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A Pregnant Mom’s Overdose

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Editor’s Note: Casey of Moosh in Indy is beautiful, vibrant, has a darling daughter and an attorney-husband. After talking to her for just two minutes, I felt on top of the world.

So I was surprised to learn that someone so enviable has been at the very bottom of it.

Please join with me in welcoming Casey. She may not be a local mama but her struggles with depression are universal.

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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. My husband 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.

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Comments
  • comment avatar Anna Maria Junus July 31, 2008

    Wow! You know I just finished reading a book “Room for Two”, the true story of the author’s wife who shot herself in the head when she was seven months pregnant.

    I’ve suffered from depression, although I’ve never been suicidal.

    I think it’s sad that depression is lumped in with other mental illnesses in the psych ward. It’s completely different and being put in a psych ward, I would think, would cause the depression to worsen.

  • comment avatar Jdude July 31, 2008

    You are so brave. Thank you for sharing your story. You are helping others through doing it. God bless.

  • comment avatar Suzanne Bastien July 31, 2008

    Thank you so much for your story. It was probably hard to write and to re-live.
    I have been pregnant six times and had those symptoms the last time, though I blame them on my relationship at the time.

    However, this was a wonderful reminder for my daughters who will one day be pregnant, or my son’s wife (when he grows up) and when she gets pregnant!

    Thank you for having the strength to make it through and for writing this for all of us mothers, daughters, sisters, friends out there that have people around us who we need to listen to

    Warm blessings.

  • comment avatar Kalisha July 31, 2008

    I wanted to let you know that your story really touched me. It takes a lot of strength to tell a story like this. Thank you for sharing and continue to be strong.
    All my blessings,
    Kalisha @ Mommy Lounge
    http://mommylounge.wordpress.com

  • comment avatar Jill - GlossyVeneer July 31, 2008

    Casey is so brave for sharing… I just want to give her a hug and thank her for putting this important message into such eloquent words for the world.

  • comment avatar Kimberly July 31, 2008

    That was incredible Amber, thanks so much for sharing that here.

    I experienced severe depression during my pregnancy with Becca, to the point of having some very dark thoughts about how my family would be better off without me. I also experienced post partum depression and was eventually medicated – even though until then, I did not BELIEVE in depression.

    Depression sure as heck believed in me though.

    I don’t know the answers to the questions of why, even though I’m finally coming out of that dark time. I know how mind numbingly scared I am of having to go through it again, and how sometimes I have bad days which have me feeling like I’m teetering on the brink.

    Different women find different ways to combat it. What’s working for me is a healthier diet. There does seem to be some sort of link between diet and depression. There are certain nutrients that our highly processed diets just don’t give us. It’s only a theory, but it’s the best answer I’ve come up with for myself.

  • comment avatar Shannon July 31, 2008

    I have two teenage children, and I have had those same feelings you share, all through their growing up, and mind you still. My children are the reason for my being here now. Depression hurts, and we show it in so many ways, that alot f times nobody would ever guess….. I am a recovering alcoholic and doing better now. Back in touch with family Etc… What would we do if the ones we loved gave up ???? I admire your honesty, and hope you are doing well !!!!

  • comment avatar brandy July 31, 2008

    I went through the same thing when I was pregnant. I was sick the whole 9 months. I only gained 12lbs because everything I ate came up. Many many times I wished I had a miscarriage. I hated being pregnant
    There are a lot of women who don’t have hard pregnancies and just don’t understand.
    Thank you for being brave and sharing your story. It really touched me. Take care, I’m glad someone up there was looking out for you 2.

  • comment avatar Brandy July 31, 2008

    THANK YOU! When I was pregnant, I felt so extremely sick that I had thoughts of terminating the pregnancy…and I REALLY, REALLY wanted a child. We tried for a year and a half before I was able to get pregnant through fertilization treatment. Being pregnant was one of the darkest times of my life due to the sickness. Nobody understood.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s really too bad that our culture isn’t as sensitive to the women nurturing their unborn children and the possible negative effects that process may have on them. Hopefully, your story will help shed light on that issue. Thank you again!

