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Ugh…

Pregnancy constipation… Welcome to the 2nd trimester! Yay…

Seriously, I get hungry, but I always feel full because Nothing is coming out the other end. I can’t tell if my bump is a baby bump or if I’m just *that* constipated. And apparently I need to ask my doctor before taking laxatives, of course. My usual method of overdosing on coffee doesn’t work because hey, you’re pregnant so minimal caffeine for you! *headdesk* Bring on the fiber?

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Spreading the News – Extended family edition

Every year a number of my extended family travel from all across the country to the Black Hills of South Dakota somewhere between August 19th and 24th for my grandpa’s birthday. This year was extra special. My grandpa turned 92, my aunt Gayle turned 60, my uncle Jeff turned 50, Nathan and I were celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary, and this all happened at the same time that I entered the 2nd trimester. For Gayle’s birthday, she wanted to run the Leading Ladies half marathon in Spearfish with all the sisters, so everyone was there and it was the perfect opportunity to share the news.

To start the whole thing off, I called my grandpa to share the news about a week before we made the drive out. He took his secret-keeping duty very seriously. While my aunt Nancy was driving him back from Rapid he mentioned that I would be coming to visit next week. The later that day he called her up:

“Did you know Amanda’s coming to visit next week?”

“Yes, you told me earlier.”

“Oh. Okay bye!”

And again later:

“Did you know Amanda’s coming to visit next week?”

“Yes…”

“Oh, well it’s not my secret to tell. Bye!”

He had several variations of this conversation with Nancy throughout the week and with my aunt Mary Beth when she got into town.

Saturday afternoon the family got together for a picnic in Spearfish park to celebrate the birthdays and get ready for the half marathon the following morning. While waiting for everyone to show up, I sat down and was chatting with Mary Beth who asked, “So, are we talking about secrets?” I told her the news and she relayed the story of grandpa’s hint dropping. When my mom arrived was dying to share the news with her sisters since she had been sworn to secrecy. She presented us with an anniversary card laced with added comments about the future baby. We first showed the card to my aunt Kathleen who, after reading it, remarked “Oh, real subtle, Ann!” We tried some stronger hints before announcing “I’m pregnant!” She was very surprised and cried happy tears. When we showed the card to Nancy, she told us the story of grandpa’s hint dropping and helped us find uncle Galen to show him the card. I’ll never forget his reaction, he squeezed me in a long embrace as though trying to share his feelings via osmosis because they were too big to contain. I had many more congratulations that day, but that’s the one that stuck with me the most.

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Morning Sickness and other symptoms

If I had to rate my issues with morning sickness on a scale of 0-10, 0 being never ever sick throughout being pregnant, and 10 being ‘Oh God, I’m going to die because I’m starving, but even thinking about food makes me puke my guts out!’ I’m probably at about a 0.5. I’m not even sure it really qualifies as ‘morning sickness’ though I’ve only thrown up in the morning. I can tell you exactly when it’s going to happen. About once every 2-3 weeks while I’m brushing my teeth. At that point, I haven’t even eaten anything so it’s like nothing, more annoying than anything else.

More than anything I’ve just been tired, and it’s taken me this long to admit it. I have a lot of things working against me on this one. For starters, I’m a night person. I can’t stand mornings, all the cool stuff happens at night, and that’s when all my creative juices kick in, so even if I’m tired and every logic bone in my body is telling me to go to bed so I don’t hate myself in the morning, my two-year old temper tantrum self kicks in, crosses her arms, stomps her foot, and yells “NO!” I also hate naps. I stopped taking naps at about 18 months, much to the detriment of my mom since my sister was born about that time. So when the pregnancy fatigue kicked in, it was very difficult to get to bed at a decent hour. I’m a little better at it now, but not a lot. It was even harder to adopt napping. Over the course of my 24 years, I’ve learned that if I sleep at all during the day, I can’t get to sleep at night. I’m having to relearn that now. I have actually been tired enough to nap and still get to sleep at a decent hour. Which is frustrating because it’s totally throwing off my groove. And I hear that most of these symptoms subside after the first trimester, which I’m currently in the last week of. So now I’ll have three months to screw up my schedule again before all the sleepiness comes back with a vengeance.

Smells – I didn’t think I’d been affected by this one, until I tried burning candles. I’m not sure when it happened, but candles are extremely potent smelling now. Things I used to have no trouble with and enjoyed smelling now give me a serious headache. Perfumes too. It’s kind of a bummer because I like smell-good things, I just can’t be around them anymore. I wonder if that subsides after the first trimester too.

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Pregnancy Cartoon

Pregnancy Comic

 

This comic popped up on my pregnancy-tracking app the other day. It struck me as particularly funny because I’m definitely guilty of checking out my stomach in the mirror lately, wondering if I’m actually showing yet or if I’m still kind of normal sized. I’m torn about it. On the one hand it’d be cool to have a belly to show off a little, like “Hey everyone, I’m pregnant! See, just look at my belly!” But I’m pretty sure they’re all thinking that I just ate a really big burrito for lunch.

