Friday, December 14, 2012

"Pregnancy Update: Overwhelmed Marcy is Overwhelmed"

So, there's this long blog post I wrote back at the end of August. I didn't publish it at the time because it felt too angsty and complainey. I wanted to let it sit for a bit, and then maybe to post it with a disclaimer that it's no more a true reflection of how I feel than it would be if I posted, "Pregnancy is awesome! I feel great! I have so much energy and accomplished so much today!" on one of my better days. There were... lots of ups and downs. LOTS.

Well, it doesn't seem as bad to post now, now that it's over. With a bit of editing, at least. It helps that I don't have to worry as much about unsolicited advice on the subject, months later. Sometimes you're just too tired to deal with people who want to help you with your tiredness, ya know?

"So, there are all kinds of posts I want to write. There's one I started already, about seeing Marian Call in concert. Then there's the one that distracted me from it, a sort of link roundup with a more personal bent... about sexual harassment and feminist issues and telling our stories and... stuff. All the links and discussions distracted me more than actually writing the post -- haven't started that yet. It's all in my head. I'd also like to do some editing on my Points System post and put a slightly sleeker version up, with a little less introductory rambling. (I'll keep the old version around too, though.) Because sucky customers share some overlap with creepers share some overlap with harassers. The three relate. And then there are book reviews I want to put up as well, including one of The Highly Sensitive Person and various thoughts I have on that, things it explains about myself, despite some differences I seem to have with many of the HSPs described in the book...

Ooh, I could have not just that "Currently reading" thing on my sidebar, but also one for "Last book I finished which really ought to be reviewed sometime soon." That could be fun.

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. I mean, I often have lots of blog ideas. Ideas which, even as single posts, grow rather long. That's not the issue. It's just, um... illustrative of the general feel of things right now, I suppose. It especially relates to that highly sensitive person bit. And pregnancy.

I'd like to start posting more frequently, reliably. Sigh. Also, there's this phone number I need to call to find out how much maternity leave I'll probably be getting, at what percentage of pay. (It's through the Diocese, not the state. Apparently.) But the phone number is on a piece of paper and where did I put it? I mean, since we moved a few months ago I haven't had time to develop all that many stacks of paper yet. Backlog's in boxes and stuff, I think I've been through all the current piles. Where are you? Bleh.

The nursery is a huge mess. I need to register for a baby shower, figure out what the heck we'll be needing. I have no idea what I'm doing, and I'm tired and stressed and when I'm stressed, guess what? I stop getting anything done. It's the first to go. I mean, I guess I'm glad I'm not an efficiency expert in danger of a nervous breakdown? Maybe? But I do wish I could muster up some getting things done when I'm tired.

I know, I know, if I spent the time I'm spending on this blog post on the nursery... but this is easier, and good for the moment. It's time for some, um, idea-letting (like bloodletting), I have too many posts, too many words occupying the space in my mind. Besides, I'm not a believer in waiting to play until all the work is done, because then I would never play.

I have moderate anemia, apparently. So that's not helping. Back towards the beginning of the pregnancy when they did a blood test my red blood cell was just slightly low, I had "mild" anemia. It's gotten worse, in spite of the fact that I started taking iron supplements after finding that out. I didn't take them completely consistently. In part I didn't because back then I often felt lightheaded, but then after a little while that went away. I figured I was better. Apparently not. I asked the nurse-midwife about it (because he was the one going over my test results with me), and he said my body had probably adjusted.

So now I need to ask when they'll test again. This is really bugging me. Apparently I can't count on a lack of symptoms to mean anything. And, well... the nurse-midwife, based on what he said at the appointment before that about my weight gain, seems to be the sort who tries to scare you into good behavior using worst-case scenarios (in a very calm tone of voice), but... he mentioned the danger of anemia during pregnancy is that one can lose so much blood during childbirth, even perfectly healthy childbirth, that one might need a blood transfusion. Placenta detaching, and all that. So he recommended I start taking two iron pills a day now, and I'm doing that, but how will I know if it's actually working? I'd like to know before the major blood loss. I think that would be good. Yes, I think I'll ask about that at my next prenatal appointment.

