Saturday, April 30, 2011

You wish you were cool like me.

I slept until noon today, and when I got up my dog was whining the go outside. I peeked out our sunroom windows and didn't see anyone, so I just let her out and wandered into the backyard in my pajamas.

...yeah, my neighbors were totally in their yard with their tiny dog. My big dog immediately went nuts and started running along the fence barking at the tiny dog, and the tiny dog (who thinks he is a big dog) did the same. So the dogs are behaving like wild animals and my neighbors are trying to be cordial, because it is noon and they've been up for hours and are dressed like normal people.

I'm wearing a maternity shirt, my husband's flannel PJ pants, I'm barefoot, and I haven't even looked in a mirror yet, let alone done anything with my bedhead. And my neighbors are trying to talk to me about lawn care, dogs, and how pregnant I am. (The fence is only about four feet high, so they could me in all my disheveled glory.)

This is about when I realize that our giant, stupid cat is in the backyard. He is not supposed to be in the backyard. So I scoop him up and now my neighbors are all, "oh, you have a kitty!" and I am barefoot and pregnant and wearing PJs and my hair is messy and I am holding a giant cat in my yard while my dog misbehaves.

You wish you could all have mornings that are this awesome... right?

Friday, April 29, 2011

My last OB appointment...

I had my final OB appointment today. The next time I see my OB/GYN, I'll be six weeks post-partum.

Amanda, the medical assistant whom I seem to get most often at my OB/GYN practice, commented on how much better my PUPPP looked as she strapped me up to the fetal monitor this afternoon for the final NST. My OB was also pleased at the results from a week of steroids, antihistamines and antibiotics.

Pax behaved for his last non-stress test, thankfully. Things seem to be going pretty well for him in there. My belly is, for the record, huge--as my OB put it, "you're getting big!" As if I haven't been big...

The weight gain has stopped. I've held steady at [insert embarrassing amount here] for two weeks, now. It's making me giddy to think that I will never have to step onto a scale and see that number again.

Amanda asked if I wanted more kids. I told her there was a Master's degree with my name on it waiting for me before I attempted to do this again. She laughed.

I'll be admitted to the hospital on Monday afternoon, and after a night of Cervadil, they'll start me on a Pitocin drip Tuesday morning. Like it or not, I'm having a baby this week. :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

PUPPP, now with pictures!

This is what PUPPP looks like. I was debating whether or not to show it at all, and I finally decided that showing my legs was not really all that indecent, just kind of gross.

You'd get a better idea of what this stuff looks like if I felt comfortable showing my bare thighs or stomach on the internet, but that also might make everyone want to never read my blog again. Let's just say that I looked like that "day seven" photo all the way from my waist to my knees, front and back, with the added bonus of some pretty godawful stretch marks. Sexy!

Here's what my legs look like now. Right now. Yep, right now--I just snapped t
his photo with my phone. There hasn't been a whole lot of improvement after the initial reducti
on in swelling after switching to Temovate.

The rash starts as tiny little blisters and/or lumps that itch like crazy. They don't just itch a little, they itch a lot. PUPPP itches so much that you are literally unable to resist scratching at it. I've had eczema since I was six weeks old, I know what it's like to itch, an
d I have never been itchier in my life than I have been with PUPPP.

Eventually, the lumps run together to form blotches, and then the blotches run together to make you look like a boiled lobster. After a few days (and some generous steroid treatment), the red fades to a delightful bruise-like gray-purple... and stays that way.

By the way, it still itches. At no point will this stuff stop itching, no matter what it looks like. That's probably the most delightful part, that the swelling and lumpiness will go down, but the most horrible symptom will stick around forever until delivery.

My OB and the dermatologist reassured me that, mercifully, PUPPP usually does not spread to the face. It may run rampant everywhere else (like in my case, where I am covered from the neck down), but it spares the face and the area directly around the navel (wtf?). Thankfully, PUPPP is also not supposed to scar. Healing tends to be spontaneous and complete--one day, you just wake up without PUPPP. I'll probably have a few scars from gouging it open in my sleep (I am a horrible sleep-scratcher), but they will be small, relatively unnoticeable, and mostly hidden in stretch marks anyway... and we all know that I'll be lasering those off as soon I get the money.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Day in the Life of Nerdmama.

7:30 AM. Wake up, check blood glucose. Stumble to bathroom, apply Temovate for PUPPP.

8:00 AM. Eat breakfast, take Amoxicillin for skin infection and a Zyrtec to relieve the itching from PUPPP.

10:00 AM. Check blood glucose, eat a snack.

