Navigating life with a teenager….who happens to have bipolar disorder

The Day Everything Changed

October 14, 1999……it started out as an ordinary day.  I got into my car and drove the 45 minutes to my new job as an acquisitions rep for a large investment firm. Once I arrived at work, I was feeling a bit queasy, but chalked it up to car sickness.  I had always had motion sickness and the long commute had been wreaking havoc on my stomach since starting this job a couple of weeks prior.  I walked into the building and up the long elevator ride to an upper floor.  I walked onto the floor and my trainer simply looked at me, told me I was green and to turn around and drive back home.  I told her that it was just car sickness, but she didn’t want to risk that it was the flu and spread it around to the new batch of employees that would be spending the day in a single room together.

Although I was dreading the 45 minute ride back home, I was relieved at the thought that I could veg out on the sofa drinking ginger ale for the afternoon.  After multiple ‘sick’ stops on the way home, my head started to pound.  Having dealt with migraines since childhood, it dawned on me I had never felt this kind of pain before.  As soon as I got home, I decided to call my doctor to schedule an appointment.  She happened to have a cancellation and told me to come in right away.

Once there, I chatted with a nurse I had come to know very well.  Over the past few months I had been going through a series of testing due to recurring ovarian cysts, abnormal pap smears and menstrual cycles.  The testing had determined that I probably wouldn’t be able to have children, so we had been in discussions about hormones and a possible oophorectomy (removal of ovaries)to fix the cycles and the extreme headaches I had been having.  The nurse, Quinn, joked with me about the fact that I did really look a bit green and proceeded to do some blood work on her ‘human pincushion’…..the lovely nickname that she had given me months before during the many pregnancy tests I had to endure during the testing process.

I was then sent home with the instructions to rest, but keep a phone near-by.  The doctor had a feeling she knew what was going on and might want to immediately refer me to another doctor.  I asked her what was happening and she said that we should just wait until the test results came in.

It wasn’t but a few hours later that Quinn called me.  She told me that I was severely dehydrated, which was probably the reason for the excruciating pain in my head. She then scrolled down the list of blood tests they had done and came to the last one, a pregnancy test.  I laughed when she paused.  As was my habit when she would call me with the pregnancy test results I said “Well, we know that’s negative”……..she was quiet for a minute and sounded like she was fighting back some tears and then she said “This time it’s positive.”

Women say that their lives changed on the day their first child was born, because that was the day they became a mother. I didn’t become a mother when he was born….I became a mother in that instant 15 years ago today.


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