Mama Duck
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Friday, January 31, 2003

Week 7

In which a whole slew of other weird body things occur

How is it that just two weeks ago I thought I would be getting my period? I no longer have any doubt that strange new things are happening in my body.

I have to hug my husband very gently, since my breasts are so sore that even slight pressure is aggravating.

Nighttime is the worst. My hands often are numb when I awake. I am waking more than just once, though. I get up in the middle of every night with a full bladder; this never used to happen. Plus I need to keep a glass of water by the bed, because whenever I wake up, my mouth is devoid of all moisture.

That moisture, though, seems to have made its way up my nose. It runs, all the time. Blowing helps temporarily, but I am stuffed up around the clock.

Finally, I am hungry about every two hours. My nurse practitioner told me that I only need to be consuming about 300 extra calories to help the little duck grow. How can I keep it to 300 if this hunger doesn't abate? I'm trying to eat healthful snacks like yogurt and fruit, but a few times I haven't been able to resist fries and a shake, or potato chips and rice pudding. I'm trying to counterbalance the sudden increase in my food by also increasing my exercise. As before I'm taking yoga, but now I'm walking the long way to and from work, taking escalators rather than elevators, always walking down the stairs, and trying to walk up the stairs to the apartment on days when I don't have yoga. So far I haven't ballooned, but I'm eating a LOT.

This all feels strange, since I can't sense the presence of the growing duck, but am assailed by all these other strange and unpleasant symptoms. I just have to hope that the little thing is doing OK in there; out here things are not so hot.

posted by Mama Duck7:03 PM


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Sunday, January 26, 2003

Week 6

The nausea begins, and is complicated by food cravings.

I don't think there was a clear moment when the nausea began. All I know is that at some point around week six, I began to feel nauseated. All the time.

It is vague, but constant. Eating seems to help for a bit, but a few hours later the queasiness returns. It never results in actual vomiting, though, just this lurking threat in the pit of my stomach.

The nausea has been accompanied by a host of food cravings, most of which are off the path of my normally wheat-free diet. One day it was cake doughnuts, another it was Krispy Kremes. I had a few cookies that a friend made for a holiday party. Then it was scones and a chocolate cake roll at my favorite bakery. And finally, pushing me over the edge, was pizza. Each of the little cheats, taken one at a time and a few days apart, wasn't so bad. The pizza was different. I seemed to have lost that signal in the brain for when to stop eating. I ate over half of a large pizza.

When I finished, my husband commented sadly that he'd gotten the large so that there'd be leftovers. I spent the next day with my stomach and intestines in a ruckus. Anytime they quieted down, my nausea was there, whispering in my ear. I decided to quit listening to the cravings and seek help.

After some Google action on pregnancy nausea, I found that ginger in any form is recommended--tea, soda, candy. Mint and raspberry leaf teas are also mentioned as helpful. Several small meals are better than three large ones, so I have begun to take a morning and an afternoon snack. This has helped some. I also found that there are different types of pregnancy nausea. My nausea--persistent but without actual vomiting--is apparently helped by fresh air. This piece of information is not so useful in the midst of an ass-bitingly cold Minnesota winter.

The most serious result of the nausea, though, is the sudden and almost complete halt to sex. While we were trying to get pregnant, my husband and I were going at it pretty frequently. Now that I feel like barfing during almost every waking moment, I'm not so into it. My husband has been quite understanding about this, but he has a sad, sorry for himself look about him that he didn't have a few weeks ago. Every so often I catch him sighing to himself.

I'm told that the nausea usually only lasts through week twelve. I hope he can wait till then.

posted by Mama Duck6:33 PM


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Thursday, January 23, 2003

Week 5

The Pregnancy Test

I skulked over to Target when I felt sure that I wouldn't see anyone that I'd know. I still felt paranoid as I stood in front of the vast displays of pregnancy tests and boggled at how I'd choose. EPT, the error-proof test? Fact Plus, that doctors used most? Target-brand test? Should I buy two, in case one didn't work? I finally went with First Response in a pink box. Why? It was on sale for $7.89.

