Monday, January 11, 2010

First Trimester Survival for the Single Mom

As promised, here is my advice on surviving the first trimester solo. Keep in mind that, as a single mom, I am very conscious of costs (since it cost some serious money just to get knocked up). This advice does not include hiring any help - but if you can afford it, go for it. For the majority of us that can't afford a chef and cleaning service, this stuff could be invaluable. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to add them. I'm sure there are other single moms (or even married moms) who would benefit from your wisdom!

As soon as you find out you are pregnant:
1. Buy a year's supply of paper plates and plastic silverware. I know it is not very environmentally friendly but you aren't going to have the energy to do dishes - even with a dishwasher.
2. Collect menus from every restaurant that will deliver to you. When you call them, ask them to put in some plates and silverware.
3. Vacuum your house NOW - because you won't do it again for a couple of months. Or, if you have the money and you're a clean freak, consider buying one of those robotic vacuum cleaners.
4. Shave every furry living creature you have in your house. Seriously, they shed even more when they know you're too tired to vacuum.
5. Buy a case of crackers - saltines if you can eat them. If you have gluten issues like I do, just get the closest thing you can find. Stay away from the crunchy rice ones - they take too much energy to chew.
6. Buy a case of Gatorade or some other electrolyte beverage. I don't know why - but orange Gatorade has been my salvation. I'll probably never be able to drink it after this kid is born - but for now? - SALVATION.
7. Put a bleach tablet in your toilet tank now. Again - not very environmentally friendly, but you'll want a clean bowl to throw-up in without having to clean it every other day.
8. You can try to fill your freezer with frozen microwave meals but I found that my cravings and aversions changed between the grocery store and my home - so what's the point?
9. If you have cats, like I do, get a mask and a box of rubber gloves. Wear them while cleaning the litter box. You'll look like an idiot but the gloves reduce the risk of toxoplasmosis and the mask will filter out the smell so you don't throw-up (thus creating more mess to clean up).
10. If you have a dog that requires long walks, set up "play dates" for every day, as many times a day as possible. Have the other dog's mom or dad come get your dog. Or better yet, just give your dog to them for the next 2 months. (You can tell I'm not as much a dog person.)
11. If you love your TV shows but you don't have Tivo or a DVR, get one. You'll be going to bed by 9 pm no matter what kind of night owl you are.
12 Take your pregnancy books and rip out and burn the sections on What Daddy can expect while you're expecting. It's just going to piss you off when you're flipping through the book while lying on the bathroom floor.

1. Plan any big trips or adventures.
2. Expect to be able to eat out with friends. Someone is bound to order something that will send you running to the bathroom.
3. Leave the house without a bottle of water, a pack of crackers, mouth wash or breath mints.

Throughout the first trimester:
1. Take a thermal mug with your cold drink of choice to bed with you. Use a straw. It's easier to drink while lying flat.
2. Take crackers to bed as well. Eat a couple before you even get out of bed in the morning.
3. Ask all visitors to take their shoes off and just walk around in their socks. They won't track stuff in and they will actually pick up some animal fur and take it with them.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The first trimester - in retrospect.....

As you could probably tell from the absence of posts on my blog for a while there, the first trimester was challenging. All of you who have experienced that can attest to the truth of my statement since it seems to be the same for everyone. Morning sickness? Maybe - maybe not. Exhaustion? Absolutely!

So, in retrospect, I have some thoughts on the experience as a single person and also some suggestions for other single women tackling this process. First, I'd like to say that having a man (or another woman - if you prefer) around during this time would have had its advantages and disadvantages. I don't mean to suggest that I had it any worse or that I'm complaining. Well, I'm complaining a little bit - but every pregnant woman should be allowed to complain a little - partner or no.

The advantages of doing this on my own:
1. I don't have to give a rat's butt about how my "situation" is affecting my partner. I'd have very little sympathy anyway - so it would probably only have resulted in some fights.
2. Actually, I can't think of any other advantages - but I'm sure those of you with partners could fill in the blank. Besides - the first advantage cannot be overstated.

The disadvantages of doing this on my own:
1. I never did figure out how to teach my cats to go get me crackers or water while I lay flat, trying not to move. A partner with apposable thumbs would have been handy.
2. My cats don't know how to run a vacuum cleaner either. In fact, they can't even clean up after themselves and yet still believe that I should feed them without complaint. Besides, there's nothing sexier than a man running a vacuum cleaner.
3. What looked good to me (food-wise) five minutes ago, now makes me want to throw-up but I spent what little energy I had getting the original food. There's nothing sexier than a man who can cook - oh, wait - I just said that about the vacuum.
4. I think you get the idea. Between wanting to throw up for no external reasons and being too exhausted to do anything more than necessary, a man or partner could have come in handy. But if I'm being honest, even if he was vacuuming while cooking me dinner, I still don't think I would have found him sexy - not during the first trimester.

In my next post, I'll offer my suggestions for other women doing pregnancy solo. I'll bet those of you with partners will find some of them useful as well.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

OOOHHHHH Naturale!

