Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Absentee Blogger turns out when I'm not dealing with the daily slings and arrows of infertility, I'm a really boring person.  I keep waiting for there to be something noteworthy for me to write a blog post about, but we're just basically trucking along on an even keel here.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining AT ALL.  And I'm not deliberately avoiding writing or anything, because hopefully you guys know me well enough by now to figure out that if you're not in a good place to read about my pregnancy, there's no hard feelings.  You take care of you first.

That said, here's what's new:
  • I seem to have gotten my acid reflux issues under some semblance of control.  My OB put me on twice-daily Zantac, and I've only had one more puking incident after an ill-advised large BBQ rib meal (but DAMN it was worth it).  In general I just find that I have to eat much smaller portion sizes than I'm used to, which means I'm pretty much eating all day long.  There's breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, lunch, afternoon snack, pre-dinner snack, dinner, and bedtime snack.  I'm literally eating like a hobbit.
  • Despite my prolific eating, I still don't have a real "baby bump".  I've put on about 6 pounds (which is on track for almost 16 weeks) and am definitely thicker around the middle, but so far I've been making do with my fat pants and a belly band.  When I finally told my dance classmates last night that I might not be doing the recital with them this year, they seemed pretty surprised that I was almost 4 months along.  Then they told me that, since I'm due in March, I have a whole three months to get back in shape and learn the choreography so I apparently have no excuse for missing the recital in June.
  • My sis told my 5 year old niece this weekend that there was a baby growing in auntie's belly.  Hilariously, my niece didn't believe her and immediately insisted on Facetiming me to ask me herself.  She didn't appear too impressed with my answer...I think she sees her days as the one and only child getting my attention coming to an end.
  • The name game has begun!  Even though we won't find out the baby's sex until the start of November, M and I have started tossing around a few suggestions.  I thought this would be fun, until I realized that his attention span for this activity is approximately 0.36 seconds before he starts firing out ridiculous shit like "Lando Boba Fett".  Also not helping?  The fact that he just recently finished binge-watching the TV comedy "The League" and now, in homage to the characters on the show, has begun to refer to our gestating fetus as Chalupa Batman.
Even I'm doing it too.
  • I had another OB appointment today and happily, Chalupa Batman's heartbeat was easily found and was thumping away.  I apparently have an anterior placenta (it's on the front of my uterus with the baby behind it), so that can sometimes make finding the heartbeat difficult because it's muffled.  It also will likely mean that I won't feel any kicks or movement until a bit later on, which kind of sucks.  Although I did have a moment other day when I thought I might have felt something...but then figured it could also be gas.  Given the amount of bloating still going on, if we're playing "baby or gas?" then there's a pretty good chance it's just gas.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Good news and gooder news

The good news:  We had our follow-up appointment at the OB's office today to get the results of our first trimester screening bloodwork.  Combined with our normal NT scan, our risk of Down's and other chromosomal abnormalities has been assessed as 1 in 37000.  Seriously, 37000?!?!  That's pretty damn low, and better than I could even have hoped for.

The gooder news:  That whole freakout I had about the possibility of having a single uterine artery (with its accompanying risk of birth defects)?  Totally unnecessary.  I asked the nurse about it today and she looked through our file, and saw that our OB had recorded seeing 3 vessels (one vein, two arteries) in her u/s notes.  If she hadn't seen the third vessel at all, it would have said "not visualized".  So either she found it afterwards when reviewing the u/s photos, or she saw it at the time and didn't communicate it to us.  Either way, another needless worry averted.  We have a normal umbilical cord.  Phew!

The prospect of us coming home with a real, honest-to-goodness baby in March is starting to feel more and more real!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

My first pregnancy puke

It happened the day I hit 12 weeks.  So much for the whole "starting to feel better in the second trimester" thing.

Honestly, I can't really complain too much about my first trimester.  My nausea was super mild, and though I was going to bed maybe an hour earlier than normal I wasn't particularly exhausted.  Then, somewhere around my 9th or 10th week, I started getting this really uncomfortable feeling of something being stuck in my throat from time to time.

At first I couldn't figure it out, until my brother in law suggested that maybe I was suffering from some kind of acid reflux.  I didn't think that could be it, since I wasn't getting any heartburn or anything.  But the symptom kept worsening to the point that I was getting it almost every day, sometimes all day, so I kept Googling.  My Google-fu didn't fail me, and I'm pretty sure I'm getting what's called silent reflux.  It's basically the same type of thing as heartburn, but rather than the stomach acid sitting in my esophagus and causing a burning sensation it's going all the way up to my throat instead.

