August 7, 2012

Symptom roundup and how I've coped

During my pregnancy, I have spent a lot of moments feeling overcome by... the moments (both happy and sad). Above I'm crying just a little while Chris photographs me with a postcard I was sending to my parents during my birthday breakfast. We were in an Italian cafe in San Diego and I was thinking about how special it was to be someplace new for a birthday. And how special it was to be pregnant (while wanting to be pregnant) on my birthday. You can see the redness in my face. The latte was incidentally the last (delicious) coffee I had during my first trimester. I finished the final foamy sip and felt a wave of dizziness that led me to abstain from caffeine for a few months. Not pictured is the delicious cannoli, complete with lit birthday candle.

I posted earlier about how this pregnancy has been relatively easy going. While that is certainly the case, that doesn't mean I have been completely symptom-less. Some things I didn't expect while expecting cropped up along the way.

Dizziness: Around week 6 or so, I noticed that I would have dizzy spells, especially in the morning. I cut coffee out completely since a lot of my morning routine seemed to correspond with coffee. I also was instructed by my midwife to really up my protein intake. I ate eggs and/or greek yogurt every day to ensure I was getting enough protein to help my body cope with the hormonal changes occurring. Eventually I realized the iron in my prenatal was exacerbating my issues so I switched to one without iron for a little while (focusing on iron rich foods, instead).

Dizziness that evolved into nausea: I really only had this a few times and thankfully the nausea was never productive (if you know what I mean). I coped by never allowing my stomach to bottom out in terms of hunger. I also took a b6 supplement in addition to my prenatal. I also kept Luna Bars and Preggy Pop Drops (in sour formula) with me at all times. On some evenings, I took half a Unisom as a preventative measure. In Canada, there is a prescription that combines the active ingredient of Unisom (regular, not extra strength or whatever) with B6. It is said to really help stave off nausea.

Indigestion: One of my earliest symptoms involved heartburn and indigestion. Zantac and I became best buds (my midwife ok'd 150mg 2/daily but I mostly stuck with 75mg once or twice daily).

Cravings: My first vivid craving was for broccoli rabe with garlic and lemon. Soon after I was obsessed with eating fresh green peppers like apples (ala the Iron Chef). I wanted all the citrus fruits too. I ate plenty of pita chips with hummous. I also craved regular chips and milkshakes (not together). Pickles tasted more amazing than ever. So did lemons and limes (which I ate halved and plain). Intense tastes were my favorites so Chris helped me cope by making sour and vinegary slaws of mango and jicima. On one day when I was sure I would not recover from feeling crappy in the morning, I was cured with a Station Street hot dog and some Target counter popcorn.

Increased hunger: My appetite was insane during the first trimester. I was ravenous especially on the days when I went to the gym. I could eat more than ever before and became hungry soon after eating. It has slowed down but there are still days when I seem to be insatiable. Early on, I coped by keeping plenty of healthful snacks around (baby carrots, green pepper slices, oranges and eventually peaches, watermelon, berries, and other in-season fruits) but as evidenced by my cravings I wasn't always a healthy snacker.

Sense and sensitivity: Some of the best and worst parts of pregnancy have been my heightened sensitivities with regard to smells, touches, and emotions. Things that smell good smell AMAZING. And things that smell bad make me want to DIE. Hugs from loved ones feel so nice and on my happier, sappy days I feel more intensely in love with my partner than I ever thought imaginable. I am more heat sensitive than usual. I am definitely more emotionally sensitive than usual. There seem to be peaks and valleys and on the lower days, I cry more easily. But I have long been a sufferer from "too many feelings," as Robina once put it, so I don't find the emotions to be too surprising.

Round ligament stretching: I've felt some adjustment pains that are normal if not (often incredibly) uncomfortable. Some days have been worse than others. Some weeks have been worse than others. And in my second trimester I have had to slow down on going to the gym because of sciatic nerve pain in my lower half. I am doing stretches and taking walks to compensate but hopefully I'll be back to the gym soon, at least for low impact cardio.

I have a few other unremarkable and/or tmi symptoms that I will spare from this archive. But overall I am lucky that things have gone so well, so far.

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