I overdosed on prescription medication when I was seven months pregnant.

On purpose.

I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. Pregnancy was (literally) killing me. I hadn’t eaten more than a half cup of food at a sitting in seven months. Ninety percent of what went into my mouth came back out. Every muscle in my body ached from dry heaving. My throat was constantly scratchy from vomiting up bile. Every smell was toxic.

And no one believed that I truly was sick.

One woman told me I was eating the wrong kind of crackers. Other people said I was being over-dramatic. Several people thought I was faking. Cody thought I was a wimp.

I didn’t even know if I wanted a kid all that much, I mentally could not get myself excited about having a baby.

The depression built gradually (I am bipolar). I told myself to go to sleep and I’d feel better in the morning. One morning I didn’t feel better, I felt worse. I called into work, got a glass of water and took well over a dozen pills, plus Zofran and a sleeping pill, so I could fall asleep while it happened and not vomit up all that I had just taken.

Cody found me an hour later.

I don’t remember much of the next 12 hours. I woke up in an ER, monitors and sensors all over my body.

And Cody was sitting by my side. Completely helpless to what his wife had tried to do to his baby.

A social worker came in and told me I would be going to a different hospital for some inpatient monitoring. And that I would be going there by ambulance.

I realized while I was lying on the gurney that I was being buzzed into an area of the hospital I had never been in before. I smelled cigarette smoke.

The only reason to smell cigarette smoke inside a hospital is if the people inside aren’t allowed outside.

That’s when I realized I was in the psych ward.

I was wheeled down a quiet hall to a sterile room. My shoelaces were taken, and I was told to wait for a nurse who would read me the rules.

The rules went something like “if you don’t eat, we have ways of making you eat, if you don’t listen to us we have ways of making you listen.” And then I was told the visiting hours.

Visiting hours. An hour a day. I’d only get to see Cody an hour a day.

Cody was allowed to come in, bring me a few things from home and say goodbye.

And then I was left all alone. Alone except for the nurses that checked in on me every hour.

I wasn’t allowed to sleep with the door closed. A woman woke up screaming in the middle of the night about killing her husband.

I have never been so scared.

I had an OB, an OB nurse, a nutritionist, a psychiatrist, a therapist, a pediatrician a social worker and a perinatologist that checked in on me regularly. I had to go to three group therapy sessions a day and two private sessions a day. There was an arts and crafts hour where doctors took notes on how each patient interacted with each other.

Some patients had deep wounds that were stapled shut and bandaged, others had charcoal stains around their lips. I sat in my room most of the day staring down at the street I used to play on as a kid. Staring at all the people with normal lives, going about completely unaware that I was stuck there up alone.

It was the darkest, most miserable situation I have ever been in.  Humans shouldn’t be treated like that. If I learned nothing else while there for three days I learned that I never want to go back.

I couldn’t tell anyone where I had been, I was ashamed. No one likes a baby killer. Why would I ever admit to being one? But the people who did know finally believed me. Finally believed the hell it was being trapped inside my pregnant body.

I was ashamed of all of this until recently. I made a mistake. I’m human. And the Lord obviously wants to keep the moosh and me here or we would have had toe tags that cold day in September. There’s no logical medical reason why the moosh came out from that perfectly healthy. And for this I am grateful.

I am not ashamed now because I have a message, if someone says they’re not doing so well, please listen. I tried to tell someone that I was not well a week before this happened. They brushed it off as pregnancy hormones and sleepiness. I didn’t want to push, maybe it was just pregnancy after all. But that’s just my point, those who truly need your help will rarely shout for it. They will suffer silently hoping somebody, anybody will notice. Those who are truly hurting will not want to draw attention to themselves.

I didn’t want to be a burden or seen as a complainer. So I tried to figure it all out myself.

And I failed.

But I was blessed through my failure.

Not everyone is so lucky.

I heart moosh snoozes.

Comments

  1. thank you so much for sharing that incredibly painful and intimate moment in your life. you are courageous. when i got pregnant for the first time, i thought it was going to be all teddy bears and rose petals. but it wasn’t. no one told me that and i wasn’t prepared. for the mood swings, the sadness, the crying, the doubt.

  2. I remember when you told me this in Chicago and I didn’t know what to say then so I said nothing. I’m sorry Casey and I’m glad that you and Moosh survived. God was watching over you.

  3. I don’t know anything about pregnancy and I don’t know much about depression. But I do know that the world changes for the better when we tell the truth about our experiences.

    You done good.

    Bless you and your family.

  4. Casey – I had no idea. I’m so very sorry. And so very happy that your sweet Moosh is here and you made it through that horrible pregnancy alright. Love ya, girl.