If you're wondering what the sensation feels like and why it's bothering me so much, here's a handy home demonstration for you.  Find the hollow of your throat, and press your finger there.  Not so hard you choke, just lightly enough that you can feel your gag reflex sort of engage.  Now swallow.  That's how I feel ALL THE TIME now.  It's horrendous.  It's like a constant throat punch.

All day, err' day.

I've tried everything I can think of to make it go away.  I've eaten smaller, more frequent meals.  I've cut out citrus and tomatoes and chocolate.  I've chewed gum.  I've drunk baking soda mixed with water.  I've started eating Gaviscon like it's my job.  Some days are better, and I rack my brains trying to figure out what I did that made it go away.  Then it comes back for no reason I can think of, and whatever worked the day before doesn't work anymore.

Last Friday night, the day I hit 12 weeks, I was feeling so shitty that I had to force myself to eat a plain bagel for dinner.  I was starving but the lump in my throat had been so bad all day I was terrified to put anything in my stomach.  A few hours later, while getting ready for bed, I was brushing my teeth and made the mistake of brushing my tongue just a leetle too far back.  I gagged.  I thought I was gonna blow, then I didn't.  I made my way to the bedroom and sat on the bed.  M asked if I was ok.  Then all of a sudden I knew I wasn't going to be and ran to the bathroom and took part in that grand tradition of pregnant ladies everywhere, the porcelain hug.

And you guys?  When it was all over I felt like a million fucking dollars!!!  For the first time in days, the lump in my throat was gone.  Until the next morning, that is.  Apparently a whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter is more than my stomach can handle anymore, and it was back.  But man, it was good while it lasted!

So here I am, 13w2d today, and I still haven't figured out how to make it go away.  The only thing that seems to work for certain is puking, which I'm not willing to make myself do (no matter how good it would make me feel) because yuck.  And I'm sure it's not good for the baby.  But I'm really hoping my OB has some kind of suggestion at our appointment this Wednesday (possibly some kind of prescription acid reducer that's safe in pregnancy) because I might go insane if this keeps up for the next 7 months.

If anyone else has dealt with this particularly evil brand of reflux (or knows anyone else who has), and has some suggestions for me, please let me know!  At this point I'm not above voodoo or possibly the sacrifice of a small animal.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Looking for trouble

Infertility is such a mindfuck.  Even when you start to think that you've kinda, sorta started to leave it behind you, you realize how badly it's messed you up.

Case in point: on Thursday M and I met our OB for the first time to have our nuchal translucency (NT) scan.  It had been a month since our last ultrasound, so I was nervous going in but I'd been having enough ongoing pregnancy symptoms that deep down I thought everything would probably be OK.  And it was.  Our OB very quickly told me that I could take a deep breath because everything looked great.

Seeing our baby wriggling around on the screen was nothing short of surreal.  Both of us sat there, pretty much in stunned silence, as our OB pointed out various features and took measurements.  Almost as amazing as seeing our baby was watching M's face, filled with wonderment as he looked at the screen.  This was his first time seeing an ultrasound image in person and, as he told me later, he could have sat there watching it for hours.  I can't even explain how much I loved seeing him like that.

The NT part of the scan went fine, with a normal NT measurement (our OB didn't tell us exactly what it was) and a nasal bone clearly visible.  Then, towards the end of the scan, she started looking at the umbilical cord.  She got quiet for a while, and explained that she was trying to make sure that "all three vessels" were there.  After more poking around, she nonchalantly said something like "well I can see two, so I'm sure there's a third" and then she moved on.  At the end of the scan she congratulated us and I headed to the lab to have my blood taken for the rest of the first trimester screening tests.

We left the hospital walking on air.  We stopped for lunch and called our respective moms and told them the great news.  Then, back at the office, out of curiosity I Googled to find out more about the umbilical cord and the "three vessels".

That was a mistake.

In a nutshell, the umbilical cord is supposed to have three blood vessels in it: a vein which carries oxygen and nutrients to the baby, and two arteries that take waste products away from it.  Sometimes, in about 1% of cases, there's only one artery.  Most of the time this isn't a big deal at all, but on occasion it can be a sign of chromosomal or other defects, ranging from the minor to the fatal.

Now, let's just stop for a second and realize that my OB seemed completely unconcerned  about this.  At no point did she actually say that there were only two vessels, just that she couldn't see the third, which I'm sure is completely normal at this early stage.  The rest of the NT scan was perfect.  But what do you think I ended up obsessing over for the rest of the day?

