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Last Post - Heavy Drinking Before I Knew I Was Pregnant (have to decide today)

(180 Posts)
tsmith02162013 Thu 28-Feb-13 15:01:59

I appreciate the women who responded to my first thread about drinking (heavily) before I knew I was pregnant.

I have to make a decision today as to what I am going to do- keeping going or not. I am hoping to hear from any woman who drank as heavily as I did before she knew she was pregnant and then went on to have the baby.

When I was 28 days (4 weeks) since my last period, I drank two bottles of wine (standard 750 ML size) in one night. The next night, I had 3 drinks (1 beer, 2 glasses of wine), and the night after, I had 4-5 beers.

I was also drinking earlier that month, usually a glass of wine here or there. What really worries me is the binge drinking, the heavy drinking, the night of 2 bottles of wine.

If I can find mums who had a drinking problem like I did, who drank that heavily before they knew, I think it would be enough to settle my mind. My GP and midwife, who I saw since the last thread, were not very reassuring, although we did see a heartbeat.

something2say Wed 06-Mar-13 12:28:48

I think, pg or not, sort out the anxiety. Really....

Teaandflapjacks Wed 06-Mar-13 16:53:17

tsmith - i do feel sorry for you, you seem to be going through a really tough time. I really would, as other posters have kindly suggested, call the FAS team and speak to an expert, and also book yourself in with a female obs. Get a referral from your GP to see one if necc (I live in germany so no clue how the system works in blighty - assume you are based in UK). Also, think about getting your hormones tested properly - your thyroid, your TPO level (hashimotos - look on wikipedia). Hormones can have a HUGE impact - so make a fuss, and insist on getting them checked (and just your thyroid will not tell you about other things - i.e. you need TPO level for hashimotos). If hormones are not the route, then see your obs. to discuss other options.

The thing is, you have this negative pattern in your head, and you hoped a doctor could tell you it doesn't matter, but they can never say 'never' to you. And you want to know why? Because they could get sued. They could be struck off, lose their jobs - if they guarantee something to you. They can't - blame the ambulance chasing culture, blame what you like, but this is the way our poor doctors and health care professionals must operate now. They can say, there is a small chance etc, a very small chance. They look at the stats and work with these. It is a shame really, as sometimes they would like to say really do not worry - I have two relatives who are doctors, I ask them first and then see the docs. I always get a 'sanitised' view from docs, my relatives give me warts and all - i.e. do not worry (boozing in first 4 weeks of preg), or with carrying heavy loads in preg (what about mothers with children already?), etc etc.

It was my husbands bday before i knew I was preggers, we had been trying for ages, and we decided to stop trying, get through xmas and new years. We had a weekend away - i drank easily a bottle and a half of wine every night over three nights, stuffed myslef full of Pate, brie, parma ham and everything else you shouldn't (very tasty it was too!) , and some mulled wine in the day, every day. Then it was his bday the following weekend - I had two bottles of wine - one of sparkling over the evening, another of red. The following monday I could not stop vomiting, thought I had noro virus, period was two days late - was pregnant. I cried like a baby for about an hour, hugging dog. I then thought 'shit - alcohol!' so looked online - well I found out straight away nothing to worry about as it was an embryo then and not taking my blood. I also checked with docs in family, and my gyn here - all said don't worry. I suspect if I had gone to your expert - he would have told me off too!


Teaandflapjacks Wed 06-Mar-13 16:58:59

p.s. - we had been trying for ages, I had an early miscarrige last year - eat like a saint, thought 'sod it' by mid nov - and fell preg, baby fine now (18 weeks). I personally am convinced me stopping worrying about it, and stopping 'trying' got us pregnant - thank god for the old grape juice in my case!!:-)

TheChaoGoesMu Wed 06-Mar-13 17:33:39

But op, you did find one woman through your last thread who drank far far more than you and went on to have a healthy child. Me. I won't deny I didn't have similar thoughts and feelings to you at the time, but the knowlege that the baby isn't even hooked up to your blood stream so early must provide some reassurance? I wish I had known that first time round.

