Now What?!

A Grumpy Guide to Pregnancy

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Settling into this silliness

Weeks 15-16: Lots of the same from recent weeks -- eating a ton, have to take things slower, up several times per night to pee. Also, I've been walking like a sailor for several weeks (again, without really having any change in center of gravity to justify it, leading one to think this is about joint relaxation, etc.) -- can't remember precisely when that started.

my swollen ankleTwo new things:
  1. My feet have started to swell in the course of the day (although they're really always larger than they were) -- I can barely get into my tennis shoes and a couple of other pairs of shoes with laces. (I'd have thought loafers more forgiving, but nope: they don't expand enough across the arch.) For comparison with my normal ankle, see here.

  2. Am going to regular monthly OB checkups now, which are very unexciting. I give a urine sample (after elaborate use of an alcohol swab), have my weight and blood pressure measured by a nurse (with no comment on the results), and then the doctor stops in for two minutes to find the baby's heartbeat with Doppler. More time in the waiting room than in the exam room, and not much to take home from the experience...
Week 17: More fun side-effects of the hormone parade. The drippy nose has irritated my throat until I have a frequent dry cough, meh. Not allowed to take Flonase or anything else that might stave off my tendency to bronchial infections -- am becoming religious with an evening NETI pot to compensate. Also, major acne, beyond my ability to really do much about it. Double meh. More debilitating is that I'm now in constant threat of heartburn (battling with the recurrent hunger), which becomes a particular problem at night. Have to prop myself upright on pillows for at least half an hour before sliding down into a more comfy sleeping position, and Tums are always handy.

On the amusing front, both Spouse and I have ceased to be of interest to our parents/in-laws, who now ask after only doctor visits and baby news during calls.

Monday, October 22, 2007

From 40% to, um, 60%?

Week 12: I tried to put my hands on my hips, but I didn't have any hips! (Actually, I guess the hips are still there, but the waist has somehow disappeared.) I have correspondingly few pairs of pants I can still get into -- starting to rely on the first pair of maternity pants (although a couple of looser-waisted regular pants stil in rotation)...

Week 13: The feeling that I'm starting to get a little higher ratio of brain to stomach -- not a huge change, but a little bit more energy (very welcome) at least -- like I'm maybe approaching 60% of my usual "presence." Still a screwed up set of drives on other fronts, however.

Weeks 13-14: We went on a vacation in North Carolina (the wrong direction to head in August, but circumstances came together...). The heat is really terrible -- completely draining, so that I'm only good for short bursts of activity per day. We spend part of our time in the Smoky Mountains, with the unenviable task of tracking down hikes that have no or very little elevation gain -- even though I'm getting a little energy back, any kind of climb completely kicks my butt. And, of course, the car is packed tight with an array of snacks, from the healthful to the otherwise.

Starting to get the full array of other pregnancy side-effects now: have to piddle before and after every small outing (and snack in-between), and flip-flop through the campground at least a couple times in the night. I've also left my regular pants behind in favor of last-minute purchases of maternity shorts and cropped pants. In fact, I've had to replace my regular underwear with a maternity sort, which have very little waistband (which otherwise cuts) and are generally stretchy and forgiving. Who even knew there were such things?!

Realignment of reward structure

Weeks 8-9: Settling into a major eating routine -- probably 15 min out of every hour are spent snacking, and I'm already tired of all my initial snack foods, since the food aversion is ramping up. Sometimes the only way I can get myself to eat is to read something while I'm doing it . . .

At the same time, my lack of energy and general weekend listnessness continue, but now I note that I haven't played my online game (see week 5) even once in a week. It's partly a continuation of the feeling that even opening my computer is Hard, but really I just suddenly have no interest in logging in -- the compulsion (and/or allure) is completely gone. It makes me feel strange (and I was just made co-head of my social clan, so had to apologize for vanishing)...

Weeks 10-11: Things much the same as above, but I'm having some periods of extended nausea. Have tried "sea bands" (those wrist straps with an acupressure bead to prevent seasickness), which help, but mostly I just try to ride it out. No actual vomiting, but unpleasantly close sensations. Somehow managing to keep the (superimposed) hunger at bay, although I have to distract myself most of the time I'm eating.

