How I Do Run On.

by Alexa on March 28, 2012

I am more pregnant than I have ever been. 26 WEEKS pregnant. Soon I will enter a whole foreign trimester. Some of it will feel familiar to me, having been so very, very vast last time, with twins and all (in many ways, it’s been the second trimester that felt new this time), but still. This baby is older than Simone was when she was born. Screw pregnancy newsletters; I can look at Simone’s BABY PICTURES and get a reasonable idea of what Twyla looks like in utero at any given gestation from now on.

(Yes. Her name is Twyla. I let that slip on Twitter the other night. When I’m feeling particularly pleased and hopeful, I call her Twyla the Tenacious.)

The new season of Mad Men premiered Sunday night, and it sent me into something of a tailspin to realize that (customary caveat applied) by the time the season ends, I will have a new baby. A baby in my home, a baby who is a couple of weeks old, even.
Do you know how SHORT a season of Mad Men is? I do, because I complain about it every time. AND YET! When the last episode airs, I will probably be watching it while NURSING, or something.

On the one hand, it can’t come soon enough for my get-the-baby-out-alive-anxiety, but on the other…I have SO MUCH to do before that season finale airs.

I know—all a baby really needs is a boob and a clean, de-splintered drawer to sleep in, blah blah blah. This is only partially about the actual baby. We’d been dithering until about a week ago about moving, and have at last decided to stay in our apartment at least another two years. The location is really impossible to improve upon, and while it still KILLS me not to have any outside space, well, we can GO outside, and by staying here and saving we have a better chance of buying a house we really love down the line. However:
1) We have been treating this place as temporary for almost four years now (have yet to really put up any pictures, for instance), which is hardly conducive to the happy, home-y, settled feeling I am desperate for, and
2) It has gotten unacceptably grime-y (the ceiling fan blades! The windows and baseboards!) and messy (Hoarders Lite, over here).
The plan, then, is that instead of starting fresh elsewhere, we will make this place clean and lovely and more like a home. As I said, the apartment has gotten filthy in hard-to-reach-but-easy-to-be-horrified-by places, it is time to DECORATE, already, and we are seriously in need of a purge of our belongings. We are finally getting permission to paint and there is furniture that must be replaced and a room that needs to turn from Office back into Child’s Room and I have honest to god SPREADSHEETS detailing the million tasks that must be completed within the next Mad Men season because yes, it needs to be done before the baby comes. Do not tell me that it doesn’t all have to be done before the baby comes, because I WILL CUT YOU. This project is making me crazy, but it is also the only thing keeping me sane. I know that doesn’t make sense, but it is true.
You see, I have a viable baby inside me. I do NOT want that viable baby to come out early—we got so lucky with our outcome last time it seems certain we wouldn’t be again, and besides, I am quite enchanted with the idea of delivering a great big 37-weeker that I can hold the very same day—but I am excruciatingly aware of said baby’s viability, and my uterus’ murder-y history with babies, and the thought of having a healthy 30-some-weeker snuffed out by some unseen malfunction is never far from my mind. I can’t do anything but trust my doctors and hope for the best, on that front, so you can bet your ASS I am going to get this apartment whipped into shape in the next 11 weeks.

I thought I might do some Before-and-After-ing here, on this old Website of mine, but the Befores would be so, so bad—no really, so bad—that I suspect it would just be a repeat of the time I posted this entry and received hate mail for MONTHS. Worse, because sorting is already in progress, so in some cases the Befores would just be pictures of boxes and piles. (I apologize for how unintentionally filthy that last sentence was, by the way.) I promise to show you the finished product at my customary tedious length.

Scott will be doing most of the actual, physical work, because my uterus can’t seem to tolerate more than 10 minutes of activity before going AWOOGA! AWOOGA! and dissolving into panicked contractions. I did manage to sort through most of Simone’s baby clothes the other day, which led to the conclusion that we do not need any more, at least for the first six months. Which is good! but also makes me feel horribly guilty because it means poor Twyla will always be wearing hand-me-downs. I found this far more upsetting than I suspect any reasonable person would.

My emotions have been volatile. There has been a lot of weeping, but not necessarily for any specific/rational/explicable reason. On Monday I started crying as I left for Simone’s spring conference, because…I’m not sure. The closest I could figure was that it was because Scott had class and couldn’t come with me, and also I hadn’t slept well the night before, and also I wanted a piece of cake but wasn’t allowed.

I wasn’t allowed cake, incidentally, because I failed my one hour glucose tolerance test so spectacularly that I don’t even get to attempt the three hour. I passed the one hour with ease in the first trimester, and thought I had dodged that particular bullet this time, but nope! I’ve only gained a total of three pounds all told (hard to believe given my magnificent prow), so lord knows I can’t blame it on that, and I wasn’t more than slightly zaftig to begin with. I’ve been checking my blood sugar since getting the news, and every reading has been scrupulously normal (even the one taken after a celebratory meal of takeout penne and mango sorbet), so apparently the only thing that causes my blood glucose to rise to unacceptable levels is that godawful drink of theirs. Of course when I reported to the diabetes clinic yesterday I got the same lecture they gave me last pregnancy, about how I need to eat more (the GD diet, believe it or not, asks that one consume a tremendous amount of food). I tried not to become too exasperated but suspect I failed, because I am still on round-the-clock Zofran, and LADY, I AM JUST HAPPY I AM MANAGING TO EAT AT ALL.

Can I point out, as long as we’re on the subject, the absurdity of having this not eating/gaining enough problem after spending the last two-plus years salivating over food I couldn’t have because I was trying to lose weight while locked in battle with my damn thyroid? And no matter how I changed my “calories in/calories out” equation (DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED) I kept right on gaining—20 pounds in the six months before I got pregnant! And now I eat whatever I please (including this awfully sinful macaroni and cheese from a local restaurant that I eschewed for years out of virtue) and am about as active as your average ficus, and I am being sighed at by nutritionists.

In other news (unless you follow me on Twitter, in which case this is not news at all), we had a bit of excitement Thursday night, in the form of Baby’s First Trip to L&D.

