31-03-2020 11:58 AM
Hi there 😊 I'm in desperate need of some support and guidance. I know everyone is struggling right now so I feel guilty even asking for help. But I do know I can't continue the way I've been going.
I'm a 38 year old female. I have bipolar affective disorder but am ordinarily a very high functioning human being. After 9 years of chronic health issues, fibromyalgia, a back injury that had me on a walker for 3 years and a weightloss, we began trying for a baby mid-2019.
My husband and I were diagnosed with unexplained infertility. We had 5 x IUI's (with 1 x early miscarriage in October last year). We had just secured our funding for IVF and were due to start that in mid-April 2020. We had a 3-5% chance of conceiving at home. Not really a chance.
So you can imagine my shock when I discovered last Monday that I am pregnant. I'm nearly 6 weeks now. But my initial reaction was complete fear. I've miscarried before - will I miscarry again? I've had 2 x blood tests 3 days apart and my HCG was 3000 at 4 weeks 5 days and 7200 at 5 weeks 1 day. The numbers are strong, doubling nicely and my progesterone is now good. This should all be very reassuring but instead, I'm descending into what I can only refer to as a living nightmare. Those numbers are high. Are they too high? Is it twins? Or a molar pregnancy? I have some fairly typical symptoms but only mild nausea. Shouldn't I be more sick or vomiting by now?? So many questions stuck in a mental loop.
My fertility specialist said that although we are not out of the woods yet because we need to see a heartbeat on the ultrasound at 7 weeks, it looked like a strong, healthy pregnancy. So why can't I just hold on to this?
I've been off my mood stabiliser since last July when we started trying to conceive. All in all, I've been coping quite well. But now that I'm actually pregnant, the fear and anxiety is debilitating, not least because I can't see or hug my family because of Covid-19; the people I need most in the world around me besides my husband for support and I can't have it. They've been waiting years for this news.
I spend most of my days physically shaking and sweating at the slightest cramp, discomfort or bad thought. I can't function or perform basic tasks (though I'm also very fatigued from bub, I'm struggling to rest and sleep). It's like I've doomed this baby and I'm pre-writing the story, which I have no right to do.
I'm strong, I'm a fighter and I know our baby will be the same. I just can't understand why, in what should be the most joyous time of our lives, I'm consumed by the darkness, the negative and the catastrophising.
It's a scary world outside our doors at the moment and it all feels very surreal. Any and all advice would be appreciated.
Thank you in advance 😊
PS. I am speaking with both a psychologist and psychiatrist but I'm still finding this very hard. No one warned me that although my risk of post-natal depression was quite high, pre-natal depression and anxiety is very real too. Especially in the time of a pandemic when loved ones and support are physically out of reach.
31-03-2020 12:54 PM
Hi @LJE ,
welcome to the forum and congratulations. 😊
After reading your post I remembered those early weeks of pregnancy. I didn't have the complications that you've had but there is always uncertainty during this period. I can imagine the extra intensity because of the Coronavirus.
The things that stuck out for me reading your post were
my thoughts were about maybe writing some of the good things on a card and having it somewhere you can read it a bit like an affirmation when the anxiety loops take hold.
At this point in time it's impossible for you to know what will happen next. It's times like this that we wish we had a crystal ball 🔮. From someone on the outside looking in I think that you can just try to ground yourself and distract as much as possible and remind yourself that you are strong, that you've got through lots of really tough things before. You don't know what the numbers mean but maybe that's ok too. In what seems to be forever, but hopefully in the next week you'll know more about it at the scan. My strategy would be to distract distract distract with things not related to your pregnancy. My brain does the same things as yours with constant catastrophising loops. I'm getting better at dealing with it. The best strategy I have is breaking everyday down to small time frames that you can find things to distract, for you it might be finding things that are not related to the pregnancy. I can only look one day ahead at a time or I fall in a heap.
For now please be reassured that every pregnancy is different. I had 5 pregnancies for 4 children. Each one was very different. Each delivery was very different.
Im crossing my fingers for you 🤞🏼🙏. Keep us updated.
31-03-2020 01:01 PM
Hey there LJE,
It sounds like you are going through a lot, and I can imagine you need now more than ever to feel supported and nurtured. I'm glad you've got your professional supports and have reached out to connect here.
