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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Shavahn March 28, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Ok, I obviously didn’t read the comments before I posted that last comment – so everyone is telling you to try soap. It really works!

My hysterical pregnancy story: I was pregnant with my daughter, but I was only about 6 weeks along and we hadn’t told anyone yet. Well, my husband’s cousin was having a birthday party, so my husband picked out a build-it-yourself model tractor for him and I got elected to bring it because my husband couldn’t make the party

So I was at the party and the cousin opens the present, very obviously not excited about it. Someone asks him about it – specifically when he’s going to have time to do that and he says something like NEVER. They chuckle, and that’s that.

Well, I don’t know why, but I was sooo upset that he didn’t like the present. I knew that I didn’t really care, and I knew that I shouldn’t be upset, but I just couldn’t control myself and ended up huddled up in the corner of the ladies room bawling my eyes out.

So I’ve been in there for about 5 minutes and these two women come in and very nicely ask me what’s wrong and who I’m there with, so I respond that I’m there with my mother-in-law. They immediately start going on about how HORRIBLE mother-in-laws are, and how much they DESPISE their mother-in-laws – and at that very moment – guess who walked in the door?

Yup, my mother-in-law (who I adore)! She very obviously heard the comments from the ladies, and so I’m sitting there bawling trying to convince them that I *really* do like my mother-in-law. I’m still not convinced that she believes me about what really happened that day!

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Kez March 29, 2012 at 5:03 am

When I announced on Facebook at 32+4 that I was “now more pregnant than ever before” a number of people who didn’t know of my previous premature delivery (mainly long lost cousins) assumed that I meant a heretofore undiscovered twin had suddenly materialised.

Twyla is an absolutely gorgeous name.

As for inappropriate meltdowns – I’ve just spent two hours crying because I ripped my big toenail off this afternoon and that means I won’t be able to do a 5km fun run on Sunday (which I was actually dreading). And I am not even pregnant nor premenstrual.

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Andi March 29, 2012 at 6:35 am

Alexa, I am amazed at your bravery. :)

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Mary Anne Mohanraj March 29, 2012 at 6:58 am

I had RLS with both my pregnancies, starting about halfway through. Infuriating, but I did find a sure cure, although sometimes it was miserably hard to implement — drag my body out of bed, even if I’m half-asleep, and go stand in a hot shower for at least fifteen minutes. (Shifting back and forth on your legs and trying to tense and relax the muscles may help the process along, not sure.)

I have no idea why this works, but it works — if you go back to bed and go right to sleep, the leg won’t bother you. (If you spend an hour online after you go back to bed, no guarantees). I had to do that almost every night towards the end, and it was so annoying, but better than trying to endure the horrible legs.

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smark March 29, 2012 at 7:44 am

Oh, it’s not pregnancy until you’re scrubbing the pantry cupboards in hysterical tears. Buy something pretty for Twyla – I know, she has all Simone’s clothes, but it’ll make you feel good.

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Mandi March 29, 2012 at 8:15 am

For my hormonal pregnancy moment, this happened in the first trimester for me -
I was so nausous, so very very nausous, and the only thing I could eat was fruit and beef. While grocery shopping one evening (a task I will refuse to do next pregnancy, god grocery shopping is so horrible while pregnant) I just wanted to get my fruit and go home. I wanted a big fruit bowl, pre-cut, so I could just eat it. Well, I could not find said fruit bowl in the store, they were not where they usually are, and I burst into tears, opening crying in the middle of the produce section. Eventually, through my tears, i saw that I was in the wrong aisle and there, shining down from teh heavens, was fruit bowls. I almost knocked a lady over to get my damn fruit :) Not my finest moment.

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Fran March 29, 2012 at 10:01 am

Personally, I loved the Real World post and pictures. Haters will hate or something like that.

Hang in there. When I was pregnant, gestational diabetic and hypertensive, I cried and wailed about have to eat another damn egg. All the time, those eggs. My family didn’t know what has happened to me. Happy one minutes, sobbing and angry about eggs the next. Not to mention the worrying about the unborn. Fetal checks were 3 times a week (no probes) where they would try to use a pen shaped taser or something if the baby wasn’t active. And they wondered why by BP was so high!

