Monday, October 30, 2006

A Day Without Drama

...just wouldn’t be a day in the Fauxvert household!

My apologies to my readers for not catching this blog up sooner. It seems like the last few days have been one thing after another. I’ll hit the highlights here.

To begin with, the diabetes issue, while proving to be a royal pain in the ass, has luckily been no worse than that. My fear that my fingers would turn to chopped sirloin from the testing was unfounded, thank goodness. It turns out that the testing is actually fairly easy (though getting the timing right is a pain). There is a little pen device (very similar to a Follistim pen) that holds a teensy little disposable blade (which is so tiny, in fact, that it resembles a needle, and feels like a needle pricking your finger -- which I’ve done a million times while sewing). There is also a little electronic device that reads disposable test strips and tells you what your blood sugar is. You load the pen up with the disposable blade (called a “lancet”), stick it against the side of your finger (I alternate hands so that both sides get a chance to heal), and press a button. It sticks your finger, you say, “Ouchdammit,” then squeeze the finger a little to get a nice little bead of blood, and apply it to the test strip. It reads it, tells you that your blood sugar is acceptable, and thus confirms that you are being a good and responsible citizen and mommy-to-be by eating the most boring diet in the universe and thereby enabling your future children to be born with the regulation single head each, rather than two. (You can see my fetching little companion immediately below:)

Actually, the diet is not so bad. I had panicked that I wasn’t going to gain any weight on the diet, but I have gained a pound in the last couple of weeks, so I’m doing okay there. (Unsweetened peanut butter is okay, so I’ve been eating lots of that!) The nutritionist encouraged me to experiment with my diet (within reason) to see exactly what I can eat and what I can’t. What seems to be on the “no way Jose” list is anything with refined sugar. My body is just not set up to handle ice cream, pie, cookies, or anything similarly sweet at the moment. Fruit juice is also out, since it has a ton of sugar in it. I am allowed to have artificial sweeteners, but I am avoiding them on principle for the duration of the pregnancy. So the only “sweets” I am having are a couple of pieces of fruit each day. (Interestingly, my body also set up a fuss about unsweetened quick-cook oatmeal, which is theoretically on the okay list.)

I’m also not supposed to eat milk products in the morning, since for some reason, many diabetics have difficulty digesting milk early in the day. (I think I could challenge this and get away with it, but I am also supposed to take my prenatal vitamin and iron supplement with no calcium products, so I take my vitamins at breakfast.) I am also supposed to avoid trans-fat types of things, though olive oil is just peachy. (Not literally, no. Peachy olive oil would be fairly disgusting, don’t you think?)

This has resulted in a daily breakfast of two eggs (either fried or boiled) and two slices of whole wheat toast (one decorated with the regulation one teaspoon of butter, the other with a tablespoon of peanut butter). This is not a bad breakfast in and of itself (and our eldest cat -- 17 in September -- has taken to begging for bits of toast with butter, since he is a fiend for any kind of milk product such as cheese or butter). But I’ve been eating this breakfast for close to two weeks now, and it is getting old, old, ooooooold. It’s like the Monty Python skit: “Spam and eggs, eggs and eggs, Spam and Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam...” (Although it would be my guess that Spam has too much sugar to be included in the diet.)

However, if I pick the menu carefully, I am able to tolerate some restaurant food. For instance, yesterday I had some salad and an absolutely delicious slice of deep-dish cheese pizza at Zachary’s in Berkeley, and my blood sugar came out at a very respectable 123 (I’m supposed to stay below 140). So I read the papers during breakfast and try to ignore what I’m eating (except for when the cat nudges my hand for his fair share), and concentrate on enjoying my restaurant outings as much as possible.

The timing, as I said, is the real pain. I test my blood four times a day: a fasting test, first thing in the morning; and then after breakfast, lunch and dinner, exactly one hour after each meal. In between the meal itself and the test, I’m supposed to work in a fifteen-minute walk. It was explained to me that exercise makes your body bypass the need for insulin by getting the blood sugar to go directly into the cells that need it, instead of lounging around in your blood and causing problems. And I do see a few points’ difference between when I exercise and when I don’t.

