Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pumping Iron

I finished my series of iron infusions and I have to say, it wasn't the easiest of things I have ever done.  It wasn't AWFUL, not by any stretch, but if you find yourself here by googling "iron infusion, what to expect", here are some things that they didn't really talk too much about, just as a heads up.

1)  Phlebitis

Iron is caustic to the veins, so when you have the infusion, it will feel anything from achy-twingy to full on pain.  This is a common side effect of iron infusions.  On my final infusion, the nurse asked if I wanted a heating pad during the infusion.  I was surprised this hadn't been offered before, and said I would try anything.  It totally helped.  I wish I would have had that for all of them.  So, ask for a heating pad to be placed on your arm, just above the injection site.

2)  "Flu-like" Symptoms

I was warned that on day 3 or so, I could possibly have "mild flu-like" symptoms.  Well.  I woke up Saturday morning at 4 AM and thought I was going to die.  I was achy, sick to my stomach, and had an awful headache.  It felt so much like the flu that I decided that I must actually have the flu.  I spent the rest of Saturday throwing up non-stop.  Even my beloved standby, Zofran, didn't really help.  I could barely raise my head off the pillow.  I felt better Sunday, but my appetite was still less than usual and I was a still a bit achy.

It could have been the flu, I guess, but no one else in the family got it.  And when I asked the nurse on Monday, she did say that others have mentioned a similar reaction.  So. . . be prepared just in case.

3)  Juice

I found that sipping on juice helped to keep me from feeling as faint or nauseated during the infusion.  That being said, I also never felt the same way during following infusions.  I got lightheaded and a bit sick to my stomach, but not in the same way.

4)  SLOW It Down

Some offices will push the infusion in two minutes.  I can't imagine this.  They did a long infusion on me, taking 15 minutes to administer it.  This helped a lot.

So, three days post the final transfusion and I do feel slightly less breathless and also a bit less tired.  I will be honest, I don't notice a HUGE difference, but I guess it can take up to two weeks to REALLY work.  I'll have a blood draw next week to see what my numbers are at.  So. . . when it comes down to it, I would do it again, because having extra iron circulating means that Andrew is less likely to be anemic, but it didn't have quite the effect I was hoping for in terms of energy.  Oh, well.  We're in the homestretch now.

Scheduled c-section is for 10-11-12!  What a neat birthday to have.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How Much Wood Could A Katie Chuck

A few weeks ago, I was driving my usual route home and passed a lumber mill, just as I do every day on my commute to and from work.

The smell of the freshly milled wood was intoxicating. I inhaled deeply several times and had to seriously fight the urge to flip around and go past it again.  This is nothing really new. I have loved the smell of Home Depot and the like in each of my pregnancies.

But what was new was that I kept thinking about that smell for the rest of the day.  And when I was building castles out of wooden blocks with Will that night, I had the strongest urge to just pick one of them up and gnaw on it (I resisted).

The next day, after driving by the same mill, I had the strangest impulse to eat paper.  Anything paper.  When I got my lunch later that day, I confess that what I wanted to eat most was the bag the food had come in.

I tried to brush off these strange cravings.  After all, Ben & Jerry's doesn't make a Wood Phood flavor (that I know of - though now that I think on it, they could tap into a whole market if they put their minds to it. . .), and I knew it wasn't normal to ingest paper.

A few days passed and I worked with my boss.  We passed the paper mill and he noticed my deep inhalations of glee.  "What's going on there?" Da Man asked.

So I confessed my weird fixation with the smell of wood.  He teased me about it mercifulessly, of course, and the next day, arrived with a bag of wood chips, designed for brewing beer (to give the beer flavor).  I tore open the package and inhaled deeply.  It was like heaven.  I carried the bag around in my purse, and took sniffs often.  I knew this behavior was. . . abnormal, but it seemed almost beyond my control. 

Of course, I then thought about eating those wood chips.  After all, they were clearly safe for consumption, being meant to soak in brewing beer, right?  No, of course not. You don't EAT the wood, for goodness sakes.  So I resisted and tried to be content with just inhaling them.

Then, last week, it happened.  I took a nibble of a wood chip, as I thought one good chew would solve my cravings.  It didn't.  If anything, it was now more difficult to fight the urge.  I also ate a straw wrapper. Yep, over the course of fifteen minutes, but the entire thing.  And wanted more.

So when I went in to see Dr. S this past Tuesday, I confessed my strange craving to him.  I was surprised when he didn't A) laugh or B) write an immediate referral for pyschiatric treatment or C) All of the above.

