Monday, December 29, 2008

Sarah & Emily's Top Ten Pregnancy Myths Debunked

A while back Sarah and I created material for a joint post designed to help future pregnant women (mainly our friend Meighan).  I'm finally posting it!  This is our version of a public service announcement designed to reveal and correct (mainly our own foolish) misconceptions about pregnancy.  Enjoy!!

#1  You Will NOT Finally Have Victoria's Secret Model-Like Boobies
Okay, so Sarah and I were hoping pregnancy would finally give us some awesomely huge boobs (we've been dreaming about this since the 7th grade).  Biggest let-down EVER!  Ours are slightly larger but nothing close to the perfect 'C'; and apparently there's nothing more depressing than your lactation consultant advising you to use a 'nipple shield' cause your newborn can't latch on to your tiny peaks.  

#2  Existing Belly Fat Does Not Magically Dissolve During The 1st Trimester
Sarah's banned from this one, she doesn't know what belly fat looks like.  So if you're a regular reader to this blog than you intimately know the fool who thought early pregnancy would dissolve those last 5 lbs. she was trying to lose.  Or maybe at least shift the weight to the center and form a perfectly taunt, slightly protruding bump (ladies, if you have a small muffin top, first buy some bigger jeans, cause pregnancy will only magnify the condition, not mask it).

#3  Belly Bump Attention Deficit Disorder:  Why Do I Suddenly Have To Carry My Own Groceries?
Everyone says you will love your big round belly and all the attention it gets you.  People will be nicer and more helpful (since I'm not emphatically showing at the moment the idea of stuffing myself with a pillow when I go out in public is very attractive).  Here's the downside per Sarah, after birth the belly goes away and so does the attention/arm rest.  It will be traumatic, brace yourself.  

#4  Fire-Breathing-Dragon-Burn:  Get Ready Cause Tums Ain't Gonna Cut It
Again, 'everyone' tells you to get ready for the pregnancy heartburn.  But no one tells you just how excruciating it can be.  Go ahead and buy stocks in Tums or Pepcid, don't eat spicy foods at night, learn how to sleep sitting up, etc.  Everyone we know has experienced it.  This symptom is possibly one of the many late pregnancy discomforts designed to make you so completely miserable you no longer fear labor but welcome it as a panacea for the cruel and unusual punishment of late pregnancy.

#5  Downtown:  Is Temporarily Closed For Repair
Our male readers may want to skip this one.  Use your imagination on the meaning of 'downtown'.  Funny things will happen 'down there'.  No one tells you that pregnancy increases your 'dampness' or that you will most likely wear adult diapers post pregnancy for a while.  Just another selfless sacrifice you will make for the 'greater good' of your growing family.

#6  Horror-motions:  Psychologically-Scarring Your Husband
This is a mixture of pregnancy hormones combined with your natural emotions, the end results having a devastating affect on the psychological well being of your significant other (gentlemen, brace yourself).  There is nothing you can do to stop or avoid it.  Best thing is to smile and say 'You're pretty' as often as possible.  Oh, and you knew you're wife was crazy when you married her, but you're pregnant wife is a completely different animal.  Just remember she can't always control her horror-motions, she's as powerless as you are (frequent foot rubs will tame her some).

#7  Early Pregnancy:  You're Really Not That Pretty
Just face it.  You look fat.  You feel horrible.  Your face looks different and keeps breaking out.  Nothing about you is stunning.  Avoid taking photos of yourself during this period and if possible avoid mirrors.  On the plus side, in a few months you will look thoroughly pregnant and start getting all that wonderful belly bump attention you so desperately need.

#8  Phantom Bed Bugs And Other Itchy Sensations
Keep your skin well hydrated with body creams cause it's going to start itching like crazy.  Sarah had the itchy feeling so bad she would wake up in the middle of the night convinced bugs were crawling all over her body.  She'd have to take middle of the night baths (that's why they renovated the master bath instead of building a guest house for all those people who want to come regularly to help take care of Baby G . . . not complaining though).  Some say their belly's itched like crazy.  Sarah and I both recommend Mama Bee Belly Butter by Burt's Bee.  However, if you find yourself sensitive to certain scents. . . beware of Mama Bee's cause it's scented.

#9  Suburban Nesting:  A Truly Animalistic Encounter
Everyone says you will 'nest'.  Originally, I thought this meant I would want to paint, redecorate, etc.  But Sarah claims it is a much more primal experience like creating a literal 'nest' of pillows on your bed to burrow into at night like a dog (I've seen Lavender do this).  Sarah found herself vacuuming the ceiling and her kitchen cabinets.  Arranging and rearranging various things (like pots and pans) in order of height.  Buying new cars for 'the baby'.  Shopping, shopping and more shopping.  Basically, very obsessive-compulsive behavior that in only one step removed from the animal kingdom.  