Despite the weekly 17-P injections, I contract a lot: my pattern has been sporadic contractions throughout the day, and an uptick with activity. I get my shot every Monday morning, and by the weekend it must be wearing off, because my contracting become noticeably more regular—my response to which has been to spend Sunday afternoons in bed with a heating pad and a contraction timing app, guzzling water and waiting out the hours until my next shot. (You may remember that I started the 17-P injections almost solely as a precaution, because of uterine irritability, but with the strong, increasing contractions it looks as if we can say that my preterm shenanigans last pregnancy were likely not entirely due to Ames’ death after all.) One particularly alarming Sunday netted me a cervical ultrasound, but it showed no shortening or funneling or anything untoward, suggesting that these contractions of mine are more bark than bite. General policy since has been that as long as they don’t stay regularly in excess of six an hour with water, rest, and heat, I needn’t do anything about them beyond limiting my activity as necessary. (The stairs to our third story apartment are a particularly notorious culprit.) The extent of this limit is vague (“don’t go on any long walks” being a recent guideline), so I let my uterus be my guide. Alas, the farther along I get, the more badly my uterus behaves, and on Thursday I had several hours with more than six contractions. They were irregular in intensity but coming about three minutes apart when I sped off to triage.

The triage desk is just inside the entrance to the birth center on the way to the NICU, and standing there, signing all the forms that would allow them to care for Twyla should she happen to make an appearance (all the while mindful of the fact that I was only about three days, gestationally, from when Simone was born) made me ill. I kept tearing up and raced through the paperwork as quickly as I possibly could. I am certain my signatures were entirely illegible.
(Of course, everything was FINE, and I probably could have waited a bit before getting so verklempt, but as I have mentioned, the logical parts of my brain don’t seem to be operating at full capacity lately.)
In the room I shimmied into a familiar abdominal ace-bandage to hold the monitors and donned a gown. A nurse came in and positioned one disk to monitor contractions and one to monitor heartbeat, and I felt that odd mix of hope that there would be no more contractions and hope that there would be a few and that they would show up on the strip. Those of you who have dealt with preterm labor are doubtless familiar with this—obviously, you don’t WANT to be having contractions, but because it can be hard to pick up early contractions on the monitors, it’s difficult not to feel both desperate (because you are scared, and KNOW there are contractions, and want them to be taken seriously) and embarrassed (because if the contractions don’t show up, everyone will think you are crazy and paranoid and will be secretly eye-roll-y back at the nurses station). After a bit of adjusting, my contractions showed up, but happily there were not many of them, though there was a lot of background wiggly uterine irritability on the strip. The contractions themselves looked like gently sloping hills, and I remembered the mountainous peaks they were during actual labor with Simone, and wondered, again, how on EARTH I stood that every 3 minutes for 16 hours.

The nurse gave me a dose of Vistaril and then a shot of Terbutaline which: OW. Burny. It was remarkably effective at stopping the contractions—I only had three in the hour-and-a-half I was there post-shot—but I wasn’t fond of the Terbutaline, and have no interest in seeing it socially. I vehemently disapproved of the unwholesome jitters it imparted, and when combined with the Vistaril, the result was a paradoxical caffeinated bonelessness. A small price to pay, and all that, but it’s a good thing the nurses warn you about the “did I do a large quantity of cocaine and then forget about it?” effect, because otherwise I imagine a person would assume they were in dire need of a cardiologist and possibly a notary for thier living will.

The fetal monitoring portion of my stay was a pleasant surprise. You see, SOME babies, in the past—I won’t name any names—became quite testy and uncooperative at the first whiff of a monitoring session. SOME babies made a fleet of poor, overworked nurses drop everything every 90 seconds or so to chase after their heart rate, three hours a day, for weeks. Twyla, despite being the most active baby I have ever harbored, was much more cooperative than a certain (as I said, unnamed) one of her predecessors.

The worst part of the visit was the cervical check. Now, these are never pleasant, and always involve me assuming a vulnerable position (legs bent and spread, fists balled under ass as requested to give “better access”) while a nurse does an unspeakably painful Hand Jive inside my vagina. This time, though, was something special. The head of the bed—which was elevated—suddenly gave way, sending me crashing downward with someone else’s digits inside of me. The good news is that my cervix was nice and closed. The bad news is—did you READ that?

Anyhow, while they were up there they did a fetal fibronectin test (a positive got me admitted at 24 weeks last time) and it was, blessedly, NEGATIVE, which gives me something like a 95% probability that I will NOT deliver within the next two weeks. Huzzah for third trimesters!

My, this has been a whiny post, hasn’t it? Why so whiny, lucky still-pregnant girl? This last complaint, at least, is actually a plea for help:
I will give all my riches (about $117 at present) to whomever can cure me of my horrible, panic-attack-inducing Restless Spirit Leg.

Every night, I fall asleep only to wake a short time later with the most horrible feeling in my legs and sometimes more of me. “Restless,” though, doesn’t convey just how awful it is: it is a physical feeling, but I am also panicky, and feel I need to get out of my own self IMMEDIATELY—Akathisia, you know. I flex my muscles over and over and finally stumble out to the living room, sniffling pathetically, to lay on the couch while Scott massages my legs. I also take a Klonopin, which helps immensely but makes me wring my hands and feel like I am a bad mother even to the unborn, despite the fact that I KNOW it’s a low dose and there is no research saying anything damning about it in the 2nd trimester, and that last time after Ames had died they had me on benzodiazepenes for my Grieving and everything was FINE. Still. The doctors in my practice don’t all agree about benzos in pregnancy and so I’d avoided them until now. Almost without fail, after the leg massage and Klonopin I am able to return to sleep without further incident.

Further information:

–Taking the Klonopin before I try to sleep does not stop the Restless Spirit Leg from occurring.
–I have long since stopped taking Unisom, because antihistamines make Restless Leg worse.
–I AM mildly anemic (hemoglobin 10-point-something, down from 12 in 1st trimester), which I have heard could-possibly-maybe-but-maybe-not be a factor, HOWEVER I can’t take iron supplements. I am already bunches of Colace for the Zofran, and I tried a supposedly not-as-constipating form of iron supplement (gluconate? can’t remember) about a week ago and the resulting situation was so bad that I am not prepared to talk about it on this public Website.
–I ate a banana before bed last night, having vaguely remembered something about THAT helping, and no luck.

