What to Expect When You are Not Expecting

My adventure of getting pregnant over 35 starting with clomid

What if? September 1, 2010

I feel like the guinea pig of natural products and home remedies for pregnancy related issues.  I will try anything.   I must tell you that a lot of them are just not working for me.  When I found out I was pregnant at thirty seven I knew that I was already at increased risk for genetic issues just because of my age and wanted to try to keep things as basic and as natural as possible.   We are so fortunate that thus far all of our genetic screening has come back positive- so far so good.  Unfortunately this isn’t the case for everyone.  I  have a family member who is autistic that has really given me a different perspective.  Her family has some very strong beliefs on diet and vaccines and shared a lot of information with me that I had previously been unaware of.  I know that there are a lot of controversial theories out there and even though I am not sure where I stand on all of them it is definitely on my radar screen because I am in a high risk category.   There does seem to be a common opinion that there are an increased number of children diagnosed with it.  Even though I am not certain, I don’t take any of the information lightly when thinking about my pregnancy and how I want to raise my own children.

What I have found out is that there is no right answer.  There aren’t a lot of facts because women do not want to sign up for scientific studies when they are pregnant- no one wants to put their pregnancy at risk- so a lot of research is done on animals and what is “considered” to be safe and what should be avoided is not absolute.  Personally I am a  “what iffer”.  Tylenol is considered safe- but what if it isn’t?  High fructose corn syrup and unnatural sweeteners like aspartame are said to be safe by most- but what if it isn’t?  Benedryl was once considered not safe but now is…but what if it really isn’t? Many holistic practitioners would recommend otherwise.  The information is so confusing!  I mean my god it was once acceptable to drink and smoke when you were pregnant!  I think every expectant woman and mother needs to do what she is comfortable with and that is the right thing to do.   For me I am trying to find a balance.  Do I eat everything organic?  No.  (wish)-  do I have high fructose corn syrup from time to time?  Yes but I try to avoid it.   Will I take a sip of a diet coke every once in greatwhile-  sure but no more.  In the case of medication I am not there yet- I am scared to ingest anything other than my PNVs-  Tylenol, prescription pills, herbs you name it.   I may be making this pregnancy harder than it needs to be in dealing with these maladies…but I just keep thinking what if?  I can deal with a lot to keep this baby healthy.  I realize that I am the extreme and am totally ok with it.  I figure though that I should use some of my crazy for good and put the word out on some of the products and remedies that I have tried during the second trimester so far:

  1. Burt’s Bees- Sun block and After Sun-  – not so much-  they seemed to work as a sunscreen but would not absorb into the skin.   Acne solution did not work for me at all.  Hand Cream-  smell you later-  not really a fan of any of these products- wish I was because they are everywhere!
  2. Yoga – Helps with back pain, and relaxation.  Would recommend Yoga for Pregnancy DVD but hey I started out already enjoying yoga.
  3. Jane Iredale –  Cleansing Mitt-  Sucksville.  Their claim- it is supposed to clean your skin without soap and thus no chemicals.  The fact- I tried this for a few days and immediately broke out.  Say hello to the new heater on my chin!  It is also hard to get the make up off the mitt.  The solution- it does remove make up effectively so I think I am going to use it for that only but not regularly.
  4. Simply Divine Botanicals- Amazing.  Their claim- chemical free skincare- The fact- ingredients are natural and they work.   I have oily skin and use the following:  You Can’t Zit Here – AM and PM- Pack Your Bags- Skincredible (daily)- Baby Face- every other night.   I will use these long after I am pregnant.
  5. Moroccan Method Shampoo and Conditioner- hates it- it was like washing my hair with dirt.  It did not feel cleaned or conditioned afterward and took forever to dry.   It left my hair stringy and not very manageable.  I am so glad I got the samples only- because I will not use these products again.   The conditioning spray was ok but not great.  I am sticking with ABBA- still a few chemies but vegan and much more accessible- you can get it at Ulta.
  6. Bare Escentuals Vs Jane Iredale Make Up-  I have now used both products and don’t really notice a big difference in the foundations except the Jane is much more expensive.    Jane Iredale Lip Gloss however is amazing and lasts a lot longer than BE that is a keeper.
  7. Avalon Organic Soap- has some chemies but still gives a lather and smells good.  I will continue using this until I find something better- available at Trader Joes and Whole Foods and not too expensive.
  8. Salt water rinse – supposed to help with bleeding gums and sore throat- been doing this the last few days….seems to help a little but not a cure- will continue and keep you updated.