However, since these days I always feel like I’ve chowed down on the Hindenburg right after meals, there are times when that little walk is sheer torture. I end up with a bellyache and thus have to go lie down for some indeterminate time, and this is really adding to one of my major problems these days: I’m getting NOTHING done. Between thinking about what to eat, cooking it, eating it, getting in the prescribed exercise and then the blood test, then worrying about it all again in an hour and a half when it’s time for my between-meals snack, plus the general malaise that comes with carrying around twins that apparently are coming ready-equipped with their own sets of free-weights, I am a totally useless individual these days. (Hah, some would say, “What else is new?” but I’ll pretend to ignore that.)

But the babies are growing, and with any luck they’re a pair of healthy little buggers in there. I’m going to guess that’s worth a certain amount of inconvenience.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Mixed Bag

I had thought this post would be mostly Good Things -- but then Monday rolled around (as it usually does, darn it) with its truckload of discontent. But first things first.

On Friday, I met with a new female doc at my HMO, whom I think I will call Dr. Girlish. Not “girlish” in a bad way, but she had a bubbly personality, and she was also rather slight and girlish in her personal appearance. She also seemed highly competent and very friendly – a nice combination.

Dr. Girlish did a quick manual exam of my cervix and pronounced it just fine, though to be certain, she wanted to get an ultrasound of it. I pointed out that I was heading down to Radiology for an ultrasound next, so couldn’t we combine them? Great idea, she said, and after deciding she wasn’t quite sure how to get that into the HMO computer system (since she is new there), she wrote me a little note to give to the u/s tech. I felt like I was back in grade school, though in a good way. I almost expected the note to have a gold star on it! (I love it when docs make me feel taken care of, as opposed to feeling that I’m being bossed around. I know there’s a fine line there, but Dr. Girlish seemed to know where that line was located.) Dr. Girlish also knows Dr. Enterprise, so we had a little gossip (a very little) about her, and that was kind of fun.

I had sat there chugging the required 16 oz of bottled water throughout my chat with Dr. G, so I was primed for the u/s. Again, I got lucky, since Oscar turned out to be my tech for this u/s. (Oscar not being his real name – but he introduced himself by another first name which has the same ambience. So Oscar he is.) I had actually chatted with Oscar at length on the phone, several weeks back when I scheduled my 19w Level II ultrasound, and I had some notion at that point that it might replace the amniocentesis. On the phone, he had explained in depth what they look for with the 19w u/s, and also explained that amnio is usually done before that, so although it is possible to flip the scheduling around and do the Level II first, that’s not the usual way to go about it. (And later, after our talk with Dr. Tex following the reduction, D and I decided we wanted the amnio anyway.)

In any case, I felt as though I knew Oscar already. He was very professional, very friendly, and took time to explain what we were looking at and what he was measuring on the screen. Also, he was able to get a good image of the cervix with the belly ultrasound, so I didn’t have to put up with any wanding nonsense. (The cervix was just perfect, I was told: nice and long and closed like it should be.)

But best of all, Oscar let me look at the babies! All the ultrasounds I’ve had to this point have been rather no-nonsense. There was a lot to examine and only so much time to do it, so the techs would zero in on their target, freeze it and snap the photo, then move on. My looks at the babies had been pretty brief. But Oscar actually sat there and let me watch them, for maybe a minute or so each, and it was an astounding experience. They move! They’re really alive and -- literally -- kicking in there! As well as yawning, stretching their little backs like tiny kittens, even waving at their misty-eyed Mommy. There was something about their movements that suddenly made it incredibly real. I suppose this seems obvious to the reader (what did I think I had in there, My Little Pony?), but so often, the whole thing has seemed academic. I have been going on the premise that there are potential children in there, as opposed to the real belief. But now -- now I know.

And what I found out about myself is that I have been one unhappy camper lately, because the rush of incredible happiness was like taking heroin. I didn’t realize how depressed I had been until suddenly I was not. I felt pounds and years lighter. As I left the appointment, I could not stop smiling. I avoided meeting the eyes of other people in the parking lot because I could feel myself grinning like a dolphin, and I thought I might startle them. (Dolphins always have that goofy little grin, don’t they? Makes you wonder what they know that we don’t.)

