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Baby, It's Hot Outside

Pregnancy isn't easy at any time of year. One mom awaits her summer arrival.


It is 10 a.m. and 91 degrees in Thousand Oaks. A few brave souls are jogging or bicycling as the heat begins to move in.

It's the kind of heat that seers into the car, and its combination with blasts of air conditioning is enough to turn a stomach.

Nicole Andersen, 27, and daughter Sadie (who turns 3 in December) are inside today, taking their morning shower. This daily ritual began when Andersen became too big to bend over the bathtub to wash Sadie, a.k.a. "Cookie" to her mother.

It is a typical summer morning made a little less mundane by the fact that Nicole Andersen is nine months pregnant.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday September 17, 1998 Home Edition Life & Style Part E Page 3 View Desk 1 inches; 24 words Type of Material: Correction
Pregnancy--Anne Cusack took the photo that accompanied a story about one woman's summertime pregnancy in Wednesday's Life & Style. The wrong photographer was credited.

Pregnancy adds its own heat factor. And being nine months pregnant and living in east Ventura County--where it can be sweltering even when it's snowing in Santa Monica--complicates matters.

Andersen keeps her cool, though, following her obstetrician's advice to eat small bits of food all day long. "It's the only way I can eat," she says. "Just with this heat, I only want to eat fruit."

"Metabolically, you're using up more factors," says Dr. Allan Entin, Andersen's obstetrician.

"Your metabolic rate goes up. Your bone marrow produces more blood to maintain you and the pregnancy. The circulating blood volume increases," explains Entin.

Add to that that a pregnant woman's insides are scrunched up, making room for a growing baby, but making it hard for mother to eat or even breathe. Tums become her best friend.

A lot of pregnant women suffer from edema, swollen extremities, this time of year, says Entin, whose practice is in Tarzana, a heat epicenter.

The small blood vessels in their hands and legs dilate, which leads to swelling. Many women lose fluids that way.

Premature labor can easily be brought on by dehydration, Entin says.

So far, Andersen's pregnancy has been a healthy one, she says, except for the hormone-induced migraines that stayed until about the sixth month. And the morning sickness that lasted for the first three. OK, and the bulging disc on her thoracic spine.

You know, she says, she could have gotten gestational diabetes.

Andersen's husband, Thomas, stops by this morning with a juice smoothie for her.

Thomas--Tommy to her--is a stockbroker and employee benefits advisor. For the last few weeks, he has scheduled his appointments as close to home as possible so he can stop in and check on his wife.

Because his employer has offices in Camarillo and Santa Barbara, another birth coach has been brought in. Nicole's friend, Alice DiRado, has promised to be with them in the birth room.

This morning, a few weeks before the birth, mother and daughter are waiting for DiRado for a less dramatic reason. They want to go to the nearby pool and Andersen doesn't think she can safely supervise Sadie right now. "Everything's a little more awkward," she says.

They try to get outside every day even in this heat. Sometimes a group of women friends and their children go to the beach. Until this week, the young family still took morning hikes in the hills behind their house.

DiRado, also Sadie's best friend, arrives. She is recently married and Andersen is anxious for her to join her in the maternity world. This morning, however, she is just a lifeguard.

And there to lend her friend sunglasses because since Andersen's pregnancy, her eyes can't take the sunlight. "Everything's more sensitive," Andersen says.

As Sadie swims, Andersen teases DiRado about her role in this birth. She'll be there for the post-pregnancy exercising to regain her figure, right? DiRado promises she won't work out until her friend is ready again.

The Sherman Oaks hairdresser is passing up a weekend in Las Vegas to witness her boss' elopement. "I feel so guilty," Andersen says. "What if this baby doesn't come this weekend?"

They talk about the minor changes Andersen's made for her pregnancy. She stopped dying her hair platinum blond. She doesn't meet friends in smoky bars because of the secondhand smoke. She doesn't use the hot tub, though today that's not a temptation.

In the middle of this, Sadie falls down the steps. She dissolves into tears until her mother folds her into her full body, takes her into the baby pool and points out that they now have matching ankle boo-boos.

Recovered, Sadie eats a few grapes and feeds DiRado crackers. Her mother starts an apple and Sadie finishes it.

Tommy stops by in between appointments to check on everybody.

The two women discuss lunch and decide there's no use taking a 2 1/2-year-old to a restaurant today.

Later this afternoon, she will try to talk Sadie into quietly watching a video. "We are part of the Barney cult," she confesses. During her first pregnancy, Andersen was able to take frequent naps. These days, not even Sadie is napping. She stopped at age 2.

Andersen still teaches Pilates three nights a week at her mother's West Hills studio. "I tell everyone to wear a watch with a second hand." Today, Tommy will come home early so she can get there on time.

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