Difficult end to a difficult pregnancy

This is the post that I have been having trouble with.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to share this, and I wasn’t sure if others would want to read it, but I feel like it is important.  I am hoping that sharing this will help me work through some of it, but I am also hoping that sharing it might help others.  Maybe it will help someone else not feel so alone, or maybe it will help someone be more understanding and supportive of what a loved one is going through.

Iella’s pregnancy was really difficult.  I had a lot of physical problems and complications, but the bigger problems were emotional.  With Mingli’s pregnancy my depression got worse during the pregnancy, then after Mingli was born it went away completely the entire time I was nursing him.  I was expecting something similar with this pregnancy, but I had no idea how bad it would get.  The frustrating thing is that I don’t think it needed to be so hard.

Near the end of my 1st trimester I started noticing my depression was getting worse.  I talked to my primary care doctor about it because he was managing my meds and he said that I might need a change in my medication.  Since I was pregnant he needed to talk to my midwives before changing my medication just to make sure they were ok with, but when he asked them about it they wouldn’t let him make the change.  I went in to talk to them about it and they suggested things like going swimming to try and help.  I was kind of upset because I felt like they were being dismissive, but soon after that we decided to move from Utah to Indiana, so I figured I would need a new doctor anyways, so it wasn’t a big deal.  Once we got here things were a mess with healthcare.  Kaanas had quit his job in order for us to move, so we had no insurance.  We applied for medicaid, but that was a whole long, complicated thing that I am not going to get into here.  While we were waiting for the medicaid to come through I started having more and more physical problems, but we couldn’t get me into a doctor because we didn’t have insurance.  Finally I ended up in the emergency room and they told me about a low income clinic nearby that we started going to.  At this clinic I again brought up my depression problems and they again said that my meds probably needed to be  changed.  Instead of changing them they referred me to a low income mental health clinic and helped me get an appointment with them.  The mental health clinic also wouldn’t change my meds and instead referred me to an intensive outpatient program (by this time I was having serious suicidal thoughts and desperately needed help).  For this program I could either go for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week, or 6 hours a day, 5 days a week.  My physical health was really bad at this point and I could barely be out of bed for more than 10 minutes because I got so dizzy, nauseous, and out of breath, so I didn’t know how I was going to make either of those work, but I decided to try the 3 hour a day program because I really needed help.  Once I got into the program I learned that in the 3 hour a day program they don’t do medication management, only in the 6 hour a day program, so again no one was doing anything about my medication.  I was only able to stay in the program for 2 days anways because my physical health was so bad, but at this point I just felt like giving up because I kept trying to tell people that my medication needed to be changed but no one was helping me.  At the same time my OB at the low income clinic (who I never actually saw, I kept being told I was going to see an OB but then when I got there for my appointment it was just nurse practitioners and residents) referred me to a maternal fetal specialist for the physical problems I was having at the time.  I again brought up my medication with the maternal fetal specialist and she told me that my medication should have been changed months ago.  She didn’t change my meds, but she said she was referring me to a psychiatrist who would fix my meds.  They set me up an appointment, but when I got there it was a psychologist, not a psychiatrist (psychiatrists have medical degrees and can prescribe medication).  She told me that in order to get my medication changed I would need to go back to the maternal fetal specialist.

Getting counseling had gone about as well as trying to get my medication changed.  I had gone into 3 different counseling programs.  The first one called CPS on me because they thought my depression made me a danger to Mingli (the social worker said that as soon as she read the report she knew it was an overreaction and just did a quick visit to make sure).  The next program was too physically demanding (it was the 3 hour a day program).  At the 3rd place the counselor told me that she didn’t think there was anything she could do to help me with my depression.  In between I called and looked up more counselors and most couldn’t see me for various reasons.

Through all of this my depression had been getting steadily worse.  I was having frequent suicidal thoughts, and they were getting more frequent and more serious.  I felt really unstable and it was taking less and less to send me spiraling.  I was terrified that I wasn’t going to be able to see my children grow up, and I was feeling less and less like I was going to be able to make it to the end of the pregnancy.  I was so scared and was barely holding on, but I couldn’t get anyone to help me.

