Gestational Diabetes? Our bittersweet results…

Who am I really? That is a question I ask myself from time to time. I have always thought we are our ancestors, connected by DNA and doomed to reap the same ailments the same personality traits and although I still believe some of this to be true, I now have decided that I am not heading for complete disaster…

I come from a bloodline of unhealthy history and I look back as to when this really started looking bleak for my extended family. My grandparents were hard working Mormons who farmed the dry farms of Idaho. They had 10 children and although my grandmother handled them with stern love, she loved them none the less. She was a fantastic cook and kept her household exceptionally clean. She did not have a lot of time to spend with her children and kept them busy also with chores that needed to be done. She was a screamer and a thrower, so the story’s told…. And the kids knew to hit the hills when the not so loving tone of Mary was coming their way. My grandfather was old school and never really showed love to his children. They were just to “know” he loved them. You never knew how the day was going to go because he did have violent bursts of frustration that was taken out on the entire family. My grandmother walked on egg shells nightly, to see if he was either yelling or whistling on his return home from work. She knew if he was whistling, it was going to be a rather peaceful night. Now I remember none of this, because the memories I have are from when they were already old and meek and even though I had a great relationship with my grandmother, I just remember being told not to make a lot of noise around my grandfather. It made him nervous.

It was not until my aunts and uncles were older that the lack of emotional reassurance really started to show within their daily lives. I do have the “classic” antidepressant family. They all had issues, and I am not sure who started taking the drugs first, but it slowly made its way through the chain. Of course they all thought antidepressants were the cure all, just like the crash diets and diet pills back then was a great way to lose weight. They knew nothing of healthy lifestyles and looked for quick outside fixes for all their inside problems. That was their generation…

No correlation was being made between the use of the antidepressant drugs, which were suppressing their emotional issues and the reason these diseases were manifesting physically. Back in 1991 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a double mastectomy and underwent a series of the most brutal of chemo treatments, literally she was on her death bed. Having no husband and 4 children to care for, at the ages of 18, 16, 10, and 8. She brought on her “A” game and she survived then chalked it up to “just one of those things.”

Time went by and in 2000 she ended up with cancer again only this time it was in her liver…..We found out in April 2000 and she passed away violently in August of 2000. All the while of taking her Prozac faithfully. Shortly thereafter one of my aunts committed suicide… Drug overdose…. Nothing has been the same…

There is a sadness that runs through our entire family, and most are still taking their medications. We are dealing with cancer issues and diabetes, depression and weight problems among many of our family members. At the age of 27, I decided to start taking antidepressants. This was after my mother passed away and the birth of my third baby, Anaid. Being told from my doctor that it’s all genetic, I realized I had a long future ahead of me, which did not seem like it was going to be an easy ride. It started off with a low dose and over time increased gradually. Three years later, I did use 100 mg. of Zoloft daily within my fourth pregnancy with Jakob, and we were extremely lucky that nothing has happened. After some time the doses changed and got stronger and stronger because it would stop working after a while. Eventually I was up to 300 mg. of Effexor XR daily.

Again, almost three years later I was pregnant for the fifth time with Indiana, I took all my tests for pregnancy related issues and it comes back that I had gestational diabetes. Hmmm the only pregnancy with this problem but I thought well, this is nothing new in our family and I was put on a special diet and checked my blood sugar throughout the day. I chalked it up to “just one of those things.” This is one of my biggest regrets, are of those moments… The moment I saw the patterns. I failed to recognize them…

One can tell me all day that taking pharmaceutical drugs are safe and they are helping you to be a healthier person. That they are created with your best interest in mind… And in some life circumstances maybe they are. But all I see now is how these drugs have destroyed much and controlled most parts of mine. With any family you are going to have ups and downs you are going to have arguments between siblings you are not going to agree with nor understand the motives behind certain decisions. My family was full of needing to feel loved and accepted, they were “emotionally needy.” Could this have been healed by addressing those issues with the help from non drug pushing doctors? Along with being a bit more health conscious. Eating right, exercising, taking vitamins, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep? I know they could, and now I am breaking the cycle. Not just for me but for my mother… for my precious Indi… for all of my children… for all of you…

It can be done, and it must be done.

After being on antidepressants for around seven years I am now 24 weeks sober. The reason I wanted to write this article is because I am currently 32 weeks pregnant with my sixth child and have just undergone my second gestational diabetes test which came out negative, again…

Now some can say “It’s just one of those things.” But from doing my research, I know now “It’s not!” It was a bittersweet moment for me to hear those words. “Your glucose levels came back great.” I knew at that moment and it was proof for me that the drugs had in fact caused much harm and had taken the lives of my very precious mother and my very precious daughter Indiana. It’s a strange thing, I just so happened to name my daughter Indiana after my mother, Diana. And here they are fighting together for the same cause…

It only makes sense to me now of how the use of antidepressants are in so many ways, damaging to our mind, bodies and soul. It has taken some real tragedies in my life to figure that out… That lesson for me was learned at a priceless loss. It will take years of reaching out to my family members because so many still are seeing this as “Just one of those things.” In fact it is quite painful for me to not be heard because I have lost so much. I can only do what I can do and if they don’t get it then they don’t.

