health

Greetings, from Fabulous Bed!

This is a post explicitly about my health. If you’d rather not know what goes on inside my skin, for, like HR reasons or your own personal comfort, maybe skip this one.

One of my biggest concerns about becoming a parent was the physical toll. I didn’t know if I was up for it, and, frankly, I might not be. I have what is known in the scientific community as “Health Stuff”:

All of these are invisible illnesses, or they would be if I hadn’t started rockin’ the cane a couple years back. The cane has been hugely useful in indicating that it’s not just laziness that keeps me from wanting to stand on the Metro or be the one to move the boxes full of anvils. Any of these things might be fine on their own, but they don’t play nicely with each other. The modified posture I’d taken on from years of pelvic pain is the likely trigger for the spine fracture, to which I apparently was already predisposed, but if I’d spent the last 15 years doing ab crunches instead of trying to avoid putting any unnecessary pressure around my bladder, the vertebrae would probably have stayed put. There’s no way to put the bones back where they belong; I can only keep it from getting worse. The fibromyalgia diagnosis was kind of a breakthrough, because it changed the way we were treating the interstitial cystitis, and now, thank fuck, the IC is in remission.

I overdid it with walking last week (while carrying a foolish choice of shoulder-bag), and then I further overdid it when I leapt to catch Charlie as he fell off the coffee table. I did mostly manage to keep him from hitting his head on the hardwood floor. To be on the safe side, I asked Andy to give Charlie his bath last night, because the inevitable catch of the slipping toddler who doesn’t listen to my commands of “No crazy-legs in the tub!” would have been an issue. Andy and I got Charlie in his jammies together, and then I laid down and Andy delivered Charlie to me to nurse to sleep, so that I didn’t have to do much lifting or bending. I took some Advil and had some wine, and when I woke up, I felt like my self-care combined with asking for help when I needed it had won the day. And then I leapt out of bed and after Charlie to close the bathroom door and the baby gate, lest Charlie beat me to either one and manage to fall down the stairs while drinking out of a bottle of bleach. As soon as my feet hit the floor: NOPE. Nope nope nope nope nope. Nope.

Greetings from fabulous Bed! Wish you were here.

Greetings from fabulous Bed! Wish you were here.

I did beat Charlie to the bathroom door, and Andy had already closed the baby gate. I am home from work, because my back is not participating in my life today. I’m very glad that I have live-in child-care in the form of Andy’s dad, because I would not have been able to get Charlie dressed and out the door if I had to take him to a daycare provider. Then, in between when Andy left for work and when his dad took over, Charlie fell off the nightstand, which yes, he was standing on, because that’s his whole thing. I caught him, because that’s my whole thing. (I initially thought my thing was to keep him from getting on top of the night stand to begin with, but that’s easier said than done. We’re working on it.) Catching him hurt. Now I’m in bed. I intend to stay here, except for when stretching or lying on the floor seems like a better course of action.

This is the part of having a kid I was worried about. When Charlie was an itty-bitty baby, except for when I was in early C-section recovery, there weren’t a lot of acrobatics or feats of strength involved in his care. When feats of strength did come into play, my challenge was in having the correct posture for slow, deliberate actions: Laying him in his crib, picking him up off the floor, carrying him in his carrier (which I did as seldom as possible, because shit, those things are heavy when they’re filled with baby), cleaning up baby barf, picking chokable items off the floor. That style of care was challenging, but manageable. Now Charlie has the strength and speed of a tornado, but with half the judgement. Because my medical conditions are all basically managed, I haven’t really missed work for them this decade, apart from scheduled doctor’s appointments and physical therapy to keep things managed. But I’ve been catching a lot of falling objects lately. Actually, just one falling object: my 26-pound toddler. Over and over again.

I would like a body that’s more participatory, but this is the one I’ve got until science allows me to have my brain transported into a mechanical suit, like Krang from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’m glad I have help. I need it.

Measles’s Brother

In my last post, I speculated that Charlie had been smitten by the goddamn German measles. Close, but no cigar.

I called the nurse’s line at the pediatrician, described the nasty rash he had originating from the torso and hitting everywhere but his forearms and his legs below the knees. It sounded like something that needed eyeballs on it, so she scheduled me as an afternoon add-on appointment, a concept I was unfamiliar with, and told me to arrive at the office at 1:45. Andy came home from work early so he could drive us, since taking a probably contagious baby on the metro didn’t seem like the responsible or pleasant choice.

