Monday, May 28, 2007

Home Birth vs. Hospital Birth, Part II

Note: This entry along with Home Birth Vs. Hospital Birth, Part I, is incredibly long. I don't expect people to work their way through either one, actually, unless someone is so inclined. It was more a matter of just needing to get this out, and get it put down somewhere. So, if you're still inclined to read, do so at your own risk.

In between writing parts one and two of this topic, I took the time to read the "Baby Toby" story, co-written by ExUtero and Dream Mom. Looking at both sides of the medical experience, be it a case where a baby is in the NICU, or a childbirth issue, or whathaveyou, is enlightening to say the least.

All parties involved, no matter the situation, come into it with different life experiences, different "triggers," different mindsets, different expectations. The big thing I think we all agree on as far as childbirth is concerned is that the goal of the process is a healthy baby and a healthy mother.

After my birth experience with my elder son though, we had only part of that equation right. My son was healthy, but I wasn't. Physically I recovered, but mentally took quite some time longer. I ended up with a form of PPD, which was possibly exacerbated by how I experienced my hospital stay, plus I kept wondering just where I went wrong in the whole process. I'd heard about how things were at this hospital in the past, but I just went on blindly hoping that things had improved in the past ten years because, as I previously stated, I didn't have any other options due to my insurance.

I thought I was pretty much over it. I no longer thought about the situation every day, and I had chalked up much of the experience to just having caught some bad shifts and assignments, nursing-wise. But I got a wake-up call when I found out I was expecting #2.

Oh God, could I go through that again? I knew there were good nurses on L&D at my hospital, but I hadn't seen many of them during my first stay there. Should I trust fate to make things better this time? Pray? I didn't know what to do.

The first thing I did was call Dr. K's old office, but I found out she'd left. Later I learned that her contract wasn't renewed, and while the official reason wasn't stated, the unofficial reason was that Dr. K was the only OB in our area who "allowed" laboring women to move around, to push in whatever position they needed, to deliver in whatever position they wanted... and the Good Old Boy's network down here Didn't. Like. It. One. Bit. They didn't like having to explain to their patients why their friend, who had Dr. K, was allowed to move around and they weren't. They didn't like having to explain why their friends with Dr. K could do many things during their hospital birth that they couldn't. And so, she went.

Well, crap. Dr. K was the only person I really felt was "on my side" at the hospital, and that was after I'd gone in feeling pretty good about things at the start. But as the situation deteriorated, she was the only person who paid attention to what I had wanted outside of strictly a healthy baby, to what she and I had discussed throughout my rotating visits with her throughout my first pregnancy. She actually knew me; we'd built a relationship that wasn't based on me being in labor, but on me being my normal merely-pregnancy-enhanced self. That affected her ability to deal with me when things got rough.

So I started to scramble. I looked into whether there was any way I could deliver in another hospital, but none took my insurance. I'm not sure that would have done any good anyway, as it appears most hospitals down my way (central Florida) tend to be a bit behind the times as far as advances are concerned in childbirth. It's the south, and things take a bit longer to filter down here from the northeast and west coasts.

I thought about the situation I'd had back with my elder son a bit more, but rather than trying to figure out what I could have changed back then, I looked at what I could figure caused some of the problems. The biggest thing I could see was that I was a) giving birth with people who didn't know me from Adam, and who were drawing their opinions about who I was strictly from a tremendously long "guaranteed c-section" birth plan and how I acted while in labor, and b) trying to have as few interventions as possible in an environment where this was not welcome. I didn't want to repeat this scenario, and I definitely didn't want to repeat the stress issues I'd had after the Elder's birth.

Okay, first step, where was I going to be able to have the kind of birth I needed to give my kids the best chance at having a sane mother after the second child arrived? And second step, how could I have people with me during the birth who supported my desires for a low-intervention birth if medically feasible and who would know me outside of my hormonal, laboring state? I'll be the first to admit that I have a somewhat warped sense of humor, that also tends to be a bit dry. It falls flat for some people. And that's fine, not everyone needs to like me, but I think I stand a better chance of connecting with someone outside of hard labor.

The best way for me to handle this, in fact, the only way, was to go to our local birth center, which is situated near the hospital. A birth center birth would guarantee me people present who knew me throughout the pregnancy rather than meeting me when I walked into L&D in labor. It also was very definitely low-intervention, which fit in with my preference. The midwives at the birth center don't have privileges at the hospital but do have a very good relationship with several local OB's including the area's high risk OB who is their immediate back-up. Even in the event of a hospital transfer, many of the practices locally were fine with having the midwives go ahead and handle the labor and delivery once mother and baby were stabilized. So I started out with this group intending to be a birth center birth.

Time passed, and I began thinking more and more about homebirth, which was another option offered by the midwifery practice. My first labor, medicalized as it was, still was under 10 hours from start to finish. I knew my next one had a chance to be shorter, and wasn't sure how much I wanted to be driving around in hard labor, then go into the birth center where other pregnant women would be having their exams while I labored. I eventually did opt for a home birth.

Looking back now I'm not sure if I'd make the same choice, due to different things I've learned. But I still might have. Regardless, at that point in my life, it made perfect sense. I had an older son who needed me at home, and as I wouldn't have been staying at the birth center more than six hours after the birth anyway, I might as well stay at home.

I had all the typical blood tests and fetal screenings done with this birth, same as with the previous. Quadscreen (as opposed to triplescreen with the first), glucose tolerance test, strep B, ultrasound... I think that was it. Shoot, it's been a few years. Everything was fine. No abnormalities showed on any test.

But #2 son was similar to his elder brother in the respect that he, too, prefered the uterine environment to the outside world. Week 40 passed, then week 41. I was edging up on being 42 weeks pregnant and was sent to the backup OB for a non-stress test and ultrasound. This was when I was 41 weeks, 4 days pregnant, the same day that I'd finally had my elder son. I mean, how rude... isn't the second one supposed to come more quickly? Darn those kids for not reading the rule book anyway.

The appointment went well overall. The little guy's heartbeat and reactivity were great. The only down point was that my amniotic fluid was getting low. The OB told me quite plainly that if I were his patient he'd send me in to induce, but since I was a birth center client and wanted to avoid that if possible, he'd let me go to 42 weeks, which was about 72 hours away at that point. If I hadn't had the baby by that Friday (this was a Tuesday), I was to show up at the hospital at 8:00 that morning for induction.

On the one hand, eek! Hospital. On the other hand, HOORAY, come hell or high water this kid was going to get born soon. I would have risked out of the midwifery practice at 42 weeks anyway. I'm not a woman who feels that unassisted birthing is the norm, nor is it my preference. If I couldn't have my midwives, you can bet your bippy I'd be at the hospital, even though I'd definitely be a nervous wreck.

