Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I have freakish toenails

Yesterday I wrote about how my toenails keep cutting holes in my socks. I assumed they had grown really fast since my last cutting, but they haven't. They could be trimmed, but they aren't really to that stage yet. This is good news for poor Bob. He has enough issues when they are a decent length.

Since they've cut through several pairs of socks at this point, Bob decided to inspect them. His diagnosis? I have freakish toenails. Apparently they poke up and normal people's toenails do not.

I have no idea how I've lived to this point in my life without realizing my toenails were odd. My socks used to wear out in the heels -- never in the toes.(But my stockings always have.)

Is this a symptom of pregnancy? I doubt it. It probably has a lot more to do with the boots I've been wearing every day. But these boots are flat, fake fur-lined and they have traction on the bottom. They are the best option right now.

So, we've decided that tonight Bob will attempt to file down my freakish toenails in an effort to prevent the destruction of any more socks. I will let you know how this goes.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Constant state of uncomfortableness

I'm not sure if I've coined a new word, but I'm sure it's a state that most pregnant women would understand completely.

It's not that I hurt or that I'm in intense pain. It's just that I'm constantly uncomfortable.

Bending over is pretty much a thing of the past. Sometimes I do forget and I bump the belly on my legs and remember very quickly that I'm a lot bigger than I used to be.

I've restricted myself to just slip on black shoes and some fur-lined boots that have short zippers on the side. Tying shoes is out of the question.

As is wearing stockings. That's just too hard and strains my back, and again the belly makes it all but impossible.

One major thing that's gotten really difficult is cutting my toenails. My prenatal vitamins make those suckers grow like weeds, and I do not like them to have any length at all.

Bob's idea of long toenails is completely different from mine. I cut them to the quick and feel like an eighth of an inch over is way too long. His are much longer and when he cuts them, they look more like mine BEFORE a trim.

This has obviously caused problems. He's tried on a few different occasions to cut my toenails. He ends up taking a minute sliver off after several minutes, which frustrates me. And I end up awkwardly taking over, cutting quite a bit off.

He says he just can't believe how short I cut them. So I've been trying to grow them out longer.

We were forced to cut them a couple of weeks ago when I cut holes in two pairs of socks consecutively. It was very odd, and I've never experienced anything like that before.

Well, last night I scratched myself with one of my long toenails. That means it's time again and I'm pretty positive that I cannot reach them anymore. We will have to cross that bridge tonight or tomorrow night. I'll let you know how it goes.

What has become your biggest obstacle? Hopefully I'm not the only pregnant woman with toenail issues.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Hoping for a speedy delivery

We attended an all day labor and delivery class this weekend and I'm not nearly as scared as I thought I would be. Don't get me wrong, it still sounds really painful and kind of scary, but I feel much more prepared now that I have an idea of what we might be able to expect.

One thing I've been noticing and the instructor pointed out - this is a very popular time to have babies. Several co-workers or co-workers wives are due around my due date. As are several of you. Also, this class was jam-packed. Apparently Memorial Day weekend was pretty busy for lots of people.

Anyway, the class was very informative. We found out a lot more about pain meds and C-sections. We found out the reasons doctors often turn to C-sections. At the last sonogram, the technician said Little Elvis was in the proper position. I'm hoping not to have a C-section, so hopefully none of those worse-case scenarios will pan out for us.

We also found out about the different stages of labor and when to go to the hospital. The instructor said it seemed like most women started having contractions at night, and I'm really hoping that's the case. I don't want to be on the Metro when contractions start. But if they do start at work, then I think I'll be ok. Three of my co-workers are M.D.s. I'm sure they'll know what to do if I go nuts.

We also did breathing techniques and found out about focusing on different things. She said we couldn't bring in candles, but we could bring in things that had a pleasant smell to us. Bob put a new bar of Zest in our bag for me. I wonder how many other pregnant women have sniffed bars of soap during their delivery? It's definitely one of my favorite smells, and hopefully it won't make me hungry! (Been having soap cravings on and off.)

Bob also learned some massage techniques and things he can do with a tennis ball to ease my discomfort. We now have a tennis ball and one of his dress socks in our bag as well.

The worst part by far was watching the video of 4 deliveries. Bob closed his eyes, but I watched (in horror.) Each birth was different and three seemed extremely painful - two had minor complications. In the final delivery, the baby practically delivered itself. It looked like the most pleasant. I wouldn't mind that one, although the baby was number 4 for that woman. I'm sure her first wasn't quite that easy.

