Monday, February 21, 2011

Sleeping Med Scare

So, being pregnant, I have severe insomnia. Obviously, when I found out I had a child within, I had to go off of all the night meds that had been prescribed to me to help me sleep, and that was mostly benzos – which are definite no no’s while pregnant. So, with no meds to help me, I couldn’t sleep. It was terrible. I was taking Benadryl and Unisom together, and it didn’t even touch my insomnia. It turned me into a nut case. I cried all the time, was extremely anxious, and not coping at all. In my most extreme insomnia episode, I had gotten about 5 hours of sleep TOTAL in 4 days. I LITERALLY could not function. I couldn’t work. I couldn't watch Cade.  I could barely talk and make sense, yet I couldn’t sleep. It was really and truly one of the worst times for me.

So, my OB saw this, was really concerned, and prescribed me Ambien. I know, right? AMBIEN WHILE PREGNANT? I was nervous, but she said that once you’re out of your first trimester, Ambien is safe to take. So I’ve been taking it for about a month now, and it helps make a dent in my insomnia – well, for a few hours anyway – and I have been able to at least get enough sleep to function.


It makes me weird. I’m sure we’ve all heard crazy Ambien stories. I laughed at them, mostly. My favorite one entailed my uncle taking an Ambien, then “taking a dump and baking a cake” without washing his hands first. (No thanks on the Hepatitis C Cake.) My sis-in-law warned me of Ambien Eating, which I suffer from – I wake up every morning with like Skittles strewn all over the floor and a bowl of cereal on the night stand and I’m like uuuugggghhhhh this was NOT.IN.MY.MEAL.PLAN!!

And, yeah, I’ve done some funny shenanigans. The first night I ever took Ambien, (WARNING: adult content ahead) I told Brandon I wanted to go to Seattle, because they made the best dildos there, and I wanted one called the Space Needle. (Aren’t I clever??) Needless to say, I didn’t remember that conversation AT ALL when I woke up. Another night, I put on like 5 pair of socks because my feet were cold. And yet another night, I insisted that not only was Tosh.0 (if you don't know who Tosh is, I might hate you) gay, but that he was also in 3D on the TV.

But last night.
Last night took the cake. (The Hepatitis C Cake, if you will.)
I took my prescribed Ambien – a fairly low dose; and certainly not more than was prescribed to me. About 30 minutes later, things GOT WEIRD. My Ambien hit me harder than it ever has before, and I wasn’t just saying weird crap, but I was hallucinating. I have no memory of this, but my friend Dar told me that I told her I had a brain tumor and I needed to email my dietician (wait, shouldn’t I email my DOCTOR) and tell her immediately. Thankfully, she stopped me. I was also Googling absolutely weird and random things, and then I threw up. My Ambien made me sick. I then went to bed, where I hallucinated about gnomes with traffic cones in my bedroom – they were making pretty designs on my bedroom floor.

It was INSANE. What happened last night? I don’t like the way it made me feel. I don’t want it to happen again.  And while it was funny…I’m still thinkin’ I’d rather stay away from hallucinatory gnomes and brain tumors.

Has this ever happened to anyone?? Where their Ambien, for some reason or another, him them harder on a particular night than another? What should I do?


brie said...

Oh, and please, no comments stating your opinion that you shouldn't take meds while pregnant. My doc and I decided that the benefits far outweigh the risks on this one, and I believe it's a personal choice. Thanks in advance.

magenta miles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ania said...

I totally have an Ambien story. It's long and I'll e-mail it to you if you want. It was before they 'reformulated', but it was a wild and crazy time.

I'm not sure it'll contain any answers, it's more of a "me too".

I choose not to take it now because it makes me do things that are potentially unsafe and could involve the (non)safety of other people too.

But, I'm a lightweight and always have weird reactions to drugs.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

I took them several times before and at one point I was glad we didn't have to sell puppies because of the economy right now and later I said my brain was like a school bus. When kids get on the bus it works and when kids get off the bus it stops working - and kids were getting off the bus.


But yes, I've had the same experience as you in that it just depends on the night - some are worse than others, but my "worse" nights were very few in comparison to my "better" nights.

lisalisa said...

I have never taken Ambien, but I would totally be freaked out if that happened to me! Hallucinating is never a good sign (even if it does result in funny stories!).

I'm with you on the insomnia. I cant sleep without a hefty dose of Trazodone. I can't remeber how I made it through my pregnancies.

Wish I had some better advice! I hope you sleep soon!

Sheyenne said...

Oh, Ambien... I took it in college b/c I couldn't sleep and was missing my classes. My boyfriend (now hubby) and I would talk on the phone in our dorm rooms at night. Apparently, I'm a mean ambien-taker... we would have huge, blow out fights ont he phone, and when we saw each other in class the next morning, he'd be pissed, but I had NO recollection of the conversation at all! This happened all the time until he realized what was happeneing.

Also, I would wake up wearing completely different clothes than what I went to sleep in-- undies and all. Good thing I didn't have a roommate that year. The clothes I had been wearing would just be in a pile in front of my closet. Again... no memory of changing whatsoever!!!

Krista said...

When I was pregnant with J I also took ambien due to lack of benzos. One night my husband woke to me banging on the back wall of the closet. Apparently I was screaming "There is no way out! There is no way out! There is no way out and I have to pee!" He kindly lead me to the bathroom where I attempted to pee while still clothed. He had to pull my pants down, wipe me, pull em back up, and get me back in bed. I seriously don't remember ANY of it, but I was the family joke for quite some time.

Sia Jane said...

