Monday, December 15, 2008

Week 8 nurse visit

I woke up during the night (one of multiple times--my friend Holly wasn't kidding when she told me a couple of years ago, "Sleep now") and turned over and felt a brief, wrenching pain in the left side of my pelvic area. The pain went away and I went back to sleep, but in the morning when I got to work (after having a horrible time packing my lunch because I opened the refrigerator and recoiled because everything looked foul) I looked up "pain in pelvic area" and came up with several possible causes. The one that seemed most likely was ectopic pregnancy.

I got to the doctor's office on time and admired a little seventeen-day-old baby while I waited ("Sidnee Trinity," the father said, spelling it for me, and when I said "That's unusual," looked at his wife and said, "It's what she wanted"). The nurse came and got me and shook my hand and congratulated me and asked me about eighty questions on my health, Eric's health, my family's health, and any conceivable medical procedure that had ever been done to me. I seem to have dropped a couple of pounds since I was last there, possibly since I haven't been eating much the last few days. She scolded me a little for that, saying that food was important and I'd feel better if I snacked constantly, and started in on the questions. "How many drinks a week did you have before you got pregnant?" she said.

"It's more like how many a month, or a year."

"Then I take it you're not drinking during pregnancy?" I nodded, and she went on to the next question: "If you were to drink, would you be most likely to drink beer, wine, or a mixed drink?"

She delivered a barrage of nutritional information, mainly on the importance of drinking milk and avoiding fatty fish, both of which I ignored. She also gave me pamphlets galore on regular screening, deluxe screening, and cord blood banking; a black "welcome" case for intending-to-breastfeed expectant mothers with formula and omega-3 supplements inside; a black carrying case for any expectant mothers with formula, a tiny pacifier, and sample lotion inside; and paperwork for the lab.

We had a relatively long discussion on cystic fibrosis and whether I should be screened. Since my brother James is a carrier, but with an unusual mutation that isn't part of the standard set generally tested for in CF screens, I maintained it wasn't a lot of use to get the screen. We eventually settled it that I would bring the letter with the name of the mutation to my next visit and they would see whether that mutation could be added to the standard. (I find this extremely unlikely, though Eric says he could design the primers for them.) In the meantime, if the screenings are normal, I won't hear back.

"Next time you'll get a physical examination and the doctor will hear the heartbeat," the nurse went on, rattling off a long list of things she's probably said thirty thousand times before. "You've probably been feeling twinges and cramping in your pelvis, that's normal, it's the uterus growing. You may start getting sharp pains, especially when you turn or move suddenly, that's normal, it's the ligaments stretching and your uterus realizing that extra room is there." I relaxed. I took the three bags of junk she'd given me, shook her hand again, and walked out, saying silently to my southern regions (is that weird?), Thank you for not being an ectopic pregnancy. When I got home I looked in the pamphlets she'd given me and these sharp pains are mentioned several times. I never heard of them before; I guess it's just another one of those symptoms they don't tell you about.

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