Seriously, if one of you can rid me of this affliction I will give you any of my cats you like! Your choice! Please!

If you don’t have any Leg ideas, maybe you could tell me your best Hormonal Pregnancy Meltdown story? Last time I was pregnant enough to get to the Sudden Onset Weeping stage I had actual things to weep about, so it is very weird to find my emotions swinging wildly out of control over nothing or in ways (clinging to spouse, nesting) that remind me that I am, in point of fact, an animal. An animal that needs windows that aren’t so dirty they make her want to DIE and also to find just ONE COMFORTABLE SLEEPING POSITION FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

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Jul March 28, 2012 at 11:11 am

Okay, I realize that this is a bit indelicate, but so is the human body, what with the twitching and seizing and contracting and pooping and lack thereof: having an orgasm will settle the RLS right down. No, I am not kidding at all. The human nervous system: seriously jacked up for millenia!

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RG March 28, 2012 at 11:16 am

I am so busy. Why am I writing this comment instead of performing my Very Important Research? Slap my hand.

In any case, my silly hormones story involves me being late to a dental cleaning because Pregnancy Brain removed the directions to my oft-visited dentist from their file folder in my mind. In other words, I got lost on my very familiar way to a very familiar place, forgot that I had the number in my phone so I did not call to say I was late, and upon my arrival was greeted by a grumpy hygienist who said – You’re late. I can’t see you now. I BURST into tears, abject weeping there in the waiting room. I was only a few weeks pg, not showing at all, so I tried to explain through hitching sobs that I had just found out I was pregnant and it was hormones and really I’m fiiiiiiine waaaaaah. The hygienist (am I spelling that right?) immediately softened, took me back into the back, and cleaned my teeth/gave me a therapy session. She was so soothing and lovely, talking about her first pregnancy, what a mess it made her, etc. She said everything was going to be fine. And for me, it was. But I still feel the hot red shame rise in my cheeks at the thought of being a grown woman, weeping uncontrollably because she was late for a dental cleaning, godsake.

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Laura March 28, 2012 at 11:17 am

I had two hyperemesis pregnancies so I attribute any pregnancy weeping/hormonal freakouts to the fact that I couldn’t eat anything and passed boulders in the bathroom (thanks Zofran.) However, I had the mother of all hormonal breakdowns when my first child was 5 days old. My darling parents and my MIL came over to the house for Mother’s Day and to see the child. In an act of kindness Mom and Dad brought KFC for lunch. It was the most delicious chicken ever (all food was manna now that I could eat without vomiting) but there was quite a bit leftover. I asked my parents to take it home with them, they bought it so I considered it theirs. When they left I guess they were in a first grandchild haze because they forgot the chicken. When I opened the refrigerator a few hours after their departure and saw those leftovers I LITERALLY fell to the floor and wept. Sobbed for HOURS. It was tragic that my parents forgot their chicken and sides because they wouldn’t have anything to eat for dinner! I know they have a grocery store within walking distance and a fridge full of food but the KFC was special! How could I let them starve when they had been such good parents my entire life and my Mom took care of me during the worst of my hyperemesis? This went on and on until my husband finally guided me into the bedroom, put me into bed, tucked me in and demanded I sleep. The fact that he not only stuck around but wanted to have a second child with me is a testament to his love and strong will. I still laugh when I pass a KFC.

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Aina March 29, 2012 at 10:53 am

This is seriously funny! And your husband is a wonderful man.

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Susan March 28, 2012 at 11:22 am

When I was pregnant with my second daughter, after having put her to bed one summer evening, I went to the freezer for a popsicle. But, although the box was there, it was empty. I knew immediately that my husband had eaten them all and had left none for me. Oh, the tears! The recriminations! The loud sobbing broken by “You are SO SELFISH and GREEDY!!!” And these were the good popsicles–the frozen fruit Edy’s kind. It was so, so terrible. My poor husband was stunned and sheepish and really didn’t know what to do. Nine months later, and he still teases me about it.

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kathleenicanrah March 28, 2012 at 11:40 am

oh hooray for twyla cooking away. and so happy to get an update on everything!
1- the legs. try calcium. like really, a milkshake or ice cream right before bed. if restless leg syndrome is anything like leg cramping (and they can be related), calcium could/should help.
2- pregnancy hormones. I haven’t ever been pregnant, but I work for pregnant women– I run a pregnancy fitness company. A few months back I had a class of 15 pregnant moms, and as they did their weekly introduction the first one started crying as she explained how she was having a hard time controlling her emotions….and then, no joke, all other 14 pregnant women started crying too. It was amazing, and very quickly very very funny.

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Myra March 28, 2012 at 11:51 am

There is an old wives’ tale that placing a bar of soap beneath your sheets by your feet can cure restless legs. I didn’t know about that when pregnant myself. I found my RLS was much less severe (or even noticeable) if I’d had iron-rich foods like kale or seaweed… which I always seemed to crave (in the form of avocado rolls or kale soup) right before bloodwork sent the doc into a clucking fit, writing prescriptions for supplements that I couldn’t tolerate (I tried about seven of them and had a terrible reaction that has apparently never before been documented in the annals of medical history).

