…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.
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.