October 28, 2011

The Big Scan

These past few weeks, I've been pretty calm, not too nervous before our appointments. But for some reason - maybe because today was the big scan - I was much more nervous.

Last night when I measured my belly, it had shrunk a little. (I know, I know, stop doing that!) My chest has been sore and having shooting pains all week (which I read was normal, so I didn't freak out about those), but when I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night last night, I realized they weren't very sore. So the boob-poking, which I hadn't done in weeks, recommenced. Thankfully a few hours later, the soreness returned.

And, thankfully again, there was a heartbeat on the screen this afternoon. As well as:

  • a brain that was symmetrical
  • a four-chamber heart
  • a three-vessel umbilical cord
  • two kidneys

  • Kiddo is now exactly 1/2 a pound, about 7 inches stretched out, and measuring in the 60-65% range for all measurements but one. That one (I think it was a skinfold measurement on the head) was at 27%, but the ultrasound tech said it's tough to get an accurate measure of that and it was still within the normal range, so we're not worrying about it. Today is 18w0d, and everything except that measurement was in the 18w1d to 18w3d range.

    The only thing that concerned the tech was that my placenta appeared to be "marginal" - not covering the opening to the cervix, but right next to it. So she wound up doing a transvag ultrasound at the end, which thankfully showed it wasn't quite as close as she originally thought. It was more than 2 inches away (apparently within 2 inches is considered marginal), so she said it's low-lying. They'll recheck it again at some point.

    And that lady already knows me well. I asked her how long my cervix was and that I was worried about an incompetent cervix. She said she would only tell me it was more than 3 inches long and that she wouldn't give me an exact number because I'd obsess about it during every appointment. This was during the transvag ultrasound, and she also pushed hard on the lower end of my uterus to put pressure on my cervix. It didn't change, and she said the fact that it didn't soften or open a little bit was a good sign. Maybe doing that was just BS and wouldn't cause a change even in an incompetent cervix, but it worked, because it did reassure me a little bit.

    Two more weeks to the half-way mark. Six weeks to the edge of viability. Here's hoping those weeks pass really quickly. And, more importantly, uneventfully...

    October 22, 2011

    About What You Said...

    I love blogs, but one thing they don't seem to accommodate so well is a back-and-forth kind of conversation. There are a lot of times I want to respond to comments, but I figure if I do so in the comments section, most of the time you won't see them. Or if I respond via a comment on your blog, you may have to find your comment on my blog to figure out what the heck I'm talking about.

    So, if you have any suggestions on a better way to do this, by all means, please share. In the meantime, since this is the best idea I have, this post is going to be a random collection of responses to recent comments...

    * * * * *
    Enjoying this pregnancy - Based on a few comments some of you have made, clearly I'm not doing a good job of making it obvious how much I'm enjoying this pregnancy. I am, I promise. Truly, really, honestly.

    There's an underlying concern about whether it will end well, and I'm realistic enough to know that concern isn't going to go away. Sometimes the concern overshadows the joy, and I realize that's when I tend to post, so you're reading that part of it more than the rest. But the joy is definitely there, and in the day-to-day, it's usually much more prominent than the concern/worry/fear that something may go wrong. I'm even starting to relax a tiny little bit if you can believe that.

    * * * * *
    My weight and the brownies - I didn't mean to imply that I was going to try to gain 6.5 pounds in 3.5 weeks, only that that's where I should be if I was exactly spot-on with the peri's recommendation. But I know being a few pounds off from that is okay, and ultimately as long as Kiddo is growing appropriately, it's alright to be on the low side of weight gain. The brownies weren't an attempt to try to gain all of that weight, I promise!

    Speaking of the brownies, I definitely enjoyed them. It's very rare that I encounter a form of chocolate that I don't enjoy. :-)

    * * * * *
    Increased blood pressure / pre-eclampsia - Thank you for the reminders that a sudden increase in weight gain is something to pay attention to. I'm definitely concerned about blood pressure / pre-e issues, so I'm monitoring my bp at home a couple times a day. I took the monitor in to the peri's office a couple weeks ago to see how accurate it was compared to their readings, and it was very close.

