Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I like to move it move it

After weeks of anticipation, we finally felt Tater move! It's entirely possible (indeed likely) that I've been feeling his movements for weeks and mistaking them gas. That's right, all you pregnancy novices, fetal movement feels like gas bubbles. And pregnant women are quite gassy. (Sexy, no?) So, it's been hard to tell the difference. But I'm now 99% sure that I can distinguish Tater from gas. This is a relief, seeing as how Tater is supposed to be the size of an ear of corn. That is WAY bigger than a gas bubble.

Here's the first detection of movement story: On Saturday night we went to Heidi's house to celebrate Shruti's birthday, and I ate a sizable piece of ice cream cake. (Tangent: Would it be totally unacceptable to purchase a large ice cream cake and store it in the freezer for personal consumption? I foresee numerous ice cream cake emergenices in my near future. Or, do they make ice cream cupcakes? Oh, that would be the best.) After consuming this big dose of sugar in the form of cake-shaped dairy heaven, I still managed to fall asleep while we were watching HP6. I woke up for the final scene, and we went home around 1:30 a.m. Straight to bed, but I was up again at 3:00 a.m. because I had to pee. I had a hard time falling back asleep. While I was tossing and turning and trying to will myself to return to R.E.M. slumber, I felt a little jolt in my stomach. Then another, and another. So I woke up Brad.

Brad is not an easy man to rouse. And he is a bit grumpy when he comes to (well, grumpy for Brad, which is baseline for me). When he's out, he's out cold. For example, the 3:00 a.m. bathroom visit has been my routine for over a month. And it is not graceful. I stumble out of bed and my balance is a mess. I try to avoid stepping on Maggie and invariably knock into the bed. Yet Brad hasn't woken up once. He didn't even realize I had this routine until I told him about it. So I'm pretty sure I will have to thump him in the nose once or twice when it's his turn to tend to Tater in the middle of the night. Or simply join in with Tater's wailing. That should do the trick.

But I digress. When I first nudged Brad, he grumbled and tried to fall back to sleep. To his credit, when I whispered "I think I'm feeling Tater move," he was up in a flash. His hand flew to my stomach, and sure enough, he felt a few Tater thumps. He mumbled something indicating joy and happiness, and then fell right back to sleep. Envy.

I've continued to feel Tater move this week, and it's pretty fabulous. Unfortunately Tater seems to sense when Brad puts his hand on my stomach; he immediately plays opossum. But Brad caught him off guard once last night, and happily felt Tater moving around for the second time.

I'm most thankful for the daily reminder that Tater is doing well. Early in my pregnancy, when I was worried every second of every day, Meghan told me that she felt the same way when she was pregnant with Sam. She was convinced that as soon as she hit the second trimester, the fears would dissipate. She had no such luck. I'm going through the same thing. First, I was focused on hitting the 10-week mark when the miscarriage rate drops. Then I thought I would stop fretting upon reaching the second trimester. After that, I was certain the worrying would end when I hit 20 weeks. But now I'm staring down the 26-week mark, when the infant survival rate is supposed to be quite good. Certainly then I will breathe easier? Let's be honest. It's unlikely, given that I am a world-class worry wart.

Though, if allowing myself to indulge in caffeine from time to time is an indicator of reduced concern, then I'm doing a bit better. We were up super early this morning to prepare for the afternoon arrival of Caty and Jim (whee!!!), and I needed a kick when I got to work. Half-caff, double-tall, soy latte from Starbucks to the rescue. If movement = happiness (doesn't it always?) then Tater loves caffeine. Good boy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Epilogue: it actually worked

So, my post last night was admittedly on the negative side. Here's a dose of positive to start off the day: it worked!

I drank water like a good little fish yesterday. Gulped it down. And when I went to bed, my arm was noticeably less painful. Then I slept through the night! Seven hours of uninterrupted blissful slumber! I feel like a completely different person.

My back and chest aren't tight this morning. My arm feels 90% better. And I walked to work (with Brad) at a normal pace. Even took the stairs when I got to the station! Hallelujah.

Sleep + water = awesome.

In other news, my belly is crooked this morning. The right side is pooching out more than the left. It makes me laugh.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, November 15, 2010

how could one possibly forget to breathe?

