Two Letters That Made Me Cry

Let me start by saying: I don’t have one.

But I went to the ER this afternoon because I couldn’t breathe (same cough/cold that I have had for the past 5 weeks that suddenly got worse) and the next thing I know, I am being told about how they are going to inject me with radioactive stuff so they can rule out a P.E. — a pulmonary embolism.  PEs are baaaaaaaad.  PEs are very baaaaaaaad.  Even though I am on blood thinners (Lovenox, baby aspirin), the fact that I was pregnant, having chest pain, and had a high heart rate meant I couldn’ t leave until they could rule this out.  Crying when you can’t breathe just makes things worse and the snot clogs up your oxygen tubes, but sometimes that is all you can do.

I honestly thought they were going to give me a breathing treatment and send me on my merry way.  I didn’t expect, several hours later, to learn about the half-life of inhaled radioactive gas (20 seconds) and the half-life of the stuff they injected through my IV (6 hours; does not cross the placental barrier).

I now have fancy new asthma medicine and another appointment with my doctor tomorrow at noon to follow up.

What I don’t have is a P.E.

If you will excuse me, I am now going to stuff my face with bad carbs.  Pizza is not on the ADA diet, but I think I have earned it.

May 26, 2010. Pregnancy #4. 5 comments.

Served with a Dash of Optimism

When I was pregnant with S, I did not believe my pregnancy would actually result in a baby.  This persisted through labor right until the point when my midwife told me to reach down and touch the top of his head as he was crowning.  I could feel him move, saw him on many an ultrasound, and knew he was in there, I just couldn’t make the mental transition to “real baby.”

Needless to say, I didn’t set up the nursery.  I had a baby shower so we were swimming with the requisite stuff, but it all just got piled into the back bedroom.  The previous owners of our house had already painted the walls a nice green, so I was not motivated to change that.  Aside from cleaning out extra stuff and buying a dresser and a nightlight, there was really no advanced preparation.  I never “nested.”

Then my dad attempted suicide.  Then S came 3 weeks early.  Then my dad killed himself.  Then I had a newborn to take care of.

Needless to say, decorating was not high on my list.

S, as far as I can tell, is not scarred from spending time in a laundry basket or having undecorated walls for the first few months of my life.  Once he was about 3 months old, I did feel the need to organize and clean, but I think this was because I was spending most days at home, not because of any hormonal or maternal impulse.

This time, although I will admit that I still have a mental disconnect between pregnancy and wailing baby, I do feel the need to get organized and clean before the baby arrives.  This time, I can actually imagine a baby arriving and I know that once they arrive, nothing else gets done.

I also did not accomplish what I wanted to achieve, professionally speaking, while I was on research leave.  I think once the shock abated, I had to grieve and instead of throwing myself into my work, I just tried to emotional heal and take care of S.  Now, however, I have a lot to do so that I am a viable tenure candidate in a few years.

So, to the nursery.  This time there will be one, not because she-beastie gives a hoot, but because I am going to be spending a lot of time in that room and the white walls, metal blinds, bare floor, and hideous light fixture are just not doing it for me.  Currently, it is being “de-mancave-ified” so I can not take pictures, but here are some bits and pieces to give you an idea.

May 24, 2010. He-Beastie's Big Debut, Other Links, Pregnancy #4. 2 comments.

Little Pricks

My midwife thinks I am “crazy” but she agreed to let me do blood sugar monitoring for a few weeks instead of the 3-hour glucose test.  “You know, MC, you are the only person who has ever requested this.”  I would so rather test for the rest of my pregnancy than do that horrible test.  I only need to test 2 times a day (one fasting; one postprandial), twice a week for two weeks to see how my numbers look.  If they are okay, I just stay on the ADA diet.  If they are not okay, I start to test more frequently.

My mom gave me my dad’s old glucometer.  Last year, this would have really upset me.  This year, I am too spent to invest any emotional energy in being upset about it.  I need to buy new test strips tomorrow.

