Monday, September 29, 2014

Why Birth Plans are a Big Load of Crap (and also, why I couldn't care less)

Greetings.  It's been a while.  I'm going to write this fast, before the little monster wakes up.

I had planned on having an all-natural, un-medicated and painful birth.  I had planned to do this on the 17th of September, which is when I was due.  I had planned to go into labour on my own, or at the very least, I had really, really hoped I would.  Well, Mice & Men and all that, right?

On the 21st, 4 days past my due date, my water broke.  It very kindly did this as I sat down on the toilet, so it didn't make a mess anywhere, which, admittedly was cool.  Once I was 90% sure it was my water, Mr. Wolfman and I got our stuff together and made our way to the nearest hospital, as the one I was going to deliver in was 40 mins away on a traffic-free miracle day and we wanted to be 100% sure before he called work and we drove all the way there.

The local hospital informed me that a) my water had indeed broken and b) since I went there first, they would have to give me the first round of antibiotics that I needed to help protect the little monster from Group B Strep.  They did a cervical check and a few other little things, gave me the antibiotics and eventually discharged me so I could drive to the other hospital.

Mr. Wolfman had run out and got some food for the road, so we texted the necessary people and set out, our Go-bags having already been in the car for nearly a week.  I wasn't feeling any contractions for most of this.  The odd one here or there, but very light and painless, so we stopped at a beautiful spot on the side of the road for a picnic and to take some pictures, since the light was absolutely perfect.  After lunch, we carried on to the delivery hospital.

I had planned on my labour starting properly somewhere during that drive.  I had planned on being given at least until for my third or fourth dose of antibiotics for my labour to start naturally, before being induced.  But that wasn't an option.  I was brought directly to the delivery room, hooked up to antibiotics and told that they were going to start me on Oxytocin immediately to induce labour.  I had a choice; I didn't have to sign the consent forms, but basically, I had to sign them.  So I did.

I knew induction was a possibility, and I had planned to suffer through the extra pain without drugs. And I did, for a while.  The oxy worked, and I was soon having proper contractions.  And then having really quite painful contractions, and then feeling like I had one of the chest bursters from Alien in my ass, only it wouldn't burst... and then they got really, really bad.

I asked for laughing gas, as it was the least invasive, stayed in the system the shortest length of time, was the least likely to effect the baby.  It doesn't do anything for the pain.  It gets you stoned, so that the pain isn't very important.  Just breathe it in through the contractions and voila! you're able to carry on, through even that, the most painful...

Nope.  Not even close to the most painful anything.  That came on a little later.  First I was whimpering through the contractions, then groaning, wailing, and finally, all-out, screaming bloody murder.  And when each one ended and I was done screaming, I was crying hysterically.

Mr. Wolfman was with me throughout, holding me through them.  He had been really good about not trying to push me into pain meds, even though I'm sure if our roles were reversed, I would have had a nervous breakdown listening to him scream like that.  But eventually, I asked him what I should do, if it was ok for me to get something for the pain.  He told me I had nothing to be ashamed of, just get the epidural.  So I did.

The nurse gave me a consent form to sign, of which I read the first sentence, which was basically agreeing that I had discussed and had the risks explained to me.  Which I had not.  She said the Dr. would explain when he arrived.  I signed it, because at that point, if they told me amputating a limb would get the pain to stop, I would have signed a consent form for that, too.  The anesthesiologist showed up and rushed through the risks, but I couldn't really focus by then.  I remember he said headaches and I remember thinking some of the other ones he mentioned sounded kind of severe, but not what those were.  Then he yelled at me (seriously, he yelled) because I apparently wasn't following his instructions.  I kept telling him I didn't understand what he wanted me to do, that I would gladly do whatever it was, if he would just explain it to me, and he kept yelling, telling me I wasn't listening and I was doing it wrong.  Eventually my husband just asked him and then translated, "Stick your ass out and roll your shoulders down."  I stayed still for the shot, which itself wasn't even remotely painful.

I don't think it took very long to set in.  Once it had, I didn't feel the next contraction at all.  And then the little monster's heart rate dropped.  I'd been hooked up to the Doppler, so I heard the drop right away.  But before I had made the connection or said anything, the anesthesiologist was getting a little too adamant about how OK everything was.  So I asked why the baby's heart rate was so low, and he just kept repeating everything was fine - so I kept telling him it clearly wasn't, because the heart rate was simply way too low (I checked with my husband afterward, it was about 60 at this stage, about 100 bpm less than it had been).  In the same breath as "everything is fine" he was getting the nurse to call in another doctor, because of  "Severe fetal [something]-cardia".  Yes, I was pretty out of it, and no, I'm not a doctor.  But I'm also not stupid, and I know the meaning of the words severe and fetal, and that the suffix cardia refers to the heart.  So I wasn't buying the "everything is ok" story I was being fed over and over, by that guy and the nurses.

Another doctor showed up and stuck an oxygen mask over my head, told me it was for the baby because his heart rate was too low.  Then they tried to wake the baby up by stroking his head (glad I was numb from the waist down at this stage) and eventually, they called Dr. Ladyhouse, because they were seriously starting to worry.

His heart rate went up pretty much on its own around the time Dr. Ladyhouse showed up.  She explained that it had dropped so much because all of the adrenaline my body was producing to deal with the pain of the contractions just melted away, once the pain was gone.  And since that adrenaline had also been fed to the little monster, it disappearing caused his heart rate to crash.

Once that adventure was over, they gave me a button to push to up my pain killers and everything was fairly calm and quiet for a while.  They took me off the Oxytocin so that my body could hopefully start working on its own and to give the little monster a break from the stress.

I was pretty out of it, my lips were numb and I was mostly just rambling about stuff and trying to use my button as infrequently as possible.  Eventually, I threw up again (I had thrown up everything from the 21st during the initial contractions.  I'm not sure whether it was the 22nd by this time or not) and the nurse checked me again, told me I was ready to push and called Dr. Ladyhouse again.

It seemed like a second after she arrived, I needed to push.  I was really surprised, and told her not yet.  She told me I push, or they cut the baby out.

I had planned on delivering either squatting or on all fours, but the epidural made that impossible.  I couldn't even move my legs reliably, there was no way they were going to support my weight.  So I had to deliver the way I was completely against, on my back with my feet pushing against braces, pushing while a nurse and DH held my legs.

At Dr. Ladyhouse's request, I had calmed down on my pain button, but I still had to be told when I was having a contraction, so that I knew when to push.  Things weren't progressing at a rate they liked, so they upped my oxytocin again.  Eventually the contractions got painful again, but nothing like before the epidural.  I guess I pushed for a solid 2.5 hours, but I was still incredibly out of it (I learned later that the epidural was full of a narcotic) and it only felt like about 20 mins.

He was born with open eyes, looking around at the world, not crying, but not looking very happy about things, either.  And that's why I don't care that my birth plan was a total disaster.  It's all very cliche, but when they gave him to me, I really didn't care how he had gotten there, just that I had him. All memory of the pain just melted away.  I still remember the events, obviously, and I remember that there was pain, but I don't remember the pain itself.

He is absolutely perfect.  Just totally adorable, and already very smart and alert and so soft and cuddly and... ahh!  I was getting teary eyed yesterday at the thought that he can't just stay this size.

