27 weeks: pregnancy and medication

I had an appointment with the perinatal psychiatrist recently. I’d recently got discharged from my old mental health team and am now with them and again I have a psychiatrist and a community psychiatric nurse. The first opinion I had of my new psychiatrist was that I didn’t have one. When I told people my opinion of her after the first meeting I said that she hadn’t really left much of an impression – good opinions take a while to form whilst bad ones of someone can take an instant. But I had some faith she’d do the job.

My new CPN  I didn’t much like. She said that everything I was experiencing with my mood was normal when I knew that it wasn’t and she also made me feel pretty bad for not wanting to do antenatal classes. I got invited to some a few weeks back, but I have since been umming and ahhing over whether to do it for numerous reasons but involving the fact that it was at the old youth group centre I used to go to and I didn’t want to bump into the old youth group leaders with their judgmental opinions about a 19 year old getting pregnant. But also another reason is that I had been feeling disconnected to the baby and that I didn’t want to spend an hour or so being reminded of the fact that I was. Plus antenatal classes haven’t always been a regular thing for pregnant women to attend and women have had babies just fine without them.

Another thing she said that annoyed me was that it didn’t matter if I was ill because I could get someone else to look after the baby. It’s true, I have my dad and the father of my baby but if it doesn’t matter whether I’m there for the baby, why am I even bothering to get better? After cooling off from the appointment I realised how she actually meant it but seriously? You work in this profession, you HAVE to know how to word this properly.

But the thing I want to talk about is my second appointment with the perinatal psychiatrist. I get called in and she has basically forgotten who I am which isn’t necessarily bad except when she got things wrong about my life e.g. she said I lived in a studio apartment when I live in a 4 bedroom house with overcrowding issues and I then corrected her, she actually argued with me and told me I was wrong… I have to live there everyday, I know exactly where I live.

She then was reading the appointment notes from the new CPN and she told me that “wanting to cut the baby out” was not normal – which I knew. Then went onto imply I wanted to hurt the baby except I’ve never had any intention of hurting the baby. Hurting myself, yes. Hurting the baby, never. She said if I’m having these thoughts and feeling depressed (and I am but only every so often and I haven’t actually felt that depressed in a while) then I needed to go back on medication whilst pregnant. I’ve always been against it. I don’t judge anyone who does, I really don’t. Every situation is different. But I know that I’m sensitive to side effects, I know I can handle the low moods as they are every so often, I don’t think taking antidepressants (as were the only medication mentioned at the time) is wise for an unborn baby to be exposed to.

But rather than talking rationally about my fears and answering questions she snapped at me telling me I needed the antidepressants and when I said to her about being bipolar and that JUST being on anti-depressants could cause mania or like last time, rapid cycling moods. That would be way worse than what’s going on now. She didn’t really give me much of an answer, just that she’d talk to my old psychiatrist (whom never actually prescribed antidepressants alone) and that if need be a mood stablizer would be added.

To be honest, when medication was mentioned way back in the first appointment, I researched what people said and yes the antidepressants have been found, in recent studies, to have minimal risks to the baby (so not completely risk free like she tried to make out and when I asked about the minimal risks, she had no answers for me) but mood stablizers are very dependent on which ones and even then the research is very split between the risks to an unborn baby even in the third trimester (everyone agrees that no meds of these sort should be taken in the first trimester).

But the fact I don’t like her isn’t based so much on the her different opinion on medications and stuff, it’s that she had very little respect for me. Wouldn’t discuss options, just told me what I had to do and several times implied that if I didn’t follow her opinions I was going to be a bad mum. So when she handed me a piece of paper to take to reception to make another appointment, I just walked out and didn’t make one.

I moaned to my dad; ranted. Then GC phoned me when my dad went to pick up my brother but could only stay on the phone for 5 minutes and once he hung up, I just balled my eyes out. I felt so guilty and bad and just cried. Until I hit this point where I got pissed off. Being  pregnant hasn’t been easy for me – physically or mentally but I’m doing better now. I actually have formed a connection with my child now (which if she actually let me speak I could have said) but even so still experience lightheadedness, feeling faint (up to the point of passing out), nausea – all sorts of stuff that make pregnancy still difficult but I’m doing well with it now and coming out of a perinatal psychiatric appointment feeling worse about myself as a mother is not something I think is good and is kinda the opposite reason why I go.

That afternoon, the CPN called me but it was on an unknown number and I wasn’t in the mood so ignored it, she left a message asking if I could call her back to confirm an appointment for the 6th of May. I haven’t called her back. Partly because I just don’t want to but also because she asked me my preferred method of contact and I said text and she calls me so I’m just waiting to see if she calls me back.

