Tag Archives: pregnancy

Kids Say: Broken Belly Button

I am now 32 1/2 weeks pregnant and have a huge belly. I still technically have my belly button, but it’s pretty stretched out and looks a lot different than it did pre-pregnancy. Rose has seemed to notice this most of all.

Some Rose quotes regarding my pregnancy:

“You have a big big big belly! I have a little belly.”

“There’s a baby in MY tummy?”

“This is Violet’s room. Who is Violet?”

And my favorite:
“Your belly button is broken! It needs batteries!”

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Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap

This is something of a public service announcement. I have not been endorsed by Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap, but I’m about to sing praises for it.

For all three of my pregnancies, I have been blessed with the joy of a horrific skin condition known as pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy or PUPPPs. Every single time I type “PUPPPs,” I want to put in one less “P”, but it really does have 3 “P’s” at the end. Those pictures of an awful rash over on wikipedia? First of all, I accept your thanks for not posting them directly. Second of all, those pictures have NOTHING on how bad my PUPPPs rash was during my first pregnancy.

PUPPPs with Lily was absolutely the most agonizing thing I’ve ever been through– and I had 5 hours of excruciating back labor with her. I also put my back out so badly 2 years ago that I wasn’t able to get out of bed for 3 days. I literally had to crawl to the bathroom. Both of those things were a picnic compared to my first case of PUPPPs. The itching was so intense that I couldn’t sleep for more than an hour at a time. I’d wake up to find myself clawing at my rash and destroying my skin. No matter how hard I tried not to scratch myself, it still happened. Even when I tied socks and mittens over my hands, I would still find myself digging my nails through the cloth to get at my red, inflamed, bumpy skin.

The rash with Lily spread from my stretchmarks on my belly to EVERYWHERE. Only my face, chest, back and feet were spared. It was all over my legs, butt, stomach, arms and hands. It was absolutely awful. The PUPPPs started showing up mildly at probably around 33 weeks, but I didn’t ask my doctor about it until I was probably 36 weeks when it really started to flare up. During the last 2-3 weeks of my pregnancy, my days were spent alternating between soaking in cold oatmeal baths, smearing my body in caladryl and hydrocortisone cream, putting ice on my rash and trying to sleep all while crying intermittently. This is not the way anyone should ever have to spend the end of their pregnancy.

I am very lucky in that this condition has no threat to the baby, but, man, was I a mess for this. When I was giving birth to Lily, the nurses told me I had the worst case of PUPPPs they’d ever seen.

Statistically, that should have been the end of my PUPPPs experience. Most people only get it in their first pregnancy… and when they are pregnant with boys or multiples, but I’m “lucky” and got it all three times with none of the other statistical components (at least the commonalities they were listing 5 years ago. I didn’t look this time around).

In my second pregnancy, the PUPPPs showed up at about 24 weeks, but it was a lot more mild. This might have been because I absolutely insisted my doctor write me a prescription for a stronger steroid cream so I wouldn’t be miserable for 16 weeks while caring for a toddler. For some reason, she refused the steroids the first time around when I was so miserable, but this time she wrote the prescription like it was no big deal. WTF? I’m still angry about that. That round of PUPPPs was much more tolerable than what I went through with Lily. I don’t know if the steroids kept things mild or if it just would have been more mild because it was my second pregnancy and you aren’t supposed to be able to get PUPPPs a second time, let alone a third time (at least that’s what they were saying 5 years ago when I was researching PUPPPs 24/7 while scratching and crying).

This time the PUPPPs showed up at about 29 weeks and was again mild. I got a steroid cream prescription from my OB/GYN and started researching remedies for a third time. This time, one name came up on all the message boards: Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap. Everyone suffering from PUPPPs claimed that Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap cured it 100%.

I’ve never heard of anything “curing” PUPPPs before, so I absolutely had to try it. I mean, sure, the PUPPPs had been mild so far, but the prescription cream didn’t seem to do much and I was terrified that when I hit 36 weeks that things would turn nightmarish again.

I ordered some Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap off of Amazon. Three days later when it arrived the odor almost knocked me out. It’s like a bonfire in a gross-looking brown bar, but I’ll try anything and smell like anything as long as it means I don’t have to have PUPPPs anymore. I started washing the affected areas twice a day and then applying my steroid cream.