1:45 is apparently when they start giving out numbers to the people who’ve been scheduled as afternoon add-ons. We were given number 3. The office is hot, it’s full of sick kids and their worried parents, and it’s a generally unpleasant place to be. It took two full hours to be seen. Fortunately, other babies are Charlie’s favorite thing right now, so he did pretty well. There were some fits, but they were fairly short-lived. Every time a new, sick baby came into the waiting room, he would smile big and make some happy grunting noises, and look like he was considering waving, and then decide against it. Andy and I, on the other hand, were pretty miserable. It took a lot of effort to try to keep Charlie far enough away from the other babies that they wouldn’t breathe on each other. I’m sure I was wholly unsuccessful, but I tried. When we were finally seen, the verdict was: Roseola.mThere’s no vaccination, and it’s HIGHLY contagious. You’re welcome, every other child and baby in the waiting room! And since we waited a stupidly long time to be seen, that’s a lot of you.

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If sunglasses are this amusing, it’s not regular measles.

I had never heard of roseola, but apparently it’s one of those things that most kids get and then they’re immune forever, like chicken pox was before there was a vaccination. (Man, remember chicken pox? That was the worst.) For the uninitiated, it’s basically Measles Jr. Or, as it’s known in Iceland, “Measles’s Brother.” The rash looks just about the same, and it can come with a really high fever (and in Charlie’s case, some pretty serious fussiness), but the key difference, according to the pediatrician we saw, is whether or not the child seems epically sick. Charlie was still eating pears like it was his job, and had his wits about him enough to think that the other babies in the waiting room were awesome, so therefore, not measles. Unless his fever gets higher and the spots get darker, in which case, measles, and we should come back to the office and wait two hours to be seen again while exchanging contagion with the other emergency add-ons. Gross.

The whole thing runs its course in five days. It was Wednesday when we came home from work to find Charlie covered epic rash, and his grandad into the wine early to help him deal with the screaming. It’s now Sunday morning, and apart from some spots on his thighs and continued moodiness, we’re pretty much on the other side. So, not measles. Just Measles’s Brother.

But if measles’s whole family could stay home for the rest of Charlie’s childhood, I’d really appreciate it.

Sleep Training Part II, with Special Surprise Ending!

(Spoiler: the surprise ending is probably the goddamned German measles.)

Charlie and I just returned from the Theatre Communications Group annual conference in San Diego.
This was the first year that the conference had billed itself as “family-friendly,” and since my mother-in-law lives in Orange County (less than two hours away), I decided the time was right for Baby’s First Conference. Charlie is 11 months old now, and still nursing on the regular, so I don’t yet feel great about the idea of leaving him home long enough for me to attend a three-day affair with a full day of travel on either side. Plus, my father-in-law was overdue for a vacation. Further plus, this conference was important to me. So, I got the baby on an airplane and off we went.
The one hitch: After a month of sleep training, Charlie was FINALLY sleeping in the crib, by himself, laying down (as opposed to standing up like a horse or sitting and rocking back and forth all night), for the majority of the evening. I don’t know why this had been an epic struggle; he slept just fine, exactly where he was supposed to sleep, until he was 7 months old. Then not so much. He’d been back on track for two whole nights when we got on our airplane.
California: Land of movie stars, palm trees, and five out of six of Charlie’s grandmas. He saw them all. He knows one grandma pretty well, was meeting another grandma for the first time, and the other three were somewhere in the middle. (“I know you from somewhere. Were you at the AFL-CIO delegates conference in Tampa?”) With all the new faces and places, Charlie became very clingy. And that’s as compared to his usual clingy self. He’s at an age where it’s completely appropriate for him to want his mom there to assure him that a new situation is safe. Good on him for not trusting his own judgment on where to be or who to hang out with. But it did mean that the lovely crib the San Diego Bayfront Hilton set up for us got slightly less than two seconds of use, because he was very much in my bed, holding onto me for dear life.

