Third Trimester Grace

I don’t have it.

I’m not talking about physical grace.  Obviously I don’t have that.  It’s hard to waddle gracefully and moving around requires plenty of grunting and groaning.

I’m talking about social grace.  Emotional grace.  That almost transcendant zen-like glow that some pregnant women seem to have.

I want to stab those transcendent glowy ladies with a plastic fork.

(Gee, Molly.  Tell us how you really feel!)

Look, I’ve got heartburn, alright?  And not just heartburn.  Reflux, too.  Reflux is really special because it doesn’t hurt.  Isn’t that nice?  It just means my food comes out of my stomach and into my mouth when I lay down, bend over, burp, lean the wrong way, or forget to take my Nexium.

Also, my back hurts.  And my hips.  And my legs.  Especially at night when I just want to get some sleep already.  I lay on my left side and the left leg starts to ache.  I hoist my giant self over onto my right side, and my right leg starts to ache.  If I accidentally roll onto my back, I wake up dizzy and nauseated.

And you know what else?  The hyperemesis gravidarum is STILL HERE!  Okay, it’s less like 1st trimester HG and more like a perpetual hangover, but it’s there and I am tired of it.

Apparently I’m also huge.  And my baby is going to be huge.  And aren’t I scared?  This is according to my coworkers.  Thanks guys.  Rule #1 of talking to a pregnant woman.  Tell her she looks gorgeous and leave it at that.  I’m honestly not worried about having a big baby.  Fat squishes.  I’ll birth this baby just fine.  My midwives are not concerned, and neither am I.  But nothing makes me feel like the love child of Humpty-Dumpty and a hippopotamus than being told how enormous I am.

All of this means that I am exceptionally cranky at the moment.  No, I don’t want to hear about your cold.  I’ve been living with a perpetual hangover (at best!) for the last 8 months.  I don’t care how sick you are, get out of my cubicle and take your germs with you.  I don’t want to hear about how tired you are because you stayed up late last night watching this really good movie.  I went to bed at 9 PM.  I couldn’t sleep.  I’m tired, too.

“Molly’s not here right now.  These are her hormone’s speaking, how can we help you today?”

Mostly, I’m just done.  I am so over being pregnant.  I’m at 34 weeks and 4 days.  At 36 weeks I’ll be full term and the baby is welcome to choose her birthday any day at that point.

I’m counting down.

Advertisements

Cue the Mommy Guilt

Now I know that I wrote about guilt last week, but this is less of a spinoff from that post and more of a spinoff from Tuesday’s post: All Things to All People.

Guilt that comes from the outside is easy for me to deal with.  Guilt trips are simply a way some people try to manipulate others.  When confronted by someone attempting to manipulate my emotions, it’s easy for me to mentally raise my middle finger in their direction and leave the guilt aside.

When the guilt comes from within as a result of me not living up to my own personal goals and ideals, it’s much more difficult to deal with.

Some things I currently feel mommy guilt about:

  • Feeding the Grasshopper crappy food: Monday-cold leftover pizza and a bowl of honey nut cheerios; Tuesday-A ham, cheese, and mayo sandwich and ice cream; Wednesday-cold leftover pizza
  • Letting the Grasshopper watch way too much TV – TV as babysitter?  Yup.
  • Not getting down and playing interactively with her
  • Parking my butt on the couch and encouraging her to entertain herself
  • Taking her to daycare with her hair uncombed and her teeth unbrushed

Okay, most of these are seriously temporary.  Mr. Grasshopper is travelling for work for a few days this week (comes back today thank god!), and we’re in survival mode.  For the record, he usually cooks nutritious and tasty meals, plays vigorously with her at every opportunity, and makes sure her teeth and hair get brushed in the morning.  Also, for the record, she does have a toothbrush at daycare, so when she arrives, she can run back and brushes her teeth then.

