Saturday, March 2, 2013

29 Weeks Pregnant With Monoamniotic Twins, Roommate Disasters, Itchy Jodi and Itchy Riley

This has been a very trying week - not medically - but in every other way. First, let's celebrate the milestone represented by today. I am 29 weeks pregnant! Three weeks away from our goal of 32 weeks. The babies have been doing great on all their monitoring sessions, no heart rate decelerations, no irregularities. They looked great on the two ultrasounds we had this week and based on my poor stretching skin, they are getting bigger every day.

On Tuesday, I got another roommate. The day before, the midwives had cleared out all the furniture in my room that would be used for a roommate. They took the bed, they took the nightstand and I was thinking about putting a rug down to play on with Riley. Then, in the middle of my nap, a midwife I do not know well noisily burst in with a bed. I figured they just had an extra one and tried to go back to sleep. Shortly after that, I was reawakened by the stench of cigarette smoke and noisy women chatting in Danish. It literally smelled like the new people in my room had been bathing in cigarettes. Do they make cigarette smoke shampoo? Within about 10 minutes I was nauseous and had to leave the room. I had many questions running through my mind including, "Is my roommate, who is here for early labor, a smoker?"

When I next entered the room and her guests were gone I asked her if she smokes. I actually don't think I said anything to her before that. Just, "Do you smoke?" Her answer, "No, I quit. But my aunt just left to go smoke." Awesome. I explained to her that the smell was making me physically ill and she said she would ask her guests to wash their hands and eat breath mints. "Not going to take care of the shampoo and shower gel they are clearly using to bathe," went through my mind, but I just smiled. She told me her boyfriend also smokes. I am not sure if she was trying to make me feel suicidal, but she nearly succeeded.

Things went from bad to worse. When the walking ashtrays aren't in my room, my roommate speaks loudly on her telephone nearly nonstop. I have not had more than a 20 minute nap since Tuesday (and a big part of the benefit of being here is being able to rest.) I have told my roommate I need to nap and she acts like she understands, but yet she does nothing to make herself quiet. One day when I was napping an ashtray showed up and began talking to my roommate in top volume. When I got up (after being asleep for perhaps 25 minutes) my roommate said, "It has been nearly an hour so I thought it was ok to talk." Seriously?

The final thing that makes this roommate amazing is that her boyfriend comes at least once if not twice a day and spends the majority of the time practically on top of my roommate noisily kissing and doing who knows what else. I am not a prude, I don't have a problem witnessing people kiss, but whatever is going on in my room at the hospital is beyond what is appropriate. It is actually worse than a few awkward situations I found myself in in college involving bunk beds. I can't even fully block the sounds with headphones turned up full volume. And god forbid I need to walk to the bathroom and past her bed. Plus. keep in mind, the boyfriend also smells like an ashtray.

This morning, I finally decided it was time to complain. The roommate is looking at a long hospital stay and if I have to endure sharing a room with her for three more weeks, I may seriously lose it. I was so worried that I would be considered a trouble maker or complainer, but I couldn't take it anymore. To my happy surprise, during my tearful conversation with a midwife, I learned that the midwifes are also a bit uncomfortable with whatever is happening in my roommate's bed with her boyfriend and they have noticed the smoke smell. I have been promised she will be out of my room by Monday at the latest. I am hoping it will be sooner.

And finally, as if life hasn't been throwing us enough lately, two very itchy things have happened this week. When I was at the end of my pregnancy with Riley I got a very rare rash that 1% of pregnant women get. It started on my belly and spread all over my body. I had to stop working and just stay home applying lotions and creams, wrapping myself in refrigerated bed sheets and showering every hour or so with soap that smelled like a campfire. The doctor told me the rash would go away when I had the baby. It got so bad that I went to an acupuncturist three days before my due date and allowed him to poke me with needles for three hours in an attempt to induce labor. It worked and I had Riley the next day. My OB in the US told me that I would probably get the rash again if I got pregnant again. I chose to pretend he was wrong.

This entire pregnancy I have been warily looking for little red bumps on my belly, but nothing. Until, lo and behold, this week (maybe three days ago), the dots appeared and the itching began. I am ok so far. It is just on my belly and I am managing to keep it under control. I keep telling myself that the rash spread last time in part because of the heat and humidity in Washington, DC in June. It is not hot or humid here in Copenhagen and I am making a wish that the itching will remain in check. (Clearly, it is more important that the babies remain safe and healthy, but secondarily, I wish not to be in an excruciating itchy state for the next three weeks.)

About the same time the little bumps arrived on my belly, Riley got a small blister on his neck. I noticed it one day after school. A red spot with a clear blister. Hmm. Chicken pox crossed my mind, but he wasn't itching and there was only one. The next day it was a little bigger, but he still didn't scratch it. On Thursday he scratched it a little. Yesterday the blister was huge but he wasn't scratching and this morning he awoke with a fever, a few spots on his belly and, after a trip to the after-hours doctor, a chicken pox diagnosis.

Really? He has to get chicken pox right now when I am stuck here and can't care for him and he can no longer visit me at the hospital???? But, you know me, always looking for the upside. Here it is: It's good that he got it now because it will probably be a mild case and he will be done with it and, his sisters will have weakened immune systems because they are going to be born early, so it's better that he not bring this home when they are here. Chicken pox can be very dangerous for preemies.

I am hoping next week brings less interesting things. I'm hoping Riley feels all better soon, my rash doesn't spread and that I get to write here again next Saturday and report that the babies are still doing well.


  1. Oh, Jodi! I'm SO SO sorry to hear about the ashtray roommate!! It's hard to believe how totally clueless some people can be. Crossing my fingers that she's moved soon, and your and Riley's itchies go away soon; and of course, keeping my fingers crossed that the babies continue to grow safely. :)

    Also - can you send me the hospital's address so I can send you a care package? :)

  2. Suckfest. You'll have to chalk this week up to "wildly unpleasant times that make good stories long after the fact" and hope it will make a good chapter in your memoirs. Here's to a smoke-free and itch-free week!

  3. Also, the "captcha" when I posted my last comment was "legatit." Um, that's a word I should be able to recognize and translate for Google?