Tag Archives: doctors

Bonehead Decisions

Yesterday Eric and I went to the hospital for our 36-week growth scan (a thorough, more in-depth ultrasound to track baby’s growth/health, generally performed every 4-6 weeks in pregnancy). After the hell parade that was Sunday, we* were pretty anxious about what this scan might reveal.

*we = I . Eric doesn’t scare easily. See “marrying me” as evidence.

The first thing the technician said before performing the scan was “So, now that you’re 36 weeks and 3 days along, baby should definitely be in the head-down position, preparing for delivery.”

“Funny you should say that,” I countered. “Because we ended up in the hospital on Sunday due to contractions, nausea, and shortness of breath, only to learn through a quick ultrasound that baby flipped to breech, even though she’s been head down since week 30.”

“Ugh,” said the technician. “What a little stinker.”

I immediately liked her, and wondered if she’d be interested in nannying my child as a side-gig.

“Yes,” I agreed. “We’ve been using the term ‘bozo,’ but stinker works too.”

“Alright, well let’s see what Stinker’s up to today.”

She placed the ultrasound wand on my belly and immediately determined that baby had, somewhere in the past 36 hours, flipped back to head-down (the correct position).

“Oh, thank god,” I sighed, followed quickly by, “Fucking…seriously, though?”

My initial interpretation of this behavior was that this baby is exactly like Eric– an energetic bunny hellbent on filling her day with activities, despite the person sharing space with her being in NO MOOD.

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A true Lerman baby, by contrast, would have found a cozy spot at week 6 and not moved a muscle until she was tugged out with forceps, suction, and a blowhorn at week 43. But this kid has been kicking, jabbing, and playing my ribs like a xylophone for months now. Activities!!!!!!!!!! 52a0e87bb80b3b54af4cff0f2a2266bb imgres-252a0e87bb80b3b54af4cff0f2a2266bb imgres-252a0e87bb80b3b54af4cff0f2a2266bbimgres-2

Textbook Eric.

But upon further contemplation I realized this late-in-the-game-flip-trick was maybe less a display of restless hyperactivity and more indicative of chronic indecisiveness. A sudden, crippling fear that she was doing everything horribly wrong, and attempting to change course when it made absolutely no rational sense to do so. Or perhaps it was just straight-up bitchery performed for her own amusement. All clearly traits of her mother. img_1179-1

Terrifying realization that my daughter might be exactly like me aside, I was relieved that our little gremlin found her way back home because no breech = no automatic c-section, which, sure, might still happen anyway, but at least now it’s not a set inevitable. (Side note: after listening to several women in the throes of excruciating labor on Sunday, a c-section did actually start to sound appealing. But in general I have a rule about avoiding knives to my body if/when possible. Nose job at age 15 aside, of course. That was obviously necessary, according to my mother.)

Then, suddenly, something dawned on me, and I quickly formed a medical hypothesis about Sunday’s trauma that no doctor had offered up, because apparently in this pregnancy it is up to me, with my BA in Sociology, to accurately diagnose all health conditions with no help from the people who attended 7+ years of medical school (see: Hypothyroidism section of this post for further evidence of how I am smarter than all doctors everywhere my own best advocate.)

So I presented my hypothesis to the technician: “Wait, so– on Sunday they chalked my nausea, contractions and difficulty breathing up to dehydration or something I ate. But is it possible I got sick because of her breech position? Because honestly everything felt different and so uncomfortable for that one day, even the way I was able to move and lay, and I think maybe it was because she flipped to breech so quickly?”

“Oh, that’s absolutely possible,” replied the technician/my future nanny/new best friend. “At this stage in pregnancy all of your organs have shifted up, and there’s not much space left in there. So when baby flipped and pressed her head against all those organs, it definitely could have made you sick.”

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What exactly did I know? That this was ALL HER FAULT– NOT MINE! The doctors kept trying to tell me I’m not drinking enough water (literally impossible– I’m blogging this from the porcelain whiz palace, because I live here now) or that I “shouldn’t have eaten that chicken salad” when in reality I drink 20 vats of water a day (as something had to replace the wine) and Gracie Mews Diner would NEVER hurt me.

No, Sunday’s disaster was the result of baby’s choice, not mine, and to be honest I am slightly resentful that I had to take the heat for HER poor decision.

