23 Week Update


Well, well… What a week! We’re down to 116 days before this baby is coming out. Yes, it is crazy, I know! I’m honesty starting to experience a lot of anxiety over the birthing process and of course the lifestyle change. Thankfully for my husband and I it won’t be too different, we’re very blessed to have made adjustments already that will make his/her arrival all the smoother.

We still need to purchase a travel system and a couple of knick nacks. All can happen at a later time, but we’re planning on putting up a “mini” registry – for one item, haha. Aka the Paypal donation button. We wanted to do a gift-collaboration idea with anyone who was interested in helping us start out… And the purchase we need the most is the travel system, and being the most expensive, we thought this way friends and family could donate whatever they wanted, small or big.

I’ve begun an additional blog here on WordPress: http://knockedupandfit.wordpress.com! This site is mainly used to supporting others in their mental health, writing awareness articles and keeping a tab on my own bipolar disorder during pregnancy. Fitness/Eating well is something I’m very passionate about and I realized it would be more practical to have a separate blog.

So, if you like workout plans, weekly diet menus, and anything fitness/beauty style related, be sure to check it out. It’ll probably convert to a fit Mom blog postpartum, and I’d love to follow other mamas who love to exercise.


Still pretty stagnant. Baby’s kicks are of course, stronger and more frequent. They also have their own sleeping schedule, which is awesome. Up at 7-8 PM till about 11, then they wind down but it can be off and on movement depending on what I’m doing. This morning I woke up with what I thought was vertigo, or second trimester morning sickness! Needless to say I freaked out a little and ended up phoning my midwife’s office… But it turned out all I needed was a good breakfast and to lie down.

The Crazies:

Bad depression this week. It lasted for a few days and just would not let up. I felt so worthless, uneducated, cruel, mean, bitter… And of course guilty. Guilt is my trigger. I can’t shake it sometimes, but as I am STILL learning after all these years, that is OK. When I have time to sort my mind through I realize things aren’t so bad and the room lights up and I become productive again. God is good.

Baby’s Development:

According to Babycenter.com, the baby will be used to any loud noises that happen already in my daily routine, such as clanking dishes or vacuuming. Which is really mind relieving. Also, their lungs are preparing for breath on the surface. Amazing, but stay in there, please, little baby! And they weigh a little OVER a pound now! Chunky… Just kidding.



It is often found that an eating disorder and mental illness go hand in hand. Depression can cause disordered eating, and vice versa. Depression can derive from being bipolar, just as being bipolar can derive from having depression. Living in a constant state of chaos/highs and lows can be crippling to one’s physical health. Severe moods swings will cause a pattern, at least they have for me. It goes a little something like this:

Girl feels fine.
Girl doesn’t feel fine.
Girl loses her control.
Girl is out of control.
Girl has an episode.
Girl comes down from an episode.
Girl feels resentment to herself for said episode.
Girl hates herself.
Girl wants control.
Girl abuses her body for the abuse she feels she deserves.

This doesn’t just have to be a resort to starvation or purging. Compulsive exercise, cutting, scarring, burning, self-criticism — they are ALL forms of self harm. Finding a coping method though physical pain is one of the most common forms of ‘feeling better’ that I’ve personally felt and witnessed around others. It’s dangerous, damaging, and begging for an unhappy ending.

I don’t want this post to be potentially triggering to any of my followers, so I’m going to stop the setup of the subject for this, right there. I plan on writing more on body image and eating disorders in general another time. This particular topic is mostly pregnancy related but because it is directly tied into anorexia, I felt the need to paint a base layer first for the reader before just diving in.

I recently came across a magazine I thought was inspiring. (disclaimer: I am not sponsoring nor am I being sponsored to mention the name). It’s called FitPregnancy. I picked it up at the grocery store one evening because I used to be very active right before I found out I was pregnant – I was a runner, a weight lifter and even a dancer when the mood struck me.

Back to the magazine – I loved most of the content. It was encouraging for beginners to start a healthy lifestyle in their pregnancy, but had workouts and ideas challenging enough for previous athletes to keep from getting bored. It didn’t condone eating more like most fitness magazines, and thank goodness it didn’t, seeing as it was for the pregnant woman. It did try to persuade the consumer to seek out only nutrient rich/dense foods that were whole and healthy, which is great!

