Thursday, November 20, 2014

To Google or not to Google?

While pregnant, the answer to this question is always NOT to Google.  Don't get me wrong, I love me some Google, and like most people, I have constant easy access to it whether on my computer at work, my laptop at home, or my cell phone.  Such is the power of The Google.  The problem about Googling things while you're pregnant is that about 85% of the search results are going to be horribly negative and terrifying, even if you are questioning what the significance of a hangnail is during pregnancy.  The answer?  Miscarriage.  Just kidding.  I've never actually Googled that particular thing, and I doubt that miscarriage would be the answer, but you never know.  It's likely not a far-off exaggeration.

One of the most popular Google searches while pregnant often seems to be about spotting.  Let's face it, women in general are kinda nuts (ladies, I'm sorry to call all of us out on this....but admit it, it's the truth!) and pregnant women are about one thousand times worse due to all of those lovely hormones and just the general loss of control over our constantly growing and misshapen bodies.  Of course, one of the biggest fears while pregnant is often about miscarriage, which is a valid concern since it does happen frequently enough that even some doctors might advise their pregnant patients to wait until the first trimester is over before publicly announcing their pregnancy, especially if the woman has any risk factors.  During the first trimester (or 14 weeks) of a pregnancy, there are so many things going on in a woman's body while that little baby develops that it truly is a miracle that so many of us adults actually came out Ok....well, physically anyway!  And in true Darwinism form, generally speaking, if something is going to go wrong while an embryo is developing, it's generally during those first fourteen weeks, since that is when everything is coming together.  A miscarriage is the result of something just not being right,  plain and simple, whether it be with the mother or the baby. Does it make it hurt any less physically or emotionally?  Of course not.  Does is still cause some emotional trauma to the mother?  Definitely.  Being a believer in fate, I like to think that as terrible as it might be for a mother to go through a miscarriage, it happens out of necessity due to something being wrong, and I try to look at that as a silver lining.  I'm sure there are plenty of people who would disagree with me, but this is how I choose to look at the situation.  Granted, I have never experienced a miscarriage personally, so I can't say that I know exactly what women go through when they experience this but it seems to me that as bad of an experience as it might be, having children is often worth it enough for those women to try again and from the women I know who have gone through this, they often go on to have very healthy pregnancies and babies.

Back to Googling and spotting.  For those of you who don't know this, when you're pregnant, your body is pretty much completely out of your control.  It does all kinds of weird and sometimes simultaneously miraculous things on its own and all you can do is sit back and watch.  One of those many things that there is nothing you can about is discharge.  There, I said it.  I apologize if this is a TMI (too much information) topic, but it's real, it happens, and it may be gross but there's no getting around it.  When you first find out you are pregnant, you talk to your doctor, read books, and download all of the free pregnancy apps to your phone that you can.  All of them will tell you the same thing:  Discharge happens, and there's nothing you can do about it aside from keep an eye on the color and even yes, the odor.  Super gross, right?  The best part about all of this is that discharge can happen in a plethora of colors and the only dangerous color you have to be careful of is anything pink to bright red, as that is a sign of fresh blood, which I'm sure you can guess is never a great sign.