I’d been using the steroid cream for about a week and if anything my rash was getting worse. Within two days of using the soap, my rash looked much better. Within a week, it was completely gone.

I don’t have PUPPPs anymore. This is truly a miracle soap. If you know anyone who has PUPPPs, get them this soap immediately (I also recommend getting induced early if you have it badly. I didn’t and I still regret not doing it). It’s also supposed to work on eczema and dandruff. I suffer from neither condition, but if you have either of those things TRY IT. If this thing can knock out PUPPPs, I truly believe it can knock out anything.

EDIT: I’ve been informed that pine tar oil can sometimes contain creosotes, which are carcinogenic. I did a little googling and Grandpa’s brand creates its pine tar oil in a closed kiln, which means the soap is creosote-free. Wash those rashes away!

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Fun With Gestational Diabetes

Because dealing with the last trimester of pregnancy isn’t fun enough, in two out of three of my pregnancies I’ve gotten stuck with the hilarious diagnosis of gestational diabetes. I had it when I was pregnant with Lily. It was so mild that my blood sugar numbers never broke 100 two hours after eating (they should be between 60-120) even if I cheated. I know there is more to gestational diabetes than the baby’s end weight, but Lily ended up being 6 lbs, 9 oz– not exactly macrosomic.

I didn’t have gestational diabetes with Rose but they told me I had to be “careful” and watch my carbs. I was not careful. I watched myself eat carbs. Rose was born exactly one OUNCE heavier than Lily at 6 lbs, 10 oz. I WAS suspicious that I didn’t really have any blood sugar problems, but then I failed the 3-hour test again this time… just barely, but it’s still failed and now I’m going through another round of ridiculous diet.

The diet technically isn’t that bad, but it feels so binding. In my little world, I like something high carb in the morning– fruit or cereal or, um, cake– and something low carb for dinner– meat with vegetables. With gestational diabetes, I’m never supposed to eat fruit for breakfast, but I have to eat 60 g of carbs for dinner– the equivalent of 4 slices of bread. It turns my food world upside down! Further annoying is the fact that I am supposed to snack constantly on 15-30 g carbs PLUS a protein. I find it nearly impossible to find snacks with protein in them, eat snacks like this 3 times a day and not gain 8 zillion pounds. I’m always hearing from people who lost weight while they were on the GD diet. This baffles me.

ANYWAY, among many many other annoyances, this phone log of what happened when I went hunting for glucose testing supply sort of encapsulates the insanely infuriating time I’ve had working with my nutritionists, medical supply companies and my insurance company– three different aspects of health care I hate very very much. These calls happened because my nutritionist told me ON A FRIDAY that I needed to contact my insurance company AND my doctor to get testing supplies by the weekend. My glucose meter came with only 10 testing strips and lancets to test 4 times a day. She sent me home with only these supplies and the request that I keep a food log this week with my glucose numbers so I can come in for another appointment next week and she can make sure the diet is working. She TOLD ME I’d probably have to order from a supply company. On a Friday. And sent me home with 10 test strips/lancets. I guess the nutritionist thinks Star Trek transporters have been invented?

The phone log:

*Phone Call #1– Insurance Company. They gave me 3 numbers to testing supply companies.

*Phone Call #2– Test Supply Company #1. Gave me a number to a regional branch.

*Phone Call #3– Test Supply Company #1b. Gave me a number to a local branch.

*Phone Call #4– Test Supply Company #1c. Wrong number. I am done messing with Test Supply Company #1.

*Phone Call #5– Test Supply Company #2. I got the ball rolling only to get a call back (Phone Call #6) that they don’t carry my testing supplies, but they could give me a NEW GLUCOSE METER! OMG, Don’t I want a new one? No. No I don’t. I just got a new meter that day. I’m not paying for it twice even if it’s “free”. I was trained on THIS meter and lancer (I’ve always found the needles tricky) and don’t feel like learning a new one. Also, how can it be “free”? Is my insurance company going to pay for two glucose meters on the same day? Sick of this. Maybe I can get it locally.

*Phone Call #7– My Local Pharmacy. a) do they carry my test supplies?! Yes! b) Do they take my insurance? Depends on my insurance policy, but they have worked with my company before.

*Phone Call #8– Insurance Company. Can I do this at My Local Pharmacy instead? I COULD, but it’s not the cost effective way and I NEED to try a supply company first or they won’t cover me. SERIOUSLY. WHY?!

