Archive for the ‘pregnancy’ Category

The Excuse for My Silence

September 10, 2012

Well it’s been a while since I posted, folks. And in the last few weeks, it’s been a struggle even when I do post. But you see – it’s not my fault (so says the American culture, right?). I’m a victim here. The culprit?

Round Ligament Pain. RLP.

So if you’ve never been pregnant, you probably have no idea what the heck I’m talking about. But the round ligaments are the muscles that attach my uterus to my pelvis/groin area. (See this article on WebMD for a better explanation.) They basically hold the uterus in – towards my back – so it doesn’t fall forward. When you are pregnant, they get stretched out like rubber bands, and they can spasm or ache. This is the cause of my pain and suffering in the last few weeks.

Sorry for the boob shot, but this is the best image out there. Thanks to http://tummytime.onslow.org for the image.

So I had this RLP with Annalise the first go-round. It started around the 5th month, and I was still consistently jogging. The pain got worse and worse, and I finally called my OB about it because I couldn’t walk one day without chronic, sharp pains. I was sure this wasn’t normal. Round ligament pain was the culprit, and rest and stretching should help. So I stopped jogging, and doing any strenuous activity. Within a week, the pain had subsided tremendously! I never had a problem again, unless I overexerted myself with a long walk.

But things are a bit more extreme this time with Baby Boy. At 5 months preggo, I felt the RLP coming on again. And it has increased in severity quite quickly (as in, I sometimes can’t walk without doubling over in pain). But the thing is, I haven’t been running or jogging in MONTHS. Only some moderate walking and chasing a toddler. There is very little I can do to change my lifestyle, and I already feel like a fat, lazy sloth.

I’ve talked to my OB, who is known as the “weight Nazi” of OBs in town. While having the largest single-man OB practice in town (he delivered 52 babies in June), he’s a marathon runner. He has zero compassion for excuses for not exercising. He loves his job (has to, right?), and he is passionate about women staying healthy and active during pregnancy. So when I complain to him about my RLP and my lack of exercise, he nods and says, “Some women are just built that way.” And then tells me to do yoga instead. Have you ever tried to do yoga with a 17-month old around? It’s not like I can strap her in her stroller for that one. Sorry doc, I love you and you’ve seen more of me than my husband…but yoga ain’t going to happen.

So anyways, that’s my sob story. I’m limiting almost ALL activity and trying to rest (lying on my side) so my round ligaments can recover. Stretching is also helpful – I get on my hands and knees, and then press my head to the floor while sticking my butt in the air. Lovely picture I know. But it supposedly helps. Sigh.

And I am officially done being pregnant. I know I’ve posted before about not being eager for November to come, but I’m ready to have my body back. I’m tired of sharing. I’d like to have the freedom to go on a walk around the block, without the fear of being bed-ridden later. This is getting ridiculous. And at this point, I choose the chaos of two kids under two and sleep deprivation. Doesn’t sound so bad if I can walk or stand up without pain…

And we’ll end with a note to my unborn baby. It’s heart-felt:

“I’m sorry, Son, but as much as Mommy loves you, I’m done. Come early, please. My uterus is tired. I want you to grow healthy and strong, but unless you find a way to stop straining my round ligaments, Mommy can’t walk. And big sister didn’t get the memo to stop running everywhere and sit still. I feel fat and lazy, and I can’t really do much while I’m reclined on my side on the couch…even though there is so much to do before your arrival! Your father has been such a good support system, but this horrible chronic pain seems to turn Mommy into an uncontrollable monster. And because of all this, I find myself cursing my pregnant body. Every. Single. Day. So I think the best solution is to finish this pregnancy, and have my uterus recover. I don’t mind sharing my body with you, but 9 months seems to be a little too long. And before I forget, I love you! And I hope you get your father’s patience. Love, Mommy” Written at 6.5 months pregnant…Are we there yet?

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Pregnancy Band Break-ups

September 4, 2012

Okay, so this post may be TMI for you. If so, feel free to read my one of my light-hearted posts instead. But…there was one change in my preggo body that completely shocked me. And I haven’t found anyone else that has had such an extreme change. Ready for this?

Bra band size. Did I already lose ya? Sorry. I warned you. (For all three of my non-married, male blog readers, this has nothing to do with cup size. Just FYI.)

So I had heard that pregnancy can cause your rib cage to expand. I’d heard it was normal to grow 2-4 inches in your chest. That seemed crazy to me, but it makes sense. As the uterus grows up and crowds other organs in your abdomen, things shift around and even expand. But what was so shocking about my own experience?