All in all, I’m very underwhelmed by the perinatal team and regret being changed to them.

23 Weeks

I’m on 23 weeks pregnant as of today. Way past the half way point.

On the 14th of March was my partners birthday. He’s 27. It was a good day, we went bowling and had cake and ice cream. We were supposed to go cinemas but I was way too tired for that which I felt guilty about and promised we’d go at the weekend but he didn’t want to. The day after was my perinatal psychiatrist appointment.

The place to go for appointments is way out of the way for me. I tried to figure out what bus would get me there if I needed to get there on my own but couldn’t figure it out. Luckily, this time I had my dad taking me. I’d been to this hospital before, the year before for the crisis team.

I was waiting and it was about 10 minutes past my appointment time when I was called. The woman didn’t look that nice. Dr L looked kinda down and miserable and just had one of those faces where you think she looks miserable, will quote everything out of a book verbatim but was surprisingly okay. That appointment was never going to be comfortable anyway. Lots of questions about my mum and the past but I answered them about as honestly as I could. That appointment was basically about assessing my risk to develop a mental illness or relapse after the baby and turns out the chances for me are pretty high (yay!).

I do get upset though whenever I’m faced with the reality of my mental illness and the baby. There have been a few times especially since that appointment I’ve just sat, rubbing my stomach and thinking “my baby would be so much better off without me”. A mother with bipolar, PTSD and borderline personality disorder is not something a child should have to deal with. I’m pretty sure my own mother suffered with one – if not more – of those illness so I don’t want to put my kid through that.

A few weeks ago however, if I ever brought it up with my partner, he’d tell me that I should just focus on the fact I’m okay now. That seeing scans of my baby seemed to have gotten rid of the feelings of disconnect and I should be okay. He asks me in these times: “Well you love the baby, don’t you?” And it’s actually a pretty complicated question. I know I should say “Yes!” without any addendums but the truth is “I don’t know.” Maybe I do love my baby and that’s why I don’t think she should have me but on the other hand I sometimes just want to cut the baby out my stomach and get it over with.

The cutting the baby out my stomach has only be a frequent thought recently. Since my level of stress has been pretty high recently. A lot of stuff with housing has changed and fallen through.

Last week, my partner, myself and our dog stayed over with my dad with the idea it would be a trial run of living there since it would make it easier for my dad to take us to the scan. Half of our boxes are there, it sounds like a good idea! Except on paper it is a good idea, it practicality – not so much. It was fine in the day but in the night – again not so much at night. The dog isn’t used to sleeping by herself so at about 2-3am I hear scratching at the door downstairs. I can hear this but my partner is fast asleep. Knowing how pissed my dad would have been if she scratched paint off the door, I went downstairs and opened it. There’s a stairguard so as to not break the rules my dad said (one being she isn’t allowed to sleep upstairs) I just let her out so she could walk up to it.

But then she sat at the bottom on the stairs whining and I didn’t want her to wake up my brother who had college the next day so I went and turned on a light. Then a little while later, I hear scratching again – she had managed to lock herself into the sitting room. I let her out and back upstairs I went. By this point it was 4-5am and I’m really tired so the next time I’m forced downstairs, I let her up and let her sleep at the bottom of the bed.

The next morning I go downstairs to get cereal and my dad’s giving me the silent treatment. I knew he’d probably be mad but I figured if I explained about why I did it, it’d be okay but he told me he didn’t want to hear it and didn’t talk to myself or my partner to the scan or back or the entire day and so we just didn’t talk about it except if HE wanted to make sly comments that then upset me and yes, I’m ashamed to say, make me cry.

When he took me to this college to pick up some distance work, I expected when I mentioned the idea of going home for him to argue a little and say no. But he actually agreed. GC (my partner), when we got home, told me how he didn’t like how my dad was treating me. He was being manipulative, he didn’t like seeing me upset and we couldn’t live there. I agreed. My dad can’t treat me like this anymore especially in front of my kid, I couldn’t risk it. So we’re not moving in.

To make matters worse, the weekend we were supposed to move in GC sister CC broke up with her partner of 8 years and to keep a long story short, is now living here with her two kids. So if anyone is keeping count, there are 4 bedrooms with 5 adults and 3 kids living under one roof plus she’s pregnant and so am I. Plus because of how things still are, a week later, with my dad. I’m staying at home more. I have some distance work I’ve got to do plus other chores I could do but I’m confined to one room because not only is SIL1 on that side but so is SIL2 and 3 kids and I’ve been pretty down recently and don’t want to deal with it.

I got a letter off my psychiatrist to say we need to move due to stress and boy, is it stressful.