Last Friday I reached the 30 week mark in my pregnancy. Never before have I looked at my ankles so much.
Well, let's take a looksey at what my ankles looked like at 30 weeks in my last pregnancy:
I was at my 30 week point when I started to swell significantly. I knew it looked bad at the time, but when I look back at photos I am in complete shock. Oddly enough, my blood pressure was perfect when I started to swell. It wasn't until 38 weeks that my blood pressure spiked.
I have big fears about getting pre-eclampsia again. It is super serious and can be deadly. That part has always scared the living bejesus out of me. But it also took away some of the joy of bring a new life into the world. It was hard to bond with Joe because I was in such bad shape. After his birth, all the attention was directed toward me because my blood pressure was spiraling out of control. I would have rather had attention for birthing a freaking adorable baby boy. I was confined to the bed and recovering from a c-section and dealing with the nurses freaked out looks every time they took my blood pressure. It was not enjoyable.
I thank God I didn't really feel any of the affects of high blood pressure. There were no headaches, no spots in my vision. I did feel anxious but that's because I was afraid I was going to die and I also had to worry about keeping an infant who totally depended on me alive. It was a rough experience physically and emotionally.
I've talked with my previous OB and my current OB about my guilt that I brought pre-eclampsia on myself. They both assured me that I had not. They have seen women who are perfectly healthy, eating all organic, and working out everyday getting pre-eclampsia.
I still resolved that I would not follow the same habits I did when I was last pregnant. For breakfast I would eat Cap'n Crunch or some other high-sugar cereal. Now I eat Multi-grain Cheerios. For lunch and supper I would usually eat a can of spaghettios or a Hungry Man frozen dinner because Ryan worked strange hours and I ate by myself. Now for lunch I always have two PB&J's. Since Ryan works regular hours we always have a home-cooked meal for supper. It's not all natural or organic, but it's not from a can. In my last pregnancy my snacks usually consisted of oatmeal cream pies, sour cream and onion chips and popsicles. Now I snack on fruit, cheese, granola bars and fruit snacks. My before-bedtime snack used to consist of practically a whole bag of mini chocolate donuts and a big glass of chocolate milk. Now it's usually fruit. Lately it's been applesauce.
In my previous pregnancy I did not exercise at all. I remember at around 13 weeks, when the weather started getting nice, I attempted to walk everyday but I got bad shin splints. Instead of working through them or trying another exercise I just gave up. The only activity I really did was clean house. This pregnancy I've been trying to walk 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Of course I'm a lot more active chasing around a crazy toddler.
I could be doing better. I could be eating more in moderation. I could be exercising a little harder. I've still gained a nice amount of weight. But I think I'm doing a lot better than last time. Here is my ankle at 30 weeks this pregnancy:
If you ignore the super-sexy flip flop tan line you can see I STILL have ankles! Although, I like my flip flop tan line because it is proof I am going outside and being active and I'm still wearing my trusty old size 6 flip flops. In my last pregnancy I had to search for a size 7 around 25 weeks because my feet were swelling that much.
I really credit doing Weight Watchers before I got pregnant. I was overweight when I got pregnant with Joe, but with this baby I was in a healthy weight range when we conceived. Weight Watchers also taught me how to eat better and I've carried most of it into this pregnancy.
A lot of people have commented on how good I look. Some people have said when they look at me straight on they can't even tell I'm pregnant (I think they need their eyes checked, but it has happened on three different occasions.) It's nice to get compliments instead of what I got in my last pregnancy. "Wow, I didn't recognize you! Your face is so full!" Not a good idea to say that to a hormonal pregnant lady.
I feel a lot better this pregnancy. Last time I was so tired and big and swollen that it hurt to walk around and even get out of my chair. My feet would hurt so bad. I waddled very early in my pregnancy. Not this time. Thank goodness for that because Joe needs me.
I've been somewhat obsessive this time around of my appearance. Most of it is because of my fears of pre-eclampsia. There are times after a very busy, hot day my feet have swollen a little and I freak. I immediately take my blood pressure with our home monitor and it's always perfect. I'm constantly asking my husband if my ankles look swollen.
There are times I look at other pregnant women and am so jealous. It looks like they just stuffed a basketball under their shirt. I've gotten pleasantly plump all over and it upsets me sometimes. I don't know, maybe I'm the only pregnant woman that compares her body to other pregnant women. I hate reading on BabyCenter.com the message board posts of how much weight a woman has gained in her pregnancy. I did get a little neurotic about how much weight I was gaining at the beginning of this pregnancy. There was one month I had a big jump and my jaw dropped. The nurse just laughed and said this was my month to get the big leap in weight. I didn't believe her and mentioned my concerns to my doctor. He told me he wasn't worried about it. Now I am trying to stop stressing so much.
I look in the mirror and get a little stressed about my plump face, my chubby arms, and my growing badonkadonk. But then I look at my huge belly and know that there is a reason for all this. I remember "bargaining" with God at the beginning of this pregnancy. I told him I would rather have all the aches and pains and constipation and stretch marks and I'd gladly gain 70 lbs if I could be spared from pre-eclampsia or any other dangerous pregnancy condition. I know you aren't supposed to bargain, but I thought I'd try.
I got really upset when I would read or hear people make fun of Jessica Simpson when she was pregnant. Because when I saw pictures of her, I saw me (just less stylish and less make-up.) Why do we judge other women, especially when they are growing a person? Why do we compare how much weight we've gained in pregnancy? I know she gave birth to a pretty big baby girl, but as far as I know, there were no complications. Did she feel insecure like me? Did she feel like people were talking negatively behind her back?
I know that pregnancy isn't always pretty or beautiful. It can be scary and really take a toll on a woman. I'm not saying that I hate pregnancy. It's just hard to give up control to God. It's hard to put your pride on the back burner because not all women are built the same in pregnancy. I know I shouldn't be so vain about my appearance, but it gets scary because I associate getting bigger with swelling and getting pre-eclampsia.
It's kind of funny how I word my prayers to St. Gerard. Of course I ask him for his intercession for a healthy baby, but I also ask him to remind me to drink more water, to find the motivation to exercise and to lay off the fast food.
So far I think he's getting through to me. :-)