Tuesday, December 27, 2011

34 weeks

hope everyone had a very merry and wonderful christmas! we sure did. i told craig today it was my favorite christmas i've ever had because i still got to feel giddy about it the whole time, like being a kid again, but i didn't get any of the post-christmas blues you always get as kids when it's all over. i'm just so happy for the time we got to spend with each other and family and how completely blessed i know we are. i missed my family back home and got to talk to my mommy on the phone for a while on christmas and it was such a wonderful conversation. i love talking to her every time i do but this time i realized how soon i'll get to see her again, she's going to fly down here a week after babykay gets here and that could be so soon! i'm also so excited for next christmas and spending it with an almost one-year-old baby girl, craig and i have really been thinking hard about how we want christmas with our little family to be and what we want to teach them about this time of year and we're so excited to put all our plans into action!

the rest of our weekend was spent eating and sleeping and sleeping and eating. we spent lots of time in our pajamas, and then some more time in our new pajamas. i played A LOT of video games, haha. craig's little brothers came over to spend the night after christmas and play more video games. we had christmas eve with craig's grandpa gary's posterity and the festivities just kept going from there until craig and i ended our four day weekend eating out at a new grill in town and ordering the most expensive and delicious chocolate chip cookies i've ever had. i'm still being super careful about eating sweets and dairy and i passed up all sorts of baked goods this weekend but man, those cookies. they were worth it. then we watched our favorite tv show until we couldn't stay awake anymore and everything was just so lovely and cozy and perfect.

this is the last day of week 34 of my beautiful pregnancy and after all this time i still haven't gotten better at taking good belly pictures on time. oh well, your favorite ones are the ones i take of myself in the mirror anyway, right? i knew it. the happiest thing about this week is that i am now PUPPPs free! almost completely! it's amazing, i want to tell everyone ever about it. i want to write a book about it so that no one ever has to suffer through weeks and weeks of it again. the rest of this post will pretty much be a recap of my PUPPPs experience so if you're interested, read on, if not, look at my cute belly some more, there's an adorable baby in there and she rocks.

i went in for a prenatal appointment and my doctor asked if my tummy itched and said it looked like PUPPPs. the day after it spread to my legs and just kept right on spreading for about a week, it was everywhere, hands, feet, back, bottom, legs, tummy. the interesting thing though was that while everywhere else was getting worse my belly, which has been itching for about a week and a half longer than everything else, was getting better. it really helped me feel like what i was doing was working and maybe in the not to distant future it would all be over. by my next appointment two weeks after my doctor said i had PUPPPs i bet she would've thought she was wrong and i didn't have it at all, it was that good, it was almost completely gone in just two weeks [i didn't end up seeing her, i switched baby doctors and hospitals, but that's another story]. it's been such a blessing and i can't even believe how quickly it healed. granted, that first week of spreading was torture, but some women deal with this for whole trimesters. i still get a little itchy or bumpy occasionally, my arm had a few bumps the other day and my tummy is a little itchy today, so i've been keeping up a lot of the things i was doing to heal it just to make sure it doesn't come back.

the two things i think helped the very most were apple cider vinegar and the things i did to help my liver and kidneys heal. PUPPPs doesn't have a known cause but i couldn't just sit back and accept that, i needed to do something about it or at least feel like i was doing something about it, so between my mom, my big sister and craig we figured that what it could be was just my liver or kidneys getting run down supporting me and a little person's waste after all the poor eating i had been doing after halloween and thanksgiving. nothing was "failing," my organs just needed some help and so it was enlisting my skin to help get rid of waste. this unfortunately seemed to be transitioning quite effectively into itchy, painful bumps all over my body. so the very first thing i did was change my diet. i ate strictly fruits and veggies for the first few days with lots of fluids [V8, cranberry juice, water and water and more water, lemon juice, etc] but it's hard to keep a ravenous pregnant lady full on fruits and veggies so i worked in some crazy dave's bread and eventually adopted a more open, generally vegan diet. i still more or less am eating this way, avoiding excess meats and almost all dairy and being SO good at saying no to processed sugars or flours. i still have some of these things sometimes, i don't want to feel like i'm depriving or punishing myself, but if i make good choices many more times than making a less than good choice i feel like i'm on the right track. giving my body less garbage to have to process and get rid of was how i was going to help it be able to take care of itself properly again.

