7 Things No One Tells You About Pregnancy

The pregnancy continues to go well and overall I’m feeling fine.

IMG_2886

No belly pics this week. Just Munchkin and me baking some cookies!

So instead of boring you with another ‘update’ post about the same old thing, I thought I’d switch gears a bit.

There are many things about pregnancy that are expected like putting on weight, buying different clothes, peeing a lot, glowing skin, morning sickness, etc. There are also a lot of things people don’t really tell you because it’s a) not glamorous and in some cases embarrassing, b) seem silly and minor, or c) they’re afraid they’re the only one. You can read about most of these in books but most likely they won’t come up in every day conversation (“Hi Sally! How are you? Me? I’m fine but boy does my hoo-ha ache today!”).

So allow me to provide you with this PSA on the things no one tells you about pregnancy (or that you forgot from the first time around). You’re welcome.

1. Growing pains

Sure, we all know that when you get pregnant, you get bigger. It’s easy to see. But what you may not anticipate is how that growth feels. It’s not like your uterus, skin, and hips can get bigger without causing some discomfort. They are s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g after all. It’s fairly random too. For me, I will be totally fine and then all of a sudden get a sore spot on my side or an ache below my belly. If you’ve never been pregnant before it can really freak you out. And as someone with a history of miscarriage, it can REALLY freak you out.

With my Isabella pregnancy I was panicked with each new twinge. This time I’m just annoyed by it. Although some of the aches have shown up in places I do not remember having them before. Which leads us nicely in to #2.

2. Wherein I talk about things “down there”

The other night I literally was watching TV with a bag of frozen peas directly on my crotch. I’m sure it was very attractive. But come on! The pubic bones are moving too and boy can I feel it. The pain occurs when I walk, change sitting positions or generally do anything involving my legs.

Awesome.

I do NOT recall my vajayjay aching with the first pregnancy. Maybe I just blocked it out or maybe it’s because I’m older – you know, of Advanced Maternal Age.

Either way, I think I owe that bag of pees some flowers or something.

 <Digimax S800 / Kenox S800>

3. Itchy Scratchy

Remember how in #1 we talked about stretching and growing? Well when your skin does that, it itches. Maternity pants don’t help either. Some of them come up over your belly and make the itch that much worse. Usually you get an itch at the most inopportune times too. I mean, I feel like a dirty old man sitting there scratching my belly all day.

Case in point – the extended family was out to dinner for my nephew’s birthday. Suddenly, the side of my right boob started itching like crazy. I tried to subtly slide my right arm up and down to get it but that did nothing. So I casually reached with my left hand across, as if folding my arms, and adjusted my bra cup while simultaneously itching the affected area. Only, my bra was being stubborn and I had to pull hard, causing my fingernail to bend backwards, which made me jump and yelp thereby drawing all the attention my way. The very attention I was trying to avoid.

Sigh.

I guess I should just embrace it, scratch away and then look incredulously at people who give me dirty looks. Dude, I’m pregnant. I have the right to do pretty much anything right now and you’re not allowed to comment or criticize.

4. Aching for Advil

Naturally, there are limitations to what you can ingest while pregnant. No alcohol. Limit the caffeine. No raw food (sorry cookie dough but I just can’t quit you). So it naturally follows that you would have to limit medications too. For the most part, I am totally ok with that. Generally, I don’t take a lot of medications anyway. I rarely use cold medicine and never take sleeping pills. I don’t have a chronic condition requiring daily medication so I’m not too put out by this.

However, there is one medication that I’m having a hard time living without – Ibuprofen. This has been a lifesaver for me on more than one occasion but particularly when it comes to my knees and neck. Both of these areas are ones which cause me fairly regular pains. And Tylenol just does not cut it.

For the past week I’ve had the worst neck kink I’ve ever had. My chiropractor even said he hasn’t seen my joints that badly swollen. Yet, there was nothing I could do for pain management. I basically had to suffer through, which tends to be the mantra when pregnant and ill – just suffer through.

Then I got a bad head cold and was beyond stuffed up. Again, Ibuprofen would have helped to relieve the swelling in my sinuses, but alas, it was not to be.

And decongestants? Fuggettaboutit.

