Friday, August 25

"It has to be official, and it has to be urine!"

Since starting this blog some 16 weeks ago, I have, on several occasions, been sorely tempted to point out some of the more, uh, visceral aspects of pregnancy. The need to do this stems not from an attempt to gross out my readership but rather as a way of showing (much as Playboy Playmates Vicky Iovine and Jenny McCarthy have done before me) what a truly embarrasing and, frankly, disgusting process pregnancy really is. Alas, however, I am not a Playboy centerfold, creating in me a sense of modesty and propriety that prevents me from pulling back the curtain on such details.

Until today.

I have been required, for the last 24 hours, to collect all of my urine for analysis. And when I say all of my urine, I mean every drop. For 24 hours. This is the final indignity. I will suffer in silence NO MORE! So here it is: "Tracy's explicit list of what to expect when you're expecting that nobody will lead you to expect right up until the time when you feel like an absolute freak of nature and break down and tell your Dr who will inevitably tell you that it is 'perfectly normal' except that nobody ever told you about it so how could it be 'perfectly normal?'"

Basically, it all comes down to bodily fluids. Now, most people know that pregnant women have to pee a lot, and some people even know that a pregnant woman's blood volume increases by 50% during the course of her pregnancy (thus the "pregnant glow"). What nobody mentions, though, is that this increase in blood and urine is only a small part of a massive surge in every kind of fluid your body is capable of producing. What I have learned (no thanks to all of those pregnancy books) is that your life becomes ruled by the need for all of these fluids to escape your body in one way or another. Here are the top ten offenders:

1) PEE: How is it possible to produce more pee than the liquid you actually intake? A scientific mystery? I'm not sure. What I do know is that if you are ever in line for a bathroom and a pregnant woman is behind you, let her go first! I guarantee she has to pee worse than you.

2) BLOOD: I'm just going to hypothesize here that the reason pregnant women become so clumsy is due to a subconscious need on their body's part to wound itself to let out some of that blood. 50% more blood, people. That's nearly 4 extra pounds of blood in the average woman. For some women, the blood begins to leak out of the nose, although in my case it chooses to ooze out of my gums. Every time I brush my teeth I look like something out of a horror movie--the crazy pregnant woman who bites the heads off bunnies or something. Gross.

3) VOMIT: Enough said.

4) DROOL: Here's where we get into the weird stuff. Nobody ever told me that pregnancy would cause me to become a drooling idiot. Literally. Somewhere in my first trimester I began drooling so badly during my sleep that I had to put a layer of towels on my pillow. I've given up on the towels now and have just come to the conclusion that when my pregnancy is over my pillow is just going to have to be removed to a biohazard facility. Sleeping "on the wet spot" has taken on a whole different meaning for me.

5) SNOT: Pregnancy and hay fever. Not a good combination. During one week in my second trimester, the pollen count soared in Reno, and my allergies took off. Not just any allergies, though. Bionic allergies. The snot just would not stop. I didn't know that a human being could produce so much frikkin' snot. I snotted so hard that the eustachian tube in my ear got thrown out of whack and I couldn't hear anything out of it for a week while the nasal steroids I was prescribed took effect. Good times.

6) TEARS: Most books claim that pregnant women become emotional due to fluctuating hormones. I believe it is the pregnant body's way of releasing more fluid in the form of tears (and let's not forget snot). We just need to cry. At anything. I calculated that I need to have a good cry at least once every two weeks. As long as I give myself an outlet (a sad movie, looking at pictures of abandoned puppies, watching the latest presidential press conference...whatever), I can prevent sudden outbursts...kind of like controlled burning during fire season.

7) ACID: There's nothing like the flavor of stomach acid working it's way up your throat and out of your mouth in the middle of the night...mmm, MMM!

8) SWEAT: Severe hormone fluctuations can cause night sweats. Did you know that a pregnant woman produces 150 times the estrogen during her pregnancy than a non-pregnant woman will produce during a lifetime? Let's just say that the mattress pad may have to be removed to the same biohazard container as the pillow.

9) MILK: I haven't experienced any breast leakage yet, but trust me, when I do you'll hear the screaming.