Saundy Wed 06-Mar-13 17:40:05

I'm sorry you're struggling so much and don't seem to be finding the reassurance you wanted in this thread.

I found out on Saturday (whilst nursing a hangover to my shame) and so was very interested in your thread.

I had taken a negative test a few days earlier which was a green light to drink and I went for it. 2 bottles of wine - before I went out, then numerous cocktails & vodka redbulls whilst out, then drank the alcohol cupboard dry when I got in (whisky, lager, tequila). I WISH I 'd stopped at 2 bottles of wine. & that's only what I drank that night (there was an Oscars night drinking game incident also).

I was looking for peoples experiences on your thread to reassure me and that's exactly what I found. I'm not worrying about it, there's no point. A ton of people here have said again and again its to early for the baby to be tapping in to your blood stream and that's good enough for me. There are so many positive stories and it was so early.

As I said I was looking for reassurance and I found it, maybe you've been looking for something else and should reread it with a more open mind.

I wanted to do everything perfectly, had been taking folic acid for months and being careful(ish) with what I ate. I was gutted. But there's no point in that, whats important is whats going on when the baby is all attached (or whatever they do). I'm eating uber well (thank you guilt) and its what we do now that will have the big impact.

On a separate note a disabled person is still a person and I hope one day we look back on a culture of this reason to abort with the same same shock that we do in the case of it being on grounds of gender. I understand the fear but I've never met a disabled person who I felt should not have been born.

SaggyOldClothCatpuss Wed 06-Mar-13 17:51:52

Right. I must have been at the same stage as you when I went on my stepmothers hen party. I drank at LEAST half a dozen double vodkas, a couple of cocktails and finished with several tequila slammers! I was so drunk they carried me home. after prising me off of the stripper. I was almost hysterical when I found out I was pregnant, but the doctor was fine about it. You and the baby arent properly connected at that stage. DS is now 17 and fine. Imagine how many women there are out there who go out and get hammered every week even when they are pregnant! If you aren't sure, come to Colchester on a Friday night and see for yourself!

Saundy Wed 06-Mar-13 18:23:31

I find thinking about Courtney Loves successful pregnancy also helps!

snickersnacker Wed 06-Mar-13 18:25:44

OP, a thought; some of your turns of phrase sound American (e.g. 'math', spelling of 'counselor') - are you in the US? If so, I think this might explain your perinatal consultant's reluctance to reassure you. Without wishing to stereotype, I think that many consultants in the UK are less sensitive to the possibility of litigation in response to over-confident (and ultimately incorrect) predictions and diagnoses.

I wish you the best of luck in your ultimate decision.

Teaandflapjacks Wed 06-Mar-13 20:33:49

snickersnacker - really couldn't have said it better myself. I am sure the reluctance has much to do with suing/litigation culture, which has unfortunately come over to the UK in some places in the healthcare system too.....

tsmith02162013 Thu 07-Mar-13 16:34:51

I woke up this morning and for the first time thought "I am over reacting."

The more I think about it, I believe the doctor (the specialist that I spoke with about the heavy drinking before I knew I was pregnant) meant to say was that there is not a lot of data out there about binge drinking before a woman knows she is pregnant. That is what he meant by an "un-quantifiable risk." There is no study that says "it doubles the chances of a birth defect" or "it will absolutely result in a birth defect."

Taking anti-depressants during pregnancy seems extreme, but the fact that my counsellor would raise the idea with me reflects that I have been at the extreme edge of anxiety over this. And it sounds like the reality is that the baby is probably fine (despite the drinking, at least).

I am going to focus on the idea that we are, more probably than not, fine. Or at least I will try to do so.

Thank you again for your patience, your kind words, your encouragement and (when appropriate) your frankness.

