Suicide, Depression, and Triggers

The title should make it obvious but in case it’s not I’m going to be talking about suicide and depression so please skip this if you need.
I’m also going to mention pregnancy so if that’s a trigger you can skip this too.

Several bloggers I follow, both infertility bloggers and others, have posted about depression in the wake of Robin Williams’ suicide. Many have said far better than I the things I want to say so I’m going to keep this brief rather than cluttering everyone’s feeds with more talk of this subject.

I have a history of depression and suicidal thoughts as well as self-harming behaviors. I have never attempted suicide although I have been so close that I’ve been handcuffed and taken to the hospital against my will.

I have suicidal thoughts. Sometimes they are rare, sometimes they are frequent. They are not something I am in control of. They just are. When I tell this to people it scares them, they hear suicidal thoughts and think suicidal intent. For me, they are two very different things.

I currently have no intent or desire to hurt or kill myself, but lately I’ve had suicidal thoughts daily.

I have a great deal of guilt around being depressed while pregnant. I don’t want my depression to cause any harm to this baby, but it’s not something I’m entirely in control of. I have taken steps to manage my depression including medication and therapy with a social worker. The other night during a really difficult talk with my husband I sobbed into his arms swearing that I didn’t want to hurt myself or this baby and that I was scared they were going to lock me up again.

Since the death of Robin Williams I have had an extremely difficult time being on social media. Facebook has been the worst but Twitter and blogs have also proven triggering. I made the big mistake the other day of reading an article which included some details of the manner of death and the way he was found. I really wish I hadn’t because I can’t get the pictures out of my mind.

I’m choosing to practice self-care and stay away from these places as much as possible right now. I was already in a fragile state before this. I wanted to explain in more detail why I’ve been so absent. It’s just too hard right now. I’m sorry if I’ve missed important posts about things going on with everyone but I have to take care of myself first.

Think of it like infertiles unfollowing or muting those who become pregnant or even stepping away from the community altogether. We all have to put our own oxygen mask on first before we can help others. Right now I’m just trying to keep breathing.

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Giveaway!

I offered this up on Twitter but got no takers so now I offer it to all of you.

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Free to good home: 14 Wondfo Home Pregnancy Tests (HPTs) expiring 04/2015 and 44 Wondfo Ovulation Tests (OPKs) expiring 05/2015. These will go to the first person to email me. Email address is on the about page. Comments don’t count, I don’t want to compare time stamps. FREE! Someone take these and give them a good home (where you pee all over them!).

*edit* the tests have been sent to their new home, thanks for your enthusiasm!

Quick and Dirty

It’s been a long while since I’ve updated so I’m making this one a quick and dirty bullet point list. Sorry, not sorry. Also, it’s basically all pregnancy stuff.

  • I am 15w2d. We are officially out on Facebook. It’s still weird having everyone know about this pregnancy.
  • I created the new blog. If you are interested in following and don’t have the link because you aren’t on Twitter or my Facebook friend, send an email to the email address on my about page. Please let me know who you are. I want my fellow infertiles to be able to follow but it’s a much more personal blog (names and pictures and stuff) and even though it’s technically public I don’t want to share the link with just any random internet person. I am not posting the link here because I don’t want to link it to this blog in any way.
  • My latest OB appointment went well. The midwife was running behind and pretty manic but she still took the time to listen to and respond to all my questions (and I had several). No ultrasound but she found a heartbeat with the Doppler right away. We shared our news on Facebook that day. The biggest thing that came out of the appointment was that I swallowed my pride and asked for a Zoloft prescription. So I’m now back on a very low dose of Zoloft.
  • I’m missing the first group appointment because of our family vacation. Which means I won’t have my next actual OB appointment until September. The midwife did ask that I do a phone consult with her before my trip. I’m really nervous about the group appointment in September. One of my biggest social anxiety triggers is coming into a group where everyone else already knows each other but nobody knows me. But there’s nothing I can do about that now.
  • I had my genetic counselor appointment last week. Long story short they aren’t terribly worried about genetic stuff. They told me a bit more about the inv9 and are going to do a blood test to confirm that I have the standard deviation that is considered benign. There was also a concern about spina bifida because my half-sister’s daughter has it, but because she’s my half-sister’s daughter and not my full niece they said my chances of having a baby with it are the same as anyone’s. I have to go in this week for the second part of the SIS blood test and that inv9 test. If anything is abnormal they’ll call me. Otherwise we wait until August 25 when I have my anatomy scan. Depending on the results of the blood tests and anatomy scan we will determine if further testing such as an amniocentesis is recommended for me. Fingers crossed it’s not.
  • I also met with a social worker but it didn’t go exactly as planned. I had scheduled to meet with the OB social worker after my genetics appointment so I didn’t have to make a second trip to the hospital. She called me that morning and left a voicemail that she was not going to be in because her kid was sick, but I hadn’t listened to the voicemail (I mistakenly thought it was something else, my bad). So when I went to the OB desk to check in and they told me she wasn’t there I was all kinds of confused. I was already feeling really raw from the genetics appointment dredging up some family stuff. They had a back up on call and they called her to come talk to me. I really felt I needed to talk to someone so I waited for her. She was nice (she usually works in L&D and NICU) but not entirely the right fit for me. I still need to call the regular OB social worker and schedule another appointment.
  • Speaking again of swallowing pride, I broke down and asked for help on Facebook last week. Thanks to that a friend of a friend is going to be driving hubby into work for the rest of this week. I still have to pick him up because of his half-day schedule but it cuts my driving in half and allows me to sleep in a bit in the mornings. We are hoping that by next week he’ll be able to drive himself. He’s had some major changes at work that I can’t discuss here but I’ve been doing my best to just be there for him and support him with everything.
  • Hubby also dropped a bomb on me that it is possible that he might get orders to another base before he has the surgery on his other foot. My understanding had always been that they were keeping him here until he’d recovered from both surgeries because we have here one of very few MTFs that do that particular procedure. So now I’m paranoid that he’s going to get orders in the fall and we’re going to PCS when I’m 7 or 8 months pregnant.

