Monday, February 25, 2008

Makes my skin crawl

Lately my skin has been overcome by a strange new sensation that's a cross between itching and sharp tingling. At first I thought it was just dry skin due to the weather, but even when it's warm or rainy outside I've still been getting these weird itches.

I notice it more in the evenings, but that may just be because I'm sitting still more and not focused on something else like I am while working. My arms and legs seem to itch the most, which makes me wonder if it's even related to my pregnancy.

Knowing the strange state that my body is in, I'm sure hormones have something to do with it but I can't seem to solve this mystery. I've tried several different kinds of lotions and cremes, but all seem to get quickly absorbed and then my skin is once again ashen looking shortly thereafter.

Any advice? Suggestions? Experience in this area? If not, no worries. I happen to have a dermatology appointment set up for next week, so I can add this to my list of questions. In the meantime, I'm trying to avoid Googling the subject because I'm not sure I could stomach the search results or images that come up.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Back rubs and belly bumps

I feel like a lot of my posts have been Debbie Downers lately, which really isn't my style. That's why I've decided to write about two really sweet habits that Mike recently developed.

The first one is back rubs. I've been having serious back soreness lately (partially due to our terrible mattress that's less than two years old, and partially due to body changes). But all I have to do is tell Mike where it hurts and he patiently works out the knots. I'm thinking about investing in some of those back rollerball things to help encourage this new habit.

I know he'd much rather be surfing the internet for vintage BMW's to buy and restore or after-market parts he can add to his Honda, but every time I ask for a back massage he thoughtfully caters to my request.

The other adorable new trait is the way he rubs my baby pooch. It's not quite a full on bump yet, but it's definitely getting bigger and more difficult to disguise. This week it seems to really be "pooching" out more (hence the inspiration for my last wardrobe posting).

It's during these moments I would like to be able to read his mind because I know he's thinking about the future (or maybe he's just happy to not have to massage my back anymore). At any rate, it's a sweet and lovable quality that I'm sure will come back to bite him if any of his buddies read this post. 

Friday, February 22, 2008

Wardrobe Dysfunction

As I write this post, I hear TAPS playing in my head. It's the end of an era...the days of fitting into my favorite jeans or throwing on a normal-length shirt are over. I now have to strategically pick out tops that can either cover the band at the top of my maternity pants, or at least cover the open button I've rigged for my normal pants.

Thursday marked my first day of having to wear an "all-maternity" outfit to work. Suffice it to say I was not a happy camper standing in front of the closet. Just ask Mike. He tried to reassure me by saying I looked nice and when that didn't work he commented, "It's not like your clothes don't fit because you've been eating bonbons, you're supposed to get bigger. This is a good thing."

When I got to work everyone told me what a cute top I had on (which is always nice to hear), but then followed up with, "Is that a maternity top?" (busted, complete bummer). I'm glad they liked it because they will be seeing it about once a week from now until September.

I really wasn't expecting to feel such a loss when I got to this point. It's not like I'm a fashionista -- my regular clothes aren't anything particularly special, so why is this so emotional? My mom bought me some very cute maternity clothes, but for some reason I can't help feeling like a little piece of my personality and freedom are gone. The days of effortlessly pulling on my favorite jeans and shirt are over for now, but hopefully not gone forever.

I'm sure once my maternity wardrobe expands a bit more I'll find new favorites (like anything that comfortably fits), but for now I'm mourning the cute clothes I've outgrown. They just hang there collecting dust in the closet... taunting me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sea bands are the new black

I have become a poster child for sea bands. These are sweatband-looking accessories that go on each wrist and use accupressure to relieve motion sickness and nausea. They generally work, but I'm constantly having to explain to co-workers what I'm wearing.

They look pretty normal if you're a fitness instructor or some kind of athlete, but unfortunatly I work in an office where sweatbands are not the norm. I've managed to get a little entertainment out of this condition by watching someone eye my wristbands and then look at me quietly. I wait to see if they are brave enough to question my fashion sense. Once it's obvious that inquiring minds want to know but don't want to pry, I explain the method to my madness and they look relieved that I haven't lost it completely.