So what works for you?  Tell me the good the bad and the ugly – anything helped you with stretch marks or what about the god awful swelling I keep hearing so much about?  I would love to hear any suggestions from real people- not the paid advertisements I read online all day- what is the skinny?

 

You only lose what you give away July 14, 2010

This week has been kind of ho hum on the pregnancy department.  Nothing new to report.  I have been feeling the same, a little naush, and tired.  I tried to go to an outdoor street fair/concert with my hubby this weekend and that was a joke.  All the smoke was enough to make me sick.  I hated it.  It is funny smoke really bothers me a lot now and I find it revolting.   If you knew me you would think that was funny because although I really have never been a regular smoker-  I loved smoking when I had a few cocktails.   It is a vile and unhealthy habit and I really hope that my disdain carries over after I have the baby.  Hubbie and I were chatting about how I don’t really have any cravings and the things I like to eat haven’t changed at all.  Maybe that comes later.   If anything I find more things unappealing and what sounds good to me is very limited.   For example I am addicted to making homemade Crispix mix.  I also cannot go a day without eating fresh fruit.   I feel pretty good about what I have been eating but haven’t been great about exercise.   I do get out for a bit in the afternoon at work for a walk but that is not enough.   I need to get back to doing my yoga.   I haven’t had a much weight gain yet so I feel good about that.  I am so nervous about putting on too much weight.  I watch a few reality shows as a guilty pleasure and on this weeks episode of Kourtney and Khloe take Miami I totally understood where Kourtney was coming from.  I couldn’t imagine the pressure to get into a bikini that soon after having a baby.  She knows she obviously went overboard but I liked her determination to get back into shape.  Hopefully, Bethany Frankel will let the cameras role on how she bounced back.   One thing they both have going from them is that they were in great shape before getting pregnant and there muscle memory helps get them in shape quicker.  I wasn’t in the best shape when I got pregnant so I know that I will have a harder road so I amm making sure to not use this pregnancy as an excuse to go crazy on food.  Because I didn’t start out rail thin- the doctor told me I don’t need to gain as much weight.  .  Kourtney I read put on over 40lb so that is a lot to lose! Hopefully I can keep this weight gain healthy and bounce back afterwards!

Has anyone found that during pregnancy they feel particularly philosophical?   If you knew me as a person I am hard on other people but even harder on myself.   I hold people to high standards and am known to obsess about things.   As bad as I can be with others I am the worst with myself.  This is something that I work on all the time and feel like I have gotten a lot better at letting things go.   I was thinking about where I am at in life and where I want to be and setting a great example for my children.  I feel great about the person I am today but for some reason I am so critical of myself and started thinking about stupid mistakes that I made growing up.   Stupid stuff.  I was never arrested or involved in anything majorly wrong but liked to party a lot and probably didn’t make some of the best decisions and for some reason sometimes I really beat myself up over it.  I mean it is crazy who didn’t make poor choices at one time for another?   Why do I dwell on this?  Clearly it has had no impact on my ability to be successful in life.  I know that I need to stop thinking like this because everybody makes mistakes and I didn’t do anything worse than anyone else.  I am obviously neurotic.  Mistakes make us who we are and we learn a lot about life through them.  My children will be lucky that I have had so many experiences to draw from because it will enable me to give them great advice!  My take away on this is that the only things in life that you lose are what you give away.  So own it!   Still working on acceptance!  Anyone else getting philosophical?   Any life lessons?

 

Mr. Mister July 6, 2010

Hopefully everyone had a great holiday weekend.  Ours was long and relaxing much more low key than previous years but enjoyable!  I am not going to lie- I was really missing my wine this weekend.  Nothing is more enjoyable than a nice dinner and glass of wine al fresco in Chicago.   I have to say I am not in love with the pregnancy experience so far.   I am now officially fascinated by surrogates.   Who would want to do this without the reward of having a baby?   It is beyond me.   I have been feeling pretty good lately, just the normal tired and occasional naush but nothing too severe so I shouldn’t really complain.   I just feel like my mid section is bloated and I am feeling like my bowels are out of whack.   I am not convinced this is entirely pregnancy related since I had a burger and fries for dinner last night.  It is hard to explain but it doesn’t feel good.  My iphone tells me that my baby is the size of a prune.  Is this a subliminal message that I should eat one? Prunes are so 1987.  I’ll stick with salads, kiwi, and watermelon thank you very much!

