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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

21 Weeks and Counting

5 months

4 months

3 months

It's hard to believe I'm halfway through my pregnancy already. Seems like only yesterday that I was staring at a digital pregnancy test in disbelief, waiting for "NOT" to appear in front of the word "Pregnant."

Now we're halfway through and talking baby registry, home repairs, childbirth education and everything else under the sun that is baby-related.

I had my 5-month check-up Monday, and the baby seems to be perfectly normal (at least until he/she is born and takes on personality traits from his/her parents -- at least we know we're weird). The baby's heartbeat is strong, and he/she appears to be growing at a perfectly normal weight.

I, on the other hand, have a few pregnancy-related challenges that I'm working to overcome. My doctor is diligent is monitoring my vitamin levels. I'm still deficient in Vitamin D, but my anemia has become more aggressive.

It's funny. Between WLS and the bowel obstruction, I've learned a lot about reading doctors. There's a definite difference between getting a call from the doc's nurse who reports, "Umm...looks like your iron is a little low," and getting a call from the doc herself saying, "Uhh...yeah...I just received your lab results and your iron is quite low. Did you run out of vitamins?"

The silence on the other end of the line was deafening when I said that no, I had plenty of vitamins, was still taking them and didn't realize there was a problem.

So now, I'm on an even bigger cocktail of supplements. I'm combining chewable and tablet prenatal supplements, and combining my SeVate with a standard ferrous sulfate supplement. I'm learning to disperse my doses throughout the day to avoid stomach upset and to improve the opportunity for absorption, but it's a work in progress.

Brian is a great helper when it comes to reminding me. This "prego brain" phenomenon I keep hearing about makes it easy for me to lose track of which pills to take and when. But I'm getting better.

My other no-so-fun pregnancy side effect is water retention. My legs, ankles and feet are swelling to the size of tree trunks! Despite a dear friend's assurances that tree trunks are considered sexy in some countries, it's disturbing to watch one's formerly cute feet get bloated and distorted by excess fluid.

The doctor assures me there is nothing to worry about. My blood pressure is steady around 110/67 so preeclampsia isn't a concern. She says that this is just how my body is reacting to its newest resident. That's the upside. The downside is that there isn't much that can be done about it. Reducing sodium during pregnancy has been proven detrimental to expectant mothers so that's out. Mint Bliss lotion helps the swelling subside overnight, but it never goes away completely.

The doc's best advice? Elevate whenever possible. Lie down whenever possible. Drink lots of fluid. Avoid long car rides or any activity that requires sitting for prolonged periods of time.

Eventually, the swelling is likely to impede mobility, so we're already planning for my medical leave to take place in early December instead of early January.

I'm trying to look at the extra time off as an early Christmas present -- more time to plan/prepare for Baby Kubo's arrival. I imagine by that time, I'll probably relish the break and the excuse to loaf about all day.

We shall see.