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Patti B. March 29, 2012 at 10:41 am

Yeay for Twyla!! :)

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Rebecca March 29, 2012 at 10:55 am

Magnesium supplements absolutely did the trick for my pregnancy-induced RLS. Also, my doctor told me to use Miralax for the regularity issues and it is a LIFESAVER.

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Katie March 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Mother’s Day. 2007. 37 weeks pregnant with my daughter. My nearly four year-old son and I had been watching a Robin couple tend their eggs for a few weeks and, days before, the eggs had hatched. They were in a low branch of the tree so I could lift my son up and let him peek inside the nest and I got so much joy from watching my son be amazed by those tiny wobbly straining necks and the miracle of (bird) birth. The night or early morning before Mother’s Day, some mean crows knocked the nest out of the tree and all the baby birds died what I imagined to be slow and painful deaths–wet miniature carcases strewn under the tree, bulging eyes not yet open. And as I sat in the backyard quietly weeping and wondering how to tell my son (a/k/a destroy his youthful innocence) the mama bird came back and kept trying to sit on the spot in the tree where the nest had been, looking confused and bewildered. And then I COMPLETLEY LOST IT and sobbed and grieved those baby birds for the rest of the day and perhaps longer. Actually, now that I re-tell it, it is still sad, though I concede that hormones may have played a role in my reaction.

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sam March 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm

for some reason my phone will not allow a dash in the website line. hmph. i say orgasm and drinking an ensure or boost brand drink. the one safe for gd will not work. has to be full sugar type.

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susie March 29, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Ahh, late to the party as usual. I didn’t have RLS during my preg, but I DID have terrible awful leg cramps, multiple times per night, and occasionally even when awake and standing up and walking. There is something special about giving a presentation, and having to stop talking for several minutes while you walk in circles yelping through a cramp. Never figured out a cure, except for birth, alas.

I had several ridiculous hormonal meltdowns, but perhaps the silliest was when I was weaning my daughter. I knew fully that I was floating in a hormonal fog, totally aware of my irrational behavior, for several weeks. Regardless, I found myself have a very serious discussion with my husband about how I felt the baby didn’t like me. I told him at the outset that he couldn’t laugh as I knew it was absurd, but nonetheless, I felt very much convinced that our sweet, smiley girl just… didn’t like me, not at all. Oh, how I cried. Fortunately the fog lifted shortly thereafter, as being aware of the absurdity was really just insult to injury and another thing to cry about. What fun!

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Amanda P March 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm

No RLS suggestions, but about 10 days after my daughter was born (OMG – that’s 361 days ago!) my parents, who had been here for 4 days, were leaving and my in-laws, who were going to be here for 4 days had a 2 hour overlap. When my husband was getting ready to take my parents to the airport, I just sat on the couch and cried and cried and cried. I was sent to bed. It helped.

7 months later, my sister-in-law called me on her 2nd night home with her newborn. I answered the phone and was not greeted with “hello” or any variation thereof, but with “Breastfeeding is ha-a-a-a-aaaaard”. It was all I could do not to laugh at her pain, since I was only 7 months out from the very same experienced!

For the GD diet, I also spectacularly failed my 1 hour (over 200), and they wouldn’t let me do the 3 hour, so I jabbed my fingers 4x/day for the next 14 weeks. I still hate that monitor! Personally, I found that as long as I had protein, I could have more carbs. I even had cake at my shower 4 weeks into monitoring (I just had the cake immediately after testing and told myself it was ok :) ).

As for sleeping, I just gave in and bought a u-shaped pillow. My husband graciously (or not – I didn’t care at that point) let me have 2/3s of the bed. The pillow is now being gratefully used by someone with gout, for what that’s worth!