So, I found a midwife and she is old school! I mean, she has been doing this for more than 20 years. Now, she doesn't do home-births which is just as well since I wouldn't take that chance anyway. I mean, I want to be close enough to an anesthesiologist so that I can get those drugs if I wimp out. But she's down with laboring in a jacuzzi or most anything else I'd want (as long as the hospital will allow it).

Western medicine proponents need not worry. She works in a big OB practice so I will have doctors as back-up in case of an emergency. But, so far, so good. I seem to be perfectly healthy. She actually found the heartbeat on her mini karaoke microphone on my first visit at just 9 weeks.

Now, she hates "What to Expect...." so she had me go buy a couple of other books: "Spiritual Midwifery" and "Birthing From Within". Yeah, the first one is right out of the seventies. The photos are downright scary (and harry). So, we'll just have to explore the world of alternative birthing options! But, just in case, the drug-guy should keep close.......

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Call the Enquirer - I'm having an alien!

I had my first ultrasound at 7 weeks. The bad news is I'm having an alien. The good news is that I'm only having ONE alien. My RE seemed to be impressed with the alien spawn. She claims it will turn into a human baby, but I'm holding out for proof. Anyway, it was exciting to see a little white spot hammering away and I've decided to take her word for it that it's the heart beating.

So the alien is the size of a blueberry at this point. I think it's shaped more like a raspberry though. Everyone I talk to seems to be very excited by all of this news. I'm just none too sure yet. I think the best word to describe my feelings is FREAKED OUT. But hey, you would be too if you were going to give birth to an alien.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Pregnancy as a diet plan?

A few years ago, I got to go on an amazing cruise with my good friend's family. We've all heard the stories of people catching some weird illness on cruise ships. Well, I actually started my cruise with a stomach flu. Yep, I got ON the ship sick. So there I am, for the first few days, on this beautiful ship surrounded by fantastic food and booze! Even after I started to feel better, I couldn't eat anything but chicken & rice & potatoes. The upside was that I only gained 7 pounds during the cruise rather than the 10 pounds I would have gained if I'd been eating from day one. But man, I would have preferred the extra 3 pounds.

So, here I am, deja vu all over again. I'm eight weeks pregnant and I've lost 3 pounds. Yeah, I can't eat much of anything. I can look at something once and it looks good. I look again and I just want to hurl. Crackers seem to work well but they don't exactly provide a lot of nutrition. Oddly enough, potatoes, in any form, seem to go down ok. I like McDonald's hash browns in the morning and french fries in the afternoon. You'd think the grease would be a problem - but it's not. Cheese and milk are still ok. (What do you expect? I'm the granddaughter of a dairy farmer.) I've given up my morning mochas in exchange for Coke or ginger ale.

Now, I've found that I'm fine as long as I don't move. Given that, I have tried to get my cat to fetch me some crackers and a ginger ale. I mean, I've seen dogs do it and cats are smarter than dogs so............ She just looks at me and tells me to get up and let her outside or feed her. No help. Fortunately, I work from home so I don't have to even get dressed to do my job (I do though). So all in all, I have no right to complain. Still, I'm looking forward to the second trimester when I can eat more of the things I want and can indulge strange cravings.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Perks of Pregnancy?

Well, I haven't started parking in the spots reserved for pregnant women & women with kids. But I have experienced the first "perk" of my current situation - although I'm not sure how thrilled I am about it. A week or so ago, I got a Swine Flu vaccine. If it weren't for my pregers status, I would not be eligible. My doctor insisted that I get it. I was reluctant. I mean, can we really be sure that it won't do more harm than good? How much do I trust the CDC when they tell me that it is safe for pregnant women?

I haven't had a reaction to it - except for a really sore arm (for a couple of days). Hopefully it works and I'll be able to walk amongst the infected without contracting it. But mark my words, if my kid is born with a snout and a curly tail, I'm suing.

Tomorrow: my attempts to teach my cat to go get me some ginger ale.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

No news is good news.......

I know it has been quite awhile since my last post. I decided that for month number 2, I would try to ignore what was going on as much as possible so as to reduce the stress of it. That just can't be conducive to getting pregnant. So, here's the update.

I went through the hormones again - had 3 nice fat happy follicles - and had my doctor do the IUI 3 weeks ago today. She was quite a bit quicker about the procedure than the other doctor last month. It was more like - Wham, bam, thankyou m'am! Mom drove me home again - this time with the seat tilted back and my feet on the dash. I spent the rest of the day on the couch. (I love being self-employed.) And thus began the 2 week weight......

Now, I must say that I hate pregnancy tests with little lines. Apparently, I'm not smart enough to read the lines. They might as well be tea leaves. Is it a faint line or just a shadow? Is there color to the line or is it just grey? (It actually makes a difference.) So, one day, I just couldn't take it anymore and went and got Clear Blue Easy Digital. It either says "Pregnant" or "Not Pregnant". How much simpler can it get?

Well, mine said "Pregnant"! Wow! Thank Buddha for fertile women in my family! And good job, Finn! (That is the name I gave my donor - more on him in the weeks to come.) Blood test has confirmed and my hormone levels are excellent. So now begins the 9 month wait! I need to start making lists........

Updates will now be coming more often so feel free to check back!