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Archive for the ‘prenatal experiences’ Category

So I have spent a considerable amount of time bitching about how women have a crashing case of pregnancy amnesia which is indeed not helpful to their pregnant sisters out there who are looking for advice, so I thought it would behoove me to keep a record of the symptoms I have experienced along the way so I too don’t fall victim to brain dump at the moment of birth.

Of course along with the normal queasiness in the first trimester, I have had the heightened sense of smell. I still have it, although I think I’ve gotten more used to it. In the beginning as I walked into rooms it felt like an alarming superpower, but now it’s become part of daily life.

The thirst! At times it was crazy. At about 12 weeks it really ramped up, and even though I am constantly drinking my lips are always dry. I know maybe some of that can be attributed to winter dryness, but I know that I am much more thirsty than I ever was before.

When I was sick a few weeks ago my hands felt sore in the mornings and it was hard to make a fist. That feeling dissipated during the day, so I attributed it to dehydration. Now that I am on the mend, my left hand is still hard to open and close. There are no visible signs of swelling; my rings are still on and spinning around. My middle finger is also intermittently numb, so I am chalking this up to a mild case of carpal tunnel.

I have been side sleeping for some time now, even though I have no symptoms of vena cava syndrome. But some of these warnings just seep in like childhood warnings of the boogey man, and even the calmest of us pregnant women are not immune. Like, “Don’t sleep on your back or horrible horrible things will happen! BUAHH HA HA HA!” When I woke up this morning my hips were super sore. Like I had run 15 miles. I have a pillow placed between my knees when side sleeping, but I think between the relaxin moving my bones and staying in one sleeping position for an extended period of time, this is bound to happen.

So I’m going to do my best to keep these memories alive. Just so you know I am singing the title of my post a la Tom Hanks in “Big” for those of you who remember.

My mom surprised me though with her memory of my brother’s birth, her first, back in 1970. I guess when I comes to horror stories,, though, most women remember. I have a little library of books accumulating next to me on the sofa about natural childbirth (I’ll talk more about it in the next post) and I just finished “Husband Coached Childbirth” by Doctor Robert Bradley of “The Bradley Method”. I hope I don’t get into trouble since I don’t know the key to place a trademark logo next to “The Bradley Method” since this seemed essential in the text of the book, but oh well.

The Bradley Method is a school of natural childbirth and the book focuses on the husband/partner as birth coach. It’s a quick read, but somewhat provincial and quaint in it’s suggestions about husband/partner behavior.”Rub her back, buy her fresh fruit daily, tell her you love her, whisper sweet nothings in her ear, etc…” Depending on your situation it may make you smile or it may make you want to punch the nearest wall/face/TV. Or both.

Anyway Dr. Bradley spends some time talking about the early days of childbirth where women were drugged, strapped to their beds and helmets placed on their heads until they got the baby out. He termed this “knock em out drag em out” delivery and it did indeed seem terrifying. Watch Betty Draper give birth to Eugene in season 3 of Mad Men. The episode is called, “The Fog” and according to my mother is pretty damn accurate.

It’s crazy to me to think that not so long ago medicine was so, um antiquated? Fucking scary? Altogether wrong? I don’t know. I guess 30 or 40 years is a long time, but to me not so long in the history of mankind. The development of maternal and fetal medicine in the past ten years alone have been astounding and have saved many lives.

I am grateful that in the event of an emergency the hospital will have everything I and/or the baby might need, but honestly right now I am looking forward to a birthing center experience with the benefits of the hospital. I really don’t want to be flat on my back hooked up to a million monitors.

Next book is “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth”. I’ll let you know how it goes.

M

So I managed to get through the holidays pretty painlessly, or so I thought. There I was, merrily rationalizing all those cookie calories being a nice even swap for my missing vodka and blood orange juice bliss, having a quiet New Years Eve with my one glass of Perrier Jouet, and then blam.

I wake up Monday morning with a head cold. And it wouldn’t go away.