Just before 30 weeks I decided to switch from the clinic I was going to and start seeing an OB that my mom knew.  By the time I got my insurance switched so I could see them and got my records transferred I was 34 weeks and things were bad.  My new OB immediately upped my medication, but we both knew it wasn’t going to do much good at this point because it takes 2-4 weeks for changes to take effect, but we decided to try.  She also wanted to see me every week at that point so she could keep an eye on how I was doing.  At my next appointment we both knew I was going downhill fast.  We talked about me being admitted to a hospital, but we decided that it wasn’t a good idea for many reasons.  Being 35 weeks pregnant with a high risk pregnancy and all the health problems I was having would make a mental health hospital difficult.  I also didn’t think I could handle being away from Kaanas.  He has been such an amazing support, and he is the only reason I had managed to get through the pregnancy up to that point, so the thought of only being able to see him for a couple of hours a couple of times a week felt like more than I could handle.  There were also a few other reasons, but those were the big ones, so we decided instead to try and induce me at 37-38 weeks, and in the meantime we were hoping that the increased meds would help some, and there was a few other things that we were trying.  I was determined to try and make it to the 38 week mark.  Mingli was born at 38 weeks and was just fine, so that seemed like a good goal to me.

2 days before I hit 36 weeks things started getting bad fast.  Kaanas was at work and I just started spiraling.  I couldn’t handle all the physical and emotional things that had come with the pregnancy anymore and I needed a way out.  My more rational thoughts were that I could break my own water and then I wouldn’t have to be pregnant anymore.  That was the most rational, sane solution I could come up with at the moment, because I knew I couldn’t keep going.  My other thoughts were much, much worse.  I spent a couple of hours trying to calm down, doing all the things that usually helped me feel better, but things just kept getting worse.  Finally I called Kaanas an hour before he was supposed to get off work and told him he needed to come home.  I felt bad because he only had an hour left, but I honestly felt like I wasn’t going to last that hour.  It still scares me remembering how I felt that day.  I had never felt like that before and I hope to never feel like that again.  I felt completely out of control.  I was shaking all over and couldn’t stop crying.  I knew I was going to do something, I couldn’t stop myself anymore.  I had reached the very limit of what I could handle.

Kaanas got home and had me call the after hours number for my OB.  I am glad I waited to call until Kaanas got home, because when I called they connected me to a nurse who wouldn’t let me talk to my OB.  I told her what was going on and that I needed help, and she told me that there was nothing they could do because they wouldn’t induce me just because I was having “a little bit of anxiety.”  At that point I completely gave up.  If Kaanas hadn’t been there at that moment I would have been dead.  As Kaanas was trying to get me to talk about what to do next my phone started ringing.  The nurse had told my OB that I called and my OB immediately called me to see what was going on.  I was so, so grateful that she called.  She had me admitted to labor and delivery so Kaanas could stay with me then had a crisis counselor come and talk to me.  After that my OB, the crisis counselor, a psychiatrist, and a maternal fetal specialist got together and decided that continuing the pregnancy was too dangerous.  I was given the steroid shots to help my baby’s lungs develop and spent 2 days in labor and delivery under constant watch waiting for them to take effect.  As soon as the 2 days had gone by I was induced at exactly 36 weeks.

I hated that I was having to be induced early.  I knew it was necessary, if the doctors hadn’t done anything I knew that my baby and I would both be dead, but I just felt like I wasn’t strong enough for my baby.  She needed me and I had failed her.  I tried so hard to make it to 38 weeks, but I just couldn’t.  The most frustrating thing was that I had been trying to tell people that I needed help for months.  I had asked so many doctors and counselors for help, but they all couldn’t or wouldn’t help me.  If any of them had just listened and tried to help me then maybe we would have been able to come up with someone that would have made the depression at least manageable.  Maybe I would have been able to make it to the end of the pregnancy.  By the time I found someone who would help me it was too late and we didn’t have any good options left.

Everything is fine now.  Just like with my first pregnancy my depression started getting better within hours of giving birth, as soon as some of the hormones started settling down.  It’s been 2 weeks since Iella was born and I now feel stable, rational, and even happy.  I hate that it took Iella being born early for me to feel happy again, but the difference in how I feel now and how I felt before Iella was born is drastic.  Thinking back on how I was feeling still scares me.  I can’t believe that I made it through that pregnancy.  It was the hardest thing I have ever done.  I am so glad it is over and that Iella is here and healthy.

I am so grateful for Kaanas and all the support he was.  He spent many nights sitting up with me, helping me work through what I was feeling.  He came home from work early many days when I needed him, and even quit a job because it was preventing him from being there for me.  He is the reason I am alive right now.

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Our little girl

I have been trying to figure out how to write this post for a while.  I keep going back and forth because I want this to be a happy post, but at the same time there is a lot that happened that I wanted to write about.  I have decided to just write 2 different posts.  This one is the happy post.

Last week our beautiful, wonderful little girl, Iella, was born!  I am so amazingly happy and all I want to do is hold her.  I ended up having to have her a little early and was induced at 36 weeks.  The morning of the induction I was so, so excited to be meeting our little girl.  I was also terrified that she would be sick because she was being born 4 weeks early.  I spend a lot of time in the days leading up to the induction reading online about what to expect with a 36 weeker.  I tried to prepare myself for whatever might happen, but I was still scared.

