“Pressure! Pushing down on me! Pushing down on you…”
Blood pressure that is. Mine’s too high. High enough that a couple weeks ago, I felt so off that I went to my general practitioner for a physical. He confirmed what I feared. My suspected hypertension toward the end of pregnancy hasn’t really gone away.
When my doctor put the cuff around my arm, I could see it in his face. Then he quietly unfastened the cuff and moved to check it on my other arm. 160/110. Not good. So he decided to put me on blood pressure medication immediately.
Now, I’m sure you’ve heard of women’s intuition. I bring it up because as soon as he mentioned the medication, I felt hesitant. I asked if it was safe for breastfeeding. My doctor assured me that it was, but in an off-handed sort of way. He gave me samples of the medication he had in his office, and I took them with me. But I still felt something wasn’t right.
So once I got to work, I checked the medication online. The internet didn’t agree with my doctor’s diagnosis of harmless to nursing infants. Then I opened the packaging and checked the literature that came with the meds. The literature was pretty clear. You should not nurse while on this medication, and the choice should be made to weigh the health of the mother against the need to nurse.
I started to call my OBGYN to ask if it was okay for me to take this medication, but then realized who I should really call is my pediatrician. They are in the business of my son’s health. My pediatrician, Dr. V, was pretty clear that this medication was not to be taken while breastfeeding. So now a choice. Do I take my GP’s prescribed blood pressure medication to be sure I don’t stroke out trying to take care of my son? If I do, I’ll have to stop breastfeeding. But what’s my alternative?
I called my general practitioner back and asked for another medication. He doesn’t think the alternative medication will work as well, but he did prescribe a pill that is safe for nursing. And after taking it for two weeks, I’m pretty sure he’s right. I don’t feel much better. Despite lifestyle changes, like limiting my salt intake, I’m still getting headaches and feeling generally crappy.
Thankfully, I already have another follow-up appointment with the doc in a couple weeks. We’ll see what he has to say after checking me over.
I guess I’m writing this post because I want to highlight what I’ve known for a while now. In this mothering gig, you have to follow your gut. Despite my doctor’s assurances, I just had a feeling that he was wrong about how the medication would affect my son. You can’t just blindly follow your doctor’s advice. Ultimately, your health (and your children’s health) is up to you.
When the pressure is on, you have to follow your gut.
“And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves