Five Things to Avoid Googling While Pregnant

One would assume that because this is our second pregnancy, I’ve run out of things to research/google/obsess over.  Well, you’d be wrong.  Having a toddler means that all of the super pregnancy smarts and knowledge you gained the first time around have been replaced by songs about monkeys eating all of their vegetables (EVEN THE GREEN ONES).  Sometimes I have a legitimate question, but most of the time I’m just googling things that come from random musings that dance across my semi-awake frontal lobe.  I’ve found that there are three types of information available to pregs via Dr. Google: informative, hilarious and terrifying.  And now I present…

Five Things to Avoid Googling While Pregnant (aka “How Not to Scare the Shit Out of Yourself”)

Is (insert favorite food item) safe to eat?  Even if your favorite food is stupid kale, I can 110% guarantee you that somewhere on the vast internet, there is an article or blog post that will tell you said food is not only unsafe, but that even accidentally consuming .000001 ounces of the food will cause your baby to be born with the ability to speak only Swahili.  We all know the primary foods to avoid eating (delicious things like sushi, all cold cuts [I MISS SALAMI SO MUCH], soft cheeses and fish high in mercury) but every once in a while, you’ll read a comment on some BabyCenter message board that will tell you to avoid things like soft serve ice cream (because OMG when was the last time the machine was taken apart and waaaashed?!)  Really?  A preg, avoiding soft serve ice cream?  GTFO.  If you like food, stay off the google engine.

Is (insert favorite activity) safe to do?  Similar to avoiding all foods while preg, there are people who will tell you to avoid doing all things while preg.  Listen, I’m more than happy to avoid doing things like folding laundry, cleaning up cat puke, and washing dishes, so if the Hypno Baby Wizard website tells me not to do those things, I can legit show my husband the documentation proving he is responsible for 90% more household chores right now.  I know not to scoop the cat litter box and to avoid doing things like CrossFit (LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL), but did you also know you’re supposed to avoid things like warm showers, lifting objects over 15lbs and sleeping on your right side?  Oh, you didn’t?  Well you must not have made it to page 17 of the google search results; if you had, you’d know these important things.  So, feel free to be smelly (because cold showers are dumb), never pick up your toddler/groceries/obese cat, and forget ever being comfortable while sleeping for the next 47 weeks.

What is this funny feeling in my upper/lower right/left abdomen?  If you have a funny feeling, it’s probably gas.  Oh, the pain is in your ribs?  It’s still gas.  Lower back pain?  GAS.  Pregs, you have a lot of gas, don’t try to ignore it.  Set it free.  If it’s not gas, then it’s probably your sweet little baby squeezing a precious and vital internal organ.  Never, ever, ever google the words “feeling ____ while pregnant” because Dr. Google will tell you that you have something like West Nile Virus or Chinkungaya Disease, or that you were secretly abducted and probed by aliens during the night and GUESS WHAT, NOW YOU’RE HAVING TWINS!  You probably ate soft serve ice cream while laying on your right side, right?  That explains everything.

Images of anything, ever.  When I announced our second pregnancy, an acquaintance immediately asked if knew I was preg before taking the test.  Before I could answer, she said I must have known, and it was probably my nipples that gave it away.  Really?  My nipples?  Would pregnancy give them the ability to speak?  I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant, because I’d been pregnant before and my nipples didn’t hold the secret baby knowledge.  So I decided to google what she meant and OH MY GOSH, I regret that.  Do you know what happens when you google things like “pregnant nipples”?  You’ll be scarred for life, because only the worst and most frightening things that could ever happen to nipples will show up in google images.  And former pregs who did have nipples that looked like space saucers preparing for landing, I am so sorry.  SO SORRY.

Things like “sex while pregnant.”  Pregs can totally still do it (no, the baby won’t get poked in the head), but sometimes you have to get creative because after a few months, there’s an enormous watermelon between you and your partner.  You should be very careful in your google phrasing; WebMD has good articles with suggestions and tips, and what’s normal (i.e. “tingling sensation in my left third rib”) but if you don’t quantify your search with something like “pregnant sex webmd article” well, you’re going to find out there are a lot of weirdos out there.  A LOT.  It’s more frightening than the space saucer nipples.  It will also probably get your name added to some Federal list.  Oops.

Pregs, if you want to enjoy your 40ish weeks of growing life and eating cheese fries covered in Nutella, then stay off the google engine.  As long as you aren’t bungee jumping while smoking a pack of American Spirits and eating raw chicken, you’re probably doing just fine.  Common sense tells you what is and isn’t safe, and for those questionable things, your midwife or OB will give you a list – a physician approved list – of things you should avoid eating and doing.  Follow that list and your gut, and you’ll be fine.  Particularly follow your gut if it’s telling you the baby needs brownies.  Chocolate boosts mental stamina.

Acceptable.

Acceptable.

And as a reminder, I’ll just leave this right here:

Brownies 4Lyfe,

K

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Halfwayish There

Here we are, 24 weeks along.  Although the cliché is so cliché it’s hipster, it still rings very true: time flies.  Particularly when you’re chasing a whirlwind toddler around…time really really flies.   But I didn’t realize how quickly the days were passing until I responded to an email from a friend who is currently pregnant with her first child, and due just two days after me (assuming Kid Two is on time, hint hint).
 
She had asked what things were my must-haves for those newborn days (short answer: neck pillow, thousands of receiving blankets and sleep ‘n plays that zip, a Boppy pillow, gripe water for the baby and wine for me) and what “tips” I had.  That’s the moment you’ve made it to Level 3 of the Mom Club: a first timer asks you for advice, because they trust your judgment.  It’s flattering and intimidating, all at the same time.  To realize that the same girl who thought nothing of table dancing during happy hour not too many years ago was now not only a parent, but a trusted parent with good judgment and decent mom skills, is totally b-a-n-a-n-a-s. 
 
And so, in addition to the must have items that no one tells you about, I rattled off some of the things I learned during those very early days.  Then, because I’m completely obsessive and an editor in a former life, I proofread my email prior to sending…and I was amazed at my own wisdom and sound advice. (Note: This is not bragging; this is me in shock and awe, seriously.)
 
I told her that of all the growth spurts your baby will hit, the three week spurt is the most terrifying, at least for me.  Four days of crying that sounded less like a sweet, cuddly newborn and more like a screaming baby goat, and I was a frazzled mess.  But we made it.  We said goodbye to those growth spurt months long ago, but of all the transitions we experienced in that first year, the three week spurt is still the only one that gives me PTSD.  If you’ve been through it, you know what I’m talking about.  Maybe yours wasn’t the three week; maybe it was the two month, five month, seven month, etc.  Maybe yours was that first round of teething, or the first ear infection, or getting your baby to latch properly.  Maybe it was sleep training, because I know I’ve heard some horror stories.  I believe that we all have that one particular moment in the infant days that we can reflect back on with thoughts of both terror and nostalgia, and heaps of gratitude, because we all survived.
 
I provided my thoughts on an epidural, which I did not have with my first, and which I do not plan on having with my second.  But I gave her my thoughts from a place of knowing what was best for me, and that she would know what was best for her.  I could tell she was leaning heavily towards forgoing the drugs, and I could also tell she was in need of some encouragement, which I gladly gave.  I reminded her that the human body and mind are capable of things we can’t even imagine, and that the way your mind and body handle childbirth is truly miraculous and astounding.  Moms will tell you they can’t describe the pain of childbirth, and that it’s forgotten the moment that sweet baby is placed in your arms.  A lot of that is true (but if you get hemorrhoids, you will remember them forever and always for the rest of your days, I PROMISE)  So, yes, you can do it without drugs, but stock up on the Dermoplast spray juuuust in case.  TRUST ME.
 
