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Merging

I’ve merged all my notaclowncar posts into my regular blog so that I don’t have to keep maintaining both blogs.  I was always at a bit of a loss about where to post things about my pregnancy.  This blog made sense before I wanted the world to know I was pregnant, and it was also a natural progression from infertility treatments into pregnancy and complications.  But since I’m certainly no longer hiding this whole pregnancy thing, I can never figure out which blog to put my reflections in, since both are reasonably logical  places to write.

I hope you’ll join me back at the other blog – but I certainly understand if you don’t.

The Upside

So I don’t really feel like the steroids have helped a whole lot with the hyperemesis. I felt marginally better the first few days and kept a couple crackers down here or there, but not enough improvement to really be able to say it was the steroids that made it better. But there *have* been some benefits:

  • The inflammation around my PICC site is almost entirely cleared up. I am quite certain that it is the steroids responsible for it because when it gets close to time to take the next dose, it starts gettting puffy and itchy again and recedes within half an hour to an hour of the steroid dose.
  • My headaches/migraines are much improved. Not absent, but not constant either.
  • The sciatica that had left me nearly completely immobilized last week is almost gone. I have occasional twinges here and there if I step down wrong, but nothing crippling like before I started the steroids.
  • My overall itchiness? Just about gone. Before starting the steroids, I was so agonizingly itchy that my skin was raw from all the scratching. Nothing had helped it. Also? I no longer seem to be getting a rash from the Phenergan – I don’t know if this is related to the steroids, or just that I have acclimated to the drug. Either way – less itchy is awesome.

But, by far, the most intriguing side effect of the steroids is that I have a ridiculous burst of energy much of the time. Even yesterday when I felt more dreadful than I’ve felt in weeks (possibly months) – I had plenty of energy. My husband was working in the afternoon/evening, so I was on my own from about 2:30 on. Just as the triplets were waking up from their nap. I expected this to spell disaster given how yucky I was feeling, but I had plenty of energy for them. I gave them a snack, played for a bit, and did a bunch of cooking. I made three large mac n’ cheese casseroles (2 for the freezer) and toffee/chocolate chip/pecan cookies. Last week I made a big pot of beef stew (frozen in 1-2 person portions, depending on the person), curry chicken, schnitzel, sweet potato pies (I had three of the most ginormous sweet potatoes I’ve ever seen in my life – and they made three pies!), and white-cholate-chip brownies (the brownie mix came in a box, so it doesn’t necessarily count – but J helped and had a ball. He also helped with the mac n’ cheeses and the cookies).

I have never been good at cooking and freezing things. If I cook something, I want to eat it now, not later! I always think I’ll take a Sunday and cook kugels and casseroles and soups for the freezer so that I’m not so slammed all the time when it comes to cooking. But it never works out that way. Recently, though, J has been super interested in cooking with me, and it gives us things to do together with relatively low stress. It also makes him SLIGHTLY more willing to try foods if he’s had a hand in making it. Though he still wouldn’t eat the mac n’ cheese casserole. Oh well.

I wonder if this is what "nesting" is like. It’s way too early for me to be nesting (I hope!), and with the triplets, I never got to really know what nesting was like – I was on bed rest forever and so sick I didn’t have any energy most of the time, but I did have a couple days here or there when I would freak out about needing to clean and so and purge. I remember one day when Seth and J were out doing yardwork and I suddenly freaked out about space and I waddled out and said, "We have to get rid of the piano. I never play it, I’m definitely not going to have time to play it with three babies in the house, and it’s taking up SPACE! We could put a whole shelf, a changing table, feeding table, something, ANYTHING in that space! It has to go!" Seth looked at me, looked over at J, and turned and said, "I think perhaps we’d better come inside to work instead of being out here. I spent the rest of the afternoon in the attic freaking out about all the stuff we needed to get rid of. And purge, I did. But that was the exception, not the rule. Technically I shouldn’t have been up there at all, but fortunately, that was before some of the scarier times in the pregnancy.

I have niggling little thoughts about all the crap in our attic often, reminiscent of that summer day with the triplets, but hopefully I’ll be able to squelch it this time. Surely the cooking is at least useful. And I do have in my mind that we need to have stuff in the freezer, because I’m petrified that I’ll get to a point where I just *can’t* cook and I’ll have this family who needs to eat. J could live all year on chicken nuggets and apple slices, but Seth hates cutting up apples. And surely, the triplets ought to have more variety than that, lest they end up with such a limited palate as J.

It’s not nesting, really, but the energy sure is welcome.

So the steroids kind of suck (side effects e.g. severe reflux and oral thrus aren’t any fun), but overall? I’d argue that my quaility of life, for the moment, is largely improved.

Except, you know, the throwing up part.

Making the Best of It

The steroids aren’t helping the hyperemesis so much – but they are doing other things.  I had crippling sciatic pain  before I started the steroids and that barely flickers anymore.  The inflammation around my PICC site is hugely improved.  My overall itchiness is nearly gone.  And I have extra energy I didn’t really expect to have (it’s still not enough – but it’s better than nothing!).