1:00 PM. Pick up husband from work. Eat lunch, take iron pill for anemia, slather self in menthol lotion for PUPPP. Return husband to work.

3:00 PM. Check blood glucose, eat a snack. Consider gnawing own leg off to relieve itching from PUPPP.

5:00 PM. Pick up husband up from work. Eat dinner, neurotically calculating the amount of carbohydrates in everything. Bitch at husband for losing ten pounds on diabetic diet while you have continued to blow up like a balloon; talk about needing cosmetic surgery to put your body back together until he looks like he's about to cry from the guilt. Apologize and blame your moodiness on being unable to gnaw off your own leg two hours previously. Take a multivitamin and a DHA supplement.

7:00 PM. Check blood glucose, blame your fatness on your dietitian. Consider eating a snack.

8:00 PM. Have a breakdown because your husband let you pick the TV show and you chose a documentary show from Animal Planet about rescue dogs and one of the dogs got put to sleep. Eat the snack you were considering at 7 PM to console yourself.

8:30 PM. Make husband rub your feet with aloe vera and/or menthol lotion after attempting to scratch your toes off from PUPPP. Tell him to pay close attention to your ankles as you cannot live another day without going into labor.

10:00 PM. Take a shower. Psych yourself up, telling yourself that tonight, you are not going to start scratching at the PUPPP as soon as you get wet.

10:30 PM. Get out of the shower. Bleed all over your towel since your 10 PM promise to yourself didn't quite hold.

10:35 PM. Start shivering because you've just gone from hot to mercifully freezing as the menthol lotion takes effect. Consider peeing yourself from the temperature change.

10:4o PM. Stand in the living room in your towel and start singing the dermatologist's praises to your husband, who will then ask you to please move away from the picture window.

11:00 PM. Slather yourself with Temovate. Eat an apple, take another dose of Amoxicillian for skin infection and a Benadryl so that you can go to sleep and (hopefully) not scratch yourself open during the night.

11:30 PM. Fall asleep.

2:00 AM. Wake up, stumble to the bathroom. Take a pee and absentmindedly scratch your entire calf open. Spend the next 15 minutes re-applying Temovate and menthol lotion. Take another Benadryl.

4:00 AM. Wake up, stumble to the bathroom. Scratch everything. Spend the next 15 minutes re-applying Temovate and menthol lotion.

6:00 AM. Wake up, make yourself go back to sleep. Scratch through your PJs.

7:30 AM. Wake up, wonder why you're cranky. Check blood glucose, stumble to the bathroom, apply Temovate for PUPPP...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Four prescriptions later...

I went in for my weekly OB appointment and NST at 9:45 this morning. The NST went well (Pax wasn't completely uncooperative like last time) and I actually had a couple little contractions while hooked up to the monitor.

My OB gave me my induction date--May 2, 39 weeks on the dot. It's hard to believe I'm going to have a baby in just over a week... I feel like I still have so much to do!

HOWEVER... my PUPPP is still horrible and my OB really didn't like the look of it, especially since I've been treating it for a week and it's gotten worse, not better. She left the room for a minute, came back and told me that she'd called the dermatology office upstairs and made arrangements for them to squeeze me in immediately. I thought that was nice of her.

So I rushed upstairs--I didn't even have to wait very long to see the dermatologist, just a couple of minutes. She said I had a textbook case of PUPPP but she also thought that it might be compounded by an infection, so she took cultures from the worst places to check for staph. I asked if it could be worse because I have eczema, and she said she wouldn't be surprised if I were more susceptible to bacteria to begin with because my skin is sensitive, but that eczema wouldn't make the PUPPP worse (thank god). She gave me antibiotics even though the cultures will take a bit to get through the lab since she's 90% sure I have some sort of infection making the PUPPP so horrible.

She also told me to keep taking Benadryl at night to help the itch and to help me sleep, but also to take Zyrtec during the day--it'll help with the itching but won't make me drowsy. She also wrote me a prescription for Temovate (hooray, clobetasol!) and had the on-site pharmacy make a special compound lotion with menthol to cool the itch (I'm hoping they call me to come pick it up soon, I can't wait to try it out). In any case, I should finally stop itching soon, which makes me EXTREMELY happy.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Not my proudest moment.

After my shower last night, during which each and every single PUPPP blister on my body broke open, I had a complete meltdown. I tried to enlist my husband's help in finding one of the eight million "what to do if you think you are in labor" cards from my OB's office floating around the house. When he asked why I was looking for one, I cried that I needed to call the number because I absolutely had to have some sort of medical intervention right the eff then. I had to go to L&D and they had to give me IV steroids or induce labor or do something because I hurt all over and couldn't take it anymore.