Pre-pregnancy (the first time) I was a 32 inch band size. For being 5’10”, that’s a really narrow chest. Anywho, my band size started to expand when I was about 3 months along…and continued. The peak? Just before I delivered Annalise – at a whopping 40 inches!!! That is an 8 inch difference in band size?!?! And you know what? After I got back in shape after having Annalise, I was never less than a 36 inch band size. The ribs stayed expanded.

This time around, my starting point was a 36, instead of a 32. I hope that doesn’t mean I’ll expand past a 40 inch band size. I’m still surprised that my chest has expanded this much (I’m already at the 40 inch mark) at 6 months preggo, even though I’ve been here before!

So now you know. And now you know that it was stupid of me to buy new nursing bras at 3 months pregnant, thinking they’d last through the pregnancy and after. Ha! Thank goodness for those bra expanders.

So really, has anyone else had this crazy band-size growth in pregnancy? How about another unusual symptom? The hardest consequence of this crazy rib expansion is ever hoping to fit in all my dresses (some which were taken in in the chest) ever again. Such a tragedy!

Creating a Complex for Baby #2

August 14, 2012

Being pregnant while chasing a toddler is completely different than the first go-round. Many of my friends are just getting pregnant or having a baby the first time. When I interact with them, I realize just how different this pregnancy is for me!

1) I don’t keep track of how far along I am. I know my due date. I know what day of the week it is most of the time. But, I cannot tell you how many weeks I am, what size fruit/vegetable he is, or even how many months I am without pausing to think. With Annalise, I could tell you how many weeks gestation and how many days. I knew which day of the week I conceived, so I could look forward to increasing the weeks (i.e. going from 18 to 19 weeks). Not so with #2…I just really grasped I was really having a baby at our 22-week ultrasound.

2) I don’t read all the pregnancy emails. First time around, I read all the emails about how baby was developing and what I should expect in pregnancy. I even read ahead sometimes because I was so interested and fascinated by the whole process. It is amazing. But I’ve been there before. And now I’m busy…with a toddler. Many times, I don’t even read them before I click “delete.” Is that horrible?

3) I am not eager for my due date. This is the hardest one to admit. People ask me all the time, “Are you excited???” And it’s not really a fair question, because they’re assuming I’ll beam and say, “Oh my gosh, YESSSS!” But excited isn’t the adjective I’d use to describe my emotions. With Annalise? Yes! Excited and expectant and anxious BEYOND BELIEF! I couldn’t wait to meet her! But, this time? I’d like to meet baby boy (eventually), but he can stay in the womb as long as he’d like…because I kind of have my hands full. Maybe he could come out once Annalise is feeding herself without a mess, potty-trained, and has grown boobs to nurse baby brother? (I kid, I kid……..)

Will any of these affect baby boy? Not sure…(well maybe if his older sister nursed him…) Will he need counseling when he grows up? Perhaps, but that may or may not be related to the above statements… Will he meet with his campus pastor one day and talk about his imperfect parents? Probably… But hey, at least I am aware that I’m part of a problem. He is the second child. So it’s only my duty to make sure he fits the part, right?

So what was different about the pregnancy with your second child? I can’t be the only one creating a complex for my unborn son…

Who likes orange soda? Kel likes orange soda.

August 13, 2012

I just took the 1-hour glucose test last week. For all you non-preggos out there, it’s a standard test that checks for gestational diabetes. As much fun as that sounds, it’s really not one of the great joys of pregnancy. (it falls just above nausea, fatigue, round ligament pain, and insomnia.)

I just have some quick questions for the makers and administrators of this glucose test. Shout out to MJH here for choosing this awesome method of testing!

1) Does this drink really need to have a fake-orange-syrupy flavor? I think the taste of raw sugar out of the bag would be more appealing.

2) Why couldn’t this drink get some carbonation? If you are going for the cheaper-than-Big K version of orange soda, why only go half-way?

3) If you were trying to load us up with sugar in a small portion-size (50mL), I’d prefer a shot glass of orange syrup (think those Gatorade gel packs.) It would be over faster, and I wouldn’t struggle gulping it down in the allotted 5 minutes.

That is all for now. Here’s hoping I don’t have to go back for the 3-hour version! *raising my glass of anything but orange soda*

Anyone get the tv reference in the title?

