Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Is This What it Feels Like to be a Penguin?

You'll notice I put up a new pregnancy picture. I certainly don't think it's the most flattering picture, but oh well. That's what happens when you're cultivating a new human in your belly. This picture was taken this last Thursday before Brynn took me out for Valentine's Day. No, I'm not having a serious pregnancy brain moment. We really were celebrating that. We had planned to go out when we were in Saskatoon in February. Brynn had called that evening to make sure we had a table reserved for us, and just about 5 minutes before we were going to leave, I lost my lunch in the bathroom. So, Brynn called back and explained that "my wife is sick", to which I can imagine the hostess thinking, "Mmmhmm, right. Just like I had a headache the last time my husband wanted some action." We had dinner that night at Quizno's instead.
And of course, I was super sick for about 3 weeks after that, so once I got better and Brynn wasn't travelling for work, he planned for dinner this last week.

I love downtown Calgary. It is a really clean city with lots of interesting things to see and do. However, parking downtown absolutely sucks. So, we parked several blocks away and walked. Brynn offered to drop me off, but I insisted that as long as I can set the pace, I'd be fine walking. And I was. But I totally feel like a penguin. I am constantly amazed at how much being pregnant has changed my physicality and mobility.

Anyway, I don't have anything funny or interesting to say, really. I just wanted to comment on the new picture. However, if anyone is looking for a good restaurant in Calgary, check out Blink on Stephen Avenue. The food was amazing, the service was impeccable, and the coffee was the best we've had since Jamaica. So, we highly recommend it!

Stay tuned for my next post which will cover, in response to a faithful blog reader, my experiences with fruits and vegetables.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Misc.

Sorry if you all are getting sick about reading about my pregnancy. But for those of you who don't mind, here's another post :-)

Things I would not make it through this pregnancy without.

1. Breathe Right Nasal Strips. I can't believe how stuffy I get at night. These things make it easier to get to sleep and stay sleeping, as opposed to waking myself up from my chainsaw snoring every hour.

2. My body pillow. I love this thing. I am a complete stomach sleeper, so not being able to do that has been difficult, and still continues to be! My pillow has helped so much!

3. Hot/cold gel eye mask. Brilliant. Since I'm not supposed to be taking anything for anything anymore, this helps a lot when I get headaches and/or migraines. Additionally, it helped tremendously when I was so sick a couple weeks ago and felt hot, sticky, and miserable. We just keep it in the fridge or freezer so I can use it whenever I need it.

4. Bella Band. Since they apparently don't make maternity pants for tall, overweight women (at least not that I can find or afford!), these things help keep my pants up and zipped since they don't button anymore.

5. Head On. I know the commercials are ridiculous, but this stuff is awesome!

6. Warm milk. Every night. It's great. Not only does it help me get to sleep and relax, it also helps stave off the heartburn for a bit.

7. Sports bras. The only bras I can find for the massively huge size I've become that do not have underwires. Underwires are horrible when you're pregnant.

Things I cannot do anymore.

1. Bend over. I know this is obvious, but you get bigger so slowly that the day you suddenly discover that to reach anything below your knees, you have to either split your legs apart, get down on your hands and knees, or wait for your husband to get home and pick it up for you is quite a surprise.

2. Clean my belly button. I won't believe you if you tell me you clean yours every day. I don't neglect mine for months on end, but every so often, I'll give it a check up to see if I'm growing anything there. The other day I started to give it a check-up and realized it has officially collapsed on itself. WEIRD.

3. Make it through a night without getting up to pee at least once. Enough said.

4. Watch any TV show/movie without emotion. It used to be a rare occasion that I would cry or become emotional during a show or movie. Not anymore. And I never know when it will hit. Example: I was watching Jon and Kate Plus 8. It was a fairly typical scene for this show--some chaos and slight bickering between family members, and all of a sudden, the thought hits me--"Those are such beautiful children! It will be so amazing to be a mom!" and there goes the tears! Sheesh.

