Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You have got to be kidding

I just noticed that somebody on Facebook posted that their idea of "heaven" was a trip to the gym followed by some sugar-free ice cream. SERIOUSLY??!! What has the world come to when people think the ultimate reward involves diet food?? It's heaven people, live a little... (I mean, as much as you can when you are technically dead).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Down but not out...or how to look good on bedrest

Now working my way to week two of bedrest, I have learned a few things about what it takes to stay sane when you are not able to do anything but sit on your big duff all day. For me, the key to making it through the day without chucking the remote at Matt Lauer's big stupid grinning face (which would be impossible anyway because the remote is one of those annoying hospital things that is attached to your bed) is to try to keep up appearances. I soon realized that I would be seeing more people while I was on bedrest than I usually see in any given month, so this was not the time for me to let myself go into greasy hair, sweatpant mode.

Here are just a few tips in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation:
1. If you are able to shower..shower. Maybe even two or three times a day. This will make you feel like a new person, you will never again be so thankful for the opportunity to shave your legs and slap on a little moisturizer.

2. Demand that someone change your sheets daily. I know, this is not something I thought much about in "normal" life either...but seriously do it. When you get up for your shower only to look down and see half of the chicken salad you had for lunch yesterday has been hiding under your left butt cheek you will be darn glad it won't be there all day.

3. Choose an outfit that does not make you feel like someone off of "What Not to Wear". It may be cute and carefree to throw on some old clothes and run to the grocery store in real life, but when you are sitting in a hospital bed it just looks pitiful. A further recommendation is to put on something with color, even though vampires are in right now, you are no Bella Swan.

4. Now that you are clean and back in the bed, take the time to put on some make-up. You have nothing else to do and slapping on some "dramatic eye" wear will not kill you, it will only make you stronger.

5. As a grand finale, put on your best dangly earrings. Even if you have ignored numbers 1-4, you can distract and dazzle even the most critical of visitors with some shoulder-length sparkles.

Bonus** If you are willing to go the extra mile, have someone give you a pedicure. Nothing says invalid like nasty toenails. Use a bright color, another terrific distraction and a necessary accessory for your anti-embolism hose.

So that's it! I hope that you don't end up in this situation, but just in case, don't give up hope. I would also like to issue an apology to Matt Lauer, I don't normally want to smash your face in...just when I wake up to find I am laying on some old deli-spread.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Little Saturday Pick-Me-Up

For whatever reason, it seems like a lot of people in my life are going through some hard stuff. I feel sure that 2011 is going to be MUCH better for eveyone. In the meantime, here is a YouTube clip that never fails to crack me up...

I don't really know why this tickles me so much, but there you have it!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sounds of Success

My room at the hospital is connected to the OR where all of the c-section births take place. The result is that I get to hear, on average, 1-2 little screaming, squalling babies come into this world each day. At first I will admit I was a little horrified but have since decided that hearing these goings-on is actually pretty inspiring. I even decided that I could begin to use them as practice for my own upcoming delivery, a sort of visualization process if you will.

I first learned about visualization as a technique for success when I was in high school, playing on the field hockey team. I sucked at field hockey. So much so that once my coach tactfully told me that her feelings would not be hurt if I decided to "pursue other endeavors." Unfortunately, I didn't catch the hint and enthusiastically assured her I was in for the long haul. I am sure that she was thrilled.

So, on our way to yet another game where I would most likely be riding the pine, my dad told me about how the great athletes will visualize themselves scoring goals/points/what have you and that studies have shown the technique to be just as powerful as physically practicing. Having possessed a strong imagination from birth, I spent the next fifteen minutes visualizing myself scoring goal after goal, I may have also thrown in an ending or two where I was hoisted on the shoulders of my teammates while the opposing team clamored for my autograph. There may have been a small portion of my visualization that involved a write-up in the paper about the local field hockey phenom.

Probably needless to say, I did not score a single point in that game. I don't think I scored a point that whole season. I did, however, continue my visualization techniques and ended up improving quite a bit, even getting a grudging acknowledgement from the coach by the end of the season.

I feel like the same lesson can apply to this pregnancy. Already, it is clearly not what I envisioned (which, just so you know, was hopping around through 9 months looking fabulous while graciously downplaying other's compliments at how wonderfully equipped I was to have a child). I am sure this next month will not land me any awards either. But, with the help of my little screamers next door, I can continue to visualize the perfect pregnancy I am having in my full page spreads in pregnancy magazines, no articles in the paper...but certainly East Cooper Hospital's Most Improved Mother of a sweet baby boy (and maybe just a few balloons).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nurse Ratched

I have learned very quickly that a day in the hospital is almost completely determined by the calibur of your nurse. I have now been here for almost a full week, have yet to have the same nurse twice, and good lord there are some personalities out there!

Don't get me wrong, a majority of them are GREAT at their jobs. I find that they basically split down in four groups...

The first and most common (and best) is the sympathetic nurse. I certainly do not want people fawning and mewing over me, but yes, a long stay in the hospital is not the most fun thing in the world and it is nice to have someone realize that. The sympathetic nurse is gentle when administering tests, asks about your personal life (but not too intrusively), and certainly does not act as if you are a huge pain in the fanny for landing yourself in the hospital.

The overinterested nurse is kind of a pain. They will come in your room and just sit and chat when all you really want to do is log on to Netflix to watch another season of Grey's Anatomy. And when you finally do get to settle back to your show they will inevitably come back in to see what you are watching, usually during your show's most enthusiastic sex scene...awkward.

The third group is the mean nurse. I had my first mean nurse last night...I asked her for some water and you would have thought she had to go pull it from a well. She also informed me that she was pretty busy and might be a while if I buzzed for her...when I asked her what to do if I really had a problem (with the vasa previa time is of the essence if anything goes awry), she suggested I not have a problem while her other patient was in labor. Helpful.

