Monday, August 30, 2010

Preggo Brain in Three Acts

All of these occurred in the span of about three days last week. Those of you with child, be forewarned. Apparently, once you reach 36 weeks, your brain disconnects. These are presented in the order they occurred, so I'm concerned at where this escalation leaves me.

Act One

A student entered the main office, asking if I had any bandaids. I collected the box from a back cupboard, gave her a couple, then went back to return them. I was inches away from opening the mini fridge to put them inside. I caught myself, though, before I opened the door.

In my defense, I do open the mini fridge several times a day, pregnant or not, whereas the cupboard is rarely touched, so I cut myself some slack on this instance and wrote it off to habit - once I was in the vicinity, my feet just took over until my brain informed them I wasn't in search of a snack.

All told, a relatively minor instance of preggo brain, if it could even be blamed on that. Let's move on to later that same day.

Act Two

Washing my hands is something I've done tens of thousands of times. It's pretty straightforward, right? Water gets turned on, soap is dispensed, your hands are vigorously scrubbed, rinsed, and then dried off, and then you're done.

This, however, proved to be too much for me one evening last week. I had use of both hands, so no real excuse for what happened. One hand was on the faucet, turning it on, while the other one was simultaneously depressing the soap dispenser. Do you know what happens when you dispense soap with one hand while the other hand is nowhere nearby to collect the stream of suds? It trickles down the side of the sink, wasted.

I stood there, just shaking my head at myself. Perhaps I could say it was due to a long day at work? Yeah, I didn't think so, either. Just like you're never supposed to forget how to ride a bike, I would have classified hand washing right up there as something that should be second nature after you've been doing it nearly three (!) decades. I guess here is where I 'fess up to the final act of preggo brain.

Act Three

Friday I was having Braxton Hicks contractions. I had an appointment the previous week and then not another until the end of this week, but I'd been feeling a little different for a couple days, and the BH contractions had been pretty regular (hardly breaking in between, it would seem), so I wanted to get checked out before the weekend so I wouldn't question myself if they continued. I have an active imagination, and this would make us rest easy.

I called my doctor's office and they said they could get me in immediately after lunch. I figured it would be treated like a regular appointment, so I made sure to drink plenty of fluids so I would be ready to provide a sample.

I showed up on time, got weighed, and the nurse asked me if I had brought a urine sample. When I answered in the negative, she directed me towards the bathroom and told me to leave one.

Now I'd like to remind you that I had been drinking plenty of water and waiting to use the restroom for this very reason. It had been at the forefront of my mind. It should have been no problem. After all, this is what happens at every doctor's appointment, and being a good girl about keeping all my appointments (and having a few more than normal because I'm considered high risk), I have become pretty familiar with this routine.

And then I reverted to habit. Not doctor's-office habit, but I'm-a-big-girl-who-knows-how-to-use-the-potty habit. I finished my business, only to realize the sample had completely escaped my mind in the few seconds from acknowledging the nurse's expectation to the time it took me to sit down, and there was nothing I could do to remedy the situation. What was done was done, and I was empty.

I couldn't believe myself. It appears I had the opposite issue from the previous act. In Act Two, I was shocked I had forgotten a familiar routine that had been happening for decades. In this act, I reverted to a familiar act even though I associate the restroom at a doctor's office as an exception to the routine.

I exited the restroom, pled pregnancy brain to the waiting nurse, and told her that since I'm pregnant and spend much of my time structuring my day around trips to and from the restroom, odds were I'd have to go again in ten minutes. She kindly said nothing, and before I left my appointment, everyone was happy.

And to conclude, in case you were curious, Friday's appointment showed nothing was yet progressing, so we still have two weeks to see what other instances can occur. I know you can hardly wait. If things continue to escalate, I expect myself to show up to work in my bathrobe. Or maybe I'll forget how to put the car in reverse. Perhaps I'll forget my name (like the time I answered the phone in my classroom - after I'd been married three years - with my maiden name; there was no pregnancy brain to blame that on, just general confusion when the phone rang during a teaching period).

Monday, August 02, 2010

Pregnancy Update

I reach 33 weeks Wednesday- here is a photo of me at 32 weeks. I've put on 23 pounds and it seems to be all belly (you can't tell I'm pregnant from behind).