Mr. Wolfman is an absolute natural, and loves to snuggle the little monster and tell him about all the fun stuff they'll do together when he's older.  He'd never even held a baby before and by the end of day one, had mastered changing, burping, swaddling* and cuddling.  He's well and truly mastered sleep when they sleep as well.

Well, I need to wake up a certain adorable somebody and give him some breakfast.  I had planned on this being a much shorter blog.  I ended up saving it part way through writing and coming back to it. Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.

*which we can't do anymore because the little monster figured out how to flip back to front at 5 effing days old.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lift Off?

Well, not quite yet.

I know only about 4% of women go on their due dates, and I never really had an expectation of being one of them, so I wasn't really surprised to wake up this morning feeling much the same as I did last night.  A little snugglier, maybe, and a little more tempted to try to convince Mr. Wolfman to skip work.  But generally good and healthy and not crazily impatient.

I think part of this calmness stems from the fact that I have so much to do.  Normally, this would be a cause for great anxiety, but I think all the stuff that I need to get done is balancing my impatience to have my baby, and it's put me into a state of near neutrality.  Which is good, because if I was panicking right now, I definitely couldn't get the kitchen cleaned up and the laundry started, which I need to do before the little one gets here.  I'm so not going to be doing housework for at least a few days after the birth.

Today we have an appointment with Dr. Ladyhouse, to set up an appointment for an induction next week, if the little monster doesn't appear before that.  I still need to do some research on membrane sweeps to decide if I want one, but if I can avoid being given oxytocin, that would be a major plus.  Not looking forward to the exam, which I'm sure will be necessary today.  I'd really rather keep my lady parts between me and my husband, but what can you do?  More of that to come, anyway.

Anyway, we decided we'd better pack the car as if this is it, because the hospital is 40 mins away, so if I somehow go into labour on the way there, we're not going to be able to turn around pick up our go bags.  I'm going to bring my knitting, too, in case I do end up in the hospital.  I'm positive for Group B Strep, which means the first thing they'll do when I do get admitted is give me antibiotics for 3-4 hours.  It would be nice to get something done in that time and the blanket I've been working on is somewhere on my list of things to get done before the little one gets here.

Mr. Wolfman asked me to pack a bag for him for the hospital.  Little does he know, I bought him a new one and packed it weeks ago.  It's been hiding in the Little Monster's closet forever :)  It's supposed to be a surprise, though (I'm 90% sure he doesn't know the address of this blog), so I'm thinking I'll walk it over to his work and sneak it into the trunk of the car before he gets done... and just hope he doesn't need anything out of the trunk before he gets home.  I wanted to get him some comfy pajama pants for it, but there's nowhere around here to buy some.  If I can sneak away for a few minutes after we've seen Dr. Ladyhouse, I might have more luck.

So, that's it.  Or at least that's it for now.  Tempting as it is to sit here and play around online (which is all I feel like I've been doing since work ended), I actually do have things that need to get done, not the least of which is taking a shower.  I'm really wondering if my next post will include a baby or not.  Only time will tell.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

T- 1 Day

My due date, as determined by my first ultrasound, was yesterday.  The one based on my period is tomorrow.  Baby time is nigh.

My crazy hormonalness is tapering off a bit.  I'm still a bit off, but a lot more in control.  At the moment, I feel very calm, much like I did in the wee hours on the day of my wedding to Mr. Wolfman.  I had a bit of anxiety left in me for when the ceremony was inexplicably delayed (that should really be unexplainedly, since there was an explanation, but no one wanted to give it to me), and I'm sure I'll have a few more hiccups before the end, but generally I have a feeling of serenity, like things are actually happening as they should.

Going to see Dr. Ladyhouse tomorrow, assuming nothing miraculous happens tonight.  Thinking about a membrane sweep, but I haven't decided.

And now Mr. Wolfman is kicking me out of his spot, and so adieu.  I'll write more tomorrow, possibly about what it's like to have an actual baby, but probably just about how my appointment went. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

39+1 (6 Days left)

So after my last really depressing post, I was ready to write a really cheerful one yesterday.  I was in such a good mood (despite some gross news at the Dr.'s) and I kept putting writing it off in favour of other things.

...and then Mr. Wolfman came home and announced that instead of having the next two days off (the last time off he'd have before the arrival of the little monster, the first days off he would have had in 5 weeks), he's decided to stay at his second job until Sunday.  Which means no days off and 16 hour days all weekend.  He won't be off again until my due date.

So, I have to apologize, but this is not going to be a happy post.

Went for my (hopefully final) prenatal checkup with my Dr. Ladyhouse on Tuesday, only to find out that Dr. Ladyhouse wasn't there and no one had bothered to call me.  They did keep the appointment with another Dr., who was pretty good, although I think I prefer Dr. Ladyhouse because she seems more straightforward.

Except.  On the subject of straightforwardness... I found out from my last visit with Dr. Illegible that I'm Group B+, which means that I have a nasty bacteria (which actually most people have) in my lady parts, and both he and Dr. Ladyhouse had explained that if I had this bacteria, they would need to start me on antibiotics as soon as either a) my water breaks or b) I go into labour.  What neither of them bothered to mention, but the other Dr. did, was that if my water breaks first, they'll induce me with oxytocin.

Not effing impressed.  Not just that I may have to be induced, because I understand that there's a medical reason that they can't do anything about.  Even though I really, really do not want an induction, I can recognize that it might turn out to be a necessity.  But is there a reason they couldn't have told me that before?  Like, say, when they told me about the Group B test... or, I don't know, when my results came back POSITIVE?  And now I'm just realizing that they're probably going to try to make me deliver in the hospital bed, because they'll want to keep me hooked up to the antibiotics for my whole labour (no one told me this either, I had to Google it).

If they do have to induce me, the pain is going to be way worse, which I can deal with, but it also greatly increases the chances of distress to the little monster and hugely raises the chances that I'll need a C section.  And I feel like if they force me to labour on my back, they may as well just cut me open and save the time, because that's just an illogical position to give birth in.  I mean, look at all other animals (and most other humans).  There's a reason they don't give birth that way.  Gravity, people.  Dr. Ladyhouse already told me that if I need a C section they'd give me an epidural because it's safer than general anesthetic, which is lovely, but I have relatives for whom the epi did literally nothing, so I'm thinking that's not necessarily going to be an option.

Between this crap and the fact that Mr. Wolfman and I are now not even going to have one day to spend together to get stuff ready (he's been working 2 jobs since before we moved into our current place, so we still don't even have our apartment set up normally, let alone ready for a baby) and enjoy our last moments of young couplehood, I'm just a weepy mess.  I feel totally overwhelmed and I can't even figure out what I could be doing, if I had enough energy to do it.  Which I don't, because on top of everything else, I'm sick.

Oh, and it was -6 when I got up this morning.  It's not even the 10th of September.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

38 Weeks - 14 Days left!

Two posts in two days.  The mind reels.

So, I'm 38 weeks today, and I have 14 days left until my EDD.  That is effing close.

I feel... I don't know.  Right now, I feel lonely.