#10  Code Yellow:  There's NO Time To Stop The Car
We're talking about the shrinking bladder and the various stages of Pee Alert.  Just take a look at Exhibit A.  Over time your poor bladder gets virtually crushed by the growing baby (or babies, as in my case).  Sure experts say you will have to pee frequently, but they forgot to explain the dirty details of just how dire the situation will become.  Sarah recommends developing an Alert system when you are out in public or on a road trip.  She used the following system:

Code Red:  10 minute warning, start looking for a gas station.

Code Orange: Pull over to the side of the road, there is just enough time to go behind a bush.

Code Yellow:  The flood is imminent grab a cup now there is NO time.
Well folks, there you have it.  Our civic duty is complete.  Hopefully you enjoyed our list.  Like I said a few posts back, we probably had more fun writing it than you had reading it.  

11 Weeks Update

Weight:  +10 lbs 
Fitness:  1 session of prenatal yoga DVD (and a ton of shopping should count)
Food Cravings:  back to normal
Sleep Count:  normal

I met my new Ob/gyn last week.  Aside from sitting in the waiting room for 45 mins and the entire appointment taking 2 hours, all in all it was a good visit.  He did a quick ultrasound to check heartbeats (sorry, no pictures).  Here's a quick Q&A from my visit:

If the babies are down there, what's all this up here (as I grab my belly)?
It's a combination of existing fat and stored fat for the pregnancy.

Do I need to be concerned about pre-term labor?
Not right now.  It is a possibility, but twins tend to develop faster than singleton's anyway.  They show accelerated lung development in the third trimester.

What about preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension) typically affects teen pregnancies and older pregnant women.  There is nothing you can do to prevent it.  You either will or you won't get it.  

I've gained 10 lbs. so far, should I be concerned with my weight gain?
I don't recommend a specific number in weight gain for my patients.  Instead I like to focus on eating healthy and exercising.  As long as you are doing both those things, your body will gain what it needs for your individual pregnancy.  If you are truly concerned about your weight, keep a food journal (sounds like a lot of trouble, I'd just rather complain about my weight).

Do I need to take additional prenatal vitamins since I'm carrying twins?
I like all my patients to take a prescription vitamin, it has more folic acid and fatty acid supplements (and just happens to be a huge purple horse pill).

I'm sure there was more, but those were the questions I remember at the moment.  I won't go back for another visit until the middle of January.  

Apologies to all for not posting more (bloggers deserve vacation days too).  Things should be back to normal now that Christmas is over.  

Sunday, December 21, 2008

10 Weeks Update

Weight:  + none of your business (this information was a bad idea to share)
Fitness:  prenatal yoga DVD misses me
Food Cravings:  chocolate pudding, fruit juices
Sleep Count:  getting heartburn every night

Well, you've been asking for it, here it is.  My fat belly that isn't big enough yet to look like I'm actually pregnant.  Instead I just look fat (also feel fat too).  I'm still getting dizzy and shortness of breath--a lot.

I have my first appointment with the obgyn on Tuesday.  I'm not sure if they will do an ultrasound, I'm kind of addicted to them since I've been getting one almost every week for the past two months.

This past week was hectic.  I finally finished school for the semester.  Then promptly packed my bags for a mini road trip to see Amanda, Sarah and her new baby boy.  I had a blast!  Sarah and I worked on a joint post for the blog.  Keep a look out for it (we probably had more fun writing it than you'll have reading it . . .).

Also, some of you may know by now that Dave's company is moving us to Wilmington in the spring.  Looks like the New Year will be crazy busy for us.  On the plus side, at least we get to upgrade to a new, bigger house (current one is a little small for raising twins).

Today, I finally went Christmas shopping (still haven't sent out Christmas cards).  I forced myself to listen to the 24 hr. holiday radio station just to get into the spirit of things (honestly, I think listening to Ben Stein on CBS Sunday Morning put me in a better mood to spend money than the Christmas radio station).  Clearly, I've been preoccupied with other things like finally getting pregnant (with TWINS no less).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

9 Weeks Update

Weight:  +5 lbs. (alright, fine!  add two more pounds if you're looking for complete honesty)
Fitness:  Prenatal yoga DVD done twice this week
Food Cravings:  fruit and ice cream sundaes with hot fudge
Sleep Count:  8 hrs. nightly, 1 hr. afternoon nap

Another awesome visit.  We heard two hearts beating at around 170 bpm again.  Dr. Skywalker still insists on calling the baby on the left 'Baby A' and the one on the right 'Baby B'.  For a while they were both situated butt to butt, but in this picture 'B'  is facing the camera (already a ham).  I even got to watch 'A' wiggle from side to side (probably singing 'I like to move it, move it . . .').