It looks like I'm on track to have a big girl. At my ultrasound a couple weeks back, they predicted her to be around 5 pounds, 4 ounces. Of course, there is a margin of error, but we're preparing to have a decent-sized girl; in these remaining weeks, babies tend to add anywhere from a third to double their entire body weight.

I'm still strict with my insulin-resistance dietary guidelines. After the above ultrasound, though, the doctor wanted me to check my blood sugars for a week or two to ensure her size wasn't due to gestational diabetes but instead could be explained by genetics (I did pass my GD test a couple months ago, but it can develop later in the pregnancy). I go in again this week, but from my testing, it sure seems my blood sugars are always on the low end. It's been a welcome learning exercise to check my levels with such frequency; I sometimes feel weak and light-headed and had previously written it off solely due to my low blood pressure, but I've noticed I also have low blood sugar at those times.

My c-section is scheduled for September 15. We feel like we are prepared for her arrival. I still need to pack my hospital bag, and it wouldn't hurt if we picked up some baby nail clippers and a thermometer, but we have a place for her to sleep, clothes, a carseat, and diapers. There are still general jobs around the house we'd like to tackle, but she won't notice if the place isn't perfectly clean.

I have periods of nesting that translate to cleaning and purging. However, I'm also suffering from general tiredness, so I have to weigh what's most realistic at any given time. I've enjoyed sorting through things from a seated position, for instance, but I can't always run around the house to accomplish the other organizational tasks. I assess my energy levels and act accordingly. And Eric is willing to serve as my hands and feet when I just can't imagine another trip up and down the stairs.

Eric is still the perfect expectant father. There are more door-side dropoffs when we're running errands (he is sensitive to my ever-expanding belly, the summer temperatures, and my slowed walking pace), and he never faults me for asking a favor. I'm independent, so it's sometimes hard for me to ask him to fetch me something when I am beyond exhausted but am in need of food or drink, but he never complains or grumbles, so I suck up my pride and ask, knowing he won't make some snide comment about me being lazy. Of course, if he thought to mouth off, I might have him strap on a 25-pound weight around his midsection and wear it for a few weeks to see how he fared.

The pregnancy insomnia has subsided once again, but our younger cat sees it as his job to make sure I need to get up at least once to tend to him (i.e., kick him out of the bedroom when he turns into "Mafia Cat"*). This tending doesn't necessarily coincide with my other pregnancy-related trips out of bed in the middle of the night.

After my maternity leave, I'm only returning to work in a part-time capacity - three days a week for a total of 12 hours - and I'm looking forward to the arrangement Eric and I have decided on. When I come to campus, I will drop our daughter off at Eric's spacious basement office, which will be outfitted with a pack-and-play, a portable swing, and a baby carrier. I will walk across the grass to my building, work my hours, and then collect her again. If all goes well, Eric will be able to get some work done while enjoying some one-on-one father-daughter time, and I can contribute to our finances and still have some adult interaction.

My youngest sister is visiting next week. For the second summer in a row, she's chosen our place to crash after returning from overseas (last year was China, this year, the Czech Republic). I recognize there will probably be some jet-lag issues, and I can't take off the whole week to be with her, but I might put her to work if she's willing. I've got it in my head that I'd like to freeze some meals so we don't have to expand as much energy with food prep in the fall. I've got a few recipes to try, so maybe if she'd like to spend some time in the kitchen while I'm at work, I can set her loose. I suspect we'll fall in love with the freezer meals and our crockpot all over again as the fall sets in.


*Mafia Cat is Dante's nickname when he thinks it's time for us to shower him with affection or, more likely, get up and let him enjoy our screened-in porch (we typically let them out in the morning when we get up, so he's hoping if he wakes us up at 2 AM, the same holds true; no dice, but hope springs eternal). He goes to my bedside table and starts looking at me to make sure I'm stirring, then he begins knocking things off. I imagine his thoughts are as follows: "Look at this cute travel alarm - oops! Seems that in my clumsy state I knocked it over - let's hope it still goes off in the morning at its appointed time. And your glasses, nestled safely in their case. I wonder how well they'd fare after a trip to the floor. Let's experiment, okay? Wow, this is an awfully nice antique lamp. It'd be a shame if something were to happen to it. Ooh, look, it starts rocking when I jam my head against its shade or nibble on the brim!"