It's been an interesting few days. Here are the highlights:

After the elevator collapse, I decided to take it easy. So when I went to the gym on Thursday night, I chose the seated bike instead of the elliptical machine. I find the bike pretty uncomfortable, because I spend the entire thirty minutes kneeing myself in the stomach, but I figured it would be less likely to end in disaster. Incorrect. I spent 30 minutes on level 1, and at the end I couldn't finish the cool down because I was so light headed. What the what?

Saturday we ran a bunch of errands, including purchasing furniture for the nursery. Brad has been saving up credit card points for years. He had dreams of using the points for a drum set, but when I found out that we could buy an entire set of furniture for the nursery from Pottery Barn instead, I turned on the power of persuasion. It was an easy sell, but Brad likes to over-dramatize the sacrifice he's making from time to time. For instance, while we are standing at the Pottery Barn Kids counter, surrounded by saleswomen and pregnant ladies. We actually exchanged the points for gift cards, but we could only get the cards in $100 denominations. So we handed the woman a stack of them when she asked how we'd like to pay.

Saleslady: "Woah. That's a lot of cards."
Brad: "Yeah. I've been saving up credit card points for years. I was going to get a drum set. But then I got her pregnant. Now I have to buy a crib."
Saleslady: (Crickets)
Pregnant Ladies: (Crickets)
Brad: Hee hee hee.

None of the ladies hovering around the counter found this funny. Brad was giggling uncontrollably as I was intercepting the looks of pity coming at me from every direction. Tough crowd. But, hey! We have a crib, dresser/changing table, and bookcase on the way! Woot!

Saturday night we got all dolled up for a swanky birthday party. Our good friends Shruti and Brett were celebrating together, and they booked a table at a club that is entirely too hip for me, and that's when I'm not five-months pregnant. I put on my fanciest outfit (new pair of jeans + fancy top on loan from Holly + patent leather Danskos). The shirt is awesome, but makes it blatantly obvious that I'm pregnant. Thus, I stood out at the club. Every time I walked to the bathroom, I got confused looks. Why is a pregnant lady at a club at 1am? It was quite the Knocked Up moment. Silver lining: I was the only person who could pour my drink at the table as soon as we arrived, as I didn't have to wait for the bottles decorated with sparklers to show up. Pregnancy bonus!

It was a late night: we didn't go to bed until 2:30am, and we had to be up at 6:30am on Sunday to make the dedication of Baby Jane, Meghan and Mark's newest addition. Then delicious brunch to celebrate. Then I went to a baby shower for our friends Dana and Thomas where I had brunch #2. Then I took a nap. When I woke up an hour later, my left arm was aching. Like I'd gotten a tetanus shot but ignored the instruction to move my arm constantly for hours thereafter.

Stayed up late (against my better judgment) and crawled into bed at 11:30. Up at 3:45 to use the little girls' room, and the aching arm decided to turn it up a notch. Could. Not. Sleep. Googled pregnant and aching arm, and learned that it's probably a pinched nerve. Tater is occupying more and more space (which is why I feel like a turduckin) and may be leaning on a nerve. Swell.

Eventually I got out of bed and willed myself into the shower, wishing I needed more than two hands to count the hours of sleep I'd banked in the last 48 hours. I moved at a molasses pace, and finally left for work at 9:30. Normally it takes me 10 minutes, max, to walk to the train from my apartment. It's, what, five blocks? This morning it took me 30 minutes. Because I could not breathe. I'd walk half a block, stop to catch my breath. Cross the street, see stars, stop to sit on the sidewalk. Ten more stops, perch on a building ledge. It was ridiculous and just a little terrifying. By the time I got to the train station, I had to take a break before walking through the turnstile. Then I took the elevator to the platform. The elevator! Thankfully, I made it to work without passing out. Yes, I ate breakfast before leaving the house. I was just insanely short of breath. And no, no strangers stopped to lend me a hand.

