Archive for July, 2008

I hate you, gall bladder

July 31, 2008

So remember me bitching about how every time I eat it feels like I have a tennis ball under my ribcage?  Well, it turns out what I’d failed to specify was that the tennis ball always appears on the right side.  You see, last night I was casually mentioning (read: complaining) to someone that other than the discomfort after I eat and the hip pain, so far I’m doing okay, and how I guess that’s what happens when my stomach is pushed up so high thanks to the small one.  In my audience was an ER doc, who said that my stomach is actually on my left side, and that it sounded like something with my gall bladder (he specifically asked me if gall bladder disease runs in my family).  Huh. 

So today I thought, what the hell, I’ll give my doctor a call.  And sure enough, the nurse tells me that it sounds like a gall bladder thing, and that as long as I’m not miserable, to just ride things out.  And I’m not miserable – at best I’d call the pain an annoying discomfort, and nothing near debilitating.  Not that I’m excited about this new turn of events, but at least she didn’t respond by sending me to the hospital.  So now I’m supposed to keep an eye out for signs of nausea or fever, as either new symptom should prompt me to call them back (and might result in the dreaded trip to the hospital).

And what does the world wide web suggest?  Cutting down on fatty foods… and they specifically mentioned ice cream.  ICE CREAM!  Are you shitting me?  I pass my fucking glucose test and the pregnancy gods still manage to take away my vanilla milk shake?  Bastards!

So yeah, I’m no longer on speaking terms with my gall bladder.  That asshole.


Not the best morning

July 29, 2008

So last night I didn’t sleep so well – my back hurt and my hips decided they needed to chime in as well, lest the lower back earn all the proverbial grease.  And then, around 6 AM I started to feel nauseous, in that dehydrated sort of way (despite my having drank at least two liters of water yesterday), but upon attempting to hug my toilet I was struck down by a wave a dizziness that left me laying on the floor in a sprawl usually reserved for drunk college freshmen or the attendees of a particularly eventful bachelorette party. 

I proceeded to call for my husband, who I sent downstairs to fetch me a sweet beverage to up my blood sugar and he called back to report that we had nothing in the house – no lemonade, no oj, no emergency stash of ginger ale for the hung over, nothing.  “Just mix some sugar in a glass of water,” I replied, at which point the dog jumped off the bed to make sure I was alive.  After sniffing my face, he seemed satisfied that I wasn’t dead but not completely confident that his masseuse would be up to her job so he laid beside me as a precaution.  I love my dog.  Then my dear husband arrived with a glass of makeshift lemonade he squeezed in the dark from the random lemons we had in the house, finding my request for sugar water to be too desperate to possibly take as a direct order.  I love my husband.  It did the trick and five minutes later I was able to crawl back to bed.

Needless to say, I didn’t roll into work until around 10 AM this morning.  I am really starting to be over this whole pregnant thing.

one hundred thirty-seven

July 29, 2008

Yup, I am officially a fatty.  I somehow managed to pack on ten (10!) pounds in the past month and am now weighing in at 137 pounds.  Sure, I’m pregnant, I’m supposed to gain weight, but my doc was pretty insistent I gain between 20 and 25 lbs for the entire pregnancy and this puts me at a 17 lb increase with 13 long weeks to go.  There is no way I’m only gaining 3 to 8 pounds in the next three months. 

The doc insisted that he must have had the “wow, slow down there” talk with at least four preggos yesterday alone, and that at some point almost everybody has the ten pound month, but that now it’s time to be diligent. 

And he’s right – I was so on track for five months that I let several bad habits sneak in (the nightly ice cream sandwich instead of the glass of chocolate milk, the cheese sandwich when everyone else is eating cold cuts instead of opting for hummus, the sugary beverage when everyone else is drinking beer or wine instead of seltzer water, the new cupcake place down the street from my office…).  All this get compounded by the fact that I get winded so easily now that the nightly dog walk is more like a quarter mile than a mile, and the half mile walk to work is now a 15 minute stroll instead of my previously brisk pace.  I need to get my ass to the gym and start swimming laps until this summer heat breaks, as I refuse to give birth to some 8 lb. behemoth of a child. 

My goal for this month is to keep to weight gain down to two pounds – that’s 1/5 of what I packed on last month.  Looks like it’s time to switch back to skim milk.  I’ll miss you, vanilla milk shake.

Left is right is wrong

July 28, 2008

… I am so completely excited about a posting on The Washington Post website regarding people who confuse their left and right.  I am not alone!

