the worst day of my pregnancy, part one

yesterday was probably the worst day of my pregnancy so far. i hope i don’t have any other days that were that horrible.

i wrote last week about some extra labs that my doctor ordered. i got the results back on monday, but i didn’t write about it because i guess i just needed a little extra time to feel sorry for myself. the results weren’t great. i failed the one-hour glucose test–not by a huge margin, but enough to have to do the three-hour glucose. i also failed the 24-hour urinalysis. the official diagnostic criterion for pre-eclampsia would be a protein level of 300 or more detected in a 24-hour catch. my doctor wanted my levels to be even lower to rule out further testing–250. i scored 280. so, more than she was comfortable with, but not quite enough to have everyone rending their garments & tearing out their hair. i already had a repeat blood pressure check on the books (since the other half of the pre-eclampsia diagnostic is two episodes of elevated blood pressure seven days apart), so we decided to test for protein again at that appointment & maybe do another 24-hour catch if any was found, or if blood pressure was still high. the nurse also suggested i do the three-hour glucose that day.

well, that day was yesterday. i tried to prepare all week by drinking lots of water, trying to eat reasonably well, going to the pool, keeping my feet elevated, etc. the elephant feet situation resolved itself, so i felt hopeful. the three-hour glucose is a fasting test, so i wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything (except water) for eight hours before the test. so i rolled out of bed yesterday morning & immediately got in the car & drove to the hospital. that was bad enough, because i don’t usually drive before i have coffee. & coffee usually satisfies my morning appetite a little (because i put so much milk in it), so i don’t feel like the pregnant beast that devoured the entire state of kansas. all i could think about was biting into a warm bagel all covered in something decadent like goat cheese or something.

they did the first blood draw before i drank the syrup drink, just to make sure my blood sugar wasn’t abnormally elevated by fasting. then i went upstairs for the blood pressure check, thinking it would take like ten minutes. unfortunately, my blood pressure was even higher than it was last week. the nurse began wringing her hands & bustled off to consult the on-call obstetrician. she came back to check for protein, & sure enough, protein was detected. not a huge amount, but any protein is a bad sign. i began to feel rather defeated. she took my blood pressure again & it was even higher. she started asking me if i was having any headaches, blurry vision, reduced fetal movement, etc. she ran off for another consultation with the doctor & then hustled me into an office i’d never been in before. she & another nurse sat me down & walked me through the new treatment protocol: a blood pressure medication twice a day. i have to log my own blood pressure every night before bed. be alert for sudden puffiness, reduced fetal activity, changes in vision, & headaches. they scheduled me for a weekly biophysical profile every single week until my due date–in january! that’s a lot of biophysical profiles. that’s a fetal non-stress test combined with a sonogram, designed to check baby’s heart rate, movement, size, amniotic fluid levels, etc. no one actually used the words “pre-eclampsia,” but this is basically the treatment protocol for pre-eclampsia in the absence of maternal distress (you may recall that my bloodwork came back perfect, which means i’m not showing any symptoms of kidney or liver dysfunction right now). & just to rub a little salt in the wounds, half of the appointments were scheduled with jan, the nurse practitioner that i hate, the one that basically accused me of making up phantom knee pain in order to turn my house into an opium den.

i also weighed myself, just for my own amusement, & discovered that i have lost two pounds in the last week–probably water that i was retaining at my last appointment. just stop & try to imagine that for a second, especially if you have never been pregnant. imagine carrying around an extra two pounds of water, mainly in the form of swollen extremities. no wonder i was so uncomfortable last week.

if i was having a normal pregnancy, i would still be on track to be having once-monthly prenatals, & once i got into later pregnancy & started going every week (post-36 weeks), i would be seeing my obstetrician exclusively. but now i have to go weekly (i’m only 29 weeks!) & i have to see jan half the time. the only silver lining here is that jared & i will get to see the baby a lot on all the sonograms. i joked with the nurses, “this baby will be old news by the time it’s finally born!” they laughed uncomfortably.

(to be continued)

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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