We both enjoyed the hospital tour. No one was screaming or yelling in pain and we got to see grandparents look at their granddaughter for the first time. That was fun.

Now, I feel like we're a lot more ready. We had packed a hospital bag, but we ended up undoing and repacking it into a labor bag and a post-delivery bag. We have a meeting with the pediatrician's office on Feb. 13. Hopefully Little Elvis will hold off until then. After that, I'm hoping he'll come early. We're at 19 days and I really can't wait to meet him. Our sonogram pictures made me hungry for more. I only got to see half a face. I want to meet the whole baby. I also want to hear his cry.

What about you guys? Are you getting excited, anxious, nervous? All three?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Little Elvis is "locked and loaded"

We got a pretty good glimpse of what Little Elvis will look like when he makes his world debut yesterday when we went for a sonogram.

The doctor wanted to know how much he weighed and I wanted to make sure he was a boy and see what he looked like. We got pretty good answers on all counts.

He weighs in at 6 pounds 6 ounces and is definitely a boy -- at least according to the technician. It just looked like splotches to me, but Bob nodded like he knew what she was pointing at.

And we got to see his profile and get another shot of his nose. The technician said he has my nose. Bob is thrilled about this, but I do have to point out that most babies seem to have my nose, (it's a little turned up at the end) but they grow out of it eventually. I just never outgrew this nose. Still, on him, the nose looks really cute.

The technician snapped a close up of his nose and got us a profile shot. She said he was pouting, I say he was living up to his nickname. Elvis Presley was known for his snarl, among other things, and Little Elvis is just practicing on getting the lip curl just right. Either that, or he didn't like what I ate for breakfast!

Another great thing we learned was that he is "locked and loaded." This is my term for being in the correct position. His head is down and he is ready for February 17. They didn't change the date. I honestly wanted them to bump that day up, but I'm glad they didn't push it back.

Most of this sonogram was lots of fun, but the very beginning of it was really painful for me. The technician had to poke on my pelvis pretty hard with the sonogram instrument and Little Elvis poked back because he didn't appreciate the pressure. It was a battle of wills and I was stuck in the middle squeezing my eyes shut and hoping that the shot she wanted wouldn't take too long.

Have any of you had sonograms around 36 weeks? Did you try the 3-D ones? I'm sure the pictures are much clearer, but they aren't covered by our insurance.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Will Indy Colts induce labor?

About a month ago, I wrote about my beloved Colts. They had just lost to the Cowboys and I was very frustrated. It was just the final blow in a series of events that had me feeling whiny.

I am at the opposite of that spectrum today. My Colts won last night! They are headed to the Super Bowl. I told Bob at the beginning of the season that this was their year. And I was so upset when all the sportscasters were calling for it to be the year of the Dolphins and the Ravens. (Boy were they wrong, huh? Ha!)

What does this have to do with my pregnancy you ask? Well, possibly a lot.

See, I tend to get very caught up in these games. I yell and fuss and fret and scare the cats.

The Super Bowl is February 4, just 13 days before Little Elvis is due. I'm concerned that I'll get myself so worked up during this game that I'll go into labor.

Important note: We will throw a tape in the VCR, and head to the hospital. I feel the need to add this, because I read in the paper this morning about a woman who induced her labor early so her husband could go to the Bears game. A little much maybe?

I guess traffic will be pretty good at that point. Hopefully most people will be at parties and not on the road. So maybe getting all hyped over my team getting to the big game would be a good thing.

Do any of you have fears like this?

On a side note, we went to a dinner party with other young families in the neighborhood last night. I spent most of the evening watching the first half of the game instead of talking with the other mommies (which was bad, I know.) Any other team and I probably would have tuned out, but it was my Colts.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

We're in the home stretch

We have another sonogram appointment on Tuesday. I am really excited about this. We get to see how big Little Elvis is and maybe get an idea of what he will look like.

Then, on Saturday we do our all day labor and delivery class at the hospital. That’s January 27.

I know he’s not due until February 17th, but I’m hoping the sonogram people will move up the due date and that he will arrive shortly after our labor and delivery class.

This is probably a lot of wishful thinking, but I'm ready to meet him. I had been worried that wanting him early would be bad on my part, but now that we're past 36 weeks I feel a whole lot safer for him.

I'm also HUGE! My belly is unbelievably big. I attempted to cut Bob's hair last night (for the first time) and the belly really got in the way. I can't imagine it would be possible to get any bigger, although I've been told I will.

Also, the back issues are really uncomfortable. My blisters from the heating pad incident are now popping. We've stopped with the burn cream and I'm now putting antibacterial ointment on them.