I felt so good that I just couldn’t go straight home, so I went ... shopping! No, actually, I did very little shopping, but I did get my hair trimmed (much needed) and I bought a lovely little cherry-red roll-brim hat knitted out of Polartec. No cold noggin for me this year!

The high persisted for a while, then wore off a bit, as highs have a way of doing. (Or so I am told. Actually, I am one of the few people in my generation who never did any illicit drugs at all, ever.) But I also had a lovely time on Sunday. Terry Pratchett, a very well-known author in the UK (I believe he has sold something on the order of 45 million volumes of fiction) was in town on his latest book tour, and a local store was hosting a signing. My husband and I once had the privilege, at a science fiction convention, of taking Mr. Pratchett to lunch. And I say the privilege, because I am just bonkers about his fiction. He uses his comic fantasy to make very salient points about the world we really live in, and I love the fact that he can simultaneously make me laugh until my tummy hurts, and also make me think hard about real issues. I also love the fact that he is a disciplined wordsmith, and instead of getting lazy and churning out any old thing because he knows he can sell it no matter what, he obviously works hard at making each new book better than the last. (A great book to start with is Pratchett’s collaboration with Neil Gaiman, titled GOOD OMENS. His latest work, the third of a very good series, is called WINTERSMITH.)

So we got to hear him speak, and stood in line to have our books signed, and while I suppose this is a pleasure that only the true bibliophile can understand, it was indeed a pleasure. And when we reminded him, he even remembered our meeting him and taking him to lunch, which I find rather remarkable since that was several years ago.

So Sunday was good.

But Sunday night was not good. D and I ended up getting into a totally ridiculous fight over ridiculous things, and I said things to him that I’ve never said before and should never have said then. Granted, his acting like a jerk was what set me off. But my reaction far outstripped his jerkiness. It was like reacting to a slingshot with the A-bomb. And while I can blame some of this on the Raging Pregnancy Hormones of Death, I have to admit that mostly it was plain old orneriness.

But this morning was worse. D was up and gone to work before I rolled out of bed, and he left a terse and angry note on the kitchen table which made me realize how deeply I had hurt his feelings. And the more I thought about it, the worse I felt. We have been married for 15 years, and while he occasionally has a Male Moment, mostly he has been nothing but kind and loving. Yesterday was a good example. The book signing was in a part of town I wasn’t familiar with, and I didn’t want to go by myself. I didn’t feel very good yesterday, and I was afraid there would be a lot of standing around (difficult for me at this point, since I get worn out), and basically I just didn’t want to go by myself. But D had other things to do, and while he enjoys Pratchett’s fiction, he’s not the fanatic I am. But because I whined and complained and cajoled, he went, just to make me happy.

Just to make me happy.

As I sat there, feeling about the size of a small toad, the phone rang. I hoped it was D, but it was a nurse from my HMO, letting me know –- guess what! I flunked the three-hour blood glucose test too! I have gestational diabetes! Yippee! Sigh ... as if I needed anything to depress me further. She let me know that I would need to consult with their nutritionist about changing my diet, and also I would be learning from one of their nurses how to check my blood levels, FOUR times a day. With one of those ouchy things you stick in your fingers. Did I mention yet that I am NOT looking forward to this? Needles are a walk in the park compared with what is essentially a glorified paper cut. I hate, loathe and despise paper cuts. Nothing hurts worse, except maybe a canker sore on your lip.

These freakin’ kids had better get into Radcliffe. Or maybe Harvard. On scholarship. Wait, make that full scholarship.

I’m just sayin’.

As for me, the minute I got off the phone I burst into tears. The whole thing was too much. First the wretched knowledge of my own transgression, and now this. And it’s not just the sticking my fingers thing either, but the prospect of trying to figure out an entirely different way of eating. All day today, I would go to eat something (even something completely innocuous, like cottage cheese) and remember, oh, I’m not supposed to have that. Frankly, I just don’t see how a diabetic diet is viable for pregnancy, especially with twins. How am I supposed to gain enough weight for them, when a diabetic diet (as I understand it at this point) is essentially the South Beach Diet?

