Who knew pregnancy could be so educational? Or perilous?
When I went for my prenatal exam on Friday, my bp was a lot higher than usual. They had to take it 4 times and the last reading, the one after the end of the exam, was the most reassuring but still higher than usual. My midwife also did a knee reflex test, which she hadn’t done before but which I have just this morning found out can be an indication of hypersensitivity….and my knees gave her fine, fine jerks, which they probably would not have done had things been normal.
So she had me go back in on Monday to get another check. It was still high so the OB I am working with, who is fortunately in on Mondays, told me to ‘take it easy’ this week and come back in for my regular appt on this Friday. But before I go in on Friday, I get to do a 24-hour urine collection (ie, pee in a jug for 24 hours) so they can check my protein levels. Apparently, with this kind of hypertension, your body passes out too much protein which shows up in the urine.
Gestational hypertension often arises for no known cause altho it is more likely in a first pregnancy than subsequent ones. It often arises after the 37th week of pregnancy altho it can happen any time after week 20 (I was at the end of week 35). There are not any symptoms other than elevated bp except in severe cases, such as blurred vision, vomiting, severe headaches. It is essentially a reaction of the maternal body against the foreign invading substance and can lead to pre-eclampsia (‘before seizure’) and eclampsia (‘seizure’). As my OB said, ‘it is a reaction against the placenta and the only cure is to deliver the placenta. It is usually customary to deliver the baby, as well’. Ha! A little OB humor for you.
This website was particuarly informative for me….
So I have pretty much been hanging out on the couch this week. Fortunately, since I can work from home I have still be able to work the days I’ve been assigned this week but, lest you think that hanging out on the couch for a few days sounds pretty much like heaven, I will warn you of the disadvantages. A) you tend to fall asleep while working, which is probably frowned upon by your employers, B) your hip starts to hurt (keep in mind that one must lie on one’s left side), C) heartburn is worsened by lying down, and D) you just generally feel inhibited. I do not know how these women who are put on bedrest quite early in the pregnancy can manage. But I am trying to ignore all the things that I feel like I want to get done and just relax since worrying about all the things that I wanted to get done probably contributed to my stress level.
So, woohoo for pregnancy. Isn’t it great? It is far more of a parasitic relationship than anyone in our culture is typically willing to admit. They tell me it is worth it in the end and I am sure it will be. I am also sure that our next baby is going to be a cute little Asian baby that we will receive from the nice people at the adoption agency.