Earlier this summer, Joel and I sat down and made a list of several places here in the midwest that we wanted to visit again sometime before baby Honu is born. We strategically got out our calendars and planned specific dates when we would take our road trips to exciting MN destinations like Willmar and Two Harbors. But then, when our first road trip (to Sioux Center, IA) landed me in urgent care with a persistent sinus infection and our second trip (to Cable, WI) involved taking an unexpected detour to the ER with a painful kidney stone — I started feeling a bit anxious about going on any more long road trips.
So, about a month ago when we packed up the car on a Friday night for our weekend visit to the university where I completed my undergraduate degree (U of M, Morris), I essentially brought along a small pharmacy with me … my prenatal vitamins, the magical Unisom tablets, the extra strength Tylenol, nasal saline, cough drops, prescription pain meds leftover from the ER adventures, extra kleenex, and a basic first aid kit (since, in true pregnant-women-are-clumsy fashion, I had caught a toenail on a chair the week beforehand and almost ripped it completely off my foot). Not that I’m superstitious at all, but I think somewhere in my subconscious I reasoned that if I were prepared for every possible “road trip hijacking” scenario — I’d somehow outsmart Murphy’s Law. The following morning, as though it could read my mind, my kidney stone pain decided to recur as we were en route to Morris and hitch hiked with us for the rest of the trip. Apparently, my pregnancy-brain logic wasn’t so logical after all. 😦 Although, I must admit that I was VERY glad I had packed the prescription pain meds in my travel-sized pharmacy. Because kidney stone pain is … well, it’s a real pain in the backside. Literally.
Since the ACT II episode with my kidney stone pain, I’ve had an ultrasound of my kidneys and bladder and learned that I have a 6 mm stone in my left kidney. This discovery reveals that my stone hasn’t attempted to leave my kidney to pass through my urinary tract yet. Hopefully, it won’t try to make that journey until after our daughter is born. A 6 mm kidney stone is sizable enough to (typically) cause excruciating pain if it moves through the body (or more likely TRIES to move through and gets stuck). Apparently, the pain intensity is comparable to labor pain. How ironic! There’s no way to predict whether the stone will stay put or attempt an escape, but I’m praying it will make itself at home in my kidney for at least several more months without too many further pain episodes. If that’s the case, then there’s a good possibility the stone can be broken up into smaller pieces (using extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy … say that fast 10 times!) to make it easier to pass. Otherwise, if it does attempt to make an exit before Honu arrives and the pain is intolerable, I’ll need to go in for a procedure called a ureteroscopy because the shock wave therapy isn’t safe during pregnancy. In the meantime, I’m being advised to drink lots of water and carry my prescription pain meds with me. Not that drinking water is terribly unpleasant, but it’s a shame that the treatment for kidney stones isn’t drinking mango lassis or chocolate milk shakes. (As a side note, if you live in the Twin Cities, you should try the mango lassi at Ghandi’s Mahal restaurant in Mpls. It’s $4 worth of delicious mango happiness in a glass). 🙂
Despite my intermittent kidney stone pain , I’m happy to report that I AM enjoying many aspects of my second trimester of pregnancy. Some of these joys of being a “mommy-to-be” include being able to feel baby Honu doing her Tae-Bo workout inside of me (I think she’s got a better roundhouse kick than I do!); having a noticeable “baby bump” that magically transforms everyone into smilier, kinder people when they’re around me (see the photo taken 2 weeks ago … isn’t it a beautiful baby bump?!); getting my appetite back (good thing apples are in season right now because that’s what I’ve been craving, so I eat at least 2 a day); exploring my “nesting” instincts (my latest projects have been designing the nursery curtains and starting to write in Honu’s baby book ); having a legitimate reason to buy new bras (don’t you just love the feeling of wearing a new bra without any the elastic stretched out yet?!); and shopping for adorable baby clothes (check out the infant Smartwool socks that Joel and I purchased on clearance at REI … oh my goodness, they’re just too cute for words!!).
AND, for the record, two weekends ago I overcame my road trip paranoia by traveling to the North Shore (a 10+ hour round-trip to the Lake Superior shoreline north of Duluth, MN) and hiking for several hours near Lutsen without ever needing to stop at a medical facility or even open the contents of my travel-sized pharmacy. And Joel even patiently waited for me while I shopped for baby fabric for several sewing projects at a quilt shop on the way to our hiking destination. So, now I’ll have photos of cute nursery decorations that I’m sewing to post in my next blog update. 🙂