July 31, 2007

I can’t remember the last time I experienced a blockage-free inhalation through the nostrils. My sinuses have always been troublesome, but it seems my lot during pregnancy is for everything to seal up and leave me a snorting, gasping, mouth-breathing elephant seal for months on end. Nothing helps: futile, squeaky blasts into the ever-present Kleenex (and yet I constantly honk away, in the hopes of that one nose-blow that clears the fucking runway), deep breathing in a hot and steamy shower, generous helpings of that red spicy sauce with the rooster on it . . . nothing. Not even the forbidden Afrin can unclog my stuffy, sneezy, foghorn-y snout.

As miseries go, I suppose this is fairly minor. But if you’ll permit me to whine anyway, the Pregnancy Nose combined with the near-constant Pregnancy Headache is enough to make a person really re-think the wisdom of that whole second child thing. Especially when you consider the rest of the body isn’t exactly a wonderland, what with the massively painful Pregnancy Boobs and the, um, Pregnancy Gas.

Ah, the miracle of life. Next up: heartburn and hemorrhoids!

I was kind of moping around today about how I didn’t feel very good and I was so tired and what were we thinking having another baby, oh my god, etc (I am enjoying an extended, robust session of anxiety on this subject, by the way), and then this magical thing happened.

We were getting Riley’s dinner ready, and I was holding him in my arms while JB offered him a bite of the macaroni and cheese he’d just cooked. As JB brought the spoon over, he somehow lost control of a single macaroni noodle, which flew through the air in a perfect, slow-motion arc, twirling end over and end—tiny liquid droplets of cheese splattering to the floor—until it landed directly between my big toe and second toe. Exactly in the area where a flip-flop would snugly hold your shoe on. It made a horrific “plop” sound and I could feel it oozing down into my toe crevice and coating my toe innards with warmed cheese.

It lay in there for a moment like some kind of loathsome insect, the pulpy sides of the noodle were squishy—yet disturbingly firm—between my two toes. Then, before I knew it, Dog was on the job, jamming her tongue down in my toes, furiously probing for noodle remnants.

The only thing I could do was to scream and, if truth be told, pee my pants (just a little!) while still holding Riley. I laughed so hard that in addition to compromising the integrity of my pelvic floor I actually forgot all about my stupid nose for a few minutes, and when JB started cracking up, and Riley did that tennis-match back and forth stare, things didn’t seem quite so bleakly overwhelming. What the fuck, you know? Sometimes life is just so ridiculous, and those are my very favorite moments of all.


39 Responses to “Breathe easy”

  1. hello insomnia on July 31st, 2007 9:42 pm

    Could I dogsit Dog? That noodle scene is quite common in this house and we only have cats who don’t give a damn.

  2. Cara on July 31st, 2007 10:15 pm

    Ah, the pregnancy headache. I didn’t have any when I was pregnant with my son, but when I was pregnant with my daughter I had one literally ever single day of my first and second trimesters…sometimes they would just overlap from one day into the next. This, of course, coincided with Payton’s most squealy, high-pitched, whiny months.

    My OB prescribed Midrin which, when it worked, worked pretty well. But there were times that it didn’t work at all. One day in the first week of my 3rd trimester, it just kinda occured to me that I hadn’t had a headache in a couple of days and that was it. I didn’t have another one. Good riddance!

  3. Lola on July 31st, 2007 10:20 pm

    What about a neti pot for the sinus problems? I have no pregnancy experience with it, but it cleared up my dad’s sinus problems, and they were pretty chronic…

  4. Lisa on July 31st, 2007 10:55 pm

    I am laughing so hard, alone in my apartment, that my neighbors must think I’m insane. I’m even snorting helplessly. Thanks for the awesome pick me up :)

  5. Kristi on July 31st, 2007 11:21 pm

    I second the Neti pot – although I just use a coffee cup and pour the salt water directly into my nose from MONTHS AND MONTHS of daily practice through 2 pregnancies. That could also be contributing to some of the headaches (although also, those DAMN hormones!) I really, really feel your pain.

    Oh. My. God. The noodle…..you painted a beautiful, cheese-filled image there woman!

