Category Archives: second trimester

Check-Up

OK, two posts in one day is (for me) excessive, but c’mon now – how am I not supposed to talk about the appointment today in which I have gained zero (0, none, zilch) pounds between weeks 22 and 26?  For real.  We heard the heartbeat (in the 140’s), got my blood pressure taken (in the perfectly normal range), and asked the OB several times (as well as the RN weighing me) to reassure us about the lack of weight gain, of which they both, delightfully, did.

I suppose we finally have proof that Vegas is already a little thief, holding up the various disappearing parts of me at gunpoint.  If I’m remembering the math correctly, I’m still not back up to the weight I was when we got pregnant, when the nausea starved me slowly month after month. I’m sure (right?  right?!) that I’ll eventually start weighing in heavier and heavier as we dive head first into the third trimester soon here, or if not, I’ll be forced to have a milkshake with every meal (per the OB’s suggestion).  What a horrible suggestion.

Fascinating, this whole parasite thing.  Take what you need, kiddo.

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Justice Sciatica

Now THIS is what I call exciting pregnancy symptoms!  Hot damn!

Ok – a little back story.  A couple of months ago, I noticed a tender spot on my right leg.  Think, that spot near beneath your kneecap, on the outside of your calf.  You know, that place sometimes young men get unfortunate calf tattoos.  Not on the backside, on the side-side.  Initially accompanied by three tiny dots, we thought maybe I had gotten bitten by a spider sometime in the night.  It was tender, sometimes warm, occasionally itchy, and made it practically impossible for me to get on all-fours without sending shooting pain throughout my leg and making it feel like the skin was being pulled so tight in that one spot that my leg might explode.  Priceless, feeling, I can assure you.  And no, I’m not telling you why I’m on all-fours to begin with.  OK – maybe next time.

So at the last check-up, the Dr. checked it out, as they do with any kind of leg pain, apparently.  Since, at this point, there was only pain, dots, and some redness to complain about.  It wasn’t swelling, said the man, and we left it at that.  Diagnosis: probably a spider bite, with a dash of Whiny Baby Syndrome.

Fast forward a week or two.  I wake up in the middle of the night, cured up on my side, hugging my body pillow that we’ve named Joe Jonas.  What wakes me up is this very odd tingling/burning/itching which has taken over a spot at the very top of my left leg/hip (where your leg meets your ass?).  Assuming it’s dry skin?  More spiders?  Whatever I assumed it was at 3am, I investigated the spot in the bathroom, then slathered it with lotion.  I ended up dropping-trou and sleeping pantless (hott!) since the touching of my pajama pants to my skin only made the tingling and skin-crawling/creeping feeling worse.  My wife woke up the next morning to find me a pantless, air-assed bed partner.  I explained.  We were stumped.  We tried more lotion, cortizone, changing into different pants (maybe some FREE AND CLEAR laundry detergent was irritating me), and a couple of nights later, it stopped all together.

Back to the calf-pain.  The dots went away, and eventually, the only symptom that remained was the fact that I couldn’t kneel on that knee without the shooting pain/skin stretching awfulness.

Fast forward to a couple of days ago, when apparently calf-pain and leg-ass itchiness had some sort of a conference and made a pact to make my lower half unbearably uncomfortable.  After some intense internet research, we landed on sciatica (everyone say together now, “Well Duh!”), which is what we’re going with for now, until we see the Dr. in a couple of weeks for a confirmation.  The tell-tale sign, apparently, is the flesh-burning sensation, coupled with the spider-crawly feeling, on top of topical skin numbness.  Awesome, hm?  So last night, I did a variety of stretching exercises and balance ball sitting to hopefully relieve some of what’s going on inside that’s pressing on the nerves.  My wife, the wonderful, beautiful woman she is, donated a significant part of her evening rubbing my lower back and legs.  We put the rice sock on my calf, and it immediately stopped hurting.  I slept pretty well, considering the nighttime is when the sciatica spiders come out of hibernation.

