(Here’s me being dramatic at the doctor’s office.)
So back around Easter weekend, I ran around visiting family and when I got back to work the following Monday, I started getting this itchy feeling in my throat. You know the kind where you try to itch it with your tongue? This method obviously doesn’t work but I can’t resist trying anyways. So this little itchy throat turned into my first sleepless night followed by watery eyes, runny nose, what sounded like whooping cough and the voice of a life-long smoker. This wasn’t one of those colds that builds for 2 days, leading to one day of agony, and then trails off for a few more days. This was much worse. It’s like I was stuck in the “one day of agony” stage for 8 days. I had finally reached the second trimester where all the pregnancy related symptoms start to let up and then I get struck with this granddaddy of head colds. Well, you know what happens when you get sick while pregnant, right?
YOU CAN’T TAKE ANYTHING!
Well, at least that’s what everyone kept telling me. I just had to tough it out! I took a little time off work to deal with it at home but I think it’s generally frowned upon to stay home for over a week with a cold. (And who wants to waste precious maternity leave days?) So while I was at work driving my coworkers crazy with my incessant coughing and nose-blowing (and awful voice) I tried to figure out if there was anything I could actually take besides the “all natural” remedies. Here’s what I found.
The internet: Allergy medicines are safe: take Caritin
The OB: Sorry, hun, try Musinex for increased drainage
The Primary care doctor: Amoxicillin to fight off an infection (a safe antibiotic)
According to the doctor, it sounds like maybe I had some allergy symptoms in the beginning which probably weakened my immune system enough to catch some kind of virus that lead to an infection. Woo-hoo! That’s quite a lot for someone who doesn’t typically get sick at all.
So if you end up catching a cold while pregnant, here are some of the natural remedies that I thought helped a bit before I hit full-blown infection status.
Rest (duh, if you can get it)
Gargle salt water for a sore throat
Rinse salt water through each nostril (temporarily clears you out)
Drink a cup of hot water or tea with honey
Simmer a pot of water and then breath in the steam with a towel over your head
Consume many many cough drops (I think I ate two bags?)
Rub Vicks vapor rub on your chest at night
Hope my experience lends you a little guidance! But mostly, I hope you just don’t get sick while pregnant!
(1st ultrasound picture of our baby!)
Oh man, I was worried. I’m still worried, but maybe not quite as much now that I’ve made it out of the first trimester. I couldn’t help myself but my mind was always thinking about it. From the moment we saw that positive pregnancy test, I started thinking, “Don’t get too excited, you could easily have a miscarriage”. I didn’t have any reason to believe I had a higher risk than anyone else out there, but I know it is way more common than people make it seem. I have learned this based on the experiences of people I know or have heard about and all the statistics I have read. I didn’t want to be blind-sighted or naïve to think just because you get pregnant means you’ll be taking home a healthy baby in 9 months. I even made sure Grant was aware that becoming pregnant was great news but we weren’t out of the clear, yet. We talked about it a bit and I told him how often I worried about it, which was basically all the time. I tried pretty hard to concentrate on letting the worries go since there was nothing I could do about it. I knew it was probably best to just relax but that is easier said than done.
I really felt like I probably worried about it more than I should have. This was strange for me because I am normally a pretty positive person and I’m not used to having such pessimistic thoughts. I pretty much blocked out any thoughts of other baby-related planning and dreaming and only focused on the health and survival of our little growing baby. This was all I cared about and figured that nothing else would matter if our baby didn’t make it. A big relief came when we heard the heartbeat at 7 weeks. This was a huge milestone and proved to me that everything was in place for our baby to make it to this point. I had convinced myself that if the baby never reached this heartbeat stage, I could somehow cope better with the idea that it was never meant to be and that the baby never really had a chance to survive because of a chromosomal defect or something understandable like that. I’m sure those ideas would have flown out the window if we actually were faced with a miscarriage before hearing the heartbeat but that’s what I was telling myself.
(At 8 weeks 1 day, our baby resembles a gummy bear.)
Even though I felt some relief at this point, I would almost say I became even more worried because then I felt like we just had to make sure this baby survived. The baby proved it was viable so we had to make sure it would make it the rest of the way. I figured we were still in the high risk timeframe for the next 5 weeks and that just seemed like forever to me. And then I realized, even after you get out of that stage, the risks aren’t gone completely. We might still have a pre-term delivery in weeks 12-24, or a stillborn baby after that.
