My friend Hannah from Hodgepodge and Strawberries recently said to me that ‘pregnancy is like 9 months of non-stop PMS’ and I thoroughly agree. Life is hard enough on general principle, but when you’re trying to do it while surfing on a wave of irritation and overreaction it becomes just that much more difficult to navigate.
Picture trying to hold sixteen different items in your arms at once, while sobbing.
I have become a ball of horrible crippling anxiety and tears.
On top of the two jobs not to mention the “gee I haven’t bought any presents and now there’s no time to mail them back to Nova Scotia in time for Christmas” stress, I’ve been trying to deal with my medical situation.
So, you won’t have forgotten the mysterious disease of May/June. Well, a month or more ago I went back to the specialist because the itchy rash kept coming back. It usually starts on my chest and neck, burning and red, and then fades away while the itchiness spreads over my whole body and causes me to scratch my skin off for days. Antihistamines don’t help. Cortisone cream doesn’t help. So I went back to the internist. I was thinking that maybe this thing was autoimmune after all.
The internist listened carefully, and narrowed her eyes. “I think you should go back to the opthamologist and see if your optic nerve swelling is back,” she said. “If it is, we should probably do a lumber puncture, and you might need to talk to a neurosurgeon.”
I’m sorry, what now?
Yeah, it turns out that itching which isn’t soothed by cortisone or antihistamines can sometimes be NEUROLOGICAL.
I hadn’t mentioned it to her, but the wooshing noise in my left ear had returned a few times, too.
So I went back to the opthamologist, having spent the last three days at work saying “I MIGHT NEED A BRAIN SURGEON” whenever someone asked me a question I couldn’t answer.
The opthamologist looked in my eyes and said, “Yeah, the swelling is back again. Not nearly as bad as the first time I saw you, but definitely worse than the last time I saw you.”
Then, when I went in to my family doctor, she said that the bloodwork that the internist had done showed that my CRP (inflammation) values were up again, too.
So… what does this mean? Lumbar puncture? BRAIN SURGEON (FUCKING BRAIN SURGEON OH MY GOD)?
Well, I don’t know! Because NO ONE SEEMS TO KNOW.
I called the internist’s office on Monday and was like “Uh, what do I do now?”
And they said “We don’t know… doesn’t say in your file… we’ll ask the doctor tomorrow.”
Today is Wednesday. I still haven’t heard back. So I called and left ANOTHER message asking what the hell I do now.
And that ain’t all.
The internist also apologetically told me that I should be considered a high risk pregnancy because they have no idea what’s wrong with me. Better safe than sorry.
That means that I need an OB, not a midwife.
I decided the last time I was pregnant that I wanted a midwife this time around. Midwives are covered in British Columbia, and you can still have a hospital birth and epidural and all that wonderful stuff. The big benefit to a midwife, as I saw it, was that she will come to your house and check your dilation so you don’t need to go back and forth to the hospital UMPTEEN TIMES and wait for two hours just to be told that you haven’t dilated in the slightest EVEN THOUGH YOU’VE BEEN HAVING CONTRACTIONS EVERY 3 MINUTES FOR THE LAST 18 HOURS.
Not that that wasn’t wonderful and all.
Besides, it sucked that I saw one or two doctors throughout my prenatal care and then my baby ended up being delivered by a stranger who didn’t even remember me when I went in for my 6 week post delivery checkup.
So I got a midwife for my last pregnancy and had all of one appointment with her before the baby died in the womb and all that stuff happened.
This time I held off for a while – partly because I was half-convinced that the baby would die again so I didn’t want to jump the gun and partly because my doctor was like “let’s make sure your weird disease doesn’t cause any problems.”
So I’ve been seeing my family doctor for prenatals which she said she could do through 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Then the rashes and the head wooshing started and now the internist has officially said that I should be considered high risk.
Which means that I need to have an OB.
So I asked my family doctor to refer me to my previous OB clinic. After all, if I have to have an OB again, it might as well be the place that gave me a healthy baby last time, somewhere I am familiar with and with some faces that I’ll recognize.
Does that seem too much to ask? DOES IT?
APPARENTLY IT IS.
I got a call from my family doctor’s office and they said they had my specialist appointment for me – it’s on February 11th at a place that is not my previous OB clinic.
And I was like “wut”?