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Wiley March 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I do always find the produce descriptions as odd, as having been in the NICU, each gestational age means a physical baby that I can pull up in my mind…

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Hairy Farmer Family March 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Not whiny! Not whiny at all! Irritable, contractile, AWOOGA! uteri are stress-inducing, to say the massive least. I know just what you mean about the hospital visits. I used to turn up hoping that the bleeding had stopped, but that there was still juuust enough there for the staff to see that I wasn’t making it up. Look! Here are my bloodstained knickers, Dr! Look!

Sigh.

Also, Harry’s fetal distress took a frustratingly long time to manifest itself on a CTG trace: whilst not precisely wanting his heart to start skipping beats on my command, I was a trifle exasperated with the midwife who told me that the irregularity on my doppler was likely my own abdominal sounds. If I met her in the street even now, I would have to restrain myself from wedging the probe up her wrinkled-at-me nose. Bah.

Anyway! Twyla is a absolutely beautiful name, and I am delighted at your superstar gestational progress! So sorry about the RL thing. And mightily fascinated by all this talk of… soap?

The weepies… ah, now, the tragi-comic weepies. Sobbing like a toddler outside the deserted door because Starbucks had shut, depriving me of my daily, much-prized decaff latte was a particular highlight of mine. And I was completely unable to read about birth, or even consider it much, without dissolving into tears of panic about the whole OMG pain or OMG knives aspect. I was a heaving mass of pathetic, soggy, abject misery on the topic; quite disproportionately so, there was simply no talking to me about it. Clinging to spouse I don’t remember occurring, but I DO remember melting down in spectacular fashion when, after a left-in-hall suitcase incident, he semi-jokingly suggested it was all a ploy to obtain new maternity clothes. It was a holocaust of weeping, rage and righteous indignation from which he was lucky to emerge alive.

Keep on hanging on in there, sweetheart. Twitter moves a bit quick for me, so it’s lovely to have an update!

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mellie March 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm

You had me nearly at Hormonal Pregnancy Meltdown emotion levels a half a dozen times with this post! Not complaining–just happy for you. It doesn’t help that I am half-way through Half Baked so it’s fresh all over again.

Looking forward to you keeping a safe distance from contractions while directing the nesting. May I suggest trying to work in a temporary banquette/window seat arrangement? So delightful for relaxing, coffee or tea drinking, and writing, and probably riggable with stuff from the big-boxed Swedes. It just needs to be deep enough, have a cushion and pillows, and ideally have a corner to lean into….you’d probably need to anchor it to the wall though…but the holes can be patched and the whole thing relocated to a future address.

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Andi March 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Sleep with your legs at a 90 degree angle from your body, stretched all the way out. Your husband will be cranky about it, but your feet, they will be mollified.

And, oh, the name – love it.

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Sarah March 29, 2012 at 7:31 pm

My cocktail to move along the constipation that comes with a high dose of cymbalta is prunes and senna tea liberally (I’ll have a few servings of both a day) and milk of magnesia sparingly when things get desperate. It seems to work most of the time.

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Mojra Logsdon March 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm

You are NOT whiney!!! Pregnancy is miserable, it is amazingly awful considering how much many of us have yearned for that state, and given how wonderful the end-product is. But pregnancy itself- YUCK.
RLS: I think if you can stomach the calcium supplements (particularly the ones with magnesium) it is worth a try. I love the gummie ones. Used to like the little caramel candy ones, but lost a filling so I had to lay off those. There are also some “petite” ones these days that I think only have half as much Calcium as those giant ones do, because the directions say to take twice as many in a day. But they are also easier on the stomach.
There is also a homeopathic medicine my local big-box store carries. (yes, homeopathy in Ohio, go figure). It works great! Has quinine in it, so you would need to talk to your OBs. It goes by some name like “leg cramp medicine.”
Hurray for Tenacious Twyla!