In a strange twist, the steroids I have been put on for the colitis have nearly eradicated my nausea.  I can eat!  I can keep down prenatal vitamin!  I actually have energy!  It is awesome, actually.  Too bad I am on a 4-week taper because eventually I expect all this to go away, but for now it is such a nice change of pace.  I can also eat vegetables and tolerate dairy (with my Lactaid) so I am hoping she-beastie is storing up all these nutrients.   I even gained a whopping pound!

I am at week 31 as of tomorrow.  I regularly have about 30 minutes of Braxton-Hicks contractions when I lay down at night, which are just tightening at this point and not even painful.  My sciatica is starting to act up again, so I am wary of walking long distances.  It is actually a good thing I am not in Europe with my students.

We are starting to really work on the nursery.  I have three major projects before she-beasties arrival: 1) downstairs:  oversee building of a first-floor laundry room/new flooring; 2) nursery: paint/clean/furnish/stock; 3) research: finish article/send out book proposal/write book review.  I have a babysitter for 4 hours twice a week for S, my mom will take him another afternoon, and he goes to his play-care (2 hours at a day-care providers house, mainly for socialization), so I hope I have time to get all this done.  Unlike last time, I know that I will get nothing done once she-beastie arrives, so here’s to a few super-productive weeks.

May 24, 2010. Colitis is Fun (Not), Pregnancy #4. 3 comments.

Oh! OH!

(The answer to all of these is, “why, it’s MC!”)

Guess who flunked her 1-hour glucose tolerance test?

Guess who has to schedule her 3-hour glucose tolerance test this week?

Guess who just got put on Prednisone, a drug known for raising your blood sugars?

Guess who is going to flunk her 3-hour glucose tolerance test this week?

Guess who is going to just going to ask her OB if she can start the gestational diabetes protocol instead of taking that awful test?

Guess who is going to be put on a ADA-approved diet?

Guess who can’t stand meat or tolerate dairy and is not allowed to eat nuts or raw vegetables (bad for colitis)?

May 16, 2010. Colitis is Fun (Not), Pregnancy #4. 4 comments.

Life’s Not Fair

It’s not fair that I had two miscarriages.

It’s not fair I had hyperemesis while pregnant with S.

It’s not fair that I have ulcerative colitis.

It’s not fair my dad killed himself 5 days after S was born, and that is mostly what I remember about S being a newborn.

None of it is fair.

So here I am in pregnancy #2.  Migraines.  Hyperemesis.  So not fair.

My colitis is now also flaring.

I finally had to admit today that this was getting really bad really fast.  (You’re welcome for not sharing the details.)  I was worried about nutrients anyway due to all the nausea/vomiting, but now that it is coming out the other end, too, I am trying not to freak out.  I am forcing down the prenatal vitamins (because I puke anyway, right?) and drinking Ensure, just hoping that something absorbs.

I had to start on Asacol and Prednisone (4-week taper) per my GI doctor, in addition to the probiotics and fiber I was already taking.  All of this is class “A” (i.e. fiber and probiotics) or “B” (Prednisone, I guess, is technically a “C” but my OB and GI told me they both think of it as a “B”), but I am so sick of swallowing handfuls of pills while pregnant.

I am 29.5 weeks so about 10ish weeks to go.

As long a she-beastie is okay, though, I can suck it up;  I just need for her to be okay.

May 14, 2010. Colitis is Fun (Not), Pregnancy #4. 4 comments.

The Low Down

She-beastie is so low, it feels like I have a bowling ball between my legs all the time. It’s worse when I stand or sit, but I still feel her when I lay down.  I am carrying, once again, “low” and “small,” so I guess this pressure is not surprising.

I can barely get the Monistat applicator thingy in because my baginjo is so, er, short (is that the right word?).  And no, we are not having sex.  Everything feels swollen in my lady parts and this added pressure is just making it worse.  It’s also compressing my bladder, so I pee tiny amounts all day long.