Blergh.

5. Shaving

I went to a Catholic all girls high school. With no boys present, you can imagine that our hygiene and general concern about daily appearance pretty much went out the window. Like I’m going to put on make-up for a bunch of girls in uniform. Shaving also went by the wayside. I remember girls who would go for months, nay, even the whole year without shaving their legs.

hairy legs

(source)

I’m thinking of going back to that practice.

It’s hard enough trying to shave your legs when you’re standing up in a slippery shower. Add in a large and ever growing belly to work around and it becomes a logistical nightmare.

Did I mention that your hair grows faster during pregnancy because of the increased hormones? Good times.

With my first pregnancy, it got to the point where I had to have CJ help me shave and bless his heart he did it without complaint. It was either that or sleep with a werewolf. I haven’t gotten to that point yet this time around but I have a feeling it’s not far away.

6. Leakage

CJ and I took a Pregnancy and Birthing Class when I was pregnant with Isabella. In one of the first sessions, the teacher told us that one common misconception is that when your water breaks, it comes out as a big gush, like in the movies. In reality, sometimes it slowly leaks out.

She should never have told me that.

Because guess what, in pregnancy you leak anyway. You leak pee when you sneeze or overexert. You leak other mystery fluids randomly. So as you can imagine, as a nervous first time pregnant woman, with every leak I thought my water had broken, particularly as we got toward the end. In fact, that’s how we ended up in the hospital a whole day early for labor.

We were scheduled to be induced on the morning of the 30th so the night of the 29th CJ and I went out to dinner and generally tried to enjoy our last night without a baby. When we got home, I felt some leakage. I was just sure that it was more than normal and therefore MUST mean my water broke. I called my doc and she said to come on in. Yeah, false alarm. But it was 9 p.m. and since I was supposed to be right back there at 5 a.m. the next morning, they just kept me overnight.

Had I not been such a nervous, uneducated Nelly, I could have saved us hundred of dollars in an extra hospital stay. I should have sent the bill to that dang class instructor.

7. PP target practice

By the end of pregnancy, I will know my doctor and her nurses really well. After all, I see them every 4 weeks right now and soon every 2 and then every week. Despite the fact that my doctor is a Ravens fan, I love her and appreciate this time.

What I didn’t anticipate was how many times I would get to pee in a cup. You pretty much have to do that at every visit. I have become a friggin’ pro at it. Not a drop spilled on most occasions.

I’ve also learned that one’s bladder is never really empty. On one visit, I was having a bad case of pregnancy brain and went to the bathroom, cup in hand, and totally forgot to capture any pee in the cup. I realized this when I walked back into the exam room with empty cup still in hand. Oops. Still, I went back to the restroom and was able to eek out a few more drops – enough to get them what they need – and all was well.

IMG_2875

So, while being pregnant has it’s ups and downs, I wouldn’t give it up for anything. The experience is unlike anything ever and to have the privilege of creating and bringing life in to the world is beyond amazing. I will happily forgo a few pills here and there and the ability to laugh real hard without worrying about wetting my pants for the chance to hold another precious little baby in my arms.

Besides, we have to have something to hold over their head when they get older.

Previous weeks, in case you missed it:

Ultrasound! | Halfway mark | 19 weeks

21 and 22 Weeks: Ultrasound!

This has been a crazy busy 2 weeks. I wanted to get an update out last week and just never got around to it. So, it’s another combo post!

Here are a few non-pregnancy related updates!

We got the house all gussied up for the holidays – inside and outside!

IMG_2729

I spent almost a week in Salt Lake City for work but did get some time to drive up in the mountains…

IMG_2804

…and then I was hauled off to jail.

IMG_2825

Sort of. See the Utah State Penitentiary is across the highway from our office and they have a café (or food truck) that is open to the public – the Serving Time Café. It is run by the prison. Some of the workers are prisoners and some are not. They actually have a pretty extensive menu. I got a Patty Melt and fries and both were quite good.

And I never felt like my safety (or food!) was in jeopardy!

Now on to the baby and pregnancy updates!

I’m definitely feeling bigger and more uncomfortable. When I think that I still have 5 months to go, it’s somewhat daunting but I know it’s only temporary and so worth it for what the end result is!