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RK March 28, 2012 at 11:59 am

I have never been pregnant, but as a younger sibling, I always really liked getting the hand-me-downs. It was really fun opening the box and seeing what cool/surprising stuff might be in there, and I didn’t even have to get dragged to the store to buy them first. So tell your emotions to hush up about that. :)

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Jen March 28, 2012 at 12:03 pm

I am VERY interested to hear you speak of taking Klonopin. This is a drug I normally take at bedtime due to chronic insomnica and bed-time induced anxiety. It has been my saving grace for years. I found other options while pregnant with my son (namely Elavil and propranolol, with Tylenol PM thrown in for kicks sometime) However, during this pregnancy (with twins, EEEK), I am finding that combo does not work for me. I’m guessing it’s the extra-high hormones plus the OH MY THERE’S TWO OF THEM anxiety. I actually take Ambien, which the doctor has approved. However, it does nothing for anxiety and usually wears off in the middle of the night anyway. I would LOVE to be able to take a littel Klono again. I am only 8.5 weeks pg though, and I have my first OB appt with a new OB in 2 days. I am hoping he is one that is okay with a small dose of benzos….. Ugh. I feel for you

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nicole March 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Didn’t read all the comments, so someone might have mentioned this already but I had horrible RLS during pregnancy and have it actually every month around time for my dot as I call it. My dr had me taking calcium supplements before bed, and they actually helped. I got these gummy ones that made me feel like I got to eat candy before bed, which was also a plus. Sleeping with a pillow between your legs helps, sometimes elevating your legs helps. Also – take two tennis balls and a sock you no longer care about. Put said tennis ball inside, tie a knot, put the other one in, and tie another knot. Use to massage over legs, it is blissful. Or you could buy this: http://www.amazon.com/Wheels-Wooden-Massage-Roller-Massager/dp/B0055XIPOU/ref=sr_1_7?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1332954274&sr=1-7. It looks like a torture devise but it is awesome.

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JP March 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Oh, I do so love her name! Twyla…you and Scott are A+ baby namers.
I remember having some issues with restless leg syndrome. I never thought of it, but it IS anxiety inducing. Unfortunately, I do not know anything about preventing it altogether, but I do know that for me stretching helped immensely during an episode. Perhaps some stretching throughout the day and right before bed may help.

I was SO clingy to my husband while pregnant. I would have happily inserted my body into his and gone about my day, but he was unwilling to be my host.

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Cheryl March 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Get a couple bars of Ivory soap, put each one in a sock and but the socks at the end of your bed under the covers . . . it really works!

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beyond March 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Twyla? Love it. LOVE. Simone and Twyla. Swoon.

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Halyn April 6, 2012 at 10:54 am

Totally agree. Scott and Alexa win at baby-naming. Twyla. It’s so romantic and classic sounding, but with this sort of fun-loving flapper feel at the same time. I love it.

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Brenna March 28, 2012 at 12:23 pm

My biggest pregnancy hormonal freakout. So many to chose from. I guess it would be when I got rear-ended on my way to a weekly check-up. It was NOTHING, barely qualified as a ‘tap’, but the police showed up because we were on a freeway off ramp, and my hysterical sobbing seemed to concern them. No matter how many times I blubbered to them I was not hurt or in labor, I could see them having an silent eye conversation about hauling me off to the hospital. Adding to my distress was the fact that I was now LATE! To my appointment! The horror!

I was eventually able to calm the fuck down and go on my merry way. But still, so embarrassing.

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Kelli March 29, 2012 at 4:23 pm

“Silent eye conversation”…I have laughed about this all day long!

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Nicole March 28, 2012 at 12:23 pm

so, long-time lurker, I read your book and have been stalking you ever since. I’m so happy Twyla is growing so well!
Anywho, I was about 24 weeks and suddenly wanted mashed potatoes for dinner. I had constant headaches through out the 2nd trimester, so there was no way I was going to cook them. So my husband was in the park playing football or some such nonsense, and not answering my calls to tell him to bring me mashed potatoes, and when he finally got home an hour later I was in a miserable ball on the couch and offering my kingdom for some effing mashed potatoes. Obviously, we just went to a restaurant and I ate the best, most glorious cheesy mashed potatoes ever cooked anywhere. But I was certain for a while there that I would never eat anything ever again, because starch or nothing.

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SarahB March 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Oh, honey. Well, my husband and I have also decided to stay in our apartment rather than move to a bigger place before we try for baby # 2, so I am glad you will be here to narrate the process, first of all. As for third trimester, let me just say that I was so glad for the catheter that came with my epidural because it meant I didn’t have to get up to pee, as I had done every three hours day or night for the prior month. Good training for nursing, that. My worst tears were also after the birth. Literally, I burst out sobbing around 4 or 5 pm every day for at least a week after we got home from the hospital. It didn’t matter if I had napped or not, I just lost my mind with copious, copious weeping over some little thing. Oh, and when my husband shared a particularly gruesome comment about his colleague’s wife’s birth a week or so before I was due, I fled sobbing to the restroom of the restaurant we were in at the time. I came back to the table and then had to go back to the restroom to cry some more. My husband felt so bad.

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Ashley in MD March 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I’m a lurker and don’t usually comment, but I feel compelled to share my Hormonal Pregnancy Meltdown story. My son is just five weeks old now, so pregnancy and all of its fun little symptoms is still very fresh in my mind!

My husband and I went to an outdoor music festival when I was about 12 weeks pregnant. I thought it would be fun, but it was pretty much a disaster. The ground was muddy and it smelled like some type of manure fertilizer that didn’t seem to bother anyone else but was absolutely disgusting to my pregnant nose, it was boiling hot, it felt like everyone except for me was annoyingly drunk, and even though we were outdoors I couldn’t seem to get away from the smell of cigarette smoke.
By the end of the day I was starving so I got in line at a concession stand. All I wanted was nachos, those gross gas station nachos with the bright yellow cheese. I fantasized about the nachos for AN HOUR as I waited in line. When it was finally my turn to order my $8 nachos I was given a plate of broken chips sprinkled with jalapenos and a solo cup of salsa. I said, “I ordered nachos, not chips and salsa,” and the cashier said, “Those are the nachos, we’re out of cheese.” I held it together just long enough to choke out, “They aren’t nachos without the cheese. Can I just have my money back, please?” Then I walked over to my husband, collapsed into his arms, and burst into tears. I’m talking gut-wrenching, heaving sobs. People were staring.
And, because pregnancy is crazy, for several weeks afterward I teared up every time I told people about how I cried over nachos! I’d start to tell the story like, “Oh, haha, aren’t pregnancy hormones weird?” and then I’d end up crying about it all over again! I just wanted those damn nachos so badly.