the other thing i used right from the beginning was apple cider vinegar, which is amazingly good for you. it's a cure all in my family. it's the same pH level as your skin so it can help burn away anything on it that shouldn't be there. i was drinking it and rubbing it right on my skin at least once a day. for a minute it would burn and hurt so bad i would literally shake all over but then my skin would stop itching for a while and it was so worth it. it felt like it was helping pull things out of my skin and away from me. for the rest of the first week i kept sane by taking oatmeal baths until we ran out of oatmeal and then using a soothing oatmeal scrub my friend jessica made me every night. if i didn't bathe or shower in some way i just couldn't sleep a wink the whole night, so doing this helped a lot. i also bought some sarna lotion, recommended by quite a few people, it would help keep me from itching at night long enough to usually get me back to sleep again after waking up scratching. if it wasn't working i would put ice on that area until it melted and then use the sarna lotion. all of this helped keep me alive until the calvary arrived, which is what really saved the day.

when i was almost to the point that the PUPPPs was done spreading, but i still really felt like i needed something to help suck it out and heal it before it would go away, amazon.com emailed me to say that the bar of grandpa's pine tar soap that i was expecting to get there the next day hadn't even ever shipped and wasn't going to [the soap was something that might've worked but probably not, i read it helped sometimes but it was mostly just all i could think of at that point]. the same night i got an email from my sister drashell saying that her and my mom were sending me an emergency care package of things that would help heal my skin and once it got here i just watched those nasty bumps disappear. my mom gave me a big bottle of castile soap to wash with, which is SO good for you, and they sent me a giant bag of epson salts to rub all over the bumpy itchy areas. i would have never thought of that on my own and it was pure genius, it felt sooooo nice to rub salt into all the terribly itchy areas and no one [coughcraigcough] could even get mad at me for "scratching" because i wasn't using my nails and spreading infection but it was just as satisfying as scratching. i was still using apple cider vinegar but then i was topping everything off with a mixture of amazing, soothing oils that my sister had mixed up for me. i feel like that stuff is made out of pure gold and i'm considering getting a vault to keep the rest of it in.

the one last product that arrived is something i'd recommend anyone used, even someone who thought everything else i did was completely wacko and crunchy, because it's the perfect product for PUPPPs and any other itchy, painful rash infliction. it's a little container of dr christopher's sen sei balm. my mom said it was eight dollars [less than what i spent on the bottle of sarna lotion] and drashell told me to use it on areas that itched and then resist scratching for just a couple minutes and when i did it felt amazing. it was cold and soothing and super healing and it would get rid of the itch for ages, i keep it in the fridge and now if i get itchy or bumpy anywhere i put that on first and i usually don't have to do anything else. i think anyone who is having pregnant itchy problems would be happier using that stuff than any other lotions or drug store treatments, it's seriously so wonderful.

there it is! my epic PUPPPs saga. now that's it's mostly over i feel like even after how miserable it was it was still a blessing in a way, i really needed a reason to start eating better. i did really, really well eating healthy up until halloween candy went on sale and then it was all just a growing mess after that, you have no idea how much thanksgiving cream cheese pumpkin roll i ate and i will never tell you, it's shameful. i'm glad i had to make a change so that little babykay could keep getting the nutrition she needed and so i would stop building her with excess dairy and processed sugars. i'm also glad something went horribly wrong with my "perfect" pregnancy because it helped make me a little more humble but it wasn't something permanent or damaging to my baby, and i'm so grateful for that. i'm also just so grateful for no more itching! yay! now i don't need to be afraid of being induced or losing a chance at my natural, dream labor. remind me to tell you about that sometime. on paper, it sounds pretty darn awesome.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

33 weeks + natural hair + LOTR

this is what happens to the hair on my head when i don't do anything to it. most of the time i use a flat iron on it because i can't handle the inconsistency of my curls but this last week or so my hair has been at a magical length that lets it curl without getting too crazy, so now is a good time for me to show it off. it'll last for a little while longer before it goes back to driving me crazy, eventually growing so long i'll feel like it's eating me, and then in a moment of insanity i'll chop it all off again, miss it, and start the long and painful process of growing it back out. it's a never ending cycle.

i sometimes really wish the front of my hair would curl down and in rather than up and out. the wing like structures around my face always weird me out and kinda remind me of swans for some reason. which makes me think of the swan princess. which makes me want to watch the swan princess. i also really want to watch the muppet christmas carol, but that's pretty much a daily thing that i'm sure happens to everyone.