My friend had also asked the “breastmilk or formula?” question that all soon-to-be moms ask.  And to this, I told her she would know what was right.  I cannot give advice on breastfeeding because I simply didn’t do it; but I can give advice on feeding your child with love.  I reminded her that of all the opinions she will hear, articles and books she will read, and thoughts that will be bestowed upon her by others, no one – and I mean no one – knows what is better than she will.  I told her that we’re all unsure as first timers.  We’re all new to the circus that is life after the birth of your first child, and I come from an understanding that having the first child is the most intimidating.  While I have the blessing of carrying the knowledge and wisdom I’ve gained to my second baby, I vividly remember those first baby days (probably because they weren’t that long ago).  But I told her that even in her uncertainty, she will know.  You may always question and wonder, but you will know, and you will all learn together.  And so I wanted her to know that no matter how she chose to feed, she was doing so from a place of love, and that was most important.
 
My other responses ranged from advice on the simple (don’t buy a Diaper Genie, it’s totally not worth it) to the terrifying (should you choose to circumcise, know that THIS is what you’ll be doing for the next ten days…) to the gross (DID YOU KNOW YOU MIGHT POOP DURING DELIVERY?!) to the difficult (someone will judge you for a parenting decision; you will cry now, but you will laugh later, and you will know that you are the best mom your child could ever have).
 
As I closed my message, the realization hit me that all of this advice and wisdom can be applied to my own life, and very soon.  I have a confidence (albeit a terrified confidence…) this time around that I didn’t before.  I also have fears of other things, because I am aware of them now.  But I also know that no matter where this journey heads next, no matter what our delivery is like, our Party of Three will handle with great grace and strength the addition that will make us a Party of Four.
From this...

From this…

...to this, in the blink of an eye.

…to this, in the blink of an eye.

 
16ish weeks to go,
K
 
PS – I think my husband wants three kids just so he can say “Party of Five.”  What a nerd.

Boy? Girl? Litter of kittens?

So our 20 week appointment is rapidly approaching, which means we could find out the gender of Baby C2, but as you all know, we most certainly won’t.  It’s super fun to have zero idea; we’ve got our boy and girl names picked out (sort of) and we have a decent amount of gender neutral infant stuff from Baby C1 (you now know him as Miles) so we are as prepared as any parents of a newborn and soon-to-be two-year-old can be (you know, like not prepared at all because HELLO WE WILL NOW HAVE TWO KIDS).
I remember when I was pregnant with Miles, everyone had a guess at what we were having.  The most popular guess was a boy, and everyone had their own Old Wive’s Tale method of determining.  I also remember our 20 week appointment with Miles; the ultrasound tech had us look away while she did the gender scan, and she jotted all of the important measurements and sciencey things in our folder, but she did not list the gender.  Even our midwife didn’t know what we were having, but she did guess it would be a boy, and she was right.
I can also vividly remember the day Miles was born (so vivid because no drugs and everything was felt in real-time and THAT, my friends, is the business) and that last set of three big pushes.  I told Evan that I was too tired to deliver this baby.  I saw my midwife peer up from my lady bits and she said, “ONE MORE PUSH!”  I pushed.  I pushed pushed pushed and was so r-e-a-d-y to have this kid out when she suddenly said, “OKAY, NOW STOP!”
Excuse me, stop?  STOP?  Hello, there is a 7lb 11oz child halfway out of my baby hole right now, and I’d like to get it all the way OUT.  But I stopped.
She then asked Evan to come around, because she wanted him to be the first to know whether we’d had a boy or a girl.  It was very, very cool.  I was still very, very tired, but so glad that she made that possible for Evan.  To see his face when he got to announce, “IT’S A BOY!” is amazing beyond comprehension.
And here we are, halfway through our second pregnancy, ready for our appointment but not ready to know what we’re having because we want to save that magic for the day of delivery.  But that doesn’t stop me from consulting Dr. Google on every Old Wives Tale there is and testing them on my own.  Enjoy the craziness…
Heart Rate: Old wives tale is that 140bpm and higher indicates a girl, and lower indicates a boy.  I will say that with Miles, we did go above 140bpm maybe twice?  (sads, I don’t actually remember and I never wrote it down) but I think I recall it being lower the majority of the pregnancy.  Now this method is really supposed to be more accurate once you near the end of your pregnancy, but we’ll go ahead and apply it now just for fun.  Our last appointment was 127bpm.  Dr. Google says BOY.
Cravings: Next old wives tale says that if you’re having a girl you crave things that are sweet, and if you’re having a boy you’ll crave things that are salty or sour.  The reasoning behind this is that girls are full of “sugar and spice and everything nice” and that boys are full of “lizards and snails and puppy dogs tails.”  Note: Whoever came up with that description is a.) a jerk, because boys are totally awesome and b.) has never seen Mean Girls because there are many, many other things girls are full of that we will not discuss here.  Also, are lizards and snails salty?  I don’t know.  Anyway, when I was pregnant with Miles I had a full week where I craved nothing but barbecue, and so we ate at a rib place in town almost every single day.  But barbecue is really sweet and salty.  What else did I crave with Miles?  Orange Pedialyte.  I’m weird.  In general, I am more of a salty person.  More specifically, I am a potato chip person which is why we have none in the house.  Case in point: two weeks ago, I craved maple bacon potato chips (again with the sweet-salty) and guess how many days it took me to consume the entire eight serving bag?  TWO.  TWO DAYS.  I am a potato chip powerhouse.  I also had an enormous craving for jalapeno potato chips, which are spicy, so figure that one out.  And I like to put Nutella on Ritz crackers.  But based on my potato chip love, Dr. Google says BOY.
Zits: So if you break out like a pre-pubescent teenager, you’re supposedly having a girl because she’s “stealing all of your beauty” and if your skin remains clear, you’re having a boy because again, boys aren’t “beautiful” (note: you Old Wives make all babies sound like assholes, okay?) I will say this, not only did I never have acne when I was pregnant with Miles, but I also believe he was the most beautifully handsome and adorable newborn ever in the history of time and space.  Case in point:
Ultimate cuteness.

