Bionic Mamas

you're not losing a vagina, you're gaining a son

Every Pregnancy Is Different


…or anyway, that’s what the OB on Monday said when I told her (in no particular detail, but with some emphasis on Dr. Russian’s behavior) that I was traumatized by the experience of giving birth to the Bean. That wasn’t quite to my point, frankly. Regular readers will no doubt be unsurprised to hear that yes, there are lots of things about labor that I hope will be different this time, but when you get right down to it, I am less afraid of the horrific pain, blood loss, and so on, than I am of being treated cruelly. So rather than “your next labor is very likely to be easier,” something she really can’t promise, I’d have preferred to hear, “neither I nor any of my colleagues is a raging bitch.”

Ah, well. She is young (or rather, hasn’t been in practice long) and I am willing for the moment to assume this is an issue of not quite hearing my real fear than of actually being a monster herself.

However, it does seem to be true so far that every pregnancy is in fact different. So far (knock wood and so on) this one seems mostly easier. For one thing, I didn’t begin the process distended from OHSS. That was a major improvement, and not just because I hate gatorade. By this point in my pregnancy with the Bean, I’d had weeks of spotting and several big scares, but this time, the only blood I’ve seen was evidently from a self-inflicted crinone applicator wound. Boy, not spotting is a whole lot less stressful than spotting, I tell you what.

I am noticeably tired, but I think it’s not quite as bad this time. There is a lot confounding that observation, though. Possibly I really am more energetic, or the unisom I take at night means I get more real rest then than I did last time. (I certainly get more rest than I would without it, since I was having fairly terrible insomnia.) Possibly planning a wedding is just more tiring than keeping up with a toddler. Or possibly I have just become so accustomed to exhaustion in the past (looks at ticker) two years, four months, and fifteen days that I don’t notice the difference.

Sadly, one thing that is the same is my utter intolerance for coffee.

And then I got exhausted and then I got a migraine and the long and short of it is, it’s been a few days.

Speaking of migraines, they are so far less frequent but worse, and made trickier by the extreme difficulty of calling in sick to a job that has no days off. Sugar stayed home from work this time to take care of the Bean, but that won’t continue to work if this keeps happening.

One of the first things that made me imagine I might be pregnant with the Bean was the cold sore visible from space that colonized the left side of my upper lip during the wait for beta day. I have gotten cold sores my whole life. Nearly all adults carry the virus that causes them, but some lucky people are more prone to getting outbreaks, a group that seems to include most of my mother’s family. They were the great misery of my childhood, when the only “treatment” on hand was ice. The discovery in my twenties that taking lysine supplements shortened the duration and lessened the severity of an outbreak changed my life not only because less of it involved embarrassing, painful, weeping sores but also because I discovered that treating them quickly also meant I didn’t suffer so much from the crippling depression that accompanies outbreaks for me. I like haivng less of that, but I even more feel relieved to discover that the depression is itself a real symptom of an outbreak for me; I had thought I was just upset because I looked ugly and am therefore a terrible and vain person.

Cold sores were a major feature of my pregnancy with the Bean, always in that same spot. Although the outbreaks responded well to treatment with vavacyclovir (which gives me a terrific headache but it still a miracle), the constant assault left that part of my face with nerve damage, such that I woke up every morning for the next two years feeling the tingle that used to foretell an outbreak but now just seems to mean, “your face is terminally borked.” Meanwhile, the damage there seems to have dulled my ability to feel an outbreak coming, such that it wasn’t until my lips began to swell this week that I realized (too late for effective prevention) that this pregnancy seems destined to fly the same herpetic flag. Yuck.

When I started writing this post, I would have said that a difference this time around is that I lack the voracious, all-consuming appetite that forced me up to eat substantial amounts of protein in the middle of every night last time around. But that kicked in on Thursday. Now the trouble is figuring out what to eat; I only want protein, and several of my go-to sources from last time (milk, cheese, eggs) are on the mild to severely revolting scale this time. All I want in the world is an endless supply of medium rare hamburgers, is that so much to ask? And Heinz ketchup, which I recently found myself thinking — in utter earnestness — may represent the pinnacle of mankind’s culinary achievements. Seriously, that stuff is just fantastic.

I’m still in love with salsa verde, one of my preferred foods during the nauseated times. Bland food makes me think to much about texture, and yuck. Salsa on grits with a soft-boiled egg has been my breakfast all week. Yes, soft-boiled. I suffered through hard-cooked eggs last time around, but nothing I’ve read makes me terribly convinced I need to do that this time. No increased risk of salmonella in pregnant women, say several reputable sources I am too lazy to find links for at present. Little danger to a fetus even if I do manage to get sick from eggs for the first time in 35 years. I’ll take may chances, thanks. I’m willing to take a break from homemade mayonnaise, I guess.