5. Walk without waddling. Is this what it feels like to be a duck or a penguin?

6. Go grocery shopping without the people who bag your groceries automatically calling another staff over to help me out to my car. And then when I politely decline and let them know I'm fine to take care of my own groceries, they raise their eyebrows and ask, "Are you sure?"

And to end today's post....

I completely reorganized our kitchen to make room for to upcoming baby "stuff" (food, formula, utensils, etc.). Just as I was finishing the very last cupboard, I snagged my shoe on the kitchen rug and fell against the cupboard door. My balance is not great since I'm a little front-heavy these days. I didn't hurt myself, but the door fell on the floor in two pieces. So much for "nesting!" This is Kitty examining the broken door.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Still Learning...

One of the most frequent comments I've been getting from people about this blog is that they cannot leave comments on the actual blog website. Since I'm doing nothing but nursing myself back to health, I decided to look more into this and found an option that will allow for anyone to leave comments. I also found a bunch of other stuff that I had no idea I could change or modify. It's fun to learn!

Thanks so much to everyone who is reading my blog. I hope you're enjoying it! Please feel free to let me know if there's anything that would make it more interesting, enjoyable, or anything else you're wondering about me. Now that anyone can comment on my blog, I expect to see LOTS more comments and interactions :-)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Hi everyone. I'm well into my second week of having a cold. And I'm so sick of being sick by now.

There are two commercials on TV right now. The first one--which I cannot remember the company it's for--starts off by saying stuff like, "If you think a runny nose, sinus pressure, sore throat, etc., is going to stop me, you're wrong." It shows this really athletic woman who looks like she was filmed for an Olympic promotional video, and in no way shape or form is dealing with a cold. I usually fantasize kicking that woman in the head and yelling, "Well, THAT'll stop ya!" The other commercial is great. It shows this poor lady waking to her blood curdling buzzing alarm (why people don't use the radio function to wake up is beyond me). She looks like she feels awful and has struggled to sleep through her sickness all night long. During the rest of the commercial, she struggles to pick out an outfit for work, and it looks kinda like no matter what she does with her hair and makeup, she can't get past feeling like crap. It ends with a voiceover saying, "Take a Benelyn day" and shows her reading in bed looking like the weight of the world came off her shoulders just by giving herself the freedom to call in sick.

Guess which commercial epitomizes me when I'm sick? Usually I don't feel these complete extremes. I'll usually tough it out through a cold and keep on keeping on. This, however, was when I didn't have to check in with the world about what I put in my body. I've quickly learned in the past 2 weeks that I will apparently "pass 'Go' and go straight to the 9th level of Hell" if I take any type of medication to help myself feel a little better. And don't get me wrong--it's not like as soon as I find something I can take, I'm going to go wide-eyed, laugh maniacally, and shove handfuls of pills down my throat, raising my fist to the sky. I've been doing a LOT of reading and researching to find out what is ok and what isn't. And I'm not talking about comments on random websites from people who are like, "One time I ate ketchup and my baby was born with a third arm because of the red food colouring in it! So don't eat ANYTHING red!"

Last week, I started to feel way worse and I thought, well, maybe instead of waiting at the urgent care clinic on a Sunday where I'm going to wait for 7 hours to get a doctor to tell me about the sinus infection I already knew I had, perhaps I could get something to help relieve some pressure, etc. I read through all my books and the "bible" of pregnancy books (What to Expect When You're Expecting, 2008) explained that pharmaceuticals are given letters to indicate their safety ratings. They listed only a few things that apparently I could take without risking social services investigating me. So, I head to a pharmacy and am carefully reading through all the packaging, etc., weighing my options, when a pharmacist quickly chastised me for even considering it and instead recommended setting up a tent and sleeping bag at the urgent care clinic. All righty. So, 4 hours in the clinic and 1 week of amoxycilin it was. Sinus infection dealt with. Then, my ear started hurting. I had a doctor's appointment scheduled anyway, and the answer for this was a nasal spray I can use only once a day....which only helps for an hour...and then I'm back to feeling like crap. Last night, I literally could not breathe through either nostril and kept waking up literally gasping for air (is that what sleep apnea feels like?!), only to wake up this morning and find that the cold has completely moved to my chest now and I'm trying not to cough too hard to prevent throwing up.