On the up side, it's taking so much concentration to get through my day, what with eating and all, that I'm doing little web surfing or other time-frittering, and am probably posting record productivity at work. whee.

Feed me, Seymour!

Weeks 6-7: Ohmygoodness! the hunger! I've been hungry before, but this is an entirely different scale -- like when you put off a meal for long enough that you start to feel almost nauseated at the same time as you're desperately hungry. I started taking snacks to work -- a whole grocery bag full! In addition to my usual breakfast, a hearty lunch, and dinner, I easily polish off an apple, a yogurt or two, a fistful of pretzel rods with a square of cheddar cheese, maybe a granola bar on top of that. It's almost an hourly pang.

On the flip side, I have developed a general food aversion (all food seems unappealing) and a low-level nausea almost all the time. I suppose I had it lucky to avoid the morning sickness that plagued my sister-in-law (and many others), but it's hard to eat when everything seems unappealing when considered for very long. Eating seems like a chore, and if it weren't for Spouse's willingness to cook evening meals, I couldn't face the fridge long enough to put anything together -- somehow once I get eating, it seems ok (or maybe the tastiness trumps the drudgery or distaste). A weird mix, but I was somewhat reassured to find out on the Internet that others felt the same way. (In fact, some people have such problems with the combination of food aversion and nausea that they actually lose weight during the first trimester. I manage to eat enough to do ok.)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Still invisible, but getting very tangible

Weeks 4-5: Speck is barely pea-sized, but already commandeering much of my body, including all kinds of systems and side-effects that nobody tells you to expect (or that you think may track with being big and unweildy). For example, my nose now runs steadily, leaving me feeling stuffed in the night, irritating my throat, etc. (And most of my best hopes for decongestants are Forbidden!) Similarly, my finger and toe nails are growing faster, requiring me to cut them notably often (every ten days?), grunt.

Most surprising to me, given that my size hasn't changed at all, is that I get out of breath after a single flight of stairs -- and this in someone who regularly goes up and down 3-4 flights at home, commutes on a subway, etc. In fact, I sometimes find myself breathing heavily after I get into bed. Apparently there's already been a radical increase (20-30%!) in blood volume which makes everything a lot more work for your respiratory system, even this early. yay.

Unrelated to the physical changes, I continue to have what feels like a personality truncation. Not just that I've ceased to function at home (yay for Spouse and home-cooked meals!), but it seems like my usual reward wiring has been altered. For example, a goofy but addictive online computer game that I've played every day for the last year and a half -- sometimes even when away on vacation -- is suddenly too much, despite the introduction of a heap of intriguing new content. I fiddle around a little bit, and then stop playing entirely for several weeks. This was a game that I used to have to keep myself from playing (e.g., at work), and now I have no interest. This same strange rewiring of rewards will soon generalize to food issues . . .

Update: I forgot that my thermostat really went crazy around this time -- especially prone to feeling flushed and sweaty around bedtime, but periodic cycles of body temp just sitting in the living room in the evening.

The invisible weeks

Week 1: no really. No idea I was pregnant yet, but during our visit to the in-laws on the Cape, I could barely motivate myself to do anything other than flop on a comfortable couch with a book. (Tour? Beaches? whazzat?) Signs of things to come...

[On the flip side, I had cramps and even some spotting, so became convinced that we weren't pregnant.]

Weeks 2-3: positive test! holy moly! Really tired now -- coming home on the early side and just flopping on the couch. Even more notable on the weekend: lists of Things to Do lie on the counter as I sit glazed in the family room, capable only of reading a novel or watching stupid TV. This is in no way like me, but even turning on my computer seems too hard, as does making any sort of plans for the day, upcoming vacation, or anything else. (This is pretty much a description of mild depression, for me a clear effect of progesterone, which is ramping up now.) Everything is let slide, by necessity.

Update: I should clarify that the weeks listed on this first post are weeks post-fertilization, and thus are phase-shifted from the dating that OB's use (which is dated from your last period and thus adds two weeks to the total). I'm not exactly sure when I transitioned, but probably somewhere in the period between "two weeks" and "six weeks" I shifted to the more common method of dating pregnancy. Apologies for the uncertainty this introduces in the first month or so . . .