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.