I’ve been dodging a phone call for a week now. A phone call from my insurance company welcoming me to their Healthy Pregnancy program. I finally called back today on my way out of school thinking that the 10 minutes I had on the ride to get Joshua would be plenty of time to answer their questions, get myself enrolled, and not have to worry about talking to them again until 26 weeks or so.
The overly friendly, exuberant operator was giddy when I confirmed my pregnancy and gave her my due date. She said the word “wonderful” no less than 57 times while I was on the phone with her. She reminded me that this was free to me no less than 30 times. She let me know that if I called back with my insurance group number she could tell me if I qualified for any additional–and free–services.
And then we got to the Q&A portion of the phone call. Everything was pretty routine. Until it wasn’t.
“How many pregnancies, including this one, have you had?”
“Have you ever had a miscarriage or abortion?”
“Have you ever had a stillbirth or a baby die shortly after birth?”
And then the questions regarding my last pregnancy came. My pregnancy with Joshua. That pregnancy that is so very different in so many ways from this one.
“Were you ever diagnosed with gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, or postpartum depression?”
“Yes. Postpartum depression.”
“Oh, okay, Miranda…do you have a pen and paper ready? I need to give you a phone number.”
My heart sank a little at having to answer “yes” to that question. I was driving so I couldn’t write the number down. She let me know that I qualified for extra services because of my previous diagnosis of having postpartum depression and she informed me that I was at increased risk of the depression returning with subsequent pregnancies.
Because I didn’t already know that, right?
Because I haven’t spent the past 5 weeks with “What if I get PPD again?” hovering around in the back of my mind?
Because I haven’t thought “What if it’s worse this time?” and fatalistically resigned myself to knowing that it’s more than a possibility?
When her portion of the call was over, she let me know that a nurse was on the line to take over. So I waited and the nurse answered, nearly as chipper as the first person had been.
The nurse informed me that she was my extra services based on my answering “yes” to having had postpartum depression. Once again I was reminded that I’m at increased risk because of my previous diagnosis. And then I was told that a support group would be a great idea, as well as letting my doctors know how I was doing so they could monitor my care.
“Do you have a support group in place?”
And I do, thank God.
“Is your doctor aware of your previous condition?”
I should hope so.
“Yes,” I replied.
“Was your postpartum depression resolved, or did it become a diagnosis of chronic depression?”
“Resolved, I think. But I had a diagnosis of depression before becoming pregnant that put me at higher risk.”
Depression is like fog rolling into my life when I’m sleeping. I go to bed thinking all is fine and I wake up the next morning and there it is, obscuring my path. I feel like I’m somewhat free of its grasp, though perhaps in the grasp of another equally mean-spirited demon, and there it is again, ripping at my heart.