Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nesting, Part II. Now with asbestos!







As you might've guessed, a large part of the nesting dilemma has been solved. We'll probably take possession of the house sometime next month, and then I will steam-clean and tear down the wallpaper and paint things and put down a rug in the living room and basically attempt to get all of my pent-up nesting out of the way.

Things I like about my nest:

1. Nest has a giant kitchen. I AM GOING TO BAKE EVERYTHING.

2. Nest has a gorgeous brick fireplace with built-in bookshelves. I GET TO LIGHT THINGS ON FIRE.

3. Nest has a garage-door opener that actually functions. I GET TO PARK MY CAR INDOORS.


5. The living area has asbestos tile. JUST LIKE HOME!* <3

Planned improvements to my nest:

1. The house currently has horrible wallpaper. I hate wallpaper, and I especially hate horrible wallpaper. I am going to paint the living area taupe, Paxton's room is going to light green and turquoise, and the (now Pepto-Bismol pink) bathroom is going to be gray-blue. I haven't decided about the master and guest bedrooms yet.

2. The house does not have carpet in the living area. I'm buying an area rug, ASAP.

3. The fence is only four feet high and my dog has been known to scale six-foot barriers without much of a problem. We're going to get a $170 install-your-own-electric-fence kit and put it in the backyard to deter Angua from going after squirrels/other dogs/the mailman/meter readers.

4. The bathroom currently has a lot of hand-holds and other "safety" things installed, which reminds me of a bathroom in a nursing home. Tris says we can take them out after I have the baby, but I am quick to point out that I am pregnant, not disabled, and I am perfectly capable of taking a shower without breaking a hip.

5. This one is for far, far in the future, but I'd like to replace the bathroom countertop. The current sink is made of white marble with black swirls, except the swirls are more like swipes and they're all on one side. It looks like someone rubbed dirt into the sink and it's messing with my slight case of OCD.

*A note on asbestos tile...

This house is part of the same neighborhood as the house I grew up in (where my parents still live). All the houses were constructed sometime around 1955 and you can tell that the architect had some running themes, most notably a certain pattern of black-brown asbestos tile (which was a perfectly good building material back in the day before they figured out that asbestos kills people).

I tease my parents about this, because there was a strip of the original tile in my bedroom growing up, although the majority of the tile had been replaced with laminate. Obviously, being allowed to crawl around on asbestos is the reason I grew up to be a total nutbar. Never mind that (as my father often reminds me), I'd have to grind up the tile and snort it for it to have any effect...

My parents are currently in the process of taking up the original tile in their home office, which is beginning to crumble. The tile in the master bedroom remains.

I figure that, if I lived on asbestos tile for 20+ years and made it out okay, there's no reason to freak out and refuse Paxton the same luxury. Long live the asbestos!

Friday, December 17, 2010



The word "nesting" conjures up lovely images of suburban housewives painting nurseries while their husbands assemble baby furniture. (Yes, special baby furniture exists. I know.)

It's been driving me up a wall.

At just shy of 20 weeks, the treasured halfway point of pregnancy, I feel as though I should have some furniture by now, or I should've at least painted a couple walls or something. Instead, our belongings are rapidly disappearing into storage totes and trash bags bound for the Salvation Army while Angua does her best Helper Dog impression. I've been fishing wet, drippy postcards from the clerk of courts out of the snow-filled mailbox, notifying us of our impeding eviction.

You see, we stopped paying the mortgage in January of 2009, since my husband's repeated calls to the mortgage company were met with, "we can't help you until you're three months behind". What the mortgage company neglected to tell us was that they couldn't help us even after we were three months behind, and neither could HUD, credit counseling, the Legal Aid Society, or the six different banks we went to in a desperate attempt to refinance. The obvious plan was to ride out the foreclosure and try to save some money before we had to start paying rent, but when you live in a money-pit that eats up all of your income with its outrageous utility bills... you see where I'm going. In any case, the house we're currently in goes up for county auction on January 3rd, and after that the bank can pretty much kick us out whenever they want to.

We are fairly lucky in that we have someplace to go (or we will, eventually) and that we can take our cats, dog and the guinea pigs. We shouldn't have to buy any new appliances, and we won't have to cram ourselves into a tiny, two-bedroom duplex in the low-rent part of town. We are, in fact, getting a new house in a nice neighborhood... something that many, many people can't do after foreclosure. We're lucky. I know we're lucky.

I'm a worrier--it comes with the neuroses. I can solve any problem by worrying away at it. I make great, elaborate plans so that I can cope with things. I'm sure you can see the cracks in my facade of sanity right now, seeing as:

1. I'm pregnant and can't just start popping Xanax until everything goes away.
2. I have no idea exactly where we're moving to or when.
3. I have absolutely no control over both the above.

Like I said, it's driving me up a wall. I feel moderately better at the moment, since I brought up nursery colors with my husband on his lunch break. Green and blue seem like good paint colors, and he wants to get Mario stickers and put them on the wall. I could give two shits about the Mario stickers, honestly, but if it make him happy, I can live with Mario stickers. The important thing is that I have now narrowed my paint chip selection down from a million paint chips to something like... maybe 200 paint chips. I can handle 200 paint chips.