I don’t know about you, but I think that other women just don’t want to give it up when it comes to the pregnancy advice. Either they don’t remember because of “pregnancy amnesia” or there is such a wild variation of pregnancy symptoms and conditions among women, I don’t know. All I can tell you is that when I tell other women that have had children about what I am suffering I get either no response, the “really? I don’t remember that” answer, “that seems unusual” or something equally as comforting. What the fuck?

Here’s things: I can tell you first hand that if you get a cold you will be dehydrated. Epically. Like you need to drink water constantly. Like if you’re drinking a lot, you’re not drinking enough. I was so dried out that it felt like my brain was sucking inward from my skull, like the worst hangover you’ve ever had times a million.

This symptom far outweighed any problems I had from just the nasal congestion alone.

And-tylenol doesn’t work for crap, at least for me. My go to drug of choice for headaches, excedrin migraine, is off limits due to it’s aspirin content, and taking tylenol after a certain point felt like a cruel joke. I would wake up in the middle of the night, hours after my last fluid intake of a jillion gallons with an even more massive headache, a painfully dry throat and a pounding heartbeat. This cycle continued on a two hour basis of fluids and peeing (not in the bed, by some kind of miracle, even though I had dreams of using the toilet). My normally composed self fell into a crying heap, and poor Dan didn’t know if I needed an OB or a psychiatrist.

As a last resort I scuffled out to CVS to get a humidifier. I wandered aimlessly about with a cart in CVS. I actually should have done this earlier since my advanced maternal age diagnosis has been making me feel old. I was the youngest person at CVS using a cart-this is normally reserved for the 70 and older set of women who are shopping for depends and denture supplies.

I got home, plugged it in and zonked out.

And by some miracle, I felt, human the next day.

The headache was gone. It was like when Mia Farrow’s morning sickness left her in Rosemary’s Baby. I put all thoughts of having Satan’s child out of my mind and rejoiced in the fact that I could place one foot on the floor in front of the other without fear that my head would indeed explode and enjoyed not sleeping with a bag of frozen peas on my eyes. (This incidentally makes a great eyemask-I recommend baby sweet peas. They mold well around the eyes and nose and cook up very deliciously in a skillet with butter, shallots, prosciutto and sage.)

So my words of wisdom today is that pregnancy will make you thirsty. Your blood volume increases by 50%. You need water. A LOT of water. And if and when you get sick you need more. I actually recommend coconut water too since it hydrates super well and it is very low calorie. I believe that water will stave off a myriad of pregnancy issues-constipation, swelling, skin issues, etc…none of which I have had.

Eight glasses? Bleh-try twelve. Try always drinking something. I know, I know, you will spend your life in the bathroom. I’m sure this is the case anyway. I’ve kind of come to terms with it.

And a humidifier is worth a shot. I always thought that they were for the sickly, allergy, hypochondriac set. Of course I registered for one to go in Baby Basmati’s room as a matter of course, but I never thought much of it otherwise. Here on Long Island the summers range in the 196% humidity range. But winter can be drying, and the thing on high cranked out water like nobody’s business.

On a similar note, I manged to make it to my midwife appointment in the midst of my illness. I told the receptionist (who has a son) about my cold and my thirst. She asked if I had been tested for gestational diabetes. I was getting the results back at that appointment, so I didn’t know, but I didn’t think so. I thought it was weird that she didn’t think my constant runny nose and my body fighting a cold would necessitate more water intake, and that I must be diabetic. I know thirst is a symptom, but whatever.

Turns out that after ingesting that orange syrup, my blood glucose was low. Hypoglycemic low. Apparently my body has ninja like abilities to fight and reduce incoming sugar. And since I am otherwise healthy, my midwife told me I should eat frequent small meals, and not let myself go too long without eating. This explains why I feel the desire to rip somebody’s arm off and beat them with it when I’m sitting at my MIL’s house on Thanksgiving before dinner for three hours and there’s nothing to eat except crackers and wasabi peas. This year was brutal in particular, and the arm in question was my poor husband’s.

In my defense I told him we shouldn’t have gotten there so early. We stopped by my parents’ and I stuffed my cheeks like a squirrel with prosciutto, mozzarella, chicken wings and shrimp. I should have put them in my purse.

