The 17th week (leading into a full 18 weeks on 3/20) was a hard one. I have not been that emotional throughout this pregnancy so far, but I made up for it this week.
The first question everyone asks of you is, “How are you feeling?” Truthfully, I feel better than I ever have. I have really enjoyed these last few weeks of pregnancy. I’m at the stage where I have all of the benefits without any of the downside (physically speaking, anyway. It sure would be nice to drink and race, but I can live with that.)
What crushed me this week was the boot. This damn walking cast.
What I found was that the normal pregnancy weight gain, the inability to bike or run, the perfect weather, hearing and seeing all my friend’s and teammate’s stories about their awesome, sunny bike rides and pregnancy hormones all massed together to create the perfect storm of self-pity. For the first time ever this week, I felt like I had nothing left to call ME.
I had started swimming more (and have been feeling great in the water), but I couldn’t do anything that I loved to do. I couldn’t run or bike. I couldn’t even take Roo for a long walk, like we had both been growing accustomed to. Every morning she looked at me hopefully and then just begrudgingly went back to bed after she realized we weren’t going anywhere.
To make matters worse, after 2 weeks in the walking boot, I felt like my foot was getting worse. I still had not gotten an x-ray 1.) just as a precaution of being pregnant and 2.) because if it was a stress fracture, it might not show up on an xray until 2 weeks after the incident anyway. I was beginning to worry that it had fully fractured and was healing in the wrong place. All kinds of worst case scenarios started running through my head, the worst of which would be a plaster cast. If I couldn’t even swim, I don’t know what I would do. I started to imagine 6 weeks in a full plaster cast that would keep me off my feet and out of the pool. Then what?
It occurred to me through this week that I have a full-blown addiction to exercise and training. I need to workout like I need to breathe. Not in an unhealthy abundance, but I just need to do something at least 5 days a week or I just feel like I’m worthless. So much of my self-esteem is driven by exercise and athletics, that I just don’t do well when those things are taken away from me.
I finally decided that I needed concrete answers. I did some online research about pregnancy and x-rays, learned that I would need thousands of foot x-rays in order to have any chance of hurting Keiki. Dr. Wong wrote me a script for an X-Ray and off to Reston Radiology I went.
I had issues the moment I arrived. For starters, if you’ve ever been to Reston Radiology, you know that they “admit you” the same as you would get if you were at the hospital. You go to one of their desks, sign a bunch of crap and then they put a hospital bracelet on you. I was sent to another location of theirs for my first sonogram. I got two bills from them for that day. One was for the services rendered (the sonogram), but then I got a completely separate bill for around $200 for being “admitted” to the hospital. You have got to be kidding me! I’ve never seen any other place do this for radiology tests. It’s a load of crap. I can’t see any other reason for it, other than them working the damn insurance system.
When I realized this was another branch of the same damn place, I immediately regretted coming to them. I sat in the lobby, waited for them to call me to the desk to do paperwork. An older woman processed my paperwork to admit me. I told her I was pregnant.
“Oh, I’m not sure we’re going to be able to do this on you then,” she says. Between her tone and my stress I interpreted what she said as “Oh, and yet you’re STILL opting to have an x-ray on your dumb foot? You are already a bad mother.”
I was already highly stressed and wanted to yell at her to cut the crap and do her job. You’re a desk person, lady. You know nothing about what you can or can’t do.
So she makes this big show of calling a tech about whether or not I can have an x-ray. I can hear from the conversation that the person very clearly said yes. She hangs up and tells me (in a judgy fashion, that I swear I wasn’t imagining) that I’ll just have to sign a disclaimer. Ya think? I’ll have to sign a disclaimer? The same freaking disclaimer that EVERYONE who comes in here has to sign? Fine. Save the ‘tude, lady.
So, I fill out all the paperwork, get my $200 bracelet and am told to go sit in the lobby again.
Now I’m sitting there, terrified that my foot is broken, annoyed that this lady is judging me and pissed that I’m going to spend $200 for the good fortune of sitting in their lobby. So, I did what any person would do. I started asking Google whether pregnant women can have x-rays. I have one hand on my belly (apologizing to Keiki for being such a flake) and one hand on my phone.
