Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Week 33: Hippos and Ankles

I am now two days shy of 33 weeks, and I feel like this:

It's like my body just realized I was pregnant-- really pregnant. I feel slow and large and blah. My feet got a little swollen on Monday after my flight and long day of training in Houston. I wore flip flops to our workshop dinner (fancy golden flip flops! totally work appropriate) and when I took them off back in my hotel room I could see the grooves where the straps had been. Then on Tuesday I wore a dress and by midday I was horrified to see that I was losing the curve of my ankle. I had forgotten how unattractive it is when your leg just extends straight into your foot, and I can see why showing a little curvy ankle was seen as so sexy and scandalous in Victorian England. The way mine looked on Tuesday would inspire lust in no one, except perhaps the rhino pictured above.

Then last night my entire left calf muscle seized up in a horrific spasm from 3:05-3:17 a.m. It spread to my left foot and then my right calf and I was crying and holding my leg and it was so very painful. JP woke up about halfway through and said something helpful like, "you should drink more water during the day" and claimed to have no memory of the entire episode this morning. Next time I'm hitting him over the head with my alarm clock. If I'm in pain, he should be too. (And don't worry, it's a small alarm clock- no permanent damage.)

Today my ankles had regained their natural curvature and I was feeling pretty good. I went to my perinatal appointment for my weekly counseling session/health check. My nurse practitioner was glad to hear that I had grounded myself in Austin with no plans to do anything but go to work and hang out at home until my daughter is born. She was less glad to hear I had a wee bit of spotting over the weekend and that my Braxton-Hicks contractions had doubled. She found some blood in my urine sample, and upon examination, discovered that I was ever so slightly dilated. I've been checked every week since #28 and this was the first notable change. Because she's wonderful, she expressed some concern, but no overt worry. She stressed that I could stay at a centimeter for weeks and for all we know I did this exact thing last time. But because I am still a month away from full term, she advised that I take a few precautions. No more sex. (Of course, it's like we've on some sort of crash sex diet for this entire pregnancy.) And I should attempt what she called House Rest. Not Bed Rest- I can still go to work, but I should make a concerted effort to rest and relax, keep my feet up, etc. No big days of errands, no more travel, no exercise (no problem!). And then we'll see where I am next week.

So that's what I'm doing. I feel good and quite calm. I'm really grateful for my weekly perinatal checks. I'm such an under-reacter/non-worrier that I need the frequent reminders that my actions affect my pregnant body in ways that would never bother my normal self. My nurse practitioner walks the line well, and with the exception of that first visit, I have always left the office feeling better than before I entered. She has worked exclusively in the "pre-term prevention program" for 11 years and is just so knowledgeable. I see my OB tomorrow and it will be interesting to see what she says as well. I completely believe I'm going to get to at least 35 weeks, and I'm even more determined to be grateful for every day I'm pregnant, even if I hate my ankles and grow frighteningly close to outweighing my 6'3" husband.


  1. Try a glass of orange juice or a banana before bedtime if the cramps continue. Sometimes stretching before you get into bed also helps.

  2. I HATE leg/foot cramps. I had one the other day and I literally screamed at the top of my lungs for 5 minutes. Oh man, I forgot about the pregnancy swelling. Hope you continue to feel great and calm and that baby stays put until it's her time to come!

  3. My suggestion is to keep a bottle of Tums (the Smoothies are actually yummy) beside your bed. If JP cannot be blasted out of bed to massage your calf, 2 or 3 Tums will shut them off in about 15-20 minutes. I had this raging need for calcium in my third trimester. The OJ and banans have potassium, which helps, but I found taking calcium plus magnesium regularly (2000 calcium to 1000 magnesium) helped a LOT, and the Tums were great for sudden emergencies! Good luck.

  4. OMG the ankle part cracked me up (the Victorian England/hippo part, not that you have swollen ankles, which I remember well). Leg cramps suck too! Hang in there and let JP take good care of you! It's a great time of year for porch sitting and lemonaide drinking!

  5. That kind of wake up call is never a good thing. Slap a tennis ball in JP's hand next time and get him to give you a massage, if he refuses, then resort to the clock ;)

  6. The Tums should be a good idea except I've always read that the calcium in them is pretty well useless to your body. Because the calcium needs stomach acid to be absorbed properly and Tums neutralizes the acid (that is its job after all). So interesting to hear that they work for someone.

    Many people know that calcium is suppose to be good for cramps but a lot don't realize that you need the magnesium with it. If the cramps keep up, I would take a look at what I am taking for vitamin/mineral supplements.

    The idea os stretching before bed (and probably first thing in the morning too) is a good one. I know you wouldn't want to get down on the floor to stretch but you can get a good calf stretch up against a wall ... although I am not sure how well that will work with a hippo belly. :D

    PS Good luck with the house rest! Time to stock up on even more books and send JP out for everything.

  7. The not so fun part of your blog is that I'm only a few weeks behind you (27 weeks now) so you remind me of all that I get to experience in a few weeks. Of course, I just described myself as a hippo last week. I already feel enormous.

    On the swelling issue, it's probably time to retire your heels - or you can wear two sets of shoes. Bring flip flops to the office and keep cute shoes under your desk for short walks around the building. I don't typically swell in pregnancy, but I have noticed that I am developing a lower tolerance for pointy toed heels at the moment.

    As for dilation, if it makes you feel better, I was dilated to 3.5 and then 4 for 2 weeks with my first until intervention forced baby #1 out. With #2 I was dilated to 1 at 35 weeks and 3 a 37 weeks and she wasn't born until 38 weeks (thanks to a greatly appreciated little nudge from my OB). This time, I haven't been checked, obviously, but I fully expect to walk around for weeks with a half open cervix.

  8. I second the eating of bananas and drinking lots of water to keep the cramps at bay. It helped me during my pregnancy.

    As an aside, Happy Earth day! I'm having a giveaway on my blog and would love you to stop by.

  9. Ha! You were CRACKING me up! Good luck with the next few weeks!!

  10. First, what LT said. :( Second, I am glad you have such a supportive practitioner this time around. I'll send you "keep it in!" vibes. :) You've been traveling a lot so the house rest sounds like a good plan.