Anyone else bipolar and doing IVF?

(42 posts)(6 voices)
  1. Hi Kim! Welcome to our thread, lol. I had to go off of my Depakote which was my primary mood stabilizer and it was the best decision I could have made. I never realized how groggy and out of it I was until I went off of it. I still take 2 antipsychotics and my Synthroid as well. I am also schizoaffective so I have to have my Navane, as it keeps me from hearing things like voices etc.

    We too use donor sperm because my hubby has none. I got pg last cycle but miscarried. However, the doctors don't think my meds had anything to do with it. (I sure hope they didn't) I could very well go off all my meds and live with the voices like I did before they found my miracle med...but both psychiatrist and OB doc think I need to stay on it.

    You mentioned Wellbutrin...I've read that it is safe to take during pregnancy. Perhaps you could consult with a perinatalogist prior to treatments. That is what I did about my Navane. I too take a small dose of Seroquel at night to help me sleep. But I've been told I need to stop that prior to I guess I'll see if I can sleep without it or not! (I'm thinking not)

    Anyway, ask any questions you may have...we are here to help!

    Blessings, Michelle

  2. Well, if it's any consolation, when I had my son, I was bp back then and undiagnosed. And my husband at that time worked on the railroad and was always gone so it was just me and my son and we got along just fine. Sometimes you have much more inner strength then you give yourself credit for. Just a positive story for you, Kim!

    Blessings, Michelle

  3. I was wondering how you were doing Michelle. Good to see you back on the boards. Did you decide to try another IUI?

    Kim, I too have BP w/OCD. I was diagnosed 13 years ago, at 17. I take 500mg of seroquel daily to control it. I will continue this through pregnancy, as my psychologist, psychiatrist, OB & perinatologist ALL insist the benefits far outweigh the risks. Meds are there to HELP us, and here's how I know myself without a doubt: I took Risperdal during my first pregnancy with my DS, he is 4 now. He was born with kidney reflux & had surgery on his kidney @ 15 months old. (This is a hereditary condition, my mother had it.) I was so paranoid after having him that the Risperdal was partially to blame that during my second pregnancy, with my DD, I REFUSED to take any meds for Bipolar. Guess what... my DD was born still @ 38w5d. Why? Because I have a clotting disorder I never knew about. (Now I take meds for that too). So here's my position: Do nothing, and not only do you suffer from bipolar but you put your baby at risk because of stress & mood swings. Pregnancy is hard enough without bipolar... throw that in the mix & it's just 9 months of crazy hormonal mood swings!

    Wellbutrin is the only medication for bipolar that is category B... safe to take during pregnancy/approved by the FDA. Well, Halidol is in there too but it is such an old medication that it is rarely prescribed. I took Halidol for a while, but the side effects suck. (Nerve tingling, headaches). Two of Wellbutrin's side effects are increased anxiety & increased blood pressure...those are both issues for me. I suffer from pregnancy induced high blood pressure, and I have a history of panic attacks (especially since my DD was born) so any drug that increases anxiety is a no-no for me. Depakote is approved by the Pediatric Association of America for breastfeeding moms, so I will be switching to that after baby is born. However, Depakote is a major no-no during pregnancy, as valporic acid (main drug in depakote) is the opposite of folic acid- it actually has been proven to cause spina bifida (hole in the spinal cord). But be sure & talk to your doc before changing or stopping any meds though, I am sure if you are insistent on no meds he/she will understand & work with you. There are A LOT of meds out there... something will work for you. My psych tried Seroquel on an off-chance attempt to control my manic & I'll be darned it worked. My BP mania is controlled better now than ever before.

    The great thing is that here, you will find wonderful women who tackle the same obstacles you do. I never thought I could handle a loss... yet here I am 2 years later going back for IVF to try to have another. Michelle is right... you will find strength you never knew you had (and that OCD will come in handy, too ). You have to do what's right for YOU, not what's right for everyone else who knows you.

    I wish you a million times of luck, love, and happiness. I am here if you ever need to talk, vent, or have questions.

