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.

1 comment:

Qtpies7 said...

HAHA! Thats awesome!
I've been pregnant 9 times and never had to do a 24 hour pee test! I'd be steamed! Even with two risky preterm labor pregnancies I've never had to do it.
I can say that I've done way more puking than I had put in my body, its insane! How can you puke 24 times when you haven't eaten or drank anything for 3 days? HOW???? That would explain the 22lb weight loss, the ONLY upside to the puking.

But wait, you haven't found the BEST part of pregnancy yet! All that puking, all that "sharing your food" to grow another human, all that weird body stuff, its just the tip of the iceberg. It destroys your teeth! Down the road you will start having tooth problems. The acid from vomit eats away at the enamal, the calcium is stripped away to feed the parasite growing in your belly. They are weakened, and there's not much you can do about it. (I couldn't have a dentist in my mouth when I was pregnant because I would puke if something went in my mouth, including a toothbrush, so I puked a LOT)