Friday, December 9, 2011

Pregnancy Complaints

First half of the post, written a week ago
I really wanted to LOVE being pregnant. I wanted to feel "better than I've ever felt," full of life, and beautiful. Well, I'm not as miserable as some, but a lot of things about being pregnant are difficult for me. There have been times I have felt inadequate because of this. Like, why can't I take better care of myself so that I feel more healthy and rested more of the time? But it is just plain hard.

I am still awake after midnight tonight because of awful heartburn/reflux. I have eaten tons of papaya enzyme pills, just drank a glass of milk, and have remained upright ever since I put Sweet Pea to bed, but am still having painful burps, that I know will become unbearable if I lay down before the acid subsides. This has been a rough week for sleep, and I was so tired last night after work that all I could do was put away a few dishes before settling down on the couch for the rest of the evening. I went to bed early and slept late so today was better, but now here I am missing sleep again! This week I was awakened by just about every pregnancy issue I've had the whole time, all squeezed into one week of bad sleep: many bathroom trips, heartburn, aching hips, weird dreams, racing thoughts, and leg cramps (the WORST!) And the worst thing about this, to me, is that all of these things wake me ALL THE WAY up so that it takes a while to fall back asleep. I only work 4 days a week, luckily, but I have a 25-minute commute to a job that is supposed to begin at 7:30 AM. I am not much of a morning person so getting up so early is hard for me normally, and extra hard after a night of restless sleep.

Continued today
Sleep did not get better for me over the weekend, in fact it got worse due to my husband's birthday, a new cough that Sweet Pea caught, and stressing about my annual observation at work. Last night was the first night in about a week I was in bed for 8 hours. AND last night I only woke all the way up one time. So, I felt great and rested this morning, but fading fast tonight! It's only 6:45, dinner is almost ready, but I feel like I could crawl into bed and sleep 'til 10:00 tomorrow. I am soooo glad I am not working up until my due date. Next week is my last week and then I'll be home until April.

So, back to the things that have been difficult this pregnancy, and some of the things I've done to feel better:
Sciatic nerve pain in my left hip - This started over the summer, possibly even before the end of my first trimester, which is unusual. It became especially bad after our trip to Eastern Oregon, with long stretches of time stuck in the car. For me, the pain is dull, and there most of the time, then shoots from the middle of the left side of my butt up into my back and down the back side of my leg when I try to do something like stand up after lying down, get out of the car, roll from one side to the other, put on pants, or do certain exercises. Sometimes the pain has been so bad that I've nearly fallen down upon standing first thing in the morning. More movement is actually good for this problem, but it is really hard to feel motivated to exercise when exercise often temporarily makes me feel worse. I have to do a lot of stretching before and after walking to avoid a completely locked up feeling in my pelvis. My understanding is that this problem is caused by some misalignment in my pelvis which causes tension in my muscles and pain through that major nerve. It only happens to me in pregnancy (so far) because the hormones of pregnancy cause looser ligaments so my bones are more likely to get slightly out of place.

What helps:
  • Chiropractic work - amazing results at the first visit, and still helps but not as dramatically
  • Massage - doesn't help immediately but has longer-lasting (about 2 weeks) results. Also, NOT covered by insurance, while chiropracty is.
  • Wearing a maternity support belt
  • Sleeping with a pillow slightly under my belly and between my knees
  • Memory foam mattress
  • Certain yoga moves including mama's pose, cat and cow, and basically wagging my butt around while on all fours
  • Icing my SI joints
  • Not riding in a car
  • Using a yoga ball instead of a chair

Heartburn / acid reflux - When I'm not pregnant, I never have this problem. So, I couldn't really relate when people would complain about it before. But now, oh boy do I sympathize! It's not just the burning pain in my lower and upper throat, but the disgusting-tasting burps that include bitter liquid, that really gets to me. Over the last month I have gotten a lot better at avoiding things that trigger it, which for me are anything with tomato, especially ketchup, anything spicy, and some acidic foods like oranges. Also chocolate is sometimes bad. Even if I don't eat any of those things, I can still experience it if I eat too much at once, or drink too much water after eating, or lean over too far too soon after eating. Close to meals, I can't unload the dishwasher or the dryer anymore unless I get into a squatting position to keep my upper body mostly upright.

What helps:
  • Eating small bland meals frequently
  • Taking papaya enzyme right after eating
  • Eating well before bedtime and drinking only before and after, not during dinner
  • Drinking milk
  • Apple cider vinegar might help but I'm not certain yet
  • The normal medicines, but only some of them are safe during pregnancy

There are many other things that I have to complain about, including worries about the future and finances, my awkward waddle, clothes not fitting, strange comments from stranger, indigestion, a limited diet, weight gain, and general fatigue in this last month of pregnancy, but I'll save you from a more in-depth description of those for now.

To end on a positive note, it is an amazing feeling to have another living being moving inside of me, and knowing that I am nourishing and growing a baby who will someday be a unique person and a welcome addition to our family does make it all worthwhile. But two times may just be enough for me.

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