Hypertension. Still.

As I alluded to in my previous post, I was in the ER myself yesterday.  I had been on a waiting list for an ambulatory blood pressure monitor to determine what my numbers REALLY are, and the nurse from Chronic Disease Management called me to say I could come and get hooked up.  Since I was planning on heading up there to weigh iBean (who turned 6 months), I thought it would be a two-birds-with-one-stone thing. The boys were still in Edmonton with Tony, so it was just us girls. After the hospital, I thought we could go to the swimming pool or something.

I arrived at the hospital and went to CDM. The nurse took my blood pressure before attaching the ambulatory monitor to me.  My reading: 166/112. Huh?  “Are you feeling alright?” She asked. I felt fine.  I was very relaxed, only having iBean in the house with me for 24 hours was like a free vay-cay. No reason for it to be so high.  So she took my pressure on the other arm: 158/108.  Not much better.

“I really don’t feel comfortable putting this monitor on you if your blood pressure is so high already,” the nurse said.  “I think your doctor is in the ER today.  I will let him know I am sending you down there.”

So off we went.  Down the blood pressure path again.  My doctor ordered a myriad of tests (all of which I have been previously subjected to) and put me back on the last blood pressure med I had been taking.  He then directed me to the lab, where I had some blood taken (five or six vials), a urine test AND they sent me home with two 24-hr urine collection tests.  That’s right. Two.

At this point, I am resigned to my fate. My bloodwork has been consistently good, my organ functions have always been good (even at my worst state in the hospital). I know that my preeclampsia was so bad that I was at risk of having long-term hypertension as a result, but I really wish there was something more.  When I explain my condition to people (including doctors) they are floored that my pregnancy blood pressure problems persist even when there is no baby in my belly. How can that be? There must be something else wrong with you.  You don’t feel it when your blood pressure is that high?  Do you have double vision? Headaches?

No.  I feel nothing.  If I was not so diligent about my blood pressure readings, I would honestly have had no idea I was hypertensive at all.  I am an active otherwise healthy person whose blood pressure can climb so high that it is a wonder that I have not stroked out.  And I feel nothing.

How is that possible??

Where is House when you need him…

 

Oh – and iBean weighs 13 lbs 7 oz 😉

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Hypertension – the sequel, or rather, the continuing story

iBean will be 6 months next week and my blood pressure has still not returned to normal.  At its peak in the hospital is was 182/133.  Every medical professional I tell that to is simply amazed that neither iBean or I stroked out.  It was a pure miracle that she came out as well as she did and that despite my high blood pressure, no lasting physical damage to my body or organs.

But I am still living with the hypertension. I slowly weaned down from my 17 (!!) daily blood pressure pills to the last one, and went off that last medication 15 days ago.  My blood pressure has not spiked back up, but it is slightly higher than it was on the meds. My diastolic pressure is borderline hypertensive, depending on the time (and day) I take it.  I was originally told in the hospital by the myriad of specialists that if my blood pressure had not resolved within 12 weeks postpartum, that I would most likely have chronic hypertension for the rest of my life.  I guess that is what I have to now face.  I was really hoping that once I was off all of the meds (and when you are on 17 pills a day, it takes a LONG time to titrate down!) my bp would normalize.

I was also told that I was at a substantial risk for this whole preeclampsia thing to recur should I decide to get pregnant again.  The specialists kept using the words conception planning appointments, high risk, specialist appointments, bedrest, hospitalization, premature delivery, possible organ damage, fetal death, maternal death should I decide to get pregnant again, particularly if my blood pressure did not resolve itself.

Or maybe not. I could get pregnant and everything would be peachy, just like my pregnancy with K-Man.

But 3 of my 4 pregnancies have had blood pressure issues.  Not full-on wars like this last one, but chances are, the next one would just make that number 4 out of 5.

Giving me the benefit of the doubt, my doctor (the man is a saint) is putting a requisition for another halter blood pressure monitor and giving me some more time to see if my body will bring itself back to normal.  There are things I can do: exercise (WTF is that?!), eat less salt (moment of silence as I say goodbye to soya sauce) and eat more beets (there are only so many beets I can consume in a day without wanting to yarf).