  5. this is incredible! so glad that you and moosh are safe now! and that you can stand firm as a supporter to the women out there that are suffering, giving them a voice.

  6. what a post, casey. this was so heartbreaking. and a lesson learned the hard way, for sure.
    thank you for sharing your story.
    your strength is inspiring and your perspective well-earned. i’m so sorry you had to live through this.

  7. Thank you for sharing about that crappy, horrible time in your life. It’s good to be reminded that people don’t usually shout for help. I’m glad you and moosh made it through that.

  8. I have been reading for a month or so now. I had to come of of lurking to comment on this one.

    What an amazingly brave woman you are. I am in awe of the strength of character a post like this takes.

    I had severe HE with both of my pregnancies. It is a misery I don’t think can be fully understood unless you have experienced it. I remember at one point, lying face down in the carpet in the hallway outside the bathroom, and telling my husband I wanted to die. I think he thought I was exaggerating. I wasn’t. I don’t know if I was thinking suicide, but I do know I just wanted to be….gone. Just gone. I would have done anything to have it be over. I can only imagine what throwing depression into the mix could cause.
    I’m so glad you and the moosh are here and healthy.
    This is one of the most amazing post I have ever read. No joke.

  9. so glad you’re still here – and so glad you shared the story. You’re awesome.

  10. You are so brave. I tried to commit suicide (due to PPD) when my son was 5 months old. Like you, I had told people I wasn’t doing well, but no one listened. I was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder a few months later and have done much better since.

  11. You are amazing. The moosh and Cody are both luck to have you in their lives.

  12. Oh sweetie. I am so very, very glad that Cody found you and that it wasn’t too late. And I’m so glad you shared this story, even though I’m sure it was hard to write. You’ve probably helped more people than you realize by writing this. Big hugs for you and Moosh.

  13. You are amazing. Thanks, as always, for being brave enough to share this. We ALL need to listen. And to speak up.

  14. Thanks for putting this into words. I never had problems with depression, serious ones anyway, until I was pregnant. Then it didn’t go away and got worse the second time. So my husband and I got fixed and I got help and found out that I’m bipolar. Its so strange and well mostly scary having that diagnosis. Being told all the “standard stuff” they tell to bipolar patients, like warnings about not overdosing with your lithium etc. Knowing you’re fertile myrtle and unable to have more kids. But mostly its knowing that its better you got it diagnosed young, 25, than older because without treatment you just get worse. I’m glad you made it. And I’m glad you had the courage to share the story.

  15. You’re amazingly brave to share this, but I totally understand you reason. If only we would listen more to each other — really listen — and be there for people when they need us.

  16. Wow. You are so blessed, and it makes me so angry the way pregnant women are brushed off. Thank you for telling your story, I’m sure there are many women who need to hear it.

  17. Wow. Thanks for sharing that. Depression is a soul-sucking bitch that many people just refuse to see but depression when you’re pregnant is a whole other ball of wax, something that practically no one wants to address or admit happens. They want you to be this happy, goofy, glowing woman and for a lot of women, that’s just not possible.

    I very nearly tried that, too. I still don’t know what stopped me.

  18. You aren’t alone. No one caught what I was doing to my body while pregnant and thankfully baby came out okay. I’m so very glad you told this story because now I know that I am not alone either. Thank you beyond words.

  19. Having recently worked at a high-risk perinatology office I only saw things from one side. It was so hard to be involved in calling CPS and only know half the story, the side that never really makes any sense. It’s amazing and heartbreakingly hopeful to hear your story. I’m so glad you are both better than fine. Love to you and Moosh.

  20. I’m so sorry you had to go through that, and I am glad that you and your baby are fine, now.

    What strikes me is that in 69 comments, only one person mentioned the medical term for what you had, which was most likely Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I continue to appalled at the level of accurate medical care for women in this country, and the ease with which people, medical and non, BLAME women for their illnesses (like Fibromyalgia and other illnesses that are “typically” or exclusively female). If you had been ACCURATELY diagnosed, you would have been treated appropriately and not told to “suck it up and have a cracker.”

    So, know this: the psych ward was not where you belonged. Yes, you were depressed, yes you tried to commit suicide, and yes, the psych ward would normally be the right course of action. But you were PHYSICALLY ill, and no one treated you. Being forced to eat by Nurse Ratchet was NOT the way for you to get better. YOUR ILLNESS WAS NOT YOUR FAULT. And, just so you know, you are not the first woman to attempt suicide because of this disease.

    Your strength is inspiring.

  21. You are a strong woman. Thanks for sharing this. I am sure there is a “reason” that you are the moosh’s mother.

  22. Goodness girl, you’ve been through a lot.
    People just don’t understand that the guidelines for “morning sickness” don’t apply when you can’t even swallow your own saliva without wretching.