Mr. Wolfman is wonderful - beyond wonderful - and always here for me, when he's here.  But part of his being here for me and for the little monster is as a provider and he's taken on a temporary second job, just to get some extra money in the bank before the little one arrives.  He'll be back to just one job before the little one gets here, but right now he's working 80 hours a week, and I'm working 40, so we don't see very much of each other.  And since this is really our last time with it being just the two of us, I feel like we're missing out and it makes me sad.

And, through no one's doing but my own, I don't really have friends.  I shouldn't say that.  I have some wonderful friends, just not very many, and none of them are here, and of course they all have their own stuff going on, and I don't want to be the self-centred pregnant woman and go on and on about baby stuff - but I have nothing else going on right now.  I work, and I'm too tired to do anything else, so I feel like I have nothing to contribute to a conversation.  I can talk about what I watched on YouTube or an article I read, or about my increasingly unpleasant bodily functions, but not about anything I've actually done or seen recently.  And I'm starting to feel like this is going to get worse after the baby, because then everything I do will be baby related, and consequently, that's all I'll have to talk about.

My parents are in their 50s and don't have friends, and growing up I don't remember them having friends, and I don't want that - for myself, but especially for Mr. Wolfman, who is super social and really enjoys being around people - I feel like I'm taking that away from him because I just don't click with people.  I get exhausted around them, and feel anxiety at the thought of any social interaction with anyone I don't know really well.  I really don't want my son to end up in the 3rd generation of friendless misanthropes when he's an adult.  I'm not friendless and my parents aren't misanthropes.  I guess I'm just mad at myself because I haven't seen my close friends for so, so long - some for years -  and I feel like I'm incapable of making new ones.

I opened up this blog fully intending to write about how close everything is getting and how excited I am - not meant to be misleading, I really felt exactly that, until I typed "I feel" and all this came pouring out.  Now I can't stop crying.  Stupid pregnancy hormones.

And I feel totally useless.  Today I was off work, and after a trip to the Dr.'s (which was also going to be one of the main topics of this post), a visit to the post office and a stop by the grocery store, I came home and did nothing.  All fucking day.  I checked Facebook, baby boards, watched Dr. Phil on YouTube.  That's it.  I didn't even do anything fun but pointless.  Everything I did was boring and pointless.  I ate one meal and a bag of microwave popcorn and now I just don't even know what to do with myself.  If I can't even look after the house now, how much worse is it going to be when I am looking after a baby and trying to stay on top of housework.

Well.  Good thing I don't have regular readers to get totally depressed by random posts with misleading titles.

Everything went great at the Dr.'s.  Dr. Illegible is really happy with my progress and with the little monster.  He's going on vacation for 3 weeks, so I won't see him again now until after the baby is born, but he has been really great through this whole thing.  I forgot to ask him about the vaccination schedule, but I can ask Dr. Ladyhouse when I see her next week (I have yet to do a post about my OB, who I met last month and who so far seems great)... assuming I don't go into labour before that.

Also, random, but I realized today that Mr. Wolfman is 6'1", his dad is 6'2", his brother is probably 6'4", my dad is 6'2" and all of my Dad's brother's are his height or slightly taller.  When I asked Dr. Illegible if there was any indication of how big the little monster is going to be, he said, "not small." I'm just a tad worried now... but as Mr. Wolfman lovingly pointed out, all that really matters is the size of his head 0_0

Monday, September 1, 2014

I've done it again...

Forgotten to post for a small eternity, that is.

I'm now 37 weeks pregnant, with just 2.5 weeks to go until D-Day.  A couple of posts ago, I was saying spring was on its way.  Now I can say that sadly, Summer is very much over with.  I'm still very excited, but now well on my way to being very freaked out as well.  Not so much about labour, because I know it's going to be the most painful thing I've ever experienced, and I know I won't be able to mentally quantify that until it happens.  More about afterwards.  I feel woefully under prepared.  But there isn't that much more to do, not really.

The little monster has a name, though Mr. Wolfman and I are still going back and forth about what we'll call him day-to-day.

We bought his (extremely expensive) stroller and car seat and spent way more than I had planned.  But they're pretty amazing and we'll still have them if we decide to do this all again in a couple of years.  My parents got us a pac'n'play, which we had actually decided against buying, but it's fairly sturdy, and it will work perfectly until he's ready for a full-sized crib and to go into his own room.  We've also got a bathtub that's shaped like a whale, and all the clothes he could need until he's in 3-6mo.  And my sister threw us a baby shower and bought us a diaper bag and a bunch of bits and pieces, as well as making him a blanket.

I've also got a breast pump and granny panties and I'm working on making a couple of weeks' worth of padsicles.  So I'm set, apart from nipple butter (who knew I'd need that?).

Buuut... we still don't have a baby monitor, we still don't have bottles for him (I'm planning on breastfeeding, but I need some bottles just in case I want to go out/sleep or Mr. Wolfman wants to feed him) - we still don't have diapers (we have a few disposables, but I want to cloth diaper), we still don't have a little portable washing machine for the diapers... I don't know if we need a bassinet attachment for our stroller, I don't know if he needs one of those chair things for newborns.  I don't know what those chair things are called.  He doesn't have godparents.  If we got in a car accident and died on the way home from the hospital (morbid, I know), I literally have no clue who he would end up living with.  He doesn't have a winter coat, and even though I know he doesn't need them, I feel like a bad mummy for not getting him winter boots.

And he doesn't have a song.  Since she was about 4 months, I would sing to my niece over Skype if she started to cry, and when I finally saw her in person, that same song worked to immediately calm her down if she was upset.  It still does.  One bar and she's done.  I want a song like that for my son, and I feel like I'm
somehow neglecting him by not having come up with one yet.

We've moved and we're staying where we are for a while.  It's a 2 bedroom place, so the little monster will have his own room.  And he will have a crib, eventually, and diapers and possibly even one of those chair things.  And he'll have parents who adore him.

But, eek, it's all coming so fast.

Friday, May 23, 2014

23 Weeks and Counting


I've been very lax in keeping this updated and a lot has happened since my last post.

We went for our 18/20 week ultrasound. The ultrasound tech was very excited and very nice.  She even offered to change her relaxing background music, if it wasn't to my taste.  Much to my surprise, though, she wasn't allowed to tell us anything.  Not the gender, not if the little monster was healthy, nothing.  She said she could lose her job for telling, so I didn't push it.  It was wonderful anyway, seeing it swimming around in there, being all cute, seeing the heartbeat, etc.  Then Mr. Wolfman and I went for a nice long drive and took pictures and just had a generally fantastic day.

I eagerly called my clinic the next day to find out that they had received the results, but they weren't allowed to tell me anything either; I needed to book an appointment with the Dr... and the Dr. was going to be away for a week.  Then my new work decided to not give me a schedule and just tell me each day when I needed to come in next, so finally, a week after Dr. Illegible got back, I got in for an appointment.

He said everything was good, and looked healthy, but when I asked the gender, he said they hadn't put it on the report.  I just about lost it.  I did keep very calm, though, when I told him that I was going to be making an angry phone call to the ultrasound tech if it wasn't on there.  He looked again, and after playfully negotiating a bribe (which I told him would not be my firstborn), we found out...