Neurotic, folks. Completely neurotic, in a charming sort of way.

So, currently, the nesting instinct is my least favorite pregnancy symptom. I feel completely unprepared and I want to just buy things and paint things and arrange things in alphabetical order. Is that too much to ask for?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Paxton Alexander.


After weeks of ranting, whining and moaning about how I wanted a girl and if it was a boy I'd be so fucking disappointed, the day of our anatomy ultrasound finally came.

It's a boy, of course.

I did manage to control my complete and total psychological breakdown until about 10 PM, when my husband had to pick my sniffly ass up off the bedroom floor and assure me that people have male children all the time and it is not, in fact, the end of the world. However, this does mean that I only get one more shot at having a female child--and, as I've warned my family over and over again in the past few days, if genetics sees fit to "bless" me with two boys, I'm adopting a foreign import with the correct anatomical bits.

The boy presented another problem--my husband suddenly decided that the name he'd been pushing at me for almost five months was no longer an option. I'd tried explaining that people would naturally assume "Torsten" was a combination of the names "Tori" and "Tristan", but he'd ignored me. Upon finding out that everyone in the known world does, in fact, assume that Torsten is a combination of Tori and Tristan, he threw a small fit and we went about trying to find a new name.

We've finally decided on Paxton Alexander, which is about as far away from the original names (one first, two middle) we had chosen as you can possibly get. It's very satisfying, though, and I like saying it because I feel as though it's got a nice ring to it, what with the two "x"s and all.

My dad likes it because of this. Go figure.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Breastfeeding, and why I'm not doing it.

Warning: this entry serves no purpose other than to let me bitch about how I'm not breastfeeding. I've got people coming at me from all angles about this decision and I'm a little tired of putting up with it.

In case you haven't figured it out from the many uses of the "i am completely neurotic" tag, I am completely neurotic. You'd be hard-pressed to find something I don't have psychological hang-ups about.

I have a thing about my body. Actually, I have many things about my body. This is probably something I should still be in therapy for, but a) my anxiety issues trump my body issues, easily, any day of the week, and b) my therapist left/retired/got fired/abandoned her practice for some reason. With five and half months left with a rapidly expanding waistline everything and no Xanax, I am constantly adding new items to my laundry list of things I absolutely loathe about myself. I also don't particularly like being touched in certain ways, which I suspect has something to do with the previous bodily hang-ups. I could go on, but I don't wish to bore you.

Instead, dear friends, I present you with...

Reasons Why I Do Not Want a Drooly, Sucky, Wet Baby-Mouth Anywhere Near my Chest

1. Things that go into you are also the things that go into your breast milk. Most commonly, women who breastfeed should avoid alcohol. This is not a big deal. The big deal is the avoiding of the Effexor and the Xanax, two things which I am becoming increasingly obsessed with getting back to as soon as possible. Especially with the possibility of a screechy, needy baby to grate on my already fragile nerves.

2. Babies drool and their mouths are all wet and warm and nasty. I'm expected to put that a part of me inside that? No. No, no, no, no, no. I don't even really like French kissing all that much because of the (minimal) spit involved.

3. I had 36C boobs. I now have 38DD boobs. I'm not even producing milk yet and they're already too big. Where the hell am I supposed to start getting bras?

4. I found a stretch mark on one of my new DD boobs. I am so not okay with this, and they are not allowed to get bigger. My boobs were the only part of me that I actually liked and now they are ruined. They will not be ruined more... not if I have anything to say about it, which I obviously do, as...

5. ...they are my boobs and I get to decide what happens with them.

6. Once you start producing milk, it's a pain in the ass to stop the process. If I can just get a few shots right off the bat to stop producing it as soon as I start, it'll be so much easier for everyone. After all, they won't have to hear me bitch about my boobs anymore.

7. Formula is just as nutritious as breast milk and vaccines exist for a reason.

8. Yes, you release oxytocin when you breastfeed, but let's get real: it's the same hormone that gets released when you pet a dog. I'd much rather pet a dog than nurse a baby.

9. Three months after giving birth, I'll be back to being a full-time student. I do not want to deal with leaky boobs when I transfer to a new school and try to make friends. There is no easy way to tell someone you just met that they are leaking through their shirt.

10. Also dealing with the above: I do not want to sneak off to the restroom between classes with a noisy breast pump.

11. I don't want anything to do with a breast pump to begin with. They ones for everyday use are very expensive (hundreds of dollars), and I'd have no way of storing the milk at school anyway. Also, I am not a cow and I do not want to be milked like one.

12. My husband helped make the baby, he should also help to feed it. Seems like, by virtue of having a penis, he's allowed a free pass on the feeding since "I'm the mother and I should nurse". Nope. Sorry, I'm not buying any sex roles today, thanks.

13. Bodily fluids are gross.

I am currently not accepting efforts to change my already made-up mind at this point, thanks. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Freaking Vampires.

