Monday, February 08, 2010

February Wind

I chose to go without a coat today, and when that bitter February wind hit my cheeks I wondered if I had made a bad decision. Only a moment after the shock of cold, I was shocked into recognition. I know this wind, I thought. This February wind.

"I would recognize that wind anywhere," I said aloud to the twins as I closed my eyes to savor it. It felt exactly this way when my children were born. They were all born in February and their birthdays are just days apart. It rained while I gave birth to all my children. That's how I know the Groundhog was wrong--the snow always turns to rain during this month and then each snow storm is merely a fluke, at least in my mind. There is no turning back once we hit mid-February because Spring is just around the corner.

However, I am hoping this February wind is not a signal that my last child's birth is mere weeks away. I'm not ready for that. Baby's not ready for that. She needs a few more months, not a few more weeks. And I think we'll get there, but it's not going to be easy-peesy-rice-and-cheesy. I've seen the writing on the walls for a couple weeks now, but I wasn't ready to talk about it. Now I am.

A few weeks ago, I was out shopping--buying baby's first little pink and purple and green dresses for church next Spring--when I started feeling really shaky. I held my hand up in front of my face and I couldn't see it shaking, but I felt jittery all over. By the time I got home and laid down, I thought I'd be feeling better. Hours later, I was starting to feel nervous. I still felt really sick. I called the nurse to ask her if people felt this way with gestational diabetes, maybe? I had done some research and it seemed like I was exhibiting some symptoms of hypoglycemia actually, which is opposite, but... I just needed to talk it over.

She ordered my glucose tolerance test right away (which later showed very healthy blood sugar levels), and then was ready to hang up when I nervously told her how sick I'd been feeling all day. Nervously because, given my history, I know that the answer to most problems at this stage of pregnancy equals, "Go into labor and delivery and make sure everything is okay with baby" and that just seems like such an over-reaction to feeling sick.

The nurse said, "Go into labor and delivery and make sure everything is okay. Better safe than sorry." I kind of whined and said I'd go in if I still felt sick in a few hours, hoping she'd let me off the hook. After all, they can't arrest me for ignoring the nurse's orders, right? Just the doctor's. Right? She urged me again to just go in. I said I'd wait and see how I felt when my husband got home, because I couldn't very go in with three crazy children. Right?

She could tell I was trying to refuse. Her next words hit like an overused metaphor. Or simile, to be more precise. "If this is pre-eclampsia, it can sneak up really quickly. You really need to be careful."

Ouch. She hit me where it hurt. My first son was born early because of pre-eclampsia. Something to do with my liver, which my research later suggested was very serious, if I was guessing correctly. I was on high blood pressure medication for months while pregnant with the twins--and I was on bedrest for two solid months. In other words, this is serious stuff to me because of my history.

I went in to the hospital. My blood pressure was just slightly borderline and plummeted to ridiculously low/healthy levels as I laid in the bed and relaxed for a couple hours. The baby was fine. I was fine. Everything was fine. I felt incredibly embarrassed that my complaining to the nurse led to hours of being in the hospital for apparently no reason. Ugh.

I went home, depressed, and went to sleep. The next morning, thinking everything was peachy keen, I noticed something troubling that brought all the worry back. I suspected something was up and thought I wasn't so paranoid after all. After a quick trip to the OB's office, my worries were doubled. I was right. I wouldn't have even noticed this with my first pregnancy--the pregnancy-induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia really took me by surprise. Luckily, I had my regular OB appointment the next day so I knew I'd get some answers.

...but I didn't. My doctor, who tries to keep his hormone-infused, freaked-out pregnant women as calm as possible, just told me it wasn't necessarily pre-eclampsia and that he'd just see me more often now to make sure we didn't miss anything.

NOTE: At this point, I was not even in my third trimester. To deal with these issues this early had me incredibly freaked out. The baby would have a 50% chance of survival, and "survival" would probably mean living with major handicaps her entire life. Like being blind. Or deaf. Or having an IQ of 3. Point being that I was really freaked out.

Anyway, my freaking out subsided gradually as I remembered that I have trusted my doctor with my life more than once and I have total faith in him. If he's not freaking out, I shouldn't be either. Deep breaths. Happy thoughts. All is well.

I had another follow-up appointment today and those pesky symptoms that bothered me a few weeks ago are still holding strong. And my blood pressure was, officially, way too high. 150 over something. However, after laying down for five minutes, it dropped to 120/70, which is totally fine... except that it proves that chilling out is really important right now, and I have a lot of work to do.

The doctor ordered a very annoying hospital test (Gack) and told me I need to really watch my activity, and definitely no more exercising.

To a woman who has been on bed rest for the two previous pregnancies, this sounds like: "Take it easy ... OR ELSE." In other words, I can try to manage this carefully and still have some freedom or I can push my limits and be forced into inactivity.

The writing is on the wall. There is so much that still has to be done. So much to purchase, and clean and organize and prepare! I think, "QUICK! Go get the shopping done! Don't delay!!" Then I remember my orders to "take it easy ... OR ELSE!" and I feel trapped. Slow and steady? Prioritize? I would ask for help, but I'm really the only one who can do a lot of things like tidying my office, filing away papers where they belong, etc.

And ain't NOBODY gonna buy all that cute, pink, girlie stuff for me. I have been waiting for YEARS to buy frilly little stuff. That's my reward for surviving pregnancy again. I demand my reward!

...but baby needs me to chill out, relax, not worry...

Wow, I think I feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it.


  1. Go out after the baby's born and buy her dresses then. :)

    Take it easy. I have a niece that was born at 23 weeks. Though she's not blind or deaf there are still a lot of problems, like Cerebral Palsy, that makes her wheelchair bound.

    And don't forget your lovely health insurance. If you have a baby with lasting problems than you will end up meeting your deductible and out of pocket max each and every year--by February.

    So, take it easy girl.

  2. And thank goodness for cleaning ladies! And grocery shopping services. And nannies...maybe Riley can move down and take care of you for a few weeks. :-)

  3. Take it easy and do whatever you are told. That little baby girl needs a healthy mama.

    Can I come hold when she gets borned?