Sunday, 17 June 2018

22+5 - Kicks

Melbourne has well and truly descended into winter. Today the rain fell down in sheets and the mercury struggled to get past 12 degrees. Meanwhile, my tummy has popped out and I am looking proper pregnant, as opposed to "has she been getting into the donuts?". After we came back with a good-looking ultrasound a week or so ago, I have finally capitulated and bought some maternity wear online. It is comfy, I can tell you that.

In the last couple of weeks, I've also been getting more and more movements from the little lad. I enjoy lying quietly awake in bed in the morning or night, feeling him move. He also seems very active when I sit down around dinner time. It's a lovely lovely feeling.

I have heard it said that it is very common for new/impending parents to plan house renovations. The reality of our upcoming move and house knock-down is looming larger. We have found a house to rent, a little bit further away from town than what we are currently, but it will be a nice comfy domicile to which we can bring our new baby. They also accepted our dog, which is good.

There is a streak in me that, when I am busy or things are challenging, I have to make them more so. I have been picking up extra sessions at work, we could always use the extra $. Also being busy makes one sharp, or so I think. I have had only one  episode of preggo-brain...that I can recall.

I work with a fair few women in some of my workplaces, and talk has turned to modes of birthing and feeding.

I am of the firm "whatever works for the individual mum and baby" school. Also, to my relief, I don't attach any particular self-esteem to having a baby out the exhaust pipe (as opposed to the sunroof). I hope to be able to breastfeed, but I have no opposition to topping up with formula where required. What I am very staunchly opposed to is people, even professional midwifes, making mothers feel guilty if they can't or don't want to breast feed, and making some go to extraordinary lengths to breast-feed, through low supply, exhaustion and bouts of mastitis. It is true that women put a lot of pressure on themselves to be "natural". I am wont to do that, but I am gearing towards the "get through the day with everyone alive and well and fed" school of living. Also, nothing about the conception was natural, no need to start now. I also pity the person who tries to guilt me into anything, I am a keen reader of the medical literature, and I am very swift to rebut people who I think are wrong or out of line.

We say all these things; I wonder how I will actually feel when the time comes?

Monday, 28 May 2018

19+6 weeks - Changes.

I've just gotten back from a lovely week in Palm Cove with my fella. It's been a while since we've just chilled out and spent time together, seeing each other at our best. We snorkelled, saw fish, cruised down the Daintree river and saw some little crocodiles, walked through the Daintree Rainforest and marvelled at the trees and enjoyed the forest sounds. We slept in, basked in the warmth (where we could), ate good food.

It was right back into work today. The weariness crept back quickly. It is almost anticipatory in nature - we have a big month coming up. Soon the demolition on our house will begin to make way for the new one. I made sure to speak to our neighbour, who grew up in this house, before we proceeded, just so she was prepared. There was a bit of tearfulness but she was ok.

As to the pregnancy, there have been a few changes. I am getting a definite bump. My proper pants officially do not fit, or they need a belly belt to hold them up. I am trying to respond to the bodily changes with a mix of calm, wonder and bemusement, rather than alarm. I am trying not to worry too much about weight gain. In any case, I don't seem to be gaining alarming amounts.

Preggo hormones relax all the smooth muscle in the body - the muscles in the blood vessels, the gut, the urethra (wee hole). Hence I am dizzy when I get up too quickly, I have some good going reflux, and a sudden cough or sneeze makes me sweat or dash to the loo. Yes I am doing my pelvic floor exercises. Funnily enough, there is an app for them, it is amusingly called "squeezy".

My predilection for salt and vinegar chips continues unabated. Samboy SnV chips are king. They give me a mild sweat, which could be the strong vinegar taste or could be the MSG. I am not sure. Fehlberg pickled onions are also king. They give rise to the delightful symptom of preggo farts.

I can manage all my daily tasks, however they wear me out a lot more. I need to be more diligent about hitting the sack early.

I am still doing crossfit, though my strength as well as my aerobic conditioning have decremented. I need to concentrate on enjoying what I can continue to do. I jumped rope this morning, even slipped in some double-unders.