I had just come from our holiday party at work, and my bladder was sloshing with soda. I decided it would be silly to pee before I got home, though, since I did need to do that for the test to work. So by the time I got home, I nearly burst, hollered hello to my husband then shut myself in the bathroom and tried to hold it in for a few moments more as I ripped open the package while trying to read the instructions. Giving up on the latter, I finally let loose, sticking the test in a more than adequate stream.

When I read the instructions, I realized that I'd soaked it for a bit too long but figured if five seconds of pregnancy hormone exposure was good, ten would be better, right? After the requisite amount of time, I picked up the test, compared it to the instructions, then looked back, and forth, and back again.

If the test was working, I should have a vertical line in the small box--the control box. If I was pregnant, then I would also have a vertical line in the big box.

I had no line in the small box and a horizontal line in the big box. I let out a yell of frustration, which drew the attention of my husband.

"Um, everything all right in there, honey?" he asked, worried.

"Stupid rassum frassum pregnancy test. I can't believe the cliches are true. I have no idea if I'm pregnant!" I wailed.

My husband read the instructions, looked at the stick and agreed. "Yep, that's fucked up." I threw the stick in the trash in frustration with the package, but kept the instructions so I could call the customer service line. What were they going to do for me, though? Send me another incompetent test? Guess that's what I deserved for getting the test that was on sale.

I stomped around the apartment for the rest of the night, grumbly and out of sorts. When I finally got into bed, though, a thought occurred to me. What if I'd doused it with too much liquid, and it just needed to dry out a bit? I hauled myself out of bed, into the other bathroom and fished the oh-so-sanitary peed-upon stick out of the trashcan. Madness, I tell you.

And there, of course, were two vertical lines. One in the little box and one in the big.

I threw it away again, washed my hands and got back into bed.

"I guess I'm pregnant, then," I announced.

"Is the rest of it going to go better than this?" he sighed.

"Goddess, I hope so."

posted by Mama Duck7:02 PM


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Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Everything up to Week 5

Trying to Get Knocked up

My husband and I started trying to get pregnant in September. I'd wanted to try for several months before that; he was more hesitant. We'd talked a lot about the possibility of not having a kid, but eventually I realized that we are not the type of people who are likely to build complex, alternative family groups. We're far too likely to sit home watching TV. There's nothing wrong with that, but I don't want to look back on my life and have that be all there is. I don't think there's any way to know what being a parent is like till it's you and you're doing it 24/7, so in September we both decided to take the leap.

As my nurse practitioner had told me, trying was fun. We now had a perfectly good reason to ignore chores and dull errands--we could have sex instead! We never did reach the depths a friend had warned about, where sex became dull and routine. But when my period arrived in September, and again in October and November, I became discouraged. Clearly this was not going to be as easy as it had been for some of my friends. I held out hope for December after much vigorous bonking in November, but as the 28th day of my cycle approached, I found myself assailed by the typical signs of my PMS--fierce hunger, irritibility and random rages. One morning I imagined smacking my husband upside the head because he turned on MTV in the morning and I knew that my period was nigh.

I was, however, mistaken.

The next morning and evening passed with no period. Hunh, I thought. That's weird. The next day passed, then another. I hoarded this little secret to myself, not even wanting to share it with my husband. A few days later, he asked, "Isn't it about time for your period?"

"Yep, it was due five days ago. I was going to wait till it was a week, then buy a test."

For the next 48 hours I continued to be hopeful but suspicious. Shouldn't I be able to tell? The PMS-like symptoms had passed; and I felt normal--no nausea, no fatigue. Could I just have a late period?

Seven days late was seven days, though, and not usual for me, so I decided it was time to buy the pregnancy test.

posted by Mama Duck7:30 PM


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