This Hormonal Meltdown Story narrowly beats out my other big pregnancy meltdown moment when, at twenty weeks pregnant, I actually tried to get into my car and drive to a hotel in the middle of the night because I was too angry to be in the same house as my husband. Why? Because he had the audacity to admit that he wouldn’t be completely thrilled if his son grew up to be an opera singer, and I couldn’t stand the idea that my husband wouldn’t accept our son exactly as he was, hypothetical talent for opera and all. Somehow he was able to talk me off the ledge and convince me that of course he would love our son and accept him no matter how he turned out, he was just saying that he would have a slight preference for a hockey player over an opera singer.

Man, these newborn days aren’t always a picnic, but I’m so glad not to be pregnant anymore!

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J in Eire April 6, 2012 at 2:52 am

Hilarious !! Thanks for making me laugh out loud.. Needed that today

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Alyson March 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I had restless leg when I was pregnant and it still follows me around occasionally. what helps (I think more now than when I was pregnant – for most of my pregnancy I was sleeping 4 hours or LESS per night, it was awful) – is lavender scented lotion (I use one from purple prairie botanicals – http://www.purpleprairie.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=25_28&product_id=65 but they also have a lavender only one) on my feet and hands. Don’t be stingy, I use like 4 pumps and sometimes combine with 4 pumps of like vitamin E lotion, slather it on there while in bed, legs hanging off, and wait like 30 seconds and then slide yourself in, goopy feet and all. for some reason it relaxes me and I almost instantly sleep (although it was a more sporadic cure when pregnant). Best thing? Worst case you’ll still have restless legs BUT lovely soft feet. Best case it will help. I tried Epsom salts too – they helped a little. I think a lot of the effect is the lavender lotion on my hands which I sleep with close to my face – it makes me relax. But no lie I can feel my feet absorbing the moisture. Also taking my prenatals right before bed for the iron, I think

And, I’m hoping should we have a 2nd child that it’s a girl so I can use all the hand me downs. LOVE

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electriclady March 28, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I have no solutions for the legs problem but just wanted to say HOORAY FOR ALMOST THIRD TRIMESTER!!! Not enough capital letters and exclamation points to convey my excitement there.

Oh, except this: Banana may help but will contribute to the constipation problem. And the orgasm, if my own experience is any indication, may help the legs but piss off the uterus. So I’d proceed carefully with either of those solutions.

And I had too many pregnancy meltdowns to recount. I remember one in particular over whether or not to put pink crib sheets on my registry, and was I REALLY the kind of person who would surround a baby girl in pink, etc. (Postscript: Apparently yes, I was, and also the kind of person who will also surround a baby boy in pink because she is too cheap to buy all new stuff when the stuff from the first baby is still perfectly good.)

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Cori March 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm

For your legs, have you tried magnesium supplements or Calm (http://www.amazon.com/Calm-Can-3-30-Ounces/dp/B000MZ8L0Y/)? And Jul’s suggestion helps, too. If nothing else, see if your doctor will put you on a low dose of Requip.

Twlya is a great name!

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Sarah March 28, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I am the queen of BH contractions (definitely BH since #2 was 5 days late, but I have them all the time and they really hurt!) and taking lots of calcium & magnesium (at least 1000 mg/day), along with hydrating really really helps. Now that I’m taking so many tums, I take straight magnesium pills, but you can use the combo pills if that’s easier. Mag is good for constipation too. You can also try epsom salt baths – you can absorb magnesium through your skin and they’re super relaxing.

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Clarabella March 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Do you take baths? I know the whole “keep it under 120 degrees while preggo,” or whatnot, but baths helped me with the restless leg thing. Other than that, yeah, maybe up your potassium? I don’t really know. I’m not a doctor.
I took a bath nearly every night of my pregnancy because besides the restless leg, I also had terrible insomnia & carpal tunnel in the last trimester. I started buying that lavender baby bath and using it. It helped with everything from my legs to my hormones.
Good luck, sister.

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Becky March 28, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I had horrible RLS while on bed rest and found staying really well hydrated helped. I was supposed to stay hydrated anyway, of course, to calm the contractions but found a large glass of water right before going to sleep and lots of lotion on my legs really calmed that horrible feeling down. (then I was up in 2 hours to sprint to the bathroom but that was pretty normal for me while pregnant anyway….). Yay for making it to the 3rd tri and I love the name Twyla! Hang in there!

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erin March 28, 2012 at 1:34 pm

My most dramatic moment was when I was fairly certain that my (then) eight year old was going to die after hitting her head by falling in the shower. I had been talking with my mom on the phone earlier that day about the book “Rage of Angels” by Sidney Sheldon, and how tragic it was the main character’s child died of a head injury….then, Rowan hit her head and I was convinced it was a sign. I had a huge meltdown and was sobbing and flailing on the floor (I am pretty sure that Steve, my partner, thought I was certifiable at that point), which freaked Rowan out and…oh, it was bad. We ended up going to the ER for peace of mind and she was, of course, fine, but YOU NEVER KNOW.

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Jennie D March 28, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Hi Alexa! Long-time reader, first time commenter. I haven’t ever tried this, but another blogger mentioned having restless legs recently and said that putting a bar of soap under the sheet down by your feet works: http://www.lilblueboo.com/2012/03/im-just-a-wee-little-shot.html (she used Irish Spring but apparently lots of people have a thing for Dove). I have no idea why such a thing would work, but she said it did, and instantly.

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Jessica March 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Yay for a viable baby! It’s amazing that the photos of Simone would give you a clue as to what Twyla looks like.

I don’t have a super great Hormonal Meltdown story (yet, but I’m 29 weeks so I’m sure I have time) however, I did actually break down and start crying this week when I thought that Chris was going to stop at Sofa Mart after our Dr. appointment instead of taking me home to let me go to work. I knew he was kidding, but then he slowed down to make me think he was turning into the parking lot and suddenly I was crying.