Although I suppose, in the end, this is exactly what parenthood is– begrudgingly accepting responsiblity for your kid’s bonehead choices.

And fine. I accept that. I guess I was just kind of hoping the boneheadedness would hold off until toddlerhood. Or, at the very least, birth.

Anyway, she heard all this so here she is trying to give me the finger.

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I’m sure she’ll have that down by the time I meet her.

 

 

Sunday Scaries

Yesterday I woke up having contractions, shortness of breath, and nausea.

So, thinking there was a slight possibility I might be in labor, as I am thisclose to full term, we called the doctor and described my symptoms. She advised us to check into the hospital’s labor and delivery building.

Eric: “Ok, and where is that?”

Probably a pretty fucking good sign that we are not quite ready to have this baby.

So the doctor gave us the address and politely decided to not acknowledge the fact that we were basically the pregnancy version of Dumb and Dumber.

We got to the hospital and eventually someone came to give me an exam. The monitors showed that I was in fact having contractions, so they wanted to check if my cervix was at all open (a possible sign of impending labor). I thought maybe this was the kind of thing that could be easily detected on, say, a sonogram. But no. Turns out this “exam” involves the doctor sticking her entire arm up my hooha and apologizing profusely, while Eric hides in a corner.

After a minute of intensely uncomfortable digging she declared “Nope! You’re completely closed off!”, confirming that my cervix does indeed match my personality.

She then performed a sonogram to check on the baby. “She looks perfectly happy in there!” she declared in a sunshine tone. “But you know she’s breech, right?”

Ummmm NO, Dr. Hooha Hands, we did NOT know that.

“But she’s been head down since 30 weeks, including when I went to the doctor 5 days ago!”

“Oh. Yikes. Well, now she’s breech. Her head is up here (points just below my left boob). It’s unlikely she’ll flip again at this point, but you can discuss options with your regualr OB, such as a planned c-section….but anyway, that’s not why we’re here.”

No, it’s not. BUT NOW THAT’S ALL I CAN FOCUS ON SO THANKS FOR NOTHING.

“So let’s get back to the contractions and nausea,” she continued.

“Ok. Yeah. Why is this happening?”

She might as well have answered with this emoji shrug_1f937

“Possibly dehydration? Or maybe something you ate?”

giphy <— that’s me being impressed with the expertise and insight one gains after 7+ years of med school.

“Either way, we’re going to give you this anti-nausea pill so at least you can get some relief on that end, and then we’ll see.”

I swallowed the pill.

Ten minutes later, I vomited profusely, filling two bins so quickly that two nurses and Eric (poor, poor Eric) were not enough helping hands to prevent it from spilling everywhere.

After they changed my entire bedding, wiped down my plastic mattress and re-dressed me in yet another gown that did nothing to cover my pale, pregnant tush-sag, they hooked me up to an IV to rehydrate me and dripped some meds through it, which eventually put me to sleep for about an hour. This was nice because it allowed me to tune out the woman next door in the throes of what seemed to be extremely painful labor. Eric still got to listen, though, because everything about his life right now is roses.

When I woke, I felt much better.

The doctor came back and looked at the monitor. “You were contracting a lot while sleeping so I’d like to check your cervix again.”

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So, one more painful round of arm-up-the-vajayjay and Dr. Hooha Hands officially confirmed that I am definitely closed, not in labor, and can go on my merry way. The nurses then came to check on me one last time, and Eric took this opportunity to clarify, “So, when we DO give birth, we come HERE?” imgres.jpg They smiled, because nurses are angels, and cofirmed that yes, Lloyd and Harry, this is where you two will come to have your baby.

They then discharged me, advising me to drink lots of water (duh) and not eat chicken salad from diners (oh.)

There is no real wrap up or moral or point to this story other than in case you haven’t been listening for the past 8 months, (this) pregnancy sucks.

Happy Monday.

 

13?!

My endocrinologist, who I now see for my newly acquired thyroid problem (thank you, pregnancy) is VERY old and the NICEST man, but also quite possibly the weirdest, and he never lets the appointment end without giving me parenting advice that I did not ask for.

Doctor: “The books are going to tell you all kinds of things, and everyone is going to have their opinion, but let me tell you right now, the best thing you can do is have your baby sleep in the bed with you.”