Overall, I know that this is stuff that I can’t really control right now.  At the end of the day, we’re doing well if I can stick food on plates and get the dishes loaded in the dishwasher.  I’m proud of myself each time I have managed to get her bathed this week.  Reaching into the tub is hard.  I’m trying really hard to give myself credit for the little stuff like that.

But we do watch way too much TV.  I try to assuage that guilt by making sure we’re watching the kids channels that don’t show any commercials.  I just wish I could play with her more.  I wish this week could have been fun girlie time with walks/trike rides through the neighborhood with the dog, fun bubble baths, painted toenails, and special activities.

That’s just not in the cards right now.

Right now, we’re doing well to get out the door in the morning and eat food at night.

I can’t wait to not be sick anymore.  I hate the way hyperemesis gravidarum is keeping me from being the mom I want to be.

All Things to All People

My midwife, bless her, gave me a bit of a gentle scolding last week.  I needed it.

Lately, I’ve been feeling completely drained.  Not just tired.  More than that.  Sucked dry.  Wrung out.  Physically tired?  Absolutely.  Mentally exhausted?  Oh, yeah.  Emotionally worn out?  You bet.

When she asked me how I was feeling, that’s what I told her.  She pointed out that it sounded like I was simply trying to be too many people.

I’ve written before about trying to do too much and how that causes the hyperemesis gravidarum to flare up.  I’ve always thought of it as a physical thing.  When my midwife framed it in terms of being too many people, something clicked in my mind.

That’s exactly what’s been going on, particularly with trying to crank out an article every single day for World Breastfeeding Week.  It’s been completely exhausting.

My midwife suggested I think about my priorities.  Which Molly is the most important Molly?

Who do I try to be on a daily basis?  What facets make me… me?

  • Mommy to the Grasshopper
  • Wife to my husband
  • Cook
  • Partial housekeeper
  • Good employee at the office
  • Keeper of the house schedule
  • Writer/blogger
  • Lactivist
  • Socially responsible consumer (now that takes some hard work!)
  • Pregnant lady
  • Hyperemesis gravidarum survivor/sufferer
  • Gardener
  • Fish-keeper
  • Dog mommy

This list goes on and on and on.

Which of those is most important right now?  Weeellll….  They’re all important.

Some things I’m already letting slide.  Mr. Grasshopper already does all the cooking.  We’ve hired a housekeeper, and whatever she doesn’t do, he does.  The poor dog doesn’t really get walked right now except to go with my husband to get the mail.  He’s taken over taking the Grasshopper to swim class, grocery shopping, laundry, watering the potted plants, and any other chores that come up as a part of home ownership.

He’s carrying so much of the weight of the household right now, and he’s holding up amazingly well under the strain.

My midwife is right, though.  I need to start shedding more roles.  I’m not sure what this means, though.

I think part of it is that I need to let go of the notion of spending every day striving to be The Best Employee Ever.  I’m up to my neck in projects that I’m frantically trying to complete before I go out on leave.

My last day of work will be September 16th.  That’s a little over five weeks away.  That’s not enough time!

I think what I need to do is this:  I need to stop thinking of September 16th as a deadline and start thinking of it as a new beginning.  If I don’t finish every single thing that I wanted to finish at the office, it won’t be the end of the world.  Time passes.  They will find a way to manage without me.

I need to focus on what’s important.  My family, myself, and my baby.

I’m already reaching that stage of just wanting to hide in a cave.  I just want to be left alone to get ready for the baby to arrive.  I want to get the clothes washed and into drawers, the room set up, the car seats installed, etc.  I just can’t right now because of having to work.

So I need to start looking forward to September 16th, not as the drop-dead date for my projects but as the day that I can stop having to be everything but a mommy getting ready to have a baby.  It’s so hard to change that perspective.  I’m a natural project manager, so my instinct is to manage each task and account for all possible outcomes and potential stumbling blocks.  I try in every possible way to foresee every potential risk and develop a plan to minimize or deal with it.  I mean, look at the protocol I put together for the hyperemesis gravidarum.  Effective?  Useful?  Valuable?  Hell yes.  A little over the top? Weeellll….  I’ll leave that for you to decide.

