Monday, March 29, 2010

Maternity Clothes

This weekend, I finally bit the bullet and went to the mall to buy maternity clothes. My shirts are still fine, but I've been having pants issues. I can still button them normally, but when I sit, they put too much pressure on the Snapdragon and are uncomfortable.

So, I bought some of those pants that look like jeans but have a secret, hidden belly band. I tried on every pair in the store but only found one that fit — they had a very small section for short people. I also got some long tank tops and a couple of pairs of leggings. I think I'm going to like the knee-length dress over leggings look more than the faux-jeans and regular shirt ensemble as the weather gets warmer. I've always preferred skirts.

The whole excursion reminded me how much I hate malls, especially on busy weekends. I meant to look for bras while I was there, but after about 45 minutes, all I could think about was sprinting for the exit. I still have to figure out something about the bras, though — mine are, shall we say, insufficient. I would order them online, but I would just be guessing at the size, so I guess I'll have to go back to the mall — maybe on a Tuesday morning when everyone else is at work/school (I hope).

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sleeping Through the Night

I am proud to announce that I have finally started sleeping through the night again! During weeks 3-10, I was getting up to pee at least twice a night — once at 1 or 2 o'clock and again at 4 or 5 o'clock. From week 11 to week 13, I found that I was only waking up once per night. For the last 5 nights, I have slept until 8:00 without a single bathroom break.

Hooray for me!

Let us hope that it only takes Snapdragon 14 weeks to accomplish the same feat.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy Meal Celebrates First Birthday

Umm . . . yikes. On March 3, 2009, blogger Nonna Joann purchased a hamburger Happy Meal. She put it on the shelf in her office to see what would happen to it. A year later, the Happy Meal looks . . . almost exactly the same.
 Gross.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

OMG Bagels

I cannot describe my love of bagels. For the past three days, I have thought of nothing but bagels. I was at Bruegger's Bagels at 8:30 on Saturday morning. I made my parents bring me bagels from the awesome bagel shop near their house, 100 miles away (I did meet them halfway and we had some other things to exchange).

I go back and forth between Cinnamon Raisin and Everything. Right now, I am in a Cinnamon Raisin mood. It does not matter that it is nearly dinnertime. I must have a bagel.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Second Trimester

There are several ways to calculate when the second trimester begins. If you go by developmental stages, it starts at 12 weeks, 0 days. If you take 40 weeks and divide by 3, it starts at 13 weeks, 3 days. There are other methods, too, but it doesn't really matter.

In any event, I am 13 weeks and 3 days along today, so I feel that I can consider myself officially in my second trimester.

Many women look forward to the 2nd tri because it means that they will soon get a break from the nausea, but other than that notable food poisoning incident, I have not been sick at all. I suppose the hormone changes may give me a reprieve from my acne, which is still active, but not quite as explosive as it once was.

In the past few days, I have started experiencing some new symptoms: light cramps, some twinges in my cervix, and, most notably, shooting pains on the left side of my uterus if I stand up too quickly. These are annoying, but still relatively minor. Unfortunately, FB is still sick — he has a bad cold piggybacking off of his recent ear infection — so I don't get a lot of sympathy for my aches and pains.

I hope that the 2nd trimester goes by more quickly than the first. When I reflect on the fact that I've only completed 9 weeks since I found out I was pregnant, it seems that I will be pregnant forever.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Catholic Health Association Does Not Understand Reproductive Health

Recently, a few Catholic organizations have come out in favor of health care reform. Not the Catholic Church, mind you — the bishops, cardinals, and the pope are too busy covering the evil deeds in their pasts to spare a moment to support reforms that could save the lives and health of millions of people — but some rogue nuns and other Catholic-run organizations have made pro-reform statements.

One of these groups is the Catholic Health Association, a coalition of Catholic health care providers that seems to put the emphasis on Catholic, rather than on health. Part of Director Sister Carol Keehan's statement reads,
CHA has a major concern on life issues. We said there could not be any federal funding for abortions and there had to be strong funding for maternity care, especially for vulnerable women.
Let me be blunt. You cannot provide "strong funding" for maternity care, particularly maternity care for "vulnerable women" without also covering abortion. It is not possible. Good obstetrical care MUST include coverage for abortion in order to qualify as good obstetrical care.

Good care should allow people to make the best decisions for themselves and their families, including whether or not to add a child to their lives. But that is beside the point. Even if you agree with the Catholic church that women should not own their own bodies, you MUST recognize that good obstetrical care sometimes includes abortion.

