Last night I dreamt that Chris and I were in a health food store, and that we managed to knock over a large stand with hundreds of little pamphlets, and we had to scramble around trying to pick each one up. Now I’m glad that my anxiety dreams aren’t always obviously connected to the pregnancy, like giving birth to an alien, or having a doctor with knives for fingers. But couldn’t my weird dreams be just a little more explanatory?
My weeks these days are no longer being punctuated by weekends. They’re also being measured by how many doctors appointments I have, and how far I have to travel to get to them. This week was fairly heavy on the doctoring, I had two appointments: one with my endocrinologist out in Eastwood, and one was across the road with my GP. My endocrinologist is very happy with my progress, apparently my thyroid levels are all in the normal ranges. Woo Hoo! I’m still taking PTU, but I’m on a very small dosage. She was reluctant to reduce my meds any further, which I feel fine about. It seems that pregnancy is having a very positive effect on my Graves Disease. What with all the happy pregnancy hormones, I’m starting to wonder why I didn’t discover this pregnancy gig earlier.
I also visited my GP to touch base with her, to discuss some unpleasant side effects I was having to the iron supplements (let’s just say they’re of a “gastrointestinal” nature), and to get some formal documentation of my pregnancy that I could hand in to work. The certificate she gave me says, “This is to certify that SG was examined here today, she is pregnant EDD 04/04/2007″. I really marvelled over the wording. It got me thinking about whether anyone has faked a pregnancy in order to go on sham maternity leave. I wonder how it worked out.
My reason for getting the documentation is that my ‘higher ups’ at work have started to try to pin me down for a definitive date that I’m going to leave. When I mentioned this to my GP, she snorted and told me that I had buckley’s chance of knowing at this point when I would want to finish work. It could be extremely hot (chance: high), feeling very uncomfortable (chance: high), or could have developed some awful late pregnancy complications, e.g. high blood pressure or gestational diabetes (chance: who knows?). I told her that my boss had mentioned “if we haven’t hired your replacement by the time you finish, perhaps you could come back to do some training”. She snorted and told me that I would have to start to “manage the expectations of my colleagues”. I wonder how I do that?
I discovered last night, while talking to Chris over the low wall to our kitchen, that my belly is bigger than my boobs. I guess I’m starting to look seriously pregnant!
But apparently it’s all normal. We had our monthly check-up with the obstetrician and midwife today. I’ve got to say, our midwife seems like an awesome woman – and I’m really glad that I can ask her all sorts of things before going in to see our ob. It feels like I get two “goes” at remembering all the questions I wanted to ask. Apparently the parsley fears are unfounded. Parsley is perfectly safe in pregnancy. She also told me to stop wearing underwire bras. Apparently, after 20 weeks, my breasts are as big as they’re going to be, so I can start wearing maternity bras. Also, underwire bras are terrible if you want to breastfeed – they put too much pressure and can lead to blocked milk ducts or mastitis. If you’ve never heard of mastitis, consider yourself very, very lucky.
So everything is basically going well, apart from the fact that I have lowish iron levels. I’ve been taking a liquid iron supplement, but my midwife recommended taking it at night time with dinner rather than at breakfast. Dairy products, high-fibre foods and caffeine (hello morning!) can interfere with iron absorption, so it’s better to have it with dinner. This is all complicated by the fact that you’re told to eat 4-5 dairy servings per day when you’re pregnant. Sigh. Sometimes all the contradictory instructions and advice reminds me of dealing with immigration officials.
I’m at the 23 week mark today. My weekly emails tell me that the baby is now about 28 cm long from head to toe (or 11.2 inches) and approximately 600 grams in weight (1 lb 5 oz). Developmental milestones this week are: the baby being able to rotate his/her head, and hiccups. Fortunately I don’t notice either at this point. Kicking feels weird enough. Head rotating and kicking, well that would be positively spooky.
It’s great getting these weekly emails telling me what’s going on. But I have started to notice a disturbing trend. The emails are meant to be reassuring, and they usually focus on practical things and what’s going on physiologically this week. Recently, however, the emails have started saying things like, “your baby has a 2 to 3 % chance of survival if it was born this week.” I find that this is not reassuring. In fact, it’s downright terrifying. Is this because I’m a 98%-chance-of-not-surviving type of gal? I know that it’s their business to deal with the facts, but I’m also trying to minimise unnecessary worry. Surely it’d be helpful to know that our baby has a 2% chance of surviving if I was actually in the labour ward right now. But for me, this is a meaningless piece of information. I’m starting to think that reading too much of this stuff isn’t healthy.
So the pre-labour anxiety has started already (and no, I’m not talking about Kevin Rudd’s ascendancy to the Labour party leadership). On Saturday night I had this very vivid dream in which I was talking to Clare about her labour. She told me that she said, “It went okay, but I needed lots and lots of pethidine.” Okay, so then I had one of those weird dream fast-forwards and I suddenly found myself in labour. In my dream, it was incredibly painful. I screamed out to the nurse for pethidine, and she said, “the problem is, if you take pethidine now you won’t be able to have any later, because you can only have so much pethidine in 4-hour window.”
Up until this weekend I could’ve sworn that I wasn’t feeling too anxious about going in to labour, but I guess as the pregnancy progresses it’s starting to feature more and more highly in my subconciousness. I guess it’s only natural, right?