She didn’t drop or anything; she has been really low the entire time.  I guess she just got big enough for me to feel it.

11 more weeks of this?

My mom said she carried my brother like this and the only thing that helped was swimming.  I also read on-line that you can use ice-packs or frozen vegetables to help numb the pain but that it will not take away the pressure.

Does anyone have any other ideas, short of spending the rest of my pregnancy doing handstands?

May 11, 2010. Pregnancy #4. 3 comments.

Warning: I Am Going to Complain Again

I have a raging yeast infection.  My bajingo felt like it was on fire until the Monistat cream had a chance to work its magic.  I think that everything down there is a little swollen and tender anyway (I don’t remember this before, but I chalk any and all new physical weirdness up to pregnancy) so adding the yeast infection to that was awful.

I also projectile vomited again today, this time while changing S’s stinky diaper.  The poor kid.  He is so used to me puking that he doesn’t even seem to notice, and usually just plays with the scale in the bathroom while I do my business.  This morning, I finally managed to haul out his little potty training chair to ralph into while making sure he wasn’t going to roll off the changing table.  Have I mentioned that I am done after this pregnancy?

Today I bought she-beastie a dress.  I am trying to make her feel more real.  She is, like S was, super-active in utero but I still have a mental disconnect from the reality that there is an actual baby in there.  We also need to get working on the nursery, which I suppose will help as well.

I laid down at 6PM while Mr. MC was putting S to bed and woke up at 10:30PM.  I am now just waiting for the Benedryl, my evening antiemetic of choice, to kick in so I can stop the nausea/retching.  Welcome to my Friday night!

Additional Saturday bitching: sciatica started today down my left butt cheek and leg.

I haven’t posted a picture of S in a while, so here you go:

May 7, 2010. Pregnancy #4, The Magnificent Baby S. 1 comment.

Oh, Goodie

I flunked my one-hour glucose screen.  The cutoff was 140; I was 149.

Now I get to take the three-hour glucose test.  The problem with this test, aside from having to spend three hours in the lab, is that if you puke, you have to start the test all over again.   While pregnant, I am a puker.  Telling a puker NOT to puke is like telling someone telling you NOT to think about an elephant, because then elephants are all you think about.  A completely empty stomach usually means ralph-city for me; downing that nasty sweet drink and then continuing to eat nothing for three more hours is a recipe for disaster.

Last time, the nice ladies in the lab let me lay down in a back room and only woke me for the draws.  It was the only way I could keep the stuff down, and even then I was using Jedi-mind control to will myself not to vomit.

Oh, and I think my colitis is flaring again.  Either that or the antibiotic I took for bronchitis is still messing with my intestines.  I am downing copius amounts of probiotics, which are actually good for both conditions.

One thing at a time, though.

May 6, 2010. Colitis is Fun (Not), Pregnancy #4. 3 comments.

Grateful, Sort Of

Given that 50% of my pregnancies ended before the first trimester, I know I should be more grateful to be at 28 weeks.

I am, of course.  Thrilled, actually, and very excited.

But being pregnant, at least for me, sucks.  I still regularly puke.  I am still nauseated most days.  I get at least one migraine a week.  I am starting to count down the weeks (12) I have left.  What scares me is that I am not even that big and I know as the belly gets bigger, things get more uncomfortable.

Walking around pregnant while holding S’s hand in a restaurant led one woman to actually remark that I was “very fertile.”  Obviously, explaining to her about the uterus of death, the two miscarriages, and the daily shots I take to sustain this one, was out of the question.  I just weakly smiled.   Sure, whatever.  Fertile myrtle I ain’t.

I am grateful to be pregnant.  I am grateful that all indications are that this is a healthy baby girl.  I am grateful that I can still get out of bed and go to work, even if I have to pump myself full of anti-puke medicine.

Still, I will be glad to deliver this baby and be done with the whole pregnancy thing.

May 3, 2010. Fertile Myrtles, Pregnancy #4. 2 comments.