  • comment avatar so grateful to be mormon July 31, 2008

    thanks for sharing this. i understand this far too well. blessings, kathleen

  • comment avatar Richelle F July 31, 2008

    Thanks you for sharing your story.

  • comment avatar sabelmom July 31, 2008

    Thank you for telling your story! I had 3 pregnancy’s like the one you describe. It was awful and I considered terminating the pregnancy all 3 times because I felt so awful (I wouldn’t now trade them for the world) but it was a very dark time for me – multiple hospitalization due to dehydration. I look back now and don’t know how I made it through.

    For anyone who is currently in this situation, please, please please talk to your doctor about medication that might be able to help. There are new and better medications out there to help with the vomiting.

  • comment avatar Belinda July 31, 2008

    This is so brave, so honest, so good of you to share. Having met you at a time when I was sobbing in a heap underneath a staircase at BlogHer ’07, and found you to be full of kindness and compassion and a sense of humor powerful enough to stop tears in their tracks, it’s shocking and humbling to me to learn of this history. I hope I can be the support that my own bipolar 1 husband needs, and that we will always catch the destructive trends before they come to such a pass. Bless your heart.

  • comment avatar katrina July 31, 2008

    i to have had depression but mine was post baby. i was only 17 and had a new baby the dad that did want to be involved and only my mom to help. i suffered like that for 2 years before i got treatment and that is because i didnt notice that i was sad or down. everyone was like why are you not happy you have a health baby. and i had nothing to do with that to tell you the truth i dont know know why i was sad. come to find out after i had my 3rd with my current husband that my ex didnt give me the support that i needed. with my husband he always made me feel love and beautiful. he did everything for me even if it was getting a pickle from 7 11 @ 1am he never complained. he was at every appt with me and he is the best father and husband in the world and i dont know where i would be without him. pregnancy is different for every person so if you dont feel like something is right there is more then one doctor on earth get a 2nd or 3rd opinion

  • comment avatar marla July 31, 2008

    congrats on the courage to tell your story. I had PPD bad after my first son, and it is a hard thing… i wish you all the best

  • comment avatar Sarah July 31, 2008

    This is very touching since I am on my 3rd pregnancy and have always felt that no one is there through them. I feel her pain and hope that all is well. For when the babies are born life becomes so much easier. Thanks that was a great touching story.

  • comment avatar Damselfly July 31, 2008

    Thank you for being brave enough to tell your story. I’m sure someone will benefit from it.

  • comment avatar Brian Stafford, MD August 1, 2008

    Thank you for the courage to share this story.
    Perinatal mental illness is little talked about and, unfortunately, still stigmatized in our society even though it is the most common consequence of becoming pregant.
    To all, encourage women to seek professional help from their Obstetrician, and if their support is not enough please seek psychiatric evaluation and treatment from a specialist in this area.
    Although frightening and impairing, it is highly treatable.
    http://www.kempe.org/ppd

  • comment avatar Laura aka LaLaGirl August 1, 2008

    Wow – what an amazing story – thank you for being brave enough to share it with us! I have no doubt somebody out there needed to read this! http://lalagirl.org

  • comment avatar Aimee Greeblemonkey August 1, 2008

    So proud to share TWO parent blog spaces with you, chica.

    Hugs and kisses.

  • comment avatar Stephanie August 2, 2008

    You have so much courage to share this story! Being pregnant/being a mom can be so lonely. Sharing our stories helps us reach out to each other.
    Thanks.

  • comment avatar Dinah August 2, 2008

    Frankly, I don’t think doctors, nurses, friends, and family do not realize the full extent of the miserableness that pregnancy can bring. Everyone thinks you should happy, happy ,happy to have a baby. Sometimes it is even difficult for husbands or boyfriends to realize the full extent. I was horribly miserable through two pregnancies. I endured it — all I could think of when I was pregnant was just getting through 9 or so months and then I would have a baby to hold and not tote around in my stomach. My sons were 13 months apart — the second time was just about as bad, but I wanted two kids and I was glad to get the pregnancies over all at once. The doctors thought I would need postpartnum help, but I was so happy they were out of my stomach I could not have been happier. Then I had my fallopian tubes tied immediately. I have two wonderful sons — now in their 20’s. I am glad that I went through pregnancies, but I am also glad I didn’t have any more kids.