If there is ANYONE out there who has a remedy that won't result in me being dragged to the street and publicly flogged, I'd LOVE to hear it. I'm desperate. Right now, I'm resting as much as possible, taking hot showers to help loosen all the junk up, have a humidifier with Vick's Vapo Steam going 24 hours a day, and drink lots of water, juice, and tea.

I have to get better eventually....right?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Will Work for Sun

Yesterday, my mom called to let me know she'd be in Phoenix for the weekend because it's 80F there and they want some sun while she's got a couple days off. As soon as I got off the phone, I was suddenly inspired to replace all the light bulbs in the house with full-spectrum bulbs and blow up pictures from our previous holidays to completely cover all the windows and block out the snow and cloud cover.

Sigh. I think I've become completely addicted to travelling to warm, tropical places. If any of you out there have ever dealt with SAD (seasonal affective disorder)--which I think almost every Canadian at least can appreciate this in some way--the experience of being somewhere warm, sunny, humid....oh, there is nothing like it.

Brynn took me to Jamaica for our honeymoon, which was amazing! Even when it rained, it was extraordinary! We were in a couples-only resort in Negril (on the west side of the island) on a beach that I read after we got back is rated in the top-something beaches of the world.

And last year, we went with some friends to Maui for the week of Valentine's Day. We loved everything about that island (except the mosquitoes! I attract these bugs better than a bug zapper!) and still have real estate guides to drool and pray over.

So for both of these trips, as soon as I got off the plane, my whole body chemistry seemed to change. I felt so great for those trips, I think I was pooping serotonin and endorphins and all the other happy chemicals! I wish I could claim a mandatory religious pilgrimmage where I would be required to spend a week every month somewhere warm and sunny. Or maybe I could find a doctor that would realize my great need for these trips and prescribe it AND get Alberta Health to cover my trips and all required associated costs! If only this were possible.

Well, in the meantime, if anyone would like to contribute to my mental health and wellness fund, I accept donations and will work for sun!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pregnancy Surprises

So, last week I went travelling with Brynn and had all these wonderful plans to write lots of blog entries and catch up on emails, etc. But, then I got a bad cold which turned into a double sinus infection, and ended up sleeping through most of the days in our hotel room in Saskatoon. I ended up going on antibiotics and my head still feels somewhat like a vice is clamping on my sinuses when I get up too fast, go downstairs, or bend over to pick something up (which is just getting harder in general due to my ever-expanding belly!). But now that it's just a vice on my sinuses instead of a dull serated edge hammering away, I think I can concentrate enough to write something.

This was my first time since my first month of pregnancy that I've been sick (which must be a record for me since I usually have to take at least one sick day every month), and it surprised me how much I enjoy medications. Just a simple decongestant or Tylenol are suddenly the next best thing to sliced bread, chocolate, or oxygen now that I'm not supposed to be using them. I try to console myself by thinking of this all as a big "restart" button for my body.

This line of thinking led me to think about other things that have been surprising so far while I've been pregnant for the first time.