When a woman has an ectopic pregnancy, the only way to save her life is to abort the non-viable embryo. When fertility treatments result in a high-order-multiple pregnancy, selective reduction can give the remaining babies a chance at life. When a parasitic twin sucks the life from its sibling, an abortion can save a life. When women face life-threatening complications or illnesses, like cancer, any responsible doctor would offer treatment, rather than letting both mother and baby die. When a fetus as an abnormality that is incompatible with life — like anencephaly — abortion allows women to end the pregnancy early, rather than taking on the risks of pregnancy and birth on behalf of a child that can never draw breath.

These things happen every day. I know that anti-choice advocates would like to pretend that life-threatening complications like ectopic pregnancy are rare, but they are not. Of every fifty pregnancies, one is ectopic and requires abortion in order to save the life of the mother. The CHA wants to make sure that these necessary, life-saving surgeries are not covered. Where does that leave the most vulnerable women?

The CHA is asking for the impossible. There is no good obstetrical coverage without good abortion coverage. There are only two options here: the CHA does not understand what good obstetrical care is, or they would rather uphold a misogynist fantasy than serve patients. Neither is particularly encouraging.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ultrasound

Arms, Legs, and a Big Chin
On Friday, I went for a nuchal translucency scan at the big medical center in the city. FB is on a business trip, so my mom came with me. We got to see Snapdragon for the first time, which was pretty exciting.

S/he was flipping all around, so it took a little while for the ultrasound tech to get a clear picture. When she was finally able to take measurements, Snapdragon's neck was totally normal and her/his length was right on track for 12 weeks 2 days.
I am an otter.
We were in there for at least 20 minutes and Snapdragon was squirming like mad the whole time — jumping from one side to the other, waving its arms around, touching its face, etc. It was fairly alarming to see so much movement, but not be able to feel anything at all. When you consider that Snapdragon is nearly 3 inches long, I could have a hamster running around in my abdomen and never know the difference.

After the tech got some good looks at Snapdragon, she looked at my ovaries. My left ovary looked fine, but I have a big cyst on the right. One of the doctors came in and took a look at it and said that it's normal to have a cyst from ovulation, but that mine was pretty big (about the same size as Snapdragon, actually), so she wanted to keep an eye on it and ordered another ultrasound for 3 weeks from now.

I'm not particularly concerned — I've had ovarian cysts before and as long as they don't get twisted, they're no big deal. I'm glad we'll get to have another ultrasound when FB is home. It's reassuring to see that Snapdragon has a head and an appropriate number of limbs. At the next ultrasound, s/he will be 15 weeks and 2 days — perhaps the tech will be able to take a guess at the gender.

I also got to talk to a genetic counselor before the exam to discuss the nuchal translucency test. When she took my history and looked at my blood panel, she seemed pretty alarmed at my iron levels and my history of thalassemia. She ordered that I get some extra blood tests and that FB get tested as well, even though there is virtually zero chance that he is also a thalassemia carrier. I find that doctors asking about my thalassemia ask me very strange questions — "Do you feel ok?" "Are you tired?" I can say for sure that I am tired, but I am also pregnant. Sure, I feel ok, but it's silly to ask me if I feel normal — it's a hereditary blood disorder, so I've never felt anything different.
The Claw

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant

I'm a little bit obsessed with pregnancy shows these days. I don't like the touchy-feely ones like A Baby Story, but feel an obsessive need to watch 16 and Pregnant, I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant, and anything with "quintuplets" in the title.

I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant is especially fascinating. Once upon a time, I couldn't understand how someone could not know, but now that I am three months into a pregnancy and have had no regular morning sickness and no noticeable weight gain or bump, I can imagine it a little more.

Of course, I would notice that I haven't had my period because my cycle is as regular as a metronome, but that's about it. Most of the women on this show have irregular periods. I'm overweight, so I imagine that it will be a while before my abdomen screams baby rather than normal chub. I imagine that my pregnancy will be totally obvious by August, but I can imagine making it to May or June without being 100% sure.

They only feature happy outcomes on I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant. Miraculously, all of the moms abstained from smoking and drinking during their undetected pregnancies and all of the babies are born healthy. I wonder how common it actually is for everything to turn out ok when the mom has had no prenatal care.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Let There Be Puking

Well, I spent all weekend worshiping the porcelain gods, but, alas, I cannot blame it on Snapdragon.

On Saturday, FB and I ordered pizza from our usual pizza place. We always get 2 small pizzas instead of sharing one — that way we have plenty of leftovers and FB doesn't have to worry about his pizza being contaminated with mushrooms or eggplant. We enjoyed our dinner and put the leftovers away before enjoying a quiet evening playing video games.

Six hours later, we were rotating in and out of the bathroom.

At first, I resisted vomiting. I thought, "I haven't thrown up once yet and I won't be weak now!" Then, I realized that FB was sick too and that there was probably something poisonous in my stomach, so I surrendered and puked up a storm. It felt like I had an exploding bowling ball in my stomach.

