Friday, June 25, 2010


For all those concerned fans:
I finally called my doctors after three sleepless nights with numb, pins and needles hands. Unfortunately my doctor was off (she just finished 24 hours at the hospital); so I was told to go to the hospital and see the OB on call who is a part of my doctors team.

Side note: My husband and I share a cell phone and have no home phone. He is normally in an office and so am I but right now he is in classes preparing for the Bar Exams which means that if I have the phone and he doesn't then I have no way of getting a hold of him. Our solution was to get a basic prepaid phone until the baby comes for emergency purposes. Well of course I am 34 weeks in and we don't have a phone and now I need to go to the hospital and he is scheduled to pick me up after work. Annoying. Needless to say we figured it out but he now has a phone.

Back to the hospital:
The nurse and a resident doctor checked me out. Blood pressure: normal, urine: normal, ultrasound: normal, babies heartbeat: normal. They kept talking to me about my swollen feet which at this point I am completely over. They told me all the things I've heard and read and have been doing to reduce swelling (to no avail). But all I really care about at this point is that my hands loosing feeling has been preventing me from sleeping. I'm getting the response that I sort of expected, you are healthy and the baby is healthy and sometimes these things happen during pregnancy and there's nothing to be done. Okay well at least I know loosing feeling in your hands and waking up with pins and needles is sort of normal.

However, I couldn't leave until the actual OB checked me out. She was in surgery (I assume delivering some baby via c-section) but she came in with a lot of energy and a great attitude. She and the nurses said that I had done the right thing coming in and they really didn't want to discourage me which was nice. Then, alleluia a solution; the doctor mentioned getting a night brace to keep the wrist in an open position and allow circulation to continue to flow during the night.

I was exhausted after work and the hospital visit but I went to a drug store and got one of these things and wouldn't you know it, it worked! So the last couple nights I have just been getting up to go to the bathroom three times a night rather then being fully awake and having to get out of bed completely due to this numb hand business. It's been great and I'll take it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What to Expect?

This blog is written to inform, laugh at and record some of my personal experiences with pregnancy. I have found it very interesting to discover how little I knew and still don't know about what to expect during pregnancy. As much as I learned in sex education classes (next to nothing), and from discussing things with friends and of course through the media, I can't help feeling like I knew nothing about my own body and the changes that occur during pregnancy.

My newest surprise maybe shouldn't be that surprising. I have mentioned repeatedly that I have had major water retention issues which have for one thing made it impossible for me to fit into any shoes; other then my Birkenstock (thank you Cathie). I have shocked my nurse by my water weight gain and have been for extra tests to eliminate the possibility of any problems that this level of water retention could be a sign of (there are none, I'm just bloated). I have given my RMT lots of extra business helping me move that water around and possibly improve my circulation, if only temporarily. So on a somewhat related issue I now have been loosing feeling in my hands. That's right. About a week ago I started noticing that my hands would loose feeling, or get a sort of pins and needles feeling that is normally associated with ones foot falling asleep. This is a circulation issue, which is partly to blame for me swollen feet syndrome.

Last night I had a very difficult time falling asleep because ironically my hands falling asleep were keeping me awake. My doctor has said this is not totally uncommon with the circulation issues I have been having but it does seem to be getting worse. Literally right now, at work, as I type my hands are not fully awake. I stretch and move them around but I still feel a slight pins and needles feeling that does not want to dissipate. This is strange and certainly does not appear in that famous 'What to Expect When you're Expecting.' When I search online for answers, most sites seem to focus on leg cramps (which I have experienced, although not regularly thank goodness), but they do not seem to be too focused on the hands of a pregnant lady falling asleep. Just another thing to keep it interesting, keep me on my toes and perhaps soon nudge me in the direction of "oh god I'm so uncomfortable I can't wait to go into labour" mode. And I have learned to expect the unexpected which is perhaps yet another good lesson to be learned before having my first child.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Too Much Information?

So if ignorance is bliss then good-bye bliss. If the sweet prenatal class does nothing else, it is certainly opening my eyes to the reality that is coming my way. It is bringing up all kinds of questions, concerns, and just thoughts that I personally had not considered.

Our class is a mix of couples from different backgrounds, different ages and many different ideas about childbirth. My favourite couple are planning a home birth. She is not as far along as the rest of us (she's about 6 months). But what is truly amazing about her are her questions. As a trained teacher I must state that it is true there are no stupid questions. If you don't know the answer then there is only one way to find out and that's to ask. We are all here in this class to learn and prepare ourselves for childbirth so ask away. That being said some of her questions seem to come out of left field. For example she wanted to know if getting an enema was standard procedure. She even brought up coffee enemas. I personally had not thought about enemas at all. Some women will have a small bowel movement when giving birth but as far as I can tell that will be the least of my concerns as my babies head is crowning, therefore an enema to prevent this is not on the radar.

