Tuesday, September 29, 2009

When to Have a Second Baby

Sometimes I think I am truly nuts. I'm beginning to think about having baby number two. Why is it crazy? My daughter at 21 months old is really quite a handful. And truthfully I've had stability problems for the last year. I've suffered several bad depressions and a couple small hypomanic periods.

I've always wanted at least two and was thinking that I should be completely stable for a year before I have a second baby, but now I'm thinking if I have to go through all the turmoil, maybe now is the time.

And for me surprisingly enough pregnancy was easy mentally. In fact easier than the last year has been. Of course because I had hyperemesis pregnancy was not easy. I was sick the whole time ... and I mean really I threw up the night before my daughter was born because I took my zofran late.

Anyway, what do you all think about the timing?

14 comments:

Patrick said...

My girlfriend is bipolar too and I hope one day we'll have kids so that's why I'm folowwing your blog :)

Anonymous said...

I haven't looked around to see the last time you posted anything, but I hope this finds you. My husband and I tried twice already to get me pregnanct again-- the first time when our son was 6 months old, the second time last summer, lasting 7 cycles. Our son is 3 years old right now. I always hoped my kids (also wanting two) would be close in age, and right now think we should've stayed the course because by now I'd probably be pregnant from the second round of trying. I went back on meds this spring & am now thinking about pregnancy a lot again (as you can tell from ym ramblings). It seems to me that I was also mentally OK during pregnancy... I think I may have been one of the few recognized 'protected' women, by my hormones. Of course we all worry about relapse, and of course that is so well documented, but there are many of us that feel normalized by the experience, and I wish doctors would find some real value in those of us that have been so lucky, to look in to that side of bipolar & pregnancy, too. I am stuck between thinking that my wanting this is a good idea and bad idea... I am just worried how much of the good idea side of me is just my meds talking because I have been doing fairly well the past few months, or the honest to goodness truth... because with bipolar many times our perceptions (which everyone relies on being the truth as they see it) are very easily skewed by our disease. And for that I have to look to my husband and his thoughts... I am worried that many times he says he is not sure if it's good for us at all. Having a child is never a regret... but it's very easy to regret NOT having had another child. Good luck to you.

Anonymous said...

Hey -- I just found your blog and I'd like to tell you that I'm a bipolar mom -- pregnant with my 4th child. I also do just fine during pregnancy while taking Lamictal but postpartum is a little harder. I'm going to give you a suggestion: formula feed your next baby. I did breastfeed my second child and I had SO much more trouble getting back to normal after him. I think this is for two reasons: first, breastfed babies just don't sleep as well, which means you don't sleep as well. Second, your hormones are altered the whole time you're nursing. Nursing is a sweet relationship, but I did so well after my third that I wouldn't do it again -- though I do have a caveat, I did nurse a little immediately postpartum, that eased the hormonal crash. Essentially I nursed during the day (following the feeding with formula if needed) for a month and formula fed at night (and got someone else on duty some nights. The KEY is to get at least 6 hours of uninterruped sleep each night no matter what!
As for the kids getting older -- if you take care of yourself, it's easier to take care of them. The two most important things I do every day are taking my meds in the morning and getting enough sleep every night. If I start to get insomnia, my psych will add Klonopin or Geodon temporarily to knock me down before I get truly manic. I've also taught my kids that sometimes I need peace. I find keeping a very calm house and also getting enough exercise are important too.

Anyway -- I say have more!

Jeff said...

I have just found this blog and am interested because my wife is Bipolar and we would like to have children. It is very interesting to learn about things from people who have been through what we want to go through. We have another friend who is Bipolar and has said that when she was pregnant, without medication, it was the most level, happy and unmanic she had ever felt, and only returned back to being manic after the children were born. She has had two children and both times had the same effect, she said she wishes she was always pregnant it was that good. We were wondering if anyone else had a similar response to pregnancy?

jeff said...

I have just found this blog and am interested because my wife is Bipolar and we would like to have children. It is very interesting to learn about things from people who have been through what we want to go through. We have another friend who is Bipolar and has said that when she was pregnant, without medication, it was the most level, happy and unmanic she had ever felt, and only returned back to being manic after the children were born. She has had two children and both times had the same effect, she said she wishes she was always pregnant it was that good. We were wondering if anyone else had a similar response to pregnancy?

nursingmom said...

Anonymous #2 (re: nursing didn't work as well for you)...I found your comments insightful! I have 3 kiddies, my youngest is almost 6 months and I am still nursing and not getting much sleep. Not currently on any meds, waiting to see psych doctor this week to confirm if this is just PPD or Bipolar too (have past diagnosis, though am somewhat in denial). Reading Brooke Shields book now called Down Came the Rain (about PPD) and relating, though my situation seems to be so much more with anger outbursts/ups and downs...

I find the thing about having a calm house so, so true!! Lately I just can't take the noise level and want to escape the craziness. My tolerance for stimulation seems to have changed---I crave peace and quiet and always get manic when sleep-deprived and over-stimulated & stressed. Anyway, Rachael---please continue this blog. It's so helpful, I am hoping you will soon update on life as a BP mom...

Heather said...