WAIT: Late-breaking update. My thesis was going to be that taking him to this conference with me ruined his ability to sleep alone forever. We’ve had three rough nights back at home. But it looks like the real culprit is the GODDAMNED GERMAN MEASLES. We’re waiting to hear back from the nurse’s line, but I don’t believe he gets that vaccination until next month’s checkup. According to the Internet, there’s a very small window between when he loses the resistance from the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine I got as a pregnant lady and when he’s old enough to get his own MMR vaccination. We’re in that window right now. My baby is a fussy, rashy mess. Just putting it out there: This is probably happening because someone believed it was in their child’s best interest not to vaccinate them against one of these super-contagious, largely eradicated childhood viral diseases. I’m assuming it’s rubella that he’s got, because that’s what it most closely matches on babycenter.com’s rash gallery. If so, it’s not really a big deal except for fetuses. But maybe it’s regular measles, in which case I will be pretty upset. Right now, I’m just irritated. Vaccinate your children as recommended by their pediatrician, please and thank you.

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(For your enjoyment, a photo of Andy trying to get a good under-arm temperature read with the fancy baby thermometer and attachment he picked up at last night’s emergency CVS run. It keeps saying Charlie’s temperature is like 93, so this device was not a good use of $16.)

Shutting It Down

Last week, in what proved to be the second-most excruciating doctor’s appointment of my life*, I had an IUD inserted. So now, if you FaceTime with me, you no longer need to start the conversation with, “You look off; you’re not pregnant again, are you?**” Because the answer is no, no I’m not.

I dragged my feet on this, because it sounded like something that would hurt. But it’s the most reliable form of birth control that won’t mess up my attempts to continue breast feeding, and my doctor was pretty emphatic that there ought to be absolutely no room for accidental pregnancies for at least 14 months after having Charlie sliced out of me. We’ve found that living with an infant and Andy’s dad is highly effective birth control, but I’ve been urged to come up with a more formal solution. I talked to my doctor about making an appointment.

“Is this the kind of thing that I need to schedule Andy to come with me to hold my hand and drive me home?”

“No, it’s 15 minutes in the office, no big deal. It can be pretty painful for women who’ve never had a child, but since you’ve already had a whole entire baby in your uterus, having a little piece of flexible plastic inserted won’t really even register.”

Okay. It still sounds like it will suck, but I make the appointment and come in a few days later.

“Just a heads up, I’m still pretty nervous about the potential pain.”

“Nothing to worry about. You’ll feel a little pinch at the beginning, and I’ll let you know when that’s about to happen, and there might be some cramping at the end. But for most women who’ve had a baby it’s just a little uncomfortable is all.”

“Hooray!”

“Now, you never dilated before your C-section, correct?”

“Yeah, that’s right.”

“Okay, so you might feel more of a sting at the beginning. But no big deal.”

We get moving. Just a little uncomfortable at first.

“So, your cervix is really small, so this might be a little uncomfortable.”

Ow.

“Hmm.”

Ow. Ow ow fuck fuck fuck.

“You’ve never had surgery on your cervix before, right?”

“Right.” Ow fuck fuck fuck.

“Hmm. Interesting… Oh wait, here we go. Here’s the part where you might feel a pinch.”

I scream.

“Okay, we’re through the cervix.”

“Okay… I still feel the pinch, is that okay?”

“Yes, you’ll feel that until we’re done.” I am at this point I think I’m about two minutes into a 15-minute procedure, but it’s hard to say, because time has lost all shape and meaning. I start to panic a little. “Okay, here’s the part where you might feel some cramping.”

…And here’s where I start sobbing uncontrollably, and don’t stop until well after we’re done. I can’t imagine that the pain will ever stop, or that it’s possible that I’ll survive it without dying, and I’m going to die with the indignity of being sans culottes with my feet in stirrups, without my husband here holding my hand, and I’ll never see my son again.

“You’re doing great.”

I sob harder.

“All done! Tissue?”

I wipe the dripping mascara off my face, blow my nose, and apologize for sobbing.

“You did a really great job. When I had my IUD inserted, I almost passed out.”

Awesome.

If I has known what I was in for, I’d not have done this. Hand jobs only until menopause, and I told my doctor as much. She said if the cramps didn’t go away (because they kept going even after we finished) to call her.