    I actually was desperate enough to consider abortion to stop the vomiting, but it finally got better. I was honest with my kids about it though. Give me childbirth 10 times a day, but pregnancy is a killer.

  23. You’re a brave woman…I’m still ashamed to tell anyone some of the things I ‘almost’ did or wanted to do to my sweet baby 3yrs ago when I had bad PPD…..
    Depression really does change you. you can’t think straight…you can’t act sanely….
    I never had the bad pregnancies…I have the bad POST PARDUM PERIOD…it takes A LOT to keep myself from jumping off a bridge….but you’re right..people dont’ understand and no one really knows how serious it is…they just don’t get it…
    Bless you for sharing this….

  24. Last night, I put my daughter in the children’s psych ward. She asked for help and is not getting it. I don’t think it was an accident that Stumble Upon led me to your site today.

  25. Wow…is all I can say. You are very lucky. I had a girlfriend who was pregnant and both times was extremely sick, so the extend that you explained yourself. Finally she went to talk to the doctor about it and he admitted her telling her doubtful husband and mother that this could be fatal. No one believed her and brushed it off, until she finally sought the help herself.

  26. My heart goes out to you and to your family. My wife went into the psyche ward (self admitted, thankfully) when she was about four months pregnant with our first child. It’s traumatic not just for you, but your family as well. I can tell you that I felt like I was halfway to the psyche ward myself while my wife stayed there. Coming home after work to an empty house after having my wife welcome me home for so long was a sad thing to endure. I don’t think either of us slept a wink while she was in. I can only imagine how my wife felt. I’m kinda rambling now. Please, do me a favor and tell your husband that he is a brave and courageous fellow. Also, if you ever start to think that the people in your life would just not notice if you were gone, take it from me that they would notice!

  27. I recently lost a friend, her ten month old, and her unborn baby to what may be suicide. We may never know; my rural area doesn’t have the equipment or manpower to make the call. I wish I had seen a sign. All I can do now is watch other friends more carefully during the difficult season that is new motherhood. Please keep telling your story, this illusion of perfection perpetuated by media is killing people and breaking the hearts of those left behind.

    Heather’s last blog post..Bread Making and the Stand Mixer

  28. Thank you for sharing. Beautiful in its honesty.

  29. I some how doubt you will ever realize the number of people you helped with this post but trust me the number is high.

  30. I almost had a nervous breakdown near the end of my pregnancy for many reasons.I give u total kudos for putting this out there-you are so much stronger than you ever thought-or maybe you already know that!

  31. I had a major depressive episode when I was 8 weeks pregnant. Its a hell that you can only understand if you have been there. I’m so happy that you found your way out and everything turned out okay in the end. You are a very strong person.

  32. *Sigh* This is why it is SO important that womyn not only continue to have access to abortion services, but that said services are kept culturally available as well. That is, no one should feel that they have to continue to endure this type of a situation because the alternative of helping themselves is somehow “wrong” or even equivalent to murder. Or worse, be pushed to try to take care of it themselves, as in your situation.

    I am so sorry that you had to go through this… and I am glad that you’re here and happy now. Both of you.

  33. wow when i read this it sounded exactly like me. excpet the pregnant part. im a guy so i dont 100% understand what you went through but for the phych ward i do. I am so scared of pych wards its not even funny. But on the other hand im glad taht i went and if i can say this im glad you went to. when i got out after exactly 38 hours i felt blessed with information that many would not understand. I felt like i could relate to people going through a hard time and empathise with them. and when i read this it seemed like you brought somthing valuable bacik from your experiance. because of my experiance with clinical depression and anxiety i have chosen to become a psych nurse. Its amazing how many people will open up when they realize taht you have gone through somthing hard in your life to. I hope you are happy as well as your family. Btw i think you look pretty.

  34. Thanks for sharing this… I like to think that by posting this and telling all of us random readers, that you have felt a little bit of a weight lifted off your shoulders. Sometimes its hard for people to talk about experiences like this, and its great to see that you have overcome that hurdle. Kudos!

    oh and btw… not sure why you call your daughter The Moosh, but I myself call my daughter moosh or mooshie all the time, so I thought that was kinda funny :)

  35. You are the awesome. I was never brave enough (until recently) to even tell close friends and family about that dark night when I swallowed a full new bottle of sleeping pills when I was three and a half months pregnant. You have written it here for the world to see in your blog and I tell you, even though it was a sad experience, it’s good to know that I wasn’t the only one. Today I am healthy and happy mama to one kick ass five year old but what happens to the mamas that succeed in ending their lives? I hope that any mama who does think about doing anything destructive to themselves get to read your post. They have to know they are not alone.

