May was another busy month for me. I ditched my daily habit tracker which I now realize was a mistake. That journal thing was useful and I was actually crushing big goals when I was using it consistently. My life is a mess without any kind of schedule or normality. Everything in my life is different now – new home, new baby, new location (sort of….) bigger family (totally not used to a family of 4!), and new plans. Some readers even asked about my disappearance on WP and if I was okay – your concerns really touched me. Thank you! 💕 I just wish that there was more time to write/blog.
Re-grounding Myself Again 🌱
I also wanted to update you on my whereabouts. Up until the beginning of June, I was temporarily working full-time from home. We were also in the process of packing and moving to a new home. On May 20, 2021, I went to my appointment as planned, only to find myself in the L&D triage unit at the hospital later that day. I had abnormally high blood pressure a.k.a. gestational hypertension + fluid retention, so they wanted to rule out some things, like preeclampsia. I am grateful for the knowledge I gained from nursing school because I knew what signs and symptoms to monitor throughout this pregnancy. That being said, I became concerned during the final weeks of pregnancy when my BP remained consistently high, which is abnormal for someone who typically has low blood pressure. Ultimately, childbirth was the best solution to quickly alleviate my gestational hypertension.
On May 21, 2021 at 4:48am, Baby Aaron was born weighing 7lbs 1oz, and measuring 20.5 inches. He had some mild jaundice (more medical jargon, see photos below ↓) but the jaundice went away on its own and he didn’t need blue-light therapy. Most of this pregnancy was fairly straight-forward and uncomplicated up until the very end, the delivery went smoothly despite dreading childbirth the most, and Aaron is a healthy baby boy. His big sister welcomed him with open arms! ❤
(っ◔◡◔)っ ♥ FINAL THOUGHTS ♥
I am keeping this blog post short and sweet because honestly, I am not in the mood to write today. I am trying to write a blog post in the presence of others and the words aren’t flowing the way I would like them to – and good writing cannot be forced. I haven’t even touched my personal laptop in weeks which I mostly use for WordPress, but I consider it rude to spend hours blogging when we have company over. Also, my phone needs a major upgrade which I don’t see happening any time soon (it barely holds a charge), so I haven’t felt motivated to brainstorm blog post ideas, write rough drafts on my phone, or capture life’s precious moments. Perhaps it is time to revisit that habit tracker journal yet again, before I become a lazy potato.
An April 2021 recap blog post did not happen last month and I can explain. My [temporary] work schedule is crazy busy during the months of May and June as I am currently working 5-6 days/week until further notice. I say “temporary” because I do not know how long this pandemic will last, and the duration and severity of this pandemic greatly influences whether or not I get shifts. Although I am fortunate to be working these days, on my days off, I am often too exhausted to write a blog post, let alone do deep introspection which is necessary in order to craft a blog post that’s worth reading. And that’s the truth.
April Reflections ✨
Looking back on the goals that I made for March 2021, I noticed that my goals pretty much stayed the same throughout the month of April 2021. I believe that it is good to stay focused on a few big goals rather than flip-flop between a bunch of small ones. I call people who jump from thing to thing dabblers, which is something that I am trying to avoid, personally. How can anyone get good at something if they keep flip-flopping between things or take up too many hobbies? My advice is to stick to 1-2 hobbies and get good at them. No, you do not need a YouTube channel, a Podcast channel, 10 different social media accounts, and a small business in order to be successful, unless that’s how you truly want to waste spend your time. It is important to get very clear about what you want and make a plan, and my goals are loosely based on S.M.A.R.T. goals. I suggest that you do the same, but that’s my opinion.
How My Life is Changing
Reflecting on the months of April and May (so far), here are the goals that I managed to accomplish along with the goals that stayed the same since March:
Continue picking up more shifts if it fits my schedule As previously mentioned, I am not working at the hospital these days. Right now, I am working from home and my schedule is full-time due to increased employment opportunities. However, I have received some criticism from people regarding my work schedule (as if it is their business), saying that I should be taking maternity leave or time off to “relax”. Just because I am 37 weeks pregnant does not mean that I am incapable of working, nor am I entirely useless. Also, one should not assume that I qualify for maternity leave, because I don’t actually qualify for it. I only started working in February 2021 and thus, I have not accumulated enough hours. That being said, my husband qualifies for paternity leave.
