Posted by: Kate | February 26, 2010

Holding Down the Couch

I suppose I was due for some sort of pregnancy drama, since the rest of it has all just been beyond easy and smooth. It’s not big, bad, scary drama, but compared to the first 35 weeks it’s at least noteworthy.

Starting Tuesday evening, I noticed more swelling than usual in my ankles and feet. I’m somewhat prone to swelling, through this pregnancy, anyway, but this seemed like it was beyond what I was used to. I have a pair of compression stockings, purchased before Christmas because of all the driving we would be doing over the holidays… driving means sitting still with my feet down, and where else is the blood going to go? Gravity rears its ugly head.

Compression stockings, by the way, are strange, strange beasts. They look like knee-high stockings, but are made from this incredibly dense, thick, elastic stuff; I didn’t save the packaging, but I would not be shocked to learn that there puppies contain Kevlar among the other ingredients. I’ve broken at least three nails getting them on, and they’re so tight that donning or doffing them is an athletic event (I’ll be sure to submit it as a possibility to the IOC… if they’re thinking of adding pole dancing to the Olympic lineup, then dressing while pregnant certainly deserves its own spotlight). I’ve learned to roll them off, thus allowing me to roll then back on again, and this makes a tremendous difference: perhaps five minutes of sweating and swearing whenever it’s time to deal with them, instead of the fifteen-minute ordeal of trying to put them on like socks.


I woke up Wednesday morning with lots of swelling right away, which is very unusual… typically I’m fine in the mornings and it’s not until afternoon/evening that I develop cankles, and even then it’s only on days where I’m either sitting ALL day, like when I’m typing, or when I’m up and down the stairs too many times (damn laundry, anyway!). So, noteworthy.

Wednesday evening, I had a very difficult go-round with Willem. It never reached the point of raised voices or what have you, but I cried, a lot. And I am not a cryer, even when knocked up. We never really reached resolution on it – we might someday, it’s not that big a thing, just not yet – and so Thursday I woke up still upset about it, spent lots of the day home, crying, all alone and pathetic… mix a painful interaction into an already stressful couple of weeks combined with raging pregnancy hormones, and you get a blubbering mess. With even bigger ankles and feet, no longer able to fit into my favorite clogs. And a strange, not-quite-migraine-like headache – and one of the huge advantages of pregnancy, for me, is that I basically stop getting migraines altogether (I’ve had one since August, instead of my typical 2-3 per week).

So I called the doctor, and went in on Thursday afternoon for a blood pressure check and urine sample. There was a very small amount of protein in the urine, and my BP was 120/80. When there’s more protein, and the BP is 140/90 or higher, then the “pre-eclampsia” label gets applied… so I’m in the neighborhood, but not quite there.

Thus, “modified bed rest” for me… I’m allowed to move around, not strictly confined 24/7, but I’m to be reclined as much as possible, try to keep movement and walking to under 10 minutes per hour, lots of fluids. No big deal, I was on strict bed rest with Jacob, weeks 11-15 and then again from 32-36, at which point he was born just before I went completely insane. So this is a lot easier than that was.

I go in on Monday for a routine 35-week checkup (hit the 35-week mark yesterday, hooray!) and ultrasound… there’s no reason for concern, as far as I can tell, they just want to make sure that all of the measurements, for the baby and for amniotic fluid and cervix and placenta, are right where they should be. I’m still very much hoping for a VBAC, and everything needs to be as normal as possible in order for them to let me do that.

So. Here I sit. At least I can knit from this position…


  1. I had to wear nylons the last four months of my pregnancy with my son. Suck city. I can also relate to the BP/protein thing. I did that with my daughter. I had to take my BP at home 4 times a day. You can do this. Relax and pamper yourself.

  2. I had to wear compression hose on one leg for my last two pregnancies thanks to varicose veins that were awful. I HATED them. But if I didn’t wear them, the veins would swell to the point of looking like they were going to explode. Plus the doc was worried about clots.

    When I bought them at the special support hose store (yes, really), the saleslady had me take off my shoe so that she could demonstrate the best way to put them on.

  3. My wife has swelled to the size of one of the exercise balls she constantly bounces on.

    You may be interested in my blog if you want to know how your partner is feeling during your pregnancy!

    All the best,


  4. Been there, done that! (with the Pre-e thing). Have you checked out There’s forums over there with lots of supportive people and answers to any questions you might have. The good thing is, 35 weeks is a great place to be, especially if you can hang out out just one more week or so! Hugs to you, and good luck with Willem, it’s a difficult time as a baseline and the emotional conflict does NOT help!

  5. On the bright side (I guess), you only have a couple of weeks left, so the bed rest won’t be entirely nerve-wracking, right?

    What are you knitting?

    And deep sympathy and hugs for your recent losses, Kate. Sorry I didn’t get over here and say that sooner.

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