Saturday, December 23, 2006

Better days

Well, today is better. (This despite getting up FIVE times last night, and finally saying to hell with it and getting up for the day at 6 a.m. D's apocalyptic snoring all night did not help matters.) But I got in a lovely nap this afternoon, and my SIL's beautiful azure-eyed Ragdoll cat (who actually resembles a Himalayan more) has decided I'm okay. Actually, after me sneaking him a few pieces of cheddar, I have about decided that in his mind, I'm now "Aunt Cheese." But he's a sweet cat, and it helps keep me from going through what D and I term "kitty withdrawal."

And for a lovely -- and astonishing -- holiday story that brought happy tears to my eyes (since I've been following her story for some time now), bounce over to Barren Mare and give her your congratulations!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Ah, sleep, it is a gentle thing

Ah, sleep, it is a gentle thing, beloved from pole to pole.
To blessed Mary praise be given, she sent the gentle sleep from Heaven
That slid into my soul.

I think I got that right. I'm a bit pregnancy-addled at the moment, and too goddamned tired to look it up, so please forgive me if I've screwed up The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, of which my terrific 8th-grade English teacher once forced me and my classmates to memorize select bits. (See, that's how old I am. We had to memorize poetry. Hasn't that been outlawed or something now?)

The tired bit comes from the fact that I have reached that point in pregnancy where there is NO position that is comfortable for more than an hour at a time. And I have months to go. Oh, boy.... Although, I hope it goes without saying, I would rather have this problem than the alternate problem of feeling just fine and being non-pregnant. I remember I once wrote I would crawl on my bare knees over broken glass to have children. Well, I think I'm reaching that section of the road.

Last night was a good example of the no-sleep thing. We are currently staying at my husband's sister's house in Portland. They are terrific people and I'm glad to be here. Nonetheless, it's hard. I feel like I am constantly whining about the food, since I have to follow the diet for gestational diabetes. The sister and her husband have been great about trying to accommodate me, going out and buying whole wheat bread for me, for example ... to which I am eventually forced to say something along the lines of, "Oh, yeah, great bread, thank you! Except that it has, um, honey in it, and it made my lunchtime sugar level shoot up to 166 when it's supposed to be under 140... uh, do you have some other whole wheat bread around?" As if, of course, they've been keeping the really good stuff secret in the garage or something, just to spite me. I feel like a whiny house guest, which I hate. Hell, I am a whiny house guest.

The sleep thing has been ongoing for the last couple of weeks. I have reached that point in the amazing growth of my belly at which there is NO possibility of sleeping on my side without it hurting like sixty. There's just too much there there. The free-weights-in-Jell-O belly has won the battle. I capitulate. The problem is that I'm really not supposed to sleep on my back since it compresses the vena cava which cuts off some of the blood to the uterus. (And I believe this now, since after about an hour of lying on my back - if I'm awake - I start to feel short of breath.)

So at my doc's suggestion, last weekend I made a clever device out of folded towels, designed to cant me up on one side just enough, a few degrees, to keep me from sleeping directly on my back. I tried that on Friday night, slept reasonably well, though I awoke with a slight backache. Well, I thought, maybe this is doable. Tried it again the following night. Woke up on Saturday morning ... with a mother of a backache. I mean, really, just a huge awful backache. I've been very smug throughout this pregnancy, that even though I've had back problems in the past, I've had absolutely none for the last six months. And now this! I've been using a heating pad the last couple of days and it is finally starting to abate, but really, it was just awful.

So let's see ... I can't sleep on either side. I can't sleep flat on my back because my babies will die of asphyxia (or something equally dire). I can't sleep on my back with the addition of the towel device. I can't sleep upside down like a bat, though I've been about ready to try that. So what does a desperate pregnant female do?

