Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

*Warning-this post contains TMI*

Pregnancy is a beautiful, weird, stressful, scary, amazing time.

A lot of times, I feel like my body is no longer my own... but I have no problem giving it up for my two little babies. I continue to be surprised and amazed by the things happening with my body.

I'm not going to lie, the first few months were hard. I was constantly nauseous, often sick, and had a really hard time eating and keeping food down. I was lucky that I only lost six pounds during that time (my doctor said he's seen some women lose 20 pounds or more and need to be hospitalized) but knowing how important weight gain was for the twins, not being able to eat was stressing me out.
It was also weird to me when the food aversions kicked in. The most unexpected... and strongest... was my aversion to meat. Especially chicken. I loooooove chicken! But once the morning sickness kicked in, just the thought of chicken made me retch. I couldn't look at raw meat of any kind, or any big piece of cooked meat. The only way I could eat meat was if it was small enough pieces to be mixed in with other food. Eventually, I started craving beef and it would make me feel better after I ate.
Weeks 6-12ish I pretty much lived on potatoes, pb&j, crackers, and cereal. Then potatoes started making me nauseous. Pretty much half the things I put in my mouth, as soon as it touched my tongue, would instantly make me want to puke. The next couple weeks I mainly just ate snacks. Those were the hardest weeks.

I was so relieved when my morning sickness finally went away. I still had aversions, but I was finally having cravings, too! Patrick and I joke that the twins are going to come out speaking Spanish. I want Mexican food all the time! Nachos are favorite and I eat them at least once a week. I'm also loving hamburgers with lots of tomatoes, chicken fried steak with white gravy, Chinese food, and fried shrimp.
My weirdest craving to date: peanut butter and banana sandwiches. That may mot sound weird to most, but I have not eaten bananas since third grade. A kid I went to school with use to poke holes in them and squish the insides out through the holes and it was so gross! I haven't been able to even look at bananas without gagging since then. So for me to want, and eat, and ENJOY anything with bananas is pretty amazing.
My appetite has really picked up within the last month or so, and after getting the steroid shots, I have been ravenously hungry! My food aversions are officially gone and I'm eating like a stereotypical pregnant woman. If its food, I want it. And if I want it, there is not going to be any left when I'm done. And within thirty minutes of stuffing my face, I'm going to want a snack... and another snack thirty minutes after that.
But I'm gladly eating everything in sight because I know it's helping my babies gain weight.
I thought I loved food before I got pregnant, but it's crazy how absolutely amazing food can be now! Especially when eating something I'm "craving"... I've actually caught myself humming while I chew it makes me so happy!

Another bodily change that caught me by surprise was the boob leakage. I mean, I knew it would happen, but I started leaking colostrum at 18 weeks! The first time it happened, Patrick and I were cuddling on the couch, watching a movie, and when we got up to go to bed, I thought I had spilled some water on myself because I had a wet spot about the size of a quarter on my left boob. But when I took my bra off, I realized I had been leaking! My left had leaked a quarter-sized spot completely through my bra and my right had left a spot the size of a nickel just on the inside of the bra. Luckily, my leakage tends to happen at night so I haven't had any embarrassing incidents yet, but I have had a few times where I have soaked spots the size of my palm on my sleep shirts.
One night, I was laying in bed in my pj pants, watching the twins move my belly, when all of a sudden, after a particularly active bout of movement, my whole stomach tightened up and colostrum just flowed out of both boobs. It lasted a few seconds, my stomach relaxed, the flow stopped, and the babies started moving again. A few minutes later they had another really active bout, and the same thing happened. This repeated itself a few more times for about thirty minutes, until the twins finally calmed down and went to sleep. It was pretty interesting.
What has sucked, though? I've gotten mastitis... twice. I didn't even know you could get it while pregnant but apparently you can. Both times has been in my right boob and it hurts like a sonofabitch! The first time was much worse and I had to go on antibiotics because my whole boob was swollen, red, and hot to the touch with big, hard lumps that were so tender I couldn't wear a bra. The second time my boob just got swollen with those hard lumps, but it wasn't as painful and cleared up on its own after a day or so with hot showers.
I'm hoping this all means that I'll have a plentiful supply once the twins come.

One of the most amazing things has been feeling the babies move. Now that they're bigger and stronger, it can get uncomfortable and sometimes downright painful, but I love feeling them.
I feel Olivia a lot more because she's in the front, her body coming up the right side of my stomach with her butt right below my ribcage, and her placenta is posterior. Harrison is on my left side, but he sits further back towards my spine, and his placenta is anterior. They both had their feet on my right side for a while, so my ribs on that side got quite a workout, but as Olivia has dropped further into my pelvis, Harrison has gotten enough room to move from "oblique" to fully vertex and has moved his feet to my left side. His placenta is close to my ribs on that side, so while I do feel the strong rib kicks, I'm more protected on that side.
I mainly feel him when he is attempting to escape through my belly button. Little man is convinced that this is the way out and he likes to punch me square in the middle, then drag his fist around in hopes of finding the escape route. Sometimes he's shy when I rub the body parts he sticks out and pulls them back, and other times he'll let me rub them for a while.
Baby girl, on the other hand, has come to love being rubbed! Since she's so far forward, I can usually feel some body part close to the surface so I tended to kind of mess with her a lot. At first she would pull back whatever was sticking out, then she started "playing" with me (I'd rub or poke and she would hit back, then move her arm or leg and stick it out somewhere else until I rubbed or poked the new spot. She'd keep it up for 10-15 minutes and if I didn't rub her, she would just stick the arm/leg out further until it got uncomfortable) Now, when I rub her, she will actually wiggle and push into my hand!
She is also apparently convinced that the best way out of my stomach is to just bust through... and if she can take one of my ribs with her that'll be even better. This child is so active, and STRONG, it makes me wonder if she actually will just bust out! I'm definitely getting worried that she'll break my water.