This is a photo of my arm. I suspect that your arm is NOT supposed to look like this 24+ hours after having blood drawn. One tiny vial of blood drawn. With a butterfly needle.

It's so gross. I discovered it after taking off my sweater this evening to shower and I can't stop looking at it.

It looks really yellow in the photo, but trust me, it's purple. Purple with red spots. It looks like I got stabbed a dozen times with a very tiny fork.

I suspected that the tech drawing my blood messed up yesterday, because a) it hurt going in, and b) it bruised up right away (but not as badly as it's bruised now). I suspect it must have bled more after I took the compression bandage off to go to bed, since it didn't look like this last night. That's impressive, because that bandage had been on for over five hours.

Of course, this happens after I have gotten SO GOOD at this whole monthly bloodletting game. I have been so, so good about it. I waltz in, ask for my butterfly needle, endure the two minutes of torture and walk out calmly instead of running out while clutching my purse and sobbing. I've been so good.

Then this happens, and now getting giant, ugly, painful bruises is all I'm going to think about next time I'm due for bloodwork.


Monday, November 29, 2010

27 Weeks To Go

Well, technically, right now, I have 23 weeks to go, but I've neglected making this entry for almost a month.

Here is the baby again. It now looks considerably more like a baby and less like a dinosaur, which I suppose is a good thing. I could also do without the cutesy text the ultrasound tech put on the image--I am not a cutesy person.

The good news here is that the NT measurement was 1.6 millimeters. The acceptable range is 2.2 millimeters to 3.something millimeters. My age alone (I guess I'm considered pretty young for this sort of thing) lowers the risk of chromosomal disorders significantly, to a factor of about 1 in 700. The results from the ultrasound and bloodwork (always with the bloodwork) skyrocketed those odds to 1/9000 for Down's Syndrome and 1/10000 for Trisomy 18. Those are good odds--I'll take them.

I need to get more blood drawn for an AFP on Tuesday to test for spina bifida and neural tube defects. Always with the bloodwork. I'm not going to have any blood left by the time I have this baby.

Yes, I know blood regenerates, I'm just a pansy. Hush.

My OB/GYN is probably going to yell at me again about my weight. I have managed to not gain any weight whatsoever. Of course, I look like a complete cow at the moment (a fat, pregnant cow) but the scale has, so far, refused to budge.

Here's my question: if I'm expected to eat healthy food and exercise, how am I supposed to gain weight? I don't exercise and I love junk food and restaurants, which is how I got fat to begin with. So now I'm supposed to eat vegetables and start taking walks and gain weight? I didn't think it worked that way.

Also, I'm still sitting on my ass all day. It's almost December, and this is Cleveland. If anyone thinks I'm going out for long walks in the freezing cold, they're wrong. Also, I hate vegetables. I have made concessions to this whole "pregnancy diet" thing by trying to eat bananas on a regular basis. My OB/GYN said that bananas are good because they don't contain a lot of sugar--I think bananas are the blandest fruit in the entire world and I don't particularly want to eat one everyday.

The whole "three meals a day" thing has always escaped me, except now I guess I'm supposed to be eating six meals a day. Three big meals, six small meals--what's the difference? You're eating the same amount of food, right? I've never been able to eat before 11:00 AM, which is when I try to eat the banana and have some tea or something to tide me over until around 1:00, when I start to scrounge around for lunch. If I force myself to eat in the morning, I feel completely sick for the rest of the day and don't eat anything at all, which I think is probably worse than my weird, off-kilter eating schedule. Dinner usually takes place anywhere from 6:30-9:00 at night and consists of meat and maybe some sort of excuse for a vegetable--usually a potato or sometimes broccoli. I like broccoli and potatoes, except my OB/GYN told me not to eat a lot of potatoes. Carrots are okay, too, but if it's not a potato or broccoli or a carrot, I'm probably not very interested in eating it.

I think my OB/GYN is just out to ruin my fun and my food and my entire life for nine months. I can't wait until this is over and she goes back to just being the woman who saved me from cancer instead of the woman who scares/harasses/coaxes me into eating vegetables and peeing in a cup each month.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

TMI Thursday

If you ask someone who has never been pregnant (and never thought about it) what happens to your body during pregnancy, their answer would go something like this... "Your stomach gets big and you puke a lot."

Oh, how I wish that was all that happened.

How I wish.

Movies leave out a lot of pregnancy symptoms. I'm not sure why, maybe because throwing up constantly is somehow a great running gag (get it? I'm funny). But the truth is that a lot of women don't spend their time running to the bathroom to hawk up breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Most of the time, when a pregnant woman runs to the bathroom, it's because she has to pee. Especially in the first trimester (which I am blessedly almost done with), pee is a big thing. You should never be out of sight of a bathroom, because you will need one as soon as it isn't available. Forget sleeping through the night... it's not uncommon for women to get up and pee two or three times.