I am wont to have tears sting my eyes much more easily now than before. It does not take me much to feel emotional. I am told that this is a permanent thing. I feel quite vulnerable at times, and very attached to my loved ones. I am looking at little babies (particularly little boy babies) with interest, striking up conversations with the mums about prams and carriers and whatnot.

I am seeing my obstetrician for the 20 week visit on Wednesday, and having the ultrasound next Friday. I think I will feel a bit more relaxed after that. The anxiety from the last scan has not quite gone away.

It's gonna be a busy couple of months. It's really been all about work and the pregnancy. I need to make time, after the move, to catch up with friends, see some movies. I've retreated into books and phone scrabble for recreation.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Regrouping - 16 + 5.

I've not had a great deal of time to contemplate the pregnancy. I've been working super hard, covering extra sessions, earning extra dollars. I've also had a nasty lurgy and needed a day off sick in amongst all of this. It's ok having a cold when you can take all the drugs. Now I can take very few of the drugs and it takes the discomfort up a number of notches. I even had to miss crossfit for a week!

Somebody asked me a week or so ago "have you bought a pram yet?"

That day, a friend offered me her Silver Cross pram. She was going to sell it on ebay, and offered to sell it to me a bit cheaper than she was intending to sell it on the net. I snapped it up. A cursory google search showed that the Silver Cross is the Range Rover of prams, and they go for about $1000 a pop at least. My friend, a mumma to a 3 year old boy who will be stopping at 1 child, gave me a big bunch of stuff including a cot and a change table and baby clothes. I've been told not to buy too much, I will get given a bunch of things for the baby.

I've bought elasticated waist pants and jeggings (jeggings FTW), but have not yet been able to bring myself to buy maternity gear, or buy baby stuff myself.

I went to the Myer baby clothes section yesterday, and wound up crying soon after. I tried again today, same deal.

I am starting to get excited about the pregnancy, but a large part of me does not want to engage too fully, lest I lose the pregnancy. My trigger is going to buy baby things. I am scared of jinxing the situation.

I think it will get better once I have had the 20 week scan. Once I see a proper bump. I still don't really look pregnant, just a bit "thicc". Reassuringly, my jeans waist is getting tighter by the week. I've bought a "belly band" online to keep my jeans in action for a few more weeks.

I am hoping this lurgy gets better this week!

Thursday, 26 April 2018

And breathe out.

The first trimester ultrasound found something in the heart. At that time, it could have been an isolated finding, a part of a complex genetic syndrome (one that I faintly remembered from my time in medical school all those years ago), or part of a more complex cardiac condition.

The obstetrician/sonologist appraised us of the percentage likelihood of each thing, that it was more likely to be normal than not. She wanted us to wait another 3 weeks for a review with a cardiologist, plus/minus an amniocentesis.

We were devastated. Percentages mean nothing, one either gets a disease or doesn't - they don't get 5 or 10 or 20 per cent of a disease. We needed to get it sorted out, and we could not wait 3 weeks. We did not get much sleep that night. It stopped us in our tracks.

I requested chorionic villus sampling, as this could be done earlier along. I spoke with my obstetrician, who spoke with the sonologist. This was promptly arranged, three days after the initial ultrasound.

The CVS was physically and emotionally painful. Seeing the fetus on the ultrasound, knowing that a needle was going into the womb. I kept thinking "sorry little mate". The local anaesthetic didn't work very well, and I jumped a bit. The womb shifted. The sonologist told me that she had to make another pass. I started sobbing, and they left me for a bit to pull myself together. My fella held my hand and cried with me. The procedure was completed, I was sore and sorry, we were pretty subdued. I slept the rest of the day. I took the next day off. Luckily, the next morning, some initial results were available. The syndrome had been excluded. I felt superficially happy, but numb. It had been a harrowing week.

We went away on a weekend trip we had planned for months. We went to a restaurant called Brae, and stayed in the boutique accommodation. I don't know that we were in the right frame of mind, we were a bit tired, and pregnancy is not really the time to try new sophisticated tastes. Still, it was lovely to get away with some reassurance.