Well, this particular desperate pregnant female resorted to sleeping on her back anyway, feeling like a Bad Mum the whole time for obviously ruining my children's lives before they're even out of the oven. So now I'm the Hetty Green of the pregnant world. (Remember Hetty Green, the Witch of Wall Street? She was a millionaire, but so tight with a buck that she delayed getting medical help for her son's injured leg, which eventually resulted in the leg's amputation.) This sent me down into depression over the last couple of weeks, just feeling so helpless over this. But I saw my doc on Wednesday and whined at her, and she suggested a last try at solving the problem, by propping up one side of the entire bed so that the whole thing would be at a bit of an angle. (As she pointed out, this is what they do in surgery when they need to keep pressure off that vein -- they just prop up the whole surgery table.)

So we tried that here at the sister's house, with a couple of 2x4's under the feet of our bed, and it wasn't so bad. It did not, however, solve the sleep issue since I think I just simply get uncomfortable from staying in one position for any length of time. So last night I slept the way I have been this whole week: in shifts. I slept from eleven to 3:30, got up and peed, then slept from about 4 to 5:30, walked around a bit and got to bed again about half an hour later, then got in one more hour of sleep. That was my night.

So I'm just incredibly freakin' tired. (Oh, and don't suggest a recliner, please ... I also need to get completely horizontal at night, to let my myomectomy scar stretch out and relax. Joy.)

And now tonight ... The brother-in-law absolutely insisted we watch the new Batman movie (the Christian Bale prequel). That's fine except that I couldn't get comfortable anywhere, so I was roaming around the back of the living room like a caged whatsis, trying to be inconspicuous. Plus I'm so tired of the whole Hero's Journey thing. That was new when Lucas did it first, but it's so old now it has whiskers. So here I am trying to be polite to make up for my pickiness about the food. Then my husband decides to drink numerous beers, even though he did the same thing last night. But that's nothing new ... whenever we come here, D acts like he has a free pass to drink every single night. (Perhaps I should mention that D's drinking is a long-standing bone of contention. He maintains that since he doesn't -- usually -- drink every single night, plus he doesn't let it impact his job, and he never has blackouts, that he doesn't actually have a problem. I maintain that there are other considerations, but hey, I'm just the wife ... so what the hell do I know?

Anyway. Sis and BIL went to bed, I felt like crap, D was still in there swilling them down, and I burst into tears. Nice long cryfest. I just feel like shit and this tunnel looks so incredibly long. I assume that's light at the end. But tonight I don't really feel sure.

Friday, December 15, 2006


I am going to go out on a limb here and make a prediction. I predict that given a ten-minute head start and a mirror, the California Pacific Medical Center administration still could not find its collective ass with both hands. Mind you, that's just one consumer's opinion.

The first thing that annoyed me was that it has proven virtually impossible to get my CPMC amnio results sent to Kaiser. They have not even provided ME with written results. I called them several times and left messages, to no avail. I finally called the woman who did our genetics counseling and asked her if she could light a fire under the records department. Apparently, she did, but when I talked to their records department, they first maintained they had already sent them (no, I said sweetly, I don't theeeenk so), and then finally backed down and said they would fax them ("re-fax them," they said -- oh, those kidders) to Nurse Annoying (remember her? It's been a while since she entered the story). I called Nurse Annoying immediately, left a long message telling her what was going on and asking her to pretty please follow up on the CPMC fax. I came home later to a message from NA saying that as of two hours after the time when I talked to CPMC, they had not faxed her anything. That was on Tuesday.


I had to go in Thursday for an ultrasound to check the boys' growth, so I took that opportunity to drop by my HMO's medical records office and see if anyone had entered anything into my records in the meantime. Nope, nothing. I also requested my medical records to take with me on our holiday trip next week to Portland. Sure, they said, and printed out some records for me. I took them away to read with lunch, and found that they were actually records from everyone but my OB. Some interesting reading there, though ... I found myself actually giggling over Nurse Annoying's rendition of one of our meetings. I could just feel her irritation with me crackling between the printed lines. Which is fine, really; it makes me feel better about dissing her here in this public forum.

Some even better reading was found in my social worker's accounts of her meetings with me. (Yes, my HMO has provided me with a social worker, of all things.) I have met with her about once a month since October. She seems nice enough, and has given me some good info on places to take parenting classes and so forth. I haven't spilled my entire life story to her, since I see no need to, but it has been nice to talk to someone about a few issues related to my pregnancy.