Also? Pregnant women are full of shit, literally. Pregnancy will either make you constipated or give you diarrhea (but constipation is more common). Go to any online pregnancy community and you will find scores of women complaining about how they can't poop right. Add constipation into the mix with water retention, bloating, and gas--other common pregnancy symptoms that most people don't know about--and you've got a cranky, cranky lady.

The unending fatigue is my very favorite part of pregnancy. Considering that I had insomnia problems long before I got pregnant, I am no stranger to exhaustion, but I guess it's a real bummer for normal women who are used to working all day without feeling like they're dying of sleep madness. The best part is that pregnancy books and doctors will constantly hound you about exercise--have these people ever been pregnant? The last thing a pregnant woman wants to do after a day of school/work/housewifery is go hit the gym. She wants to take a goddamn nap.

Pregnant women have issues with food. These issues fall roughly into two categories: cravings and aversions. Most pregnant women don't actually want peanut butter with pickles, but it isn't unusual to get fixed on a particular food item. Remember my post about salty potatoes? The salty potato thing has actually passed, but only after I ate baked potatoes for dinner for like... a week.

Food aversions are more nasty. They come out of nowhere, make you sick and then you don't want to eat anything. The pregnant nose is more sensitive than the normal human nose (for some reason), and it's not unusual for food smells to make women sick. Last week, I made fried chicken for dinner, and the smell of the chicken made me gag. There was no way I could fathom eating it after that... I went to Wendy's and had a baked potato. With salt.

Since this is getting long, I'm just going to list some other symptoms no one thinks about: acne, excess saliva, round ligament pain, muscle soreness, poor circulation, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, headaches, insomnia, hot flashes.

Basically? You really don't want to be pregnant if you don't have to.

Monday, October 25, 2010

OT: British Men That I Find Very Attractive

Pregnancy hormones do weird things to your brain. For starters, the pregnant brain can shrink in size by up to 8% (luckily, it bounces back afterwards). It also makes you have some really crazy dreams.

The guy to the left is David Tennant, a Scottish actor whom I think is one of the most attractive men in the world. I'll admit that he's a little crazy-looking (I like that in a man), but what really gets me is his voice. Scottish burrs are undoubtedly the sexiest accents in the entire world and Tennant's got a voice that could move mountains.

David Tennant could move my mountain any day.

So, I had this dream last night and it was totally about David Tennant. WWIII had started, the Nazis were back because apparently Germany just figured that using the same tactics over might work this time, and apparently they had because Germany had taken over all of Europe. The Germans were somehow rounding up Americans and forcing them to go overseas as servants to reward certain Europeans... these people didn't even have to be Nazi supporters, they were just celebrities that the Nazis happened to like.

I somehow got wrapped up in this and ended up being given to David Tennant, which I could not bring myself to complain about. Sure, I'm a libertarian... but, y'know, give me freedom or give me death or just give me to David Tennant. I am totally cool with that last option.

It was all going so well. I cooked meals and did laundry and got to sleep on David Tennant's couch. Awesome! Hooray! He even got to keep the TARDIS from his run on Doctor Who in the basement and I got to see it. I was kind of hoping the dream would've progressed into some sort of sexy-time...

The Germans came back, took me away and told me they were very sorry for the misunderstanding and that I was free to go. They'd found out that I was actually a citizen of the U.K. so I couldn't actually be forced to serve celebrities. I tried telling them that I was totally cool with it... no luck.

Then I woke up.

To celebrate my crazy-ass dream, here's a list of my top five most attractive British men, all of whom are old enough to be my father but I don't care:

1. David Tennant (he can talk to me and make goofy faces all he wants... among other things)

2. Jason Statham (as long as takes me for rides in his BMW and promises not to shoot anyone)

3. Hugh Laurie (he can keep his accent, but he must act like Gregory House, M.D.)

4. Daniel Craig (in a tux, please)

5. Sean Connery (but only when he was younger since he's now old enough to be my father like three times over, and that's weird and/or creepy)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Salty Potatoes

I'm pregnant, and I want some effin' potatoes. I want my potatoes, and I want at least half of cup of salt on them. I do not care how the potatoes are prepared, I just want potatoes and I want them covered in salt. I also want them now.

I want french fries. I want chips. I want hash browns, pan-fried potatoes and potato pancakes. I want mashed potatoes. I want baked potatoes. I just want some sort of potato dish and I want it covered in salt.

You know what's awesome? Baked potatoes. Baked potatoes are effin' sweet. Especially when you put a couple tablespoons of butter on them, and then cover them in salt, pepper and sour cream... and then you mash it all up until it doesn't even look like a potato anymore. So good. So, so, so good. I want one right now, but I'd have to drive across town to the nearest Wendy's and that's expensive. Besides, Wendy's baked potatoes are not much good, for a really good baked potato you have to go a steakhouse. Except when you go to the steakhouse they want you to buy a steak before they give you the baked potato. I don't want the steak; I just want the potato.

Salty potatoes. I want them. Now.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I have an acne problem, and I'm freaking out.

