Friday, January 16, 2015

Postdated journal: Some pregnancy side effects I didn't know about until I had them...

[Note: Motherhood Journal Pt 2]
Read about Pt 1 HERE (Choosing your preferred obstetrician)

[Hello! Blogging while the baby's asleep... ]

Been a month now since the birth of Carissa, and it all went by so quickly as if in a dream. Feels like just yesterday I was this big awkward ballooning woman who went about town waiting and waiting for the ultimate experience that would finally make me a mommy. And now that it has passed... I guess it's normal to say that I miss those moments of having her growing and constantly moving inside me. Unbelievably amazing and delightful... to finally hold her in my arms. Who knew it'd be such a moving and emotional experience?

I wanted to chronicle this pregnancy journey before, but due to some factors, the whole period came and went and all I did was just mentally keeping tab of the details for documentation later. I supposed now is a good time as any. Sharing is caring, right? I hope that it would be helpful to some ladies out there because reading about them is one thing, knowing your friends went through them is another thing.

It's true what they say about seeing is believing, or in this case... experiencing is believing. Here are some of the side effects, symptoms and occurrence that happened throughout my 9 months journey. Bear in mind that not every woman go through the same things. Some had it easier, some had it rougher, some had it slightly mediocre, and some breezed through it like it didn't even happen. Every woman is different and unique, and therefore it's really hard to tell.

At Week 35...
Here goes mine:

1. Easily tired by the end of the day and thus early bedtime every evening for the first 2 months. But we didn't know we were pregnant then, I just assumed it was due to work and mental exhaustion. Usually bedtime would be 11.30pm onwards for the both of us, but when I started nodding off on the sofa by 8.30pm, something must be happening. This happened on the 1st trimester.

2. Heartburn and indigestion. I began to realise I get full very fast and that my normal meal portion just didn't make the cut any more. If I happen to eat the whole plate, I would end up having to make myself throw up otherwise I would be very uncomfortable all day/night. I did a little reading and found out heartburn is caused when the contents of the stomach is flushed back towards the lower part of the oesophagus (where the food goes down). Heartburn is very uncomfortable. Started on the 1st trimester.

3. Numb fingers and tingling palms upon waking up in the morning, as if I slept on my hands all night. It hurt more when I tried to flex the fingers, however it went away 15 minutes later, or after I showered. This started happening on the 2nd trimester. Yes, I thought I did sleep on my hands all night, which could also happened, but when it happened most nights, I did a little net research.

4. Coca cola craving. With lots and lots of ice. This occurred since the pregnancy began. You can't mention Coca Cola to my face, otherwise I'd be wishing and craving for it and won't let up until I actually get it. Sometimes I'd down two cans in one go. This was, I swear, my only vice. Too much sugar is not good for pregnancy if you have high blood sugar, thankfully I had a healthy history. For the record, Carissa was a little large at birth which made natural birth difficult... but I'd like to believe the size was probably due my really good overall appetite. :-) Weirdly, craving for coffee is non-existent, None at all.

5. Nosebleed. This is actually caused by blood vessel burst on the front part of the nose. The bleeding was irregular and happened sometimes when I blew my nose in the morning or when it got too cold in the day. No blood flowing (thankfully), just spots of blood clot that were easily cleaned with tissue. This occurred since the pregnancy began but I only discovered it was related due to hormon change after Googling it. I was alarmed at first, but much research proved helpful.

6. Minor prurigo - dry rash and red dots of skin on the soles of the feet and part of the hand palms. Not itchy, just annoying looking, like skin allergy. Happens throughout 2nd trimester. By 3rd trimester, disappeared altogether. Some of the ways to relief the dry rash is to wear padded sandals, reduce jewelry especially ring (including wedding ring). No rubbing or scratching, just leave it be. My gynae explained this quite in detail so it wasn't so scary, and he did say it will go away.

7. Less hair falling. This used to be a daily woe whenever I comb or wash my hair, seeing lots of hair falling out. But throughout the pregnancy, I noticed less and less hair falling, sometimes just 1 or 2 strands, upon pulling them roughly off the head. They actually stayed on my head and each strand even began to grow thicker... or maybe I was imagining it. I read that it's common for some pregnant women to go through this stage of lustrous hair, due to the hormon change. Well I do hope it stays that way.

8. Swollen ankles. This occurred on the last month of the 3rd trimester, thank God. Manageable by lying down and elevating both feet above body level every 20 minutes or so. And by drinking a lot of water and avoiding salty drinks (like plum juice). And walking around to encourage blood circulation. Some women might experience a more extreme case of swollen feet, puffy hands and face, due to excessive water retention.

Huaa... fat feet!