  6. gp on August 1st, 2007 12:01 am

    oh god, that was funny!

    i third the neti pot idea. the other thing that really REALLY helps is kicking the dairy habit. it takes 3 weeks to clear dairy out of the body (gross eh?), but a lot of people discover tremendous relief afterwards.
    yes i do realise i’m talking to a pregnant woman with a love for cheetos. :p

  7. anna on August 1st, 2007 1:35 am

    Laughed aloud too!
    Yeah, I guess we all kinda forget every now and then that life is pretty fantastic, esp. when you have your health, a family of your own which you love like anything and that love you back just the same, and of course a lil’ baby inside you…..

    I sometimes have those really down days still, after suffering from post-natal depression…..thankfully they are becoming less and less frequent. But, I tell you, my baby girl is nearly 8months old and man, she makes me laugh aloud most days with her cheekiness and laughing. And that is what makes life amazing for me.
    (SOrry to be super cheesy but really, you and I are really so blessed to have those funny pasta-flying times with our families, it’s just so cool).

  8. Jane P on August 1st, 2007 3:58 am

    Lovely anecdote. I remember a quote that life is either horrible or absurd… okay so that’s kind of distressing (maybe it was Nietzsche) but in moments when you can either choose to laugh or cry, laughter is always best.

    Um, random thought – is your sinus problem to do with swelling of the nasal passage instead of actual mucus? You might need one of those medicated sprays.

  9. beth on August 1st, 2007 5:15 am

    HILARIOUS. Linda, would it be weird if I told you I love you? and have *maybe* a little blogger crush on you? I’m pregnant too (10 weeks – woot!), just with my first. And I love coming here and hearing you be REAL about the whole thing. It seems everyone is expecting me to paint pink fluffy clouds about my condition when really? I am just gassy and bloated and headachy and crabby.

    Here’s to honesty – and the joy of commiseration!!

    (I can’t wait to see this new baby though… and knowing Riley, he/she will be adorable. But I’m betting on a she).

    ; )

  10. jenn on August 1st, 2007 5:23 am

    I fourth or fifth the neti pot. It ranks right up there with the weirdest things I’ve ever done regarding my body, but damn it works. I had the worst sinus infection of my life at about 35 weeks and it helped. My ob/gyn was Indian, and she recommended it. You can get one at the drugstore.

    Oh, and the image of the noodle flying through the air and landing between your toes and the dog getting right on it? HILARIOUS!!!!

  11. brid on August 1st, 2007 5:29 am

    if nothing else, a netipot will totally triple the number of ridiculous “squee!” moments in your house. Of course, that’s not its purpose. that’s just the fun side effect of what happens at my bathroom when i, uh, “sinu-cleanse” in the fun “squeeze” bottle…because come ON, if i’m going to do something that gross but purportedly benefitial i’m definitinely doing it in the blue plastic squeeze bottle version. But i’m not here to give one of those fantastic personal recommendations for a netipot. Those things require internal fortitude and serious sinus problems and long estuchian tubes to really stick with. (I’m not a seruious convert yet).

    I’m here to shill for two other products i love:
    Puffs Plus: the outside of your nose will stop shedding off in massive quantities leaving angry red rudolph-the-drunkard nose behind; and Breathe-Right Nasal Strips for while you sleep: I have well, not really the slightest idea what the physics is involved in how they work other than the whole ‘ “outside” the nose, not “inside” the nose’ commercial; but basically they help you breathe better for a couple of hours a day.

  12. Christina on August 1st, 2007 6:26 am

    Dreaded hellish pregnancy headache… ugh, it felt like months and months that I had that misery. I am SO not looking forward to being pregnant again next year…

    I would suggest Olbas Inhaler (you should be able to get it at a co-op or Whole Foods/Wild Oats.) They are awesome for some temporary relief.

    Also, I took Clartin (prescribed and over the counter) my entire pregnancy because my allergies were so horrid and that always seemed to help.

  13. Joanne on August 1st, 2007 6:47 am

    That is funny and good for you for appreciating it. I’m afraid I would have burst into tears and been mad, ruining it.