  • comment avatar smartmama August 3, 2008

    I think we underestimate the affect chronic illness has on people. I have seen it so many times in the hospital- After many miuscarriages and rough stressful pregnancies, I can appreciate there are times it can be tortorous

  • comment avatar Skye August 3, 2008

    I am so jealous you were able to meet Casey! This touched me so much when i read it for the first time. It’s so important for everyone to speak out about depression and know that they’re not alone!

  • comment avatar diana/sunshine August 3, 2008

    thanks for sharing such a personal story. i think God gives us such dark times to learn from and to share with others. i pray that your story is a lifeline to those who may be in the same situation or hurting in some way.

    i agree that many people want help but don’t know how to ask or are ashamed to let people know how much they’re hurting. we all need to keep our eyes, ears, and hearts open to those around us.

  • comment avatar yvonne August 3, 2008

    Amber, thank you so much for sharing this story with all of us. Depression is such a difficult thing. I am sure Casey’s story will help a lot of women, and hopefully will also help each of us to be better listeners.

    I’m so glad she is doing well today.

    I still remember my sisters telling me that morning sickness was just in my head and I wouldn’t throw up if I didn’t think about it. Yeah, right–that’s why I was hospitalized during my 4th pregnancy for 3 months with severe dehydration.

  • comment avatar Brillig August 4, 2008

    Hey, Casey! I did not expect to run into you here! What with you being in Indy and all…

    This is a fantastic post. So, so important to talk about these things. I appreciate the message– that if someone says they need help, HELP THEM. I’m so glad you made it through your nightmare.

  • comment avatar elasticwaistbandlady August 4, 2008

    I frequently get depressed. I’m married to a man that insists that depression is a figment of people’s imagination. Yeah.

    Wow, I’ve never suffered pregnancy-related depression. That was an amazingly frightful story. I’m glad it had a happy ending.

  • comment avatar pisceshanna August 4, 2008

    It makes me sad because society ignores so much of the dark side of pregnancy: feeling trapped, having to give up the person we used to be, loss of sexual identity, confusion/fear about the future, and just expect us all to eat bon bons and smile. Yes, having a baby is amazing and beautiful, but its hard too.
    Thanks for sharing an experience that so many women go through, but are told to keep quiet about.
    http://www.pisceshanna.wordpress.com

  • comment avatar Lauren August 5, 2008

    Thank you for sharing this and for your honesty and courage.

    I had to be hospitalized in a phychiatric hospital after my first baby was born because the post partum depression was so crushing. In some way I understand what it means to have nobody understand.

    Thank you for sharing this. Truly.

  • comment avatar Lauri August 5, 2008

    Wow. I struggle with depression too and had recently crashed. I then got angry and blogged about it..what was I thinking? Anyhow, I was amazed at how kind people were. Thanks for this post Amber. I think alot of people don’t understand. Also having gone through pregnancies exactly like this I totally understand. When I got pregnate with Ethan, I truly didn’t think I could handle it. I had preisthood blessings every time I felt I couldn’t do this…didn’t want to do it. Believe me…I had a lot of them just to get through!
    Please let your friend know next time(if there is a next time) there is a pump that keeps the Zofran gong. It’s a pain to give yourself the shot in the leg to put it in..but it makes the pregnancy a tiny bit better.

