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Archive for the ‘Not Cool’ Category

On Being Sick While Pregnant

It started Wednesday. The subtle pain in the back of my throat. Always a sure sign that I’m about to get sick. I started to mentally prepare for the worst. At least one, maybe two sick days from work. A trip to the doc for a prescription. Homebound for the next couple of days. Pretty standard stuff, really.

I had plans to get a haircut on Friday, but decided I shouldn’t take my chances so I called and made a last-minute appointment for that night (Wednesday night). Good choice, because I was about to be knocked on my ass for the next several days.

Thursday morning I woke up with a sore throat and lots of sinus pressure. Since most of my colds turn into sinus infections, I figured I would get a head start on this one and call my OB. (My primary doc moved and I’ve been too lazy to find another one.) The nurse at my OB’s office called me back within the hour (a miracle in itself!) and after I convinced her that I was dealing with the beginnings of a sinus infection, agreed to prescribe a pregnancy-safe antibiotic (Z-pack) and told me to take some Sudafed. By noon I was off to Walgreens, practically skipping because I had outsmarted this sickness and would be better in NO TIME! hahahaha!!! Also, I’m not sure how it is in other states, but Missouri is one in which you have to buy Sudafed from BEHIND the counter and must show your ID and sign some big legal document which I assume says “I am not a meth maker,” in legal terms. There are many reasons to hate meth-heads, and inconveniencing sick, pregnant women is now topping my list.

Anyway, once I got home and took my medicine, I delightfully hopped back on my laptop to get some work done. But later that night, my nose started running. On Friday, my roll of Charmin wasn’t cutting it for Kleenex anymore so the hubs had to run out to buy some because I was starting to give Rudolph a run for his money in the red nose department.

By Friday night, I was completely miserable and starting to realize that this sickness was something nasty. Something viral. I tossed and turned all night long getting MAYBE an hour of sleep, total. I got up at 6am and took a hot shower.

Saturday was much worse. Constant nose blowing. Headaches. Pressure. Sore throat. Loss of appetite. Congestion. Couldn’t nap. Just awful. I had to miss a friend’s PJ playdate, which I’d been looking forward to for weeks.

Saturday night was much of the same until I finally moved downstairs to the couch so at least the hubs could get a decent night’s sleep, because I certainly wasn’t. I watched as the clock hit 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30, 3, 3:30 and so on until I was just so damn frustrated I couldn’t stand it. Then the coughing fits started. I can handle just about everything else, but coughing until gagging just puts me in a bad place. So then I just spent the day moping around, pissed that antibiotics weren’t working and that someone out there got me sick. And whoever that person was, I wanted to kick them in the shins. Hard.

Because here’s the thing about being sick while pregnant. YOU CAN’T TAKE ANYTHING! No DayQuil/NyQuil. No sleep aids. No nasal sprays except saline. And even cough drops are used at a minimum since they make my stomach hurt after about 3.  On top of that, a pregnant woman’s immune system is much lower than a normal person’s so this means that viruses hit us much harder and last much longer because our bodies aren’t able to fight them off as well.

So what have I been using?

A combination of things. I only wish I would’ve purchased some of these things a bit sooner. If you’re pregnant and feel the sickness coming on, do or buy these things:

1. The most important thing so far: A warm-mist humidifier. My house is SUPER DRY. If you don’t have a way to measure the humidity of your house, get a digital humidity gauge. We bought a combo temp/humidity ditial reader so we could monitor the temperature and humidity in D’s nursery when he was an infant and it’s astonishing to me to see that in the winter months, our house’s humidity level is around 10%. This is too dry. Comfortable humidity levels should be around 35%-40% in the winter. Even with D’s humidifier running at full blast all day long, his room only ever gets to around 25% humidity. I had no idea how much of a role this would play when battling a cold, until I tried taking a nap and couldn’t sleep because the air was so dry on my throat that it would send me into coughing fits every 5 minutes. Once we bought the humidifier and cranked that puppy up to reach 40% in our room? I took a solid 1.5 hr nap without any issues and woke up feeling 10 times better. Still ridiculously sick, but able to sleep and breathe.

