Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sliding into third (trimester, that is!)

I've heard the second trimester referred to as the "Honeymoon Phase" of pregnancy and for the most part it was a LOT easier than the first (which in my case was characterized by nausea, violent mood swings, severe fatigue, depression and just generally feeing crappy.) In the 2nd trimester, I had more energy, my appetite was good (maybe too good!) and I felt happy and healthy overall. But I guess the honeymoon is over. Lately, I've begun to experience some new and uncomfortable symptoms. The swelling in my foot I already mentioned in a previous post "My Left Foot". My doctor prescribed me compression hosiery, which are basically stockings that squeeze the heck out of your foot so it couldn't swell if it wanted to. Yeah, they're dead-sexy. I tried them. They were very hard to get on. They did keep my foot from becoming balloon-like. Unfortunately they turned my toe purple and the best thing about them was peeling them off at the end of the day. I think I'll just go with bare feet and sandals and try to keep my feet elevated as much as possible. As I learned the hard way, another problem with having all your blood pool in your feet is that if you stub your toe, it will be a geyser of blood! One day I was on the phone, getting ready for work and rushing around when I stubbed my toe on the bassinett (it has feet that stick out so that it can rock). With the added weight and the bloated foot, I've been a little clumsier and more ungainly lately. (It doesn't help that my left foot is huge and with my belly in the way I can't even see it anymore.) Suddenly I realized my middle toe was gushing blood. I put pressure on it and it wouldn't stop. I put a bandage on it and it soaked through. After a few bandaids (and do you know how hard it is to get a bandage on your middle toe without sticking to the other toes?!) a lot of pressure and holding my foot up in the air, I was good to go. These things always seem to happen when you're already rushing to get ready for work!

There are aspects of my new voluptuous figure that I don't mind. My cups runneth over! To the point where I just gave up wearing a bra because it was getting too costly to have to keep going up a size. I would try one on in the store and think it was comfortable until a couple of days later when it was too tight and I couldn't stand it and had to tear it off. I will have to get nursing bras of course but I am going to wait until the end so I don't have to worry about outgrowing them. I do tend to get backaches more often now. Between the boobs and the belly, I'm front heavy and it puts a strain on my back, especially when I have to bend over to do things like gardening, weeding, etc. Another thing that makes bras so uncomfortable is that I now have a pain under my breasts, along my braline where my ab muscles used to be. The doctor explained that my uterus is pushing up toward my chest, meaning added pressure against my ribs. My belly is taking over and there is now no evidence of the muscles I'd worked on. Everything is being crowded and stretched.

At my last appointment, my doctor told me that I've actually gained too much weight now. I was gaining about a pound a week until suddenly I gained an extra 5 lbs in a week, inexplicably (I'm sure the ice cream had NOTHING to do with it!) I like to use the excuse that I'm eating for two. Of course realistically you're only supposed to consume an extra 300 calories of healthy foods for the baby. I was probably having at least an extra 500 or more (or an extra 1000 on a really bad day). Despite the number on the scale, when she measured my abdomen she said that I was the perfect size for this stage and that everything is where it should be. So who cares if I've put on a little extra weight?! Gheesh cut me some slack! Considering that I've gone up a few bra sizes and my leg is swollen up like a tree, it should be understandable. A lot of it is probably water weight. Yes I know the goal is to gain 20-35 lbs over the course of the pregnancy but that's in theory. In practice it doesn't seem to be the norm for most people. Women I've talked to typically gained from 50-80 lbs. A lot of it depends on how much you weighed before your pregnancy. My sister gained 75 lbs with her first but she was a rail (100 lbs) before the pregnancy, so she probably had to gain a fair bit just so she wouldn't be underweight. One woman assured me that she was carrying a ton of water weight (she was swollen everywhere, not just her feet) and lost most of it just having the baby. Breastfeeding burns off a lot as well. And I will work out again after the baby. So I'm not going to stress myself out about it. I'm certainly not going to starve myself, or the baby. If we're hungry, we're eating! Most of my diet is very healthy but I do indulge (hey, I'm human and I have cravings!) now and then. Besides, yes I've gone from 125 to 157 lbs but 125 was the lowest I'd been since I was 21 years old. It was only last year that I reached that goal weight. Before working out hardcore last year, my weight was anywhere from 130-145 lbs. So if you consider that my normal weight was about 140 lbs, then I've really only gained 17 lbs! So there! 