Today I’m 29 weeks, and since I hadn’t been to to the gym in a few days, I got a good sidelong gander at my belly in the studio mirrors last night. Holy cow-pun intended. I think I popped in the past 10 days! Luckily my slothness didn’t pack on the pounds too badly as my last weigh in at the midwife was comforting. I can’t bring myself to weigh myself at home, so at least I have a break from that kind of insanity.

Onward and upward!

Here we are, two days after Christmas. I really suck at keeping up with this blog, so I guess my resolution should be to post more often.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I feel like I’ve whizzed past some pregnancy milestones. Today I am 26 weeks and 4 days. I’ve done the anatomy scan/ultrasound where everything was peachy, gotten to my midwife a few times where I experienced my first real wait in her office. Apparently all of her patients decided to get knocked up in March so there are a slew of births on deck for December/January. Last Monday she was stacked with appointments that were rescheduled from a day where she was at the hospital attending a birth. I guess this could be considered a drawback of not going to a mega OB group with eleventy million doctors, but I really didn’t mind.

Naively I thought I’d escape the glucose test since she hadn’t mentioned it to me, but alas, I was handed a scrip to go to the lab that week. I figured, hell, I’ll just get this over with before Christmas and the inevitable cookie parade that will be going down my throat. I’d just better effin pass because I don’t feel like going through it again.

For those of you that have done this, I have to say it really wasn’t that bad. My midwife told me I could eat a light breakfast before hand with I thought was sane (who expects a pregnant woman to fast, drink that crap and then not eat for a further hour? Stupid.) I had an egg as to not throw off the test with too much starch. I drank almost an entire bottle of water while I did the NY Times crossword and waited. As I took the last sip, the tech behind the reception desk said, “Don’t drink too much water.” Uh, too late. Nobody told me that before.

Whatever. They drew the blood (three vials, jeez) and didn’t mangle me too badly. My arm usually ends up looking like Julia Robert’s in “Steel Magnolias” They asked if I felt okay. I said no worse than usual, got up and left.

I have a friend who owns a local coffee shop/restaurant where DH (my husband’s initials are DH so he’s just Dan now)and I have breakfast every Saturday morning, and we’ve been chatting about pregnancy. She gave birth at the hospital I’m going to with a midwife. She’s given me some invaluable resources about pregnancy, birth, diapers, etc…one of them is metrominis, which I’ve been meaning to go to to take a free cloth diapering instruction class. I know what end to put the diaper on, it’s just figuring out where to start that’s overwhelming me a little. I don’t want to buy fifty of one kind of diaper and say, oh fuck, I should have gotten x or whatever. I also want to do the whole babywearing thing and make my own baby food. This elicits stares, “good lucks!” and swift changes of subject with a lot of people, but I don’t give a shit. I’m not delusional, I know some days will be hard, but I’m firmly convinced in my ability to do a load of laundry. And steam and blend food. If I can make au gratin potatoes with mushrooms and leeks I can boil some freaking broccoli. God.

Anyhow, she was laughing because I told her I am the executive chef for Christmas at my mothers-I transport the side dishes and do the roast there. “Why is it that the pregnant lady is doing all the work?” My husband says “Well otherwise we wouldn’t eat.” Of course I could have backed off this year using my advanced maternal age and pregnancy condition as an excuse, but being type triple A doesn’t allow for such behaviors. I have to say though, the fruits of my labor cookie wise were totally worth it. And anyone in the Huntington/Long Island area needs to get a Buche de Noel cake from Copenhagen. I don’t care if you celebrate Kwanzaa, go get one. I almost broke my “no pregnancy binges” rule and ate half the thing. It almost (almost) made up for missing drinking half the bottle of pink champagne my dad had. Boo.

Of course all this superwoman crap has finally caught up with me and I am freaking exhausted. I slept until 10:30 today and still feel like a zombie. This week is strange for everyone, I suppose, this netherworld between Christmas and New Years. Dan is at work, and it sucks. As it stands now come the new year I will be looking for different work (more on that in another post I guess) which comes at the suckiest timing. Pregnant lady looking for work, great. Anyhow, I’ve been trying not to think too much about it since this week is never really productive for most people.