I was the envy of every other girl in my high school (difficult--I went to an all-girls' high school) because of my distinct lack of acne. When I did have a stray hairline pimple or two, I immediately ran crying to my dermatologist. Of course, at the time I thought that I was absolutely disgusting because oh my god the offending zit was so noticeable I could just die.

Let me briefly explain the reason for my blessed, acne-free existence. I have a chronic skin condition called eczema. (If you want to get really technical, you can look at the subheadings of "atopic dermatitis", "seborrhoeic dermatitis", "discoid eczema" and "dyshidrosis".) Dyshidrosis is the especially gross one that insured I had very few friends in middle school. In any case, my skin was naturally so dry from the eczema that I had a hard time getting enough oil on my face to really contribute to acne. (You can have both acne and eczema, I was just lucky.)

Because of the eczema, I am extremely OCD about my skin. The second anything is uneven, red or itchy, it gets examined, picked at, and treated with eight different creams, lotions, oils and ointments. Which is why this acne thing is driving me bonkers.

The pregnancy hormones have helped clear up my eczema... but now I've got this acne problem. I've never really faced this before, and it is driving me to fits. I spend hours a day standing in front of the bathroom mirror, examining myself. Okay, maybe not hours. Maybe like, one hour. It's a lot of time, in any case, definitely more time than I should be spending on examining myself in the mirror.

I first noticed it creeping along my hairline. Then it appeared at my temples and crept down from my forehead to the bridge of my nose. It's trying to put the moves on my right cheek now.

I will not stand for this.

My first line of defense was washing with my pre-existing facial treatment, the Basis bar for sensitive skin. It's just a bar of moisturizing soap, really. This particular bar contains chamomile and aloe vera. Dermatologist-recommended, don'tcha know, even though my dermatologist has never mentioned it to me. It's good soap. I like it. It's good for taking off make-up, too.

Unfortunately, it was doing nothing to keep the acne off me.

In a crazy-hormone-induced fit, I fled to CVS a week and a half ago and scoured their aisles for a facial cleanser that does not contain salicylic acid (which pregnant women cannot use). The only thing I found was this Biore Steam Activated Cleanser. As far as I can tell, it does jack shit.

Really. I'd probably have better luck just using my Basis bar. This stuff seems to do absolutely nothing. I doubt that the steam from your shower actually "activates" anything and I don't feel particularly cleaner for having used it. Besides, it cost me eight dollars. My Basis bar only costs two.

Tonight, my husband made me buy this Boots Expert Anti-Blemish 2 in 1 Scrub and Mask after I sulked in the organic beauty aisle at Target for ten minutes. It has willowbark extract, which is a natural source of salicyclic acid, but you know what? I don't care. It's plant-based and it's so far down on the ingredient list that it probably won't matter, and in any case it's better than me clawing my face trying to get the zits off.

I just used it for the first time, and although it comes out creamy, it is a scrub. Apparently, it can be a mask if you want it to--I'll try that later--but the scrub is nice. I felt very clean and my skin felt even afterwards, which is more than I can say for the Biore (also, the Boots is cheaper). We'll see how this goes, but I have high hopes for Boots.

In the meantime, I'm just going to keep slathering myself in concealer. Slathering. Myself. In. Concealer.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Congratulations... you're having a dinosaur!

I dragged my husband to our first prenatal appointment on Tuesday. It was awesome (except for the terrifying part at the end).

Anyway, we showed up at the Clinic a little early to fill out paperwork. The only paperwork involved was this little survey that asked a) if I were being abused, b) if I was a drug addict, c) if I was an alcoholic, d) if I were dying of a genetic condition, etc. I swear to god, there was nothing positive on that survey. I did have to check off some of the things (being neurotic and at risk for diabetes--thanks, mom!) but some of the questions were just really... really?

It got better when we actually made our way into the exam room and the nurse started asking the standard pre-exam questions, which include doozies like, "do you currently have any personal safety issues?". That's Clinic-speak for "are you being abused?", and I was kind of nonplussed because my husband was sitting two feet away. Really, lady? If he was beating the crap out of me, would I tell you about it right now?

Then my doctor came in, and we got down and dirty right away. I don't think even five minutes went by before the ultrasound wand was up my junk.

And this is what we saw! THAT'S A BABY IN THERE, Y'ALL. Specifically, it's a nine-week-old baby. It's got a big head and it's got arms and legs. Well, I guess that technically it's got arms and legs... at this point they're more like tiny little stumps with joints. But it's definitely a baby, and it's got a heartbeat (175bpm, like an effin' hummingbird) and it wiggles. Seriously, guys, it wiggles.

I also think it looks kind of like a baby dinosaur. Actually, it does look considerably more baby-like than some early ultrasounds I've seen. I guess that's a good thing.

So... that was the fun part. We got a free bag of stuff... the stuff wasn't very interesting (flyers, parenting magazines, a coupon for free birthing classes, pamphlets on what to eat/not etc, boring stuff like that). The bag is pretty cool! It's one of those cheap reusable shopping bags, except it's Clinic blue and it's got "Fairview Hospital Birthing Center" written all big on it.