Even worse than the mean nurse, by my standards, is the ditsy nurse. I have had a handful of these and give me the mean nurse any day. At the hands of various ditsy nurses I have been: pinched during an attempted blood pressure reading, left hooked up to machines hours past the allotted time, had to redo tests because they "forgot" to turn on the machines, awakened at all hours of the night, and had hospital food left in my room for days at a time. Although you will remind these nurses of what you need, they will forget as soon as they run out of the room. They often say things like " I just plain forgot about you!" This kind of thing does not seem like such a big deal until you literally cannot do for yourself...then it gets pretty irritating.

All and all, nurses are great...I'm sure if they would just ask for my help they could all be perfect 10's (ha ha).

Monday, October 11, 2010

She's got legs, and they have abused them

With what could very well be the final indignity of being put in the hospital, I am now wearing compression hose. For those that don't know, these are the opaque white thigh-highs that are allegedly used to prevent blood clots...I think they are just form of cruel and unusual punishment. I look like a nurse from the 60's with a geriatric flair. I am not kidding, these things are awful...just add some varicose veins and wrinkles and you may as well start calling me Gertrude.
So now, in addition having to discuss my bathroom habits at length each day, I have to sit with my leg above my head while a member of of the hospital staff wrestled these aggressively tight stockings up over my aforementioned measly calves and burgeoning thighs.
I did just start to wonder if the compression could start to keep my legs from getting any larger...hmmmm, if these hose will allow me to eat a few more peanut m&m's then disregard everything I just said!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Vanity fair?

My legs are the one thing about my body I have always been at least semi-proud of. After nearly thirty years of walking on my toes and a good fifteen doing a good bit of running, my legs and my calves in particular have usually been a point of pride for me. My legs have never been really skinny, or unusually long, but they were strong and muscular and that made me feel healthy.

A mere three days of bed rest has pretty much killed that image. My once bulging calf muscles have been reduced to some extra skin hanging off a pitiful looking shin. You know how homemade pudding has those little dimples and wiggles in the most enticing of ways? Well, that effect is not quite the same when it appears on you upper thigh. My new lack of muscle tone has left my upper leg with more craters than the moon. Ewww.

My vision of health was finally shattered last night when they had the physical therapist come move my legs around for "exercise"...I ran a half marathon less than a year ago! Anyway, I know that all of this is temporary and I have plenty of time to get these toothpicks back into shape, I just wanted to document the current state of affairs in case anyone was thinking of using me in a Nair commercial in the next few months.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

And so it begins

Finished my first full day in the hospital, here are just a few things that I have observed thus far...
1. Despite appearances to the contrary, the pudding is actually quite good
2. The hash browns, however, are every bit as rubbery as they appear
3. Any time they tell you they are going to let you sleep, they mean that you will not be physically shaken awake. You will instead wake up to strangers standing over you without announcing their presence
4. There is no such thing as a comfortable hospital bed...
5. But the water pressure is great

So that's about it for Day One...only 34 to go!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A shocking turn of events

So, at 29 weeks pregnant with five weeks to go, I find myself at East Cooper Hospital for the long haul of this pregnancy. It would be an understatement to say that Parke and I were shocked when the doctor calmly said that based on some recent developments, it was time to think of a hospital stay. Shocked would not even describe our reaction when I asked her when and she said "now."
So surreal when I went home and threw a bunch of clothes in a bag and left for the last time in what is likely to be at least five weeks...even more so when I realized the next time I come home I will have a baby.
It has all happened really fast, but as scary and unsettling as it has been it is not nearly scary and unsettling as these past couple of months when my constant thought and worry has been that something terrible would happen to our baby. While a hospital stay is certainly not ideal, I feel like I can breathe for the first time in weeks. I'll take it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bad Idea

I've decided the internet is like crack to the pregnant woman, and probably just as dangerous. Even if I did not have the whole "don't go into labor or your baby will die" thing going on, I still think that I would be a nervous wreck about half the stuff out there.

The first and most obvious no-no's are the miscarriage, lost pregnancy sites and stories...these are just the WORST. If you want to make a hormonal and huge woman lose complete control and bawl for an hour, well then these are the stories for you.

Second and almost as bad are the "what can go wrong" scenarios. I realize that even some of the most respectable sites need to post this kind of information for the poor souls that go through this stuff, but for the most part you don't need to know what can go wrong unless it is actually going wrong. I never even heard of vasa previa before I was diagnosed (which turned out to be bad enough), but I was already at panic level 10 about all sorts of incompetencies my cervix may or may not have.

Then there is the basic info, which can be just as alarming depending on your situation. For me, the most chilling of these are the "how to know you are in labor" symptoms which, as discussed ad nauseum, I am NOT SUPPOSED TO DO. This list includes things like "backache", "pressure", and "abdominal pain". Well good lord, I have all three of those all of the time and I am pretty sure they are due to the 3 lb infant practicing his tai-bo on my insides and the 22 other lbs that have joined him. Nonetheless, every time I read labor symptoms I am left wondering if I should "call my practitioner immediately".

Finally, there are the more touchy-feely of sites that insist that your attitude, stress level, ability to read Shakespeare, etc. all directly influence your child's demeanor BEFORE HE IS EVER BORN. Well, if that's the case, this kid is a lost cause. He is probably going to need Paxil out of the womb. Suffice it to say I have not been at my calmest these past 7.5 months.

Every week I promise myself to stay off of these sites but the very next time I have so much as a twinge I am right back on the net. My name is Anne Harris, I am a pregnant woman and internet last hit was approximately five minutes ago .