Monday, August 29, 2005

Moisturizing the belly

I have always been plagued with extremely dry skin. I have had countless cortisone Rx and many an incidence of cracked and bleeding flesh (especially during the dry winters). I have one finger which was a mess last year, all the way up to the fingertip. Even though it has healed, I can't bear to use it to touch anything remotely hot or cold (and I mean temperatures that are quite normally tolerated by my other normal fingers). It has been this way all my life and it sucks, but I have become accustomed to it and I have accepted it. It is just part of my life, like carrying around my epipen. At any rate, I go to great lengths to moisturize my skin to prevent real disasters. Basically, I manage to keep it at bay most of the time. But now, I am now the unhappy owner of large sections of painfully thin and dry belly skin over my ribs. If you press on normal belly skin with your finger, it follows the pressure. If you press on stretched thin belly skin with you finger, it follows the pressure, but, it is less elastic, and makes horizontal puckering lines. It looks like the skin I have where I've recovered from long-term patches of eczema - it has line that don't otherwise appear. At any rate, it is easy enough to identify the dry spots, because the skin is a different colour - an irritated shade. Also, it feels unnaturally smooth (but not soft). I am now moisturizing my belly twice a day. Today at work, my skin is making me so uncomfortable that I have been surreptitiously apply intense hand cream to my belly. Needless to say, I have tried most moisturizers on the market. I have multiple varieties at home - but... I don't feel like I'm making headway. Have to do some research and determine whether I can ameliorate things...

Friday, August 26, 2005

Fifth month almost complete - New pains!

It is reassuring that whatever new pain I encounter, somewhere out there, there is a pregnant woman who has gone through it and made a post to a message board.
My new pain is pain in the symphysis bone (which I might have mentioned in an earlier post - this bone is used in measuring the length of the uterus). Anyhow, it is damn painful at times and makes even walking uncomfortable at times.
Anyhow, this is from a message board I found (which in turn was taken from somewhere else):
"*Is pubic bone pain normal in pregnancy? From the "Terminal Miseries of Pregnancy," this sounds like something called Symphysis Pubis Diastasis. Now before this nasty-sounding ailment makes you want to set up novenas, know that it's harmless and quite normal. Here's the deal: The pelvis is a ring structure. Progesterone, a hormone made in great quantities in pregnancy has many properties besides thickening the lining of the uterus for implantation. It also relaxes smooth muscle, which helps keep the uterus quiet (non-contracting) as the baby grows. A side effect of this is constipation, because it also relaxes the smooth muscle in the intestinal tract. Progesterone also relaxes the ligaments between joints. In it's wisdom, the human body seeks to make the passageway (the pelvis) a larger space for the passenger (the baby). The middle of the pubic bone is actually a joint where the left and right pubic bones join together. When this loosens up, this in effect makes the diameter of the pelvis a larger space for the baby to negotiate during labor. So far so good. But unfortunately, since the pelvis is a ring, if it opens here, it must pinch there. The sacroiliac joints in your lower back to either side of the midline can hurt when this pubic bone separation happens. Or, alternately, you can just hurt at the pubic joint (the "pubic symphysis"). Diastasis is a word meaning "separation," so pubic symphysis diastasis is the normal effect of progesterone and other unknown forces that open up the pelvic ring a little bit for labor. *So Basically, your pubic bone along with ligaments and such that are joined to the pubic area are spreading in preparation for birth. I have found sitting in a bathtub of hot-warm water for a little while will help to sooth this pain. Hope I helped..."
Needless to say there were countless other posts on the same subject.
The bottom line for most things I am experiencing is: It sucks but it's normal.
And let me say this - the further I get into this pregnancy the more difficulty I have going through the simple steps of my normal OBS appointments. For example, it is getting harder to take off my shoes before I get weighed - I can't just lean forward and do it easily anymore - I have to bring the foot to me. Even worse, when it comes to collecting the urine sample, you are not supposed to collect anything for the first few seconds - all fine and good, but I can't see where the pee is anymore (nothing but belly) -to say nothing of the fact that with the anatomical modifications and rearrangements of pregnancy, peeing in a straight line (so to speak) is basically impossible. Hilarity ensues.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Week 21 - Sneezing hurts

Now that everything is squooshed together up top, sneezing can be really painful.