So, all worried about a repeat of my situation with the Elder at the hospital plus the potential joys of Pitocin, I headed straight over to the midwifery office and told them what was up. I asked if they knew of any doula who would take on a client this late, should I need to go to the hospital, as I was determined this time to go in with someone who knew it was her job to remind me that yes, I could do this, rather than my husband who just kind of stood there with the first child with the typical deer-in-the-headlights look. Then I got the first and only surprise of my pregnancy with this practice. The midwife just looked at me and said, "If you have to go to the hospital to be induced, we'll all go with you."

My jaw hit the floor, and I felt the biggest load lift off me. I wouldn't be alone with just my family. I'd have the folks with me who knew me, knew my pregnancy, and would be able to help me handle what was going on. I've learned that respect breeds respect, and hoped that seeing these women interact with me as if I were a normal (i.e., non-laboring) woman would help anyone else to also treat me like a human.

I went home and called my husband, who was somewhere out in Kansas driving a truck at this point, and told him he needed to be heading home since we were definitely having a baby by Friday at the latest. He was tickled pink. I also was writing a thank you note to a friend of my mother's that night for a cute little matching set of outfits she got for both boys, and in the note I mentioned the little fellow had gotten his "eviction papers," which tickled my mother's friend to death when she received and read the note.

I woke up the next morning at 6:37 to the feeling of a contraction. Huh. Could be Braxton-Hicks. I'd been having those for about three months. But then another one hit seven minutes later and all I could think was that I didn't want to be driving my extra-utero child to school in the middle of one of those.

Hmm. Show time!

Call the midwife, tell her not to rush, contractions are 7 minutes apart, about 30-45 seconds long and I can talk through them. Call my mother and tell her I needed help getting the child to school. Call my husband's dispatcher and tell her to get him moving home NOW, because his wife is having a baby. Yes, I'm that wife. Yes, I'm really in labor. Get son dressed and off to school. Call brother and sister to tell them new nephew is on the way. Call local friend to come over and distract me (she'd had a homebirth with this same midwife about 7 months prior). Make up the bed for the birth, plastic sheet, one set of sheets, another plastic sheet, another set of sheets. Double-check birth supplies (chux pads, dermaplast for afterward, hydrogen peroxide for any weird blood splotches, incontinence pads for early heavy lochia flow -- those things rock, by the way, as they're much better than standard sanitary pads for heavy-duty flow).

Call midwife to scratch the "no need to rush" order from 30 minutes ago. Contractions are 5 minutes apart and 60+ seconds long and speaking while one going on is out of the question. Get in the shower, wash hair, look at legs with a couple days stubble on them, think, "Hell no, not this time," and get out of shower to the sound of my mother returning from taking the elder son to school, and the midwife & crew's simultaneous arrival.

I got on my old comfie flannel nightgown (this was one week before Christmas and yes, even Florida can get chilly around that time), and we did a quick dilation check. 6 cm, intact BOW. My blood pressure was normal. Doppler showed good fetal heart tones.

I sat down on my exercise ball and blew my hair dry, then proceeded to put on all my make up. Yes, all of it. It was my distraction technique and it worked quite nicely. My friend arrived while I was attempting to apply liquid eyeliner between contractions (okay, not the best choice I ever made) and just sort of stared at me sitting there primping.

I hadn't eaten anything yet that morning, so my mother fixed me a little sandwich. She forgot to fold the meat like I like it folded. Transition, anyone?

I got off the ball and kicked it down the hall to the family room where we sat out my labor, checking heart tones every 15 minutes and my blood pressure at other times. Everything was good, except for when the little Welches Grape Juice girl came on a commercial and annoyed the living daylights out of me.

Yep, definitely transition. No nausea, just huge internal bitchery and quiet cursing at the beginning of a contraction. On the other hand, I was also making sure everyone knew where the food was in between contractions. Yet another distraction technique for me, yes. And it kept me calm (other than the cursing).

Eventually it was time to get the baby out. I went back to the bedroom with the birth center staff and was checked and found to be 10 cm. I then stated that no one but the midwife, assistant, and apprentice were allowed in the bedroom (no, I don't need a circus for a birth, thankyouverymuch).

I learned that I hate pushing. Hate it, hate it, HATE IT. I'd rather stay in transition for the rest of my life than push. Here's where I'd have inserted my own epidural with an icepick if I could have. OUCH!

45 minutes and four changes of position later, my younger son made his way into the world with no incident, under 5 hours from the onset of labor, wimpy pushing mother notwithstanding. 8 lbs. 14 oz, 20 1/2 inches long (chunky little bugger), and again, HUGE head. I blame my Irish ancestry for that one.

So, why would I perhaps do things differently if things went this well with a home birth? It's that niggling fear that something *could* go wrong the next time. It's the "what if" factor.

But I'll tell you this, I didn't have near the issues post-partum with #2 as I had with #1. The birth was calm, I was able to sleep a few hours at night (not great sleep -- we know most newborns aren't really into that -- but at least I woke when he needed me to, not when someone else thought I should). I felt like a competent mother, not a freak. I felt like a person, not an annoyance. I felt normal for wanting to do this without medication, not some sort of deluded martyr who needed to be brought down a peg or two.

I was treated with respect.

And that, I think, is what it boils down to. That is what will have some women (a tiny percentage, but still some) leaving the hospital to have their children in alternative settings. If there were a birth center attached to a hospital, but with its own protocols in place for low-intervention birth, so the NICU and OR were moments away if needed, that would be an option I'd like. And if I had to be in the hospital proper for a child's birth, I'd prefer to know that I'd be treated kindly and politely by whoever I got assigned as a nurse, rather than snapped at and grabbed. But at this time there's no birth center that close to any hospital in this area. At this point there's no way for expectant mothers to form any type of relationship prior to labor insanity with their primary care providers during labor: the nurses.

Something's got to give. I believe every woman should be able to choose whether or not she wants pain medication (assuming it's not contraindicated by other factors) and not be made to feel stupid for either choice. I believe that every woman should be able to give birth in the location where she feels most safe, after risk factors are considered, be it hospital, birth center, or home.

I just wish that the hospital felt more safe. If it did, I wouldn't be having this conversation with myself.

Home Birth vs. Hospital Birth, Part I

Note: This entry along with Home Birth Vs. Hospital Birth, Part II, is incredibly long. I don't expect people to work their way through either one, actually, unless someone is so inclined. It was more a matter of just needing to get this out, and get it put down somewhere. So, if you're still inclined to read, do so at your own risk.

