Saturday, February 28, 2009

Playing Catch Up

Despite being extremely annoyed by the blue shirt belly pic, I just haven't had the time to cover it up with a new post. I had to read about week 14 and week 15 together, and I'll have to comment on them the same way. Fortunately not much happens during these weeks. The tiny tot is about the size of a softball right now and has figured out how to use and suck on the opposable thumb that gives us humans the advantage in any activity requiring picking things up. Apparently learning how to use the thumb and learning how to use the face to suck happen quite simultaneously which is lucky for us when we're softball sized. The tot has also learned breathing motions and is probably sucking fluid into its little amphibious lungs as we speak. The eyes are continuing to move to the front of the face but since they're still pretty far apart, its still resembling the alien milkman at this stage (I swear it's yours hubby #1!).

As for me, I puked the other morning. Weird, eh? I thought maybe it was a bit of morning sickness that realized it never hit me and was attempting to catch up, but I'm thinking now that it was a supplement overload. We were out of town last weekend and on the way home, stopped to eat around 4:30. I should have eaten again when we got home at 8:00 but I was tired so I took some fish oil, a probiotic, and my last prenatal vitamin (I take 6 per day) and hit the sack. I woke up and chugged an Emergen-C like usual then started in on my Mother to Be tea. When I started getting nauseas I ran to the kitchen and frantically poured a bowl of cereal, but it was too late. Up comes the Emergen-C. And (and this next part will be TMI for some of you so censor accordingly) every time I upchucked, I peed my pants a little so I had to completely change after that fiasco. That was my sign to start doing my kegel exercises...and also to get this plastic thing out because ever since it's been in, my urethra has had a bit too much freedom.

In less TMI-related news, I have started playing classical music for the tator tot while I work in the morning. I don't know when it's capable of hearing stuff outside the womb, and I imagine I'm a little early since its ears are still developing, but I figure what the heck. If nothing else, I'm enjoying it. Plus, the first two days I played it, I swear I felt something move around in there though I know that it is not physically possible for me to feel the movements yet. Anyway, Laura thinks I'm going to have a little Stuey (the baby from Family Guy) with all my classical music playing and fish oil drinking.

I think that's enough of a catch up for now. I go to the midwife again on Thursday. I'm not sure much of anything interesting will happen other than that I'll have the opportunity to ask about this lump in my armpit. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that. It's about the size of a bouncy ball from the quarter machines at the grocery store. It makes my already fat armpits look even fatter (well, on one side). It's also tender to the touch. I freaked out when I found it and planned on calling the midwife to ask about it immediately but then I got busy with the class I'm taking and all the stuff to do around here to sell this house and figured I'd just wait till I can ask in person. My mom says we are a very lumpy family and that her and her sisters were quite lumpy during their pregnancys so no cause for be continued next week!

Monday, February 16, 2009

First Belly Shot

Here's your belly shot! Not very flattering, I I said, it's more of a beer belly these days...I'll start photographing more regularly from here on out....

Friday, February 13, 2009

Week 13...creeping along sloooooowly

For a while everything was moving a bit quickly for my tastes, but now I feel like I'm barely moving...I think that's because quite literally, I am barely moving. I have been good with the ol' workout routine, but that's about all I can summon the energy for in a day. The rest of the day (when not sitting on my yoga ball at my desk working) is spent on the couch. I confessed to Libby (my all-things-pregnancy-and-child-related guru) that my rump was actually getting sore, assumably from spending too much time on it. If I roll over onto my back at night, my sore rump wakes me up and I have to roll back over onto side or belly. Libby, as usual, had a helpful scientific reason for this soreness rather than agreeing (at least out loud) with me that I was a lazy bum. Apparently my body is starting to produce a hormone called relaxin (which is not very relaxing!!) which helps loosen up my pelvis to make room for my uterus (yes, the uterus is still on a crutch), and it also encourages the joints connecting the hips to the backbone to loosen (to make childbirth easier). Lo and behold, while reading about week 13 in my books, I got the very same news, though nothing about how it could make my rump sore (the cause of that is still up for debate but as I have not yet taken to using a bed pan, I don't think my laziness has gotten out of control), but it does seem to be the cause of a sore back which is a new symptom I'm experiencing. One night last week I woke up with very sharp pains in my lower back and some discomfort in my pelvis too. I grabbed two hot water bottles, sandwiched them around my middle, and was able to fall back asleep. I thought that was a fluke incident until this morning on the elliptical. Out of nowhere the stabbing lower back pain started again. I worked through it, determined not let this baby derail my exercise routine any more than it already has. Fortunately, I had only planned on doing 20 minutes prior to the body flow class. All that stretching and tai chi and yoga helped out so no more pain.

