Week 18 Wrap-Up

This week I had some fun with an unexpected trip to the doctor’s office. I figured I hadn’t made these wrap-ups quite exciting enough and needed to spice them up. I also “first-time-mom” panicked about really liquid, watery discharge. When you call the O.B. to panic about something, they should have a giant visual indicator on your file to mark that you’re a first time mom. That way they know that you’ll probably panic over nothing or just be all-around ditzy and uninformed.

FIRST TIME MOM

This post involves discussing poop and constipation. If that makes you super uncomfortable feel free to skip it. It makes me pretty uncomfortable too.

The bottom line is that I’ve been having some really bad constipation off and on. I haven’t talked about it on this blog because it’s really weird for me to talk about poop. I could rattle off my most personal details if I felt they were being used as an educational tool; I’m not shy about my marriage, sex life, or even big flubs in my past.

I can’t think of a single application where my poop has been an educational tool. But alas, now that there has been a lack of poop, let the education begin.

Don’t worry about the doctor’s office, I’ll get back to that. We’ve gotta talk about poop right now. Don’t stop me, I’m on a roll.

One of the bigger things on my “no one warned me about this happening during pregnancy” list is constipation. I heard it rumored that some women have constipation during pregnancy, just like you hear rumored that some women get severe morning sickness, requiring prescription medication during pregnancy, or some women become pregnant with their own twin. (I shit you not, click the link). If you’re the first of your friends and family to get pregnant, you probably won’t know about all the strange things that happen to your body until they’re happening and you’re furiously googling them to ensure your baby won’t have three heads or gills. You’ll then find about twenty different blogs with lists of “what no one tells you about pregnancy” and you’ll find out that it’s totally normal to get falcon-kicked in the cervix by your pride and joy (hellooooo lightning crotch).

So on my personal list is constipation. In fact, it’s the first item. I knew about weird food cravings (yet to strike in full force), I knew about heartburn, swelling feet, gaining a shoe size, gaining a few cup sizes, morning sickness, discomfort, anxiety  and plenty of other things you would expect with pregnancy (like ending up with a kid). No one had ever warned me, “When you’re pregnant you’ll go days without a good poop.” Perhaps they had the same reservations about discussing their bowels.

Well, I am here to tell you: I have never had constipation in my life until now, during pregnancy. Every pregnancy blog I’ve read is written by a woman who has suffered constipation at the mercy of her unborn child.

I’ve found my own ways to minimize the damage. Fruit in the morning really helps things get moving, and if I’m pressed for time I just have a big glass of pulpy orange juice. (I’m really sorry if those of you with morning sickness just suppressed vomit at the thought of OJ).

So back to the doctor.

[Danger Will Robinson: bowel movement discussion ahead!] The previous night I had a very large bowel movement following some particularly bad constipation. I’d been trying to avoid larger bowel movements because something I was warned about in advance was hemorrhoids. I had very mild hemorrhoids following my whey reaction and I have no interest in having them ever again. So rather than forcing any movement of my bowels I’ve been happy to take the extra time on the can reading a book and letting things pass naturally, however slowly that may be. To put it as delicately as I can, this poo needed some help. So I helped it.

Following a shower and some relaxation my husband and I had some fun time and when I used the restroom following our fun time, I noticed some pretty thin discharge.

Thus far during my pregnancy all of my lady mucus has been just that: mucus. Most women find that they have a greater amount of mucus during pregnancy which is thicker and denser than the discharge they may have during their regular cycle. Some women have a great enough amount to warrant panty-liners or pads, particularly late in term. But the thin stuff really concerned me, particularly after the bowel movement. I wasn’t concerned that sex was the culprit as it’s certainly nothing new, but with watery stuff following strain on muscles in that area, I was a little concerned. I was determined not to panic, so I resolved to wait until morning to call a nurse at my office.

In the morning the thin stuff was still there. Really watery, no mucus-like qualities, so I call the office and the nurse says put on a pad and call back in an hour if it’s wet. Brilliant, why hadn’t I thought of that? So I did, it was, they say come in and see us today. Great. Panic might be warranted now. I mentally kicked the weepy pregnant girl back into the cage of reason in which I keep her locked, gathered some overnight items in case of an escalated situation, and headed to the office.

After a long waiting room wait I saw one of my nurse midwives who examined me, took a swab, reassured me and had me re-dress. When she came back in she informed me that there was absolutely nothing to worry about.

*whew*

There was nothing coming out of my cervix (like amniotic fluid would have been, were that the culprit), the internal mucus she could see was still very thick and mucus-like, and the swab she took was only normal discharge. Apparently all kinds of things from warmer weather to top notch hydration to being one day more pregnant than you were yesterday can cause your discharges to become all watery. If I had an amniotic fluid leak (like I’d been panicking about) it apparently would have gushed like no one’s business. Their biggest concern was a yeast infection.

Thus I say, these charts need a huge FIRST TIME MOM sticker or something. I felt like such a dunce. Even so, I’m really glad I went. I still feel like a dunce, but it was important enough to verify my child’s safety and risk looking stupid and inexperienced.