Friday, January 19, 2007

First-degree back pain

I do dumb things sometimes. This isn't something I'm proud of, but it is something I will admit to.

Today, I have to admit to ignoring the warning on a package of heating pads.

On Tuesday, I told my doctor about my extreme back pain. She said that those self-adhesive back heating pads would help. She also recommended other things, but I immediately latched onto those pads.

We had some at home, so as soon as I got back to the house, I dug one out and stuck it directly to my back. I know what the packaging says, but I've got to wear a back belt thing and my underwear are low due to the belly, as are my pants. In my opinion, the best way for me to get the pain relief I needed would be for me to stick that pad directly to my back. My skin wouldn't be shifting like the clothes, so I thought this was the best decision.

This is probably why the back pad I wore Wednesday fell off en route to work. It is definitely why my back is now flaming red with three blistery patches.

Yesterday I felt twinges around the pad, but I just pulled it off and repositioned it and went on with my day.

Today, the twinges were more like screams. My skin was hot and tight and hurt. I gingerly reached behind me and ever-so-slowly peeled the back pad from my tender skin. It hurt so much! I tried to reposition it, but this time my back refused. So, I pulled the pad out. Leaving my hot, sweating skin in direct contact with my stretchy back belt. That hurt even more.

I couldn't take the brace off at my desk, so I grabbed my purse and rushed to the bathroom to get rid of the offensive back belt. After I had it safely stowed in my purse, I decided to take a peek in the bathroom mirror at my back. (It also helped that I was by myself in the bathroom.) My back had a bright red rectangle on it and three blistery brighter red patches! I folded down the waistband of my pants and went to my desk to IM Bob about what I had done.

He was not impressed with me. Yes, I knew what the packaging said. But I had clothing obstacles! I was in pain! I decided to go to CVS to get burn cream and bandages. Bob, who is thinking a lot more than I am at the moment, wisely recommended that I avoid sticky band aids.

I ended up buying myself burn spray (which is nice and cool!) and some big gauze pads. I wasn't by myself in the bathroom when I put on my spray and gauze pad, but at that point I didn't care anymore.

At least for a while there I didn't feel my back muscle pains!

So, this will be my public service announcement for the day. Don't stick those self-adhesive back heating patches directly to your skin for days at a time. The resulting burns are no fun and they inhibit you from wearing other things that might help your back.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Back that pad up

I've known for a while that I'm losing my memory, but today I managed to lose a back heating pad. It was one of those square, last-for-12-hour heating pads for your back. And now it's somewhere between northern Virginia and D.C.

I've often heard and read about pregnant women with bad backs and honestly just thought I was really lucky. Then on Monday afternoon it hit. My lower back (pretty much straight across the top of my butt) is in constant pain. Any transition movement (sitting to standing, standing to sitting, etc.) caused extreme pain. Even coughing, sneezing and going to the bathroom hurt.

And I was by myself. Only the cats were there to soothe me. Bob is out of town at a conference. I tried laying in many different positions -- on my back, on my left side, on my right side, with a pillow between my legs, with a pillow at my back, you get the picture. Then, I finally called him to tell him exactly how much pain I was in. It's not like he's a back pain expert. He had no idea what to tell me to do, except ask the doctor.

Which is exactly what I did on Tuesday morning -- I'm so lucky I had an appointment scheduled. She told me that it was completely normal and would, in fact, even plague me for a while after Little Elvis is born. She gave me some exercises to do and told me that using heating pads on my back was perfectly fine (as is muscle rub by the way!)

I did my exercises and wore my heating pad under my back belt as soon as I got home. All day yesterday, my heating pad kept slipping off. I found it in the bed, on the couch, in the back of my pants (they were baggy.)

Still, it didn't occur to me that it might come off during my commute to work today. Somehow it did though. And I can't for the life of me imagine where it ended up. Is it on the Metro seat where I sat this morning? But how can that be? My coat is really long and it should have stuck to the coat over the seat.

Did it stick to my coat and end up somewhere along the Metro platform? Or did it make it out of the Metro station and fall off while I was walking to work? Or is it on the elevator I rode up to my floor?

It's a white square, maybe 4 inches x 4 inches. It would be eyecatching if it dropped from the bottom of my coat.

That leads me to my final question. Did anyone see my little white square of a back heating device fall off during my commute? I certainly don't blame them for not telling me. But I can only imagine what someone would think about a woman waddling down the road dropping white squares out of the back of her coat. Maybe I'm the McDonald's chicken people used to ask about. (Remember the old how does McDonald's find chickens that lay square eggs?)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Bad day

It is Monday and my "holiday" has not started well. I am supposed to work every day now, but at least on weekends, holidays and vacation days I can do it from home. Well, I am now up to hour three of my working holiday.