I have got to learn to just let it go.

Birthing Positions and Water Birth Positions

I’m going to be sharing a full write-up of my birthing preferences a little later, but I wanted to take some time to talk about birthing positions.  This is a really important aspect of birth.

What you see in movies?  The woman flat on her back, legs up in the air, yelling her head off?  That’s a terrible way to push out a baby.  This position actually closes the pelvis off and forces the woman to push uphill.  No part of that is good for childbirth.  There’s only one reason to birth a baby in this position: to make it easier for the doctor.  You know, he doesn’t have to bend down that way.  He can sit on the chair or stand up.  Much more comfortable for him, right?  And that’s what’s most important after all: making sure your doctor is comfortable.

Before I go into this further, take a look at this article that lists the pros and cons of different birth positions.  Scroll down to the bottom to read the pros and cons of birthing on your back with your legs in the air.  Do you notice anything?  There are no pros for this!  That’s right.  There’s nothing good about this.  Only cons.

So you might gather from all of this that I want to push our baby out in a position other than flat on my back.  Honestly, I’m not sure how I will want to birth the baby.  On all fours?  Squatting?

I very much intend to use the birth pool.  So how does that work with birthing positions?  Honestly, I have no clue!  With the Grasshopper, I had an epidural.  I was paralyzed from the waist down.  I was, you guessed it, flat on my back with my legs up in the air.

I have a hard time doing things if I can’t try it out ahead of time, or at least visualize it.  It’s why I never asked to use the squat bar at the hospital before getting the epidural with the Grasshopper.  It’s why I asked my midwives to let me try out the birth stool during my second appointment.  It’s why I really, really need a doula.  If I’m not sure how to do something, I just freeze up.  I’m not sure why.  I just do.  So this is why I’m trying to familiarize myself as much as possible with water birth and various birth positions.

Like they say in my hypnobabies course, I’m having to retrain my mind to remove the flat-on-the-back, legs-in-the-air positioning from my concept of “normal” and replace it with a new normal which includes movement and various different positions.

There seems to be an incredible variety in how women choose to birth in a tub.  I have to wonder if the water helps facilitate that.  I’m only 31 weeks, and already I feel huge and awkward.  I have to wonder if the weightlessness of the water allows them to move their bodies more easily for greater comfort during birth.

I think I may even fill up our bathtub here at home at some point and do some of my Hypnobabies practicing in the water.  I really hope doing this kind of visualization and practice will help me to feel more confident during my birthing time.  I plan to talk to my doula and let her know that I do tend to freeze up.  I want her to be able to watch for this and give me a nudge if she sees this happening.  But I also want to find some empowerment on my own, and watching the women in these videos give birth really helps me to find that within myself.

Chiropractors and Pregnancy

I will be the first to say that I don’t know that much about chiropractic care.

I’m very much a scientifically minded, evidence based kind of person.  This means that I don’t always jump on what some might call “alternative healing” methods right away.  That’s not to say I don’t use them to compliment modern treatments.  I’m just saying that after surviving hyperemesis gravidarum, I’m not going to rely on alternative methods to the exclusion of modern medicine.

I’ve got a healthy amount of skepticism about the whole chiropractor thing.  I had a chiropractor once tell me she could cure my head cold by adjusting my neck and tugging my ears in a special way.  But I would have to come back three times per week for a six weeks or it wouldn’t work.  Maybe that works for some people, but I really don’t think that’s the right choice for me.  I totally respect if that’s something that works well for you.  Please don’t misunderstand that.  It’s just not something that I really get into.