TheChaoGoesMu Thu 07-Mar-13 16:53:36

Yay. I'm so pleased for you op.
And can I say congratulations?
Fab news.

smile I'm really pleased you're feeling a bit calmer tsmith.

Best of luck with the pregnancy

Teaandflapjacks Thu 07-Mar-13 21:40:34

tsmith - good for you - and don't be so hard on yourself hon - you have lots of strong hormones swirling about, it would make even the most rational person freak out at times. once you get to 17 weeks your hormones should bed down a bit more - at least in my case.

Anti-depressants definitely have their place, and have helped so many, many people, but they are also not always necessary, a bit of a knee jerk, when therapy incl. CBT and gentle exercise, such as walking 30 mins each day and even pet therapy, such as a dog or cat etc would work really well.

Often psych. treat anti depressants as a platform, and use them for a short period, and then tail them off, using therapy and how you respond to that as the measure. But this is if you can get in with a psyc. in the first place. Doctors (GP's) will follow guidelines which says keep on then for 6 months - now anyone can see the that the outcome of drugs, no therapy v's a tailored drugs and therapy would be different.

I suspect it is a cumulation of shock, worry, what someone in a medical position said (see my prev. comments) and shed loads of new hormones on top of pre existing negative thought pattern behaviour - this isn't really all that bad. You are having therapy to deal with neg. thought patterns (ask about CBT!)- try getting out and walking, or doing pregnancy yoga (wonderful!!!). Don't be so hard on yourself. You, and your little poppet will be fine xx

Simian0 Thu 07-Mar-13 22:19:14

I'm sorry to read, and see, that you have anxiety/mental health issues. I would urge you to continue seeing your counsellor throughout so that you're best prepared for when your baby arrives. If this issue has managed to cause you so much stress, I would hazard a guess that you will need help to cope with whatever the future throws at you also.

If its super important to you to know of another woman who drank the equivalent/more than you before knowing she was pregnant then I can assist with that. I was around 6 weeks when I found out. I had just returned from a work trip to the US where I had been out drinking/smoking every night. The previous week I had had 3 nights out where one night I had drunk the equivalent of 2.5 bottles of red wine, some beer and a digestif. Prior to that it would have been the same pretty much every week. I'm into week 33 now and pregnancy is going swimmingly. I still have the odd glass of wine now and then ,although i dont often fancy it in honesty. All of my friends were in a similar boat who've had kids. One didn't know she was pregnant until 3 months and found out on holiday the morning after a particularly heavy drinking session. Her wee boy is perfectly fine/healthy 5 yr old now.

There has been a lot of extremely helpful advice on this thread so far, and I think you really need to pay attention to it, otherwise don't ask the question. Choose to take the advice and move on with your pregnancy (keeping up with the counselling also), or don't. It's your decision ultimately, but after having asked for the advice, take the time to digest it, and take the time to make an informed decision.

Good luck with everything.

tsmith02162013 Thu 07-Mar-13 22:35:18

Just to clarify, I am absolutely continuing with counselling through the duration of the pregnancy (and beyond). I just want to avoid anti-depressants, based on what I have heard (from the doctor, and in general, from other women who have been through this).

If I cannot cope and absolutely have to have medical intervention in the form of anti-depressants, that would be another matter entirely. I have been trying to cope with the anxiety (the super pregnancy/drinking before I knew I was pregnant anxiety) for a month now, and I have only had two counselling sessions. It may not feel pre-mature to the counsellor to suggest the anti-depressants, but it feels like it is a big jump, and one too soon for me.

tsmith02162013 Thu 07-Mar-13 22:53:48

And just when I thought I was feeling better....I got an anonymous message from another forum by someone who says that a friend who drank until she was 8 weeks pregnant. Her child has a cleft palette, other deformities, and was diagnosed with foetal alcohol syndrome, in light of his delayed growth, speech and lack of mental acuity.

If it can happen to this woman, am I really so crazy to think that it will happen to me? Yes, I only drank up until 4 weeks and a few days after my last period, but I drank A LOT. The now infamous 2 bottles of wine and a beer that everyone is sick of hearing about.