Since I am now in week ten and for the last week have had minimal morning sickness I want to take a moment to discuss a few things.   Have any of you been given books by your friends?   If you are like me you have and have been excited to read them in hopes preparing yourself for what is to come or find solutions for what is currently ailing you.   I have been reading a lot and you know I live for google.   What I find is that most of the books contain the same information just packaged differently.  I also have found that they are lacking in a lot of information.  Specifically with regards to diet and nutrition, this is perplexing to me because I feel like subtle changes had a huge effect on  my morning sickness.  Not one of the books or resources I have read mentions anything about increasing your water intake which I can say without a doubt has been my number one cure.  Few mention taking supplements of any kind and I have yet to find a book that tells you the benefits of eating specific fruits and vegetables.   I have gone to non-pregnancy sites to find this information and usually do additional research.

Allegedly the ninth and tenth week- which I am in is when morning sickness is supposed to peak.  Not the case for me- the day I started drinking the water is the day things changed.  Any time I feel the slightest twinge of the sickness creeping in; I eat something and drink a lot of water.  Thank you doctor for this piece of advice it has changed my life.   I could always have more fruits and veggies but they are a part of my diet.  French Fries are veggies right?   Water is my real BFF.  Gone are my fugly seabands and nights in the fetal position.  It’s a miracle I tell you a miracle.  Now let’s talk about another miracle of nature- it’s a hairy situation I must confess…I am growing a mustache!  Just call me Mr. Pregnant lady.   Stachy over here.   Seriously it is bad.   Luckily all of my hair is light- I can’t even imagine what I would look like if it was dark.  Oh the horror!  I am getting it waxed tonight and not in the slightest bit excited for this.   I have read (not in any of my useless books) but online that waxing is even more   painful when pregnant. I’ll keep you posted on this important piece of information.   Let’s not even get started on my vagine!  If I let that baby go it would be welcome to the jungle.  I am going to stick to razor trimming there while I can see it – but after OMG I can’t become Barabara Bush if you know what I mean.  Yikes I am going to have to return to the bikini wax.  How  pregnant sexy!

 

Knock Knock July 2, 2010

Who’s there?  Olive…Olive Who?  Olive you- little baby! Congraduation to my little one who has graduated from an embryo to a fetus!  My baby is now a fetus the size of an Olive!  I can’t believe I am growing an olive right now.  Does that mean I pee Olive oil?  The non-virgin variety.  I have been following most of my health rules and feeling great this week.   I am especially obsessed with drinking water- hence the inappropriate pee reference.  I think H20 is the real miracle worker here.   I went out to dinner last night and sucked down about six glasses of water and although I was a little shaky upon arrival-  I felt pretty good the rest of the night!  I even stayed out until almost 10 on a school night!  Who knew?

Ok before I go any further I have to comment on a few things that went down last night.  My opinions on acceptable pregnant behavior are quite different than my friends.   I am by no means insinuating any level of properness is required because I like to be inappropriate with the best of them but I am referencing the matter of health and doctor’s advice.  So a couple of my girlfriends had dinner last night and one of the other girls is also pregnant.   I was very intrigued by a few of her comments.  First was that she told our unmarried/never been pregnant friend that there weren’t any restrictions on what you can eat when you are pregnant.   I did not get this memo!  She then proceeded to order and drink three cokes.  Mind you I wasn’t monitoring her intake but we didn’t have the best waitress and they were kind of lined up in front of me.  Let me preface this by saying I am in no way passing judgment on her or her choices because I think people need to do what works for them.  As you know what is good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander but I thought these no nos were common knowledge.    Isn’t it standard pregnant behavior that certain foods should be avoided?  And pop should be limited to one glass a day if any.   My doctor spent so much time going over nutrition with us that I thought it was so interesting that someone would think so differently.   Do I have the world’s strictest doctor?  Am I taking things too literal?  I feel like I need to be so careful about my intake and she is so cavalier seemingly polar opposites.  I wanted to learn more but wan’’t sure how to approach the subject without coming across as a bitch but I feel like this requires some further investigation.   Am I the only wanna be pregnant food nazi?

Further, why am I craving sweets?   I have never in my life been one to desire chocolate and yesterday I made my afternoon snack a brownie.  What is that all about?  I am not even going to start with the crap I ate for dinner last night….how was I to say no to truffle fries?  At least had a few shrimps and hummus with veggies to even things out but still not a stellar performance on my part.  I totally should have ordered that macadamia nut crusted fish on the menu and not been suckered into the fried oblivion that made it to the table.  I only had a few bites of everything so it wasn’t that bad but the fish would have been a much better option.   Today is another day!   Is anyone doing anything fun for the Fourth of July weekend?   We are going to play it pretty low key.  Perhaps a family bbq and some R and R and snuggling with my boys.  I am also going to clean out my closet and get some items up on ebay as well as get together some returns.   I am trying to find my pregnant fashion voice and sort of stumbling here a little bit….what is a girl to do?