During the labor, soon after I got my epidural, Iella started going into distress.  In order to keep the epidural working evenly on both sides the nurse wanted me to lay on my back, but every time I did that Iella’s heart rate started dropping really low.  They would put me on my left side for a little while, let her recover, then try to switch me to my back or right side so the epidural would keep working.  At one point Kaanas left to get food from the cafeteria and Iella’s heart rate dropped and wasn’t coming back up.  I was so scared I started talking about a c-section because I didn’t want Iella to be hurt.  I called Kaanas and just as he got back Iella’s heart rate started coming back up and she started doing better.  At that point I didn’t care if the epidural stopped working on one side.  We had found a position that Iella liked and I wasn’t moving.  Luckily it didn’t get too bad and about 12 hours after we started the induction I was ready to start pushing.

When Iella was born was one of the most terrifying moments of my life.  She was born completely blue, not moving, and not crying.  I honestly thought she was going to die.  They put her on my stomach right away and let me hold her while they were cutting the cord.  As soon as that was done they took her to a corner of the room where they had some equipment and tried to get her breathing.  They ended up having to take her to the nursery and Kaanas went with them.  Before Iella was born we had agreed that if she had to be taken to the nursery Kaanas would go with her, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be watching him leave the room.  I was so scared and all I wanted was for Kaanas to hold me and help me feel better, but I also knew it was important for someone to be with Iella in case something happened.  The next couple of hours were the longest of my life.  I had to get stitched up, then I couldn’t go see Iella right away until I had recovered a little more.  Right as they were getting me into the wheelchair to go see her Kaanas came back in and the pediatrician came in after him.  They said that it looked like Iella was having seizures and they were preparing to transport her to a nearby children’s hospital.  They let me go spend about an hour in the nursery with her while they were waiting for the transport to get there, and that helped so much.  They warned me that seeing her might be scary because she was hooked up to a lot of stuff, but when I went in the only thing that mattered was that she was pink, moving, and making noises.  I didn’t care about anything that she was hooked up to because she no longer looked like she was dying.  During that time my mom arrived.  We weren’t planning on having her come up that night, but Kaanas was going with Iella to the children’s hospital and we decided that it would be best if my mom came to spend the night with me so I wasn’t alone.

They released me the next day as early as they could and my mom took me straight to the children’s hospital to see Iella.  It was actually a lot nicer than I thought it was going to be.  The NICU was an entire floor and each of the babies had their own room.  The room had a couch and a recliner so Kaanas and I were able to sleep there with Iella.  The other fantastic thing that happened was that as we were driving there Kaanas called and said that he was holding Iella!  I was so excited, especially since Kaanas said that as soon as I got there they were going to let me start doing skin to skin.  It was so wonderful getting to hold her, and everything just felt right with the world again.

We were in the hospital for a week with her.  It was so hard, but also so much better than it could have been.  After monitoring Iella for 24 hours they determined that she wasn’t having seizures, but she did have some very mild damage from lack of oxygen.  We don’t know exactly how that will effect her, the doctor said it is possible she won’t be effected at all because the brain damage is mild enough, but it is also possible that she might have some developmental delays.  The thing that really kept us in the hospital was breastfeeding.  It took a little while for Iella to learn how to do that, so for a while she was being fed through a feeding tube.

The hardest part about being in the hospital was being away from Mingli.  I knew he was safe because he was at home with my parents, but I wanted to be with him so bad.  Kaanas went home regularly to be with Mingli, and even spent some nights at home because Mingli didn’t want his daddy to leave, but I stayed at the hospital.  Since we were working on breastfeeding I didn’t want to mess things up by leaving.  Having one child at home and one in the hospital was like having my heart cut in half.  I had never felt so torn in my whole life because all I wanted was to be home with Mingli, and all I wanted was to be with Iella, holding her and making sure she was ok and felt loved.  Luckily the hospital we were at had playrooms and different things for children to do, so Mingli came up to visit a few times and we were able to have fun with him.

When Iella was exactly a week old she was finally discharged from the hospital.  It was so wonderful bringing her home.  My family is back together and it is amazing.  We have been home for almost a week now and are settling in.  Iella is doing great.  She is feeding and gaining weight, and you can’t even tell she was early or needed time in a NICU.  I love it when she snuggles with me, she loves to curl up into me and it is the sweetest thing.  She also smiles all the time.  Mingli loves his little sister and is fascinated by everything about her.  He keeps trying to do things like share his food with her or brush her hair.  I am working on showing him better ways of showing his affection, like blowing her kisses.  I was worried that he would be jealous, and he seemed to be the very first time he came to visit in the hospital, but now he gets so excited when he sees her and even comes to find her.

