TMI Warning: this post will talk about poo.

So my last blog post was pretty heavy, huh? Yeah, let’s try not to do that again for a while. Here’s what I’ve been getting up to when I wasn’t receiving bad news:

I had another morphology scan, during which Baby Diva once again refused to show us her face (her hand was in front of it again), so we still have no 3D photos. This time, however, she was well-positioned enough that the doctor could see her brain and heart etc. clearly, so we don’t have to go back. I was surprised to see her move without always feeling it; her movements are becoming smaller now that she has less space (and she has turned head down), but I thought I’d feel them anyway. Nobody has told me to count kicks yet (I don’t think they do it over here, you just take note during the day of whether you’ve felt them or not and if not, try to get her to react), but if you are, this might be worth bearing in mind so you don’t go mega-paranoid when you haven’t felt your baby move in over an hour.

The doctor told us she was 2.1kg and would probably be around 3.5 or 3.6kg at birth. The average here in Belgium is around 3.2, so she’s going to be a nice big baby, but not too big. My GP told me that between 3 and 4kg is ideal, because smaller babies have too much room to move, and sometimes present their shoulder first, making childbirth more difficult than with a slightly heavier baby. Also, since I’m probably going to be using a birthing stool, the heavier she is, the more gravity will help pull her out – unless she’s too big, in which case the size of her head will cancel out that factor.

3.5kg is good, I think.

That night we also had a gynocology appointment, with a quick scan there, too. Baby Diva (I’m going to keep calling her this, I think it suits her perfectly) had her head towards the bottom left with her head thrown back right up against the wall of the uterus, and one foot pushed up near her mouth. We couldn’t tell, but she may have been sucking her toe. The only creatures I’ve ever seen appear comfortable in such a position are cats.

Then she moved suddenly, kicking herself in the face as she did so, and I said “Aww, she takes after me!”.

Jokes aside, I hope Baby Diva doesn’t take after me too much, at least not in the Extraordinarily Clumsy department. Or in the Titanic Nose department, but that’s another matter.

Now, for the sake of warning any potential future mothers, I’m going to go into some of the grosser symptoms I’ve been getting recently, so consider this an official TMI warning:

I’ve been constipated. And this isn’t the usual, not-been-for-a-poo-in-3-days-but-otherwise-fine constipated (which was the only kind I really knew before… I eat a lot of fruit, ok?). This was baby-sitting-on-my-intestines constipation, complete with the kind of doubled-over-in-pain trapped gas that made me wonder if I was having a contraction or if I’d managed to get appendicitis. This has been accompanied by internal hemerroids (don’t say I didn’t warn you!) which aren’t exactly painful, but do tend to induce a small panic attack the first time you see the blood on the paper and think you’re having a miscarriage (if this happens to you, calm down and check where you’re bleeding from).

A quick search on the Internet confirmed that I am far from being the only pregnant woman with these symptoms. My gynocologist has given me meds, including a laxative which I took for a week, but since you’re not supposed to take it for a long period of time (in case your body gets used to it), I’ve stopped and have been using the following strategies to manage without:

  • Eat lots of oil. I know this goes against everything women are taught and you may be trying not to put on too much weight, but honestly, olive oil or another type of vegetable oil works wonders. A midwife advised me to take one tablespoon every morning, but if you can’t do that, just mix it in with whatever you’re eating at lunch. If you’re worried about your weight, try avoiding sugar.
  • Drink lots of water. More than you think you need. And by water, I mean water. Not soda, not tea (tea goes straight through you and blocks iron absorption), just water. I fill up a 1.5L bottle and try to drink it all by the end of the day. It helps if you have to carry it around in your bag because in the end you get so sick of it weighing you down that you just drink it even if you’re not thirsty.
  • Eat lots of vegetables and fruit. Some of these may make you gassy, but in the long run it’ll help.
  • Wheat bran is supposed to be a good natural laxative you can add to smoothies, milkshakes, yoghurt and cereal – without it giving you gas. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve heard people sing its praises enough that I feel comfortable recommending it here.
  • Tell your doctor. Obviously. They’ll probably give you something to help.

Enough about my bowel movements, though, let’s talk about some of the slightly less gross symptoms I’ve been getting:

  • Insomnia. This is the most annoying one because I’m already a zombie during the day without it, but now my body clock seems to have gone on holiday somewhere several time zones away, and the only time I ever feel wide awake is when I’m trying not to be. At first I tried to correct this by forcing myself to get up earlier, but my sister-in-law (after seeing me arrive at her’s with eye bags that extended halfway down my cheeks) advised me to just sleep whenever I wanted, even during the day, because it’s not like I have a job anyway so why not make the most of it? (She’s not wrong.) She also gave me her breastfeeding pillow, which has helped quite a lot, so if you’re suffering from insomnia, consider getting one.
  • Morning sickness. It has returned… and this time, it lives up to its name. It’s particularly bad when I haven’t sleep well (or at all), and tends to get better the more I sleep.
  • Reduced appetite. This is weird, because it happens even when I’m not nauseous. I know I should be eating more, but my stomach capacity is so small that even when I’m starving, I can only finish half of my plate. I get hungry more often, though, so I’ve had to fraction my meals. If I try to force myself to eat more, I end up with…
  • Acid reflux. I’m on my second bottle of syrup for this. I try to only take it before bed time (which is when I need it most), and the rest of time I try to avoid eating stuff that’s very acidic, or – on the contrary – quite basic, like milk. Yoghurt is fine, in moderate quantities and especially with other foods like cereal. But I have a very mild form of lactose intolerance anyway (I have trouble digesting pure milk), so this might just be me.
  • Too many feels. And by that I mean I’ve been crying over nothing, which may not seem that unusual for me, but recently it really has been over nothing at all, rather than over some tiny molehill that I’ve mentally turned into a mountain. I’ll just burst into tears all of a sudden and my boyfriend will look at me and say “what’s wrong?” and I’ll sob back, “I don’t knooow!”. He’s gotten used to it surprisingly fast.
  • Nesting. Autumn has more or less arrived here, and reduced temperatures combined with the miracle of compression stockings (which yes, I’m still wearing) have given me some of my energy back. But not all. By far not all. And since I’m eating every 2 to 3 hours or so, there’s a lot of time during the day when I have to remain sitting or standing upright so as to avoid the aforementioned acid reflux. This translates into me spending ridiculous amounts of time crochet-ing mohair scarves (and one amigurumi dog) from all my leftover wool (I have promised my boyfriend not to buy any more wool until I’ve used up all the wool I have. This is harder than it sounds). At least I won’t have to worry about christmas presents this year.
  • And the award for the weirdest pregnancy symptom this trimester goes to… *drumroll* …
    SUDDENLY, HANGNAILS!
    I swear, I don’t even know how it happened but one morning I woke up with hangnails on nearly all my fingers. Some had two. And they kept catching on everything, so I tried cutting some of them off but it was really painful, so I had to put sticking plasters on those ones. Crochet-ing with mohair that day was horrible, which is why I did the amigurumi instead. Luckily I’d ordered a bunch of base vegetable oils including calendula and wheat germ oils, so when they arrived I applied them until the hangnails magically disappeared. Vitamine E deficiency? Is Baby Diva treating herself to a manicure in utero? We may never know…
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