Week 23: January 27 & Week 24: February 3
~ Iron, Iron, Who's Got the Iron?
I'm exhausted. As in, I lay on the couch, desperately in need of going to the bathroom (because, of course, I'm drinking loads of water as any good pregnant woman should) but can't gather the energy to get up. I just lay there wishing I wasn't so tired. As in, it is an effort to even walk at times. As in, I spend a great deal of my time calculating how many hours it will be until I can sleep again. Sleep, by the way, doesn't make me any less tired. It just gets me away from the feeling of being tired. I'm up to a good 12 hours per day of sleep. I really don't think this is normal, even for pregnancy.
Friends and family keep asking me how I'm doing, how pregnancy is going: normal chit-chat. I'm torn between my answers. Part of the time I just lie. I smile brightly and tell the inquirer that I'm fine. Other times I tell the truth and say how tired I am. Typical response: "Of course you are tired, you're pregnant! Everyone is tired when they are pregnant." This is so frustrating to me. I've been pregnant two other times and have never been remotely close to being this tired. So then I feel obliged to wearily convinced the friend just how tired I am. My examples seem insufficient to really convey my exhaustion.
I even feel that I'm having trouble convincing Errol. He wants to find a reason for my fatigue. And annoyingly, he is agreeing with my OB: that perhaps my age is a factor. Brave words from a man about to have a milestone birthday! He finally had a realization the other day: it had been six weeks since I'd seen my sister and nine-month old nephew. Usually we don't go more that two weeks without a visit but, I've been too tired. It began to dawn on Errol that maybe I really was tired!
As it turns out, I'm mildly anemic. At a first-trimester appointment I let the OB know I was fatigued and she noted that I was on the low end of normal for iron reserves. Solution: take an iron supplement each day along with my prenatal vitamin. Now, I'm a good patient and generally do what I'm told. So, I added the iron supplement each day. She ordered a re-check on my blood work to see if that helped as well as checked my thyroid. My thyroid is apparently working as normal, but I moved into the low category which officially qualifies me as anemic. Solution: take an additional iron supplement during the day. And, by the way, iron doesn't absorb well so try taking with orange juice. So I did. And I'm still tired!
Feeling like I was getting no solutions from my doctor and am not getting a burst of energy, I decided to research anemia on my own. Thank goodness for the joys of Google... don't have to get off the couch for this research! I've learned all sorts of information about where iron is found (in disappointingly few foods that I like) and how hard it is to be absorbed. I'm not much of a meat-eater normally, and even less so in pregnancy. It seems that my best option would be enjoying a hearty steak: good source of easy-to-absorb iron. As that isn't happening, I'm left with pasta, cereal, and plant sources which have meager amounts of iron and are harder to absorb. The good news is a wonderful discovery: Total Cereal is chock-full of iron. Guess what is my new breakfast of champions is? I'm on a hunt for iron.
All in all, I'm very frustrated. I'm frustrated at being this tired and not enjoying this pregnancy. I'm frustrated with my doctors for not acknowledging how I'm feeling (tired) and not providing a better education about how to more effectively take iron. I'm frustrated at having to change my diet while pregnant (again... the gestational diabetes diet with Makenna wasn't very fun). I'm frustrated at how hard it is to find appropriate food combinations that will provide the iron that I need to hopefully increase my energy level.
So, I'm frustrated and exhausted and full of complaints. Maybe I am the typical pregnant woman. Sigh...