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Thirteen years ago on Memorial Day or so, I lost a friend of mine. I don’t actually know all the details of her death, but it started with preeclampsia that did not resolve through delivery of her child. She went through many months of treatment in an ICU in St. Louis before her organs finally shut down.

And so I lost a friend, and so the specter of preeclampsia started to haunt me.

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Then again, screw the herbal recommendations.

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Just feed me meat.

I love a good tisane as much as anyone else, but I’m starting to think that this might be more related to my lack of appetite and the realization two weeks ago that I wasn’t getting enough protein.

So eff it.  I’m going to keep doing what’s actually making me feel better: eating more.  Even though — and I must be honest here — a giant plate of eggs or ground beef is making my stomach turn.  When I finish them, though, I feel fine.  Great even.  It’s getting started that’s hard.

The closest I’ve come so far to anything studied or peer-reviewed is on this site…which also talks about homeopathy (HEAVY SIGH) and links to Dr. Sears (HEAVIER SIGH), but at least talks about the extremely limited studies and theories as to why the Dr. Brewer diet might work.  (Edited to add: Then again, maybe it’s all bullshit.)

This is the problem with pregnancy: no one wants to test on pregnant ladies. I am my own experiment.

Anyway, off to eat a plate of eggs.

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Day 1 Food Journal

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For my edification, the foods I’m eating.  I woke up around 7:45 AM painfully hungry, was mostly satisfied post-breakfast.  Slight headache, which I ascribe to missing coffee yesterday (I drank coffee, and it has since gone away).

By 12:30 PM I started to feel lightheaded and unwell, but not particularly hungry.  Ate anyway.

3:00 PM and I feel great now.

7:30 PM realized I was probably hungry again because I’d stopped feeling great.

Ugh.  This not having an appetite is the worst.  😛  I guess this means I should put myself on a food schedule or suffer the consequences of feeling like crap?  I guess so.

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And so the “Waiting” part of the blog begins in earnest….

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Two separate appointments with high blood pressure readings, plus some protein in my urine, equals bedrest.  Now you know the recipe for “medically necessary maternity leave”.

I am of course unreasonably annoyed at my body for this…especially when I go looking for something — anything — I can do to “help” and see people accusing women of “poor diet” when they get hypertension in pregnancy.  But those people aren’t me, and they can kindly go die in a fire.

So, day one of limited bedrest: I woke up hungry; painfully so. I started with a banana-avocado smoothie (for the potassium and magnesium), let that settle, then cooked up two eggs, two slices of ham, and a slice of cheese.  And a cup of coffee.  I’m probably going to soak in a tub after all that digests a bit.  I know this sounds like the most bizarre spa day ever, but I assure you — I would much rather not have to do any of this.  In my head, I’m on my feet and working until the water breaks.  But part of this adjusting to motherhood life is that things don’t go the way you want them to all the time.

Zoe is still moving and shifting and — based on the pressure in my torso — overall running out of space.  She’s at 37 weeks as of Saturday, so if the unexpected happens we can always go the induction route.  I don’t want the induction route.  But see last sentence in the paragraph, above.  We’ll do what we need to for a healthy family.

And once I’m done soaking in a tub and getting over myself, I’ll hit the market for a few things that may be old wives tales, but certainly can’t hurt to try. I’m going to make some tea with red raspberry, nettle, and dandelion leaf, and probably buy a Vitamin B6 supplement.  I’m going to buy more bananas and avocados, and some spinach for sauteeing with lunch.  I’m going to keep track of my protein and hope that, if I can’t reverse this, I can at least keep it at bay.  And someday we’ll have a lovely footnote to tell our daughter.


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36 weeks, and here at last I can say I’m experiencing one of those uncomfortable and highly visible pregnancy symptoms: swollen ankles.  It started, oh, Wednesdayish, and some days it’s worse than others. Exercising seems to exacerbate it. It’s not too bad in the mornings, and I guess this is as good a reason as any to put my feet up and drink more water. Like I wasn’t doing that enough already.

Tomorrow’s checkup will be the Group B Strep (GBS) test, one of those things no one tested for back when I was born but that is now ubiquitous in any modern practice in the USA. We’ll also be revisiting my blood pressure; it was a little high last visit, but I think it was a fluke. Then again, it did coincide with my ankles deciding to turn into flotation devices. Urine samples were collected. So…we’ll find out!

And it’s also the start of my last week at work, which with all these suddenly ballooning bodyparts isn’t such a bad thing. Soon I will be bored on a couch, burning through a Netflix queue and thinking to myself, “I now understand why women want to be induced.”

Other than that, I’ve been pondering what to make for my labor playlist and giving my new-to-me grill a workout (steak and ribs). I’m intermittently packing my labor day bag — currently it’s got some pads, a scrunchie, lip balm, and massage lotion in it. Tomorrow I get the official birth center list.

Zoe’s been very active all day and yesterday — last night in particular, when we were watching a movie, she turned and squirmed and flipped the whole time. Not quite the acrobatics of last month, but still clearly busy and mobile. I wonder if she’s making lists in there?

My Neurosis, Let Me Show You It

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When I got pregnant, I remember being warned about things like raw milk cheese and sushi.  I remember being warned about deli meats and undercooked eggs.  But no one warned me about the cantaloupe.

From the article:

Michelle Wakley was in her sixth month of pregnancy in September when she ate fresh cantaloupe in her home in Indianapolis. Within days she was rushed into a hospital emergency room, forced into premature labor from the infection ravaging her body.