So, I asked why I hadn’t been referred to my previous OB, and they assurred me that I had.
After I hung up the phone, I consulted Google. I discovered that my old clinic had NOT changed address and this new place was definitely different from the old place.
So I called my doctor’s office again and got sent to voice mail. I left a message politely asking why I had been booked somewhere different, and for FREAKING FEBRUARY when I’ll be ALMOST EIGHT MONTHS ALONG.
They didn’t call me back.
So on Monday I called and asked the same question. Reception lady had no idea, said she’d look into it and call me back.
This was the same day that the people at the internist’s office said they’d call me back.
Neither called me back.
So today I called my doctor’s office again. They still had no idea what was up, and said they really had referred me to my old place. So I hung up and called my old OB myself.
The girl there was actually helpful. Yes, they had received my referral but had seen that I was classified as high risk and decided to pass on me. Because… get this… it turns out my previous OBs weren’t actually OBs. Even though the name of the clinic is “Such-and-Such Obstetrical Clinic,” and I was sent there by my nurse practitioner who said “I’m going to refer you to an OB.”
Turns out they were family doctors with a “passion for obstetrics”.
So they passed my referral on to a REAL OB-GYN.
And the earliest the REAL OB-GYN could take me was STINKING FEBRUARY.
“Should I call other ob-gyns to see if someone can take me sooner?”
“Nah… this one’s brand new, just signed on at the hospital. She’s your best hope. But here’s what I’ll do. I’ll book you an appointment here at our first available appointment. That would be… the second week of January. That way you’re at least getting prenatal care.”
“How far along will you be then?”
“Um… twenty… six weeks?”
“Hmm. There’s some time sensitive testing that you’re supposed to get at 24 weeks. Can you get in with your family doctor this week to get the requisition forms?”
“I guess so. Thanks.”
So then I called my family doctor and booked an appointment for tomorrow to get the lab forms.
The upshot of all of this is the following:
I have three prenatal appointments booked in the next two months. EVERY ONE of them is with a DIFFERENT PERSON at a DIFFERENT LOCATION, which is the EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT I WANTED.
I don’t even know if any of this is necessary, because my mysterious disease may not even be a threat to my pregnancy.
I still don’t know what my mysterious disease is because the specialist isn’t returning my calls.
Meanwhile, I have a burning pain in my tailbone when I bend forward and sometimes I get a shooting pain up my right leg to my hip which then seems to render that leg/hip temporarily weak and I almost fall.
My job involves standing/walking/bending over animals all day.
I keep getting calls from people who want me to come train their dogs.
We’re financially deep in the hole so I can’t very well say no.
Oh, and our numbers are down at work and my boss deals with financial stress by holding her employees personally responsible. Which means that I’m not only in trouble with my own finances, but I’m also in trouble with my BOSS’S FINANCES.
I need to work harder at both my jobs for both me and for my boss.
Buckling leg or no buckling leg, anxiety or no anxiety, mysterious disease or no mysterious disease, BRAIN SURGEON OR NO BRAIN SURGEON.
UNREASONABLE CRYING JAGS OR NO UNREASONABLE CRYING JAGS.
Man, Carol, you just can’t catch a break. 😦 I’m so sorry. Pregnancy is hard enough; you shouldn’t have to be dealing with all this other crap at the same time. Shame on the medical system for bouncing you around like that!
I’m really sorry some of your weird symptoms are back. I sure hope it’s nothing too serious for you or the baby. Gentle hugs.
On the upside, I think you could sell your story and make millions off it!
Seriously though, I hope they get their *#$$ together and figure it all out for you soon. *hugs*
OMFG. Huge hugs and lots and lots of love coming your way.
Hello! Might the body-craziness be linked to the pregnancy? When did it start? I ask, because when I first read the symptoms and before you/we found out you were pregnant I thought it was a sign of pregnancy. Because my cousin had, admittedly not as crazy symptoms which no one could explain (rashes and weird aches and pains and bruises) and then she found out she was pregnant and all the Drs were like oooooh, that might be it (and the symptoms went away when my niece was born, healthily). I hope it’s the same for you (well, I hope it all goes away tomorrow, but you know what I mean)!
The mysterious disease started in May, months before i got pregnant. I disn’t fet pregnant until things were back to normal.