Instead, he asked me if I had heard of Pica, which I had (and have suspected I had before when I was pregnant with Emma and craved beach sand - but this craving was much, much stronger.  I never ate the sand with Emma.).  He wanted to do a CBC anyway, to check my dropping platelet levels, but also to look at potential anemia.  He ordered a ferritin test in addition to the CBC.  Both came back with dismal levels and I was contacted bright and early this morning with the news that I need iron infusions.

In addition to my strange craving, I have also been very breathless.  Like can't finish a sentence out of breath.  Although I have struggled with a bit of this in my previous pregnancies, I have found it more pronoucned this round.  I have also been so very tired.  I kept writing it off to pregnancy, two small children, and working full time, but it has been almost narcoleptic.  Turns out, these are both symptoms of low ferritin/iron levels.

I went in today for my first infusion.  I am not going to lie.  It wasn't that much fun.  I had been told it was an "easy" procedure, and I guess, as far as it goes, it wasn't anything complicated.  I sat on a chair, with my arm propped on some pillows.  The nurse sprayed a vein in my outer wrist with lidocaine, threaded an iv through it, and flushed the vein with saline.  I was all good.

Then, she started pushing the iron.  Five minutes into it, and I felt flushed and the room started darkening.  I realized that I was about to pass out about two seconds too late.  Talk about embarassing.

We finished the infusion with me lying down, sipping apple juice, and vomiting into a bed pan.  Yeah, fun times.  The good news?  Just four more to go.

And the kindly nurse let me know that I should start to feel better in a day or two and likely won't need another course of infusions before Andrew arrives.  Whew!  I am hoping for a bit more breath and energy in these coming days.  And hopefully, less of a need to order lunch, simply for the straw wrapper.

Monday, August 20, 2012


It doesn't seem possible that four years have passed since the day my life changed forever.

Will came into our world and rocked it - in the best way possible - to the very core.

Every single day, I am grateful for him.  There are no words to express the love in my heart for my sweet boy.  When they placed him in my arms four years ago, I loved him because he was my baby and I was biologically programmed to do so.  When he comes into my arms today, I love him because he is my baby, but also for the person that he is.  I love his big heart, his creative mind, his stubborn nature, and every single thing about him (even his stinky feet!).

Happy Birthday, (Not So) Little Man!  May all your dreams come true!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What's Perfect Anyway?

This third pregnancy has really gone by quickly.  I am 30 weeks pregnant this Sunday and REALLY pregnant.  As in, HUGE.  I walk into doctors offices for work and get the, "Whoa, someone is about to pop!"  People are shocked that I still have over two months to go.  At night, I choke back stomach acid, roll around in vain trying to get comfortable, and with baby legs stuck in my lungs, I gasp for air like it's my job. 

I hit this same wall with Will and Emma, where there still seemed like so much pregnancy left and not enough energy to sustain it.  So I know that I will somehow slug it out to the end, but I am getting to that "ready to have this baby" stage.

Now, are we ready for Andrew to join us?

I am not sure you can ever be ready for the metamorphasis required to bring another life into your world, but if getting all of the details prepared helps, then we are on our way to ready.

It helps that we moved and the nursery was just an empty room, that had conveniently already been painted in a lovely neutral brown and very boyish navy blue on one accent wall.  We also already had everything; crib, dresser, clothes, etc.  It literally took 15 minutes to set up the nursery.  So if he was born today, then yes, we would be "ready", but the bassinet and swing is still broken down into pieces in the garage, the baby seat is uninstalled, and we don't have curtains on his windows (blinds, yes).  And no newborn diapers.  But a quick trip to the store and probably about an hour of getting things from the garage and put together would render us ready.

Will is ready. He actually knows what is coming this time and he is excited!  When a baby comes to play, he is all over it!  He talks to the baby all of the time and sweetly tells people that, "I turn four in August and my brother is coming in September!"

Emma has no idea what is about to happen to her little world.  I have a feeling she will not like giving up her spot as the baby, but I also think she will do all right.  When babies come to visit and I give them some snuggles, she protests with a, "MY mama!" as she comes to claim her spot, so I have been working on holding a baby doll and trying to show her that I can hold her, too.  But a baby doll is not a baby brother, so we'll see.

I am. . . I am ready, as in I know there is only one way to go from here.  I am still a little (Ha!)overwhelmed at the prospect of three little ones, one full time job, and only so much energy in this mama.  But I know it can be done because women all over the world are doing it every day.  When I was pregnant with Emma, I really was nervous about how I would handle two.  What I found is this: YOU JUST DO IT.  You don't always do it perfectly, but heck, who is defining perfection anyway?

One of my favorite things to do at night after the kidlets are tucked away, is to stand in the hallway right outside of their rooms.  All of the doors are closed, including the one to Andrew's nursery, and I just imagine all three bedrooms so filled with KID and LOVE, and I remember when I faced empty rooms, and all of the potential chaos is so worth it.