As I may have mentioned, I read medblogs quite a bit. Lately I've been reading blogs by two neonatologists: NeoNatal Doc and ExUtero. Both of them in the past couple months (NeoNatal Doc's post was in January, and I believe ExUtero's was in April, but I could be mistaken) have posted about home birth. NeoNatal Doc posted another entry about home birth about a year ago, and the most recent was a follow-up to that which was rather balanced, and really got me thinking.

The general feeling I got from reading ExUtero's entry and NeoNatal Doc's first "Home" entry and the comments spawned by them is that homebirthers are ultimately selfish by choosing to birth their children away from the resources of a hospital. That to have a home birth just for "the experience" is ridiculous. That sometimes we have to put up with things we don't like to assure our children's safety.

I can certainly agree that at times we as parents have to just suck it up and deal with things we'd rather not, in the best interests of our children. But to call all homebirthers "selfish" and to indicate they're all in it "just for the experience," is not... complete. It doesn't look at the whole picture of why different women choose home birth.

I've mentioned before that my first child was born in the hospital and my second was a home birth attended by a licensed midwife (RN, former L&D nurse, former NICU nurse), her assistant, and an apprentice midwife. And yeah, part of me was, well honestly, outraged, that all home birthing mothers are being tarred with the "selfish" label, that we're all seen as risking our baby's health just for "an experience." I mean, what mother wants to think that about herself?

So I've been thinking quite a bit in the past couple of days just why I opted to have my second son at home. Why did I choose to have my baby away from the resources of a NICU, an OR? Why did I choose to have him away from the possibility of pain relief via an epidural, or other options? Why in the world would I take the risk, however small, that something that couldn't be foretold could happen rendering a normal birth emergent within just moments?

I can't give an answer. If something had gone terribly, terribly wrong at my homebirth I would never, ever have gotten over it. But I can give the background about why I made the decision I did.

I put a great deal of time and thought into how my second child was going to be born, primarily because of the experience I had at the hospital with my first son's birth. I'd already been on L&D once before at 37 weeks with son #1 for monitoring, because at a routine OB appointment, my doctor couldn't find the baby's heartbeat. Yes, we were all in a panic. Once the contraction I was having eased off (I have Braxton Hicks for about the entire third trimester), his heartbeat came back, and was normal. Still, scary, and it bore watching.

I started out being monitored at the OB's office, and then when my parents arrived (my husband was, at that time, traveling from state to state working for a DOD contractor), I was sent to the hospital for further monitoring. My nurse was awesome. I got hooked up to the monitor and proceeded to Braxton-Hicks away for the next two hours. When my nurse would come in, we'd discuss different things about the birth process. I wanted to avoid an epidural since a) the thought of needles near my back makes me a tad bit squeamish, and b) I knew women in my family had a history of fast labors, so it wasn't like I was going to be dealing with a long period of painful labor. My nurse had had two unmedicated births herself and said it absolutely was possible, even with pitocin, although it's definitely more of a challenge.

She also made it clear that at 37 weeks, and considering that my cervix wasn't at all favorable for induction, it would be best to leave the little guy where he was unless it was medically indicated to induce for his safety. Although at that point I was done being pregnant (I tend to feel "done" at about 28 weeks anyway... something about the whole beached whale thing), I agreed with her. It would be better, all things being equal, to go into labor on my own rather than chemically.

At any rate, the Elder's heartrate stayed fine my entire two hours in the hospital. My OB (same guy I'm currently bitching about as my GYN, bless his heart... but this whole saga I just mentioned is why I do still feel he has his good points) came to check me, reviewed the monitor strip, checked my cervix, and sent me on home. I wasn't dilating, baby was now doing fine, all was well.

I stayed pregnant for another four and a half weeks. Apparently the kid liked where he was just fine. I'd gone in for another visit with my OB's office on a Tuesday, and saw Dr. K who ultimately ended up delivering my son. We reviewed everything (she'd offered to induce me the prior week, but I still wanted to avoid pitocin if I could), and as the 42 week mark was coming up it was determined that if I hadn't gone into labor by Friday I'd be going back to the hospital to be induced.

Frankly, at that point I'd have been willing to give birth through my nose just to get the kid out, so that worked for me.

Fortunately, I went into labor at about 1:30 Wednesday morning. My husband and I had just finished some "nuptial nookie" and had crawled under the covers to get some sleep. I heard a muffled pop, and at first assumed my dog Little Guy had passed some gas (he slept in the bed with me for years). But then I noticed things felt a little different. So I got out of bed and went to the bathroom. Sure enough, my water had broken. It was mec stained, like the color of weak green tea, and contractions started within just a few minutes, so I called my OB's answering service.

Thank goodness Dr. K was on call that night. The answering service told me to go to the ER, but Dr. K had very clearly told me that I was NOT to show up at the ER, but to ask to speak directly with her should I go into labor, especially due to my family's history of pretty quick labor. This pissed off the answering service lady, but I did get to talk to Dr. K. I told her about the light meconium staining and that contractions had started and were running every 5 minutes for about 45 seconds. She told me I could get a shower but not to dawdle and to come straight up to L&D.

So I did. We arrived at the hospital, and I was told to walk on up to the L&D floor. I verified they wanted me to do this, since my water had broken and usually hospitals are all about the safety factor, but yes, I was to walk up. Okie-dokie! So we walked (actually, my husband walked... I was doing more of a waddle thanks to my 41 wk/ 4 day pregnancy and the huge pad to soak up the amniotic fluid).

At this point I was feeling really good about things since I'd had a great experience with the nurse several weeks prior during my monitoring, and since Dr. K was on call. Once we got to my room, though...

Well, it started out okay. I was sent to change into the charming hospital gown (no biggie for me -- birth is messy, etc.) and the two nurses assigned to me for that shift were asking my husband questions about what was had been happening.

The problem there was that he couldn't answer their questions because he'd been asleep. Once I knew my water had broken I told him just to go back to sleep and I'd wake him up when he needed to do something. Man-like, he followed my instructions. Now once I'd gotten the word to head to the hospital I did wake him up, but I was in the shower and basically hadn't shared much information with him as I was busy hosing off and breathing (shaving legs while in active labor? Not an experience I'll ever repeat). So anyway, when I heard him doing the "I don't know" and the "I guess it was about..." and being totally wrong, I piped up from the bathroom with the correct answers.

The nurses told me to be quiet and just relax. I told them he'd been asleep and didn't know the progression of events. They looked at me as if I were crazy. What? The guy had been sleeping. He was flat clueless. Was that so hard to believe?