And my computer has decided that it does not want me to use any apostrophes. This means no contractions. I like contractions. I am also aware that most people probably know exactly what causes this problem and how to fix it. Unfortunately, I am not one of them.

If you know how to fix this (most likely) very simple problem, please share.

What else is making my day bad? Well, my breakfast consisted of chocolates and cookies. To a kid this would be a good thing, but I do not think a pregnant woman should do this. I just could not stop myself though! I was home by myself struggling to get my "15 minutes" of work done and I needed those cookies and chocolates.

How are you guys doing today? I hope if you had to work, whatever you depend on to get your job done is not hindering you. I also hope you ate much healthier breakfasts and that you can type contractions all you want.

P.S. Sorry I sound so fussy. Baby is coming in 33 or 32 days I think! That makes me happy. I'm just also tired and cranky.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Paunch partners

Wally, one of our cats, and I have a connection now. At least I think he sees it that way.

I've written about Wally before. He's our very social and very loving cat. Slappy is content to be in the same room as us, but she doesn't need to be on or even near us. (Unless she wants to fetch.) Wally, on the other hand, wants to be in the lap, on the outstretched legs or somehow physically touching us.

And he's a big cat. He's a very big cat. He's twice the weight of Slappy, but he's also wider, taller and longer. He's just big. And he's got a paunch. It's a loose pouch of skin that hangs off his belly near his back legs. It swings back and forth when he runs and is very cute (at least to us!)

In the past few weeks, Wally has really latched onto my belly. He likes to curl up on what's left of my lap and lay his head on the belly. He also likes to lay on the pregnancy pillow and snuggle up as close as possible to my belly at night.

I've woken up several times to Wally snuggling with the belly and Little Elvis kicking.
This makes me think that Wally notices our common bond -- the bellies -- and feels more connected to me than usual.

So are we belly buddies, or is this just my crazy notion?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Don't touch the belly

A couple of months ago I referenced a rap song that I couldn't really remember that well to describe my big belly. I think the title was "Big Booty Girl," and I had been swapping booty for belly and singing about mine for a while.

Today, another rap song from my past popped into my head while I was reading an advice column about strangers touching pregnant bellies. FYI, the advice columnist didn't seem to have any problem with this.

Well, I do. Luckily, this hasn't happened to me, yet. But I don't want it to start. I mean I don't walk up to a stranger with a bald head and rub it. I don't approach guys with huge calves and pinch them. Why then, should a stranger approach me and touch my belly? It makes no sense to me.

Now that's not to say I'm keeping Little Elvis all to myself. Bob is welcome to touch the belly whenever he wants. My parents also had unlimited access, as do other family members. No friends have tried this. (Probably because they know I'm not fond of getting touched by others - I'm one of those people who refuses to get a massage. Why would I want a stranger rubbing me?)

The columnist was a woman. I'm not sure if she'd had any children. Maybe she's one of those touchy-feely people. If so, then I'm sure she doesn't mind strangers groping her belly. But she shouldn't just write a column letting the people who read it think that it's perfectly acceptable to reach out and touch a stranger's pregnant belly.

I say look all you want, but don't touch. And if you feel the need to touch, at least ask first. And then, keep the touch very short and don't poke!

Back to my rap song. Some of my sorority sisters in college would sing this song. There are a couple of possibilities on the title: "Sally" or maybe "Ooh, Sally, that girl."

The chorus from the song (if I'm remembering correctly) went, "Don't touch the booty, or I won't touch you. Don't touch the booty, cause it's not the thing to do."

I've, of course, rewritten it. Here's my version: "Don't touch the belly and I won't touch you. Don't touch the belly, cause it's not the thing to do."

Maybe if hum or sing my version in public it will keep prying hands away.

Have any of you experienced this? What did you do?

Monday, January 08, 2007

I can't remember what I was going to call this...

I must have a beach ball stuffed my shirt, at least that's what I look like. My stomach is now a huge, round protrusion. I honestly can't imagine how I can get any bigger, but I still have 5 weeks and 5 days left (40 days!)

I'm also definitely waddling. Bob says I'm not, but I know I am. I feel myself swaying back and forth as I walk.

The good news is, I really don't hurt too much. I know that a lot of women are in pain right now. My back hurts if I sit funny, but other than that and the occasional tummy pain, I'm not feeling too bad. Little Elvis has only found my ribs once. I hope he doesn't remember where they are.