Because this particular women is sort of flirting with the idea of a home birth she is very concerned about the mess involved; as I would be too. She is not only concerned with the mess of actual birth but wants detailed information about the water breaking and what kind of mess that can make. Apparently very little, if your water even breaks at home. Contrary to popular media most women's water doesn't break until they are already in active labour and even then it sometimes needs to be broken by the doctor or midwife (it is not usually a first sign of labour).

She also has all kinds of half information about things such as birthing stools which are basically chairs that have a whole cut out of the middle like a toilet; sounds fun. She got into a somewhat lengthy conversation with the instructor about parents who do not use diapers. That's right, there are people in the Western world not using diapers but rather they listen and look for signs that their baby has to go and then they rush them off to the restroom. What? Who on earth has the time or inclination for that? Well at least people in my class are keeping it interesting.

I will agree that knowledge is power. That having information can help you make informed decisions and hopefully take away the mystery and possible anxiety of childbirth. However, sometimes too much random information can distract. It can take away from the fact that this is a natural process, that our bodies do know what to do and that we can't control and plan every detail of this experience. Sometimes you just need to relax and focus on what you need to know, rather then explore ever random, obscure idea that crosses your path. But I do look forward to next class and hearing what plagues the mind of my fellow mommy-to-be.

Friday, June 11, 2010


This week has been hard. Up until this week, despite my whining I have felt pretty damn good. We have been travelling, visiting friends and family, I even cut a rug at a wedding a couple weeks ago but this week my body has said no more. This week I have been so exhausted, it seems that no amount of rest can satisfy my thirst for sleep. My feet as I have mentioned before are permanently swollen and my legs sort of feel like lead.

My RMT asked me the other day what is the most challenging part of being pregnant and I have to say it's the fact that my mind and body are on two different pages. At work I sit and think about all the things I want to and have to do when I get home; however, as soon as I do get home my body shuts down.

Yesterday at exactly 5 o'clock quitting time the fire alarm went off in our building. This was especially annoying because my office is on the 25th floor and of course all the elevators are shut off. I was willing to wait it out in the office when the announcement came on to start evacuating. I didn't really want to walk down all those stairs but I also felt like if I went slow it wouldn't really be a big deal and it wasn't at first. The first few flights I was fine but then I started to feel the burn, mostly in my knees. I slowed down but kept walking. My mind told me that I was just going down some stairs and it was no big deal but my body started telling me that this was more then it could handle. By the time I got to the bottom my legs were shaking; I have never felt more out of shape in my life. When I got home all I could do was take a shower and soak my burning feet in cold water in order to make emends.

I know that things will go back to normal after I have this baby but right now I just cannot believe how disconnected my mind is from what my body is now capable of. I haven't really felt as big as I know I am until this week. This week it's a reality check; I've got 5-9 weeks left with this pregnancy body and we're going to have to come up with some kind of compromise in order to get through it. I also promise to exercise and be grateful for my body when it does come back to me; something I took for granted in the past.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dancing Stars

Okay so I should have known by the name of this prenatal class (Dancing Stars) that is would be a little know...earthy but our hospital class was cancelled and I really wanted to take a class and get more information. Also I wanted my husband to learn about what to expect and what to do as my main (perhaps only) labour supported.

We started the class sitting in a circle on the floor, in these sort of floor loungers with back support. They looked pretty comfortable but getting up and down out of these chairs is a gong show for all the 7 plus month pregnant women in the class. There are about 6 couples total and we were asked by the instructor to introduce ourselves and include our due dates, health care provider and where we hope to have this baby. This sounded like a reasonable request. So aside from a few couples referring to the due date and birthing process using the pronoun 'we', something I can't stand since definitely 'we' are not pregnant and definitely 'we' are not delivering this baby, it's definitely all me. Aside from that and the fact that a surprising number of couples are planning at home births or water births, most people seemed nice, open and normal. That is until the couple (specifically the women) to my left started her introduction which included a rant about how they have a midwife and all the reasons that midwives are better then doctors. Thanks for coming out lady but I'm pretty sure we're just stating our facts at this point not preaching our choices. Plus who makes all these judgmental statements in an introduction when they have no idea who the other people in the room are or what their situations are?

Obviously when my husband and I introduced ourselves it was slightly awkward sharing that I have an OB and I plan on delivering in a hospital. It took all my will power not to state how I am very excited to receive drugs and good luck with the at home, water birth cause I'll be laughing all the way to the epidural. Or making some other passive aggressive comment but the fact is I am very comfortable with my decisions thus far and don't really need to justify them to anyone, especially some random in my first prenatal class.

