We’ve all seen this sign at the hospital or doctor’s office before. I’ve never had to think much about it. Actually the most thought I’ve ever given it was that I believed if you were pregnant you couldn’t get an x-ray.
Turns out you can.
In an exciting turn of events out here in the Bush, I found out I was pregnant because of the warning of a sign like this. Actually it was translated into Yupik as well, but you get the idea. Flashback to the end of January when I woke up with some really bad shortness of breath. Long story short, I visited the clinic in the village, took an inhaler and some Motrin, but they wanted me to be seen at the Hospital in Bethel for x-rays. They had heard some wheezing and wanted to make sure I didn’t have pneumonia.
After a ride with the principal in a truck over the frozen river, I was checked in and triaged at the hospital. It’s times like this that I’m so grateful that I live as close to Bethel as I do. It’s only a 20 minute drive, which is actually closer than the hospital I used to go to growing up- we would drive 40 minutes. Granted, the logistics out here are a little more difficult, and I was lucky that someone with a car was available, and that the river was still frozen solid.
I was asked by the x-ray technician if I could be pregnant. I looked at the calendar. Well… it was really early, almost too soon to tell I thought, but I said there was indeed a small chance. I felt a little silly when they rolled me away without an x-ray and I had to wait another hour in the waiting room for the results of my pregnancy test. During that time I was texting with my husband who was in Anchorage for the weekend at a teacher’s conference. I was annoyed with waiting, breathing better, and just wanted to sleep. But that would have to wait.
When I was (finally) ushered back for my x-ray the nurse had invited the lab technician up to give me my results- the test was positive! They were all on edge- not knowing how I would react, but all I could think of was that there was no way I was going to be able to tell my husband until he came home in two days, as this was not news I could break via text message. The nurse laughed and told me she didn’t know what to do either.
As for an x-ray when pregnant- you just get wrapped in extra heavy duty lead aprons, and luckily they were targeting my lungs and not lower. It was uncomfortable, but completely safe.
Now I’m just about done with my first trimester (depending on who you ask!) at 13 and a half weeks. I’m excited and exhausted. My sister-in-law is also pregnant and due a month before me, so that is exciting as well- it will be a year full of babies and love. As a first-time-mom (it feels so weird to say that!) I am going through a lot of new firsts, and learning a whole lot; but mostly I’m learning to just relax. I will be seeing doctors in 3 different cities during this pregnancy because we won’t be living in Alaska over the summer, but baby isn’t due until the end of September when we will be back here. They don’t offer any sort of pain medication during childbirth in Bethel, and I’m not comfortable without having the option, so I’ve decided to deliver in Anchorage. The logistics are kind of insane. The schedule of appointments is also more spread out here, and I am learning to just trust the doctors and trust in the fact that women have given birth for thousands of years without checking in with a doctor every other week. Thankfully everything seems to be right on track and the doctor said both baby and I were looking healthy, and that is all I can hope for.
I promise to continue blogging about Alaska adventures and writing, and that this won’t turn into a ‘mommy blog’ (not that there is anything wrong with mommy blogs- I read enough of them now!) but I just wanted to share the reason I haven’t been as active with writing lately. Hopefully I will catch that second trimester energy everyone keeps telling me about!
Oh, and for those who are curious, this is how we announced the pregnancy to Facebook: (can you tell we love Dr. Who??)
Thanks for reading!