The idea came to me on the 5:00 news, looking at Ashley's feet. You know, Ashley Rodriguez does our 5:00 news. You can't see her feet, but where I was standing last week, I could, and I realized there's a story in those tired, green feet.
At nine months pregnant, Ashley Rodriguez can hardly reach the desk, but she's still the trend setter, with her black and green maternity top and matching lime green flip-flops. We wanted to know more about this fashion statement. So we followed her to her newsroom nest, where she collapses every chance she gets just to stare at the screen saver. Recognize this face? Robert Rodriguez shares this screen with an ultrasound view of their baby, and yes it's a girl.
"She looks smeared, but they say that's not the way she's going to look. We'll take her though," says Ashley Rodriguez, but back to that "footnote" which is wearing sensible shoes during what can be a very swollen pregnancy. Just down the hall from the newsroom and into the corner sales office, Ashley Harder is also 9 months pregnant, with swollen hands.
"The swelling pushed down and I had to cut my ring off," says Ashley Harder. You can still see a ring of blisters where her wedding ring refused to come off.
"Swelling in pregnancy is highly variable. Every woman is different, " says Dr. Duncan Burkeholder. Dr. Burkeholder is Ashley's doctor, and this is her final appointment. At least three others in the office are nearing their delivery too. All are "wearing" a lot of water, which commonly collects in the face, hands, ankles and feet. Right now, it's Ashley's tummy that gets all the attention, because the baby is really restless.
"This morning I had a Snickers Bar and a Dr. Pepper for breakfast. I was doing good, but we're in the home stretch," says Rodriguez.
Ashley can afford to splurge, since she's only gained 20 pounds, and her swelling, so far, is minimal. Swelling by itself is not a danger sign, unless it's associated with some other clinical sign like high blood pressure, and her blood pressure is pretty good. So on this last check-up, Ashley gets a good report, but it comes with some ugly advice when she mentions her ankle is hurting.
"Well, you know what? You need support hose," says Dr. Burkeholder.
"Ooh, it's hot outside, says Rodriguez.
"Yeah, and they're ugly too. You need them," says Dr. Burkeholder. Meanwhile, Dr. Burkeholder says for women who are swelling like this, it's going to get worse before it gets better.
"The swelling usually peaks the third or fourth day after delivery. So, they actually get worse after they deliver. Then it slowly goes away," says Dr. Burkeholder. Lucky for Ashley, she's wearing flip-flops for fun not therapy. She says she feels pretty good about this pregnancy.
"I've got leg cramps, and if that's all I have, we're pretty lucky. I'm made for making babies," says Rodriguez.
"So let's have 10 more, " says Ashley's husband Robert Rodriguez.
"We are not having 10 more!" says Ashley Rodriguez.