He asked if I wanted to just go to the hospital, but then I realized that I was crying and wearing a bloody, wet towel and maybe I shouldn't get in the car looking like that.

I now have this horrible PUPPP rash all down my arms and legs in addition to my back, butt and belly. The only places unaffected are my hands, feet and face. I look like I have herpes or chicken pox or measles or something, my skin is hot to the touch, I am lumpy, and I cannot stop itching.

The Triamcinolone was supposed to last me for fifteen days, but I already on tube number two.

Tristan was kind enough to let me sit and mope in the bathroom while he applied the aloe vera and steroid ointment. I hurt too much to try and bend to reach my ankles or the inside of my legs. Then he made me a cup of tea, got me to agree to take some Benedryl, and I sat in bed and read a book until I fell asleep.

Yeah, I pretty much have the best husband ever. I know.

I'm calling my doctor's office as soon as they open on Monday and whining (possibly even crying) until they can either fit me in or call in a tube of Temovate to the pharmacy. I can't live like this.

I'm currently wearing a pair of size XL maternity jeans because we're out of food and need to go to the store. They don't fit--the waistband sags and the pants are long and baggy--but I'm glad I have them because they don't rub on the rash. It's better than continuing to wear my husband's flannel PJ pants, although I might have to keep wearing this ridiculous 2XL Spiderman affair I found in his t-shirt drawer. (My husband isn't even a size 2XL, so I have no idea why he has this giant shirt--but I'm glad he does.) I wish I had a giant, tent-like dress to wear, something without a waistband or, even better, without a waist to begin with. With less than three weeks to go, though, it's not worth it to buy new clothes--especially not ugly new clothes designed to cover my PUPPP-ruined body.

I can't help but wonder if this entire pregnancy is god striking me down for years of vanity. First I gained 45 pounds, then I erupted in itchy, hot, red blisters, and then... what? Can it get worse? What happens next?

Paxton has less than three weeks to make his exit before my OB makes it for him. I'm really starting to doubt I can keep it together that long...

Thursday, April 14, 2011


PUPPP. It sounds so cheerful, like maybe you get a dog at the end.

I wish.

I now have the pleasure of being one of the one-in-two-hundred pregnant women who experience PUPPP--an itchy, itchy, itchy rash that, more often than not in the past week or so, has resulted in my bleeding from my stretch marks. Go ahead, imagine what that looks like. I'll wait for you to return from the bathroom, since you will probably need to vomit.

My OB took one look at my stomach this morning, declared that I indeed had PUPPP, and brought me a prescription for Triamcinolone acetonide.

I've got this rash all over my stomach, my thighs, my butt... and, of course, my eczema has again bounded completely out of control. Basically, if parts of me are not covered in dry, scaly patches of eczema, they are covered in bloody, weepy PUPPP blisters.

I am very attractive right now.

I pointed this out to my husband while feeding and medicating the guinea pigs that live in our front room tonight. I had slathered on the steroid ointment and was doing my nightly animal care in my undies when he came out and informed me that the living room curtains were still open.

You might recall my one post where I talk about being a lingerie whore. No longer. I lost the fight last month, when I finally had to admit that my nice panties were getting stretched out by my giant ass. I bought cheap sports bras from Target to wear at night after a nightly examination proved that my boobs have sagged despite my best efforts to keep gravity away. I am now a walking underwear train wreck.

And so I told my husband that it wasn't my problem if our neighbors wanted to peep on my greased-up, fat, pregnant, rash-covered body, clad in a lime green compression bra and old, stained, hole-y panties.

Hopefully the Triamcinolone does it's job quickly. It was actually my first corticosteriod, way back in high school. I don't have much hope of it working on the eczema, but dear god I hope it works on the PUPPP. I can't take the itch, and that's saying something, because I have a lot of experience with being itchy. Clothing and bathing have become the enemy (both result in my bleeding from a million tiny flesh wounds) and I really like clothes and showers. Not only do I like clothes and showers, people seem to appreciate it when I make the effort to not smell and to cover myself in public...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Car Seat Fail

This is what a Chicco KeyFit 22 looks like installed on a LATCH base in the back of a VW Rabbit:

Note how it BARELY fits back there. The passenger seat is smooshed up so that my poor husband's knees are against the dashboard and the back of the seat is hitting the handle on the bucket. We tried installing it first behind the driver's seat, because my passenger seat is actually broken and doesn't stay forward (it doesn't lock on the tracks when you pull it up), but I couldn't get the seat far enough back for me to drive (curse these long legs)!