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Valerie March 29, 2012 at 10:00 pm

I would be happy to send you some of the essential oils that a friend mixes up for me because I suffer HORRIBLE RLS, especially while pregnant. I have tried EVERYTHING and the only thing that has helped are these oils that you put on the soles of your feet. I go from going crazy-out of my mind from the electricity surging through my legs to instant relief. Just shoot me an email if you’d like to give me your address or PO box to send you some :)

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Meredith March 29, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Long time reader here… I’ve been suffering from RLS for most of my life (hereditary among the women in my family) and it was amped up a thousandfold during pregnancy, so you have my sympathy! Anyway, in addition to increased calcium and water intake, I did some stretches before bed and any time I woke up with a flare up. Basically you stand facing a wall with your palms flat on the wall (like plank or push-up position) and lean forward while keeping your feet in the same place until you feel those hamstrings stretching. I spent many hours with the wall holding my half-asleep self up! Do 5-10 “push ups” on the wall and crawl back into bed. Good luck!

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Meredith March 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Ps…I usually take tablets with quinine to control my RLS, but its not safe during pregnancy. I didn’t take any chances even thoughI was miserable!

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fraujoolie March 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I have terrible RLS all the time (24/7), that skyrocketed with both pregnancies. I chuckle at the home remedies… I take actually a low dose of Methadone for it (traditional dopamine-agonist meds stopped working on me and made my symptoms worse- into my arms, etc).
So, I tool my meds throughout the pregnancies and my kids were fine. No probs. In low doses, Methadone is a cat B drug. Mirapex is a cat C, mostly because the studies haven’t been done. Some studies showed an increase in cleft palate, but that’s a 1st tri concern, not now. So talk to your OB about getting into a sleep specialist, if you’re really miserable.
Some supportive therapy that might help: massage (a good electric foot massager can distract the symptoms), ace wraps or sprained ankle braces, heat, ice, or a bath. NO antihistamines or OTC sleep meds (they will absolutely make it worse). How’s your iron levels? Low-ish iron can make RLS worse.
RLS.org has a forum for patients, and my recent pregnancy is completely chronicled there. Lots of good folks there to chat with. My sleep doc is “THE” RLS guru and does work with patients long-distance (he’s in LA). Contact me, if you have any Q’s about the RLS! And congratulations, bring on the third tri!

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Andrea March 29, 2012 at 11:57 pm

As others have mentioned, calcium helps with RLS.

None of my hormone meltdowns were very funny (more morbid, I think) but delivery is another matter. My body roundly despises labor of any kind and my children were all expelled by sheer quantity of pitocin. Despite the pain of induction I just couldn’t come to grips with the idea of getting an epidural when the “best” thing for my baby was delivering naturally, despite all of the unnatural things my body required to even labor in the first place! The first dose of pain meds to which I consented made me so drunk that I spent a whole hour begging the nurses to understand that I was a nice, normal person who likes to play board games and wouldn’t dream of bothering such nice nurses with silly things like giving birth. The completely pitiful image of a woman both voluminously gravid and seriously inebriated finally dawned on me, and I meekly requested an epidural so I could sleep it off. Yeah, I had some therapy after that one.

Good luck, hon. And I love reading what you have to share.

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Andrea March 29, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Also, related to the RLS, I tend to get it more when I have either very recently shaved my legs or it’s been (mumblemuble) days since I’ve done so. Something about the feeling of leg stubble against sheets gives me the wonkety-willies.

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Cris March 30, 2012 at 8:20 am

Is someone able and willing to put up a paypal site so we could donate a cleaning service session? My husband has been out of work for six months and my house is a mess, but I’m willing to contribute 10 – 20 bucks to help this woman out (having read her blog the last couple of years). Anyone?

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Melissa March 30, 2012 at 10:26 am

Hi! Long time reader tho I never comment but you asked for advice and I do so love to give advice. :) My husband suffers from terrible RLS and he swears by the Hylands Restless Leg pills. I dont know if you can take them while pregnant but they have nearly the same ingredients as the old Hylands Teething Tablets for babies had so it might be worth asking your dr about. I know you can find them at Whole Foods or your preferred local organic-y type grocery store.