At any rate, I got into the bed and was checked to see if my water had actually broken. It had (no surprise to me, but the nurses seemed shocked, and I don't know why). I was also 4-5 cm dilated, and was having to work with the contractions.

So, of course, now that labor is going harder, this is when I needed to answer the questions on the intake form (which I'd already answered when I pre-registered, so the point of pre-registering was what?), and then I got blood drawn.

I don't like needles, but it wasn't to the point back then where it is now, where I get lightheaded and pale when someone comes at me with one intending to draw my blood. Back then it was merely unpleasant, but something that could be dealt with. Unfortunately, the nurse got a bad stick and it hurt. That, along with being in increasingly hard labor and with a nurse who proceeded ignore me and to talk with my husband about Chicago (he was across the room as needles REALLY freak him out... and was told by me later that would NEVER happen again, he could just stand by me and look in the opposite direction from the needle site) and ignore the fact that I had tears rolling down my face from the bad stick put me near the edge. The final straw was when she looked at me and snapped, "Why are you still crying? The needle is out and the IV is in."

I'm still crying because it hurts, bitch, because it was a bad stick which you'd know if you'd been paying any attention to me beyond "Oh god, it's a birth plan mother, I've got to get out of here as quickly as I can before I snap her neck."

You know what? I'm sorry that I wanted to do birth unmedicated. I'm sorry I was naive and put some stupid things on the birth plan (like the shaving and enema thing, which were totally unnecessary to list). I'm sorry that I was talkative and happy in between contractions until I was treated like a naughty kindergartener. I'm sorry I walked up to L&D after my water had broken, obviously creating a potential liability for the hospital even though I had clarified that yes, indeed, my water had broken and was lightly mec stained and made sure they wanted me to walk up. I'm sorry that I cried when I was in pain, not from the contractions, but from the horrible needle stick. I had a bruise for two weeks afterward at the IV site, and I still bear the scar 8 years later. It's not a big deal, but it's there whereas the mark from the heplock I had a few weeks ago at the ER doesn't even show anymore.

Crap. Over eight years later and I still get upset.

So anyway, after all that, I was offered some Nubane. I was restricted to the bed because hospital policy dictated that after a mother's water broke she was a liability walking around even in her own room (apparently wearing some sort of pad to avoid spillage was out of the question). I could find no position that made the contractions less painful, especially being tied up with the blood pressure cuff, the IV, and the monitors which they never detatched. So hey, drugs. Sounds good! God, anything to feel less upset. The Nubane was good and I figured, "What the hell, let's go for the epidural too."

Even though I'd planned for an unmedicated birth, I did go ahead and do the "pre-epidural class" which was required if we thought we might want medication. I was sure I wouldn't, but I also knew that just because my mother was fast with the labor thing didn't mean the same would necessarily hold for me, and should labor drag on forever, I wanted the option if I was just getting too exhausted to go on.

Well, it only took me about two hours to get too exhausted, apparently. Dr. K had come in and we discussed the epidural. The anesthesiologist got there after she'd left, and putting the epidural in was decidedly less than fun. He couldn't get it placed, and at one point I said, "I've changed my mind. Stop. I don't want it." They just kept going, refused to stop. It took over an hour to get it in. I had a bad bruise, and a backache for a month.

This was about 5:00 a.m. I took a nap for a couple of hours. My now-GYN came in to check me at 6:00 a.m., and had a scheduled c-section going on that morning, so he and Dr. K decided she'd stay to help me deliver (thank God). Another dilation check, and I was at a 10.

I felt no urge to push. I was numb from the chest down. Dr. K decided to turn off the epidural and let me labor down for a bit, so from 7:00 to 8:00 I drifted in and out of sleep. I was exhausted and I hadn't done anything yet.

I ended up pushing for over three hours, with very little progress. I told the nurses I wanted to be more upright to push as they were lowering the back of the bed behind me and they told me, "No, all the doctors deliver this way." Who the hell was pushing this kid out? Dr. K came in at that point and said to leave me alone, we'd discussed it and I could push in any position I wanted, which though limited severely by the dense epidural, was still appreciated.

Time went on. I was told my uterus was tiring out and I needed pitocin. At first I said no (I was exhausted and a bit out of focus by that point), but once it was explained to me that yes, it really was necessary, I gave the go ahead. The nurse didn't hang it, and I said, "Where's the pitocin?" She said, "I didn't know if you knew what you were saying."

Okay, so, "Stop the epidural," is totally ignored, and "Go ahead with the pitocin," is also totally ignored. Marvelous.

Finally, Dr. K ended up cutting an episiotomy and delivering my son via vacuum extraction. I had a 3rd degree extension of the episiotomy. It was either that or a c-section, so I was fine with the episiotomy, although I'd hoped to avoid one.

My baby was whisked over to a corner of the room by the NICU staff due to fears of meconium aspiration. Again, this was fine. I am all about the safety of my kids, and even though I had wanted him just handed to me, which Dr. K usually did, this was different.

After they were done, the nurse (the same young "I didn't know if you knew what you were saying" one) went to wash my baby. Dr. K said, "Excuse me, but didn't you read Amanda's birth plan? Having her baby with her as soon as possible was very important to her." So they stopped the bath, and brought my son over to me. He was beautiful and healthy, minimal moulding outside of the caput from the vacuum. 8 lbs., 2 oz, 20 1/2 inches long. HUGE freaking head. Heh.

The crap didn't stop there, though. For some reason the nurses didn't leave me, my husband, and son alone at any time for me to attempt breastfeeding. I was trying to get him latched on with them literally hovering over me. Finally, the same young nurse referenced earlier grabbed my breast and started playing with my nipple without a by-your-leave, and then tried to get him to latch on.

I was in shock. You don't just grab me, grab my breast and start playing with my nipple without asking, "Hey, can I try to help out some?"

Good grief, it's common courtesy, I'd think? It's not like a medical emergency where you can't even have time to think if this is what you'd like, it's just flat necessary and you freaking consent. This was different. She could have asked.

The rest of the stay (48 hours after the birth) pretty much went downhill from there. I was awakened every two hours during every night to breastfeed, and each time I was told that if I'd just give the baby some formula they'd let me sleep for four hours rather than two. I finally gave in on the last night because I was so exhausted and gave him some formula. The nurse failed to note it in the chart, the shift changed, and I was again awakened less than an hour later (as two hours had elapsed since the last time I had been awakened to breastfeed).

Unfortunately, I lost it. "I gave him formula just like I was told because I'm desperate to sleep. And now you're waking me up less than an hour later again!" I was so damn exhausted. I'm sorry I screamed, but I'm also sorry the nurse who promised me four hours of sleep (that I desperately needed) didn't note the freaking FORMULA in the chart that would have guaranteed me some sleep, barring my son waking sooner.

