Friday, April 24, 2009

Dealing with Pregnancy Side Effects

I can't pretend to be an expert on dealing with the symptoms or side effects, as this is just my first time through it, but I'll share what's worked well for me.

  • Metallic taste in mouth: Trident chewing gum works for me - I haven't had much luck with other types of sugarless the flavour away. Yes, I am still having the metal taste in my mouth. I'm in the third trimester for goodness sakes!
  • Morning/whenever sickness and nausea: eat something! It's counter-intuitive, but it really helps to eat a small amount of carbs. I was good friends with the whole wheat saltine. Except when I'm nauseated because I forgot to not brush my tongue in the morning. I haven't figured that one out yet. Yes, I'm in the third trimester and still somewhat nauseated in the morning. There are worse things...
  • Intestines moving too slowly: I've switched to Citra-Natal, a prescription prenatal vitamin with a stool softener and a more easily digested form of iron in it. I've also continued to eat loads of raw fruit and veggies, and drink loads of water. I alternate between prune and apricot juice - I can't find unsweetened apricot juice though, which makes me cranky(er). Finally, I've significantly reduced the amount of cheese and bananas I eat. All put together, I'm more regular. Thank you, PTB.
  • Sinus congestion: I got nothing. The neti pot? Fun to use and I do believe there are health benefits, but the congestion just comes back within a few hours.
  • Back pain: gentle, pregnancy modified yoga and seeing my chiropractor once a week. If you're pregnant, it's important to find a chiropractor who has done a course in obstetric chiropractic: not all of them have. I have read that my chiropractor can help reposition the baby if she's almost ready to come out but in a breech position.
  • Heartburn: Tums is my friend and constant companion (with a bottle in my desk, another in the loo at home, and a packet in my purse). So is sitting upright after eating, and eating several small meals instead of one big one, but sometimes I both have heartburn and feel hungry. Go figure.
  • Pregnancy brain: One word: BlackBerry. Don't know what I'd do without it, other than buy an iPhone.
Here's a new one: I've been having Braxton Hicks contractions for at least a couple weeks and just figured it out, oh, you know, yesterday. Thank you WTEWYE! I was reading ahead to the 28 - 32 weeks section, where they mention that sometimes your uterus feels like a rock for a little while and then it stops, and identifies these as BH contractions. I had no idea. They also mentioned that they can start as early as 20 weeks... but don't mention it in the book until 28? Sigh. Editors are great.

At any rate, I haven't got anything in particular for dealing with the BH contractions - they're not painful (yet), just weird feeling: I look like I have a melon stuffed up my shirt, but now my belly feels hard, like a melon... and then it goes away. I actually thought, before I got this label for it, that the baby was doing backflips or something, and just taking up a lot of space.

The hairiness? I shave the bits I normally shave and ignore the rest. The belly touching hasn't got out of control yet.

Actually speaking of WTEWYE, I love that every month/chapter starts what what to expect this month, and is mostly physical stuff but also some mental/emotional stuff too. The last couple months, boredom with the pregnancy has been listed, which just blows me away. I feel like I'm just really getting into it now and enjoying that I'm really showing. I think the whole thing has been fascinating and (largely) wonderful. The only boredom I'm worried about is that not everyone else around me is finding my pregnancy as endlessly fascinating as I am!

Let's hear some other good tips for managing the pregnancy side effects you've experienced!

Photo credit: Eric Gjerde

Being a Girl Geek

I have addressed this briefly in other posts, but I feel compelled to note that I am really enjoying being a woman working in IT - especially right now, during pregnancy. Why you might ask? Good question.

Because we geeks have a whole floor in my office to ourselves, thus we have one women's bathroom and one men's bathroom. Since we are geeks and mostly fellas, I frequently have the women's bathroom all to myself. That, my dear gentle reader, is gold. We have also spoken of my intestinal distress during pregnancy, which I have learned to manage (another post to come on that topic I guess, could be useful), but I nonetheless need to be in there more than a normal non-pregnant person. 

There might be a downside to being a women working in IT - well, I know there are, but it's largely treated me well.  Maybe I should be annoyed about being treated like a bit of a novelty (not so much in my current job but definitely in previous places of work), but I like not being totally normal.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Belly photo quickly...