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100 Miles of Pain

Disclaimer: some pregnancy talk ahead, but mostly this will be about unrelated pain.

I think I’ve mentioned in the past that I have sciatica. It comes and goes, sometimes flaring up to the point that I’m barely functional, other times I almost forget it’s ever a problem. I’ve had this problem for nearly 15 years, ever since a gymnastics injury when I was doing musical theater stuff. I don’t think it’s ever been properly dealt with by doctors. The first doctor I ever saw back when it first happened basically just told me to stretch. I’ve never had an MRI or anything to determine the precise cause of it. Mostly I’ve just learned to live with the pain. The most relief I’ve gotten from it has been from a wonderful reiki practitioner. I miss her, but seeing her requires a two-hour drive each way and she’s expensive and books up fast. It’s been so long now I’m honestly not 100% certain she’s still practicing.

Of course, sciatica can also be caused by pregnancy, although I think that generally happens more in like the third trimester. But my big trigger every since this all began has been driving. Sitting in general can cause a flare up and my sciatica is on the right side, so my driving leg. My worst birthday ever involves trying to get out of the city early because it had started snowing and my boss let me go and I ended up sitting in barely moving traffic for 2+ hours while in screaming pain in my back and leg. I think my mom and I just ordered Chinese food for dinner that night, although maybe not because delivery in that weather would have sucked. Either way, happy 18th!

But I digress. Driving. So as I’ve mentioned, my husband is still in his cast but back at work. The only way for him to get to and from work is for me to drive him. It’s about 25 miles each way. This means I’m driving a minimum of 100 miles every day just to get him to and from work. If I have any other plans, like say a doctor’s appointment for him or me, it’s more. Yesterday I took my dad to breakfast and clocked around 150 miles. I was supposed to go to a change of command ceremony in the afternoon but the idea of sitting through a ceremony in this pain was just not happening. It is excruciating. Next Wednesday hubby is getting the hard cast off and a walking cast put on. But we don’t know if that means he’ll be able to drive or not. It would be great but honestly I doubt it will happen so soon.

So next week I will be driving closer to 150 miles 3 out of 5 days because of doctor’s appointments. On Monday I’m meeting with the genetic counselor to talk about my inv9 and also the fact that my half-sister’s daughter has spina bifida and what that could potentially mean for the baby. On Wednesday I’m meeting with the OB social worker to talk about all my stress and fears (thanks again to the Tweeps who kept bugging me until I made that appointment). Of course hubby is getting his cast off at the same time but at a different hospital so I have to miss another of his post-op appointments and I’m not happy about that. I meant to try to reschedule for Monday after my genetic appointment but didn’t get a call in on time yesterday because I was distracted by pain. Finally on Thursday I have my first “centering” appointment, except that they changed it and this one isn’t a group appointment anymore but one-on-one with the OB. I have mixed feelings about this but that deserves its own post. Oh, and bonus, tomorrow I have to pick my mom up from the airport. I’m not sure exactly but my guess would be that the three legs of the trip (my house to airport, airport to her house, her house to my house) will probably be around 60 miles.