I've started feeling lightheaded again. At first I thought it was probably just in my head (It is, you're lightheaded! Ha! Groan.), or at the most I'm just paying extra attention now because of what he said. But it's gotten a little more marked, so now I'm wondering if something's messed with that purported adjustment. Could be a couple of different things. From what I've heard about how bodies work, even taking more iron more consistently could probably throw off adjustment, make it notice, hey wait, something's not right here. Or on the other hand, it could be the dramatic increased need for blood in the third trimester kicking my anemia into high gear, and with it completely throwing off the adjustment I'd gained, and it just happened to become really noticeable slightly after I was actually tested on it. Or something like that. I don't know.

And now I'm just getting crazy, but you know what else worries me? It is actually possible to slowly poison yourself with high doses of iron, and yet be anemic at the same time. And the symptoms of anemia and iron poisoning are remarkably similar to each other. Yeah, I know, it's not bloody likely. The example I actually know of involving iron poisoning plus anemia is a matter of a relatively rare genetic condition where the body stores too much iron, which is treated by bloodletting. If you draw too much blood at excessively close intervals, the body won't make the new red blood cells fast enough, thus toxic levels of iron still, plus a new anemia. I think to go the other way, you'd have to be anemic for some reason other than low iron levels (which does happen, and the first time a nurse went over my test results with me I think she said my iron storage is good) and then take lots of iron. I am taking lots of iron. But I'm probably fine.

Oh, and for those with various recommendations for me, yes, I know about high-iron foods, and that the body can probably absorb the iron in those foods a lot easier than the iron in pills. On the other hand, the amount of iron in foods like red meat is rather laughably low compared to the amount I'm taking in supplements. Sigh. Also, because of the increased demands in pregnancy (not only about a 50% increase in blood volume during the third trimester, but Baby gets first dibs on all the iron, for which I am Glad), what's worked well for people who are anemic but not pregnant might not work so well for me. And as I said, I can't trust a lack of symptoms to tell me how I'm doing, so... And then, on the other hand, since I remember I had to take iron pills even as a child and some anemia runs in the family, I'm not sure what worked for women who were anemic during pregnancy but aren't normally disposed towards anemia, will work for me either.

Besides, back when I was told I was mildly anemic I made an effort. I did. It's disheartening to be told sorry, it's just gotten worse. If all else were equal (which it's not, I know), your efforts apparently had a negative effect. Congratulations. Now try harder.

I am pregnant and anemic, which is another way of saying I'm tired, one that's hopefully less likely to elicit the response, "Aren't we all?" Yes, we are, and I sympathize, I do, but...

My blood sugar's fine, though! I do not have gestational diabetes. Yay.

I do have super-high-through-the-roof cholesterol. Uh-oh. Since both my parents have heart disease, this is very much in the category of Not a Good Thing. But... there's probably nothing I can do about it until I have this baby. I mean, I can change my diet somewhat, but my diet isn't actually that terrible... I think... I mean, could be better, but... and I checked. Even Herbalife's heart health products mostly can't be taken while pregnant. Garlic. I think I'm allowed to take garlic. Yay? Oh well. I'll probably live another few months.

Tra la la... okay, I feel better after this venting. Toodle-oo!

Oh wait, no. I take that back. Not the feeling better part, the toodle-oo part.

I hadn't posted all that much about pregnancy on here yet. A bit more on facebook. So... here, have many pregnancy-related status updates. For posterity."

Um, I take that back. This post is long enough already, I'll put the status updates in a new one, next week. But I wanted to leave the last couple paragraphs in still, because they amused me.

In case anyone was wondering, the anemia did in fact go away, taking two iron pills a day helped. And not taking them at the same time as drinking tea, as tea is an iron-blocker.

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