 

5 easy lifestyle changes that cure morning sickness. June 30, 2010

During the work week I almost never had any morning sickness symptoms but on the weekend is when I tended to get hit the hardest.  Could it be because my weekend lifestyle isn’t up to snuff?   I am not the type of person to say – oh well that is how it is- I need to know and fix things I want to enjoy my summer.  I have a consistent schedule during the week and eat a lot healthier.  Weekends were kind of willie nillie and when I am most likely to fall off my health wagon.  I have stuck to my schedule all week and I have not had any morning sickness at all.  Since I have been a psycho about researching this I think I figured a few things out.  I have scoured the internet, read several books, and asked my doctors advice and these five easy steps are what is working for me.

  1. Chug a lug poo bear! I mentioned yesterday that the Doctor told me to drink a liter of water a day.  Hubby reminded me that it is actually 2.  I can tell you without a doubt my worst days were days I didn’t drink enough water. Because most beverages have additives water is the best way too go.  Soda, fruit juices, and flavored teas have ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, splenda, aspartame, and sugar.   Your baby doesn’t need these and god only knows what they will do to your baby and I highly doubt they are doing anything to help soothe the tummy!  I am going au naturalle and adding lemons or limes or drinking St. Croix with natural flavors.  If you just can’t do the water Doc recommended Gatorade – personally I won’t be going that route as it does have high fructose corn syrup.  A healthier alternative is Coconut Water.  I am starting to see this everywhere and what is great about it is that it does all the same things as Gatorade does but naturally without all those unnecessary ingredients and it tastes good!  Drink em up Johnny!
  2. Diet Right- A growing baby needs fruits and vegetables not crap and junk. The days that I fell off the wagon and ate bad fast food are the days I felt the worst.   When choosing your snacks and meals try to stay away from highly processed foods visit farmers markets and eat fresh fruits and veggies.  Instead of the highly recommended saltine cracker- try a handful of trail mix.  I keep some on my night stand and take a handful in the a.m. if I feel woozy-so much better than polly want a cracker!  Eating a healthy diet isn’t enough what works best is small meals throughout the day every few hours.   A steady supply of nutrition in small quantities versus a three large meals works so much better!  Remember you only need to eat 300 extra calories a day during pregnancy so don’t go crazy.
  3. Supplemental lover- B6 is said to help with morning sickness some PNV’s are providing extra supplements to be taken throughout the day.  I take additional B6 every 8 hours.  I also take a Folic Acid Supplement daily.  It is important to check the dosage so that you are not exceeding the daily allowance with what is also in your PNV.  Most of the books I have read don’t suggest these supplements but I think it helps with morning sickness and why not supercharge development.
  4. Walk it off.  My sister in law was a college athlete and whenever she doesn’t feel well she takes a walk.  She said that it was something she learned in college that getting the body moving can ease queasiness and hangovers.    Since pregnancy feels like a hangover I think the same rules apply.  I take a walk every afternoon for at least 15-20 minutes.   Some people take a cigarette break so why can’t you take a fresh air break at work? I head outside and walk around the block a few times or run an errand.  If I can’t do that I try to do a yoga session when I get home.  If I am really lucky I do both!
  5. Band It- Here is the skinny on the wrist bands for sickness-  they are not all created equal.  I walked around for a week looking like Richard Simmons with the heinous Sea Bands.  They are awful and look even worse after a week wear.   Get the Psi Bands- they are smaller- which makes them easier to conceal.  They also have decorative varieties- which are still not cute but look a million times better than the Sea Band and are also water proof so much more durable.  Still praying to the pregnancy gods for a blinged out version.  Can someone please pimp my band!

So this is my sample schedule and I have not felt the slightest bit of morning sickness while on it.  I don’t stick to it like glue and the times it may vary a little bit.   If I still feel full from lunch at three I might wait until after four for a snack and then eat a later dinner and snack.  The key is not go longer than 4 hours without food and to keep the portions small and healthy.

