Third trimester

You made it.

You’re on the homestretch now.

Is the baby ok…..?

When I was pregnant with my daughter I had chronic migraine from the minute I found out I was expecting. I was diagnosed with SPD at 16 weeks unable to walk and that was extremely painful. I soon became very depressed and ridden with anxiety and intrusive thoughts. By the third trimester I was bedridden and had developed preeclampsia. We were induced later, she was born in withdrawal from antidepressant medication. Her first year was defined by trauma and towards the end when she was recovering, I was being diagnosed with fibromyalgia. As she grows, and continues to thrive I feel like with each flare up I die a little inside.

You’re so strong.

Lot’s of people go through complications and come out of it okay.

Stay positive.

It’s a myth (I believe) that people come away from pregnancy and birth trauma ‘ok’ we all move through trauma very differently, but what your mind is able to process your body fights against and you don’t always fully recover. Trauma and stress have a lasting impact on the physical health of a person.

This week I turned 28 weeks pregnant. Last week I found out I didn’t have gestational diabetes and I cried tears of joy, because I didn’t think I would cope with more complications. But every glimmer of hope is followed by a plummet, a sense of doom. Here we are today and my diagnosis and risk catalogue, continue to grow and the list of complications multiply again. I’ve again suffered migraine from conception, got diagnosed with SPD at 16 weeks, again. My blood pressure has been high. I’ve had a reoccurring shingles infection that isn’t responding well to treatment. My whole body is in a constant flare, I’m in agony, not just occasionally now, all of the time, surviving on the very minimum of pain relief. Some days I can’t move my body at all. This week I turned up for a growth scan only to be told I have a low lying placenta (placenta praevia) they’ll book another scan for 36 weeks but and I quote, ‘if you make it to 36 weeks.’

Don’t have sex – I can’t even move my legs hun let alone spread them.

Don’t do…. (insert anything) here.

You might need a cesarian.

No big deal right? Women have c-sections all of the time. Except it is a big deal for me because my body is already broken and major surgery only hinders it’s recovery further.

But the baby is ok, right?

My baby, the one I’ve been fighting for. My second baby, is currently safely cocooned inside me. But We don’t know if he’s ok, not really. I find it odd that this is the first question people ask when so many babies suffer complications late in pregnancy and post delivery. I also feel like it unintentionally goes towards invalidating my struggle. The baby’s fine so therefore you’re fine, stop moaning. We know he has a 1 in 3 chance of suffering the withdrawal similar to his sister, albeit to different medication. We know he’s at risk of infection because my body isn’t fighting them off well. We know that he is at risk of being born prematurely. We hope that he will come out of this unscathed. I am doing everything I can to ensure that happens, but I am not in control of this situation. So I can’t answer the question with anymore certainty than my doctor can answer me.

As a family we are doing our very best to survive, and surpass the finish line, in one piece. We are trying to stay focused on the outcome of a healthy baby, but we are definitely not okay.

My daughter who can’t wait to meet her brother has no understanding of why her mum is ruining all her fun by not participating in anything. My husband is now my carer, and he’s not getting paid, not even in kind.

I am thirty three years old and I feel like my world has been tipped on its head for the 100th time in my life, except this time I have no control, no way to turn it around. I don’t feel brave or strong. I feel petrified. I feel weak. I feel out of control and I feel bone weary, exhausted! As though cement has been poured into my body by mistake and set overnight.

I don’t like the idea that we must keep calm and carry on, because I don’t feel calm. I’m carrying on regardless, because I have no choice. Not because I’m not broken. Or because I’m coping better than I make out. It’s because carrying on is the only option. There’s a saying that goes, you don’t know how strong you are until strong is your only option.

I hope once our baby arrives we will look back on this time like we look back on that time with his sister and we will be okay. We will have all survived, together. We will be happy, and we will have reasons to laugh. I hope that I will regain some control over my health and days will look brighter again. Hope is my coping mechanism. I hope, because to give that up isn’t an option. You might be wondering why I continue to share all of this information, why I’m not holding out to share better news, and the answer isn’t a simple one either. I write to hear myself think. I write to process my thoughts, and to unburden myself of the doors negative thoughts lock when trapped inside my head.