I think it is really brave of you to go off the medication and have an honest and frank discussion about what works.
I am not pregnant, but do take medication, and that is a concern for me, with regards to what I will do when I finally have children.
So it has been great to read your experience.
As for the sleeping tablet stories.
You are NOT alone.
I no longer take them.
I have had the most random experiences on it(I think we call it zolpidem over here - UK)

From my experiences and others, it produces a type of drunk experience, whereby your inhibitions are lowered - which might explain the dildo incident :p

I don't like the stuff, but I am on a tonne of other meds (which you can't take) so I have no idea what advice to offer really.

I just wanted you to know you're not alone.

Maybe some of these symptoms will ease...?
I have a friend who is on it long term and she no longer experiences those side effects.
If not, another chat with the OB.

Hope it eases sweetheart xxxx

Sue said...

Wow, I tried ambien before and didn't have anything like that happen... it just made me too useless in the morning (I slept but wasn't rested at all).

Something that might help with the sleeping.

licketysplit said...

I was on Ambien briefly and found that if I didn't go to bed right away I would do and say some pretty bizarre things.

Anonymous said...

I take Ambien, and I can't say that I have had one of those bizarre nights. I've heard of them, but I haven't heard of anything bizarre things happening to me.
good luck with the Ambien... and sleeping.

Angela and Brett said...

apparently i make racy sexual advances when I take ambien (that I have NO memory of)

brie said...

Ahaha. I'm loving all these Ambien stories! :)

seven23 said...

i have taken ambien in the past and also am currently taking it again. i've been ever-so-grateful to not have these crazy experiences! to do lose memory, but it's just been minor and minimal conversations. usually i just fall asleep reading and husband has to get up and walk around the bed to turn off my lamp and it really annoys him! *evil grin*

BUT, as for another option, i've also had great luck with melatonin but don't know if it's safe during pregnancy. would guess so, but check it out. good luck! everything's so much more extreme without sleep! ~~zzzzzzz

Just That ZombieGrrl said...

I don't have an Ambien story, but you asked about sleep meds hitting harder on some nights than others, and I have an experience to relate on that. During my mum's cancer and after her passing, I was prescribed Klonopin. Sometimes, I could take it and still talk (albeit, sleepily) on the phone to a friend for a bit and then doze off, lazily, in front of my telly. Other times, I'd be unconscious nearly immediately, even if I still had my homework (I was an undergrad at University) open on the bed -- or, sometimes, I'd answer the phone, say ridiculous things, and not recall it in the morning. Ultimately, I found a lot of it came down to carbs -- the more carbs I'd eaten late in the day, the more gentle my body's response to the Klonopin.

Take care! (And, yes, sleep deprivation is WAY more dangerous than doctor-prescribed meds.)

Missy said...

Okay...coming out here.. (Hi! I still love ya!)

So, I know you don't drink but I am not sure why...if it has to do with your religion or not..or mybe it's just not your thing...if you are open to it and your doc and dietician agree...maybe a small glass..3-4 oz of wine every other night instead of the meds?

Missy said...

And have you tried melatonin or other natural supplemnts? I have has AWESOME experiences with them. I can recommend quite a few. Or up your intake of tryptophan foods late at night?

Cassidy said...

I've never taken ambien but I've got 2 silly stories. One of my friends was taking it and we were in tx so she had to take it at a specific time , well apparently she'd broken up with her bf a month or two before going in and almost every night she would call him and just talk about how much she wished he was there so they could have sex. Apparently he was cool with her ambian rants because they got back together shortly after she left and now they're married.
I was with another friend the first night she took hers and it was hilarious! Almost a half an hour after taking it she swore up and down she didn't feel it and it must not work, then she started dancing and doing handstands just to show us just how much it wasn't working, or at least they would have been cartwheels is she didn't topple over into the furniture.
To this day whenever I hear La Roux's bulletproof I laugh thinking of that night because it was playing in the background when all this happened.

Jen said...

As long as I took Ambien right as I went to bed I never had any weirdness. However when I transitioned to Melatonin I had crazy whacked out dreams about being in a love triangle with Angelina and Brad that felt more real then my actual life. I looked forward to going to bed every night because I knew whatever my imagination came up with was going to be crazy.
If Ambien isn't working for you, try the melatonin if your dr. is okay with it. Works great for me but not my husband.
p.s. Sometimes I wonder if the people who are judgemental of the whole meds and pregnancy have no clue what the sx's of anxiety/depression actually feel like (how's that for a judgemental statement).

alison said...

I've never taken Ambien or a similar medication, though I struggled with insomnia for decades. Nowadays, a glass of wine makes me quite sleepy. Have you tried that? Most of my friends' doctors have said that it's safe to have one glass a day during pregnancy. The "sleepytime" tea by Celestial Seasonings also makes me feel sleepy.

Sarah said...

My sister took Ambien on an international flight and apparently started singing, flailing, and hallucinating saying "I HAVE TO GET OFF THIS PLANE!" My dad (who had prescribed it to her) was horrified.

Tanya said...

Sometimes I feel more ambien weirdness when I don't eat anything before I take it.

karen and cameron said...

Hi Brie! Karen Phipps here, totally random blog-stalking Sunday...Anyhoo, just wanted to comment that (we're nearly as far along, I'm due Aug. 2, BTW) I too was prescribed Ambien for crazy insomia, and It made me vomit like no other. Like I would take it at night and wake up in the morning and puke all day incessantly. And, it only worked for a few hours then I found myself wide awake at like 4 a.m. and ready to go. It was all too wierd. Only took it 3 times and it now resides in my medicine cupboard.

Best of luck! I'm jealous you already know the sex...We have to wait the full 20 weeks. :(