Now What?!

A Grumpy Guide to Pregnancy

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Quick out-take

I just thought that, amid all the grumping and recording of symptoms, I should take a moment to recognize that, in fact, I've been pretty lucky on some fronts. In addition to my and Speck's general good health, I've been spared the following common ailments of pregnancy:
  1. Morning sickness! This one should count twice, since queasiness really affects your whole life outlook, and I've known people who had to tiptoe around their sensibilities for many months. I wore "sea bands" for a week or two, and I'm eating a lot of ice now, but there was no danger of losing my breakfast at any point. whew!

    Edit: this should include the good fortune that I've been able to take prenatal vitamins with no problem (even in the morning!); perhaps it helps that I started months before I was pregnant. Who knows.

  2. Back-ache. I don't know if I was just in pretty good shape going in, or if some combination of the baby's smallness with my build just protected me, but I've made it into the ninth month with no aching back woes. My joints (esp. hips) get stiff, and there are plenty of other discomforts, but again, major back pain is the sort of thing that can color your whole experience to a much more substantial degree, and I appear to have gotten lucky. In fact, have considered a pregnancy girdle, and generally concluded that I don't have any sagging or pulling that needs intervention.

  3. Stretch itch. In fact, only in the last week or so (say, week 35-36) have I had any stretch marks, and then just a couple of them (reddish welts) just in front of my hips (where I have other whiter marks from a weight gain in highschool). Have rubbed my tummy pretty religiously with a pleasant, thick, lanolin/cocoabutter cream from the moment there was a tangible bump, but really haven't had much sense that things were being painfully distorted. (Of course, this might just mean that I was a bit pudgy to begin with, so I did more rearranging than stretching, or it might reflect decent abdominal wall strength holding it all in...)
Hopefully the act of making this list won't tempt the fates. I am having various discomforts now (week 37), especially in finding good sleeping and sitting positions, and am tired and a bit queasy on and off all the time, but pregnancy is a long haul, so anything that's limited to the last <3 weeks is a pretty easy load . . .

Friday, January 25, 2008

Count-down time

Week 36: Well, this is it; anything from here on out is "full term." That means that my busywork doctor appointments now include an internal exam to see whether any dilation or effacement is occuring (no, and a tiny bit), and next week we'll talk about a date for induction, should such be necessary. Meantime, am trying to get one literary project done and out the door, and we're having some folks over this weekend as a last gasp of adults-only gathering time.

Things I'm aware of this week: starting and stopping. That is, when I've been sitting for an hour or so, it's hard to get moving -- in particular, I have a pain in the small geographical expanse below my belly, as though it had been getting bent uncomfortably, and it takes a few minutes of moving around to work it out (and I walk stiffly meantime). Conversely, when I've been walking for a while (as when commuting, but also while doing stuff around the house), I find myself huffing and puffing when I stop; I guess this means it's more effort than it feels like? Anyway, it all makes me feel more afunctional than I already did . . .

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The end is near...

Weeks 34-35: Most of my experience now is More of the Same from the last couple posts -- unwieldy belly, very challenging to roll over in bed, lots of kicking at night when I'm trying to get back to sleep after a bathroom trip, chewing ice most of the day. Have had some new belly discomfort -- some feels like a renewal of round ligament stretching, other more achey muscle stuff -- and a couple of definite contractions; not sure whether they were isolated "real contractions" or belated Braxton-Hicks (which I've otherwise never perceived), but I decided to sit with my feet up and wait them out. Also, I have a very faint vertical line on my belly now, from a few inches above to a couple inches below -- almost subliminal, but real. That was described as something that might happen months ago, but I guess not (or my pigmentation is so low generally that it took until now to be perceptible, heh).

The main thing is that delivery is starting to seem like a concrete thing (not a threat, but the next thing to work out). Have packed a bag (actually two -- one with me/baby stuff for hospital stay, and one with comfort/distraction stuff for labor itself), but it's still upstairs for another week or two. We're having some people over this weekend, as a last blast of adult-only socializing, and basically I have to be prepared that things could happen any time after that. (After 36 weeks is full term anyway, and they'll induce by my due date if need be.) Has lit a fire under me in terms of the couple of intellectual projects I want done before Speck arrives!

Friday, January 4, 2008

More low-level tribulations

Week 32: Well, my bellybutton is essentially gone -- it's flat, with a little bruising below (part of stretching, or did I just bang it into something?). This comes close to grossing me out, irrationally. Additionally I've had some periods of mild nausea -- out come the sea bands again -- and the heartburn is a constant friend to the tune of some half-dozen Tums per day (and into the night), although I can get away with no propping in bed. Of course, my belly is starting to make it just a bit harder to get comfortable to sleep, although the pregnancy pillow helps, and Speck is into rumba overtime whenever I'm still, including some impressive somersaults at night and other activity that I've described as "weasel in a bag"...

Made a note to mention two things that developed a while back but never got mentioned here: freckles and skin tags. The latter developed really early (month 3?), perhaps in response to the heat; I have a bunch under one armpit (not the other!), and little bitty ones under my breasts. I understand that they stick around, yay. As for the freckles, I have red hair, so have lots normally (light in winter, darker in warm months), but there have definitely been changes in my chest area. (1) Reasonably early I got a couple of large dark freckles on each breast -- like near-black. (2) I got a number of new/darker small freckles on my upper chest and onto my neck sometime later; the top of this smatter is visible in a crewneck (and odd for this time of year). (3) I am just starting to get a third wave of large light freckles all around and onto my breasts. Now, I haven't been sunbathing (heh), or really even spending an unusual amount of time nude in the (sunny) bedroom. So I just have to guess that skin pigment is another system that in some way responds to hormones...

Week 33: Ugh. Had several nights this week of insomnia. It felt physical; surprisingly, not my unweildy belly, but just sort of restless leg action. I'd get all comfy (and I'm plenty tired) and then fidget, kick around, etc. for ... a couple of hours. One night I think I got all of 4 hours sleep by the end, and that night I even propped myself up. I've tried taking a Tum (in case I'm missing some low-level heartburn), Tylenol (because my hips do get achey), water, potty visits, and the usual distractions one tries in the wee hours, all to little avail. Luckily, I slept like the dead last night, so back to semi-functional to wrap up the week.

On other fronts, I have some odd low-level gut sensations that are just short of nausea but also a bit much to overlook (especially in the car). I find that sucking on/eating ice seems to dull it, so am spending a lot of time either eating ice or fantasizing about it. (It's not just thirst.) Spent a lot of my holiday vacation sitting around with cups of chipped ice nearby...

Also new this week is the start of new medical fun: non-stress tests. They're doing them on me in part because of my age and in part because of the diabetes, but essentially they seem like a sort of physiological test for the baby's well-being. You sit in a recliner with a couple of monitors strapped to your stomach (one for the baby's heartbeat, the other apparently to watch for contractions) for, say, 20 minutes, and then the doctor just looks at the chart (which has been tracing two needle-lines like an EKG). My experience doesn't entirely jibe with descriptions I read online, but I guess they're just looking for a steady heart-rate that occasionally jumps upward (presumably when Speck moves around), rather than showing any drops (that might indicate distress of various types). I'm going to have this test weekly for a while, although they threaten a biweekly frequency as we get toward the end -- eek! (I feel like I'm doing tons of medical busy-work visits already!) One amusing point: folks keep giving me charts to monitor fetal activity via kick-counts -- as though I ever go more than ten minutes while sitting without a full karate exhibition! hah, you can keep the form.