"I got pregnant with my daughter, Diamond, in September 2004, and she was my sixth child," Dionne says. "It was a special pregnancy. My husband and I were making a fresh start after a short separation. I told my doctor that this would be my sixth child and he said that I had some problems with depression. I said, 'yes,' because I had been away from my family, but I had not taken medication continuously because of how it made me feel.
"I was referred through my HMO to a therapist, who concluded that I could use therapy and said she would like to prescribe me some medication. This was in my second trimester that I started taking Zoloft. With this child, I thought I was taking care of my mental health by taking Zoloft. I asked about any problems taking it and the therapist said not to worry, it wouldn't have been prescribed if there were problems.
"So, I continued to take Zoloft until I had my daughter. I had a friend help to take care of Diamond, so I could take care of my five other children. One day she said, 'Diamond's legs are turning blue.' I called the doctor and had Diamond tested. Another week, week-and-a-half went by. Then, the doctor wanted to bring her in for more tests. So, I took her in to have tests, but we were going out of town (this was July). I took her in on our way to Chicago, she had her tests and then we got on the road to go to Chicago to celebrate July 4.
"At first, everything was fine and everyone in the family got to see Diamond. I didn't see any more blue on her legs. Five days later, my husband and I went out and left Diamond with my sister-in-law. She said she would take care of everything and not to worry. A little later, my cousin was knocking on the door; Diamond was dead. She died on July 9, 2005.
"We were investigated in her death. They have still got her cause of death open. They never pinpointed anything. I've never had a clear answer about the Zoloft, or about what was wrong with her, but I got on the Internet to research it and I saw that if the legs are blue, there may be respiratory problems. The only real difference between the earlier pregnancies and this was Zoloft. The other five children are happy and healthy.
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"I lost my baby. I live with that every day—that I took that medication. I deal with that every single day. They gave me those pills instead of giving me therapy. My marriage broke up because my husband blamed me for taking medication while pregnant.
"Not every problem can be solved by a pill, that's what I've learned. I still have depression but I don't have my daughter."