Me: “Oh, yeah I mean I have no judgement about that. I’m not sure it’s the route we’re going to take, but–”

Doctor: “I’m telling you, do it. It’s just the most wonderful thing to have your kid in your bed with you. And don’t let anyone tell you it’s dangerous, or it’s not healthy. That’s nonsense. Don’t listen to the critics– you can have them sleeping in your bed with you ’til they’re 13!”

Me: (laughing) “13!? Alright well THAT’S a little extreme.”

Doctor: “That’s what my wife and I did with our son.”

Me: img_6189-3

Doctor: “Yeah and I’ll tell you what, he grew up to be a very nice Jewish man. Very successful, very smart, very well-known. Went into politics. ”

Oh. Is this him?

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My Uterus is Wearing a Catcher’s Mitt and Now We Can’t Go to the Beach

This post is intended to serve as both a PSA to those of you who do NOT want to get pregnant and perhaps a reassuring bit of news for those of you 35-and-ups who hope to have kids (or MORE kids) at some point and have underlying anxiety about the non-stop, aggressive warnings from the medical community that it is much harder to conceive after age 34.

Now, I’m not here to argue with science. Clearly, there is medically researched backing to the idea that conception becomes more difficult as you get older. I’m just here to make you aware of the less-talked-about phenomenon that occurs in your mid-30s, but is just as real* (*have no scientific backing for this claim, based solely on personal experience and, you know, “what I’ve heard”)– it’s called Catcher’s Mitt Syndrome** (**not a real syndrome. Don’t quote this to people without a sense of humor– they won’t get it, and then they’ll research it, find out it’s fake and report me to Snopes).

Catcher’s Mitt Syndrome is when your geriatric*** uterus (***not my term– actual medical term for when you are 35+ and trying to have a child) overperforms. See, thanks to your 17+ years of popping birth control pills like tic tacs and/or using other means to impede its life work, your uterus hasn’t been given any opportunity to fulfill what it believes to be its life’s purpose (I am not saying this IS its life’s purpose, I’m just saying that’s what your UTERUS thinks. I fully support a woman’s choice to never have kids, and in fact encourage that choice. Trust me, I’m a teacher– I’ve met far too many parents who probably shouldn’t be parents.)

And so when your Guterus (celebrity couple name for geriatric + uterus) DOES get that one opportunity to shine, it gets so fucking excited that it dusts off the cobwebs, sprouts 27 limbs, and slips a catcher’s mitt on each of them. Then it does everything in its power to catch one of those incoming suckers because it knows this might be its only opportunity. This “last chance” mentality also causes your Yogi Berra uterus to text-alert your ovaries, encouraging them to release every available egg from their dark, abandoned storage room, which is why twins are more likely**** as you get older, even without the assistance of IVF (****statistic based on what my 35-year-old friend who just had twins told me. But she claims her doctor told her that, and I believe her because it sounds legit, and also this friend is a general knower of stuff and we used to share custody of a bunny when we were teenagers, so let’s just say I trust her. Yes, we ended up giving that bunny away because it was too much work and not as much fun as we thought it’d be, but that’s a story for another time and hopefully not at all reflective of our parenting abilities).

Needless to say, Eric and I did not know about Catcher’s Mitt Syndrome when we headed off to our 2-week South Africa/Seychelles honeymoon in late November. Like most people with a Guterus, I assumed that making a baby would take about 6 months if we were lucky, a few years with medical assistance if we were less lucky, or just wouldn’t happen at all. In fact, as proof of the absolute and utter uselessness of anxiety (my therapist would be so proud right now), I have spent the past 8 years worrying that when the time came for me to start a family, I would be unable to. This fear was based on absolutely nothing other than the knowledge that I would probably not get married until my mid-30s (because when you’re having a mental breakdown, living at home, and sleeping in your parents’ bed at age 27, you can safely assume marriage isn’t happening for a while).

Eight years of worrying I’d miss my chance, only to conceive on the first try. Anxiety, you deceptive bitch! Don’t get me wrong, I am EXTREMELY grateful that it turns out you’re nothing but a lying whore– I’d just like those 8 years of wasted energy back. It was exhausting.

So before we left for the honeymoon, I looked at my handy dandy ovulation app and noted that my “fertile days” would begin and last right through our 5 days in the Seychelles, at the end of our trip. Smack in the middle of paradise seemed like as good a time as any to get started!

