Pregnancy, Prozac, and Prenatal mama trauma.
I have to start this chapter out with a very brief history of my relationship with Prozac. No one wants to rely on medication to feel normal but trial and error showed that going without my medicine wasn’t an option. I remember being in the last trimester of my second pregnancy in a dysfunctional marriage that didn’t need the added hormones of a pregnancy to escalate things. My then husband wasn’t very emotionally attentive and in an escalated cry out for love I threw knives at the kitchen wall beside him screaming, never paying attention to the cheese knife that bounced into the living room. He finally left me, crying in a fit, and went for a walk. I ran through the living room to lock the front door so he couldn’t come back and tripped over the cheese knife which sliced open my big toe.
My medication has been pretty steady since that day; through the birth of a third child and a divorce, all the way up until today. Going off of my medication was not an option during pregnancy. So, I’ve taken it faithfully: Up until I was 35.5 weeks pregnant!
It was a Monday, late in March, and I only had a few of my Prozac pills left. The bottle said “1 refill” so I wasn’t concerned that I had received a letter informing me that my insurance would be cancelled April 1st. I had time to get a refill and plenty of time to figure something out by the next month. On Wednesday, I called in my refill and realized the bottle I was using was from a few months ago and I had zero refills remaining. I almost panicked because I knew my midwife wasn’t licensed to write prescriptions; but I remembered that my primary “Dr” could write prescriptions and I hadn’t seen her in a while so it seemed like my best option. So I made my appointment for five o’clock that night so I could take a nap, pregnancy was tiring.
I had barely walked into the door and signed in at the front desk before being informed I could not be seen. My “Dr” was in fact a nurse practitioner who could not treat pregnant women and so she would not be able to write me a prescription. At this point, I
To my surprise, as I walked in the door, I’m told that my PCP is “just” a Nurse Practitioner who cannot write prescriptions for pregnant women. I ask if there are other options, and I mention the ER or the Urgent Care. No one can do much more than offers apologies and shoulder shrugs. I left feeling discouraged about the future. My baby was due in a few weeks and I had experienced the baby blues before. I couldn’t go down that road again because I couldn’t get my medication. The OBGYN I had abandoned 8 weeks earlier seemed like my only option, but it was after five o’clock and I’d have to wait until the next day, the last day of the month and the last day of my insurance.
The next morning, at eight a.m. I called into Dr. Finazzo’s office (My previous OBGYN of 8 years) because he had been writing me prescriptions periodically for years. The lady at reception gave my message to the nurse and told me I would get a call back. I figured it wouldn’t take too long since I called them right as they opened. Hours went by. Meanwhile, I took my kids to a museum and received a phone call from the Karmanos OBGYN’s office I had endured for the previous few weeks before switching to a midwife. Apparently I had missed an appointment I had never made as the last time I was there the computers were down. How could they schedule me and not call me and let me know….. It didn’t matter at this point, I had chosen a midwife and had already had a few lovely appointments with them and informed the nurse that I had decided on a homebirth. A few minutes later the OBGYN, herself, called me. That was the first time an OBGYN has ever contacted me first hand to discuss my care and me not be in labor. She insisted that homebirth wasn’t safe and urged me that I should have discussed it with her first. She also seemed to think I could have had the birth that I wanted in the “safety” of a hospital despite her obvious lack of faith in the birthing process itself. I quickly ended the call, ready to move on.
Time was passing by fast and by 2:30 I hadn’t receive a phone call from Dr. Finazzo. So I called the office back only to be disappointed again. According to the receptionist I had not seen Dr. Finazzo “on record” since I took the pregnancy test in September despite having had two ultrasounds and at least 3 office visits since September. The woman in reception, whom I was sure was the sweet, mousy voiced lady I had always loved, didn’t seem to care. There was a tone in her voice I had never heard before. A sort of disgust. My Dr. was not there and no other Dr. in the practice would write a prescription if I wasn’t a consistent patient. I felt completely abandoned and none of these medical professionals could even offer advice on what to do next. “So what am I supposed to do? Should I go to Urgent Care, the ER? I can’t go without my mental health medication.” I pleaded for someone to point me in the right direction. “We are not a mental health clinic, I’m sorry, I can’t help you.”
I quickly hung up and called my husband, bawling my eyes out the whole time. I was so close to having this baby and I knew better than to go off of my medication, especially for fear of post-partum depression, which I had survived before. At this point I was panicking and out of ideas. My husband, being the amazing man that he is, assured me that I wouldn’t go without even if we had to pay out of pocket until my insurance got reinstated. So he figured out that the pharmacist could give me a few pills, even though my two doctors couldn’t, and later that night he ordered two months of my medication from a website in Canada. After reading this, you’re probably thinking that this is crazy; and you are right! How come a pharmacist can do more than a doctor committed to your “health” for eight years or your primary “Dr.”? This wasn’t about upholding the Hippocratic Oath this was punishment for abandoning the medical industry for something proven safer.