I’m not a person who believes her suffering trumps someone else’s. I know other people have it worse. I know I may come away from this beating the odds and better, but I don’t share for your attention or your sympathy. I share for my own peace of mind. I share so that when we come out the other side, we can look back and know we survived.

Antidepressants vs insulin.

I’ve been on antidepressants on and off since I was 14 years old. More on than off. Over half of my life. I’m not depressed, not anymore, I haven’t been for some time now, but I do GET depressed when in pain, and I also have varying forms of anxiety. When I say varying, it can go from mild to unbearable in seconds, if you have anxiety, you’ll know where I’m coming from. I am insecure and often struck with self loathing and paranoia.

So, I’ve always taken antidepressants to kind of keep me on a level. They do work, and if they aren’t working for you, you might need a different type or dose adjustment.

I’ve never felt shame in taking them even before it was ‘cool’ to talk about your mental health. (I mean that in the best possible way, being that I think it is cool we talk about it)

Diabetics don’t feel shame at taking insulin and therefore depressives shouldn’t feel shame in taking antidepressants.

Today I am 14 days free of Duloxetine (Cymbalta).

I’ve been on it for 2 years 8 months for fibromyalgia pain and low mood. I still have both of those, so why you ask, am I ceasing treatment? Well the main reason is because, Ciara was born withdrawing from antidepressants that I was told by my healthcare professionals, were safe to take during pregnancy. They weren’t safe for us though, and she fought for her life for the first 6 days following her birth. So before I contemplate having another child I want to be drug free.

I take a variety of other drugs too for my condition, and therefore this is just one pill in a long line of pills, that I am planning to quit.

The withdrawal has been hard, I’m not going to pretend otherwise. The brain zaps are something else, like electric shocks through the temples and the emotions have been flooding out of me like someone pulled the plug on a whale tank. I’ve cried, laughed, snapped, it’s been the proverbial whirlwind alright. Even more reason I refuse to subject another baby to these symptoms. I live with a lot of guilt about the start Ciara had, and even though I know I absolutely needed those drugs at the time, I still don’t think if I knew of the consequences I would of continued to take them. They potentially saved my life whilst almost costing me my daughter’s. So you can see why I’m conflicted?

I’m using CBD oil now and whilst I’ve used that before, I’ve never used it to combat withdrawal, it’s probably a bit early to say whether or not it’s helping, as like I said, the withdrawal definitely has been noticeable.

Anyway, the reason I’m telling you this isn’t so you go and throw away your pills, it’s so you don’t feel ashamed when making decisions about treatment.

I would go back on them tomorrow if I felt suicidal again or my functionality was off because of my mood. I’m not precious about taking drugs and if something works for you I think it’s important you feel comfortable with whatever treatment you decide upon. Depression can be, a life long condition, it’s also often a life threatening one when left untreated. It’s so important to remember you’re not the minority! So many people take antidepressants these days, they aren’t as invasive as they were years ago. Even the ones I took when I was 14 were a whole lot more zombifying than the ones I take now. Most people function well with treatment. My excuses are quite lazy, I need to do some more natural boosting of the endorphins in order to combat the repercussions of coming off my meds.

It’s not a case of flick a switch and everything’s fine, and it would be naive of me to expect it to be. I do however want to share the journey of transitioning from pills to plants and homeopathic therapies. Mainly because I want to review whether it actually works and if there are other ways for me to combat pain and depression aside from prescription drugs.

Today I drank celery juice for the first time and you can find me gagging on Instagram. It was vile, but I’m told these things aren’t instant, so I may need to try it for a while longer to feel the benefit! I’ll be buying a nose peg and hoping for the best.

Feel free to share your tips of what works for you. So many people say exercise and I’ve always got an excuse as to why I can’t do it. 2019 needs to be a year of less excuses because, time doesn’t wait and the clocks are ticking.