Notes on a Non-binary Pregnancy, part 2: So strong, so… fragile?

[CN: this post is largely about the potential for miscarriage]

I wrote most of this post at about 25 weeks pregnant…

At that point I was already surprised by how little I’d been inspired to write down about the whole experience. It was mostly a boring pregnancy, what can I say? Everything was just textbook; my fetus and uterus both grew right on schedule, the heartbeat was always what it was supposed to be, my blood pressure was fine, I had no morning sickness, no mood swings, and my weight gain curve was ridiculously by-the-book.

I mentioned in my previous post that I felt very strong during my pregnancy. And yet, there was also this other side to that feeling. I hadn’t realized that when you’re pregnant, all kinds of normally innocuous things are suddenly very life-and-death.

and so, I was occasionally blind-sided by how… fragile being pregnant made me feel. What should be minor medical things are much more complicated and serious when you’re pregnant.

I actually had some spotting/mystery blood early on in the pregnancy (about 8 weeks), which is both reasonably normal and also extremely terrifying.¬† Even the doctor I saw about it was just like, “[sadface] um, yeah, so it could be a sign that you’re miscarrying, but all we can do is wait and see?”

And at 20-something weeks along I started having UTI symptoms. This is something I am an old hand at dealing with, normally, but suddenly now that I’m pregnant everything about it had a whole new level of danger.

Normal UTI symptom process: get thee to a walk-in, confirm the presence of bacteria, get some anti-biotics, destroy infection.

When you’re pregnant this is all more complicated, because anti-biotics aren’t safe for the fetus. Or at least, the good ones aren’t, so you’re stuck with hoping that penicillin will do the trick. They kind of want you to wait for a culture to confirm the anti-biotics are called for, but on the other hand, if your infection manages to progress into a kidney infection, not only is that more dangerous to you (because kidneys!), it’s also very risky for the fetus and trigger pre-term labour (which, at the 23 weeks I was at the time, did not have great odds for a live birth). It’s all so fraught! I was not prepared.

In this case, there turned out to be no notable bacteria in my urine anyway (this has happened to me before, even with severe UTI symptoms. Me and my urinary tract have a complicated and mysterious history wherein we like to troll my doctor with weird results that can never be replicated with further testing. It’s a fun game we play. But I digress.)

Even later in the pregnancy, when I was actually obviously pregnant (that didn’t happen until late in month 7!) a mother in one of the children’s library programs I was running last year pulled me aside to let me know her daughter had recently been diagnosed with “fifth disease”. Fifth disease is like a total nothing childhood infection, but oh guess what? It’s very deadly to fetuses, of course! It turned out I showed no signs of having had contact with the disease, but it was an awfully scary week of watching for symptoms and waiting for test results to come back.

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