    I have the Headache too. When I was pregnant with my son, I didn’t have any caffeine, but this time I asked my doctor what she thought was reasonable and she said one caffeinated beverage a day. I don’t have it all the time, but I have found that a cold, caffeinated soda seems to really help my headache.

    I freak out a lot about our second child too. But we have recently been wrestling our boy into a toddler bed and it sucks and scares me for the future, but also, I think, it’s got to be that we’re smarter the second time right? I try and think how good that will feel, to think I’ve DONE this before.

  14. Sabine on August 1st, 2007 7:26 am

    Heee, I totally loved the flying macaroni story. :)

    Another neti pot fan here – takes a bit to get used to, but it will clear thy head and clear it well.

  15. zetta on August 1st, 2007 7:47 am

    Sundry, try some good acupuncture with your neti-pot. You might find you feel better all around. I have treated lots of pregnant women for the feeling crappy, sore boobs and not sleeping and having to pee all the time and sinus junk, with good success.

  16. Junni on August 1st, 2007 8:23 am

    Nope, skip the neti-pot and get the NeilMed Sinus Rinse (http://www.unimedprod.com/). Much easier to use, trust me!

  17. Marie Green on August 1st, 2007 9:05 am

    During my 2nd pregnancy (with our 3rd baby) I did A LOT of “holy shit, we’re having another one??????” In fact, that was my first reaction when we found out I was pregnant again, even though we had be trying. Oh, dear god, what were we thinking? Just kidding- we don’t really want more kids.

    BUT, it’s not nearly as overwhelming as I had feared. In fact, I feel more confident as a mother- and SO GLAD to be past that first-time-parent chapter of anxiety filled life. So it really will be ok. And easier in many ways then when Riley was a newborn and you only had one child.

    And those moments in life- they are graced upon us at just the right times, aren’t they? To make it all worth it.

  18. Megan on August 1st, 2007 9:24 am

    Get a prescription for Rhinocort. It reduces the swelling in your nose and lets you breath. My doc gave me that when I was pregnant.

  19. Josh on August 1st, 2007 9:40 am

    I believe may men share my opinion on this, But I think pregnant women are extremely sexy and atractive. (in general, I’m not hitting on you Sundry) But, you know what I find weird. I still find them hot despite all the gross and unsexy things that acompany pregnancy. Even as I learn new factoids to gross me out, like the whole gas thing, which no one has ever deemed to share with me. Mostly cause I don’t usually hang out during girl talk, which much of this qualifies as.

    Nasal congestion tip, Whenever I get stuffed up, I go get some sushi and slather it with wasabi. That wasabi clears me right out, if you can stomach spicy stuff. And wasabi always hits me right in the sinuses, much more than other hot sauces, which usually fire up the mouth region.

  20. Swistle on August 1st, 2007 9:50 am

    That’s JUST how it is AFTER the baby is born: misery and whining, and also hilarity and happiness.

  21. Becky on August 1st, 2007 10:04 am

    I love DOG….we also have DOG in our house…he is so lovey and right now he is the only thing that keeps me grounded during my hormone overloads that pregnancy brings……

  22. Lisa B on August 1st, 2007 10:10 am

    Isn’t that what we have dogs for, afterall: to clean up messes and to make us laugh? Dog comes through on both counts with flying colors!

  23. breckgirl on August 1st, 2007 10:32 am

    I’m in total agreement with Junni – get the Neilmed Sinus Rinse. Easy as hell to use (after you get used to the sensation of your sinuses filling with warm salty water). I just had sinus surgery and had my deviated septum fixed for the very reason that I just didn’t want to go through another pregnancy so frickin’ miserable – I, too, had the Pregnancy Nose. Anyway, back to the nose bottle. I have two, one for home and one for work. Due to the sugery, I had to “do my nose” about 4 or 5 times a day for awhile – I am still doing at least 3. Never heard of a neti-pot but it doesn’t sound especially easy. I am all for ease and in fact, with the Neilmed thing, they give you 50 little premeasured packets of sodium (so as not to sting your nose) so you don’t have to fuss with anything. If you decide to try it, I really hope that you will let us know how it works for you. You can pick one up at Walgreens or Longs or whatever your big box drug store is in Seattle. You know, it was really weird to use at first because it is just a sensation that we are not used to (drowning sensation, anyone?) but once you’ve got it down, it really does help a LOT. Good luck.