I hope that all will be revealed tomorrow, with the snippy little nutritionist I had before. Guess we’ll see about that.

After bursting into tears, I headed to the computer and emailed an abject apology to my honey. (Will I still be able to type when my fingers look like hamburger?) And lo, a little while later, he called, and all was forgiven.

And once I stopped crying, I got on Am*zon and found a couple of books on managing gestational diabetes. So those will be here in a few days too. And also, gestational diabetes is generally not a permanent condition, and resolves by a few weeks after birth. So we’re not looking at something permanent here. Well, probably.

So things appear to be straightening out, as much as possible.

But my goodness, it’s been twisty around here lately.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Where to begin?

I have to apologize (once again) for not updating this in a more timely fashion, but I have spent this week either lounging about the house, hoping I wouldn't bleed any more, or else rushing off to one darned HMO appointment after another. Including the infamous "phantom appointment," which was by far the most annoying of the lot.

On Tuesday, I was supposed to go in for an ultrasound in the Medical Imaging department (ordered for me by my female doc on Friday when she had trouble finding the second twin), but I woke up that morning and toddled off to the john, as usual, only to discover a disconcerting amount of blood. Of course, any blood disconcerts me these days. In point of fact, there was probably less than a teaspoon there, but then, it was bright red. So I called and re-scheduled the appointment for Thursday at 11:20, and took myself back to bed for the morning. After three hours of reading the paper and being bored, I got back up, and voila! no more blood. Good enough, I decided. (I did have just a tiny bit more bleeding late that same evening, but it was so little that it hardly seemed worth mentioning.)

That day, I also got a phone call from the HMO informing me I had flunked my one-hour blood glucose test. (What I get for not studying, I guess!) The upper limit was supposed to be 139, and mine came in at 156. So I was slated for the three-hour version, which involves fasting overnight, having a blood draw, then drinking the Orange Drink of Doom (ODOD) and having blood draws at one, two, and three hours. (Are you counting? That's four sticks in my vulnerable little arms.) You're also not allowed to leave the premises, since excess activity might invalidate the numbers. Joy, joy. I decided I'd do that on Thursday, and just get it and the ultrasound out of the way all at once.

In between, I sulked. Reading up on gestational diabetes left me certain I'll be forced to cut out most of the foods I think of as "recreational." No more sweets -- ice cream, vanilla malts (waaaaah!), that lovely dense and gooey lemon bread from Trader Joe's, Mentos, warm blackberry pie a la mode -- and perhaps worst of all, fruit. I love fruit. I have been popping green grapes during this pregnancy like they were about to be discontinued. Not to mention the beautiful golden pears from our pear tree. And what about our yummy cherry tomatoes?! Oh, no! They're loaded with sugar, and here in northern California, our bushes are still producing in abundance. Waaaah, indeed.

On Wednesday, I made a tactical error and called Nurse Completely Useless (you see she's been promoted) to ask about the bleeding. The female doc on Friday had said to "let them know" if I had any bleeding or pain, so I was following instructions. Nurse Useless was out, so I left a message, but we connected by cell phone on Thursday morning, while I was lounging around in the lobby of the HMO during my three-hour glucose test.

The worst thing about the glucose test was, frankly, getting up early enough to shoehorn it in before my 11:20 u/s. But I managed that feat, then submitted my arm for puncturing and manfully drank the ODOD. I was trying find a comfortable position on my chair, and also trying to get interested in Robert Penn Warren's ALL THE KING'S MEN (which is slow going in the first chapter), when Nurse Useless called. I told her what the doc had said about reporting bleeding. Useless's interpretation of that was that if I had bleeding, I should call in and make an appointment for that day, and come in as soon as possible.

Meekly, I mentioned that that Dr. Enterprise had told me that the best thing to do about minor bleeding was to get horizontal immediately, and of course monitor it to see if it continues. I pointed out that hopping in the car and running up to the HMO (not a short trip since we're on the other side of town) was not exactly getting horizontal.