Good god. Breastfeeding friendly? Not. Waving the lure of sleep under an exhausted mother's nose everytime you wake her in the middle of the night to feed her child (who's sleeping contentedly, by the way, and has no indicators for blood sugar issues or anything) by mentioning formula when you know she's trying to exclusively breastfeed is just... not right. It wouldn't hurt the baby to go one four hour stretch of night, if he desired, without feeding. Not just one four hour stretch, so an exhasted new mother who was in pain could get a little much needed rest.

Then there was the nurse who I asked for help changing my son's diaper on my second day in. I'd been changing it the whole time (there was 100% rooming in), but this particular day he'd peed on me four times already and I just needed an extra set of hands. She was pissed off (I'd never seen this particular nurse before) and said, "You're going to have to know how to do that by yourself once you get home, you know."

Uhm, no, I'm not. My husband will be there, for one thing. Plus I know how to change a diaper, as noted by the fact that I've been changing him since he was born. All I wanted was a little help. I was sleep deprived, in pain from the episiotomy and the epidural bruise, and had just been whizzed on repeatedly, to add insult to injury. I'm sorry I just needed a little hand.

I finally went home, exhausted and upset. I was overjoyed with my son, but I didn't get any sleep as he decided to wake up once we left the hospital and entertained us thoughout every night with his howls that lasted for hours. It was months before I started to feel even semi normal again, and all through that time, I kept wondering...

What could I have done differently? Should I have kept my mouth shut at the hospital and let my husband give incorrect information? What about the nurse who about bit my head off about the crying with her lousy stick? I didn't say anything to her. Should I have complained? Should I have...

I just don't know. All I knew then, which I still know now, is that I was never going to give birth in that hospital again (which, insurance-wise, was my only option), barring medical necessity.

I'm going to break this into two posts. This one has gone on long enough.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Note: I was originally going to post this in the comments section for "All in a Week", but it was posted kind of awhile ago, plus the response got so long I decided to make it its own post. I did, however, finally respond to "a mom who thinks too much", "medblog addict" and "angel" in the comments left in the "Tagged" post. I may be slow to respond to comments, but I will eventually respond. Don't give up on me!

Anyway, here's the original comment I am responding to:

From Angel: Dagnabbit, Bloglines hasn't been updating to show me you had new posts. My apologies!

And UGH new doc time, seriously. I think if after bleeding that long a doc compared my uterus to wallpaper, I'd have to hurt him. A lot.

Hey, no worries Angel! It's not like I'm the supreme updating queen anyway. I'm contemplating blogging tonight (note: see how neatly I turned this into a post? hee), but what about? Maybe I'll get tagged again. That often helps.

And yeah, I'm thinking about what to do about good old doc. I have a recommendation from my kids' pediatrician. However, I also have time, testing, and familial/ personal relationship time invested in this arrogant piece of work, so I'm not quite sure which way I'm going. I had lunch today with a friend of mine who has the same GYN, and she said if I go in and have a nervous breakdown in his office he'll come around, i.e., realize that this is definitely having an impact on my life that requires a little more input from him. Thing is, I've been trying to present this all matter-of-factly to him, including expressing my very real embarassment over hauling my dizzy self into the ER that day. I think he believes I'm overstating matters.

Thing is, I'm not. Frankly, going to the ER for me is HUGE. That's the only time I've ever been in an ER outside of a bad car accident 17 years ago, and one visit with my elder son when he was three years old. I mean, that is IT.

So maybe I need to stop being matter-of-fact and turn into a crying, hiccupping, hysterical woman talking about how I've been bleeding more than half of the past 90 days, and how I have NO SEX LIFE which is starting to freak my husband out a little bit, and just become a hormonal raging mess.

I hate to do that, though. I mean, I blow off steam here, but I'd rather conduct the doctor/patient relationship in a professional manner, especially considering that his specialty already is more personal than I like. The annual "spread-em-and-grin" appointment is anything but grin-worthy.

So I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do I keep trying to work with this doctor and convince him that yes, dude, there IS a problem and it is a bloody damned mess, or do I go to another doctor, request all my records from my current one, thus likely screwing up my parents' relationship with him to some degree, and possibly end up with yet another doctor who is going to think I'm blowing all this way out of proportion?


Bleeding 49 out of 90 days? Not minor.
Soaking one super-plus tampon and its backup pad more than once an hour for 24-72 hours every month (or more)? Not minor.
Being so cranky and sometimes so freaked out that my husband is wondering where his wife has gone? Not minor.
Having my doctor completely ignore the statement, "I seriously feel like I'm going crazy," from me? NOT FRACKING MINOR.

And yet with all of this, I'm still wondering if I should soldier on.

Yuck. Again.

If anyone has a good idea about how to go about changing doctors with a minimum of muss and fuss, please let me know in comments here. Thanks y'all.

Oh, and Angel, you are SO Tagged for the "8 Things About Me" meme below. Hehehehee.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


I've been officially tagged, by Medblog Addict. As I said I'd do it if officially tagged and I am not a weasel, here goes.

Here are the rules: Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. Write a post about your own random things. Post these rules. At the end of your blog, tag 8 people and post their names. Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged.

1. I actually like working on Saturdays. Even though my current field is much less stressful than the legal secretary gig there are times when we're on deadline, or multiple deadlines. As there are only forty hours in a week, sometimes I end up going in on a Saturday to make sure specifications, addenda, etc., are out in time. And it's so relaxing. It's peaceful, the phones don't ring much, and I can pull up the most recent episode of Heroes on my monitor and have it playing in the background while I type away.

Shoot, some weeks it's the only "break" I get, what with the offspring and all. In fact, just a little later this morning, I'm heading in because one of the principals is about to go away for vacation and needs to get some stuff finished off. It'll likely be a fairly full house as most of the people who work there end up showing their faces at some time on the weekend. Since I missed Monday and Tuesday at work (nasty head/chest cold) I can count this time against my sick hours, which is awesome because with two kids who catch every bug that passes through, I can use every sick hour I can muster.

2. I don't know what my natural hair color is anymore. Back before I started going grey, I had dark brown hair that went reddish-to-gold in the sun. It was nice hair. But after #2 son was born, the greys started coming in hard and heavy. I dyed it for awhile, then thought I'd like to get in touch with my natural hair color. Mistake! I'm more than 50% grey in some spots, notably over my ears, and salt-and-pepper over the rest of my head.

