Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gestational Alcoholism

Aww - look at that tasteful image of the
blooming pregnant lady! Lies, all lies.
That cramped look on her face clearly
indicates an attempt to suppress a bout
of pregnancy flatulence. The Murkel of Life
involves inordinate amounts of gas and
liquids - don't be fooled,
oh childless innocents.
Today marked the end of my fifth month of pregnancy. By all accounts, I ought to be "blooming" and "flourishing" and the sight of my roundiness ought to bring a tear to the eye of random strangers. Instead, I have acne and leg cramps and am so clearly pregnant that people are afraid to ask me when the baby is due, and when they do, their eyebrows shoot up in surprise when I tell them that there's another four months to go.

Ah, pregnancy. I had no illusions about the whole mess before I began but I was lured into a false sense of security by having had a very easy time so far. Suddenly, this changed: leg cramps. Not particularly painful cramps (although I've had those, too) but more often than not, tickly muscle cramps that make me stretch and twitch my legs in search of some kind of relief. I've been taking magnesium and calcium, stretching legs and putting my swollen, Shrek-like feet up on towers of cushions, enduring the loving lymph massages doled out by my husband and his lumberjack hands. I've even tried a couple of folk remedies: my mother told me to squeeze the bridge of my nose very, very hard. That just resulted in twitchy legs and a sore face, to boot.

Were all of that not fun enough, the child has decided to make his presence felt. While I lie in bed in the witching hour between 3 and 4 a.m., my hips and legs breakdancing involuntarily beneath the bed covers, my child decides to get in a few punches. Literally, kick me when I'm down. When I finally do drift off to sleep, I inevitably roll over on to my stomach and then get a sound karate chop ("Mama! You moron! Roll over!"). I've actually woken and shouted, "Sorry!"

Oh, the glamour.

This, on the other hand, is a tasteful
image of a bottle of wine that I would
like to rub my face up against and
inhale deeply.
And if that weren't bad enough, I've developed something that I think is actually gestational alcoholism. See, I was never a big drinker - during my student days I didn't have enough money to drink myself stupid in the grand ol' tradition of college parties and once I actually started to earn decent money, I discovered that I was more of a Quality rather than Quantity Gal. I can go for months without touching a drop of anything exciting, and then really, really, really appreciate a glass of good wine. But ever since alcohol has been denied me (24th January, 2012), nothing, but nothing has a greater appeal. Do you know how good Bailey's Irish Cream smells? Do you know how luscious a glass of Burgundy looks? And how about that delicious fizzzzzzzy sound of champagne splashing into flutes? Oh, man. I'm aware that I'm beginning to creep other people out, what with my googly eyes and pathetic facial expression. I definitely ruined the strawberry limes cocktail my husband got to drink yesterday at his father's birthday celebration ("Is that good? It's good, isn't it? Is it really sweet? Can you taste the strawberries? Is it made with vodka? A lot of vodka? Is it chilled or are there ice cubes? Are you enjoying that? Are you?") When someone (usually my husband) suggests that I take a sip, I cover my unborn child's ears and hiss, "Are you crazy? Don't you know the dangers of foetal alcoholism??" Actually, I'm more concerned about my own lack of self-control: a sleepless night of leg twitchery and a battered uterus might not allow me to stop after one sip - and he mightn't be able to wrestle the bottle of strawberry vodka out of my hormonal hands fast enough, to be honest.

Sigh. Four months. About 18 more weeks to go. And knowing my luck, childbirth will put me off alcohol forever.


YarnRoundHook said...

Too funny!
A friend of mine swore by bananas to stop the cramp - I think it's the potassium in them that helps. But I seem to remember my midwife recommending tonic water for twitchy leg cramps as it contains quinine. Just make sure you go easy on the gin!!

nursenikkiknits said...

I remember lying in bed one night, very pregnant with my first child. I had my (rather enormous) belly up against my husband's back. Suddenly, my unborn son got the hiccups (as he was apt to do 10-15 times a day). After about two minutes, my charming husband said "yeah, have fun with that" rolled over and promptly went back to sleep.
Pregnancy, it's all so unfair.

Sweet Seahorse said...

The pregnancy leg cramps are totally different to regular leg cramps aren't they?! I am (and was) also required to take iron tablets during pregancy and my doctor advised me to take them just before bed to help reduce the cramping. Well it does seem to work - at least about 99%. My little load is due tomorrow in fact, I had hoped he'd have made an appearance by now, but males of the species always do things at the very last minute don't they?!
xXx Helen

ABCSteed said...

I had horrible leg cramps with my second. I would wake up with my legs hurting horribly, and I'd have to stand up and grab my feet to stretch them... not an easy task with a baby belly.
As for gestational alcoholism, I struggled intensely with that as well... and unfortunately, I had a few friends tell me that "women in Italy drink wine all the time when they're pregnant! It's FINE!" which led me to have 1/4 of a glass of wine on occasion.
I have no idea why! I can go months without, but that pregnancy, I craved alcohol more than anything else!

Donna Lee said...

But don't you feel like a glowing example of femininity? (yea, I didn't either).

I liked being pregnant once I stopped being sick. I liked feeling the baby move until she became quite large and liked to move. I'd recommend you stay away from movies with lots of bass in the soundtrack.....

Sue said...

Ah the fun! When I was pregnant the first time I went right off my favourite thing in the whole wide world, dark Bounty bars. Never touched another one. But never had the alcohol craving, only satsumas which gave me heatburn........bad!

psmflowerlady said...

I don't know if it works for pregnancy leg cramps, but my friend has nightime leg twitching and she swears by putting a bar of ivory soap in the bed under the sheets. Yeah - I know, it sounds crazy - but she swears by it. And what the heck - the worst that can happen is you have cleaner sheets.

Susie Little said...

I had terrible cramps when I was pregnant with all my children my midwife suggested Bitter Lemon and it worked wonders. 1 large glass an hour before bed. xxx