I tease Les that he has tech mojo.  My computer will do something funky or the tv will cease to work – or something – and I’ll call him into the room to fix it.  Almost every single time (no joke), he’ll come into the room and I’ll go to show him what’s wrong and he watches me try to show him and it works completely fine after I’ve been struggling with it for several minutes.  I tell him the technology in our house is afraid of him.  He says it’s because they know he’ll reformat them if they don’t fix themselves.  This has been a joke between us for years.  Yesterday I had my midwife appointment.  Les’ schedule is such that he really can’t just ask for days off of work.  Miraculously he got the day off to go to my first appointment last month and then a flight cancelled for yesterday and he was able to go with me yesterday morning.  Now I’m teasing him that he has baby mojo.  (You have to understand, I don’t remember the last time he was home on my birthday.  He was gone for Pascha last year.  We’ve had to celebrate Christmas 2 days early one year.  We frequently celebrate the kids’ birthdays on a day other than their birthday so he’ll be home for it.  So, for him to be able to go to two appointments now with me is kinda huge.)

Les and I are hooked on hearing the baby’s heartbeat at these appointments.  Both times now when she holds the wand in her hand and is about to put it against my skin, I find myself holding my breath and whispering inside my head, “Please…please…please, let there be a heartbeat.”  Even being one week away from being 5 months now, I still don’t feel like I’m out of the woods yet.  I won’t until the baby is in my arms.  Les feels the same way.

My midwife asked the normal questions about any cramping, bleeding, etc yesterday.  I tell her no to all of them.  BUT, I tell her I have a varicose vein on the back of my thigh that is incredibly painful.  I got it when I was pregnant with Niki.  I felt some pain with it then but nothing big.  This pregnancy…oh. my. goodness.  I have an incredibly high pain tolerance too.  Incredibly high.  Let’s put this into perspective.  I once had to have a medical test (I’ll leave out details) and when the doctor was done and told me I could get up, I hopped off the table to gather my clothes and get dressed.  The two nurses in the room stared at me like I had done something SERIOUSLY wrong.  So much so, I actually asked them if I did something wrong.  They were in complete shock.  One of them finally spoke, “You are the VERY FIRST person in all our years we’ve assisted with this test that HASN’T asked for a wheelchair after sitting up.”  Oh.  ok.  I stopped to think if I was in pain and needed one.  Nope.  No pain whatsoever.  That’s my pain level tolerance.  This varicose vein makes me a crying baby.

It only hurts when I’m standing stationary – i.e. doing dishes, cooking (if I’m not constantly moving around the kitchen), standing in church, and most especially, for whatever reason, after I get out of the shower and am trying to brush my teeth.  It’s the worst then.

My midwife takes a look at my varicose vein.  She was concerned because it looked bad enough to possibly be a blood clot.  The midwife’s office is at the hospital so she sent me next door to have a vascular test to rule out a blood clot.  While I was having the test done, I was chatting with the technician.  She told me varicose veins are genetic when I was telling her my grandmother had them super bad.  Figures.  I somehow take all the “lovely” medical stuff from both sides of my family.  Seriously.  This grandmother had 13 kids and my mom told me she remembers her mom having to sit down a lot when she was pregnant because she was in so much pain.  My grandmother wore compression tights to help with the varicose veins.

The test showed no blood clot so its just a really bad varicose vein.  I went back to the midwife’s office, per her instructions, and she gave me a prescription for a pair of compression tights.  Same remedy my grandmother used.  (As an aside, I’ve had my iron levels checked and they are good.)

Les and I drove to the store that carries these types of supplies.  The lady tells me we’re going to go into room 1 and take some measurements and try on the tights.  I figured it would take two seconds and I handed my purse to Les and told him he could just sit in the waiting area and I’d be right back.  The lady motions to Les and tells him, “You may want to come too so you can help her with these.”  Somehow this is not going to be as I expected.

She takes some measurements of my legs and comes back with a pair of tights.  She takes them out and hands me a pair of rubber grippy gloves and tells me, “You’re going to need these to put them on.”  Oh my! She then proceeds to give me a lesson on how to best put them on and talks me through the whole thing.  I finally get them up to my knees after great effort and told them I pretty sure I was going to need a 5 minute break.  My hands were tired!!!  She jokingly tries to comfort me by telling me these were the minimum compression tights.  Are you kidding me?!

How in the world did my grandmother wear these all the years she did?  She had to have arms of steel!  Seriously.  I wish she was still alive so I could ask her if she had any tricks to teach me.

I finally get them on and definitely feel the compression.  I finish getting dressed and we pay for them – $145 for the tights and $6.50 for the grippy gloves!  No pain so far, so worth it.

On the way home, I told Les I was contemplating whether I was going to let my bladder burst or try to put these back on again.  I was half joking and half serious.  I feel like I’ll be able to move trees after the baby is born with how strong my arms will be.  Les told me that because he wasn’t the one trying to put them on that it didn’t look that difficult.  I told him to try pulling them up from my ankle.  He couldn’t even get a small pinch of material between his fingers to even attempt budging them.

So…when it comes down to it, I have a whole new level of respect for my grandmother and the amount of work I saw her constantly doing when I know her legs were covered in varicose veins – and…I…have one.  My grandmother was the original Super Woman.  And…I suspect all the crazy stories my mom shares about the stuff my uncles did, happened while my grandma was putting on those tights.  A hunch.  😉