Tag Archives: symptoms

She Says… Catching Up

Thank you all so, so much for the wonderful congratulations and sweet comments on last Friday’s post. Every one of your comments and tweets and emails made me a little more excited for this little person to enter our lives in 2013.

So, I’m pregnant! I feel like a little bit of a faker for not sharing the news earlier, but with the last pregnancy being such a roller coaster, and the fact that many readers of my blog now know me in real life (and my work life), I felt that it was important for me to make sure of which way things were going before I shared. That said, it’s SO fun to be “out” publicly.

THE BELLY
I wouldn’t have been able to hide the news for very much longer. I may only be 12 weeks, but y’all, I am BIG. Like, the equivalent of my 16 week belly pic when I was pregnant with Owen. That’s nearly a MONTH ahead in terms of baby bump growth. I can only hope this super duper waist expansion tapers off at some point, and I don’t end up looking 4 weeks “bigger” at the end than I was at the end of my pregnancy with Owen… I think I was pretty much maxed out at that point (remember how big I was when we got our new car, only 2 days before Owen was born?). That said, looking pregnant so early is kind of a blessing in disguise. I had a VERY short period of looking “kind-of-fat-but-not-yet-pregnant”, and moved quickly into baby bump territory. There’s no denying the news now!

THE FIRST TRIMESTER
I hesitate to even write this, because I feel like some sort of bad juju is going to bite me in the arse (and I know many pregnant women have it so much harder than I have), but I have felt really, really good so far. Yes, there were little things like food aversions and indigestion, but overall this baby has been particularly good to me. I really can’t complain. I’m so darn THANKFUL to be pregnant at all that I will take it all with a smile.

The exhaustion, though, is another story. I remember being tired when I was pregnant with Owen. Sure. But at that point I had nothing going on in my life other than work and grocery shopping and going to the gym, so when I was tired, I sat down. I put my feet up. I took a nap. This time, with a rambunctious 2 year old demanding my attention every second (not to mention spending the last few weeks working through every kind of illness known to man), that’s just not possible. The exhaustion has pretty much kicked my ass. By 7pm every night when Owen goes to bed, I’m sore like I worked out at the gym all day long and ready to crawl in bed for the night. Out for the count. I seem to remember a huge increase in energy soon after Christmas with Owen (it’s so helpful to have their due dates so close, as I can remember when things happened and it will be roughly the same), so I’m crossing my fingers that comes soon. I am wiped.

So though I haven’t been sick, I have had some other weird pregnancy symptoms that took me by surprise (aka things that didn’t happen with Owen). My childhood exercise-induced asthma has returned. When I was a kid I used to huff and puff when I had to run (especially outside), and I hated gym class. I was also a little, uh, round, so I attributed it mostly to being out of shape. But I had an emergency inhaler and used it mostly when I had to exercise out in the cold, and given my family history and the fact that Owen likely got his asthma issues from me, I have come to terms with the fact that the asthma is real for me. Apparently pregnancy often exacerbates asthma, so it’s not uncommon that I’m finding my chest getting tight when running up the stairs or briskly walking outside. I’m starting to use an inhaler prior to exercising to keep it at bay, as it is relatively minor right now. I also am having random nosebleeds and patches of super dry skin on my hands. Weird little quirks as my body adjusts to pregnancy. Bodies are amazing.

2ND CHILD SYNDROME
The biggest thing I’m surprised to feel so strongly is guilt about what I’m not doing for Baby #2. We don’t have a cute nickname. I haven’t written a single letter or kept a journal. I haven’t spent hours dreaming about if it’s a boy or a girl, or what color we should paint the nursery. Frankly, and understandably, I was scared to get attached this time. I’m barely getting my inbox cleaned out since the holiday rush, and cooking dinner has become a chore, as I’m dead tired. It’s classic 2nd child syndrome. I knew it was going to happen. In my mind I KNOW it’s ok. But I also wonder if this child will grow up one day and wonder where his or her letters are, and weekly pictures in the womb, and wonder if I loved him or her any less than Owen.

