|Barefoot and pregnant. Just like every woman should be!
Also: Clearly, those are wish fulfillment skinny legs…
Yeah, so. I learned the hard way about internet research during pregnancy about pregnancy.
But me? At first? Man, I was looking up what my HCG levels meant. What the ridiculously much-higher-than-expected jump in count after three days meant. I was looking up what every ache and pain could possibly be. I was looking up every single ingredient in the vitamins I was taking to see what they each did–and to see if I was missing anything. I was PANICKED because I had a severe upper respiratory infection, posted about it on a message board, and heard back that it can lead to autism and learning disabilities. Or something like that.
Meanwhile? Every time I called my doctor? (Yes, every time. As in multiple times.) I heard, don’t worry. You’re fine. You have everything you need in your one prescription prenatal vitamin. Your cold will not cause your fetus to sprout a second head and possible third arm. Nope. Not even a third nostril. You’re safe. Really, you can stop worrying. And, for the sake of your sanity, stop looking things up on the internet.
Did I let those reassurances reassure me? Yeah, no. I stayed on the message boards, having every single answer analyzed by complete strangers who seemed like they knew what they were talking about.
But… that’s the thing about people on message boards, though. Sometimes they seem sooooooooo knowledgeable–when they’re secretly whack-jobs who have NO idea what they’re speaking about. And that’s the thing about medical websites that SEEM completely legit. Looks and language can be deceiving. In the other part of my life, in the writing world, I’ve met tons of people online first and then in real life at conferences and retreats and stuff. Most of them? Perfectly sane and nice. But a few? NUTJOBS. And I’d neverrrrrr have known, had I only maintained contact with them online.
(And don’t get me wrong. I’ve met some lovely mothers-to-be on message boards! It’s great to connect with other people who are going through–or striving to go through–the same things you are. Message boards and forums and online sources are great things for many reasons.)
AndButSo. Back to the pregnancy side of my life. After many sleepless, worry-filled nights, which I KNEW were bad for both me and that precious little bean growing in my belly, and the realization that people have been listening to the advice of doctors for a long time and having perfectly happy, normal, and healthy babies–I decided to let it all go. To trust my competent, have-been-doing-this-for-years-and-years-and-years team of OB doctors.
It’s been great. When I have questions, I take them to the doctor, not the internet. I can sleep. I’m not reading six million different opinions each day. Which allows me to get other things done. Like laundry. And dishes. And planning meals instead of ordering out every night.
But… Now? Because I have a prescription that I’m taking for a bacterial infection? I’m having trouble staying on that care-free wagon. Of course when the doctor prescribed it, I asked if it was safe for the baby (as if she’d prescribe something that wasn’t???). She assured me it was–but also mentioned that if I looked on the internet I’d find people saying scary things about taking any sort of prescription drugs while pregnant. I laughed and told her I stayed clear of those crazies these days, so I’d take her word for it.
A few years ago, I asked my regular doctor if staying on my anti-depressant would be safe if I got pregnant. (Back during a time when I thought I was ready, but N wasn’t quite there.) And she told me it was on a safe list and I’d be fine. Fast forward to today? Yeah. That medication is on a list of NOT safe medications. Like, it has been shown to cause severe birth defects.
WHAT IF THAT HAPPENS WITH THE PRESCRIPTION I’M TAKING NOW?
Okay, so. A few deep breaths later…
I still will not look this up on the internet. I won’t.
And, anyway, if I DON’T take this medicine? And the infection DOESN’T go away? I could go into preterm labor.
Soooooo, yeah. That makes the decision pretty easy.
There’s no way to predict the future. Maybe someday the medication will be deemed unsafe. But for now, it’s safe and it’s necessary and I cannot stress like this over every little thing. My goal is to stay zen with the pregnancy–and it’s been going just that way for quite some time now.
I will keep it that way.
I will, I will, I will.