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.