Oh to talk politics or not?  I have a whole post drawn up but I think I’m going to be a good little blogger and simply offer my congratulations to the country for taking a step in the right direction for civil rights with Washington legalizing gay marriage, Maine and Maryland allowing for civil unions and Minnesota rejecting a proposition to amendment the constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. Congratulations U.S.A.!

When my son heard the news this morning he said, “That’s good.  I’m happy for Marce and Chris.  Do they want to get married?”  The other day at dinner he said, “Mom, if I’m gay when I grow up do you want me to have kids?”  Of course I told him whether he or any of his siblings are gay or not I want them to have kids if they want to and only if they want to.  I just love watching my boy pondering issues I never thought were ponderable when I was a kid.

On the only other issue I’ll mention here, I am heartbroken about California’s majority buying the lies and propaganda that Monsanto, PepsiCo, Coco-Cola, General Mills, Kellogg, DuPont, Bayer and other food and pesticides companies spend over $45 million dollars to spread, and rejecting Proposition 37, the measure that would have mandated the labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms so consumers could be informed about what is in their food.  I’m heartened that the vote was at least close which is pretty cool when you consider how grass roots of a movement this initiative was.  May the food revolution in the U.S.A continue!  All movements take time.  I will just have to keep being vigilant about my food to be sure of what I am eating.

Moving on, we may have been electing a president last night but let’s talk about the fact that I took my very last injection of Progesterone last night which concludes the fertility medications for this surrogacy!!!! I’ve been taking daily injections of Lupron, Delestrogen, and Progesterone in different combinations but it is done.  No more needles!  No more bed time chores of taking a shot.  This lady made it.  It’s been about eighteen weeks that I’ve been giving myself shots and while it served its purpose and I did it eagerly (more at first, lol) I am happy to be done with the chore of it, the knots and bruises.  I’m like a real normal pregnant person now.

Jason took a picture of me taking my last shot!

Speaking of a real normal pregnant person I had my first appointment with at the OBGYN’s office yesterday.  I met with a midwife.  The baby and I are good!  The midwife, however, was not all I had hoped for. 

I’m going to try to make it brief.  Here is an overview of my appointment which included a full exam and lasted about 45 minutes.

We heard the baby’s heart beat using a Doppler heart beat monitor!   It’s so cool that we can hear the heartbeat through my abdomen now.  My uterus is easy to feel by myself and by the midwife, Jane.  My cervix is long and closed as it should be.  Jane was not very worried about the hemorrhage and stressed how small, at 2.8 cm, it really is.  She expects it to reabsorb.  We will be able to confirm that at the upcoming ultrasound which will likely be around twenty weeks. I have been cleared for activity as long as I build gently up to it and its nothing too strenuous, a given in pregnancy.

The midwife was very familiar with the Endometrin suppositories I had been taking and asked me how I did with them.  She had used them for her pregnancy and they caused her much hassle just like me.  She suspected and confirmed that they left me with a slight yeast infection.  I am extremely grateful for this diagnosis; I was starting to think that I would have continued itching, burning and redness throughout the pregnancy.  In hind sight I’m surprised I didn’t realize this was yeast, but it was in such direct correlation with the Endometrin suppositories I thought of nothing else.  I will fight this yeast naturally by starving it of sugar, bye bye organic candy canes I have been enjoying lately, bye by simple carbs and refined starches (which I don’t get a ton of but will get none of till this is gone.)  Hello tons and tons of filtered water, garlic supplements, acidophilus and Vitamin C! If worse comes to worse I have clearance to use some Monistat cream to clear it up.  I’d rather fight is holistically since the yeast is telling me that there is an imbalance in my body.

