39 + 2

Another week down, and wildly I feel so great! I’m so happy to have all of the medication done for the rat lungworm exposure, and am hopeful that chapter of my life is closed. My only “symptoms” this past week were some mild headaches and some arm, neck, face tingling sensations… they seem to be gone now, and I’m hopeful everything is resolved. I’m so thankful to be off medication, and with luck will be able to breastfeed when Cosmo shows up.

I went for a midwife checkup Monday to confirm all was well after thinking my water may have begun to leak Sunday morning… However, all is well, and Cosmo is hanging out, presumably having a grand time until he’s ready to show up.

So now we wait, as patiently as possible… and just enjoy the ride. It’s nice my midwife only has me as a client right now too, so I can be sure she will be available and hopefully well rested at whatever time I need her!

I’m taking my coaching work a little easier, booking myself only a few hours each day and keeping my hiking and yoga light which is part of why I think I still feel so good!

Just a short update for those of you that read along!

38 + 🐌👎

What a wild week, and it’s only just begun. Sunday, I ate a brunch salad, that I made and unfortunately bit into a slug. Knowing that rat lungworm is a potential here (although rare I thought in my area of the island)… I started calling the hospital, poison control, my midwife, and ND / MD friends. Getting a tip that the university here in Hilo is the best resource I began systematically calling each phone number in the Pharmaceutical Colleges number from the UH Hilo website. It’s a Sunday afternoon surely no one will answer… Then I began calling them all, again.

Finally, an angel at the lab answered, with a web link to a protocol the university had created for treatment.

She assured me the risk of exposure was low, due to my residency area and the area I purchased the kale from being in my neighborhood. However, due to pregnancy I decided to take it serious and start with immediately taking the over the counter medication. My midwife was encouraging of this choice, and I was unable to get a physician on the phone due to the Sunday afternoon availabilities of the average GP.

After that, I decided to feel relaxed about the situation. It seemed unlikely anything would come of it and the medication and an afternoon fast seemed like more than enough, if anything overkill.

Monday, I take my slug friend who I had frozen to the university lab. If nothing else I was curious about their processes. I spoke to the lab technician for a great length of time, learning a lot about rat lungworm, the lower likelihood of my exposure due to slug type and the blessing my location… I learned about the Department of Health’s lack of involvement in the processes and walked away wondering why the state handles the risk to its people so minimally and so poorly. I was instantly fascinated that Australia could have such great responses and research, yet we fall behind. As I read about the treatments, I learned how cheap the medications were to make and source in most of the world, yet how prohibitively overpriced they are here in Hawaii, and how insurance won’t cover the cost, so local residents end up not taking the medication. In fact I learned some people mistakingly take Ivermectin, from the feed store. While it is a medication for parasites it can’t cross the blood brain barrier and is useless for rat lungworm.

Feeling responsible, educated, politically concerned, and like a responsible citizen I enjoyed the rest of my Monday. I did the right thing, I learned a lot, I talked to my mother, I joined a Facebook support/educational group, I had some great chats with my MD & ND friends about the state of our states medical care. . . And then I moved on with my day, relaxed and calm.

Today, I ignored my phone… Billy and I had a lot going on, he has the week off for spring break, and we want to make the most of our last times as a “couple without kid(s)”…. We went to the beach, we enjoyed sleeping in, we did all of our favorite things that my body still wants to do! (Ie. hiking not running…. you perverts!) As the afternoon wore on and my emails piled up I checked a few more times for information back from the lab. Perhaps I should give her a call, she did promise to try to get results today.

So I called the lab, and as soon as I identified myself, I heard her tone change. This woman I learned so much from Monday, and I had built a rapport and I instantly knew the answer.

She began apologizing unnecessarily as we culturally as women tend to… She was worried and upset for me, the slug was positive and highly so. Please seek full medical treatment she urged me, worried as her follow up email clarified for me and my baby. Instantly, I texted my midwife. We have a great relationship, and Cosmo is my first priority in making sure what we do is as safe as possible. She urged me to get medication immediately, but I as explained the wait times to get in seemed like such a barrier that she agreed to step out of her scope of practice to write the prescription. The treatment protocol linked above is fairly clear, and the risk to Cosmo’s health seems to be minimal.