Other preemptive options include walking the 1/2 mile to and from my car (up hill, both ways!) in the morning and afternoon, plus some dog walking in the evening, on top of making sure I’m not sitting for too long at my desk during the day.  This also means, closing my door for some stretching and taking laps around the building or the campus (on nice days).  Let’s see if that helps.  Any other therapeutic recommendations from you folks out there in the internet land?

Fries with that?

According to “the books,” Vegas will be doubling in size over the next couple of weeks.  This could explain so many things – my recent back aches, strange itchy spot on my outer thigh (just one thigh), unquenchable thirst, trouble sleeping, feeling drained, and the nudgings/pokings/jabbings from him as if he’s trying to claw his way out to freedom.  So this is my cue to really get my leafy green vegetables on.  Oh sure, sure – I should have been eating spinach and kale like they were mini Cadbury eggs all along here, and we’ve been doing relatively well, but I don’t want to give the kid hamburgers and fries to double up on.  How fair is that?  “Hey, kid… growing a brain and some arm-length?  Here, have some fat and grease.  Chop chop!”

It’s becoming less of a weight complex about myself, and more about making sure this kid comes out with every advantage under the sun to finally break away from my pre-disposed familial beefiness.  I’m not saying big isn’t beautiful, but big sometimes means sucking the fun out of things like riding roller coasters, or flying in a plane, or walking with thin people.  See, my whole family is hearty.  Sturdy?  Thick, as my drummer would say.  I’m the tallest of the bunch (at 5’6″) and the thinnest (see other post re: size 22).  Environmentally, my mom started sabotaging me with feeding me fast food every night (as my only dinner option) long before it hit the evening news out of popularity and concern.  Call her a trendsetter.  I’ve also had this body type since I can remember, and these broad shoulders started eclipsing other kids’ when I was about ten, as evidence by line-up-type softball pictures in which I look like I’ve eaten a teammate before the photo shoot.  Now, we don’t talk about “the donor” a lot, for various reasons, but I will say that we did make sure to pick a guy who was pretty lean (with a family history of being lean), and not very tall (in Caucasian donor standards, which is around 5’9″).  Lean, to hopefully off-set some of my chub-genes.  Not very tall, cause… well, we’re not very tall, and didn’t want a kid to tower over us, as if one of us boinked a basketball player on the side.

Also, my wife and I already have a tendency of unintentionally growing things on the large side.  We have large cats, a large dog, large plants, and so on.  The last thing we need is to grow an amazonian child.  Since some obese-prevention will be in place immediately by stopping my mother’s tradition of delightfully putting a straw-ful of Pepsi in his mouth when he’s six months old (“Get ’em started young!” she says), the majority of making sure he’s not made up of layers of oatmeal pies and corn dogs starts with what I put in my mouth.  Here’s to leafy greens, fresh fruits (man, that farmer’s market cannot start soon enough), legumes, and lean meats.  Yeah, it takes the fun out of having wonky, fabulous, decadent cravings (which, oddly enough, I’m not having a whole lot of?), but I’m trying to think of the long run here, which is always easier said than done, but here’s hoping.

Check-Up

Since this was never intended to be a fashion blog, I’m stepping away from my maternity clothes anger.  Breathe in, breathe out.  Rinse, and repeat.

This morning brought our 22 week ultrasound and check-up.  Finally.  For pete’s sake, January, you took long enough.  I went to the counter to check in, and made sure to unzip my coat to flaunt my glorious finally-looking-pregnant belly, which was immediately noticed and smiled at by the lady who always remembers my name.  We had a different sonogram lady than back in December, and this woman meant business.  She may have a sense of humor somewhere, but she would need to use her own machine to find it.

She did a cervix check (vagwand!) and then she went to business wanding my belly.  Brains, check.  Heart, check.  Bladder, check.  Arms, legs, wiggling toes, fingers, check.  When she first started, Vegas was curled up in the breech position, facing stage left with his arms and hands up by his face.  Little did we know that this is the least productive position ever, as we took a few breaks in between the wanding where she’d leave the room and I’d do a variety of movements trying to get him to situate himself differently.  My wife poked him, I jostled him, I leaned over, twisted around, trying laying on my left side, then my right side, got dressed, and so forth.  The only thing he offered us was a more straightened spine and some hiccups.  Everything is developing as planned, as well as a stubborn attitude.  Bonus!