M could immediately tell something was up, and I told him what I'd found.  He told me to stop worrying, but I didn't.  I kept Googling and making things worse.  By that evening, all of the joy that I'd experienced that morning had been sucked away into a vortex of "what if".  And the worst part?  It had started to affect M as well.  The happy, excited dad-to-be of that morning was gone, replaced by a husband getting increasingly pissed off that his wife just couldn't be positive for a change.

Later that night, he called me out on it.  He said that it felt every time we got some much-needed good news, I found a way to undercut it.  It was like I couldn't just let us be happy; I needed to find some problem to worry about or some way to bring us down a bit.  And he was absolutely right.  I've been doing this from the start, turning our high beta into an imaginary molar pregnancy or a day with a lack of pregnancy symptoms into an impending miscarriage.  None of which has come to pass.

I'm trying really hard to figure out why I do this, and of course it all comes back to three years of infertility.  How many times have I read about bloggers not being able to accept that they'll have a healthy baby in their arms until so late in their pregnancies?  I would always offer words of solace, and tell them that unless their doctor told them they had something to worry about then they should start trying to be happy and enjoy their pregnancies.  And now here I am, needing to listen to my own advice.  Not only for my own sake, but for my husband's too.  He deserves to have a happy pregnancy every bit as much as I do.  And I'll be damned if I let my insecurities take that away from him again.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

10 weeks, body image, and my life with a FUPA

My little brother was the first person to ever call me "fat".  He was trying to get under my skin, and boy oh boy did it ever work.  I was about 12 or 13 at the time, and I'd already been noticing that my body had lumps and bumps where other girls didn't.  Most noticeable (to me, anyway) was my lack of a flat tummy.  I thought about it in ballet class, using the full-length mirrors to surreptitiously check and see if any of the other girls in my class had the same little pooch below their belly button.  I thought about it at the beach, lying on my back and noticing the concave dip between my friends' hipbones while my belly stubbornly curved outward, despite the assistance of gravity.  I thought about it more and more as I got older and gained a few more pounds, most of which seemed determined to concentrate itself in the real estate directly beneath my navel.

Fast forward to university, I'd figured out some basics about nutrition and fitness and had managed to drop most of the excess weight I'd put on in high school.  But try as I might, no amount of step aerobics (ah, the 90s!) could entirely get rid of what my mother (who carries her fat the same way) referred to as my "pot belly".  Such a cutesy name for the bane of my existence!  Let's just call a spade a spade.  I have a Fat Upper Pubic Area (FUPA).

I know.  You don't need to remind me.

Given the inordinate amount of time and energy that I've spent lamenting and trying to get rid of the FUPA, it stands to reason that I've always wondered how I'd deal with weight gain in pregnancy.  For a while there it looked like it wasn't going to be an issue I'd have to deal with at all.  Except now it is, and I'm not sure I'm doing very well so far.

After my last post, the lovely Amber commented that the first few months of pregnancy "when you just feel fat and not really pregnant" can be hard.  I'm learning that this is absolutely true.  In the past when I felt my pants getting tighter, there was always a solution: I'd either been indulging too much and needed to cut back, or I'd been slacking on working out and needed to move more.  This time there's nothing I can do about it, and it's only going to get worse.  Don't get me wrong, I know that this is what we've been striving for and I wouldn't have it any other way!  But after 38 years of mentally conditioning myself to avoid gaining weight, it's really really hard to flip that switch to the off position.

The more I think about this stuff, the more I've been realizing that this is definitely an attitude that I don't want to pass on to our baby.  Whether we have a girl or a boy, I don't want our child to live in a house where its mother teaches it that a woman's worth is based on her weight or body shape.  I want our child to see that eating well and being active is good because it's healthy, not because it affects how you look.  Society and pop culture will do a good enough job sending those other messages anyway; I want our child to have a solid base of confidence from which to contradict them.

In the meantime, I've been trying to do a better job of choosing healthier snacks (because STILL SO HUNGRY) and getting out for more long walks with Buddy.  I even fired up my prenatal workout video again and am looking forward to starting dance class when the studio opens next week.  I'm not gonna lie; I'm still terrified about gaining a ton of unnecessary weight and having to deal with a saggier, flabbier FUPA when this is all over (at which point I've learned it gains the horrible, terrible nickname "mother's apron").  But even if I do, this baby isn't going to hear a single word about it.  Which will probably be good for both of us.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Fat pants

Yup.  I'm wearin' em.