Weekly pictures are not even on the radar this time, but I do want to make sure I chronicle this pregnancy in the same thoughtful, reflective and conscientious way that I did with my first.

Did you do the same sort of “tracking” with each pregnancy or did you do something different? Definitely open to suggestions!

She Says… Lessons

Top 3 things I’ve learned a lot over the last few days:

1. My instincts are spot on. Monday I remember saying offhandedly, “Owen feels a little warm.” At the time I wrote it off as teething and didn’t bother taking his temp, but still… I planted the seed. Tuesday morning before I took him to daycare I said to myself, “He STILL feels a little warm. I should check him before we leave.” I did, but unfortunately my temperature-taking skills were not as good as my intuition. When the thermometer said 98.6, I believed it and took him to daycare. Luckily their temperature-taking skills were a bit better and confirmed the slightly elevated temp, which prompted me to call the doctor.

2. One man’s 101 is another man’s 105. The numbers alone don’t mean a whole lot. Sure, hearing that Owen had a temp of 105 certainly made my heart beat a bit faster, but looking into his eyes is a better indicator of how sick he is. I remember the controversy that ensued after this post where I said that I didn’t rush to take Owen to the doctor at the first sign of a fever. Do you know why? Numbers aren’t everything. Which brings me to #3…

3. I have a kid who gets a lot of fevers. Someone once commented on this blog (I think on the post I mentioned above) and said something like, “Kids don’t just GET fevers for no reason.” I’m sure there’s a reason for the fever, but I have to disagree with that person. Owen seems to run a temp when he’s teething, slightly sick, really sick, thinking about getting sick, getting over being sick, and sometimes in between just for the heck of it. It’s the way his body manifests the germ-fighting it is doing. And between daycare, Music Together class, playing on playgrounds, sharing toys with the dog and having little buddies, his body is doing a lot of germ-fighting. Maybe some kids don’t just GET fevers, but mine does. And it’s ok. He’s ok. And every time he gets one I’m learning more and more about the ins and outs of what he looks like when he’s sorta sick, sick, and really sick, and it doesn’t always correlate with his temp.

So I’m still waiting to see what happens with this current illness. The temp spiked again yesterday afternoon, back up to 104, and we spent the afternoon chillin’ on the couch together and playing in a tepid bath while I encouraged him to drink water so he didn’t get dehydrated. I’ll admit, it got a little bit scary as his eyelids were drooping and he seemed like all he wanted to do was lay in my arms. He slept all night, though, for the first time in a few nights, and this morning he was down to 99. I thought we were in the clear, but then went back up to 102 this morning. Now he seems to be steady at 101 and he’s playing happily. I’ve been on the phone with the doctor’s office about a million times debating if we need to be seen again today, but we’ve decided to wait it out and we have an appointment scheduled for tomorrow afternoon to do some more tests if the fever persists.

You, wise moms of the internet, gave me some great things to Google yesterday! So far I’m thinking it sounds like roseola, and I’m anxiously awaiting the rash that should come within 24 hours of the fever breaking. That would be awesome, in fact, because then I would know exactly what it was and know that there’s nothing I need to be doing do to treat it. Another theory is a UTI, though that is highly unlikely for a circumcised boy of his age. If the fever persists tomorrow we’ll investigate that further. And the most likely but perhaps most frustrating cause of all of this drama is a passing virus that should leave on its own by tomorrow. Only time will tell!

The good part about all of this is that I have gotten some mayjuh cuddle time with my little dude. I’m sorry he’s been feeling so crappy, but he’s pretty much spent 3 days in my arms and I would be lying if I said I didn’t get a little bit of enjoyment out of it. I adore the little cutie pie. The bad part is, of course, that he’s been sick and that I have a TON of work to get done during naps and after bedtimes to make up for not being at work this week.

She Says… Deja Vu

Biiiig sigh. We’re back at the doctor’s again. And not for a well visit.