Feeling them move is one thing, SEEING them move is another. It's amazing and I love to watch them, but it is crazy. Patrick gets a bit weirded out when they're particularly active because he says it's too "Alien"-ish and I have to admit that when both of them are really moving, it does look a bit.... odd. The other morning, it was like they were fighting in there! I had a flurry of movement along the midline, then they separated and my belly went flat in the middle as they bulged out the sides like they wanted away from each other!
And while I usually just see Harrison's fist or part of his foot sticking up, Olivia likes to push out her whole foot, or stick out and move around her entire lower leg, or whole arm! These are not little movements. When she gets going, you can see it through my clothes!

Those are the biggest changes for me... or at least the most significant. Since this is getting pretty long I'll bullet-point the rest of my pregnancy quirks.
-Peeing has become a chore. Olivia has settled on my bladder so I have to go a lot, and I have learned to shift around on the toilet to make sure my bladder is empty. Otherwise, when I lean over to wipe (which has gotten a bit difficult as well) I pee on my fingers. Luckily, I'm a fast learner so it only happened twice, but it was still gross. Pair my toilet aerobics with getting up 4-6 times a night to pee, and I have started thinking that a catheter might be the way to go. Or at the very least, I have debated getting some Depends. Oh, the shame!
-Acne. Not too much on my face but my chest is not very pretty and my back is AWFUL! It's really gross. I was lucky as a teenager that I never really had skin issues so this is a pretty major insecurity for me now. I blame little boy with his testosterone.
-Back hair. Not a lot, and not very noticeable, but Patrick pointed it out to me when he was scrubbing my back one night. He says they're dark, but thin and fairly short, and go down my spine. He's started calling me "Were-wife". I again blame Harrison.
-Weepiness. While I don't cry randomly or extremely easily, I'm definitely much quicker to cry over things that affect me. Something that would normally just be touching, will now make me cry, and I cry when I get angry, which I normally don't do. Oh... and I did cry because Patrick threw away (or ate, I can't remember now) some left-overs that I was just going into the kitchen to get. This one I blame on Olivia.
-Pregnancy brain is a real thing. I forget things all the time. I say stupid things that make no sense. I got out of my car once without even turning it off! Thank goodness my sister was with me and said something or I would have just waddled myself into the store and left my car unlocked and running!
-Insomnia. Everyone tells me "get plenty of rest before those babies come!" Yeah right. I have a hard time falling asleep at night, it's hard to get comfortable, impossible to stay comfortable, turning over has become an Olympic event in my book, and I'm up every few hours to pee. Sometimes I wake up hungry or have a hard time falling back asleep and get hungry, so I have to argue with myself over whether or not I should go eat something or stay in bed and hope for sleep.
-Swelling. Luckily, I haven't had much swelling in my feet or hands. My feet have only in the past few weeks started to get puffy as the weather warms and, though I switched my wedding set for one of my mom's gold bands that's a bit bigger, just in case, I don't think it was really necessary. The unfortunate victim of my swelling has been my lady bits. Now, I have been unable to see anything happening south of my navel since about 20-24 weeks, but I like to sit in the bathroom sink to do my makeup (and yes, I usually get ready in the buff... the bathroom gets hot!) and I couple weeks after I lost sight of my "southern belle", I was getting ready to go somewhere and caught a glimpse of her as I was hoisting my pregnant self onto the counter. I was horrified by what I saw! A lady on one of the due date boards described herself as looking like she was "smuggling bratwursts" and I have to say that's a pretty accurate description. I had no idea that would happen! I asked Patrick why he hadn't told me my girl parts were so grossly swollen and he just shrugged and said because he didn't think it was important and he thought I was sexy no matter what. Good man. But I still have not gotten back on that counter or tried to look down below again. Patrick is helping me groom what I have now named my "mystery jungle" this weekend in preparation for delivery, and I wouldn't be surprised if we discovered new plant species down there!

Well, now that you all know waaaayyyy too much about me, I'll leave it at that. I'm 35 weeks tomorrow and so thankful every day to have carried these babies so long and made it this far. Only two and a half more weeks until my c-section date! I want them to bake that long and make it to term but I am so ready to meet them!! Some days I think I'll make it, others I feel like I'll go into labor at any second. Either way, I know they'll be in great hands and, chances are, they'll be perfectly healthy. Makes all these pregnancy discomforts totally worth it!

Thank You, God, for blessing us with these two little miracles and for giving me the ability to carry and grow them for as long as I have.

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