  • 7:30 wake up and before I get out of bed eat small handful of nuts in the morning if I don’t feel at all woozy I skip it.  If I am extra woozy I might also have an organic yogurt smoothie the triple berry from Trader Joes is my favorite.
  • 9:00  half of healthy egg sandwich or quiche from Hannah’s Bretzel or Cosi.  Hannah’s Bretzel is great because it is made with mainly organic ingredients.  Cosi is probably not as healthy but it beats McDonald’s and tastes delish!
  • Lunch time-  A normal lunch for me  always includes vegetable and a form protein.  One of my favorites is a baked potato with a some melted cheese-  no butter and instead of sour cream I put Greek style yogurt on it- it tastes just like sour cream and is so much better for you.  I also have a small side salad with fruit.  I take my b6 and folic acid at this time as well as drink a glass or two of water. I also save a cucumber from the salad to put in my water later!
  • 2:30 or 3-  I take a walk for fifteen to 20 minutes
  • 3 or 4ish- afternoon snack- favorites-  Berry Chill with Fruit- or a couple of organic whole grain crackers with light cheese from the farmer’s market.
  • 7:00 Dinner- which is a smaller meal for me.   Typical dinner is a small salad with a protein.  A favorite is buffalo shrimp or chicken. I make my own buffalo sauce with healthy/organic  ingredients and grill the chicken or shrimp.  I put a ton of veggies in the salad and top it with my homemade blue cheese dressing (a healthy version I make with Greek yogurt, green onions,  and pasteurized blue cheese.)
  • 10:30 or 11- Dessert and a PNV- Favorites are strawberry shortcake or organic chocolate chip cookies.  I found organic refrigerated cookie dough at Jewel.  I love this because I can make a few at a time.  I throw a couple in the toaster oven and have an amazing warm snack.   They are small portions and the less I cook the less I eat!   If I make the shortcake I use a little bit of angel food cake that I get from my local Amish bakery and add fresh strawberries and a dollop of whip cream that is free from additives.  I try to buy whip cream in a can that doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup- what makes it great is that only has 15 calories per two tablespoons so no real guilt there.   This meal is divine because the strawberries are a good source of Folic Acid and they are in seasn.   I also substitute raspberries or whatever is fresh at the farmers market that week.  These portions are small and the berries are the star.

The key is to stick to it because if I waiver…. I waiver!  Give my plan I try if you are suffering from morning sickness I would love to hear if it works for you!

 

Inflatuation with Fun Bags June 3, 2010

We didn’t quite make it to the mile high club but our pregnancy numbers are a reason to be grateful.   My progesterone is a 56.1 and my HCG at 149.   Given that we were tested the first day after my missed period I think we are off to an amazing start!  My next scheduled blood test is on Monday so expect some big numbers then.  It is Day 4 and we still haven’t told any of our family and friends yet .  We are going to wait until after our glowing report on Tuesday of next week to do so.  I am totally savoring having our little secret and keeping it isn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be.   I think it has something to do with it being the second time around for us.

The four F’s are really kicking into high gear, especially the farty/flatulence!  This is so embarrassing! Remember the episode of Sex and the City where Miranda is first pregnant and passes the gas walking down the street with Carrie?  She made some joke about pull my finger.  That is totally me.   God help anyone who gets stuck in an elevator with me!  Does anyone know of anything that helps with this?   Google recommends taking your PNV (prenatal vitamin) at night.  I am trying a vitamin that you take every eight hours.   It is supposed to assist with nausea and is called Citra-Natal B-Calm. My research also suggested avoiding bubbly beverages- and one site even said- gasp- potatoes. Perhaps today I will go sans potat and S. Pelligrino and see if that helps.  Since I am drinking so much water, I also am obsessed with Organic Lemons and Limes.   I buy a big bag of each at Trader Joes and then slice them up and keep them in the fridge at home and at work.   They make my water sing and the health benefits are abundant. Now if only I could figure out what do to about my fun bags.  My cups runith over!   At this rate, I will soon be able to get a second job as a boob stunt double for Heidi Montag.  Not that she needs one.

Speaking of fun bags- since there is a diaper bag for babies- shouldn’t there be a pregnancy bag for mommies to be?  I am carrying around so much extra stuff now that I need to supersize my bag.  Guess I’ll have to get a new one!  Yoo hooo Marc Jacobs!   My initial pregnancy bag essentials:

Deodorant-  an increased sense of smell coupled with the fact that I feel hot all the time- enough said

Gum-  helps me with the naush- and who doesn’t like fresh breath?

PNVs-  Since I am on the three pack  I am keeping these with me at all times to make sure I never forget.

Cracker/snacks/nuts- A little nosh for my naush

Stylish Flip flops- A ten hour day in Louboutins is just not happening-  my choice this week are the Reef- In the mood- comfy and like my moods they change colors!

Perfume-  What can I say?  There is a lot of stank out there.  Perfume is like a portable version of calgon take me away.  .  My ob “scent”sion is Emillio Pucci Vivara in Acqua-  crisp and light for summer.

I am officially campaigning  for the pregnancy bag since toady I am not feeling that ill. It is definitely because of these essentials and the  pill!