2. Good Kleenex. And lots of it. When you’re blowing your nose every 2 minutes, it’s important to have good quality Kleenex on hand. And not just one dinky little box. Buy a HUGE box or do what I do and buy a bunch of smaller boxes to leave in various rooms of the house so they’re always just within reach. I went through two boxes in less than one day.

3. Juice, soups, and warm beverages. I’m not a big tea person. I can tolerate about one cup a day but for some reason, it makes me nauseous. So I rely on decaf coffee, and an assortment of juices. I’ve been loving my “fake mimosas” lately. Orange juice and Sprite. So tasty, so full of vitamin C. Cranberry juice is another favorite. Water only makes my itchy throat more itchy so it’s hard for me to sip water all day to stay hydrated, but I imagine some lemons added to the water would be nice. As far as soups, I’m all over the place. It’s just important to make sure that you eat. Colds have a way of tricking the body into not feeling that hungry. Maybe it’s all the snot draining into the stomach, which is gross, but true. So I rarely feel like eating, but know it’s important because I feel so much better after eating a bowl of nice warm soup.

4. Sudafed is great and pregnancy approved, if it works for you. It didn’t seem to do much for me and may actually be a cause of my insomnia since they promote their “non-drowsy” formula. So I stopped taking it after day 2. But for some people, I know it works great.

5. Vicks Vaporub. Seems to help clear the nasal passages a bit, even if only for a few minutes. I rub it on my neck too, and the cold sensation feels soothing on a sore throat.

6. Warm salt water. Gargling warm salt water several times a day seems to help with the sore throat.

7. Cough drops. I try not to use them much because as I said above, they tend to make my stomach hurt after too many. And I’m also really picky about cough drops. I despise Halls and throat lozenges that are basically just candy. I prefer Vicks. They’re hard to find and come in a small box. If those aren’t available, then I suggest Burt’s Bees Honey & Pomegranate flavor.

8. Hot showers. It’s so easy to just lay around in your sick clothes (aka pajamas) and wallow in your own filth for a few days on the couch. But I’m telling you that a nice, hot shower can do wonders for your body and sinuses. That hot steam is just heavenly. And blowdry your hair. I’m usually too lazy to blowdry my hair if I’m not going anywhere, but a wet head and cold hair while sick just drives me nuts, so I make sure to dry my hair. And then I put on clean pjs and get back on the couch.

9. Sweet oil. This was a tip my SIL shared with me when her kids are coming down with an ear infection. She swears by just a few drops of warm sweet oil in the ears. When my inner ears started itching and feeling clogged, I figured it was worth a shot to try to alleviate some of the congestion. And believe it or not, I think it worked!! It at least stopped the itching.

10. Saline nasal spray. I didn’t use this until Sunday evening and while it provided only very temporary relief, it’s better than nothing I suppose.

11. Lots of pillows. I’m usually just a one pillow person but with all the drainage that comes along with being sick, I find that being propped up a bit more helps. So I like to use two big pillows propped up so that I’m on a very clear incline. I sleep much better this way, even if it feels like I’m almost sitting straight up sometimes.

12. Chapstick. A necessity for winter months anyway, but more so when I’m sick and become a heavy mouth-breather.

 

Any pregnancy-safe cold/flu remedies I missed?

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The First 10 Weeks

Written August 20th

womansick

The good thing about having already been pregnant before is that I sort of know what to expect when it comes to first trimester sickness.

The bad thing about having already been pregnant before is that I sort of know what to expect.

Just like last time around, I’ve had almost chronic indigestion starting around week 6. But unlike last time, I now know that avoiding food entirely only leads to feeling worse. I also know that when TUMS doesn’t work, try Gas-X. (I try not to rely on either one too much and would just rather suffer a little than overmedicate.) And I know that keeping an active lifestyle also helps. It’s far better to go for a walk than to lay on the couch, no matter how crappy/exhausted I feel. I always feel better after a walk and never feel better after laying on the couch. Unless I’m asleep. Sleep always helps too.

And just like the first time, my food aversions are STRONG and vary from one minute to the next. As someone who loves her coffee, imagine my surprise when one day I woke up and the smell of coffee repulsed me. What a sad day that was. And the day after that. And the day after that. While it’s probably been better for me to avoid coffee entirely, coffee is one of my simple pleasures in life and I miss it.