Meet and greet for shared care

Today I got to meet the obstetrician who will be taking over my care at the very tail end of my pregnancy and who has about a 90% chance of delivering my baby. He is a very personable and friendly gentleman who has rights at the Civic. What was especially nice was that Greg came with me to the appointment. Greg had booked this week off, and drove me to my appointment. He was going to just sit in the waiting room, but the nurses suggested that he could join me. This gave him the opportunity to meet the OB and to ask questions, but most importantly, Greg finally got the chance to hear the baby's heartbeat. While the heartbeat was measured in my ultrasound, we didn't get to actually hear it. My OB has a sono with a speaker (my GP has one with a headset) - and it was great to be able to share that experience with Greg. I always feel positive and happy after my baby appointments - it's always good news and generally exciting.
I did ask my OB whether he had a magic cure for my right rib pains. I don't get back pain or rib pain on the left side - ever - and this seemed odd to me. Apparently it is quite common. He said that the soft tissue pressure on that side tends to results in more pain (with the liver shoved around in there, I guess it's not surprising). So - it isn't really my ribs that are bothering me. As it turns out, the cure is to have the baby. Otherwise, I can take some tylenol. The OB noted that I was a bit bloated - but with all the edema, I'm not too shocked.
I managed to get some fall shoes at Payless. I went a half size up and wide, and it seemed sufficient. The skin over my ribs is so taut right now - it has a different texture than my skin elsewhere. It is also quite dry, and often itchy. So now I make a habit of moisturizing my belly on a regular basis. It provides some measure of relief.

Friday, August 19, 2005

If the shoe fits...

Today promised to be a little chilly, so I decided that I would wear my fall shoes.
I did manage to put them on my feet, however, they were so tight, that after wearing them for about 5 seconds, I realized that I would not be able to comfortably walk in them.
I had thought the swelling in my feet had decreased with the mercury, but, maybe I just became accustomed to it.
Anyhow, that means none of my fall shoes fit me anymore.
I am not totally shocked because a pregnant friend had warned me that this could occur (especially if you hit the fall/winter months nearer the end of you pregnancy). Apparently, your pregnant shoe size may be an entire size different. I think in my case, I've probably gone up a half size (so far?).
I have not tried my sneakers on yet. I have a bad feeling that they will be no better. However, even if they were the only pair of shoes I could wear in the fall, it would not be the best solution (especially for dresses, and other work clothing).
I am not in a panic about the wedding Greg and I are attending on the 27th, because I have plenty of formal sandals that will do the trick (sandals, by virtue of their design, are more forgiving on the swollen prego foot, and are often adjustable).
So here's the problem, I now have to find a pair of fall shoes that fit me, are comfy, are suitable for wearing to work, are suitable for walking to work, and have some give. For all I know, my feet could get bigger - so I will hold out in sandals for as long as possible. No matter what, I will not sink to wearing socks with sandals - there is a level of dignity that even my swollen feet deserve.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Dizziness, itchy belly, and hubby behaviour

It seems I may have neglected to mention that I have days where my belly is really itchy. Apparently this is the result of stretching skin. I think of all the side effects of pregnancy, this one is the most innocuous. I should add at this point that anything belly-related is a source of happiness for my husband. He is quite enamoured of the prego belly and interacting with it has become a part of his daily routine. I hope that all of my friends that become pregnant have husbands who react the way mine has to my pregnancy. His attention and enthusiasm are really gratifying (and of course he is supportive etc.). I can honestly say that he is just as excited as I am (sometimes even more than I am, but I think that's mainly because my feelings can be tempered by various and sundry pregnancy discomforts). And for those women who find it a little hard to adjust to a completely new body shape (and believe me, this is not just a matter of vanity, but a strange wondering of whether aliens have snatched the body you've grown accustomed to over so many years - it really does feel like being in a body not your own sometimes), it is very nice to have someone who vehemently appreciates the new contours. He has decided that pregnancy and the pregnant body are the most beautiful things on earth, and far be it from me to dissuade him (I don't think anyone could).
That being said, I was a little distressed yesterday night and this morning to be suffering from dizziness. Yesterday, Rebecca was very lethargic. It was such a contrast to her behaviour of the past two weeks that I actually began to worry that something was wrong with her. I find the prospect of losing her to be more upsetting now than during the first trimester when it was arguably a greater possibility. The difference now is that I've felt her move and I've really seen her. It makes a huge difference to the way I think about her. I realized this morning that no matter what happens, the baby will never be "safe", even if she lives to be 100, she can just be more safe or less safe, and I'll have to accept it.But back to the dizziness - my solution (as usual) was to hunt for information, then decide what to do. Fortunately, this appears to be pretty normal and is most likely a sign of low blood pressure (temporary). So Mom, you can stop worrying (for now) about me getting high blood pressure. I looked at many websites and books and this is a cut and past of one of those (except that I corrected some glaring spelling mistakes - I know the punctuation could also use some work, but I was feeling too lazy to fix it):
"Dizziness in the second trimester is normal! Many women experience a drop in blood pressure as the body tries to adjust to an increase in blood volume. The typical pattern is lower than normal blood pressure in the second trimester followed by a slow rise in the third trimester which we hope doesn't go up much above your non-pregnant blood pressure!
If you are feeling dizzy from low blood pressure, try to stay cool (I always got dizzy in the shower!), lie down, and drink some water. You may also be dizzy from low blood sugar because the baby goes through several growth spurts in the second trimester which can really make mom hungry! If you think this is why you are dizzy, drink juice or something which will give you quick sugar, then eat some protein to keep your blood sugar level up long-term. If you are dizzy a lot, have other symptoms (such as blurry vision or headache), or faint, please call your practitioner! "
So I am reassured and I will take the necessary steps to alleviate my discomfort.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