Annalise’s Kidney Abnormality: Part I

July 13, 2012

So far, I’ve kept this subject out of the “public” eye. It was too personal. Too difficult. I didn’t want all the obligatory condolences and prayers (even if many were genuine). We needed support, but we went to our closest friends and family. Thank you to each of you, who were there through this journey. We needed you.

But now I’m ready to put this out in cyberspace – because I want other moms or moms-to-be to read this, and find comfort in our experience. I believe knowledge is power, and the most comforting thing in a trying circumstance is knowing what lies ahead. This will be a multi-part series, because there are so many stages. But back to the beginning…

It was December of 2010. I was 22 weeks pregnant with our first baby. We finally were going to see our baby on the ultrasound – and find out the gender! We were excited beyond words. Yes, the thought floated through my head that if there was anything wrong, we’d also probably find out. We opted out of many early-on prenatal screenings (i.e. to find down’s syndrome), so this was our first glimpse of the health of baby. But really, I wasn’t thinking there would be anything wrong. I just wanted to find out WHAT THE HECK WE WERE HAVING SO I COULD DECORATE/PLAN/BUY CLOTHES! I’m just being honest.

Jason and I headed to the prenatal diagnostics center here in Charlottesville. My OB doesn’t do ultrasounds in house, so we go to the best place in the area (which is great to have local!). As we sat in the waiting room, I saw a good friend behind the receptionist’s counter. At the time, he was doing a part-time residency as a genetic counselor at the office. So when we were escorted back to the u/s room, he came along and we caught up while we were waiting for the nurse. She came in, and was taking lots of shots: brain, head, heart, genitals (it’s a girl! AHHH!), umbilical cord, placenta, kidneys….wait, redo: right kidney. left kidney. another position. right kidney. left kidney. “Hmmm…nothing to be worried about, but I’m going to get the doctor to take a second look here.” So…we didn’t worry. We continued to chat with our friend as the doctor came in, soaking up that we were having a DAUGHTER. Even the doc joined in with our conversation, like we were all best friends. I only realized something was more serious when the doc said, “Interesting……..you know, you never want to hear your doctor to say ‘interesting.'”

Then I stopped chatting. I completely changed – warning bells started to go off. My heart started pounding. Everyone else disappeared. WHAT WAS WRONG? I have no recollection of when our friend stepped out of the room – obviously he did at some point. There was no more chatting. Jason and I were glued to the 10 inch u/s monitor as the doctor glided the wand around on my belly. As I careened my head toward the screen and asked a bazillion questions, the doctor must have realized that this was the first we’d heard of the problem. He’d thought we’d been referred to his office because our regular OB had seen it first (which apparently happens a lot in their office). We calmly tried to explain that NO!-we-had-no-idea-so-stop-chichatting-and-tell-me-what-is-going-on. He apologized for being so flippant about his earlier comments, and then saved himself said to me, “For this being the first time you’ve seen this problem, you’re handling this very well.” Those words were like goldfish crackers to a toddler – I instantly became much more relaxed, releasing the grip on the u/s table, and allowing grace for this doctor, who was just doing his job.

After lots of pictures and fishing around, the doctor had gathered that Annalise’s right kidney was partially dilated (or enlarged) on the upper lobe. And there was probably a renal duplication on the right kidney, meaning two ureters came out and headed toward the bladder, instead of one. He assumed there was some obstruction in the ureter somewhere, which was preventing the proper emptying of the kidney. “Not to worry,” the doc said, “If I had to choose to have some abnormality or problem in my baby, this would be it. 99% of the time the kidney will work itself out, even before birth.” He said that worst case scenario would mean corrective surgery (SURGERY????). He handed me a slip of paper with the words “UPJ obstruction” and “renal duplication,” since those were new vocabulary words at the time. We’d be back for another prenatal ultrasound to check on the kidney’s development, and he expected it to look normal.

We came back for several follow-up ultrasounds before Annalise was born. Each time, they expected her kidney to have corrected itself (which apparently happens often). Each time, we walked away with another appointment scheduled. I think our last appointment was around 36 weeks gestation, and I was given the contact information for the UVA pediatric urologist (also local to us). Annalise would be passed into his hands, via her pediatrician’s recommendation. It became much more real and scary to go from “baby in womb with problem” to “baby with a pediatrician and urologist.” It seemed more tangible. More expensive. More costly. More life or death.