Remember this day, when I said that we would try to make it to our 9 month well visit without another doctor’s appointment? Well, we did it. By the skin of our teeth. At our well visit on Monday the doctor heard Owen’s [persistent and ubiquitous] cough. She said, “Oh, is he sick?” and I said, “Nah, he’s had that cough since he started daycare in January. It doesn’t bother him and it hasn’t gotten better or worse.” She listened to his breathing and said, “Well, if he starts wheezing, let me know.” Got it, doc. Haven’t heard a wheeze since his bout with pneumonia.

Cue the wheezing Wednesday morning… a mere 48 hours after leaving the doctor’s office.

I heard a slight wheeze Wednesday morning, but he didn’t have a fever and was in great spirits, so I waited and listened before calling the doc. Didn’t want to rush to the doctor for no good reason. Also, I was beginning to feel so sick I could barely see straight. A sore throat had morphed into an all-consuming illness with high fever, chills, horrendous body aches and a feeling like a knife was slicing through my throat every time I swallowed. After an urgent trip to the doctor myself, turned out I have strep throat. Man, strep is NASTY when you get it as an adult!

By Thursday Owen’s wheeze was louder and he was running a fever, so we made the call and got a late afternoon doc appointment. Deja vu. Oh how many times we’ve been there recently!

I have had a work event yesterday and today, so Benjamin was on doctor duty, as I couldn’t get away. Which I hate. I want to be the one holding the sick baby and asking the questions and giving the rundown of all the little symptoms I noticed that led up to the appointment. It’s not that I don’t trust Benjamin; far from it. He is wonderfully sweet with Owen and knows just what to do. But I’m the one who likes to hear the diagnosis from the doctor’s mouth, and to be the one explaining what’s going on. I notice little things about Owen that sometimes Benjamin doesn’t, and in the past some of those little things have really helped us identify underlying issues.

But alas, duty called this time, and I felt the sting of being a mother who works outside the house and had a responsibility to stay at work this time. I’ll be honest… a few tears were shed while I waited impatiently for phone calls from Benjamin updating me on the appointment and the diagnosis.

Bottom line: Owen has an upper respiratory infection and is wheezing again. We’re back doing the albuterol nebulizer breathing treatments every 4 hours that we did when he had pneumonia, and are also using a long-term inhaled steroid (pulmicort) daily to keep his asthma under control. The unfortunate part about this is that since it’s the 2nd time we’ve seen this asthmatic breathing, we may need to have some larger discussions about Owen being “an asthmatic child”, rather than just dealing with each instance discreetly. I have another appointment with our regular pediatrician in a week or two to have this discussion. The idea of Owen having asthma for the rest of his life scares the crap out of me, but it may not be as bad as my brain is making it out to be. Plenty of kids have childhood asthma and they grow out of it and into perfectly healthy little people.

But apparently eczema, allergies and asthma all go together in a sad little triad. And Owen demonstrates all 3.

Wah. How did two perfectly healthy people have a baby plagued with so many issues?! I know that doesn’t really have much to do with it, and we’re doing everything we can to treat each of these issues, but it still makes me sad.

Anyone out there dealt with childhood asthma? Tell me happy stories!

She Says… Of All Things

Owen’s allergy blood tests came back today. I haven’t had a chance to debrief with our doctor yet, but I accessed the test results online and then commenced a furious Google search.

Milk: No
Egg whites: No
Egg yolks: No
Wheat: No
Casein: No
Oats: YES

Wha? That’s definitely not what I thought was going to happen. Leave it to my little medical mystery baby to throw us another curveball. Oats. Of all things.

I say “of all things”, because you should see the amount of oats that pass through this house. They are the one thing in our pantry I am sure NEVER to run out of. Benjamin and I eat them every morning. I use them in almost all of my baking. They were the first or second grain Owen ever ate. Heck, they are one of the first foods most babies eat! Oats. Who knew. I wasn’t even going to check for them, but just before getting Owen’s blood sample, the doctor said, “Is there ANYTHING else you can think of that you’d like to test him for?”. I replied, “I don’t know, what other grains might he be allergic to? Oats, maybe?”. Oats indeed.