Mistress Sonogram indicated that she could tell the sex, but didn’t tell us and didn’t write it down.  And honestly, as hard as I looked at the screen, she could be telling me “and that’s the elephant trunk” and I would have believed her, since the parts other than the beating heart and the limbs all looked like varying shades of grey.  No sassy profile shots this time due to Vegas’ persnickety positioning, but we did get one face shot straight-on, where you can see his arms and hands up by his face, and clearly make out his nose and (moving!) mouth.  Already, he’s insisting on his privacy.  Or feeling dejected.  Or playing peek-a-boo.

My wife wrote down all of the stats (blah blah number number number blah blah), but all I know is that the doctor (Dr. Fast-Talking and Efficient) told us that everything looked right on target, and that Vegas looks good.  Phew.  Our only question was regarding this strange area on the outer part of my right leg, just under my knee, where I have three mysterious dots (bites?) where the area around it is a little red, and always feels sunburnt.  It’s been this way for two weeks.  He evaluated both legs and ruled out swelling or clots, so we’re treating it as a topical issue.  Or, you know, signs of alien abduction.  Whichever.

My weight gain is still going well.  I was up two and 1/2 pounds from last month, which means I’ve had a total weight gain of six pounds.  Considering I lost eight pounds during the first three months, I’m still down two pounds from when we started all this way back when.  It could be that I’ve always had the body type of a pregnant woman, I just now have a baby to put inside all that belly.

We go back on March 18th, which seems just around the corner, with all of the expectant visitors we’ll be having over the next few weeks, and our mini-vacation the first weekend in March.  Thanks for hanging in there with us thus far – 22 down, 18 to go.

The Sound of Waiting

We’re counting down the days until Friday morning’s ultrasound.  The last time we saw Vegas was back in December, and before then, was at the six week mark, when he was merely a flashing spot on the screen.  Unless we get super-sassy (or I’ve missed something in my notes), this is the last scheduled ultrasound before he’ll greet us all in June.  While I’m sure we’d love to sit there and watch him for hours, we’re mostly hoping for a clean bill of health, and to leave the room unspoiled on the sex.  I’m at peace with the fact that this will probably be our last peek at him, since I kind of feel like he’s our little soufflé – in there baking and rising with a “Do Not Disturb” sign hanging on his cord.  Not being able to see him very often (or hear him, either, since we don’t have a home doppler) is finally off-set by his moving about and increasingly impressive cirque du soleil shows.

He’s growing a lot in there, too, as witnessed by my belly taking turns growing in on the sides and out front.  Since he hired some movers to relocate my stomach to a studio apartment, I’m also forced to practice the small-meals-often rule, with emphasis on the “often” since he is kind of bossy like that.  The amount of bananas, yogurt, and bowls of original Cheerios I consume in one day is pretty impressive.  I could be a sponsor for Chiquita, Yoplait, and General Mills any day now.  Any meal larger than normal (i.e. restaurant meals) end up ultimately making me feel like purging out of discomfort afterwards.  Blech.

In other news, the nursery is coming right along, and our FriendsWithTwins gave our crib, changing table, and co-sleeper a test run last weekend, with thumbs up reviews overall.  Everything is a “good height,” which might have been something we should have researched before buying, but it looks like we’ve lucked out.  There’s still a good chunk of (heavy) office stuff to go downstairs (thanks, in advance, wife), and a handful of things to buy and/or register for (groan) to make the room complete and Vegas-ready, but we’re well on our way.  Thanks, Twins, for lending your sleep and baby butts in the name of consumer reports.

I think we had our last bout of snow yesterday (knocking on wood), so I hope the white-frosted world will start to thaw out soon, and maybe I’ll get to see the grass in my backyard again.  A girl can dream.

Saying Hello

I’m watching the Today show, and this very nice lady is telling me how to eat smart on Super Bowl Sunday.  She has, I suppose, reasonable tips, but isn’t part of SBS stuffing your face with hot wings, nachos, and beer?  It’s like telling a kid to eat smart on Halloween or Easter morning.  Thanks, lady, for looking out for me and Vegas, but I’ve got a freezer full of pizza rolls with my name on it.