Called the OB/GYN to get some advice. Spoke with Doc L. Shortness of breath, even this extreme, is normal. Seriously? I can't even begin to imagine how I'm going to get around in a few months. Perhaps I'll have to crawl to the train? Doc L was a little worried about the arm pain, because arm pain + shortness of breath + tight chest (normally) = aspirin + a trip to the ER. But unless I was experiencing a 24-hour heart attack marathon, I was pretty sure that wasn't the problem. Doc L says I might get a little relief when my abdominal wall gives in to Tater's pressure. And he says I should drink more fluids, as dehydration can make the lightheadedness worse. So I'm downing as much water as I can. This is not easy, given the turduckin, Tater vs. abdominal wall state of things. Where oh where will the water go?

I officially regret every abdominal crunch I've ever done.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

wipe out!!!

As some of you may have noticed, I haven't had much to say this past week. I've thought about the blog, tried to think of something interesting to write, and come up short. I've been feeling pretty good, growing, exercising, eating relatively well. Still haven't felt Tater move, but I attribute that to the frontal placenta. See? Not a lot to say. (I did consider writing a post about how I was able to give some clothing advice to a woman in the dressing room at Gap on Saturday. She is fifteen weeks along and hates getting dressed in the morning. Felt good to pay it forward and to know that I'm not the only woman who loathes my closet.)

But good news! This morning the well was replenished! Here's a little story about how I ended up coming to on the floor of the elevator at 1030am.

I really like breakfast. Honest. I like it so much that I usually put off eating it until 10am. That way I can look forward to the meal for a few hours, and I don't have to wait too long before it's time to eat again. This is not a new habit born of pregnancy. It's how I've always structured my meals. Since I've been pregnant, I make a point of drinking a giant glass of water and taking my vitamins before I leave the house. Lately, I've also had a big cup of decaf coffee with a healthy dose of soy milk as well. Then breakfast at 10 (Greek yogurt, high-protein cereal, and a banana).

This morning was a little different. I wanted to get to work by 845 (yes, that's early for me) so that I could take care of a few things before heading over to the appellate courthouse to watch an oral argument at 930. (I have an argument before the same division in a week, and this was my last chance to get a feel for the panel.) So I poured my cup of coffee into a to-go mug instead of drinking it at home. Once I made it to the office, I took care of a handful of administrative tasks instead of eating breakfast. Managed to swig down a few sips of coffee before I grabbed my friend/colleague David (who is also arguing next week in front of the same division) and we headed off to the courthouse.

The argument lasted for forty-five minutes, and I sat relatively motionless, with my legs crossed, the entire time. When I stood up, I thought, "Huh. It sure is hard to breathe when you are pregnant." Didn't strike me as odd that this was the first time I'd had this thought.

Managed to survive the elevator ride down to the lobby of the courthouse. Walked outside, all the while feeling a little warm. It wasn't until we were walking across a busy four-lane street in downtown Chicago that I began to feel really light-headed. Saw a few stars. Decided that I could easily make it back to my office, so long as I kept talking to David and putting one foot in front of the other. Deep breaths.

I remember stepping into the elevator in my office building and realizing that most of my vision was obstructed by a thickening mass of stars. I pushed the button for our floor from memory, because I couldn't read the numbers on the buttons. Then I couldn't see anything, so I leaned against the wall of the elevator.

Then I woke up. I was sitting on the floor in the corner of the elevator, knees tucked to my chest, head resting on the wall. David was crouched beside me, saying my name. The two other ladies in the elevator were in a full-blown panic. And all I could think was "I am super comfortable. I should try napping in this position more often." We'd reached the floor that the ladies were supposed to get off at, and they were holding open the door, repeatedly pushing the elevator call button, asking if they should call an ambulance. And the elevator alarm was going off, making me less comfortable. I think I said something like, "I'm pregnant. I hear this happens to pregnant ladies. Please let me go to my floor. I want to go to my floor." Eventually they complied (though they did ride up with us, perhaps thinking David was not up to the challenge of keeping me alive for three more floors).

David brought me into the reception area, and we sat down in the chairs next to the front door. Before long, I was handed a glass of water and a banana. This is not a typical sight in our office, Robin sitting in the lobby eating a banana while David looks on with an expression of extreme concern. So a small crowd of loving, concerned coworkers gathered around me. And I had to admit to each of them that that no, I hadn't eaten breakfast. Oops?

