After reaching the pivotal 18 month milestone, a lot of things have come up for me. Why is 18 months pivotal? That is how long we wait to space our children. Now would be the time to start trying again. Of course this time, we have been trying since Simon’s death. It has been such a roller coaster. I have let each period be a complete downfall and allowed them to let me feel like a failure. But a couple of months ago, I gave up trying and just focused on getting myself better and working on all my issues revolving around Matthew and also with my other boys as they have been exposed as well. I have basically decided to focus on getting the facts of these drugs out into the open seriously now. I have had to deal with the flashbacks much more frequently lately. I have kept my memories in a little box on a shelf in my mind. When I was ready, I would go somewhere private and open the box and relive my trauma of Matthew’s death. But for the past month or so, this box has opened itself and had me relive his final moments over and over when I am not normally ready or available to do it. I have found this much more traumatizing at these unexpected times. The memories start at his birth and continues to the end when the doctor says, “Call it.” I can’t stop the process once it starts. And because I am reliving the moment, the feelings are as fresh as the first time I am experiencing it. It is draining physically and emotionally as I have physical reactions as well as the emotional. I have found myself reliving in public. In front of my family. Also alone when I am not prepared. I must find somewhere to hide while I go through the loss again and work hard to calm myself down.
All this has made me realize that I must do whatever I can to make sure no other person has to go through this as well. I won’t be able to stop all of it of course as I realize there is just so much to fight to get the truth out. Many denials of patients and doctors as well as the drug companies. But I can do my best. That begins with getting Matthew’s story told. To reach more and more people. To get the facts out that not only Matthew have been affected, but the long term damage to my other exposed children and myself as well.
I travelled to Vancouver to Women’s Hospital last week to speak with a neonatal specialist about my boys. He works with many problem deliveries and births. He agreed that the first step to saving Matthew would have been recognizing respiratory distress. We told him what we saw as his parents and he agreed it was clearly distress. Why the doctors didn’t reconize it was probably because they don’t see this very often and they are probabaly not properly trained. We told him that Cole was born with a heart murmur. As a doctor, he would have recommended his heart checked again a few years later. We were not told that and now at 8 we must ask that his murmur get checked again. Andrew’s severe sleep apnea at 3 must also be checked out as well as any breathing problems could be attributed to Effexor exposure. As for Jacob, we described his traumatic birth and the first couple weeks of life followed by his problems to this day. His cyanosis when he’s stressed. He told us Jacob should have been under the care of a cardiologist. Which now at 6 we must do. He may have a small hole between his chambers that allows blood to pass back and forth which could worsen when he’s upset and cause his cyanosis. I am praying he doesn’t but I have to prepare that he might. It could require surgery.
We also spoke to Barbara Mintzes at UBC who put out the Therapeutics Initiative letter in February 2010 that antidepressants are not safe during pregnancy. She and her colleague were wonderful. And I appreciate the fact that all their studies have absolutely no funding whatsoever from a drug company. Their Conclusions and clinical implications stated, “There is no evidence that SSRIs in pregnancy improve maternal or infant health, and substantive evidence that they pose a risk to the fetus. Thus the harms exceed the benefits in this setting.” She has agreed to help us get in touch with journalists to help get Matthew’s (and my other boys as well) out to the public. They do recommend that all our boys be put on the adverse reactions list. I am working on that by getting the boys to a cardiologist. That is my first step.
The pathologist who did Matthew’s autopsy put Matthew on the Adverse Reaction list. As of April 16, 2009, Matthew has become the first infant death caused by exposure to Effexor. Of course we pushed to find out what caused his death instead of settling for “some babies just die.” Most parents accept that, so their deaths never get diagnosed and these killing drugs continue on their merry way to harming more people. If more complete autopsies were performed and the fact that the mom was using antidepressants is crucial, how many more deaths or ther adverse reactions would be found linked to the meds? The numbers could be astounding. The fact that a lot of Cole’s behavioural problems are identical to my cocaine exposed nephew is not a coincidence as SSRIs are almost chemically identical to cocaine. That is an adverse reaction! Instead, these behavioral problems are chalked up to ADHD or some other condition that doctors want to medicate. Jacob has been diagnosed as well by one doctor as ADHD and his pediatrician wants him on Ritalin. My boy potentially has a heart condition as cyanosis is a sign. And she ignored his oxygen problem and wants to medicate him with an Amphetimine? I’m not a doctor, but you give an amphetimine to someone with a heart condition and you could kill them. How can a system continue on this road of distruction?
So as of today my mission is to help others avoid my situation. I have asked Matthew and Simon to help guide us and I believe they have these past few months by opening many doors for us. I have learned so much and met many wonderful people. I am now awaiting to see where all this leads us. I will fight the best fight I can give for my boys. I am their mother and I owe it to them.