Pregnant Life: Help When You Need It

Amy Keyishian
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25 weeks
25 weeks
I found out yesterday that I qualify for two great programs through my insurance, Aetna, that should help to alleviate some of my fears. One is my own advice nurse. She calls to check in on me every week, and I can call her if I have questions anytime. I had forgotten about this and asked to have the same nurse assigned to me this time -- Sandy! I'm looking forward to speaking to her again. I remember she was in tears by the time I called her after Penelope's birth -- she'd been told by her supervisor that I'd had the baby, just like that, and she was flabbergasted.

There's a second program I qualify for this time for high-risk pregnancies, where a visiting nurse will come chat with me about early labor and then, I think, come see me at regular intervals. Now that I think about it, I may have been offered this service last time and turned it down because I'd gotten the lecture about what early labor would feel like. Oops.

(I sure hope they offer advocacy services like these for women going through breast cancer or other health woes.)

Actually, my early labor didn't feel like what they said. The symptoms listed by the Mayo Clinic and reeled off by every nurse and doctor are:

  • More than a certain number of contractions per hour. Some say three, some say eight. Eight! I only had six per hour after my water broke!
  • Low, dull backache.
  • Pelvic pressure.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vaginal spotting or bleeding.
  • Watery discharge.

I didn't have any of that. What I had was several days of severe low, dull abdominal pain that didn't come and go. I reported it to everyone, and everyone said, "Doesn't sound like early labor." So I'm not sure if having either nurse is more helpful or just more -- noise.

What this comes down to is me. Last time, I could've been more assertive. I even got a lecture from my sister about it a month or two before I delivered; she basically said, "Now is the time you get to be a total pain in the ass with no regrets. If you're worried, you go to the ER. The end. What's the worst that can happen if you go? They think you're a hypochondriac. So?! What's the worst that can happen if you don't?" Despite her wise counsel, I found out the answer to that one on my own. Wah-waaah.

My point is -- I had this moment in the NICU with Penelope when I had to make a decision, so I turned to the nurse and asked her what to do. She gave me a very short answer -- "This is what the NICU rules say" -- without telling me what she actually thought and said, "You have to make this decision." Now, I'd been told about nine billion times throughout my pregnancy that I had to stop getting pushed around by everyone else's opinions because I was the mommy now and I was the one in charge ... but it didn't start to "take" until that moment. I still forget. So all this extra advice is great, but what I really have to do is listen to myself -- the still, small voice that tells me when something's really wrong. And then, you know, invoke my own unstill, unsmall, big-mouth voice to holler for help.

Not easy!

Anyway, things continue. Gotta get my butt shot tonight, wahoo! Last week's left a big itchy lump on my hiney that had me worried for a few days. (Did I call the doctor about it? Er no, I did not.) Though yesterday, as I was holed up in bed and working on my laptop, a GIANT SPIDER crawled out from under the mattress and sat there until my husband could come in and "rehome" it. (To spider heaven. I know spiders are benign and helpful, but AUGH NO EEK NO.) So the giant itchy lump might have been -- shudder. Let's not think about it.

Birdie's kicking, swimming, and thumping out her messages to the world, which is neat and fun. Lately Penelope is less interested in cuddling with my bump, though she still finds the hugeness of it hilarious. We were reading our "new baby comes home" book today and I said, "Wow, that mommy has a big belly! What do you think is going on there?" and she said, "Beebeeee!" Now, that could be because she's making a connection between big belly and beebees, or it could be because we've read the book 900 times. I dunno. I'm just going to keep talking about it and hope she's as positive about Birdie as she is about her 3-month-old cousin Shane.

My mini-elliptical arrives tomorrow! But probably won't be unpacked until after the move. But still! Exciting! Now, when will I swim?

(Oh, and by the way -- all this great Aetna stuff depends on not dropping me, which they're again threatening to do, claiming they never heard from COBRA that I had to be reinstated. More stress? Yes, please! I'm supposed to hear confirmation tomorrow that it was an error. Stay tuned ...)

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