19 weeks and I am feeling… large. Gone are the days where people wonder whether I am pregnant or eating too many cheeseburgers. It is clear. I had a woman rub my stomach in Costco yesterday. She seemed nice though and was 60+ so she gets a pass.
The girls are the size of grapefruits this week and kicking away. Still no feeling on the outside, which is a bummer for Rob, but plenty on the inside. I have gotten to the point where if I lay in one position someone kicks me and if I switch, someone else does. No appointments this week which is good and bad. Good because I don’t constantly need to be driving to the depths of Orange County to see my specialist. Bad because it means I go a week without seeing that the girls are fine, my cervix is fine, and there are no signs of premature labor.
Which brings me to my topic of the week: pregnancy with anxiety. My anxiety has been around as long as I can remember, before I even knew the word for it. Once I became pregnant I knew it was going to be a constant battle to keep my anxiety in check. Add to my standard level of anxiety a pregnancy, a recent miscarriage, and identical twins, you have a recipe for disaster. However, through a lot of work on my part, I have been able to keep everything in check. I am pleased with how I have managed thus far, with a pretty average level of pregnant woman freak outs.
First, I have excellent resources when it comes to mental health. I currently am only seeing a psychiatrist, not a therapist. If you all remember, my therapist fired me for being too chipper (just kidding.. but not really). Back before pregnancy I started the process of weaning myself off of ambien and celexa. My psychiatrist, OB, and perinatologist agreed ambien is a no-go for pregnant women. Luckily for me, pregnancy induced narcolepsy is totally a thing and for the first 16 weeks I slept like I was dead. Now I am dealing with kicky babies and hip pain, but definitely not insomnia.
The celexa has posed less of a concern for my medical team. All of them have said that it is really up to me to weigh the risks against benefits and that they don’t believe it creates a significant risk for the babies. So, in conjunction with my psychiatrist, over the past 6 months I have been reducing my dosage of celexa (because I need more doctor appointments). I have gone from 40 mg to 10 mg. There have been some bumps along the way and my psychiatrist has warned me that going off the celexa completely will cause withdrawals. I am currently on 10 mg, with the aim of going to 10 mg every other day and then off. It seems counterintuitive to go off anxiety medicine at what is arguably the most anxious point in my life, but I never intended to be on them forever. Second, my team has agreed that if the medicine is going to have any effect on the babies, it would be during the third trimester. With the aim of being done with it during the second trimester, I feel comfortable.
I do feel the need, as I always do when I write about my mental health, to remind everyone that I am not a doctor (no one was surprised..). I am very lucky to have doctors I trust and that have the same goals that I have. Healthy mama and healthy babies is our end goal.
So what does an anxious woman do to cope with pregnancy? Freak out and throw things? There are a number of things I have done, some are a little crazy, but in the grand scheme of things, these have kept me calm and sane. Apparently calm and sane are important for the babies in the womb, so that is what I was going for.
- Pick an OB that you feel comfortable with. Really comfortable with. Do I feel comfortable asking my OB if I smooshed the babies because I slept on my stomach for an hour accidentally last night? Yes. Is that necessary for me? Yes.
- Optional ultrasounds. Living in the LA area, I have dozens of these ultrasound places near me. They were a godsend in my first trimester. I would never trust one of these places to tell me about significant issues with the babies. I trust my medical team to do that. But, to show me that both the girls have beating hearts? Yes. I go in for a 10 minute ultrasound, see them both wiggling around, hear their heartbeats and am assured that they are both doing fine. My OB assured me that extra ultrasounds aren’t doing any harm to my little grapefruits and for that I am grateful.
- Pregnancy groups. I joined a group for first time moms on Facebook and it has been one of the most amazing sources of support I could ask for. We are all over the country and almost all of us are expecting our first. It has become an incredibly active group and I simply cannot say enough about how nice it is to have other women to talk to that are in the same boat. And, miracle of miracles, I am one of two women in the group with twins!
- Be okay with freaking out. Really. It is going to happen at some point. It is probably going to happen about something absurd. Expecting it makes it a lot easier. I had some of my major freak outs early because it was so close to my miscarriage, but I know that I am definitely not out of the woods regarding meltdowns about absurd things.
- Rob. Ohh Robly, I love him dearly. He keeps me even-keeled when all of my other coping mechanisms fly out the window. Or, at least he tries..
Without further ado, it’s bump time.
Ps… I have updated my about me to reflect.. my life. If you’re into that.