10) WATER: Last but not least is the one fluid that your body actually wants to retain. Again, how can it retain so much water when you're peeing all the time? Go figure. Fluid retention, though, not only causes the classic symptom of swollen feet. I have carpal tunnel syndrome. CARPAL TUNNEL! Just from being pregnant! Do I scan groceries? NO. Do I do data entry? NO. Do I perform hand jobs for money? NO. NO! NO!! I should not have carpal tunnel! Grrr....

Sorry to digress, back to my main point...

The last 24 hours have been absurd. I keep thinking that I must be the butt of some evil OB/GYN hidden camera experiment to see how far a Dr can go to humiliate a patient. You're probably wondering why and how I had to collect all of my urine for 24 hours. Let's start with the why. Ever had to pee in one of those little plastic cups for the Dr or a random drug test? Well, that only measures what's in a little bit of your pee at a specific time. With the 24 hour test they can analyze what's in all of your pee for a whole day. It's more thorough or some bullshit like that. Then there's the how. This is where it gets good.

1) Go to lab and procure Urine Containment Unit (figure 1), which must be kept in your refrigerator next to your produce and Gatorade.

2) Every time you must urinate (that is, every half hour or so), collect all urine in Urine Collection Apparatus (figure 2).

3) Transfer urine from the UCA to the UCU.

4) If you must leave home during 24 hour period, make sure to pack at least 2 Urine Transport Devices (figure 3) in your bag so as not to lose a single drop.

5) When, at the 20th hour, at 3:30am, you discover that you have completely filled your 3 liter UCU, say fuck it, dump the rest of your urine down the sink, and go to bed.

You may think I'm kidding, but I'm really, really not. Have you ever carried around 2 mason jars of your own pee in your tote bag? It's, um, awkward. So how were your last 24 hours?

P.S. For those of you who've read this far, the quote from the title is from last night's episode of The Office which was all about peeing in cups. It seemed apropos.

Tuesday, August 22

Tight and Thick

These words, which sound disturbingly like the title of a porno, are the exact words that the Dr used while probing my cervix today. "Tight and thick." In other words, 0% effaced, 0 cm dilated. In other words, the baby ain't comin' out any time soon. While I applaud the success of SuperCervix at holding in my giant baby, I must confess, I am ready for her to make an appearance. Yes, I know I have 4 weeks to go before my due date and that by any reasonable person's calculations I have no right to start whining just yet, but please also keep in mind that Matilda is currently nearing 7.5 pounds, and that's a lot of baby to be carrying around for the next 4 weeks. I don't think I'm out of line to hope that she might be just a tad bit premature.

Anyways, today's entry was meant to be a belly update, but, to be honest, I tire of keeping track of the numbers. We're past that now. Let's just say I'm fat and the monster's photographic evidence. Oh, and I'll let you know if my status changes from "tight and thick."

Thursday, August 10

I For One Welcome Our New Giant Overlord

Kneel before My giant progeny, or be consumed and utterly destroyed.

Attack of the Nine-and-a-Half Pound Baby

I've been saying it for months...This baby is BIG! I'm huge and Twitch packs way too strong of a punch to be a puny baby. No, no, everyone just feel that way because you're tired and sensitive and your belly feels like it's been toting around a tiny kung fu master for too long. Besides, you're not so big! (Yeah, right.) We found out the truth this week, though, because due to my non-existent pre-eclampsia (see here), the Dr felt that I should have another ultrasound to check up on Twitch because hypertension can lead to low birth weight.

So my appointment this week started with the ultrasound technician drenching me in goop, pressing in the magic wand, and taking measurements of the baby's head, waist, arm bones, leg bones, and whatever else she could catch. She was very excited about getting some clear shots that, as she informed us, would lead to some "very accurate predictions." Then she plugged all the measurements into the machine, and...bleep, whir, grind...the machine popped out the baby's weight. SIX POUNDS FIVE OUNCES!!! Yikes! I'm growing a sumo wrestler! Mind you, I still have 6 weeks left to go, so at the average growth rate of half a pound per week, Twitch will likely be NINE AND A HALF POUNDS by her due date!