Tonight, I went for a walk.  I was farking tired, but while Ivy napped and Tony was home, K-Man hopped in the jogging stroller and we went for a brisk walk, about 3 km. The first real exercise I have done in almost a year. The goal to bring my diastolic blood pressure down is to do 20-30 minutes of “exercise” 4 times a week.  Not just running around after kids and up and down the stairs doing laundry.  I’m talking above and beyond that.  It would be WAY easier if I had an iPod that could actually hold all my dance/trance/upbeat music. Right now it is mostly consumed by stuff to listen to in the car while chauffeuring the kids around (Glee features prominantly).

High blood pressure is supposed to be for old people.  Not 29-year old size-4-wearing mothers.

It’s a good thing iBean was worth it.

iBean at her maximum level of medical intervention, shortly after birth

The Bean, 5 months old, trying on her bathing suit to see if it fits. It totally does! We're hitting the pool!

I take my beets pickled

I am now sporting a hot new number: an ambulatory blood pressure monitor.  I get to wear the big cuff, with cord sticking out, and wear the battery-control pack around my waist (or neck, like a camera in the old touristy days) for the next 24 hours. I am glad that we are going to get to the bottom of this blood pressure business, but I was not anticipating this thing to be so BIG. (That’s what she said.)

So I guess we shall see how much  my blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day and then my dr will decide what to do from here.  He laughed when I told him that I ate a pile of beets last night and that it actually brought down my blood pressure this morning.  But then he added “Beets are good for you anyway.”  I did not mention that they were pickled beets.  Not sure if that is cheating, but they are SO GOOD that way! And hey, my bp went from 142/104 to 122/77 overnight.  So whatever.  I take my beets pickled.

BEETS!

I need me some beets.  I read on some internet-wacko site that beet juice has been shown to reduce blood pressure, enough so that 250 mL of beet juice gave the same effect as prescription medication.  So last night, I ate a serving of pickled beets (right out of the jar, no plate required) and this morning TA-DA!  122/77!

Of course, last night it was still 142/104, so I assume the beets had not entered my system quite yet.

I am sure the effects of the purple plant are temporary, though, so I gotta raid my mom’s pantry for all her pickled beets.  And make some of my own!

Smells like sweet pickles

Tony is upstairs making batches and batches of pickles, and while I enjoy the smell of brine as much as the next gal, I am retreating to my blog (hello?  Anyone still out there? No?  Aw, bad bloggy Sarah neglecting her blog for so long).

Things that are happening right now:

  1. I am nearly 14 weeks pregnant.  Yippee!  Hurrah!
  2. There is only one jelly-bean fetus in there, as confirmed by two separate ultrasounds.
  3. I have been having a pretty good pregnancy.  Not too much nausea, some fatigue, which seems to come in spurts.  My appetite is insane, and I am having a passionate love affair with 11:00 pm snacks, including, but not limited to, bologna and kraft singles sandwiches, two things I normally do not keep in the house.
  4. Kees has discovered that he is a 2-year old, and should act accordingly.  Most of the time, he is still a good little boy.  Other times, however, I just want to put him in his room, close the door, and wait for him to turn 18.
  5. Kees speaks in sentences now.  He is a truly bilingual child, and when he doesn’t quite know the right word, he just adds “ee-nay” (or for you francophones, “-iner” to the end of words he does know.  This is how we get sentences like: “Kees bonkiner pied again.”  What does this mean?  Kees bonked his foot again.  See, he does not know how to say bonk in French, but surely, since all French words end in -iner, adding that sound to the word bonk MUST be right!
  6. Sacha is freaking smart.  The other day, he came up to me and said “Mommy, I have a hypothesis.”  I asked him what his hypothesis was, and he replied “My shovel looks like a grader shovel, so it should pick up rocks.”  When I asked him what the word hypothesis means, he said “a hypothesis is a word that you can test out.”  Not bad for a 3-year old!
  7. Sacha still relies on Daddy to go to sleep and stay asleep at night.  Not too sure how we are going to get over this hump (again).  We had him broken of this habit, but then we were on holidays, and sharing beds in hotels, and now we are back to square one.  The only issue now is that we have to get him sleeping alone because Kees is getting ready to move out of his crib into a twin bed.  And where is this twin bed?  On the bottom of the bunk bed that Sacha currently sleeps on.  Kees sleeps all night.  Sacha does not.  Sacha needs to start sleeping all night so he can move to the top bunk and Kees on the bottom.  This must be accomplished well before the baby comes (I am due at the end of Feb) because baby will be taking over Kees’s room.  All part in parcel with having a 3 bedroom house and 3 kids.  I  have thought of putting baby with Kees, but that would involve buying another twin bed…LeSigh.
  8. Tony is learning the art of home preserving.  He is currently making pickles, sweet pickles, and has already made pickled beets.  I, on the other hand, have made about 50 jars (those little 1-cup jars) of various jams and jellies.  Oh, and I waded into pressure canning territory and canned 7 quarts of spaghetti sauce.  Now, I am taking a bit of a break from canning until the tomatoes are ready and Operation Salsa kicks into effect.  I made roughly 30 pints of salsa last august, and I only have 3 left.  Salsa is a vital condiment in our house.
  9. Sacha is turning 4 this week, and I have promised him a dinosaur party complete with dinosaur cake.  This will be a feat if I can pull it off…cake decor is NOT my forte.
  10. We are  T-17 days from our New Brunswick trip! Just Tony and I.  No kids.  For 6 whole days. I am really excited to go, nervous about leaving Sacha (Kees will be fine) and so pumped to see my friend Lynn! I searched online today to see if I can bring my knitting needles on the plane, and I totally can.  YES!! I cannot sleep on planes, so I may as well make socks!
  11. I am rewatching the entire LOST series.  In bed before I go to sleep.  I know, I am a nerd.  It really is better the second time around knowing how it all wraps up.  And yes, there WAS foreshadowing even in the first season.
  12. I am in need of a good read.  Suggestions in the comments are appreciated!