The following Wednesday, I went for a job interview. This is a role I had applied for a while ago. I spent a bit of time preparing for the interview, mainly because I wanted to slay it and get the role, but also as a bit of a distraction from what had been going on. I managed the interview well despite my nerves, was able to give comprehensive answers to all the questions, and did not have any brain-farts (which I have had before in interviews). I decided that, whatever the outcome, I would be proud for holding it together and not having a brain fart during the interview. I was very jittery after. I didn't know how I would manage if I didn't get the role - I've had a few fails in the past year or so, missed out on a few roles, and this with the infertility stuff has been an assault to my self-esteem. I did my trick of planning nice contingencies.

I had a call the next day - the panel was very impressed, and I got the job. A senior colleague on the panel knew about my pregnancy and told the head of the panel - they gave me the job anyway, saying they wanted the best candidate for the job. I am not sure how I felt about this news being passed on, but it saved me the awkies of having to share the news myself.

I was buoyed by this news, but still in the back of my mind was the worry about the pregnancy. I stayed away from people who I thought would tell me "it'll be alright" - that may well be true but it does not help me. I preferred instead to stay distracted. I threw myself into writing a paper, into Bachie in Paradise. My mindset changed from frightened to hopeful.

On Tuesday, I got the final results from the genetic testing, and had a review by a cardiologist specialising in congenital heart disease. The genetic testing was normal, and as far as the cardiologist could tell at this early stage, it appears to be an isolated anomaly in the heart, unlikely to be of any consequence.

My partner is still quite traumatised and not quite reassured by everything, but he is getting there.

I am feeling overwhelmingly grateful. Grateful for the care and love I have received, grateful that good things are happening. So grateful I get emotional when I think about things.

I am getting my head back into the game. The next thing is to get my flu shot, and to plan the babymoon. Can't go anywhere much because of Zika. Have found some nice places in Australia though.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Foetus, interruptus.

We went for our first trimester ultrasound yesterday. The one that yields the photos that accompany the formal pregnancy announcements.

It took ages, and I had to empty my bladder and jiggle around to get things in the right position for optimal growth. There was abdo-cam and dildo-cam and every angle was taken.

The first warning was the time it took to do the scan. I didn't think it would take that long.

The second warning was being led out to the back room by the obstetrician.

It's not a normal ultrasound.
I have arranged some further tests.
It might be ok but it might not.
That is all I am saying about that, for the moment.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

11+5. Pagan festival of Chocolate. Imma doing OK.

And Happy Easter Folks!

I'm just sat on my couch, after cooking up a storm for dinner. My friend has left, my fella is at a gig, I'm nibbling at my chocky treats (Haigh's, no less), torn between craving and feeling full.

I'm still a bit sick sometimes, but no voms. Most of the food aversions have passed, I managed to cook a beautiful lamb roast today. I followed Nagi's advice of starting the roast in the slow cooker, then browning in the oven. It threatened not to work out, as I didn't give it 10 hours (only 3 or 4) but the result was succulent. I made roast tatties which didn't work out as I wanted them, but were delicious. All the other food was made with loads of fat and or cheese/cream. It was delicious. The Piece de Resistance was an apple and raspberry cake I made for afters. I was a woman possessed. It's the most cooking I've done in a while.

I have continued being hungry, but have seen my way to healthier foods. By healthier, I mean tins of spaghetti or baked beans, rather than fried foods. I am enjoying carrots, but with lashings of french onion dip (the less fancy the better). I am requiring fewer strawberry milkshakes to get me through. Fruit wise, it's all about the pink lady apple. I am coming back around to meat and curries. When I was in the midst of the food aversions, I felt like they would never go away, but here we are.

I have been enjoying Crossfit, enjoying breaking a sweat with my friends. Perhaps the reason why I am enjoying it so much is that I am just enjoying what I can do, rather than going hell for leather or trying to compete. I have been able to do the majority of what is programmed and I am proud of this, and proud of knowing my own body. I did get  a bit of pain about the pelvis last week, during a certain movement, which freaked me out a bit. The calming words of my friends and the obstetrician were effective.

