October Pregnancy Update

Me in my 8th month It's funny how a bad coffee can ruin your morning. Actually, I think the problem was that I didn't get coffee at all—I suspect what the barista at the Starbucks in the Wynnewood Genuardi's gave me was a hot chocolate (instead of the decaf grande nonfat 2-pump mocha with whip that I asked for, or the decaf 2-shot mocha that he wrote on the cup). In any case, it was so sweet it made my teeth hurt, and I couldn't drink more than a couple sips. I should have let him "try again" when he offered; I just couldn't imagine it would come out any better the second time, given that he swore up and down that he'd only put two squirts of chocolate syrup in the first time, and the fact that he was literally shaking with nerves as he flipped through the drink recipe book after each order.

My reason for mentioning this is that it accounts for the look on my face in the photo at left. That, and the fact that I had to get up at 7:15am to take our car in for its yearly inspection after only five hours of fitful sleep; that I forgot my cell phone and was berated for it by the guy at the service station (Me: "yes, it would have been nice if I'd remembered to put my phone in my purse, but I didn't, and there's nothing I can do about it now."); that I carefully avoided the pet supply aisle in the Genuardi's only to cry anyway when I passed the baby food (which Annie loved, and which we fed her before she died to make her happy); that I got snapped at again when I went to pay for the inspection for not handing in my $20 off coupon when I dropped the car off; and that I was honked at and flipped off and forced to run a red light during the course of the 40-minute round trip to Wynnewood by a bunch of crazy morning commuters who obviously also got super-sweet hot chocolate instead of the coffee they'd wanted.

ANYWAY...here's the pregnancy scoop at the end of October:

I can't find anything to eat. It's shocking, I know, but I'm tired of eating cookies and cake and Luna bars and other random snacks. I don't even want BK Veggies from Burger King (which I was craving constantly earlier this month), bean burritos from Taco Bell, sandwiches from Subway, or Vegan Pad Thai bowls from Trader Joe's. I want real food, and I can't seem to find any in the house (or find the energy to make anything myself). All the TV dinners in the freezer seem to have meat in them (I guess we exhausted all the vegetarian entrees), but I'm not sure a Lean Cuisine or Smart Ones pasta dish would do the trick for me anyway. Thank god for the prepared foods and soup bar at Whole Foods, or I would have keeled over from hunger yesterday.

I don't run errands anymore, I shuffle them. I'm good for about one regular-paced activity per day (a walk to meet Al for lunch, for example, or three or four trips up and down the stairs in the house), and then I slow to a crawl. For two days in a row, I've walked an extra six or seven blocks (one way) to do just one more errand—rather than giving in to the exhaustion and going home—because going home would mean starting the journey from scratch the next day. Al finds this "starting from scratch" concept somewhat hilarious. (To me it's just the principle of sunk costs in action.) He's also finding that he has to slow down to match my pace now; he used to be the one who was always asking me to slow down.

I haven't been able to get a flu shot. Philadelphia apparently exhausted its supply a couple weeks ago; I guess I should have called my allergist as soon as I heard of the shortage. I'm not sure whether it's worth it to drive the two hours and fifteen minutes to Annapolis, MD (and back, of course) on Saturday morning to get one at the clinic being offered at Annapolis High School. [Update: I called about the Annapolis clinic, and it's limited to Anne Arundel County, Maryland residents. I'm out of luck again.]

The heartburn has gone nuclear. I'm a little reluctant to take another course of Prilosec just now, given that the relief only lasts while I'm taking it, and the recent reports that heartburn medications of this type lessen your resistence to pneumonia (especially worrisome since I haven't gotten a flu shot). Luckily, I finally discovered Smooth Dissolve TUMS, which are a zillion times better than TUMS Ultra or TUMS EX. They taste like Willy Wonka fruit tablets, and they don't make me nauseous as the other varieties do. (Good thing, because I often find myself chewing 8-10 of them in a five minute period in the middle of the night.)

Bellybutton Watch has finally begun; we expect it to pop out any time now. Although there's still a definite indentation at the site of my umbilicus, we've noticed that the skin around the belly button has become taught and smooth. We suspect that this is skin that used to be inside the indentation but that is now stretched out around it.

This belly is HEAVY. In my first trimester (and some weeks into my second), I would often go to bed at night with what looked to me like a prominent belly, only to wake up to a relatively flat stomach again. My mom thought this was totally weird; I figured it was just gravity (specifically, my stomach muscles not being able to keep up with gravity) and the constant eating that was required to keep the nausea at bay that caused my stomach to pook out at the end of the day. Well, the phenomenon is happening again. While my belly is never flat anymore, it's definitely bigger at the end of the day than it is in the morning. I think most of this increase can be attributed to the baby attempting to push his bum out my belly button (that's certainly what it feels like he's doing—pushing outward with all his might), and again, to eating. Either way, the further the belly sticks out, the harder it is to carry around.

I'm sick of buying maternity clothes. I had this idea that the clothes I bought in August would last me until I delivered—and they probably would have, if the weather hadn't changed. I totally forgot that it would get colder starting in October, and that I'd need more than the one sweater I bought back in spring at a Lord & Taylor men's department sale. I finally caved and bought three maternity turtleneck sweaters (I figure I'll be able to wear them for a couple months after the birth, too), but after that I put my foot down and stocked up only on Old Navy Perfect-Fit T-shirts in size XL (I'm wearing a brown one in the photo above). The saleswoman at Old Navy seemed to think XXL was necessary, but I'm convinced that XL is sufficient (and likely to be wearable post-pregnancy, provided the belly hasn't permanently stretched out the middles).

I don't find the relaxation exercises at the childbirth class very relaxing. We've only had one childbirth class (we have the earliest due date of anyone in there, fwiw), but so far I'm finding the part where we get down on the floor and try out different "relaxing" positions extremely annoying. I'm actually able to relax pretty easily by my own methods, and I've already tried out several positions that I think would be useful for laboring; however, practicing them (and others) in class is so irritating that I'm afraid that it will ruin whatever solace I might otherwise have gained from them. I think next week I might have to leave the room when we get to that part, just so I can retain my inner calm.

I'm still not nervous. Aside from the annoyance at being forced to relax, I still don't feel any real anxiety about the impending birth. I have two (competing) theories about why this might be. Theory A is that I've become so accustomed to being pregnant that I think of this as the New State of Things. In other words, my mind is convinced that I'll be pregnant forever. Theory B is that I've accepted that labor and birth are inevitable, so why worry? I've been dealing with the pain of heartburn and hemorrhoids EVERY DAY for quite a while now, and the birth will only be one day of pain. (Granted, it's likely to be far more intense, but I think for one day I can probably take it.)

I think that about sums up the current state of things; now I need a nap.

Posted by Lori in pregnancy at 11:26 AM on October 28, 2004