May, 2010. It’s hot, I’m looking forward to tanning over the summer, and I’m throwing up. I guess I have a virus.
June, 2010. It’s hotter and I’m still throwing up. This is a really tough virus. Wait, where is Aunt Flo?
Surprise! I’m pregnant! Dillon’s happy and I’m sitting in the bathroom crying. Thinking of Taco Bell is making me sick. Oh, the horror!
Fast forward a couple of months. It’s smoldering outside. I want mint chocolate chip ice cream and sardines. I don’t even like mint chocolate chip or sardines! The smell of the purple Pine Sol is intoxicating. Ice is breakfast, lunch and dinner. My doctor tells me to eat frozen fruit, instead. Psh, no way. I want ice! The last couple of weeks I can’t walk because the baby is sitting on my sciatic nerve.
February 5, 2011. Water breaks. My grandfather is driving us to the hospital. (You know, the Nascar driver?) I’m not as nervous as I thought I would be. While I’m pushing, I’m giving Dillon every insult and swear word I can think of.
One hour into pushing, my beautiful baby girl is born! She was 8lbs!
January, 2013. I found out I was pregnant with my son. Again, I’m crying in the bathroom because I just don’t know if I can handle another child, right now. This time I want Taco Bell. All day, every day.
My anxiety is a little worse, this time. I’m afraid my anxiety will hurt the baby while I’m pregnant. I’m afraid of what will happen as I’m giving birth. I’m deathly afraid the epidural will give me another week-long spinal headache like it did with my daughter.
So, September 26, 2013 comes and I am pushing, again. I was induced, this time. They had to give me medicine for my nerves, but at least I had a different anesthesiologist (the last one I didn’t think knew what he was doing). Fifteen minutes and two pushes later, my first son was born! All of 8lbs 5oz. What’s up with my giant babies?
For two and a half years, I’m anxious. My panic attacks seem to come everyday. I am often wondering if this is going to be who I am for the rest of my life.
Finally, April 2016. My period hasn’t shown up. I am desperately searching the web for reasons for a delayed period. It turns out, I’m pregnant with my third baby! Now, I know my anxiety is going to be the death of me.
A couple of weeks go by and I find myself throwing up in the grocery store bathroom. Lesson learned: Never eat two bowls of chocolate cereal then drink an entire bottle of pomegranate juice.
For a couple of months, I’m fine. Dillon is waiting on me, hand and foot. Until September comes around. I am crying, threatening to leave Dillon because it’s all his fault. I’m tired of hurting, tired of worrying, and I can’t sleep.
Before I get to the point where I start chasing Dillon out of the house with a chainsaw, I break down and ask Dr. Waddell what I can do for my severe depression. “I can give you Vistaril. You can’t take your Celexa during pregnancy.” He says.
“What?! I tried that with my second pregnancy and it didn’t work!” I would cry. “Can I at least take Benedryll? I know it’s the same thing, but it seems to help more than Vistaril.”
“Yes, that’s fine, but you do need to do something about this anxiety. It’s not good for the baby.” He replies.
So, here I am taking one Benedryll a day. It’s not my normal anxiety medication, but it at least helps me sleep through a panic attack.
October gets here, and I am getting bigger. My hips hurt more, the baby is kicking my ribs, I keep getting these strange pains in places I didn’t think could hurt, and it is scaring me. So, time for more interwebs! I’m looking up where these pains are and the severity and my symptoms. Nothing. I’m having trouble coping with this. I’m crying on a daily basis because I am fighting a losing battle with severe depression and anxiety. Even the donuts my dear husband brings home every night aren’t enough to cheer me up (and they are custard filled!). The constant arguments with him are starting to break me down. I know I’m starting them, but I want to blame him. I want to bring up every single thing he’s ever done. Every little detail and every woman he’s even said “hi” to. I am on a warpath. I don’t even realize I’m pushing him away when he’s only trying to be there for me.
December comes. Now, I’m hurrying to buy Christmas presents, baby supplies, a baby bed, carseat, paying my credit card off, and still recovering from the ten helpings of dessert I had at Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday). I’m pulling my hair out at this point.
But, I make it through. I survived the holidays and now all I have to do is wait until the end of January before my son is here!
January 4th. Dillon’s birthday. I am trying to figure out what I should get him. Since I haven’t had time, it’ll be a late birthday present. Then, I start contracting that evening. I know it’s just Braxton Hicks contractions because I am constantly having those. But, wait. They aren’t supposed to come every five minutes. What is going on? I’m not hurting, but they are pretty strong. Even two glasses of water aren’t helping. I’m scared. What if I don’t make it to the hospital in time? What if I do get there and it’s not real labor? I am more afraid than ever. I knew for sure I was in labor with my first, because my water had broken. I knew with my second, because they scheduled him to come. This one, though, I couldn’t tell. Aren’t moms supposed to know their bodies? Well, I didn’t!