It's funny, I kind of always felt like I would want a girl, but by the time we found out, I just felt like he should be a boy.  Like, it would be somehow wrong if he turned out to be a girl.  The gender-neutral blanket I was knitting is now done (all blue and green and teal) and I'd already bought some variegated blue, yellow, white & teal yarn for a hat, which I only held off on starting until my boy suspicions were confirmed.  I'm a little bit nervous because I feel like it'll always be a little bit easier to raise someone the same gender as you, but I'm so effing excited :D

The only thing wrong with the ultrasound was that they hadn't been able to see his left hand, so Dr. Illegible sent us to have another one in the city (400km away).  Luckily, we had plans to go there the next day, and the imaging centre was able to squeeze us in that afternoon.  Unluckily, they were pretty unprofessional and incompetent and when they couldn't find his left hand either (that, at least, wasn't their fault, it was just the way he was lying) after 45 minutes - and after 2 techs had had an exhaustive argument about whether what they were looking at were his hands or his feet (I could tell the difference, I'm not sure why they couldn't)--they lied and said that they could see his hand, and sent me away thinking that everything was OK.

So when I went to see the Dr. for my next checkup, I found out that they hadn't been able to see his hand again, and now, because I've had 2 anatomy ultrasounds with no left hand visible, they're sending me to a university hospital (again in the city) that specializes in obstetrics.  I don't know when, though.  Still waiting on a call from the hospital to schedule.

I think Mr. Wolfman is more worried about the hand thing then I am.  Dr. Illegible keeps telling me not to worry, and I'm actually really not.  That could be because I'm getting kicked and punched so much that I simply can't believe this child has any less than 4 limbs.  He may even have five or six.

I'm still very happy about everything.  The posts about us having to move (in a week and again at the end of July - and then possibly again in September) will have to wait for another day, because I'm not really in such a ranty mood.  Mostly I just wanna go lie down and work on my little man's hat.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


It's still pretty cool out over all, but today the sun is shining and there are some buds showing, so everything is nice.  I wish Mr. Wolfman weren't working today, but what can you do?

I went to the Dr. a couple weeks ago.  Got to hear the little monster's heartbeat, even though it took him a while to find it.  Dr. Illegible said not to worry about the fact that I haven't gained weight, that everything's looking good.  I did get told off for stopping my prenatal vitamins, though.... but the Dr. said I can take them on a full stomach, so they shouldn't make me as sick.  I still haven't got back in the habit of taking them every day, though.  I should really do that.

Tomorrow is our 18 week ultrasound (a couple of weeks late) and I will be 20 weeks and therefore actually half way done (according to the last ultrasound) - and, if the little monster cooperates, we should find out the gender.  I honestly think I'll be just as happy either way :)

We have first names for a boy and girl picked out and decided to wait on middle names until after we know the sex.  But the hardest part of naming is done, we're agreed and happy with what we've chosen.  We're not telling anyone the name until after birth, though*  I just feel like I don't want to hear anyone else's opinions about it, good or bad.

I start my new job on Thursday (got randomly fired for no reason from my last one**).  I'm excited, but a little nervous that I'm going to be easily tired out.  But, I have some swanky new office clothes, which should fit me until the baby arrives, so at least I know I'll look good.

Also, my sister gave me a huge bag of maternity clothes in colours she doesn't like, many of which are good for work, and all of which fit me pretty well, with a little extra room to grow.  And Mr. Wolfman bought me sandals yesterday (♥).  The only thing I need for the summer now is a bathing suit - and for the first time since I was 14, I'm happy enough with my body to wear a bikini.  I'm going to need one with ridiculous chest support, but I'm looking forward to being beachy.

That's it for me.  The last bit of happy is that the weather should be nice tomorrow, and Mr. Wolfman is off, so if all goes well, we're going to go somewhere nice, just the two of us, after the ultrasound.  He's so snuggly and lovely.

*except if we have a girl, I may tell my sister, since her husband really liked a girl name we were considering - which we're using - and I want to remind him where he heard it so they don't steal it by accident.
**I suspect because they found out I'm pregnant, but since my only recourse if that's the case is to go through the human right's commission, I'm not pushing it... but I'm also not being shy about telling people exactly what happened and why I left, if they ask.  It's a small town; they'll get theirs.

Friday, April 11, 2014

17 Weeks

So, it's been a while since I've posted.  Mostly because I found a forum for pregnant women and have been going on it almost daily to get my fill of baby related stuff.

But, I'm 17 weeks today, which means 4.5 months next week, which means HALF WAY DONE!  That happened fast.  And as much as I complain, if things continue as well and uneventfully as they have been, I'll be a happy camper.

Of course, they haven't been entirely uneventful.  Last night was amazing; I felt the little monster move for the first time.  Not just a little flit that could be a gas bubble or something, but almost a tap, like a kick or punch or back-flip.  It moved a few times, so I was able to call Mr. Wolfman into the bedroom in time to feel a couple more little blips before it went to sleep.  It was moving again today at lunch.  Such a weird feeling, it almost kind of tickled.

Bloodwork for this month has been done, and I'll see Dr. Illegible on Tuesday.  Our 18 week ultrasound got moved again, so we won't have it until the 30th, but whatever, I'm super excited for it.

A few things have irked me lately, but after feeling the baby last night, I'm one calm and happy Mummy, so no need to rant about them atm.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The NT Ultrasound - 13 weeks

Ok, so this is really late.  This is something I've noticed with every blog I've ever had or contributed to: the more interesting things that happen, the more I have to write about, but the less time I have to write about it.

We borrowed a car and drove the 400km to get the Nuchal Translucency done.  The tech couldn't give us the results, but he suggested everything looks fine, which is great, because the clinic (2 and a bit weeks later) still hasn't called with any info.

Anyway, I didn't really feel like I needed the test and I'm still not worried.  But even not needing the test, even spending $100 on gas and another $90 getting the oil changed (a condition of borrowing the car) and spending the day shopping (which I hate), and having to drink 6 cups of water in an hour, which nearly made me throw up, faint and wet myself - it was SO WORTH IT.

At first, it was really nerve-wracking, because the tech barely said anything, had me lie down, covered me in uncomfortably hot goo, then sat, stone-faced and silent, jabbing me with the wand thingy, and occasionally tapping a few keys on his computer.  I really thought something was wrong, like there wasn't a heartbeat or the baby had two heads or something terrible.  He hadn't let Mr. Wolfman accompany me into the room, and even though he was totally professional, there's something really unnerving about being alone in a dark room with a guy you don't know, with your pants unzipped and your shirt hiked up, especially when, by necessity, he is frequently touching your lower abdomen.

But then he just stopped, smiled and said, "So who's in the waiting room?" and then went to get my husband. He angled the screen so we could both see it, and I recognized the shape of our little bean (actually baby shaped, rather than bean shaped) and zoomed in so we could see its face and then - the best thing ever - he showed us its heartbeat.  At that point I started screwing up the picture because I kept crying, but oh my lord, it was so wonderful.