During my first trimester, one evening after work, I wiped after going to the bathroom and there was a small/tiny/miniscule single spot of bright red on the toilet paper.  I'm talking a spot the size of the tip of a pen or pencil.  And of course, I completely freaked out and lost my shit.  Full panic mode.  I probably went to the bathroom six times over the next hour and a half, whether or not I actually had to pee, just to see if there was any more red when I wiped.  There was nothing else. Nor did I have any cramping or fever or any other symptom that all of the books and apps warn you about should you see that bright red color ever during your pregnancy.  So, what did I do?  I Googled "bright red spotting while pregnant"...or something to that general effect.  The results:  Terrifying.  Approximately 93% of all of the articles the search pulled up talked about miscarriage and how your baby was basically doomed to die before it even turned into an actual fetus (aka a growing baby, in the womb, that has basically passed the stage where it loses its tail).  Webpage after webpage showed me all of these actual articles, forums, and confessions from other women who all had had spotting that of course always led to miscarriage.  Not one happy ending in the whole bunch.  That does wonders for a panic-stricken, hormonal pregnant woman...let me tell you!  Luckily, I have a husband who is really good at calming me down (even when I can still see the panic in his own eyes) and I have friends who have been-there-done-that who were able to talk me down from my hysteria ledge and somehow, I made it through the night.  By the next day, there had been no additional red spotting and no cramping, and when I called my doctor's office they said that it was very likely just implantation bleeding and that it was likely nothing to worry about.  Just in case, they had me go in for blood work to check my HCG levels (a pregnancy hormone that drastically increases during the first few months of pregnancy and dropping levels of HCG early on can indicate a miscarriage) and they had me go on pelvic rest (no sex, no heavy lifting, and no overly strenuous tasks) for two weeks.  And, spoiler warning, everything turned out fine.  It very likely was just what the doctors assumed it was and I was left feeling a little foolish for having freaked out as badly as I did.  But hey, it's my first time being pregnant (which is terrifying all in its own right) and having so many new and powerful hormones is like adding fuel to a bonfire, so I pretty much had no choice in the matter.  And no, even now I don't feel foolish about it.  Well....not really.

I'm not telling you this little story as an anti-Google anecdote nor am I saying no one should ever Google again, I'm just saying that The Google is a very powerful tool that can easily get out of hand for us preggos.  While pregnant, my natural inclination has been to Google EVERYTHING because there is just so much to learn and know about being pregnant: "Is this normal?  What will happen if I do this while pregnant?  Is it safe to eat this while pregnant?" etc.  We are naturally inquisitive creatures and The Google just makes obtaining answers so easy.  It's quite addicting.  But again, you have to be careful of its power while pregnant because of course you are going to see a lot of the bad with the good, and that's something that you can't always prepare for, no matter how in charge you think you are of your pregnant mind (hint're not!).

Moral of this story:  The Google is awesome.....unless you're pregnant!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Annnnnnd......I'm back!

Have you missed me?  I knew that I hadn't written anything in a long time, but what I didn't realize that it has been almost TWO YEARS since I last wrote/published a post here.  How is that even possible?  

I think a large part of that reason is due to the fact that I had met a bit of a stalemate with my weight loss and wasn't feeling overly insightful.  Everyone who has battled weight loss can tell you that hitting a plateau is incredibly frustrating and it can be very difficult to not succumb to the woe-is-me feelings and give in to that extra piece of candy or slice of cake, thus irrevocably setting yourself up to only go backwards.  That's where I was.  

After losing 170 pounds, which even I can admit is an incredible feat, my weight loss just started to slow down and then eventually stabilized.  Luckily, I did not start gaining weight back and I was able to maintain, but that's never enough, especially when there are so many of those little pesky pounds yet to lose.  And that depressed me.  As much as I love to write, I just didn't feel like it and considering the fact that the name of this blog is Danielle, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, how could I write about a woman who was no longer shrinking?  

The funny thing is that currently, I still have mostly maintained my weight and many of those pesky pounds remain with me (apparently I'm a great person to hold on to!).  Although one might think that this fact would upset me, I'm actually OK with it because I learned something very positive about hitting a plateau after major weight loss.  Your body goes through so much physically when you lose such a large amount of weight, and it takes time for everything to get caught up, and that includes things like hormones.  Who'da thunk it?  I never really gave it too much thought, despite the fact that I have PCOS; maybe I should have because it turns out the positive thing about going through a plateau phase after significant weight loss is that it gives your body an easier (generally) ability to get pregnant.  And that's exactly what I am!  

So, stay tuned because I've been feeling a little more creative again these days and there are always fun and exciting (and gross!) things to share about pregnancy. Just you wait! And who knows, maybe I'll become one of those famous mom bloggers and I will be able to not only entertain you all, but also share my newly found abundance of child-rearing wisdom.  You lucky readers you!