Pregnancy – the good, the pain in the ass, and the weird stuff

Being preggie, especially for first-time me, is a whole new experience. Let’s see, what are the good things so far:
* bigger boobs (Yay!)
* Concern/attention (it’s ok, not that I crave for it)

And the freaking irritating parts:
* Dry itchy scalp – this was one hell of a problem during the 1st trimester and bloody hell, it happened all of a sudden. It came to a point when I was so tempted to see my dermatologist because I was scratching my scalp out. I even asked my husband to check my scalp if it had turned red and scaly. But other than a few red patches, he didn’t see anything strange. I changed shampoo, and for a time it didn’t seem to work. But as I approached my 2nd trimester, my scalp didn’t itch so much and seems to have calm down now.

* Lower backache – actually this is not such a major problem. I only feel slightly achy when I stand for more than an hour. Also I have a huge cushion on my office chair and another one in the car. Both to keep my back straight.

* Gas in tummy – yes, this is bloody pain in the ass. I read that pregnancy affects digestion, and I’m a victim.

* Acne breakout – well, some breakouts here and there, nothing very serious, thank God! I don’t use salicyclic cream, instead I use tea tree oil.

* Frequent urge to pee – this was a bloody pain in the ass during the Chiangmai trip. Imagine having to go to the bathroom every hour and the bathrooms turned out to be elevated squatting ones without proper flushing? To flush you have to scoop water from a side container and pour into the toilet bowl. Some bathrooms don’t even have hand soup! I used to question my husband for going to the bathroom so often; apparently it’s a guy thing ‘cos my friend, Christine, told me her husband and brother-in-law also have the same tendency. But now my bathroom breaks rival that of my husband’s. What also aggravates the the tendency is also the need to keep hydrating myself.

* Hunger pangs – funny how I get hungry every 2 hours. There were a couple of times when I told my husband I was hungry and he went “huh?? So fast??”

* More susceptible to illness – I found out that the immune system of a preggie lady is not the same as pre-pregnancy. According to a family GP, he told us that part of the immune systems of the mom is diverted to protect the baby. Our relation, Ming, (a biomedical scientist) told me the immune systems are also partially suppressed so that it doesn’t see the baby as a parasite or invader and attack it. I was contemplating getting a flu shot. Ming told me that the usual shot has lower efficacy for pregnant lady like only 60% (and even worst for old folks at 30%) compared to average adult of more than 90%. However there’s now a flu shot developed for expectant moms and old folks which supposedly has higher efficacy. Since the pregnancy, I had food poisoning, mild cold and a bad cough.

The weird stuff:
* Change in food preference – during the 1st trimester, I developed a preference for Asian, particularly local, food. It was really weird because as I’ve mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I’m a so-called “jiak Kantang” (literally translated as “potato eater”) because I prefer western cuisine, bread and potato to rice. So when I had cravings for fishball kway teow (flat noodle), mee siam, seafood horfun (flat noodle), spicy food (especially so) etc, my husband was elated and told me the baby was confirmed Asian, and had taken possession of me. But too bad, after I got hit by food poisoning, my food preference switched back to pre-pregnancy me.

* Sensitivity to certain food – I think I’m sensitive to something in chocolate milk, hot cocoa (made by me) and certain milo drinks, because they somehow cause sour stomach, which didn’t happen to me before pregnancy. It’s really weird because I had the ice cocoa from Starbucks and the 3-in-1 milo drinks at home and I’m ok.

* My husband starts having imaginary conversation exchange with the baby –
Husband (cleaning his muddy running shoes): I’ve to clean the shoes myself, otherwise by the time you wash them, it’ll be 2012.
Me: I’m planning to wash them soon.
Husband: yeah, in 2012!
Me: no, I’m thinking of doing it in the next couple of days.
Husband: yes, baby? There’re cows in the distance? How far away? Very far? So when are they coming home? 2012? Yeah, I also say.

Looking at the list, it appears that there are more bad and weird stuff compared to good ones. Hmmmm…..

Anyway I’ve to say that I’m pretty lucky I didn’t suffer from morning sickness during the 1st trimester. Initially I had thought that would be a problem, because I read in some pregnancy website that there was a study done that women with morning sickness had less risk of miscarriage. But i found out from my sister-in-law that she didn’t suffer from any discomfort during her 2 pregnancies. So it’s basically the luck of your draw. Before I was pregnant, I used to find preggie ladies placing their hands on their stomach an interesting behavior. I realized, after I become preggie myself, I’m doing exactly this subconsciously. It’s like an instinctive protective action. Strange how pregnancy triggers behavior that doesn’t appear usually.

After I came back from the Chiangmai vacation, my appetite was somehow affected. In fact I had very little appetite, and suffered from sour stomach, and last Friday morning, I puked. I was worried that another weird thing had happened to me, I was getting morning sickness in the 2nd trimester. Or worst it was food poisoning again. That would be terrible! But luckily I recovered pretty quickly after that. Maybe I got exhausted from the trip.

My tummy is starting to show now. I told my husband the other day that I tried sucking in my stomach, but it didn’t work. He said the baby had already set up a condo in my tummy, complete with carpet and couch. Yeah, should also throw in a flat screen TV as well. I’m putting off maternity wear for as long as possible. Most of them are pretty crappy looking and a waste of money. Instead I’m wearing mostly empire-waist dresses (very versatile), slightly loose clothes, leggings with tanks and a cardi or casual jacket thrown over, and also flowy tops or dresses. I recommend expecting moms to check out Zara or Mango for stretchy clothes that can tide you over pregnancy to post-pregnancy, and even long after that.

At the moment, I’m actually trying not to show my tummy, particularly at work. Even though a couple of bosses are already informed, but I don’t want to broadcast my pregnancy. So I use long scarves and long cardi to cover up. The problem with my wardrobe is that I’ve mostly cheongsams, pencil dresses and pencil skirts. So all of them have to go into cold storage until after my maternity leave. I’ve to recycle the remaining suitable clothes, which means time for shopping! Anyway a sharp-eyed office buddy suspected I was pregnant and asked me. She’s a mother of 3, and she said she instinctively knew. Also she noticed my change in wardrobe, the large cushion on my chair, and now the growing bump. She thought others would have suspected by now but no one else asked me. Maybe they’re afraid to, ‘cos I’m pretty intimidating in office. Hahahaha!

Of course not showing the tummy also means I don’t get a seat on the train or bus. And anyway the bump is not obviously big and worse, it might get mistaken for a big poochie! It’ll be interesting to see when my tummy gets bigger, how often I get offered a seat in the train or bus. Let’s just say I’m not holding my breath. Let me recount an episode. I got into the train and saw this lady who appeared to be 6-month pregnant standing and holding on to the handrail. I looked at the couple sitting in front of her and asked them, “excuse me, can you give your seat to this lady?” The sitting young woman replied, “I’m also pregnant.” (To be honest I couldn’t tell, but it could be 1st trimester.) The guy sitting next to her looked a little guilty and got up. So moral of the story: assert your rights!

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