NOT Strep Throat

Penicillin, ugh.

I’m not a “medicine” person. That is to say that I don’t really take medicine unless it’s definitely necessary: I rarely take anything for headaches; I’ve never used a Z-pack (even after four years of UGA’s Health Center!); I can’t remember the last time I used a decongestant or NyQuil…needless to say my prescriptions often go unfilled.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t oppose medicine–I’m not crazy.  I just like to let my body take care of itself as much as possible.  I believe that it’s capable of a lot more than we give it credit for, and therefore shouldn’t be coddled too much with medicines at every bump in the road.

Since being pregnant, I think that my aversion to medicine has heightened (naturally) and, yes, has been justified a bit. I do have to say that it’s been a bit of a struggle when dealing with my doctor’s office since they’re naturally inclined to “dose up and be done with it.”  It started at our pregnancy confirmation visit, where we had a pushy nurse who asked if I had gotten a flu vaccine yet. When I responded “no,” she automatically assumed that I would be getting one that day. I told her I wasn’t interested: I work at home, I’ve never opted to have one, and I’ve known a few people who’ve had very adverse effects from the flu shot.  She scoffed at me (almost quite literally) and then tried the “the CDC recommends every pregnant woman get a flu shot” angle. It didn’t work. Then she tried the “getting the flu will be much worse than getting the shot” argument. I put my foot down. THEN she had the audacity to turn to Ryan and tell him that he should get one. Really? It made me wonder if she was getting commission for administering flu shots!

Now, I’ve had quite a few vaccines in my lifetime. Between traveling to Asia, Africa, South America and Eastern Europe, my arm has been privy to its share of needles. And that’s fine. But a flu shot just wasn’t one that I wanted to add to my list. I did get the whooping cough vaccine, simply because of the unusual way it’s popping up again lately in Georgia babies.  That I saw the merit in.

Since being pregnant, I’ve only used headache medicine once, and otherwise have pretty much avoided OTC stuff with ease. Then, at my 28 week appointment, my doctor tested me for Group B Strep–and I came back positive. Crap.

GBS is not a big deal in and of itself–and, no, it’s not even remotely related to strep throat, which, by the way, I have (ironically) NEVER had. It’s a bacteria that occurs naturally in about 25% of women and just hangs out, doing its thing quietly, not bothering anyone…until you have a baby. If you have GBS at delivery, there are some very bad things that can happen to the infant. The most concerning problem? Meningitis. Yikes. If a woman tests positive for GBS at delivery, there’s a 1 in 200 chance that the baby will be infected with GBS if she doesn’t take antibiotics.  Those chances go to 1 in 4,000 if she takes antibiotics.

So I found out early in the game that I’m a “carrier.” Dang. I thought we were out of the weeds–no neonatal allo-immune thrombocytopenia; no gestational diabetes (whew! I was worried about that one); no unusual ultrasounds.  I have to admit that I felt a pang of disappointment. Essentially, I have to take penicillin four times a day (ugh) for a week to stave it off initially, then I’ll have an IV with antibiotics (even if I test negative at a later date) in the hospital when I give birth.

When I picked up my prescription from Publix (free–that was a treat!), I felt a little worried. Truthfully, I didn’t want to take anything during pregnancy, even something as common as penicillin.  And four pills a day for a week?!? That just seems like A LOT. I did look into more natural options, but ultimately I trust Western medicine for something that could potentially cause brain damage or death. This time I DIDN’T argue with the nurse. :)

I’ve felt a bit begrudging since starting the regimen, though. I take a pill, then I get worried. Take a pill, worry. Take a pill, worry, and again until the day’s dosage is done. Then I relax, and start again the next day. Plus, I swear it’s making me nauseous and giving me stomach cramps. Needless to say, it’s going to be a long week.

The upside? At least I found out now instead of during labor. Granted, at that moment in time I’ll probably be so miserable I’ll let them give me any antibiotic they want without question, but at least I’ll know what to expect. I had been having a secret dream of an IV-free delivery (a la Abbey Busch), but now I can let go of that fantasy and prepare for a line in my hand (ouch/I hate them). I just continue to pray that the penicillin is doing good and not bad for this baby girl, and as long as she keeps kicking to tell me she’s alright, I’ll survive…

1 Comment

  1. April 19, 2012 / 2:38 am

    I can’t remember the last time I got a flu shot and don’t plan on starting to get them. Glad you stayed strong! How did Abby have an IV free delivery?? Did she have a home or water birth or something? I am deathly afraid of needles, especially IVs, so I have to know any way out of it(:
    You are taking such good care of yourself! I’m sure everything will be fine. I would be the same way though! I have a lot of the same views as you about all this stuff. I am going to be just like you whenever/if we have a kiddo. I can’t wait to see Dr. Jo’s face when I ask her what she thinks about a home birth! Ha!

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