    I'm also keeping an eye out for swelling, but so far I've only seen a little bit of it at the end of the workday, and once I come home and put my feet up, it's usually gone by bedtime. When I'm not pregnant, it's not too unusual for me to gain a few pounds over a couple days depending on what I've been eating, so I took the wait-and-see approach to this week's weight gain since I wasn't noticing any swelling, and I'm back down about a pound and a half.

    * * * * *
    Gender - A couple of you mentioned that you thought it was a boy for various reasons. I hope you're right!

    Someone (I think IRL, though I can't remember for sure) told me they knew of a couple who found out by giving a baker an envelope with the gender in it and instructions to tint the cake pink or blue on the inside so that they would find out when they cut into it. Given my fondness for baking, that sounded like a pretty neat idea, so I think that's what R and I might do. Although still not unless we make it to 30 weeks. For some reason, that's the milestone that's sticking with us as the point at which we might be comfortable finding out.

    * * * * *
    On a related note, attachment - We're definitely already very much attached to the baby, even without feeling the kicks/movement yet. We have been since seeing the heartbeat for the very first time. I know there's no point in pretending otherwise.

    But somehow in our minds, we've made distinctions between 1) the baby we see on screen each week, and 2) the idea of actually taking a living, breathing, baby home from the hospital, and 3) that living, breathing baby progressing to the point of us being able to do things like dress her up in a tutu for ballet class or R taking him to fly model airplanes with R's best friend and his son.

    We know without a doubt that it would hurt like hell if something were to go horribly wrong. I guess what we're trying to do is limit the loss to that point. If we don't think about taking a baby home from the hospital and all those other fantasies that follow that stage, maybe we wouldn't feel those losses as much.

    * * * * *
    Planning - This one kind of goes along with the last one. As much as we're trying hard not to assume too much and plan for any of it right now, I did (albiet very cautiously) discuss picking a pediatrician and pre-registering at the hospital when the nurse practitioner brought it up during our appointment on Thursday. She was very proud that I was willing to engage in any sort of conversation about it at all. :-)

    * * * * *
    Maternity clothes - Since I still have all of my clothes from my pre-thyroidectomy days, so far I haven't needed to shop for anything other than larger underwear and bra extensions. But I was in Ta.rget the other day to buy a gift for someone, and I decided to be brave and wander through the maternity section.

    I don't think I'll be doing much shopping there, though. First of all, it was a tiny section - all of about two rows of racks. Secondly, half of the stuff in those racks was XS! (And the racks were full, so I don't think it was just that they were all out of the rest of the sizes and this was all they had left.)

    I get it that if you're petite to begin with, you're still going to need sizes that are on the smaller side even in maternitywear. But most of this stuff looked like clothing that would be tight on a thin 10-year-old, much less an expectant mom. I had to wonder, just where exactly are all of these super-skinny 30-weeks-along pregnant women that the store's buyers are obviously buying for?

    Thank you to those of you who have suggested mail-order shopping to start with. I hadn't even thought of salespeople descending on me in the store. That's definitely something I want to avoid.

    * * * * *
    This post is getting ridiculously long, so I'll wrap it up. Next up: The details of our one-hour scan this coming Friday (18 weeks), unless I think of something brilliant to post before then.

    October 19, 2011

    More Happy Progesterone News

    It seems my body has gotten on board with its progesterone-producing responsibilities.

    During the previous test, it was 29 on one suppository a day. Monday's test showed a level of 39 after having been on one suppository every other day. So now I'm off the suppositories and will have another recheck next week to make sure the level is still okay.

    Also, about that weight gain thing - apparently all I needed to do was blog about it, because somehow I am now up 4 pounds in 5 days. I'm not quite sure how. I know I baked that pan of brownies, but there is still about 1/4 of the pan left, and R and my mom have eaten their fair share...

    October 16, 2011

    An Unexpected Challenge

    Since I've struggled with keeping my weight in a reasonable, healthy range for pretty much all of my life, I worried that I'd gain 40 or 50 or even more pounds if I ever made it to the end of a full-term pregnancy. I can honestly admit that back before we even started TTC, while we were still just in the thinking-about-it stage, it was more of a vanity concern than anything else.