On the way to a pharmacy, I chatted both with a MD and ND friends that I highly respect, and were kind enough to blur professional and friendship lines. Both of them agreed treatment was safer than not for both Cosmo and I. Both made gracious caring offers to attempt to source the medications I would need, in the case it was as overpriced as the lab tech told me it would be. You see some of my political concerns began Monday, when I found out the cost of the treatment was over 10,000 for just one medication, that costs a few dollars in the rest of the world. Luckily, I am privileged to be in the middle of an insurance transfer and weirdly just chose to extend my former one, to blend the transfer time with my new insurance. This decision was made on Friday, so you can see the irony in the situation. I even told my contact at my first insurance company that I would like to extend it to make sure there was an overlap… I said ” if I ever went one day without insurance a freak accident would happen and I would end up in medical debt for years”…. Its like I knew something… .

Getting to the pharmacy, I find out the prescription wasn’t filled. She says, “Oh the prescription is $3,000 so we wanted to make sure your insurance or you could cover it.” I said “yes, I have insurance, and I am willing to pay the $3000 not covered.” She said, “ok let me fill it and we’ll go ahead and ring you up. Oh wait, this is a coupon for the medicine to be $3000 off, it’s going to be $12,800.” As I picked my jaw up, I asked, “will either of my insurances offset that?” Checking my cards she said she’d look up that one may help, but decisively stated my new insurance definitely would not. Then she informed me, they don’t have the medicine, can I please pull forward (I chose the drive thru line because of covid ). I wait in the parking lot for 5, 10, then 20 minutes until she calls having finally sourced a pharmacy that did have the medication.

So off I drive to another location, Target in Hilo. As I rush in the store, the days hours are getting less I sigh of relief as I get to the pharmacy, and right as I get to the pharmacist and we begin to speak. I am getting yelled at ? It seems with the Covid 6 foot rule, a line was started in the aisle behind the pharmacy area, and I had just cut it. Apologizing for my flustered idiocy I bit back tears, I just needed to know that the pharmacy had the medication, whatever obscene cost. Finally, my turn in the line and I talk to the pharmacy tech to find out, yes they have the medication, yes they can fill it, no it wasn’t filled when the prior pharmacy told me they had asked them to… Can I shop around and come back in an hour?

Oh sure, why I’d love to go shopping while I ponder if I will be spending $1,000 or $13,000. I chat with my father in law who’s always good for an entertaining chat, regardless of the late night disturbance… I let him know that I was able to find a location with the medicine, that it should all workout ok… as I knew my husband had been talking to his parent and I didn’t want them worried unnecessarily. And then I headed back to the pharmacy, fun Target shopping has been lackluster and left me empty handed, as I brace for my soon to be empty pockets.

“Excuse me Ma’am, I forgot to ask I may have to do some bank transfers. Can you let me know todays total cost perhaps??”, I couldn’t wait the hour, the suspense was making me nauseous. “Oh, sorry I was able to get your insurance to agree, its covered no copay,” she responded. “What?” I blinked. Surely, I was in a daydream. She clarified, “Well they don’t normally agree but if it’s a mistake, just accept it and move on this is a very expensive prescription.” Relieved, but not overly optimistic, I paced around for a few more minutes, before deciding to creepishly wait in the medication aisles. I wanted the medication, more than a druggie looking for their next fix. I just wanted out of Target, away from people, and to be home with the medication and some now to be cooked vegetables (raw increases the risk of exposure) for dinner. I chatted with my best friends from my life before in Japan, and made jokes about all the alcohol I was missing in this moment. We talked about sex lives, acne, and what alcoholic beverage I’d have first. If it wasn’t for these dear women in my life, I don’t know how I get thru any of my small or larger crisis’. I hope I can offer them the same comfort in moments of life oddities we find ourselves navigating thru.

A few minutes later, a hand wave from the pharmacy tech, and a massive bag of medicine taped shut she takes my info, and away I waddle. Now currently carrying two children, on in utero, one in a paper bag taped sketchily shut containing $8599 dollars of drugs I assume I may have to backpay my insurance for when they come to their senses.

As I walk away, I find myself in shock. I let my medical friends, and Japanese life friends know the good fortune. And I head to get gas ( the light was on my entire 28 mile frantic drive to the pharmacies )… and a snack to take the medication with… I shake my head in wonder. What was the lesson here?

Just when you think you have life all planned it will shake you? A midwife is ten times more valuable then a GP? The Hawaii Department of Health is corrupt and hiding things at the detriment of its people by minimizing case counts, and manipulating what can be consider a diagnosis ?

What a wild ride. I am so grateful to my family, my friends, and my midwife for helping me navigate this. Wednesday I do finally have a phone call doctors appointment, and maybe I’ll get more direction on where to go…. But for now, I trust the scientists at the university, and I choose to believe the treatment protocol they created for known exposure is the safest and best option. And to the few who decided to share their thoughts that medication is dangerous, I shall try a quote from my always sharp mother, “If you don’t have anything positive to say shut your damn mouth”. If I wanted your medical advice this week, I already called you. Otherwise your insights on my child’s safety weren’t requested.