i'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this giant baby bump i have. i'm 33 weeks for one more day. tomorrow i will be 34 weeks pregnant. and as of right this moment i seriously feels like i need more time. SO much more time. i can't seriously be 34 weeks already. i thought by now i'd be achy all over, waddling, have killer back pain, and have elephant feet and be begging to get this baby out. none of those things have happened yet. my ankles look a little funny to me but craig says i'm crazy, so i pretty much have no idea how i got this far without realizing how close i am to having a baby. back  in the first trimester when i was young and naive i thought i'd have a 37 week baby and be done with it. but right now i'm telling myself i could go on like this for months if i had more than one pair of pants that fit. i somehow need to convey to this child that i know i told her she could come out whenever she feels ready but now i need her to try to wait more than just 3 more weeks. her nursery is still a mess and being used as our temporary storage unit while we continue to wait for management to finish remolding the outside of our apartments. i know she's not really going to care either way but i'd just be so sad if everything wasn't perfectly ready for her arrival. i still need to get so many baby things. like burp cloths. and thousands of headbands for her to wear. and a bunch of other cute and mostly useless things. i'm just not prepared. do your momma a favor, little squirt, and keep cooking for a couple more months, but don't get any bigger than 7 pounds. it can work that way, right?

oh, by the way, that IS a lord of the rings shirt. thank you for noticing. i love this shirt but it makes me feel kinda bad sometimes, walking around representing the white hand of saruman, but i like living on the edge. i love middle earth. SO much. so much so that i'm going to share this trailer with you. it's the new trailer for part one of the hobbit movie coming out next december. it made me cry not once, not twice, but three times. once for every time i watched it last night in a ten minute time span. no, it's not sad, just incredibly awesome. i'm not obsessed. just excited.

p.s. craig is excited too but he's mostly because he gets to see his daughter so soon. this sweet man  gets completely giddy when he thinks about how soon she could be here. he loves her so much already and it's wonderful to see. i can't wait until he gets to hold her at last.

p.p.s. from way up here my feet look like little ants. run away little feet. run while you still can.

Monday, December 19, 2011

christmas favorites

just because i knew you were wondering.

i learned this year that i don't loath christmas music. even if it's playing on the radio at work all day, every day. it doesn't make my ears melt off. i've been enjoying it! i've even done some soul searching and came up with my list of top favorite christmas songs. and now i will share them with you [just because i knew you were all wondering]. here they are:

1. christmas time in the club by spoken nerd. okay, this one isn't a classic and you won't hear it on the radio. but don't hate it until you've tried it.

2. carol of bells. craig swears this is the most popular christmas song EVER but i like it because it feels less traditional to me, no lyrics and sometimes it gets downright hardcore, depending on the version.

3. christmas cannon. a) coolest christmas song title ever and b) cute little kids choir? too precious.

and then of course there's this. this can do no wrong in my eyes. thank you david and bing.

that's all I got, kids. i hope everyone is simply having a wonderful christmas time! we sure are.

Monday, December 12, 2011

32 weeks

i'm not nearly as cheerful about bearing children as i was last week. no. sir. and i'm about to complain about it. a lot.

remember my itchy skin on my belly? well, i was dealing with it, rubbing goops on it, going along my merry pregnant way and all was fine and dandy. i didn't even mention it to my doctor, it just seemed so normal and minor, but when i lifted up my shirt so she could listen to babykay's heartbeat she asked me "does that itch?" uhm, yeah, really bad. she said it looks like i have PUPPPs. and boy, do i.

PUPPPs is a skin condition that occurs in only about one in about 200 pregnancies, usually first time pregnancies with boys or twin pregnancies during the third trimester. it starts out as small, itchy bumps INSIDE the stretch marks on your belly. my belly. making it itch something fierce for the last week and defying all dry skin, anti-itch stuff i've been rubbing all over it. that's not the best part though. what i think the best part is that it SPREADS. to your legs, arms, back, chest, etc! everything i've read so far says it always spares the hands, feet, and face. well it's been a week since my doctor saw it on my stomach and told me what it was. and now it's definitely on my hands and feet. next stop, face? please no.

the cause is completely unknown and the only cure is having a baby. let me say that again, to get rid of it you have to not be pregnant anymore. yikes. there are various things used to treat the itchiness but from what i've heard they're mostly ineffective and i'm not comfortable with some of the extreme treatments, like oral steroids. i've been told some cases are pretty minor but of course all the ones i've read about so far have been so bad that women have scratched their skin off with steel wire [or something similar], so of course my brain now thinks that's the only option. and it sounds so tempting right now.