In other news, the fetus is now about the size of a peach. I guess being the size of a peach opened up the abdomen a little because the little bugger was able to pull his/her intestines inside rather than letting 'em float around beside him/her like they have been doing. All 20 baby teeth and their sockets have formed in the gums (hopefully they stay there for quite some time as I'm not looking forward to having my boob gnawed on--I think having it gummed will be painful enough). The baby's vocal cords have also formed, though the ability to make noise does it little good while floating around that fluid-filled sac.

In the "Changes in You" section this very helpful book has decided to point out that my boobs will! They were the first thing to blow up (literally). As a result, they were one of my tell-tale signs prior to actually peeing on a stick. Now, according to this, these bad boys are going to continue to expand during pregnancy...I'm not okay with that. Although hubby number 1 enjoys the "fun bags getting funner," they're busting out of my workout tank tops and my sports bras. I'm going to have to get new clothes to store the boobs, never mind the belly. Speaking of, I'm getting requests for belly shots so as soon as I have a photographer, I'll take one and post it (hubby number 1 is still gone but he'll be back for good on Sunday late). I'm not really showing yet, but I am definitely pretty pudgy around the waist. It looks more like a beer belly than a baby right now (I know because I had a beer belly when I was 23 and the look is identical).

That about sums up this week. The moms is driving down to be my valentine for the weekend, and I'm super psyched about that. I'm not really into the cheese that is this holiday, so I always preferred a good girlfriend for Valentine's day anyway. My personal favorite was back in my beer belly days when Autumn and I ordered Chinese take-out and spent the evening watching a tv movie (though in retrospect I doubt the validity of that memory since Autumn has never been able to sit still long enough to make it through a tv show, let alone an entire movie). Despte my anti-cheese attitude, I'm gonna be a good wifey and make the hubby some sugar cookies (he digs on cheeseball stuff so I ease up my tough candy shell every now and again to make him smile). Speaking of tough candy shells...I splurged and bought some dark chocolate peanut M&Ms at Target the other day. I think it's time to dig them from their hiding place and feed them to the growing elephant in my belly.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Now Entering the 2nd Trimester

Thursday was the 12 week midwife appointment. The nurse showed me the routine I was to follow in the future: enter the exam room which is purposely left open, pee in a cup, dip a color stick in my pee and read it (yep, I'm responsible for that now), weigh myself, and then wait for the midwife who will then listen to the baby's heartbeat and answer any questions.

She also gave me some paperwork to sign, one of which has to do with the tub. Apparently it is routine for them to use a tub in childbirth. Interesting, huh? For most places (hospitals) it's def not the norm and probably costs a ton of money and is definitely not covered by insurance. But here, there's a tub in every delivery room and they almost always use it. I would assume that since it's part of the routine it's covered by insurance but I gotta call and check. Anyway, I think that's a pretty fun option to have. I haven't done much research on it yet, but I certainly like having options.

I have more sonograms because I volunteered for the down syndrome test they do at 12 weeks. There are a couple doctors at the Woman Care Center who are not yet certified to use the sonogram to determine whether or not the baby will have downs (they do this by taking a picture and measuring the baby's neck fat). This particular fetus that I'm carrying around refused to get into the required certification position (already a rebel!!). The nurse performing the sonogram said she can tell by looking that the neck fat is normal and fine so we should be good. The good news to the baby being a reble is that I got to watch the baby moving around on the screen for a good 15 minutes while the very persisten nurse jabbed at my stomach with the sonogram tool in an attempt to coerce the baby into the needed position. The jabbing wasn't fun, but watching the baby on the screen was really cool. It floated around like a jelly fish waving its arms and bouncing off the walls. It was much cooler than the last sonogram because it actually looks like a baby now (though a baby with both alien and prehistoric tendencies). The first time I had trouble believing that the splotch they kept pointing to was anything more than a renegade rotisserie chicken floating free from the digestive tract.