More later, thanks for reading these disconnected thoughts that hopefully give me a chuckle in a few years from now….

Full term… 37 + 1

What a relief it was to pass the “full term” checkbox off. Sorry for the lack of updates for the few people who read here, it’s been wild month or so it’s been. . . Billy & I have had a whirlwind of houseguests since January so I haven’t had time to collect my thoughts.

As we edge into the final few days/ weeks I’ve been surprised at how good I’ve continued to feel. Insomnia has crept back in the last few weeks, but my energy is usually fairly high still until a mid afternoon dose of fatigue hits.

We got a puppy a few weeks ago, Zeus. He’s an adorable bundle of energy and has learned so fast. Most people thought it was a terrible idea, Billy included… but of all the puppies I’ve had, he’s been the simplest to train and the most willing to please. So that was a relief, to have him housebroken and well trained for the most part within the first week.

Zeus enjoying his first beach & swimming outing

Unfortunately it has been horrible rain this month, when all I want to do is be outside and soak up the last few moments of “non mom” freedoms. So I’ve gotten to hike, and explore less than I would like. However, the lack of fun has made me more productive with my online clients program planning… which is probably the more responsible life choice. . .

So here we are, full term, my belly dropped around week 36, the entire side of this island is flooding, I have a house full of wrestling dogs and houseguests…. and my morning started off with dry heaving and vomiting. Maybe it’s early labor, maybe it’s just a practice run? To be continued. . .

A few notes at 31+4

First and foremost a celebration for Cosmo being LOA already! A weeks of pelvic elevations and two evenings with ice we’re enough to encourage him to move. I’m sure he would have moved eventually, but I’m much more comfortable now and so grateful for Katja’s advice to help get him moving early!

Secondly, I’ve decided to get Doula certified, thru a DONA certified course for my CEUs for my ND. So all of my obsessive reading can go to a purpose, beyond just my self education. I’ve realized too few women have the luxury of time that I do, and the resources that I do to read and study for this season of their lives. As I live in a more remote location, with an absence of family except for Billy, and minimal access to close friends… I am aware that many women would find this island, isolating and without the luxury of the education I’ve been obtaining, I can imagine this process would be terrifying.

Other than those small updates, life is good. I am sleeping more. My workouts have shifted to walks, yoga, and strength. I am completely satisfied with that and enjoying the journey my body is taking me on daily. I am pleased with feeling attuned to my intuition and excited to meet Cosmo whenever he feels like coming to this side.

30 weeks … the final countdown??

As I write these words, I already anticipate missing these moments. Being pregnant has been such a gift, and a joy that I know soon or at least someday I will miss these moments. Being filled with life, is really the most intimately feminine experience I can imagine and one I thought many times I wouldn’t get to experience.

So much has changed in Billy and I’s relationship. I’ve seen him take on a tenderness and patience that even I didn’t know he had. As if he anticipated my needs or wants he’s stepped up in all things household related cooking dinners before I say I’m tired, washing dishes before I even think to ask, taking Zia for more runs as my waddling walk has ceased to impress her lately. It’s not these small actions that have surprised me though, he’s always been caring and sensitive. It’s as though he has a radar on my moods and energy levels and our relationship seems to have taken on a level bordering telepathy. It’s a beautiful gift to have a partnership without guilt or fault, to be able to need more and to receive it without shame or any lingering concerns about attached strings.

While my relationship with Billy has strengthened endlessly, my attachment to physical fitness has released. In birth, you are ultimately without control and as I entered the third trimester I’ve allowed myself to let go of expectations once again for the final stretch. I find myself still moving more than the “average American” walking several miles a day, practicing yoga nightly, lifting weights with more frequency, but allowing running to take a backseat. At this point there is no direction or focus minus the consistency with the Spinning Babies yoga to try to encourage him out of his Transverse Lying position… otherwise I’m just allowing my body to move how I feel or don’t feel, day depending.

29 weeks 5 days, camping at one of Billy’s favorite surf breaks

More for my memory than anything, a few physical updates. My 8 hours on average sleep is interrupted but otherwise sufficient. I find myself more likely to take a nap than normal but it’s maybe once a week not a daily situation… I have some mild heartburn if my meals aren’t small, and some discomfort in the evenings when my energy/ tolerance is lower. Currently with Cosmos’ transverse lie I can feel the hard lump of his rear wedged into my right side, but the kicks just to the right of my belly button still give me delight over discomfort. Overall I’m amazed at how great I feel, but attribute a lot of it to proper sleep, and a low stress lifestyle. Women I know who worked hectic, long hour, demanding jobs until their delivery… How? You are all my heroes.