Teaandflapjacks Thu 07-Mar-13 23:27:49

poor you - but the point is hon that was 8 week pregnant. you had a heavy night - at 4 weeks. the baby is in its embyronic phase then - 6-8 weeks is a different phase in a babys development. do look on google and see if you need clarification. xx

ladymia Thu 07-Mar-13 23:32:16

massive difference between a 4 weeks and 8 weeks. google it.

There are a lot of trolls on the internet tsmith, it's not unlikely the person who pmed you is just a vicious troll trying to inflict pain.

Even if it is true, there is a huge difference between 8 weeks and 4 weeks, namely the blood supply/placenta issue we mentioned before.

And thirdly, FAS is a tricky diagnosis. It shares symptoms with other LDs abd SNs and it can be hard to distinguish between a problem which may have occured anyway and one caused by alcohol consumption. There is often no way of knowing if the baby would have been NT otherwise or whether alcohol was the single cause of delay, or even if alcohol exacerbated an existing genetic problem.

TheChaoGoesMu Fri 08-Mar-13 00:21:54

Big difference between 4 and 8 weeks op. At 4 weeks the baby isnt hooked up to your blood stream. Remember this.

mamasr Fri 08-Mar-13 00:33:45

I found out very late about my pregnancy and I drank throughout incl. a two week all inclusive cruise (so much alcohol drank) and a memorial service for a friend at which many shots (tequila etc) and drinks were had by all.. obviously as soon as I found out I completely stopped drinking and it did worry me when I found out but whatever is meant to be, is meant to be. I gave birth to healthy boy and I wouldn't change it for the world. Really hope that helps you x

tsmith02162013 Fri 08-Mar-13 00:36:52

Sorry to have gotten upset all over again. That anonymous message just hit me right where I was most vulnerable. Thank you again for continuing to be kind to me.

cafecito Fri 08-Mar-13 00:42:11

tsmith- I advocate people not to drink in pregnancy. But I drank in pregnancy (and many many women do) if you came to me in a clinic, I would think you were marvellous for only drinking until 4 weeks. The risk is so minimal. I am going to be a bit out there, and say I really want you to have this baby- they will be perfect, I think you will be a wonderful caring mum and I think you need to continue with counselling at least weekly, and try keeping a diary of your feelings as well.

chloeb2002 Fri 08-Mar-13 01:43:01

I guess I can't add much to what has been said allready. Except as a medic fetal alcohol syndrome affects bibs of mums who continue to drink, in excess .. which is not a known or quantifiable amount... Late into pregnancy. It is not associated with first trimester consumption.
I was also guilty this pregnancy of drinking a lot for me at about 5 weeks pg.. I did a neg test like many and thought hey ho.. why not have a few! Your gp needs to be supportive of you and failing that.. find another one please.
Sounds like your counselor has there head well screwed on. Hang in there. Annon posters should wind there necks in. Babies can of course be born with many different issues. My # 2 ds has several ... I could do very little different. Sometimes s#it happens. I suspect two bottles of wine will pale into insignificance over the next few months.

crazycatlady82 Fri 08-Mar-13 01:50:50

Hi there,

I have read most of the posts but not all as there are just so many and I am reading on my phone.

Anyway, a couple of things; firstly I unashamedly admit I love a drink. So started reading round the subject as I am also naturally anxious. I now take 5mg of folic acid as if I was an alcoholic (which I'm not) that is what would be given to alcoholic mothers.

I used a medical profession's book, not just a layman pregnancy book.

Secondly the overflowing cortisol from your anxiety may be more damaging.

Please note I am a tad over anxious, neurotic etc - all this and I am still in the tww.

Having read these posts I am considering relaxing my 'no drinking until a positive' not to excess but it may be my last chance!

Thanks all for previous calming posts about happy and healthy children from mothers who weren't t-total pre-conception


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