The steroids aren’t without their disadvantages – the reflux is nearly intolerable, but today I managed to keep some Zantac and Prevacid down, so hopefully tomorrow that will be better.  The thrush sucks and I’d like it to be gone now, but it’s tolerable.  Today was better than yesterday.  Yesterday I was seriously contemplating calling my doctor on Christmas to beg them to find a 24 hour pharmacy that could fill a script to FIX IT.   If you know me at all, you know that I would normally never consider interrupting a doctor’s holiday for something not life-threatening.  But … honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to pick up a script regardless – I had all four kids and my husband was working.  No way was I taking everyone out to pick up a prescription.

I admit, the wave of energy (well, it’s a trickle – but still more than I’ve had) has been helpful.  I’ve been able to get a fair bit of cooking done, so I have some things in the freezer for the days when I just can’t bring myself to cook for the family.  I’ve spent some good time with my kids.  I’ve gotten somewhat caught up at work.

I love being pregnant in so many ways.  This baby is squirming around a lot and I find it so incredible to know that I’m growing a whole human inside me.  The miracle of this pregnancy is not lost on me and I *do* appreciate it.  I love that the triplets point at my belly and say “Babies!” (though I wish they’d stick to the singular!).  I love that J keeps saying “I hope it’s a brother!  … or a sister!”  (mostly he asks for a brother, but acknowledges that a sister would be good, too).  I love that I have this baby growing.  I cherish my growing “bump” (that is ridiculously huge considering that I still have months and months to go!).  I joke that I am *never* doing this crap again on purpose, since it turns out that it’s pregnancy, not just triplet-pregnancy, that doesn’t agree with me  – but the truth is?  I’d gladly go through this all over again to have another baby if we decided that was right for our family.  But there is also, oddly, some comfort in being this sick – I know that I will be comfortable deciding that our family is complete – knowing how hard we struggled to get there.  I used to wonder if I would ever be comfortable with that notion, but now I know I can.

I feel dreadful, but nearly everyone tells me I look great.  And you know?  I feel great knowing that there’s this toy surprise at the end of all this.

I’m not really sure what my point is, but I guess, mostly, I wanted to make sure that I capture at some point the fact that pregnancy isn’t ALL misery.  Even through the throwing up, I am overjoyed to be privileged enough to carry this baby.  Even through my irrational fears and requisite infertile DBTs, I can’t wait to meet this little person – the next (probably final) addition to our family.  I am humbled to know that I have been entrusted with another little life, and to know that my successes and failures in parenting are in my control.  I know that I am not a perfect parent, but I will always strive to be the best that I can be on a given day.  Some days, of course, are better than others.

I still don’t have an OB, but I have an appointment with a new practice on Tuesday and a perinatology appointment on Wednesday.  One way or another, this obstetrician dealio is going to be resolved this week, and it feels good to assert that.  Anyway, I still have the yurt as a back up plan.

(but hey, baby?  Can you stop kicking my bladder and my cervix?  That’s not nearly as much fun as the rest of this pregnancy.  Seriously!)

Insult to Injury

So I started taking IV Steroids Friday night.  It definitely helped the inflammation around my PICC site, and I’m generally less itchy.  I think my headaches are a tad better.  But I’m still really nauseated.  It helped a tiny bit the first couple days and then we started tapering it, and…  disaster.  I don’t know how long I can really stay on a high dose of steroids, but it’s honestly not helping enough for me to want to put up with the side effects and any inherent risk.

Truthfully, the horrific reflux was enough to make me want to get the hell off these steroids.  But now?  Now I have thrush on my tongue/in my throat.  The last time I had oral thrush was in 2003 when I’d been on long-term heavy-duty antibiotics.   The triplets and I battled thrush for five months while I was breastfeeding them, and admittedly, thrush *there* is far more painful, but I don’t really want any kind of thrush again!    So now my tongue hurts, it hurts to swallow, and it’s excruciating to put anything on my tongue.  Fortunately, I’m not eating anyway, right?  So it’s not like I’m missing out.  Much.

Is the cure worse than the disease?  No.  If I weren’t throwing up anymore, I’d definitely think it was worth it.  But this is still like adding insult to injury.

The Saga Continues

I saw my perinatology practice last week.  Dr. P. had left for the day, so I saw Dr. M.  I like her, but sometimes she’s a bit wishy washy.  I told her about the difficulty I’ve been having with finding an obstetrician willing to take me on – and mentioned that several doctors have told me that my best bet is to simply see the perinatology group directly.  She didn’t really acknowledge that last part, and just gave me some more names of doctors to try.   (Meanwhile, I dropped my records off last Tuesday to a practice to review before deciding whether to take me on as a patient… it took them a week, but this Tuesday they called to confirm that they were declining to accept me as a patient)  I can call doctors until I’m blue in the face, but it’s clearly not getting me anywhere.  Sigh.

