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.