Ultimate cuteness at one day old.

 
No pimples this time around, either.  Dr. Google says BOY.
Morning sickness: If you have the pukes, those bitter, baby-hating Old Wives say you’re having a girl (again with the beauty stealing, because obviously you don’t look good when you have pukeface).  So when I was pregnant with Miles, the only puking I did was for three straight days during the second trimester when I came down with the stomach flu (note: it actually came out of all holes, so I can’t say it was just puke).  I don’t count that as morning sickness.  Was I nauseous sometimes?  A little I think, but not enough to make a lasting impression.  Now, this time around I never had morning suckness (typo, but it stays) but but but, if I drank coffee at all during the first few weeks, I’d throw it up.  Does that count?  I also felt nauseous for entire days, enough so that I remember it now.  I started drinking coffee again around week 10 (settle down, it’s one cup and it’s midwife approved – you know we’re very Euro, right?) with no pukeface.  So I don’t know if that counts as morning sickness, but let’s say it’s more memorable nausea than the first time around.  Dr. Google says GIRL
How you’re carrying: Well, I’m not big enough to judge this, because I’m not even big enough for people to actually know I’m pregnant, they still think I’m just thickity thick in the middle.  But with Miles, I carried low low low and all out front (like from behind, you couldn’t tell I was preg, except when I walked because I waddled, thanks hemorrhoids and gravity).  Eventually I’ll look preg this time around, so we’ll guess then.  Dr Google says TBD.
Ring on a string: The Old Wives say if you put your wedding ring on a string and hang it over your belly, swinging in circles means boy and swinging back and forth means girl.  To this I say: awfully presumptuous of you biddies to assume couples with children are a.) married and b.) have wedding rings, but that’s just my socially liberal mind coming out, so I’ll put a cork in it.  I am married, and I do have a ring, so we tested this.  I can’t remember doing this with Miles, but I think other people did, and I honestly don’t remember the outcome.  With Baby C2, it sort of swung diagonally back and forth.  Science tells me it has to do with gravity and the way I’m holding my arm, but Dr. Google says GIRL.
Dad gaining weight: Supposedly, if Dad gains weight during the pregnancy, it’s a girl.  To that I say, bull.  Dad doesn’t gain weight out of sympathy; he gains weight because I am force-feeding him Dairy Queen so that I don’t feel guilty for eating a Brownie Earthquake Explosion every Friday night.  Did Evan gain weight when we were pregnant with Miles?  Yes.  Will he gain with this baby?  I don’t know; he doesn’t like potato chips, but he likes ice cream, so we’ll see.  Right now he’s gained nothing (jerk) and Dr. Google says BOY.
Peeing in a cup of Drano: Did you know this was a thing?  Me either.  It sounds weird and dangerous.  I’ve seen the commercials, and I know this stuff can unclog a drain after Chewbacca uses your shower.  Based on that, I don’t want Drano anywhere near my baby hole.  So we’re going to pass on this, but apparently some genius did this and found if the Drano turns green it’s a girl, and if it stays blue it’s a boy.  Dr. Google says PASS.
Sprinkling salt on your head: Again, news to me.  These Old Wives think that if you sprinkle salt on your head before you go to sleep, the first name that comes out of your mouth the next morning will determine the gender of your baby.  So when I wake up and say “BLUEBERRY WAFFLE WITH AMERICAN CHEESE” I suppose it means Baby C2 will be a chef.  I’m not sprinkling salt on my head.  Dr. Google says PASS.
And now for the most sciencey determination process we will be using without actually using real science: THE CHINESE BIRTH CALENDAR.  You enter your due date and your own birth date, and the Chinese tell you what you’re having based on their lunar calendar.  You should know that their lunar calendar also says we conceived Baby C2 in December and my lunar age was 33.  So, thanks Lunar China for not only confusing me but also making me far older than I actually am.  For fun, I did the Chinese prediction for Miles, and guess what it said?  He would be a boy.  Way to go, Lunar China!  You were right!  Now the oldest due dates you can choose (via BabyCenter, which is full of accuracy and not lunatics) is for the year 2006.  People who read this: if your baby was due in 2006 and later, please consult Lunar China and tell me if they were right.  For Baby C2, Lunar China says we’re having a BOY.