OBGYN’s and midwives do not routinely test the thyroid levels in pregnant patients but my file already contained my thyroid level from records sent over from the reproductive endocrinologist’s office with results from tests I had done prior to the surrogacy.  Because she had my thyroid level Jane told me about this study she had read that said the optimal thyroid level during pregnancy is higher than the normal thyroid level.  I did not get the specific number, I will ask at my next appointment though I will not see Jane again.  The normal range is .5 to 5.5, new boundaries narrowing it from .3 to 3 though there is not a consensus on the new boundaries yet.  Mine is 2.65 or at least it was when it was tested before the pregnancy.  A lower number means a higher thyroid, (think hyperthyroid) a higher number means lower thyroid function (think hypothyroid).  So at 2.65 my thyroid is on the lower side of the optimal of optimal levels and right in the middle of the broader optimal range but it is certainly by all accounts in the normal range no matter.

Jane suggested we retest my thyroid and consider supplementing my thyroid with an artificial hormone.  In the appointment I was a little surprised and now that I’ve had time to process this I’m appalled.  This is exactly what I want to avoid, the underlying message to me that my body does not know how to function properly for this baby and that I need “interventions” in order to do this right.  If my level of thyroid was 4.95 I might be considering this differently but the fact that my thyroid is perfectly good and she is suggesting I use a synthetic drug that could wreak havoc on my system, teaching my body to rely on a drug instead of its functioning pituitary gland and other working regulatory systems is scary to me.

I wish Jane has said, “Hey you know I read this article about how higher thyroid in pregnancy can be a good thing for babies so while yours looks great, I recommend to my patients that they eat foods high in vitamin A which contributes to the secretion of  the thyroid hormone, Vitamin B2, B6, and B12 which are essential to the secretion of thyroid hormone, Vitamin C which keeps the thyroid gland healthy so it can work properly and Vitamin E which is essential for the pituitary gland to know when to turn on thyroid hormone production and here is a list of the foods that provide these nutrients.”  Or even if she had recommended that I supplement these vitamins I would have felt empowered to further take control of my health.  Instead I got the message that I fear so many women unknowingly accept that somehow my body cannot do this on its own, that it is by default, lacking.

When I mentioned my hesitation to mess with my thyroid Jane said, “Or we can put our heads in the sand!”  Such a bully.  I was actually affected by her and agreed to take a blood test to check on my thyroid though just for the information it will provide.  I am still considering taking it but also considering not taking it.  Maybe I’ll up those vitamins mentioned above and then go take it… who knows.  I am eager to meet with a new midwife; one who was recommended to me but whom I couldn’t see for my first appointment due to scheduling difficulties but as it is I won’t see the preferred midwife until January.  I would definitely get a second and even third opinion before considering using synthetic thyroid hormone, thyroid is no small thing to meddle with.

Moving on, petite Jane also asked me four times if I was certain that my kids heads and shoulders did not get stuck during birth since they were “such large” babies, as if I would need to think on that to know the answer.  Both my kids came out vaginally without getting stuck, without so much as a tear to myself.

She also recommended I get screened early for gestational diabetes in addition to the routine screening later in the pregnancy since I had those LARGE babies.  My son was nine pounds and eight ounces and my daughter nine pounds.

I don’t mind being screened for gestational diabetes, it’s a hassle and disgusting to consume whatever is in that drink they make you take, but certainly I’m not against knowing if there is an issue. I just resent that the assumption would be that I am a candidate for gestational diabetes because my children were large despite the documented fact that diabetes played no role at all in their not obscenely large sizes.  I was tested as is routine for gestational diabetes with my previous pregnancies and had no such issues with them.

This is the part of the visit that I wanted to tell Jane, the not so natural midwife that my two children are in the 97th percentile of not just weight but height as well.  They are both bright and healthy.  My son as a ten year old fifth grader, tests at a twelfth grade reading level, higher than any other student in his school and is at the top of his class in every single subject. They both play sports effectively and are in shape.  Somehow my thyroid, body and breast milk knew how to grow, birth and feed them creating healthy, happy and smart children.  The only issues my kids have had is that my daughter has some food sensitivities likely from my lack of knowing when I was pregnant with her that I am diary and egg intolerant.  Luckily, no thanks to modern medicine, and in part thanks to Marce and Chris for their request that I become dairy free, we discovered this issue and the child I am carrying for Marce and Chris will only be receiving food my body can process.

