Neurologist 12/7/16

Bright spot of the visit: everyone in the office went nuts over Kira, 9 1/2 months old and a big beautiful personality. ❤️

By purely physical-examination standards, I’m still doing well. All the basic neurological tests were fine, as they always are. He did ask me to get another MRI, with contrast, which I intially balked at because of the aforementioned breastfeeding reason, but after explaining that Kira would most certainly not agree to drink 24 hours’ worth of her breastmilk feedings from a bottle, he said that just dumping 1 or 2 feedings afterward would be sufficient. THAT she can do. So, an MRI is on the horizon, likely for early January to fit in with our plans to conceive Baby Glotzbach #2.

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Just say no (to contrast dye) (just this once)

I last saw my neurologist in December of 2015. I was 7 months pregnant and they said that they would like me to have an MRI in March, after I gave birth, just to see how things were going since a relapse is more common in the weeks following childbirth. Since I’m almost always very agreeable with any request a healthcare provider makes of me, I said sure no problem. We’ll call you to set it up, they said. 

March came and went without a call. As did April, and May, and now most of June. My next appointment is on July 12th and the subject of the MRI will likely come up again. 

During December’s discussion, they said that since I was planning on breastfeeding my baby, I would need to “pump and dump” my breastmilk for 24 hours following the MRI due to the contrast dye I’d be injected with. “No problem,” I said. Naïve, pregnant me assumed I’d be able to pump 24 hours’ worth of feedings well in advance and just feed baby-to-be from the bottle until I was in the clear. Baby-to-be would happily drink my lovingly-pumped milk, I’d have my MRI, and life would be roses. 

Ha. Ha-ha-ha-ha. That is the sound of my maniacal laughter at the whimsical notion of Baby-to-be disappearing and the reality of Baby-that-is taking its place. Baby-that-is is a lovely 4-month-old girl named Kira who laughs in the face of a bottle. And sometimes cries. And absolutely refuses to drink from one. Well, I take that back—she’ll occasionally sip from one, maybe even drink an ounce here and there. But 24 hours’ worth? An entire day??

Ha. 

So I’ll politely explain the situation and say “no” to an MRI with contrast until she’s weaned. Sorry-not-sorry.

I’m sure they’ll be thrilled. 

Sorry, doc…for me, breast is best

I’d always wanted children, and being diagnosed with MS didn’t change that. I’d also always wanted to breastfeed. It was important to me for several reasons: the health benefits to my baby, the convenience factor—no mixing bottles, etc.—the benefits to me as a nursing mom (faster postpartum weight loss, delayed hormone crash, possibly delayed return of menstruation and fertility) and the bonding time for both of us.

When I discussed my family plans with my neurologist, he assured me that of course having children would be no problem, and I could go ahead and go back on Rebif afterward. When I mentioned that I planned to breastfeed, he suggested that that would be perfectly appropriate, and—from what I remember him saying—around 3 months or so. (I am not directly quoting but that was the gist of what I remember being said.)

Um….no….I don’t think I’ll be doing that. That doesn’t work for me.

Rebif worked fabulously for me while I took it. For four years, I experienced zero relapses. The first came only after I had stopped Rebif for six months. I have no problem returning to it someday, as I know it worked and the benefits outweigh the annoyance of thrice-weekly shots (as discussed in an earlier post). But right now, for me, nursing my daughter is more important than jumping right back into an MS treatment regimen. I’m planning to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of her life, and would like to continue after the addition of solid food until she’s a year old.

I guess it’s a calculated risk. From prior experience, obviously the chance of another relapse is higher if I stay off the injection. However, breastfeeding and the hormone levels that go along with it continue to offer some protection. And since I’d like to have even more children, if I were to get pregnant again after weaning—which would mean even longer off Rebif—that same hypothetical pregnancy would offer further protection still.

Kira needs her mom; a mom who is not disabled would be preferred. But I’ll be 35 in August of this year, and my fertility window sadly won’t be open forever. And Kira herself will only be this little just this once…let me feed her, doctor. Let me enjoy this closeness as in just these short months of her total dependence only I can feed her. The breast is the best for us.