Zzzz….

Good sleep is getting harder and harder to come by mostly because it’s impossible to find a comfortable position. You can’t sleep/lie on your back after the first trimester and of course stomach sleeping is out. So that leaves side-lying (which is normally how I sleep anyway). However, it’s still awkward. They say to put a pillow between your legs to protect your back but I’ve tried it and that does not work for me. I tend to rollover a lot and having a big pillow under the covers makes movement a lot harder.

So I pretty much have a constant crick in my neck. It moves from side to side but it’s always there. Last week it was on the left side, this week it’s on the right.

Items purchased:

We actually bought something for the nursery last week! Well, CJ did. He found a cute little stuffed Very Hungry Caterpillar that will be perfect! AND he found it at a used toy store for like $1.50. That’s my man!

IMG_2831

Isabella is already attached to it because she snuggled with it on the car ride home. We’ve had to explain that it’s for the baby and that she can play with it but ultimately it’s not hers. She said, “But it loves me and wants to be mine.” Ha! She’s getting good at the manipulation I tell ya!

I also bought more maternity clothes this week. Just a few tops to keep me going as I get bigger.

I’ve noticed that maternity fashions have changed in the 3 short years since my last pregnancy. In 2009, everything was empire-waisted and loose around the belly.

15wks_10.17.12

Now, the trend seems to be for shirts to be fitted and tighter – showing off the bump.

22 wks_12.5.12_isabella

Isabella photo bomb!!

I kind of like the updated trend as some of the older style shirts made me feel like I was wearing a tent!

Sister or Brother? Isabella continues to change her mind about whether she wants a brother or a sister. One day last week she said “Brother, so that I can teach them about the planets.” Then the other day she said she wants a sister named Jane (after the little girl in Mary Poppins).

Speaking of names, no we haven’t decided on anything and no we won’t share when we do. 🙂

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for….!

Ultrasound results!!

We had our ultrasound today and agreed to not find out the sex of the baby (CJ still wanted too but consented to letting me decide. Smart man!). 

I was told to arrive with a full bladder. And boy did I! It was so full that it pushed the baby up so that it scrunched. They made me go empty it. I did not protest.

I tell you what – ultrasounds today are not what they were 3 years ago. The images were so incredibly clear. We could see not only the heart beating but actually all 4 chambers of it. We also saw the brain, with both sides and the line running down the middle. The spine was perfectly visible and clear. It was amazing.

The baby was cooperating just beautifully too. It was laying face up with its feet up by its head and giving us some great views. Then of course when it was time for the fun stuff (like the 3D ultrasound), it rolled over, covered its face and went to sleep. Ha!

When it was time to determine the gender, she had us look at each other and away from the monitor. It must have been pretty clear and obvious what it was because she was done checking pretty quick!

Picture time!

Here is a profile shot.

profile

It definitely has the Atencio chin…

And a profile with its hand up on its chin, thinking.

profile_thinking

This one shows the front of the face.

face

Here are the little feet.

foot

And a hand.

hand

Finally, the 3D view of the face.

3-d face

Somewhat hard to see because the baby is nestled back in the placenta. You can see the forehead and right side of the face peeking out (top half of the picture – one closed eye, nose and mouth). Just below the face is the umbilical cord.

The best news of all – baby is perfectly healthy! All markers lined up to where they should be and all organs, bones, etc. are tracking normally. Baby weighs 1 lb. 3 oz. which is 52% – right in the middle! Doctor said she couldn’t be happier with what she saw.

I get to have another ultrasound in 10 weeks to check growth rate. They’re doing an extra one because of my Advanced Maternal Age. By then we should get some really good images!

I am relieved to know that our baby is healthy and progressing as it should. Was it hard to not find out the sex? Not at all! I wasn’t even tempted to change my mind or peek! I’m sure there will be moments as we go along but right now I’m really happy with my decision.

Here are posts from the previous weeks, in case you need to get caught up!

20 | 19 | 18 | 16 and 17

20 Weeks–Halfway there!

Can you believe I’m halfway through my pregnancy? I can’t. Some days it feels like I’m still in the very beginning. Other times it feels like I should be way closer to “done”.