I have sought out a more natural approach for this pregnancy and in the beginning I searched many local offices and birthing centers for a midwife that could help me through this. One’s response to the question,“ What do you think about the use of antidepressants?“ was, “Oh we love them…”

The same lady in the interview said that “You know if you’re not coping well and you’re getting upset with your husband a lot then we can go ahead and write you another prescription.”

Are you kidding me!?

Another from the birthing center ended up arguing with me on how it’s safe and there is no way to prove that antidepressant use was the reason we lost Indi (that was not a good day) and all the others I have talked to just give me the standard answer of “It is up to the mother, if she feels that she needs them.”

Keep in mind I had stopped taking my medications on top of being pregnant and also emotionally dealing with the loss of my Indi. I was bound and determined to find someone whom could help me cope with all of this…

Unfortunately, I have yet to talk to a midwife (who delivers at a hospital) that completely is against the use of antidepressants in pregnancy. Because this is time sensitive, I settled for a practice who will deliver me at the hospital of my choice. At my last appointment, I left in tears. It was a new midwife, because you never know who you will get. It is whoever is on call…. I explain to her of what happened in our last pregnancy and that I am no longer using my antidepressants. She of course gave us the “I am so sorry for your loss” which I believe to be genuine. But continues to ask “How are you doing” I say, “We have our days” and she then comments “Oh, is there more people in your family with depression?”

What!? She completely over looked the fact that “we have our days” was talking about dealing with our daughter’s death! I guess, I misunderstood her question of that she cared more to ask about how we were dealing without our drugs rather than how we were dealing about the loss of our daughter!

She then goes on to tell me that it is written in our charts that more blood tests need to be run because of our history with Indi. Everything is perfectly normal with this pregnancy and I keep telling them that it was because of the antidepressant use, that we had so many problems before. Even the midwives are not hearing me.

I don’t get it.

I am so sad to see that the medical practice here in Salt Lake City are numb by all the people they see on antidepressants. They seem to merely shake off the dangers. Really, is the risk worth it? Maybe to some people but at least give the others a chance to make a decision by giving them the truth about the dangers. I vow to spread the word… in honor of my mother and baby girl.


7 Responses to “Gestational Diabetes? Our bittersweet results…”

  1. 1 ameryschultz September 5, 2009 at 1:11 am

    I am so glad to hear the Negative results for your GD test. I am not surprised however. After the hundreds of hours of research and wading through the psychobabble the pharmaceutical industry would like us to believe, we now know the truth.

    I wish that I could say that your families “Love Affair” with these drugs was unique, but sadly it is not.

    We, as North American citizens, have been indoctrinated to believe happiness can be achieved through a pill. It has not been science that has fuelled this machine, but the love of the almighty dollar. Doctors, midwives and nurses are not beyond reproach on this issue.

    How many times have we heard the rhetoric of, “We have to weigh the benefits and the risks,” or “Untreated depression can be just as dangerous to your baby.”

    Time and time again, science, real unbiased science has shown the above two statements to be absolute fallacy. Any study author that I have found, that defends the aforementioned statements, has had direct ties to drug company money. Completely untrustworthy.

    As your recent experiences meeting with midwives have shown, the medical community is clearly not getting their information from an unbiased scientific source, but from drug company detail reps and sales tactics as evidenced by the recent $2.3 billion fined handed down to Pfizer, for illegal drug promotion.

    In a perfect world, drug companies would produce and promote drugs, because they care about human wellness. If this were the case diseases such as polio, leprosy and many others could be wiped out in our life times. Sadly, there is no profit to be made there.

    In a perfect world, mothers would be educated that antidepressants are detrimental to the health of their unborn or nursing child. People would be told that antidepressants have only been shown to be more effective than a placebo in the most severely depressed people, and that the laundry list of side effects make these drugs an obsolete treatment for depression.

    This information will never find its way to consumers, at least not from the present day medical community. Some estimate this would remove hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue from the North American medical system alone.

    I must confess, in my world, I was completely ignorant of this information. I always had my hunches, but the medical community was always quick to reassure us that Christiane taking Effexor was the best and completely safe. We trusted them.

    I must confess, even if I had been cognizant of the data, we’ve been programmed to have this “It won’t happen to me” attitude.

    Even to this day we encounter women, that in one breath tell us how heart breaking our story is, but continue in their next breath by saying something like “I took them during my pregnacy, and they really worked for me.”

    Statistics. That’s the word for people like us. We are unfortunate members of that group that is the “Less than 1%” that suffer “death related adverse effects”.

    Well, the word statistics, would indicate that somebody was actually keeping track of this information. Nobody is. However, conservative estimates put the numbers cosiderably higher.