Here’s the thing about oat allergies: They are relatively uncommon. That’s why parents are told that baby oatmeal is a perfect first food. It also explains why Owen’s eczema started showing up a few weeks after we started solid food, despite introducing one new fruit/veggie at a time and watching for a reaction. I guess I thought oats and rice cereal were a given. The eczema reaction (slow and gradual as it was) was to the oatmeal that I had been mixing with those other foods, little by little, to get the right consistency.

Although I am sad for my baby to be diagnosed with an allergy, I think this is a really positive outcome. Oats, as far as I know, should be pretty easy to avoid. I don’t think they are often hidden in other ingredients under different names like milk and wheat often are (though correct me if I’m wrong!). From what I’ve read, though, it sounds like inhaled oat dust can actually cause an allergic reaction like the persistent cough and runny nose that Owen has had since January. I have been blaming that on daycare germs, but I wonder, now, if eliminating oat dust in our house could also eliminate the extra boogers and hacking cough we’ve grown so used to dealing with. That means no more morning oats at the table with Owen. But it’s a price we’re more than happy to pay.

And unfortunately it sounds like oat dust can sometimes be present in other grains like wheat flour due to cross-contamination in processing. That’s a huge bummer; that we can’t be sure of exactly what we’re getting even if the package says “wheat flour”. The good news is that in the grand scheme of things, Owen’s allergic reaction is pretty mild (eczema just on his cheeks), so if he’s unknowingly exposed it’s not an issue of life or death.

The best news? Several websites I read stated that children diagnosed with this allergy often spontaneously get over it. Owen’s IgE level was .39 instead of the normal <.35, which I believe is pretty low. So that gives me hope that this is a minor thing that won’t plague him for the rest of his life.

Off to de-oat dust-ify our kitchen…

Do you have any experience with an allergy to oats or other grains? Anything else I should be avoiding while we give Owen’s little system time to recover?

She Says… 1st Trip to the ER

The 1st of many, I’m sure, with our rambunctious little boy. Let me cut right to the chase — Owen’s doing great. Three days after said trip to the ER (and two more doctor’s appointments later), he’s practically symptom-free and feeling like himself again. Babies are amazing like that.

On Friday after my last blog post, we had yet another doctor’s appointment to check up on Owen’s breathing. We had seen the same doc for a few days in a row and she wanted to be very sure that Owen was improving and wasn’t on the verge of (scary) respiratory distress. At our appointment she heard some fluid in his lungs that bothered her a bit and though he was still “borderline” to be admitted to the hospital, she sent us to the ER for monitoring. She called ahead and asked the docs there to admit us overnight.

Benjamin was supposed to go out of town for work for the night and all day Saturday, and he was ready to drop everything to stay home with us. However, I really felt like things were under control and we were just going to the hospital for monitoring (it wasn’t like anything acute had happened and we weren’t rushing there… it was more of a precautionary visit). I also know that Benjamin tends to be, how do I put this, incredibly emotional in times of crises/emergency, and I’m 100% business. I figured that toting a crying Daddy along wasn’t going to make the trip any easier (no offense, honey!). So I made the decision to encourage him to go on his trip, and Owen and I headed off to the hospital. In fact, I had such a strong feeling that the doctor was going to send us to the hospital that I had already packed Owen’s bag with toys and clothes, let the dog out, and left a key in the mailbox for a friend to get in if they needed to. Always thinkin’ ahead :)

I was super calm when heading to the ER, since I had sort of prepared myself for the doctor to say that. The hardest part was navigating the drive there — Children’s Hospital in Boston may be one of the top children’s hospitals in the world, but it’s NOT convenient to drive to! When we got to the ER I calmly told the docs what the issue was and they took his vitals. Between my calm demeanor and Owen’s dimply smile, they almost didn’t take us seriously! We would have gotten more attention if Owen had been pathetic and I had been panicked, I think.