I will end on more positive aspects of my visit.  While examining me after Jane knew that I will not be birthing with the use of an epidural or other drugs she proudly told me that her and another midwife have been pushing to allow water births (this hospital is behind the times and does not yet allow them.)  Unfortunately it is not scheduled to take effect until June of 2013 but she was hopeful that it could be sooner.  Please god let them do this before we deliver in May!  It would be so refreshing to have the water delivery option available to me.

This is a great time for me to recommend the movie, “The Business of Being Born.”  My friends are not going to believe this but I just watched it for the first time a few days ago.  Jason is actually the one who randomly started it.  It is full of good information on the system and current state of the maternity care and explains better than I do why I am so hesitant to trust modern prenatal care.

Jane also told me that the hospital we will be at has a good reputation with surrogates and Intended Parents. They have had much experience and if they have the room, they offer a separate room for the IP’s and their baby to be after the birth.  My friend who birthed there told me that the hospital is part of the “Baby Friendly Initiative” which places a high emphasis on breastfeeding even going as far as NOT offering free samples of formula which seems to be a normal part of delivering at hospitals.  I anticipate them being real helpful in helping us pull off getting this sweet babe of Marce and Chris’, my colostrum and my breast milk.  The hospital also encourages parent/child bonding by keeping the baby with the parents at all times, not steeling them away for testing or shots or a random nursery visit.  This will be awesome I think in furthering solid bonding for Marce and Chris and their babe.

I’m sorry, I knew I wasn’t really going to make it brief.

Update:  I forgot the most important news ever – Two nights ago I was feeling my uterus, noticing I could feel it through my abdomen, and when I was finished and was quietly laying in bed I felt the baby move!!!! I confirmed with the midwife that while text books say fifteen weeks, it is not uncommon for a woman who has been pregnant before to feel movement in the twelfth week.  It was so awesome and wonderful! 

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  • Ariana Mullins

    Wow, lots to think about! I think that your midwife’s comment about burying your heads in the sand was really rude. I’m glad you’ll be seeing someone else. And I love your son’s question at the dinner table. What a sweetheart.

  • Tammy

    Yikes! Sounds like this might not be the right midwife match for you. I hope you are able to find someone you are more comfortable with and who will support ALL of your and your IPs’ choices.

    FYI on the thyroid thing. According to my endocrinologist that I was referred to after testing very hypothyroid(9.1) at my screening, she prefers her pregnant patients to be under 2.5 to reduce the risk of low IQs in babies. Obviously a level as high as mine needed to be corrected, but I would think that your levels are close enough, especially since a person’s levels can range quite a bit throughout the day (higher in the morning than at night). Don’t let her bully you into doing something you don’t want/need to do.

  • greatdana

    Thank you Tammy for that feedback, it’s good to have a specific number to reference. My quick search on thyroid during pregnancy shows repeatedly that my level is good. I just can’t help but to think that our bodies would customize our own thyroid to what we need, unless there is an obvious problem and that is why ranges exist, we are not all the same. I think I will have the blood draw to test my level again now that I’m pregnant because the information will not hurt a thing! We’ll see if it is higher, lower or the same and go from there. You make an interesting point about the thyroid fluctuating throughout the day.

  • Michael

    I’m happy to hear there is a lot of good news. And can I also say that I love reading about how supportive parents are of kids learning about gay people. Thirty years ago I think most parents would freak out if a kid said he/she was gay — even if the kid was too young to know what it really meant. It’s so encouraging to see my family is more and more accepted by people everywhere thanks to people like you!

  • Anonymous

    We are so happy that REF 74 was approved!! I can’t wait until the ultrasound in December… I hope you can resolve your current issues the all natural way. It’s amazing that the NP would recommend thyroid supplement, REALLY?? Just seems weird


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