Three More Weeks

This morning I was blow-drying my hair when a sudden thought crossed my mind – in a few weeks I will lose control of my body and endure what will probably be the most painful experience of my life as I bring another person into the world.

My very next thought was, “Oh hell. Three more weeks.”

A former co-worker of mine just texted me and asked if I’m nervous about having the baby. I didn’t even have to think about my answer – I’m not nervous about having this baby. I am nervous that I will go past my due date but I’m not nervous about giving birth or bringing her home. On the contrary, I’m excited. It’s going to be like ultra-Christmas.

As of Sunday I will be 37 weeks pregnant. I’ve been reading week-by-week pregnancy articles which describe a baby’s development and what kinds of symptoms a pregnant woman can expect. Today I read that a baby who is born at 34 – 37 weeks will generally do just fine and 37 weeks is considered full term.

To which I say, “GTFO Baby.”

Of course, we don’t want her to come too soon. We want her to be fat and healthy. That is the most important thing. Even so, I’ve been telling Millie for weeks now that if she comes before the end of September, a week or more before her estimated due date, Mommy will buy her a pretty sapphire ring.

Sapphires only. No opals. So she has until September 30th to evacuate the premises or no birthstones for her. That’s the arrangement.

People keep telling me that the last few weeks will go by quickly. This makes me want to scream at them. “NO! You’re wrong. They won’t go by quickly. Every damn day of this pregnancy has been long and uncomfortable and I hate everyone who tells me that the days are going to fly by. If one more person suggests that the rest of my pregnancy is going to “go by so fast” I am going to poke them in the eye.

I now have carpal tunnel in both of my hands. This means that my fingers are stiff and swollen and all of the joints in my hands are painful. My hands also lock up whenever I stop moving them so I wake up several times each night with completely numb hands and fingers that are locked in place. This is the reason why I don’t type very much these days.

I also have a lot of pain in my left hip now which causes me to freeze in place several times each day as I try to change from one position to the next without feeling like I’m about to dislocate it. This is the reason why I wound up having to start my maternity leave a week earlier than I was hoping to. I’m a little bummed that I wasn’t able to hold out longer but the constant pain was starting to affect my mood and you can’t be cranky while working with toddlers.

So today was my final day at work although it still doesn’t really feel like it. Tonight we are celebrating with laziness and Chinese take-out. Tomorrow we’re buying a bassinet and packing our bag for the hospital. After that the forecast calls for some nesting followed by trying every labour-inducing method under the sun. After that I plan on going completely insane until she’s out.

Please stay tuned.

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Stupid Pregnancy Hurts My Belly

Aches and pains are a normal symptom of pregnancy. Lots of crazy stuff is happening to your body, things are growing, stretching, shifting, and it’s going to hurt. So far I’ve had some normal-seeming pain. My back hurts and my muscles in my belly hurt and my feet hurt after working all day. Sometimes my head hurts. But whatever, I’m pregnant and it’s to be expected and every pregnant woman since Eve has gone through it. You deal with it. The end. But this post is not about normal pregnancy aches and pains. That stuff is boring and predictable. This post is about unusual pain because nothing about this pregnancy can be boring.

So I’ve had pain in the lower right-hand side of my belly since long before I even became pregnant. It comes and goes. It’s pretty mild. I figured it was caused by a polyp that I have in my uterus that I was scheduled to have removed. Back in November I mentioned the pain in passing to my doctor just in case it was relevant information. She told me that the polyp should not have been causing me any pain at all and that she figured it was my appendix. Apparently some people can experience pain caused by their appendix becoming inflamed but not infected. She told me it was harmless and I should only be concerned if I suddenly experienced very severe pain and nausea.

Alright. Whatever. Sounds good enough for me. Everyone has pain every now and again and if it’s harmless then no big deal. I took her explanation and forgot about it.

Flash forward to May. My belly has been growing and things have been getting more and more cramped in there. And as my belly grows, the pain gets worse. I went from experiencing the pain once every week or two to experiencing it every day, all day long. There were times when it had me limping because it hurt so much for me to move my right hip as I walked. I figured that it was just my appendix. Maybe things are getting more crowded in my belly and pushing against my appendix making it hurt. Whatever, the doctor said it was harmless and how bad could it possibly get? This is why I haven’t mentioned it before now. It’s harmless belly pain and that’s normal and normal is boring.

Then I went for my anatomical ultrasound at the hospital. I remember that the pain was so bad that day that I had tears in my eyes as we were standing in line to check in. It was made all the worse by the massive amount of pee I was holding in. My appointment was almost an hour late so by the time I finally dragged my behind into the examination room I was in agony. But again, appendix. Pregnant. Huge amount of pee. Painful, but normal. Right?

No. Not according to the technician who saw me. When I was lifting myself onto the table I guess I was moving strangely and making weird noises because she stopped and asked me if I was ok. I explained that I was in pain but my family doctor said that it was my appendix and I figured it was getting worse because of the pregnancy. No big deal.

The technician said, “No, that doesn’t sound right at all.” When I looked over at her face she was wearing this extremely concerned expression so I said something completely intelligent in response. Something like, “uhhhh…ok?”

Anyway, she went on to do the ultrasound and apart from Millie laying on her belly and refusing to give us a good look at her feet everything went very well. It hurt like hell when she pushed down on the sore part of my belly so she recommended that I call my doctor to be seen about the pain. I said, “Yeah, I’ll definitely do that,” without any intention of doing it and went on my way.

But later that evening the pain had gotten worse and I was extremely uncomfortable. So I gave in and called my doctor’s office. They was closed and the answering machine message said that my doctor would be away for the next six days (great) so don’t expect to hear anything until then. Emergency calls would be returned by the associate physician in the morning. I left a message. I didn’t expect to hear anything back.

The next morning I was at work on my break when my cell phone rang. It was the doctor’s office calling to see if I was at the hospital.

 …What? I explain to them that I was at work and that’s when the secretary began freaking out on me. “If you are in that amount of pain then you need to go to the ER immediately!” I explained that I am a teacher, that I can’t just leave without a supply teacher arranged, and that I was pretty sure that my appendix wasn’t about to burst and kill me. “You don’t know that and what happens if your appendix bursts while you’re at work? Would they expect you to stay then?” Seriously, this is exactly what she was saying to me. This woman is unbelievable. “This is very serious! If your appendix bursts it could kill your baby!”

I’m pretty sure she was trying to scare me into going to the hospital. Who does that to a pregnant woman? Well, I was not scared and I was still sure that there was no emergency but now I was upset from that phone call so I went to my supervisor and explained what had just happened. She agreed that I was right, it was probably not an emergency, but it was better to be safe than sorry and a few minutes later she had magically found a supply and I was on my way to Milton District.

Oh God. It’s the worst hospital ever. I’ll spare you the extremely long and boring and pointless visit to MD. It basically amounted to six hours of waiting followed by an extremely distracted doctor poking my belly and telling me to return in the morning for an ultrasound. When I told him that I had work he scolded me saying that I had better return for the appointment because they had given me one of their priority spots. I managed not to tell him kiss my ass, went to the appointment, and heard back a week or so that the ultrasound was clear and my appendix is fine. FUUUUUUUU-

By this point I was resigned to the idea that I’m just going to be in unexplained pain for the rest of my pregnancy. A few weeks passed with variable amounts of pain and finally it was time for my first visit to my OB. Credit Valley is awesome. If you are having a baby and live in the area, have it there. They have been so good to us so far. Perhaps the best part is that they’ve been treating Kev like my partner in this pregnancy and including him completely in the appointments. Up until not he’s been forced to sit it out in the waiting room even when I’ve explained that I am perfectly comfortable having my husband present.

Anyway, my super-awesome OB read over my chart and after poking my belly a bit said, “I think you might have a hernia.”

To which I asked, “But wouldn’t that have shown up in my ultrasound?”

And she said, “No, unfortunately not.” And then she went on to explain that they couldn’t diagnose it until after I have the baby because they can’t feel for it due to there being a little person in the way and they don’t really want to send me for an MRI because the appointments can take forever to arrange and personally, I don’t really feel like missing any more work than I have to so I’m ok with waiting until it becomes a matter of jabbing my belly a bit during a appointment rather than going for another scan.

So I may or may not have a hernia and there’s nothing they can do about it until after the baby comes. It’s not so bad. The pain hasn’t gotten as bad as it was that day at the hospital and as long as I know that Millie is doing ok in there I’ll deal with it. It seems like whenever I start to wonder if she’s doing alright she gives me a couple of good strong kicks like she’s trying to reassume me. “Don’t worry Mommy, I’m fine. Kick, kick, kick!” Then I reward her with fruit. So we’re a great team already.

Game Over

This is going to be a nerdlier blog post than I usually write. This one is about video games. Yes, I play a lot of video games in my spare time. I am Kevin Lee’s wife after all. It’s pretty much required.

Last weekend there was a sale at EB Games so Kev and I picked up a few titles that we’ve had our eye on for a bit but haven’t been willing to shell out $60 a pop for. One of those games was Catherine. I doubt that many of you have heard of this game so here is a quick description. It’s mostly a 3D platforming puzzle game with a story mode in which you make choices to influence the end of the story. There are eight different endings and it requires three playthroughs to get all of the achievements. (That meant nothing to most of you.) This is a notoriously difficult game. It’s rated 10 out of 10 in difficulty as long as you do not refer to walkthroughs. I have not been referring to walkthroughs.

Here is a video of Michael “Ragequit” Jones getting so frustrated with this game that he throws an Xbox out of a window and then smashes it to pieces with a field hockey stick. This is a completely reasonable reaction to playing this game. Warning: extremely foul language: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G46IQG7I4h4

How does this all relate to pregnancy? I’m getting to that.

So on Monday night I was home alone so I popped the game in to give it a little test run. I started playing at about six. I stopped playing at around ten thirty. I didn’t intend to play that long but this game is very addicting and I was definitely on a roll – I’d played through around half of the game and gotten a bunch of achievements which is awesome because I am a completionist.

Last night I popped the game in again…only to realize that I’d been playing through on Kev’s profile the night before and hadn’t actually gotten any of those achievements for myself. Crap. Well, the only thing to do was start playing all over again under my own gamertag and get those achievements for myself. This time I played for a much shorter amount of time and gained back almost all of my progress from the night before. It went a lot faster now that I’m familiar with the game play and knew in advance which choices to make. Awesome.

Tonight Kev is home and as for me…my back hurts. It’s been hurting for days and not much seems to help it. I figure that it’s caused by a combo of lifting kids and objects at work and carting around the extra weight I’ve recently put on. Kev offered to give me a massage to try and work it out so I sat on the floor in front of him and he put an Xbox controller in my hands to give me something to do while he tenderized my muscles. He’s the best guy.

So I started playing Catherine and right from the start it was just a long series of fails. Keep in mind that I was playing through a part of the game that I breezed through on Monday night when my back was feeling a-ok. I made stupid mistake after stupid mistake, repeatedly falling to my death, getting impaled on spikes, and backing myself into corners which made the level unbeatable. I couldn’t even get through one stage of the game. And I was getting more and more frustrated because I just completed this part two nights ago but my back is in so much pain that I couldn’t focus on what I was doing.

After about twenty attempts at the same stupid part of the same stupid level the cursing started. This is where Kev’s “tantrum radar” went off and (I don’t know how he managed it) he diplomatically talked me into putting down the controller and going to get some Tylenol. This was very wise of him because I think I was getting pretty close to fully smashing the controller against the floor like a child.

Ten minutes later I was seated on the couch with an icy/hot patch on my back and Tylenol in my belly and Kev was exiting my game without saving. I hadn’t made any progress at all so there was nothing to save. Lame.

I’m much calmer now and my back is starting to loosen up a little. When I looked at a screenshot of the level that gave me so much grief I was easily able to see which move I should have made to get to the end. It was a simple strategy that I would have seen immediately if I wasn’t so distracted by back pain.

The next time I play Catherine it’ll be a snap to make some progress. But I will not attempt it again tonight because my back hurts.

Pregnancy, you win this round.

Here Comes Sickness

It’s been a while since my last post, mostly because I’ve been busy being sick. No, I don’t mean morning sickness. I’ve pretty much gotten accustomed to feeling nauseous. This was considerably worse.

Last week I was in the middle of my work day when I felt my throat getting scratchy and thought, “Oh fantastic. A present from the filthy children I work with.” And I wasn’t very surprised because there’s been something going around which has had them all spouting green stuff from their noses. I’m telling you, no amount of hand washing is going to help you when you’re kneeling down to help put on a kid’s shoes and they give a nasty, phlegm-y cough directly into your face. (So don’t tell me that I need to be more careful and wash my hands more because I wash my hands more times per day than most of you do.)

I figured that I was going to get a cold but I didn’t expect it to come on so quickly. Or for it to be so severe. By that evening I was completely stuffed up and could already feel my chest getting tight. By one in the morning I was unable to sleep because the pressure in my head was so bad. At three in the morning I got up to have a cup of hot tea to see if that would decongest my face at all. Apparently that was a mistake because I finished and went back to bed and within two minutes I was hurrying to the bathroom to puke, even after taking my anti-puking pills.

Seriously, who throws up tea? How offensive can decaffeinated tea possibly be to your stomach? Isn’t that what they say to give to people to ease an upset stomach?

It got to the point where I was sitting cross-legged on the floor beside the toilet, coughing up yellow stuff into tissues and lazily turning my head to vomit into the bowl whenever I felt the urge. It was at this point when I decided to call in sick for the next day. I figured that if my co-worker came in looking and sounding like I did I’d be kind of pissed that they were exposing me to their germs. It’s a good thing I did call in because the next day I was pretty much ruined. It wasn’t even noon the following day before I called in for the remainder of the week.

Now usually when I get sick I just take whatever drugs I need to take in order to get through the day. With the right combination of pills I can get to feeling pretty much fine and keep on working through it. However pregnant women aren’t allowed to do that. Pregnant women need to be careful. Being pregnant pretty much guarantees that you’re going to be uncomfortable in one way or another every minute of the day.  

There is so much conflicting information out there when it comes to what is and isn’t safe for pregnant women to take when they’re sick. Don’t even bother looking online – one site will tell you that it’s safe to take any decongestant as long as it’s only for a very short amount of time while the very next search result will tell you that anyone who takes cold medicine while pregnant is going to have a kid with three eyes and a tail.

So we decided to go down to the drug store to ask the pharmacist ourselves. While we were waiting in line I found a handy pamphlet with a list of things that are safe for pregnant women to take. I thought, “Great! If it’s in the pharmacy then it has to be good information!” But just to be on the safe side we talked to the pharmacist who immediately gave us advice that contradicted everything in the pamphlet. He said that I shouldn’t take anything to be on the safe side. And he said it with a grin.

I didn’t like the stupid pharmacist very much. He was a huge bastard. I also didn’t like the stupid pamphlet because why was it even there if it was full of nothing but lies? I didn’t like the giant aisle of cold and flu medicine which could provide me instant relief except I’m not allowed to take any of them because of stupid crappy pregnancy. I didn’t like anything at that moment except the idea of throwing a tantrum.

Sweet, understanding Kevin saw this. He bought me Otrivin spray which the one thing that I really am allowed to have, brought me out of the store, and bought me a video game. He’s the best guy.

Since then I’ve been gross. It’s been almost two weeks of mucus but it’s finally starting to get better. I’ve gone through five boxes of tissues around the house and even more at work. I have a cough that makes me sound like I’m dying of consumption. I used up almost the whole bottle of Otrivin even though you’re not supposed to use it for more than three consecutive days. (I used it for seven before I gave up and stopped. My face immediately sealed up in mucus-y protest.) I can’t sleep through the night because I’m not used to sleeping with my mouth open but I have to because I get so stuffed up when I lie down. My mouth gets so dry that it wakes me up.

But at least I’m sure that the baby is ok. It does feel good to know that I didn’t use anything that may not have been good for her.

By the way, it’s a girl. We’re naming her Millie.

I’m a Growing Girl

This post is about boobs. Big boobs. My big boobs. Yes, I have those now. Somehow. With the morning sickness and heartburn and other glamorous stuff I’ve been experiencing for the last few months I’ve also noticed my t-shirts getting tighter. Well, that was to be expected. That was one of the pregnancy symptoms I actually knew about prior to getting pregnant. They’ve been sore and itchy and I knew that something was going on, I just didn’t realize just how much things have been changing.

I’ve needed to get new bras for a while but I’ve been putting it off because they’re not my favourite thing to shop for. I never seem to get the right size or fit and it’s very rare that I find a bra that I like. Because of this it’s gotten to the point where every bra I had is super tight and barely holding everything in place. I basically didn’t have a choice so we hopped in the car and drove to Square One for an afternoon of shopping.

I decided to go to La Senza because I had a coupon for $10 off and I can’t say no to a good deal. (I got it because my first attempt at shopping for new bras turned into shopping for new underwear because unlike bra shopping I LOVE shopping for new underwear! So fun!) Kev came along for moral support and because he’s a nice husband like that.

The moment we got there we were approached by a helpful employee. I told her that I’m pregnant and need to get new bras and a minute later I was back in a changing room getting properly measured which is something else I’ve put off for way too long.

So I know that I’ve gotten a bit bigger over the past few weeks. I was expecting her to tell me that I had gone up a cup size. Maybe two. I was not however expecting her to tell me that I’ve gone up three cup sizes in fifteen weeks. But that’s what she did.

“So I’d put you in a 32 DD,” she said like it ain’t no thang.

I stared at her and said, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” My entire life I’ve been a 32 B. 32 DD just sounds so much bigger! I looked down at my chest. These girls did not look like DD sized boobs to me and I told the girl so.

But she insisted that DD is my new size and brought in a box of these massive bras. After showing me a few different styles she left me to try one on.

This is the crazy part. I picked up one of those massive bras, put it on…and it fit perfectly. It’s amazing how good a properly fitting bra feels when your girls have been all squished up in a bra that’s three sizes too small. I spent some time checking myself out in the mirror, completely stunned that the bra I picked up actually fit and yes, the tag did say 32 DD. I know because I checked it twice. Unreal.

I slowly came to terms with the idea that my breasts are now way larger than I ever thought they could possibly become, made my way out into the store, and found Kev to tell him the big news.

To which he said, “That can’t be right.”

And I said, “If the bra fits!” Which is does. Very nicely, I might add.

So he helped me find a few bras in my new, much larger size which I got an amazing deal on because their bras are currently buy one get one half off on top of my $10 off coupon.  Who doesn’t love a good deal? As we were leaving the store I was still in a bit of shock. I am only fifteen weeks pregnant. How much bigger are these things going to get before the baby comes?

I find the idea a little scary but Kev doesn’t seem all that concerned. On the contrary, he seems to be quite pleased about it all. Can you believe it?

Ad Nauseum

Hyperemesis gravidarum. That’s a long fancy term which means “lots and lots of throwing up caused by being pregnant.” This isn’t your regular morning sickness. If regular morning sickness is a guy who occasionally enjoys watching Lord of the Rings then hyperemesis gravidarum is the guy who owns all the extended DVDs and every Tolkien book, has a room full of LoTR merchandise, can quote the entire series, and spends his free time dressed up as a hobbit. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Hobbits are great!)

When I got pregnant I expected to have a bit of morning sickness. Oh, I had big plans. I was going to handle my morning sickness like a boss, throw up, eat a couple of saltines, shake it off and get on with my day, no sweat. I was going to be an expert mama-to-be.

Well, it didn’t work out that way. I found out I was pregnant in the beginning of February, had about a week of feelin’ fine, and then one evening after eating supper I threw up. And I remember thinking something along the lines of, “Morning sickness, how quaint! I’m like, a legit pregnant lady with symptoms and everything now! Where do I get my free t-shirt?”

Well, I continued feeling nauseous and threw up again and still felt nauseous after that and wasn’t able to eat. I threw up a lot the next day and the next and then my pants started getting loose and I had to tell my supervisor about my pregnancy long before I was prepared to so she’d understand why I was frequently calling for relief so I could run to the bathroom. My sense of smell has become extremely sensitive which is one of the side effects of pregnancy that I didn’t know existed until it happened to me and it hasn’t helped matters at all (but more on that another day.)

This went on for a few weeks. The lowest point for me in all of this was one day at the end of February. I had planned to be off that morning because I was feeling so rough. It was a good thing I did because from the moment I got out of bed I was vomiting even though I had nothing in my stomach. It finally got to the point where I was getting concerned for the safety of the baby so I called my doctor’s office to ask how much vomiting is too much. After answering a few questions I was put on hold and the next thing I knew my doctor came on the line telling me that if I vomited one more time I’d have to go straight to the emergency room. I spent the rest of that morning sitting on my couch staring at the TV without actually watching it, swallowing tiny sips of water and trying to will myself not to throw up.

The next day I was seen and got a few answers. I was definitely throwing up more than your typical pregnant lady. My blood pressure was way too low. I was dehydrated and had lost five pounds since my appointment the previous week. So they prescribed me Diclectin which is like Gravol for pregnant ladies but 100% safe for the baby. It’s so great.  I have to take it several times a day and it makes me very sleepy but it’s taken the sickness down to a more manageable level so it’s worth it. If I wasn’t taking this drug I’d probably be on sick leave from work. I don’t know how women with this condition functioned before this drug was created.

So that was my introduction to life as a pregnant lady. As long as I keep taking the pills my stomach and I seem to have reached a delicate truce until it forgets our agreement and I have to run to the bathroom like I did today at work and again about twenty minutes ago. It’s been one of those days.

The main thing I’ve learned from pregnancy so far is that nothing feels the way I expected it to so it’s probably best that I drop my expectations and take things as they come. It’s funny how easy going you can learn to be when you aren’t given a choice in the matter. Now it’s time for bed, a prenatal vitamin, and a double dose of Diclectin. Om nom nom.

Pregnant and Cranky

A few weeks ago a pregnant friend of mine updated her Facebook status saying “Dear Every-Woman-Who-Ever-Said-You-Loved-Being-Pregnant: I’m pretty sure you just don’t remember it.” And now that I’m experiencing pregnancy for myself I have to say that I agree with this statement 100%.

Before becoming pregnant I thought I knew about the symptoms that go along with having a bun in the oven. I knew that morning sickness was a thing and thought that it made you vomit first thing in the morning and vanished after the first few weeks. I knew that your appetite increases and you can sometimes experience cravings for strange foods. And later in pregnancy your feet can swell and your back can hurt from carrying around the extra weight. I had even read this article on cracked.com that talked about some of the worst-case-scenario symptoms of pregnancy but those were all just worst case scenarios, of course. Overall I had the impression that pregnancy is a beautiful time when you glow with motherly radiance and spend each day marvelling over the little miracle growing inside of you all of that crap.

Yeah, I was blissfully unaware of what was in store for me. And this is very strange because I work with young children and am constantly surrounded by pregnant women. (Seriously, why didn’t any of you warn me?)

So far I haven’t found a single thing about being pregnant that I enjoy. I now know from experience how several of those worst-case-scenario symptoms feel firsthand. I know that morning sickness really means “all-day-long-every-day sickness” and the only thing I radiate is contempt for everyone who is ignorant enough to tell me to enjoy every moment of this blessed, blessed time in my life as a woman. I want to punch every single one of them in the face.

We’ve recently starting telling people about the baby and after the congratulations people usually ask how I’m feeling. In reply I’ve joked about starting a blog called “Pregnancy Really Sucks” in an effort to educate people about the brutal reality of being pregnant. I don’t spend my free moments wistfully rubbing my belly and reflecting on the beauty of getting to carry the baby with me for nine months. I spend my free moments wondering “Will I poop today?” and “Can I even remember the last time I pooped?” and “If I take anymore Metamucil is it going to completely destroy my lower digestive tract?”

And don’t tell me that it will all be worth it in the end. I know that the first moment I lay eyes on our child will be one of the most beautiful moments I will ever experience (because it will also mean that the pregnancy is over.)

So we’ll see how often I’m able to manage to update this blog. I’m not holding much hope considering that most of my free time is now dedicated to sleep and crying about how filthy my house has become because I have very little energy to do anything other than sleep.

Now if you excuse me I’m going to go sip a ginger ale and chew about a million antacids.