And my only hormonal story was from being post partum with both my babies. Both times, for about 10 days after delivery, at the same time each night, I would feel the Tidal Wave of Weeping heading my way and I would announce to my husband “Honey! I am going to cry now” and i would just dissolve. Every night. I guess at least my hormones had the decencey to be organized and timely. It was ridiculous.

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Corrine March 30, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Meltdown story: during my first pregnancy, while working full time, we were struggling to make ends meet. We splurged and bought a ROAST, a real beef ROAST, like from back home, and I was salivating at work all day long over a real ROAST with brown real ROAST gravy. When I got home my loving husband had roasted the real RAOST, and then in an ill-advised fit of creative cooking, made this white sauce flavored with Tarragon from the meat juices. I burst into tears and ran into our room and cried and cried over the loss of the brown ROAST gravy that I was craving badly. To this day 25 years later I cannot stand the smell or taste of Tarragon. How is that for freak-out!?

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kathleen March 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Low iron levels are definitely associated with RLS. If the alternative approaches people have been recommending don’t help, then sometimes iron can be replenished intravenously. I imagine it would be much better if soap works.

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Dara March 31, 2012 at 5:30 pm

I had horrible leg cramps while pregnant with my twins…and the 16 weeks of bed rest while twitching were simply horrendous. I didn’t learn of quinine until after they were born so I do not know if it is ok to take during pregnancy. But – once I had my body back to myself, and the RLS continued – the quinine pills helped tremendously. I went from having dozens of episodes per night to maybe a handful. So – if the soap doesn’t work (I wish I had known to try that!) it may be worth asking your doctor about. I wonder if tonic water would help, it has quinine in it?

Oh – and the terbutaline jitters? I had a pump that kept me at a steady level around the clock and when the contractions broke through I gave myself more. Christmas cards that year were completely illegible. I was a shaking mess.

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Jeannie March 31, 2012 at 11:03 pm

you’re hilarious. such a clever writer.

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tadpoledrain April 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm

OK, for the Restless Legs. This may not work well for you if you’re all bound up because of the Zofran, but: try pooping. Just try. Even if not much… happens, I’ve found that it can settle the restlessness down. I don’t know why, I don’t want to know why.

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Slim April 1, 2012 at 11:13 pm

First, can I say that I have no idea what those hostile e-mailers were on about, but just thinking of the phrase “Ooh la laundry!” makes me giggle.

Also, calcium helps my muscle cramps, but for RLS I’ve got nothing.

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Slim April 1, 2012 at 11:19 pm

And I am not going to tell you the story in which I cry in public about the absence of corn muffins, even though it contains an impressive dash to an elevator to remove myself from public view (the dash is impressive for its speed and the fact that while dashing, I did not trip over my enormous feet and swollen ankles).

PS No corn muffins!

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Carla April 2, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Bananas. Seriously! I have the whole restless leg thing going on with both pregnancies and having a banana midday made all the difference. I am also still very careful to not eat sweets after 7 pm, which can make it act up. Oh, and a warm bath right before bed is nice, too.

But if a massage from Scott works, then keep that up. Just make him come into the bedroom and provide the massage.

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Lesley April 3, 2012 at 10:29 pm

I have a Restless Spirit Leg sometimes, too…but only if I wake up soon after falling asleep (like in the drifting off stage). So my fix has been to make darned sure I stay asleep for at least a time – and I do that with Melatonin. It may be a placebo effect. I don’t care – it works. I take 5 mg. Melatonin when I turn out the light.

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MSW April 4, 2012 at 7:52 am

Hormonal Pregnancy Meltdown:
I’m currently 28 weeks with my second. About a month ago my daughter put her favourite stuffed animal, Dizzy, in the oven. I turned the oven on. By the time I noticed an odd smell, Dizzy had a hole in his head and was rather toasty down one side. I snatched him out of the oven and hid him from Blythe. Then I burst into tears. And I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. And sobbed. About an hour later I decided I had to try fixing him so I clipped off his melted ear and stitched a piece of terrycloth over the the hole in his head. I sobbed as I stitched. When it was time for Blythe to go to bed she asked for Dizzy and was quite upset with his new appearance. She wouldn’t even take him to bed with her. So I sobbed some more. And then I went to bed and continued crying. For quite a while
Fortunately the next day, after some discussion about Dizzy’s owie he was accepted and is once again Blythe’s favourite stuffed animal.
But yeah, it was an awful lot of tears over a stuffed dog.