I clearly deserved a burger and a milk shake before going home, and I was for sure not right back to the office like I’d hoped. But, Bobby’s Burger Palace does not mix well with bodily trauma, and I came very, very close to not making it home in time to get to the bathroom. This was made all the more suspenseful by my inability to make my very slow strides any greater than six inches long. It was a lengthy voyage home. But I didn’t poop my pants, so the victory was mine.

Anyway, pro-tip: If anyone’s all, “Oh, you should just get an IUD, it’s no big thing once you’ve had a baby and then you don’t have to remember to take a pill. It’s the best!,” you can tell them to go straight to hell as you fill your handbag with condoms. Condoms that you’ll never use anyway, because you live with an infant. And maybe also with your father-in-law.

* The honor of the most excruciating appointment was four days earlier, when a small piece my clitoris was sliced off and biopsied. Everything came back negative. But still, fuck that day.
** An unfortunate word choice from my mother-in-law, who is a legitimately lovely and supportive person. I in fact looked off because I was still beat from the encounter listed in the previous footnote.

Bleeding From the Face

We’ve have been doing a FAIRLY OKAY job of keeping my baby safe from injury. There was that time he fell tooth-first onto the leg of the Ottoman and there was blood everywhere. That was terrible. There was the time he got what seemed like food poisoning and, after hours of barfing up bile, he perked up and started keeping fluids down just as I was about to take him to the emergency room. There was that time(s) I clipped his thumbnail and missed. There was that time he tackled Buster the Cat, and Buster gave almost as good as he got. But, considering what a death trap our home and the world are, and considering Charlie’s blatant disregard for the force of gravity, he has, so far, kept himself from many an injury.
He does, however, wail on me and his dad on a fairly regular basis. Last night might have been the most impressive attack he’s mounted thus far. As I was struggling to change his diaper, he reaches for the tube of Burt’s Bees diaper ointment (which is a miraculous product, by the way), grabbed it by the base, and swiped the sharp top corner across my face, slicing open my jaw. Not like Lewis Powell attacking Secretary Seward-style; it was far less dramatic. He did not shout, “From hell’s heart, I stab at thee!” But, considering my assailant was not yet nine months old, I marveled at the impact of his swipe.
The night before, he had taken an over-the-shirt chomp at the nipples of both me and Andy, and bit his grandad’s ankle. Over the last week, Andy and I have endured numerous head butts to the nose; once, Charlie even made Andy’s nose bleed. Charlie recently made my nose bleed when he bit the tip of it. We’ve been gouged in the eyes, had earrings pulled from our earlobes, been kicked in the crotches, and we’ll not even make mention of the nasty hair-pulling that’s transpired. And every time, as we lay dying, Charlie continues to laugh at our misery. And so do we. Even as we’re sitting there bleeding, it’s usually still pretty funny to us that he thinks our injuries are so funny. (Except for last night’s jaw-slicing. That sucked.)

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“From hell’s heart, I stab at thee!”

As much as I dislike bleeding from the face, better me than him. If we can keep this trend up, where we are the injured ones and he thinks it’s funny, I’ll be okay with it. I know we’re probably going to have to take him to the emergency room two dozen times before he hits kindergarten, but I’ll deal with that later. Right now I need to go find a Band-Aide for my jaw.

UPDATE: Before I had a chance to caption this post and put it up on the internet, I heard “Ah, FUCK!” from the living room, and Charlie giggling. I ran out to see if everything was okay. Andy was, in fact, bleeding from the face, in two spots, as a result of Charlie trying to scratch his eyes out.

So I’m going to go look for three Band-Aides.