I have also had a (different) chiropractor take me from constant, horrible pain in my hips to no pain at all through deep tissue work and joint adjustments.  I was training for a half-marathon and later a marathon (didn’t finish the latter), and when you start running those really significant distances, things crop up.  Little issues become really big, painful issues pretty immediately when you push your body to its limit like that.  This chiropractor got me from barely being able to hobble after a 10 mile run to being able to run 15 miles with no pain.

This particular chiropractor was very into sports medicine.  In fact, he worked on the US Olympic marathon team.  He didn’t cure their sore throats.  He helped work their muscles and bone structure into physical balance so that they could run without pain from one body part compensating for another.  You start building your strength in a symmetrical way and your body is much more comfortable.

When I was pregnant with the Grasshopper, I didn’t see a chiropractor.  I just never made the time.

This time, though, I’ve been getting horrible pain in the joints of my pelvis.  I mean, it was hurting to roll over in bed.  My entire right leg would start hurting part way through the night.  Not fun.

So I asked my midwives if they could recommend a chiropractor in the area.

The one I ended up seeing is a sport-focused chiropractor just like the one I saw when I was running.  It was great.  No mystical stuff, no uncomfortable pressure to come back every single day for a month.  He just worked on the muscles in my hips, back, and neck, and gave me a few good adjustments.

I say he “just” worked on those muscles, but boy he really got in there.  It was pretty intense.  I had to breathe through most of it.  He told me to tell him to back off if I needed him to, but for me as long as I can stay relaxed enough to where I’m not flexing the muscle to “protect” it or holding my breath, it’s okay.  I like deep tissue work.  If it’s right on the edge of too much and I need breathe and focus, that’s just where I want the pressure to be.

I tell you this: I waddled in there, but I walked out like a regular human being.  Wonderful.

I went back to see him this past Tuesday just to follow-up.  He was able to get in a little more on the hips and worked things out enough to get a good adjustment deep in my low back, which he hadn’t been able to get before.

He also gave me some pointers on relieving some of the symptoms I’ve been experiencing:

  • Pelvic rocks (cat/cow if you’re into yoga) will help ease pressure on my pelvis
  • A calcium/magnesium supplement will help reduce the leg cramps (eating a banana apparently won’t help much)
  • Ice packs on sore places in my back, hips, and neck will help reduce pain also

Basic stuff.  Most of it echoed what my midwives had told me, but hearing him reinforce that was nice.

He really helped me to feel more comfortable.  I’m still achy, cranky, and hot, but I’m not completely miserable anymore.  I’m also pretty sure that shortly after he did the first adjustments, the baby went ahead and turned the rest of the way to a head down position.  I’ll find out for sure at my appointment next Thursday.  I’ve heard that getting your hips opened up can help a baby turn, so I really think this is what happened.

Have any of you seen a chiropractor while you were pregnant?  If so, what did you see him/her for?  Did it help?

What’s up with my white blood cell count?

We’re going to go back in time a bit to last week because I realized that I forgot to post about what ended up happening with the high white blood cell count and all the tests they ran on my to find the cause.

We got the iron thing under control with the Floradix, but my white blood cell count was still high, so they tested me on the 13th for a variety of things to see if we could find a cause (other than HG).

The blood test for H. pylori came back a resounding negative.

The urine test to check for a UTI came back negative.  In fact, apparently my urine was just about as perfect as urine can be (whatever that means).

The vaginal swab to check for a bacterial infection came back negative.

Soooo…  What does that mean?  That means that the mystery of the white blood cells continues.  The midwives, at this point, are willing to chalk it up to stress and the hyperemesis gravidarum.  I’m inclined to agree with that idea.  I seem to vaguely recall having elevated white blood cells when the 3rd tri relapse hit with the Grasshopper, so it makes sense.

Hyperemesis gravidarum just screws up your body for a very long time.

Another Milestone! 30 Weeks!