Dan’s family doesn’t celebrate Christmas (his mother is Jewish and his father is Hindu), so I give him my tales of fuzzy Christmas memories of toy orgies, overindulgence on candy, cookies, gift wrap blizzards, and the day(s) after. Like a bomb went off, a sleepy, pajama-ed week of strewn tinsel, melting snow (sometimes) and toy reorganization. And the thought that after all this, the anticipation, the planning, the suspense, it’s all over for another year.

And now what?

That long wait for the first crocus bulbs of spring…

It’s going to be awhile.

M

So of course we’re inundated as pregnant women with information about what to do, what not to do, what to eat, what not to eat, etc… because in the ever wise words of the “Pregnant Chicken” when you get pregnant your brain falls out of your ass and you can’t think anymore.

All that being said, I have still wondered and looked outside of myself for advice about how much I really should be eating at this point, in the spirit of Thanksgiving tomorrow. It is a very strange feeling beacuse I have never had food issues and have never in my life wondered about eating. When I was hungry, I ate. When I felt I was eating too much, I stopped. And I certainly figured out that once I headed north of 25 my caloric intake needed to be adjusted. Lower.

I don’t eat junk, but I’m not exactly a food saint, either. Example: no McDonald’s but for your consideration, see “The Chief” burger at Sapsuckers. A few weeks ago I felt like I could have eaten four of those bastards. Of course I didn’t. And no oreos, candy bars, processed crap, but black and white cookies from Copenhagen Bakery? OMFG. It was buy one get one free last week which I think I mentioned. What could I do?

Nonetheless, I really haven’t been eating too much more than prepreg. And honestly the cookie calories are probably just subbing in for my vodka tonics (did I mention I miss you?) So I did some internet sleuthing and came across a site that had a calorie calculator for pregnant women. You plug in your age, pre pregnancy weight, height, and exercise frequency. According to them at 38 years old, five foot nine, 150 lbs and daily exercise, I should be eating 2620 calories a day in my second trimester. WHAT? And go up to 2810 in my third trimester. Um, I’m not planning on trying out for the defensive line of the New York Giants, so that seems like a lot of calories.

I was pretty much under the assumption that 1500 a day was pretty good for me, and now I’d just tack an extra 300 onto that with the pregnancy. I’m not sure what to make of this. I may get up to that number tomorrow with turkey and pie, but normally  I would never get close. And I’m not buying this “packing on fat” for the baby and afterward (for bfing). This would be more plausible if we were back in the stone age and birth/child rearing meant a woman would be sequestered away and unable to hunt/forage/etc…and eating was much less frequent than it is today (read:not 3x daily and certainly not as calorie dense). So having fat stores would be a matter of life and death. Today in comparison all food is “fast food” and this doesn’t seem necessary anymore.

So I’m just as confused as when I started. But I’m not sweating it. I’ll eat when I feel I need to. And I’m certainly not holding back tomorrow, although we’re going to my in laws and I am seriously going to miss my mother’s stuffing. It’s just a classic bread stuffing that she uses Bell’s Seasoning in, but the smell of those onions and celery sauteeing in butter early on Thanksgiving morning is almost better than bacon.

Almost.

I hope she saves me some!

M

I was 20 weeks last Friday, and all is going very smoothly all things considered. I had a checkup on Halloween where my blood pressure was slightly elevated (135/78) so my midwife wanted me to come back a week later and re check it.

Naturally this sent me, a normally sane person, into a state of meta-panic. I crawled into bed and laid there like a sloth, worrying that I had pre eclampsia, and I’m pretty sure gave myself a headache by worrying that either my head was going to pop off, the baby was going to detach, or both simultaneously.

Dan actually left work ON TIME and got home at 5:30. It was amazing to think that if he got to leave on time each night he’d actually be home at that hour regularly. He was a great source of comfort and as usual reminded me that I’m not a 1,000 years old and I probably just had a bad day or maybe something I ate or whatever.