In the beginning, I tried to pile on chunky bracelets or watches to disguise my sea bands, but they always manage to slip out into public view. Did I mention I could only find them in baby blue? Yep, I couldn't even purchase a normal color like black, so they typically do not even match my outfit (even better, right?). I know you are all thinking that I'm such a fashionista this is going to be a new Spring trend...well, I hate to break it to you but I didn't see anyone sporting sea bands at New York Fashion Week so breathe a sigh of relief.

Hopefully my sea band days are numbered. I am only 10 days away from starting my second trimester which will (fingers crossed) bring with it a calm stomach and renewed energy level. I'd love if this worked as smoothly as Daylight Savings Time. Maybe I can go to bed on March 1 and wake up feeling like myself again on March 2 (the official start to my fourth month), just like when you spring forward and readily accept the new time on the clock.

I have a feeling it won't be this cut and dry but a girl can hope, right? In the meantime, I'll just hold my hair back and power through. I have some new nausea medicine that's helping and, of course, my trusty sea bands.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Disheveled Diva

Hi, Roxy here to tell you about a travesty taking place in my house. I was hoping I wouldn't have to rat out my parents until after the baby came, but it looks like this situation is worse than I thought.

I really think my parents are losing their minds. Something has taken over them like aliens invading their every thought. Yeah, they still come home and walk through the usual motions of playing with me, but something in their eyes tells me their thoughts are elsewhere. A perfect example to demonstrate how distracted they've become is to show you the condition of my hair.

It's in such need of grooming I'm utterly humiliated for anyone to see me. And to top it all off, we're taking a roadtrip to see my grandparents in Houston this weekend so I can't even hide in my crate. Here's some photographic evidence of the situation:

Yes, that's a matted clump of hair to the left of my nose.

Here's a close up of it from the side. You can't even see my eyes!

My foot pads are so overgrown I slip and slide all over the wood floor when I chase my ball.
It's like Fred Flintstone trying to get traction.

So embarrassing! I'm too ashamed to look at the camera...

Alright fine, but I WON'T smile!

My dad claims to have called the groomer but they couldn't fit me in until early March. How do they expect me to live like this? Dad already had to cut a chunk of hair off my ear because it had a huge mat in it. By the time March rolls around I'll have to be completely shaved!

Please do whatever you can to help. Alert PETA, child services, the Fab 5, whatever it takes! Something must be done.


Doctor's Appointment Update

So we just got back from the doctor's office (after stopping for lunch of course). Man, I thought we would never get out of there. I went through the normal routine (stand on the scale, pee in a cup, go to the designated check-up room), but this was the first time Mike was there with me "behind the scenes." Hopefully he didn't get scared off and he'll agree to come back. 

Once we were in the room, the nurse brought out a little hand-held speaker/radio looking contraption with an attached piece that looked like a mini-microphone. It kind of reminded me of a portable karaoke machine. She held the microphone thingy to my abdomen and pressed around pretty hard. It kind of hurt, but I was too busy worrying that there would be two heartbeats.

She found a whooshing sound right away but said that was the placenta. Who new that would make noise? After poking around a bit more she stopped at the right-hand side and clear as day was a fast little heart just beating away. It was going really fast, around 164, which is apparently a good/normal sign. Just to be sure I asked, "There's just one right?" And she chuckled a bit and said yes, just one. 

Mike and I exchanged glances of joy and relief, then the nurse went on to share an interesting factoid about heart rate. Apparently, elephants hearts only beat around 12 times per minute. You'd think for something so huge the heart would have to beat overtime. A baby's heart rate will settle somewhere between 110 and 164 beats once it's around 15-20 weeks. 

After that it was pretty much a normal exam. The doctor came in and did a pap smear and all the regular "well woman" exams. Mike was brave and decided to stay in the room. I tried to explain everything beforehand so he wouldn't be shocked. As it was all happening, he just stood close to my head and didn't make a sound. The doctor said the baby was riding toward my back so I may feel a lot of back pain and eventually back labor. Bring on the back rubs! 

Most of you may not know that this was the first time I met my OBGYN. I had scheduled an annual check up in January, but was already pregnant by then and had to switch into prenatal mode. During my last visit I only met with the nurse practitioner because it was just to go over routine info. Mike and I both really like our doctor overall. She's thorough in her explanations and patient with whatever questions you ask, plus she has a great sense of humor and even joked about examining Mike next with the scope (eek!). As she was leaving she patted my leg which for some reason really comforted me like she would take care of me. 