I’ve had this silly little learning disability forever.  As a passenger in a car, I instruct someone to make a “my side” or a “your side” when giving verbal directions.  I methodically avoid aerobics classes and took up the one form of yoga (Bikram) that does the same 26 poses in the same order every class, so I don’t need to stare at my classmates in the mirror to know which leg I’m supposed to be standing on.  During my very brief stint in ROTC, drill and ceremony was a constant source of anxiety, and don’t even get me started on being a coxswain in college – I’d simply remember which teammates were ports or starboard and look to which way their oars were pointed before knowing which side to yell at as we drifted off course.  Can you imagine the agony of my poor fellow theater geeks when I was forced to differentiate between stage right and my right while going over blocking in high school?

The funny thing is, I have a great sense of direction.  On foot, I can almost always find my way around a city (with the exception of getting out of a subway station, as I need to reorient myself and the great left-right debacle rears it’s ugly head) – it seems the cardinal directions don’t give me any problems, probably because they remain fixed, whereas good old left and right change every time I move.  If I’m driving and someone else is giving me verbal directions, I’m okay as a right turn feels different from a left turn, but if I’m on foot and you say turn left, I will hesitate for a full 30 seconds and still probably get it wrong. 

My dad has the same difficulty and it drives my mother insane.  Sorry small one… in addition to the 50% chance that you’ll have inherited his color blindness, you may also get grandpa’s complete inability to tell your right from your left.  Now here’s hoping you also get his metabolism to balance out the bad with some good.

What’s in a name?

July 28, 2008

So I’ve probably mentioned this before, but we have a name and we’re not telling anyone. 

Actually, we have names for the first boy and the first two girls (not that we’re necessarily having more than two, but I digress) and have pretty much had these nailed down since before we were even engaged – yes, I realize that is completely weird. 

So why aren’t we telling?  Well, reason number one is that we’ve be advised not to by friends who’ve recently had children.  It seems people tend to have “opinions” about a name for an unborn child that they would never express once the legal papers were signed and the little fellow has officially arrived.  And while the names for the girls are decidedly old fashion, the name for the boy is a bit, well, let’s just say I’d never heard of it as a name before my husband mentioned it.  So needless to say, out choice would definitely be questioned.

The other big reason – all the names we’ve picked are family names, the problem being that neither the first girl name or the first boy name include anything from my mother-in-law’s side of the tree.  I can’t help it if her family is full of Miltons and Kings and that she already used all the normal names for her own children, but I can guarantee that she won’t see it that way and would spend the next three months campaigning on behalf of her lineage.  Let’s just say she already seems to have enough things to call me about without adding this one to the list of reasons why her son failed to marry a reasonable woman. 

So we’ve been telling people that we aren’t telling anyone based on superstition and that seems to end the prodding.  That being said, while at my husband’s family reunion, I had the opportunity to meet the one cousin of his who is also named after the same relative that the small one will be.  He’s a great guy, and upon hearing that we were having a boy, he promptly said “Have you considered [insert THE name here] as a name?” and proceeded to wait on us in a playful attempt to sway us to the wonder that is his name, much to our entertainment.  He then spent the rest of the week referring to my belly as little [insert THE name here].  I can’t wait to send him the birth announcement.

Week 27

July 28, 2008

Baby: Your baby measures about 9.6 inches from crown to rump and weighs a little more than 2 pounds. Hands are active and muscle coordination is such that he can get his thumb into his mouth. Thumb-sucking calms the baby and strengthens his cheek and jaw muscles. Your baby can cry now.

Mom-to-be: You may see stretch marks as your uterus continues to expand. Most women have gained about 16 to 22 pounds by now. Balance and mobility also may be changing as you grow larger.

Thanks, WebMD.

So how goes it?  Well, at the last ultrasound, the small one was already sucking his thumb [insert obnoxious, obligatory oh how advanced my child is comment here], so we’ve got that one covered.  The kicking is pretty constant (usually beginning ten minutes after I eat anything or five minutes after I sit or lay down), so things are still rockin’ and rollin’ in there. 

As for me, no stretch marks yet (oh please oh please oh please may the pregnancy gods have mercy on my skin).  I no longer fit into any of my pre-pregnancy clothing shy of two pairs of yoga pants (yippee for lycra), and while everyone keeps commenting on how I still look so small and cute, I can’t get my head around the fact that I have three months of bigger to go.  My ribs are already completely squished so the small one doesn’t have anywhere to go but out.  My energy level is a B- as I don’t need naps but I do go to bed by 10 and walking more than a half mile leaves me slightly winded, something my poor dog is not enjoying now that his afternoon walk has been downgraded to an amble.