  24. helen on August 1st, 2007 10:47 am

    That’s exactly why we need a dog, our cats just don’t get it. On the nose thing, I am almost 30 weeks pregnant (with the second, aaaargh! What are we doing? Who thought this was a good idea? One is hard enough…) and at the beginning of my pregnancy I had a near-constant sinus infection. I have prescription Nasonex spray that I can use till the end, and oh my it is a wonder. So much better than the last pregnancy where I suffered in silence the horrendous honker.
    Also my doctor is fab, she gives me the most amazing heartburn pills, one a day, no heartburn anymore, but still the spectacular burps so the pregnancy comic relief just keeps on coming. Why suffer if you don’t have to?

  25. nonsoccermom on August 1st, 2007 1:54 pm

    Ah, yes, the pregnancy headache. I know it well. Never had them with my first pregnancy, but I am 18 weeks into this one and they are almost constant. I feel for you.

    At least someone has a dog that will clean up those messes. We have a greyhound, and she is so lazy that you could drop an entire steak on the floor and it still wouldn’t be enough to make her get off the couch. Go Dog!

  26. Penny on August 1st, 2007 2:24 pm

    I get the pregnancy nose also, and was just complaining about that today. I am hardly 2 weeks pregnant and have started the awful mouth breathing routine already. It is no small matter, in my opinion; I mean, it fucks with every breath you take! Air intake is crucial!

    Acrobatic noodles, love it.

  27. Bethiclaus on August 1st, 2007 3:40 pm

    I recently wrote about pregnancy nose and I am so glad you did! Most of the people I talk to about it look at me like I said I have two heads. I continue to do the wonderful snort-gag-hack that drives all my coworkers crazy. Because I’m thoughtful that way.

  28. serror on August 1st, 2007 3:43 pm

    Totally agree with Juni. Skip neti pot and get Neilmed. I just use it in the shower in the morning and at night, and it seriously helps with sinus stuff that meds can’t even touch. Also comes with little pre mixed packets of the correct amount of salt completely simplifiying the process, and you can get it at the drugstore. Mine is from Bartell’s


  29. theresa on August 1st, 2007 5:29 pm

    oh, Dog, we love you…remember the post where she got her head stuck inside the cracker box. i still laugh over that one.

  30. theresa on August 1st, 2007 5:42 pm

    as for the sinus problem, the boyfriend swears by Nasaline (they have an animated demo on their website). he uses a solution of pickling salt & baking soda with distilled water. been using it for 2 years – no more Nasonex & Claritin. i couldn’t do it – too much like drowning but he is a pro. cutting out dairy and wheat has helped, too. best wishes.

  31. aoife on August 1st, 2007 7:58 pm

    Oh, pregnancy congestion. Utterly horrible. Couldn’t breathe for nine months. Its the reason I knew I was pregnant last time.

    I hate my neti pot, but I think somethings wrong with my nose.

    I second Josh on the wasabi. That stuff hits directly to your sinuses. AND its a good excuse to go out and have some sushi and stuff (sans the raw fish part).

    We make it a game here to see who can take the biggest hit while eating sushi. I love watching wasabi face.

    btw — jic you aren’t familiar with the effects of wasabi, it doesn’t burn in your mouth much and its over fairly quickly… but it doesn’t feel that way when you are pounding on the table because your forehead feels like its about to explode (in a good way).

  32. AmyW on August 3rd, 2007 6:54 am

    This may work for you. My husband swears it does!


  33. Stacy on August 3rd, 2007 12:44 pm

    I had pregnancy nose for my entire 2nd pregnancy. I used the NeilMed Sinus Rinse twice a day, rx nasal spray (Nasonex), took Bendryl at night and also slept with a Breathe Right strip on my nose. I almost could breathe at night and just suffered during the day. I went through 6 different antibiotics for a very persistent sinus infection and the infection did not go away until after I had the baby. Hopefully, you won’t end up with a sinus infection. My main advice is to NOT take any Sudafed or Claritin. That’s what really did me in. It dried everything up and it just went downhill from there.

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