Monday, September 20, 2010

Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)

I think it is high time this pregnancy side effect gets a post dedicated to its' intrusion of my sleep, and overall comfort. I feel it is very sad that the opera, "Carmen", is finally here at the Lyric, and I may forgo seeing it just because I am dreading the idea of having to sit still for a few hours in a small seat where I am forced to be conscientious of the people around me.
A few people have asked me to try and describe this ailment. It cannot be described. It is an anomaly in medicine and is named for exactly what it is, restless legs. They aren't crampy, or tingling, or numb, or painful, or itchy, or hot, or cold, or swollen. But, I am aware of them. It's a very deep, down to the bone kind of feeling, and the only way to be rid of it, is to simply move your legs. If you had growing pains, in your legs, bad enough to remember (as I did) that is the closest I can come to describing the sensation. I can feel that the RLS is with me at all times, but usually I am moving about throughout the day. When I sit to watch TV, peruse the internet, or read, the feeling creeps up, but relief comes easy - I just move my legs. But have you ever tried to fall asleep while moving at the same time? Not an easy task. I would say not a possible task, but I am pretty sure I almost fell asleep while swimming one 5am morning, but that is a special kind of exhaustion I have yet to match.

I remember researching possible remedies with the last pregnancy, and the only real cure is: delivery of the baby. Well, have nearly 7 weeks before that's going to happen. So, I am stuck. I did read that antihistamines and caffeine can make it worse. Now, that is a predicament. If I don't take my Zyrtec (an antihistamine) at night, I am extremely itchy all over. Which is worse? Perhaps I should skip a dose and find out. And as for the caffeine; I have already reduced my one latte or cup of coffee in the morning to half. I doubt that contributes to RLS at 1am. And I am probably ruining our mattress, because I have found that if I wrap my feet in a cold, wet wash cloth it helps a bit. (Which, in my late night, last ditch efforts to discover a cure, I found a few other pregnant women mentioned ice packs on their feet - so ha! I am not absolutely insane.)

I would like to add that I have had very minimal symptoms of RLS my entire life. I realized this in hindsight during my pregnancy with Brock. Since I can remember, my legs have always bothered me when I sit still for extended periods of time. I specifically remember being in kindergarten and being very bothered by the fact that all of my classmates seemed to be able to sit cross-legged, during assemblies, the entire time, without moving. I would try so hard not to move my legs, but eventually couldn't take it anymore. Still, to this day, I noticed that I reposition myself significantly more frequently than those around me. Also, when swimming, and in very hard training, the RLS did affect my sleep, but I attributed it to extreme muscle fatigue. Supposedly, lots of exercise worsens it. I mention this, because I think that having a baseline amount of RLS makes the pregnancy exacerbation all the more intense.

Last pregnancy, I did not mention this symptom too frequently, because my indigestion and heartburn were so out of control, that running to the bathroom to vomit probably masked the RLS a bit. But I am armed with Protonix this go 'round thus indigestion contributes only mildly to the insomnia. Also, I have learned how to arrange my 5 pillows so that I can nearly, comfortably sleep on my side, despite the 21 pound watermelon attached to my front (yes, I am optimistically attributing 100% of my weight gain to the baby belly). So this leaves lots of energy to be spent focusing on my crazy legs. I generally just take my Tylenol PM then toss, turn, huff, sigh, sit up, rearrange, and shake my legs from 10pm until I finally fall asleep, somewhere in the vicinity of 12-1am. Just in time to wake up at 2:30 to pee.

And what is Matt doing during these hours of my fitfullness? Sleeping. Snug as a bug in a rug.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Babies, babies, and more babies!!

Due to the overwhelming number of baby showers, 1st birthdays and general pregnancy/baby mania that surrounds me these days, I thought I would do a grand post of it all...

Ben and Molly Million turned 1!
Yes, that is a real baby lion. It is not legal for untrained professionals to pet the little guy, so he was for show only. One of the neater things I have gotten to see up close. In addition to exotic animals, there was a pinata, yummy food, and lots of toys to entertain Brock.

Dominick Hall is 1!
Brock enjoyed the pool at this party! It was a nice change from the public pool, he could play in floating devices, run, jump, and climb. Also, this was probably his last dip for the season, all the pools are closed and it's getting a bit Fall-like outside.

Baby Bellies
I thought I would just include pictures of myself with my pregnant family and friends: Anna, Courtney, Beth and Whitney (so far). Whitney, Beth and I are all due within a week of one another; November 13th, 9th, & 5th. I include a shot with Meaghan Hagenhoff, because she should be on this post somewhere...Brock and I missed her Irish twins' celebrations: Henry's 1st birthday, and Teddy's baptism.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Speed Bumps or Humps or whatever you want to call them.