I know I will miss these moments, counting his kicks, feeling round like a feminine goddess, having the most kind and tender version of my partner… but yet I look forward to the future with excitement. How will our day of birth go? What will his personality be like? Will be be chubby as an infant like Billy with 4 chins or thin like myself? Funny how we both ended up with metabolisms that trend the opposite of our infant selves. Will he have curly hair? What color will it be? And the sound I look forward to the most is hearing his giggle. These moments of now, fill me with delight, but I know it’s only the beginning of our journey. I’m quite convinced we are the luckiest family in the world.

Vivid Dreams

28 weeks 5 days

I’ve always been a vivid dreamer, but the category of things I dream about are consistent… My family, my closest friends, and over a lifetime of nightmares usually similar in theme if not in topic.

However for the last 6 weeks or so I’ve had dreams that aren’t mine. They are his, I was so sure of it the first time it happened I woke up Billy in a fog to tell him I was having thoughts and dreams that weren’t my own. It’s like the layer between us isn’t fully sealed and I’m able to experience his memories from another life or his dreams and hopes for this one.

Each dream is of course different, but the themes are not mine to dream of, ocean, fishing, swimming with sharks and dolphins fearlessly, driving a tractor trailer, rescuing an injured octopus…. Each time I learn a little more about him, who he might have been or who he hopes to become. I hope this layer between us stays thin for a while.

This tiny pink octopus could one day be named Opisthoteuthis adorabilis. (Image credit: Screenshot, Science Friday )

Each time I have one of his more specific dreams I wake up with new knowledge, specific that I know wasn’t mine before… the brand of a fishing rod, the type of fishing rack specific to a Mini Cooper, the intricacies of shifting a tractor trailer, the ability and timeline for octopuses to regrow their limbs. I wish I could see his face, his smile, or know what his journey on this life will look like, but I suppose that story will come soon enough. For now I suppose I’ll dream of the sea.

Training Shifting 20 weeks to week 26

Rounding the corner past 26 weeks and I realize I’ve forgotten to write about a few training shifts the last two weeks. The main reason for these blogs is a self journaling habit, to keep the memories of this precious time close, and also to hopefully be a source of positivity or at least honesty for other active moms to be…

About three weeks ago at week 23 I noticed my weekly miles were trending downwards from 40s and 50s to a new low of 22 miles in a week. While I’ve let go of “expectations” or mile “goals” I noticed the weeks post week 20 I had been feeling slightly more fatigue with every easy run. It was resulting in shorter runs, and overall less movement.

So I switched up my plans from heading out for a run to heading outside for whatever my body felt… mostly it was walks, but the next week I was up to 60 miles a high for the past few months anyways…

As I’m doing this pregnancy “training” with the intention of simply moving as much as things feel good, this was exciting ! I get to move more and feel less intensity! Taking the word of “running” out of the movement expectation and replacing it with “whatever I feel” – which is convenient since bending down to toe shoes is a hassle and sandals are great for long walks! While I still find myself primarily running a few days a week, this word switch has been a clutch key in continuing to feel great later in pregnancy!

As far as other training, I’m Hitting my Spinning Babies Yoga routine about 5 nights a week, strength training is 2-4 times a week, and cycling has been less than once a week… The lack of cycling is only because I’m saving my patience for indoor training hours when I have a newborn I don’t want to pack up for outdoor adventures!

My overall recovery has felt great, I feel 100% fresh every day or I completely rest. I’m sleeping well this trimester about 8.5 hours a night average, using recovery boots, arnica, cbd, and massage as my main methods of intentional recovery!

Http://www.bee boys.org (not sponsored just honestly a huge fan )

So that’s where I’m at, practicing good sleep hygiene, working on meditation and yoga more seriously than I have in years, enjoying long walks, and really loving every moment of this beautiful journey. For those of you still here, thank you dearly for tuning in, I hope you found value in my thoughts.

Midwife > OB GYN

Welcome to 6 months and what an odd week this has been already!

Monday, I met with my midwife, after several phone interviews I chose an in person consult with my favorite option, and had an amazing hour sit down with her. We went in her every possible concern, question, and topic imaginable. It was fabulous to have someone discuss my health and hopes without once glancing at a watch or wall clock. She was amazingly supportive about the path I’ve been taking as far as workouts, nutrition, and was also able to give me some ideas of things to consider without making me feel lectured or directed. I noticed my weight had spiked (155 from 145 when I last checked a month prior) at her office but assumed it was a different scale, and afternoon water. She assured me I was well within a healthy range and my weight was otherwise a complete non topic.

