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July 2011

Pregnancy: The Side Effects

Being the youngest of four sisters, almost the last of our friends to procreate, and having started much later in life to have kids, I'm amazed at how much I already knew about pregnancy. But then came a few of the "side effects" I didn't know or expect at all.

There are the big ones that you hear about in movies or tv (you know, the comedy fodder): constipation, gas, heartburn, morning sickness, dizziness, hemorrhoids, stretch marks. Fortunately, I've only had minor versions of the first three (so far)...

But there are two side effects I didn't hear about that have been quite surprising. Let's start with pregnancy sinuses. Not all women are affected by this but I am and how. They are mostly not a problem during the day. Oh I can tell there is some swelling in my sinuses, but I can still breath regularly. No, it's at night when I lie down that is sucky. At first it's no problem but hours later I am a mouth breathing troglodyte, tossing and turning, my tongue turning to cotton. Fun! When I wake up, it takes an hour or two to settle down.

Why does this happen? Apparently one's body is making all kinds of cool mucusy stuff to help with the baby area, especially the infamous "mucus plug". (It blocks stuff from coming into the uterus to keep baby safe and then is expelled before labor. Apparently it's not unlike snot being expelled from your nose, except it doesn't come out your nose.... TMI?) With all this awesome mucus production going on, my body said, "Hey! We should just make mucus everywhere, this is a blast!" The official name: Rhinitis of Pregnancy.

(Rhinitis...hmm...I bet there would be no other girls named Rhinitis...)

The other unexpected side effect? ITCHY NIPPLES!!!!! Christ on a cracker people, why didn't anyone say anything?? When the boobs start growing (and yeah, all I need are BIGGER boobs!) (Though I guess I don't hear Kurt complaining) the skin gets stretched and itchy. But damn! There were a few weeks when it was pretty wacky and let me tell you, trying not to scratch your nipples in public is HARD. It's calmed down now, but the girls are only going to get bigger again so I know it will happen again. Women about to get pregnant: consider yourself warned!

I've been fortunate so far with the standard stuff. There was no hurling, just some general nausea in the first trimester. I've moved on to the heartburn phase of the pregnancy so I keep my tums and gum handy at all times, but days go by when it's not a problem.

I'm not really complaining too much about this, because again, I've been lucky so far. And honestly, when I get heartburn or even an itchy nipple, it reminds me that things are progressing just as they should be and the Sweet Potato is doing just fine.



Totally Random Frey Family Quotes

(And not pregnancy related...)

I found this old notebook in a drawer this weekend. It's a small notebook I used to carry in my purse to jot down things on the fly. In 2005 Kurt and I were up in Seattle visiting his brother and two of his cousins had come for a visit as well. I had met Burt but not Richard. Both are science geniuses and charming in their oddness. Burt is a fluid dynamics expert (used to teach at MIT and now is one of the few experts in the country who design air flow systems for skyscrapers and is a brilliant cellist) and Richard was a chemist and mathemetician (he is also a world ranked chess player, even played against Bobby Fischer as a kid (but lost).) Anyway, listening to the two of them talk was wild as I am NOT a scientist of any kind. I had to write down a few gems but I didn't note who said what.

At one point they were talking about how in 2nd year physics they learned "This year physical observables will become eigenvalues of hermitian operators."

I think I burst out laughing at that point and grabbed my notebook to write this down.

I then learned that ""mathematicians laugh at physicists, Niels Bohr was a bastard and that Linus Pauling "was no dumb-ass." (Finally words I could understand!)

The whole visit was a lesson for me in "wow, I had a completely different college experience."

In another time and place, I believe it was Paris in 2006, we were visiting with our friends Pranab and Kate, also two very highly educated people (both PhDs - he in physics, she in....oh man I forget! Sorry Kate!). Pranab is slightly more down to earth than the above cousins, but still said something I had to write down: "I had a key to the [nuclear] reactor!" Dude, that's cool.

Later we must have been talking about food (hey, we were in Paris, it's often a big topic) and Kurt said, "It suddenly occurred to me that I misplaced a large wedge of cheese." Context? Who knows -- so much more fun out of context.

I wanted to write these things down only because we still talk about the brainiac cousins and their conversations that fly over our heads (okay, mostly MY head). Good times!

Pregnancy: The Quickening

I think I felt some little baby kicks today. I think. I'm 90% sure it was Sweet Potato stretching out as:
A) I was hungry at the time (tummy was growling) so it wasn't gas.

B) I am not constipated (often standard issue with pregnancy) so it wasn't gas.

C) the feeling came from right where she is.

So hmmmm, a bit of fluttering and wiggling--seems to be her...

It's weird and cool and nice to be on to the next step!

Here's a profile pic from our 19 week sonogram. Could be anyone's sonogram but Kurt says she has my nose already...


Also here is a picture of moi at 21 weeks. Definitely looking pregnant.



19 Week Sonogram

We had our 19 week sonogram last Tuesday and got a few snapshots of the Sweet Potato. As I said on Facebook: A little hard to see, but the reason I'm posting this picture (as opposed to my usual "just google sonogram 19 weeks") is because in this picture Sweet Potato has her hand in front of her eyes. Just like her big sister Bunny (our cat) does when she sleeps. I think it's important for siblings to look alike. And both Bunny and Sweet Potato do not have tails.

Sweet Potato is also healthy and normal and looks just great. Also, it turns out, we already know she has Kurt's toes. Kurt has what is called "Morton's Toe" (2nd toe longer than big toe) and so does Sweet Potato. That made us smile. Now we'll just have to wait and see if SP has what is known in my family as "Rivas Big Toe." My dad and my two older sisters and I all have the same shaped big toe. We'll let you know in November!


Making Room

I've already bought maternity clothes, so I've made room there. But my office, which will eventually become a combo office/nursing/changing station, needed work. So I cleaned out a bunch of drawers and Kurt did a lot of heavy lifting and my office is now almost ready to to become something new.

Here it was before:


So full of stuff! Mostly bits of leftover furniture.

Now here it is after:

Ahhhh, space.

There is still much to be done. The bookshelf in the front left foreground needs work. I'm going to go through and pull books out that need to move on to other homes and then decide where this shelf will go. Can I make room for it in here or will it live someplace else? The two bulletin boards will be consolidated into one behind my desk. The map of Italy will remain where it is so I can gaze upon it daily and plan future trips. Our awesome Star Wars Art (click here and here to see what we bought for the room) needs to be framed and hung plus we need to decide on wall colors for the room, more general tidying, etc etc.

Anyway, the idea is that there will be a chair and small table and lamp in the far left corner. Then a changing table along the left wall. Baby will sleep in a basinet in our room at first. So a year from now I will have had to figure out where my office will go as we move wee one into her own room. We aren't buying furniture for a while yet so I have months of wide open space to play with.

The nice thing about Kurt and I is that we agree so well on what we want the baby room to look like. We don't want it to look so much like a baby room. We are looking at sleek modern colors and designs that match the art. As with our wedding, our style is "not fussy".

So much more to come!