mama's pregnant blog

of bellies and belly-achin'

From BabyCenter: Your baby now weighs about 2 1/2 pounds and is a tad over 15 inches long from head to heel. His muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and his head is growing bigger to accommodate his brain which is busy developing billions of neurons. With this rapid growth, it's no surprise that your baby's nutritional needs reach their peak during this trimester. To keep yourself and him well nourished, you'll need plenty of protein, vitamin C, folic acid, iron, and calcium. (About 200 milligrams of calcium is deposited in your baby's skeleton which is now hardening every day.).

2005.02.28. a tale of two patients

It's our lot in life, we mamas, to always be the "strong" ones when it comes to sickness and injury. Our manly men fall to pieces when it comes to a hefty dose of snot and a headache or two, and we're left to sweep up the mess and make the herbal tea.

Today Jonathan's hangover turned into a full-blown toxic shutdown. He'd already been sick before his little cheap beer overdose, so it's hard to know what's the lingering effects of alcohol and what's the lingering effects of four-plus months of sleep-deprivation, hard labor and a general lack of vitamins. But boy is he sick.

My anger melted (mostly) away into compassion and I didn't mind getting up with Everett, making delicious sugarless, vitamin-packed pancakes, doing the dishes, changing the diapers, making the coffee. And then the contractions set in.

By lunchtime I was having trouble focusing, and the contractions were phasing in and out with odd twinges of pain and general gastro-intestinal ill will. By 2 p.m. I gave up my work and got in the bathtub, where things calmed down a little. I woke Jonathan up, left Everett sleepy and clean (he had to get in the tub wif me, of course) and playing trains on the floor, and went to track thinking I'd leave after an hour.

At track I felt better, and lasted through the coach's meeting, getting home in time to make dinner before my evening church meeting. Home again, home again, contraction-y dog. Yuck.

I'm feeling generally terrible, with contractions interspersed with frenetic action from Truman, brief waves of nausea or diarrhea (both labor cues but neither long-lasting enough to concern me - yet) broken by tsunamis of terrific hunger, strange pains in my lower back and upper belly relieved by periods of terrific energy. But...I don't feel as if I'm in labor. And every time I think to myself, if this gets worse...if this other thing happens...I'll call the doctor. But it gets better, the thing doesn't happen, so I've kept my inner trials to myself for now.

All I've gotten from my sweet husband is a few excellent but terrifically brief backrubs and lots of thanks and professions of love, because he's too sick to do much else. So in this home of two patients and one happy, healthy child, I'm left to tend to both the well and the sick; myself included.

2005.03.02. bone tired

Yep, I'm still in whining mode. I'm not feeling so much in pain lately, but I'm definitely hitting that 'sheer exhaustion' phase of the pregnancy. What was I thinking, that I might be able to coach track, work, and do my 101 other activities? It's strangely much harder now that hubby is home.

The worst part is my exuberance when it comes to the exercise part of my day. I head to the track, sometimes with Everett in the stroller (a one-mile walk each way, up and down hills), thinking that I'm invincible. I show kids how to do things like bound and step over hurdles and jump up in the air, high.

By the end of practice my uterus is rock-hard and I head home, muscles aching - not from jumping - just from exhaustion. The tiredness permeates my ligaments, tendons, bones. I can't stay up past 11, and fall into bed, only to toss most of the night because my hips can't handle my weight. I end up on my back, awakened in the morning by the bony worm of a baby crawling from one side of my belly to the other. When 8:30 comes my mind is wide awake but my body is not, and I struggle to keep Everett in bed for just a few more minutes, eyes half-open, playing a half-hearted spider with my hand (mama spider is Everett's current favorite playmate and love interest - and, in case you're wondering, my left hand does not make a sufficiently entertaining spider).

What pain does come is directly from the jabs by my budding kickboxer. I've been stepping up my random screams and yelps. He's sure not going to be fragile.

2005.03.03. sugar update

Hau asked tonight if my low-low-sugar diet was making me feel better. For some reason, this hadn't occurred to me; I've actually heard of people relieving depression by eliminating sugar from their diets. Could that be working for me? I don't know. I've been happy lately, to be sure; my pre-Jonathan's-arrival period was way easier than my Christmas period (when sugar was a major food group). But I almost don't want to know if it is making me happier - after all, I adore sugar. I don't want to give it up forever!

