Being a mum with bipolar

Archive for January, 2014

Looking Back


First picture of me and the girls together (I hate my picture being taken!!)


Its the twins birthday today, cannot believe they are 2!!! Time sure has flown but then we have hardly had time to sit around with these two, they have kept us on our toes since day 1. As its their birthday I have been thinking a lot about their birth and the last 2 years, realizing I have never really told anyone the full story as it had always been too hard and figured people wouldn’t want to hear, but as you lot get to choose whether to read this or not I will let you make your own minds up lol.


As big as I got, this was taken at 29+2 weeks

It all started 2 weeks before I was dues to start college, I had organized childcare for the older 2, got supplies and was ready to go, then the sever tummy pains started. I went to the Dr thinking is was my I.B.S playing up and I needed some new meds. When the Dr examined me she looked very worried and ask me to take a pregnancy test, I laughed at first as Tom and I had been careful as we didn’t want anymore children right now, I humored her and took the test, which came out negative, she felt my tummy again and asked me to sit down. She explained that she thinks I am having an ectopic pregnancy and it is quite advanced meaning I will probably need surgery. She rang the early pregnancy unit and got me an appointment there and then, told me to call Tom, get him to pack me a bag and meet me at the surgery as she didn’t want me leaving, I was terrified. We got to the early pregnancy unit and a nurse examined me which caused so much pain as she was pushing quite hard and then got the Dr straight away, he also examined me and look worried, he told us the same thing the G.P said but he wanted to do a quick scan just to see what was happening. The sonographer took what seemed like a life time to check and then she turned to Tom and said ‘what do you see?’ He looked at the screen then looked at me, I thought it was bad, it must be, he has gone pale. She then turned the screen to me, I looked 5 times then she nodded, I had seen right, it was 2 perfectly healthy babies! I was 10weeks 2days with twins and had no idea!! The Dr explained I had a really bad urine infection which they think had tampered with the pregnancy test hence the wrong result. So in 3 hours I had gone from facing surgery and possibly not having children anymore to being pregnant with twins and embarrassingly enough all I could say was ‘my house isn’t big enough I only have 2 bedrooms!’