Our next ultrasound isn't until the end of April and I can't wait.  I'm dying to know the sex (even though, after really, really hoping for a girl, I can honestly say I'll be just as happy either way) and just to see it again and know everything is OK.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Goodbye First Trimester, You Bitter, Hateful 3 Months

Ok, I'm not that bitter about my first trimester - I never could be, it being the time I found out and started to get used to the idea of being a mum - but I am glad that (in theory) my morning sickness is coming to an end, and that the whole pregnancy part of pregnancy (as in looking pregnant and not feeling dumb buying tiny shoes) is about to start.

Actually, the looking pregnant part is well underway.  It's not extremely obvious yet; it could easily be a beer belly or a food baby to someone who didn't already know, but I have a fairly pronounced bump.  It was as if my body went "Well, first trimester is winding down.  The second trimester should have a bump, right?  *Boop* there we go.  I know it's not just weight gain, because I'm still not back to my pre-pregnancy weight yet, and it's not made of rock or anything, but it's harder than fat.  My brother-in-law keeps teasing us that we're having triplets.

I am a little concerned, though, because now I'm supposed to start putting on a pound a week and eating an extra 350 calories a day, and most of the time, the idea of eating anything is completely nauseating. Sometimes I'll get hungry and eat a normal sized meal, but it's definitely not happening 3 times a day.

We didn't make it for the nuchal translucency test because, although we did arrange to borrow a car to save on the $900 train, we didn't count on it snowing non-stop for 24 hours before we had to be there, and we would have to have driven faster than was safe to make it in time.  We did reschedule, but that's our last chance, as I'll be at 13 weeks, and they can't do it after that.

I'm convinced that the prenatal vitamins I'm on (which mysteriously cost $7 more than they did last month) are making me way sicker than my morning sickness.  I hadn't taken them for a few days because I ran out and was waiting for my paycheque to refill my prescription, and while I did occasionally get sick on the days that I missed them, it was like a mouthful of vomit, or just dry-heaving. Today I took my morning one and ended up getting a lot, lot sicker.  I won't go into too full detail, but there was more of it than usual and there were flecks of blood as well.  I'm not sure what to do, because I don't want to deprive the little monster of stuff it needs to grow and be healthy, but I also don't want to spend all of my time feeling disgusting and not being able to get anything done.

Also, when I went to the pharmacy to refill my vitamin and thyroid prescriptions, I found out something a little weird.  Dr. Illegible had prescribed me different thyroid medication, which although it's the exact same drug and dosage, costs more.  The pharmacist very kindly gave me the 'no name' equivalent, which I was already on.  And apparently, after all my worrying about them giving me the wrong prenatal vitamins (although I still maintain they're idiots for not listening to me, and telling me to take two a day), another pharmacist told me that only reason the prenatal vitamins I'm on now are prescription and therefore more expensive is that they have 1.1mg of folic acid,  instead of 1.0mg, and that instead of spending $40 for one month's supply, I could buy over the counter Materna, and add a calcium supplement and wind up paying $50 for 3 months worth.  I didn't do that this time, because I want to double check with Dr. Illegible, but I'm kind of nervous as it seems like both he and Dr. Crazypants are happy to prescribe something that's more expensive, and it makes me wonder if they get kickbacks or something.

Anyway, that's it for my 12 week update.  I hope the next 12 are as interesting, if a little less sick-making :)


Friday, February 28, 2014

The Prenatal that Was

I had my prenatal exam today.

After yesterday, I was a little on edge, but it all went fairly smoothly.  Dr. Crazypants wasn't there, and Dr. Illegible took her place and actually apologized for not being able to see me yesterday.

I won't bore you with the details.  He asked a bunch of questions, attacked me with a ratcheting plastic duck head and felt me up a bit.  I found the presence of the poster on the ceiling both amusing and a little dark.  My thyroid levels are now almost normal, and everything else is good and normal and as it should be.

The only annoying thing is the Nuchal translucency.  He talked to us at length about this and pointed out that if I'm not planning to do an amniocentesis test, regardless of the results of the nuchal translucency, there isn't really much point in getting it done, since it's inconclusive anyway, and I would just spend my pregnancy worrying, if it did reveal a higher risk of Downs.  We agreed with him on this point, and since he considers me low risk, decided not to bother.  Then he went to get something, and came back and informed us that now everyone has to go for these tests.  The nearest place we can go is a few hundred km away, and it would cost $900 to go there by train.  Which is just bloody impossible. So now, the paltry money I've managed to save since finding out I'm pregnant, apparently has to pay for transportation to get a test which neither myself or Dr. Illegible think I need.

On the bright side, now that everything with the prenatal was good, I get to start telling people.  I found my best friend online tonight and gabbed baby stuff at him for ages :)  And I let my mum know that she can tell family members now, since she emailed me three times today to find out if she was allowed yet.

Over all, I'm pretty happy.  Queasy and worried about money, but generally happy.  Oh, but tired.  Oh so tired.  I think I'm going to bed.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Prenatal that Wasn't

Well, the Internet is back.  It's been wonky for a few days, now.

So today, over a month after I first went to the doctor, was supposed to be my prenatal checkup. Particularly hideous morning sickness meant I spent about an hour in the bathroom before my husband could get ready and we ended up being 7 minutes late.

The (I'm guessing medical assistant?) didn't say anything about us being late, just took me back, weighed me and gave me a cup to pee in.

I'm not sure what it is about this clinic, but they seem desperately against warning people when they'll need to provide a urine sample.  Because, you know, pregnant women can pee on command, like well trained dogs.  Actually, the whole thing about pregnant women needing a bathroom almost 24-7 is pretty accurate, which is why I (and I assume anyone else who's been pregnant more than a couple of weeks) take any opportunity to void my bladder.

After about 5-10 minutes in which I managed to get about 2.5 drops, I went to tell the lady that I would have to provide a sample after my appointment - and point out that a heads up would have been nice.

Only now, since we arrived "10 minutes" late, the doctor was running behind (which makes no sense, unless he was planning on having me in there for 10 minutes or less....) and so he couldn't see me today, and I really should try to get there on time next time.  I did explain about the morning sickness, but apparently there are no special considerations for vomiting atomic waste coloured bile into every possible bathroom receptacle.

Of course, being the hormonal mess that I am, I could feel myself welling up, so I just agreed and left, rather than pointing out that our lateness hadn't been an issue when I arrived, and if they wanted a urine sample immediately, they probably should have told me that before the appointment.

So now, I get to miss time from work tomorrow (my boss already seems convinced I've taken a lot of time off sick, which isn't the case, but since I don't take paid hour long lunches and multiple cigarette breaks like my predecessor did, I clock a lot fewer hours), and finally get this done.  At least my husband works a later shift, so he'll still be able to come, which means I won't have to be alone while some self-important Dr. shoves random instruments in me - and I won't have to guess at his medical history.

Over all, though, I'm not impressed.  I don't expect to be treated with kid gloves, but I'm not liking the way the entire clinic seems completely blase about my situation, and acts like I'm inconveniencing them with my very presence.  The ladies at the desk always seem annoyed when I check in (yes, even when I'm on time).  You know what?  If you don't like sick people, or hurt people, or pregnant people, maybe, just maybe, you shouldn't work IN A MEDICAL CLINIC.  If human interaction bothers you that much, maybe you shouldn't work in reception.  