I love my new family so, so much.  Life just seems so wonderful right now.  I feel like this is how it is all supposed to be.

Lots of health stuff

Life has been really hard the past few months.  It was actually really good that we moved in with my parents when we did, because if we had waited much longer I would have been unable to travel but I still would have needed the help.  Soon after we got here I started having dizziness and shortness of breath.  Those are typical during pregnancy, but they felt worse than they did with Mingli and it was to the point where I couldn’t do a lot of normal activities, like drive or walk through a grocery store just to get milk.  Then all of a sudden it got much worse.  In just one day it went from almost normal to me unable to even talk because it was too much.  My mom, who has 9 kids, insisted on taking me to the emergency room because it was so bad.  At the ER they did several tests, including EKGs and a CT but couldn’t find anything wrong, so they sent us home.  After that I was unable to even get up long enough to get myself a drink a water, and Kaanas would often help me walk to the bathroom because breathing was so difficult.  I was referred to a maternal fetal specialist, who actually only saw me for a couple of minutes when she cut our appointment short and sent me to the ER.  She said she was really worried about how much I was clearly struggling to breathe and I needed to go to the emergency room right away.  Of course the ER found nothing wrong, again, but I was referred to a cardiologist to make sure the pregnancy wasn’t causing problems with my heart.  The cardiologist cleared me last week, and the new theory is that it has to do with the respiratory center of my brain.  At this point, though, they have ruled out all the things they were worried about, and everything else they can think of is stuff that will go away after the pregnancy and they can’t do much about until then.  They are considering giving me steroids to help my breathing so I can function a little better, but we will see.  For now I am just glad that I am at my family’s house because I can’t take care of Mingli really at all.  I do have good days where I can breathe better and do some things, but most of the time I am confined to bed or my recliner all day.  It is nice being able to relax and know that Mingli is being taken care of, even if it is super hard not being able to do it myself.

Moving and pregnancy

So we have moved and are working on getting all settled in at my parents house.  There is still a lot of unpacking to do, mainly because I can’t do to much or I get so tired.  Things are getting a lot easier now that we are here.  I am able to rest a lot more and my siblings and parents help with Mingli.  I am able to sit in my rocking chair crocheting for a good part of the day while Mingli plays with his toys on the floor without having to worry about cooking, cleaning, or doing anything else tiring.  Kaanas is also still home all day since he is looking for a job.  We are hoping that he is able to get a job soon, but he should, since he has put in a couple dozen applications this week.  There are still many things we are trying to work out, but Mingli is loving the extra attention and getting more time to rest is really helping me, which is good since things with the pregnancy are getting worse.  We have found a chiropractor here and she is really helping with my hips and back, but other things are now getting worse.  I am getting really dizzy a lot, to the point where I feel like I am going to pass out, and if I do anything I get really exhausted and out of breath.  Just taking a shower gets me so tired and out of breath that I need to lay down.  I don’t have an OB here yet, so I was having trouble getting into a doctor, so we finally decided to go to an urgent care place because even when I was laying down I would feel like I was going to pass out.  The urgent care told us that they couldn’t do the tests I needed so they sent me to the ER, which I really didn’t want.  They ran a bunch of tests and the only thing that came up was my blood pressure is low, but not low enough for them to need to do anything about.  They basically told me that my body doesn’t like being pregnant and I should rest as much as possible..  At least they did an ultrasound and I was able to see that the baby was ok.  

Hip relief

For the past several weeks I have been having a lot of trouble with my hips.  Some days I can’t walk on my own because my hips won’t support my weight.  There are times I have actually fallen over because my hips won’t support me.  On really bad days I can’t even move because my hips hurt so bad.  Most days I can manage to get around my small apartment, but I have to hold onto the wall the whole time because I feel like my hips might give out at any moment and I might fall.  Several people have suggested I go see a chiropractor, and yesterday I finally had my appointment.  It was wonderful.  I found out that one of my hips is rotated way back and my pelvis is crocked, and that combined with the fact that pregnancy loosens up your ligaments is what has been causing me so much trouble.  I have still been in a lot of pain today, my chiropractor said it will take a few sessions before things are really better (I have another appointment next week), but today I have actually been able to walk without feeling like I am going to fall.  For weeks I have been worried that I would get to the point in this pregnancy where I couldn’t even walk anymore, but now I am hopeful that things will get better.  Maybe I will even be able to go to the store without having to use an electric cart :).