Tuesday, I had my regularly scheduled OB appointment to go over the more in depth organ ultrasounds I had last week, and discuss any concerns he may have. Pending no issues or concerns I already planned this to be my last traditional medical appointment. Of course the first thing was the scale (154 with shoes etc) and I flinched mildly, it wasn’t the scale I had tipped over the 150 range for sure… After vitals and the typically long wait, my OB popped in and before hardly a greeting came the comment. Wow you’ve gained a lot of weight. Did you stop working out? No. Hmmm Did you change your eating habits? No. Hmmm Well maybe it’s just water you’ll lose 10 lbs of that during childbirth. He briefly moved on, I explained I wouldn’t be seeing him in the future (which he was gracious about)… and I left his office with permission for them to forward my medical records to the midwife.

Wednesday, I wake up beginning slowly with a short meditation, followed by coffee and homemade toast with avocado. Once I’ve caught up on the news I take Zia out for a walk when it hits me. I allowed a 30ish year old doctor with little to zero nutrition education to alter my perception of my body for just a brief moment. First, of all I hiked 17 miles in the sun on Sunday, and at almost exclusively carbs and about 6 liters of fluids. Next, I took Monday as a rest day doing only my pregnancy yoga and a short mile or so walk, while also eating more savory salt foods than normal. In any given day I gain 6-8 lbs from morning to evening with water retention, but always drastically more after an athletic event. One 100 mile race I gained and held onto about 15 lbs for almost a week. While I don’t normally consider hiking “athletic” the 8 hours of hiking and hanging out in the sun, and the effort of the 17 miles is athletic right now. Of course my weight was up, this morning I woke up “debloated” and probably closer to 150 (not that a number matters ans by no means defines me)…. but I was shocked at myself that I let an ignorant male cause me to question myself, my process, and my body, just because of a lab coat.

And I am left with the horrific thought, how many women end up traumatized by men in this scenario when the typical MD has the limited education they got in high school health class with everyone else nation wide?

Larger than expected…

Spending a large part of yesterday at an ultrasound clinic, alone and in a mask, with long waits, repeated hand sanitizer stations, temperature checks, and over an hour on a cold metal table was all worth it… To see your heart beat, each beautiful chamber, to know your main internal organs all have made their appearances, and to see you “move more than normal”… was such a beautiful reassurance.

As we consider home birth more seriously, it is not something I take without consideration of caution. While things are not ever fully in our control, I take the choice of the healthiest delivery with the upmost importance. That delivery is a journey for both of us, and one that I am preparing for each day.

There are so many communities within the birthing community, from the more radical free birth society that I have the upmost respect for, to the designer delivery that I can’t personally relate with, but I still respect… I know my decision to potentially hire a midwife and choose to attempt to avoid a hospital delivery, is not without risk. Isn’t that the beauty of life though, a series of calculated risks? Some we take every time we dine out, get behind the wheel, or even when we lace up our running shoes. Others come in the process of a cross country move, a new career endeavor, or in the choice of commitment to a relationship.

Knowing you are healthy, “larger than expected”, and seeing your heart function so cleanly was such a beautiful sight. So now we ponder Cosmo my love, what path shall we take for the beginnings of your time here outside of me?

Staying Flexible, at 22 Weeks

One of the things sports has taught me, is the importance of staying flexible both mentally and physically. As I progress in pregnancy, I am keeping flexibility in mind, not just that of my pelvic floor but that of my spirit, habits, mindset, and of course expectations of my physical body.

One of my dear friends Katja is a doula, unfortunately not close enough I could claim her as my own here on Big Island, however she has a fabulous business BEST Birth Hawaii. Yet, some wisdoms she has imparted with me, have encouraged me to allow my body to relax, to dive into the flexibility of the process, and to focus on my long term goals of a healthy and happy birth process.

My goal is of course, a natural birth, however I do believe in medical intervention when necessary. Navigating education of this, debating options, and diving into the preparations of attempting a natural birth, requires flexibility of mind and body.

Some things I have begun to do with more intention and consistency, include daily movements or yoga, meditation and positive birth experience research, and attempting to listen to the intuition of how my body wants to move (or not move) each day. I have discovered by listening to my body, some of my runs have become walks, some have become near sprints or at least much faster than I have been running the last 5 months. Each day is unique, and the discovery of what that pace and movement will be, is enjoyable in the journey. I am still running more miles than most, grateful for each one of them now. I have been training for strength still, with a focus on mobility and breath more so than before…

“The choices and preparations that you make before the birth have great impact on your birth experience.” – Penny Simkin