Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More of the same

Two weird things.

First, bookending my vacation to Dallas last week, were two days of perfect flights. Four planes took off on time, landed on time, let me off the plane and into the airport, on time. Twice, I got through security with hardly any lines and no hassle. Nothing was cancelled, or rerouted, or delayed; I did not find myself in cities that I'd had no intention of visiting. I did not have to avail myself of the Little White Bags. For anybody not familiar with my general experiences with flying, to say that this is not usual for me is rather an understatement. All I can think is that the universe is still paying back a little karma for the Dallas/Austin/New Mexico saga last December. I wonder how many good flights I can have before my usual luck kicks back in?

Second, I had a doctor's appointment this morning (every two weeks now, sheesh) and I didn't have to wait. AT ALL. I arrived twenty minutes early, and was called back before I could even open a magazine. Then, instead of leaving me alone in the examining room for half an hour (you, know, like last time) the doctor came right in and did his thing. My appointment was scheduled for 9:45am, and I was back in my car by 9:51. Amazing.

Today's visit was with Doctor # 3, so I've finally met everybody who may deliver my baby. (Although I had ANOTHER fast-birth-accidentally-at-home-Don-delivered dream a few days ago. I don't generally put much stock in dreams, but why does this one keep coming up? I'm only a few repetitions shy of signing him up for an emergency-childbirth class.) Doctor # 3 seemed pretty cool, definitely laid-back, and rather patient-as-consumer, which isn't a bad thing. (I.e., birth = whatever the heck I want.) He did seem a little surprised that I was only now really thinking about labor and birth, that I hadn't signed up yet for the classes I hoped to take, etc. It's hard to explain, but after so many losses, one takes pregnancy day-by-day... you don't think ahead, don't plan ahead, don't assume that you'll still be pregnant tomorrow just because you happen to be that day. It's only now, in my third trimester, that I can start thinking about giving birth, breastfeeding, things we'll need for a baby, stuff like that. Everybody seems to be asking, "What do you have so far for the baby?" "Bought a crib yet?" "Done the nursery?" and it seems so foreign. Like, you do those things THIS EARLY? Don't you know what could happen? No, bless you, of course you don't. May it stay that way. But you would think that a doctor might make the emotional connection between the four miscarriages on the chart, and the delay of interest in the later stages of pregnancy, labor, birth. Either way, apparently I need to call the hospital ASAP if I want to learn how to breathe, or, you know, where the L&D department is.

I have gained an amazing amount of weight. (29 pounds if you must know, and I'm 29 weeks along. Hey!) I now weigh about one pound shy of my husband. Pretty soon if he annoys me, I will be able to just sit on him. But, the doc says it's no problem, nothing to worry about, except for if I want to lose it again later.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Most Recent Appointment

I aced my glucose test, and basically failed on iron. Based on my rudimentary knowledge of diet, I would have predicted the opposite: I get a decent amount of iron but eat my weight in sugars every few days. Since getting those results I've done some research, and now realize that the copious amounts of dairy I consume have probably prevented most of that iron from getting through. (Yeah, the whole fortified cereal thing? It doesn't really do much good if you eat your cereal with milk. Go figure. And chopping up my prenatal vitamins and mixing them into yogurt probably wasn't the BEST idea. Too bad the best spinach is creamed spinach...)

Nurse: "Actually, with iron levels in this range, I'm a bit surprised that you're not experiencing any symptoms from it."

Me: "What kind of symptoms?"

Nurse: "Primarily fatigue. Being very tired, not having enough energy, is the first and strongest sign of iron deficiency."

Me: "Well of COURSE I'm exhausted, but I kind of figured it was from being six months pregnant. Or from the chronic insomnia of the past several months..."