Anyway, the docs agreed that his respiratory distress was real, but his oxygen level was good, and he was in great spirits. So they had us hang out for a few hours while they looked into admitting us. In those next few hours, Owen seemed to improve a lot. He got happier and started climbing all over me and the hospital bed, his breathing sounds got quieter and his cough became more productive (which was good because it meant that he was getting the gunk OUT of his body instead of choking on it). I fed him and he perked up even more. By 6:30pm he was getting sleepy and a little cranky, since it was bedtime. The docs had come by every hour or so, listened to his breathing, and pronounced him “fine”. He wasn’t hooked up to any machines or monitoring devices, which meant to me that his situation really wasn’t that dire. I began to feel like a good night’s sleep in his own bed and continuing the at-home nebulizer treatments around the clock, might be just what the doctor ordered (Dr. Mom, that is). NOT a night of no sleep in a loud, bright, germy hospital!

I called the nurse and explained my reasoning: He was getting the same thing at the hospital as he would at home — someone watching his breathing for changes, and neb treatments every 4 hours. In addition, I added, I think he would sleep better at home, and I was a lot less nervous than I was earlier today at the doc’s office. The more I talked to the docs it seemed like they were planning on admitting me simply because my doctor asked them to, not because they thought we needed to be. So after checking with them that they did NOT see any reason for us to stay, I sort of asked them to send us home.

Just like the instinct I had to bring him in to the doc last week, even when his wheezing was very faint, I think the instinct I had to take him home was right on. At 8:30pm we arrived home, I gave him his bedtime bottle (2 hours late — my poor hungry baby!) and put him to bed. I went in his nursery to check on him many times that night and to give him breathing treatments, and he slept soundly right through them. Saturday morning he woke up still coughing and breathing kind of hard, but worlds better than the night before. And he’s only gotten better since.

Two doctor’s appointments later (just to check his breathing one. more. time.), he’s doing awesome. He’s no longer contagious, breathing fine, and as happy as can be. We’re still doing the full course of amoxicillin and breathing treatments whenever I think they are necessary, but he’s wholly cured.

Wow. So glad that’s behind us!

She Says… Inch by inch

Well, I should say centimeter by centimeter. Labor is progressing, folks! I had my 38 week appointment with my OB yesterday, and while I was hoping to hear her say, “Four centimeters! 100% dilated! Any minute now!”, I was still happy when she gave me the latest update on my progress.

  • 36 Weeks: 50% effaced
  • 37 Weeks: 75% effaced and 1.5 cm dilated
  • 38 Weeks: 90% effaced and 2.5 cm dilated, head at -2 station, cervix has moved into the proper position for labor

Little by little, my body is doing exactly what it is supposed to! It’s very exciting stuff. Yesterday I was feeling especially emotional and agitated (compounded tenfold by the ridiculous heat and humidity outside), and today my mushy/upset stomach is back on (it has been on and off for about a week). All good signs.

Doc said she wouldn’t be at all surprised if I didn’t make it to next week’s appointment. I’m trying not to let those positive words get my hopes up too high :)  Isn’t it amazing that we can essentially create babies in science labs, but we still have no idea when they are going to pop out naturally? One of life’s great mysteries, I guess.

So… we wait. Lots of exciting things to share with you in the next few days, though (so you don’t get bored of reading “one more centimeter!” every few days). Thank you all for your sweet messages and comments — we’re so excited and can’t wait to share the “IT’S TIME!” news with you very soon.

She Says… 38 Weeks

My little watermelon,

You are so close to popping out, I can just feel it. My stomach is so hard that it feels more like a bowling ball than a baby in there most of the time. I still feel you kicking and moving around, but the quality of your movements has changed a lot since you don’t have much room in there. Since your head is engaged in my pelvis getting ready for your big journey, that’s pretty stationary, and there’s not very much you can do other than kicking your little feet (which I can see poking out of my side!).