Plus I don't go grey in a nice, dignified manner. I'm one of those lucky folks with the mutant grey hairs that grow in all coarse and kinky, which makes them stand out like a beacon against the dark brown background. They make my hair look like I combed it with an egg beater even when I've just styled it. No thanks. It's chemical haircolor all the way for me, now. I've got an appointment for a touch-up today, after I finish off at the office. Work and next a hair appointment. Bliss!

3. I wear glasses; I haven't been free of them since I was five years old. I have amblyopia (lazy eye), and I was patched for several years when I was a little kid. My left eye covers only 30% of my field of vision on its own, and drifts out when I'm tired. I've heard this is disconcerting from people, because it's hard to tell where I'm looking. The easiest solution is just to look at my right eye, since it actually points where it's supposed to.

Family pictures are fun because of this. I try to make sure I'm in semi-profile so I don't look deranged.

4. I'm allergic to my cats. This means I spend most of my evenings and weekends in a Benadryl-induced haze. Hmmm... wonder if that's another reason why I like working on Saturdays?

5. I own more than 1,000 books. No, this is not too many. Yes, I've read all of them and no, I'm not giving any of them up.

My husband and I are currently negotiating wall space in the bedroom. He says he needs a new dresser (just because he can't fit all his clothes in the old one); I say I need another book shelf (much more reasonable, as I've run out of shelf space even with double-rows of books on every shelf I own).

I think we're going to need another shed. For his clothes.

6. Since August of last year, I've lost 37 1/2 pounds. Trust me, this was a good thing. I was in Publix with my elder son and foolishly got on the scale. The charming child announced (at full volume, of course), "Mommy, you weigh 200!"

Uh, thanks sweetie.

But seriously, that's the most I've ever weighed, including at more than 9 months pregnant. ACK. I started with NutriSystem and stuck with it for two months, in which I lost 18 pounds. Then the food started to get to me. One parmesean pasta with broccoli thing tasted, I swear, like fish food. Oh yuck.

So now I'm counting my calories, and I try to keep myself between 1200 and 1500 a day. I am also a very firm believer in "free" days, where I just toss caution to the winds and eat what I want. I know it makes the weight come off more slowly than faithfully eating fish food, but I can live with it. Plus it makes it more likely that the weight will stay off. We have Type II diabetes in our bloodline (my paternal grandmother is an amputee thanks to that disease), and I will not risk my health when I know I'm capable of doing something about it. Dieting works for me; ergo, I diet.

Exercise bugs, but I'm making sure I move more, too. I also have an on-again-off-again relationship with my treadmill.

Interlude, in which our blogger leaves her home and accomplishes the tasks listed in items 1 & 2...

Okay, back, and ready with numbers 7 and 8!

7. I hate cleaning bathrooms, but as much as I hate it, I hate folding laundry more. Now why is that? Clean laundry is, well, clean. Dirty bathrooms are just flat disgusting, especially considering that I live with three males, two of whom have questionable aim.


8. I used to be one of those people who kept a pristine house. Now that I'm married with two kids and working full time, my standards are more "is it a health hazard? No? Then it's fine." It drives me batty sometimes, but considering the kids mess it up as quickly as I clean it (and also considering that my husband in nine years has yet to figure out that leaving mail on my cutting board is not acceptable... grrrrr), it's vital to my sanity that I leave my dreams of "House Beautiful" in the past. If I cleaned the way I'd need to for Martha Stewartesque perfection, I'd not only never have time to read, I'd never sleep.

A sleep deprived Amanda is not a pretty sight.

Anyway, there we go! I'm supposed to tag eight other people now. Problem is, I don't know if eight people even read this damn thing. I'm going to take a page out of Medblog Addict's book and ask, "Are there any volunteers?"

Let me know!

Friday, May 18, 2007


Why do I always check my purse for my keys after I lock the car? This can only end badly.

The Medical Blogosphere

Hi, my name is Amanda, and I'm addicted to medical blogs.

It all started quite innocently. I was reading over at The Lactivist and clicked on a... midwifery blog, I think? Or maybe it was a link from a commenter on her blog. From there I found Fat Doctor, Emergiblog, and a host of other medical blogs I enjoy reading.

I sit here glued to the freaking computer, checking for updates from my favorite doctor, nurse, midwifery, and other healthcare field folks.

One reason is that I've always been fascinated by medicine. I first thought about being a nurse when I was little, but my parents kept saying, "No, no, you want to be a doctor!" No, no, wrong, I wanted to be a NURSE. But that wouldn't have made my parents happy so I pretty much dropped that.

Hey, I was five.

I considered nursing again as an adult, but ended up deciding against it for two reasons. Number one, I'm lousy in math and science. I mean, I can do them (in spite of my English degree I got A's in Calculus I and II, Physics I and II, and statistics), but the utter complete agony that is involved in pounding those many factoids through my brain is just not bearable.

As for number two? Well, I'd left teaching for many reasons, but one of the top reasons was that I was sick and tired of being a trained professional who was treated like a babysitter and likely paid worse. I was disgusted by having to adhere to mandates passed down by the state (with no funding, natch), that were determined by people who had never even set foot in a classroom. I was seriously burned out, and was able to remember that when the nursing school recruiter ran into me while I was studying for physics and tried to suck me in. I was tempted... oh, was I tempted! But then I remembered what I'd just left, and I knew I'd be walking into similar frustrations and burnout if I entered nursing... different atmosphere, same, "All stressed out and no one to choke" issues.

(Aside: so naturally, upon re-entering the workforce, I entered the field of legal secretary, specializing in the areas of criminal, family, and dependency law. I am obviously an idiot. But I'm much better now! Ah, relaxing, boring architecture, how I love you.)

But anyway, instead, I feed my medical addiction by reading medical blogs. And what happens? The big nasty adminstrative decisions whap out and smack me on my butt even here! I'd heard of Barbados Butterfly, a well-known medical blogger who had to quit blogging after the administration at her hospital identified her. Fears of "patient confidentiality violations," even though all details were changed. But surely that wouldn't happen to any of "my" blogs!

Right. This past Wednesday Fat Doctor (a marvelous famine resistant general practitioner who also happened to be a new-ish mother and a stroke survivor) closed her blog because a co-worker had found her blog, printed out the entire thing (someone had way too much time on his or her hands... asshat), and handed it to her boss. Her boss was fine with it, but fear of other repercussions led Fat Doctor to close her blog. ARRRGH! I will miss her. I will miss hearing about her son, about her practice, and I will miss how reading her blog reminded me that there are good doctors out there. She truly humanized the doctor side of medicine for me.

Which, when you consider the excuse I have to deal with for a GYN? Is saying something.