I also know that what’s left is the hard part. The body getting bigger, and more unwieldy. Aches and pains popping up. And of course the actual delivery.

21wks1

Can you believe I forgot to take a picture? I would take one now but I’m in my P.J.’s and no one wants to see that.

So here’s one from my pregnancy with Isabella. I look pretty much the same then as now!

I had Isabella via C-Section (after many intense hours of pushing after which they told me her head was too big to fit through and she was backward) so not sure what we’ll do with this one. I’m told that at 36 weeks the doctor can tell me if a vaginal birth is possible or if I’ll have to do another C. If given the choice, I’ll probably try the vaginal route rather than have another surgery. There are trade-offs. C-Sections are much easier and faster in the moment, and can be scheduled, but the recovery is longer. Vaginal births are obviously less ‘convenient’ in terms of timing and are much more intensive but you bounce back quicker (so I hear). I also like the idea of nature deciding my baby’s birthday rather than me picking one.

100_1431

Believe it or not, she still makes that face when she’s crying!

My stomach is a black hole: I’ve entered a phase in which I CANNOT get enough to eat. I am always hungry. My family had a birthday celebration on Sunday for my dad and me, at which chili and spaghetti along with sides were served. I went back through the “buffet” 3 times and was still hungry. So an hour later I had some cheese/crackers and graham crackers with frosting. Then an hour after that I had cake and ice cream.

And I did not feel full or stuffed.

I’m hoping this is a temporary phase because if I keep going at this rate I’ll be a frickin’ balloon by the time April rolls around.

At least I can take advantage come Thanksgiving tomorrow! My Brother in law has some competition this year! And I’ll have my Thanksgiving pants on – score!

Oh heck yeah! Bring it!

Bigger and bigger:That being said, I’m starting to notice other areas of my body growing. Up to this point it’s pretty much been the belly and boobs. Over the weekend I noticed my pants getting more snug in the butt too. Then the other morning when I went to put on my knee high boots, I discovered they were tighter as well. Yep, my calves are expanding (and I don’t think it’s muscular). What’s next?

I’ll tell you what’s next. I just discovered that the one thing I hated more than anything else from my 1st pregnancy has started to manifest. That’s right – cankles. I had swelling in my feet and ankles really bad the first time around. I couldn’t believe how puffy I was. And it hurt. I thought maybe I’d be spared that with this one since it’s during a cooler time of year.

I guess not. Crap.

Nursery mood:I promised last week that I would provide more insight in to our nursery and gave a subtle hint.

very-hungry-caterpillar

Ok maybe it wasn’t that subtle…

You guessed it, the nursery is going to be centered around the books by Eric Carle. I like that it’s simple, full of bright colors and gender neutral (since we’re not finding out the sex…right CJ?).

I like the look of this nursery:

caterpillar nursery

(source)

I probably won’t buy the Pottery Barn bedding or accessories – who can afford that? – but instead improvise on my own. I plan to put some pics on the wall with animals from the books (most likely made by me using books found at Goodwill or other Thrift stores) and add various animal accents too. Our nursery will probably be more primary color focused than the above picture. I’m thinking of making the walls a cheery yellow. I like some of these colors:

image001

Not too bright but not too light either. Accent colors will be reds and blues and greens.

Right now it’s jumble of ideas in my head. I think it’ll come together pretty easily though!

That’s it for this week. I just wanted to end by thanking everyone who takes the time to read my silly little blog. Some days I feel like I’m just writing to myself (and that’s ok – it’s good for me). But the times I get feedback, whether via comments here or on Facebook, are really exciting. So thanks for the support and happy Thanksgiving!

In case you missed it, here are update from the previous weeks!

19 | 18 | 16 and 17

19 Weeks

Happy belated Birthday to me! Yep, Wednesday was my 36th birthday. To me this is the first year that I think my age sounds “old”. I know that it’s not and I’m sure my 50 year old husband is rolling his eyes at me right now. I don’t FEEL old or consider myself old. It’s just the number that sounds old. People generally refer to young people as in their 20’s or “early 30’s”. With 36, I’m officially crossing over the mark from early 30’s to late 30’s.