That $60 car seat base? It had to go.

Here is the seat installed with the seat belt behind the driver's seat. It actually fits, hooray! What is considerably less hooray is that it is a total PAIN IN THE BUTT and we're going to have strap the seat in every single time we use it. With a baby in it. Oh, the joy... BUT, it fits, I can get the seat back enough that I can drive, my husband isn't smashed against the dashboard, everyone is happy. For now. Until we need a bigger car seat.

...WHY didn't I just lease a bigger car instead of financing this stupid hatchback a few months ago???

Friday, April 8, 2011

I don't have a witty title for this.

I'm starting to feel like I live part-time at the Cleveland Clinic.

I went to the endocrine center on Monday and I just got home from a midwife appointment for an NST. I have a growth ultrasound with my perinatologist on Tuesday and an OB/GYN appointment on Friday. And after that... who knows? Eighteen more appointments with various medical professionals?

For the record: this is my OB/GYN. This guy is my perinatologist. This is the hunky OB/GYN who read a few of my ultrasounds (although that photo is decidedly not hunky at all).

The big thing is going to be the visit with Dr. Khoury, the perinatologist, on Tuesday. Pax has passed two NSTs in the past two weeks (with flying colors, even), but my blood sugar is still unpredictable and I can tell Pax is growing by leaps and bounds. The punches and kicks have turned into wiggles and squirms as he's started to run out of room in my uterus--but that hasn't stopped him from attempting to host his own 24/7 dance party, which is starting to become uncomfortable. (Still, poor Soup has it way worse. :P)

I've been driving myself crazy wondering when Pax is going to be evicted. My thoughts have slowly turned from "oh, diabetes means induction" to "oh, diabetes actually means induction and that's actually going to happen soon". The midwife I spoke with this morning after my NST told me that diabetes are normally induced between 39 and 40 weeks, and that I would definitely not be allowed to go past my original due date (the Clinic usually only considers induction after 41 weeks). In the same breath, she told me not to be surprised if Dr. Khoury gives me a date before 39 weeks--it all depends on Paxton's size and if we can regulate my blood sugar.

I'm going to be a little on-edge until Tuesday. I'll probably continue to be on-edge afterwards.

Who wants to take bets on my induction date???

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I had an A1C drawn last week, and it was posted today as NOT being indicative of diabetes. I even came in .1 under the cutoff for "at risk of developing diabetes". My average blood glucose is 114.

Yet I spent two hours at the endocrine center yesterday afternoon being told not to be afraid if the perinatologist puts me on insulin since my postprandial numbers like to spike randomly.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Diabetes... for real this time!


Three weeks ago, I went in for my usual appointment and my OB/GYN and I did our little dance about my weight gain. The tape measure came out, and my OB frowned. Apparently, I was suddenly measuring a month ahead, and my scheduled 36-week growth ultrasound became a surprise 33-week what-the-eff-is-wrong-with-you ultrasound.

Thankfully, nothing is wrong with Pax except that he is freaking gigantic. Why is he freaking gigantic? Well, that's my fault. That's my big, fat diabetic fault.

It took the attending OB for the ultrasound all of five minutes to check over my glucose tolerance scores and diagnose me with gestational diabetes. Why no one (besides myself, of course) could've figured this out sooner still baffles me. A pregnant lady presenting with inexplicable weight gain, a family history of Type II diabetes and borderline glucose intolerance... what part of that doesn't scream "please treat me, oh please, oh please"?

Anyway. I will climb down off my soapbox now...

The fun doesn't end there. I am currently living off a limited supply of glucose test strips given to me by the kind people at the endocrinology center, since my extremely crap-tastic health insurance is giving me the runaround on paying for the damn things. They denied my pharmacy claim, then, when I called, the customer service rep told me that test strips are "over the counter items" and the insurance won't pay for them. The HR manager at my husband's work contacted the insurance rep, who replied that the insurance will cover the test strips if I buy them from a medical supply store, since they will then be billed as DME. The problem now is that there is still a $100 deductible for DME and the nearest medical supply store is not exactly "near".

These are the same strips that are available at the pharmacy. I don't see why I need to order them from some specialty store a million miles away and drive forever to pick them up when they are available at the local CVS.

We'll see how this plays out.

BTW, the photo above is Pax at 33 weeks. He's already larger than my cousin's newborn, who coincidentally, arrived at 2 AM this morning. :)