Fast forward to just after Xmas, I had a good pregnancy, no scares, wasn’t too huge, managing OK until the first school run of the new year. I was walking home when the pains started, I thought it was due to not having done much exercise over Xmas so I promised myself a rest when I got home. Got home made a brew and watched Jeremy Kyle all the pains were gone. Got up to do something only to find I had wet myself, annoyed I went to change but the more I walked the more it kept coming, I knew exactly what it was and then the pain kicked in again. I am only 29 weeks how can this be happening, its too early? I called Tom, my mum and the hospital and off I went. I was taken into a side room and examined, at first it was just the usual type and then next thing I noticed the Dr had a torch on her head and was really looking, now I was really worried, to need that she must have found something. She explained twin 1s waters had gone, I was 4cm dilated, in labour and twin 1 was footling breech and being so small her feet could fit through my cervix already. They gave me steroids and muscles relaxants as well as a drip as I was dehydrated and it can help build the babies waters back up if the hole in the amniotic sac repaired itself. It was the scariest 48 hours of my life, I wasn’t ready and they weren’t ready, I knew nothing about premature babies but I knew this early was not good. I was watched closely during the night  as my heart rate was so high the monitors kept alarming as I was tacycardic and they couldn’t tell it apart from the twins. The Dr examined me and said that my cervix had closed and twin 1 had moved to being breech so we could go home, I had to drink lots of water and eat lots of protein to try and build twin 1s water back up. Exactly a week later I wake up to a soaked bed, exactly what I feared, twins 2s waters had gone now as well, we rang the hospital but was told as I wasn’t in labour I didn’t need to go in and just stick to the weekly consultant appointments. 2 days later I have bad back ache I put it down to not being allowed to move unless I was going to the loo or bed. Wrong!! I woke in the morning wanting to push, I walked round and no contractions but had the overwhelming urge to push, I stopped myself and went to grab a drink, as I sat down the biggest contraction ever hit me, I was in labour again and it was laying or standing easing the contractions to nothing more than an ache but when I sat it was agony. We got to the hospital and was taken to a delivery suite and hooked up to the monitors and just like home as soon as I laid down it all eased up, the contractions didn’t show on the monitor and my tummy wasn’t going hard so the Dr scanned me and just as we suspected neither baby had any water around them except a tiny pocket on the top of twin 2s head (which comes in handy later). The Dr said the pain is probably because their is not much of a cushion between me and the babies so it is causing me pain (turned out I did gain 2 cracked ribs at some point) so he said if nothing happened by 5.30 I could go. At 1ish the midwife gave me some pethidine telling me it would relax me so I could get some sleep as I looked shattered, I reluctantly took it (wanted a drug free labour and birth) and started to doze. Tom went for a coffee and to ring everyone to tell them it was another false alarm. Half an hour went by and just before he walked back in I felt a pop, it now felt like I had a bubble sat in my cervix, it was a weird feeling but I knew it wasn’t right, I tried grabbing the buzzer but it was too far away and I wasn’t allowed to move because of the pethidine, I had just opened my mouth to shout when he walked in. I explained it to him and he laughed, saying it was probably the last of the waters welling in my birth canal and as soon as I stand up it would go but he called the midwife. She examined me then peered up and looked at me. Uh oh what was it? I started to well up and looked at Tom. The midwife informed me the bubble was actually Twin 1s bum moving through my cervix and that there is no stopping it now, the babies are coming today, then shot off to get the Dr. I looked at Tom and started to cry, I am only 30+3 weeks its too soon, they will be small and poorly, there must be something they can do to keep them in surely? I always thought babies had to be born after your waters had gone but I was wrong about that so perhaps the midwife was wrong about them coming today. Tom calmed me down and told me he knew I could do this and we had to be strong for the babies, the more I stressed, the more they stressed, so I wiped away the tears and put my fighting face on, I could do this I could be brave for them. The Dr came in and told me that whilst the babies were nice and calm due to their positions I had to have a section. I broke down, I am terrified of being numbed and of surgery. I was shaking and having a panic attack but I agreed. I signed the forms, put the stockings on and took the pre-meds. I was still terrified and everyone could see it. Then out of the blue the Dr said he would let me try naturally as I had had 2 previous text book births but only on the understanding that the minute something didn’t look right I would go and have section, he said he wouldn’t give me an epidural so if I needed a section I would have to be knocked out. I was relieved, even if it was too soon and the babies were in the wrong positions I was still able to have the birth I wanted. The midwife told me the pethidine would be wearing off but as it stated in my plan I didn’t want any drugs she would stick to that but if I wanted more I only had to ask. I was wheeled up to the surgical delivery suite and it was tiny compared to the room I was just in. There was me on a bed, Tom, 2 midwives, a Dr and a scanning machine and it was cramped already. I asked if I could push yet but the midwife needed to sort my drip out ready for when twin 1 was born (its something that keeps the contractions going so I could deliver twin 2) and we needed to wait for the NICU team. I didn’t really take it in all I could feel was the urge to push again. I was on my back and now I couldn’t even feel the contraction. The midwife kept asking how the pain was and I kept telling her there was none but apparently the monitor said different. The NICU team arrived with incubators and re-suss trolleys. There was a Dr and 3 nurses and we were all cramped in this time room. Looking round it suddenly hit me, my babies are gonna be tiny and poorly and I’m not going to be able to help them, they are going have to rely on these people not me to make them better. I didn’t know what to expect when they arrived, would they be breathing, what would they look like, would they cry, could they even cry yet? I was allowed to push as was the NICU team was ready, with one push twins 1s bum arrived, the Dr then made me stop as he needed to check using a scan there were no cords wrapped round the babies neck, once I was given the OK, I pushed again, it was a bizarre feeling, I had given birth twice before and delivering a baby never felt like that and then I heard the most piercing scream, I looked round then realized, it was my baby! She was actually crying!! She was held up briefly for me to see then passed to the NICU Dr whom then sorted her out, the Dr spoke to Tom but meanwhile I was delivering something else, quickly scanning me the Dr realized it was only her placenta. Whilst scanning me the Dr had seen Twin 2 was still laying transverse (sideways) tucked under my ribs and he said judging by her heart rate she was sleeping. After all that had just happened, she was sound asleep!! He said he would try to externally turn her and explained what it was. He was basically going to push my tummy around until she turned the right way. He was really pulling on my belly and digging his hands in then all of a sudden I got that feeling you get when you go over a bump in the car, it was her turning and she was now head down and the midwife told me to get ready to push. I had a few contractions but she wasn’t budging, she was comfy and wasn’t going anywhere. 30 mins had passed and the Dr told if she didn’t come soon he would have to take me for a section, I really didn’t want that so asked if there was anything else he could do, he said he could try a manual extraction but didn’t know if it would work so I said give it a try. OMG it was the worst pain I had ever felt in my life!! I didn’t quite realize what he ment but what he did mean was trying to pull the baby out by hand!! I was in agony and I kept asking him to stop but he wouldn’t, I could even see his hand on the scan!! After a few minutes of me begging him to stop, Tom threatened to punch him if he didn’t stop as this was traumatic enough for me without him ignoring me asking him to stop. The Dr apologized and said there was one more thing he could try and if it didn’t work it would have to be a section as it had been nearly an hour. He got one of the tools they use to break your waters (little hook thing) and ‘broke’ the little pocket of water that was left on top of baby’s head, as he pulled his hand away, she followed but unlike Hollie she didn’t cry and she didn’t look right, he handed her over to the NICU Dr who began working on her. He said she was having trouble breathing so was giving her some oxygen to try and help her. The Dr called my attention back to him so I could deliver the placenta. When I had done that they started wheeling Hollie away, I caught a quick glimpse of her but she was all covered up in the incubator and all I could see was her hand and I couldn’t believe how tiny it was. They wheeled me down to the ward whilst the NICU Dr stayed in the room getting Georgia stabilized before moving her, he promised as I left that if there was any news we would be told straight away if not when we got to the NICU he would have a chat and tell us what was going on.