    Take Care,

  4. My pdoc runs a pregnancy and postpartum mood disorders clinic and is one of the two top researchers in the US on antidepressants and psychopharmaceutical drugs in pregnant and breastfeeding moms, and, with his blessing, I got pregnant while on 300 mg. of Wellbutrin. This was my 5th try at IVF (3rd completed), the first one in which I'd been taking Wellbutrin; probably a coincidence I got pregnant after starting Wellbutrin, but still, it didn't seem to hurt! My REs (I used two clinics) , OB, and peditrician were all aware of my meds and fine with them, too, but because of his expertise in the area, it was really my pdoc's recommendation I was taking.

    This was back in 2005, and I haven't had reason to ask him if his position on this has changed, but please don't assume you have to go off Wellbutrin for pregnancy. I was on it for all of first trimester, and my baby is completely fine - meeting all developmental milestones, smart, pretty even tempered. (I went off by the second trimester but this wasn't because of safety concerns.)

    Please, please, please do not go off your medication, esp your mood stabilizers, without thoroughly, thoroughly discussing with pdoc. I'm sure some people can get along without it, but many can't. I really don't mean to be scary, but post-partum psychosis is probably a form of uncontrolled bipolar disorder, and the suicide and infanticide rates for women with postpartum psychosis are very high, in the range of 4-5%. (Andrea Yates had inexplicably been taken off her antipsychotic meds be a new pdoc just a few day before that tragedy.) That risk, even it is a remote one, alone has got to outweigh any theoretical risk to the baby from your taking a medication that keeps you stable.

    And, in the realm of more likely outcomes, you could end up with all kinds of problems that indirectly or directly affect the baby - PPD, post-partum obsessive compulsive disorder. If you go over the post-partum depression board here, you will see that Ebee has just posted a bunch of cites to articles that show that a mom with uncontrolled mood disorders during pregnancy or when her baby is an infant is more likely to have a baby with many problems than is a euthymic woman. If you have been ill enough to blow $100K (wow! and that didn't qualify you for a BP-I diagnosis!), you might become ill enough to make all kind of bad decisions for the baby, not to mention yourself. I have been on boards for women with post-partum mood disorders, and I have heard many sad stories.

    My pdoc says that it's the history of stigma of mental illness that causes some medical people and the lay public to unreasonably single out psychotropic meds for negative scrutiny, when in fact there is a lot more safety data (tending to prove that some psychotropic meds are in fact pretty safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding) than for the vast majority of meds that women routinely take during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I'm not cavalier about meds during pregnancy, but I myself took Zofran, an antinausea drug, as well as Wellbutrin and Zoloft during pregnancy. While breastfeeding for the last 2 years, I've taken Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Claritin, Benadryl, ibuprofin, acetominophen, Percocet, and (twice in the hospital) Ambien. Much less is known about, for example, Percocet's and Ambien's passage through breast milk than is known about Zoloft's and Wellbutrin's, and yet hospitals dispense Percocet and Ambien like candy after a C-section (and I wasn't about to reject pain meds then either!).

    I know that making these decisions can be difficult and scary and I understand that some mood stabilizing drugs are riskier than others, and I am not saying that you shouldn't discuss and weigh various risks against various potential benefits, but please understand that you would not be doing your baby any favors by deciding on your own to stop your meds.

    If at all possible, try to find a pdoc who knows a lot about the safety of various meds during pregnancy; maybe your own doc could find one and see if s/he can get a quick consult.

  5. My psychiatrist sent me to a perinatologist and he decided which meds I should stay on and which should go. If you can't find a good p-doc that handles pg meds, then I would go the perinatologist route. Couldn't hurt. Good luck to you!

    Brandi: Our last IUI will be next March on Follistim again. I'm joining Weight Watchers and doing everything I can for my body to promote the best health I can be in by that time. If it works and I have another m/c, I will at least know I did everything in my power to make it work. One problem I have with the twins' m/c, is that I feel like I failed everyone. I wasn't very healthy diet wise and didn't rest much and feel like I contributed to the m/c in some way. Crazy, huh? I'm adding an herbal supplement to my vitamins I already take to improve my reproductive health. Oh, and right now I'm combating hypothyroidism and hyperprolactinemia...argh! Thinking of you and hoping you are well and not too manicky!