If Nurse Useless blogs somewhere, she has now labeled me as "Patient Annoys the Crap Out of Me." She immediately got testy, and wanted to know why I had called her if I knew better than her? Of course, I had called because she told me to call if I had any questions, way back when we first met. (I'll bet she's rueing that now!) But I began wondering the same thing, really -- why I bother to call this woman. I think I'll be making most of my own appointments from now on, and calling someone else for advice.

In any case, the three hours of my test went by with no further interruption, and ALL THE KING'S MEN turns out to be a pretty good yarn. It's framed as a story of Southern politics in the 1930's, but it's actually a meditation on what it means to be a person. (That sounds wretched, doesn't it? But the first-person narrator, a smart-ass who has Failed to Live Up to Expectations, is very interesting.) At 10:20, I dutifully chugged my 16 oz of water, and at 11:20, freed at last from the clutches of the glucose test, I waddled over to Medical Imaging for the u/s.

They had no record of an appointment for me on that day.

They did have an appointment for me on the previous day, Wednesday, at the same time, and then my 19w u/s on Nov. 13. But nothing for Thursday.

Let me remind you that although I had just power-snarfed a package of peanut butter crackers, I had had nothing else in my belly since the night before but a fizzy orange drink and a lot of water. And I'm a cranky preggo lady. I was loaded for bear.

The very young lady at the desk (with a stud! in! her! lip! Ouch!) was apologetic but insistant: no, I didn't have an appointment. And I had missed the one the day before, she pointed out reproachfully. I knew beyond a certainty that I had never made one for Wednesday, but finally allowed as how -- possibly -- I had not made the one I thought for Thursday. Maybe. I didn't have my notes with me, so I finally chalked it all up to placenta brain and made another appointment for the following day (grrrrr!).

As a reward for not going postal on the young lady with a stud, I stopped on the way home for a Whopper with cheese, and placated the voice in my head telling me that white bread isn't good for glucose levels by taking the top bun off and eating the Whopper open-face (still very tasty!). At home, I had barely walked through the door when the phone rang. It was the young lady with a stud, telling me she had made an appointment for me for the u/s for that afternoon at one o'clock and could I please come back in? (It was by then 12:30.)

And then I did explode. NO!! NO, I could NOT turn right around and come back up there for an ultrasound that I should have had this morning, ESPECIALLY when I had already made an appointment for the next day! (I never did find out what in her little pea-brain made her think this was a good idea.) I hung up on her and discovered that she had left ten calls and hang-ups on my answering machine, trying to get me to come back up there that day. I still have no idea what that was all about. But I was further incensed when I looked up my notes and found, written very neatly, my booked appointment for Thursday, Oct. 12 at 11:20. Just as I had told them. And I believe myself rather than them, since I had not written just "Thursday," nor just "Oct. 12," but both of them together, something I rarely do unless someone else reads it off to me that way.


Exhausted, I decided to take a nap -- and was awakened twice by phone calls from various departments of the HMO. After giving up on the nap as a bad job, I decided to try and clarify the whole bleeding thing (as in, what I'm supposed to do if I start again) by calling the HMO's Advice Line. The RN there told me that after the first trimester, protocol for bleeding of any kind was to see a doctor. Well, I said naively, I'm going to have an ultrasound tomorrow so that should take care of that, right?


A little while later, I got yet another call from the HMO -- this from Nurse C, who I've dealt with before. Nurse C is actually quite nice, has a good head on her shoulders, and has a slightly jaundiced view of her employer (which I've come to appreciate more and more lately). The Advice Line nurse had apparently ratted me out to her, and she was tasked with trying to get me in to see a doctor. Protocol, she said, called for me to see one of the so-called "high risk" doctors, but Dr. Blinky wasn't available. So she tried to pawn off one of the other high risk doctors on me-- yes, a male whom I didn't know. (As you may recall if you've read my other posts, I have an extreme aversion to hopping up on the table and flashing my cooter for male doctors that I'm not well acquainted with.)