Baby’s First Super-Heinous Illness

Tuesday, I came home early from work, in preparation for Winter Storm Janus, to find Charlie barfing up bananas. Then he switched to barfing up bile. Then he started barfing out his nose. He was pale to the point of being a little blue, and his pediatrician had also closed up shop for the day on account of the declining weather. He was listless and a bit like a rag doll when I picked him up, and couldn’t keep his eyes open, or closed. They were half-open and foggy.
I started trying to get him hydrated and getting the barf cleaned up off the both of us while symptom-checking on the Internet and figuring out how we might get to an emergency room. The Baby Center online symptom checker said he for sure had blood poisoning, and gave no other options. Clearly this was horse shit. “Oh, vomiting and pale? Blood poisoning. It’s super-rare and he was vaccinated against it, as are most babies, but here we are. So get off the Internet and call an ambulance.”
“Blood poisoning? Really?”
“Oh, for sure.”
“Go home, Internet; you’re drunk.”
In fairness to the Internet, once during my sophomore year of college I checked my bronchitis-like symptoms in a good, old-fashioned medical reference book. It advised me to turn to page 223 for results. Page 223 said, “Call 911. You are having a heart attack.” So I learned early on that all symptom checkers are drunk, but have not yet applied that lesson to my life. I’ve continued to spend my days checking radio buttons that describe which body parts are doing which abnormal things, and continue not to be convinced that I’m having a heart attack at this exact moment.
I texted Andy, who was also on his way home, to let him know we’d need to take a trip to the ER if Charlie didn’t start improving. I threw away all the breast milk in the fridge, in case it was contaminated. This felt tragic, since it was nearly 20 oz. I sterilized all the pumping and feeding equipment. Charlie (and I) were covered in vomit, and because Charlie’s hands and feet were cold, we took a long, warm shower. He was in no way squirmy, so it was leisurely. After a little while, he perked up enough to start batting at the shower curtain. Hooray, shower curtains are once again magical! Andy came home as we were drying off and got Charlie dressed while I got ready to try to nurse him again.
I am super-duper proud of myself that up to this point, I had not freaked the fuck out. I was calm and rational and took care of business. At this point, Charlie started drinking AND keeping it down, and the light kind of turned back on in his eyes. I said to Andy that it seemed liked we turned the corner which is great and WAAAAAAHHHHH. I started sobbing, and have been freaked the fuck out ever since.
He’s completely fine now. Chipper, even. Apart from the lingering dehydration, the whole affair only lasted three hours. But yesterday, when I texted my father-in-law to see how Charlie was doing while I was working, I never heard back. So naturally assumed that Charlie had died and that my father-in-law was waiting until I got home to break the news in person. Most of my brain knew that the lack of response was due to the fact that I’m dealing with a man who had never used a cell phone before moving in with us to help with Charlie. My first day back to work after maternity leave, he sent me a text that was just the letter “Q.” Fortunately, Andy beat me home from work and texted me a picture as proof that Charlie was fine. I’d requested a photo of Charlie holding today’s paper, but then they’d have to go out in the snow to get a paper.
All told, it was a good first illness for Charlie to have, because it was brief. It was good practice for when he inevitably gets a more serious childhood illness, which I will now spend every day fretting about until its arrival. Hooray!

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See? He’s fine.

Mommy & Me Contagion

Charlie & I have matching head colds. It’s his first bout of contagion, & he’s much less cranky about it than I am. He’s been pretty happy & doesn’t seem to mind that he’s not super good at breathing. I, on the other hand, am pretty sure we’re all doomed and will die in a pool of our own sinus juices. He thinks the snot-sucking bulb syringe is the funniest & most delightful thing that’s ever come near his face. I, on the other hand, have found that snot is the only baby bodily fluid that I gag at the sight of. His pediatrician says that steam and saline nasal spay are the only things either of us are allowed to used for symptom relief. The Internet, on the other hand, says I can have Sudafed while I’m nursing. Thanks, Internet!

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According to Your Chart, You’re the Worst

I didn't have any good photos of bungee-jumping fetuses, so here's my dimly-lit 21-week bump pic instead. Now I am every other pregnancy blog in the world. Look upon my bump, ye mighty, and despair!

I didn’t have any good photos of bungee-jumping fetuses, so here’s my dimly-lit 21-week bump pic instead. Now I am every other pregnancy blog in the world. Look upon my bump, ye mighty, and despair!

After breaking up with Dr. Eyeshadow, I got myself in to see a new team of highly recommended Ob/gyns. I had sooooo many reservations about letting go of the doctors at my previous practice. Okay, I had two reservations: 1) I hate confrontation, and 2) It seemed like it was going to be a tremendous, administrative pain in the ass. But I successfully did it. After acquiring my chart from Dr. Eyeshadow’s office, I can confirm that she did not listen to a damned word that came out of my mouth. Towards the end of my chart she was also using a lot of exclamation points to emphasize sentences I never said, characterizing me as a bit of an unmanageable bitch. (“Patient EXTREMELY insistent she doesn’t want to come in for appt. tomorrow!!!” No, I asked if I should still come in tomorrow, and you said not to unless there was a problem. I said something along the lines of, “Okay, that sounds good.” I hate you.)