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Badger March 28, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Several friends and acquaintances of mine swear by a bar of Ivory soap, unwrapped, at the foot of their bed (under the sheets) for the RLS. Hope that is helpful to you.

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Swistle March 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I love “Twyla the Tenacious”! I think she needs at least ONE new shirt, and it can have that printed on it.

She will have some of her own clothes, she will! She will! (Do I fancy myself psychic? Okay, maybe she will not.) She will likely get them as gifts, and certain items may be irresistible when seen in a store, even if not needed (“She looks so wonderful in this color!” “She LOVES [some thing Simone was never into]! She has to have it!”)—but also things start wearing out rapidly somewhere around size….3T? Something like that. The early baby and toddler stuff could probably make it through fifty children if it wasn’t for the poop/barf stains, but after that the resale shops have almost nothing except pilled sweatpants and ugly character t-shirts, and it’s because everything wears out. And there is the mystery of Clothes Put Away: they look fine when put away, and then later you unpack them and they are so worn out! how could they have been packed away? have fairy children been wearing them secretly?

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Kristin March 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Congrats on making it so far! You are doing great and are not whiny at all. Seriously–you are not having an easy pregnancy. I know before it was much worse, but that does not mean that you can’t complain a little about what you are dealing with now.

I am 33 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child. I have had gestational diabetes and RLS with all of them, so I feel for you! My GD sounds a lot like yours, spectacular fail on the test but then not a real problem treating it with diet. However, I will tell you that it typically gets harder and harder to control as the weeks progress. You’re just at the start and you might be able to eat what you want now, but in my experience at some point you will have to measure out carb portions and walk right away after you eat in order to keep your blood sugar on track. The good news is that you don’t gain very much weight which is awesome after the baby is born and you can fit into all of your clothes right away, but annoying when you are super pregnant and all you want is a stupid piece of cake. Or some fritos. Or a donut for breakfast…I’m making myself cry now.

As far as RLS goes, I know it sounds crazy but the soap thing really works for me. My doctor was the one who told me about it. And you can actually use any soap EXCEPT Ivory ( I don’t know why.). I like Dove because of how it smells. Anyway, you put a bar of soap under the fitted sheet of your bed, near your calves or thighs–wherever you get the cramps/tingling sensations the most. Just having the soap near my legs is usually enough, but sometimes I rest my leg on it. It is so weird, but it really works for me.

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Jennifer March 28, 2012 at 3:11 pm

My dumb meltdown story. So my pregnancy was quite easy overall – and, generally speaking, I’m not a very over-the-top emotional kind of gal about anything (that is my husbands job actually!). In about the last 6 weeks of pregnancy my feet swelled to the size of basketballs (I kid you not – I’m kind of a big girl anyway but there was zero definition around my ankles and feet – I literally had no ankle bones. I can’t even call them ‘cankles’ because my legs were thinner than my ankles). Anyway. this was probably my number 1 discomfort of being pregnant (apart from the standard not sleeping etc etc) as it was kind of painful. but I had hope! as soon as the baby was born I would have ankles again!

Imagine my irritation and tears when a day or two after having my son I had the SAME DAMN ANKLES as when I was pregnant! Oh the tears! I was so so soooo mad about that, that I would be leaving the hospital in the same oversized, stretched out, gross blah shoes I was wearing when I went into the hospital (that hit the garbage bin at the earliest not need time).

For the record, it took almost 10 days for the swelling to go down. Rationally, I get it. The circulartory system had to go grab all that free water just sort of sloshing around down there. But I serioulsy thought having a baby would cure my basketball ankles immediately.

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Jennifer March 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I’m kind of dumb, i didn’t mean to reply to someone elses thread. Sorry about that!

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Katie March 28, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I’m packing up Baby Spouse’s newborn clothes and crossing my fingers I’ll be able to hand them down – I have tried to get entirely unisex clothes too, partly as I hate gendered baby clothes, but also because I’d love to hand them down.

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Heather March 28, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I am so glad you are doing well (as can be) and that Twyla is still in there and doing her thing. Give the banana thing a try for a few days, it takes a bit for the potassium to work. Have you tried compression socks? They might help too.

As for the meltdowns, I didn’t have many with my first (that I can remember) but with my second and third they felt like they were almost every day. I would cry at the thought of anything sad, heartwarming or anything in between. There was one time that I wanted ice cream and we were out, and town is a good 30 min away, I think I cried for a good hour. I blamed my husband that we didn’t have any even though he never did the shopping.

Good luck and prayers for you!

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Amy March 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm

I have heard the same as the first commenter, Jul – that masturbation (or any orgasm-inducing activity, I presume) is more effective for RLS than any medication. Never heard the soap thing. That’s interesting. I have had bouts of it with this pregnancy. Never so bad that it wakes me up, but it makes lying on the couch to watch TV at night supremely annoying. That said, orgasm would probably also trigger contractions…? Shitty dilemma, that one.

Okay – meltdown. In the first trimester when I was still fighting nausea every night, my husband offered to go pick up Penn Station for dinner. I always either get a cheesesteak or the artichokes, and while I definitely had my mind set on artichokes, I apparently never actually verbalized this, and he didn’t ask. So he came home with a cheesesteak. I was devastated. DEVASTATED. It cracks me up now, but if it happened again I would probably still cry about it!

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angela michelle March 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm

No good advice to share, just sympathy on wishing for only enough to contractions to prove my sanity to L&D nurses, the nightmare of restless legs, and the joy of cervical checks.

My worst pregnancy emotional meltdown: I decided one day to rouse myself from tears long enough to put in my contact lenses. Surely I would feel better once I could see clearly and the world was no longer a depressing fog. I went into the bathroom and put in one contact. Then paused for a few minutes to weep into the sink before inserting the second.

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Laura March 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Love, love, love the name Twyla! Got nothing for you on the restless leg thing, but I would also caution on the orgasms. For constipation, I ate five prunes every night before bed, and it worked really well. (Then again, I could do that because I never had morning sickness with my twin pregnancy. I know.) I was lucky enough to have made it to 34 weeks, and I remember how relieved I was to make it to 26 weeks, and then 27, and then 28…etc. I am THRILLED that you are at 26 weeks!