I just lost it. I had had ALL I WANTED of my HMO by that time in the day. And that was the last straw. I told her so in no uncertain terms, and to Nurse C's credit, she handled it very diplomatically. She finally got me to agree to see a female doctor (one I hadn't seen before, but at least not a male), and she agreed with me that it was totally ridiculous that there isn't one female doctor on their high risk team. She also pointed out that Dr. Blinky has a lot to say about who gets hired around there, so if I felt like putting a flea in his ear about that, she wouldn't try and stop me.

Darn it. I hate it when people are quiet and reasonable at me. It's like fighting Play Doh. We left it at that -- I thought -- except that half an hour later, who else should call, but Dr. Blinky himself?

I thought he was going to give me grief, but we actually had quite a good conversation. We discussed my aversion to flashing the old cooter for strange males (and no, I didn't put it quite like that), and he went above and beyond what I expected by saying that as far as he was concerned, there was no reason in the world why I couldn't have the female doc that I saw on Friday as my primary OB, with him on the sidelines to consult as necessary. I told him that Nurse Useless had said I couldn't have her, since she was part-time. He told me that "part time" is a relative thing when it comes to OB's. He said that your average full-time OB puts in 80 hours a week, and the average "part time" OB puts in 50 hours a week.

I have to say, the man is good. I went from spitting nails to actually having sympathy for Dr. Blinky and Co. I mean, after all, who would want to be an OB these days? Hours like that, patients who want to take your head off, or sue you for the least little thing, and who needs the grief?

We left it at that ... and I'm going to leave it at that for tonight, since I have just started spotting a tiny bit, so it's probably time to toodle off to bed. As for what happened today: It was much better all around, and I found out that the babies are doing just fine. (Yayyyyy!!!) More on that tomorrow.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sturm und Drang

... or Storm and Stress ... and I am darned tired of them. (Are you proud of me? I said "darned," not "fucking." Yay for me. I am trying to cut down on and eventually stop cursing altogether, since I don't want to fuck up the kidlets. I mean screw them up. Mess them up? Hm, I see this is going to be a long process.)

I didn't blog this weekend because (A) I felt rotten -- this pregnancy crap is for the birds; and (B) I'm just so tired of my own drama. I wanted to post something cheerful but it seemed inappropriate, at least until we get past the amnio on Oct. 23. Also, really, I couldn't think of anything cheerful.

But I'll go over my Friday appointments briefly. I toodled up the road to my HMO with the expectation that I'd be there a while, and I wasn't wrong. At 9:15 I saw Dr. S, one of the female docs my IVF doc had recommended (that Nurse Barely Helpful wouldn't let me have because Dr. S. works part time), and she was just lovely. I immediately preferred her to Dr. Blinky. I just felt that she really listened. Also, she put me on extra iron and calcium (which Dr. Blinky hadn't said a word about), and when her ultrasound machine acted up, signed me up for an ultrasound next week in Radiology (where they presumably have the good machines). And I could chat with Dr. S while clad in nothing but a blue paper gown and feel perfectly comfortable. I am going to have to find out if it's too late to switch.

Dr. S. also ordered a blood glucose test (to be taken while I was waiting anyway for my next appointment), and that was an interesting experience. (She said they like to do one early in pregnancy for women carrying twins, as well as the one they do later). I went to the lab she told me to, found a "closed" sign on it, went to the lab in the East building and found a line of about 15 people waiting. So then I waddled off to the hospital lab, found no line and got right in. They gave me the famous orange drink, which I had to chug to get it down in time to complete the whole test before my next appointment. The orange drink really wasn't bad at all, though my tummy told me it was a bit acidic. When they took the blood an hour later, it hurt like the dickens, for some reason. That happened to me the last time I had blood drawn, too. Must have a nerve there.

Then I rushed back to the West building (where I had started out) for my appointment with the nutritionist, found she was running late, and went over to the pharmacy to pick up a Rx for clindomycin gel for my preggo acne. Of course I went to the wrong pharmacy and had to go to a different one. More up and down halls, up and down stairs ... this all sounds easy, but I have turned into a short-winded chubby preggo lady, and I was getting very tired by that time. Why does my HMO apparently have no elevators?