I hand the chart over to my new doctor, who sits down with me as she’s reviewing my paperwork and says, “So, according to this you’re having an elective C-section?” No, that’s just Dr. Eyeshadow not using her listening ears. “Okay,” says the new doctor, “I’m glad to hear you’re not going that route, because it’s a major surgery with a long recovery time, and it’s especially difficult for patients with chronic pain like yours. It isn’t that it’s a wrong decision if it’s something that has to be done, but we would want to consider it carefully first.” So Dr. Eyeshadow was totally planning on slicing me up and ripping a baby out of me without having this conversation. And she wrote at the top of my chart in giant letters that the whole thing was my idea. So, it seems that switching practices was a good move.

I really like the new doctor. She, like my uro-gynocologist, is of the opinion that it’s safer for me to take a Category B drug that helps with bladder spasms than it is for me to not get any treatment and get into car accidents. (By the way, I only needed to take Pyridium for three days before the spasms basically stopped and I was able to live and sleep like a human again.) She also recommended a screening that the previous doctors ought to have talked to me about, had they looked at my chart. Also, I came down with a stupid damn chest cold the other day, and she recommended Robitussin DM, Benadryl, or cough drops, instead of soup. Dr. Acula expressly forbade cough drops (let alone any of this baby-killing Robitussin craziness) the last time I felt contagion coming on. “No, is medicine. Have some soup.”

Another nice thing about the new doctor: She delivers at Sibley Hospital in way Northwest DC, where all the rich people have their babies. I had a doctor’s appointment there once. That place is a magical fucking fairy land. And there’s an Au Bon Pain in the lobby. You can get a cobb salad in between vaccinations. Plus, it’s a 30-minute drive from our house and a 19-minute cab ride from work, unlike Inova Fairfax where Doctors Acula and Eyeshadow deliver (allllllll the way on the other side of the Beltway in Annandale, Virginia). Although Inova Fairfax is very well regarded, and I hear it has the third largest maternity ward in the country (and therefore, if anything goes awry, there are a thousand doctors in the hallway who have seen your crazy thing 100 times and can hop on into your delivery room and fix it), I had growing concerns that I would go into labor during rush hour and end up delivering the baby in the emergency lane of I-495 after sitting in traffic for several hours.

I haven’t come up with a name for the new doctor yet, apart from her legal name, which I feel I should withhold in case I accidentally misquote any of her medical advice (example: “My doctor said bungee jumping will make the fetus strong!” when she actually said something something banjo music) and y’all follow it (“I want a strong fetus! Let’s go bungee jumping!”) and then it goes poorly (you and your fetus explode immediately after jumping off the cliff because of altitude or science or something) and she gets sued (by your widower, because my doctor inadvertently exploded you and your fetus). By the way, please don’t take any of my hearsay from this blog to heart. Check with your doctor first before you take Benadryl or go bungee jumping or make soup. Or at least promise not to sue me. I’m just telling you what (I think) I heard.

Breaking Up With Dr. Eyeshadow

Dr. Eyeshadow's Ultrasound Machine

Say goodbye to these. Because it’s the last time.

The time has finally come. After almost five months of my OB/Gyn team (Doctors Acula and Eyeshadow) not totally knowing who I am or listening to the words that come out of my mouth, I’ve decided to end it.

About two weeks ago (when I was at 18 weeks), I started having what are scientifically known as “contractiony thingies.” It kind of felt like maybe going into labor, except that the contractiony thingies weren’t getting stronger and closer together; they just started happening every 5 to 60 minutes, at the standard intensity of one jab-to-the-lower-abdomen-by-someone-holding-an-oyster-fork, and stayed at that rate. After using the Internet to rule out Braxton Hicks, heart attacks, and creeping Sharia, I diagnosed myself as having bladder spasms. I have a fun medical condition called interstitial cystitis (scientifically known as “chronic bladder stuff”), which I haven’t been able to treat since becoming knocked up, on account of the baby-killing that all medications except gummy pre-natal vitamins and chicken soup do. I put in a call to my uro-gynecologist (a.k.a. “doctor of bladder pain”) to spread the good word about my contractiony thingies and see what could be done. For better or worse, the first step, officially, was to run to Dr. Eyeshadow’s office as fast as I could to make sure I wasn’t going into super-early labor. I was very grateful that she was able to stay a couple minutes after 5:00 to squeeze me in right after I called. We determined that the baby was totally fine and that I was no way going into labor. This means it was probably totally bladder stuff. I told her that I was then going to go see my uro-gynocologist for treatment, and the short version of her response to that was, “Okay, but don’t let him treat you with anything other than hot chicken soup or you’ll both have baby murder on your hands.”