And beer. I definitely miss beer, too. Of course, beer is not one of my food aversions so I may actually miss beer more than coffee.

So far, things have been pretty…predictable. Even the exhaustion has been right on cue, starting around week 6 and not quite letting up even at 9 weeks. A few nights last week, I went to bed around 9:30pm and didn’t get up until 7am, and let me tell you, it was GLORIOUS. In fact, the first 15 minutes after I woke up in the morning was probably the BEST I felt all day. Which is kind of sad, but also debunks that whole “morning sickness” myth. If anything, I suffer from “evening sickness” feeling my absolute worst between 5 and whenever-I-go-to-bed-p.m.

So that’s where I’m at. Pretty miserable most of the time. Pretty much the same as last time. I know it’s all worth it and blah, blah, blah, but I would just love to be one of those women that LOVES being pregnant and has zero issues. I know it could always be worse, and I’m thankful I don’t have hypermesis like some women I know. But it would be so nice if I could just enjoy a normal dinner with my family instead of trying to choke down a bowl of cereal by myself instead since EVERYTHING sounds disgusting.

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Raise your hand if you love browsing home design blogs or Pinterest for inspiration? There’s just something about looking at pictures of  pretty interiors that makes me just a little bit more happy. Sometimes they give me inspiration for what I’d like to do in my current house, or better yet, our next house. Other times, I think they’re just pretty to look at even if I find them incredibly unpractical. Here are a few of those things.

Open shelves in the kitchen. Pretty right? But entirely unpractical unless you a) are a neat freak with ninja dusting powers and b) don’t ever plan to actually USE any of those dishes. I mean where does one even put all their neon, plastic dinosaur sippy cups?

openshelves

Removing ceiling fans. I love the look of pendant and chandelier lights, especially in bedrooms, but you guys, I could not survive the summer without our ceiling fans. I big puffy heart love them. We have five in our house. FIVE. And don’t say “well just get a box fan or a tower fan.” No, not the same. If I ever remove a ceiling fan, it will be in favor of a bigger, better ceiling fan. Like this one. It’s a ceiling fan IN a pendant light! Win/Win.

fanlight

Mixmatched chairs. I know that most interior designers tell you to resist the urge to make things too matchy-matchy. I struggle with this terribly. If I’m going to have end tables on either side of my couch, they must be the same. If I have two couches, they have to be the same fabric if they’re going to be in the same room. And when it comes to kitchen or dining tables, the chairs must be the same. The only exception is that the end chairs can vary slightly (say the end chairs have arm rests while the middle chairs do not). But they must still be of the same “family.”  This dining room is just too…jarring for my taste. But oh do I love that high ceiling and the wood beams.

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Animal Print. Holy smokes has animal print been making a comeback or what? Particularly in the clothing and accessories fashion world. And as much as I WANT to be that girl. The girl that can pull off wearing animal print without looking like she just walked off the set of RHONJ, I can’t. Same goes with my house. The only exception to this would be if I had some sort of movie-star quality walk-in closet with dressing room. Only then do I think I could take the plunge with an animal print piece of furniture.

animalprint

Gallery Wall. This one is hard because I WANT a gallery wall. But I can’t decide if I want a gallery wall because I love gallery walls or because it’s just the cool thing to do right now. All I do know is this: If and when I ever get around to creating a gallery wall, my frames MUST match. They don’t need to be the same size or texture but they must be the same color. This random frame assortment craze and then scattering them about on the wall is just too much for my OCD self. I look at an image like this and feel claustrophobic. Anyone else?

gallerywall

What don’t you love that’s uber trendy right now? Perhaps the word “uber”? Not that it’s trendy, but my husband makes fun of me for using it.

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Last Friday night, bad storms and tornadoes ripped through the STL area. Not nearly as bad as what happened (twice) in Oklahoma, but enough to cause substantial power outages. Some areas of town are STILL without power. Thankfully, we were out of town and our neighbors (the ones we like) kept us up to date on the power situation, which returned by late Sunday morning. We arrived home Sunday night, already knowing we’d have to throw out EVERYTHING from our fridge and freezer. There goes a few hundred dollars down the drain.