However. Let me tell you what my biggest beef was with this magazine. It features celebrities. Pregnant ones. I have not been naive to the ways of staying thin in Hollywood pre and post baby. Victoria Beckham, Nicole Richie, Kate Middleton, and the wives of singers/producers/actors who aren’t quite famous but being noted for their “hot bods” and extremely “quick come backs”.

It’s true – eating for two is not eating two plates of food. This is just tempting a binge. The actual size of my baby’s stomach is probably the length of my pinkie finger. And in the first trimester, you don’t need to change your dietary habits at all. In fact, 200-300 calories is enough to feed your child in the womb from the second trimester on. Would you shove a plate full of dinner — your sized dinner — at your newborn and expect him to eat it? Of course not! It’s not necessary. But you do need to gain weight, it’s vital for your baby’s development and health. While your baby is not a parasite in your body, you ARE the host, and should be treating your most important guest to whatever they need. This means sucking it up and indulging in healthy fats, proteins, juices, you name it. Make the calories count, this baby depends on you.

Now here’s the kicker: if 200-300 calories is hardly a change in diet… But enough to gain some healthy padding, why are we seeing a frantic push to diet and exercise while you’re trying to build a baby? The weight gained from healthy eating is going to be present, yes, but it will drop right off after the delivery. If you want to see a breakdown of pregnancy weight gain, here you go:

Baby: 7-8 pounds
Placenta: 1-2 pounds
Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds
Uterus: 2 pounds
Maternal breast tissue: 2 pounds
Maternal blood : 4 pounds
Fluids in maternal tissue: 4 pounds
Maternal fat and nutrient stores: 7 pounds

As you can see, it’s literally impossible to not gain when pregnant. The only permanent amount of weight you gain is from the fat stores you need to feed your baby. The rest is there for a reason — I mean look at that, an infant at birth averages 7 pounds!

This is what concerns me. If women stay the same weight pre pregnancy that they do at birth, this means they actually lost weight during their pregnancy, which is not okay. In fact, doing the math, this means they’re putting enough stress on their bodies and counting calories to lose some 20-25 pounds.. Which means they’re even thinner than they were when they started, technically.

Not. Okay. At. All.

This kind of behavior is spurred on by the media, pressure, and a desire to stay looking fabulous. Women are so convinced that they’ll lose the ‘sexiness’ they have to a baby without looking at the simple facts of pregnancy weight gain, they’re willing to follow these extreme regimens and put themselves and their child at risk.

My heart aches for these pregnant celebrities. I hope they realize what they’re doing. It’s saddening, and scary, and not at all helpful to the women that idolize them. It can also be triggering for people with body image issues (and obviously those celebs probably have issues too) and unrealistic to maintain… and so dangerous to the baby.

So while I loved the magazine, I had to leave it there simply because they featured these women. Too much of a temptation for someone with a previous eating disorder. Thinking strong, not skinny, has been always been a very healing phrase for me.

I hope most of this entry made sense. I understand that some of my thoughts might be hard to decipher, but I hope I got my point across. You might even consider this as a rant – it’s been one of those days!

Chaining Down The Wings; Slowing Down The Clock

You’ve gone and done it!  You feel like you’ve got it all figured out and the situation has escalated out of control… oh, but in such a pleasurable way!  Your body is on fire — you can literally feel a raging storm of ideas and productivity scratching at your brain.  You’re unstoppable, flying high and can accomplish anything.  In fact, who needs sleep?  Sleep is for suckers!  Oh, and let that trash fester, watch the dishes pile and ignore the bills, because there is nothing, absolutely NOTHING that can stop the greatness that is about to happen!

Or is there?


During a manic episode, whether or not the period of mood is extreme elation or irritability, judgment lines get blurry and it can be hard to decipher what behavior is justifiable and what isn’t.  Personally, for me, this is the most difficult and painful part of mania:  recognizing it is happening and that it needs to stop.  And yes, that part feels super duper lame-o.

But just how do you get to that point?  Because bipolar disorder really is a physical disease that takes place in the brain, how do you fight something that feels completely natural and right?  The chemicals and hormones that are shifting so violently within that head of yours – they’re making everything you’re doing feel normal and totally okay, not crazy and potentially dangerous to your health.  Ugh!