One of the medications used to treat interstitial cystitis is Pyridium (the same stuff that you take when you get a UTI; you know the one. It turns your pee orange). It’s a Category B drug, which means “really really probably okay to take while your pregnant without murdering your baby. Seriously, it’s fine probably.” Category A is the gold standard of “totally fine. I checked with data and shit,” but only gummy pre-natal vitamins and hot chicken soup are in that class (and also apparently something for thyroid replacement). Category C is “I don’t know; stop asking me stupid questions,” Category D is “You’ll probably give birth to a Truckasaurus instead of a baby, but if you’re feeling zealous, be my guest,” and Category X is “Double-murder your baby.” I’ve talked to Dr. Eyeshadow about the possibility of being allowed to take Category B (“probable non-murder”) Pyridium a number of times (that number being three; each time it was news to her because she doesn’t remember who I am or listen to the words that come out of my mouth). Each time was met with a variation of, “Ooooh, better not, on account of the potential baby murder. Have some soup instead”

So, because we neither of us want to murder my baby, I continued to have painful contractiony thingies for six awesome days and sleepless nights before I kind of crashed my car. It turns out that when it feels like you’re getting jabbed in the abdomen with an oyster fork every 5 to 60 minutes, you can’t get more than 4 to 59 consecutive minutes of sleep. And when you do this for nearly a week straight, your ability to correctly interpret road signs is diminished. And when your ability to correctly interpret road sides is diminished, you get into low-speed collisions that are all your fault while asking yourself, “Wait, why is this happening?”

I’ve gotten a bit more sleep these last few days and am in better shape now than I was a week ago, but I did get in to see my uro-gynecologist today. He had no qualms about prescribing my probably totally completely safe Category B medication, as it will most certainly be less harmful to my growing fetus than continued car accidents, for example. And I’m going to see a new OB/Gyn on Friday.

I went back into Dr. Eyeshadow’s office today to get copies of my medical records so I could take them to the new doctor. Today, everyone there knew exactly who I was, had full encyclopedic knowledge of my medical history, and wished the best for me and my growing fetus. I explained that it wasn’t them, it was me. It was awkward, but I think it’s for the best.

15 Forbidden Activities

Baby killer

Baby killer

The Fetus Pal is at 18 weeks today, which puts me a whole month into my second trimester. Which means I’m now a total pro at second trimesters. As you may already know, the moment you become pregnant, there are about a billion things (probably all your favorites) that get added to your list of forbidden activities. For example:

  1. Drinking booze
  2. Smoking cigarettes (made of either tobacco or marijuana)
  3. Riding roller coasters
  4. Riding bicycles
  5. Anal sex
  6. Eating soft cheeses (or sushi or bacon or lunch meats or uncooked sprouts or big fish or whatever)
  7. Taking DayQuil as needed for your head cold
  8. Drinking caffeine
  9. Going to physical therapy (depending on what part of you needs therapizing)
  10. Pointing your toes. (Unlike the others, I don’t think this will murder your baby; it will just give you leg cramps.)

These are just the first 10 that came to mind. Rest assured, if you’re pregnant and thinking of engaging in any activity apart from sleeping on your left side with a pillow between your knees for hip support, you should probably reconsider. But this is all boiler plate pregnancy stuff. Once you hit the 2nd trimester, you also have to be mindful of activities that could cause you to have contractions and go into early labor. These new items include:

  1. Exposure to peppermint oil
  2. Nipple tweaking
  3. Rubbing that part on the inside of your foot between the ankle and the heel (you know, the part where I have that big knot that I always want to rub.)
  4. Drinking tea. (Black tea is okay as far as early contractions are concerned, but it has the pre-forbidden caffeine, so you get out of here with your Earl Grey.)
  5. Orgasms

So pretty much there goes my weekend.