Completed UWorld and Wrote the NCLEX-RN! As mentioned in a previous blog post, I wrote the NCLEX-RN on April 26, 2021. It was definitely the most challenging exam that I have ever written and I am super relieved that I passed in 110 questions! A few days later, I got my RN permit so I am very happy about that too! Even though I am too pregnant to be on my feet these days, I am excited to see what the future holds career/profession-wise. 👩⚕️
Publish 1-2 blog posts per month Let’s face it: I am still writing the bare minimum right now. I am not sure if I will be uploading more blog posts during the month of May. My schedule is busy and I have no time for blogging as a result. Like I mentioned earlier, blogging is not my priority right now even though I enjoy this hobby a lot. Connecting with other bloggers gives me a reason to log into WP every day, even though I am not actively posting new content.
Keep tabs on doctor’s appointments/pending appointments I am getting annoyed that some people are reiterating the same stuff that I mentioned in my previous blog post whenever I try commenting on a pregnancy forum which I won’t mention here. I am well aware that I might have iron deficiency anemia and I got my bloodwork done last week. I am currently waiting for the results and will find out if I am anemic on May 12, 2021. We still need to find a baby doctor which is hard considering that we are moving to the opposite end of the city at the end of the month. I know that I am running out of time, and I am not entirely sure who to turn to for advice regarding baby doctors. Finally, I got my COVID-19 vaccination (1st dose) last week! In Canada, we have to wait 12-16 weeks before receiving the second dose which is dumb in my opinion. With increased wait times between doses, how is the vaccine supposed to be effective?
I am going to be truthful and real here. I am not exaggerating when I say that these past few weeks have been rough health-wise. 3rd trimester sucks and I really have no other way to describe the aches and pains that I am dealing with as I near the end of this 9-month journey. As I write this, I can barely stay awake. I hardly sleep these days and get poor sleep if I manage to sleep at all. My body aches, both physically and mentally. Overall, these spontaneous growing pains make me feel blah which I think is normal considering that I felt the same way with my daughter. A lot of people like to glamorize pregnancy but there are a lot of unglamorous things about it too. And that’s the truth.
My husband and I celebrated our 5-year anniversary on May 7, 2021 ♥
We had cake on our anniversary and cake again on Mother’s Day. You can never have too much cake! 🍰
Baby boy is due any day now, and I hope he arrives sooner than later. I am so uncomfortable and hotel uterus is ready for eviction.
I am learning that I am much more capable than I give myself credit for 😇
My life goals are probably a lot different than yours, and that is okay. We are all on different journeys. One should not compare their journey to someone else’s journey.
COVID-19 is still really bad in my province (currently dealing with a 3rd wave), but we will get through this. On the bright side, the pandemic has given me shifts and I want to think that I am helping humanity with the work that I am pursuing. I want to think that I am contributing to something much bigger than myself. We really are all in this together! 😷
You might be thinking, “What the heck is she talking about?” The title of this blog post will make sense in a moment. And no, I am not talking the illicit drug known as “ice”. I am literally talking about frozen water such as ice cubes, crushed ice etc. and weird pregnancy cravings. This is a vulnerable post so I encourage you to read the whole blog post before jumping to conclusions. Btw, all images are my own and any advice I share here is based on personal experiences. And just to be clear, I am not a medical doctor nor am I here to give medical advice.
Some Quick Life Updates
I have been busy this month studying for the NCLEX, so I don’t have a list of goals to follow except for the ones that were carried over from March 2021. I really need to pass this exam, and it is has been stressing me out because I still don’t feel prepared. To be honest, I don’t think that I will ever truly feel prepared for this exam. Also, I was working up until this past weekend, and had to decline another shift because it is getting increasingly more difficult for me to work; right now I am 34 weeks pregnant and feel totally useless. I picked up one CDC shift this week which is a work-from-home job, and I feel guilty for not picking up additional shifts right now. There is only so much that I can do these days without losing my sanity 🙄 In the meantime, my cravings for crushed ice are very intense. I crave ice more than I crave MCDs coffee and bubble tea.
