Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On Anxiety

As my last ultrasound gets further away, I get progressively more anxious. As I mentioned, my OB told me I could come in whenever I needed/wanted to, but even that makes me anxious. I've felt nervous about even calling to talk to the admin staff about making an appointment.

Yesterday, I had my consult with the psychopharmacologist, Dr. F. It lasted almost an hour and a half! I really liked her- she was clearly very knowledgeable and experienced. The practice she works in is also very collaborative and keeps up with all the studies around psych meds and pregnancy.

I know that many people don't think a woman should take any meds, and especially psych meds, when pregnant. If you are one of those people, then I respect that choice for YOU. However, I have no doubt that my level of anxiety and it's accompanying physical symptoms are bad for my baby. This is something I was strongly aware of just on my own, and its why I asked my OB about it. Both she and this Dr. F confirmed that. Dr. F also discussed with me the possibility of more severe anxiety after the baby is born.

Dr. F felt that I should continue with my prozac, and that down the line we may even want to increase it. She also gave me a prescription for klonopin, to take when I am having acute anxiety or in the middle of a panic attack. She took quite a bit of time covering all of the studies around pregnancy and the potential effects of each of these drugs on a baby, as well as studies about the pre and post natal effects of untreated anxiety and depression on babies. She prepared me for comments I might hear from people, even nurses and other medical professionals, who do not know the specifics of my situation and/or as much about the studies around these meds.

Finally, she suggested that I take my OB up on the offer to have regular heartbeat scans- she suggested twice a week. She felt that not only would it ease my mind, but that it would make the visits to the OB more routine for me, which would hopefully ease my anxiety around the anticipation of each visit. This made me feel more like it was okay to call to make an appointment- like there was further validation by having this doctor "prescribe" more appointments. Despite this, I was still anxious to actually make the call, but I did (and it was obviously fine and pretty easy) and I have an appointment with a nurse first thing tomorrow morning. (And, as a testament to my crazy brain, all I can think about is that I hope there is a heartbeat and not loss. Will this kind of thinking ever stop???)

I am relieved to have something to help me. The thought of the ongoing anxiety and imminent panic attacks made me even more anxious than I already was. I hope that not only will her suggestions help me, but that as I get further in my pregnancy that my anxiety will decrease.


One Cycle at a Time said...

I'm so sorry. Its a shame that IF robs many of us of the ability to be joyful like every other person out there. But it sounds like you have a great doctor that understands you and will help you come through this as well as you possibly can. :-)

Kakunaa said...

I am glad she is allowing you to keep the klonopin. I had to discontinue mine, but luckily have not been too bad with just my Zoloft. I am so glad you got this process started and are hopefully on your way to a calmer pregnancy. HUGS.

Anonymous said...

Nothing but respect on my end! You do what you have to do for you and the baby. So glad you are able to get some much needed help and that you are at peace about it. Hugs!

Jem said...

So glad you are taking care of yourself, and your baby with more frequent OB visits and the meds you need.

SLESE1014 said...

As a nurse who works in the NICU and sees the after affects of both medications and depression, I support you 100% in your decision to continue your meds. I ALWAYS tell my moms, if you don't take care of you, you're not going to be able to care for your baby.

And seeing this specialist who knows all the ins and outs of what meds work for you and their effects on your baby is the best part. She's working in your best interest and in the best interest of your baby.

I'm glad she offered more than medications for her prescriptions. I think the idea of increasing your visits and decreasing your anxiety on that part is AWESOME!

Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you are finding real professionials to help you and who understand what a difficult time this is. I think scheduling a regular u/s is a wonderful plan - I know it REALLY helped me to know that every Friday I would be going to have one. A weekly therapist visit helped also. Sending you every good thought! -Jan

Krista said...

Just wanted to let you know I have been following your journey and support you 100%. I also have anxiety issues and I'm sure will be dealing with a lot of what you are once I have a baby in my belly like you. Can they just have 2 "set" ultrasounds on their calendar each week, that way you don't have to call each time to make the appointment? Then, you can cancel them if you don't feel you need to go in? Just a thought to make things easier on you. :-)