Tomorrow, I will have made it to 30 weeks.  There’s something that feels nice and final about being in the 30s finally.  30 weeks is solidly third trimester.  30 weeks means I’m on the downhill slope.  30 weeks means I’ve only got 10 weeks left!

I had an appointment with the midwives today, and I got the opportunity to meet midwife #3.  I had met midwives #1 and #2 several times, but this was my first chance to meet midwife #3.  I really liked her.

For the most part, the appointment went as they usually do.  I weighed in (172.5 lbs) and then I got my urine dipped.  My numbers are still looking a little funky in my urine, but both midwives #2 and #3 said that because I had just eaten a bagel and had some juice for my Floradix, it wasn’t outside the norm.  It was just my body processing the sugars and carbs from the bagel and juice.  Midwife #2, who is a hyperemesis gravidarum survivor, said that her numbers were strange her entire pregnancy.  The HG just messes up your body for a long time.

Then midwife #3 measured me and listened to the baby’s heartbeat.  Everything is measuring right on target for 30 weeks.  She also felt around on my belly to see if she could tell how the baby is positioned in there.  As it turns out, she’s currently laying sideways.  This would account for the increased pain I’m having in my pelvic bones and sciatic nerve.  Her feet are sticking out to my right, and her head is over on my left.  Midwife #3 explained that she is probably in the process of turning herself head down, and while there is plenty of room and time for her to go back and forth a few times, it’s likely that she’ll settle in head down and just stay that way.

I hope she finishes her acrobatics soon!  I am not loving this side-lying position!  I swear I can feel her pointy little toes and toenails digging into the side of my uterus!  Ouch!

The pain in my pelvis really is pretty bad.  It’s bad enough that it’s been keeping me up at night.  It hurts to lift my legs and put my pants on.  Most of the pain is right where the pubic bones meet in front, but last night my whole sciatic nerve was aching and burning.  I asked for a referral to a chiropractor, so I’m going in to get adjusted and massaged this afternoon.  I’m hoping that will help.  Midwife #3 also suggested just a few cat/cow or pelvic rocks before bed.  That should move the baby up off of my bones and help through the night.

Since I am nicely into my third trimester, we briefly took the opportunity to talk about birthing options.  It’s so strange and refreshing to think that I don’t need to worry much about telling a nurse in the hospital what not to do to me or my child!  I don’t need to gear up for any strong advocacy.  Most of the things I want, like delayed cord clamping, are things that they do just as a part of their standard procedure.

I plan to do a full post on my birthing preferences to help readers who might be interested see the reasoning behind them, but for now, here are a couple of things that I mentioned to midwife #3:

  • Delayed cord clamping
  • No internal checks until I express a desire to push
  • Allow me to birth the placenta on my own without assistance
  • Low lights and quiet voices so I can focus on my hypnobabies techniques
  • Prefer, when possible, for everyone to use the hypnobabies terminology to refer to my pressure waves, birthing time, etc

She was great about it.  She listened, took notes, and generally did not make me feel silly for asking about this stuff.  It’s just really cool that I don’t have to put in big bold letters anywhere NO EPISIOTOMIES!!! and just hope and pray that the doctor on call remembers to look at my birth plan.

It’s just so much more… peaceful with these midwives.

I’m not saying that to knock doctors.  Not at all.  My OB with the Grasshopper was wonderful!  It was a great birth experience and he could not have been more supportive.  And of course, my doctor from this pregnancy is, well… she’s awesome!  The birth center and midwifery practice just has such a calm, quiet vibe.  No beeping machines, no harsh lights, no weird smells, no people barging in and out.  It’s just a completely peaceful and nurturing environment.

We also talked about birth kits and what to bring to the birth center.  She gave me an order form for the birth kit (pads, some herbs, gloves, etc) and a list of other things to pack to bring with us.  The birth kit needs to be ordered and in hand by 37 weeks, which is right around the corner.  Pretty exciting!