Just thinking about this all makes me want to weep. Just sitting here at my desk typing this is painful. I have stretches I should probably be doing to try to ease some of the pain but they really only do so much. Same with things like heating pads and warm (not hot) baths that I could try. I do not know how I’m going to get through next week and the weeks after until hubby can drive again. In August we’re going on a family vacation with his family for a week. It’s about a six hour drive to get to where we’re meeting them. Please, please let him be driving by then.

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A River In Egypt

*Warning* Pregnancy related post ahead.

The truth is that I’m in denial that I’m pregnant. I’m being good, following the rules for what I am supposed to eat or avoid, what medications are safe. All that shit. But deep down inside, I don’t believe it. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I keep cataloging all the people I’m going to have to un-tell about the pregnancy. This week my mom is out of town. So now when I run the scenario in my head for what happens when I start bleeding and I have to go to the ER and my hubby can’t drive me, I literally don’t know who else to ask. My sister I guess?

I haven’t been doing my homework. I still haven’t scheduled my anatomy scan or called the social work clinic (obviously there’s a need for that). I haven’t been reading the little book the hospital gave me or taking notes in it or recording anything about the pregnancy like the shitty apps I downloaded tell me to. I haven’t been reading the one other pregnancy book I own.

I’m nearly in the second trimester and I am completely unprepared. Part of me is saying that I have 28 weeks left to deal with everything. Part of me is saying but I’ve already let a third of the time pass without doing anything! Except I bought a shirt for the cat. It’s fucking adorable. He hates it.

And then something happens like I read a story about someone who lost a pregnancy around this time and I become convinced that this is already over. In the past couple of days my symptoms have really subsided in many ways, which of course could be a result of being nearly out of the first tri, but I’ve convinced myself that it’s just going to be a loss. Like, don’t get too attached to this baby because you never know when it will all be over.

My next appointment is the group thing and I’m not even sure I’ll get a scan (hopefully at least a Doppler?). I’m terrified of finding out the baby has died while in a room with other pregnant women. Luckily it appears that my husband will be there with me for this appointment. So that helps. A little.

I’ve been avoiding talking about the pregnancy on Twitter for the past few days in part because of all the difficulty so many are having with so many of us pregnant, but also because I don’t know how to talk about all this in 140 characters or less. I don’t know how to talk about this at all really.

I completely lost it tonight. I hit the wall of ‘can’t take care of everyone else anymore, why can’t someone take care of me?’ and I hit it hard. My husband was there to pick up the pieces but it was not fun. With my mom out of town I’m also responsible for helping take care of my dad. He will be 80 in November, he’s a diabetic amputee (all his toes and about half of one foot, one toe on the other foot), and he can go through bouts of depression especially when he’s home alone all day every day. So my sister and I are taking turns visiting him and taking him places and we’re calling and chatting with him at least once every day. But it just adds to my already overwhelmed burden right now. But he’s my daddy and I would do absolutely anything for him.

I really need to call the social work clinic tomorrow. I told hubby to help me remember. I need to make an appointment and get in and talk to someone asap. And I probably need to be back on medication too. The depression lately has been no joke.

And all that is what I haven’t been saying.

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Fatigue and Frustration

So I knew pregnancy fatigue was a thing, but I had no idea how awful it could be. Add onto that the fact that the fatigue got bad around the same time as my husband’s foot surgery and it’s been a very stressful month. I don’t know how you women with full-time jobs do it. Just taking care of me is more than enough but also taking care of him and having so little help means I am overwhelmed 24/7. I’m not sleeping well and when I am sleeping at all it’s from like 1am – 11am, intermittently. I know I said I wasn’t going to complain here but I don’t know what else to do with this feeling.

I’m getting very stressed out about Monday. My husband is supposed to go back to work. Aside from the fact that he is not really ready but his shitty clinic hasn’t even scheduled a follow-up appointment and his leave is up, the surgery was on his right foot and he’s still in a cast so he can’t drive. Which means I will have to drive him to and from work every day. At best it’s about 35 minutes in one direction, at worst it’s over an hour. So that’s 140 – 240 minutes of driving every day, mostly in shitty rush hour traffic. Can you tell I’m a little bitter about it?

I’m mostly mad at his clinic. He should have had a follow-up this week to clear him to return to duty or extend his leave. They also might have taken off the hard cast and switched it to a walking cast. I’d still have to drive him but he’d be more mobile at home. But honestly both he and I agree that he’s not really ready to go back full time right now. He still gets exhausted really quickly. Even on desk duty he’s going to wear out working full days very quickly. Which means he won’t be working efficiently and will be more prone to mistakes. We are hoping his supervisors allow him to work half days for at least the first week. He called today to talk to them about it but the office was closed early for the holiday.

