Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Backstory, Part 3: Second Trimester and Feeling "Swell!"

For Part 1, click here.
For Part 2, click here.

I fully expected the first day of my second trimester to dawn with me feeling more fabulous than I ever had in my life, cheerfully moving the lemonade and oyster crackers from my nightstand back to their happy home in the kitchen, and having the energy of an Olympic athlete. Alas. I guess my expectations were a little on the high side. The wonkiness persisted a few weeks into the second trimester, frequently acting like it was going away, and then returning with a bang. But eventually it subsided and my famous appetite returned, and it wasn't long before I was downing plates of food just like I had in my good old pre-prego days. (And for good reason too - at my 20-week check-up, the doctor ordered me to gain weight at any cost! Hello, sweets!!) 

(This picture was taken right after a trip to the Melting Pot and some chocolate fondue during the 16th week, when food was once again yummy:)

And while I wouldn't say I ever felt amazing in my pregnancy, even in the second trimester, it certainly brought plenty of amazing highlights:
  • Finding out (at 17.5 weeks) that I was having girls!! (Dream come true!)
  • Attending my first shower, which was in Memphis in July. (I haven’t been able to get back to Memphis since then, and I am beyond homesick at this point!)
  • Feeling the first kicks at about 18 weeks! 
  • Starting the nursery-decorating process.
  • Taking a trip to Cincinnati and visiting Ikea (where the girls’ bookshelf and toy box came from and where I would crash on the sofas every chance I could find! Seriously - it would get awkward whenever anyone would come try to check out the sofa I was on. I felt like I was playing prego musical chairs!)
  • Hosting a visit from our dear friends Carissa and Roy. Carissa was also pregnant at the time (and still is, but not for much longer - baby boy is due within the month!), and we had a grand time being crazy pregos together and getting spoiled by our guys. 
  • Attending a surprise shower at the learning center where I tutored.

There were also plenty of new lowlights (is that the word I'm looking for?), primarily revolving around round ligament pain. Yowch!! I couldn't walk around the mall (which was my preferred form of exercise, since I was preggers, it was summer, I love to shop, and there were plenty of benches) without running into them. Oh, what am I talking about?! I couldn’t even roll over in bed without getting the full-on RLP experience!
Additionally, there were plenty of new experiences, such as:
  • Starting to see the high-risk doctor in the practice, whom I liked a lot.
  • Having to wait a month(!) between doctor appointments at the beginning of the second trimester, which seemed like forever. (How do you normal moms out there do it?!) Since the babies and I were doing so well and the bleeding was long gone, there was no need to go any more frequently. 
  • Making friends with the people at Motherhood Maternity (because I was rapidly increasing in girth) and at Wild Eggs (because I was craving their insanely delicious breakfast food pretty much all the time).
When I first found out I was pregnant, the plan was for me to pack in four classes in the fall so I could graduate with my master's in December. Once I discovered I was carrying double the fun, but with a fraction of my former energy level, Chris successfully convinced me to resign my post as Superwoman and just take one class instead - which turned out to be the best decision ever. I was also working two jobs during the pregnancy up to this point - at the communications office of the seminary and as a tutor at Huntington Learning Center. Plus, I was leading a brand-new fellowship for women on campus, Koinonia, and I really wanted to be able to give it the attention it deserved. 

As for doctor appointments during the second trimester, I continued to get rave reviews at each one. They gave me all the tests (I’ll spare you the details) that they give women who are carrying twins to make sure they’re not at a high risk for preterm labor, and I passed every one of them with flying colors. Each time I would experience an odd mixture of dread and excitement leading up to the appointment, and then I’d be a ball of nerves sitting in the lobby, waiting to go back. Then, when we’d have the ultrasound (which we would have each time, for an hour or so), I’d ask, “Is everything OK? How are their fluid levels? Are they about the same size?” because I knew all of these things would indicate whether we were in the clear with Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, and every time everything would be great. On the 23rd week, the girls were even measuring the exact same size, which meant no signs of TTTS whatsoever. And at some point, after answering my usual paranoid questions very reassuringly, the doctor told me to relax - that I could think of myself as having a normal pregnancy (music to my ears!) and that she hadn’t "grounded" me (put me on bedrest) yet.
On Day 2 of my 26th week, I headed to the doctor for yet another appointment in which I received a stellar report and passed my glucose test. Later on that same day, after returning to work and running errands and such, I came home and discovered that my ankles were obscenely swollen. I mean it was really bad. Never had I experienced any form of swelling in the pregnancy until now, and all of a sudden all I could think about was that my ankles and feet looked like those of a crocodile:
The following morning, I called the nurse about it and was told that swelling during pregnancy is normal and nothing to be concerned about. (Of course I knew swelling was normal, but this was crazy swelling!!!) I also learned that some lab results were in, and I was anemic and would have to start taking iron. 
During the course of the next week and a half, the swelling would spread up my legs, getting worse no matter how much I kept my legs propped up. Eventually I went in, had my blood pressure checked (it was fine), and went to a medical supply store to get some compression tights, which helped - but there was unfortunately a limit to their helpfulness. I also started packing on between 4 and 7 pounds a week, which was remarkable since I wasn’t eating any more than I had been earlier on, when I was having trouble gaining weight. By my 27th week, I had to take a trip to the Zappos Outlet to buy some shoes that actually fit me, because none of mine did at that point. I’m normally a size 7 or 7.5, and I came back from Zappos with size 9.5 lace-up black dance sneakers and Crocs (which I would, in my normal mindset, hate) that looked like slip-on tennis shoes. I called them my “clown shoes.” Desperate times, friends, desperate times. Better that than going around barefoot... I think. Little did I know the times were truly about to get a lot more desperate! ((To be continued....))

1 comment:

  1. Hurry up! This is good! Well, I'm sure it wasn't good at the time. But you get the idea. Just hurry!