As I unlocked the door, I peeked in the backyard and saw this.

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What you see is my neighbor’s dead tree (the ones we don’t like), laying on top of our shed. What you can’t see is the badly bent chain link fence that goes along with it. So now we’ve got to deal with insurance companies and our rude neighbors to get everything sorted out, the tree removed, and our property fixed. It could ALWAYS be worse and we were very fortunate in many ways, but allow me this one, tiny moment to have a pity-party about this mess.

WAH.

Ok, pity-party over. Who wants a margarita?

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After what happened yesterday, I’ve been rather quiet on social media. I have nothing intelligent to add. My heart aches for the people in Boston, and it aches for the people that will forever have fear supporting one of our country’s most beloved events. I want to do something. I want to help, but I can only watch in horror before it becomes too much and I have to turn off the TV, step away from the computer, and just go stack blocks with my baby.

But there is something I can do. I can learn to live without fear. And I can continue to try my best to fill the world with love. How? By living a happy life and focusing on only the positives. Like this.

  • I made pink lemonade cupcakes for my aunt’s birthday on Sunday. My grandma even pulled out her fancy tablecloth and her good china. We dined on lasagna, toasted ravioli, salad, chicken wings, and of course, cupcakes.
  • The hubs and I took advantage of the nice weather and wandered about. We went to the Baby Kid Expo, stopped by the driving range so the hubs could hit a few golf balls (and I actually made it onto the green too!), ate lunch at one of our favorite lunch places, and made time to enjoy a couple of movie rentals, which is a rare occasion in our house. (This is 40 and Zero Dark Thirty, in case you’re wondering. I give the first one a C+ and the second an A-)
  • First birthday party planning is in full effect. The theme is puppies, and the I absolutely love our invitations, which we had designed by someone I found on Etsy. We should get the prints next week. I still need to figure out the cake situation, but I think I’ve got a photographer lined up for first year photos. Speaking of the cake, I’m tempted to just bake it myself. I scoured the Interwebs looking at cake designs and the only ones I loved were a little over-the-top with fondant, which I’m worried won’t taste very good. So I’m still deciding what to do here. Make a bone shaped cake? Make cupcakes? Make a layered round cake with filling and decorate it with mini bunting or a topper?   Not to mention we’re actually throwing two parties, since the majority of our family lives 8 hours away, and I really don’t want to spend a fortune on this. But I mean, how cute is this cake?

bonecake

 

Although this one would fit our theme colors perfectly, I’m leery of all the fondant.

dogcake

So I may just go with some simple cupcakes. Like these.

pupcakes

(All photos borrowed from Pinterest. See sources here.)

Tell me happy things, friends. What good things are happening in your world?

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Last week, I was perusing Twitter as I am wont to do and I saw someone tweet their condolences out to someone else. The nosy neighbor in me did a few clickity clicks to see what happened and I soon found myself down a rabbit hole of my worst nightmare: Cancer. Melanoma. Chemotherapy. Death.

Just that morning, I was thinking about how awfully pale I am right now. I remember a couple of years ago, the last time I went to a tanning bed, right before our trip to Maui. I had convinced myself that I a) needed to look good for our trip and b) more importantly, needed to tan so that I wouldn’t burn to a crisp so easily on the beach. It all made sense in my head, despite everything I knew about the risks. I’ve been tanning lots of times. In college. Before my wedding. And before most big beach vacations. So of course I was considering it again. I wanted to look good and I wanted to be able to have a good base tan going so I wouldn’t burn. Boy, was I stupid.

So when I saw blogs of young women suffering with this most deadly form of skin cancer (and one whose new husband died shortly after they got married), I didn’t just rethink my tanning bed idea. I squashed it and made an appointment with a dermatologist.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a really mole-y person. Despite my dark/ethnic features, I don’t tan well. It takes hours for me to burn, and when I do, SOMETIMES it turns to a nice tan color. Actually, without the help of a tanning bed, I pretty much never truly get tan. I burn and freckle, but it takes awhile. I’ve tried a few tan-in-a-bottle sprays and lotions but let’s be honest, they have a long way to go in that department. I always mess up the application or it just looks too orange. I’d rather just be pasty pale, thankyouverymuch.

