It’s happening. After 35 weeks of a nearly-ideal pregnancy, my vena cava has finally given in. I have swollen ankles.
A few weeks ago some kind-hearted lady at church told me that if I hadn’t started swelling yet, then I probably wouldn’t. Although I really didn’t believe her, deep inside I wanted to think she was right. And aside from my feet and ankles, I’m still doing pretty good. I thought for sure I’d be wearing my 3-carat faux diamond ring from Wal-Mart by now, but my fingers are still rocking the hardware Handsome Coastie purchased for me three years ago, a little tighter but not yet cutting off my circulation. And while swollen feet and ankles are somewhat uncomfortable, and completely unattractive (my husband just stares at them and laughs) my real dilemma is shoes! My footwear collection mainly consists of heels and flip-flops. And since I’m not supposed to wear flip-flops to work … I think I need to go shoe shopping this weekend.
Obviously, swelling of the limbs is a very common symptom of pregnancy. But just knowing that is not enough. I, of course, want to know why. Naturally I turn to my trusted resource, Baby Center. First I realized that searching for “swelling” turns up a whole host of calamities. What we’re really dealing with here is “edema” - when excess fluid collects in your tissue as a result of retaining water, changes in blood chemistry and pressure on your pelvic veins and vena cava (the large vein that carries blood from your lower limbs back to the heart). The retaining water thing is no joke, while my belly doesn’t appear to be any larger (39 inches if you’re interested) I’ve somehow managed to gain 5 pounds in the past 10 days!!! In just a matter of days I blew through both my low- and high- weight gain goals. While it’s easiest to blame it on the water, I must admit that with the start of football season, I may have indulged in too many mini-hot dogs, nachos and brownies this past weekend during the Penn State game. Mama needs to get out for more beach walks!!
This past week I’ve also been SLAMMED with free time. (Is that possible?). So much so, that I was able to spend the weekend writing up a birth plan, typing and re-organizing all of our notes from childbirth class, laying out Jack’s coming home outfit, and counting diapers, wipes, Diaper Genie refills, sleepers and onesies. (Yes, I am a record keeper.) So I thought I’d be able to continue the trend this week by cooking dinner every night, freezing meals for post-baby dinners, getting some exercise and finishing my final project. Surprisingly, this “edema” has literally knocked me off my feet. Now I get home from work, put my feet up on a stack of 5 pillows, turn on the news and read books. I’ve decided to take a break from my pregnancy/labor/birth/parenting library and turn to something lighter. On Monday I started “Out of Africa” but just couldn’t get into it, on Tuesday I finished “Animal Farm” but it wasn’t really the kind of story I was looking for, so last night I started re-reading “Little Women.” I’m hoping this will be the book to keep me occupied over the next few weeks.
Throughout this whole pregnancy, and especially since the arrival of “The Nest” I’ve been able to enjoy full nights of restful sleep, without even having to get up to use the restroom (my in-laws say I have a hollow leg). But this morning I’m slightly more sluggish than usual. Between the excessively loud thunderstorm, horrible case of heartburn, and Jack practicing Kung-Fu at 3am, last night was not a good night. This is probably good preparation for the future. Needless to say, for the first time these 9 months, I’m actually anxious to reach the end. I think the hubs and I are both looking forward to meeting the little guy and getting to feel his little kicks from the outside. And I’m definitely looking forward to doing so with smaller ankles and no heartburn!!