In my experience, there are a few ways to slow yourself down.  Some of the following suggestions you might have already heard of, others, maybe not so much.  I hope they can be enlightening and helpful to you.  I’m going to cover how to handle a manic situation at work, and if you think it’s great, then I’ll cover how to handle one at home next time.

If your manic attack is happening at work:

This isn’t going to be easy for me to write and is potentially embarrassing, considering I have not held down a stable job for more than five months at a time in the last few years.  However, for me, five months is a considerably long time when taking a look at my illness and the previous severity it’s held.  So here we go.

Regardless if you have a sit down job or one that requires you to stay active, feeling manic can make focusing on your tasks challenging.  For me, monotonous tasks were the worst and made me consider doing some really nutty stuff when I was having an episode.  An example of this could be working as a cashier, doing data entry, or even physical labor in a warehouse.  You want to break routine.  Everything feels excruciatingly boring, why do you have this stupid job, anyway?  You’re better than this.  OH!  There’ s an idea.  It’s totally logical, too, you’ll just walk out the back door and start up the business you always wanted on no income, or maybe you’ll take that trip to Hawaii you’ve been lusting after.  Or maybe, you’ll start sleeping with that hot stranger across the street!

Sound familiar?  All intrusive and self-directing thoughts, all of which are very damaging and quick to spiral out of your control.  So what do you do?

If you CAN manage to feel just the slightest inkling of temptation that feels, well, maybe not so normal – stop everything you are doing immediately and quietly take a break.  If you get 10 minute unpaid ones, take one now.  If the attack seems like it’s going to stay for the rest of your shift, take your lunch.  Don’t give yourself space, it’ll only make things feel simpler and the desire to conquer the world all the more appealing.  Stay within the area, but distract yourself by taking a pen and paper and writing down these three questions:

Is what I’m feeling truthful?
Is what I’m feeling safe?
Is what I’m feeling necessary?

They might sound patronizing, but trust me, they work.  The longer you spend explaining to yourself why your manic tendencies might be real AND a poor idea, the better chance you have of avoiding a week long dungfest.  Above all else, direct prayer to the Lord is still my number one winner.  Cry out to Him!  Ask Him for guidance and for a still heart and mind, pray that what you put down for those three questions is legitimate and not manipulated by your illness to try and sneak you a way out of control.

For The Readers:

What has been the easiest approach to controlling your mania, whether at home or at work?  How did you come to discover your method?  When did it start to really help you  Please share it in the comment box, and anything else you might like to discuss or add.

Also, a poll:

22 Week Update

22 Week Bump!

I’ve been wondering if the baby inside me has a sick pleasure for poking their big toe into my belly button from the inside.

Seriously. ;D

Anybody else have squeamish feelings about being kicked? This kid is awesome, but my belly button is a ticklish spot, so whenever they nudge me I keep picturing this cackling little newborn twisting their piggies into my belly wall. Yup, this child is definitely my husband’s, hehe.

But don’t get me wrong, at all — it has been by far my favorite aspect of pregnancy, and blows my mind everyday.

So let’s hop to it! Here’s the breakdown of week 22, for me:


As usual… Not a whole lot. I’m pretty sure I’m losing energy much faster than before (unlike the textbooks, I was a rocket ship in the first trimester – apparently you’re supposed to be tired?) and I’ve found that my lower abdomen gets twinges if I haven’t sat long enough or by over doing it… So I’m trying to keep relaxed, even with my daily routine of housework an exercise.

The Crazies

This week has been moderately silent in terms of temperament shifts. No crying, except for one time and it was totally overly dramatic. Obsessive compulsive thoughts have been at a low. I try to distract myself vigorously with cleaning/list making if I start doing a ritual (sounds funny, but it’s horribly exausting… Look it up if you aren’t familiar with OCD) but that hasn’t happened too much this week… Which is great!