157 lbs now

125 lbs last year

If I have put on a few more pounds than I should, it's no wonder. Not only am I eating more, but I haven't really been exercising much. I used to be much more active. I did yoga every day, aerobics, went dancing a couple of times a week, etc. I haven't attempted yoga in several months. I wouldn't be able to handle a vigorous aerobic workout these days and needless to say I don't hit the nightclubs anymore! (You don't see too many pregnant women on the dancefloor!) I do boogie around to the radio a little when I'm home but I get tired pretty easily now. I get winded climbing the stairs, partly because of my added weight and partly because my growing uterus is crowding my lungs, making it harder to breathe.

Another new symptom to rear its ugly head recently: HEARTBURN. I'd never really experienced it before getting pregnant. I finally understand just how appropriate the word heartburn is to describe the condition. My heart was ON FIRE! Actually the entire area from my belly to my throat was burning. It almost made me nauseous. It came on all of a sudden while I was at work and drinking a huge bottle of water (here I thought drinking water was supposed to be GOOD for you.) I'd had pasta and salad for lunch and some fruit for a snack. I thought I was being quite healthy. Then the burning started. I would soon learn (I did a little reading about it online) that citrus and particularly tomatoes can cause heartburn and that water actually makes it worse! A lot of people were suggesting I take antacids. I discovered that drinking milk calms my molten lava stomach and seems a healthier option than popping Tums. Drinking obscene quantities of milk appears to keep the heartburn at bay. Unfortunately milk gives me gas. Burping and flatulence isn't ideal, especially in public but anything is preferable to that burning feeling.

Before being pregnant, I had to use the bathroom quite frequently. Now of course, with a baby sitting on my bladder, it's even worse. I never sleep through the night anymore. I always have to get up at least once, sometimes twice to use the washroom. Then when I'm awake, I'm usually starving so I'll have a little bite to eat before going back to bed (yes it's a mystery how I've been gaining so much weight. It's truly baffling! Tee hee. I can't help it. If baby is hungry, Mama eats. I'll get my old bod back after baby vacates my belly.) It's embarrassing at work to have to go to the bathroom so often but I don't really have a choice. When I have to go, I HAVE TO GO!

Aside from the physical symptoms of pregnancy, it seems there have been mental ones as well. A couple of people referred to it as "pregnancy brain." Maybe it's because there is so much on my mind and so much going on with my body, but I have been much more distracted and forgetful lately. Sometimes I lose track of what day it is. I get confused. If I didn't have my schedule in my calendar I'd be completely lost. At home and at work I'll sometimes find myself blanking out on things that I've always been able to do with no thought or effort. Work is more difficult. Twelve hour shifts can be tough at the best of times. It's that much more taxing when you're pregnant. I work rotating dayshifts and nightshifts. Being a night owl, days are my hardest. I usually only get a couple of hours' sleep and it is REALLY difficult to function when sleep deprived, especially now. People are quick to point out that's it's good preparation for the baby coming. I've had practice getting up at 4:30 a.m. and having to work for 12 hours on no sleep. I'm hoping baby will be a nightowl like me though. She's never active in the mornings. She moves around the most in the afternoon and evening. Especially after midnight. Fine by me. We can nap the morning away and be up all night! She is getting much more active and aggressive with her little kicks. I love feeling her move. It is my favourite thing about being pregnant. (That and hearing her heartbeat at the doctor's office or seeing her on the ultrasound). It's when I feel the strongest bond with her and I always acknowledge her either by talking to her -- "Hey baby!" when I'm at home or more subtly rubbing my tummy if I'm out somewhere.