*Phone Call #9– Test Supply Company #3. Carries my supplies, but don’t I want a NEW glucose meter? The one I got today was subpar! They can give me one for free!!! WTF?!!! Why does everyone want to give me a new glucose meter? What sort of kickback are they getting from THAT? I said no. They need my doctor’s name, number, fax number. I have to call them back.

*Phone Call #10-15– Doctor’s office/x5 because busy signal. Confirm fax number.

*Phone Call #16– Test Supply Company #3. Oh, and do I have the doctor’s address? No. It’s not information you asked for, assholes. Get supplies confirmed, but it will take 24-48 business hours to process my order and then 2-3 business days to ship, which means I probably won’t get supplies for a week. I have TEN strips and lancets here to test 4x/day. WTF?

*Phone Call #17– Diabetes Education Center. Left message asking WTF they want me to do with only 10 test strips/lancets. That appointment in a week is worthless if they don’t know what my effing blood sugar is. Should we delay the appointment a week? I left this message at 11 am.

#Phone Call #18– Nutritionist calls me back at 4:30 pm, 5.5 hours after I left a message for her. The office is closing in 30 minutes, but I need to hurry hurry hurry to get there right away to pick up some test strips even though I live 20 minutes away and have two small children here, one of whom is asleep. OMG come right now! NOW! Or send someone! WHAT IF I CAN’T TEST FOR ONE DAY?! Oh, and by the way, why don’t I just reuse the lancets? I can use just one a day! SERIOUSLY? Doesn’t that sound like an infection waiting to happen?

Keep in mind it took them like 2 weeks to get me in to the nutritionist after I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes with Lily and it’s been less than a week since I was diagnosed with this pregnancy. I know how to count my carbs and follow the diet (especially now that they gave me TWO ADDITIONAL HOURS of diabetes education even after I told them I’ve been on the diet before). And, based on the first day of testing, my blood sugar isn’t breaking 100 when it needs to be under 120. I can not drop everything to be where they want when they want me there. I tell them I can’t get there until Monday.

They tell me I need to come in first thing Monday morning for testing supplies OR send someone (who is this magical person who has free time first thing Monday morning? Do I have a staff of lackeys that can just drive 20 minutes away whenever I so beckon them?) to get them for me.

I will be there AFTER dance class MONDAY AFTERNOON because you know what? No. Just no. Also, my kid is coming with me to the next appointment. And no, I can’t just find a baby-sitter at 2 pm on Tuesday afternoon when I live 3.5 hours from my family, I’m a stay at home mom and my husband works. What world do these nutritionists live in and how do I get them out of mine?

Stupid GD. I hope it never happens to any of you. And I especially hope it doesn’t balloon into Type 2 Diabetes because as far as I can tell after two rounds of this, nutritionists are the most dreaded of the health care professionals.

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The Heat Wave Is My Fault

When we were planning to conceive our third child, I told Dr. Toy Warden I wanted to have it due in May or June so I could avoid being pregnant in the heat of summer and could enjoy nice weather with my small baby instead of being cooped up inside like I was with the girls. Both Rose and Lily have fall birthdays and it wasn’t a lot of fun. I made it through the summer, but I swelled up a lot with the heat and felt hot always. After they were born, it got cold pretty quickly and we were stuck inside until the spring.

Dr. Toy Warden and I are really good at fertility (I’d donate some of our fertility if I could), so we got our early June due date for #3 just like we planned. Most years in our region it is cold until May. I thought for sure I’d only have one month of warm weather. I bought all winter maternity clothes in preparation for being pregnant during mostly cold months. They were predicting another harsh winter (ha ha), so I thought I was being smart. I have enough leftover, unstained summer maternity clothes from the girls to maybe make it work for a month– not 3 months.

And here we are in March on our second day of 85+ degree temperatures. Dr. Toy Warden says the weather did this to spite me. I THINK I can get away with being pregnant without being hot, but clearly I am mistaken. Entire ecosystems go out of balance to make sure I spend at least 3 months of my pregnancy sweating, swelling and in a very limited wardrobe.

And so, the ridiculous heat wave this summer is not due to global warming or whatever other explanation may be afoot. It is hot right now because I tried to have a late spring baby instead of a late summer/early fall one. It is all my fault.

Sorry, everyone.

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