Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Obstetrical Observations

It seems like only yesterday I had completely given up on ever getting pregnant. So, when I discovered I was - I was excited, thrilled, and completely unprepared.

One thing that helped prepare me was the advice and tips other women posted on surviving and enjoying pregnancy.

As my pregnancy nears its last month, I decided to put together my own list of the things that have “saved” me during my pregnancy. I know everyone’s pregnancy is different, but here’s what has really helped me!

Plus Size Motherhood Maternity

You cannot imagine how hard it was to find maternity clothes in plus sizes! I would have driven all the way to Chicago if I’d had to, but thankfully, there was a store here, at Cherryville Mall. We only splurged on a few basics (because everything was expensive), but every single piece has been worth it. The clothes feel amazing and have a great fit.

My maternity jeans are a definite must-have, and were purchased in perfect timing, since my office has recently started allowing casual clothes on an everyday basis.

The black pants (my Aunt Louise sweetly hemmed for me) are perfect for church and the days I HAVE to be dressy at the office or for events. The faux-wrap dress is so comfortable it feels like I’m wearing practically nothing, but I get tons of compliments every time I wear it – plus it’s my favorite color, black!

I think the best investment has been the two long-sleeved and one short-sleeved casual shirts. I don’t know what fabric they make these out of, but I would like to spend the rest of my life in it!

I bought the shirts one size up, since I planned to use them as sleep shirts, but they are so snug and flexible, I made a HUGE exception (for me) and actually wore them out and about. They are the most relaxed thing I own!

After trying nausea medication designed for cancer patients (it didn’t work) and a prescription that made me tired and groggy, I thought I was going to die from all the morning sickness. Someone finally asked if I’d tried plain, old TUMS. I hadn’t even thought about it, and at that point I was game for anything.

So, I bought a bottle and surprise, surprise – it worked. Granted, it only staves off the nausea for 10-20 minutes, but sometimes that’s all I need. I even calculated a morning routine that has SAVED my life!

In the old days, I would eat a big breakfast, take a shower, and get ready for work. After I got pregnant, I stayed on the same path and found myself sick “after shower” every morning.

Now, I take two TUMS and THEN take my shower. After my shower, I take two more TUMS. That usually conquers the nausea and allows me to get ready for work. Then and ONLY then, do I eat any breakfast.

Since I’ve started the routine, it’s been virtually morning-sickness proof. I still “feel” queasy, but since I don’t have anything in my stomach, it’s a lot less messy!

Quaker Chewy Granola Bars
People suggested I keep saltine crackers next to my bed for middle-of-the-night snacking and warding off nausea. For some reason, my stomach sent the crackers back up with alarming regularity, and I found I had to be really desperate to turn to crackers for hunger relief.

Instead, I tried Quaker Chewy Granola bars in Chocolate Chunk, S’mores, and Peanut Butter flavors. They have been a huge success! They calm my stomach and the sweetness factor makes them perfect for the 3 a.m. hunger pains. Plus, they’re low calorie!

Diabetic Socks
My feet and ankles look like baby whales these days. I was getting indentations in my skin from even my roomiest socks. We found diabetic socks at Wal-Mart. They were pricey but extremely easy on my feet and ankles. I can stay in them all day and not be the least bit miserable!

Bottled/Filtered Water
There is a lot of debate on this. Several of my pregnancy books said tap water was fine. Other books/websites said to stick to bottled water. Even more resources suggested bottled water was WORSE than tap water when it came to FDA guidelines.

Stymied, I asked my OB. He said to DEFINITELY stick to bottled or filtered water. So I have.

Fortunately, my office provides free filtered water (via the fabled water cooler). So, I’ve been able to have as much as I want all day long! This saves on the bottled water we have to buy for home.

Since I’ve given up my beloved Diet Coke (and all diet and regular sodas with caffeine), I’ve dedicated myself to drinking more water. It was tough at first, but persistence has paid off. My body is so used to copious amount of water that it practically cries out for it now.

Before, I could finish four to six Diet Cokes in a day – usually two at lunch. Now, if I have a non-caffeinated soda or root beer, I find myself only able to finish about half to two-thirds of the serving. It’s like my body KNOWS it’s a treat. I try to drink a full glass of water with every soda, and I find that works best for me in terms of balance.

I never knew water could taste so good!