Baby’s Development

Apparently my little bubbie is 11 in inches long and a total pound… Whoo hoo! They can still hear us, and from what I’ve seen/read they can swallow fluid and touch their face (saw this in our ultrasound… Very darling). Their skin is getting thicker and fat is starting to lay down! Which is awesome, because I certainly don’t want a skinny baby. I’ve discovered that he/she prefers to lay on the left side of my uterus — cue an “AHA! I see you, baby” moment in the bathtub — and I just have to tell you, that is WEIRD. We really are wonderfully made, I mean come on, I could see LIFE laying inside of me from the OUTSIDE! Coolio.

If you’ve been pregnant, please share your fondest memory of Week 22 below — or a second trimester memory.

“None of Them Are Safe.”

It’s funny how five words can knock you over or build you up stronger than you ever imagined.

Let’s start this like a group session:

Hi. My name is Katie, and I’m bipolar and pregnant.

What this post entails is not meant to offend. It is not intended to be medical advice, nor was it written to bully, persuade, or intimidate. The soul purpose is to be an encouragement that with God, anything, even conception on an anti-psychotic drug, is possible.

And not only possible, but met with a happy ending.

We’ll start the story with my first real experience, when I began discussing the idea of having children on meds with one of my first adult psychiatrists. He was a good fellow, very bookish and practical. However, his sessions were always quick (most appointments for the nutty are always in and out). I was 20 years old and engaged to marry my husband over the summer. I had no idea what I really wanted for my future, I was still young and stupid and locked in on my own desires. However, my husband had expressed HIS desire to have a family – it was important to him and he was waiting on me. There was no one else he wanted in his life to mother his children than myself, and come on, if that ain’t a compliment then what is? 😉 While it would still be around three more years from this date before I officially gave in, this med check appointment was the perfect time to discuss our options of pregnancy and myself being mentally ill.

Was it safe? Could I breastfeed? Would I have a mutant baby (although X-men powers would certainly, certainly be cool)? Would everything backfire, due to surging hormones, making me into a God forbid – dangerous parent? Legitimate concerns, I had SO many questions and I was afraid, but I did have hope. I honestly expected a long, comforting discussion with a few options.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t what I received.

“My husband to be an I are considering parenting. What medication can I take if I were to become pregnant?”

Without a hitch in his scoff, he simply smiled, “None of them are safe.”

The conversation ended as quickly as it began.

I was dumbfounded. BUT, at the same time, NOT surprised. I had been on mood stabilizers most of my life and I was no newbie to the judgment, conspiracy, and taboo surrounding a woman having a mental condition and trying to conceive (or a man, for that matter).

There just isn’t enough research.

The risks of exposure to the baby are dangerous.

You won’t make a good parent.

It’s irresponsible.

Just adopt… it seems selfish to want to make a baby when you’re obviously sick.

I won’t tell you which of those quotes were of personal experience, because really, what would that accomplish? I’m sure as you can imagine though they were disheartening, discouraging, and made me feel ashamed for even wanting children.

I left that appointment numb, and when I told my husband what had happened, he was quietly frustrated. The next few med checks I had with this particular doctor avoided children or pregnancy as a topic. Previously, I had another psychiatrist in the same area whose opinion wasn’t much different. In fact, his consisted of the tried and true: “You’ll need to come off of medication completely, by the way, if you ever want kids.”

We spent a couple years as newlyweds without approaching the subject to each other again. I went back and forth with it in my mind, undecided if I could even tolerate a baby. I was 22. I was having fun! I didn’t want an addition. Plus, I was losing weight the healthy way, exercising AND keeping it off, why would I want to change that?

I didn’t have time to think about kids.

But they snuck their way in there. Prying, tickling my brain, cooing! It was unavoidable. By summer of 2011, I was in full baby fever.

I remember the joy on Luther’s face when I asked him if he wanted to try. The current psychiatrist I was seeing said that if I ever got pregnant, to simply taper my meds for three days and start a prenatal vitamin.

I was terrified but boldly inspired by his neutral stance. It wasn’t a super positive one, but it wasn’t negative, either. I gave myself a month to really try and prep myself… I was about to consider a no meds life. Zero. Zilch. Nada. I’d never done this except maybe one time in my life, and it had been a hellish expedience I didn’t want to repeat. Still, I knew that I wanted this and I was willing to fight for it.