Lots to say, so little time. The belly is really happening now, and it's getting rather hard to miss.

However, I'm also wrapping up the last few weeks of grad school, so 26 weeks pregnant or not, I must get back to it.

In other news, I'm getting class credit to write this blog, so if you're missing my wacky sense of humour, go check it out. And I get credit for tweeting. It's a pretty excellent class.

Graduation is 21 days away and I'm looking forward to having free time to write a (noncredit) blog post more than once a week!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Inspirer

I think I've mentioned this, but to be sure, I'm doing a graduate business degree right now. A special one, for geeks, rather than an MBA. The business school career center has a lot of cool services and one of them is letting you do a free Myers-Briggs personality type testing.

I took the test, looked at the results (ENFP or The Inspirer) and thought, huh, another thing that says I'm an extrovert. And those who know me will say "duh!" and that of course I am an extrovert - no question. When I do other personality type testing, like or the DiSC, I get profiles saying I'm persuasive, I'm a promoter, and I'm high on Woo (talking people into things) and Influence (self explanatory, no?). I have the gift of the gab, that's for sure.

I wouldn't argue with any of the above - except for the extrovert. I've never felt completely comfortable with that, because I've read that the big Es are energized by being around other people, which I am, but only to a point. After awhile, I really need some by myself time to rest and regroup, and I draw energy from this regrouping as well. This is a sign of an Introvert, so I was always puzzled about which one I am.

I was reading a fresh blog post from the wonderful Penelope Trunk on a largely unrelated topic (go read it! this post is about feeling ambiguous about some parts of parenting), where she links to an overview of the 16 personality types, according to the Myers-Briggs folks. I remembered that I test as an ENFP, so I drilled down to this particular personality type for more thoughts on what we're like. In the description, it says:
Unlike other Extroverted types, ENFPs need time alone to center themselves, and make sure they are moving in a direction which is in sync with their values. ENFPs who remain centered will usually be quite successful at their endeavors.
Oh! I said to myself. That explains it. I'm an introverted extrovert.

I like what it says near the end about what it's like being a child of an ENFP. I think I might be a bit like that as a supervisor: best friend alternating with authoritarian, but sticking with the core values.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Weird Pregnancy Symptoms/Side Effects

I expected things to happen when I got pregnant: weight gain, stretch marks, etc. But so far my body has done a bunch of things that I wasn't expecting, and hasn't (so far) done several things that I was expecting.

Was expecting:
  • Hair loss: I'd read somewhere that while pregnant, your hair mostly stops falling out and then after the baby comes, it all kind of falls out at once. I'd read this freaks out some new moms. Well, much to the dismay of my inhouse plumber (DH), this has not come to pass. I wash my hair twice a week and continue to lose pretty much the same amount of hair into the hair trap now as I did last year.
  • Stretch marks: So far, nada. Maybe I'll be one of the lucky ones?
  • Morning sickness: I was expecting to be losing my breakfast pretty much every day. It's been more like a couple times a month. Thank you PTB!
Wasn't expecting:
  • Morning sickness: I was expecting to be losing my breakfast pretty much every day for the first trimester. I'm almost at the end of the second trimester and I still forget not to brush my tongue in the morning, and quickly lose my breakfast. DH is getting used to this - he was alarmed at first.
  • Darker hair in weird places: Well, they're not weird places, if you're a guy! I usually don't shave my legs in the winter but I started very early again this spring just because the leg hair was getting crazy dark and nasty looking. Then there's the weirdly long facial peach fuzz I'm growing. I haven't done anything about it yet, since it's thankfully very light, but I'm hoping it stays that way...
  • Darker moles: I've always been covered in moles, and they've always been all shades of beige through dark brown. Now they're all very dark. Hoping not very optimistically that they'll go back to normal after the baby comes.
  • Intestinal distress: About which I've already written more than probably most wanted to read. Things have improved, thanks to the new prenatal vitamins and some daily prune juice (blech!).
  • Sinus congestion: I've been stuffed up since January. It's April. Feh. I'm not sure the neti pot has really helped or not. I keep using it as I've heard it has lots of health benefits, but I'm not convinced.
  • Belly touching: This is a so far, but so far, people touching my belly hasn't bothered me. I was expecting to be very sensitive and cranky about it, but so far, it's been kinda fun.
  • Metallic taste in mouth: another thing that, well, first, I wasn't expecting, but additionally, in the books, they say this is most common in the first trimester. My metallic taste appeared at the end of the first trimester... and continues. I've started chewing gum.
  • Heartburn from hell: sometimes it's a challenge to only eat the recommended daily four calcium antacid tablets. There are days where I think I could eat the whole bottle. It's often related to over-eating, which is easy to do when I can only eat tiny little servings of food. But sometimes I get heartburn when I'm hungry, which just doesn't seem fair.
From what I've read, all the stuff I'm experiencing so far are within normal parameters, just not what I was expecting.