I got back to the ward and got up, showered and dressed straight away, the midwives hadn’t even had chance to make my tea and toast they had offered in the time it took me to do all that, I wasn’t hanging about, as soon as I was allowed, I was going to the NICU to see my girls. I walked over to the bed to sort my stuff out only for my trousers to fall down. I was in the maternity trousers I wore to the hospital as I hadn’t brought a hospital bag as I hadn’t even packed one and certainly wasn’t expecting to have the babies today, I was still in shock it had happened. It was a weird feeling because I was happy, sad, angry and scared all in one go. My babies had arrived, I had the birth I had wanted and planned but it was 10 weeks early so my babies were poorly and up until 10 days ago there was no sign that this was even a possibility. Tom made some phones calls and let people know only for him to get the same question, what did they weigh? Then it dawned on me as it wasn’t a ‘normal’ birth they didn’t weigh them so we had no idea. I went off and asked the midwives when they weigh premature babies and they said they would ring as down as they normally do it when the baby is admitted. I heard her on the phone and heard the weights, I was speechless, thought it must have heard wrong so waited until she was off the phone, I did hear right. Hollie was 2lb 15oz and Georgia was 3lb 1oz. That was so tiny, up until then Skie was my smallest at 5lb 12oz and everyone commented then about how tiny she was and she had to wear prem clothes for the first month! I was checked by the midwife and given the all clear to go to the ward. I couldn’t move quick enough!!!

The rest of the girls NICU journey I have described in a previous post, I don’t want to go over it again today I want to remember the happiest times, not the time full of worry and uncertainty but 2 years on I can’t believe how much they have changed and grown. That day I could’ve never have pictured spending their 2nd birthday, dancing with them to Disney songs, listening to them singing each other happy birthday and watching them play together. Every time I look at my girls it reminds me that no matter how small you are you have the capability to fight, that no matter who you are you can overcome something even when the odds count against you and it is possible to move on and be healthy, happy and love life. The girls and their journey have taught me to appreciate the little things and to make the most of everything. When I am down I look at them and ask myself what do I have to be sad about, why aren’t I making the most of things, I am very lucky things have turned out the way they have and to sit their in self pity is just ungrateful and selfish and most of the time it jolts me back to real world. I am very lucky and privileged to be blessed with 4 happy healthy children and sometimes I need to remind myself of that and looking at the all of the kids but especially the twins and remembering their journey does just that.


The girls first picture together at a week old (Hollie on the left, Georgia on the right)



Hollies first day in clothes at 3 weeks old




Georgias first day in clothes at 3 weeks old


First picture of all 4 of my beautiful babies


First Christmas (they were poorly and were admitted to hospital in the new year)


On their first birthday, Hollie was discharged from hospital the day before (Hollie on the left, Georgia on the right)


Today on their 2nd birthday!!!!!





A lot of people have asked me how I was diagnosed and how I felt about it. Well the truth is I don’t remember it very well, I can remember I was not in a good place at all when it happened and I had no choice in going to the doctors.

