Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Week 12: End of first trimester

I had the last of my "long" appointments today with my GP (now OB I suppose). Same routine as usual... pee in this cup, let's take your blood pressure, and let's weigh you. All these things were normal and acceptable. The nurse tried to guess my new weight before I got on the scale and came very close. From the beginning of the pregnancy to now (the very end of the first trimester), I have gained 12 lbs. Apparently, this means I can expect to gain about 40lbs. by the end of the line, which my GP says is normal and acceptable. But it's strange to step on the scale and weigh a weight I've never weighed before. I am sitting at 161 lbs (in the morning). Apart from the usual, I had a physical. All is shipshape. I learned that my former surgery will not interfere with anything and what's more, pregnancy is likely to make future similar operations less probable. So hooray for that. Finally, I got a first chance to listen to the baby's heartbeat with a doppler device. It took her a while to get a good angle, but eventually she succeeded. Apparently, the placenta is often on the anterior wall of the uterus, and it can muffle the sound of the baby's heart. I knew it was a fast heartbeat, but it is one thing to be told its speed, and it is another thing entirely to actually hear it beating. There is always some part of the doppler machine sound that sounds like the ocean (a little), and over that, this rapid boom, boom, boom sound, with the slower boom (mine) in the background. I wish Greg could have been there, but he attended one of the first meetings and we decided that the next one he would take time off work to go to would be the next ultrasound. The next ultrasound is at 18 weeks and takes place on Friday, August 5th. I am already taking that week off in anticipation of Elizabeth being home from Taiwan for a visit, so maybe Greg won't be the only person to come see an ultrasound that actually looks like a baby and not a smudge. If the baby is turned in the right direction, it will be possible to determine the gender.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Prune juice

One of the many (and more common) problems in pregnancy is constipation. It's a nasty topic, I know. The body slows down the entire digestive system to suck as many nutrients as possible out of the food you are consuming. Also, the expanding uterus presses on the GI tract (which is behind it), and the bladder (which is in front of it). All this to say, I asked Greg to buy me some prune juice on the weekend because (without going into detail), I am suffering.
The plan was to have a small glass with my breakfast this morning. I was pleased to see that Greg had not opted for generic prune juice, but had bought Welch's. They make such good grape juice, so their other juice must be good too! I also noticed that he had bought unsweetened prune juice. Hmmm... well, it's not as though I need extra sugar in my diet right now. I poured some into a glass. It was opaque and brown. It looked like sewage. It didn't smell particularly bad though. I took a swig.
Prune juice is without a doubt the most vile liquid known to mankind.
The only reason I was able to drink even a few ounces, was because I cut it with about 12 parts gingerale. At that point, it basically tasted like gingerale.
Obviously, I am going to have to find a palatable fruit juice to mix it with, or this solution is just another problem.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sore back

I am not a person who normally gets a sore back. I do get a sore neck and shoulders from time to time, but the sore back was for other people. Not anymore. They say that the movement of bones and stretching of ligaments contributes to this condition. It makes sense to me that with all sorts of stuff shifting around in the middle of my body, the middle of my back would get sore. And it does. For two solid days I felt as though I could not assume any position without being uncomfortable. The solution was mostly massaging the area (or having Greg do the same). Again, I am missing advil. The parts of my body that feel and look "normal" to me are my arms and legs. Everything else is all messed up - as if I am a Mrs. Potato head toy, where someone has rearranged the parts.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I want my drugs back

There are restrictions on the life of the pregnant woman. Of course, it seems that as soon as you are prohibited from certain items, you happen to need them more. There are three particular characteristics of being pregnant that are harder to deal with as a result:

1 - Sinus headaches and congestion (these are increased in pregnancy and I could go into all the mucous membrane details but I won't).
2 - Headaches as a result of hormonal flux (these are headaches in the head, unlike sinus headaches which are behind the eyes).
3 - Molten bitchiness (like lava! - of course, this doesn't happen too often, but I must admit that during last week's heat wave, I may have skirted the edges of unpleasantville).

Therefore, I bring you my list of the top ten things I can't have and wish I could:

1 - Sinus Tylenol!!! (see above - self-administered shiatsu headache massage doesn't always cut it).

2 - Advil!!! (because sometimes you need to break the cycle of pain with chemicals - and it doubles as a good headache killer).

3 - Caffeine! (Now that I'm extra tired all the time, it is very difficult between 2:30 and 3pm in the day, no matter how many hours of sleep I've been having all week, to stay conscious. I can't help but think that a big tea would help - not bloody tisane).

4 - Sushi (ah... in the summer it seems an extra appealing dinner option).

