Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I don't like where this is going.

The thing about cookies is that they never end well.
Sure, you start out with cookies, which is completely awesome, but once you eat the cookies, the only possible outcome is sadness.
Scenario one:  You eat a few cookies and then stop.  Then you sit and listen to the cookie voices and the voice of that skinny girl from the gym argue over whether or not you should have more cookies.  This = sadness.
Scenario two: you eat ALL the cookies.  Then you have a tummy ache, plus you have to listen to the voice of the skinny girl in the gym berate you for eating so many empty calories.  Also, you would still really like more cookies.  This also = sadness.
And this is why henceforth I shall now refer to cookies of disks of unhappiness.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Depression and Work: To disclose or not to disclose

So I read this article at CNN, and I thought it was particularly interesting.  When I first started work, I would tell everybody about my depression, but that has kind of back fired on me.  I know that our society is supposed to be enlightened about any and all differences, but I think that most people would acknowledge that is more of an ideal than a reality.  Actually I gather that sometimes my behavior can be such that people figure that I have something a little off.  I once had an episode at work, and later a co-worker asked me what I "have" and what medications I use because she thought maybe her daughter had it too.  That was a little hard to take, but well, what are you gonna do?  Even after the episode, I didn't tell my boss.  I let her think what she was gonna think apologized and changed my meds.
Additionally, for me, anyone can Google my name and come up with all kinds of references of me singing about my depression from the rooftops.  So, I guess I can skip the whole disclosure thing.  While I think I pass off as one of those normal people everyone keeps hearing about, if anyone did think maybe I was crazy, they certainly wouldn't have any trouble finding out.
How about you?  Do you tell your boss or co-workers?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

When it is your blog, you can exclude any and all references to my uterus...or just make them shorter

I have decided that I am going to write a little more specifically about my miscarriage.  I am a little self-conscious about it because, well, as it turns out there are not many people who hold an intense interest in my reproductive discharge.  Go figure.  Oh well. anyone who is grossed out by this kind of stuff can skip this entry.
Here's the thing though: I didn't really know what to expect when it came to my miscarriage.  Obviously every case is different so my doctors kept describing it in very vague "you-will-experience some-discomfort" terms, so outside of what I had seen in movies, I had no idea what was going to happen.  From what I could gather, a miscarriage involved blood-soaked sheets, quiet and quick gasps of air, followed by a montage of me and my husband talking to doctors and embracing gingerly.   That whole event would last about two minutes.  If it was a particularly dramatic miscarriage, I expected that I would become delusional and never really recover.
Once again, life failed to live us to my Hollywood expectations.  As far as I can tell, my miscarriage started the moment I conceived; spotting upon conception.  I had spotting- daily bleeding but not enough to fill a pad- for two weeks.  It was when I started filling a pad that I started to get nervous.
Wait, no, that's not true.  I was nervous immediately upon learning I was pregnant, because, as previously mentioned, that whole area is generally regarded as an unfit environment.  Once I started filling a pad, I knew something was wrong.  This was no longer a "well, I am always anxious about everything" scenario, but a "we have to do something NOW" scenario.
We got the first appointment at my doctor's office that morning, and test confirmed that I was pregnant: I had an HcG level (the pregnancy hormone) of 120.  However, my progesterone levels (levels that sustain pregnancy) were at 3: during first trimester there should be a minimum of 10.  Such a low progesterone level indicated that I would probably miscarry.  The deciding factor would be the rate and direction that my HcG levels changed.  They were suppose to double every week.  If they decreased, I was miscarrying.  If not, there was an option to treat with pregnancy injections.  I would need to wait a week to see how my hormones shifted.  Doctors told me that I should go home and try to relax because stress could increase the likelihood of miscarriage.  Nothing like knowing your unborn child's life is on the line to help a girl decompress.
But then, the next day she was fine, right?
I got the news that I would miscarry at work.  Thank God because it left me no choice but to keep it together. Still, I had no idea what to expect, and again as previously mentioned, I had no idea what I was looking for.  There were times when I would feel really bad cramping, think to my self "this is it", and then just pass a really big fart and be all better.  I bled for a month, sleeping on towels because I was afraid I would ruin our bran-new sheets.  I was massively depressed.  It wasn't the broken hearted, "I am an empty shell without my beloved child" unhappiness that I had seen on movies.  I was only pregnant a few weeks.  No, this was the despondent, lonely, disassociated, broken-hormone stuff that comes with clinical depression.  It sucked.   Finally, I woke up one night with bad cramps: not like, labor cramps, but just period style bad cramps.  By morning I had heavy black, mucus-y discharge.  It was like a bad heavy period, but was mostly over within a day, followed by a few days of light bleeding afterwords.  Shortly thereafter my mood improved, and my poor sweet husband stopped asking "is there anything I can do?" every hour or so.
Now, we are just about ready to try again, which is scary, but you know, kind of the way it works.  Hopefully things will work out better this time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My husband totally rocks.  This is of course for all the typical awesome-guy reasons: cute, funny smart, blah, blah, blah, but the most important reason has to be that he puts up with all the crazy. that I spew on a daily basis.
And Lord knows I spew a lot of crazy.