this is so fiercely and incredible painful. i don't know when i've been so uncomfortable. sometimes it just aches and aches, sometimes i want to scratch my skin off and be done with it. the worst is at night when all i want is sleep and all i can feel is itching and crawling all over my body. the day after my last appointment [just in time for me to know what it was] it started popping up on top of my thighs. now it's down to my feet, all around my belly and waist, up and down my arms and fingers, and on my butt. my butt! where i try to SIT! i feel diseased and hideous. i feel like i have the chicken pox forever. or leprosy.

by about friday i felt like i was losing my mind. i was not being a good sport about this at all. i just sat in the tub or shower and cried, or laid in bed and cried and insisted how i definitely "couldn't" do this anymore. 8ish weeks more of this sounded like death. all my dreams for a perfect labor involve using techniques that require me to be calm and relaxed. i just wasn't sure how managing that was possible anymore. i couldn't stand clothes touching me, i couldn't stand blankets touching me, and i couldn't stand air touching me. anytime i spent at work the itching was [miraculously] slightly milder but i was going crazy trying to sleep at night. i just wanted to "quit." i'm not sure how i thought that was possible, but i wanted it bad.

i'm not quite so hopeless anymore. after waking craig up on friday night with another fit of scratching and crying and mindless babbling he prayed with me, looked up how to make an oatmeal bath, made one for me, and stayed up until 5:30 with me until i could fall asleep even though he had to be up less then four hours later. then he let me sleep in until 1:30. and after talking and comforting me and reminding me i'm a selfish worm that doesn't deserve him one bit [my words, not his] i feel much less like a victim and more motivated to just try handle this. it's been a perfect pregnancy so far and i kept feeling like it was "ruined" by PUPPPs but now i'm just trying to be glad it's something that actually goes away someday. i don't have anything that's going to last forever or hurt my baby and there's nothing at all wrong with her. she's so strong and healthy and that's such a blessing. so now i'm trying to be optimistic about this even when i really don't feel like it. crying in the bath surely wasn't very becoming anyway, and it probably wasn't just the hideous bumps on my body.

we're trying lots of things to help maybe improve my new condition, including apple cider vinegar on my skin every day [it hurts so bad i shake, that's how you know it's good for you though, right?] and drinking it every day, mild but soothing lotion, cold showers, peppermint oil, and a change in diet. i'm essentially mostly eating vegan now, which is hard when you're ravenous and pregnant, but i'm most insistent on saying no to sugars and refined flours and all the delicious things i've been enjoying over the holidays. the cause for PUPPPs is unknown but i'm sure there has to be one and my theory is that my liver is just worn out trying to take care of me + another mini person and after overloading it with halloween candy and pumpkin rolls it just can't do it's job anymore and it's enlisting my skin to help rid my body of toxins, starting with the stretch marks on my belly where my skin is the weakest. it may sound crazy but i like at least feeling like i have some sort of control over this and that if i keep at it then maybe it can get better sooner than eight weeks from now. here's to hoping. pass the V8 and cranberry juice.

i'll spare you pictures of my leprosy. instead, look at my cute baby belly.

Friday, December 2, 2011

31 weeks

this kid. this KID. she's getting so big. and she's busy all the time, it feels like she almost never stops moving. this week she started playing games with me, sticking little limbs out as far as they can go and letting me rub and play with them before sucking them back in. the last couple days she's been poking her bum waaay up out from under it's usual resting place [right under my right ribcage. ouchtown.] and if i don't rub it until she's satisfied she starts kicking/hitting me until i do. i kid you not. as long as i'm rubbing she keeps it poked up and holds very, very still and as soon as i stop she lets me have it. i like to think she just wants to know i'm there. i also like to picture her as opinionated and demanding for attention. you may think it sounds crazy, but don't burst my bubble. my unborn baby knows what's she wants, her brain is giant!

i feel so huuuge sometimes. i'm getting kinda tired of trying to find clothes that stay on my body. when do i get to stop having to be dressed every day? i want that to happen. nowish. my tummy is also starting to itch something fierce, i've been using all sorts of oils and lotions, taking recommendations, trying to make it feel less itchy and dry. i know it's a pretty common pregnancy ailment and i'm glad i went this long without itching, but man is it uncomfortable sometimes. other than that i've been having only really fond feeling towards being pregnant. the whole time i've been growing this mini human craig and i have been so eager for her to just BE here and all the sudden i'm starting to wonder if i'm really ready to stop taking care of her like this. maybe i could go on for 30 more weeks. she's easier to take care of now than she'll ever be and i know i'll be so happy when she's out of my belleh and in my arms but i know i'll miss these days of her bumping around in there. i love her a million times.