Skip to main content

November Gratitude, Where Are You?


For the past couple of years, I've written about gratitude during this season (here and here). This November, I have found it somewhat difficult to focus on the things I'm grateful for because my body has been constantly tugging me in the other direction. The nagging symptoms of advancing pregnancy are accumulating, and every day I just feel... sick. There is no virus, no particular illness; I just feel very run-down, not healthy, and not myself.

My legs have ballooned into swollen masses from the thighs to the feet. Every time I move them, I feel either itching, burning, or searing. They are hot and angry and don't fit into any pants except warm-ups and scrubs (and I'm confined to only two pairs of shoes). I'm congested and don't sleep well. I feel constant pain in my medial wrists when I lift or pinch any object due to the joint swelling that can accompany pregnancy. Every few nights I find myself in a choking fit, aspirating stomach contents after an unexpectedly large burp (actually, I don't know why this should be unexpected as they occur quite frequently).

Although I do not meet perfect criteria for gestational hypertension or pre-eclampsia at the moment, my obstetrics team is worried. I will be induced a couple of weeks earlier than my original due date to ensure that my placenta does not become dysfunctional prior to delivery. They've asked me to take it easy, work less, monitor my own blood pressures and fetal movement daily, and I must have formal fetal ultrasound monitoring twice a week. I have had to relinquish quite a few work days this month, which luckily my partners have been willing to cover. So a lot of what I'm doing currently involves sitting on the couch.

I had it so easy in the first two trimesters! And I feel guilty for even complaining about pregnancy symptoms when I tried so hard for so long to have a baby. So what do I do to keep my mind off of these negative things I'm experiencing consistently throughout every day? A few things:
  • Getting out of the house for short errands. No more long hikes or climbing gym, we're talking about going to the neighborhood grocery and back. But it makes me feel human, even if I do need to lie down afterwards. There are a few things to still prepare for baby's arrival!
  • Zen doodling and coloring in front of the fire. It works! Here is my most recent doodle:
  • Epsom salt baths. Granted they must be lukewarm, but having my legs suspended in water is the only time that they don't have unpleasant sensations. (Epsom salt baths are good for other times too, such as recovery from hard exercise.)
  • Focusing on fetal movement. I just wrote a post for Mothers in Medicine's "Thankful" topic week about how grateful I am to be feeling fetal movement. It has been my one focus of gratitude this month. The squirmy and strange feeling of the baby moving inside of me is a constant reminder of why I am experiencing all these unpleasant symptoms, and how my dreams of becoming a mom are about to come true!
What are you grateful for this month? Has it been easy or hard to identify things this year? The next time I write, my life and what I'm feeling will most likely be transformed. Until then...

Comments

  1. I know you don't feel great, but you look great! I think pregnancy is one of the few times in my life I've wished I was taller. I was about as wide as I was tall. You're almost there though! Homestretch. I hope it all goes well for your induction and I can't wait to see the baby.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Aimee! We will have pics up soon!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pregnancy is hard. No matter how you do it it is hard (seriously, growing another person). Best wishes for a healthy delivery!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for your comment on my post Dawn! I agree getting outside is an easy step to combat stress during residency and anytime!

    You have full permission to complain during your pregnancy regardless of what preceded it :) Growing a baby is not easy and we need to show ourselves so much self-compassion during this time. I wish you all the best in the next few weeks!

    Gratitude is so important but also easy to lose sight of for sure. Today I am grateful that my clinic was smooth this morning and now I am sitting at home by a window with sunlight pouring in writing to my 'online' friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sara! I wish you the best holiday season!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Bittersweet: 21 Day Sugar Detox Results

From now on this is the only kind of cupcake I really want (there's a "cherry" on top of that hat)!
As a result of what I felt was an out of control craving for sugar and sweet foods, I decided to embark on a 21 Day Sugar Detox (read the whole post here). And I survived without my chocolate and candy! Amazing. Here are my observations:

- The first 2-3 days were the hardest. I was used to having sweet flavors all day, and the abrupt change (starting with my morning coffee) was like a slap in the face. At first, I craved a sweet taste constantly. But that feeling subsided, and my tastes did start to change. A green apple began to taste quite sweet, for example. I wouldn't say that I now love coffee without my vanilla stevia drops, but it isn't bad. Now that I've done it, I can vouch for what others have said: curbing your intake of sweet foods definitely decreases your cravings for them. After a while, I just didn't even think about sweets, and if I saw the…

Shoe-drop thinking: How to let go of the past?

(Yes, there is something growing in there!)
I'm pregnant, again... I'm almost 10 weeks along and definitely feeling symptoms of first trimester pregnancy this time.

No big announcements, clever texts or Facebook posts, no balloons or flowers or drama. Just quiet and cautious happiness... somewhat. You see, it's actually been difficult to enjoy the good news because I'm suffering from self-proclaimed "shoe-drop thinking"; things are going well, so when will the other shoe drop? When will that bad thing happen, you know, because something bad always happens?

I've felt exhausted on a new level, and the nausea started on cue right at 6 weeks. The occasional tugging in my lower abdomen signals the growing pains of my uterus (even though there's not much visible outward growth yet). I've had three ultrasounds that show perfectly-timed fetal growth and a strong heartbeat.

But when I have a day where I feel more energetic, I think maybe it's all over.…