I asked if she could tell the gender yet. Apparently at 12 weeks the fetus still has a bit of a tail bone so gender-telling is not a shoo in, but she's thinking that the thing between this fetus' legs is the remnants of a tail bone and that a "hoo-hah" (I swear she called it that) was developing. For those of you who don't speak dr. Suess, she's guessing that it's a girl. Wahooo!! Of course I'm happy either way, but I was kinda hoping for a girl. We'll know for sure at the 20 week songoram (April).

So the pics are labeled. "H" points to the head which is the blob at the left in both pictures. "B" points out the body which is the blob in the center right. "A" is arm and "Hand" points to the foot. Kidding!!! The baby is striking a pose in both with left arm flailing toward her (or maybe his) face.

I know this was a more boring post, but after the adventure last week, I'm pretty relieved to have nothing crazy to say!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Day I Got Cathetered

Some of you received what I'm sure were interesting text messages from either my mom or me during the day on Friday. My mom texted the family to alert them to the potential of something being wrong, and I sent a few texts to marvel at the fact that I'd just been cathetered and to pass on what I thought would be a good laugh. Since the full story can't be told in texts, read on for all the nasty details concerning the day I needed a catheter to pee.

It started around 8 a.m. on Friday. I downed my "mother to be" tea and dashed out the door to make the 9:15 yoga class at my gym. I usually have to pee a couple times after drinking all that tea, and the first time made itself known as I was walking into the gym. With a few minutes to spare, I stopped in the bathroom on the way to yoga. No urine graced me with its presence. Thinking that the urge to pee was all in my head, I resolved to put mind over matter and headed off to yoga. Mind over the matter of a full bladder is difficult in a number of yoga poses (try all of them), and savasana was less than relaxing given I was counting the minutes till I could race back to the potty and unleash the tea fury, but I made it through the whole class anyway. Following a hurried "namaste", I shoved my mat in my bag, threw my Uggs on my feet, ran to the ladies room, and happily dropped to the toilet. But no relief. No urine. I flushed the empty toilet anyway and returned to my mind over matter mantra.

Despite my situation, I stuck with my plan of stopping at the grocery store on the way home and added cranberry juice to my mental list. Considering I'd just ended the antibiotics for that GBS thing, I was fairly certain I didn't have a urinary tract infection, but I didn't have any better ideas either. My new plan to conquer my mind playing this trick on me, was to actually fill up my bladder so that the next time my mind decided to sound the "gotta pee" alarm, there would actually be some pee. So when I got home, I chugged some cranberry juice. Then I downed 1000 ml of water (a full Nalgene bottle). Then I set about cleaning the house (next after "grocery store" on the "to do" list for the day). When the urge to pee again became unbearable, I skipped off to the bathroom--convinced I'd beaten my mind in this game it was playing on me--and sat down. A very small and insignificant trickle was my reward. At this point, I stopped to take inventory of all the liquids I'd ingested that morning. I thought back to other mornings and how I'm in and out of the bathroom at least once an hour, sometimes more, with much more than a trickle.

I went back to dusting. Sometime around 11:30, after a few more failed attempts at urinating, I realized that regardless of whether or not this was serious, it was getting really painful. Imagine having to pee really bad for 3 hours. I gave in and called the Woman's Center (that's where I see a midwife, but they have doctors there too). They gave me a 1:00 appointment. I gathered my stuff and hit the road for Norfolk (about a 20-25 minute drive). On the way there, the pain became so unbearable that if I thought anything would come out, I'd have pulled over and dropped trow on the side of the road. I talked to mom on the phone for a bit but it was clear I needed that cell phone hand to hold the seat belt off my bladder. I was frantic and racing through the streets trying to find my way to this place I'd only been once before. Once parked, I stopped at the bathroom on the way to the elevator because by this point, it hurt so bad, I couldn't not try. I got a few more drops, enough to ease a teensy bit of the pain. I took the elevator up to the fourth floor, signed in, and sat on the edge of my seat, silently pleading with the nurses in the back (I was certain that if my thoughts were strong enough, they'd feel my need and hurry the hell up). I contemplated pulling the crazy card on the desk assistant, dramatically explaining that my bladder was going to burst inside me and poison me. Miraculously, patience won out.