9. Feet went a size bigger. Let's not talk about fingers... I took off my wedding band on the second final month, not just because the wedding finger got chubbier, but also because the edge of the ring started biting into my skin that taking it off took extra effort with lotion. I almost cried when inching it off painstakingly, thinking it would get stuck there... Overdramatic. The feet size went back to normal after delivery though, thank God for that.

10. Constantly out of breath when speaking. It's like my heart was racing and went head over heels! Giving a talk or doing presentation is actually a challenge at this stage.

11. Soft snores. Blame those swollen mucous membranes again. The congested nose forces you to breathe through your mouth and snore. Another factor is heartburn in which food wasn't digested properly and gave that feeling as if you have bones stuck in your throat, and interfere with normal breathing. Well... I didn't know until I actually heard myself snorted in the beginning of slumber while my brain was arrested in that space between wakefulness and sleep. I am glad to note that this side effect disappeared after delivery, thank God.

12. Vivid dreams. I once had a dream I was a fairy cum python catcher who lived in a swamp full of lochness. At one point, I also dreamed of Magic Mike lookalike giving me a birthday party dance. Sometimes there's a harem involved. Well... not all vivid dreams are sexual of nature, some are just downright ridiculous. Maybe there's something in the prenatal vitamin...

Google Pic

13. Excessive salivation. Pretty much why I prefer not to talk too much. Also why snores happen, because the excess saliva caused the throat to contract and block breathing.

14. Constipation. This is a more common side effect among pregnant woman it seems. Eating veges and fruits and drinking lots of water helps. Other than that, it would actually get worst as you progress in your pregnancy because the bigger the baby becomes, the more it restricts bowel movement.

15. Frequent urination. This is well, a given. Towards my third trimester, I visited the loo like 2 -3 times after midnight. Sometimes the sensation of wanting to pee is just too much, but when you visit the ladies, there isn't much pee at all. Again, as you progress, baby growth will put pressure on your urine system.

16. Backache. Sometimes I didn't do much work but still the back aches. Better to rest more if this happens in the early part of pregnancy. We need to reserve our strength. :-)

17. Skin turned a shade darker. My gynae explained that due to hormonal change and the excessive production of melamine, dark-skin women will just get darker while fairer one will go down a tone. I'm a cross between brown and fair so going down a shade darker is more obvious.

18. Slight goiter. I noticed this happening a few weeks before delivery. It was quite alarming seeing a tiny lump on the side of my neck which wasn't even there before, but some reading really helped. It is supposed to disappear a few weeks after delivery, so I read, but medication should help to reduce the swell faster.

19. Linea Nigra. I developed that vertical line on my belly as my stomach got bigger and the skin got tauter. The line is actually pretty sexy. Myths had it that the line determines the sex of the baby. I still have the line, it's fading now.

20. Dry skin. This is also another common side effect.

21. Increased antibody. Throughout my pregnancy, my body seemed to be developing extra antibody on its own causing me to be extra-resistant against common illness such as flu or fever. Maybe it's the prenatal vitamin too. :-)

Fetal movement tab to ensure baby is fine and moving...

I think that's it. Weight gain is also a given. What women don't gain extra pounds when carrying along anyway?

What I didn't have though, was morning sickness or nausea. The only dizzy feeling I had was right after I ate and is full, any other picture of food will render me nauseous. So that doesn't count.

One thing that's probably is a myth but perhaps can prove to be true: Ask your mom how she went through her pregnancy when she had you (and your siblings). No matter if she had it easy or if she had it bad, chances are you will likely go through the same things.

So ladies, whatever symptoms or signs you have that weren't there before, make sure you talk to your Gynae about them during your routine antenatal visits. He/She should be able to point you in the right direction and ease your nerve.

Remember, this is just for sharing purposes from one woman's experience, hoping it would help some other ladies out there going through their pregnancy journey. Like my Gynae said, "A pregnancy is a blessing, not a sickness. Live your life as you were and enjoy the moments."

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Coffee Girl reaches 4-year milestone today...

First post for the 2015, and here I go registering my 4-year old existence today as Coffee Girl.

For a long while, I have kept writing and drafting posts all along going by the rule that a blog is about being written and not about being read. Some things however do change, have changed and will keep changing. And sometimes I hit a wall and thought of taking a break, but I wrote on because having gone this far, it'd be a shame to just stop midway. And also most importantly, because having you as readers have kept me going all this while.

So whether you're an ardent follower, outright supporter, silent reader, subtle stalker, shadow chaser... This is for you. Thank you all for reading me and following my blog, Not to be dramatic, but you have no idea how much you mean to this blog.

I didn't choose the mug life. The mug life chose me. And so today I will drink coffee, smile and be thankful.

Happy 4th Year Coffee Girl! Let's hope we can make better posts and more meaningful writeups this year.