I don’t know if other moms-to-be worry about this as much as me, but I just can’t help myself. Maybe some people are blissfully ignorant of the risks and possibilities or are just more able to avoid thinking about it until they are faced with it. One thought that helps me is to remind myself that, either way, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I am not in control of this outcome. All I can do is send up my prayers for this precious little life and leave it up to God.
Everyone wants to know, “have you had any weird cravings??”, like this is the most interesting and bizarre aspect of pregnancy. They want to hear that I am one of those women who suddenly craves dust or paper or at least pickles in my ice cream. I think next time someone asks I might make something up like, “oh my gosh YES! It was the strangest thing but suddenly I just had to have sour cream on everything!”
But really, I don’t think I’ve craved any one thing that would be considered super weird. What has been strange is how different my diet has been in comparison to what I used to eat all of the time. I typically have a pretty high-protein diet and enjoy eating just about the same foods every day. Once I became pregnant, I suddenly didn’t particularly care for a lot of my normal foods. I wanted cereal, oatmeal, graham crackers annnddd chocolate. Lots of chocolate. I’ve never been a big candy person. I usually prefer ice cream or baked goods like cookies or cake, but for whatever reason, I found myself reaching for the pretzel m&ms or the milky ways or whatever else I saw while out shopping. I was a little ashamed of eating candy so regularly like that but I really wanted it.
In general, it seemed like I was eating a whole lot of carbs and sweets and I was afraid I was going to turn into a big pile of mush because of it. Luckily, by the time the second trimester rolled around, I felt like my taste buds were beginning to go back to normal a little bit and I was starting to clean up my crazy diet.
I did have one strange aversion, though, but that had more to do with smell than taste. I had a really strong sense of smell from weeks 6-10 and something in our refrigerator at home was driving me nuts! Every time I would open the door, I would gag from the awful, rancid smell. What IS that?? It was so frustrating. I ended up cleaning out the fridge and scrubbing it top to bottom but the smell was still there. One day, I finally figured out what it was. Turns out it was a perfectly good bottle of ranch dressing! What on earth?? It tasted fine and was not expired but for some reason I couldn’t stand the smell of it just hanging out in our fridge. Once I threw away the bottle, the smell miraculously disappeared. Go figure!
I’m curious to hear what kind of strange cravings or aversions other people had during pregnancy. I wonder if anyone else was driven nuts by their sense of smell like me. Surely I’m not the only crazy one!
When we first got married, I distinctly remember Grant saying, “I don’t know if I’ll ever feel ready for kids”. I know he wanted to have kids eventually, but he wasn’t sure if his mind would flip a switch and he would know that it was time. He figured that he would just have to rely on me and would probably get on board once things started to progress. I didn’t believe him. I understood where he was coming from, but I believed that he would feel differently once the time was right. I felt sure that outward influences would sway his thinking. Just like I always believed that I would know when I had met the man who would become my future husband, I figured we would know when we were ready to start a family.
Turns out, Grant was actually ready before I was! After living in our new house for a year, we learned a bit about taking care of a home. We were by no-means pros, but we were handling things, and I finished quite a bit of updates in that first year. We also replaced Grant’s car after his 1999 Blazer bit the dust and then he got a new job with a great company. That was basically the final straw for him. We were planning a 2-year anniversary trip to Aruba and we figured this would be our last big vacation for a while before starting a family. We agreed that I would run one more marathon in the fall, and then I would take a break from training hard and we would be open to a baby.
We still had a few months to go until race day when Grant finally said those magic words, “I’m ready for a baby”. I was so excited that he felt so ready but I was also like, “Wait! Wait! Give me three more months! I’m excited but I’m not quite ready. I want to run this race!” I was a little nervous that I was now the one holding us up but that gave me more motivation to train even harder.
Ready, set, go! The race was November 8th and we became pregnant by the end of December. Whaaat? To be honest, we kind of expected it to happen quickly although, in retrospect, I’m not sure why we were so confident. Grant was convinced we would get pregnant on his birthday, December 19th, but when I tried to explain to him how the cycles work and it couldn’t possibly happen on his birthday, he was not interested. He wanted to imagine that it was like magic and could happen at any time. I let him live in fantasy world and kept the science to myself. Low and behold, he wasn’t far off with his birthday wish! On January 16th, we took 1 pregnancy test (okay 3) and it was confirmed by our doctor on January 21st. We were so excited!! Time for a baby!