Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Feeling helpless

blog entry

Feeling helpless

I'm currently suffering from experiencing SPD. What, never heard of it before? I hadn't either... When you're pregnant your body produces a lot of the hormone relaxin, which (in a rare case of a medical term sounding like what it does) relaxes the ligaments that hold your joints together. Although this is all in preparation for birthing that large baby head out through your pelvic bones, your body starts pumping out the relaxin in your first trimester - well before baby is ready to come out.

All this is well and  good and  most  pregnant women dont have any problems with the relaxin overkill. But If you are - like me - naturally flexible and not sporting super duper pilates-instructor-style abdominal  and back muscles, then your already loose hip and pelvic bones find themselves very loosened without strong core muscles to provide back-up assistance. 

Most women dont get SPD until 36 weeks or so. I'm one of the lucky ones who started getting it at 20 weeks in the form of excruciating hip pain at night. This past week I've been getting pain right along where a panty line would be whenever I walk faster than a plodding 2-mile-an-hour or when I do something I shouldn't be doing anyway (like lifting a moderately heavy shopping bag, trying to vacuum, or reaching for something on a high shelf.) 

Right now I'm on an airplane home to visit family and friends - and traveling alone. And I feel so helpless! I had to transfer in Paris and there were stairs down to the concourse off the plane. I have a rolling suitcase with me that I obviously can't carry. A nice man carried it for me without my asking. But a next set of stairs found me pleading with an already over burdened father for help. It's not even heavy! And I have to walk so slowly.... If my non-pregnant self were behind me now on a sidewalk I would complain about how slow this lady was walking!!! 

And at the carnival yesterday... Oi vey what a nightmare. When I thought I would have to walk another 20 minutes (after having walked very slowly for about an hour) I burst into tears. My hips were hurting so badly. We finally got on a bus that was moving more slowly than the foot traffic on the sidewalk. This kind of situation annoys my non-pregnant self ("we should have walked!) but my pregnant self was SO happy to be sitting I could have kissed the bus driver.

I kissed my beloved husband instead - the one who found us the bus in the first place and deals with a hysterical pained pregnant lady with a remarkably stoic level of grace.

He also took me and my 50 lb bag to the airport this morning at 5am (a trip which involves 4 hours roundtrip on public transportation.) yet another example of how helpless I am right now - and also of how blessed I am to have such a wonderful man by my side in life.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Things NOT to do when pregnant

My weekend has been a case study of things not to do when pregnant.

Lessons learned:

1. Do NOT assume that restaurants fully cook chicken.
2. Do NOT go to a street fair with blaring possibly-unborn-baby-ear-hurting-decibel speakers, lots of street food you can't eat, a lack of bathrooms, and no public transportation servicing the area.

Basically, don't EVER go to the Notting Hill Carnival when pregnant (or when un-pregnant really - it's not that sweet) and don't EVER eat chicken wings without making sure they're cooked all the way through.

Partically speaking, that means
1. Always underestimate your walking ability before heading to an unknown area of a city - and -
2. Take a fashlight when eating in a dimly lit restaurant.

And just a word on food safety here. After realizing that I had consumed a still slightly pink chicken wing I - after freaking the f*** out and taking a cab straight home to try to force myself to throw up (unsuccessful, just in case you were wondering) - I did a lot of research on salmonella and listeria. These are both harmful bacteria that can cause even healthy people to become very ill. Pregnant people, like moi, with their weakened immune systems and precious cargo, are particularly susceptible, hence the ban on any under-cooked egg product (not just runny eggs, but custard too!), soft cheeses, deli meats, and basically any food product that is not pasteurized or absolutely piping-burn-your-mouth hot.

Listeria and salmonella are both bad, but from research done early in my pregnancy I had been led to believe that listeria was worse because listeriosis (the infection caused by listeria) directly affects the baby - whereas salmonella did not. HOWEVER, my panicked research on Friday uncovered that salmonella CAN cross the placenta and infect the baby - and there are all kind of awful things that can happen, including the worst. Listeria still is worse, but salmonella is worse than I thought it to be.

Just something to keep in mind.

I'm going to go lay in bed and feel my baby kick. I can see his little bum through my belly. I love him already.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cloth.... what??!

I blame my editor friend for introducing me to the world of cloth diapers. Indirectly, of course, as she has no kids, and I'm pretty sure she thinks my new obsession with cloth is weird. But she did introduce me to the world of mommy blogs. And that is where I discovered cloth diapers.

To give credit where it is due, it was Jessica who really got me intrigued. Amy also got my attention with her plans to cloth diaper her newborn. And then I discovered the store websites selling these darn things. You may be one of those people (like my mother) who categorically refuses to associate anything that comes in contact with poo as cute. Fine. But JUST LOOK AT THESE! I mean, seriously. How can you not go gaga over that?