Recently I’ve been doing a bit of research on fetal positioning and how that affects labor. After a bit of belly mapping and poking around, I am fairly certain that you are somewhere between the Right Occiput Transverse (ROT) and Right Occiput Posterior (ROP) positions. That means that you are head down (thank you, you good little boy), but looking out and facing my belly button, rather than facing my back, which is the best position for labor. Not surprising, since you’re my son — you want to look around and not miss a thing, not stare at the wall! Your little rear end is on my right side, just under my rib. There’s been a big bulge in that spot for weeks, and now I finally know what it is! And the strong kicks I feel under my left rib are your foot. Thankfully, the majority of all ROT/ROP babies spin during early/active labor and come out just fine wthout interventions. However, I’ve started doing a few things to help you get into that position too. I’m sitting on an exercise ball instead of a desk chair (hoping to open my pelvis and hips in preparation for labor too), and spending time on my hands and knees and doing yoga poses like puppy pose and downward facing dog to give you some room to spin. It certainly helps to be working from home at this point; my coworkers would think I was crazy if they saw me!

Daddy and I are putting the finishing touches on your room. I feel like I’ve been saying that for weeks, but we really are getting down to the details now, hanging artwork and shelves and a mobile that we made. Can’t wait to share the pictures with all of your adoring internet fans :) All of your tiny clothes are washed and put away in your drawers, and diapers and other necessities are ready and waiting for you to arrive. It’s so much fun to feel so ready for you. This afternoon we’re completing the one, last thing that Daddy and I really wanted to do before you arrived, so you can come any time now, little guy. We can’t wait to meet you.

I have another doctor’s appointment this afternoon, so we’ll see if my body has made any more progress toward labor. I hope so! Daddy and I have both had a strange premonition/preference for you to arrive tomorrow, on Thursday, July 22nd. Who knows where we got that idea… but the other night Daddy said, “If he came on Thursday, that would be perfect” and I had said “I hope he comes on the 22nd” at a separate time, not realizing that was the same day. So, we’ll soon see if we are psychics or just wishful thinkers!

I can’t stop thinking about you. Every little twinge and poke and cramp feels like a symptom, like we’re one step closer to seeing your sweet face. Come out soon, ok?

With more love than I ever thought I had to give,
Mama

She Says… Weekend Away and Swelling, Swelling, Swelling

This past weekend we packed our overnight bags and headed to Nantucket for a few days to relax with some friends. It was a perfect weekend getaway filled with beach time, great food, and indulgences like extra slices of blueberry piece with ice cream and buying little baby onesies with whales on them :)

Our friends have a 2 1/2 year old and a 6 month old, and we had a blast hanging out with them. Benjamin especially totally adored their 2 1/2 year old daughter. They were so cute together playing on the playground, making up little games and talking together. He is ready to skip the infant stage and would rather I just pop out a toddler! While I agree that two year olds are perhaps more fun and interactive than newborns, I’m so excited about having a little teeny tiny baby in my arms in just a few short weeks. I am glad you get a few years to prepare for those toddler days.

The only downside to our little vacay? SWELLING. My feet/ankles swelling continue to be pretty much the only pregnancy side effect that I have to complain about. But what used to be a little puffiness around my ankles after a day of too much walking is now full-on cankles stretching my skin to the point of discomfort. Every. Single. Day. I feel like I might get stretch marks from swelling rather than carrying this baby around in my stomach! It’s still nothing to worry about, as my doctor has assured me that since my blood pressure is so low, the swelling is not a problem, just an inconvenience. I’m sure it’s directly related to the heat and the fact that I almost NEVER take the time to put my feet up or lay on my left side during the day. But walking on pincushions is not so comfy, people! Gross.

For your viewing pleasure... what my feet look like right now. At 11:00am. Sitting in air conditioning. They do NOT normally look like this!

Believe me, I know that I am still incredibly lucky if this is all I have to complain about, and that I’m still feeling well enough to go to the beach at almost 35 weeks. I can deal with some puffy feet for a few weeks! But man, it is getting a little harder to walk with the swollen joints. Thank goodness I took my rings off a few weeks ago, or this weekend we may have had to make a detour to have them cut off. Yikes!

Any suggestions for relieving swelling? Doc says propping my feet up above my heart and laying on my left side. However, neither of those suggestions are very conducive to working full time or an active lifestyle. Any other tips?