So that's the play-by-play of our latest doctor's visit. The next one isn't for another 4 weeks.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Countdown to the heartbeat

Several of you have been requesting updates since you remembered that this is the week we go back to the doctor and listen for the heartbeat. No, I'm not holding out on you...we go on Wed. at 11 a.m. I'll post afterward so stay tuned (and say a little prayer that everything goes as expected).

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Baby Gear Blues

Lately we've been perusing a few stores and internet sites looking to see where we might want to purchase nursery furniture or eventually register for baby gear. The experience usually follows this pattern:

1. Get a burst of energy to research furniture or baby stuff and walk through a store's baby section or shop online.
2. Realize that the modern stuff we like is ridiculously expensive and that there is so much baby stuff out there that is marketed as a necessity.
3. About 5-7 minutes later leave the store or internet completely due to overwhelming frustration or mental exhaustion. 
4. Try to focus energy on something that isn't so daunting. 

So I've decided I need something to reference during these times that will help me keep a positive attitude. I've come up with the following list (since we all know I'm a fan of making lists). If you have anything to add, please feel free to post a comment and I'll stick it in my purse for easy referral. 

Reasons why it's going to be okay:
1. We still have a little more than 6 months to figure this out.
2. My cousin and my neighbor have offered up their insight to help whittle down the "must have" list before we register.
3. Dwell studio/Target just came out with a modern line of baby furniture and bedding that is reasonably priced and fits our style. 
4. I don't have to have pink twall if I don't want to (assuming it's a girl).
5. Roxy hasn't starved yet so the kiddo will probably survive as well.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Belly Diaries

Up until now I've just plain ignored about a dozen requests to "capture my belly growth" in pictures. But today you're in luck, because Mike decided to show off his baby belly to tide you over until I'm ready to bare mine. We'll be sure to track his rate of growth along with mine and report back for your viewing pleasure. 

P.S. the part that cracks me up the most is how Mike positions his hands like he's covering his breasts. Guess he has been reading some of those pregnancy books after all, since he's captured the pose so well. 

Sick and Twisted Dreams

Lately, I've been having some really crazy dreams (most of which end with Mike doing something terrible). I wake up knowing I am dreaming, but I'm terribly disturbed nonetheless. Two recent examples can illustrate just how nuts these visions can be. 

In the first dream, I am in our kitchen getting out a pan to cook (no, this is not the reason we know it's a dream) and Mike walks in from the garage, grabs a butcher knife and (WARNING: THIS IS HORRIBLE) stabs my belly. Yes, I am pregnant in the dream and my belly is quite large. I immediately woke up and felt mad at Mike even though he was calmly sleeping next to me looking sweet and innocent. 

Last night I had another one, but it wasn't quite as graphic. Mike and I were driving to a bank and went inside where he proceeded to tell me he had been cheating on me for the last two years. Stunned, I walked outside and planned on leaving him there but instead of getting in my car I got on a shuttle bus that was full of my friends and was headed on some kind of trip. I sat down next to an unidentified girlfriend and told her what happened and that I didn't know what I was going to do since I was pregnant (again, I had a pronounced baby belly). Mike then got on the bus and walked to the back seat without a glance in my direction or even the slightest bit of remorse and started joking around with some buddies.

I bolted awake and felt like I was going to throw up because I was so shocked and hurt. I must have startled Mike because he rolled over and I said, "I just had a terrible dream where you told me you were cheating on me." His groggy response was, "Well I haven't been cheating on you so go back to sleep." But instead of hearing "haven't" I heard "have" and I said "WHAT, you have?!" His response, "HAVE NOT" and put his arm around me which is the sign  to calm down and go back to bed because he doesn't want to actually open his eyes and carry on a conversation. 

I think I dreamed the second one because earlier in the evening I was talking to my younger sister about some friends of ours who just divorced after an alleged cheating incident. That said, I have no explanation why I'm envisioning Mike doing all of these horrible things. Maybe this is part of the raging hormones, who knows? 

I'm already exhausted from everyday life, I could use a good night's sleep without lying awake for 45 minutes trying to clear my mind after a disturbing dream. Anyway, I've heard from a few formerly pregnant ladies that this is normal (which is a relief), so I'm trying not to look into any deeper meanings because what I might find may be even scarier than the dreams themselves.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Rock the Vote!