Nicki Hunt said:
Oh Carol, I wish I lived nearer, I would rush over and give you a great big hug((())) I hope you start to feel a lot better very soon. The days will rush by and although you didn’t want to be messed around like this, the time will pass quickly and this will all be like some horrible dream. I’m thinking of you and sending love xxx
Hi Carol. I live in Ontario and work at at a midwifery practice. While I know the models of care are different you may find this info helpful or not. In Ontario very few things preclude a women from having a midwife. In fact family doctors and obs often *think* that someone is high risk when in fact they are not or their “high riskiness” is something under the midwives scope of practice. It appears to me that since your illness is undiagnoised the tests that they will run on you to be safe are also likely tests and checks a midwife would preform. Midwives easily and happily can consult with obs, etc, for things that are outside their scope while still keeping you in their care. In Ontario it a client in midwifery care does get deemed high risk while in care they will be transferred to ob care BUT they are allowed to stay in midwifery care as well as a supportive or shared care arrangement. Here that might look like a client seeing both prenatally and then the midwife attending the labour/birth in the same capacity and then typically care is fully or almost fully transferred back to the midwife for the postpartum care. Anywho, I totally get none of this might be applicable or the midwifery practice might think differently or not have room but if you haven’t already it might be worth a call to the practice and get their opinion. If you have any other questions feel free to email me.
Thanks for that! I remember when i was looking into midwives in my last oregnancy they said they would ONLY serve as my midwife if they could be the primary person in charge of my prenatal care…
Wow. As someone who just hit 29 weeks of pregnancy, I have no idea how you are still standing. Considering I starting sobbing tonight because there wasn’t enough hot water for me to take a bath*, I’m pretty sure I would be hiding in bed for the rest of my pregnancy under your circumstances. Just know you are NOT being unreasonable when you go on crying jags. You do what you need to get through the day and know you are a rock star for handling this whole thing with any grace you can manage.
*Note: Obviously the crying may have started with the lack of bath water, but was also driven by that lovely pregnancy combo of my back hurts-my legs hurt-I can’t breathe-I can’t fit in any of my clothes-my doctor thinks I weigh too much-oh and I just discovered a new cluster of stretch marks in a very unflattering place. Just to clarify I am not completely spoiled/insane.
I’m ao glad I am not the only one to be brought to tears over something small!
Grace Goldragon said:
Oh God, Carol, I’m so sorry! What a fucking screw around. BC Medical system, get your fucking act together!
Jennifer @ Also Known As...the Wife said:
Damn…what a mess!
I can’t speak to anything but the tailbone pain and the leg numbness/paralysis. It’s mostly likely a sciatic issue and chiropractic adjustments and/or physical therapy should be able to alleviate some of the discomfort. I had a similar issue towards the end of my first pregnancy. Losing the ability to walk in the middle of a store really slows you down.
I really hope the rest of the pregnancy passes without incident and the doctors finally figure out what’s causing your mystery symptoms.
My doctor mentioned physio! I wonder how that works… Do i call and make an appointment or is she going to refer me? If it costs money I can’t afford it.
I was going to say that the leg pain definitely sounds like sciatica. I had it with #2, exactly as you describe. I did physio – and yes, it was a referral from my GP, so it didn’t cost anything – and didn’t actually find it super-helpful… very gentle yoga stretching did more. At physio they taught me ONE exercise which I did every morning before I even got out of bed, and it seemed to relieve some of the pain.
Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat. Slowly let one knee fall to the side. SLOWLY. Stop if it really hurts, but try to let the stretch happen. Don’t forgot to breathe. Return the knee to the upright position. Then do the same on the other side. Start with your “good” side so you can feel the stretch without the extra pain from the sciatica, giving you a baseline for the “bad” side.
Also, if you aren’t doing it already, sleep on your side with your knees bent and a pillow between them. This will help align your spine & hips so that you are getting a true rest while you sleep.
If you’re having a bad attack, get down on your hands and knees and gently rock your pelvis. What causes the sciatic attacks is when the uterus shifts and presses against the sciatic nerve; if you can get baby to shift position a little it can relieve some of the pressure.
(((Hugs))) The crying thing seems like a pretty sensible reaction to me. (((More hugs)))
Pingback: Because “Call the Maternity Admitting Office” Doesn’t Have The Same Cachet | If By Yes
Pingback: Another Chance At Christmas | If By Yes