Speaking of hot wings, I’m surprised my wife isn’t making me eat them 24/7, since after I ate some at awkward dinner, she felt Vegas move for the first time.  I’m beyond thrilled that she finally felt him.  It’s hard to feel like you’re always hoarding the baby, and until that night, Vegas had stage fright every time I’d grab her hand and press it on my belly and say, “Anything?  No?”  I didn’t feel bad hoarding the nausea and back pains, but I’ve been aching to share the movements.  Thanks, Vegas, for finally cooperating and saying hello to your mother properly.  She’s the one who will teach you how to make homemade biscuits, how to tell the difference between a Chickadee and a Dark-eyed Junco, and how to plant an herb garden.  It’s best to get in good now, since all I can offer are skills like how to write a pop song, and the difference between a lager and a stout.  You’ll be well-rounded, to say the least.

Thank you, Vegas, in advance, for your continuing communication – everyone here appreciates it.  It’s much nicer to know you’re still in there growing by feeling you move, as opposed to heaving at the smell of coffee beans.

Soggy Panini

OK, so the “Be nice to me, I’m pregnant” shirt is out of stock, which is unfortunate, since crying is totally the new nausea.  Woah nelly.  Did I say crying?  Oh wait – maybe I meant sobbing uncontrollably in a reaction to being asked where we should eat lunch.  You would have sworn a relative had died.  Oh you silly hormones, off ruining my Saturday afternoon.  Thanks, hormones!

We can all sigh in relief, though, as Google suggestions is there for us, yet again!  #1, baby!

Google suggestion - Crying during...

Though, I will admit that the “breastfeeding” and “bottle feeding” don’t give me much longterm comfort.  I keep asking my wife when the book says this sort of thing will stop.  The book likes to point out when symptoms start, and then dozes off, forgetting to tell you when (if?) they might ever end.  And “intercourse” is #2?  Where do I sign up to thank my lucky stars I don’t have to Google THAT!?

Contrary to Google’s suggestion results, I’m not worried about how Vegas feels about the sobbing, which seems to be the popular concern.  No, I’m more worried what my wife and the strangers at Panera think – does that already make me a bad parent?  Crap.

Crying, Itching, and Sniffling

Hello emotional wreck, goodbye nausea.  Man, what I would give for some good old-fashioned queasiness in exchange for this new crying/happy roller coaster awesomeness.  Wee!  I suppose this was only to be expected in my somewhat (so far) textbook pregnancy, for those of us following along at home with those pregnancy week-by-week books, but still.  What I benefited from with my iron no-puke stomach, I have made up for with my hair-trigger crying.  If I already wasn’t sensitive enough, this is the emotional equivalent of someone suffering from morning sickness with a super weak gag reflex.

So let’s take this moment to recap some new and exciting symptoms:

  • Emotional mess – Crying one moment, elated the next, anxious in between.  I need a shirt that says, “Be nice to me, I’m pregnant” as everything that could be taken the wrong way, is.  I’m sorry, wife.
  • Itchy belly – Around the base of my belly, horizontal to my belly button (and underneath), it’s itchy off and on all day.  We’re smothering my belly with homemade belly rub, Eucerin Calming Creme, and Aveeno Moisturizing Shower & Bath Oil to combat the issue.
  • Swine flu?  No – it’s the dreaded weird pregnancy stuffy nose!  Replacing morning sickness is morning sniffles and stuffiness.  Thankfully, this has only been limited to the morning hours.

We’ll be at 16 weeks on Monday, and I’m still pregnancy-clothes free.  I can feel my organs and belly shifting around – what was hard up and around my ribcage isn’t has hard anymore; the hard mass is settling in at the front of my belly now.  If you were to take your hands and put them on my hips, and pull them towards my belly button, you’d feel an obvious shift from chubby flesh to hard baby belly.  My hips are low enough, though, that my pants still just sit under my belly.