Though I took a photo with a sign for a speed bump in the background, I actually cringe when I see these signs. There are speed limits for a reason. I realize that people do not always adhere to these speed limits, but that is why it is so extremely important to teach your children street safety, and keep your pets on leashes. I will not disagree that there are certain situations for which speed bumps are useful. In front of schools, or in parking lots. These are the ONLY places I feel placement of a speed or traffic deterring device is necessary.

I am not a speeder. Perhaps, as the "rebellious" teenager that I was, I had my lead foot moments, but now, I could probably be described as a "grandma-driver". Why should I be punished, have to slow to 15 mph, spill the contents of whatever I am transporting, and destroy the shocks of my vehicle because a few people like to speed? All of my parents' generation managed to survive a bump-free childhood in Prairie Village, Brookside and surrounding areas. Houses still manage to sell for reasonable prices. And yes, pets still get out unleashed, and get hit by cars, but I have seen a dog hit a car going less than 15mph, yes, I said the dog hit the car.

What really got me going on this issue, is not that they are trying to put them in on my street, but because they recently placed 2 speed humps on a 30 mph thru street (which I use, nearly daily). I now feel helpless and that there is no end to this madness. Soon there will not be a single street with a speed limit of 30mph or under without humps! And, I fear the day it goes on a 35mph main road - it's going to happen.

I feel this attitude of always looking outward for a solution to a problem, instead of inward, is crippling. Don't buy a house in a busy area if you can't deal with the situation. Teach your kid to look both ways, twice, before crossing a street. Don't speed.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Looks like the devil is beating his wife.

The bizarre, wonderfulness that is this week began on Monday, and has carried through for the entire week. It begins in the ER...

My final shift in the ER proved to be the most eventful. I got to tell someone they were pregnant, sew up a lacerated elbow, and witness a momentarily life-saving bedside surgery to a gunshot wound. Cracking open the chest in the ER is apparently a very rare event. Amazing to witness the focus, care and efficiency involved in attempting to save a life. I left the rotation with the reassurance that as physicians, we really do have the opportunity to make a difference in someone's life.

The next morning, as my sister an I sat in First Watch, enjoying a relaxing breakfast together, in walks our grandmother! So, she sat down and joined us for the meal, making it all the more delightful. As we ate, out of nowhere, she says, "Well, it looks like the devil is beating his wife". Most people might be a bit put off and or confused by such an odd, random statement, but as kin to her own child, comments such as these are a near daily occurrence. Apparently, when is rains in one area, such as out the front window of First Watch, but not in another, such as the side window of the restaurant, this indicates that the devil is beating his wife. And it was sunny out, to boot. I remember this type of occurrence happening once as a child, where it rained in our yard, but not our neighbor's, and the excitement I felt probably rivaled the "double rainbow", as I ran back and forth between the two yards.

I then moved on to school, to complete some necessary paperwork for residency applications. Here I stopped in the office of the supervisor for rotations, and discussed with her my options. In our discussion, we realized a spot I had hoped for in December was actually open! I got the family medicine rotation, previously denied to me all set. (This rotation is a great transition between being off with baby to working - 4 day weeks, and off for the week of Christmas.)

Wednesday, I found out that I am NOT gestationally diabetic. I then heard that I got a rotation at Truman Medical Center for October! Lets just hope Baby 2.O doesn't decide to come anymore than 2 weeks early. During this month, I will get to work closely with attendings and residents involved with the UMKC Ob/gyn residency program, I hope I like it, and that they like me! (I also found out that I got a 5 day weekend for Labor day!)

Thursday, I applied to 10 residency programs. A very frustrating process, but it is more or less done for now. I will probably apply to a few more - just need to do a bit more research. Time for the waiting game...

Friday, we played at the zoo with Ashley, Joey and Addison Toma. Then Matt and I took a break from the little guy to attend the 30th birthday party for Rebecca, of Rebecca Peters Photography. Besides being located in Olathe, it was a rather nice evening, complete with a photo booth, of course.

Saturday morning I got news that I had passed the COMLEX PE, just waiting on one more exam score. The night turned into one of those kind of nights that you just can't plan. I feel it was the pinnacle of unexpected events for the week. Originally, we planned a game night with the usuals (Gabe, Christin, Kailtin and Tom), but we ended up sitting on the deck all night around a fire with some less than usual guests (Chris, Nicole and Nick). Brock had gone right to bed at 8:30, despite all the people being around, and we just relaxed and enjoyed the perfect weather & company.
Finally, we did some work on the bathroom, then attended KC's annual Irishfest. Matt's parents bartend at a tent to fundraise for the Junior Blues' Rugby Team. Again, we had a chance to see an out of town friend, Luke, as well as many other people - seeing as, between Matt and I we probably knew 50% of the people in attendence at this thing.

And, today? Today we are back to Monday, and I am blogging, sleeping, continuing to do work around the house, and gearing up to begin my work week.