    Blessings, Michelle

  6. Thank you to everyone for taking the time to help me - the reason I dont qualify for type 1 bipolar is that I've never had a manic episode that wasnt caused by drugs - when I lost all my money, $100k, I had been put on ritalin, dexedrine, wellbutrin and paxil - god - no mood stabilizer, an antidepressant and 2 stimulants - the perfect recipe for disaster. I couldnt teach anymore, lost most of my friends, my savings and had to move to another city to get a fresh start.

    I'll keep you updated as to what's going on - i see my psychiatrist on the 23rd of Nov and I'm hoping I get to go off Lithium (and get my thyroid back) and start olanzapine - has anyone taken O. before? it causes weight gain in women i'll have to be careful of ...

    Again thank you everyone


  7. Michelle, ask your doc about trying glucophage... I have insulin resistance due to PCOS, and when my new RE prescribed Glucophage to help with my insulin I actually lost like 35lbs in a few months without even trying because it "fixed" the way my body processed insulin. An insulin tolerance test is simply a routine blood test and it may show insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes... glucophage is an extended release pill I take 4x daily to control my blood sugar, and I will admit that IMMEDIATELY my cravings for sugary junk food were practially gone. I will warn though... the first month or so of side effects are awful until your body adjusts to the meds... lots of diarrhea & queasiness. But it was totally worth it for me. I went from 167 to 133 without adding any exercise. (I walk now though, to keep the weight down.)

    AND GIRLFRIEND, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT THE TWINS!!! I racked myself with guilt after my DD was born. I blamed myself. "What if" was a regular in my vocab, until my psych pointed out to me that if I had done something different there is still no reason to believe something else would not have happened. It's like saying "What if I had not been born with bipolar?" We have no control. Sometimes life gives you lemons. You don't have to make lemonade, but by golly you don't have to eat lemons for the rest of your life! Know in your heart you loved those babies, and now they are angels.

    Laurie- Where are you? I would like to get more info on your doc & his research & studies, maybe even participate in a case study for bipolar women taking meds during pregnancy. I totally agree that mental illness has a stigma around it, especially bipolars, because of jerks like Tom Cruise who just don't understand it's a treatable but UNCURABLE medical condition just like cancer or AIDS. There is no cure for bipolar depression. Or for multiple personality disoder or schitzophrenia or any other mental illness. All we can do is take meds for the rest of our lives and HOPE we don't have an episode.

    Andrea Yates drowned her 5 children, and yes she was post-partum psychotic. What pisses me off is her husband KNEW she had mental illness, KNEW she was off meds, KNEW she was struggling with PPD, as she had EVERY pregnancy, yet still continued to have children & left her unattended with them. And he walked away scott-free. HE should have been tried for accessory to mur.der, or at the very least 5 counts of endangerment to a child. He is now remarried with more kids. I heard he refuses to use birth control because of his Catholic religion, but I'm not sure if that's true or not.

    But because mental illness is a mood disorder, people label us. That's what gets me the most. I am fortunate enough that my family; Mom, Dad, Brothers, and Husband, ALL accept that my condition is permanant & difficult to control. They are my support system, my rocks. I would be lost without them, probably in some institution far away from society. But that doesn't mean that it's always easy though. I have my moments.

    Kim, I too managed to rack up about $100,000 in debt over 10 years, not to mention over $50,000 in cash assets do to mania. I currenly have over $30,000 in credit cards, we owe my father in law over $50,000 for credit cards & a vehicle he helped us pay off several years ago. CASH- I blew though $25,000 from a real estate sale, $18,000 in back pay from SSI, and $8,000 in my husband's vacation pay. And all of the cash was while I was taking meds. So you are not alone. If someone racked up that debt for AIDS or Cancer treatment, noone would say a word, but for us, well "We should have known better." Yeah right! Have you ever tried to ration with a manic?

    Well, now I'm done going on. You ladies take care!

  8. I am reading a medical text (Depression in New Mothers by Kendall-Tackett), and it says the chance that a bipolar mom will have a mood episode after birth is 66%, and that the chance that she will have a post-partum psychotic episode if she has no family history of post-partum psychosis is 30%!! (p.9). This seems incredibly high to me, but that's what it says.

    A site I've found very useful is, which is mostly about the bipolar "spectrum" that a lot of mood specialists now seem to believe in. That site has a lot of discussion of a current controversy about whether people with BP should ever take antidepressants, even in conjunction with mood stabilizers. I do know that I've read frequently that Wellbutrin is the "antidepressant" believed least likely to trigger a manic episode (which seems strange, since it also has a reputation for triggering anxiety, which is a bipolarish symptom).