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Therese April 4, 2012 at 8:47 am

I can’t help you with the leg issues but I can share an uncontrollable weeping session during pregnancy. I was about 34 weeks or so along in my 1st pregnancy when I woke up to discover that some jerk had gone through the neighborhood destroying mailboxes over night. I LOST my mind. I called the Sherriff’s Office, the Post Office, everyone! I was hysterically crying on all of these calls, it was ridiculous. I just could not deal. My husband was out of town for work and I really freaked him out. Now, as a non-pregnant human being I can see that yes the mailbox destroying was annoying and inconvenient, but no reason to spend the morning hysterical…

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Irene April 4, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Alexa,
So delighted that the pregnancy is continuing. Your detailed post on your first pregnancy made me cry so much as it was so like my experience on my first pregnancy which ended at 22 weeks and badly.
Folate is brilliant for RLS, and cured mine immediately, a supplement will probably work best and is safe during pregnancy. Also on the constipation (and sweet baby Jesus the constipation I had after my first C-section was BAD, thought I was dying), put a tablespoon of flax/linseeds into a glass of water before going to bed. Cover and drink first thing in the morning. It goes sightly mucilaginous and tastes quite nice and would move mountains. Do it every day to keep you regular.
Pregnant meltdowns: Before I realised I was pregnant (long time infertile, sick of buying HPTs when my period was late), I spent the night in hospital with my 18 month old who was having an asthma attack, in a foreign country where I speak the language. Despite the doctor having asked that my daughter be nebulised every three hours all night, the staff refused, on the basis that I misunderstood. I survived the night but the next day, when the hospital management arrived to apologise for the “misunderstanding” and even though my daughter was now fine, I burst into floods of tears. They thought I was very strange……
Less poetically I was in a nesting frenzy before my now four week old was born and despite having quote “practically no cervix left” at 32 weeks and being warned not to lift anything, I spent a morning trying to motivate scared husband into cleaning stuff off the upstairs landing, by hurling boxes downstairs and alternately screeching like a banshee and sobbing hysterically… I provoked action alright but feel that this one may come back to haunt me!!
Best of luck with everything my dear. i love your writing.
Ix

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joeyd April 5, 2012 at 2:46 am

Perhaps try chiropractic care? i had muscle spasms in my back and down my legs, and the only thing that helped long-term was chiro. so happy you’re doing relatively well this time around!

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Laura April 5, 2012 at 8:02 am

My sister in law was taking plates out of the kitchen cupboard and suddenly screamed. Third trimester pregnant me rushed over to see her huffing and puffing because stuck between two plates near the bottom of the stack (which we did not normally touch since it was just my husband and me most days) was a flattened baby mouse curled up in a tiny mouse-y fetal position. I mourned that baby mouse for days, worrying about how his (her?) mother was feeling.

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Cris April 5, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Everything okay? Just worried as your twitter on your blog hasn’t updated in 8 days. Not stalkerish – just wishing you and the family the best.

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Constance April 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm

I took (and still take) Phenibut. My OBGYN said it was fine during pregnancy. One or 2 should do the trick. Get the 250mg capsules. Restless legs relieved! Great stuff.
http://www6.netrition.com/primaforce_phenibut.html

What Wiki has to say: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenibut

Please give it a shot.

C.

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Meredith April 5, 2012 at 8:41 pm

No need to apologize, I’ve been reading since you were pregnant with Simone and Ames and you do not need to apologize for being anxious or uncomfortable. Pregnancy is not fair, at all.