When I was about 13, I had a birthmark mole removed from my left arm. It wasn’t cancerous, but it was ugly and I was ashamed of it so I had it removed. The plastic surgeon completely botched the surgery and left me with a scar that looks like one of those vaccine scars people born in the early 60’s have. It’s much larger than the mole that it replaced, but I don’t regret for one second having that mole removed. In December, before my health insurance changed, I made an appointment with a dermatologist to look over my moles. She spent roughly 2 minutes with me before she coldly said she didn’t see any issues and walked out. I was satisfied at the time, but when I started to think about it, would I bet my life on that one, brief examination? Because that’s essentially what I was doing. I decided that no, I wanted a second opinion. So I made an appointment with a friend’s brother-in-law. (Dr. Jason Amato for anyone in St. Louis looking for a good dermatologist.) They were able to fit me in within a week, which is completely unheard of with dermatologists, it seems. I’ve heard of 8+ week waits at some places!

I also hopped on over to The Honest Company’s website and bought two tubes of sunscreen, since they’re baby-safe. It’s only 30 SPF but it’s also water-resistant for up to 40 minutes. I’ve seen some sunscreens out there that are 60 SPF! The higher SPF, the better. And you know I’ll be lathering up my kid in this stuff all summer long.

My appointment was today. I scheduled an appointment with his assistant, Jennifer, since she can basically do all the same things and procedures. I showed her the moles I was most concerned about – one on the back of my left arm and a new, rapid growing one on the bottom of my left foot, in the arch, that wasn’t there two years ago and is now the size of a pencil eraser. (If you really want the shit scared out of you, just Google “moles on the bottom of feet” and see what comes up. The Internet will tell you it’s a sure-fire death sentence. But this isn’t actually true. What IS true is that if the mole is Melanoma, and it’s on the palms/soles of your hands and feet, then it’s typically more aggressive, so the Internet is sort-of right.) Anyway, she didn’t think either one looked terribly menacing, but agreed they were abnormal enough to have removed and tested, if for no other reason than peace of mind. I full expected to start talking about timelines for rescheduling a removal appointment but she said she could do it right there, right now. I panicked for a moment because I wasn’t expecting to get Novacaine shots so soon, but I wanted it done and over with so I agreed to go ahead. Ten minutes later, I have two less moles to worry about now. And in about a week or two, I’ll have the test results back. (Assume no news from me is good news, if I don’t mention it again.) The procedure was simple and relatively painless. (Shots are never fun, but that was seriously the worst of it. Never  felt a thing with the removal and I’m walking just fine, though I won’t be doing any running or extensive activity anytime soon.)

So this is my plea from me to you. Wear sunscreen. Stay out of tanning beds. And check your skin. The last words on the last blog post of the woman that had died that I saw on Twitter was to “Check your skin, people. Check your skin.”

You’re only given one body. Take care of it.

 

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Everywhere I turn lately, another friend or family member is struck with cancer. One of my neighbors just lost her mom to cancer earlier this week, and another was just diagnosed with a brain tumor so serious, that she’ll be lucky to live another 6 months, leaving behind a husband and two young girls. I can’t imagine. So I cope the only way I know how. I make cupcakes for them. Which is where this little poem came from. 

IF CUPCAKES COULD CURE CANCER

If cupcakes could cure cancer

No children would ever get sick

I’d quit my job and start a bakery

So cancer’s ass I could kick

I’d whip up every delicious flavor

From chocolate to lemon cream pie

And I’d give a bunch to my neighbor

So she won’t have to tell us goodbye

Yeah if cupcakes could cure cancer

It would be a tasty remedy

Much better than that poison they give them

The one called chemotherapy

And if only cupcakes could cure cancer

We’d need to start eating our Wheaties

Because next thing you know, there’d be a big increase

in the cases of diabetes

But cupcakes can’t cure cancer

They can only bring a little smile

For a friend or family member who’s hurting

Because they only have a little while

So I won’t quit my job to make cupcakes

Though that does sound pretty neat

But I’ll make them for friends who are suffering

Because they’re still a quite tasty treat

 

 

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