  9. If you'll "private message" me through ivfconnections (see link at upper right), I'll e-mail you my info. You need to go turn "private messages" on so that you can get a return message from me.

  10. New study in which Wellbutrin associated with lower rate of "switch" into mania than Effexor.
    (article entitled "Do Antidepressants Cause Worsening of Bipolar Disorder? Two Direct Looks For Switching")

  11. Update: dh says we are done with IUI's/treatments. He doesn't want to go through another m/c and while I still want to do one more treatment, he won't give in. So we are starting adoption proceedings. So far, so good...our homestudy has been started. With my bipolar and disability I have to get a letter of stability from my pdoc. I'm sure she'll come through though she said she would. She was very sorry about our m/c too.

    I still have a terribly high Prolactin level, but instead of taking meds for it, I'm going to talk to my RE about breastfeeding an adopted baby....but dh doesn't want me to go off my meds so I need to research more about passing Navane and Seroquel through breastmilk. If anyone has heard anything, please let me know.

    Hope everyone is doing okay!

    Blessings, Michelle

  12. Dh said we could do one more IUI with Clomid. Will try that in maybe March or April, depending on the weather.

    Pdoc said no on breastfeeding unless I go off my meds. She says the meds aren't good for the baby...bummer! But secretly, I'm considering going off my meds for a couple of weeks to see how I do. It is only the voices and they've never told me to do anything, they are just annoying. Anyway....

    Brandi: I read your other post under marital just sound manic to me is all. Believe you me, I have SO been there too! Anytime I even feel attracted to someone else I have to stop and check for mania because those are manic feelings pure and simple. Anyway, feel free to talk about it if you want to....or not, just letting you know I'm here for you if you need me!

    And many prayers on your FET...hope things go smoothly!

    Blessings, Michelle

  13. Stopping IVF to get back on Lithuim for a while. Freezing all embryos from this cycle for FET (maybe) later.

    Take care, please keep me & my totcicles in your prayers. We need it.

    Michelle, good luck on your adoption proceedings. I will be praying for you!


  14. Hey Michelle! It's been a while since I have heard anything from you. Please let me know how you are doing!

    Take Care,

  15. Hi! I'm bumping up this old thread.

    I was diagnosed Bipolar I in 2005 and I've already been through 3 IVF cycles with no severe side effects from all the hormonal meds. I was sooooo scared to do this at the beginning! I would love to correspond with anyone else who is bipolar and TTC. I am here to give encouragement and to listen/ answer questions.

    Right now I'm only on 25 mg Seroquel to sleep at night. I LOVE Seroquel. I want to give the people who created it a hug. It changed my life.

    I know that if I ever have a child (never had a successful cycle yet), I would not be able to breastfeed. I feel sad about that, but I know there are positive things about bottle-feeding, too. For example, if I experienced any post-partum depression/episodes, my husband or someone else in my family (most likely my mother) could take care of the baby (without me) for a little while. Also, bottle-feeding means that my sleep doesn't need to be as interrupted since my husband can do some of the night feedings. We all know how important sleep is to bipolars!!!

    FYI: I found this info. a while ago so it may be outdated, but Massachusetts General Hospital is compiling a registry of people who become pregnant while on Seroquel. Call 1-866-961-2388. It involves 3 brief phone interviews over an 8 month period. I hope they are still doing this. You could be helping others by participating. I hope to participate (if I ever get pregnant.)

    I once read an article that said there is evidence that infertility is higher in the bipolar population (even before they are diagnosed with bipolar disorder!) than in the general population. I found the link intriquing, since neurotransmitters and hormones hang in a delicate, connected balance, but I have not found further information on this. Would love to hear from anyone who has found any articles regarding bipolar disorder and infertility.

    You can also send me a private message here on IVFC if you don't want to respond publicly.

    Take care,

  16. Hannah- does this help? I don't know if we really can connect a link to IF and BPD, but hey, why not?


  17. Thanks, Sunshine. Exactly the kind of articles I was looking for. Maybe I should go into medicine- I love reading this stuff so much. LOL.

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