I’m still waiting for this second trimester magical switch when I have an energy boost and endless appetite, or whatever is supposed to happen next.  In the meantime, I’m still pretty tired and hitting the sack as early as possible (without being rude), and I don’t have any real cravings to speak of (well, besides the Ruffles and Heluva Good french onion dip).  I’m finally eating normal-sized meals again, with small snacky items in between (which my wife has to remind me to eat amidst all of the crying).  I’ll let you know when we get to pickles and ice cream land.

Mmm, Pie.

About this time last year, I tipped the scales at one of my highest weights ever.  With the holidays to blame, with their eventual departure, I dove into a vigorous gym/salad routine that landed me 15 pounds thinner between January and the end of April.  In May, I went to the Gynecologist for a check-up, and when she launched into her obligatory your-BMI-is-off-my-chart Weight Watchers lecture, I told her about my recent weight loss, and she told me to stop losing weight.  15 pounds, apparently, is as much as someone should lose in a year, she says.  Any more, and I’m at a higher risk at gaining it all back, she says.  As much as that sounds like a bunch of hooey, it felt more like a get-out-of-gym-free card.  Hooray.

Soon after the weight conversation, I told her I wanted to get pregnant in the near future, which made her drop the weight issue all together as we talked about getting some sperm, working with an R.E. she recommends, and stocking up on folic acid asap.  I still kept going to the gym, though more irregularly, and stopped torturing myself with spinach and chicken salads every day.  I maintained my weight loss, or so I thought.  Last month, while at the Dr.’s office for the flu, they weighed me per usual, and I was five additional pounds under my April weight.  Thinking maybe the scale was a fluke incident, I didn’t think anything of it until we started seeing the OBGYN, whose scale showed the same number – making that a 20 pound weight loss in 11 months.

Now we’re post-holidays again, and I’m negotiating the feelings that have come with a little overindulgence (my shrinking stomach and lingering nausea (still… I know) can only accommodate so much overindulging) and my growing (and curiously hardening) belly is not so much unlike the post-holiday belly growth that makes me springboard to the gym.  I have to remind myself that it’s not the buckeyes doing me in (though they might contribute), it’s my avocado-sized fetus pushing my innards around and making me feel like I’ve had too much pie.  I could use to walk the dog a little longer at night (now that the snow has mostly melted) anyhow, but mostly, I’m trying to fight the urge to cut back on my calories and feel the burn at the gym, since Vegas surely would not appreciate either endeavor.

On a related note, I would like to take this moment to thank my still-fitting pants.  Thank you, pants.

Check-Up

When we first visited our R.E. back in August, my wife and I sat together in the exam room – me on the table, her on the chair next to me.  We waited for the nice doctor to come in and do the physical exam.  We looked at the magazine articles framed on the walls, and chit-chatted during the curiously long wait in between “get undressed from the waist down” and *knock, knock*.  I noticed the medical probing unit next to me, and we enjoyed a hearty chuckle as I worried that the transilluminator next to us (basically a light connected to a goose-neck stand) would illuminate my trans and they wouldn’t let us have a baby.  We’ve now downgraded to less sophisticated exam rooms, but the transilluminator is always there, and better yet, we always still laugh.

We had the quickest doctor’s visit yet this morning with an OB in the practice we hadn’t met yet.  We’re rotating through at this point, so that we’ve met with all seven OB’s by the due date; someone I work with assured me that the OB we like the least will be the one available on delivery day.  Suck it up, buttercup.  I don’t know if we like him the least (he’s only the second we’ve seen – two down, five to go), but he had a much different bedside manner than the hot nice lady OB we’ve seen the other two times.  Much less squealing and excitement, and much more eat your green vegetables and try not to gain much weight.  Seeing as I’ve gained exactly a half of a pound in one month, I think I’m doing OK.  He took a while to find the heartbeat, as he wiggled the probe around, and we patiently listened to my body digesting a bowl of Kashi until he poked around some more, and eventually found the elusive Vegas, and his very average heart beating away.  We shook hands, didn’t have any questions, and were out the door in 20 minutes.  Record time!

Another month-long wait until the next visit with OB #3.  In the meantime, I’m enjoying my non-pregnancy pants, while rocking what looks like a baby bump to most, but to me, just looks like I’m not sucking in my tummy.  So far, no one’s tried to touch it, but it’s only a matter of time.