Of course when I returned to the midwife a week later my bp was 118/70 and I felt like a total a-hole for getting everyone around me all riled up. Unfortunate side effect is that I am no longer able to imitate a bed ridden walrus and we can no longer subsist on take out each night.

This Friday is our big 20 week sonogram. We’re not finding out the sex, so I’ll have to let them know ahead of time to not spill the beans. I’m still in between wearing my regular pants and my H and M maternity jeans which are awesome. It really sucks that you can’t order  from H and M online here in the states. WTF?

We also had a great weekend of moving crap. I went from bedridden bp patient to heavy lifter. Well, not really, but I did help. We had to take off the soft top on my jeep and put the hard top on. And yes, I am driving a 2 door Wrangler, even after Baby Basmati comes so suck it. Then we moved all the crap (most of it anyways) out of the nursery room and into the office, which for a few days after closely resembled some kind of post apocalyptic furniture thunderdome.

Did you know that Benjamin Moore makes about eleventy million shades of green and if you’re not already insane from being pregnant you can nearly drive yourself to that point by trying to figure out what color will be perfect for your gender neutral nursery. (BTW go to the Benjamin Moore website and register yourself and you’ll get a nice 30% off coupon emailed to you.)

M

PS for anyone who wants to see here’s a really crappy photo of me at 20 weeks 4 days. I can’t really produce a bump, sometimes I think I just look thick. Please disregard any toothpaste spots on my mirror. Yes that is my hair it is hippie long and also not getting cut, along with the jeep.

 

 

It’s been a while since I last posted. Since then I have had my second blood test for the nuchal screen. The genetic counselor still pushed really hard for the amnio since I am (gasp) 38, but we just smiled and nodded through her questionnaire. I decided that if all comes back well with the screen then I’ll forgo the amnio, regardless of my Advanced Maternal Age. Ugh.

She had a laundry list of questions about both of our backgrounds. Silly me, I thought that our baby would be up there in the genetic diversity category: my father is Irish and a quarter German, my mom’s Hungarian. D’s father is from Calcutta, India and his mother is half Persian Jewish and Austrian Jewish. But this didn’t deter her from suggesting testing for Tay Sach’s, CF and I’m sure other things were mentioned before I fully zoned out. I started to loop through the real possibility of me being a Tay Sach’s carrier and also D since he’s half Sephardic but I gave up since trying to explain that to this woman would have been an adventure I wasn’t willing to get into. We’re going to a county hospital for our testing and for the birth (they have a birthing center for private patients) so the majority of the patients are lower income and minorities (it also services the prison next door). Though not of the Jewish minority. She probably went home and wrote a book report about us. Dear diary…

The blood draw was horrifying, almost more so for D than for me since he was watching and I was wincing with my head turned away. Three attempts and two huge black and blues later for one lousy vial of blood. Please I hope they listen next time when I say to use a pediatric needle. Thanks.

I’m starting to show a little, a pouch sticks out as the day wears on. I’m still fitting into my regular clothes, but it became time to suck it up and shop for maternity. I was lucky to have my sister donate her entire maternity wardrobe to me since she’s closed up shop, but I still need some other things. All of her stuff is brown. Not a single pair of black pants to be found. And the one pair of jeans? Um, not too good.

I found a great wrap cardigan and an awesome pair of jeans at H&M. Being new to all of this I didn’t realize that the mommy clothes would be buried in the childrens department. It sucks that we can’t order online from H&M here in the states since they have more stuff on the site. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a pair of black jeans since the only ones they had were “skinny”. Which I don’t mind, except for the snug ankles. Why oh why would this be flattering during pregnancy? This will not make my ass look smaller.

And horizontal stripes on maternity tops is just stupid. Stop it. Now. I am not a boat captain. I do not desire to look wider. Please.

All you other mommies out there probably know about Old Navy (got my package today in the mail, great basics), Target (some good, some okay), Kohl’s, and surprise of all, Forever 21. It seems like they just have real basics online right now, but it’s super cheap if you want to use belly bands or need some tank tops. Some people are freaked out thinking this is geared toward teen moms, but the news flash is that this won’t make kids get pregnant faster. Maternity clothes don’t encourage unprotected sex. You know what makes kids want to have sex? The having sex part. It’s not that complicated.