Her accounts of her meetings with me were mostly factual, and did not have any particular axe to grind. But she uses psych jargon to describe some things. She mentions that I am "hyperverbal" in our meetings.

Hyperverbal? Well, yes, I am a woman, and I like to talk. And I was under the impression that when you meet with someone who wants to know how you are doing, you tell them. Also, when I only have 45 minutes to talk to someone about a lot of things, I tend to speed up. But "hyperverbal" makes me sound like Wiley Coyote on speed. Harrumph!

The worst label, though, was that of "psychomotor retardation." I had to look that one up. Wikipedia says, "Psychomotor retardation comprises a slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movements in a person." So as far as I can make out, this social worker seems to be simultaneously accusing me of talking her ear off and thinking excessively slowly. Gee, thanks. That's a flattering portrait. Or perhaps she was commenting on the slowness of my movements? Yeah, lady, I move like a turtle these days, because in case you haven't noticed, I am carrying freakin' twins! And I have a belly that makes total strangers rush to open doors for me and ask if I am due soon! And I outweigh my husband, and my feet hurt! See if you're ready to run a marathon under those conditions. Harrumph again.

Maybe I just shouldn't be reading my medical records....

But, as I said, I'm not likely to read my CPMC records any time soon, the way things are going. (Oh, and did I mention that they didn't even send ME a written copy of the amnio results? And it's over a month later!)

But now CPMC has really blown their credibility with me. They had us pay upfront on the day of the amnio with a credit card, in order to get the 35 percent self-pay discount. Okay, fair enough. They gave us a receipt at that time for (IIRC) the $1255 we paid that day, and said that Genzyme would be billing us separately. I got the Genzyme bill (for about $1300) the other day. They had applied the discount and already taken it from our credit card. Okay, I thought, well, the ol' credit card is really getting loaded up here, but again, fair enough.

But then came today. Today we got a bill from CPMC for nearly $5,000! Mind you, old Tiffany in Billing had told me it would be around TWO thousand dollars for everything except the Genzyme bill. And on this new bill, they had not applied the money we already paid them, and of course there was no mention of a discount.

I am really Not Happy with these people.

So on Monday, I get to have a little discussion with CPMC. Two discussions, actually; one to inquire when I might expect to have my records actually sent to my HMO, and the other to inform them how woefully incorrectly they have billed us, and request a correct accounting. Actually, I'm glad I have until Monday to cool off. Because I think I just might blow out my phone if I called them today.


And in much more important news ... everything on the u/s on Thursday was lovely, beautiful, perfect. AND I got Oscar the Wonder Tech, so life was good, at least for a short time. The boys are growing apace, each estimated at about 1 lb 7 oz now, and in the 49th percentile for growth. (Which is fine, being at the 49th, I mean -- after all, the bigger they get, the faster they're going to want out of there. Since I am only at 24w on Sunday, they are nowhere near being ready for their outside debut!)

And at long last, I got to see their little pee-pees. (I know, I know, that's not correct and they will be warped for life if I don't use the right term immediately; so sue me. I'm sorry, I just cannot call anything that tiny and cute a "penis." So pee-pee it is, at least for now.) Oscar had asked, quite noncomittally, if we had found out the sexes yet, and I told him that we were having two boys. And Oscar said, "Oh yes, I know." Well, duh, of course. He's the guy with the training and the u/s, right? So I made him point out the evidence to me. And once pointed out, it was pretty plain to see! That made me start laughing, so Oscar asked if I wanted a baby pic of that, and I said sure and laughed even harder. So I ended up bringing home not only the standard u/s pics of baby face profiles, but also something a little more hardcore, with convenient arrows to point them out. All of which made D laugh uproariously as well when I showed him the pics.

So yes, if we have to pay it, $5,000 is a small price to pay to make sure those little guys didn't get messed up. But I have to admit I'm going to argue like hell that they owe us a discount.