And as a bonus, as I was making my next appointment, a brand new mom came out with her baby girl who was born just today in the very wee hours of the morning!  She had wanted to lay still and sleep for a while there at the birth center, so instead of driving home in the middle of the night, they stayed.  It was amazing to see how tiny and perfect that brand new baby was!  I forgot just how small they actually are!

All in all, it was a great appointment.  We’ve gotten past the anemia scare with the Floradix doing a wonderful job at bringing up my iron, and I’m doing great!  You know.  Aside from the HG.  And today has been a 2 Zofran day.  One before bed and one after breakfast.  10 more weeks.  10 more weeks.

DoubleDave’s Pizzaworks and Pregnancy Cravings

Quick word of warning to anyone currently suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum:  I’ll be talking a lot about food in this post.  If reading about foods is a trigger for you, just skip this.

I grew up in College Station, Texas, which is home to Texas A&M University.  In my hometown, there is a restaurant called DoubleDave’s Pizzaworks.  DoubleDave’s is an institution in my hometown, and the biggest reason for that is a menu item called the Peproni Roll.  (Yeah, I know. They spell it funny!)  Basically, you can think of a peproni roll as a rolled up slice of pizza, except without the sauce.  They roll pepperoni and provolone cheese up in the pizza dough and bake it.  Then you dip it in ranch dressing or marinara sauce to eat it.

Peproni rolls are quite simply the best thing ever.

A few weeks ago, I had one of those pregnancy dreams.  You know, the really vivid kind.  All night long, I dreamed that I was in DoubleDave’s with my family.  They ordered pizza, but I, of course, ordered the rolls.  In my dream, everyone else’s food arrived, but my rolls just were not coming out of the oven.  They kept forgetting to bring them to our table.  In my dream, I finally lost my temper, grabbed the kid behind the counter by the front of the shirt, and shouted, “JUST GIVE ME MY GODDAMN PEPRONI ROLLS!”  I never got my rolls in the dream, and I woke up feeling miserable.

All day long, I obsessed about the rolls.  I tweeted about it.  I posted about it on Facebook.  I even learned about the history and origin of pepperoni rolls.  There’s actually a fellow out in West Virginia (the birthplace of the roll) with an entire website dedicated to them!  DoubleDave’s is listed under his Pepperoni Rolls Variations page (scroll to the bottom).

Finally, after looking at pages and pages of pictures of tantalizing rolls, I couldn’t stand it anymore.  Look, with the HG, it’s not too often that I get food cravings, but when I do, it is serious business.  I went to the DoubleDave’s website, and wrote them an only slightly hyperbolic letter:

Dear DoubleDave’s,

I’m writing as a life-long customer. I grew up in College Station eating at DoubleDave’s. We’ve moved to Ventura, California, and there are no DoubleDave’s. I feel bereft without your peproni rolls. I’m 7 months pregnant and I’m afraid I might wither away without some peproni rolls. Last night I dreamed about them, even. In my dream, my family got their pizza, but my peproni rolls just didn’t come out. I waited for hours for those rolls. It was really sad.

Please. I’m begging you. Pleading with you. Open a DoubleDave’s in Ventura. Without your peproni rolls, I don’t know how I can go on. I miss you DoubleDave’s. Please come to California. The weather’s great. Ventura is great. You could go surfing every day. You’d love it here, I promise.

With Love,

Molly

Within a couple of hours they wrote me back!

Molly,

You have no idea how big a grin came across my face while reading this!  I don’t know, you may have already received replies from the rest of our gang as well.  We wish you were back here now!  In fact I would love to have a town full of pregnant DoubleDave’s fans right here in BCS!  🙂

Years ago we would occasionally ship Peproni rolls in dry ice.  I’m going to have Joe experiment a little and see how we can get some rolls out to Cali for you!  Maybe you could send us an In N Out burger?   I have to admit, Ventura sounds pretty good when it’s 104 degrees here!