In reading about your restless leg it brought me back to my pregnancies (4 in total, I have two babies). I had horrible restless leg and cramps in my calves. This might sound up surd, okay, I know it is but anyhow I’ll tell you what I did. I put two bars of irish spring bar soap at the base of my bed (under the sheets). I don’t know why, and from where I got it from they don’t know either) it helps some people with restless leg and leg cramps. I don’t know if the type of soap matters or what, but it worked for me. I still got a few leg cramps, but not nearly as bad. Anyhow, if it helps it could help, if you are just a silly woman with soap at the end of her bed, it won’t hurt. I still have the soap there, and I still have no leg cramps.

So.. just wanted to share, something simple that could possibly make you more comfortable while you continue to incubate Twyla (LOVE THE NAME!!! I was a modern dancer, so I don’t know if you mean the connection, but it’s awesome).

Cheers to almost third trimester!!!

Meredith

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Angella April 6, 2012 at 9:57 pm

I was JUST talking about the leg cramps with a coworker, who is 6 months into her first pregnancy, and is dealing with the leg cramps. I didn’t have the “restless” feeling, but I’ve heard that bananas help. Something something potassium blah blah.

I have no advice, but am SO happy that you’re at 26 weeks. Whee!

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Heather April 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm

I think I’ve blissfully wiped out all memories of meltdowns. There was the calling of multiple midwife offices to find a new office (we’d just moved) and rejecting one office because the receptionist was snippy and insisted I needed prescription prenatal vitamins. I was indignant! And then there was the post-partum freak-out over my son’s reflux and a drs recommendation that we stop nursing and start adding rice cereal to bottles (OMG – I went on-line and found white papers – WHITE PAPERS – saying the dr was wrong).

Mostly I relate to your apartment dilemma. Your old pictures? Are pretty much how my house looks today. Plus we just added a puppy to the mix. I wish we could still afford a cleaning lady, ’cause that really helped. I had to manage my piles of paper and clothes, but she did the actual wiping down of surfaces, and that was awesome. You’re right to get it done BB (before baby), because it’ll never get done AB. I am living proof of that. Or rather, my house is.

Might help to have one good session with a professional cleaning crew, if you can swing it. Easier to maintain the place once it’s clean, and leaves energy for improvement projects.

Luck of the angels to you! You’re managing a lot of icky symptoms and doing SO WELL. Hooray for 30+ weeks!

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Lisa April 18, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Hello – I haven’t checked in on you in a long, long time. We were pregnant with twins at the same time in 2007, and I read your blog and followed your story regularly. But life has gotten ahead of me (two sets of twins later), and I rarely catch up on blogs any more. Something made me think of you today, and here I came – and I am so, so happy to find that you are pregnant again! Congratulations! And extra congratulations on now being more pregnant than you’ve ever been – keep up the good work!

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Suzanne April 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm

TWYLA!! I so very much wanted to name my daughter Twila, but could not for the life of me get my husband on board. I’m irrationally happy about the name going to good use.

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Natalie April 23, 2012 at 10:03 am

For the constipation I found this fine-to-take-in-pregnancy supplement called Osteoguard by a brand called Lamberts. I think you can find it or an equivalent in the US. Basically it is calcium, with some vitamin D and K and it is good for you and helps keep your bowel movements more regular but normal, nothing like a laxative. It also helps keep water retention down. I am soooo sooo happy for you. I have followed you for so long now and am delighted you are so far along. Re. the house situation, mine is also in chaos and it gets me down regularly. I think we have to just take sorting out etc. one small step at a time, chipping away until you can suddenly move around! Much love from London. xx

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Laura April 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Alexa, update, please! I’m losing my mind with curiosity, wanting to know how you’re doing! Good thoughts and prayers are being blasted at you daily.

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Mama Fuss April 25, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Avacado/guacamole for the restless legs/cramps. Same basic principle as the banana, so I won’t hold my breath, but something to try anyway. You can also chug liquid potassium, but that stuff tastes so nasty it’s likely to counteract the Zofran.

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Bobbi April 26, 2012 at 11:07 pm

I’m a worrier. I find things/people to worry about even if they are most likely fine. I am worried about you.

Are you okay?

(Totally not stalking your blog and/or Twitter feed for updates).

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