Monday, August 07, 2006

Kvetch-free zone

One of the many things I promised God when I was trying to talk Him/Her into allowing this pregnancy, was that I would not be a kvetcher. "No complaints!" I assured Him. "Really. You can have me throw up all day, all night, whatever. Swollen cankles, that's fine. And I'm already used to being overweight, so no bitching there. Just one healthy pregnancy, that's all I ask...."

So I'm trying to live up to that. On the other hand, the main purpose of this blog is to chronicle the processes of my IVF and (hah! amazing) pregnancy, so if I write down none of my annoyances, haven't I been less than intellectually honest? And what kind of example is that for the kidlet-to-be? (Heh.) I know, I know; God is not mocked. (But I hope He is amused, occasionally.)

So far, at 5 weeks, I've experienced two main side effects of pregnancy: a very weird sort of indigestion, and extreme and completely unpredictable fatigue. I've had problems with my digestive system since I was a pup, starting with a duodenal ulcer when I was 13 (thank you, H. pylori!) and moving on to a hiatal hernia, diagnosed when I was 19. In the years since then, I've had various other gastric disturbances, and popped an awful lot of Zantac. Oh, and did I mention I get car sick at the drop of a hat? Clearly, I'd be better off without a digestive system at all, but that doesn't seem to be an option with this model.

So I was expecting nausea, possibly lots of it. It turns out I haven't experienced that yet, but every morning for the last week and a half, as soon as I finish eating breakfast -- no matter how miniscule the breakfast -- I feel as though I've consumed the Hindenberg. Half a bowl of cereal leaves me absolutely stuffed to the brim. Then my hiatal hernia (which hasn't bothered me much for several years) gets into the act, and I feel so much pressure there that I literally have a hard time standing completely upright.

But wait, it gets weirder! Around lunchtime, I feel the pangs that let me know I'm hungry ... and at one and the same time, I still feel completely stuffed. The weird thing is that if I go ahead and eat a moderate lunch, the stuffed feeling often disappears, as does the hernia pressure. It is truly one of the oddest things I've ever experienced.

As for the fatigue, it was pretty much a constant for the first couple of weeks, sometimes crushingly so. I had to figure on taking both morning and afternoon naps, and it's a good thing I don't have to hold down a real job, that's all I can say. (I bow my head in astonishment and respect to the legions of women who do hold down jobs while they are pregnant.)

But now the fatigue has become fey and unpredictable. Sometimes I have little bursts of energy, where I find myself walking down the hallway in my house and realizing that I feel just fine! Great! Maybe the fatigue will go away and I'll have a normal pregnancy! Yes!

That usually lasts for about two minutes.

Then reality sets in again, along with the fatigue, and I find myself standing at the kitchen counter with an open can of catfood in my hand and my eyes shut. (Good thing my cats are vocal at mealtime -- I wonder if I might actually fall completely asleep on my feet without their prompting?)

But a better example might be yesterday's adventure. It was both my birthday and the next-to-last day of the county fair, and I really wanted to go, despite my fatigue. So my darling husband, who breaks out in gallantry at the most unexpected times, carried a folding chair for me around the fair all afternoon so that I'd have a place to sit down and rest at all times. (This is actually a repeat of last year: I was still recovering from my abdominal myomectomy at fair time, and D. carried the folding chair for me then, too. Sometimes I think I married a prince.)

And I put that chair to good use! We stayed about four hours all told, and managed visits to both the Hall of Flowers and to the horse races. (Where we walked in, got settled, I pointed out "Centauri" on the racing form at 15-1 in the 10th lane and had D. bet him to show -- and by golly, that was what Centauri did, just like I'd given him marching orders. Edged out the horse just ahead of him by a scant nose to finish third. I finished in the black by a big $4.40. Why can't I know when I'm going to do that and put down a hundred bucks?) I also had my traditional fair fare of a funnel cake with powdered sugar -- yum!

By the time we got back to the parking lot, I was so beat I could hardly move. So D. parked me in my chair and went to find the car. By the time he got back to pick me up, I had -- you guessed it -- fallen asleep, sitting on that chair. And then I put in another hour nap when we reached home.

All of this makes me wonder if these symptoms are due to "advanced maternal age" or if I would have had the same difficulties when I was 20 or 30. Obviously, we'll never know ... but I think I have figured out one thing: the falling birth rate in "first world" countries. I mean, really, if you have access to birth control, why would you go through this, unless you were truly, deeply motivated? You have to seriously want a child to go through all this with any kind of a game face. And to do it multiple times? After you realize how un-fun it is? You have to be a woman on a mission.

Which, fortunately, I am. Which is why I have my sign ordered: "KVETCHING" in a red circle, with a diagonal line through it. Just in case I forget.


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