I've calmed down a lot, and we went for a long walk/hike with a friend in the afternoon, which was too much for me, but still nice.  Postponing the appointment one day isn't that huge of a deal, I know.  It's annoying because I really, really wanted to make the announcement today, but I didn't want to make it until everything at the prenatal had gone well, so that will have to wait.

Right now, though, I just want to sleep.  For a year.  Or 6 months.  I think this is the most tired I've been, or could be, and I can feel myself rambling.  I should cut this short while I'm conscious, I guess.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


I'm all caught up now, so this will be my last back-dated blog entry.  I emailed it to myself so I wouldn't forget.

I found out today that my baby now has fingernails.  The moment I read that was probably my most emotional since finding out that I'm pregnant.  Fingernails, and suddenly it's real.  I have a real little person growing inside me - and (s)he is going to have thoughts and ideas all his/her own and be an individual and wear cute little shoes and write on the walls and be wonderful.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

So, I've lost 10 pounds since I got pregnant.

I know this is something that happens to a fair number of women, and I'm guessing it mostly has to do with the fact that I'm vomiting pretty much daily and not eating very much (I missed my prenatal vitamin this morning and didn't get sick... that's the second time that's happened, so I'm going to talk to a doctor about getting something different).

Anyway, I find myself a touch annoyed.  Not because I know I'm going to gain it back and then some, but because this is probably the first time in 12 years that I haven't actively wanted to lose 10 or 15 or 20 pounds.  It's definitely the first time in ages that I've been perfectly happy with the idea that I'm going to gain a bunch of weight... and poof! Gone in a matter of weeks.

It all has something to do with Murphy's Law, I'm sure.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Emotional Rollercoaster Time

It's one of those cliches they like to mock in movies and TV shows, the pregnant woman who's an emotional wreck.  I wish I could say they're exaggerating, but they're really not.

Honestly, I'm watching Despicable Me and tearing up at the end.  Earlier, I had an anxiety attack because I felt nauseated and my husband was at work and therefore unable to give me a hug.  I cry at ads for shows that I don't watch.  I have to fight back tears when it's time to do the dishes.

Logically, I know it's ridiculous - not to mention something that probably every pregnant woman experiences at some point - but there's nothing I can do about it.  I'm not sure if that makes me feel helpless or if it just makes it easier for me to resign myself to it.

Honestly, though, I think I could cope with the emotional stuff on its own fairly easily, if the morning sickness and general queasiness would abate slightly.  I will say (and hopefully won't jinx myself by saying) that I'm extremely lucky to have a good 2-3 minute warning before I vom and I have yet (*knock on wood*) to throw up anywhere other than in a toilet or garbage can.

I can't wait to get to the 12 week point - not just because the morning sickness should (in theory) be on its way out, but also because Mr. Wolfman and I decided to make the announcement then.  We've told our parents and siblings, but that's it.  I'm a little worried about telling my bosses, but I'm really looking forward to telling my friends and basking in congratulatory glory for a little bit.

The weird dreams are keeping up, very often along the theme of me feeling that I'm supposed to be having a daughter, but I end up having a son usually without realizing I've given birth.  The little bean has junk now, but it will still be a while before we can know the sex.  I'm dying to know, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Sweet Dreams are Made of What?

I was going to try to write this all in a kind of linear way, starting by describing my feelings when I found out that I'm up the duff as they say (or possibly used to say, but no longer do) - and perhaps I will still write those posts and back-date them, so that this blog has some semblance of order.  But I just woke up from a long, unintentional nap, so my first post will be about dreams.

At this point, I'm 9 weeks into this adventure, and it is nigh on impossible to believe that I only found out three weeks ago that I'm going to be a Mum.  It seems like forever ago.

I started getting crazy-intense dreams a few weeks before I found out that I'm pregnant, if I've calculated right, the most intense and bizarre right around the time of conception.  They're the type of dreams I remember having when I was a kid, that I could still recall later in the day, or into the day after.  Some of those ones from when I was little I still remember.  Very few of them, though, had anything to do with babies.

The last two dreams I remember, from last night and today's random nap, did have to do with babies, and I can't say I'm thrilled with where my mind is going.  I do believe in prophetic dreams, but I don't think these were even slightly those, or that they have any meaning other than perhaps showcasing the anxiety I've been telling myself I don't have about our upcoming familial addition.

The first one wasn't exactly unpleasant, it was just weird.  Strange to the point of creepiness.  Somehow, without my knowledge, I had prematurely given birth to a baby boy, and my parents had him with them.  We don't know the sex yet, but in my dream, I was disappointed, because I was convinced I was supposed to be having a girl, and this boy had come along and interrupted my "legitimate" pregnancy.  My parents had assumed, since I was in the middle of another pregnancy, that I wasn't ready to take on two babies and that I would want my son to live with them and call me Auntie, so I could go on to have my daughter as planned.  I disagreed.  Luckily, the fact that he was premature was brought on by the fact that he grew ridiculously fast, and shortly after being born he started to speak and was quickly toddler-sized.  He asked if I was still having the other baby, at which point I realized that I couldn't both give birth and remain pregnant, and then, I don't know after that. Something about a swimming pool, and then the kid grew up into my youngest brother.  The weirdest things were my parents trying to keep the baby (not realistic with my parents anyway, but I'm not going to be the youngest of new mums, so it makes zero sense) and my cousin (who has had 3 of her kids taken away IRL) kept trying to hold my baby, and I had to keep him away from her.

The one today, was truly upsetting.  I wouldn't say it was a nightmare, because I didn't have the paralysis, or wake up in a cold sweat, or sit in my bed being scared after it, but its content was not fun.  There was a woman, who was sometimes me, sometimes a mother of three children and sometimes one of the two adolescent girls in the group of children, who was pregnant, and whose ultrasound showed two fetuses, one of which was clearly an alien, but only the upper torso arms and head, and one of which looked like a lobster tail.  She/I went to the doctor with her husband and they did some horrible procedure where they cut a hole in her/my abdomen and shoved a camera in there to reveal the two babies.  Both were alive, though the lobster tail had morphed into what looked like a duck which had been breaded and deep fried whole, and its mouth was sealed shut.  The doctors said that the duck one would never be able to see or speak, then one joked that if it could talk it would sound like Donald Duck and the husband laughed and said they wouldn't be keeping that one.  With the one that was the alien, I don't know what their reasoning was, if it wouldn't survive, or if it would just be too weird, so they decided to get rid of them both.  Luckily, at this point, my dream changed to being part of a book narrated by one of the two girls, and I skipped the paragraph that described the junior doctor reaching his hand into the hole they had cut in her abdomen and crushing the babies' chests.

After that, it was mostly a dream about the 3 kids, who weren't allowed to talk about it.  The woman became their older sister, who died during the procedure and they kept her rotting in the back of the car, and every day the oldest boy and girl rode their bikes to near to the hospital and got high to try to figure out what happened.  Then the girl decided to run away, and made a fake form for a fake boarding school - A bunch of other stuff happened as well, but my main concern is with the weird baby stuff.

I'm wondering if this is something that all pregnant women go through.  I heard that the intense dreams are, but is dreaming about horrible things happening to babies, or having to protect babies, etc., a normal thing?  I don't know, but if I could dream about something less creepy tonight, I'd be grateful.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

My Incompetent Doctor (Part 2)

A couple of weeks after meeting my doctor and getting my blood taken*, I got a call from the clinic, informing me I needed to come in to discuss the results of my tests with the doctor.