Shockingly we conceived on the first try. We couldn’t believe it! I made the phonecall to my doctor and I started cutting my doses. Everything seemed okay. My mood was too elevated to crash,. I went to my first prenatal at a clinic and got another positive test.

( I should tell you, that before my 2011 pregnancy, we experienced a very early loss on meds where we lost the baby with my next period – and sadly, we had told everyone we knew. It was embarrassing and devastating, so this time we kept it a secret between us one only one friend.)

As I was saying, things seemed and felt great… almost too great. I began to worry. Where were my symptoms? Shouldn’t my breasts be tender? Why wasn’t I nauseous? My husband tried to consolidate me but I was a mess. I began experiencing full blown rages, crying spells, and obsessive compulsive thoughts. The state of the baby was all I thought about, or even cared about. I was a train wreck.

I had severe abdominal pain one night around 7 weeks (turned out to be really bad indigestion) so we went to the ER. I had hoped my first sonogram would be in the comfort of my doc’s office… nope, ER!

Their concern with me being pregnant and experiencing pain was what led to the ultrasound – they wanted to rule out miscarriage. I was stone cold and fearful, and had a gut feeling everything had suddenly been a huge mistake. I tried to remind myself that this was what I wanted, what I asked for. I went into it knowing I’d face emotional difficulty and relapsing, but I didn’t think I’d have another loss. I was off of meds, right? I should be in the clear, this time, right?

… Right?

Even though the pain was unrelated, the sonogram showed me at 5 and ½ weeks, not 7. We were confused. There was also no heartbeat. They tried to reassure me that I probably just had my dates wrong. I told them I was tracking my cycle, I knew when I ovulated, so that couldn’t be correct. They shrugged it off and told me I probably should, too. They scheduled me another ultrasound in two weeks with the hospital, with my practitioner.

And let me tell you, those were the longest, darkest two weeks of my life. They were full of doubt, pain, tears, and fear. I stopped praying. My mood swings were uncontrollable. I couldn’t eat. I wasn’t sleeping and I still had NO pregnancy symptoms whatsoever.

I went to the follow up alone. My husband had recently started a new job on 3rd shift and would be unable to make the appointment.

I remember feeling hollow and the white walls of the waiting room seemed endless. The scent of sterile equipment made me dizzy as I set on the edge of the exam table. The tech soon arrived and began the session.

I stared at the screen. She was very quiet. My heart sank.

I measured 6 weeks… still without a heartbeat.

I felt gutted. My baby had grown a tiny bit, most likely had begun to have a heartrate, shortly before passing away. I couldn’t even cry. I was breathless and broken. Loss is a terrible thing to feel, and it pains me to know that there are so, SO many women out there who have experienced miscarriage. While in my instance they were early, it was still excruciatingly saddening and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone… I don’t know if being unmedicated made the difference, but it traumatized me and I had nightmares for several months. To this day I still struggle with intrusive, compulsive thoughts relating miscarriage in general.

I ended up having one more ultrasound when I should have been measuring 11-12 weeks. I got to see the same image for the third time… confirming the baby inside me was lifeless.

It was December by that point and I ended up having to make an incredibly difficult decision. My body wasn’t rejecting our precious baby, so my Christmas was spent enduring an assisted miscarriage at home, in our new apartment.

I will spare you the details, but as I said earlier, the event left me traumatized and shattered for months.

I decided after that to continue to stay off of meds for awhile. A lot of people advised me to go back on them after we came forward about our second loss, but I had other ideas. I had worked too hard to come off them for the pregnancy and to just go running back made me feel weak; fragile. I wanted to prove everyone wrong. I was full of anger and pain and decided to stay off of them for a solid year – and then, if things worked out, we could try for another baby.

This, my dear readers, was the dumbest and worst decision I could have made.

I spent the next year falling from my Faith. I became two faced, rebellious, selfish and frankly, a little insane. I caused hurt to many, many people including my husband. The grief and guilt I still had not let go was causing me to lead a very unsatisfied and empty life.

My bulimia and anorexia resurfaced from high-school and my weight plummeted to 106 pounds. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew better – it had to stop, I needed help, and I needed to be back on medication. Still I resisted until one night my manic symptoms became so overwhelming, I called the front desk of a psychiatric ward. I scheduled myself to a fresh start – a new psychiatrist, since I was too ashamed to face the old one. I hoped for the best and began treatment and counseling ASAP.

