Oct 09 2005

Y’know how everything was going really well? No complications or anything big throughout the pregnancy? Yeah. That’s changed.

Before anybody worries- Cole is fine and I will not die (at least, not from this).

Yes, it is the return of the shingles.

I got shingles last year when we moved here from California. The stress of the move and our precarious, no-job-having position here left me weakened enough that the virus just took over. It was the most excruciatingly painful month of my life.

This time, unlike last, I have insurance and I was able to call my midwife at the first signs. She phoned in a prescription for me after I noticed the little bumps yesterday morning. I started on the supressive drugs right away. Last time I didn’t have ANY drugs- no pain killers or anything. I’m hoping that the drugs will help to make this outbreak less severe and the duration shorter. Sometimes, though, the drugs don’t really do anything at all. It’s a virus, after all, and tricky to control.

I don’t yet know what this means for my ability to give birth in the center like I’ve wanted all along. I may be excluded because of my contagious-ness. Unlike chicken pox, shingles can’t be spread to others by coughing or anything. However, contact with the effected area of skin can give someone chicken pox if they’ve never had it before, and pregnant women and chicken pox do not mix. I don’t know if they can take the chance of it remaining on the birthing bed or in the tub. I just don’t know how contagious it can be.

I also don’t know if I can go through labor dealing with the pain of the shingles and the pain of childbirth at the same time. One or the other I think I could manage, but both on top of each other I think might literally make me insane. I felt close to insanity the last time I had this and I was otherwise healthy at the time. I have never been in more pain than when I had shingles. It is non-stop. I may have to resort to drugs now because of it, which is terrifically disappointing. It’s almost like my choice is being taken away from me.

Continuing with this trend of not knowing, I’m not sure if I will be able to breastfeed Cole. I can’t have him come into contact with that part of my skin and it happens to my on my left side right under my breast. I don’t know what kind of precautions I’ll have to take with him. I do know that it’s really less than desirable to have a newborn contract chicken pox. We may be forced into bottlefeeding, which is even more heartwrenching than the idea of a non-natural birth.

Additionally, I don’t know what this means for work. I was in so much pain last time that I couldn’t even pay attention to a movie, let alone get dressed and be in the normal world. It may mean that I have to quit work early and I don’t know if they would give me my job back. I need my job back- it’s the only way that this family stays afloat financially.

So, I have a lot of unknowns and a lot of questions. I’ll be seeing a midwife on Thursday and might get some answers then. Right now, that feels like a very long wait. I’m having a hard time coping with everything. Unfortunately, the more stressed I am, the worse the shingles can get. I don’t know how to not be stressed right now. Every time I think about all of this I break down in tears, like right now, for instance.

Plus, I got a stretchmark. I knew I was jinxing myself by bragging before.

But I still haven’t peed myself. Gotta look on the bright side, right?