Finally, a nurse pulled me back. I managed to eek out a couple more drops for a urine sample (are they serious???) which was enough to show that I did not have UTI. I was escorted to a little room and told to undress from the waist down and "the doctor would be right with me." (The following information is what I gathered from talking to the doctor AFTER it was all said and done--I did very little listening while in this stage of pain, but this seems the most appropriate part to insert this into the story.) The doctor explained that the problem was most likely my growing uterus which sits right behind the bladder and sometimes (though rarely) interferes with bladder functions only until it grows out of the pelvic bone, which should be in a couple more weeks. This is most common in women who have a posterior uterus (which I do). Apparently the cervix in a posterior uterus tilts up and can cut off the urethra, thereby restricting the pee flow. She explained the fix was to shove some plastic in there which would manually hold the uterus in the correct position until it was big enough to hold itself in its proper place by itself. She didn't want to automatically do this first and suggested a catheter to ease my pain.

She started to suggest us listening to the baby while there but noticing the tears and desperation in my eyes, said she'd wait to push on my stomach until after the catheter. (Haha! My mental thoughts were strong enough to be heard!) In hustles the nurse with a plastic "hat" and a clear tube. I asked if it was going to hurt then realized I didn't care and asked her to hurry. "We" (how awkward to have peeing be a "we" situation) filled up the hat. The nurse felt bad having to stop the catheter, but she was afraid I was going to overflow the hat (which reminded me of that scene in Dumb and Dumber where Lloyd has to pee in the van and he starts filling up all the empty beer bottles). The nurse pulled the catheter (ugh!), emptied the hat, repositioned the hat against my rump, and then reinserted the catheter. They drained a total of 650 ml of urinte out of me. I was convinced that there was more but I think this nice young nurse was tired of funneling my pee.

Ahhh! Sweet relief! The doctor came back in and again explained what was going on. This time I asked questions. The doc said she wanted to see if the catheter jump started anything prior to going with the plastic so she listened to the baby's heartbeat, then sent me home with the instruction to drink a ton of water and then call back at 3:30 and let them know whether or not I could go. I had a full Nalgene in the car so I chugged all 1000 ml on the way home. I didn't want to get myself into the same predicament as before, so I decided to wait a bit and give this a chance to work itself through before overfilling myself again.

About an hour later I drank 400 more ml. It was 3:00 now and hubby #1 was out of school and finally calling me back. I felt the urge to pee so I said goodbye, made my way to the bathroom, sat down, and nothing. Not wanting to find myself in the same urgent predicament that I was in earlier, I immediately grabbed my keys and jumped in the car. I called the nurse from the car and told her I was on my way back and to get the catheter ready. The wait this time seemed longer and more painful (it was Friday afternoon and everyone was lolly-gagging around). I again considered pulling the crazy card to emphasize the emergency, but sanity won out for the second time that day (pat on the back anyone??). When the nurse finally came for me, I immediately asked for a catheter. She replied that the doctor was going to put in the plastic and let me try to go on my own (much to her relief I'm sure). I nearly cried. The doctor took FOREVER to get in there, but that waiting was the worst part. The procedure wasn't that bad. The "plastic" is round and bendy, kind of like a diaphragm (according to the dr.; I've never actually seen a diaphragm and wouldn't know). The doc gloved up, unwrapped the disk, bent it in half and shoved it quite far inside me. Prior to doing this she explained that I shouldn't be embarrassed if I peed on them. I didn't explain that the relief would overshadow the embarrassment and that frankly, since they'd taken so long to come to my aid, my urinating on them could be considered just.

Well, that first plastic thing was too small to hold up my uterus so the doc pulled it out and traded it in for a larger one. Take two: fold larger plastic and ram it where the sun don't shine. Once rammed, she manually adjusted my uterus (I swear that's what she was doing--she told me so! And I could def feel her rearranging my innards though to be honest, I don't know where my uterus is in relation to anything else). Innards and plastic in place, the nurse removed her arm and told me to go try out my new plastic. I fled the room wrapped only in that papery towel thing and sprinted down the hall, past a young family (made up of pregnant woman, child, and father who either had seen enough to not be shocked by me running down the hall covered in only a paper towel from the waist down, or was just polite enough not to show it), to the bathroom. Success!! Minutes into the best pee ever, the nurse yelled to me from outside the door to see how I was going. Good! I yelled back. Finished, I walked calmly back to the room, got dressed, spoke to the doctor, and headed home. I sat in traffic, but I didn't even care--it's amazing what you can endure when your bladder is empty.

I'm glad it was such a quick and easy fix, and I'm super glad to be peeing all by myself again. Of all the things I think I should be grateful for, I never once thought to be thankful for the ability to pee by myself!! It is truly one of the greatest privileges, one I am happy to be capable of again.