Honestly, how am I supposed to tell one kind of fatigue from another? She seemed surprised that I am still standing up and walking around under my own power. Now, I take most of the doctor's-office tests with a grain of salt or two; half of them are half-useless and some can do more harm than good. But iron, not so much. I know that at about 28 weeks the baby starts storing iron (from MY blood supply) in its own little liver, and that store is supposed to help him or her get through the first six months or so of life. So not having good iron stores means that either the baby saps me dry and I become really anaemic, or the baby doesn't get enough and is either born with low iron or is deficient within a few months, or both. Iron deficiency can also contribute to early labor and premature birth. I'm kicking myself right now for not foreseeing that this could be a problem; I've been turned away from blood drives a few times over the years for not having enough iron to donate, and I know that the last miscarriage took a lot out of me. Now I'm 27 weeks and trying to make up lost ground, and it can take months to reestablish healthy stores. I wish I'd requested an extra test early in the pregnancy, but then I was too concerned with the more life-or-death stuff like progesterone, hCG betas, all that jazz.

So, I am on a separate iron supplement, and (more importantly) a strategy to keep it far away from any stray calcium. (It's not a complicated strategy: don't eat any dairy or other calcium foods after 2:00pm or so, then take the iron a little before dinner around 7:30pm or so, with some orange juice.) I ordered the fancy, plant-based Floradix that so many people swear by, it will arrive next week while I'm in Texas. In the meantime I'm taking prescription samples. I'm also drinking more of my medicinal tea, which itself is high in iron.

Meanwhile, the doctors are quite pleased with my blood sugar and blood pressure, and if they have any concerns about my weight gain, they haven't voiced them. I saw Dr. Zoidberg again, even though I'm supposed to see each doctor in turn. (My fault, because I had to reschedule. No wait, WORK's fault, for making me reschedule.) He is a little odd in that his answer to everything seems to be, "More water, prunes, vitamins." Which makes sense when you're discussing constipation, but this is the answer to maybe four different issues? I mentioned that ordinary activities like walking, or going up a flight of stairs, was making my leg muscles burn as though I'd been working out, and his answer was still more-water-and-vitamins. Meanwhile, his solution to the insomnia was to NOT drink so much water before bed (even though it's not my bladder waking me up), and his answer to the heartburn was Tums, even after telling me that calcium is the enemy of iron. Help. It was quite funny, though, when he was explaining that I would need to take extra iron, and that the iron WILL make me constipated if we don't have a plan of attack. "You will need to plan ahead! Water! Lots of water! Buy some prune juice! Fruits are good but NOT bananas!" (Oh, that banana I've eaten every day for two months? Not helping, apparently. But, it is the only thing that helps with the leg cramps, so oh well. I'll trade brain-freezing leg cramps for being a little stopped up.) I guess it's only funny if you can imagine it in the heavy Eastern European accent, and with the going-to-war-against-poo gesturing. He did explain WHY I have heartburn, which really interested me. Apparently, my body is being ruled by progesterone right now... the same progesterone I couldn't make enough of, so many times. Now I have lots. Progesterone relaxes soft muscle tissue, because part of its job is to keep the uterus relaxed and happy (i.e., not forcibly ejecting the baby.) The little sphincter (hehehe) at the base of the esophagus is ALSO soft muscle tissue, and equally affected by the hormone. So it, too, is relaxed and happy, and not doing its job of keeping the stomach's acid where it should be. Live and learn! (I wonder, although I didn't ask, whether any of the muscles of the bladder or urinary tract are this kind of muscle, too, and whether that would explain the random incontinence of pregnancy; if the uterus is relaxed so that it won't contract before its time, and the esophagus is all relaxed and not guarding itself against acid, maybe the bladder is relaxed and not holding in what it should. Just a theory from this maxipad-packin', pregnant woman...)

Well, I must go now and drink some water, take my vitamins, and eat a few prunes, in preparation for my flights to Texas tomorrow...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Because you asked...

A coworker took these pictures for me. I think they illustrate a lot more than just my baby-belly, unfortunately; especially the fact that my ass has grown substantially to counter-balance said belly. And that, apparently, I'm growing another chin, too.
And you all wonder why I never post pictures...