The contractions aren’t letting up, so I call Dillon and tell him to get his butt home, now. I ask my grandmother if she can come with us, since I want her there, too. It’s almost 5pm when I arrive at the hospital. My contractions still aren’t hurting much, but I have them check me.
“You are definitely having strong contractions, but you are barely four centimeters dilated. We can keep you until morning when Dr. Waddell gets in, but I don’t think you’ll have him tonight.” The nurse tells me.
I’m rubbing my temples, because I hate hospitals. I just nod and agree.
While, I’m being hooked up to a fetal monitor, I can tell I’m about to have a panic attack. What if I have to have a C-section, this time? What if something goes wrong? What if the same anesthesiologist from my first birth gives me the epidural?!
As I’m panicking, the nurse walks in with the same medicine from my second birth. Hallelujah! It made me feel like I was on some kind of weird drug that makes you speak like a person who has never had a clear thought.
I remembered the first time they gave it to me, I told my husband some crazy things like, “Hold on, let these seven horses run out of my chest.” and “Papaw needs to give those d*** dogs a bath. They smell like s***.” (My grandpa used to have hunting dogs.)
The effect is instant. As soon as she pushes down the plug in the syringe, I can feel my head swimming. I’m no longer complaining with contractions, but now, I’m complaining that the nurse had snatched my nose and is not bringing it back.
“I know she took it,” I’m saying. “I can’t smell anything!”
My husband is recording me, at this point. “Are you not supposed to breathe while this medicine is in you?” I’m still going on.
Dillon and Mamaw are wanting to go out for a smoke while I sleep, but I keep waking up. “Where do you think you two are going?” I ask every time they try to sneak out.
I finally agree to try and sleep while they go out for a few minutes. Sleep never stays with me, though, as I am waking up and going to the bathroom every hour. I’m tired of it.
After a long, exhausting night in a hospital bed, Dr. Waddell greets me at 7am. He asks if I want to have this baby today while his hand is in still in the dark place. I grit my teeth and spit out a “yes, please”. After he breaks my water, I get notice that I am about to receive my epidural. “Yay.” I reply.
Until my greatest fear comes true. The same guy who gave me my first epidural is about to shove a needle in my back, again. I can feel the color draining from my face as he walks in, holding my chart. My grandmother is holding back laughter, because she knows. She knows I am angry. She knows if I have another spinal headache from this man, I am going to lose my mind on these people.
Well, it takes as long as I figured it would. The other guy didn’t take but five minutes. I am sitting there for twenty minutes with this shaky-handed guy digging in my spine with a large needle. I am close to crying. Luckily, I had a sweetheart of a nurse who held my shoulders and rubbed my hair most of the time.
When my epidural is finally in, they check me. “You’re only four centimeters right now. I will be back in an hour to check you again.” She says.
She walks out, and not even fifteen minutes later, she comes in to “make sure” I am still only at four. “Oh! I guess you’re ready to push!” I hear.
Dr. Waddell enters, throwing on his scrubs and gloves.
“Let’s see if I can make it to my next C-section.” He smiles.
This is it. After nine months of paranoia and agony, I am ready for this intense, long labor to-
“I might could have a cup of coffee before I get to the OR.” My doctor hands the baby to me as he finishes up.
Wait, is that it? After all of this, it only took one push and four minutes for him to come out? Sweet!
He weighed 7lbs 7oz.
It was an anticlimactic moment, to be honest. I was definitely expecting the worst, like I always do.
I just wanted to share my pregnancy and anxiety experiences with you. I’m not a professional writer, by any means, but I want any expecting parents with anxiety to read this and know what they might expect. Now, I have known women who had anxiety and it significantly got better when they were preggers. Come on, though, this is me we’re talking about. My anxiety got worse every time!
Pregnancy is a beautiful thing. You’re glowing, you’re smiling, you’re throwing up. Well, not that beautiful. You know what I mean! Anyone want to share a story? I have seen some funny birth stories (it’s all I read when I was preggo to keep my mind off my worries).
Anyway, if you are like I was (a constant, nervous werewolf), please talk to your doctor about what you can do if you are suffering from depression and anxiety while pregnant. I know it’s hard, believe me, but you will get through it. And when you hold that beautiful baby in your arms, your troubles will seem to melt away, if only for a moment! Just because you expect the worst, doesn’t mean it will be the worst.
By the way, I did have headaches and back pain from that last epidural. Not as bad as the first time, but I am still a little angry!