So, there you have my number one reason for choosing cloth. The cute-ness factor. (Face it my friends, plastic has never been fashionable.)

To people who question my sanity when they learn that I am going to cloth diaper, that is the only answer I give them.

"why are you cloth diapering? are you crazy?"

"Because cloth diapers are SO CUTE."

Hey, if they already think I'm crazy, why not let them think I'm even crazier so we can end the argument before it begins?

But if you want to know the other reasons - and show a reasonable openness to the idea of cloth - well then, I'd tell you that I'm also doing it to prevent ONE TON of disposable diapers being put in landfills from my child going from birth to toddler-hood. And that one ton of poo-filled plastic can take anywhere between 250 to 500 years to decompose. So when I say I'm doing it for the environment - pleeeease - don't retort that the enivornmental impacts of washing all that cloth negates the benefits*, because come on! really? do you want your grandkids building on top of your kid's waste? I think the answer is no.

(*Unless you live in the desert where water is scarce and land for landfills is abundant, then maybe you can talk to me about environmental equanimity.)

The second real reason I'm using cloth is just that the mere thought of putting disposables on my newborn baby's most sensitive areas makes my skin just crawl! While disposables do have wood pulp in them, what really makes them super-absorbent are water-absorbing crystals called super-absorbent polymers - a substance which can hold 300 times its weight in water. There have been no studies at all that I can find which examine whether SAPs can be harmful to a baby. However, SAPs were banned from use in tampons because there was a correlation between tampons with SAPs and increased incidences of Toxic Shock Syndrome.  So why then, is it okay to put this substance next to my baby's skin 24-7?? Another chemical used in disposables is dioxin, which according to** is "a highly toxic carcinogen and endocrine disruptor."

(**okay fine, not an un-biased source, but still!)

There are a lot of other chemicals involved in the process of disposable diaper making - known carcinogens included. Even if you want to debate that these levels are trace and nothing more than everyone is exposed to every day - which fine I can see your point - there still remains the fact that there haven't been any long-term studies on the potential health effects of disposable diapers. There probably won't be either, because there are just too many variables involved, and ethical issues involved. So, why take the chance?

My last reason to choose cloth is money, money, money! The average child goes through about $1,500 in disposable diapers from birth to potty. (And if you want to avoid chemicals and buy Seventh Generation diapers, then you can count on spending almost twice that.) I've spent about $200 on cloth so far and figure I will need to spend another $200-300 to complete my stash of birth to potty size diapers ( that depends on whether baby shower attendees jump on my cloth diaper bandwagon and buy me some cute fluff)! I'm buying gender neutral colors so that this will last me through multiple babies. Right now our water and electric bill is included in our rent, but the cloth diaper loads won't make a significant difference once/if they aren't. Basically I figure, over several children, using cloth will save us a few thousand dollars. And that makes me smile almost as much as the cuteness does.

Here's my latest purchase....

... just the right colors for a Christmas baby :)

and wow, I'm getting huge! (24 weeks pregnant)

Monday, August 22, 2011

The reason for this blog / third time's a charm

I'm currently 24 weeks pregnant with my first baby. I'm 26, married and living in London doing.... well.... thanks for asking.... nothing. My husband and I moved here in February, I got pregnant in March (first try surprise!) and I have a lot of time on my hands. I've researched the hell out of this pregnancy. I've spent way too many hours looking at and comparing various baby products. And I'm pretty sure I need to be banned from ebay as my baby purchasing power is off the charts.

Other than a way to add something mildly productive to my day, a blog will also be a super handy way for me to pass information on pregnancy and baby on to my friends - precisely 0% of whom are currently close to being at the "let's make babies!" stage of their respective relationships.

Folks, I am the guinea pig and I would like to share my internet-garnered knowledge and my to-the-minute experiences with my close friends.

Attempt number one at writing such a blog was started during the 2ww. For those who do not speak baby-message-board, that means "the two week wait." Aka, the time in between when you have sex and when a pregnancy test will come out positive. If you know me well, you can understand when I say that the first postings on that one were obsessive, extremely over-detailed (when is it ever okay to let anyone other than your doctor know when you may have conceived?!), and very convoluted.

Attempt number two was doomed from the get-go. I had read that morning sickness started at 6 weeks. So at five weeks I decided it was a GREAT time to start a baby blog combined with a cooking blog! Four days and three posts later morning sickness and nausea struck. I LOVE to cook and bake when I'm not 6 - 18 weeks pregnant. When I'm 6 - 18 weeks pregnant I would MURDER you if you suggested I get in the kitchen. 24-7 nausea and revulsion to the vast majority of food products makes for a less than optimal food blogger. Needless to say this blog attempt #2 died an untimely yet necessary death.

So here we are at attempt-at-a-blog number three. Third time's a charm.

And now here is a picture from last week:

23 weeks!