Room Humidifier
I’ve suffered from pregnancy rhinitis since the beginning. I was (still am) blowing my nose ALL the time. It was horrible – the cold that never seemed to end. I would wake up during the night all stuffed up, unable to breathe, with dry, cracked lips.

Several websites suggested a room humidifier. Let me tell you, it was the BEST $40 bucks I spent. The humidifier has been an absolute godsend. Not only does it help ME sleep, Brett sleeps ten times better, too!

I still blow my nose all the time during my waking hours, but a good (partial) night’s sleep more than makes it bearable.

B-12 Complex

I know I am more medicated than the average pregnant person. I’m on meds for high blood pressure and insulin for diabetes, plus all the regular prenatal vitamin packs. However…

I have a health nut friend who gave me a HUGE bottle of B-12 Complex vitamins. I was grateful, since I knew folic acid was good for the baby’s development. The bonus was that the “complex” also provided nutrients that help manage stress!

To my skeptical surprise, taking just 3 “B’s” a day, has kept me calm and serene though most of the day. I am NOT a health nut (as you all know), but this stuff WORKS. I feel much more positive, and the vitamins act as a shield against all the stress. It has also prevented panic attacks from overtaking me, as I think they may have, otherwise.

Chocolate Milk
Okay, it’s a treat. I RARELY had chocolate milk growing up. Same for Brett. Just a couple of months into the pregnancy, I had a craving for it. We picked up a gallon and have kept restocking it since!

I let myself have one full glass in the morning – hey, it DOES have calcium! – but that’s it. I also try to balance it out with regular (more healthy) low-fat or skim milk.

It’s perfect for popping my pregnancy pills in the morning on the occasions when I don’t have time to eat, since it coats my stomach and allows the pills to do their jobs.

Plus, c’mon, I mean, it’s CHOCOLATE MILK and freakin’ delicious!

Apple Juice
I am a little picky here. The apple juice I CRAVE is Simply Apple and is in the fresh juice refrigerator case at the supermarket! This stuff is SO good – but it’s still juice (and $$$), so I limit myself to one glass a day, and often switch it off with chocolate milk. I know it’s chock full of natural sugar (still sugar), so I am careful with it.

But a nice, tall glass is just perfect if the weather is hot. And Simply Apple is so sweet, usually one glass is all I need, anyway.

Baked Cheetos & Little Debbie Brownies
I have tried to eat healthy as much as possible, but these are my treat allowances. These are the two things that ALWAYS sound good, even when nothing else does. I don’t put limits on these (or my plain bagels and plain cream cheese). I don’t think I’ve overdone it yet, but sometimes they have SAVED me from starvation when everything else sounded oh-so-gross!

Body Pillow
Thankfully, I already had a body pillow, so I didn’t have to go out and buy one. Putting the body pillow between my legs has helped me sleep so much better. I still HATE having to sleep on my side (I’m a belly and back sleeper by nature), but the big, fluffy pillow makes it much easier to doze off!

Well, those are just my tips and tricks! I hope they do someone else some good, too!


Heidi said...

Thanks for sharing those. It is interesting to see what works for each other.
Can you believe that you only have about a month to go? Looking back, it is amazing how fast it really does go, though it does seem you are pregnant forever when you actually are.

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

Wow!! Wish I'd read this before going through four pregnancies!!
I'm with you on the water, Quaker bars, and body pillow! Never tried the Tums... and that prescription never worked for me either, although it does work wonders for Vertigo.

Tip on the apple juice and chocolate milk: dilute it! Then you can feel like you're drinking more, and not spend as much. I dilute apple juice for myself and the kids with half water. You'll adjust fast. And it lasts longer.

With chocolate milk, just stir in into half a glass of skim milk. Same thing. Lasts longer, tastes great, and you can drink more without worrying about the extra calories. :-)

You're soooo close now!! (And, btw, my sis-in-law is in labor RIGHT now.)

October said...

So are you saying three B-12s a day? Maybe I need to try that.

Ann-Marie said...

Tob - Those B-12's have been amazing for me! It really does help manage stress. You know I am under a lot of stress, but it takes the panic way down. I highly recommend it! And you can't take too much, since your body just naturally flushes out what you don't use!

Wendy - Thanks for the tips! I'll bet you know more about pregnancy than I'll ever even dream of! :-)