Then I found out Dr. Flea had also closed his blog. Now, the man's in the middle of a medmal trial and that might be why, but still... I'd only worked my way through maybe only 1/4 of his back entries. I wasn't done! He is a pediatrician and his posts were a hoot. Reading his blog helped me to remember to keep my head screwed on straight when I was panicking over my offspring. But now, his blog is also lost.

Rats, rats, rats, rats, and RATS.

So I continue to read medical blogs, like the ones I've listed, along with Femail Doc, Nurse Ratched's Place, ERNursey, gcgeorge, and a host of others. But I miss the ones I've lost.

Administrators suck. As do lawyers. Except this one, because she rocks.

And because misery loves company.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Quick Note -- Comments

For some reason my comments defaulted to turning off for the new posts. I don't know if Blogger hiccupped or if I accidentally messed up my settings, but it's all fixed now.

Sorry if there was any confusion.

To the Nurses

I'm a bit late on this, but I know I've been whiny about the medical profession recently (mostly my GYN, may he live his next life as a woman with excessively heavy periods and have his own clone for a doctor). Last week was the week to appreciate our nurses out there, and I've really known some good ones. So thanks, all of you.

Thank you to the nurse who wasn't even assigned to me when my first son was born who desperately tried to fit the squat bar to the bed, and when that wouldn't work, had me kneel up against the end of the bed. You helped me feel much less useless.

Thank you to the nurse in charge of my grandmother's care as she lay dying in the hospital of a massive stroke. Thank you for quietly telling me she was going. Thank you for quietly encouraging me to help my mother sign the DNR. And thank you for not looking at me as if I were a freak when my last words to my grandmother were, "Have fun."

Thank you to the nurses who helped me out during my recent ridiculous ER visit. Thank you for not looking at me as if I were a waste of your time, even though I fell under the heading of "Not Needing to be in the ER". Thank you for talking with me and laughing with me. Thank you for giggling when, after you mentioned a lowered sex drive being the result of some anti-depressants, I said, "With all this bleeding I'm doing it isn't as if I'm getting any anyway."

And thank you for waving me on my way and telling me if I was ever bored one night at 2:00, to please stub my toe and come in. It made me laugh, and weirdly, made me feel much less like a nutcase about my freak-out.

And finally, even though I recently whined about her, thank you to my GYN's nurse. Bless your heart woman, you put up with a lot, and yet you're always cheerful, always ready with a joke. And thank you for sympathising with me about my dog's death after the biopsy. It was and is much appreciated.

For all those who nurse, all those who care, thank you, from the bottom of this rather stressed-out patient's heart.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

All in a Week

Well, it's been about a week since I updated. Sorry 'bout that. Life happens.

On Monday evening I was desperately trying to come up with some kind of post to put up here and even hit on the old "100 Things About Me" saw.

I hit 38 before Heroes came on and I had to stop. In fact, #38 was that I was saving the post as a draft because I had to watch Heroes.

Hey, it was a thing about me, yanno? I might eventually get it finished and put it up. Then again, it might languish forever in "Save as Draft"-land.


Obviously, I'm having some trouble putting words to this screen. I'm having trouble reading, even. I have at least five books in progress, reading-wise, and I haven't finished one of them yet. A few are re-reads. A few are new books that on some level I'd like to finish reading, but just don't have the energy to go ahead with.

It's annoying on both the writing and reading fronts.


I'm still mad at my GYN. I'm coming to the conclusion that the man is an asshole, at least in his interactions with me. Or, as my father would say, he has a serious case of cranio-rectal inversion. After all these tests, after all this bleeding, he couldn't even be troubled to talk to me about what his diagnosis was, on what he was basing the diagnosis, and why he arrived at the two possible courses of action for this issue. No, just have the nurse call, give two "choices... erm... options," and call it a day.

Never mind that lovely analogy she used ("It's like if you wallpaper a room, then decide you don't like the wallpaper so you put up some new over it, then you do the same thing in a few more months... eventually the wallpaper is going to come down in places because it simply can't bear its own weight.") doesn't appear to be applicable in my case. All test results showed a normal endometrium. Pelvic ultrasound showed a normal endometrial thickness. Endometrial biopsy showed a normal endometrium with signs of recent ovulation, dating at day 22 in the cycle. Nowhere in those test results was there a sign that I had a problem that involved an endometrium that had a few too many layers of wallpaper on it.

Never mind that, when I objected to bleeding even MORE than I already was, she just blew me off.

Never mind that I was never even given any type of diagnosis.

I did the math yesterday. Out of the past 90 days, I've bled for 49 of them. FORTY-NINE. That's well over half. And this is considered not worthy of even having my doctor speak with me regarding his findings. No, I get the wallpaper analogy.

Good grief.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


While basking in widgets, I somehow managed to put my blogrolling thingie up twice. Now I can't edit the extra one out, because Google says I'm a virus.

Marvelous. And all I was trying to do was put the blogrolling widget above the bloglog widget, but somehow it replicated itself instead.


I'm going to ignore this for awhile and try to fix it later. There's more weirdness with the "add page element" option sometimes not showing up when I'm trying to edit these thingies too.

I've said it before: this unholy alliance between Google and Blogger MUST END!

Update: I got it fixed. FINALLY. Whew. Now I can add folks to my blogroll. Widgets, I'm telling you... they rock!


Well, I upgraded to the new template. The layout's still looking weird to me (not quite "home", yanno?).

I daresay I'll adjust.

I'm also fiddling with some widget-y things, and am seriously contemplating putting up some links as Fat Doctor and a few other of the med bloggers I visit have got to be tired of my "stalkerish" stuff wherein I open their page to get to another page I know they have linked because I'm too fracking lazy to make my own links.

Now if I can just figure out how to insert URLs into posts...

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Our Daniel is a very dignified cat. See how dignified he is?

Now picture this animal with pink spots. Which he now has due to some "creativity" on the part of the four-year-old.


I'm such a bad cat mommy some days.

Friday, May 04, 2007


I just looked back at my "It Seems Griping Works" post. My ultrasound showed NORMAL endometrial thickness.

So why is my doctor proposing a drug that will knock out the "thickened" uterine lining to the walls?

What happened to the "normal" endometrial thickness?

I don't get this.


Biopsy Results

The endometrial biopsy results are in. The results show evidence of ovulation and dates as day 22 of the cycle.

It was really day 36 of the cycle, because I have my ridiculous Excel chart, but hey, who's counting? Besides me. And my doctor, I assume, because he has a printout of the thing.

My doctor's nurse told me the doctor said that this means I'm still ovulating so my issues aren't hormonal in nature.