Now let’s tally it all up: five votes for BOY, two votes for GIRL, and one million votes for keeping salt off your head and Drano out of your vagina.
The Chinese say BOY, and we know how smart they are, so let’s say boy.  This means it will surely be a girl.  Either way, we’re happy (unless it’s kittens…because I’ve had a dream…)  Won’t it be fun to find out it another 20ish weeks? Assuming punctuality for this child, which will probably not occur since Miles was one week late.  He also spent that entire last week head-butting my vagina and making me pee myself.  Note: I have used the phrase “vagina” so many times in this post that I’m surely turning up in some creepy Google searches.  Will check those stats later…
Sprinkles,
K
PS: What I imagine the Old Wives look like...

PS: What I imagine the Old Wives look like…

GERMS.

A brief update on my absence.
First, I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving full of stuffing your faces with food, your hearts with love and your eyes with men in spandex chasing a ball around for TWELVE HOURS.  Also, there was a parade and a dog show.
I am vehemently opposed to traveling now that we are parents.  I firmly believe that our decade of traveling child-free all over God’s creation for things has allowed us to meet the “travel for bat mitzvahs” quota, and we are now allowed to stay home for all religious and Federal holidays.  However, sometimes family says things like, “We’re having Thanksgiving here!” which means we can either make a pizza, or drive.  And so, we chose to drive. (WE ARE NO LONGER DRIVING, FAMILY…MARK MY WORDS)
We loaded the car (barf) hopped on the interstate (double barf) to drive to the East Coast of Florida (triple barf).  We were in the car about 45 minutes before Miles actually did barf (there’s a theme here…) and we had to pull over in the middle of Billy Bob’s Swamp Safari (this is a real place in Florida, GOOGLE IT) to clean up said barf.  I am a fully prepared mom; Miles was cleaned up, and I changed him into non-vomitus clothing.  I am not, however, a prepared spouse (or person in general) because I did not have spare clothes for myself or my husband.  I also had vom all over my right sleeve.  After 30 roadside minutes of plastic bags, wet wipes, towels and “is it in my hair?” we loaded up and did the only sensible thing: turned around and headed home.  No way could I spend the day in vom.
Side note: Miles was fine – no fever, no illness.  We’re thinking he got carsick from “reading” his books while on the interstate.  Although this has never happened before, many of my older and wiser (read: more vomit-experienced) mom friends have assured me that sometimes kids just puke for no reason.  So in that way, kids are like my cats, and I can claim that being a Cat Mom was excellent prep for being a People Mom.
We got home, removed the carseat and all barf -overed items from the truck, and started laundry.  I gave Miles a bath.  I gave myself a bath.  We watched the parade.  We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Then, two hours later, we loaded up and hit the road again (you can see why I hate traveling for holidays, right?) Only this time, we left at naptime, which ensured no puke.
Thanksgiving Day was great; we did miss seeing my in-laws, but we made it to my parent’s house and spent the afternoon stuffing our faces.  We made a round trip since Evan was working the next day, so around 8pm we loaded up.  Miles promptly fell asleep; not from all the turkey, because in true toddler fashion, he ate dinner rolls and yogurt.  The drive home wasn’t too bad.
That night, I begin feeling congested.  By Friday morning, I’ve lost my voice, and cannot breathe.  Do you know what’s great about being preg and having a cold?  You can’t take any cold medicine.  I must rely on my hippie instincts of herbal teas, Ricola cough drops and holding my head under a towel over a boiling pot of water to drain the snot that was clogging all of my face holes.  It was glorious.
Note: I do not get a flu shot.  I like to live on the edge.