5 - Brie cheese (it's everywhere now that I can't eat it!)

6 - Peanuts (an excellent protein snack with some beneficial oils, I am banned from it during pregnancy because our baby is already predisposed to being allergic and while evidence is thin, there is a chance I could encourage a food allergy broader than my own).

7 - Sleeping in (my body won't let me for a variety of reasons).

8 - Alcohol (now, I'm not a big drinker, but I do like alcoholic cider. I find it very refreshing, as is the occasional daquiri during the summer. In Vancouver I had Grower's pear cider, which I decided was the best drink on earth. Of course, in Ontario, they only import the granny smith apple cider. In B.C. they have a bajillion fruit flavours. Then at the Superstore this week, I noticed the liquor store was carrying the peach cider and one of the berry ciders. I think it would have been worse if they had the pear, but it was bad enough.)

9 - A restricted number of people who look me over (now acquaintances, friends and family make not-so-subtle visual inspections of my body. If they were subtle, I could imagine it was not happening - but they aren't subtle. They do it before they even speak to me. I feel more objectified now than I did in skimpy summerwear).

10 - Energy. (I put this one last because I am assured that it returns with the second trimester).

There are also many things I enjoy about being pregnant, and new privileges I experience. The deferential and protective treatment from people I know is certainly fun most of the time. The mostly guilt free eating experience is also enjoyable. And of course, something like this only strengthens your relationship with your husband (especially if your husband is like mine, and was very keen on pregnancy in the first place).

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Adventures in maternity clothes shopping

I am now the proud owner of some maternity clothes. This is a good thing, since as I have mentioned, my waist is disappearing, and much of my fitted clothing does not fit me. Also, we just got through the first heat wave of the summer (and, if you believe Environment Canada, this is the first of many), and I didn't have a bathing suit that was compatible with my new chest size. My first expedition was with Mom. We went to Thyme Maternity in Hull, which is conveniently located near the Star Cité movie complex. I can't remember the last time I tried on so much clothing! Of course, I am basically creating an entirely new wardrobe. I suppose I could have borrowed some maternity clothes from in-laws or friends of friends, but to be honest, none of them are really my size, and I kind of wanted to have my own new clothes in styles I prefer. Buying a bigger size might also have worked for now, but it seemed more logical to me to get outfits which will last throughout most of my pregnancy (weather permitting). There seems to be a trend in some maternity clothes lately to show off the belly - this is not my style, and happily there was enough diversity in the clothing to accodmodate my desire for comfortable, work-acceptable summer clothes. I haven't really delved into fall-appropriate clothes yet, since I figure I have plenty of time. Mostly, I bought skirts and tops to match. I was impressed by the structural ingenuity of maternity clothes. For the most part, they look like normal clothing, but they are built to accomodate the distending body. The prices were fairly reasonable at Thyme, and the sales clerks were very helpful. I did reach a point where I was incredibly frustrated though... my problem is really chest size. Many maternity tops (and this makes no sense to me), are designed with this line that crosses under the bust. I have always avoided this type of shirt in the past, because in order for that line to fall where it should, I have to buy the extra large shirt, which has such a gaping neckline that virtually my entire chest is exposed. I was also disappointed by the number of shirts with spaghetti straps. Even a small woman is going to gain a few cup sizes. Who are these shirts for? Every book I've read underlines the importance of wearing a bra during pregnancy. But I digress... It was frustrating in the way that it is always frustrating to try on something you really like, only to discover that you are too big to wear it, and that the larger sizes are too large and don't hang properly. However, overall, the shopping was successful. But I still lacked a bathing suit and a pair of jeans! They did not seem to have more than two styles of bathing suit at Thym. Solution: Montreal! In Montreal, I went to Bloom Maternity - which is a lovely store in Westmount. The owner was there, and she was the most knowledgeable and helpful lady ever. I must have tried on five different bathing suits before finally settling on a two-piece tankini. No maternity bathing suits seem to have underwire. Why??? Apparently, women find it uncomfortable. I have never found it to be uncomfortable, even in a bathing suit. But I suppose it would make the top less accomodating to expansion. The tankini top did have wiring on the sides, which helps, and was adjustable in so many ways that I felt comfortable buying it. They even gave me the belly thing to try on. The belly thing is a belly-shaped pillow that you put over your own belly. This particular one added 6 months. I was kind of creepy, and I made the unhappy realization that at the end of the road, breasts and tummy might actually meet. I also acquired maternity jeans - very similar to normal jeans, but with elastic paneling. I have really missed being able to wear my jeans, so this makes me happy.