The wasn't expecting list probably says more about my ignorance about pregnancy than anything weird about my pregnancy experience.

In other news, this past week I visited my dentist, midwife and chiropractor. All reported that things look good - my dentist especially commented on how well I've been taking care of my teeth. I've been flossing a lot more than normal for me, aiming for once a day. They say the inflamation that can come from poor dental hygiene is related to miscarriage and pre-term births. I'm not sure who says that, but I know I read it, and I think my dentist told me that last time I saw him, when I mentioned we were trying to conceive.

Anyone have any good pregnancy side effects to share?

Photo credit: Roberto Muñoz. I picked this photo because it's lovely but also because we are suddenly talking about going back to Barbados for a vacation next month. Wouldn't that be excellent?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Weird Dreams

I've sometimes taken medication that have caused, as a side effect, very vivid dreams. The one I remember best was Diamox, which I took for altitude sickness during a trip to Bogota, Colombia. It didn't seem to help the symptoms of the altitude sickness (shortness of breath, nausea, headache, insomnia), but when I could sleep, I had crazy dreams - very vivid, realistic dreams where it was difficult to forget them on waking. I remember waking up, speaking to DH in English (we usually speak in Spanish) as a continuation of the dream, and both of us being very confused. It's funny that I can't find vivid dreams listed as a side effect of Diamox now, but I remember reading that at the time... Go figure.

At any rate, being pregnant has been like 24 weeks give or take of vivid dreaming. Alas, no lucid dreaming (where you're conscious of your dreaming state and can sometimes even control what happens in the dream). I've read it's pretty common to have wacky dreams during pregnancy, though all I've read suggests that the dreams are usually baby related thematically.

I've had several of those - that the baby came premature (and a boy) and needed to be in the NICU for awhile. Several where I've forgotten that I was pregnant and gotten totally drunk - those were mostly in the first trimester where I was trying to get used to not drinking. So far I haven't had the pregnant with an alien/parasite dream. But I'm expecting it.

Last night, however, I had the most unusual dream I've had in awhile. It was very vivid and realistic, with all kinds of believable details. I had just finished medical school (which, in non-dream life, I've never considered attending) and was starting an internship at a hospital. I was initially very disoriented, but was actually attending an orientation where a group of us were being shown where to go and what to do, etc.

There was some issue about the scrubs and shoes I was wearing, but it got sorted out. My group started out on rounds - I think there was a movie-like montage of interns trying to keep up with rounds - and then I was leaving the hospital at the end of a long first day. I'd learned lots, and I was extremely tired, happy and proud of myself.

I woke up, not immediately realizing that the dream wasn't real. For a good bit of time - well, several minutes - I was savouring this happiness and pride that I felt for that first good day in my internship. I saw DH beside me, and began planning how I'd tell him about it. Then I remembered I'd never been to medical school, nor interned at a hospital, and I'm not a doctor.

I can't describe how disappointed I was. My current life, with which I am very happy, felt like a great big failure, for a few minutes this morning. Then I remembered that I'm pregnant and that cheered me up a bit. It's unusual for me to be disappointed when I realize a dream isn't true. And the dream has stuck with me all day, which is also unusual for me.

Anyone feel like interpreting the dream for me? Any good pregnancy dreams to share?

Photo Credit: Elfleda