Note: I do not get a flu shot. I like to live on the edge.

Once you become a mom, you’re always on call.  I remember being sick before having kids, and it was NBD to lay on the couch for twelve hours watching Bravo, drinking Gatorade and eating chocolate covered pretzels (cure for the flu, duh).  But now, other people remain dependent on you regardless of your green-phlegm-athon.  And so the two day cold you experience pre-family turns into a monster week-long cold, even when you’re taking full advantage of your son’s three hour afternoon nap every day of the holiday weekend.  And OF COURSE it occurs on a holiday weekend because I have stupendous preg mom luck.
After Miles realized that mom’s voice was gone for a quite some time and that we weren’t just playing a new game, he began to speak to me only in whispers, since that’s how I was talking.  And man, that kid is so cute, he makes my heart (and phlegm) melt into a big green pool.  He also kissed my “head owie” when he saw me rubbing my temples from the massive sinus headache (BECAUSE I CAN’T TAKE ANYTHING – DOCTORS, WHERE ARE THE PREG MEDS?!) Even though I coughed up my right lung no less than a dozen times, we still ran around the yard and slid down the slide and built forts with pillows and blankets because that kid is awesome, and spending the day coughing/blowing my nose with him is far better than a day of good health alone. 
Confession: On Saturday when we played trains, I did lay on the floor to catch a ten minute catnap while telling Miles that “mommy is the track today!”  CHOO CHOO, I’m smart.  
So being sick kind of sucks, because I can’t breathe, I live with a humidifier in my face, I smell like Vicks and sometimes when I cough, I pee a little (this may or may not be preg-related)  BUT, I’ve found that being sick isn’t like, totally terrible.  Here are some of the pros:
  • Because I currently cough like a 60 year old barfly who smokes three packs of Virginia Slims a day and drinks G&Ts for breakfast, people generally leave me alone.
  • Efforts at looking “decent” and “presentable” and “showered recently” are not required.
  • Sometimes my lack of voice slips into sexy Kathleen Turner territory.
  • I can blow a snot rocket eight feet if needed.
  • Teachable moments for Miles: how to blow your nose, why we don’t wipe our noses on our sleeves (oops), covering our mouths before unleashing a spray of phlegm in our five foot radius.
  • I can snore louder than my husband.
So the carsickness wasn’t germ-related, but this Walking Dead Plague funk I have most certainly is, and I’m blaming it on all of you people who live north of Atlanta that feel the need to travel to Florida for our winter.  Can’t you stay home?  Or at least leave your germs at home?  It’s not MY FAULT you chose to live in a frozen tundra.  There isn’t enough green-earth friendly-non-toxic disinfectant in all of the Seventh Generation conglomeration to keep your snowbird germs at bay.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be buying stock in Ricola, pretending to work with my eyes closed and trying not to pee my pants.  
Hack cough,
K