I've gained a grand total of two pounds, which I think is probably OK for being almost 9 weeks along.  I'm actually surprised it's not more, given that I've been famished all the time and I haven't been working out.  I can't really do much about the former, but I have to admit I'm pretty ticked at myself about the latter.  After spending the better part of the last year and a half working out regularly and getting into the best shape I've ever been in, I've been letting it all go to hell since June.  First we had our big sewer backup, which effectively destroyed the downstairs area where I do all my workouts.  Then we were gone for most of July (to Prague and then Vancouver), and since we've been back I just haven't gotten into the groove.

I'm really just full of excuses.  I didn't want to restart my high-intensity interval and weight training, figuring it would probably be too intense for pregnancy.  But I waffled on buying any pregnancy workouts out of fear that I'd jinx the whole thing.  I finally forced myself to just pick one off iTunes, and I've done it exactly once.  I went into it with gusto, not realizing that two months off is a lot longer than it seems.  I hurt for days afterwards, and haven't done it since.  Add to that the fact that my nausea tends to act up in the late afternoon/after work/before dinner (which is exactly when I do my workouts) and it's just a recipe for laziness.

So I shouldn't have been shocked when I went to put on a pair of skinny corduroys the other day, only to be faced with some pretty serious discomfort and muffin top.  (Yeah, ok, the thighs were kind of tight too, so obviously this isn't just a belly issue.)  Lucky for me, I hadn't yet ditched/donated most of the pants that I was wearing before I went on my health kick, so a few of them are starting to make it back into the rotation.  


Otherwise, I'm actually pretty stoked because tomorrow my sis, her husband and my adorable almost-5-year-old niece are coming to Toronto for a week!  My niece hasn't been here since my wedding when she was 2, so this will be the first time that we'll be able to do fun kid activities like the zoo and the beach.  I don't know who's more excited, me or her!  It'll also be a nice way to kill some time between now and our NT scan/first OB appointment, which isn't until the second week of September.  Feels like a lifetime until then!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

So far, so good

Still here!  And still pregnant.  We had another ultrasound on Monday (7w3d) and baby (holyshitBABY!!) was measuring two days ahead with a heartbeat of 158.  We've officially graduated from our RE and don't have another appointment until our nuchal translucency scan around 11 weeks.  Guess I'll just have to somehow get through the next month assuming things are still developing as they should!

Actually, I'm weirdly positive about this whole thing. Weirdly for me, anyway, given my tendency towards pessimism in all things.  I think it might have something to do with the fact that we're not dealing with my crappy old eggs anymore.  Every time we did a cycle with my eggs, I knew the odds were stacked against us so I kind of just assumed that things wouldn't work out.  Knowing that my egg quality was so poor, I think even if I'd managed a sustained pregnancy I probably would have been super stressed thinking that it wouldn't last.  But because we're dealing with phenomenal 27-year old donor eggs, that worry is a lot less present right now.  It's not entirely absent, though, and so far we've only told a handful of people including close family and a few friends who knew we were going to Prague for DEIVF.

So yeah, things have been going pretty well overall.  At first I didn't have any morning sickness at all, and then when I finally got it a little bit it wasn't at all like I expected.  I always figured it would be like on TV where all of a sudden, a pregnant lady gets hit with a wave of nausea and runs to the bathroom to puke her guts up.  I'm sure it's like that for some people, but for me it's been more like a constant low-level generally icky queasy feeling that hangs around throughout the day, but never really gets bad enough to make me vomit.

And speaking of handling, the one pregnancy symptom that M has been loving so far: BOOBS.  I've never been particularly well-endowed, and when I'm working out regularly and eating well I can drop as low as an A-cup.  And, since I'm pushing 40, that A-cup has gotten steadily flatter and decidedly less perky as the years pass.

Not anymore, baby.  Right now I'm rockin' some tig ol' bitties!  Well, OK, I'm sure I'm only a generous B-cup at the moment but these things are defying gravity.  I take my bra off before bed and they do.  Not.  Move.  They're firm and proud and perfectly round.  It's like I've had implants.  Which, considering how much money we spent to finally get me pregnant, seems like a fair deal.  Luckily for me, my breasts have never really been that sensitive (playing with my boobs as foreplay?  You might as well be fondling my elbow) so I haven't had to worry about tenderness or anything that would prevent M from having tons of motorboating fun.

My trifecta of symptoms is also including freakish levels of hunger that come on with lightning speed.  I've been trying to eat smaller, more frequent meals but some days it seems like I can barely go half an hour without needing to eat.  If I don't deal with the issue right away, my body skips that in-between phase of "a little gurgly in the tummy" hunger and fast-forwards straight to "my stomach is devouring itself" levels of hunger.  I get cranky and confused and all I can think about is how soon can I get some food in my face.

All in all, things are have been pretty uneventful and that's just fine by me.