I hope you all get out and vote today (assuming you live in one of the state's participating in Super Tuesday). Mike and I tried out our new polling location this morning, which is a Baptist church right around the corner from our house. It took us all of 2 minutes to cast our ballot which was nice.

The only downside...I was still left with a 30-minute commute where Mike proceeded to rant about how the electoral college is obsolete and why hasn't anyone changed the system to a popular vote? If you know Mike very well, you'll understand that he's typically a laid-back guy who stays as far away from politics as possible. But for some reason his soap-box was polished and in full gear this morning.

I wish I had a video recorder to document how worked up he was getting. There were a few times along the drive where I actually had to ask him to do a few breathing exercises to relax. By the time he dropped me off at work, I think he had gotten it all out of his system. Otherwise, I'm sure his co-workers got an earful since they all sit in an open office several feet away from one another.

He did admit that part of the reason he votes is just so he has the right to complain later (if needed). I understand his point, which brings me to the moral of this story -- Get out in the remaining few hours and exercise your civic duty. If not, Mike doesn't want to hear you complain about our next president.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Do you smell that?

Lately I've been a text-book case of pregnancy symptoms, with the most prominent being a heightened sense of smell. I wake up and eat breakfast, working very hard not to linger over the sink or leave the fridge open too long. The sink is usually clean and whatever dishes are there have been rinsed, but I can somehow still smell whatever use to occupy the plate or bowl. 

It's like this all over the house. Our bedroom smells like a gym locker, my pillowcase always evokes dinginess (even when fresh from the linen closet), and don't get me started on Roxy's odor. I swear our house is not that dirty and we bathe our dog on a regular basis, but I just can't seem to get past the stench. 

The worst part is that my office at work has a an old radiator system that vents from the floors below and I happen to be located right above a Chinese restaurant. And this isn't your average lunch buffet. It also serves breakfast with all kinds of fried delicacies available beginning at 7 a.m. 

So, any suggestions on getting past this phase are welcomed and encouraged. For now, I'll try to breathe through my mouth and prevent my gag reflex from activating. Wish me luck.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Blood-sucking Doctors

I just got home from getting my blood drawn for a prenatal panel. Usually, getting blood taken is no big deal. I'm not scared of needles and usually just turn my head and it's over as quick as it began.

In fact, when Mike found out we were required to have blood tests before we got our marriage license, I saw the flash in his eye that said, "Do I really want to go through with this?" Luckily, he was brave and I talked to him and tried to distract him until it was over.

Today, I could have used someone to do that for me. I had the paperwork with the different tests my OBGYN had ordered, but from what I could decipher with the medical codes it appeared as if I would fill two vials of blood and be on my way. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

After they brought be back to the lab, the nurse reviewed the orders and then proceeded to pull 10 different colored vials out of her stash. I asked if those were all for me to fill up and without looking up from the paperwork she reassuringly said, "Uh, yeah they're all for you." I thought, "No big deal. I can do this."

So she stuck me and began filling the vial train which lasted several minutes. As a form of distraction, she started telling me about her two dogs (a pomeranian and a chihuahua) which I normally would have loved hearing about, but today could only muster up a half-hearted interest. Once the final vial was full, she asked how I was feeling and when I responded, "Okay" she said, "Good, cause you're not done yet."

Yes, the icing on the cake was that I also got to pee in a cup (because I haven't peed on enough sticks and cups over the last few months). But I'm happy to report that after all of this was over, I walked out to my car and realized there was a Braum's beckoning to me from across the street. (For those of you non-Okies this is an Oklahoma dairy store chain with awesome ice cream and milk that I grew up on.) So, I bolted into the drive-thru and ordered up a comforting chocolate mix with M&Ms (this is soft serve mixed in w/the candy of your choice). This restored my spirit and energized me enough to come home and write a new post.

I know this is only the tip of the medical iceberg when it comes to poking and prodding during this experience, so I should just buck up and take it like a woman. On the other hand, as long as I schedule my lab work and medical appointments close to a Braum's, I can just bribe myself with a treat afterward. A girl's gotta get her dairy, right?