My big hope right now is that I'm not being too much of a pain to other people. Bob won't tell me if I am, and my co-workers haven't made any comments about me or my actions -- except for the talk about my constant ice crunching. (I'm eating spinach and red meat, I swear!)

Probably the biggest thing I've noticed about myself -- other than the huge belly and waddling -- is my memory loss. Things I know I should remember just float right out of my mind. I've actually stopped talking mid-sentence because I can't remember what I was talking about or what I was going to say. Maybe this is cute? I'll pretend to myself that it is.

What are your biggest pregnancy issues right now?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Bathroom business

Crazy things always seem to happen to or around me. I’m just one of those people. And last night I experienced a doozy.

Bob and I went to an engagement party in Baltimore that was in a cool old movie theatre. They were showing “Dreamgirls,” so we visited for a while and watched the end of the movie from the balcony. The regular movie customers were in the bottom of the theatre and it was a packed house!

During the party I chugged two bottles of water and ate a full cup of ice (it’s still my only true craving and I really want some right now.) I went to the bathroom once, but by the end of the movie I had to go again.

I waddled down the stairs and into an extremely long line of women waiting to use the three stalls.

After standing in line for about 10 minutes and getting up to where the bathroom actually was, a woman comes in yelling: “I’m about to pee in my pants!” She pushed the rest of us in the line out of her way.

She ended up standing by a stall near me and began taking her coat and shoes off, all the while saying how much she REALLY had to go to the bathroom.

There were still about 7 or 8 women in front of me and I figured one of them would let her cut, so I didn’t offer. The woman directly in front of me did, and then a woman with a young daughter offered and finally the teenager who was the first in line let her cut.

The woman by this time had unbuttoned and unzipped her jeans. She darted into the stall and apparently had to go SO much that she couldn’t close the door to the stall! The woman with the young daughter shut the door for her.

As you can imagine, this had the line buzzing. The women in front of me were talking about having Poise pads as a back up for such situations. Then, they noticed me, the big pregnant woman.

They offered to let me cut as well, saying I had an excuse and they had all been in my shoes and knew how pregnant women felt when they had to go to the bathroom. I really appreciated their charity, but I didn’t mind waiting. I go often enough that I rarely get to the point where I think I’m going to die or wet my pants.

Well, the 7 or 8 people in front of me were finished before that woman finally came out of the stall. That meant I had to go into her stall. I was kind of worried she had done more than just pee, (I didn’t want to have to deal with that) but took a deep breath and went in anyway.

This odd woman was still buttoning her pants and putting on her shoes when I left the bathroom.

Obviously, I waddled up the stairs and right to Bob to tell him about the crazy events. He laughed, at least pretending to find them enjoyable. I hope you guys enjoyed it.

Ever encountered such craziness in the bathroom? In all of my 28 years, I can honestly say I’ve never experienced anything like that.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Bedroom boundaries

We had another stressful night last night. I had issues sleeping. I have a pregnancy pillow and the Ivory soap now, but Wally has decided that he likes the pregnancy pillow as much as I do.

I kept waking up beside the pillow with him right on top of it. I would try to scoot him over and at least just share the pillow. We finally came to a decent truce when an unbearable calf cramp came up again.

It was so sharp and tight. I tried to do the stuff Bob did with for the calf cramp last time, but every movement I made made it hurt that much worse.

Finally, I had to shake him awake while crying about hurting so much. I'm sure my calf was the last thing he was expecting after being woken up like that. But he immediately did something and the pain subsided enough for us both to get back to sleep.

It's still a little sore today, so I was careful with it.

I hope sleep is going very well for the rest of you. And I will try to be more strict with the cats. Sleep is getting more precious.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Straight from the heartburn

I have recently made some new discoveries about battling heartburn that I want to share. Most of you know these, or don't get yourself into such situations, but I still want to share what I've learned.

On Sunday, Bob offered me a piece of homemade chocolate cake. It was after 8 p.m., I wasn't hungry, and still I said, "Sure."

I woke up that night with the most intense, awful heartburn.

So, it's a good idea not to eat late at night, especially if you aren't hungry.

But that's not the only lesson I've learned--I read somewhere that people with heartburn should elevate the heads of their beds (does that make sense?). I didn't want to put bricks under our bed, so I'm now sleeping with two big pillows under my head. This isn't uncomfortable at all, and the heartburn is a lot better at night.

So there are my newest lessons in heartburn. I hope they can help some of you. If not, please share your tips.