11-2006

30 years old…

19 wks_11.14.12-label

Vs. 36 years old

Does this belly make me look older?

Plus I get to have the label of “Advanced Maternal Age” (or AMA) on my chart at the doctor’s office. If that doesn’t make a person feel old, I don’t know what will!

All that being said, I am truly thankful for another great year in my life. As we all know, the gift of life is precious and can be taken in an instance. Every child, every person, is a miracle and the fact that I’ve been able to enjoy 36 relatively trauma free years on this planet is not lost on me. So thank you to everyone in my life who has helped me celebrate this week!

IMG_2684

Yes my daughter is picking her nose.

Who cares, I got a Steelers jersey for my birthday!

Now let’s party (safely and without any alcohol of course)!

Exciting Pregnancy Moment that Never gets old: This week I experienced for the first time in this pregnancy one of the things that makes every pregnancy fun – baby movements and kicks! At my 18 week appointment the doctor asked if I’d felt any yet and I said no. She said not to worry that it was still early for that but of course my mind started working overtime. Combine that with the fact that it took her longer to find the heartbeat and I was really getting nervous.

So every day I would pay extra special attention to any ‘sensations’ going on down there. Turned out to always be gas or stomach gurgles or something of the like.

Until Sunday. I was lying in bed listening to Isabella slowly wake up when I left a flutter. That’s how people typically describe baby movements at this stage – flutters. It was more like the feeling of a bubble popping. I quickly put my hand over my bump and waited. Pretty soon there was another one! Yippee! I knew for sure that these were the real deal. I’ve been feeling them steadily ever since. They’re too small and sporadic now for anyone else to feel but soon CJ and Isabella will get to experience them too. I can’t wait for Isabella to feel her first baby kick from inside mommy!

19 wks_11.14.12 samson

Food, glorious food: Surprisingly there haven’t been any cravings for a while. No revulsions either. Just normal eating. I did however down 3 big brownies from a bake sale in a 2 day period and then felt indignant when CJ wouldn’t share the last one with me. But I guess he’s allowed to have one…

Speaking of CJ, he’s been dropping some weight lately. I think he said he’s lost about 10 pounds so far. I can see it too. Not that he was fat before because he certainly was not. But like all of us of “advanced age”, he’s put on a few unwanted LBS over the years. Kudos to him for the loss! He looks great!

Is this how osmosis works? My husbands extra weight falls off him over night and then crawls it’s way across our bed and sticks to me? I just hope that come Spring of next year, the weight will fall off me too and find it’s way out of the house entirely! Unless of course it wants to stick to my wallet and fatten that up. I wouldn’t be opposed to that.

Gender Issues:CJ and I still haven’t decided it we are going to find out the gender of the baby when we go in for our ultrasound in 3 weeks. Well, let me rephrase. CJ knows what he wants – he wants to find out. I’m on the fence but leaning toward waiting. We have yet to sit down and duke it out to come to a mutual decision.

onesiecolors700_160

My doctor has predicted that it’s a girl. She told me this last week. When I asked her why she thought so (was the heartbeat particularly female sounding?) she said “Oh I don’t know, Doctor’s intuition.” I guess we’ll see if there’s anything to that intuition!

Oh, my Back! I’ve started getting pains in my back. Lower back that is, specifically on my left side. I know it’s because of my hips moving and spreading. I don’t remember feeling anything this early with Isabella. What can I say, I’m older. It really hurt me after volleyball last night. I had to come home and ice my back for nearly an hour before bed. And of course I can’t take anything. Well, I can take Tylenol but that does nothing for me. I just have to be extra careful with my bending and lifting.

Nursery update:Getting the nursery set up is sort of the last thing on my mind right now. I figure that we’ll get started on that sometime in January, once the holidays are past us. However, I did make a small dent the other night. See, the room that will become the nursery is currently empty. The previous owners had it decorated with pink and purple polka dot decals on the walls so Isabella lovingly calls it the Polka Dotted Room. Well, we were playing around in there the other night and I started peeling off the little dot decals. Some of them came off easily and others took some paint with them. No big deal since we’ll be repainting the room anyway.