  • comment avatar Sarah September 21, 2008

    Your story really said a lot to me. I am a mommy of a 2 year old and 5 month old. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed, I just want to scream! I’ve been having an issue w/ feeling depressed, but haven’t really told anyone about it. Whenever anyone asks me something I try changing the subject or say “I’m tired”. I have been thinking that I should talk to my doctor about it, but I’m not sure. Everyone in my family says that it something you can get over on your own….snap out of. Once I said i was somewhat depressed to a fam member and they said not to dwell in it….I’m being selfish…..it won’t accomplish anything being that way. I’ve never told anyone how I’m really feeling….not just overwhelmed, but very down, my fiance is reluctant to marry me (even tho we’ve already had 2 kids) and I’m still living w/ my Father and Sister,,My parents recently were seperated, and my Mom moved out…She basically cheated on my Dad and wanted to get away from him…..anyways, there is so much more that I could just blab on about… Even as low as I feel, I can’t imagine how you must have felt….once in high school I took 21 aspirin/tylenol.. and never told anyone…kids at school knew, but nobody told a teacher….ne ways..No doctors or fam ever found out. I’ve had thoughts of similar things in the past…and during my last pregnancy, and after reading your story, I think it might be a good idea to start talking to my doctor or someone. You are incredibly blessed to be where you are today! How great a gift that God has given you. Thank you for sharing your story with the world! Every Mother should read that story. I agree, nobody really does understand what women have to go thru….I feel bad saying this, but when i was pregnant, I never got sick…I was one of the lucky ones (Thank God) I never would have been able to handle what you went thru, Although in each of my pregnancies I got sick for a week or so, I could barely move…I was so much achy and tired. I wish women were more appreciated than they are! ANYWAYS….Now that I have babbled from paragraph to book length here…Thank you again, I will now try to reach out b4 I can’t ne more.

    Blessings abounding to you and yours!

  • comment avatar Aimee Greeblemonkey January 6, 2011

    Much love for my friend Casey. Welcome to Colorado. 🙂

  • comment avatar Blair@HeirtoBlair January 7, 2011

    Casey, you are such a strong voice for all of us that know that pain.

    Thank you.

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  • comment avatar Jezabel September 7, 2012

    This story made me tear up. It made me think of all the things I’m going through myself. I am 15 years old, and I am 6 almost 7 months pregnant with a baby girl. The father of my baby ignored me for 6 months, and during those 6 months, I have been in a secret relationship with my ex boyfriend. My ex did mind I was pregnant but, only because he wanted it to be his child. We were going to try being together, until people thought it was his baby and he got tired of telling people it wasn’t. He was hurt because he loves me more than anything and was literally dreaming of becoming the father of my first child. But, since he isn’t, it bothered him a lot. He often fought with his parents because of me, they didn’t approve of him wanting to be with me since I’m pregnant. I am so madly in love with him though, it’s crazy to know I’m 15 and Im in love but honestly, my feelings for him a way too strong to even think about letting us go. Despite our strong feelings though, all the fighting with me and his parents got to him. He told me that he did want to be with me, only he didn’t want the baby. I kept saying how I wasn’t going to force him to be the babys father but, he couldn’t handle it. I’m heart broken and to top it all off, ever since I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wasn’t ready. Even now that i have 3 more months to go, I know I am still NOT ready. I’m afraid of not being able to give my daughter everything because of how I am. I know one day she’ll ask me “where’s my daddy?” and I’ll have to tell her, he was never here. I can’t do this, I rather give her up to a family, a real family, who can give her everything she ever wants. Because I know with me, she won’t be happy and I won’t be happy. I haven’t been happy for months, when I’m alone, I over think and cry. Sometimes, I do self harm. I’m scared of myself, because when I cry really badly, like today, I think about overdosing on just about anything. Enough probably to end my life but, hopefully not enough to end my baby’s life too. I DON’T want to be pregnant, I DON’T want to have these thoughts. This is my cry for help. I NEED help, but no one listens, and the only person who ever did listen, can’t be with me because I’m pregnant. I’m afraid if I don’t get help soon, I’ll do something drastic and end both my life and my baby’s. Thing is, I don’t know where to get help.

  • comment avatar Leilla March 15, 2014

    Wow I never realized how much other people go through the same thing… I’ve been suicidal, I promised my boyfriend I’d atleast wait til I had our daughter. I was going to give her to him and leave this world. But he is also suicidal, he threatens me with it and it’s very overwhelming. I thought about overdosing on Tylenol so I looked it up on Google and found this page. I’m glad you are all strong and still alive, I don’t want this depression to get the best of me. I was always strong, too strong. Every time I break down it gets worse. I don’t want to die but if my boyfriend leaves tonight I’m afraid I will be right behind him :'(

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