Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hope that belly didn’t cost too much

I keep needing some sort of push to write on my own. I really thought that I'd post more. However, I spend so much time fixing other people's writing that it's been really hard to get to my own…but HOLY Good G-d!

I finally figured out how to use the wireless option on the Giant Gentile's camera. I needed a photo for my column to send to my designer. Of course, I got a bit carried away taking self-portraits (what else is n

ew?). Usually, I take pictures of myself, so I look super skinny, my eyes

look super big…you get the picture. In those shots, my belly simply doesn't look that big. See, little belly…hot girl. Very exciting.

But today, I piled a bunch of books on top of my banister and put on the camera's timer. Holy Good G-d is right:

Normally, I don't even allow such pictures to be shown in public (my face looks wide; I have 78 chins…), but where did that belly come from? No wonder I'm freaking all the doctors out…

Oh yes, the doctors simply do not know what to do with me. "Why?" you ask. Well, let's start out with doctor freak out number one…


At 18 weeks, I went for my level-two ultrasound. I brought my favorite partner-in-crime for moral support. I intended to bring my six-year-old, but decided against it. One never knows. The ultrasound was long, but everything seemed to be going well. Until, the Maternal-Fetal Medicine doctor came rushing in.

" It says here that you refused genetic testing!!!"

Maybe it was my pregnancy brain, but he actually looked a little crazed. "Yes," I answered. "I do not want genetic testing."

"Well, you need it! You have to at least see the genetic counselor."

Blach, I'd seen the genetic counselor with baby number one; I didn't see the need to see her again. The baby-daddy has not changed. I opted out of genetic testing from the beginning for a reason: I simply was never going to have THAT conversation. If something was wrong, it wasn't going to change how I preceded with my pregnancy, so I saw no reason to ruin things. Now, I was born with a congenital heart defect, so they watch the baby's heart closely. That's fine. That's fixable. If they saw spina bifida, I'd have it fixed. I can't do anything about Down's Syndrome or other genetic disorders, and I'm not getting rid of my baby. It's not negotionable. However, Dr. Spazzy, didn't see it that way. Apparently he had seen (and this is the first time since then that I'm looking this up online):

"The Choroid Plexus and Choroid Plexus Cysts "The choroid plexus is an area of the brain that makes cerebrospinal fluid. Cerebrospinal fluid is the substance that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. The choroid plexus is not an area of the brain involved in thinking. Choroid plexus cysts are fluid-filled spaces in the choroid plexus kind of like blisters or bubbles. Choroid plexus cysts are not tumors or cancer, and they will disappear on their own usually between 24 to 26 weeks of pregnancy. Choroid plexus cysts, in and of themselves, are NOT a problem and do not interfere with brain function."

The baby had small cysts in her brain. However,


"Regardless of their number, shape or size, choroid plexus cysts are not harmful to the baby. "I am not aware of a single instance where a CPC caused damage to a fetus," …"If CPCs are found during an ultrasound, the radiologist will scrutinize every organ and body part to look for other abnormalities, such as a malformed heart, head, hands or feet, and stunted growth of the baby. When no other abnormalities are found, the diagnosis is called an "isolated CPC."

"If CPCs do not cause any damage, why does anyone worry about them? The problem is really one of association—being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Wrong or right, CPCs have become associated with a severe genetic disease called Trisomy 18. It is well documented that about half of babies with Trisomy 18 show a CPC on ultrasound. But Dr. Bronsteen from the Division of Fetal Imaging at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan points out, "Nearly all babies with Trisomy 18 who have a CPC have other abnormalities on the ultrasound, especially in the heart, hand, and foot." The real question arises when a baby has a CPC with nothing else wrong: the "isolated CPC."

So, despite the fact that no other abnormalities were found, no problems in the heart, hand or foot, and the baby was sucking her thumb, something she could not do with these abnormalities, he insisted I rush to the genetic counselor down the hall to rule out Trisomy 18. I agreed to go to the counselor. Of course, there is nothing in my family history that points to the disease. And the likelihood of having a child with Trisomy 18 when CPC is present without any other risk factors: 0.0033%. And of course, the only way to see if she has Trisomy 18 is amniocentesis. However, the risk of having an miscarriage from an amnio is 0.004% . In other words, while it is very small, the risk of a miscarriage from an amnio is much higher than the risk of my daughter having Trisomy 18. Thus, when the counselor offered the amnio, I declined. Besides the risks, as I said before, I'm not going to do anything about it anyways: what would be the point?

This made Dr. Spazzy very unhappy. But, I don't really give a damn. AND, when I went back for my recheck a month later, (because of course, I have to keep going back because I had preterm labor with the first one…oy), EVERYTHING WAS FINE! NO CYSTS. And no, I don't believe in better safe than sorry.