Finally made it to my appointment with the nutritionist. Fifteen years younger than me and extremely sure of herself. She gave me some tips on diet that should prove useful, and admonished me to take my iron supplements well away from my calcium and dairy. This is easier said than done since I am also basically supposed to be eating six meals a day. She also said I had already gained more than I should have at this point, and I just don't believe that. I am 13 weeks and have gained 13 pounds, and what's wrong with that? If you look at me, I have not gained any weight anywhere on my body except for my belly and boobs. My cheekbones even look hollow.

I have been going by Dr. Barbara Luke's book, WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING TWINS, TRIPLETS, OR QUADS, who advocates gaining a pound a week if you're carrying twins. She also advocates gaining the weight early, since in your final trimester (well, what there is of it, since you're also likely to drop 'em early) you are apt to have your stomach all squoze up by the passengers riding in your belly, and thus not be able to eat that much. Since I have the hiatal hernia, I am pretty sure that will be true in my case. At any rate, the question is, do I believe this 20-something nutritionist who is not known for anything in particular in her field, or do I take the advice of a nutritionist who for six years ran the Multiples clinic at the University of Michigan? I would far rather have to take off an extra 10 or 15 pounds than have low birth weight babies, and think that it was because I didn't feed them enough.

I eventually escaped the HMO, dropped by Burger King for a Whopper with cheese (33 mg protein, woo hoo!), and did a little grocery shopping afterward. I got home about 3, and was bushed. I mean, absolutely whacked. I could hardly put one foot in front of another. I fell into bed about 3:30, and didn't wake up until D. came and got me at 6:30, looking for his dinner. (Well, he claims he would have fixed dinner had I but asked. I will be testing that theory soon.)

But even though I got myself awake enough to make some spaghetti, I was still exhausted. I really didn't recover until the next day. And that is what I've noticed lately -- I just have no stamina. Anything exhausts me.

I guess that's gestation for you.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Doctor Central

First, thank you all SO MUCH for your very kind and supportive posts. I can't tell you what they have meant to me. We have kept the whole reduction thing very close to our vest in real life (not wanting the twins to hear about it from someone else down the line), so the support I have received from my online friends has been very precious to me. Thank you!!!

Now for all the news that fits:

This week is Doctor Central for me. I have (or have had) appointments on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Monday I saw my new OB, mostly to chat, and also saw a social worker (Nurse Hardly Useful conned me into that one). Today I had a followup ultrasound from CPMC, at their satellite office here in town, and on Friday I will see a female OB/Gyn for a Pap smear, breast exam, and another ultrasound. Oh, and I also have an appointment with a nutritionist on Friday.

Joy, joy, joy .... I really am not keen on going to the doctor at any time, so this cluster of appointments has not been my idea of a good time. But thanks to the Phobease class I took a couple of years ago, I can get through them all without major upsets. (I am happy to say that Howie Liebgold changed my life! :)

The followup ultrasound today went smoothly, although the events leading up to it were a trifle bumpy. Today dawned a bit rainy and cool (the start of our "rainy season" here, and I'm just as glad to see it arrive, though it means the end of my hair holding a curl until next spring). I slept in late, then had to rush around to get ready in time, of course. I grabbed the envelope from CPMC that had the instructions on how to get there -- and discovered it was a different envelope altogether from a different organization, so where the hell was the CPMC envelope? I still haven't solved that mystery. But some of my brain cells must have been working at some point this last week, since I had taken the time to scribble the address on my calendar, so I was able to use Yahoo! maps to find it.

Amazingly enough (my friends sometimes call me "the late Mrs. Fauxvert"), I arrived for my appointment 15 minutes early. This made me feel pleasantly virtuous. I found a parking spot about 150 feet from the office, gathered my halo of virtue together, walked over -- and found that the door was locked. Eh? What gives? I banged on the door. No go. Banged again. Obviously no one there. Apparently they had all left for a leisurely lunch.

