Ever hear that saying, "you're damned if you do, you're damned if you don't"?
That should be my mantra.
Last week I didn't feel well. I had a terrible headache and kept breaking out into cold sweats one minute, and hot flashes the next. I felt just awful, but never developed a fever, nor did hubs pick anything up from me, so I chocked it up to hormones.
My folks had been planning to visit last weekend but I told them not too because of how I had been feeling. On Saturday, after watching me change my shirt for the umpteenth time, hubs suggested we go for a little drive. He thought the fresh air would do me some good, and I agreed. I have been inside for so long (this Saturday will be three months of bedrest) that I swear I am becoming translucent. I was looking at my feet yesterday and could see my veins through my skin. Hubs joked that I looked like a vampire.
Anyway, we started out on our little adventure of driving to nowhere, and after about 20 minutes, and quite a few turns, I realized that we were in the neighborhood of a few dear friends N & J. I told hubs to turn down their street, and when we did, we saw them standing outside. It was really wonderful to see them. I haven't seen hardly anyone these last three months because of the bedrest, and the few times people have visited I either A) find myself so excited for the company that I overdue it or B) feel so embarrassed to be laying in bed with visitors, that I have sort of opted to just keep people away altogether.
We got out of the car for a quick bit and gave our friends a hug. They invited us in, but after one step inside I felt like I was overheating (not because of their house, because of hormones) and retreated back to my semi reclined position in the car. N stood with me talking, while her husband J showed my hubs some work he was doing in their house. We visited a few minutes longer, catching up on what we had been up to (I obviously have not been up to much) gave each other a hug and a kiss goodbye, and headed home.
This is where the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" piece comes into play.
Last night I was on Facebook and saw that N had posted a status saying she had body aches, chills, a sore throat, and a fever of 102. The poor thing had been laid up in bed since that morning. This is when it dawned on me, N was sick when I saw her, she just hadn't been showing any symptoms yet - great!
I called the OB on call to say that I had been around someone just hours before they had come down with a high fever, and to see if I should do anything. I was thinking Tylenol as a preventative for fever - something along those lines. Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that I am not one who takes putting anything unnatural into my body lightly (only organic foods, nothing with artificial dyes or preservatives, no aluminum in my deodorant etc etc) so even to suggest Tylenol was a big step for me. The OB wanted to know what symptoms N had, and when I told him, he asked if I had gotten a flu shot.
Why, some might ask, would a person in a high risk pregnancy opt out of getting the flu shot when she will be pregnant throughout the height of the flu season?
It's a fair question. I will do my best to answer it.
For one, I had taken the flu shot about four years back and had a terrible reaction that led to me being laid up in bed for a week with flu like symptoms. Also, no thimerosal (mercury) free shots are available near me, and the thought of injecting myself with something while pregnant just freaks me out. Lastly, and for me this was the biggest factor in making my decision - I have been on bedrest for the last three months and am never around anyone but hubs who got the shot so as to prevent bringing anything home from his work. Seeing so few people I didn't think I was really at risk.
I guess the joke's on me.
Explaining why I hadn't gotten the shot, the OB expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision I had made. He told me about a pregnant patient of his who had gotten the flu the year before and fell into a coma and nearly died. He said that even now, nearly a year later, she was still working to recover.
Nothing like a scary pregnant woman in a coma story to make you feel like an idiot.
I don't know that N has the flu. I don't actually know what she has, she isn't going to the doctor unless it gets worse, but based on her symptoms the OB told me I needed to get on Tamiflu right away as a preventative measure. He said that if taken within 48 hours of exposure, the drug would lessen my symptoms were I to get the flu. I asked him if it was safe, and he said it was safer than getting the flu. This can be dangerous for any pregnant woman, but compounded with the cardiac issues that have been complicating this pregnancy, it gets a little trickier.
At this point in the conversation, I was ready to cry. That's not saying much, I cry a lot these days - hormones, but I was ready to cry anyway. It was all I could do not to break down in tears right there on the phone. (I did break down after I hung up - like a baby - to my sister who assured me that I was not an idiot, nor was I going to end up in a coma. Thank God for sisters!)
The OB told me he wanted my husband to go out last night (at this point it was around 11PM) and pick up the Tamiflu. When I explained that we live in a rural town with no 24 hours pharmacy, he said I could wait till the morning, but needed to get the pills started right away.
So I went this morning and got my pills - asked the pharmacist her opinion on the safety of these Class C drugs, to which she said that my doctor must think the benefits outweigh the risks enough to make it worthwhile, and came back home. I took the first pill around lunchtime, and have felt uneasy about it ever since.
The pamphlet states that it is not recommended to take Tamiflu while pregnant, and there was some study where rats given high doses had adverse fetal affects. I consulted Dr. Google and Babycenter, but found no real comfort there - for every ten stories of women saying they had taken it and been fine, there would be one posted about a woman who was 20 odd weeks along, took the drug and lost her baby. Did she lose her baby because of taking Tamiflu - there is no way for me to know. Do stories like that scare the shit out of this pregnant after loss momma - absolutely!
So there you have it. I feel like I can't win.
I keep people away for months, just to finally see someone who winds up sick the next morning.
I avoid getting the flu shot because I think I am doing the right thing in protecting my babies, only to have to take some antiviral drug that no one seems to have any real answers about.
And now I have to take a drug that I don't feel comfortable with, because stories of "otherwise healthy pregnant women" dying or falling into comas from the flu have me too scared to think straight.
Damned if I do.
Damned if I don't.
Anyone out there ever take Tamiflu while pregnant and have a good outcome?