--How sensitive my gag reflux has become. It is amazing how little it now takes to make me lose my meal! I'll just be sitting there, totally not feeling sick, when I suddenly feel a need to cough, and, all of a sudden--BAM--up everything comes. For example (because I know you all want to imagine this in even more detail), one time last month, I was literally pulling into a client's driveway for an appointment when this very thing happened. And I actually started to debate whether to wipe up and do the session anyway! But I didn't. I called and cancelled, drove the whole way home with the windows down (taking back roads so I wouldn't have to stop at all!), and washed my entire outfit.
--How itchy I am. I know it says in all the pregnancy literature I've got about how itchy women are supposed to get during pregnancy, but I seriously feel like a grooming monkey sometimes with how much I'm scratching at myself! And yes, I do put lotion on. I still itch.
--How getting dressed requires so much thought now. I now feel like MacGuyver when I'm putting on clothes. I've decided there is really no point to buying an entirely new wardrobe since my body changes each week. Instead, I rig my pants with rubber bands to help the waistband stretch, cover those with a bella band to ensure they don't totally unzip during the day, and then layer my tops based on how bloated I feel, how much heat I'm radiating, and how much my nipples are protuding.
--How often my brain seems to choke on itself. Last week, I realized during several conversations with Brynn that I could not remember if I thought something with my inside voice or my outside voice. As in, Gee Brynn, it's busy here--have I said this already?
--How little people have touched me or given me unsolicited advice and unwelcome comments. I was fully expecting to be groped and manhandled by intrusive strangers and have been (not so secretly) planning responses to tactless comments. However, other than friends and family, no one has tried touching me yet, and there hasn't been a comment that has made me flinch. Maybe I do look too crazy to approach in this way! Hooray, my David technique has been working! (see my post from Dec . 23, 08 "People and Pregnancy").
--How absolutely amazing it is to feel Baby move! In almost every book and online info I've read, everyone seems to experience and describe a baby's movements differently. I must admit, I was seriously prepared to constantly mistake movement for flatulence and vice-versa. And I'm now proud to say, I can totally tell the difference :-) Every time Baby moves, it is incredible (every time I fart, on the other hand....pregnancy gas is deadly)! I'm still waiting for the day that Brynn will be able to feel it through my stomach (Baby either stops or kicks too softly for Brynn to be able to feel this yet), but for now I'm enjoying the sensations like a secret that only Baby and I have. Each kick and movement makes it seem like that much more of a reality. It is no wonder to me now that the bond between a mother and her children is so intense.

One more trimester to go! And another three months or so of pregnancy-related experiences. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Med's and Baby

So, I went to the doctor's on Monday and explained to them how I've been feeling this last month. I'm always thankful when doctors handle these things tactfully but ask smart and pointed questions (how are things financially, do I have a self-care plan, etc.). I also get the impression that because of my experience in the counseling field, they understand that I understand what's going on with the medications and treatment plans. As soon as I finished describing my symptoms and that I've been on the same dosage of med's for the last 5 years with no adjustments, she immediately said, "Oh, we should double that!" So, now it will take 1-2 weeks to see how I start feeling--and hopefully I'll start sleeping better, too.

I've been asked by LOTS of people if these med's are dangerous to the baby. I'll assure you that long before Brynn and I got pregnant--in fact, even before we got married and started trying--I had a long discussion with my doctor at the time (who was absolutely fantastic but then moved away....booooo!), and she gave me several articles and lots of research information that basically says that the stress, anxiety, depression, etc., that I could experience from being off the med's could cause way more problems to the baby than being on the med's. Additionally, there has been no indication that these med's increase the risk for any birth defects or developmental issues. I've always tried to be an educated consumer of these things, and have always encouraged any clients I've worked with to do the same--check out the manufacturer's website, get information from your doctor, etc. Just like diabetics who need insulin to keep their pancreas working correctly, people like me need these med's to keep my brain chemistry working correctly. And in either case, I think you need to know what you're putting in your body and how it's supposed to be working.

On to a different note, we've got our next ultrasound scheduled for tomorrow afternoon--thanks so much, Karen, for helping us get the appointment!!!--and it's going to be one of those new-fangled 3-D images. Brynn's got another appointment already scheduled for the afternoon, so we're hoping he can at least see part of it before he has to go. And since I'm about 22 weeks along, we should be able to get a clear image and see whether Baby is a boy or girl. I think it will be nice to not call Baby "it" anymore. Plus, we can hopefully start narrowing down our possible names list. Our goals in picking a name are probably similar to most other people who face the humbling task of picking a life-long name for a new human--something that is somewhat unique, but not different enough that the kid is going to get beat up for it (google celebrity kids' names!), and something that won't spell weird stuff in the initials (like DOG or POO...you know). Of course, there's many more things to consider in this undertaking, like how the names sound together and if it's spelled freakishly different so that teachers will never know how to pronounce the poor kid's name and the kid gets mail addressed to him or her in the opposite gender because people have no clue what their name is.

Well, I guess that's all for now. Until next time...