My first panicked thought was that the blood test had been negative, and that the at home and in clinic pee tests had been false positives.  Then I thought (unlikely as it would be) that one of the STD tests had come back positive, and I was going to have to make a series of phone calls, telling people to get tested.  And then I realized, it's probably my thyroid.

So I went to meet Dr. Crazypants.

The first thing she asked me, was if she'd seen me before.  I get it.  I'm terrible with names and faces. But since my medical history - including which doctor I'd seen last (her) - is readily available to her, and was in fact, open on her computer when she asked, I felt my confidence in her drop even further.

It turned out that it was my thyroid she wanted to talk to me about.  My thyroid levels, as I'd mentioned they likely would be, were low.  I had told her on my last visit, but I mentioned again, that when I had been living abroad, I'd had my thyroid checked a few times, always with the result that my levels were low, and they would test me again in a few months. which point she asked me if this (as in, right then) was the first time I'd known about my thyroid levels being low, and if I'd ever had this before.  I told her, again, I haven't ever been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, but that they'd been checking my levels over several months, that they were always low, and that (as I'd told her on my previous visit) my mother has severe issues with her thyroid and has since before I was born.

She decided (and luckily, I've done enough research about this to believe she made the right decision, since I honestly wouldn't feel comfortable just taking her word for it) that I should be medicated immediately.  I asked her if there was any risk to the baby, and she kind of half-laughed and said the risk would be a lot worse if I wasn't medicated.  She started to tell me what the risks were if I didn't get medicated, then stopped herself, told me she didn't want to scare me and suggested I google it.  Because we all know there won't be any hyperbolic, half-assed, fear-mongering articles about this online.  It's much better for me to get my information there than from, say, an actual doctor.

(I did google it, and it is scary.  Unmedicated, I could end up with a baby with severe developmental delays and poor motor skills.  Just makes me realize how lucky my siblings and I are, since my mother wasn't medicated for three of us)

The next step was figuring out the dose I should be on.  She asked my weight and I told her (136 lbs), and said that, although I wasn't sure if it mattered at all, I had lost 4 lbs in about a week.  Her response?  Since I've had more than a 20% weight loss, I should definitely be medicated right away.

A couple of things.  The reason I mention my specific weight on here, and the amount I lost, is to illustrate that this is in no way (and no one who has even a basic understanding of fractions could think it was) anything close to a 20% loss in weight.  Even without a calculator, and sucking at math myself, I can tell you it's a less than 4% loss.  With a calculator, 2.86%.   The other thing, Hypothyroidism (which is what I have, though Dr. Crazypants seems like she'll be damned before actually uttering anything approximating a medical term in front of a layman) is a result of my thyroid gland not producing enough thyroid hormone, which is what regulates one's metabolism.  My metabolism therefore runs slower than it should, and the most obvious symptom of this is, in fact, weight gain.  A 20% weight loss (apart from bringing me to an entirely skeletal 112 lbs) would suggest that putting me on medication to help my metabolism work faster, would be pretty much the worst thing anyone could ever suggest.

Luckily, the doctor decided to do exactly what I would have, and I what I consider reasonable, which is to put me on the lowest dose of thyroid boosting drug, then get bloodwork done ahead of my prenatal visit, so they can reassess and increase the dose if necessary.  She told that the side effects are dizziness and palpitations, and that since I'm on prenatal vitamins, I should talk to the pharmacist about when the best time to take them would be.

Next she asked about morning sickness and if it was interfering with my day to day life.  I explained that it was, but I would rather not be medicated unless it gets really bad, because I'm paranoid after the whole thing with Thalidomide. She had no idea what I was talking about.  For anyone who doesn't know, you can read all about it here.  The Teal Deer version is that it is a drug used for a bunch of different things, but prescribed as a morning sickness drug in the late 50s.  It caused massive birth defects, including children born with missing or deformed limbs. Apparently, only about 40-50% of children born with these defects survived.  I can understand why someone might not know that, but I can't really wrap my head around why a doctor wouldn't.  I mean, isn't that a cautionary tale they tell people in their first year of medical school?  It is seriously disconcerting to have to explain something like this to the doctor who is supposed to be helping you through your pregnancy.

Once I had explained it to her, she looked horrified and asked, "But why did they give it to them, then?"  So I (I think remarkably calmly) explained that they didn't know that it caused birth defects yet when they were giving it to pregnant women.

After all of the previous insanity, I was ready to get out of there, but she asked if I had any questions, and since I'm concerned that I'm not getting enough calcium in my diet, I asked about this.  The reason I don't think I get enough calcium is that I can't have dairy without getting sick.  Her solution? Yogurt.  When I explained I can't eat yogurt, her next suggestion was cheese.  When I finally managed to convince her that no, I can't eat any dairy, she looked puzzled, and eventually suggested I eat more chicken.

Sometime after I left, I headed over to the pharmacy to pick up my new drugs.  I was so happy to get the gentleman pharmacist from my last visit.  He mentioned a few things which Dr. Crazypants had neglected to. The main one being that hypothyroidism is a life-long condition and I will likely have to be medicated for the rest of my life.  Also, he explained what the thyroid gland does, and how the medication effects it, what the side effects are (interestingly, he told me different ones than she did, though so far I haven't had any that I've noticed).

One thing he didn't mention (although he did give me a helpful hand out with this info on it, which is how I found out) is that one of the main things that the drug I'm on (Levothyroxine Sodium) causes is... wait for it... calcium deficiency.  So, yeah.  After that whole, pointless conversation wherein I expressed my concern that I'm not getting enough calcium (interestingly, whether I get enough or not, the baby will get enough.... it's just that if it's not in my diet, it will come directly from my bones), the doctor didn't think to mention that the drug I'm about to start taking - and keep taking for the rest of my life - could cause a normal person, one who does get calcium in their diet, to become calcium deficient.

 Again, I can see two possible explanations as to why she omits as much info as she does.  Either she doesn't think I need to know or that I can understand these things - or she doesn't know them herself.

Yeah, definitely time to switch doctors.

*I said before that the male pharmacist was the only professional I've dealt with that I've been happy with, but I completely forgot the very helpful, friendly and professional lab technician who took my blood etc. the day after I met the doctor.  She had dreadlocks down past her ass and spacers in her ears, which I mention only because you would never see that in my home town or in any other town where I've had cause to visit a hospital and it's nice that she has that freedom here.  When I explained that I fainted the last time I had my blood taken sitting up, she had my lie down, and even used a butterfly (they use these for babies, and they barely hurt at all).  I'm don't actually have an issue with the idea of having my blood taken, the fainting thing took me completely by surprise, but she kept up a steady stream of chatter and had me wiggle my toes, to keep me distracted while she was taking it, then kept me lying down for a couple minutes afterward, to make sure I stayed conscious.

Friday, January 24, 2014

An Annoying Trip to the Pharmacy

After meeting my doctor, and getting prescribed prenatal vitamins, I set off to the pharmacy (there is only one in my town) to pick up my prescription.  One of the few things my doctor had explained to me was the way the vitamins work.  There is an AM one and a PM one.  The AM one has iron, folic acid and a bunch of vitamins, the PM one has calcium and a bunch of different vitamins.