Well, in true-to-me fashion I managed to contract a stomach bug of death during our last day in South Africa, which had me projectile vomiting through 2 countries, 3 airports, and 2 aircrafts (one of them a 20-seater so again, fellow passengers and unamused flight attendant who aggressively tried to block my path to the toilet during taxi, I’M SORRY.)

We finally arrived in the Seychelles, where I threw myself dramatically onto the sweet salvation of the bed and, with this exact level of energy and enthusiasm r7qewnm.gif , turned to Eric and said “Sooo….I’m ovulating…”

I still had dried throw up on my chin.

“Alright, well….maybe not tonight,” he replied gently, from the furthest corner of the room he could find. Because even Eric has his limits.

While I did stop puking that night, I never fully recovered from my illness in the time we were there, but we still put in some minimal baby-making effort because it just felt irresponsible not to.

It was only on our last day in the Seychelles that we decided to actually consult a calendar and calculate when this baby would actually be born, should we conceive. To our horror, we realized that it would be during our annual 2-week trip to the Outer Banks, the family vacation to end all family vacations– and, more importantly, the one that is fully financed by Big Steve. My siblings and I literally spend the year counting the days until this trip, and it’s pretty much what gets us through life. Eric has grown to love the Outer Banks as much as I do, so the idea of not going was unacceptable to us both.

Me: “Alright, well, we only tried once. Luckily the chances of getting pregnant on the first try when you’re 35 are zero*****.” (*****Again, all quoted statistics are based on NOTHING.)

Well, you know how this story ends– I never felt fully recovered from that stomach bug and by our second week back in the US, I decided that I definitely contracted an African parasite. Shortly thereafter, we confirmed (via 4 separate home pregnancy tests, because reading lines is hard), I DID have a parasite, but technically it was of Seychellian (Seychellese? Seychellite?) origin, and that parasite was going to turn into a human.

So, of course, we’d like to thank Catcher’s Mitt Syndrome for this blessing that is our daughter-to-be, but we also wish we had known about this phenomenon ahead of time, as we would have scheduled accordingly.

“Yeah, but your parents will just switch the vacation dates, right?” many of you have queried.

Oh, you sweet, naive people from normal families.

Here’s how the conversation with my mother went:

Me (right after taking pregnancy test): “So…we’re pregnant! The only issue here is that the due date is August 26, literally smack in the middle of the Outer Banks vacation…”
Mom: “Well, we don’t know that’s the due date.”
Me: “Ok. We do, though.”
Mom: “Let’s see what the doctor says.”
Me: “The doctor is going to say that’s the due date, because I used the exact same calculation method a doctor uses.”
Mom: “Em, let’s just see what he says, ok?”
(after going to doctor)
Me: “The doctor says the due date is August 26.”
Mom: “Ok, well let’s just see what happens.”

So no. No one is switching anything.

The takeaway from all this? It’s six-fold:

  1. Ignore research-based science and listen to my unfounded generalization that is based on one thing that happened to me once– conception at age 35+ can actually occur very fast, because your uterus has now become Hamilton and it is not throwing away its shot.
  2. Be grateful for this phenomenon, but schedule life plans accordingly. All-expense-paid vacations are precious. Yes, so are babies, but I’m just saying– shifting things a month never hurt anyone.
  3. Everything I’ve presented in this post is based on stuff I heard/experienced. I don’t know if it has any general merit so do not quote me, unless you’re doing it in a light-hearted, jokey way. Like, don’t tweet this at NIH.
  4. If you think these theories DO have some merit, google them and see if you find anything to back them up. I’d love to know what you find! “But why didn’t YOU google them to see if they have merit, Emily?” Because that’s not my job here. I write a blog, not a medical journal.
  5. No, this post is not an ungrateful, whining complaint about missing a vacation to have a baby. We are of course thrilled that this happened so easily for us, know that we are extremely lucky, and this post is all in jest. It annoys me that I even have to include these disclaimers, but there is always that person who takes offense, and while I don’t understand then why you continue to read this blog, I still feel the need to address your complete misunderstanding of how humor works.
  6. For this entire post, I am sorry, Eric.

I Failed the Intake Process

When you meet with a hematologist re: a blood disorder, the first thing they do is take your medical history to determine if you’ve ever had bleeding problems in the past.

Hematologist: “Ok, this is probably the most important question that will help me determine your blood clotting status– have you ever had any surgeries?”