Despite my zavtik appearance, pregnancy does not make me fatter. In fact, I've lost weight while pregnant. Before you go around giving me pats on the back, let me tell you:

1) It basically makes me feel like a horrendous fat cow when you do that (which, my father reminds me, "then don't tell people.")

2) I don't really think it's that great to lose weight while pregnant.

Eating has become a chore. I get full easily and most of the time, I simply don't want to do it. Yes, I had a week that all I wanted to do was eat candy, but it only lasted a week. And yes, sometimes I'm starving, but most of the time, I'm like one of those annoying skinny chicks who actually forgets to eat. Not really awesome for a pregnant lady. Not only have I lost weight (and this next part, I'm actually happy about), my blood pressure has stayed low (like 106/65 low) Despite feeling faint sometimes, I'm pretty in awe of the fact that my blood pressure hasn't risen.

At ultrasound appointment number 23, less spazzy Doctor kindly said that because I've lost weight, because of my congenital heart defect and because she is slightly on the small side, he'd like to keep measuring the baby until I give birth. He wasn't scary about it. He didn't freak out. He was matter-of-fact. That I can deal with…

However, the next day, after spending most of my OB appointments seeing the midwife, I saw my actual OB. Oy vey. They weigh me (3 lbs down). They take my blood pressure (112/70). She looks at my million ultrasounds. Asks me If I'm having any issues..no…no…no… then says: "We HAVE to get you your second gestational diabetes test ASAP! I really want it before 28 weeks. It's beyond important."

"Um, okay. Why?"

"Well, when I had you take one at 12 weeks, you failed the hour glucose test."

"But I passed the three hour…"

"Doesn't matter. Remember, you're starting off with a bit extra on you."

Fine, whatever. Then she has me get on the table, so she can measure my stomach. "Wow, you're measuring really big."

I look at her strangely and sort of laugh. "That's funny because the Maternal-Fetal medicine doctor says the baby is measuring rather small."

"Well," She looks at me pointedly, "You're not…Remember, you're"

"already big to begin with.." I interrupt. I get it.

I would like to say at this point that I'm also very very short. I'm only 5'1". The baby doesn't really have anywhere to go…

When I left the room and went to the desk to make my appointment for next month I asked, "Do you have anyone.." my voice going down to a whisper, "nicer?"


I'd report on the results of glucose test number THREE, but I haven't had it yet. No, I'm not protesting, I just ran into another medical problem that caused me to see Spazy Doctor number 3…

I have some sort of weird skin infection. I won't disgust you with the boring details, but my delightful repaired heart is more easily prone to infection, so I went to the doctor. My normally sane and kind family doctor had no appointments; consequently, I went to urgent care. I know, I know, mistake number 59…The doctor took one look at me, told me I had an infection (duh) and said I needed to get on antibiotics NOW. Then, he starts to hesitate. "How many weeks pregnant are you?" He asks.

"Almost 27."

"Well, I'm not sure what I should give you. You're allergic to penicillin. I can't give you what I'd normally give you for a possible drug resistant infection…I just don't know what's safe. I just don't know what you should do."

"I've had antibiotics while pregnant," I tell him. "In fact, because of my heart, I've had them a lot."

He starts pacing and hemming and hawing. He walks out of the room and then back in and then out again. Then he pops his head back in the room, "How many times have you been pregnant?" He asks.

"Three, including this one," I answer.

"How many kids do you have?"


"How old is your child?"


"So, they'd be what? Almost seven years apart?


He pauses, looks at me, takes a breath and says, "Well, I hope you didn't spend a lot of money conceiving this one."

Then, he walks out of the room.

What was that? He wants to make sure I didn't waste any money having a baby in case he damages it with antibiotics? Who says that?

He ended up walking out with a prescription for Clindamycin, which according to the pharmacist, my ob and many doctor friends, is not only perfectly safe for me to take, but is usually given for MRSA.

When will these doctors calm down? I can't wait until I have to start fighting for my VBAC…


  1. The docs sure are jittery these days, aren't they? I am glad you know how to handle them. Regarding size, maybe you're just carrying a bit extra amniotic fluid ... or maybe ... just maybe ... you are perfectly normal. Keep writing! Let me know if you want a partner in crime with the VBAC fight.

  2. I am horrified that a doctor would say "Well I hope you didn't spend a lot conceiving this one." to you... That is so rude! And terrifying. And I would complain to someone about it. It's like he's insinuating that you'll lose the baby!! At least that's how I took it. Ugh. No wonder he's stuck in urgent care instead of in a real practice where patients only come back if they like the doc.

  3. i'm appalled that he said that---asshat. omg. off to read more. sheesh!