Pre-natal depression and anxiety is really common and can be so scary. But you're not alone. As well as reaching out here I would encourage you to call PANDA (Peri-natal anxiety and depression Australia) and have a look on their website:
PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia)
Helpline: 1300 726 306
They have great counsellors but also peer volunteers with their own experiences of perinatal mental health issues.
31-03-2020 01:24 PM
Thanks so much for this incredibly swift and wonderfully helpful response. I think you're right; because this is my first pregnancy that wasn't a chemical pregnancy, all of this is new. Completely new. I don't know what to expect and there's not many people I can ask without letting them know. It's our intention to wait until 12 weeks to tell people, just to be safe.
Truthfully, I just want to hug my mum and dad!!!! But because of self-isolation/distancing, it's a big no-no 😬
Your suggestions are really helpful! I'm going to make up some cards this afternoon and stick them on the wardrobe at the foot of the bed. Are we allowed to put photos on here provided they don't give out an identifying info? If so, I'll post a pic of it when it's done 🙂
Thank you for making me feel like I can get through this and I'm not alone 🙏🙌
31-03-2020 01:26 PM
Oh perfect! Thanks so much, Tortoiseshell. I will get onto this right away and let you know how I go 🙏❤
31-03-2020 02:50 PM
31-03-2020 04:00 PM
Firstly, CONGRATULATIONS. It sounds like this pregnancy is already different from the others.
I fell pregnant naturally, so have no idea about IVF or infertility, but that doesn't mean my pregnancies were straight forward either. I never thought I'd be able to ever get
pregnant, I was a victim of CSA and honestly thought the damage would prevent any pregnancy from happening.
I had a miscarriage between my eldest and 2nd born, and another between my 2nd and third. Even with my third, he was a twin but I mis carried that twin and was told I'd lose the other. He held on though even though I got a period every month. Through CSA counciling I also realised I'd mis carried when I was 12 - didn't know what was happening back then but it's clear now what it was.
My point is - the body is an amazing thing, stuff happens and our bodies are very resilient and miracles do happen.
You are dealing with a lot of other things mentally - let alone this damn virus - but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy this baby. The body is a wonderful thing, but so is the brain. I'm in no way religious but I do honestly feel unexpected things happen for a reason - this little one has been sent to you for a reason.
Take a deep breath, put a smile on your face and even if it's for just a minute, love yourself sick that you are going to be a beautiful mamma.
All the best, I have my fingers crossed for you, remember,
breath - and smile ❤️❤️
31-03-2020 04:57 PM
It's definitely a trying time - probably moreso because up until now I've been mentally preparing for IVF and then.... bam. The impossible seems to, in fact, be possible! At a time when we are completely isolated. Lol. I guess the silver lining is that we don't have to sneak around and keep things under wraps because it seems like the way things are heading, 1st trimester will be over before I can see my friends and relatives. But it also just seems a bit lonely. My husband and I really don't have a frame of reference for any of this 😬🤦♀️
Since posting this morning, I'm trying to embrace everyone's positivity and look on the sunnier side. By this time next Wednesday, I may have seen my baby's heartbeat for the first time 😍
In answer to your question, I absolutely adore building Lego and hubby has purchased a few new sets to keep me busy... will defs post a pic of the positivity cards when I finish writing them up.
I want to sincerely thank everyone who has taken the time and effort to respond to me today. It is much appreciated by both of us (or all 3 of us, with a little bean in the belly!)
31-03-2020 05:11 PM
Thank you @Razzle - what a time you've gone through! I'm so sorry to hear about the losses and the struggles (and, more horrifically, the CSA) but to have 3 amazing children must be the greatest blessing.
I also have a soft spot for your name because that is my niece's nickname!
Your strength gives me strength. And I'm going to fully embrace that advice that you've given me. Things like this never happen to me / us so if I can put all the new bodily sensations and panic aside for a second, I can see this for what it is, which is an incredible gift.
I know I have a long road ahead and I can't make it through another 8 months of feeling like this so I'm glad I reached out to such welcoming and knowledgeable people 😘 Thank you
31-03-2020 07:15 PM
If you need urgent assistance, see Need help now
For mental health information, guidance and referrals, see the SANE Help Centre
SANE Forums is published by SANE Australia with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health
SANE Australia ABN 92006533606
PO Box 226 South Melbourne 3205 Australia