I told you so.

After my Drs appointment I made a beeline straight to Starbucks and indulged in a coffee. I am no longer worried about stunting the baby's growth with caffeine. She could do with a little stunting, and I could do with a little caffeine. I'm going to need that extra energy if they expect me to push out a NINE-AND-A-HALF POUND baby. Lord have mercy.

So here's the belly update for this week:

Total weight gain since conception: 16 pounds
Weight of baby: 6 pounds, 5 ounces
(expected average weight: 4.75 pounds)
Fundal height: 35 cm
Belly circumference: 47 inches
Centimeters dilated: 0

Twitch at 35 weeks. Her face is partially obscured by her umbilical cord,
which I'm pretty sure she's chewing on. Mmmm...meat.

Hello, My Name Is...

Okay, so it took us a little longer to decide on a name than we'd hoped, but we've been using this one for about 3 weeks now, and it feels like it's gonna stick. So, I'd like to introduce you all to...

Matilda Jean

(Caballero or Sangster...we're still not sure on that point). Matilda 'cause we like it, and Jean after my sainted grandmother Betty Jean. You may call her Tilda; you may call her Tildy; you may call her MJ if you'd like; you can even continue to call her "Twitch" (I still do); just don't call her Mattie (blech!).

The lovely Matilda, age 34 weeks, giving us all a thumbs up.
"Everything's fine in here...send more cookies!"

Tuesday, August 8

Eight Eight

Today is our three-year anniversary. The traditional gift for the third year is leather, which of course begs for some sort of kinky anniversary gift like whips or buttless chaps or the leather pants that Ian wanted so badly. Neither of us is feeling particularly sexy at the moment, though, so we both leaned more towards the practical. Ian got a belt and a tablet holder/portfolio thingy to carry his resumes in. I figured maybe the reason he's not getting asked for more interviews is because he lacks this vital piece of equipment. Now that he has a leather resume holder, the calls should come flooding in. I got a new pair of shoes, quite possibly the nicest thing anyone's ever gotten for me considering I've been wearing nothing but my Birkenstocks for the past three months. Now I have two pairs of shoes that fit...bliss!

At left is our anniversary portrait. Fetching, no? Ian wants to make it very clear that there is some sort of glare obscuring the top of his head and that he has not gone for a Jean Luc Picard look. I would like to point out that my nose is not so bulbous. But that's what you get when you spend $3 in the photo booth at the mall to record these special moments. Happy anniversary to us!

Thursday, August 3

This Sucks.

So I haven't been able to post for a while now because Ian and I have been working like beasts trying to pack and move these past two weeks, leaving our lives in a blog-free chaos. Actually, we still don't have our internet access back up (thanks, Earthlink), and I am currently creating this blog entry on Ian's laptop in a Starbucks where we are paying exhorbitant wireless fees for the pleasure of checking our e-mail. I figured as long as we were paying for an hour I was going to get my money's worth and post an entry as well.

It is said that the three most stressful things in life are:

A death/birth in the family
Losing/finding a job

...and we are doing all three at one time. Joy. Needless to say, we are both emotional, mental, and physical wrecks right now. Ian has been going to bed at 11:00 (a bedtime ridiculously early for my nocturnal husband) the past few nights if that gives you any idea about how utterly exhausted we are. We are both covered in bruises and feel like various extremities are just about ready to fall right off of our bodies. Good times. Our new house, though, is pretty cool. We are adjusting to the conveniences that a newer house has to offer, like central air (YAY!), lots of electrical sockets, and a dishwasher! This is the first time I have ever rented a house built after 1950, so all of these things are new and exciting to me.

Anyways, even though I'm not quite Little Mary Pregnant Sunshine at the moment, I still needed to post a blog because I never got to post my belly update from my Drs appointment last week. So, for your statistical edification:

Total weight gain since conception: 15 pounds
Approximate baby weight: 4 pounds
Fundal height: 33 centimeters
Belly circumference: ? (I packed my measuring tape)

This picture was taken the day we moved out...goodbye old house! I guess from now on I will have to find a new bush to pose in front of.