However, Isabella was very upset at me for taking down the dots. “But this is MY polka dotted room!” she said! I explained to her that this was going to be the baby’s room soon and the polka dots would have to go. I did promise her that she could put up some dots in her room though. Right now she has flower decals on the walls and her room is pink and purple. But in order to make sure she wasn’t feeling left out while we’re spending all kinds of time on the nursery, we said she could pick out new colors for her room and paint it too. She wants blue. So I’ll probably try to find some kind of blue or white or chalkboard dots for her new blue room. Then she can have her own polka dotted room.

As for how we plan to decorate the nursery, well I’ll give you a hint this week and get in to more of the details in a later post.

books-caterpillar_300

(source)

Previous weeks, in case you missed them:

18 | 16 and 17 | 15

18 Weeks

For some reason, 18 weeks feels like a big milestone to me. Not sure why. It’s not as if either of my 2 miscarriages ended around this time. Maybe it’s because with Isabella I had the ultrasound at 18 weeks, which is a pretty big deal. This time around we’re not getting the ultrasound until 22 weeks. I could have gone in 2 weeks from now to get it done at the 20 week mark but decided to wait for my regularly scheduled appointment time. It’s all about practicality you know.

18wks_11.07.12-3-label

(I told Isabella to smile and point at my stomach as if to say “What’s that!?” This is what I got)

Doc Appointment: My appointment today went fine. No surprises really. At this stage in the game, they’re all pretty routine. They call my name, I walk back and step on the scale. 152 pounds today which means I’ve gained a total of 12 pounds. As you’ll recall, my goal is to stick to gaining no more than 1 pound a week. Between the last appointment at 14 weeks and today, I’ve only gained 3 lbs. so I’m pretty happy with that. Healthy weight gain yet not overdoing it.

After I’m weighed, they take me to the exam room and check my blood pressure. It’s always normal or low. Then they ask me for a urine sample. Let me tell you, at this point in my life, I am a master at peeing in a cup. Not a drop spilled today!

Then I wait to see the doctor. She comes in, we chat and then it’s time to check for the baby’s heartbeat. She uses the Doppler radar machine. It’s a handheld device that can detect a heartbeat starting around 10 weeks. She can usually finds it in a matter of seconds. Today she couldn’t at first. I started to have flashbacks to August 30th, 2011 when, in that same room, I found out the news that there wasn’t a heartbeat. Turns out it was the way in was laying on the table. I had my knees bent and feet flat. She had me scootch back and straighten my legs. As soon as I did, she found that precious heartbeat immediately. Phew!

18wks_11.07.12

Body Changes: Lately I’ve been noticing my skin is more itchy. Specifically on the 2 areas that are growing: the lumps and the bump. I was fortunate with my first pregnancy that I didn’t end up with stretch marks on my stomach. It’s somewhat of a miracle considering I gained nearly 60 lbs. I think it’s because I was pretty diligent about applying lotion everyday. So I’ve gone back to doing that and it’s helped a lot.

Heartburn. Like Arnold, it’s back. With a vengeance. I had stopped taking the daily antacids when the burn calmed down around weeks 12 and 13. I didn’t need it anymore. But I’m finding that I have to work them back in  more and more. There are some nights when even the antacids can’t tame it. When that happens I just go to bed and ride it out.

Isabella Moments: We’ve had a busy week. CJ and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary. We didn’t do anything too crazy to commemorate. Just a movie and dinner. CJ also bought me an assortment of candy since the traditional gift for the 6th year is, well, candy! For a pregnant lady, that’s a total win!

6th anniversary

Also this week, we’ve been watching Isabella’s friend Owen in the evenings!

IMG_2657

They have had a blast playing with each other.

IMG_2664

But boy does it tire me out. It’s given me insight in to what it will be like to have 2 kids. They have way more energy than me!

IMG_2660

But at least there are moments of quiet too.

I’ll end with a story. When I got home from work today, Isabella ran over and asked me to play tea party with her. I said sure, but only after I got a hug and a kiss! She came over, hugged me around the legs, kissed my tummy and then whispered, “Hi Baby Skeleton!” Cutest. Moment. Ever.

 

In case you missed it, here are some of the previous weeks!

16 and 17 | 15