I'll start by saying that overall I've been lucky, I'm healthy, and baby is healthy. No major scares, no major problems, just a whole lot of aches and pains. I'm currently 38 weeks pregnant, and finally on maternity leave from work, which is wonderful. Not having to sit at a desk all day has made me feel much better overall. Lets see if I can remember all of the fun things I've gotten to deal with during the past 8.5 months:
- Upset tummy. This was the very first symptom I had, pretty much as soon as I found out I was pregnant. At first I thought it might have been me freaking out over the result of the pregnancy test. But no, it is just a part of my pregnancy. And probably one of the most consistent parts of my pregnancy. Since about the 2nd trimester, I started getting a really upset tummy after eating. I think this might be related to blood sugar, so I've tried to eat lots of snacks and eat pre-breakfast before real breakfast, which has kind of helped. Body positioning-wise, I've noticed that if I lean forward, that has really helped my upset tummy. Also, regular old tums have become by best friend.
- Nausea. Yes, this is a separate symptom from having an upset tummy. Sometimes my tummy feels fine, but I still kind of want to vomit. Sometimes both. This also started sometime in the first trimester. Doing things like brushing my teeth made me want to gag and dry heave. And any kind of smell, like opening the fridge - even if there wasn't anything yucky in the fridge, just the smell of 'fridge.' This is what prompted Jim to start making all of my lunches for work, because I just couldn't go in the kitchen in the morning without starting to gag. The first trimester is supposed to be the worst for nausea, and it was pretty bad. But I didn't actually vomit until my 2nd trimester.
- Fatigue. not just - oh I'm tired, but really, a feeling of - I can't move off the couch, and I'm happy going to bed at 9pm. I can't do anything non-essential. This did fade, but I still get worn out very easy. I usually say I'm good to do two things in a day. Which was work + make dinner, or work + yoga. Now that I'm on leave, it's go to the grocery store + make lunch. That pretty much wears me out.
- Vomiting. Closely related to nausea. This was pretty much contained in the 2nd trimester. But it wasn't like, oh, I feel like I have an upset tummy, I feel nauseous, oh, now I'm vomiting. OK, that happened occasionally. More often it was, I'm half awake and trying to brush my teeth, I'm almost done, and now I've just thrown up in the sink. I guess I should try to brush my teeth again. Or, I'm in the kitchen, and that's a funny smell, and vomit. I guess my vomiting wasn't that bad, because I was still able to keep food down, I didn't lose weight, or get dehydrated, it was just an occasional revisiting of my last meal.
- Shortness of breath. Why did we buy a house with so many stairs? I really can barely get up half a flight without huffing and puffing. Getting out of a chair leaves me huffing and puffing. And sometimes it's bad enough that I just have to sit down and catch my breath before I start getting too dizzy and the world spins. This has started in the 2nd trimester, and has only gotten more and more intense.
- Headaches. I've always gotten shitty headaches. During the first trimester, I probably got a shitty headache maybe once a week. Then at some point of time, I started getting them more frequently, and then I had headaches pretty much every day for 3 weeks straight. Being pregnant, I could not take my magical elixir of excedrin, and tylenol helped a little bit, maybe, on the first couple of headaches. And then doom. I tried yoga, chiropractic care, heat, ice, nothing. And then one day my headaches went away. I still get them maybe once or twice a month, but that's a much more manageable level than every freaking day.
- Sore boobies. Started wearing sports bras as the girls started to grow. Then the nipples decided they wanted to be pokey all the time, so I started wearing sports bras with padding so my high beams aren't always on. They're just really sore, comes and goes in phases. If it gets too bad, I can wear my sports bra to bed, which helps pretty good.
- Low back pain. Like headaches, I have a long history of low back pain. But this low back pain came with a fun pregnancy twist. Previously, a great way for me to get relief was to lay on my back with my legs slightly elevated. And now, somehow this made my pelvis really angry. Like my pelvis was spreading in some unhappy way, probably because everything gets looser in pregnancy. So now I've lost my best defense against pain in my low back. Oh, and at the same time, my head and neck really want me to lay flat on my back to release my neck, but my low back and pelvis insist on being on my side. Eventually I discovered a way to make a pillow fortress around me so that I can lay on my side, have my neck decently elevated, and my pelvis supported. It takes 4 regular pillows of appropriate firm/squishiness, and 1 body pillow. And somewhere, Jim is usually on the bed, as is at least 1 cat.
