Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Better living through chemistry

I've written in the past about my family's penchant for pharmaceutical solutions to whatever ails you.  On a recent trip to Israel, my mother was delighted by this exchange with a pharmacist (delighted both with the attitude of the pharmacist, which was so quintessentially Israeli, and also with the substance of the discussion):
Mom:  I'm interested in getting some Ambien, some Retin-A, and a few other things.  Do I need a prescription?

Pharmacist:  Yes.

Mom:  What if I don't have one?

Pharmacist:  We'll give it to you anyway.
I tell this little story to provide some context vis-a-vis where I'm coming from, even as a pregnant person.  I have no compunctions about taking medications, even while pregnant, if it will make me more comfortable and the doctor says it's OK for the baby.

I get the sense that pregnant women these days tend to be a little nutso about every little thing they ingest, be it soft cheeses or caffeine or sushi or whatever.  They're all jacked up about natural childbirth and eating super-foods and blah blah blah.  

I think most of this is bullshit.  My philosophy is everything in moderation, and you'll be fine.  I don't smoke or do drugs, but I'll have a sip of Jason's beer or Kathleen's margarita, I'll have a bite of brie, I'll eat sushi if it's from a reputable place, and I'll definitely have my two cups of coffee in the morning.  I have no problem with getting an epidural (obviously) or doing whatever needs to be done to get the baby out safely, whether its by C-section or with suction or whatever.  Just get it done.

My feeling is that my OB is not used to this.  Because every time she suggests something that could be construed as even remotely aggressive or off the natural childbirth path, she tiptoes around the subject as if she's afraid of offending me.

Like early on, when I first started seeing her, she noted that I had a really long and difficult labor with Zeke, mostly because he was so big, and wanted to suggest monitoring the Joey's size late in the pregnancy and possibly inducing if it looked like she was getting too big.  But instead of just saying that, she hemmed and hawed and said, "well, there are things we can do, if you wouldn't be opposed to taking steps know... move the process along...if that's not a problem for you?"

I said, "what, you mean like inducing early?"


And I was all, "yeah, no problem.  Whatever."

She sighed, visibly relieved.  "OK, good.  Because that way we can make sure you're more comfortable and that you don't have such a difficult experience like last time."

"Right,"  I said.  "Plus, if we induce early, the baby will definitely make the October 1 school registration cut-off.  It would suck to have to pay for an extra year of daycare."

She just laughed.  But I was very deliberate in trying to explain that I am the opposite of a natural-childbirth Nazi.  I flat-out told her, "whatever you think is best is fine with me.  I have no problems with drugs, epidurals, a C-section if it's required, whatever.  I trust you.  I just want a healthy baby.  I don't care how I get it out of me."

But I guess it's been a couple of months since we had that conversation, because yesterday, I was in her office for my regular check-up, and mentioned that I had been having a terrible time sleeping.  And that in all likelihood, in addition to the normal discomfort and difficulty sleeping that many women have during pregnancy, my problems were compounded by my history of depression.  I've been feeling fine and off the medication for over a year, but the one symptom I've never truly been able to shake is insomnia.

And the OB said, "now, I don't want you to think I'm trying to be a drug pusher, but would you be opposed to maybe going back on some antidepressants?"  She sort of backed up, as if she was afraid of a negative reaction.

I chuckled at her caution and said, "not at all.  What do you suggest?"

And so we talked about it and decided that I would try Zoloft.

"Do you want something to help you sleep as well?" she asked.

"Sure.  I would love a short-term Ambien prescription, just to get me back on track.  But I thought Ambien wasn't good to take during pregnancy."

"Oh, no, it's fine.  I'll write you a scrip for it.  It's only for 20, but if you want more I'm happy to refill it."


So last night, for the first time in I don't remember how long, I went to sleep and stayed asleep and woke up feeling refreshed.  I don't feel groggy or drugged out, like Tylenol PM or over the counter stuff makes me feel.  I just feel rested.  It's an amazing feeling.


  1. I am soooooo glad you've got it back under control. I just was catching up in these parts and was about to send you the last two pills left in the Tylenol PM bottle (the one you sent me) right back to you...You need a little rest. (Also, get sleep now, because in case you don't rememeber...let me tell you, babies can make you TIRED!!!)

    also, love the "school cut-off" bwhahahahahaha

    yay for the "opposite of natural", too.

    (ACK!!!!!! cannot wait to hear it all in your own voice!)


  2. We're all so psyched for your visit. It was great to talk to you the other day, but it will be better when we can lounge on the sofa and shoot the shit while the babies play on the floor.