I was waddling up the stairs the other day and the sounds my knees were making made me crave a bowl of grape nuts. I am only thirty years old, but if you walked behind me as I climbed stairs you would think I was well into my 70’s. I would like to say it is all because of pregnancy. My knees have crackled since I was a teenager, but they are much louder with the added weight of carrying a baby.
I don’t have “high risk” pregnancies. I have never gone into labor more than five days early and I have never had high blood pressure or needed IV fluids for dehydration. I feel like that means I shouldn’t complain, but I am going to anyways!
After my last baby I had a year of bad back and neck pain and after seeing a specialist I was sent to physical therapy for some spine problems, which the doctor said were caused by pregnancy and would probably worsen with any more babies. He said I have arthritis in my hips…as if I didn’t already feel old for my age, and I showed signs of it in my hands but we moved before I got x-rayed for that and I never went to get them tested.
The hard thing about being pregnant is I get the “nesting” urge and I don’t realize when I have overdone it and it is too late! I get it in my head to start organizing and moving things around in the garage or to clean out all the kids toys, but then I am on the couch with back pain for the rest of the night. At 28 weeks into my pregnancy it only takes vacuuming a couple rooms of my house to feel the burn. This is hard for me, because I like to organize and I love to have a picked up and clean smelling house.
The other thing affected by the back and hip pain is sleep…which I know almost every pregnant woman can complain about. I can’t lay on one hip for very long before it starts to ache so I am constantly turning from side to side…not such an easy task when I have to arrange my five pillows into just the right pattern each time! Poor Brett has been “accidentally” falling asleep on the couch while watching tv a lot lately. It is hard to be the one tossing and turning, but harder to be the one sleeping with the tosser and turner!
So here are some things I have discovered to help ease the aches and pain and I am looking for any suggestions or ideas from anyone else who deals with this!
– Showering the kids. The kids will no longer be bathing them until after the baby is born…if then! They get quick showers, and they are actually really enjoying it. It never even crossed my mind to shower kids their ages, but it is not hard on my back at all, it is faster, they are cleaner more days out of the week because I don’t have to save up my energy to bend over the tub to wash them, and the only con is one extra towel in the dirty clothes each time from mopping up the water on the floor afterwards.
– Kids can push a vacuum. I am realizing that the kids can do a lot more than I have given them credit for. I finally let them try vacuuming and they think it is coolest job in the house. All I have to do is walk behind them holding the cord out of the way. It saves my back and gives them a sense of pride to do such a big job. It also tires them out, which is why I save that job for the last part of the day!
– No more guilt from overflowing laundry baskets. I no longer carry full laundry baskets up the stairs. I lay the clothes out in the laundry baskets so they don’t wrinkle and set them out for whenever Brett can take them upstairs. Sometimes I end up with 3–4 loads of laundry to put away at once, but it is worth it. The kids are also good at helping put away their own clothes and we turn it into a game.
– Frozen waffles are nothing to be ashamed of. My kids have always liked waffles and I usually have some on hand, but I have tried to use them only when we are in a rush. Not anymore! Frozen waffles and bagels in the toaster are now a staple breakfast food in our house. I taught Luca how to use the toaster and she is very cautious and careful and loves when I ask her to help get breakfast ready for her brother and sister. This hasn’t affected my back so much, but it has sure helped move along our mornings faster!
– Double or triple recipes when possible. One of the harder things on my back these days is standing at the stove stirring a pot or bending over the kitchen sink to do dishes. There must be something about the height of the countertops that get to me. So I finally figured out if I am going to get a backache from stirring a pot of cream of broccoli soup for twenty minutes, I might as well triple it and get a few more meals out of it. I made a pot of soup last week that fed the kids and me four meals each and we didn’t even get sick of it. I haven’t found a solution for the dishes yet, but when I get desperate I get creative!
I haven’t figured out a solution for the lack of sleep or the “nesting” urges, but at least I have found a few things to help on the daily tasks. And even though my body aches and makes weird popping and crackling noises right now, I love the feeling of having another little life growing inside me. I will never tire of feeling the baby kick and move around. Today I noticed that the baby had hiccups and it really hit home for me that I have four children! I can’t wait to meet the newest one!