

Breaking The Silence On Prenatal Depression

Prenatal Depression Info

Baby Blues Connection

I Battled Prenatal Depression

Please feel free to e-mail me if you would like someone to talk to. I am happy to help however I can, although I cannot promise I can do more right now than understand. ChooseYourBirth@yahoo.com

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October 1, 2011

One Mama, Three Birth Stories

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I was sent these stories from a woman named Cassandra. She wanted to share them with us. She also asked that I include a picture of each baby, they are in order . I am happy she chose to share and excited to announce her plans to TTC a 4th baby with her fiancee in 2013. They are planning a home water birth. Way to find your own path, Cass and really Choose Your Birth.
~Candice

The Birth Of Our First Baby

It was May 17th 2007. Just two weeks shy of my due date. I woke up around 6am in the morning to a sharp period cramp. I did not think anything of it because I had two weeks to go and had a lot of hospital trips throughout my pregnancy due to being a first time, paranoid mum.

I fell back to sleep until about 10am. I got ready to head off to the hospital at noon to deliver a urine sample. The doctor thought I had a UTI so I had to get that checked. My mum dropped me off at the hospital with my dad to deliver the sample. I asked the nurse if I could also get my headache checked out because it had been bothering me and had gotten worse. So they hooked me up to some machines and it turned out that my blood pressure was high. It was something along the lines of 160/110. Not sure of the exact numbers. The nurse called in the doctor and they said they would need to induce me because my blood pressure was dangerously high.

I was scared, mainly because the dad was a three hour drive away doing some house renovations with his dad. We quickly contacted my boyfriend (the dad), and let him know that I was going to be induced and to come ASAP. My boyfriend sped to the hospital with his dad and was stopped three times by police for speeding. They ended up escorting him to the hospital so he would not get stopped again. He made it just in time for my waters to be broken. As soon as my waters were broken my contractions came faster. And boy were they painful. My father called my mum (she wanted to be in the delivery room with us) to come to the hospital. At first she did not believe that I was going to be having our baby boy that day because of the amount of hospital false alarm visits we made throughout the pregnancy. I told her that if she wants to miss the birth then take her time. It sounded a bit rude, but I was in quite a bit of pain and did not want to deal with any arguments. 

So my mum arrives and my dad is in the waiting the room the entire time. Me, my boyfriend, and my mum are off to the birthing room to receive my epidural which ended up not working. It only froze half my body and then completely wore off before I was ready to push. One of the nurses on call was very rude. She grabbed my face and told me to suck it up and deal with it while I was having a hard time pushing.

After 8hrs and 56 minutes of labor with a failed epidural and my blood pressure so high I could not see two feet in front of me, our beautiful baby boy Logan William Christopher Wright was born on May 17th 2007 at 8:56pm weighing in at 6lbs 5oz. Two weeks early. I stayed in the hospital for a good three days after birth due to my blood pressure not wanting to go down.

The Birth Of Our Second Baby

It was May 2nd at around 10:30pm. I decided to head to bed early because I was quite exhausted and a bit crampy. Only to wake up to contractions at midnight coming every 5-6 minutes apart. I could not sleep nor get comfortable. I tried waking up the hubby but he is a very heavy sleeper so that was a lost cause. I waited it out until morning to go to the hospital because our babysitter (my mother in law) could not make it until morning.

At around 6:30am on May 3rd I could not “try” and sleep anymore so I decided to give up and give my mom a call to talk to someone while I was contracting. I sat on the toilet feeling like i needed to pee when all of a sudden a big plop went into the toilet. My mucus plug went. Boy was it disgusting. A big red blob. Thats the only way i could describe it.

I knew that it was time to get my bags and head out. I got off the phone with my mum letting her know I’d keep in touch and woke up my hubby. My mother in law came over to watch our son while we called our OB and headed off to the hospital.

We reached the hospital at around 9-930am. We got hooked up the the monitors and checked, I was at 5-6 cm dilated. We got sent to our birthing room to be admitted where I received an epidural that WORKED. Boy was I in heaven. Until they had to give me pitocin to speed up my labor because my daughter’s heart rate dropped because of the epidural.  😦 Our baby was forced out with forceps, with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck making her a light shade of blue. Perfect yet small, Our beautiful baby girl was born on May 3rd 2010 at 1:47pm weighing in at 5lbs 10oz. One week early.

My placenta did not want to come out so the doctor had to yank it out piece by piece and give me medicine to make sure I did not contract an infection. We stayed in the hospital for three days until our daughter’s jaundice levels went down and she gained a bit more weight.

The Birth Of Our Third Baby

On April 1st (friday), we joked on Facebook that we were in labor. We told everyone in the end that it was just a poorly told joke. I felt so bad afterwards. At midnight on that day, I lost my mucus plug. There was a bit more blood then I remembered from my previous birth so I called my midwife and she told me to call an ambulance to head into the hospital to check. Turns out it was all normal and that there was no change to my cervix at all. So I headed back home a bit disappointed. I was achy and we had a very complicated pregnancy, and I just wanted our baby here.