Also still wonderful and still a staple is coca-cola, and a good thing, too, given the few forms of caffeine that don’t send me directly to Yuck Island. Coffee and hot tea are both right out. Iced tea, mysteriously but miraculously, is just fine, and I am a dab hand at making it. Lucky, since I live in the north. Every greasy spoon, gas station, and grandmother in the South can make perfectly sublime tea, yet no one in the employ of a food service establishment here seems up to the task. It’s not that hard, y’all.

1. Use good tea. I wish we could get Luzianne here, but Tazo’s Awake is adequate for the purpose if far more expensive. I can’t believe I have to say this, but use black and orange pekoe tea, not some herbal nonsense you swept up from behind the onion drawer. Or at least don’t have the temerity to call that “iced tea” on the menu without some kind of warning about how it has no caffeine and tastes like straw.
2. Don’t brew it for eight hundred years; three minutes is more the mark.
3. Throw out what hasn’t sold that day and make more — this is really, really cheap stuff. (Okay, I keep mine for longer than a day, but I’m not charging for it.)
4. I think a little sugar is a nice idea, but I get that there’s such a thing as local culture, and I will work on respecting yours even when it is wrong. Likewise, don’t pointedly ask me if I want “iceD” tea should I trust you enough to reveal my culture of origin by omitting that unnecessary double consonant stop. It is the food of my people, after all, so consider yourself honored by this display of authentic oral tradition.

Lord, what was I even talking about? It’s possible that scatterbrained part has kicked in. Or maybe the heat is getting to me.

I am not tolerating the heat any better this time around, and there certainly is plenty of it. Last time around this proved to be not a sign of the extra warm body the books talk about but instead a lasting difficulty regulating my body temperature, which left me freezing cold all winter. By the way, do you know how hard it is to find a warm maternity coat? And how annoying it is to be told that your “bundle of joy will keep you warm!” Extremely, on both counts. I hope my tiny mother will again lend me her mysteriously enormous parka, because one of the reasons I suspected pre-beta that things might have gone my way was getting chilled to the bone during an afternoon picnic on a warm day.

In terms of enormity, I suspect I may be on my way. I certainly have a noticeably rounder shape than I did pre-pregnancy, though I have returned to a familiar weight now, having recovered from vacation eating at a place with magnificent food. I will not mention numbers, because I am extremely sensitive to going into emotional tailspins upon reading what other people consider normal and large weights. This current number is the top of what I considered my normal range pre-Bean. It is considerably more than I weighed at my first OB appointment with that pregnancy, but, see above, I had been quite sick. So this means I either did or didn’t lose the “baby weight” from that pregnancy, a conversation I intend to quash pretty quickly if the new practice asks. As with that time, I intend to eat when I am hungry — because frankly, I don’t feel like I have much choice — and encourage those involved in my care to back the hell off unless we are talking pre-eclampsia levels of sudden weight gain.

Meanwhile, the uterus is, just as they say, stretched out and ready to go. After more cramps in the first two weeks than I remember the first time around, things have been mostly comfortable, if you don’t mind going to the bathroom five times a night (not an exaggeration).

The other thing they say happens earlier the second time is the sensation of movement, and I don’t blame you for disbelieving me, but I really think it’s started already. I felt some distinctly uterine tickles about two weeks ago, and last night I felt more definite fluttering. Whoa. That feeling does not get old, I tell you what. (Except a little bit when it’s all up in my already injured ribs, if memory serves. I will try to skip the injury part this time.)

This seems to be really happening, y’all. Maybe I should make a ticker.

AlternaTickers - Cool, free Web tickers

PS (and I’m not even going to try to find a place to make a nice transition for this, because you already aged reading this, am I right?) Any suggestions for books, websites, etc., about either raising siblings or about managing the whole pregnancy/tiny baby lark with an extant older child?

The former because Sugar and I are both only children and have no idea what we are getting ourselves into; the latter because reading about pregnancy is part of how I (mostly) avoid oppressing the rest of the world (besides you lucky people) with my need to feel like a special snowflake, and the books I have, with their cheerful suggestions of massages and savoring the last days of adult freedom are not quite getting the job done.

16 thoughts on “Every Pregnancy Is Different

  1. I would be so happy to send you some Luzianne, straight from the Deep South! I’m 25 weeks along with our twins, and my taste for coffee was one of the first things to go. (Even my wife’s hot tea couldnt fill the void. A daily sweet tea or dr pepper (hardly cornerstones of a healthy diet) have been saving graces. Email me an address, and I’ll drop a shipment in the mail.

    • You are so sweet! Another displaced southerner just told me amazon will ship it, but I will let you know if I get desperate. Meanwhile, our hippie coop keeps the price of Tazo manageable, if not cheap.

  2. I love your posts, as the NGP in this house I miss the nitty-gritty of pregnancy (w is not one to obsess over every little this and that) so I especially love the birds eye view I’m getting from you!

