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.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

6+1 - big but little changes.

At the moment, I am hyper-aware of every little thing. I wanted to write some things down, for posterity. Part of me knows that there is a chance this could all be taken away from me. This feeling does not overwhelm me but it is there, it it what it is. It won't be through anything I do, just an unknown and unknowable milieu of micro-vessels, positioning and chromosomes.

I am a little bit queasy. This has just come up over the past couple of mornings, later in the day if I delay eating a minute after I get hungry. The nausea is nothing that some simple carbohydrates cannot promptly fix.

I am starting to get less anxious about my food cravings, namely that I will gain too much weight and get diabetes. Indeed, sweet food is neither here nor there. I am all about the savoury and salty food. My drug of choice at present is fast food potato cakes, with lots of salt and vinegar. I have limited myself to no more than one PC per 24 hours, some days I have a PC free day. Though I would like to do an experiment whereby I consume PCs until the desire is extinguished. I wonder how many I will get to. I have lost interest in meat, except for that contained in Dim Sims (steamed, in my defence) and salami (cooked up in a pasta sauce of course).

I am getting the odd cramp in my belly, some dull, some sharp and unilateral. I am told that this is normal, with the uterus increasing its blood supply. I didn't have any pains last time. The boobs are doing their boob thing.

Mostly I have good energy levels, this arvo I could have done with a nap. My patients and co-workers were no doubt grateful that I was able to push through.

Horrible news of violence and war from overseas would previously have made me sad, but not emotional. Today, I saw a teacher who died shielding his students from the gunman in Florida, and burst out crying. My fella is out for the evening but I felt I needed comforting. Other news stations were barely less emotive, so the TV is off for newshour.

It has not all been about the pregnancy, though I am told by reliable internet sources that the emby is about the size of a pea, at present.

Perhaps mercifully, there has been plenty to occupy my mind. From the collective rage and blustering and supporting my trainees after the RACP exam fiasco, to finding some solutions to tricky problems at work, to thinking about my boss and my ex, who are both sick.

I have my viability scan on Friday. I have taken it as a morning off work, I don't have work in the afternoon. It'll be a day off. I'm not nervous about the ultrasound, not at the moment, what will be will be.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

BFP. ODAAT.

I had been tossing up whether to blog about this.... I've been talking about the IVF etc so much in this forum it would seem remiss.

Anyway, about 5 days after my embryo transfer, I started getting cramps, like an impending period. "Oh don't worry," my internet friends would say, "it could be implantation cramps".

"Yeah, right" I thought.

I found that 10 day wait really hard. Mainly because I thought I was just having to wait till I was disappointed again, and I just wanted to be put out of my misery.

On day 7, feeling really cagey, I thought "oh what the hell, I'll just pee on a stick (POAS)".

For the first time in 2.5 years, there were 2 lines.

It took a few days for that to sink in. Finally, on day 10, I went to go and get the official blood test, at sparrow fart in the morning. I worked the morning session and tried to chillax in the afternoon, having swapped my sessions.

The IVF doc rang. My HCG was in the comfortably 4 week pregnant range, as was my progesterone. My BFP - IVF forum lingo for Big Fat Positive.

I asked her a question and she told me to stop googling. I argued with "but I google scholar....". She said to go and get an ice-cream. It was a hot day. I did what the doc said.

Since then, my mind has been a bit all over the shop. I am one minute dressing my hypothetical baby in a cute onesie. Other times I am worried to the point of tears that the pregnancy will go down the route it went last time. I am trying to live in, if not the moment, then what I have to do in the day in question, and not think too far ahead, at this stage.

I have resisted the urge to look at the stats. I know that with my age my chances of all not proceeding are higher than average, but it does not do to dwell on that. Waste of time and energy, for starters. Hence I have done a good job of distracting myself, plotting world domination, et cetera.

It seems a long time to go till the viability scan. Just under two weeks, seems ages away. I am taking it One Day At A Time (ODAAT). The time will pass, it is up to me as to how anxiety filled it is. What will be, will be. The future is not really ours to see.

At a work  meeting, my male colleague, whose wife is pregnant, got a hearty slap on the back from the male seniors/head honchos. I wonder whether the congratulations to me (if forthcoming) will be different. Along with the slight fatigue, the munchies and sore boobs, my angry feminist side seems to have popped up.


Monday, 29 January 2018

Inferno. The download and the 10DW. Plans a and b.

Melbourne has been positively INFERNAL the last few days, though thankfully the cool change has come through this evening. Our evaporative cooling chose the few days before the heatwave to bite the dust. The repair guy told me the cooling unit was 17 years old, which was an excellent innings for a cooler. I duly ordered a portable aircon on the internet - dispatched to the warehouse last Wednesday. I went to the Toll warehouse to see if I could collect it  on Thursday, but I was sent away, that they could not possibly retrieve it for me. Hence we spent the weekend with a small portable aircon which was far more effective at making noise than at cooling.

I had my solo embryo downloaded yesterday. It has been a fairly emotional run up. I have been feeling the progesterone flu hard. Wanting to cry at this thing or that thing (or nothing much). Feeling irritable. Wanting to eat all the things. Fortunately, not all of these things occur at the same time.

In the US, it's called the 2WW, the 2 week wait - the period of time between the transfer and the pregnancy blood test. In Australia, it's 10 days. The 10DW (10 day wait) is tough. You have to avoid soft cheeses, alcohol, spas and saunas. It's hard to forget about, and just a matter of getting through the days as best one can. I have come up with a list of strategies.