    “Less than 1%” sounds acceptible right. That’s at least what I thought. In North America, there are over 30 million individual people prescribed antidepressants annually, so I will be conservative and use the figure of 30,000,000. Again I will be coservative and say that your chance of dying or causing your childs death is 1/10th of 1%.

    That’s 30,000 people that will die. And that is a gross underestimation. 30,000 people that are told these drugs are “perfectly safe”. Thousands of babies mothers who were told that these drugs didn’t even cross the placenta to their child.

    I wonder how many doctors, nurses, midwives, drug company CEO’s are willing to be included in that not so exclusive group next year.

    Well, unfotunately we are members of the latter group, and that is a fact that we can not change. What we can change is the mindset that people have towards these harmful drugs. Yes it starts with those closest to us, and yes, sometimes it would be just as easy to bash my head in to a wall, but our children’s deaths can not and will not be in vain.

    I’m sorry that I have rambled on, and you don’t have to approve this comment to be posted on your blog. I just want you to know that you are not alone. We know your pain and share your resolve to make a difference.

    Sending all our love.

    Amery and Christiane.

  2. 2 Amy Philo September 5, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    To summarize from the study (I believe it was Kirsch) on antidepressant effectiveness as a function of severity of depression, the small improvement in effectiveness for severely depressed patients was found to be a function of decreased placebo response rather than increased antidepressant response.

  3. 3 Dia October 22, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Blessings! It’s so hard to be in that ‘1%’ that has (or reports!) problems. My heart aches for your losses, & for the family story behind it.
    I am surrounded by people on antidepressants, while personally prefering natural remedies; try to walk that fine line of being supportive, & encouraging looking into options.

    Over on my ‘vale’ blog, I recently wrote about the role of Magnesium in many areas of the body, & the links between deficiency (related to ‘conventional’ farming using phosphate fertalizers!) & many health problems (including depression!)
    Antidepressants don’t correct, & may mask nutritional issues!

    Magnesium is often low in folks with type 1 or II Diabetes, & I would guess that would be true with gestational Diabetes as well.
    Mag. is depleted by many things, inc. stress; after bringing Mag. levels up, one article cautions that people may need to reduce levels of pharmaceuticals (inc anti-depressants) as they will become more effective! (how about trying nutritional therapy first??)
    Low mag. levels are linked with toxemia of pregnancy, which may be the end result of gestational diabetes, so I’d guess on a link there as well.
    It’s one of the most common deficiencies in America, perhaps 80% are low (many women get ~ 1/2 the daily RDA, which is 400. Those taking high amounts of calcium or with chronic problems may need 500-700 mg/day!)

    Blessings on your work with this!

    • 4 Amy Philo February 15, 2010 at 11:11 pm

      I agree with you on the magnesium. However the part about only 1% reporting problems is not really close to accurate. See: Only 1-10% of adverse events get reported even with the astonishing number of reports. To see how often even drug companies admit to problems just read a label for the frequency of certain adverse reactions. Here’s an example of frequent reactions… “4% of patients taking an antidepressant developed suicidal ideation” – that’s just one example. With any adverse event related to pregnancy the frequency is going to be higher than the general population if antidepressants are involved. For example assuming that 1% of people have babies with a heart defect in the general population, it may be 2% or more in antidepressant exposed babies. For other defects and problems it might be even higher. Example – PPHN is 6 times more likely with antidepressants and preterm births are 5 times more likely (as far as we know – it could even be higher for all we know).

  4. 5 genhere March 15, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I just found your story on the Jenny Hatch radio show website (I was linked there for another story completely unrelated). Before anything else, I want to tell you that your Indi is beautiful, I’m so happy that she graced your life with her presence…

    … and I’m so pissed that she was taken from you by your doctor’s ignorance after you specifically asked if you should stop taking the medication!

    I don’t get how any medical professional can be so lax about this medication (not just Effexor – all depression drugs) during pregnancy and lactation. Don’t they ever read the drug inserts? I know they’re in just about every women’s magazine on the market – the two pages of 4-6 point font after the gimmicky photo of a sad rock or a wind-up doll. What does **every single antidepressant** info sheet say?

    “No one knows exactly how or why This Medication Brand works to relieve depression, but it is believed to work by…”

    No one knows? No one knows exactly how it works, but you know for certain that it’s safe for me to take while growing a human inside me or nursing one at my breast. Really? How do you know THAT?

    Again, I am SO, SO very sorry that your beautiful little girl isn’t in your arms today. Thank you for speaking up, speaking out, and not being silenced. I hope that there will be many other little boys and girls in the future who can thank you and others like you for speaking out… because their lives were saved by you.

  1. 1 Gestational Diabetes, Midwifery, Antidepressants & Infant Death « The Bitter Pill Trackback on September 5, 2009 at 5:30 pm
  2. 2 Denial and Ignorance on Antidepressants and Infant Death « BREATH Trackback on September 5, 2009 at 5:58 pm

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