I have a doctor’s appointment later today, so more news then on his interpretation of the ultrasound and the results of my glucose test.


July 18, 2008

All next week I am beach-bound.  It’s the husband’s family reunion so I’ll be tanning besides 120 of his closest relatives (not even exaggerating a little on the numbers).  Expect stories of all the creative ways I manage to play the pregnancy card to get out of everything from doing dishes to mandatory family fun time (aka sitting around a fire while the coors light loaded sing along to a guitar – actually a lot more fun than I’m making it sound, but then again last time I was numbered among those imbibing and I don’t know that I could handle a group of North Carolinians singing Dixie into the wee hours of the morning while stone cold sober).  We may even get a chance to tell the widdow of the man after whom we’re naming the small one of our intentions – she’ll be the only one in the family who knows. 

I bought a maternity swim suit so the great aunt and uncles won’t need to scoff at how unseemly it is for a woman in my state to bare her belly.  (Of course, I’m also bringing the string bikini for those beach times when I won’t be seated next to anyone over sixty – what can I say, the whole “fat looks better tan” adage totally applies to pregnant bellies, too!  Thank you Whole Foods for organic, wtaer resistent  SPF 30.)  Speaking of packing, it has never been easier!  Since I only own about a suitcase worth of clothing that fits these days, I simply emptied that drawer into my carry-on and tah-dah!  If there’s an upside to only owning 5 shirts and two pairs of pants, I’ve just discovered it. 

And my reading material for the week?  Let’s call it eclectic – the new David Sedaris book and a copy of Babywise.  And maybe I’ll finally pick up Moby Dick.  Maybe.  Is it just me, or is beach reading just not the same without a new Harry Potter to devour?  I miss the boy wizard.

Have a great week without me.

Mothers vs. Mothers-in-Law 1.0

July 17, 2008

Now both have their problems, especially when it comes to pregnancy, but I’ve noticed some clear and yet entirely predictable patterns emerging:

Today my mother called me at work and it went something like this: “I am so sorry to bother you at work, and this is completely not an emergency, but do you have a minute?  I’m at Anne Taylor and they have maternity clothes on sale and I wanted to see if I should pick you up a button down shirt.  Okay, I’ll let you go.”  Granted, with two very elderly grandparents, my mother pretty much prefaces every call with “don’t worry, everybody’s okay, I just called to chat” these days, but she almost never calls me during business hours and when she does she is always sure to check that I’m free before continuing.

Last week my mother-in-law left me a message during work hours which I mentioned in a previous post: “I don’t know why you never pick up the phone, this is an emergency and I need to talk to you right away.  I need to know if you need to borrow sheets for your trip to the beach next week.  You know, it’s very rude when you don’t return my phone calls and I can’t call [insert husband’s name here] because he’s busy with work and just so tired.”  Yeah, that’s right – I may earn 70% of our income and be entering my third trimester but I’m neither busy at work nor tired.  And don’t even get me started on her concept of an emergency.  When I did call her back, I was trapped on the phone for about 30 minutes despite my having explained that unlike my last job, I’m not in a private office anymore and I can’t really talk freely about whether or not my husband likes the new pillow she sent him.  Call your own child!

This will only get more comical once the small one makes an appearance.  I can just hear it now.  My mom: how have you been sleeping?  and how’s the baby?  Mom-in-law: How has [insert husband’s name] been sleeping?  You know he needs to go to work so I hope you and the baby aren’t keeping him up.


Sudden Shooting Hip Pain

July 16, 2008

Well this is fun.

Nothing like walking back from lunch after having treated oneself to a hamburger of the fast food like but not exactly fast food variety (god bless Five Guys) only to find yourself debilitated by a sudden onset of shooting hip pain on both sides.  The walk has officially become a waddle.