Huh. I'll have to look up what affects ovulation. I thought it was hormonal, as the pituitary gland stimulates adolescence and all the wonders of menstruation, but I'm not a doctor and I might be either remembering this incorrectly or interpreting matters poorly.

If anyone wants to clarify this for me, just in a general sense, go for it. Please.

They asked when the first day of my period was. I told them about the "bleeding since the biopsy but in ever increasing amounts culminating in the bloodbath Wednesday evening" thing, so the nurse told me my doctor has picked Wednesday as the start of my period. Kind of what I thought. What sucks about this is that if this period goes as the last one did, I'll have been bleeding for four weeks by the time the bloody thing is over. But only three count as my period.


I was also told, by the nurse, that I had two choices... erm... options (yes, she switched words): I can either continue to chart for the next three or four months and get another appointment in July or August -- for what purpose I was not told -- or I can take something called "Agestin" which will basically act as a chemical D&C over the course of several months and slough off the endometrium until we're left with a normal uterine lining.

So mine's abnormal, apparently, which I figured but was not told in so many words. Probably because a trained ape could figure that one out, considering the circumstances. But why is it abnormal? I don't know. No one told me. I'm assuming that it's thicker than standard, due to the chicken-liver-sized clots I shed at times. But why is it thicker than normal?

No answer. No chance to ask the question.

Now this Agestin will likely result in "heavier than normal" periods for the first couple of months. Ah, heavier than normal! What, for the average female? Or for me? Because in case you weren't paying attention, they ARE fracking heavier than normal already. The every-hour-tampon-change for 24-72 hours at the onset of the period? Is standard in my life. Normal, for me.

Any heavier than this and I am going to need a transfusion.

And I never did get to talk to the doctor.

At this point I'm doing a few things.
A) I'm gong to keep charting for the next few months rather than go on the Agestin. I can't handle any heavier bleeding than I'm dealing with right now. Not and remain functional in day-to-day life.

B) I'm going to draft a letter to my GYN with my questions. And I'm going to re-draft and re-draft it so it doesn't sound whiny. Just the queries and a request for answers.

C) I'm going to decide whether or not to send this letter.

D) I'm going to look into getting a second opinion. My doc has his merits, but he's never bled like this in his life. His (to me) lassiez faire attitude about the unpredictability, duration, and volume of flow of my periods doesn't show any concern let alone understanding of the impact this has on my life. Holy cow, if nothing else, how in the world am I going to ever have sex again? Yes, we've all (okay many of us) done "the deed" when conditions were less than optimal, but seriously, this is ridiculous.

I'm at a loss. And yes, angry again. I've tried to temper this entry, but won't be sure how well I've succeeded until I read it in a week or so.

Excuse me, I need to go buy another 40 count box of super-plus tampons.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Tide is In

#1 - Hi there, Angel! Glad to see you're out there in the blogosphere. And yipes, migraines suck. I'm whiny enough just bleeding most of the time. We definitely need to talk!

#2 - Speaking of bleeding, stop here if you don't want to read about the subject line. Yes, more of the bloodbath. You have been warned.

Anyway, yep, it's definitely my period. No wonder I'm lucid. Got up twice in the night to change super-plus supplies and back-ups of same.

Make that lucid but sleep deprived. Slightly grumpy, too.

I had to keep running to the bathroom at work every hour or so to take care of "matters" as well. This is especially obnoxious as I'm the prime telephone answerer, so any time I leave my desk I have to ask someone else to catch the phones. Therefore, any observant coworker with too much time on his or her hands can chart my time of the month.

I await the inevitable office pool with bated breath.

Cramping is running between a 1 and a 3 on a pain scale where zero is no pain and ten is pain comparable to feeling that my pelvis is going to fracture, like the way it felt when I was pushing out the younger offspring. This is nothing like that; ergo, it's not enough to cause me to lose any sleep... just annoy me when I'm awake. I'm actually allergic to Aleve (took it for a year back when it was by prescription only for cramps, then started getting hives), Tylenol doesn't touch the pain, and aspirin when I'm already bleeding seems, well, counterintuitive, yanno? And narcotics would definitely be over the top for a petty annoyance like this...

So yes, grumpy. That would be me.

My doc told me to let them know the start date of my period when they call to give me the results of the biopsy. Guess I'll call them with that info tomorrow, per their instructions, since I haven't heard from them yet and it's officially been a week.

I swear, I must have one of the only bodies out there that can lose blood this steadily and NOT have the sense to be anemic. Sheesh.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I've noticed many of my recent past posts have been pretty angry sounding. That's one reason I keep this blog... kind of to keep a pulse on where I am, where I've been, etc. My emotions keep whipping around like nobody's business, and it's driving me nuts (perhaps literally, ick).

To be fair to myself (because I read some of this stuff and was thinking, "Wow, okay, hello Rage Diary!" eek), I've had a pretty yucky time this past month or so, at least for me. On the other hand, other folks have it much MUCH worse.

This reflection is probably because right now I'm in a calm phase. This tells me the continued spotting weirdness is likely not post-biopsy spotting, but rather is my period, as I tend to be much less nutty a day or so after it sets in, and remain that way for around a week. Timing on this is good, because if I were in one of my more whacked-out states I'd likely be freaking out that I still haven't heard about the biopsy. Right now, though? Not a problem. Frankly, no news is good news, in my experience as a patient (I really REALLY have got to remember that when I'm losing my mind over some of this stuff). I'll either hear tomorrow, or I'll call in Friday. And if I call in Friday, it's a pretty safe bet they'll have the results in and have just been slammed at the office.

As a patient I, of course, wish they'd go ahead and call without me having to call in. As an office manager, though, I recognize that there are some days so busy folks can barely find time to choke down lunch. And that's just in architecture, which is rather laid back compared to many other fields, especially medicine. Really, in all fairness, my GYN's office is really very good about this stuff. And my GYN, much as he may aggravate me at times, is a logical, honest, and competent physician. If there were something really wrong and he had the results back, I'd know.

Need to remember to chart that I'm sane at the moment. That's another thing I appreciate about my GYN... he has a great appreciation for my lovely, color-coded anal-retentive menstrual chart that I'm keeping up on Excel, hee. I think it's that I'm one of few people who actually chart these things without being prompted that impresses him, actually, but heck, I'll take what I can get.

That said, I'm still wondering why I'm "She who bleeds and does not die." And I can't help but keep thinking about the menopause thing, FSH results be damned. It's a toss-up between researching on my own some more and risk driving my doc nuts, or hanging in there a bit longer. I'll probably do some of both, and try not to drive either of us crazy/ier in the process.