When I got up to the counter, I handed over my prescription to a lady who looked at it, and after a minute said, "Oh, you can just get these over the counter."

I thought it was a bit weird that I'd been prescribed over the counter meds, but with all the other weirdness with my doctor, I thought it was pretty much par for the course.  I picked up the only prenatal vitamins in the area the pharmacist had directed me to, and headed for the checkout, reading the label as I went.

Thinking it was a bit odd that the package made no mention of there being two separate pills, I looked a bit closer and realized that the name of the product I had been given was different than the one I'd been prescribed.  I figured they were the same, and that it just came down to branding, but I wanted to double check.

After being ignored for a while at the pharmacy counter, the same pharmacist came over, and I explained to her about the two different pills and asked if what she'd recommended to me was actually the same.  She called over another pharmacist, and told her that I wanted to know how often I needed to take the pills.  The other pharmacist came over, and I explained it all to her, since clearly the first one had told her the wrong thing.  She took my prescription paper, looked at it for a minute and said, "Oh, this means she wants you to take it twice a day.  She'll probably reduce it later."

Rather than trying to explain a third time that there should be two different kinds of pills for me to take, I pointed out that it's a different product and that I thought the over the counter one was the wrong thing.  She checked again, and then said that they would have to order it in, but she did admit that it was probably better if I actually got what had been prescribed to me.

I don't know what happens to mothers who ingest twice as many prenatal vitamins as they're supposed to, but I would hazard a guess that it can't be good.  I assume that by and large, prenatal vitamins are similar enough that I probably would have been OK with the over the counter ones... but the fact that the pharmacists were so dismissive, so inconvenienced by me and so unabashedly lazy, that they would have happily sent me away to take two of the wrong things a day rather than take the time to listen to me (or, you know, read the prescription), scares the hell out of me.  It kind of makes you wonder how many other people they've done that to, and with what kind of more serious medication.

I didn't go back the next day to fill my prescription as planned because my first serious morning sickness hit, and I spent that day sleeping on my bathroom floor and vomiting intermittently.

When I did go back to the pharmacy, there was a different pharmacist there, who explained more specifically when the best time to take each pill was, why these were the best times, and possible side effects (none of which the doctor had mentioned), including constipation and dark stool.  He didn't congratulate me on my pregnancy (which I didn't expect), but did give me a fond, knowing smile, which suggested that he'd like to congratulate me, but didn't want to overstep - which I thought was very nice.  So far, he's the only professional that I've been impressed with.  I hope that changes, and I find some more people to have confidence in.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Incompetent Doctor (Part 1)

Pretty much the first thing I did after taking the at home test was go to my local clinic and ask for an appointment to see a doctor.  They got me one for the next day, which I was happy enough about, though in my excitement, I'm sure I would have been happier to see someone that minute.

As I sat in the waiting room, a woman who I assumed was an assistant of some kind, came out holding a clip board and calling "Anal?  Anal?"  She walked right up to me and asked, "Anal?" and I told her no - and took a moment to feel sorry for whoever this poor person was, with a name that could be misread in that way. The woman looked confused and went back into one of the exam rooms, then came back out a few minutes later, and asked for me by my first name.  My name does start with an A, and it does have an N in it.  It's also 3 syllables, and has no L, so I'm not sure how she came got Anal from it, but whatever.

I followed her back to an exam room, where I realized that this woman, in jeans and ballet flats, was my doctor.  Shortly thereafter, she let me know she's in her residency.  I generally prefer a younger doctor, I find, on a whole, they're happier to consult with their colleagues and they're not afraid of appearing inexperienced by looking things up when they aren't sure about them.  I thought a doctor in her residency would be great, because she'd be super-focused on making sure everything she does is thorough and correct and done properly.

Yeah, not so much.

A woman who actually was a medical assistant had had me pee in a cup on my arrival to the clinic, and gone off to do her own test, to confirm what the at home one I'd taken said.  So when the doctor asked if I'd done a test, I assumed she meant that one, so I told her I had, but they had not told me the results.

"But you did one at home, right?"
"Yeah.  It was positive."
"Good.  That's what I meant.  Because some people freak out."  At no point did she say the test they had done was positive.

Then she asked if the pregnancy was planned, to which I replied, more or less.  Before I could explain what I meant, the doctor asked, rather incredulously.  I explained that while we wanted and were doing nothing to prevent the pregnancy, we were also not trying in the sense of tracking my ovulation, or having any more sex than we normally would, or seeking out ways to increase fertility.  Our thinking was that if it happened, it happened, but we weren't going to stress ourselves out trying to make it happen.

With the same incredulity, the doctor asked, "Well, were you on contraception?"  I explained again that we hadn't been using any.  She congratulated me with a completely impassive face, and without even a hint that she was aware that this might be an important milestone in my life.

Then she said that was basically all they were doing today, and that I would have to book a prenatal exam and do some blood work.  The prenatal exam is when they would take my medical history (I hadn't filled out any paperwork or been asked any questions about my lifestyle, at all).

She said she would prescribe me prenatal vitamins - which I really should have been on already.  Right, because, even though I'm not a doctor or a nutritionist, let me just fill up my body with prescription supplements, which I may or may not need, and assume that they'll help my baby rather than hurt it.  Never mind how I was supposed to get a non-existent prescription filled.

She explained I would need to be tested for chlamydia,  gonorrhea, HIV and a bunch of other, non-sexually transmitted diseases, and have my thyroid tested, etc.  I told her the thyroid test was very important to me because my mother has a thyroid disorder and I have had tests which suggest my levels are quite low in the past.  I mention this, because it came up again on my next visit, which will be a whole other post.

The entire meeting lasted about 15 minutes, and the final part of it was her telling me about the various tests for Downs Syndrome, which, rather than explaining to me, she advised me to google.  She did tell me briefly about the Nuchal translucency test, which she actually explained incorrectly, as counting the folds in the fetus' neck.  For lack of another option, I did take her advice and google it, and found that what it in fact is is measuring the fluid build up under the skin in the folds of the baby's neck, as more fluid suggests a higher risk of Downs.  I can think of two possibilities for why she explained it the way she did.  Either she actually doesn't understand how the test works, or she's assuming, that as a layman, I couldn't possibly comprehend things like fluid build up.  Neither of these bode well, and both make me nervous.  And though I would rather have an arrogant doctor than an ignorant one, how can I trust someone who isn't going to give me the necessary information to make informed decisions about my body and my baby?

She also told me about the various places I would need to travel to (from my very small town) to get different tests and ultrasounds done, asking me "Are you from here?" when I was surprised that I can't give birth in the hospital here (I later asked my sister, who also lives in this small town and had her kidlet a year and a bit ago - and the doctor got the location of every test wrong).

I got the feeling from the encounter that I was, at best, a mild inconvenience to her, an interruption in an otherwise acceptable day.

I was thrilled when I found out that my prenatal exam (which comes oddly close to the end of my first trimester) will be with someone else.  I was less thrilled to hear back from her a couple of weeks after my initial visit - but that's another post.