I am really needing some guidance and it looks like this is a good place to start. I have recently been diagnosed with Bipolar and would like to have a baby but feel like I might be being a little selfish in wishing so. My bipolar was more dark "downs" than hypermanias but when I did get "up", I would want to quit my job, leave my husband, move away, etc! It is such a scary place to go back to so I honestly don't think that I could ever go back off my Lamictal again. Does anyone have experience with this particular drug and it's effects during their preganancies? I would love to have some feedback..I read about oral cleft palates and deformations!

Thanks so much :)

jeff said...

Heather,

My partner is also on a similar drug and we too are thinking about having a baby. I don,t have any first hand experience but have been doing loads and loads of research. It seems that these deformities have a low percentage around 2-4% and very minor. In the case of a cleft pallet this can be fixed with surgery at an early stage with minor problems. My biggest concern at the moment is that there appears to be a reduction of the effective drug levels in the blood with higher levels of Estrogen, a similar result has been recorded with the use of oral contraceptives. It has been recorded that in the later stages of pregnancy the effect of the hormones can reduce the drug to a level that is too low to have effect, so effectivly you its like not being on lamictal at all but still with the risk of cleft pallets etc. This then presents the problem, Do you up the dose during pregnancy? and if so how do you manage this? This is a complex issue needing expert medical advice.

On a more personal level at the moment my partner and I are thinking about stopping treatment for pregnancy, but by the sounds of things her Bipolar highs and lows are not as severe as yours. One of the main reasons for this is we have a number of friends that are Bipolar and have had children and say they felt better pregnant and not on any drug than they ever did at any other time.

Very complex decision I would love to hear any more information or thoughts on this too.

Hope this helps a bit and good luck to you.

Rachael said...

I agree that the pregnancy was the easy part. I was actually stable NO highs or lows for 5 years before getting pregnant. It's been the postpartum period that has been much more difficult than I ever imagined.

FirstandGoal said...

I had both of my children before I knew I was bipolar. Before kids it just seemed like I had my ups and downs and just thought that was life. I never told anyone so they never knew how severe those ups and downs were. After both of my children I had a horrible time, but never let anyone know. It wasn't until my son was 10 months old that I finally got the help I needed. While I was pregnant I felt great. No ups and downs I was mentally doing great. It wasn't until after when everything came crashing down around me. It happend after both children but I never got help after I had my oldest, something that I feel guilty about all the time. I think that it is up to the individual as to when you are ready for kids. Of course discussing this with your doctor would probably be a good idea as well.

Heather said...

A follow up to my previous post. I already have three children (a single and twins)which I gave birth to long before I knew about my bipolar disorder. While I was pregnant, I felt extremely elated and like many others, spiraled into a deep depression after delivery. Ironcially I met with my doctor this morning and asked a lot of the questions in regards to getting pregnant and risk to the baby while taking Lamictil and her response was rather suprising. She said that it was fine to stay on the medication during the pregnancy when comparing the risks of being in a very depressed state during your pregnancy. (i.e not eating well, not excercising, stress, etc.) She said that the studies have shown very little chances of defects from using this medication (2-3%)but you can reduce the liklihood by at least stopping use in the first trimester. Considering my other pregnancies were good emotionally for me, I would probably forego the Lamictil in the first three months, see how I am doing, and then decide whether to resume use or not. Hope this info is helpful.

Anonymous said...

I myself am bipolar type I and stayed on 4 meds while pregnant and after and formula has been a true godsend. I can get sleep and get out as I have a support system of dad and grandmas that can do feedings. I also haven't had post partum (yet) and my baby is 5 months. I want to just have one child as I feel I can manage that but my husband wants 2. I wish he would realize my disability and that I have done a heck of a lot but have limits. I feel a for me my disability is about compromises and maintaining low stress. If I didn't have bipolar I'd have 2 kids but I do so one is what I can handle. But I have severe bipolar and some peope can manage more. I just want to keep things under control (as much as possible).

Jesse said...

I have bipolar and have a 18 month old son and a two month old daughter. My first pregnancy was great! I actually believe I now understand what "normal"(without bipolar) people feel. My second pregnancy was terrible. the bipolar went out of control after multiple triggers hit my life, and I had a few other health problems along the way. I went back on meds, seroquel, and things have got much better (except my husband left me 1 month ago)but I am learning that this probally wasn't something I could have changed anyway! I feel like the best decision I ever made was to have them close together, so that I was able to stay on limited amount of meds during pregnancy, and now focus on raising these beautiful kids and staying healthy. I am currently breastfeeding while taking meds and am hoping to continue, without any side effects to my baby.

stephanie said...

I was told I was Bipolar by a few doctors in my life from the age of 14. I was on meds on and off. I was a runaway teen so i didnt have any stability. I was on a mood stabalizer that seemed to work pretty good. I got married after being on the drug for only 6 months or so. I don't remember why but I stopped taking them and then found out a month later that I was Pregnant. While I was pregnant I felt the best I have ever felt in my life. I felt 'normal'. My son is now 2.5 and I am still not on medicaion and i still feel pretty good. I have not once though of killing myself (those thoughts used to consume me) And I haven't done anythng reckless as I used to. At first I thought maybe I have been missdiagnosed. But someone just told me the other day that they know a woman who was bipolar who became totally fine when she had a baby. and then a couple years later it came back worse than before. I wonder if anyone knows of this? I don't want to go back to that place, especially now that I have a family to take care of. Sometimes I am pretty scared.