  36. I am surprised that many mothers (and doctors) don’t have compassion for how much a woman goes through – physically and emotionally when she is pregnant. Before I had my daughter I had no idea. Now a lot things don’t surprise me. I don’t think that killing your baby is right by any means BUT I do feel for a mother who feels that this is the only place she can turn to. It is hard to say out loud that you hate your baby for what it is doing to you – but that is what needs to happen and there needs to be more understanding and less mental wards so things like this don’t happen to good people. I wish more women could reach out and have someone there for them – to understand and not judge!!

  37. yeah….i’m so tired of breathing….sorry for your suffering…its the only divinity i know…

  38. I am currently 7 months pregnant and also battled with hyperemesis. This was a very touching story to come across.

    Thank heavens you & the baby are just fine.

  39. Jenniffer says:

    I can’t say that this was an easy blog for me to read. My sis who is a blogee read this and said I needed to as well. I feel like I have just had a moment of all the fears pains humiliation and absolute fear I went through as well. This isnt something I ever talk about with anyone and and impressed with your bravery. I was just a girl that had a rough growing up. I too have had to be fighting depression for years and it comes and goes like it is constantly haunting my existance. I fell into the same, overdosing and having a husband and family around me in a hospital, taken to another hospital for four days. Every bit of pride lost and already in the pits. haha I laughed when you talked about your shoes laces being taken. I had that too. any bra with underwire…. gads… so many things. I can’t even go near the street still without having a panic attack from fear of going back. I know that there is also so much to deal with afterwards, so many ups and downs and being scared. I’m so impressed with you and all the work you have done. Congrats, you and your daughter and beautiful people! Dang the lds world for being a bit close minded at times and yay for you for standing out and being an amazing example of an individual and stong.

  40. I am in awe of your beautiful, raw honesty. Thank you for such a wonderful post – Moosh is a lucky little girl to have you for her mom.

    mommypie’s last blog post..Four is Officially Kicking My Ass

  41. So so many people I know have these experiences either while pregnant or postpartum and I think – if it’s this common, what can we DO about it? What can we do or say to make a difference, to help other women so it doesn’t have to be like this privately, for so many people?

    Adria Sha’s last blog post..I could cry.

  42. It’s so interesting to me that in that kind of situation, they leave you ALONE in your room for hours on end. As if that’s what we need when we are losing it. What we need most is someone telling us they love us regardless of what we did to get there and that they will love us no matter what.

    Reese’s last blog post..T-6 Days and Counting…

  43. I think you’re so strong and it’s wonderful how honest you are in this blog. Sometimes people can’t find the strength and words to get someone to notice or care. I hope this helps somebody else!

  44. such an incredibly moving post. i’m so glad things turned out as they did for you, and that you had the courage to share your experience.

  45. Wow. I’m so sorry you had to go through this! I did not like being pregnant one bit — was nauseated and exhausted most of the time. And the sleep deprivation after my baby was born made me psychotic — I didn’t quit my meds for pregnancy or breastfeeding, but was never told that sleep deprivation can bring back the worst version of your depression despite the meds. But I didn’t even know hyperemesis existed. I’m sure you’ll save some life with this post.

  46. I’m not doing so well. I’m pregnant and due in 5 and 1/2 weeks. I’m also bipolar. It is so strange that I happened upon this post right now. My husband has taken our two year old outside for a while so I have some time to myself. Time to clean the kitchen and take a shower…you know, relax. ****. I don’t know if I can do this. I just started taking a new medication last week and at first it was helping but last night I went to sleep crying (again) and woke up crying (again) and today it just hurts. Tonight my husband leaves on a business trip for 4 days. Next week he’s gone for 5. This isn’t pregnancy hormones. This is pain. Thanks for sharing your story. It helps to know that there are other people out there who feel like I do, even if I don’t know who they are.

  47. The only reason I made it through my constant pregnancy nausea was the fact that I was able to spend nearly 24/7 in bed until week 14, when I felt better. I’m now pregnant again, and the only thing that kept me going was the knowledge that it would be over soon. I’m now at week 15, and not a goddamn moment too soon.

    I don’t know what I would have done had I felt a awful the entire pregnancy. I’m so sorry you did.

  48. Hello, I heard you read this at Community Keynote on Friday, and I just wanted to let you know how deeply it touched me. This was a beautiful post, and I’m so happy that you made it through this.

  49. Heard you on Friday – you blew me away. This is an amazing and painful post.

    magpies last blog post..Leaving, On A Jet Plane

  50. Thanks so much for sharing this post with us at Blogher.

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