This was in 2011, of course, and it was one of the worst outbreaks in the country.  Roughly three dozen dead, 110 sickened.  From fresh melon.

And when you read that when you yourself are six months pregnant?  It can freak you out a little.  So being a modern day mom-to-be, I did what seemed natural: I created a Google alert for “listeria recall”.

And this is where I found out something funny.  Most listeria outbreaks don’t seem to be with raw dairy and meat.  The last two that have popped up?  Smoked salmon and a fruit and grain salad from Publix.  Which no one’s warned me about, either.

So in short: food supply roulette.  Extra fun during pregnancy!  And I’m not deleting my Google alerts anytime soon.

And During the 35th Week….

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I got tired.

Really tired.

This is similar to the exhaustion I felt in Trimester the First, only now it’s accompanied by tingly fingers and some lightheadedness.  It’s making that couch look very attractive.  Ryan Gosling attractive.  And I’m now starting to guess what I’ll be doing during my maternity leave prior to the birth: sitting on a couch, sleeping on a couch, and/or wishing a couch was nearby.

Mostly, though, I just want to sleep and eat and sleep some more.  And when I say “eat” I don’t want to give the impression I have a raging appetite…because I don’t.  Aside from early morning, I’m back to making myself go get lunch and prepare dinner.  I suspect I’m more tired than I am hungry, and my body would rather sleep than spend time prepping food.

(Though when I do eat, I’m craving protein. Protein and potatoes. Also, that glass of milk in the morning. Sweets not so much. I just want steak.)

So I have one week left of work. And though I’d earlier thought I could stick it out another week…I’m glad I don’t have to.  Truth is, I probably could. I’d be exhausted, but I could do it.  But it wouldn’t prove anything, and at this point I’m ready to put in some rest time after eight months of playing host.

The other news: girlfriend is head down.  That’s her butt up against my ribcage.  Those are her fists drilling into my kidneys.  She’s still active, but not acrobatically so.  She shifts around and juts her butt out and wiggles.

There was also some vague worry over my blood pressure at yesterday’s check-up…which I’m not worried about. We’re going to retake it next clinic visit (Monday), and my urine is being tested for protein (glamorous!), but I’m  asymptomatic in every other way. High blood pressure is something to worry about in pregnancy, I know, but it seems more like a fluke to me.  If it’s not, we’ll deal with it.  Simple as that.

And now I’m going to take my lunch half-hour and nap.  ‘Scuse me.

The Virtues of Sleepwalking

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I started sleepwalking in my early twenties. Prior to that, I don’t recall any heavy sleep disturbances, though I was a night owl and when I lived at Casa de la Crisis (aka Greenwalls) in Berkeley I generally went to bed at 10 AM and got up at 5-6 PM, and then only because my roommates would bang on my door to let me know I was missing dinner. Those were interesting times.

What changed? Well, when I was 21 I went to work for a game startup.

Yyyyup. That pretty much sums it up.

Also, I started working a night shift because I thought I was a night owl and that caused all sorts of interesting complications. To whit: my period stopped, I gained about seventy pounds (with associated ramifications: sleep apnea, sore knees, low energy), and I started to have waking nightmares. Also, sleepwalking.

Shift work: it’s a hell of a drug.

Obviously my period came back (though there was a point where my doctor point blank informed me I was probably infertile — ha ha! showed you!), and I lost a lot of the weight, but the waking nightmares stuck around. And so did the sleepwalking.

Sometimes it happens when I’m stressed. Sometimes it happens because I was reading a really good book before bed. After my home in Missouri was broken into, I did it every night — sometimes multiple times — for nearly a year. And it’s not always a gentle, I’m-walking-into-the-kitchen-to-eat-processed-cheese sleepwalking. This is jumping-out-of-bed and screaming-like-my-head-is-on-fire sleepwalking. I have woken up to find my hand on the front door to my house, trying to escape…I don’t know what.

It’s calmed down over the years. The last really active period was when we were living at Montalvo in San Clemente and I would walk our of my room, down the hall, into Mike’s bedroom and proceed to assure him I was awake. He would lead me back to my bedroom, tuck me into bed, and in the morning I’d be all, “Did I try to tell you I was awake?” And he’d say, “Yup.” And I’d say, “I lied.” And he’d say, “I know, baby. I know.”

My dad sleepwalks. Mom has great stories about waking up to him standing on the bed with a sheet wrapped around him like a toga. My sister sleepwalks. When she was pregnant, she’d wake up with glasses of orange juice in her hand. Apparently my nephew sleepwalks. So this is a hereditary thing. I suspect my brain just fails to shut down appropriately. It’s always in the first two hours, and it’s usually after I’ve been thinking hard on something.

So what’s the virtue in all this? Simple: I have, over the years, developed a knack for going back to sleep when my brain or body decides to interrupt my snoozefest by making me get up to investigate the ninjas coming through the wall. Despite the fact that over the last three months I have been getting up at least once or twice a night to pee, I have now boiled it down into what is essentially…peewalking. I wake up, I get to the bathroom, I pee, I go back to bed, and between the time my body sent the signal and the time my head hits the pillows, I’ve had a less than two minute interruption. I’m back to sleep almost instantly.

I suspect this is kinda important.

I really suspect this is going to come in handy when we have an infant demanding boobtime at all hours in the next month or so. Get baby. Apply baby to boob. Go back to sleep.

Or I am completely deluding myself! I am aware that this is very possible.

Oh well. That’s why I’m taking all this time off from work. To recover when I completely underestimate the rigors of motherhood.