I’m now using a cardboard box to prop up my legs under my desk (all this is complicated by my having chosen a dress today – oh modesty).  I was going to walk home to work from the couch, but fuck it.  I might as well get used to being uncomfortable.  It’s not like this is going to get easier.  Tonight I’ll just have to use a thicker pillow between my legs to keep my hips aligned.  Oh the potential for that last sentence to be turned into a goldmine of pre-pubescent jokes…

Glucose Test

July 16, 2008

So I took my glucose test this morning, and now that I’ve devoured a sesame bagel with cream cheese and a decaf iced latte, I am reemerging into the world of the mostly coherent. What’s a glucose test, you ask? Well…

Most pregnant women are given a glucose test between their 24th and 28th week to check for gestational diabetes. The concept is pretty easy – you fast for 12 hours, consume a controlled amount of sugar and 1 hour later have your blood drawn to check your blood sugar levels. Piece of cake, right?

And largely it is. The trick is to go first thing in the morning, so you don’t have to suffer through being pregnant, awake, and not allowed to eat for 12 hours (at best I can go about 4 hours without feeling either starved or faint, but even that’s pushing it these days). And by first thing in the morning I do mean first thing – a concept my husband didn’t fully get his head around this morning as I waited for him to finish his coffee, check his email, make a few phone calls and pay a few bills before dropping me off at the hospital. He’s had a tough week so I didn’t want to hurry things, but waking up without immediately putting food in my system is a recipe for queasiness and I was very ready to have the whole ordeal over with and tuck into breakfast. So needless to say I was feeling a bit wonky as I headed into the hospital.

And then a game of departmental ping pong began. Check in at front desk and get sent to Pre-Lab. Pre-Lab hands me what looks like orange fanta in the sort of bottle you would expect to find filled with insulin in a diabetic’s fridge and a Styrofoam cup, inform me that I have 5 to 10 minutes to consume the beverage and send me to the lobby to drink up. The stuff doesn’t taste too bad (like super-market knock off orange soda with an odd aftertaste) and it was served cold, so I guzzle it down in about 4 minutes and head back to Pre-Lab. They hand me back my paperwork and tell me to go back to the front desk to register. The front desk takes my paperwork, tells me to sit down and says my name will be called.

This morning the lobby is all octogenarians and pregnant ladies with “sodas” in hand, so I wait for about 20 minutes for my name to be called. This isn’t outrageous or anything, but the Pre-Lab folks never told me how the glucose test would go down, so I grow progressively more nervous that they need to take my blood at both the hour and half hour mark, and my mind wanders to how little I want to be informed by a head shaking nurse that I’ve missed the testing window while doing god know’s what in the lobby and that I’ll have to return tomorrow and start over. I take comfort in the fact that the pregnant lady who showed up after me is still waiting for registration as well, and the nurses can’t possibly have forgotten about both of us, so I must be okay.

Registration calls me in, updates my insurance info, and even pre-registers me for my delivery in October. Sweet! The woman informs me that there will be a $200 co-pay for the delivery, and I think to myself that I’ve spent more money on a pair of shoes than I will out of pocket on the hospital fees for delivering my first child (not counting nightly stay fees but whatever). Not a bad deal! She sends me on my way and so it’s back to Pre-Lab to tell them I am all set. They tell me to wait in the lobby and that they’ll call me when they are ready.

I attempt to read the Time article on Nelson Mandela but I only make it through Joel Stein’s quips about getting vetted to be vice president and then rest my head against the wall behind my chair. The sugar rush never came but the subsequent crash feels like it’s hitting hard and I just want a piece of toast and a nap. I feel wonky.

Pre-Lab announces my name and it’s into a chair that seems like a higher version of the desks from public school where the writing surface folds down in front of you. The nurse is kind enough to ask which arm I prefer – a blessing since my right arm has refused to yield blood since I was about four despite many an overly confident attempt by scores of nurses during my illness-riddled childhood. I roll up my left sleeve and present my arm while proceeding to close my eyes and bite down slightly on my clenched right fist. The nurse is mercifully swift and the pin prick is mild. The vial fills, the needle is removed, I confirm that it is my name on the sticker she adheres to the sample and I’m sent on my way. All in, the whole ordeal took about an hour. Not bad.

I walk to the office fantasizing about the snack I’ll be purchasing from the coffee shop and note that it may not be the most prudent move in the world to walk a half mile in the July heat after blood work and no breakfast in all my pregnant wonkiness, but I don’t feel faint and I don’t really have another option anyway.

And now I’m writing this instead of doing work (despite my having showed up to the office almost two hours late), waiting for the magically power of cream cheese to return my powers of reason. I should hear about my results at my next doctor’s appointment, but I’m not nervous. If there is any mercy in this world I will not be at risk for gestational diabetes. The turkey and beer fast is bad enough – if they take away ice cream and cup cakes I don’t think I’ll make it.