    • Well, you can count on me for all your vicarious obsessing needs! Congratulations on that lovely ultrasound, by the way. (Still can’t figure out commenting on your blog from the iPad, but I am reading eagerly.)

  3. I JUST started drinking coffee again, right around the 3rd tri mark. Have faith! In the meantime, you make me want to trade in my coffee for some southern-style ice tea. With a LOT of sugar.

    I for one hope that both there are no raging assholes in the vicinity of your birth AND that it goes your way this time.

  4. Are there really books about raising siblings?

    • There are books about every damn thing, as near as I can tell. I have heard some good things about “Siblings Without Rivalry,” but the truth is that I hate advice books. I guess I need to face that.

  5. Hmm, I have no suggestions for adult books per se, but if the public library has “Where Did That Baby Come From” it can’t be beat. A sample:

    “Where did that baby come from
    And can we take it back?
    It wails and squeaks.
    Its diaper leaks.
    It’s an insomniac.”

    I will also say that I was surprised – even though people had told me about this – that Bug was angry/hitting/unpleasant not towards the baby, but towards the parents. Apparently this is common, and better than whacking the baby, but still endlessly annoying.

    I wore a huge and extremely ugly brown coat through two pregnancies in the Extremely Frozen North. (Garage sale, $4, worth every penny.) I think I gave it away, or else I would mail it. 🙂

    As for the doctor, clearly operating on a different wavelength. Possibly AM.

  6. I wish like hell they could make tea up here, and I’m FROM up here. -sigh-
    No book suggestions, but suggestion to find some and use them! My friend and mom-of-three was just telling me over the weekend how it helped her to read the older kids books and talk a ton about what it means to be a big sibling. They were both ready for the new baby, had an idea that hitting it would not fly, and were excited to take on their new roles. If you find any good ones that you’d recommend, I’d love to hear them!

  7. Excellent collection of wonderful and horrible things. I chortled and condoled a lot…and yet find I have nothing substantive to say.

    Except that…YES, fellow commenter, THERE ARE SHITLOADS AND SHITLOADS OF BOOKS ABOUT HOW TO DEAL WITH SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS, and…don’t buy them, man. You’ll get two that look good, and they’ll totally contradict each other, and both will undermine your confidence, and you’ll panic over the damage already done… I know, this is my hobby horse and I should get it out of your living room, because you don’t have space for it, and if you’re asking for books it’s because you want some damn books, but I’ve gotten a million miles more mileage out of talking to people whose parenting I actually trust.

    Finally, I too intend to eat when I am hungry!

    • No, no, stay in my living room! This is exactly the reminder I need that I loathe advice books, especially parenting ones. Sigh. I guess I am just going to have to figure this out myself. And frantically call you for advice. How big a stuffed snake is optimal for installing a sense of fear sufficient to encourage a a submissive temperament, for example?

  8. Glumbunny’s comment touched a nerve with me because I wish SO MUCH I had not read all those bloody parenting books (especially the damn babywhisperer) while pregnant because I think maybe then I would not have freaked out so much in E’s first few months. My assvice would be to google your topic questions on Ask Moxie and then read all the comments as her group of readers is by far the nicest, most sensible range of parents I’ve seen on the internet and they’ve usually experienced everything you can imagine.

    I also think getting some books on being a big sibling is probably not a bad idea and would love to hear if you find some good ones.

    Mostly I just love reading your updates. I’ve had a number of friends (bloggers and IRL) who have struggled and struggled with trying for a 2.0, and it’s been giving me insane anxiety about going back to the clinic this fall. So to have a friend have her first FET work so well has been incredibly reassuring. Please keep posting pregnancy posts.


    • …right. I had kind of suppressed the memory of how enraging those books are. But you are correct. And ask moxie is a great idea (though I couldn’t even stand that when it came to sleep).

  9. Here is my comment saying what a terrible blogger I’ve been and how self-absorbed and out of it I am during such an exciting time for you. I’m sorry I haven’t been commenting, but I’m so thrilled for you! I’m glad this pregnancy is different in some important ways. Sorry you can’t drink coffee. I started up around 20 weeks or so and it does make the mornings easier. I couldn’t stop eating in my first trimester either. About two hours after dinner I had peanut butter toast and usually a veggie hot dog with bun that had 23g of protein. It started to become a legitimate financial burden (my appetite). We’re talking $50/month in artisan fake meats. But it was the only way I could last more than a couple hours into the night without waking up.

  10. How did I miss this post? Anyhoo, I believe you about the movement. I felt LG in that fluttery way by 13 weeks and Tiny Boy by 10 (and frankly, I knew he was THERE from implantation. Weird thing.)

  11. I could not agree more about Heinz ketchup and iced tea, and I am not pregnant, so I’m pretty sure that your correctness is not just a weird manifestation of hormones.

    Regarding the doctor, have you told her outright that you were traumatized by her bitchy predecessor? You might feel better if you laid it all out for her. Some people are not good at reading subtext.

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