Look at me, excited about a cheap, free grocery bag. I can take it shopping and everyone will know I'm pregnant! Not that they couldn't figure it out by the size of my stomach and the contents of my cart...

Anyway. The terrifying part. I know you want to hear it. I got a flu shot and then I had to go over to the lab and get blood drawn...

...I do not do well with IV needles. Vaccine needles are fine (as evidenced by the flu shot above), tattoo needles are great, sewing needles are perfectly harmless. IV needles? Forget that shit, I'm out the door and halfway down the block. I have blood-injection-injury phobia, and I will do anything to avoid IV needles. When I was 18, I tried to punch a nurse for attempting to give me an angiogram (true story, and no, I didn't actually make contact... I only succeeded in shoving her. She was a bitch anyway and had it coming.)

Even more terrifying is that the last time I had to have blood drawn, the tech spent fifteen minutes rooting around in my arm, searching for a vein. Really. Fifteen minutes and three needles before she actually hit something. Apparently I have deep veins or something and the needle she was using wasn't long enough. (That's just what I needed to hear, that she had to stick a bigger needle in my arm.) The tech also kept asking if I wanted lay down because she thought I was going to faint. I don't faint, I panic, and her repeated asking of "do you want to lie down?" was just about enough to make me rip the needle out, throw it at her and then run like hell.

So yeah, the last time I went to the lab did not go all that well.

This time, I got this tech with some sort of heavy eastern-European (or maybe Russian) accent. I couldn't really understand what she was saying, but I am not the most communicative when needles are being stuck in my veins anyway. I managed to get out the story of what happened last time, and when I finished she gave me this look, stuck a little butterfly needle in the top part of my arm (not the elbow, like last time), immediately hit a vein, took about six vials of blood, bandaged me up and shooed me out the door. It was like magic. It lasted three minutes and she never asked me if I wanted to lie down even though I was shaking and making tiny noises of distress. I am never going to the lab again unless that lady is working. Ever.

My next appointment is at the Independence office for a NT scan. The NT scan determines the chances of your kid having Down syndrome or other chromosomal issues based on the amount of fluid that accumulates at the back of the fetus' neck. I'm not expecting any problems... I just want another ultrasound. :) I also think there is... gulp... more blood work involved. I wonder if they'll let me drive back to the Strongsville office to wait for eastern-European lady?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Stupid Names for Stupid Things

My OB/GYN is a serious woman who speaks in a low, soft voice. I can never imagine her recommending either one of these products, only because the names of them are too silly to ever come out of her mouth.

This tubeworm-looking thing is called a Snoogle. I'm assuming that "snoogle" is a bastardization of the words "snuggly" and "noodle", but it's throughly possible that someone just made the name up. Personally, I think Leachco (the company responsible for the Snoogle) needs to fire whoever comes up with the names of their products, which include pillows with monikers like "Preggle" and "Boomerest".

I bought a Snoogle yesterday. It cost me $55 at Babies "R" Us. I hate Babies "R" Us. The name of the store is stupid, everything is overpriced and the store is always filled with pregnant women and screaming toddlers. Then they had the nerve to charge me over fifty dollars for a freaking body pillow, but I bought it anyway because of the giant bone bruise that had been affecting my stride all day.

My little monster is about seven and a half weeks along, and my normal flop-facedown-onto-the-bed-and-pass-out approach is no longer working so well. I've never been able to sleep on my side, because I have the boniest hips in five states and after an hour or so, the pain from grinding my hipbone into the mattress forces me to flip onto my front or, rarely, my back. After three nights of unsuccessful side-sleep, my right hip was killing me and so I decided that I was going to buy the damn side-sleeping-pregnant-lady pillow no matter how much it cost.

The Snoogle is basically just a giant, curvy, firm, tubular pillow. It's designed to take the strain off your back and hips while preventing you flipping over onto your belly or back during the night. It's pretty comfortable, but I couldn't get to sleep last night no matter how hard I tried. Part of the reason was that my hip still hurt, but I think that was because it had been ground into the mattress with all of my body weight resting on it for the past three nights. We'll see how it fares during a mid-afternoon nap, when I can flip over to my uninjured left hip and take up half the bed.

I keep referring to the thing as a Snoogle just to irritate my husband, who snapped "quit saying Snoogle!" at me approximately thirteen times as we were going to bed last night. You've got to admit that it's a little embarassing to admit to owning something with a name like "snoogle". Snoogle, snoogle, snoogle.

Here's another embarassingly-named pregnancy product, Preggie Pop Drops. In the U.S., they're made by a company called "Three Lollies", which is needlessly embarrassing in and of itself. "Where do you work?" "Three Lollies. We make Preggie Pop Drops."

Preggie Pop Drops are supposed to help with morning sickness. Really, they're just outrageously priced hard candies, as there's no drugs or magic herbs in them at all. They're made with natural ingredients, have 70 calories each and come in sour fruit flavors: sour raspberry, lemon, sour apple and sour tangerine. The sour flavor is what is supposed to help with the queasiness.

