Christmas week! I felt great this week, other than my legs hurting from being on my feet so much in the kitchen. There was a lot of baking and cooking to do this week. I was really thankful that I didn’t have much trouble with feeling dizzy or my heart racing, which would have made it necessary to sit down far more than would have been convenient. I stretched our baking over several days, taking the time to make one recipe with each child (Eldore and older), something I’ve never done before. It was very successful.
The pain in my legs was helped tremendously by some compression socks I borrowed from my dad.
I’ve noticed that since I’m up and moving around so much, I really only notice the baby moving at night. And boy, does she move at night!
On Christmas Day we decided on a middle name for Flannery: Simone. After Simone Weil, who was an influence on O’Connor, too. I had been waiting for that name that felt “right” and this was it. It was a relief to nail that down! I’ve never gone so long without having both names decided!
We continued our celebration of Christmas on into New Years.
The only discomfort that I was really bothering me–and that I couldn’t quite seem to get rid of–was the problem of my hands swelling occasionally throughout the day. I don’t remember when it started. It had been a few weeks, maybe. This wasn’t related to blood pressure or anything like that (it was always normal when I took it), but tended to be there when I woke up in the morning, then go back to normal, then flare up again whenever I was hot, or sometimes right after eating. It really bothered me because when it happened I couldn’t get my ring on and off. I don’t usually take my ring on and off, but knowing I couldn’t weighed on me, because I haven’t had to worry about removing rings for something like the last three pregnancies. Why was this happening now?
I looked up what could be causing swelling after meals and a possible culprit was salt intake. So for this week, I tried very hard to watch my salt intake. Not too much–because you can’t be too low in salt either. (The studies I read showed similar risks for baby in both low and high sodium diets.) And it worked–My hand swelling let up a lot! The thing I noticed the most is that I wasn’t swelling after eating anymore. It was great!
…For about five days.
But that is telling the next week’s story.
I’ll interrupt the salt story to moan about maternity clothes. In the 11 years since I was pregnant with Ephraim, things have changed a lot fashion-wise, and I’ve been watching with interest the creeping northward of waistbands and widening of pants legs (and shortening of pants hems, which I just don’t understand) and wondering how these things would translate for those of us whose waists disappear rapidly over the course of these 40 weeks.
I found a store selling maternity pants without the standard belly panels–high waisted maternity pants, whose material was consistent from waist to hem. I think they’re a little weird, but I like them ok. They are certainly different than what I’ve been wearing these past seven pregnancies (when I have caved and worn maternity pants, anyways. Usually I’m wearing some sort of dress or skirt I made, but honestly it is too cold this year for any of that.)
Swelling and salt, continued.
I’m sure you were really wondering what happened after those five careful-salt days. Well–I began noticing that I didn’t feel great anymore. I was a lot weaker, a lot dizzier, was getting tired easily and having to sit down more often. I had a lot more trouble with my heart racing, too. I took my blood pressure during one of the worse days, and rather than being high, it was low. Not really low, but just low enough to classify as low. Is this why I was feeling so bad? I did a quick little look-around for other pregnant women experiencing this. Not uncommon. Similar symptoms. The usually prescribed remedy? Eat more salt.
You can imagine my face when I read that.
In the end I took off my ring and put it in a safe place so I couldn’t tell if my hands were swelling or not. And I went back to just eating how I was eating before. It hasn’t exactly helped the blood pressure and the heart racing–I’ve not really gotten back to those good few weeks I had before Christmas–but the extra weakness and fatigue did go away. And I’m not worried about my hands anymore, because without my ring on I never think about them.
control and perfection
I had to contemplate things for a while after that little episode of “I can’t win this.” Watching what I eat, not watching what I eat, blood pressure, tachycardia, etc. Somehow I got in this mindset that if I can just do things perfectly, then things will be perfect. I’m usually pretty good at spotting that fallacy, but I feel like this pregnancy I am jumping into it with both feet. You can’t strip pregnancy of its challenges. I am not going to have a perfect pregnancy. It’s a whole lot better than last time! But it’s still going to have those things that you ask your doctor about and they shake their head and say “that’s just pregnancy”. You’d think I’d know this by now.
Anyway, I have tried to stop monitoring and trying to fix symptoms so much, but just take them in stride, especially if it’s something I’ve experienced before during pregnancy(ies).
I am still wearing my compression socks, though.