On the other hand, maybe I should cherish my time not showing. I’ll have plenty of belly time and all that entails. I’ve heard rumors of unwanted touching, free advice, and backaches. I’m not sure it’s quite as glamorous as it sounds.

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Second Prenatal Visit

Was NOTHING!

Seriously! They weighed me, took my blood pressure, then asked if I had any questions. Boom, done.

Okay, that wasn’t everything, but it was an infinitely more pleasurable experience than the torture halls I walked down last time.

Actually, it was very cool. I got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time ❤ It was really fast, I think 160 bpm was what she told me. It kind of sounded like wubwubwubwubwubwubwub. If I had lingering doubts about being pregnant (which I think I did) that cured it. It was kind of surreal. And a little ‘Oh shit, I’m actually pregnant!‘ But it was definitely neat.

My doctor said the heartbeat suggests a girl based on the speed. This is apparently accurate about 3 out of 4 times. They don’t do an ultrasound until week 20, so if we decide we want to know, that’s when we’ll find out for sure.

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First Prenatal Visit

There is probably a really good method for choosing your OB when you’re expecting. It probably involves some research, maybe knowing where you’d like to deliver, some interviews with doctors to see if you mesh well, or internet stalking and background checks for some people.

I didn’t even know what kind of appointment I was signing up for. My thought process was more like ‘Well, I went to this clinic last time, I think it’s a hospital.’ So I called them and told them to sign me up for something to check that I was pregnant. My main goal was getting an appointment after work so I could avoid telling my boss about being pregnant.

Wednesday, June 26 at 4:30 pm.

I had Nathan come along because it’s the first baby appointment and we hadn’t told anybody yet, it seemed like it would be special to share together. It started out well enough, lots of questions about family history and finding out what kinds of genetics we have, that sort of thing, we even got a book on pregnancy. Then it turned into a full-on gynecology appointment.

Giant, awkward, paper-napkin sheet thing that doesn’t really close or cover much of anything and always seems drafty, but in a lovely pale pink. So I’m laying there trying to stay relaxed as the OB is looking up my napkin skirt with her giant flashlight and poking around at my uterus – she could at least buy me dinner first. Then as I think she’s about done, she offhandedly mentions, “This is always the worst part.” and before I can wonder what she means, I realize there is a finger in my butt. I don’t even know how to react to that, she says something about a backwards-tilted uterus, but I’m just kind of laying there a little shocked and kind of giggling at Nathan as he’s wondering what’s going on down there. She must have found whatever she was looking for because she stood up and, while removing her medical gloves, asked if we had any more questions. Do I have any questions? I don’t remember, I’m still trying to decide if I feel violated by your finger up my butt!

After she left I told Nathan what was going on, he seemed to find it funny until I reminded him he’d need yearly prostate exams later.

At this point I figure the worst is probably over. I just need to get a little blood drawn, which historically hasn’t gone well for me, but I’ve learned to deal, and after the butt incident, I’m practically home free.

Wait, no – now I’m sitting in the chair, why do hospitals always smell so sterile? It’s unnerving. Do they keep all the blood in that refrigerator? I wonder where the needles are, oh look it’s that rubber band thing they put around your arm to make your arm all squishy…. Okay I’m freaking out now. Just calm down, it’s just a little bit, and Nathan is here to distract you.

The nurse asked me if I’d prefer to lie down, “Oh no, I’ll be fine, I just need to distract myself.”

She starts with my right arm which I guess wasn’t bloody enough because she asks if we can do the other arm.. Okay. sure. I’m still good. As she’s moving her vampire supplies to the other side of the chair, I notice a box of vials. Probably just where they store them.

My left arm was the winner and the blood starts flowing while I avoid eye contact with anything and everything on the left side of my body. I’m talking to Nathan, we start talking about a house we’re planning to look at the next day, and what we’ve liked so far of the houses we’ve seen already. Things were going pretty smoothly. Then I started to feel faint and told the nurse. I figured they had to be close to being done, they’d been draining me for awhile. I guess after I mentioned something all the blood drained from my face, I was ghost white pale. They grabbed an ice pack to put on my forehead to keep me from passing out while assuring me they were half way done. Only halfway!? The life is being drained out of me right now, this is what it feels like to be dying while extremely hungover and cold, and sweaty. Was the chair this wet when I sat down?

After about an eternity of this torture, they finally pulled the needle out. I was told they took 8 vials. EIGHT. I can talk myself into three, more than that is apparently pass-out-and-die-slowly land for me.

I threw up after that, in a fancy bag they have for people just like me. It may have been during, time moves strangely in the blood-sucking dimension.

They recommended liquids, protein, and an early bed time. So we went to Culver’s – my comfort food of choice. Then drove up to BP to catch the last 2/3 of my brother’s baseball game. I had to remove the bandage before we got there and pretend that I didn’t just have the most traumatic experience of my life.