Tom and me had been together about 6 years and Skie was 4 and Jack was about 2. We had already had lots of ups and downs, we had split shortly before each of the kids were born and both were a result of us getting back together (no they weren’t planned but we didn’t regret them either) so things changed a lot especially with Skie which I suppose was when the signs really started to appear but when she was born I was diagnosed with post natal depression, given anti depressants and sent on my way with a repeat perscription. We thought things would get back to normal, we knew P.N.D was common especially in young first time mums so I wasn’t overly bothered about it, I just wanted to get back to being me but just the opposite happened. I have never really lost my temper or screamed and shouted at people or been violent, in fact I am the opposite, confrontation terrifies me so i do everything to avoid it. If I think someone is likely to argue or shout at me I avoid them which is why I don’t go out but I started to get increasingly angry with Tom. I blamed him for everything that had happened; moving out of my parents, not having money, having to leave me job to stay with Skie and even trivial things like me loosing something or something breaking. I become hostile and hateful but only towards him so everything other people did that upset me I would take out on him, the drs say its because I feel safe enough round him to let him see it and behave like it but that is no excuse. I remember one incident just before he made me go to the doctors which I think tipped it for him. It was late and me and him hadn’t eaten so he decided to go to the kebab, I remember getting in a grump cos I didn’t really fancy it but it was all that was open. When he got back I didn’t talk much even though he was being polite, had offered to make me a cup of tea to have with my dinner etc and I just sat there unresponsive. He gave me my drink and food, I opened up the carton and flipped out. I had asked for no onions and there were onions on it, wasn’t Toms fault as he did tell them but they didn’t do it. I was screaming at him about how useless he was and how he couldn’t get anything right and when he didn’t react I lost it even more and threw my cup of tea at him. Yes I threw a cup of tea at him that was only made 10/15 minutes before, to which, he did start shouting at me calling me an idiot etc. It was during this rant he said something that hit me like a house falling on me ‘who are you, where’s the Anne I fell in love with gone?’ I stood there staring then just collapsed in a pile of kebab that had fallen on the floor when I kicked off and sobbed uncontrollably. Tom sat down next to me (still covered in Tea) and suggested I go to the doctors again and ask for new tablets as these had made me worse and I was becoming unbearable to live with. He told me that one day I would be fine, house was spotless, I was full of life and pleased to see him when he got home then out the blue the next day I would spend the day in my pj’s and stare at him like I hated him. He said it couldn’t go on and for the sake of him and the kids I needed to get help. We spent the night talking and I was listening to him explaining and describing what i was like to live with. At first I tried blaming him, that he didn’t help enough, spent too much and earnt to little but the bank statements showing what money had been spent on told a different story. I didn’t even remember spending most of it or some of the arguments he described but I do remember we argued but that was it, no details, no conversations afterwards, there is just this blank space where they should be. I agreed to see the doctor the next day.

I don’t remember the entire conversation with the doctor but I remember filling out another depression questionnaire and the doctor asking me to explain what I remember of good days and how long they would last. After I finished talking he told me he suspected I actually have bipolar disorder and he thought that the anti depressants had increased my rate of cycling so it was becoming more aparant to other people, but to be sure he wanted to send me for an evaluation with the mental health team and also stopped my anti depressants.

There was a big of a gap between the doctors and the evaluation due to waiting times but things did get better, my moods weren’t changing as often and wouldn’t last as long but they were still just as extreme. Tom would try and tell me when I was in a bad mood but I would just fly off at him so in the end we were barely speaking and if I was in a bad mood or depressed Tom would do everything I was ment to do, put the kids to bed then go out. Looking back I don’t blame him. I was so full of hatrid and anger. I was so angry that I was left like this for so long and nobody had noticed including me for so long. I saw a doctor regularly for other things, how did they not pick up on it? I was also scared. The only time I had ever heard of bipolar was on eastenders and that women was going through hell, was that going to happen to me? Would everyone think I was the local looney that everyone has a funny nickname for and laughs at? I hadn’t told anyone about what the doctors thought, I was scared of being an outcast and noone wanting to know me. This is when I first noticed the paranoia and little did I know it would get worse before it got better and yet again Tom got the brunt of it.

I went to my evaluation and the doctor agreed I did indeed have bipolar disorder and recommended some different treatment to help stabilise my moods and stop me getting so depressed when I do go down hill. She tried explaining that once I took the meds that I could live a normal life, I just had to be aware of triggers. If I knew something or someone is likely to trigger either depression or mania to stay away or remove myself from the situation (tad hard to run out of a crowded playground when waiting to pick ur kids up though). I felt such a mix of emotions, I relieved it wasn’t really me saying and doing all those things and hopeful as the doctor said things would get better but was petrified about the future. Would the meds stop working after a while? What if something really bad happens and it tips me over the edge? What if Tom splits with me or no one wants to know me? What about the kids, have I passed it on to them? I spoke it all through with Tom and he reassured me he wasn’t going anywhere and would stand by me whatever happened and that my family would stand by me no matter what and if friends didn’t then they weren’t really friends. I started taking the meds and things got better, we argued less, I felt more ‘human’ and I started to be more aware of my moods, I know if things are getting to me more than usual, I am about to go down so I warn Tom and if I’m unusally energetic or starting to have big ideas and plans I am becoming manic so Tom takes the bank cards away (and after a half painted bedroom in red and purple, now hides the decorating stuff too lol).

It has by no means gone away and it taken me a long time to be able to say confidently ‘I am bipolar and proud’ but I can and we deal with each day as it comes. I am not perfect and still go overboard in arguements, say mean things and on the odd occassion shoved or tried to hurt Tom but when that happens we both realise thats the time for a trip to the doctor and a med shake up and things ease up.

Living with me isn’t easy and I don’t know how anyone does it because I don’t know if I could but I suppose it just proves that what Tom said about people sticking by me was true, people have been very accepting of it and I don’t think I actually lost a single person out my life because of it and I know I have been lucky in that respect and none of them know just how truly grateful I am for them sticking around xxxxxxx