seasons and trends

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I've worked in OB for 20 years now, and one thing I've noticed is that things tend to arrive in clusters. For example, we'll have several patients with twins, and then none for a while. We'll have a run on premies and then a run on going overdue.
Right now it's really challenging, because we are having a run on moms with serious mental illness complicating their pregnancies. We thankfully have many good medications that enable men and women to live close to normal lives, despite serious conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. But these medications carry risks, especially to unborn children. The newer drugs seem to be more effective with fewer side effects - at least for adults. But a recent release from the FDA about Paxil reminds us all that the unborn infant has special needs to be considered.
On the other hand, a mom who is unable to eat for fear that all her food is poisoned is not going to be able to care for herself or her unborn child. A mom who is manic and believes that she can fly is a risk to herself and her baby. A mom who is severely depressed and won't even get out of bed for days is not going to be in the state of physical health that we would all want for her.
By the very nature of mental illness, many of these moms get pregnant without intending to. Some are victims of abuse, and others simply can't connect the dots that lead from sex to pregnancy. Psych drugs are notorious for altering the menstrual cycle, and some ladies become convinced that their medications have made them infertile.
Anyhow, I request prayers for some of the moms in whose care I participate. As a midwife, I'm not the primary caretaker for these moms - but I do participate in the care planning process, try to help the resident physicians to negotiate the often tortuous process of getting the right help for these ladies, and of course I pray for them.
Isn't it St. Dymphna who is the patron saint of the mentally ill? Are there others? I seem to recall an itinerant priest who is invoked for mental illness and the homeless, but I can't remember his name.


Alicia- I will pray for these mothers and their babies, as well as for you and their other caretakers. When I was pregnant with my son I went though a severe depression (at one point I was unable to sleep for three days and could barely eat anything) and I received no treatment, no suggestion of counseling, nothing, from my midwives. A couple of ambien and advice to rest, that was it. Couple all this with a posterior birth which included suggesting stadol though my birth plan specifically said not to suggest drugs, and then having the midwife try to shove the cervical lip over my sons head against my will, and with no explanation to my husband, while I shouted at her to stop. The depression lasted from 24 weeks to 4 months postpartum, when I was reaching the point of thinking harming myself, and realized that I was severely depressed. I began counseling and Zoloft, and within 1 month the depression was 50% better, 3 months later it was gone. My son will be 10 months in two days and, I am grappling with the understanding that this depression is, sadly, a grave reason to be very careful with the Creighton rules, as I doubt I will be ready for #2 until I have been off Zoloft for a while. All this is to say, I have been in the boat with these mothers and the sea is frightfully stormy. Let's send our trust and prayers to God, as surely as He could walk on the sea of Galilee he can calm the sea of mental problems.

alicia, a quick search revealed a href="">there are several that are patrons of the mentally ill/mental illness; St. Dymphna is among them.

i have so much to look forward to, don't i?

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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on January 6, 2006 10:24 PM.

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