    Now, I could care less about the vanity aspect of it, but I know that additional weight increases the risk of a lot of complications that I'm already at risk for. There are some risk factors I can't do anything about (age, IVF, PCOS), but I'd like to at least minimize the ones that are under my control.

    So imagine my surprise that here I am at 16 weeks, and I'm only up 3.5 pounds.

    This, despite 6 weeks of bedrest and minimial exercise since then. (Although I am trying to get into a regular, albiet very low-exertion, routine.)

    I don't need to gain a lot of weight during this pregnancy. The materials the peri gave me match what I've read online, which is that someone in a healthy BMI range (19-24) should gain 25-35 pounds for a singleton, a BMI of 25-29 should gain 15-25, and a BMI of 30 or above should be around 15 pounds. Since I was at a BMI of about 29 at the start of this pregnancy, I figure I should aim for an amount closer to the 15-pound end of that range.

    I think the peri is thinking something slightly higher, because I asked her in general about my weight gain a few weeks ago, and she said to aim for about 10 pounds by 20 weeks. Which means I've got about 3.5 weeks to gain 6.5 pounds.

    Normally that wouldn't be a problem for me. But I guess my body is burning a lot more calories than I realized in this process, and apparently I'm not eating enough for that. Although I certainly am eating!

    It's not like I'm dieting or skipping meals or anything at all like that. In fact, I baked a pan of brownies yesterday. (Accidentally used 1 1/4 cups of water instead of just 1/4 cup, but it turns out that if you turn the oven temperature down to 250 instead of 350 and bake them for an hour instead of 30 minutes, they turn out just fine.)

    I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining about this at all. I just don't want it to have a negative impact on the baby, although Kiddo seems to be growing fine at this point as far as all the ultrasounds show. At 18 weeks, we'll have the big scan where all the bones and organs get measured, so hopefully at that point we'll find out the percentile range the baby is in for size.

    With regard to the progesterone, I was supposed to get it re-checked on Thursday, but the order wasn't faxed over until Friday, so I just continued with the every-other-day suppository routine. I'll go get it checked tomorrow.

    As you've probably guessed, Friday's ultrasound went fine. This time, we could see the ribs. It still amazes me how we see something new during almost every scan.

    October 08, 2011

    Gender! It's...

    ...still a mystery to us.

    The answer is somewhere in our house, an ultrasound photo with a note on it, slipped inside a folded piece of the perinatologist's letterhead, stuffed in an envelope. I say "somewhere" because I told R to hide it, lest I become tempted to peek.

    During our weekly ultrasound yesterday (15w0d), Kiddo still wasn't cooperating on revealing the gender. Then suddenly the ultrasound tech told us to look away if we didn't want to know. She said she's 99% sure, because she was able to see both from the bottom and the side.

    At first, that made me think boy, because what would you see from the side if it was a girl? But then it occurred to me that not seeing anything from the side would also be a confirmation if she was thinking it was a girl. So who knows? Well, I guess the ultrasound tech does. But not us.

    I'm not sure yet when we're going to open it. Probably not unless we make it to 30 weeks. Maybe not unless we're on the way to the hospital for delivery.

    Or maybe we'll just let it be a surprise and then open it after the suprise has already been revealed.

    If we were "normal", if we hadn't been through the hell of the last 9 1/2 years, we would have found out yesterday. But R wants to stay as detatched as possible. We're afraid to start forming fantasies in our heads, and that's easier to do if we know "girl" or "boy", so for now we'll just hold off on finding out.

    And hope that when the time does come to open the envelope, R will remember where he hid it...

    P.S. I know I still need to post about progesterone. I underestimated the time it would take me to do schoolwork last weekend, which spilled over into last week. The short of it: three weeks ago, while on 1 suppository a day and 1/2 cc of PIO every other day, my level was at 19.7. And on Thursday, being on just 1 suppository a day and no PIO in more than two weeks, it was up to 29.something, so I'm feeling a bit better about it and hoping it's a sign that my placenta is kicking in. I'm now on 1 suppository every other day, with another recheck this coming Thursday.