Hormone meltdown story: When my twins were 9 days old and in the NICU, they had to be moved to another hospital because of insurance contract issues. I went insane, certain that my babies were facing untold harm if they were moved by ambulance to this new NICU. Now, I am a nice, quiet “good girl” who doesn’t want to bother anyone, ever. Yet there I was, screaming at everyone, crying BUCKETS, and lactating all over myself in the halls of the hospital. When a higher-up was brought in to help “mediate” and to tell me (very nicely) to calm down, I screamed at him to “SHUT UP!” It was oddly empowering and cathartic to be totally out of control in public. Anyway, my babies got moved despite my hysterics, but they were fine and I ended up liking the new NICU much better. We were only at The New and Improved NICU for 3 more days, and then we came home and lived happily ever after.

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Ali March 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Another lurker unlurking. Huuuuge contragulations to being so pregnant. Cannot wait for the new squishy baby photos.

I couldn’t choose between my hormonal pregnant lady stories and they still make me cringe so we’ll skip over that. But I will say that one story involved a craving chips (fries) from a take away counter that has not existed since I was about 13.

As for the restless leg thing… my husband suffers from it (and oh boy will he be happy to hear about the orgasm thing…). If the supplements and ivory soap don’t help, there is some evidence that a tens machine for an hour or so before bedtime can help… and then you’ll already have it on hand for labour pains bonus!

Good luck for the coming mad men season ;) xxx

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Sonya March 28, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Lovely to hear the baby is still actively engaged in kicking your uterus from the interior. For restless leg, suggest taking a calcium and magnesium supplement (with food) before bed. Make sure it is a high quality one – Thorne’s is very good (Calcium Magnesium Citramate provides 80 mg of each per capsule, take 1 cap to start, if helping work your way up to 3 caps). I also suggest you take 2000 i.u of vitamin D at the same time.

For the nausea and gestational diabetes, make sure you are getting a good amount of protein (of any form) throughout the day in addition to the usual advice on refined carbohydrates.

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Meghan March 28, 2012 at 5:17 pm

I second the bar of soap!!!

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Renee March 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm

When pregnant with my first son, I once went into a full sit-on-the-floor and weep because my husband ate all of the delicious Breyer’s icecream sandwich flavored icecream while I was at work and did not buy any more. I remember starting to weep re: the icecream and then continuing to weep at how very cliche I had become.
My mother-in-law has restless leg. She sleeps with a bar of never-used Ivory soap under her sheets and drinks a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar everyday. Both apparently help some.

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Megan March 29, 2012 at 12:37 am

Another longtime lurker here (BIG congrats on viable baby!)… I have read elsewhere that apple cider vinegar is also helpful with lowering glucose levels. Is there any chance of a re-test? If you’re already taking apple cider vinegar for restless leg, it might have the side benefit of getting you through the GD tests. (Though, it turns my cast-iron, non-pregnant stomach every time I try it…so be warned on that end)

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Lizneust March 28, 2012 at 6:41 pm

I had RLS that would go away whenever to took Tums for the heartburn. I was in my second pregnancy before I figured out that the Tums was impacting the RLS too. There are probably better was to increase your calcium and magnesium consumption, but that worked well for me

My younger daughter LOVES wearing her sister’s hand me downs. She thinks it is the coolest thing ever. Also, there are some clothes the older one never cottoned to that the younger one really loves. It all works out – honest.

Worst pregnancy meltdown? We missed the turn into Costco and I was supposed to be navigating and I cried for HOURS. No joke – still hiccuping and sniveling through dinner. We’ve all done it, and if we haven’t yet, we will.

Take ours of yourself and your beautiful family. Love the name Twyla.

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jadine March 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Oh, I have so many comments!
1) as I say every time I comment, I love your writing. You write like I would write if I could write.
2) Restless legs…freaking awful. I’ll be reading comments to see what’s suggested. I’ve tried the banana…but you have to take potassium with calcium, or zinc, or uranium, or kryptonite, or something. And Unisom?? No one told me that could make it worse :( Sheesh.
3) I live in Hoarders-Moderate, and my pictures laugh at your pictures (from 2009). And why the heck would you get hate-mail about that post??
4) the bed collapsing?! OMG.
5) Thyroid? Me, too.
6) Congrats on making it so far! A wonderful, nerve-wracking accomplishment.

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jadine March 28, 2012 at 8:23 pm

AND!
7) Twyla’s a beautiful name. Really pretty.
8) Worst pregnancy meltdown? Not really any bad ones, but I do remember suddenly bursting into tears (I had almost never cried until then) while looking at a menu at an Outback Steak House. Then burst out laughing at my silliness. Then crying again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Totally confounding.

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Chelsea March 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Iron is the only thing that ever helps my RLS; they ended up putting my grandfather on Parkinson’s medication when his was unresponsive (pernicious anemia). :( I’ve had good luck with Floradix Iron + Herbs; it’s non-constipating (apparently) and didn’t bother my notoriously sensitive stomach.

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Sarah March 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Have you thought about taking plain old magnesium for your restless leg? I’m not sure how it would mix with other medication you’re on, but it actually reduces premature contractions. I hope that helps. ;-)

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Brenda March 28, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Congrats on moving forward to T3!

My worst hormonal moment: Since I was hopelessly barren before using donor eggs, I had compensated for my “mothering” instinct by adopting all sorts of small rodents. My husband consented to this, as they were small and caged. However, we also had a cat. Apparently one evening after cleaning a hamster cage, I forgot to shut the cage door. I suppose all hamsters like to explore, but these hamsters were particularly adventurous and tiny–just the right size for a cat’s mouth. (you can see where this is going, I’m sure). So after leaving the cage door open for the night, I get up in the morning and am getting ready for work when I notice the open cage. I gasp! I count the hamsters…1…2….Oh no! We were missing one. I checked around the house in likely hiding places. I called my husband who somehow convinced me that she was hiding and we would find her before the cat would. So I went to work and hoped for the best.