The combination of hot weather and pregnancy-attributable edema has given me sausage toes and has made my ankles disappear into my legs somewhere. Do not understand from this comment that my girth is such that my ankles are no longer visible! (that comes later). I am no longer wearing my wedding band for fear that I will have to have it cut off my swollen fingers. It has taken a week and a half for the ring finger to return to normal width in the area of the ring. I could have had the ring resized, but since this swelling is temporary, I thought it best not to. I am considering wearing it on a chain, but I haven't found a chain that really goes well with the chunkiness of the band itself.
Apart from that, the baby is very active and almost seems afraid that I will forget her existence. Not an hour goes by (when I am conscious) that the baby doesn't jump around to get my attention. I read that the baby in this stage sleeps as much as a newborn does. Is this a warning of things to come?! My Mom said I didn't sleep through the night until I was 4 years old. Uh oh.
At this point, everyone who sees me can deduce that I am pregnant. Even the lovely gentleman who came to set up my new office chair at work extended his congratulations. Last week, people started to suspect, but weren't sure enough to actually ask me about it. Now, the cat is really out of the bag.
Greg and I are now registered in a prenatal course. We are doing a compressed version consisting of two very long Saturdays in October. I am supposed to bring a stuffed animal in order to practice baby holds. I am looking forward to the classes, but everything seems so far in the future.

Friday, August 5, 2005

Ultrasound! It's a ...

This morning was the big ultrasound I've been waiting for. The ultrasound where Smudge actually looks like a baby and we can find out the gender of the baby.
The morning began with the tedious process of drinking 1L of water in the space of about 15 minutes. Greg and Reuben seemed to believe this was an easy feat - and the truth is yes, drinking 1L of water when you're thirsty or when you've been exercising, over the course of several hours, is very easy. However, drinking 1L of water when you are fully hydrated and not thirsty anymore, is very difficult. The first 750ml is o.k., but the last 250ml is torture. I have never felt so much like throwing up water in my life.
Anyhow, I was more than sufficiently bloated for my appointment and naturally, while I was early, they took me late. In some ways, it was easier than the first time, because they didn't have to press as hard on me with the ultrasound device in order to get the picture they wanted. Once I'm past 28 weeks, I will only have to drink a half litre of water. Of course, by then, the pressure on my bladder will make the experience just as difficult as drinking 1L now.
Greg and Elizabeth came with me into the appointment. I was very excited for Greg to see the baby, and Elizabeth too - especially since the next time she sees me the baby will be a few months old. The baby's heartbeat was 138bpm this time (last time was 135bpm). The ultrasound technician was extremely friendly at took pains to describe everything she was doing and everything we were seeing. The most important thing is that the baby appears to be perfectly healthy.
We got to see: the face, the arms, the legs, the femur, the kidneys, the intestines, the brain, the cerebellum, the feet, the spine and the heart. We could actually clearly see the four chambers of the heart and we could see the beating of the heart. That was not something I was expecting and it was very exciting for me (especially having spent time at the heart institute).
The baby was extremely active during the ultrasound session, moving legs and arms around and turning itself over. My worries that Smudge would be pointed in the wrong direction and asleep were obviously ill-founded. The problem was getting Smudge to stay put! I was not surprised because Smudge was super active all this week.
As for the gender, the baby was quite accomodating and had legs spread open. The technician was looking at the baby from the bottom up, and there was no evidence of male equipment - so, the pronouncement is that the baby is a girl!