As an update: I've been doing pretty well with my low-sugar thing. I haven't eliminated it completely, as would be my goal. I am probably eating...umm...some 10-15 grams of sugar a day. Not fantastic, but definitely better than before by a ton.

I was amazed to discover how many of my favorite foods were stuffed with sugar. I've had to cut back on granola, yummy organic corn puffs, Trader Joe's mango sauce, and of course, "This fruit walks into a bar" bars. Each serving of these goodies has about 9 grams of added sugar - more than I should probably be eating in a day, and according to my midwife's long-ago suggestion, as much as I should eat in a week. Bars have more sugar than apples, blueberries, strawberries or figs. Not exactly a health-conscious choice.

It's tough, though, with my little bitty facilitator (have a cookie for you, mama?), who forces bites of his bar on me in my early-morning haze. I turn down his offers of out-and-out sugar, but give in to the bites of bars and licks of honey. Ack.

On the plus side, I've been eating a lot more fruit and actually enjoying it. I always liked fruit, it's just a hard thing to incorporate the un-altered raw apple, banana or orange into my diet. Who knows why I find it so difficult; after all, I'll spend hours baking cookies and cakes and muffins, you'd think I could take a minute and peel an orange. But my sugar cravings must be met by fruit, so I eat apples with peanut butter and bananas with...well, peanut butter, or super whole-grain cereal (only 4 grams of added sugar per serving!), and put frozen raspberries in my yogurt or pancakes for sweetness. (and then some peanut butter) Boy I eat a lot of peanut butter.

So little Truman will likely come out healthy, happy and energized for mama's low-sugar diet. Maybe that will counteract mama's stress levels? One can always hope...

2005.03.04. theories of sleep and hydration

Today I suffered greatly from my paltry eight-and-a-half hours of sleep. By 2 p.m., I was mentally and physically exhausted, getting painful jabs from Truman, feeling headachey and ready for some major napping.

But it was almost time for track practice, and it was Friday. Friday, when I had promised my kids I would take the high jump pit out; when (I figured) everyone was counting on me.

I theorized about why I felt badly; it could be lack of excess sleep, or lack of water, or lack of nutrition. I'd definitely covered the nutrition angle, with a breakfast of organic oatmeal, raisins, milk and mango sauce, and a lunch of whole wheat tortillas, swiss chard, tomatoes and cheese; plus, I didn't even feel hungry. I hadn't had much water, though, so I set off to practice (reluctantly), with a big jug of water and an apple for good measure.

I could barely make it out of the car and walk the few blocks to the school for the daily team meeting (I park near the track, which is 1/4 mile from the school, because it seems wasteful to park near the school, then drive over). I walked in, grumpy, on time, only to discover that the two other sprinter/jumper coaches were no-shows. Grrreaat.

I grumped through the "core strength" workout, angry at any athlete who wasn't giving his or her all, because after all - volunteer coach in pain here! I may have snapped a bit. I waddled the 1/4 mile to the track, grump-grump-grumpy.

As I yelled at the athletes to get in line for the warmup, I was pissed at the other coaches for picking today - the day I was in such a terrifically awful mood! - to not show up. But I drank lots of water and before I knew it I was in a fine mood. By the end of practice I was cheery and energetic, willing to encourage my new high jumpers over the bar, even helping put away hurdles. I drove home full of energy, plotting what fun my hubbie and I might have our first Friday night together in a long while.

Was it lack of sleep? My long day of sitting sedentarily in my cushy chair? Or just dehydration? Whatever it was, I'm going to work hard at drinking plenty and upping my sleep quotient...I guess it's time to give up my 2 a.m. blogging for a while.

2005.03.05. sushi mama

It was a good day, with Jonathan at his first "drill" up in Ft. Vancouver and Everett and I in a happy mood all morning and afternoon. We cleaned the kitchen, we started laundry, we tidied the living room. We ate complex-carb cereal with milk and bananas, I was well-caffeinated, we played in the backyard, I got lots of work done.