I don't really care what other people do, in fact I am very pleased that in this day and age we have so many options. Doctors, midwives, doulas, hospitals, drugs, water births, home births, it's great to have choices and people should do what works for them. I just find it very annoying how high and mighty and judgemental some people can be , especially when none of us has done this yet and everyone is different.

At the end of the class I couldn't help thinking of something my brother in-law who has recently finished medical school and is now a doctor said to me, "women can do whatever they want but from my experience in the end they always scream for the drugs." I looked around the room, took notes and thought to myself, 'I wonder if we have some kind of reunion after our births, if these women will have changed their tunes?' I hope that everyone gets the experience they want and that all the births are successful but I know from friends and relatives that things don't always work out the way you plan. I have ideas of how I want things to go but I'm also open to the fact that I've never done this before and I have no idea how I will react, how the baby will be or any of it and I am personally grateful to live in a time and country where I have so many options and medical experts. For now I will take comfort in being in a clean hospital, with expert doctors and the possibility of drugs if needed and pray that I'm not forced into some natural home birth, with my husband delivering the baby while on the phone with 911 (this is the only scenario that I am completely not open too which means it may happen).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ode to an RMT

My Registered Massage Therapist is a god. He is so amazing and I truly do not know how women go through pregnancy without one. I have been seeing him for a couple years now because of some reoccurring back pain but it has been his help with all aches and pains pregnancy related that I am now officially in love with him. He works out the kinks and the knots in my back, neck, shoulder, hips and sometimes even my gluteus maximus. However, it is my feet that have been the bane of my existence these days and where he has performed recent miracles.

I am a sweller. I have been steadily swelling over the last month and it is getting worse by the day. I am doing everything that one is supposed to do to reduce swelling but nothing really works. When I wake up in the morning my feet are usually already swollen and it just gets progressively worse as the day continues. My shoes do not fit, my feet ache and they just look awful. I had a wedding to go to a couple weeks ago and as I tried on each pair of heels in my closest it became clear that I was Cinderella's ugly stepsister trying to cram my fat foot into the beautiful shoe.

Even my doctor was slightly concerned because of the extreme and early nature of my swelling but all tests are normal. Even the extra blood tests she sent me for are all normal so I guess it's just how my body has decided to react to this thing called pregnancy. Now all I'm looking for is a little relief in order to get me through the next 6-10 weeks and this was provided to me last week by my sweet RMT.

After the usual back and hip massage I asked him if there was anything he could do about my swollen feet and legs. He then spent I don't know how long slowly and softly pushing the liquid up out of my ankles. Now I must explain that this is a painful process. It feels like my feet and legs are bruised when they are touched but he carefully massaged all that liquid up and out of my ankles. I swear I could not only see the difference but my feet felt a lightness and freedom they hadn't felt in weeks. I could feel the fluids moving and the relief in my feet was indescribable. He says with all pain it is good when it moves, so the fact he was able to successfully move the fluids up my legs is a good thing (and it certainly felt like a good thing).

Another good thing is my husband; he is a good thing for so many reasons not the least of which is that he has now taken up the cause of daily foot/fluid movement massages. How did I get so lucky to have this man? I think he may be suspicious of the increasing love I have developed for my RMT or maybe he's just feeling cheap because I have run out of insurance covered massages (weeks ago in fact). Whatever the reason, there are no words to detail the appreciation I feel to my men (my husband and massage therapist) for there help in getting this women successfully to the end of pregnancy when presumably my swollen feet will be cured by actually having this baby already. Can't wait to meet you baby and can't wait to see my old feet again too.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


My husband and I just got back from a trip where we were able to see friends and family that I have not seen since getting pregnant and it was fabulous. Friends threw us the most incredible baby shower which was completing overwhelming in the best way possible. We drove all over visiting grandparents and old friends, went to BBQs and had numerous little parties in between. We even got to attend a wedding which was fantastic. Seeing friends getting married and all the people a celebration like that brings together is beyond words.

For me personally the best experience was the belly love I got from all my friends and family but especially from friends. Everyone made me feel beautiful and lucky. When you are slowly growing everyday and surrounded by people that you don't know that well the belly is there and may even be acknowledged but there is nothing like friends you've know for over a decade to attack your protruding belly with joy. Hands on the belly, hoping to feel a kick, sharing in the joy and excitement of what's to come; it was amazing.

So I say thank you to the universe for this baby, to my friends for being outstanding and my family for being so supportive. It takes a village and I'm glad that we've got such an excellent one eagerly waiting the arrival of our new addition.