Over and out, bitches.

Twin Cursing Makes Me Nervous

It has been brought to my attention (thanks, Katie) that I have not posted in two months.  I think that is about right, as I am now…10+ weeks preggers with #3.  I know that I may be jinxing myself for putting it out on the web that I am with child, but since I am already sticking out of my pants and my boobs are popping out of all sides of my bra, there is not much denying it anymore.

So the past 2 months have been mostly wrought with fatigue, nausea, bitchiness, horribly disturbing dreams, moodiness, irrationality and cursing the damn skinny jeans I bought one week before I found out I was pregnant.  I am also living in fear that I am having twins.  There is no rational reason for this fear (see irrationality as a symptom of said pregnancy) other than that I already had a bump at 8 weeks, my friend says she is having twin dreams, my stepfather keeps wishing twins on me, and other people have seen me and have said something to the effect of “hmm, maybe you’re having twins.”  Oh, and my SIL had twins last year (along with a horrifying TTTS experience) and I have twin aunts.  And the nagging feeling that my pretty picture of 3 kids and NOT having to buy the freaken minivan everyone says I will need seems too gift-wrapped and perfectly bundled to come true.   And the idea of having 4 kids under the age of 4 scares the holy freaking crap out of me. Other than that, no rational reason for my fear.  Did I mention that I am sometimes a pessimist?

For the most part, I am starting to feel better (most days) as long as I stay away from things that smell like broccoli, feet, coffee or vino – mainly Tony (Bwahaha!).  And from people who tell me that I am going to have twins.

Baby, you can stay in there just a while longer

I am due in 4 days. That’s right, 4 days. I had Sacha at 37 weeks, so this is far longer than I have ever been pregnant, and I feel as though my skin just CANNOT stretch anymore. But it does. Every day I wake up, still pregnant, still having false labour, still waiting. Sacha brings me my tummy butter, reminding me that I AM still pregnant and that I’d better lather that stuff on if I want my skin to keep stretching without the stretch marks.

Still waiting

I look down at my tummy, and I feel as though it has its own gravitational force, as though it has its own mind and is clearly in charge, leading me forward like divining rods in search of ground water, only in my belly’s case, it is leading me to a place I both fear and long for.

I wake up each morning, trying to decide what to do with Sacha in case this is the last day that I am ONLY his mommy. We play at the park. We bake. We play outside in the yard. And he wants me to hold him and cuddle him most of the day. He cups my face in his hands and gives me warm kisses, then lifts up my shirt and kisses the baby, reminding me that Sacha has no idea how his life is going to change when he has to share his mommy, nor do I. And I grieve at what I will lose when that day comes.

Then, while Sacha sleeps, I peer at my tummy, wondering who this little person is, and eager to be his/her mommy, too: to hold a little baby in my arms again, to nurse again, to watch my little child grow and discover the world the way its big brother is doing, to fill my heart with imaginable love the way Sacha did when he was born. And I am overwhelmed with excitement for the day when I become a mother again.


I want to meet you, but if you want to take your time getting here, I will wait. Your brother needs me, too.