It turned out to be a woman – foreign ground to me! She was also much younger, in her thirties about and had a professional warmth that was unfamiliar in all my experiences.

She knew my position from the beginning as I left nothing out of the picture during intake. Her papers for me would include my miscarriage history, my disorders, and my long term goals. Believe it or not, having kids was still one of them… but I wouldn’t argue or even question her if she said outright that trying again one day would be a poor idea. I was aware that coming off my pills had been a mistake and the chance of ever carrying a baby on them was officially out.

Or so I thought.

So you can imagine my gawking at her response to my tentative question of, “What if, one day, could I?” after I became well on a new drug. I was shocked at what she said.

“The benefit for you being on medication FAR outweighs any risk… I would feel comfortable with you conceiving on this drug, but no others. With monitoring, it would be okay.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. Yes, I’d made a 180 on this drug. Yes, I was myself again. God had been merciful and pulled me through one of the darkest times in my life… but I never expected to hear such a hopeful and joyful thing.

Whether or not this new pill was simply waiting for me, or this psychiatrist was plucked out of a dream, Christ’s love radiated in that office that day.

By the end of 2013, I’d continued the same drug. We raised it twice – still keeping it on one of the lowest dosages. It worked for me and I honestly believe God intended for me to have it.

While my emotional health was 100 percent, my body… was not! I had been keeping record of my cycles since the miscarriage for personal use, and my periods had ceased for several months at a time. I couldn’t tell if I was still ovulating. When I did finally bleed, it was sporadic and strange. Even if we wanted to try one last time, I wasn’t even sure if conception was possible.

Well, guess what?

We conceived on what I believe was cycle day 78.

Completely spontaneous?… no, I think not. Totally a God thing. A merciful, gracious, loving God thing.

For the first trimester of my pregnancy, I was being seen every six weeks by my psychiatrist and about every one to two by my midwife. I had many blood tests performed to monitor my HCG and progesterone, both of which rose perfectly. Everything pointed to a successful pregnancy, but I was nervous, because I hadn’t had many symptoms. My breasts had grown this time, but they weren’t tender. I wasn’t throwing up, I felt completely normal. Of course my OCD kicked in full gear and I started worrying that I was having another repeat loss.

Our first sonogram proved me completely wrong. There, in the middle of the screen, was a beautiful flickering beat nestled safely inside our peanut of 7 weeks.

I want you to know that being medicated in the first trimester kept me healthy and sane. I found enjoyment in all the things I normally did, I exercised when I could, and kept in contact with friends. I had hard days, yes, but they were remarkably calm. I already felt like I was being a good parent, even if my baby couldn’t hear or feel me. I knew in my heart that staying on meds was beneficial for this precious life inside of me. If I am at ease, they are at ease. Even though there were still risks to be had, they were low and to me I felt they would be nonexistent with the power of Christ’s healing and protection. Of course there were days where I doubted, where I cried, where I panicked. But they were far and few between compared to the laughter, excitement and thrill of a growing belly.

We told the world at 12 weeks, after seeing our baby for the second time. The second trimester has flown by without warning, and here I sit, still on the same dosage of medication and loving every second of my pregnancy. I feel this child move and my heart swells. I am so grateful and in awe of every moment and I refuse to spend a second of it for granted, which I would not be able to do so if I were not in the right state of mind.

If you are hurting… if you are desperate. If you are sick, If you are in despair, in disbelief in your own life or just searching for answers, I pray that my story can be of assistance. I want this be an awareness message. I want you to feel empowered by my speech, to be unafraid to seek help or to keep praying for that right doctor who will work with you until you find the right combination you need to conceive your own little miracle.

Miracles can happen.

They DO happen.

God bless you, and if you have questions – any at all, please comment below or send me a message privately. You’re safe here.

(If you would like to know the exact medication I’m on, or have previously been on, I can tell you privately. I plan on having this be a public blog so although I am unashamed to be medicated, my privacy is still important to me. But I remember doing countless hours of research online myself, desperately trying to find someone who had a successful pregnancy on the meds I’ve taken… so I would love to be that person for you.)


Katie M.