I’ll bet you anything Double Dave Miller would sell you as many franchises in California as you could handle!

Thank you so much for the kind words and good luck with that baby Texan!

We will be in touch!

Larry*

This kicked off a flurry of emails and activity that culminated in Double Dave’s shipping me 3 dozen–that’s 36!–peproni rolls, 2 t-shirts, a beach ball, stickers, magnets, and a whole bunch of other DoubleDave’s-related goodies.  And you know the cool part?  The t-shirts they sent were a size large and a size medium.  This means that I can wear one now while I’m pregnant**, and then after I have the baby, I’ll be able to wear the other one!  How awesome is that?

I’ll admit: When I opened that cooler full of rolls, I shed a few tears.  I couldn’t believe that I was standing in California looking at a taste of home.  It was pretty overwhelming think that these people I had never met had taken the time to be so kind to me.

As an added note, I discovered that DoubleDave’s has a sense of humor!  They shipped those rolls in a University of Texas styrofoam cooler!  Mr. Grasshopper is a maroon bleeding Aggie, and insisted on putting the empty cooler into the trash bin right away.  I fished the cooler out, and it’s providing plenty of family entertainment.  Hey, I went to UNT.  Longhorn coolers don’t bug me!  I make it appear in various unexpected places to assault his delicate Aggie sensibilities.  So not only did they send me a bunch of rolls and a ton of swag, they sent me ongoing entertainment!

The night those rolls arrived, I feasted.  It was heavenly.  The rolls they shipped were about half-way baked, so that means that when they come out of my oven, they don’t taste like re-heated, leftover rolls (which are still pretty good, by the way!).  These rolls taste like legitimately fresh and delicious, hot-out-of-the-oven, DoubleDave’s Peproni Rolls.

The Grasshopper has also developed a taste for rolls, unfortunately, which means I have to share.  Hmpf.  I was able to teach her the proper Texan way to eat the rolls, which means dipping them in ranch dressing, not marinara!  Her dad is stealing bites here and there, but mostly leaving them to me, which is very big-hearted of him.

I just want to send a big, huge thank you to the folks at Double Dave’s.  Thanks to Larry, Lily, Joe, and whoever else was involved in shipping me these rolls and all the DoubleDave’s swag.  There are a lot of foods that I can’t eat right now because of the stupid HG, but peproni rolls are just the right blend of awesome and deliciousness that they stay down just fine.

People of Double Dave’s:  You are amazing.  You serve great food, and you go above and beyond for your loyal fans.  Some time, probably next year, when I’m back in College Station visiting, I’ll come by, and I will find you guys (or Larry at least since Lily and Joe are, I think, in Austin), and I will thank you in person.  In fact, I’ll probably come in a few times while I’m there.  That’s usually the way it goes.  We fill up on Double Dave’s, Freebirds, and Blue Bell Ice Cream while we can!

And Readers, if you happen to be going through Texas, and you see a Double Dave’s, stop in and try the Peproni Rolls.  You will not be sorry!

 

*Turns out, my mom is pretty sure she knows Larry from way back when I was a kid in 4H because he also owns one of the copy stores in town.  So look out Larry!  My mom may be trying to track you down!  That’s small towns for you!

**I’ll try to get some pictures in the t-shirt at some point to post.  I had planned to take a few pictures on the beach this past Saturday specifically for this post, but I tried to do too much Saturday morning and I felt too sick to go out Saturday evening.  We’ll try again this weekend.

Natural Ways to get Iron

This Sunday, I’ll be jumping off my previous posts of the week and talking about iron.  Since I recently found out that I’m pretty anemic, it seems like a good topic choice.

“Molly,” you might ask, “Why don’t you just get an iron pill?”

A very good and very important question.  I don’t get along well with iron supplements.  First and foremost, they aggravate the nausea.  It’s a huge part of the reason I do not take a prenatal vitamin.  The high iron just makes me ill.  They also can be very constipating, and believe me, I get enough of that from the Zofran.  Finally, they can be difficult for your body to absorb.