Things to do
  • put shampoo-in rinse in hair to make the colour a bit brighter
  • Get eyebrows waxed
  • Get pedicure
  • write papers
  • See I, Tonya
  • Draw things
  • Raid freezer and cook things from it
  • Read my book
For the day of the test, I have decided that I will get the blood test drawn early in the day, and get the results rang through after my clinic is finished, in the late afternoon. I don't think I will manage if I have the results and have to work after. Either way. I will arrange to meet up with my fella for some quiet time to let the results sink in.

I have plans for if the embryo transfer doesn't work out. I have put a paper in for presentation at a conference in Vienna. I have made arrangements with my internet diet guru friend to help contain (not eliminate, contain) any comfort eating and/or drinking that may occur. I will book in some 1:1 training with my crossfit coach to nail some skills

I have no plans for if the pregnancy test is positive. It's been so long, 2 and a half years. I may find it hard to find the joy in it, such will be the fear of having another miscarriage. I will need to think of some ways to nurture myself and my partner through this period, also. I have no ideas. Maybe a google search?

Another great distractor is that we are looking at doing a knock down rebuild for our house. Lots of internet browsing at house designs.

I also bought myself a pair of shoes. I can't get the image pasted here, but google Senso Mackenzy heel in ebony. They are beautiful. I could not find them new online, but I found a pair in my size on ebay, pre-loved. They are badass shoes. I saw them on a girl in a cafe and she told me the brand, I tracked them down. Commitment.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

#fitAF, My fitness story.


This post might be boring to anyone who is not me.

The above is a picture of myself power-cleaning 42.5kg, I am mid-air. I am blurry because it is a fast movement.

I go to crossfit 5 or 6 times a week. I see my box-mates more than I do my family or non-crossfit friends. Hence it is quite a big deal in my life. So I am gonna write about it.

I am now coming up to 3 years since I joined the Holy Church of Crossfit, and I can say with confidence that it is the best thing I have done, fitness wise. It is not for everybody, but it is for me.

I was never a fit or sporty kid at school or even really uni. I had my greasy nose in a book most of the time. I could not jump high or run fast, which was a big deal back in the day. Yet I am willing to bet that many of my athletically talented primary school contemporaries are now sliding into a middle age spread, and can barely touch their toes. (Though I have stalked Narelle, my school arch-enemy, on Facebook. She is a personal trainer who says things like "dream believe achieve"....I can't even. Silly Mole.)

I started running a lot when I had a bout of depression in my late 20s. I was not particularly good or fast at that, but I worked my way up to a half-marathon. I was running to "lose weight". I didn't lose a lot.

I had a second bout of depression, then a divorce. I upped my game to a full London marathon (distance ran proportional to trauma - here is hoping I never wish to run an ultramarathon), but got injured after so stopped. I trained with a now defunct running group. I still catch up with the women who I met there. Fabulous women, about 6 of us!

About 4 years back, I started doing some boot camp stuff with a lady whose alias shall be J. A lady in her late 40s, she was clawing her way through the menopause, one knee-destroying, crop top wearing, laser skin rejuvenation marathon at a time. At the time I thought she knew her stuff. She had a garage gym set up. She would look us up and down after we came back from holidays to see whether we had gained weight. She did not believe in positive reinforcement, and didn't like it when we cheered each other through a workout. She screamed and yelled. I trained with her for about 18 months. All the while, I was coming to an increasingly firm conclusion that she was, in fact, a bit of a cow.

One day, I had a tough day at work, and was in the thick of writing up my PhD. I did not go right to the end of a stair run, and one of the other bitches girls who was there dobbed me in. J yelled at me to do it again. I said "No.".

I never went back after that.

I had been a bit curious to try Crossfit, but it looked a bit scary. The official intro video showed fit people doing scary things. I ramped up the courage to call the owner, to see if I could try, and to outline my concerns. I did a trial session and from then on, I was hooked.

Soon after I started, I did run for the kids, and sustained a nasty sprain to my ankle. That cooled things for a bit. Then I had the infamous pregnancy/miscarriage event of 2015. I didn't train that hard until I finished my PhD at the end of 2015/early 2016.

The main improvement I have made since doing crossfit is in my strength.

Optimized-strength-standards-1024x352

I am in or near the "Strong" category relative to my body weight for all the moves listed above, except that I cannot do an unassisted pull up.

There are things that I can do that I could never do before I started, or even a year in. For example, we did 100 sit-ups for time yesterday. I did that without taking any more than a 2 second break.

I have been introduced to the wonderful world of Olympic lifting. I still giggle when I ask coach to come and watch my snatch. I clean weights better than I clean plates. 

I am not very fast, but I can jog 5 kilometres when the fancy takes me. I might struggle with 10 but it would not take me too long to train to it.

As with most things, though, most of the limitation occurs in the mind. There are a few things that I have not made much progress on - pull ups, kick up to handstand, and box jumps being the main things.

I realise that the error that I make with these is that I expect improvements to be made in large chunks rather than in small increments. These are "can or can't" movements but there are levels in between. I need to train with that in mind. Thankfully, our coaches have designed the program that allows us to make continuous incremental improvements without having achieved the complete movement. The coaches also let us know we are improving. I nearly did a kick up to handstand today! Not long now.

The other error that I make is that I compare myself to others, and get discouraged when I see other (often younger, skinner athletes) people pulling ahead of me in a workout. Hence, I have taken to consciously blocking them out and focussing on my own game.

I also used to freak out and slow the hell down when I got uncomfortable. I learned to deal with discomfort and work to the edge of it.

These skills - chipping away at things, enjoying the process and the millimetre increments, focussing on my own game, and dealing with discomfort - have bled over into other areas of my life.

That, for me, is the most powerful thing.

Also, though I have a bit of a belly and am fatter than when I thought I was fat, I have far better body image. I cringe when I hear women telling other women about "fat burning" or "not getting too big". and things along those lines. Crossfit delights in strong women, who sweat and cuss and grunt and have muscles and hand calluses.