I bought a little box of 21 candies at Babies "R" Us for $5. Hey, it promised me I wouldn't feel queasy anymore, and I like not feeling queasy. I don't care for raspberry flavor, so I tried to pass those off to my husband, who didn't want anything to do with the idea. I guess he just doesn't want to be seen eating candies with the words "preggie pop" on them. Hell, I don't really want to be seen eating candies with the words "preggie pop" on them.

In the defense of Preggie Pop Drops, they're delicious. I like sour candies to begin with, though. And I did feel less queasy after having one last night, and again this morning. They're a bit like a larger, pricier, less sweet and more sour version of a Jolly Rancher.

P.S. I also hate that model on the box. I doubt she's actually pregnant; her boobs are way too small and her face is far too angular. Real pregnant women, especially ones that far along, have boobs too big for their body and chipmunk cheeks. Speaking of cheeks, where's all her pregnancy acne? Besides, I don't like the way she's smirking at me with her lipstick and perfect hair. Stupid smirky pregnant-lady model.


I can still never imagine by OB/GYN looking into my eyes and telling me in that serious voice of hers that I should think about buying a Snoogle and some Preggie Pop Drops. That voice is for telling me it's going to be okay while she's attaching a grounding pad to my thigh and preparing to shove an electric cauterization tool up my who-ha, not for recommending stupidly-named pregnancy accessories. If, by some miracle, she actually mentions a product with a stupid name, I think I'm going to lose it. I'll never stop laughing.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hurry up and wait.

I've known I'm pregnant for an entire week now... and my first prenatal appointment isn't until October 5th. That's 22 days from now. I am not going to make it 22 days. I want my tests done now, because I am a very, very inpatient girl.

That, and I've been taking Mucinex and Tylenol like they're going out of style and eating like crap, so I'm convinced that I'm somehow murdering the kid even though the doctor told me that it'll be okay. Also I had two sips of beer yesterday at Oktoberfest because I missed my Sam Adams and I don't know how anyone could be ever be expected not to drink at all for nine months.

I haven't gone to school since last Wednesday, which is awful. I am skipping my 9:00 AM class right now because I am still a mucus factory, but I am feeling better and so I'll go to my 10:30 class and my 1:00 PM class. My voice is still ten kinds of shot, but I won't have to do much talking (hopefully). Kind of worried about my first philosophy test on Friday, but hopefully I can beg notes off of someone...

I keep making a mental note to call the Clinic a week before my appointment and nonchalantly ask what tests they're doing and if I need to bring anything. My goal is to somehow wheedle my way into a same-day ultrasound (or at least a doppler), because the hubsters took off work and if all he gets to see is some blood tests and me peeing in a cup, he's gonna be pretty disappointed. (Also, if everything goes horribly wrong and I've managed to kill the kid via Mucinex overdose, I am NOT crying alone.)

Seriously, how am I supposed to wait 22 days for this stuff? I'm pregnant now. *stomps foot*

Friday, September 10, 2010

Six days later and I'm already sick.

I've known I'm pregnant for six whole days, and I've already managed to make myself completely miserable.

I could deal with the exhaustion, the water retention, the constant feeling of having pulled some sort of groin muscle, the heartburn and the nausea. Really. It wasn't that bad.

Then the temperature dropped from summer to fall overnight and I woke up with the tell-tale sign of an oncoming sinus infection: wicked post-nasal drip irritating my throat. It had gotten so bad by yesterday evening that I had to take a Tylenol to go to sleep so I wasn't up coughing all night. I woke up this morning with the full-blown infection: stuffy head, runny nose, sore throat, raspy cough.

The pregnancy bible--What to Except When You're Expecting, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel--tells me that pregnant women get sinusitis all the time because the hormones make your mucus membranes swell up and get germy. Then they mention that untreated sinus infections can last for weeks. My sinus infections last for weeks anyway.

So, I guess I should maybe call my doctor today. Get some baby-safe antibiotics, that sort of thing. Nasty decaf tea with honey (the only thing I've been drinking for 24 hours) isn't cutting it. I can't take a sinus infection of top of everything else. Now I'm not sure if I'm queasy because of the five-week-old mooch living in my belly or because there are fifteen colonies of mucus living in lungs. At least the kid had the good sense to tone down the cramp-like pulled muscle feeling today.

That's it. Doctor's office, here I come. If I can't get into my doctor, I'll go see my husband's doctor (I swear that man never has any patients, my husband always gets a same-day appointment), if I can't see my husband's doctor, I will waiting in line at the CVS cheapo clinic for two hours (like the last time I had a sinus infection and couldn't get to my doctor, actually).

*cough, cough, hack*

Update, 8:00 PM:

I ended up seeing an associate of my doctor. She was a very nice lady who looked about my age. Anyway, she didn't think I needed antibiotics and recommended treating the symptoms instead of going after the infection because I hadn't been sick very long. She recommended Mucinex and told me I got get the original, D or DM. I went for Mucinex D, because it has pseudoephedrine and I have a desire to hit my sinuses with the strongest thing possible.