In March, Annalise was born with no complications, thank God. Our pediatrician was soon filled in with all the history of Annalise’s prenatal ultrasounds. He was familiar with the whole kidney problem thing, having been a pediatrician for 25+ years. Like the u/s doctors, he wasn’t the least bit worried or concerned, which always reassured us. Our pediatrician had worked with this particular pediatric urologist before, and again thought that her kidney would still work itself out on its own.

But just for precautionary sake, we scheduled an appointment with UVA’s pediatric urology department. There, we’d meet the man, who would become so influential in our daughter’s life.

Fave Baby Crap

July 7, 2012

I call it “crap” because it does seem like a lot of crap for such a small little person. You’ve never been a parent before, and the “must-have” lists out there are insanely long – and you have NONE of it! But you are so ignorant and nervous excited that you will usually buy ANYTHING that is suggested, just because you want to be “prepared.” Don’t want to be wishing you had that baby wipe warmer at 2am when Junior is screaming because you just exposed his parts to the breeze…right? RIGHT? Here are my 2 cents on my favorite purchases…and ones that aren’t worth it, in my opinion. Many thanks to “Baby Bargains” book for it’s recommendations. Go out and BUY THIS BOOK BEFORE YOU REGISTER!

0-3 MONTHS (i.e. what you’d register for):

  • activity gym. This was basically the only toy I had for Annalise the first 3 months. SHOCKER! But they’re awake for such little bursts of time, they don’t need much!
  • car seat carrier. We made the mistake of getting a 35lb limit, but I wish we’d have gotten a 20 or 25lb max, so it would be more compact in a car. You’ll probably move Junior to a standard carseat long before he’s 25lbs.
  • stroller frame for carseat. Don’t buy the travel system, or an expensive stroller. This works great for the first many months, and will give you time to decide what kind of stroller you want – it’s quite an investment!
  • big square swaddle blankets. Swaddling is essential, but challenging! YouTube “happiest baby on the block swaddle” and figure out how to master it.
  • trash can. Skip the Diaper Genie, get a good kitchen trashcan that keeps in smells. It won’t cost as much, and refills are just regular trash bags. And you can reuse it in another room later!
  • bath tub with infant sling. It’s hard to bathe a small little baby. We got a “compatible” one, so it was a bit smaller.
  • Huggies wipes. They are thick, strong, and have the best wipes containers. I find I use less wipes when I use Huggies brand.
  • noise machine. Annalise has bionic ears. We bought a 99 cent song on iTunes, and use an extra iPod. Words great!
  • fast thermometer. The faster the better. It makes a difference when Junior is squirming and wriggling and crying in pain!
  • infant Tylenol. Look for the kind in dropper, not in a syringe AND non-staining.
  • Hanes socks. The only socks that will stay on Junior’s feet. Don’t believe me? Go ahead, buy the cute socks that have shoes on them. You’ll see. Have these in the drawer, for all ages!
  • compact travel changing station. I use the Skip Hop Pronto. Eventually you’ll realize that lugging around the diaper bag is unnecessary. You’ll want this in the car, or to shove in your purse.

CRAP I DIDN’T USE:

  • boppy pillow. It was never comfortable for me, just awkward. Pillows were more comfy and convenient.
  • swing. Didn’t see the need, and Annalise survived without it.
  • bassinet or cosleeper. Annalise slept in her crib as soon as we got home from the hospital. Best decision ever! I slept better without hearing all her sounds, and we never had to make a big transition.
  • pacifiers. Tried it, but it was more of a headache to keep putting the stupid pacifier back IN. Annalise eventually wriggled out of the swaddle enough and got a thumb in her mouth. I never have to go in and help Annalise find her thumb.
  • fancy bottles or nipples. I just bought the bottles that went with my breast pump. Annalise never had a problem, so I never bought them.

CRAP FOR LATER:

  • Fisher Price booster seat. Great for travel, and can sit in any chair with a back.
  • Good bibs. Don’t get off-brand here. Find good velcro, and a light-weight fabric that dries fast.
  • Bobux or Robeez shoes. Best shoes for learning to walk. Don’t get clunky shoes for new walkers…do I need to explain this?
  • Exersaucer. Best toy after Junior can sit up on his own. So then you’re up to Activity Mat + Exersaucer! Ha!
  • Leap frog music table. Great table once Junior can pull up, but isn’t super annoying with sounds.
  • Radio flyer walker wagon. Great toy that helps Junior get steady taking steps, and doubles as a wagon to lug more crap around later. (By this time, Junior will have lots more crap, called “toys.”)