I’d find a science-based article……”The level of radiation in an xray is of insignificant amount and in no way will be enough to cause damage.”
And then I’d find the forum type answer where SALLYSMOM309 (who’s decidedly not a medical person) would write, “OMG. I wouldn’t have an xray while I was preggo!!!!! If there’s a chance of damage 2 the baby, y would U?!”
(As an aside: if you are pregnant, stay away from websites that just allow any old moron to post a response. If you read enough of these, you will eventually be too afraid to leave the house. The world is full of dark, scary toxins and physical traps waiting to attack your unborn child. Any number of these threats will most certainly cause your child to spontaneously combust. Your best bet is lay in bed, keep your movement to a minimum and do Kegels. Lot of kegels.)
My stress began to grow. I called Ryan almost in tears. It just didn’t feel right. I walked to the desk, had her cut off my bracelet and hightailed it out of there. I felt like I was escaping from prison.
I went home and just let Ryan hug me instead. Emotional basket-case.
I regathered, called my midwives office, confirmed that it would be completely fine to have foot x-rays and then called Fox Mill Foot and Ankle to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lane. He’d helped me out with foot and ankle issues last year. I liked him. He exudes trustworthiness. He can x-ray me and read the results right then and there. AND, he doesn’t charge me for a plastic bracelet or have Judgy McJudgerson as his front desk person. Appointment is on Wednesday (3/21), so I’m going to just keep swimming until then and keep my fingers crossed.
This week wasn’t all bad. In fact, parts of it, were very, very good. In my attempts to make lemonade with my lemons, I swam 12,000 meters, which has to be some kind of record for me. I’ve decided that if I get a good outcome from my Wednesday foot appointment that I’m going to register for the Jim McDonnell trifecta. It’s a 5k swim on 5/26 followed up a 1 mile swim and then a 2 mile swim on 5/27. It’s something I’ve never done. It would be awesome to check something off my bucket list while I’m pregnant. I’ll be 27 weeks pregnant at that time. My midwife gave me the A-OK.
Also, when I last wrote, I had felt Keiki moving at about 3pm for two days in a row. For the next day or so, I didn’t feel as much as I had in the previous days. Fortunately, my midwife had told me this was completely normal early on. She told me not to expect it everyday once it starts. A lot of it will depend on what part of the uterus the baby has decided to set up shop in for that particular day. By the end of the week, though, look out! This kid was on overdrive. Sunday and Monday were particularly awesome. On Monday, Keiki rock and rolled all day long. The coolest part was feeling it move while I was swimming on Monday. That was so strange. It felt like I had fish swimming around my guts while I was swimming myself. Weird. It’s still just squirming sensations that I’m feeling. No real “kicking”. I’ve read a bunch of different explanations from other pregnant woman about what this feels like.
It feels like butterflies
If feels like bubbles
It feels like <insert description>
In my opinion, it feels like there is a kid living inside you squirming around. Exactly what you would think that feels like, it feels like. There’s really no other description necessary for me. It feels like Keiki is doing those underwater flips we all did as a kid.
It’s been so nice to have confirmation of its existence, especially during an emotionally tough week. I lay down sometimes when it starts and just put my hand on my belly and talk to him/her. I love it already. The love grows stronger everyday that it becomes more real. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Keiki would start moving like crazy in a week that I really needed a pick-me-up. Monday is the day that all the xray craziness went down and Monday was also the day that Keiki wouldn’t stop. Like it knew I needed the support. I’m already happy that we have each other. This is going to be a great, amazing journey.
So, as a full 18 weeks comes to an end on Tuesday, I’m excited, nervous and a little scared for what results I might get on Wednesday appointment, but it’s nice knowing I have my little company along for the ride.
(Note: there have been updates since the 18th week date on 3/20. I will post more of those later today. For the purposes of record keeping, I’m trying to keep this blog segmented by weeks.)