Most of you probably enjoy munching on the ice at the bottom of your glass on a hot summer day, and it is quite normal to enjoy the occasional ice cube from time to time. But is it normal to crave ice every day, regardless of season? I have what is known as “Pica” which is defined as:
Pica – craving and chewing substances that have no nutritional value – such as ice, clay, soil, or paper. Craving and chewing ice is often associated with iron deficiency, with or without anemia, although the reason is unclear.– Mayo Clinic
For most people with pica, it is usually due to a deficiency and goes away once the deficiency is corrected. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I craved ice from 1st trimester up until I gave birth. We did not have access to the best health care services in Saskatchewan, so my anemia was easily overlooked. Apparently, I was severely anemic and nobody caught onto this, including myself. After I had my daughter, my ice cravings went away soon after. I think that pagophagia, that is, cravings for ice, are highly correlated with low iron levels during pregnancy. Now that I am wiser and have better access to healthcare where I currently live, I am suspicious that my iron levels might be dropping again, so I will be getting another blood test in the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, I plan to start taking an iron supplement.
Symptoms Related to Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA)
I am going to share with you some of the symptoms that I deal with on a day-to-day basis. Women in their child-bearing years are highly susceptible to Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA). You might have IDA and not even know it, since other health conditions can cause these symptoms as well. One particular thing that screams iron deficiency for me is pagophagia (cravings for ice) which is based solely on my personal experiences. Please speak to your doctor if you think that you may be deficient in iron or have similar symptoms as I do. I am not going to go into detail about the pathophysiology, pharmacology, and biological pathways related to IDA. If you are interested in that stuff, feel free to check out this link for more information.
My Iron Deficiency Symptoms:
Pica: Cravings for ice, dirt, clay etc.Has anyone watched My Strange Addiction? It is a rather disturbing show and yet I watched all of the episodes I could find on YouTube 😂 I am convinced that several of these people have Pica. Personally, I don’t think cravings for ice is that bad except that it is terrible for tooth enamel, but overall, I don’t think that my addiction to ice is hurting anyone. I know that every addict says that, but it’s just frozen water, people. It is not like I am eating paint chips or chalk. Personally, I prefer soft ice over hard ice (yes, there is a difference!). If you suddenly develop cravings for non-food items, please don’t ignore this red flag and speak to your doctor. I am not here to glamorize Pica – it is abnormal.
Extreme fatigue and lack of energyLike I said before, other conditions can mask iron deficiency anemia (IDA). From personal experience, I know that 3rd trimester is exhausting, and perhaps my lack of energy and feeling like I am going to pass out are linked to that. However, fatigue and overall lack of energy are also related to low iron levels.
Breathlessness with light exercisePerhaps this is related to pregnancy, as I am extremely exhausted climbing stairs these days. I can barely walk to the mailbox down the street without feeling totally exhausted. Even getting ready for work was a daunting task that I dreaded, and it is a miracle that I can even managed to get through the day without feeling like I was going to collapse any second. Other people have even pointed out that I look tired. Extreme exhaustion is not normal and should be discussed with your doctor if you are experiencing similar symptoms.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) Since 1st trimester, I have been getting the worst leg and foot cramps at night. On average, I get anywhere from 2-6 leg cramps, including Charlie Horses, in a single night. I also get horrible itching at night, so I often need to resort to an over-the-counter (OTC) anti-allergy medication, which doesn’t always relieve the itching. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had similar itching so I know this is probably a pregnancy thing. But is it really a pregnancy thing, or an iron deficiency thing? 🤔 I already discussed this with my doctor and was told to increase my magnesium intake. The dose that she recommended for me is quite high so I am going to try a magnesium gel to help calm my restless legs at night. Apparently, gels and sprays are much more absorbent then magnesium gummies. If you are curious to know where I order most of my melatonin and magnesium products from, I use a Canadian site called www.naturalcalm.ca. Even though they only ship within Canada, I have seen some of their products in US stores.
Are you experiencing similar symptoms? Do you have weird cravings for things like ice? If yes, then I would highly recommend getting your iron levels checked. Sometimes, relying on food sources that are high in iron is just not enough, especially if you are also expecting 🤰 If you are struggling with pica or any of the symptoms I listed above, I want you to know that there is hope. Feel free to join the comments section below ↓ if you can relate to these struggles or deal with a deficiency. It helps knowing that I am not alone ♥ I will do my best to reply to your comments!