When Jonathan arrived home around 5 p.m., a few minutes after Everett fell asleep on my arm to the tune of Thomas, I was in a great mood. He wanted to go out and I was way in the mood. We picked the neighborhood sushi joint, Yoko.

I was in such a good mood that I didn't even get upset when the strange chain-smoking woman (who was also high, or drunk, or both) outside the C-Bar exclaimed that she rarely saw a pregnant woman. "You're a dying breed!" she said. God, what an awful figure of speech to use. Actually, I can't think of one that's as inaccurate and frightening, at once. It still gives me shivers.

So we sat down to sushi, and I ordered oodles of yummy things, like rolls with tempura salmon, avocado, tempura green bean, spicy sauce; tempura asparagus, spicy octupus, cucumber; miso soup; mango black tea; and a half-glass of Jonathan's Sapporo. It was all amazing, and I kept ordering more. And as I sat there, perched in my tiny corner in front of the sushi bar, the contractions came stronger, and stronger. I drained my mega-glass of water and kept my chopsticks flying, and they kept hurting more. When Jonathan worried that I should share his beer so as not to set off any pregnant nazis, I snapped that if I was going to be this uncomfortable for the next two months, I was damn well going to drink a few ounces of beer now and then. It's only fair.

By 7 p.m. I was full, full, full and damned uncomfortable. I got home and flopped on the couch with Everett, unhappily whiling away the next several hours on a sorer-by-the-minute hip as I surfed through bad TV. It's hard to be a hip-happening-sushi-eating mama with a belly as huge and hard as mine.

2005.03.06. thirty weeks!

Now that I've reached thirty weeks, the holy grail, the ultimate goal, I'd just like to say: I'm not ready yet! Here I thought I'd be more than happy to give birth once little Truman had his lungs thoroughly coated with their lubricant and his brain fully developed and his intestines working in excellent order. Birth today would mean a 97%+ survival rate with less than 15% likelihood of handicaps.

But...he'd have to stay in the NICU. And I'd likely be unable to breastfeed him right away (after all, no leaking of colustrum yet), and it would take several days - if not more - for my milk to come in. I'd be damned uncomfortable, pumping my unwieldy painful breasts nonstop, visiting him the hospital as it's unlikely they'd keep me as long as him.

I can think of so many reasons, many extremely selfish, why I don't want to give birth now. I need 32, at least, preferably 34 weeks under my, ahem, belt, before I'm ready. I'll happily (ok, rather grumpily) put up with another four weeks of these pains and complaints if I can give my little guy enough time to develop so that he can just come home when I do.

So while I'm oh-so-happy that I've made it to 30, I don't feel that exultant. I have a lot longer to go before I'll submit myself happily to the labor and delivery wing of my hospital. OK?

2005.03.06.later. stinky stinky

Let's talk about something else personal and embarrassing: what's known euphemistically on those television commercials as "feminine odor." Specifically, the odor that comes with the "time of the month."

To begin with, as a pregnant person with a sense of smell that's excellent even in its non-hormone-assisted state, I can smell way, way more than the average human. For instance, as I walked home from our big church-grocery store excursion this morning, I stood on the corner waiting for Everett to finish running up and down a hill of bark dust. I was bowled over by the cologne of a couple down wind from me, across the street. I smelled a flowering tree two blocks away. I can smell anything.

So, back to the yucky part. At the beginning of a pregnancy, the smell most feared is that particular bloody odor. It means danger, it means WATCH OUT! it means scary miscarriage potential. Every time I sit down on the toilet in weeks four through 14, I'm on the sniff-out for said scary odor.

In the middle, say, weeks 15 through 24, that odor is indicative of possible pre-pre-term labor. ACK! While I think about it rarely, I'm certainly worried if it comes.

I made it through this many weeks of the pregnancy with only a few odiferous scares, none of which led to anything. Today, the beginning of official week 30, and I've got the stinky stinky showing up again.

What does it mean? Early labor? Could I be smelling the monthly pain of the females the next house over? Or do I just need a shower?

Either way, it's stinky stinky, and I don't like it ONE BIT.