My worst nightmare is him working full-time right away. Because right now he is able to help out a tiny bit around the house. And that helps so very much. But if he’s working all day he’s going to come home fucking exhausted and probably cranky. And after all the driving I’m going to be cranky. And that’s just a recipe for disaster in this house. His supervisors have been really accommodating in general (and he’s crazy lucky to be in a work center where that’s even possible) so I’m crossing my fingers that he can start with half days for a while.

In the meantime I’ve been having a really difficult time eating. It’s not nausea mostly, although sometimes it is. Food just doesn’t appeal to me most of the time. Until it does and I gorge and make myself feel really sick. This is not good for Blobby and I’m trying to keep eating at least something but the energy issue isn’t helping. I am at least taking my prenatal vitamins, so there’s that.

The really big news, however, is that my sister is also pregnant and due in January. I’ve known for a few weeks but she was very private about it so I’ve been keeping it under wraps. I’m so incredibly happy for her and excited about us having kids around the same time. My sis announced her pregnancy on Facebook last night. I was really glad she did, I want to give her some time to get all the love and attention before we announce. If everything goes well at my next appointment on the 17th I want to do it after that.

Unfortunately a relative almost ruined that and basically outed my pregnancy on Facebook. After my sister made her own post, I made a post about her pregnancy. This relative, who has known about me for over a month and probably assumed it was public by now, commented on my post about me being a mother too. Luckily I saw it right after she posted it and deleted it. The only person I know for sure saw it already knew. But she also posted something on my sister’s post that was more vague (about my dad being a grandpa twice close together). That got deleted after a while (not sure if it was her or my sis) and I’m just crossing my fingers nobody noticed. My sister’s post had so many comments (last I saw over 200 likes and over 100 comments) that it probably got lost in the shuffle. But it still makes me nervous and feel out of control. I really didn’t think this was a person I needed to warn about Facebook etiquette where pregnancy is involved and now I’m concerned I need to make sure other relatives know not to say anything about me yet. Sigh. Life on the internet is so complicated.

Privileging Parents

I mentioned on Twitter today that I was feeling like the people in my “real life” community aren’t supporting me. And that it’s especially hard when I see them seemingly bending over backwards to support others. I think that feeling would be hard regardless, but it stings especially because I feel like it’s happening because we aren’t yet parents and most people don’t yet know about this pregnancy. Allow me to explain.

When I talk about my real life community, right now I am primarily speaking of the local military community. As some of you know I used to volunteer for my husband’s squadron. I’ve worked very hard to give support to the members of his squadron and their families. So it especially stings when I don’t get the same kind back. Again, we have received some support from some lovely friends and I am totally grateful to them. But they have been few and far between.

I know I have said that when my husband first had his surgery I posted on Facebook asking if people could provide meals. Two people did. Two. One of those people reads this blog and knew I was pregnant. The other actually found out I was pregnant around that time because she was giving away all her maternity clothes and I wanted them so I told her. Although she had offered a meal before she knew that.

Today I saw a meal train thing for a woman who I don’t know who had surgery. I don’t know anything about what kind of surgery or why she had it. Just that she had surgery, would be in the hospital for a few days after, and had a kid. And the meal train was full of people bringing meals for like weeks. Including people who are my friends on Facebook who didn’t offer me a meal. And I can’t help but wonder if the disparity has to do with her having a kid. Like, here I am a woman who isn’t working or in school right now and doesn’t have kids, what possible reason could I need help cooking while taking care of my invalid husband? Do you have any idea how exhausting it is to take care of someone after surgery? Even if I wasn’t pregnant it would be significant. The feminist in me also wonders if it had to do with the fact that it was a woman having surgery, not a man, but that’s another issue.

Among middle-class married people, and especially in the military community, being a parent is privileged. It just is. Events are catered to your needs. People drop everything to help you out. I have to be honest, it hurts when someone who used to be a friend who dropped me because she couldn’t handle my depression jumps at the chance to babysit a mutual friend’s kids while her husband has minor surgery. I’m glad someone is helping my friend but damn, she couldn’t even “help” me by staying my friend on Facebook?

This post is all over the place and probably not really making my point. But I’m sad. I feel like people here don’t like me anymore. (And don’t even get me started on the people here I grew up with.) There are people who I know would gladly be doing things to help me right now but they don’t live here anymore. The other day I was having really bad back pain and having trouble just standing up. We didn’t have anything prepared for dinner. I asked for help on Facebook and the only response I got was from someone three states away wishing she was here to help. She is also someone who now knows I’m pregnant (pretty much all our close friends know now). The people who are here ignore us like we don’t need help. I can’t help but ask myself, is it because we aren’t parents?

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