After a week of fear-ridden panic about carrying and raising twins, I finally found some books on twins that were worth buying.  I'm not too thrilled about the overwhelming statistics leading us towards premature babies.  

For example, a full term twin pregnancy is 37 weeks (not 40 for singletons) but the 'experts' claim 50% of twin pregnancies deliver before 37 weeks.  Here's what chapter two of Twin Set by Boyle & Stahl had to say about preemies:
"According to national statistics, twins are born at 34 weeks on average (remember that twins born before 35 weeks are considered premature).  Furthermore, about 50% of twins spend some time in the neonatal intensive care unit."
Luckily I know a cool chick (Anna's new sister-in-law) who has fraternal twin boys (born at 30 weeks, 5 days).  She's promised to give me every bit of advice she can about what to expect with twins.  Hers were in ICU for 5 weeks hooked up to tubes.  She said the positive side of the experience was having an entire support staff at the hospital to guide her through everything on how to care for twins.  When she got home, the boys already had a routine, and she had 5 weeks to learn from the medical experts (this is why I think she's cool. . . she's so positive about her preemie experience).

Well, we finally bought a Christmas tree and somehow it has to get decorated . . . I better go direct Dave on ornament placement (kidding . . . kinda).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Keepin' It Real

Yesterday I learned my all time favorite baby clothing store is going out of business--effective December 20th.  I found this out the shockingly hard way by visiting it for the first time as a FINALLY pregnant woman.

I was hopelessly sad.  I've been shopping at this store for 4 straight years buying OPBs (Other People's Babies) cute clothing and dreaming of the day I could legitimately shop for myself!  

So, wallowing in self-pity that fate could be so cruel, I decided to indulge in some premature infant clothing shopping (premature as in I have no business buying baby clothing right now).  I scooped up all I could find that looked gender neutral (the entire store was 50% off-- I didn't stay sad for long).  Of course, 50% off meant the clothing was now reasonably priced.  

Mr. Wonderful loved everything I bought (especially the teeny tiny socks).  He even told me to go back for more stuff if I wanted to (obviously he does not handle our finances, but the thought was super sweet).

In the end the experience was bittersweet.  There's no joy in shopping for twins when you don't know their genders.  If only modern science could tell me tomorrow what we're having so I can clear out the store before next Saturday.

While lamenting in my superficial misery, Kammer calls, notices I sound down and asks why.  I explain the baby store tragedy.  To which point he explains his dilemma.  

See, Kammer's getting married in June (to a perfectly wonderful lady, I might add).  A few nights ago the happy couple was watching the news profile small businesses struggling to survive the economic recession.  Turns out the business being profiled is the location for his wedding in June (not the kind of news you want to hear 6 months before the wedding).

Suddenly my baby store drama seems less impressive.  I can always shop online for my overpriced onesies . . . Kammer on the other hand . . . not so lucky.  

Ironically, the place Kammer is getting married just happens to be the same place the movie Twilight filmed their prom scene.  The View Point Inn is now asking all Twilight fans to donate $1 in an effort to keep the historical Inn in business.  

I encourage everyone (especially my fellow Twilighters) to visit the Inn's website and make a small contribution so Kammer's lady-love can have her dream wedding.  In turn, I will glue my feet to the ground and quit complaining about impractical infant fashion.

Monday, December 8, 2008

But Who Will Take Care Of You?

More loving words from Mr. Wonderful when I told him I was going out of town next week to help Sarah take care of her new baby (personally, I think he's going to miss me).  For one thing, I provide entertainment and excitement, I'm a human space heater and sometimes I clean the kitchen and do the laundry.

On the pregnancy watch, the 'how-to-raise-twins-list-of-confounding-questions' is growing.  The latest question:
  • How does one go grocery shopping with infant twins?
I'm having a hard time finding cool websites with practical advice for expecting mothers of multiples.  Case in point, I've been pretty proud of myself for religiously taking prenatal vitamins.  Until I came across advice on a website suggesting some health care providers recommend increasing prenatal vitamin intake for pregnant women of multiples.  Of course I could do worse than undertake vitamin supplements (like breathing carbon monoxide by accident).

Surely all of these concerns are just normal early pregnancy jitters . . . right?

Kammer, Dave says 'thanks' and 'Bros before Hoes' in response to your comment about sandwich making.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

You're Pregnant, Not Handicapped!