Exhibit A: He is willing to tolerate regularly careening off the bed, limbs flailing, as I scream bloody-bloody because a smurf has eaten my all pancakes- or whatever bizarre scenario my weekly nightmares present me with. 
Exhibit B: He is willing to spend a cold Sunday in the rain raking leaves, because I have suddenly decided that my entire self esteem rides on me actually finishing a chore for once in my life; THIS chore, right here, right now.
Exhibit C: When I decide on a whim that I am a totally awesome gamer chick, he will look on encouragingly despite the fact I have the hand-eye coordination of a heavily drugged four-year-old.  Then, when ten minutes later hurl the controller across the room, and run to my bed and cry, he will not make-fun of me as any reasonable person will do, but will instead make me a cup of tea and rub my back and assure me that throwing the controller is half the fun of being a super sexy gamer chick.

 My husband ROCKS.

Friday, October 15, 2010

meds and pregnancy

The whole medication and pregnancy thing is a little but weighing on me.  Taking them can increase the risk of miscarriage, and quite possibly some of the most disturbing birth defects EVER: an imperforate anus? internal organs on the outside of the abdomen? Absence of a brain? Gahhh!
And yet, NOT being on medications has risks too: low birth weight, lower APGAR, lower IQ, and increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth.  Blech.
Doctors suggest that you should stop taking them "unless you absolutely need them".  That may be the single most useless piece of advice I have ever heard from doctors.  As if there is a whole population that only use anti-depressants socially. Okay, I know there actually are college students and the like who use Aderrall and Wellbutrin, but it seems unlikely these people are looking for pregnancy advice, and an underground ring of housewives getting their highs from recreational Zoloft use somehow doesn't really ring true for me.
I am MISERABLE when I am not on medication, as are the people in my immediate area.  Additionally, I just don't think that counseling is a good substitute for me.  I know that some people need a little montoring, some behavioral guidance, and they are good to go, but I am sure that my depression is 100% biological.  I feel like treating my depression with counseling would be like trying to teach me to be a little taller.  I am just not ure talk is going to cut it.
But then again, it may be worth trying.  This miscarriage was horrible, and if it could lower my risk of suffering through another, maybe I could try it for the first nine weeks.

Friday, October 8, 2010

We can neither confirm nor deny our ability to give a straight answer.

I am fairly certain that the entire medical industry in America is hell bent on providing the American public with absolutely no answers what-so-ever.  For years I have had abnormal Pap smears.  After each scary result wherein they suggest I may have cancer, but can't be sure, "it's probably nothing to worry about", they tell me to definitely come back in six months so they can run more tests and tell me how abnormal I am.  Awesome.
Then, I bleed upon conceiving.
"That sounds serious.  We should definitely see what happens in a month."
I bleed more, and my HcG levels are dropping.
"This is a very bad sign.  Come back in six weeks and we will definitely tell you that we are very concerned."
Finally, Tuesday I go in, and everyone is very grim faced and sympathetic.  "Yes, we are concerned.  Come back next week for another test.  We will have more platitudes we can give you as we stall for answers."
I can't take it, my voice trembling, I finally get the balls to ask, "Is this typical period for a miscarriage?"
"Well, you know, we need to watch it closely and work with what we have..."
"Yes, but generally, how long does a miscarriage take?"
"Everyone is different.  If this continues for awhile we will investigate."
"How long would you say?"
"Well, we don't want to intervene unnecessarily..."
"But what if I am still bleeding after the next several tests?""I think it is important to let nature take its course."
For a moment I briefly consider lunging over the desk and throttling the lovely spiritely woman who is clearly determined to make me cry.  I decide to try one more time before settling on manslaughter.
"Do you think I will still be bleeding in a year?"
Her expression demonstrates she thinks I am being ridiculously over-dramatic.  Finally, a straight answer!
'So sixths months or less?"
She purses her lips and looks insulted, "I would certainly step in before sixth months."
I honestly feel a wave of relief.  I go for broke: "Two months?  Do you think it will be longer than two months?"
"Listen," her tone no longer compassionate or sympathetic.  She leans forward and looks me into the eye.  I feel as though she is being honest for the first time, "If after our test next time I don't see necessary progress, we will do an ultra sound and probably consider a D&C.  If your levels do fall, but you are still bleeding by the end of the month, we will need to intervene.
I would thank her, but the sense of relief has made me choke up; I can only nod.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Progesterone and You