Nutritional supplements can be good, but often they pass right through your body.  The trick is to get your vitamins and minerals from food.  For the vitamins that I do take, I try my best to find companies that source theirs from foods.  New Chapter vitamins (my daily vitamin) are sourced from food.  So is Floradix, my new iron supplement.

Sourcing nutrients from food also means they’re easier on the stomach.  So far, I’ve not thrown up a New Chapter vitamin (everyone knock on wood!), and the Floradix seems to sit pretty well, too.

I would like to find some other ways to safely and gently incorporate iron into my diet through simple and easy changes to my eating.  Now, anyone who has had HG knows that this can be difficult.  Finding snacks that don’t make me sick can sometimes be a challenge, so I did what anyone would do!

I called my mom!

And when you call in my mom, she springs into action in a big way!  She pulled out her trusty copy of Prescription for Nutritional Healing and went straight to work looking up foods for me to try.  Some of the ones she listed included (but is not limited to):

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Dark leafy greens (NOT spinach)
  • Purple grapes
  • Plums and prunes
  • Carrots
  • Dried Apricots
  • Liver (yeah right!)
  • Meat
It also listed foods to avoid (also not limited to):
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Other dairy products
  • Sugars
  • Chocolate (damn!)
  • Spinach

Wait a second.  Avoid spinach?  Apparently so!  According to the book (and wikipedia backs this up), spinach contains a compound called oxalate that can block the absorption of iron.  Good to know!

I also asked the good folks over at the Natural Parents Network Facebook page for some gentle and natural ideas to help with adding iron into my diet.

Those ladies came through in a big way.  I got a big thumbs up on the Floradix, but they had some other suggestions as well.  I’m not sure how ready I am to try powdered colostrum or terramin clay (or where I can even find those things!), but they also suggested some simple things like:

  • Cast iron skillets (check!)
  • blackstrap molasses
  • Stinging nettle infusions (will have to check and see if that’s safe for pregnancy)
  • Avoid corn and wheat (not sure how well I can do that since I’m on a bread-heavy diet right now)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Turnip greens and carrot tops
  • Foods high in vitamin C to help the iron be absorbed into my body

The most appealing suggestion, though, was to try out some green smoothies to see if they are palatable to me.

Now I have to admit:  I was not exactly sure what a green smoothie is.

If you’re clueless like me, here’s the gist of it:  Green smoothies are a fruit-based smoothie into which is blended a leafy green of some sort.  This can be spinach, kale, chard, lettuce, dandelion greens, or anything else leafy and green.  They look green, but the flavor is that of the fruit

I swung by Trader Joe’s today, and here’s what I got for my green smoothie experiments:

  • Kale
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Fresh medley of cut pineapple, papaya, and mango
  • Orange juice
  • Coconut milk
  • Coconut water
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Unsulfered Prunes (can be soaked to reconstitute for blending)
I’ve also got in my pantry:
  • Organic blackstrap molasses
  • Flax meal (high in omega 3s)
  • Agave nectar (if I need to sweeten it)
Let the experimenting begin!

I Made it to the Third Trimester!

High fives everyone!  I made it to the 3rd trimester!

I’ve also taken two doses of Floradix, and it did not make me sick!  More high fives!  I mixed it into orange juice just like you guys recommended.  The vitamin C helps you absorb the iron apparently.

I called my mom who pulled out her very trusty natural healing reference book, and she had some great ideas as well.  The book gave great lists of food sources for iron.  I also posted over on the Natural Parents’ Network Facebook page for some natural ways to increase iron.  I think Sunday’s post might revolve around what I learned from there, from my mom, from you guys, and from my other friends about this.

I’m not sure how long it will take before I start feeling better.  Hopefully soon!  I’m looking forward to not feeling like I’m going to pass out every few minutes.