I've been feeling a bit crappy over the last couple of weeks. Not "crapulent," which in our house means that you can't really drag your butt out of bed you feel so bad, but just slightly crappy. I had a headache for three days the weekend before Christmas, which was alarming, but not totally weird since I can only take Tylenol while pregnant and my headaches are often more worthy of four Advil. So the Tylenol would kind of take the edge off for a few hours, but the headache was still there.
Then yesterday morning, I was shelving some books at work. Not super-strenuous, but lots of bending and standing up in order to deal with the bottom shelves. About a half hour into it, I had to sit down because I was so dizzy. And when I finished the complete task, it took me about 10 minutes of sitting and breathing funny to really start feeling like myself again. I attributed it to the healthy Bojangles breakfast I had indulged in, and left it at that. Well, okay, I'm also out of shape (unless "Schmoo" is considered a shape), 34 years-old and 6 1/2 months pregnant. That might also have entered into the formula. Regardless, all logical explanations and I just forgot about it.
Later that day, my doctor's office called. "You are slightly anemic" the voice on the other end of the line said. "Only slightly... we aim for a number between 11 and 14, and you are a 10." (First time I've been called a 10, and suddenly it's a bad thing!) Now, one would normally take comfort in discovering this. After all, it completely explains my overall physical crappiness and can be easily fixed by taking some iron. Problem is, I can't take iron. I mean, I CAN, if I don't mind the surprising (and I'll just leave it at that) trips to the bathroom and the horrible stomach cramps. And quite honestly, the baby wiggling around in my abdomen is enough stomach weirdness for now.
After Athena was born, I also avoided taking my iron (same reasons), but then I was able to substitute a natural supplement that "does the same thing." However, taking herbs when you are nursing is quite different from taking them when you are pregnant, so I'm a little uneasy popping those in my mouth. So what to do?!
A coworker summed up my solution very well... "I would take this as an excuse to eat steak." So tonight, we are having steak. I'm going to try to up my red meat intake over the next week, and then when I return to the doctor on Friday, they will take my blood again (oh, joy) and see where we stand. Perhaps, with any luck, I can crank the old iron up to 11. But in case I don't, I'll take my little bottle of I-X supplement and let them look over the ingredient list to see if it's okay for pregnancy. One of the things I love about my practice is they have no problem with alternative medicine and they actually have some experience with it. I'm no hippie, but when it's a choice between stomach cramps or some other way to get iron back in my blood, I'm looking for the other options.