- Rib pain. I really felt like I was growing a new rib on the right side. This was late 2nd trimester, and into the 3rd trimester. Like many other symptoms, I wasn't really able to find a lot of relief. It got so bad I actually went into L&D to be evaluated, because apparently there are lots of important organs that are up near my right ribs, like my liver and gall bladder. But they ran lots of tests and determined nothing was wrong with my organs, so the default was just that the baby was not giving me a whole lot of room. Which still seems strange, as the baby has settled with his/her back on the left side of my abdomen, butt in my left ribs, so it's really just the feet on the right side. And it's not like I got sharp kicks, just pain. Literally like growing a new rib. This symptom has been helped the most by being on maternity leave. It really got worse when sitting at my desk all day, or being in the car for a long time. And now that I'm on leave, I can just lay on the couch instead of sitting up. Which is magical. I can still tell it's tightening up all of my muscles on the right side, so I try to do a lot of side bends and forward folds, which feel really good, but certainly don't 'fix' the issue, it just gives a little bit of relief.
- Acid reflux. Again, different from just unhappy tummy, or nausea, this is really just acidy. Started probably at the end of the 2nd trimester, and I've used it as an excuse to eat ice cream for dessert almost every night. Although really pepcid is pretty useful for this, as is plain old tums. The farther along in my pregnancy I've gotten, the more foods give me acid reflux. So it doesn't really matter what I eat, I just take tums, and have pepcid ready.
- Swollen feet. I started noticing that some of my shoes stopped fitting. Of course that was about the time of year there was rain, and only my birks and crocs seemed comfortable. Maybe I should be glad it's a drought year? So as far as I can tell, feet swell in two ways during pregnancy. They actually got longer, because the relaxin loosens the connections of the bones in your feet, and the extra weight makes your arches fall. And then they got wider, just due to water retention. So no cute shoes, which isn't that bad, but it was frustrating at the end of the day when my feet and ankles would get so swollen that I couldn't get my shoes on that fit that morning, and I couldn't more my ankles comfortably because the swelling limited my range of motion.
- Foot pain. Again, different from swelling. For a while in my 2nd semester my heels hurt all the time. So I actually started wearing heels so the pressure would be more spread out. I don't know if this was due to just the extra weight and pressure, or the relaxin starting to work on my feet, or what. Jim had a lot of food rub duties. Eventually this pain moved into my arches, and the front part of my feet. Now it feels like I have arthritis in my feet, it's painful to roll through my feet, regardless of what shoes I'm wearing. This was really bad in my last couple weeks of work, when I was trying to release my back pain by taking frequent walks, and then found walking incredibly painful. It's bad even first thing in the morning, when I hobble myself to the bathroom.
- Swollen hands. Not nearly as bad as swollen feet. I had to put my wedding ring on a chain around my neck.
- Hand pain. Horrible. I feel like I have old lady arthritis hands, I can't grip things, I can't bend my fingers the way I want to, and I feel kind of useless. At night when I roll over and have to adjust my pillow fortress, it's really searing pain. I've also developed trigger finger, badly in my left ring finger, and occasionally on my two middle fingers on my right hand. Trigger finger is when there is inflammation in the tendon of your finger, and it literally gets stuck in a bent position, and has to be popped back to straight. My midwife says this might not be pregnancy related, but it really started happening at exactly the same time as the old lady arthritis hands, so I'm hoping it is. When I adjust my pillows at night, I have to use my opposite hands to straighten my fingers, because they just don't move. My left ring finger is so bad now that I try not to bend it too far, because I really can't get it back into a straight position.
- Wrist pain. I've never had carpal tunnel syndrome before, but I do now. It also started the last couple of weeks of work, but didn't seem like it was related to using the computer. It's worst in the morning, after inactivity all night. But again, searing pain if I move my wrist in the wrong direction. Worse in the left wrist, but now it's coming into the right as well. I'm trying to keep it well stretched and massaged. But man, I just feel week.
Other fun pregnancy things that aren't really medical sorts of 'symptoms.' Just fun pregnancy bonuses:
- Food aversions. Baby wants me to eat plain food, with as few nutrients as possible. No vegetables. I can't look at uncooked chicken, although mild cooked chicken is acceptable to my interests.
- I can't cross my legs anymore, or can just barely do it. It's probably better posturally, but it just doesn't feel as comfy.
- Weird dreams. Weird sex dreams. WTF hormones?
- Giant belly. Well, clearly that happens in pregnancy. But it's really just in the way, and makes wearing clothes difficult. I'm now at the point in pregnancy where half of my maternity clothes are too small.
I'm sure I'm forgetting things, maybe I've already blocked them out. And now, I've been sitting for too long, and my back is unhappy, my wrists are unhappy, and I'm not sure if I'm hungry or just need to take tums. Must be time to go.