Called Doc G's office and was told to take it easy and eat breakfast. Called Brad and learned that there is no way I'm making it out of the apartment for the next four months unless I've consumed a granola bar and had a glass of OJ. Told my supervisor, who has imposed the same requirements for the moments leading up to my oral argument next Wednesday (though we did discuss the value of the sympathy points I could score by passing out at the podium).

I am feeling much better, though still a little shaky and light-headed. Have decided to nix the plan to workout this evening. And I'm counting my blessings. Like:

Thank God I did not bump my head or my belly when I fell. (David says my head hit the elevator wall, but not terribly hard. And I haven't felt any residual pain in that area.)

Thank God I did not pass out in the courtroom while the justices were on the bench. (Can you imagine? One week from today: "Hi! Remember me? I'm here to wow you with my brilliant legal mind. I will do my best to stay off the floor.")

Thank God I did not pass out in the middle of the street in downtown Chicago. (Decent odds that I would have been struck by a cab and/or ended up on the evening news.)

Thank God I choose to wear very opaque leggings with my dress when I was getting dressed this morning.

And thank God that I work in an office where people are more important than billable hours. It's so nice to feel safe and loved at work.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

no, I don't want to see something gross

Saw Doc G this morning for my 20-week appointment. It was no-nonsense: no needles, no ultrasounds, no fetal heartrate monitoring. They took my blood pressure and made me step on a scale. Other than that, it involved a quick 10-minute chat. The real story is about my cab ride downtown. But I'll save that for the end.

Doc G reviewed my Level II ultrasound results. He reiterated that Tater is large but proportional. Learned that my placenta is in front. Which means it will take a bit longer for me to feel fetal movement, and from there on out I will feel it less often. He assures me that I will be thankful for this in the long run. No cause for concern; shouldn't affect delivery. I've heard a rumor from Liz (via her fiance Alap who is a doctor, i.e., a pretty solid source) that this might mean I'll look bigger as the pregnancy progresses. Fabulous. (I can't wait to be balance-challenged during a Chicago winter.)

Doc G was happy to see that none of the soft markers for Down Syndrome were detected. Apparently there are ten of them, and some are very loosely correlated with Downs. But having one or two pop up can cause parents to worry quite a bit. So he said it was reassuring to see that everything looked normal. Ultrasounds only detect 60-70% of Down Syndrome babies, so the risk isn't totally behind us. But we can relax a little.

Brain looked good. Heart looked good.

We also discussed was what to expect at the next few appointments. My 24-week appointment will be with one of the other doctors in the practice. For the 28-week appointment I'll be back with Doc G. That's the next time they'll run a battery of tests. I was wondering whether I should take an iron supplement (with the vegetarian diet). Doc G says I'm good for now. Levels were normal when they first checked early in the pregnancy. They will check again at 28-weeks and he'll put me on a supplement if need be. Until then, I'm eating my spinach like a good Popeye.

He also forewarned me about the diabetes testing that will be done at 28-weeks. I've heard horror stories about that one. Apparently (and this is based on hearsay, not Doc G), I will fast for a period of time (like, overnight) and then go in for the test which involves drinking a disgusting "beverage" and then twiddling my thumbs for an hour. At the end of the hour they test my blood. If whatever they are looking for is not normal, you go through it again, only the second time around you have to twiddle your thumbs for three hours.

I told Doc G that I had heard not great things about the Diabetes test and he responded, "No! It's better now." I'm thinking less fasting or less thumb twiddling. No such luck. He explained that they have changed from orange flavor to fruit punch flavor. This is an improvement? An improvement is from clay flavor to fruit punch flavor. Personally, I think fruit punch is gross. I'd prefer orange. Oh well, it's a minor bump in the pregnancy road.

We also need to sign up for prenatal classes at Prentice. Planning to register this weekend, shooting to take the classes in January. One of the classes involves a full day of hospital touring, registration, and a step-by-step explanation of the delivery process, featuring "antiquated" videos which will make me 100% certain about getting an epidural (per Doc G). Giddy-up.

All-in-all, a quick, easy, and positive appointment. Blood pressure looks good. Weight gain is normal. (Shooting to pack on no more than 35 pounds. He says I've gained 17 pounds to-date. I think I've gained 14 pounds. I believe 3-pound difference is attributable to my shoes and scarf and heavier-than-normal pants. Or maybe my home scale is just kind and gentle.)