Sunday came, and the rest of my mucus plug went. By Tuesday morning my contractions began coming 10-15 minutes apart. My midwife checked my contractions and blood pressure and our baby’s heart while she was over that morning for our weekly checkup. She told me that I would most likely not make it until Friday and to keep the phone nearby to reach her.

That afternoon my contractions picked up to 6-7 minutes apart but very easy to handle. We called our babysitter (a friend) to keep nearby because we might need her. By 2am on April 6th (Wednesday) my contractions picked up to 4-5 minutes apart and I could barely handle them. I could not get comfortable enough to sleep. The bath only helped so much.

By 830-9am, I could not handle them anymore so while our babysitter watched our two children, my hubby and I headed out to the hospital to meet our midwife for 10. She checked to see if I made any progress. I was 5-6 cm dilated and my contractions were coming every 4-5 minutes.

Our doula came to be with us, and we went off to our birthing room where I labored in the jacuzzi for as long as I could but I just could not get comfortable. The midwife had to break my water bag because my water was way too thick and strong. I ended up giving birth in the hospital, drug free.

Our second baby boy was born at 3:09pm in the afternoon on April 6th 2011, 13 days early. He weighed 8lbs, 8oz. Just 4.5 hours later we went home to our other two amazing children.

October 1, 2011

Talk it Out

When my kids do something that is less than desirable, my main goal is to find out why they did it and how to stop it. We talk it out. Yes, even with the two year old. He may not be able to verbally express himself like his nine year old sister, but he can communicate. If he can learn that communication works he may stop with the hitting and just start talking. We’ll see..

Now that I am dealing with a lot of mixed emotions about this pregnancy and feeling a little (a lot!) all over the map, I finally came to the realization that I need to talk it out or I am going to possibly have a nervous breakdown. So here we go.

This pregnancy has brought with it joy, excitement, and some certainty. The kids are on pins and needles waiting to find out if this baby is a girl or another boy. My parents took the news surprisingly well, which was unexpected. My husband is excited, which truthfully was unexpected too. And I am positive I am really, really done having children. It is like something turned off inside of me, I have no desire for more now.

Unfortunately this pregnancy has also brought with it so much confusion for me. First of all, it was a complete shock. We had recently decided that we were done having children. We had been going back and forth for at least a year on the topic of more. Being unsure brought us to the conclusion that we should just quit while we were ahead. After almost five years of off and on struggle financially and finally making some real head way in that area, it felt like we should continue to focus on that and the four children we already had. My husband scheduled a consult with our primary doctor and we prepared for that door to shut. Del’s appointment was pushed due to the doctor’s schedule and then he had to go out of the area for two weeks for work. While Del was gone, I found out I was unexpectedly expecting.

At first I felt it to be very surreal, that there was no way it was happening. As the days passed and the second line continued to darken an almost dread began to build within me. What now? With my husband away and no one to confide it, I started feeling a bit lost. Del obviously knows now as do most of our friends and family, but I am still stuck with this feeling of uncertainty. It seems like everyone I expected to be unhappy about this pregnancy is actually the opposite, and the only person I thought would be happy if I got pregnant again, isn’t.

I feel so guilty. I wish I could change my feelings, but I can’t. I try every day to be happy and upbeat, but by the day’s end I feel out of control and an overall feeling of sadness. Why do I feel this way? Why can’t I make it go away? How did I even get here?

I have been taking my vitamins every day. I am trying to exercise daily even when I don’t feel like it. I am really struggling to keep a good diet going, but that doesn’t mean I am not trying. Unfortunately for baby and I, I am an emotional eater and my emotions have run away with me.

I want to cry, but I won’t allow it. I don’t feel I deserve the tears. Those belong to mothers who have lost their babies, their pregnancies. Tears belong to women that can’t conceive, not to a woman with a relatively good life, four beautiful children who look up to me and with one on the way, and a husband who is a great man and father. I should be shouting from the rooftops how happy I am, how excited I am to have another opportunity to birth a child, to better myself, to enrich my family and our life, but instead I am wallowing in self pity. I am angry at myself for doing so and yet still stuck in it all the same.

Unlike some years ago, I have no doubt I can overcome this. This will not be my life forever. I can and will get better. The problem I face right now is how and getting passed the guilt I have for inflicting these emotions and uncertain feelings on my unborn child.

I feel very alone, but I know from experience this is rarely the truth. That is why I chose to share this very personal information so publicly. Maybe it can help someone out there. Maybe, hopefully, just getting it out can help alleviate a bit of it for me. Either way, typing it out has helped slightly for now. So thanks.