      So as I mentioned in my last post, I have low progesterone: kind of, I guess.  I mean, I took this hormone test one time and my doctor said I did have low progesterone, as well as whacked cortisol, testosterone, capital letters, and vampirism.  Okay, she didn't literally say the vampirism thing but I assume that's what she meant as her voice started to trail as she various other hormonal inadequacies.
     It was alright though, it was not as though I was surprised, my depression is supposedly a hormone disorder after all, and now I had this chart conveniently detailing explanations for just about everything that ever went wrong with me.  Weird periods?  Low progesterone.  Hard time sleeping?  Out-of-sync cortisol.  Pimples?  Warts?  Often feeling cold?  Sugar craving?  Hormones were the explanation for everything!  Hooray!  I was saved!  All I would have to do is take a pill and everything would be fixed, right?  Yeah, maybe not so much.
     First of all, I had to drive like an hour and a half to this tiny maybe  not so legit pharmacy that was the only one in the area that would give me the special blend of stuff I needed.  That was a little sketch.  Then the fact that it came in a brown prescription bottled wherein the only thing written the label  was "hormones" gave me pause.  Finally, after taking the pills for a week and raging into two unreal screaming fits, I decided maybe this is not quite the right cocktail for me.
"Oh did I not mention that super natural bitch fests are a side-effect of the medication?" my doctor sweetly intoned.
So clearly "better" has several levels of meaning.
The real problem with the low progesterone is the problems it causes for pregnancy.  Low progesterone is the leading cause of miscarriage, can be treated with clomid, but that of course has side effects in and of itself.  While I was having my hormones checked to verify my miscarriage, I registered a 3 on my progesterone level.  Pregnant women will need at least a 9 to sustain a pregnancy.  Studies have shown that women with depression are more likely to miscarry than other mom's.  Fortunately, low progesterone is pretty easy to treat, and while the treatment can reduce the easiness of getting pregnant, it is definitely worth a try.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

People hate my lady-parts

So here is the skinny:
My husband and I have been trying to conceive for about 4 months.  We've been using the fertility awareness method, and we finally got pregnant about amonth ago, really the first time we could really time it right.  (Woot!  Let's hear it for cervical mucus!)  Unfortunately, I am now in the process of miscarrying, which obviously sucks; on a lot of levels.
The thing is, I kind of knew I would miscarry.  Yes, I am a super-neurotic, so generally speaking I would not correct anyone who dismissed this idea as me crazy-ing it up again, but I think in this case, anyone with my reproductive history would probably suffer from feelings of uterine inadequacy.
The first time I went to a gyno, she pretty much verbally abused me.  Here I am, sixteen, who has in the past suffered from severe back aches and cramping.  This doctor stomps in as if she has been massively inconvenienced by my reproductive organs.  She was all frowny and jabby, sighing and clicking her tongue.  Finally she lets me sits up and says to me, "You have a very tilted uterus and probably have endometriosis..  You will probably never have kids."  Then she pretty much just got up and walked out, probably off to go kick some puppies somewhere.
Later, a doctor who was much sweeter, consoles me, "No, no,no, you don't have endometriosis.  There is no way to know that without sugery.  No, you have low progesterone, that's while you'll never have kids."  Oh, phew!  I feel much better.
So, abnormal pap, after abnormal pap I had prettty much grown accustomed to doctors hating my uterus.  However, despite all these questionable results, doctors would always kinda shrug and say, "Well, when you are ready to have kids, we'll see what happens."  Easy for them to say; they would not be the one having a miscarriage.
So at this point I pretty much regard the entire region as a hazardous area, especially after the last miscarriage.  I have a doctor's appointment in two weeks, and while I am eager for it, I am terrified.  I am envisioning myself in the stirrups, a green glow eminating from between my legs and reflecting off the doctor's horrified face as she shields her eyes screaming, "Look away!  Look away!".  There will be yellow incident tape and hazmat suits: it's not gonna be pretty.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

An Introduction

I am almost embarrassed to write this.
Not because I am embarrassed about my depression; I was the poster child for childhood depression all through high school.
I am kinda embarrassed to be writing this because of...well... hipsters.
You know, hipster blogs that chronicle every detail of the the author's humdrum lives, laden with angst and haughty references to obscure media?
Well, okay, I don't really know any actual blogs like that but isn't that what everyone thinks of when they hear that some one has a blog? I know I do.
But here is the thing: there isn't a lot of information for women who are suffer from depression and are trying to have a family, and though I have found one blog on bipolar pregnancy, depression and bipolar can be pretty different, so why not start my own, right? The trick is to write about depression without sending readers into a downward spiral into a never-ending pit of despair.
Fortunately, my depression right now is manageable. I have been treated for depression since I was in junior high, so my coping skills are pretty well honed, and I am through the bulk of the medication maze, though there are adjustments now that I'm trying to get knocked up. That's the tricky part, right? The hormones, the identity issues, the weight: it can be a lot to keep perspective on. Everyone knows that pregnant ladies are crazy anyway, right? Then add that I am kind of neurotic to begin with: this is going to be quite a trip.