So that's the good news. Ready for the cab story? It's a good one. You'll be happy you stuck around.

I pre-ordered the cab last night for an 8:30 a.m. pick-up. I love the Flash Cab company. They almost always show up on time and they don't gripe when you want to pay with a credit card. Only snag is that they often show up well ahead of time, and you can only ask the cab to wait for five minutes. I forgot about this quirk when I was timing my morning routine. The cab arrived before I took Maggie outside, so Maggie's morning walk became a walk/run. Brought her back inside, grabbed my things, threw a treat in her direction, and raced downstairs. Jumped in the cab and tried to catch my breath. The cigarette aroma in the taxi was not all that welcoming, but I was happy to be off my feat.

The cabbie had been listening to a morning talk show (KISS FM) at a pretty high volume while he'd been waiting. Shortly after I entered, he reached for the volume knob, presumably to turn it down to a reasonable level. Nope, turned it up. And the speaker was right behind my head. Here's how the conversation played out from there:

Me: Would you mind turning that down? It's a bit loud and right behind my head.
Cabbie: [Turns it off.] I really wanted to listen to that.
Me: You're welcome to listen to it. It was just too loud.
Cabbie: I can't hear it if it isn't that loud.
Me: Don't you have speakers in front?
Cabbie: I don't know how to get it to play up here.
Me: [Thinking, perhaps I should explain the balance knob to this fella, as a good-will gesture towards his future fares.]
Cabbie: I think you're just trying to be mean to me.
Me: Nope.
Cabbie: Are you a mean person?
Me: No.
Cabbie: What do you do?
Me: Lawyer.
Cabbie: Lawyers are mean.
Me: Thanks.
Cabbie: What kind of lawyer?
Me: Indigent criminal defense.
Cabbie: Ooh! Like on A Few Good Men?
Me: Not exactly.
[Brief conversation wherein I explain that court is not nearly that dramatic, and then try to explain what an appellate attorney does. Then a moment of silence.]
Cabbie: Would you prefer to sit in the front?
Cabbie: Would you prefer to sit in the front seat?
Me: No. I prefer to sit in the back seat.
[Moment of silence.]
Cabbie: Want to see something gross?
Me: No.
Cabbie: Do you eat dog?
Me: WHAT? No. That's disgusting. No.
Cabbie: I want to show you a picture. It's of people eating dog. [Cabbie begins messing with his cell phone while he is merging onto the busy freeway. God help me.]
Me: NO. I do not want to see that picture. That is awful.
Cabbie: [Begins describing the picture.]
Me: I do not want to have this conversation. This is absolutely disgusting.
[Moment of silence.]
Cabbie: Do you not like talking to cab drivers?
Me: It's not that. I just have a lot of work to finish before I arrive at my destination. [Lie. I have decided to focus exclusively on my phone to avoid eye-contact. I also had been simulcasting this conversation to Brad via text message. So at least I look like I'm feverishly working.]

Cabbie begins telling me about a conversation he had with a woman he picked up the previous day, which made no sense. I told him that I didn't understand, but really had to get my work done. We spent the next fifteen minutes in silence, as I did not look away from my phone. I had crazy motion sickness upon arrival, but it was worth it. After he ran my credit card (mild concern that he has that information), he apologized for talking too much. Yeah, that's it. I'm upset because you talk too much. Nothing to do with your front-seat invitation or your preferred topics of conversation. Dog eating? Shivers.

I cannot wait to get home and hug Maggie.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

what not to wear

I have mentioned my endless frustration with dressing this new, ever-changing body. For weeks, my mid section, um, "filled out," but I didn't look pregnant. Old clothes made me look like a plump sausage, maternity clothes were hanging in oh-so-unattractive ways. At first I loved the BellaBand, but eventually it turned on me. And I on it. If I stopped paying attention while sitting at my desk, it would creep creep creep up my back. And drive me crazy. I wanted to rip it off my body ala Hulk Hogan when it refused to stay put. Dare I admit I actually followed through on this urge one day. Thankfully, the BellaBand won that battle. Because heading home from the office with no way to disguise my wide-open pants would have been not awesome.