Also found a great site through pregnantchicken.com called Kiki’s Fashions. Very cute, inexpensive things but also guilty of the horizontal stripes.

Went out for dinner with D last Friday to celebrate Baby Basmati reaching 16 weeks and the size of an avocado. It was Huntington restaurant week and the place we went was packed. Had an awesome appetizer of burrata stuffed with ricotta, short rib for my main, and bread pudding with caramel sauce which kicked ass. And a nice glass of Malbec so deal with it sanctimommies. I watched with longing as D had two “special agent” martinis (basically a vesper, like from Casino Royale). One day you too shall be mine, martini. One day.

I didn’t ask if the cheese was pasteurized, but incidentally I searched through our local cheese market at the wide selection of brie in the case. ALL PASTEURIZED. Finding unpasteurized cheese is harder than getting hit by a rhino on Main Street. I got some brie and ate half the wedge as I made dinner Saturday. I may do it again this weekend. I haven’t gained any weight so far thanks to my first trimester food aversion, so I feel good on that front. So bring on the cheese.

And all those blogs and websites touting the second trimester energy surge are pure BS. I am so freaking tired. I’m sure BB is going through a growth spurt (I know my bump is getting there) which has to be sucking the life from me. I’m not anemic. So it’s just crap. I think they tell you how “glorious” the second trimester is to get you through your (possible) barfing in your first and the inevitable foot in your bladder/throat/lung that will bless you in your third.

Gotta drag my ass to the gym to keep moving. Ordered more clothes from Kohl’s today and we’ll see how they are when they arrive.

M

So I was up last night trying to figure out if the 12 week mark is the start of the second trimester. Even though I have taken calculus, it was a little mind numbing trying to divide 40 weeks by three. but that could also be because I have not gotten 4 consecutive hours of sleep in quite some time due to the fact that I wake up to pee 14 times a night.

Anyhow, I’m saying end of first trimester. Which is great. Now we just have the little issue of telling everyone.

These last few weeks of peace will be a fond memory.

My brother in law is coming up from Jacksonville, FL next week, so we’ve decided that we’ll break the news to him and my husband’s parents then. Only issue is that he’s bringing his new girlfriend with him who I’ve never met, and will probably be a memory before year’s end (they usually don’t last long, but he swears each time he’s “in love”). I’m not sure if I’m overjoyed about sharing this personal news with her there. I’ve never met her, and she could be perfectly nice, but…it would be nice to tell my in laws about their first grandchild, um,  without strangers there.

I backed up a bit and thought maybe I’m making too much of this, but honestly I’ve been a pretty well behaved pregnant woman lately. Don’t I have the right to claim “hormone irrationality” or something? Or is this even irrational? I’m thinking this is a pretty normal reaction.

Of course we could wait for another time. Just that it would be nice for hubby to tell his brother face to face. And honestly it may be hard to explain why I’m not enjoying vodka tonics and some chocolate cake shots (I know it seems weird but trust me it’s psychotically good). So there we are. (More on drinking and pregnancy in another post.)

Then the next weekend it’ll be onto my parents. Or sooner, since I want to tell my sister. It’ll be great to share the news, and also get some hand me downs from my nephews. Her youngest is three and she’s closed up shop, so there’s some great stuff to be had!

Not sure how we’re going to tell everyone. Hubby and I aren’t exactly a “flavored coffee moment” kind of couple. We were thinking of getting one of those cans of peanut brittle with the snakes that pop out and put a sonogram picture on the end of the snakes. “Surprise!” No, but it was a fun thought.

We’ll think of something.

M



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  • babyforbutton: Congrats on Naomi! My baby was born March 15th! Amazing how fast the year has gone by!
  • babyforbutton: update please!! :)
  • reilly873: I've somehow managed to ease the pain the past few nights, but only with some serious, ridiculous pillow arranging. Which is a royal pain in the ass w