This time, the referral lady at the student health was not as kind as before. Her first response was that my condition doesn’t qualify for seeing a perinatologist. That’s the first time I had a question about US healthcare system that almost everyone has asked: who decides I need to see which doctor? Apparently it’s the lady at the student health or the insurance company behind it. Until then I didn’t pay attention to all the buzz about HMO and other healthcare stuff. All I knew was Hillary Clinton tried something and was flatly rejected.
So I rashed out. I thought my baby’s life was at stake. I explained that it is the endocrinologist who recommended to see a specific perinatologist because she is an expert of genetic issues and high risk pregnancy. In fact, the local hospital refused me to have birth there because they didn’t have a perinatologist. Why can YOU, a referral lady, can tell me I’m too healthy to see a perinatologist???? I insisted and insisted to call the endocrinologist. The lady at first refused but finally gave in. The endocrinologist was crystal clear: I need to see a perinatologist. So reluctantly, she processed my referral.
At the perinatologist’s office, however, I was told that there is no particular genetic implication with my Grave’s disease (by this time, blood test showed that I have antibody that stimulates my thyroid to cause hyperthyroidism). So, in one sense, the referral lady was correct. Only complication she might see was that because my thyroid stimulating antibody (called TSI) was so high that baby’s thyroid might be stimulated and enlarged. If the baby’s neck was enlarged, he might have trouble going through birth canal. She told me that there are three ranks of obstetricians – regular obstetricians who handles healthy pregnancy, high-risk obstetricians, and perinatologists, who handles the highest risk for both mother and baby. She thought I was more appropriate for high-risk obstetricians, but she’s willing to take me as patient. So without hesitation, my husband and I decided to have our baby delivered by one of the perinatologists at UC Davis medical center in Sacramento.
It was quite different from the birth I first envisioned, but the baby’s health is the first and foremost priority. I was happy with it.
The rest of the pregnancy was rather stable. My thyroid hormone was brought to normal in about three months and the doctor was monitoring things really well. We were so excited when we were told that the baby was a boy. I knew that our parents in Japan would ask for a boy, as the tradition goes.
I kept working in the lab. As my belly expanded sometimes I cannot reach stuff but my lab mates including my husband were very kind and helpful. In one occasion, K kicked my bladder and without realizing, I wetted my chair! I thought the water was broken. Well, false alarm. And due date was near.
And passed. My husband started to get so irritated. So was I. My mother was happy about the delay, because she wanted the baby be born on my father’s death date, believing he is reincarnation of my father (eventually he was born three days after my father’s death date). But I wasn’t. I couldn’t wait to see my baby. So I did the only think I could in such a mental state: knitting. I started and finished a full size knitted afghan in three days! My husband did something more surprising – he sewed a computer bag from old pair of jeans! He had never sewn anything. And ever since. So he must be so out of character back then.
A week later, the doctor checked my fluid and noticed getting lower. So she sent me to the hospital to induce labor.
To be continued.