Well folks, the honeymoon's over.  Mr. Wonderful has found his limits.  I asked for a peanut butter/banana sandwich yesterday and was told, rather politely, that I was 'pregnant, not handicapped'.  

Needless to say, I made my own sandwich yesterday, breakfast this morning and lunch later today.  I'm not completely helpless--I just find food tastes better when someone else makes it for you (it's a pleasant surprise when secret ingredients are added).  

In other news, I finally completed one full session of my prenatal yoga DVD today--while trying to poison myself and the babies.  I started our gas fireplace and didn't open the flue.  For those of you with gas fireplaces, you understand venting is necessary to release the carbon monoxide.  Needless to say, after venting the fireplace and airing out the room I finally got to finish the DVD.  

Just a typical weekend for Clan Donovan . . .

Friday, December 5, 2008

Two By Two

This month's issue of Fit Pregnancy redeemed itself with some information in their 40 week guide to pregnancy.  For week 8 (that's me!) it said:

"Your doctor may look or listen for the baby's heartbeat with an ultrasound.  Once you see or hear it, your miscarriage risk drops to about 2 percent. . ."

We heard two heartbeats on Wednesday (beaming on the inside)!!!  Now the reality of twins is slowly setting in (trembling on the inside).  I have so many questions:
  1. Do we have to buy two cribs?
  2. How do you raise fraternal same sex twins (odds are 2 out of 3)?
  3. Do we have to buy two of the exact same things, like clothes, toys, etc.?
Oh, in case you were wondering there is no possibility for quads or triplets at this point (phew!).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

8 Weeks Update

Weight:  +5 lbs. (pre-pregnancy weight)
Fitness:  walking across campus . . . 
Food Cravings:  orange juice, spaghetti, nacho cheese dip, pickles
Sleep Count:  8 hrs. nightly, 30 min. afternoon nap

By far the best visit I've had all year!  We heard two heartbeats, one at 168 bpm and the other at 177 bpm.  Dr. Skywalker said everything looked great and healthy.  The ultrasounds were pretty grainy, apparently my uterus is tilted to the back which puts the babies further away from the 'imaging thingy'.   

Best part. . . he told me to stop taking all my medications (no more progesterone shots, estrogen patches or low dose aspirin)!  Also, I could start seeing my regular obgyn--but I'm not ready to break-up with Dr. Skywalker just yet, so I'll see him one last time next week (maybe bring cupcakes).

I mentioned my belly concerns, I seem to already be showing.  Apparently my ovaries are still pretty large and pushing my uterus upward, which is forcing the rest of my tummy up and out.  Combine that with twins and he told me I'll show like 12 weeks even though I'm only 8 weeks (always the overachiever)

As for exercise and diet, since I've been feeling so crappy since starting IVF I need to ease slowly back into exercise.  That means restarting my strength training exercises but reduce the weights and do more reps.  Instead of doing 30 mins. of cardio do 5 - 10 mins. until I can handle more.

As for school, I survived the worst part of the week.  I'm all caught up and ready for finals next week.  This semester couldn't end any sooner, half the campus has a cold and the girl next to me in history class apparently doesn't understand the concept of Kleenex.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Caveman's Guide To Pregnancy

Since Dave showed such an interest in my 'Fit Pregnancy' magazine, I thought we'd go find him a book of his own.  So, off to the bookstore 'we' went.  The 'we' being Dave reading comic books while I sorted through the Pregnancy & Family Planning section of the store.

Left to my own devices I opted for the less helpful but more humorous option 'The Caveman's Pregnancy Companion'.  To my utter surprise, Dave agreed to buy it and has been clandestinely reading it.

So far he's made it past the first chapter, which he said was 'insulting' and has since adopted a new approach to pending fatherhood dubbed:  'winging it'.  Personally, I think he's doing a wonderful job as a supportive and dotting husband.  From what I gather his favorite part of all this is bragging to his co-workers about how wonderful he treats me (I married a very modest man).

On a side note, Thanksgiving was wonderful.  We had 5 turkeys--including my Dad, 6 different desserts and a bazillion side dishes.  Luckily my food aversions were gone and I had the green light to eat all that yummy food.  Unfortunately, I'm sure I gained 5 extra lbs. that I cannot blame on the bambinos incubating in my belly.

I'm up for my second ultrasound on Wednesday!  Also hoping Dr Skywalker will tell me to stop the nightly progesterone shots (my backside is killing me--Dave is struggling to find a non-bruised surface to inject).

This is also the last week of classes for the semester.  I've got 5 papers and 2 major projects all due by Wednesday.  Instead of working on them, I'm procrastinating by talking to you folks.  Better get moving . . .