You can't just waltz into a drugstore anymore and buy pseudoephedrine, of course. So I take the little card, walk up to the pharmacy counter, and hand my driver's license to the pharmacist in order to prove that I'm old enough to buy the stuff. Only, the pharmacist has some vision problems, and so I ended up reading all the information off of my license to him and waiting for him to put it in the computer.

This would not have been a big deal if I had a) not been dressed like a sick, miserable hobo and b) been able to speak like a human being. Although the doctor didn't find a mucus coating in my throat, she did say that it was red and irritated, which is why it feels so sore and why it hurts to talk. I sound like vaguely like a bullfrog, and the pharmacist kept asking me to repeat things because he couldn't understand me. Like this:

Him: What's your date of birth?
Me: Oh-four-oh-two-nineteen-eighty-six.
Him: Ninety-six?
Me: What? No. EIghty-six.
Him: Okay.
Me: Dude, I couldn't have even driven here if I was fourteen.
Him: Right.

This would have been slightly embarrassing but bearable if it hadn't been for my outfit. I don't bother with dressing myself or doing my hair and face when I'm sick. Any other time, I make myself presentable, even if I'm running late and only have time for some powder and mascara, but when I'm sick? Forget it.

I was wearing sneakers... okay, I'm pregnant and my feet are all swollen, so I've been wearing sneakers for the past week. Fine, sneakers, even though I hate people who wear sneakers when they aren't exercising. But I was also wearing extra-long yoga pants (the loose kind, not butt-huggers) and an oversize hoodie. Not just any oversize hoodie, either: it's from my high school, and it's about two-and-half sizes too big for me. Very good for curling up on the couch with a hot drink, not so good for going out in public when you graduated from high school six years ago. Also, I'd done nothing with my hair. Literally. I have a lot of hair, almost three feet. I'd left it down all day, so it'd gone totally limp and lifeless.

Let's recap: sick pregnant lady, too-big high school hoodie, droopy long yoga pants, sneakers, no makeup, stringy lifeless hair. I looked like a homeless person.

And I had to recite all of my personal information in a frog-voice.

...I'm taking my Mucinex and going to bed now.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Um, what?

This... was not supposed to happen.

I've always been wicked paranoid about getting pregnant. If my period was so much as a day late, or if I was feeling just a tad more bloated than usual, I ran to the medicine cabinet and whipped out a pregnancy test. No surprise, they were always negative. Also, I'm neurotic.

So this time, when my period was late (I always get late periods, no matter what), I actively decided not to be neurotic and ignored the medicine cabinet, taunting me with one remaining test out of a three-pack I'd bought months ago. And, the Monday before Labor Day, I went home from school and skipped the rest of my classes because I was nauseous, cramping and feeling, overall, like shit. I thought, yay! It's my period! There is no other reason for me to feel like crap! Hooray!

Wrooooooong. When I was still feeling nasty (and period-less) almost a week later, my husband very gently suggested I take the test. By "very gently", I mean he followed me around going "you're pregnant, you're pregnant" until I agreed to pee on the damn stick.

So I go through the motions: collect morning pee, dip stick in pee for five seconds, cap, lay flat on counter, dispose of excess pee, flee bathroom in terror for the next three minutes. Except this time, there was no fleeing in terror, because I was determined that I was not, in fact, pregnant, just like the other forty-seven times I haven't been pregnant.

I sauntered back into the bathroom after five minutes (totally not neurotic, look how long I waited), glanced at the stick, and yelled "WE'RE FINE" back into the computer room, where my husband was waiting. Then, as I was about to throw the test away, I actually looked at the result window. There had been one pink line when I'd glanced at it, but now, holding in it in my hands and actually looking at the results... there was another pink line. It was faint, but it was there.

Oh, shit.

My husband thought I was kidding. After all, I'd just told him everything was fine... but then I handed the test over and cried a little. 'Cause, you know, I'm a girl, and I cry sometimes. Like when I find out I'm pregnant even though I'm not supposed to be.

Then I made him go to the drugstore with me and buy the expensive pregnancy tests, just in case the one I'd had around for a few months was a dud. It did not help my mood any when the damn result window lit up like a Christmas tree as soon as my pee touched the stick. Damn you, plus sign! Damn you to hell!

Well, it's four days later, and oddly enough, I think I'm okay with this whole baby-making deal. A lot of is scaring the shit out of me, of course, because we are completely and totally unprepared for a child, but it's exciting. And my mother is happier than shit, because she's been bugging me for grandchildren ever since I got engaged. (I tried telling her that she was the grandmother of my dog; she didn't buy into it.) I'm pretty sure we'll manage to muddle through this somehow.

I decided to start a blog to help keep me sane. After all, it's been four days, according to this iPhone app, my baby is six weeks old, and I'm already regretting that glass of wine I had a five days ago, wondering if the cough drop I popped this morning is safe, and creating all sorts of bizarre budgeting strategies. Hopefully, someone else can laugh at my misfortune. :)