Upon return from work, more fruitless searches turned up no hamsters, until…..I pulled out a stand on which one of the hamster cages was located. And there, on the floor, was A SINGLE HAMSTER LEG! I started wailing and crying inconsolably! I had sentenced my hamster to death! I couldn’t catch my breath. I was crying so hard that I started to wretch, and I had to carry around a bucket so that I could vomit in it between sobs. I walked around the house for 20-30 minutes alternating between barfing and sobbing. My husband quietly told me that dinner was ready if I was feeling up to eating, and then he hurriedly dashed off to the kitchen to escape the wailing woman.

In case you are wondering, he took “care of” the leg. I’m not really sure what he did with it……

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Erika March 31, 2012 at 11:22 pm

This comment wins. Made me laugh out loud for real, sitting at my computer. Hee hee!

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Marie Green March 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm

You know I had irritable uterus w/ my last two pregnancies, and starting at effing 13 WEEKS with Olive, right? Man, it sucks SO MUCH. Pretty much ANYTHING I did caused contractions. Any little thing at all. Ignoring the contractions was my only choice some days, but then I’d pay for it my evening, when the contrax would ramp up and become “timeable” and make me NERVOUS. My OB was so very calm about it though. I saw him weekly for an ultrasound to check cervical length (ALL done by HIM, and all done abdomonally; he says anyone “good” at u/s’s can see just as well by belly as by transvaginal BLESS HIS HEART). (Yeah, I was also seeing a midwife during that time and planning a homebirth… I was very prenatally cared for. :) ) Anyway, I’m just telling you this because I wanted you to know that I get how much is sucks.

Also, I too had a Ha-uuuuuuge list of “To Do Before Baby” and I ALSO felt it drove me crazy/kept me sane. It felt so good to have SHIT TO DO, yo, but also to have that stuff done… And to have things to focus on, goals to accomplish that didn’t have to do with gestation and worrying about contractions was what kept me sane. Also, pretty much NOTHING has been done around here since then, so it DID need to happen before baby.

Finally, I think bananas sometimes help with restless legs because of potassium. So maybe a potassium supplement? (Has someone already said that? I confess to not reading the other comments yet.)

Finally-finally… if you need a distraction, let’s meet for lunch/IKEA/whatevs, mmmkay? It would be great to do that before school’s out, anyway, as it reduces the number of children I’m responsible for by half. :)

P.S. I’M SO HAPPY YOUR SO PREGNANT! HURRAY FOR 3RD TRIMESTER. SORRY FOR ALL CAPS; I’M FEELING YELLY, BUT IN A CHEERY WAY.

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Marie Green March 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Ooops, I wasn’t done after all! One more thing: The great thing about Twyla having mostly hand-me-downs is that she won’t NEED anything, so then you’ll be free to blow a bit of cash now and then on that super-awesome-adorable-perfect dress/shirt/outfit/blankie. I’ve loved looking for those “special” things, things I probably wouldn’t justify buying if the baby had anything she really NEEDED. Plus, it’s super fun to go tripping down memory lane as she wears Simone’s stuff.

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Melissa March 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Pickle juice for the RLS. Really and truly, there’s even science that says it helps. Congrats on almost baby #2!

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Alexicographer March 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm

I am no help other than to say everything you are describing sounds perfectly sane (considering) to me. And that “considering” bit is really just “considering the pregnancy hormones, stress of preparing for a new baby, and so forth — not (even) your history, though you are of course welcome to include that too.

That is all. Here’s to more, like, hopefully in the double-digit range, weeks of gestation, and a smooth and healthy arrival for Twyla.

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Life of a Doctor's Wife March 28, 2012 at 9:56 pm

I have no hormonal pregnancy stories as yet (no pregnancy either, I should add) and I WISH I had a cure for Restless Spirit Leg because I get that too and it SUCKS. The only thing that “works” is to climb up and down my stairs 10 times, which sounds like it would not jive with your persnickety uterus. And even then, it only works SOMETIMES which is horrible, because then I’ve done 10 rounds of stairs in the middle of the night.

But I did want to say that I’m so glad Twyla is staying put and I’m thinking of you both with loud and ferocious STAY PUT thoughts, and also I love – LOVE – how bathos and pathos exist simultaneously in your writing.

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Kirsten March 28, 2012 at 10:31 pm

My youngest is 9 years old and I don’t remember a specific pregnancy related meltdown. Except that in the mad panic to drive to husband’s place of work to show him the positive pregnancy test because I KNEW HE DIDN’T BELIEVE ME I completely, totally, and utterly lost my car. Was unable to find it for hours.

I had horrible leg/calf cramps throughout my pregnancies. This went away after delivery. Until I started marathon running, and now whenever I’m in the midst of serious training I get them several times a night. They are much better if I take a “endurance electrolyte” supplement, which has calcium, potassium, and magnesium in it. I found it at the local health food store. You probably ate a banana because people (wrongly) believe they are rich in potassium. What’s really rich in potassium is coconut water (not milk) and orange juice. Other good sources of potassium are kiwi and potatoes. If you are pukey still, I recommend coconut water.

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Kristen March 28, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Oh my gosh. The hamster leg would have sent me over the edge even when not pregnant. Ack.

My silly hormone story involved me driving around the University of Minnesota campus for DAYS (okay, a half hour, it just felt like days) because they were doing construction (yeah, when is there NOT construction at the U) on East River Road and I couldn’t figure out how to get into my contract parking garage. I called my husband while driving and in hysterics because I was convinced I’d never figure out how to park the car. I did finally figure out the detour, but looking back I really should have just considered the day a wash and gone home.

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Shavahn March 28, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Ok, here’s my crazy leg advice… Put a bar of soap under your sheets.

Yes. Seriously.

Really! Just try it!! What do you have to lose?

I did it while pregnant and it helped my leg cramping immensely! The cramps went from about an 8 to about a 2 and they went away quickly if I just pointed my toe up toward my head when I first felt them. My husband was having regular leg cramps too and they went away immediately after putting the soap under our sheets. If they come back, replace the bar of soap and they should go away again… Good luck!!

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