What else is there this week? Well I *am* compiling a list of things no one told me about prior to my pregnancy. I’m not sure when I’ll have it done. I might save it for the end of trimester 2, just before I start talking about birthing classes and birth plans.

I recently decided that being a first time mom (read:dunce) it would be a good idea to have someone in the labor/delivery area who knew what was going on and wasn’t medical staff. So I asked around about doulas, since just the name alone sounded a little hokey to me. I think I imagined a woman turning a rain stick and shaking a gourd over me while screaming ululations or trying to hypnotize me into believing I wasn’t feeling pain. And she would look creepy too. Like this:

Ermahgerd, tell meh ahll about yerr bebeeeeeees.

But I found that my preconceived notions regarding doulas were totally false. Doulas are pretty much what midwives used to be: women who attend births regularly and aid women through delivery.

I asked about them at my last CNM appointment and found that Johns Hopkins has a free program called Birth Companions, who are certified doulas training to become nurses. Because they’re still in school, the service is totally free. I have a lot of confidence about the program, mostly because I have a lot of faith in my nurse midwives. I’ll be much more at ease knowing that someone at my delivery will be on my team and able to tell me what the heck is going on. I have a great deal of regard for medical professionals, but it’s easy to become jaded in any job, and I like that the doula will be tending primarily to me and also to my husband during what I’m sure is bound to be a crazy experience.

One of my biggest concerns regarding doulas was that I didn’t want to replace my husband’s position in the delivery room. I mean, a guy can only do so much in that situation and I didn’t want him to feel out-performed by a trained professional. So I asked my husband if he’d be comfortable having a doula or if it would make him feel out of place. He responded that he’ll probably feel out of place regardless of whether or not there’s a doula present, and he agreed it’d be better to have someone who knew what was going on around. After some further research I also found that it’s common for men to feel more at ease with a doula present because their experience eases the situation and the doula is able to encourage the husband’s involvement where it is practical and applicable.

I might still have her bring the gourd and rain stick.

I ‘ve been having some pain when I stand, especially when I stand quickly or after having been in a sitting position for a long time. It’s a very specific, normal pain caused by the strain of the weight of the uterus on the ligaments holding it up. Apparently these ligaments form a kind of a hammock (who knew?) and a sudden use of them when they’ve been resting can cause them to strain a bit. Sometimes it feels stabby, but most times it just feels like you’re stretching a ligament as you would when attempting to do a split. It’s just in your hip area and there isn’t much you can do about it. If it’s really bugging me I’ll lift my bump a little bit, and that relieves some tension.

Also, I’ve been sleeping on my stomach still, which is slooooowly turning into side sleeping. I was really worried about this during my first trimester because everyone recommends sleeping on the left side as being best. I of course read that the only option was to sleep on my left side, and though I eventually fell asleep in this mildly comfortable position, I’d wake up on my stomach and panic.

I don’t sleep entirely on my stomach, but in a far more bizarre position.

Like this, but without the pillow in the way.

So basically my body is just slooooowly turning as my uterus gets bigger and more in the way. I’m sure eventually this will be a really uncomfortable way to sleep come trimester 3, but it seems to be slowly and naturally adjusting itself. I haven’t noticed any increased stretch marks due to this position, or any other negative effects. I also don’t sleep only in this position, but I sleep on my sides too if this is feeling uncomfortable (like when I have heartburn and I’m too lazy to walk across the room for the tums). All that being said, if you’re concerned about safety, the link in the first window will take you to a website where a few doctors tell you not to worry about it. I haven’t yet found a website where doctors tell you to worry about it, so I think we’ll be alright.

Also sleep related, I started wearing a comfy cotton bra while sleeping. I tried a nylon Walmart bra, but that just didn’t cut it, so I got a cotton sports bra with no wire. It helps keep my boobs in line so I don’t wake up with one under my arm, yowling in pain. Not that that’s happened yet, but they do seem to have a mind of their own these days.

That about sums up this past week. I’ll leave you with this:

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2 thoughts on “Week 18 Wrap-Up

  1. we probably don’t pass on all those details about pregnancy because we tend to forget them :). don’t worry about seeing or calling your doc too much – they’d much rather it be too much than too little. i could dial mine in my sleep 😉

    have you looked into virgin coconut oil for constipation? because of all its health benefits, and i’ve begun melting it and then adding it to my breakfast smoothie (but i’ve noticed i have to be careful how much i add due to opposite effects of constipation :). i like to buy it at tropical traditions, but have bought it at walmart, too: http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/virgin_coconut_oil.htm

    here are a couple articles on coconut oil and specifically constipation:
    http://www.articleclick.com/Article/Coconut-Oil-and-Constipation/279
    http://www.poopdoc.com/articles/virgincoconutoil.html

  2. another idea for digestion/heartburn … i did not know about this during pregnancy, but it has helped sometimes: pure essential peppermint oil. i like this one: http://www.naturessunshine.com/us/product/peppermint-oil-017-fl-oz/sku-1706.aspx

    just make sure it’s edible – i think all pepermint oils are, but i’m not sure as i know people also use them in aromatherapy and not to ingest.

    have you tried baking soda and water? 1/4 tsp baking soda mixed completely into 1/4 c of water and sip. baking soda is great for the digestive system when used in right portions.

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