She Says… A Tale Of Fat Fingers

A few weeks ago, at the start of our childbirth class, our instructor asked all of the couples, “Ok, so who’s still wearing their wedding rings?”. We all laughed, and I proudly raised my hand, one of the only people still able to keep their wedding rings on their expanding fingers. Not that it means anything at all, but I was proud to be in that camp.

“Well, I was one of those lucky few also” she continued. “Around 36 weeks into my first pregnancy, in the summer, same as you guys, I started to feel that my hands were a little sore and puffy when I woke up each morning, even after sleeping in air conditioning.” I nodded enthusiastically — the same thing had been happening to me recently. The swelling always went back down if I stayed cool throughout the day, and it was never so much that I felt like my rings were stuck on, but I knew exactly that puffed up feeling she was describing. “And then one day, I woke up and my ring finger was completely blue. Swollen so much I could not pry my rings off. We tried lotion, olive oil, cold water, ice… you name it, we tried it. When it still wouldn’t come off and my poor finger still looked like it was going to fall off, we went to the emergency room where they had to CUT THE RINGS OFF.”

Umm, excuse me?! Benjamin and I exchanged a look of sheer terror. Call me materialistic, but my engagement ring is one of my most prized possessions. I still stare at it almost every day, over five years since the first day Benjamin put it on my finger and asked me to marry him. His proposal was a huge surprise, as was the ring (we’d never even discussed what kind of ring I wanted, and he proposed so early I’m not sure I had even though about it much). It is a constant reminder of how well Benjamin knows me, because I could not have picked out a more perfect ring for myself if I tried. He knows me better than I know myself sometimes.

So, sniff sniff, as of a few days ago, my rings are off for the rest of the summer. It’s not that I’ve gained too much weight (which is why I always thought pregnant women took their rings off), or even because my swelling was getting out of control and they almost got stuck, but more as a precautionary measure so that I don’t end up in the emergency room watching one of my most loved belongings be cut off of my puffy hand.

It feels weird to not feel the rings on my finger, and I’ve had a few moments of panic that I left them somewhere I shouldn’t have. I’ve also considered that now it looks like I am an unwed mother. But you know what? I don’t really care. My fingers can get as puffy as they want and I know I won’t have to cut my beautiful engagement ring in half!

She Says… Braxton Hicks

A few weeks ago, I remember reading in my countless baby books that I might begin to experience Braxton Hicks contractions. The books and websites all said something to the effect of, “They won’t hurt, it’s just your body practicing for labor. If you have more than 4 an hour and/or they hurt, call your doctor.” And so I waited. Sort of like when I read that I might begin to feel the baby move and I debated whether each twinge and tickle was the baby or just gas, I began to wonder what a Braxton Hicks contraction feels like and if I would ever feel one. At my checkup every two weeks my doctor would ask, “Have you felt any Braxton Hicks contractions yet?”. My answer was generally, “Ummm, I’m not sure, I don’t really know what they feel like… so… no?”.

A week or two ago I got my answer. My doc told me it feels like your whole stomach has gone hard as a rock. Perhaps that has been happening  for awhile, but I only started really noticing it recently. Not only does my stomach go rock solid (which is a very strange sensation, both from the outside and the inside), but I also feel this achey, crampy kind of feeling in my lower abdomen where my uterus (and normal menstrual cramps) used to be. It’s not painful, persay, but I find it to be a strange and unusual feeling. And at the end of the day when my body is tired from a long day of commuting/being at work, I can feel them even more acutely. Last night I actually said to Benjamin, “My uterus is TIRED.” Really? How could I possible know if my uterus is tired? But that’s what it feels like.

I’ve also read that in a few short weeks the baby will descend to get into a better position in the birth canal. Believe me, by the time I get to the T in the morning (after walking about a mile from my house), I feel like the baby has already descended so far that he’s pressing against my pubic bone! Gravity, I tell you. I can’t imagine what he’ll feel like when he actually does descend.

For all the ladies who have been pregnant, did you have Braxton Hicks? What did they feel like? Did you feel your baby descend?