Pregnancy. You either love it or loathe it. You glow or you ache. You swell or you radiate. You enjoy or you endure! Right now I fall into the “endure” category as I experience some rather obscure and uncomfortable aches and pains.
It’s fair to say that this pregnancy is busting my chops. I thought that once I got through Trimester One, the early pregnancy complaints would fade away, leaving me with energy, a “glow” and serenity. I was wrong. I am not glowing. I have zero energy. And I am most definitely not Zen.
If you didn’t catch up on my Trimester One update, you can do so here. The common theme in that trimester was nausea. And leakage; two highly unpleasant side effects of pregnancy.
In previous pregnancies, the second trimester has always been my best. It has offered some respite from the aches and pains, a pleasant “pause” before the third trimester unleashes some other nasties. But here’s the thing – there has been NO pause. There has been no respite. Previous aliments have simply been replaced with new ones.
Pregnancy complaints part two:
I am suffering once again from hideous varicose veins. My ankles are black and blue and look like they’ve been run over by a semi-trailer. These blue and purple lumpy vessels are as unsightly as they are uncomfortable. My girls are so horrified by the sight of these gruesome veins they shriek in horror each time they see me undress. Fortunately it’s winter and I can cover them up, but last time I was pregnant it was summer and I had to constantly explain my bruising to people. Maxi dresses help disguise them but vanity aside these veins hurt. They are swollen, they throb, and they go up and up and up…
Fortunately I’ve found some relief in the form of these SRC pregnancy support leggings. I wear these leggings every single day. They are fantastic and fit under my jeans; trackies (I’m all about comfort this pregnancy) and sometimes I wear them under another pair of leggings. I’ve noticed a significant reduction in pain since this became part of my pregnancy uniform. I also ensure I sit down whenever I can during the day. Admittedly, there isn’t much time for this looking after three kids, so most of my leg elevation happens at nighttime, when I collapse on the couch in front of Netflix.
There’s no sugar coating this gruesome side effect of pregnancy. It’s not pretty and there’s no treatment. Vulvar varicositiesis the medical term, but I think a more accurate description would be “Elephantiasis of the vulva”. So. Much. Pressure. Think engorged, throbbing labia and you get the gist. And here’s the “funny” thing about it. It usually only affects one side of the body, so one labia is a whole lot more swollen than the other. Now I know no two labia lips are made equal but when you have elephantitis of the vulva, it really highlights the distension disparity!
My advice is to keep things compressed with compression shorts. I find the SRC leggings work really well for my ankle veins, but the shorts are better for the vulva veins. I alternate between wearing the support leggings and the support shorts. The beauty of the shorts is that they can be worn to bed too. They ain’t sexy but support trumps sexy every single time!!
Nocturnal dreams and disturbance
A little prematurely this pregnancy, insomnia has once again paid me a visit. In previous pregnancies my sleep would be OK until my third trimester, but in keeping with my stretched tummy, weak bladder and hip pain, insomnia has come a little earlier this time. If it’s not the frequent loo trips waking me up (up to 4 times a night) it’s my sore hips, enormous belly, and persistent appetite. I have to eat a banana or a muesli bar during the night. I can’t sleep through without food. On average I think I am getting about 4-5 hrs sleep a night. It’s possibly the most heinous of all the side effects as it leaves me feeling in a sleep-deprived fog for most of the day.
I know that dreams can get a little “er” weird during pregnancy but my nocturnal life is officially out of control. If I am lucky enough to fall into a sleep deep enough to induce the REM cycle, my dreams are hideous! I’m giving birth to reptiles, having babies with their genitals in the wrong places, and my sex life seems to have taken on a new (read: disturbing) direction! There’s an undercurrent of sex symbolism in every single dream. But it’s not the sexy kind; it’s the plain weird and uncomfortable kind. Definitely not the sort that gets you in the mood, but then again, the aforementioned veins are a massive mood killer anyway!
Kettle chips, Salted caramel ice cream, chocolate
If savoury was my flavor of choice in the first trimesters, it’s now my sweet palate craving some love. The salt fetish is still there, but now it’s balanced with my sweet indulgences. I am loving Salted caramel ice cream by Conoisseur (not sponsored, but really they should be sponsoring me with the amount I am inhaling) and basically any chocolate I can get my hands on – white, dark, milk, nutty, I am non-discriminate. I love it all. So while I am terrified I am having a big baby based on my size, it’s entirely possible that my belly is not all baby!!!
How have your pregnancies been? Have they differed from each other? Did you suffer any of these complaints?