The rest of the appointment with her was good.  She prescribed IV Steroids to see if that helped the nausea.  It did, a little (though not a lot, but I’ll take it!), until I started trying to taper the steroid.  Sigh.  The baby looks great and is growing exactly on schedule.  And Dr. M. also called the home health company to order that the dressing on my PICC line be changed stat – the tegaderm needed to come off, because my skin was so raw and painful and ick, that it posed too great a risk for infection.  Plus, hello?  It HURT!

The home health company couldn’t come out that night  to change it, plus we were expecting a big snow storm that night/the next day (we got 20 inches!).  Also the home health co. didn’t like the idea of just wrapping the PICC line in gauze – but there weren’t a lot of options because tegaderm clearly does not agree with my skin at this point.  I ended up having to go to the emergency room to have the dressing changed.  By Monday, when my nurse came to change the dressing again, the difference was astounding – it no longer hurt, the skin was healing, it was perfect.  But… the home health care company was still not going for it.  Their protocol is that if there’s gauze on the site, the dressing has to be changed every 48 hours (though my primary nurse admitted that no one has shown her this policy written anywhere – it seems to be a rumour floating around).  So they sent a new dressing out to me to try that.  And?  It’s just a different kind of tegaderm.  I’m already hurting and itching, and it was just put on yesterday.

I do have some possibly-good news, though.  Since I can’t seem to find a doctor who delivers at the hospital five minutes from my house (where I delivered my triplets), I called the birth advisor at another hospital that isn’t quite convenient, but it’s not so bad as long as we don’t have three babies in the NICU this time around.  She got me an appointment with one of the other practices that several friends had suggested.  They had previously expressed that they wouldn’t see me, but I was talking to a receptionist and the birth advisor was speaking with a clinician.  So I have that appointment on Tuesday – I don’t know if they’ll take me on directly, but at least he’s willing to talk to me directly instead of just reviewing my records.

If that fails, I’m seeing Dr. P. on Wednesday – and I’ll talk with him directly.  If he won’t take me on as a direct patient, I’ll head down to the big OB/GYN practice at a nearby University hospital – they are excellent and will take me as their practice is made up of both regular OBs and MFMs – but I was trying to avoid that.  It would mean going into the city for every appointment and delivering at a not-so-local hospital.  Having a hospital 5 minutes from home makes me really begrudge the 30 minutes (without traffic) that it would take to get downtown.  I work just four blocks from the physician’s office building, but I’ve been working a lot from home, and I only expect that to increase, so it won’t be convenient forever.

Hopefully, I won’t have to go that route.

It would be lovely to have a doctor at some point, wouldn’t it?

Proof

Just so you don’t think I’ve been making this whole pregnancy thing up, I’m including proof of my status in this post.  Personally, I think I just look fatter, but my husband assures me that I look pregnant.   I guess we can compromise and say I’m a bit of both.  ;)

I was quite surprised at how quickly I popped out this time around.  I think I’ve got a more prominent pregnant belly than I did at this point with the triplets.  Go figure.  I will say this, though – shopping for maternity clothes is *much* more fun this time around.  My pre-pregnancy weight with the triplets was about 70 pounds higher than my current weight, and I’m down 4 dress sizes (literally), so the variety of comfortable, (somewhat) flattering clothes is exponentially better than the last time.   I loathe spending money on clothes that you’ll only wear for a few months, but I’ve found some good sales (plus sized maternity clothing seems to never go on sale, so I had no such luck with the triplets).  Old Navy had maternity tees for $1.50 each!!!

My little monster is definitely still hanging out  – s/he is kicking a lot, but there’s no real pattern to it yet.  Still, its reassuring… especially considering how dreadful I feel, and the fact that I still don’t have an OB.  I’m seeing the perinatologist on Friday, though, so hopefully I’ll get some more answers then.

Okay – too tired to post more, but I don’t have anything interesting to say anyway.

Building a Yurt

I admit that I’m not sure HOW to build a yurt – though wikipedia did provide excellent step-by-step photographs on how to build a yurt.  I’m clearly going to have to brush up on the technique, though, because right now I think I might have to take my friend’s advice to deliver this baby in the wilderness in a yurt.  I’m definitely keeping it as a back up plan.

So the OB I met with on Monday talked with the perinatologist, reviewed his notes from our meeting, and reviewed my records…  and he definitely won’t take me on at this point in the pregnancy.  My perinatologist had recommended another practice as well – I called them today and had to leave a message with their OB coordinator because the practice has a policy that women coming into the practice past 16 weeks must have their records reviewed prior to them deciding whether to take that patient on.  I’m guessing… that’ll be a strikeout also.

I’ve left a message for the perinatologist’s nurse to find out whether they will take me on directly or if they have other recommendations.  Right now I’m just frustrated, and a little scared, about what to do next.  I have another doctor to call  – but she’s at a hospital that is just… really hard to get to from here.  It’s not far, it’s just not easy to get to.  I wish I knew what to do.  I’m really a very nice person and a good patient.  I just …  I feel awful and I’d like to know where I’m supposed to go on the bad days.

Meanwhile – I’ve still got the excellent back up plan.  I just have to build that yurt.

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