I had been missing wine (or more correctly, sharing a bottle with friends and having a nice buzz with it). This nostalgia is settling. What I really get excited about nowadays is the afternoon nap, especially when I have a day off or finish early. I have tried to get through a day during the Easter break, go a hard-core all-dayer, but alas I have not managed it. Mama needs her rest.

Despite the fatigue and the seediness and the aversions and the cravings, it all seems a bit unreal. Even having seen the 10 week scan. Even as my pants get a bit tighter and I buy elasticated pants or clothing with a bit of give in it. It was only a couple of short months ago that I was planning the contingencies for if the pregnancy test came back negative (buy a car, book a holiday - I have done neither). How life can change. I am aware of how easily it might all go away, so hard was the pregnancy to come by. It seems a little indulgent to believe it.

Life is getting hectic, with the pregnancy, work, house renovations. I am taking it one day at a time, and in so doing I mostly avoid being overwhelmed. Perhaps it is the pregnancy hormones making me feel calm, but I have been practicing the art of telling myself I am doing fine, doing a good job. Even typing this seems a bit weird, I am not used to patting myself on the back. It does reduce the reliance on people telling me. I get the feeling that this might be a good skill to have as a parent.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

8 Weeks. Seedy queen.

It's really starting to sink in, this preggo business.

Over the last week or so, I have been starting to feel ill. It is not limited to the morning, but occurs every time I get hungry. I have about 2 minutes to get something to eat before I feel sick. Thankfully, I have not vomited. I hate vomiting, it is a traumatic experience.

More prominently, I am getting food aversions. I have gone right off meat, unless it is contained in a dim sim (steamed, in my defence), a Maccas cheeseburger, or a sausage. I can only really manage salads, not steamed vegetables.

I went to a barbecue yesterday, I ate the meat sparingly, but felt personally victimised by the complete lack of any potato-based foodstuffs. Surely a potato salad is mandatory at a barbie?

My tastes have become more bland. I prefer salty food to sweet food. I have gone off coffee a bit, and don't like the idea of red wine, however a sneaky glass of champers on my birthday (39!!!!)  was thoroughly enjoyed.

I can only stomach a chocolate milkshake after my crossfit workout. A small one. In my defence, it contains protein.

I can't tolerate much food at a time, and have been a convert to the "small amounts frequently" school of food consumption.

I know that my food choices aren't the healthiest, but it's really about getting through the busy days feeling as good as I can. Toasty cheese and tomato sandwiches have replaced fried goods. I am enjoying fruit, so I eat sufficient quantities of this. I am (mostly) doing the best I can. Besides, I figure these food preferences must serve some biological purpose.

I have been talking to my sister, she had identical food preferences during her first trimester. Down to the Chocolate Milkshake cravings.

I have developed a supernatural sense of smell. This is a little unfortunate, working in health care and living with a dog who sometimes does excited piddle leaks. I can also get quite dizzy when I stand up- the progesterone is working its magic on my blood vessels.

I have been doing crossfit. It makes me feel good to feel capable and work within my limitations (mainly feeling a bit seedy and sometimes dizzy) but still get a sweat happening. To know that the 80% effort I can comfortably muster is actually better than the 100% effort of last year. I have been doing the crossfit open, and have seen improvements.

It is reassuring to be having these symptoms. I didn't have them as strongly last time.

Still, it is hard to get too excited. I look back and ponder what I have been through, and how depleted I felt up to the time I got the two lines on the stick. It's quite unsurprising I find it hard to get excited. It'll come, hopefully, all going well.

In recent months, have made friends with some funny and irreverent infertiles on the 'gram. A couple of them have made the decision to stop treatment. I completely get where they are coming from. There is more power in walking away from what is not working than in pining for something that is moving further and further away. There is space for them to grieve. They seem better now.

As always, I have had plenty of other things to do and think about. Our impending house knockdown rebuild. Some papers I have to write. A job application. Normal life goes on.