I started relying heavily on my leggings (elastic top rolled down) and high-waisted dresses. But fall set in a month or so ago, and I was desperate for some warmer bottoms. Trooper Brad went shopping with me to pick up a couple items at Old Navy and Gap. The cords I got at the Gap were a smart buy. The jeans from Old Navy looked awesome when I initially put them on. After I moved around for five minutes, it looked like I pooped my pants. I continued to wear them because I lacked other options. But I was grumptastic every day that they turned up in the rotation.

One day when I was surprisingly rational, I asked my super stylish friend Jennifer if she would be willing to go maternity clothes shopping with me. She agreed, because she is just that fabulous, and we headed out to the burbs on a Sunday afternoon. One of the malls north of Chicago has a large Destination Maternity. Took home a pair of jeans, a suit, two sweaters, and two t-shirts, in exchange for a lot of money. Then we went by a small maternity boutique in Chicago where I purchased a pair of Seven for All Mankind maternity jeans. Do I own a pair of regular jeans of the same caliber? No. But they dangled a 20% off -- today only! -- coupon in my face and I managed to rationalize the purchase.

Got home and modeled everything for Brad. His eyes popped when he saw the receipts, but he quickly told me that it was worth it if I would feel better about my body. I love that man. He is perfect. But unfortunately, as soon as he was okay with the expense, I was not. I immediately started second guessing my decisions. Thankfully, I am not afraid of returns (working retail for a summer will do that to you). Decided on some less-expensive options from Gap, Old Navy, and Motherhood. Took a few things back. And I learned some interesting tidbits in the process.

1. Maternity shops having lousy return policies. This seems so unnecessary. I know that maternity clothes have a short shelf-life for the buyer, but that's not the case for the seller. There are always new pregnant ladies. Must retailers punish pregnant women who are not always thinking clearly when making decisions? I decided to return the Seven jeans because they were not all that flattering, and I feared they would be a bit too tight in a month or so. Learned that I could not get a refund, only store credit. Blerg. They are going to call me when they get in their next shipment of jeans and the saleswoman assured me they could find a pair of jeans to fit my wonky body. Hope they like a challenge.

2. Maternity clothes manufacturers do not work off standardized sizing charts. I no longer know what size I wear. Some pants I wear in small. Some in medium. I've bought pants in size 6 that end up being too big, and pants in size 8 that are almost too tight. At the maternity boutique, I learned that you are supposed to buy two sizes larger than your regular jeans size if you are selecting Sevens. J Brand? Stick to your pre-pregnancy size. It makes my head spin. Pregnant ladies are already prone to crazy. This mystery sizing system is just cruel. (Don't even get me started on the gamble you take with ordering online, where the greatest selection of maternity clothes is actually located.)

3. Pregnant women are a target market for odd things. I decided to return the suit and one of the sweaters to Destination Maternity. The suit was hanging on me because my tummy is not big enough. No telling what giant Tater will be doing to my stomach in the next two weeks, but I'm guessing I won't double in size. In lieu of the suit, I've ordered a pair of black slacks from Gap (which I tried on in-store and they actually fit well! Hooray!). Planning to wear those and a regular suit jacket to the oral argument, along with a fancy maternity cowl-neck sweater. Should work.

Last night I trekked out to the burbs to take the suit and other sweater back within the 30-day returns period. In order to process the return, the friendly saleslady had to add me to their client database. After doing so, she grabbed a plastic package out of a closet and slipped it into my shopping bag, explaining it was chock full of free samples and coupons for pregnant ladies. Exciting stuff.

When I was trying to fall asleep, I remembered my package of freebies. Hopped out of bed to retrieve it. Ripped open the bag and flipped through the coupons and brochures. Diapers, Shutterfly, Cord Donation, Fisher Price. I tossed them aside like socks crammed into Christmas stockings so I could dig deeper for the free samples. So many potential options that would be fun. I was hoping for tummy lotion. Nope.

Prunes. Two individually packaged prunes. What? When exactly did I become part of the prune demographic? Prunes? Really?

Yes, I ate them. I'm hungry all the time.