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. 

Thursday, 31 July 2014


One gestational sac.

One embryo.

One teensy, tiny, fluttering heartbeat.

One VERY relieved pregnant lady.

One super happy RE.

One RE's assistant who needs her clock cleaned for being an idiot, communicating poorly and causing unnecessary worry.

Oh, screw it.  I'm in a good mood today.  I'll let her off the hook.

One absolutely awesome group of strangers from the internet who remind me every day that I'm not alone, that there's a ton of people rooting for us, and that no matter how crazy I get, they're here for me.

And finally, one picture to sum up how I feel right now.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Beta #2: Bag of nerves

"The doctor would like you to come in for an ultrasound at 8:30 tomorrow morning."

Not exactly the way you want your RE's secretary to start the call with your second beta results.

My second beta came back at "just under 26,000".  I didn't get the exact number.  Now, here's the ironic part.  I had been all concerned that my betas were too high and that I might be having a molar pregnancy.  But apparently now my beta didn't increase enough for my RE's comfort.

What.  The.  Everloving.  Fuck.

Now, let's just start with the fact that everything I've found online tells me that once your beta HCG levels hit 6000 or more, your doubling time can drop to over 96 hours.  It sucks that I don't have the exact number from today, but even if we go with a very conservative 25,500 that still gives me the best possible doubling time of 107 hours.  Which is not that far above 96 hours.  Which I would actually feel kind of fine with otherwise.

It's the fucking urgency to get me in tomorrow morning that's killing me.  The secretary bumbled around with all kinds of reasons like "well, we didn't do your transfer so we don't know exactly what they transferred and when they transferred it and you didn't do your beta on the normal day so she doesn't have a good baseline to compare it to and she just wants to have a look."  I call bullshit on that, though, because I've already told them we did a 5 day single embryo transfer on July 9th, so they should know damn well that today I'm supposed to be 5w5d.  And a beta of 26,000 is still well above average for today.

I also have no idea what they're going to be able to see tomorrow at 5w6d, but the last thing I want (well, OK, the second last thing after dead/no baby) is "well, we can see something but we're not sure what it is so you have to torture yourself wait all weekend and come back next week."

I just wish one of my goddamn tests would come back normal.  Just one.  Now my stomach's in a knot of anxiety (which isn't good for whatever baby may/may not be inside me) and I just want to cry and go to sleep and have it be tomorrow morning and get this over with.

I'll update tomorrow when I can.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Too much of a good thing?

Sorry to leave you all in suspense after my last post.  I won't drag things out.  So far, so good.  I'm still pregnant.  VERY pregnant, in fact.

After my BFP we flew to Vancouver for my friend's wedding, where I did a piss poor job of hiding the fact that I wasn't drinking.  Turns out that if you're planning to lie about drinking gin and tonics, you'd probably better make sure the bar is actually serving gin.  Otherwise people will demand to know where you got it and you'll be forced to admit that it's actually just club soda with a lime in it.

Best movie ever!

Fortunately for me the person who caught me is a discreet friend, and I was able to get away with just explaining that we were doing IVF treatment without having to disclose the results.  Thank goodness for people who have no idea about ART timelines!

My original plan was to wait almost a week before testing again, but of course paranoia got the better of me and I peed again the day after the wedding (11dp5dt), which was three days after the first test.  To my delight, the line was darker and in fact was starting to eclipse the control line.  After that I was able to relax a bit, and M and I decided to let our moms in on the news.  We obviously cautioned them to wait for the results of a blood test before getting too excited.

On the second last day of our trip, I called my RE's clinic and was happy to learn that they had no problem scheduling me for a beta when we got back.  To make sure I wasn't going to be disappointed (and to quell the crazy voice inside my head that kept telling me I had no symptoms so hence I wasn't really pregnant), I peed again on 16dp5dt.

It was the weirdest test result I've ever seen.  There was virtually no control line at all.  All the dye got sucked up by the test line.  It looked like my chemical pregnancy pee stick, but in reverse.

I think I broke it.

Hilariously, when you're as pessimistic as I am you don't think "OMG look how pregnant I am!".  Instead you think, "Shit, I must have gotten a defective test.  What if they accidentally reversed the strip and I'm having another CP??"

Fortunately I didn't have long to wait.   This morning (19dp5dt, or 5w3d) I had my first beta.  The results were pretty shocking.


Yeah.  That's high.  Really freaking high, and to be honest it's scaring me more than a little bit.  My RE's office didn't seem concerned, but then again they seemed to assume I'd done a double embryo transfer and were surprised when I told them we'd transferred a single.  I asked them if there was such a thing as beta HCG numbers being too high, and they said no.  But Betabase is telling me that it's high even for triplets, and Dr. Google is frightening me with tales of molar pregnancies.  That would just be, like, the worst possible shitty icing on the infertility cake, so I'm doing my best to put it out of my mind for now.  A dose of reassurance from everyone's favourite infertile Ob/Gyn practitioner Jane Allen has helped immensely.  Molar pregnancies are extremely rare, and I know it's far more likely that I have either a very healthy singleton or quite possibly a set of identical twins bubbling away in there.  If it's the latter, it makes me even more happy that we did a single transfer!  I have a follow-up beta on Wednesday, and then they'll schedule me for an ultrasound at 7 weeks.

Oh, and my RE's secretary mentioned that I should get an OB referral from my family doctor and start thinking about which hospital I want to give birth at.  Yeah, OK, lady.  One step at a time here!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

20 seconds

Well, I managed to hold out until this morning.  8dp5dt.  I woke up at 5:30 in the morning and thought to myself:

I went to the bathroom, peed, and then did something I never do.  I watched the test.  Normally I turn that shit over, set my phone alarm and walk away.  This time I sort of figured that it might ease the blow if I just watched it the whole time rather than mentally torturing myself until the big reveal at 3 minutes.  

It took 20 seconds.

So, yeah.  This happened.

I want to be excited, but as I'm sure many of you know the experience of a prior chemical pregnancy kind of ruins that for you.  I guess we could say I'm cautiously optimistic?  The line is clearly much darker than it was for my CP, when I also tested at 8dp5dt.  No squinting or lamp light required.  Honestly, you could have knocked me over with a feather.  I had several crying spells yesterday because I've been so convinced that this didn't work.  I just somehow felt like I knew I wasn't pregnant.  The total lack of any discernable symptoms hasn't helped.

So what's the plan?  We leave for Vancouver early tomorrow, and my clinic doesn't do betas on Friday anyway ('cause no one gets pregnant on Fridays, duh).  I'm thinking that I'll bring my remaining test and take it somewhere around 14dp5dt, when the Czech clinic recommends testing.  If the line's still looking good I'll call my clinic and try to schedule a beta for when we get back.  It's still up in the air whether they'll do that for me at all, though.  Recall how unhelpful they've been with me getting meds and ultrasound monitoring because I'm not technically cycling with them or one of their "official" partner clinics.  I'm hoping the tune changes with an actual pregnancy though, since I'd be covered by OHIP again and hence them getting paid is no longer an issue.

Oh yeah, one last thing.  Last night just before bed I thought I glimpsed a teensy tinge of pink when I wiped.  I did the TP detective thing (including sticking my finger up there) but couldn't figure out if it was coming from me or possibly a slight discoloration from the progesterone suppositories.  This morning before I tested there was some very slight brown when I wiped.  I figure it's a bit late for implantation bleeding but I know spotting is super common, so I'm not freaking out yet.  But it's definitely contributing to tempering my expectations.

Now I just need to come up with a plausible excuse as to why I'm not drinking at the wedding this weekend!