Me: “No.”

Hematologist: “Lucky you! Have you ever broken a bone?”

Me: “I broke my foot about 9 years ago. Fractured my wrist when I was a kid. And, well, my nose was broken when I had a nose job, obviously, if that counts.”

Hematologist: “You had a nose job? But you just said you never had surgery!”

Me: “Oh, well, that’s like, not really a surgery.”

Hematologist: “A rhinoplasty is definitely a surgery.”

Me: “Ok, well, you say surgery, I say birthday present. Or family rite of passage. Or my mother’s suggestion. Or–”

Hematologist: “Ok just tell me if you had a bleeding problem during or after surgery.”

Me: “No.”

Hematologist: “Ok, any other surgeries I should know about?

Me: “No.”

Hematologist: “Have you ever had problems with your gums, or had gum grafting?”

Me: “No. But when I had my chin done they did cut through my gums in order to–”

Hematologist: “You had a genioplasty?! That’s ALSO surgery.”

Me: “Ok, well, that’s a very fancy word for it. And again, it wasn’t so much a surgery as just an add-on or a necessary complement to the nose–”

Hematologist: giphy.gif

 

I need a Jewish doctor.

 

 

A Tired, Dehydrated People

I recently had blood work done that showed low thyroid levels, so my doctor referred me to an endocrinologist.

Endocrinologist: “Your thyroid is inflamed and operating at about 60%. You’ve likely had chronic hypothyroidism your entire life, but sometimes stress can really bring it to the surface. It likely runs in your family. Is anyone in your family ‘high-energy?'”

Me: cracking-myself-up

Endocrinologist: “So no?”

Me: “To quote my brother-in-law– ‘The Lermans are a tired, dehydrated people.'”

Endocrinologist: “You said you have 3 siblings. All low energy?”

Me: “My sister has one setting and it’s this: img_2021-6. Jeremy is essentially a bear living in eternal winter. There are times on family vacation, during his 3rd or 4th nap of the day, when I have actually leaned over and checked his pulse. Zack has spurts of energetic enthusiasm when motivated, but then needs a 16 hour slumber to recover from his efforts. He also….like….talks…..like…..this…..”

Endocrinologist: “And your parents?”

Me: “My mother moves at the pace of a snail on Valium and has the voice of a soft bird. If you’re not sitting DIRECTLY next to her, or better yet, on her lap, forget about being able to hear or understand a word she whisper-mumbles. That being said, she IS active, like socially and activity-wise. It’s just, like, a slow-motion active.”

Endocrinologist: “And your Dad?”

Me: “Can’t sit still. The one exception.”

Endocrinologist: “Your husband?”

Me: “Like a corgi puppy lapping up a dish of Red Bull. Is that even important?”

Endocrinologist: “No I’m just enjoying your descriptions. None of this matters. Your thyroid’s broken, here are some pills.”

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Stigma

Went to see my general practitioner for my yearly check-up today.

Doctor: “Are you still taking Prozac for depression and anxiety?”

Me: “Yes, 30mg.”

Doctor: “Hmmmm. That’s more than you were taking last year.”

Me: “Yes…”

Doctor: “But you just got married?”

Me: “Yes.”

Doctor: “Well that’s a happy event! That didn’t help the depression?”

Me: “It was a happy event. I’m not sure what that has to do with my mental illness.”

Doctor: “I would just think the wedding would boost your spirits, no?”

Me: “It did. It also boosted my husband’s spirits– and yet, wouldn’t you know it, he still has diabetes!”

 

Yeah, so. I need a new doctor.

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You Need to Find a New Line of Work

Xray technician: “Ok, hold still, face forward, I’m going to take an xray of your neck.”

(pause as she takes xray)

Xray technician (looking at xray): “What the…?! What IS that?”

Me: “Oh my god, what?!”

Xray technician: “There’s a huge mass on the xray, right where I’m trying to get the photo.”

Me: “A mass?!”

Xray technician: “Yeah…right…Ohhh, oh oh. It’s your bun.”

Me: “My hair?”

Xray technician: “Yeah. Try putting your hair all the way up on the top of your head. My bad.”

Me: “Jesus, you scared me. Did you have to use the word ‘mass’?!”

Xray technician (laughing): “Sorry about that. It’s been a long Monday. You know how it is.”

No. No I do NOT.

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