Monthly Archives: February 2009

Association discovered between Diabetes & Perinatal Depression

"Drink Me" by Ara Alexis

"Drink Me" by Ara Alexis

A new study by researchers at Harvard Medical School and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health focusing on Medicaid Records of over 11.000 NJ moms found an association between Diabetes & Perinatal Depression. The conclusion of the study is that Moms with Diabetes are 55-60% more likely to develop Perinatal Depression. The researchers are quick to point out the Diabetes isn’t necessarily the source of the Depression and that they didn’t take into consideration a family history of mental illness or other risk factors for Perinatal Depression. Their requirements for identification of depression relied on a written diagnosis or filling of anti-depressant prescription during the course of the study. Mothers included in the study had been eligible for Medicaid 6 months prior to birth and up to one year post-delivery.

While the study isn’t conclusive due to the focus on such a local and specific population, the researchers encourage health care providers with Medicaid patients and a Diabetes diagnosis to focus a little more on depression prevention. You can read more about the study here.

My thoughts on this? The beginning of my Postpartum Mood Disorder journey began when my husband had a good job and we had private insurance. I DID develop Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy and went on to develop full blown Postpartum Depression & OCD but was never officially diagnosed. My second pregnancy we still had good insurance but were struggling a bit financially but I did not have Gestational Diabetes – landed in the hospital. Third pregnancy was a Medicaid pregnancy as we did not have access to private insurance. I did not develop Gestational Diabetes and did not have a Mood Disorder either. But I had also become quite educated about PMD’s by then and was very forceful in my advocacy of care.

Research like this should always be taken cautiously and with a grain of salt. It’s encouraging and exciting that so many researchers have taken an interest in Postpartum Mood Disorders but always make sure to look at the big picture and do your own homework before taking someone else’s word for it!

The Great Return

Tomorrow we go to Atlanta with Charlotte for follow up with the Cleft Palate Clinic.

I would be lying if I said I was not nervous.

This appointment was supposed to have taken place when she was nine months old.

She’ll be three years old next month.

Charlotte in the NICU

Charlotte in the NICU

It took me this long to get to the point where I could even think about facing the hospital where she spent her first 21 days of life without having an anxiety attack.

This is the same hospital in which I tucked myself into a corner of the sleep room in the NICU area, blasted Linkin Park over the MP3 player and checked out. No desire to come back. Just wanted to stay curled up under the blanket and pretend none of this was happening. Nope. Not to me. I didn’t have a baby in the NICU. She wasn’t downstairs having major jaw surgery at just nine days old. We weren’t doing this. I was stuck in the middle of a really bad dream and I’d wake up at home with a normal baby.

I can still see that hallway, that sleep room, my nostrils fill with the scent of the surgical soap that killed my hands as I washed them every time we went into the NICU, every time i pumped, every time I went to the restroom there.

I remember the pumping rooms in which I spent most of my time staring at the clock wishing I could nurse my daughter instead of shoving my breasts into hard cold flanges, flicking a switch on a massive antique pump, adjusting the suction to just below Holy Crap that Friggin Hurts.

But tomorrow is the day we finally go back.

Chris is going with me as a safety. I don’t know how I will handle this. I’m hoping for the best. Praying for the best. I keep thinking about how far we’ve come since then and how lucky we are that we don’t have a lot of the problems a lot of parents have with their Pierre Robin kids. She’s talking, using sentences nonetheless. She’s breathing on her own. She eats – oh lord, she eats – she’d eat herself sick (and has) if we let her. No oral aversions here.

But she does have a fistula – an opening in her palate repair. It’s at the back of the throat. And her enunciation is off – it’s nasal. She can’t say “s” without blowing air through her nose. Chris and I understand maybe 75 – 80% of what she says and it breaks our hearts that we can’t even understand our own child all the time. It’s led to frustration on both sides and is now turning into a discipline issue.

I’m afraid we’ll be told she needs surgery. I’m afraid of what that will mean for us and for her. I’ve talked with her about the possibility of surgery. She knows that they would give her some medicine to help her go to sleep and fix her mouth while she was asleep. That she might be owwwy when she wakes up and that they’d have medicine ready to help with the owwwy.

She seems cool with it.

I’m not.

I have forgotten how to let her go with the doctors – I got so good at it when she was in the NICU but she’s been all ours for almost three years now. I don’t want to hand her over to be taken to surgery. I want to go with her! That’s my baby you’re taking!

But now I’m thinking too much and need to stop and let God do all this worrying for me.

Please pray for us as we face tomorrow.

Pray for a peaceful heart and soul for me.

Pray for a pain-free and comfortable day for Chris as he goes with us.

Pray for a positive evaluation.

Pray that I am able to handle any news of surgery with strength and grace and truly give it to God.

A Little Slice of…. Normal?

photo from flickr

photo from flickr

As my Postpartum OCD slammed against my shores, the skies darkened and angry bolts of lightning seared through the atmosphere. I hunkered down in a deep dark cave, curled up in the fetal position while wishing the skies would clear. Eventually they did and as puffy white clouds took the place of the dark angry ones, I began to realize the island I now found myself on wasn’t so bad. The laughter and comraderie filling the valleys no longer grated on my nerves. Not even the whining and crying could push me back to my cave. In fact, I slowly began to forget where my cave was – I think it’s been overgrown with dense vines or is hidden away behind a waterfall.

This afternoon with the kids was completely blissful. All three of them played together in the floor without arguing. They peacefully shared with their toys and burst with laughter. Allison wove a wonderful tale of marital bliss with Cameron’s toy cars. Charlotte giggled at Cameron’s newfound block playing skills. And Cameron just soaked up the attention from his big sisters as they surrounded him.

I immersed myself in the joy of watching my three children enjoy each other’s company. THIS is what motherhood is like without the angry and confusion of a mood disorder. Wow. I didn’t have a mood disorder after having Cameron but there were all the issues with Chris’ addiction that threw me for a loop. Moments like these- moments so tantalizingly perfect never fail to blow me away. They make all of this worth it – all the struggling, the fighting, the tears, the pain – all of it makes the joy I now feel so much brighter.

And it’s this joy that i wish for all the families I come in contact with because I remember all too well not knowing it.

Blogger shares experience with Antepartum Depression

Jill over at Owner of the Band, bravely opens up about her current experience with Antepartum Depression.

photo by mahalie @ flickr.com

photo by mahalie @ flickr.com

Pregnant woman DO get depressed – at a rate of about 10-20% at that. Many expectant moms dismiss their emotions as pregnancy mood swings. Then, just as with a Postpartum Mood Disorder, there’s the whole “you’re supposed to be happy” expectation – you know, the whole glowing pregnant mama thing. But not all Mamas glow. Even fewer of them bravely share their experience with depression.

The biggest issue depressed pregnant mothers face is one of medication. Should I take medicine that might affect my baby? Should I just tough it out even though depression too crosses the placenta? What do I do?

There are three sources of help that I would recommend –

Wellpostpartum.com, a blog dedicated to natural approaches for Perinatal Depression.

Pregnant on Prozac by Shoshana Bennett, a book dedicated to the situation more and mamas are finding themselves in – pregnant on psychiatric medications and the issues that go along with it.

iVillage’s Pregnancy and Depression/Mental Illness Board – a message board I moderate for expectant mamas struggling with Depression or the maintenance of other Mental Illness Diagnoses during their pregnancies.

You can read some more about Antepartum Depression by clicking here.

The most important thing to remember if you find yourself not glowing during pregnancy is to be honest, talk with your caregiver, and above all, remember that YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME!