Monday, July 16, 2012
Yesterday I officially entered the second trimester. I'm already starting to feel better: my stomach is more stable and I'm a lot less tired. I think Tuesday was morning sickness's last great hurrah. Or at least that's what I'm telling myself, lol.
Tomorrow I have my 12 week sonogram (a week late) and DH and I have taken some baby belly pictures (I'm popping out to the point that I'm wearing almost exclusively maternity clothes). I'll try to get those posted sometime this week; some of you have been asking for them.
The second trimester is supposed to be pregnancy's sweet spot and I intend to take full advantage of it. I started this morning by modifying my SP nutrition goals to be in line with the guidelines for expectant mothers of multiples. The numbers are a little intimidating: from 1700-1900 calories to 2100-2400, 100-150% of RDA for calcium to 150-200%, plus more modest increases in iron, protein, and folate intake. Tracking is going to be key since the changes are pretty dramatic and the exact opposite of the direction I'm used to them moving. I'm not quite sure how to meet them, so tracking and adjusting as necessary is my tactic.
The next thing I need to step up is fitness. I did almost nothing in my first trimester; the combination of morning sickness, exhaustion, and foot surgery did me in. Last week one of my toes got infected so I still can't go all out, but I can at least pedal the stationary bike for half an hour. (Antibiotics have the situation under control.) My goal is to do that 3 times a week. That's not exactly where I was working at before pregnancy and surgery, but it's the best place from which to start building back without overdoing it, which I am famous for.
My other priority is physical preparations for the babies. I started working on baby registries and my mom has begun talking about shower planning. I've been knitting and sewing lackadaisically and it's time to turn up the focus and volume.
My hope is that this plan is as effective as it is simple.
Saturday, June 30, 2012
Surgery went well yesterday. DH and I got to the office half an hour early - we were worried about traffic and getting lost - and they worked us in soon after we arrived. Very, very nice. The doctor numbed up my toes a lot more than in previous procedures - three times more in the left foot and four times in the right, to be precise. (The right needed an extra shot because he did it second.)
The only thing that I didn't like was that my feet dangled off the end of the table, which felt weird and made me nervous. The doc charged my husband with distracting me, who decided to tell me to think of this as practice for labor. Yeah, that worked as well as you think it did. Just more proof that men think totally different from us...
As usual, the nurse came to the rescue. She is a mother of twins herself, but hers are 18 now and going off to college in the fall. So we had a great talk about twins while the doctor did his thing and my husband watched. The nurse bandaged my feet up in pink gauze (win!), gave me some Tylenol, and sent us on our way. The whole thing took less than an hour.
The worst part was getting home. Work is equidistant from the clinic and home - which means the doctor is over 40 miles away. Leaving there on a Friday at 2 p.m., it should have taken about an hour. But DC traffic being what it is - the worst in the country, as measured by the time wasted just sitting by the average commuter - it took us two hours. And DH's gas-thirsty Volvo had less than a quarter of a tank. DH rarely stresses out, but I thought he was going to lose it - he was truly afraid we were going to run out of gas. That's bad on an average day, but when it's 102 (107 with the heat index) and you're trying to get your pregnant wife home from double foot surgery, it's a disaster. I couldn't walk to the nearest gas station if I wanted to and the heat could damage or even kill the twins. So I played a game on my cell phone while he tried to exit. We wound up at a nice gas station with a Starbucks next door. Nice, clean bathroom, full tank of gas, and cold drinks all around. (I had a decaf skinny mocha frappuccino with soy - 130 calories and lots of calcium and protein. That was the best choice I was capable of under the circumstances, lol.) The truly ironic thing was that traffic eased up as soon as we got back on the highway and I didn't even finish my mocha before we got home.
I ensconced myself on the couch for the rest of the day and things went great until just before bed, when DH saw on the news that we were about to get hit by a huge storm. This area is notorious for losing power. See above about why that would be a very bad thing under the circumstances. DH being an eagle scout, he made a list of all the hotels between here and Annapolis, which is 30 miles away, out of the storm's way, and on a different power grid. He was fully prepared to pack our bag and drive even to Baltimore to find an air conditioned hotel room if that's what it took. Bless him! Lucky for us we kept power - unlike 500,000 other customers of the same power company and our neighbors just a few blocks away. Another storm is supposed to blow through tonight, but at least we know the drill and are prepared. I might pack a bag after dinner: I figure if we're totally ready to go, we won't need to. But if we're not, we will. Darn Murphy anyway.
I finally showered and changed the dressing on my toes late today. Everything looks good - and barely hurts. Tylenol turned out to be sufficient. So I'm thrilled with how everything worked out.
Have a safe weekend everyone!
Thursday, June 28, 2012
My pregnancy symptoms had eased up a bit last week, to the point that I thought the worst was over. Well, the universe saw fit to tell me otherwise this week, lol. Acid stomach, fatigue, inability to concentrate are all back in force. Tuesday was the third worst day I've had and I almost went home sick. (I'm glad I stuck it out, though, because a coworker brought in frozen yogurt that made both my belly and my soul feel better and the social time let me fill up the day without having to take time off.) I haven't been getting quite enough sleep - I can "only" seem to find time for 8 hours a night and a 90 minute nap in the afternoon, so I'm getting really worn down. Today is a so-so day and it's going to be a rough weekend because I'm having ingrown toenails removed from both big toes tomorrow. This surgery will be harder than the others because the doctor is going to cut them down to the root so that I never have to have surgery again. And because I'm pregnant I can't have the good painkillers or any anti-inflammatories. DH said we're going to treat this weekend as a dry run for bedrest (we're planning for the worst but hoping for the best, and bedrest is a very real possibility). He's going to set me up in a nest on either the couch or the bed, whichever I prefer, and not let me get up unnecessarily. He's in charge of cooking and I am forbidden to worry about household chores. Single ladies: he does have a younger brother!
So what does this have to do with attitude? I'm not letting any of this get me down. I take it moment by moment and do the best I can. Sometimes that means I'm running at full capacity, other times that means spending the afternoon looking at lolcats and waiting for 3 p.m. so I can go home. The way I look at it, the discomfort is inevitable. But the way I manage it and deal with it are completely up to me. I've gotten over my resistance to taking pills or using medication, at least the ones that I'm currently allowed to take, and am taking as sunny an outlook as I'm capable of at any given moment. I'm also treating myself as I can: this afternoon I have a prenatal massage after work and tomorrow I'm getting a fabulous Good Dog sundae at a local lunch spot before surgery. (Fudge brownie, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and hot fudge - split with DH to minimize the quantity.) I figure that self-pity and wallowing in my misery will only make me feel worse, not better. And why inflict that on myself?
My plan seems to be working based on the fact that I make it through the day without meltdowns or undue difficulties - and the kudos I'm receiving from those around me. About every other day DH tells me how beautifully I'm handling this as he tucks me into bed. Today alone two coworkers told me that they're impressed by my attitude. The woman told me that listening to what's going on with me makes her fear pregnancy and I told her not to because it's so worth it - and the cool factor of seeing the beans in sonograms and ultrasounds and the cool factor of the expanding belly far outweigh the discomfort. I'm not sure I convinced her, but I did get a gratifying look - "I'm not sure if you're crazy, but I admire you." The guy I talked to is a retired Master Sergeant in the Army. He told me that he wishes his soldiers had always had an attitude as good as mine - I complain a lot less with a lot more real problems. High praise indeed!
Plus I'm at the tail end of the first trimester, and the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter every day. I'm looking forward to being able to eat normally and have my old energy level - and brain power! - back. In the meantime, I'm counting on my positive attitude, Tylenol, and Zantac to get me through the days.
Friday, June 08, 2012
Pregnancy is hard. Those of you who have been here know this truth firsthand, the rest of you probably secondhand from friends and loved ones. But I need to process a little bit, so I'm blogging - pretty standard operating procedure for me. :)
Pregnancy is hard for everyone. The hormones and their effects - fatigue, forgetfulness, nausea, sensitive stomach, etc - are no joke. Your sense of "normal" simply no longer exists and this is the hardest part for me. I spent over two years learning about and implementing fitness and nutrition changes and now some of that stuff is impossible and others aren't good ideas. For example, getting 5 servings of freggies a day is really tough when the slightest hint of acid makes my stomach ache and gives me dry heaves. This makes me particularly sad because my beloved strawberries are in season and will be gone by the time I can eat them again. I had to cut back my workouts because of my plantar fasciitis and now that I'm healing up I can't increase the intensity because I'm pregnant. I plan to address the workout issue with my doctor on Monday; he might have some good ideas. But honestly, most days I am so sick and tired that I can't cook dinner let alone work out.
And then there's my...expansion. I've put on 2-3 pounds, which is about where I should be now or maybe just a bit more. (Again, I'll talk to the doc on Monday.) But based on how much bigger I've gotten and the fact that I'm growing a womb, I don't think it's that much. Yes, I've gone up a pants size (thank goodness I saved all my old clothes!) but my big problem is my boobs. Plainly I'm a busty lady but right now they're RIDICULOUS - I feel like they precede me into a room by a good 10 seconds, lol. I have to sleep in a bra for my own comfort. And I got professionally fitted because I just couldn't cope with them anymore, rofl. They're also heavier - I think at least half of the weight I've gained has gone straight to my boobs. The rest is in the womb that has just barely started to pouch out a bit. But it seems like my body has gotten bigger than the amount of weight I've gained would require. Just another funny thing pregnancy does to you. :)
My point here is that this is a lot of change to take in all at once and adjust to - especially because I'm generally not feeling great. Now, I shouldn't really complain because I am having an easier time of it than a lot of women. My morning sickness is just enough to reassure me that this is a normal, healthy pregnancy and my wonderful husband picks up the slack around the house and lets me rest as much as I need to. And I'm truly grateful for both of these things. That said, some days it's hard to get it through my admittedly thick skull that it's okay to only work out once or twice a week and if my nutrition is far from perfect. And after working so hard to shrink it's sometimes hard to remember that I NEED to expand and gain weight now. The key thing is to take good care of myself and thusly the baby. Overdoing it - which takes a heck of a lot less these days than ever before - punishes me the next day with horrible acid stomach and two days of fatigue. The more sleep I get and the blander my food the better I feel. These are very, very strong inducements to skip workouts, sleep a lot, and eat whatever the heck seems like it'll go down and stay down. Chocolate milk first thing in the morning? Soda crackers at 2 a.m.? Yes, please!
And, although it's taken some mental wrangling, I'm okay with it. My first obligation right now is to my belly - both my literal stomach and the bean that utterly relies on me. Life should get easier in another six weeks and I can start getting back to pre-pregnancy normal, doctor's advice permitting. In the meantime, I'm learning important lessons in flexibility and taking it one moment at a time. Stress isn't good for me or baby and I truly believe I'm doing the right thing by letting myself off the hook and doing whatever feels best at a given moment. Besides, that's usually all I have the energy for, lol.
As you all know, I'm a worrier and a planner. That has gone into suspension for now. So very many things can go wrong with pregnancy that I'm choosing not to think about any of them - because the other alternative, given my analytical and semi-paranoid nature, is to think about all of them and launch into a panic. That doesn't do anybody any good. So I've decided that everything will be fine and I'm behaving accordingly. I have learned a lot about pregnancy and fetal development and make my decisions based on that. For example, most books advise you to avoid hot tubs and baths at all costs. The fact is that you shouldn't get your body temperature above 102 degrees. Given that we keep our hot tub at 100 degrees and I can't stand being in it for longer than 15 minutes, I'm not worried about an occasional dip.
My current mottoes are:
"Just use common sense and don't pickle your baby." - my OB (seriously!)
"Everything is 'risky' right now. But I figure that the most dangerous thing I can do is drive to work on the Beltway every day. So I'm just not that worried about it." - me to the receptionist at my massage therapy clinic upon being told that getting a massage in the first trimester is "risky." (Standard massage by a certified prenatal masseuse is about as statistically likely to cause a miscarriage as, say, crossing the street and only slightly more likely than getting hit by lightning.)
"Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right, it's not the end." - a new British film out whose name escapes me right now
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
The past two-plus weeks have been really bad on the wellness front. They've dealt me more challenges than usual, and I haven't met them very well. Every day I try to do better than yesterday and I succeed more often than not but it's from such a low base that I know all I'm doing is inflicting less damage, not even damage control.
Let's start with the physical one: plantar fascitis. My left foot has been hurting for a while. And, like a typical stubborn Kraut, I didn't get it looked at right away. About three weeks ago a coworker noticed that I was limping while we walked to the cafeteria and gave me her podiatrist uncle's phone number. So I called him and went in. He chided me for waiting so long to see him because I was making the problem a lot worse; walking had become difficult and running impossible. Yeah, you think I would have learned better by now, but you'd be wrong. :) Anyway, he diagnosed the problem as plantar fascitis. Basically, the ligament that works in tandem with the Achilles tendon is inflamed.
The doctor gave me a pretty comprehensive treatment plan: I have to wear a wrap for a month, orthotic inserts in my shoes pretty much forever, stretch 3-4 times a day, and roll a can around on the floor as physical therapy. He also told me to take it easy in my workouts and gradually build back up to running. He forbade me from wearing flip-flops and any sandal I can't put my inserts into and suggested that high heels would ease the pain. My case isn't particularly bad but it could quickly become so if I don't do as I'm told. I am admittedly a bad patient - I'm stubborn and don't like to listen - but I'm working hard to comply this time. I've been good about wrapping my ankle and wearing my inserts; I even invested in new low-heeled shoes that work better with them (my beloved ballet flats just weren't tall enough to accommodate the inserts). The one place I overdid it was trimming back my workouts: I completely cut them out for two weeks. Talk about a counterproductive strategy! Yesterday I finally got back on the stationary bike and did very well with it. My new gym shoes - Asics gel evolution 6 - should make the elliptical doable again. And I'd like to start walking outside again. My goal is to do 3 gentle cardio workouts a week. I'll work ST back in after a week or two - they actually mess with my feet as badly as cardio does.
DH comes from a giant Catholic family and somebody is always celebrating some major life milestone. April was wedding month: we had one in South Carolina and another in Baltimore on back-to-back weekends. For me at least, that was a recipe for bad eating and skipped workouts. I tried to make sane choices and did pretty well but not nearly good enough considering that I'm not working out. I know that I've gained weight because of the way my pants fit but haven't yet been brave enough to step on the scale.
Easter, DH's birthday, and TOM all took a toll this month, too. My wonderful SIL very sweetly made us Easter baskets. Yikes, chocolate overload! And the guest bags at the weddings weren't exactly healthy, either. I could barely impose order on my eating habits during TOM this month. As if the hormones weren't enough, there's the deep disappointment of having failed to get pregnant. DH and I are trying to conceive and although it's only been two months, I'm disappointed each time my period starts. And somehow feel inadequate as a woman. Yes, I know this is irrational and a gross overstatement of reality, but there it is.
This weekend is also going to be very busy and the following we'll be in Wisconsin for my and my dad's birthdays. If previous history is any guide, I won't do a great job of eating well while I'm home; there are just too many tempting treats and family pressure to eat them. I think all I can do until we're home for a while is to focus on eating enough whole grains, freggies, and dairy, try to indulge in moderation, and get in those aforementioned 3 gentle cardio workouts. I think a more ambitious plan is doomed to failure. Sigh. But sometimes all you can do is damage control, and that's where I am right now.
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