Big news

So it has been a while since I posted.  Life has been crazy with packing and pregnancy stuff.  I am going to try and catch up, but first I thought I would share our big news.

That’s right, we’re having a girl!  We weren’t sure how long it would take for me to get into an OB after we moved, and I was really impatient to find out, so we went down to the mall and got an ultrasound at one of those ultrasound studios.  We were going to get just a basic ultrasound that cam with a couple of pictures, but there was a coupon for a 3d ultrasound, and it came with a lot more pictures, including some in color, so we got that one.  I was so excited, and honestly a little nervous.  This pregnancy is really taking a huge toll on me, both physically and emotionally, and I am pretty sure I want this to be my last.  The only problem is that Kaanas and I really want at least one boy and one girl, so I was afraid that if we were having another boy I would feel pressured to try again for a girl, even though Kaanas said we didn’t have to.  I would have loved a little boy just as much as a little girl, but I probably would have had to work through some disappointment.  So I was nervous going into the ultrasound, and felt really guilty about being nervous.  When we started the ultrasound the baby wasn’t in a good position and we couldn’t see much, so I poked her.  On the ultrasound we actually saw her stretch, give a huge yawn, and then start moving around.  It was the cutest thing.  We got to see her sucking her thumb and kicking around.  After we got to see her for a while and got some good 2d pictures they did some 3d pictures.  Those were a bit hard, because she had her feet in her face, but actually one of my favorite 3d pictures is one were you can barely see her face, but you get a good view of her feet, including her little toes.

Since we were in the mall already we went to a baby store after the ultrasound so I could get a little pink dress.  I wanted a cute little newborn dress, but when we started looking all they had were sun dresses.  I guess that makes sense, since it is almost June, but this baby is due the beginning of November, I don’t want to put her in a sun dress in November.  I ended up finding this dress in size 6-12 months and am hoping that it fits her in summer/early fall.  At the register they asked me if I wanted the matching headband.  I didn’t know there was a matching headband, but when they showed it to me I fell in love with it, so I got it.

I am so excited that we are having a little girl.  Little boys and little girls are both so special in their own ways, and I am glad we will have one of each.

Hospital trip

I had a midwife appointment today to talk about managing my depression.  We didn’t actually spend much time talking about that, we just discussed different types of physical activities I could do to help me feel better.  I was kind of disappointed and felt like she didn’t really understand.  The thing we did spend quite a while discussing was some abdominal pain I have been having.  Last Thursday I woke up with really severe abdominal pain on my lower right side, bad enough that I couldn’t move.  We almost went to the ER then, but after about 10 minutes I threw up and the pain immediately got better.  I called my midwife office and the nurse told me that as long as the pain stayed mild I could monitor it at home, but if it got bad again, or if certain other symptoms developed, I needed to go straight to the ER.  That was a week ago, and the pain has been constant.  Never bad like it was, going back and forth between mild and moderate, but always there.  I talked to my midwife about this today, and she sent me to the hospital to get some blood work done and my sure it wasn’t my appendix, because it was right where I would be having pain if there was a problem with my appendix.  We went to the hospital, and they told us the lab work wouldn’t take long, so we waited at the hospital for it, because if I had a problem with my appendix I needed to be at the hospital anyways.  Well, after being at the hospital for an hour we found out that my appendix was fine, but my abdominal pain was getting worse, so my midwife said she wanted me to go to the ER to run more tests and see what was going on.  At this point Mingli was going crazy because he had sat through a doctor’s appointment and spent an hour at the hospital, so I called someone from church and Kaanas left to drop Mingli off at their house while I got checked in.  They did a ton of tests, blood work, urine tests, and ultrasound, gave me an IV (which was nice because I have a really hard time staying hydrated when drinking water still makes me sick), and even gave me morphine because it felt like someone was stabbing me in the abdomen.  Finally, after being in the ER for 2 hours and the hospital in general for 3 1/2 we found out that I had a bladder infection.  We are a bit upset that the midwives didn’t catch that, because they could have saved us 3 1/2 hours at the hospital and an ER bill by just doing a simple urine test, but I wasn’t having the usual symptoms of a bladder infection, so I can’t be too upset at them.  At least it wasn’t anything major, bladder infections just require a round of antibiotics as opposed to the surgery my appendix would have required.  I am also glad they did find someone wrong that they can fix.  I was a bit worried they were just going to tell me they couldn’t find anything wrong and I just had to deal with it.  Now, even though I know I will still be having pregnancy pain, at least some of the abdominal pain will probably go away.

In happier news, I am now in the 2nd trimester!!!!!!

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