They say that late in the third trimester, the nesting instinct starts to kick in and you feel a burst of energy where you can't wait to clean the house and get things ready for the baby. I've already started to experience this. My family helped me move the remaining items from my former guest room to turn it into a nursery. I used to have it as a collectibles room until my ex moved in and forced Barbie, the teddy bears and the guest bed into the basement so he could take it over as his scorpion and sword-laden gothic office/dungeon area. After finding out I was pregnant, I had planned to make his office the nursery eventually but was afraid to broach the subject with him. Luckily I never had to. With the room empty now, I couldn't wait to paint. I chose turquoise because I want to do an ocean theme (my master bedroom, bathroom and just about every room in my house to some degree has an ocean theme. My dream was to live on a tropical island. It's a bit of an obsession). I used BEHR paint (I highly recommend their paint! I've used it all over the house every time I've painted. They have an amazing colour selection. It goes on easily and you only ever need one coat). The shade is called "Teal Zeal." It felt good to brighten up the formerly grey room. My ex always kept the shade drawn. Come to think of it, he probably was a vampire! I loved to see the formerly dark, dismal room become bright and cheery. The colour looks blue in the photo but it's actually a beautiful shade of turquoise.
Now I can't wait to fill the room with artwork (I'm planning to do several mermaid/sea theme paintings) and furniture! I'm so grateful my sister is giving me her crib, change table and rocker as she doesn't need them for my nephew anymore. It's an enormous help for a single mom on a tight budget to save on so many large purchases. Of course there's really no rush for the furniture. I'll have the baby in the bassinett right next to me for the first few months and then move her into the nursery eventually. I'm just anxious to see the room finished. I've already been playing around with ideas for layout. It's been fun getting things ready for the baby. The room, clothes and other things I'm going to need. I've been very lucky to get donations from friends and family for the most part. My sister has been awesome. I'm relying on May and my Mom to offer support and advice along the way as well. Time is flying! We're almost into May. July will be here before I know it. Though I have done a lot of reading about pregnancy and caring for a baby, I know that I'll need street smarts as well as book smarts. Having a couple of pros like May and my Mom to turn to is a huge blessing. I know I'll have a LOT of questions once the baby is here. I'll probably be calling them 20 times a day!

Next week I have to go for my gestational diabetes test. Not relishing the idea. (If you've read my post, "Labour of Love" then you know that I have an intense PHOBIA of needles and that I faint every single time.) A lot of people have phobias. Some people are terrified of snakes. I think snakes are cute. Frankly, I'd take a python over a needle any day! Snakes have never hurt me. Needles always hurt. I have to just try to block it out. Breathe. Relax. Mind over matter. I know I'm going to have to toughen up to survive labour so maybe I should take this as a learning opportunity. Maybe this time I won't faint. Needles have always been my nemesis. This one will be even more frightening since they're going to make me drink a sickening (I've heard it's NOT pleasant) sugar drink (why can't they just let me have a Coke?!) and then sit there for an hour psyching myself out until they take my blood. I can only hope it goes well so that I won't have to have the subsequent three hour test where you have to fast beforehand. I can't imagine going 14 hours or more without eating, especially now. I feel weak and lightheaded on a full stomach never mind an empty one. They told me I didn't have to fast before this one but I am going to cut down on my sugar (I won't even have OJ in the morning just in case) before I go. Wish me luck!

I can't believe how quickly the time has gone. It seems like just yesterday I took the pregnancy test and saw that shocking YES + in November. So much has happened since then (including my ex disappearing and leaving me to raise our child alone.) It's been a rollercoaster to say the least. Now I'm two thirds of the way there. Just three more months to go. I'm going to get even bigger. And it's going to be Summer. I don't mind forgoing bikinis for a bit. Being pregnant has been an adventure and for the most part, I'm enjoying it. The biggest and best day of my life is yet to come. I still can't believe it. I'm excited and nervous. July 23rd. The day I get to meet the love of my life, my baby. 

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