It’s the eve of seeing our baby again. Tomorrow at 1.30pm my little family will walk into the ultrasound room in Southside Canberra to see baby. When I called to make the booking on Friday (I must do it now, it is the time) I just asked for wherever there was an appointment available. The time is really not convenient for Master 18 months’ nap, but I was determined to have it done before I fly interstate again later in the week.
I’m a little scared.
Most pregnant mums (and I am assuming here) would be excited to see their bub at 19 weeks. It is the scan where the technician can detect with a fair degree of certainty:
- the baby’s sex
- any abnormalities in the development of the musculoskeletal system
- brain development
- possible heart conditions.
With Master X we had no concept of the importance of this scan, instead we just thought it was another opportunity to see baby. We were taken by surprise when the technician at the time declared everything to be normal as we just assumed it to be that way through our ignorance.
This time is VERY different.
The likelihood of our baby having a heart malformation is 7 times greater than for women who are not on the bipolar medication lithium. The research on the antidepressant medication sertraline is not as scary, so I’m just going to ignore it for now (it will require careful attention in the third trimester though). The GP does not seem too concerned about the antipsychotic medication Zyrpexa because I’m (assumably) only on it short term while my lithium stabilises.
I am nervous about the heart. I am scared that something is wrong. We had the rate tested while I was manic and it was up the top of the normal range at 176 bpm. Thankfully this week it had reduced to 146 bmp. My doctor concluded that my body must go into overdrive and metabolically skyrocket, and this is then transferred to the baby.
(Shit, my medication, sorry. I have to take a break. I seem to habitually delay my medications when I’m feeling well. Not a good habit to get into – I will have to go back to setting an alarm twice daily. Be back soon…)
I was recently told that I am going to be on medication for the remainder of my life. This is something I am not comfortable with and my brain and heart are fighting the additional battle of not being allowed to breastfeed due to medications (I have written about this on my Facebook page so will not lament over it again here).
I have kept reading a few digifriends who have had similar experience like Dyane (my toes are dipped only because I am too scared to be ‘with them’, and still hide behind a false hope of misdiagnosis), reading from the sidelines quietly, trying to fumble my way through this mess. The mess is my head and my heart; that voice that tells me that perhaps this is still hormone-triggered and that capacity to live without medications is… reality?
I stopped blogging for quite a while and fell out of touch with my online support. I instead floundered through my days seemingly quite stable therefore the Presence was absent. I was normal therefore independent and requiring no alliances. And the more distance I could put between myself and my writing, the more I felt like I was doing okay.
Time to call bullshit. This is real. My fear of the ultrasound, the lump in my throat as my breasts continue to blossom, but I know deep down I will not experience release with my babe, and the reality of a life on medication.
If I knew now that I would
experience suffer (this word just doesn’t have enough weight) postpartum psychosis and what it would mean for me and my family, would I have had a baby? Will having a second baby further cement my mental health to be a lawful disability? Do the hormones mean that this is as drug free as this pregnancy is going to get, thus putting more pressure on my body and family and most terrifyingly, will it put my baby in more danger?
Please do not think that I need pity or reassurance; this is mainly a stream of consciousness. It is how I process what is happening, and make sure that I am not doing what I did for the past
k(damn my belly pressed a key) six months which was absenteeism from writing and therefore not allowing myself time and space to CONFRONT, process, challenge and consider what the hell is actually going on.
I hear the baby, I see the baby, I feel the baby but I can not fathom the baby. They are there, but I have had to distance myself (subconsciously I believe) so that IF something were to go wrong, then I might have some chance of surviving this.
Maybe I can ask Dyane and Jen a question – do you heal like the title of Dyane’s book and blog suggest? We will always have bipolar disorder so is it more about healing from the psychotic shit from the postpartum period? Will it happen again with this baby? It’s not fair to put you on the spot like this, but I need to know what this means? I felt somewhat healed after Master X, but when I go to work on my novel it is too hard to bear. It feels like I am writing about someone else. But the memories are so vivid. And I’ve just come out of a mania with terrifying nightmares that left me in cold sweats and sometimes standing next to the bed, shaking. Will trying to finish my book work against the healing process? Or if I ignore the EVENTS it may make me more susceptible to this being dragged up deep into my future…
Just focus on one word.
And as truthful as my heart is intertwined with my husbands, we can get through this pain and this fear. And maybe I will peek through the slits of my fingers as my hands cover my eyes tomorrow. Because it all leads back to love, and no matter what, we freaking love the shit out of this kid. (And I feel clearer now this is all out of my head. Bed Time).