All my virtue evaporated in a hail of very naughty language. The one time in my life I'm early, and there's no one there to appreciate it? What the fuck?! My bulging belly had already started to complain, and there was nowhere to sit. I tried leaning against a stair railing and found I was getting misted on. I finally gave up and waddled back to the van.

When I came back about ten minutes later, I found a small crowd, everyone with the same question -- where the hell was the office staff? We all had a nice little venomous chat about that, and at a couple of minutes after the hour, someone finally arrived to open the door. I just hope CPMC calls me again to ask me if I'm satisfied with their customer service. Hah!

The actual ultrasound was uneventful (though fascinating), compared with the little drama before it. However, I found it unnerving to see the two reduced fetuses still sitting there -- though of course, I had known in advance that would be the case. It was still very odd and sad. Two little Banquo's ghosts, curled up in there. Not pleasant.

However, I am relieved and pleased to report that the other two (C and D, as they were labeled) are still in place, moving around, hearts beating properly (both of them at 153 bpm), and on target for growth. The tech said they were about 3 inches long each -- about the size of a newborn kitten, I judge. They were both obligingly turned toward the wand (or whatever you call the ultrasound thingy, the one they rub all over your belly), and so we got very good photos of their little faces. This both pleased me, and terrified me. The pleased part is obvious, I think. The terrified part comes from not knowing what the amnio will tell us (now scheduled for October 23). What if it tells of dire things? How would I ever have the courage to terminate one, having seen its little face? But how would I have the courage to face taking care of a severely handicapped child? I am not known for my Mother Teresa-like patience, or an overabundance of self-abnegation. I could take care of a handicapped child if forced into it -- but I know I would be resentful and angry, maybe for a lifetime.

I am praying a lot, these days.

On a much lighter note, yesterday I received a catalog from J.Jill, a clothier I've never paid any attention to before. But I flipped through the catalog and discovered many very pretty things -- most of them made for skinnier people than me, at the moment. But amongst the many skinny-people things, I found a unique jacket that looked like it had been made for an exceptionally stylish preggo lady. Among its other virtues, it has an inverted pleat in back that adds a good extra six inches of material. (The web site doesn't show the jacket's back, though the catalog does.) After getting done with the ultrasound appointment, I tracked the coveted jacket to its lair (the local J.Jill store), tried it on in the vicuna color, and saw that it was good. Getting carried away, I also bought a verrrrry cuddly-feeling berry colored zip-front sweater that was on sale. Whee! Perhaps it is possible after all to be a pregnant beached whale and not be a complete fashion victim. One can hope.

Just to skim lightly over my Monday appointments, my new OB seems pretty knowledgeable, and a nice guy. He had, however, a very odd tic -- or something. From the moment he walked in, he was blinking quite a bit, and when he was going on at length about the plan for tracking my pregnancy (in brief, I will be seeing him more and more often as the pregnancy wears on), he would close his eyes as he talked. I have no idea if he had just sprayed alcohol in his eyes and had to wash them out, if the light was hurting them, or if it was some sort of physical or psychological tic. But for the nonce, he will be known as Dr. Blinky.

The social worker was a pleasant surprise. Judging from the posters on her office walls, my HMO is on a crusade to make sure that no slightest bit of domestic disturbance goes untracked (thus, I think, Nurse Less Than Helpful's insistence that I see the social worker). The SW and I had a nice little chat, and when she asked what my major concern was at the moment, I told her that basically, I'm clueless about how to take care of babies. I have changed exactly one diaper in my life, and that's the sum total of my interaction with babies so far. She obligingly gave me about a dozen publications from various groups around town that apparently are slavering for the chance to teach me exactly how one diapers, etc. After we get over this hurdle of the amnio, I actually plan to sign up for some of the classes.

I realize I've left out the new chapter of the Prodigal Cat that got added to this week, but that will have to wait a bit (and I might have more to add in a day or two, anyway). I tell you, the worst thing about pregnancy is that it is DAMNED TIRING. I have been sitting here doing nothing but type and I'm ready to fall over.

More soon.