We were up all night. By morning, we both managed to catch a few minutes of sleep at a time. I got out of bed around 4pm on Sunday and got a bit ambitious — I drank a glass of water and ate a cup of Jell-O. Bad idea. That sent off a whole new cycle of sickness. I crawled back into bed at 9 and stayed there for another 12 hours.

I felt better this morning, but FB is still out of commission. He has had a fever off and on and it is not getting better. If he is still sick in the morning, he will go in to see his doctor. He's not actively vomiting anymore, but he still feels crappy.

It was awful. I don't know what sort of food poisoning it was, but it was definitely the pizza. It was the only meal we shared that day and we both got sick at exactly the same time.

I've managed to eat some saltines and drink some juice today, but I haven't had any protein and I'm feeling headachy and weak. I did manage to keep my prenatal vitamin down. Hopefully, I'll be able to eat some small meals tomorrow.

I am incredibly thankful that I have not had to deal with this as often as many of my pregnant friends have. It sucks.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Second Appointment

We had our second appointment with the midwife on Thursday. It was very short, but we got to hear the heartbeat, which was wonderful.

It took Joyce, our midwife, a few minutes to find Snapdragon with the doppler because he/she was all the way over to the left. We got to hear my pulse several times as Joyce searched, and I'm sure that that sped up with every passing second. We finally located him/her and heard the heartbeat nice and loud. I was actually surprised by how clear it was. It was a little fast — 180 beats per minute — but Joyce said that that was no cause for concern, especially since Snapdragon was just 11 weeks along. Later on, it should slow down a bit.

We also went over my blood and urine test results, which showed that I am slightly anemic, probably due to my thalassemia. It doesn't really bother me day-to-day and I've never needed a blood transfusion, but I suspect that it is playing a role in my exaggerated exhaustion.

We also found that I have GBS, a systemic strep colonization that is not dangerous for adults, but could cause pneumonia or meningitis in a newborn. It means that I will have to receive intravenous penicillin during labor to clear my body of active strep. I'll have to go in early in labor, rather than laboring at home for any length of time, in order to give the antibiotics time to work. I read up on it and the penicillin therapy is very effective. I was also comforted to learn that c-section does not eliminate the GBS risk, so the strep does not decrease my chances of having a vaginal birth. Also, GBS does not interfere with breastfeeding.

On Friday, I have to go to a larger medical center to get my first-trimester screening, which will include an ultrasound portion. I hope that Snapdragon cooperates and that I can get some good pictures, especially since FB will be on a business trip and won't be able to come with me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Breast Milk Cheese?

"You can milk anything with nipples."

Today in Infantilizing Pregnant Women . . .

Bravado, a company that designs nursing/pregnancy bras, sometimes features pregnant models in its runway shows. Since their lingerie is designed for nursing and pregnant women, this might seem like a no-brainer.

In February, the Blush Boutique Nightclub in Las Vegas, which had agreed to host this runway show, barred a pregnant model from participating because it was at night and there was alcohol in the building!
“We did not feel it appropriate to feature a very pregnant model in a nightclub, at midnight, where alcohol was being served,” Jennifer Dunne, a Wynn spokeswoman, wrote in a statement responding to questions. “Our team made a judgment call which we feel was correct given the environment and circumstance.”
Why? Is it past her bedtime? Might she see people drinking?

Let's clarify once and for all:
Though pregnant women are carrying infants, they are not, in fact, infants themselves.

When I was an elementary school teacher, you would see this when principals and professional development people would treat teachers as they would treat the students in that teacher's grade. Are you a kindergarten teacher? Let's cover your assessment folders with stickers! I had a friend who switched from first grade to sixth and she said she was shocked to find that people started talking to her like a grown-up.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Babies in Bars

Should babies be allowed in bars?

As long as they aren't drinking or screaming and the parents aren't being obnoxious by blocking the bar area with strollers, who cares? Some of the people interviewed say that they don't want to drink with 5-year-olds staring at them — that seems a little whiny to me. Do they think that little kids (and their parents) should be hidden away until they are teenagers?

4,000 Years for Choice

Here is a very cool project exploring the ways in which women have sought to control their fertility over the last 40 centuries.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Not So Tired

I feel like I am waking up out of my extreme exhaustion. I had a full day at work today, walked a mile and a half there and the same back, but am still awake and happy at 10:30. Tired, yes; exhausted, no.

It's been about a week since I have felt the exhaustion that characterized the last month or so of my pregnancy. It used to be that I would be laughing/crying from tiredness by 8:30 at night. Now, I just yawn and feel sleepy, but I am confident in my ability to walk up the stairs.

I'm looking forward to the rumored energy increase of the 2nd trimester. Only a couple of weeks to go!