Thursday, July 28, 2011

week 14: lemon

i'm not sure how a lemon is considered consistently bigger than a peach, or much smaller than next weeks fruit (spoilers!), but it's what the list says, and i'm going with it. apparently, the baby now measures 3 1/2 inches, head to bottom.

this week has had it's ups and downs.

the bleeding, and the trips to the hospital on sunday were definitely low points, but the problem appears to have resolved itself for the time being. the bleeding tapered off slowly, and took a couple of days to diminish to nothing. yesterday (thursday) was the first day with none at all.

on the positive side, i'm now quite certain that i'm feeling the first hints of movement in there. it's not a lot, and i tend to notice it most when i'm lying in bed first thing in the morning or last thing at night. it's a really nice feeling - not squirmy or uncomfortable, just light flutters.

the baby has a real nickname now, too. our friend c has been enjoying the fruit references, and started referring to the baby as 'fruiby'. it stuck. and i kind of like it :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

yesterday SUCKED

early yesterday morning i woke up with bleeding. i've had a little bit of spotting earlier in this pregnancy, so i didn't worry about it too much (it's always stressful to see blood when you're pregnant, even if it's only a little bit). i just put a liner in to monitor he quantity, and went back to bed.

when i got up a couple of hours later there was more blood than expected on the liner, and more when i went to the toilet. i tried to remain calm, but didn't like what i was seeing. by 10:30, i decided to call my ob/gyn's after hours number (it was sunday) to discuss it with them and ask them what they thought. my ob/gyn works with a small practice of 5 doctors, all of whom are women, and one of whom is always on call to directly answer questions or deliver a baby. i didn't get my own ob/gyn but one of her colleagues. she asked me a bunch of questions, gave me a list of symptoms to watch out for, and said that there wasn't anything to worry about at this stage, but that i should take it easy and try not to worry.

but it was a worrying and stressful day. every time i checked there was more blood. i got more and more anxious. it wasn't the bright colour that indicates miscarriage, but there was just too much of it. i couldn't understand why it wasn't stopping. i cried a lot.

by the evening, i was pretty sure i needed to see a doctor, so we went to the women's hospital. we waited for about three hours to be seen, and when we were, the doctor gave me an (incredibly painful) internal exam. she ascertained that my cervix was closed (good sign), but agreed the discharge was a bit worrying she said "you might be having a miscarriage, you might not. go home and call your ob/gyn in the morning." i lay there on the bed for about 10 minutes crying. then cried all the way home. s was worried and upset too. neither of us knew what to say.

when we got home s suggested i call the ob/gyn again to let her know what had happened and ask her if i could come in first thing in the morning. the same doctor was on call, and she could hear that i was upset, and told me to come down to the labour ward at frances perry, where she had an ultrasound machine and could check the baby was ok. it was 11:30pm on sunday night at this point, so she was definitely going above and beyond to reassure me. we got in the car and went down there.

the nurses were lovely, and they made us comfortable straight away. the doctor was there within minutes. she had a look at the baby, and we could see straight away that it was moving about, and that it's heartbeat was strong. she explained that the blood was most likely from a small clot on the placenta, or from a broken blood vessel in my uterus, but showed me that there were no big dark sections in the scan which would indicate a large amount of hemorrhaging. she said that the baby was big enough and strong enough to cope with this kind of bleeding without being harmed in any way. she told me to keep an eye on it over the next few days and to make an appointment with my regular ob/gyn in a few days if it didn't stop, so we could have a closer look.

we left feeling incredibly relieved. i've since had a pretty good sleep, and the bleeding appears to have stopped for now. one in five women experience varying degrees of bleeding during pregnancy, so there is an extent to which it is quite normal, but it's so hard to know how much is too much, and when to ask for help. i am very worried about being an over-anxious patient (oh yeah, i'm so hardcore i do meta worry), and pissing my doctors off with too many concerns and fears. but i also want to be responsible about taking care of myself, and i want answers when i am feeling frightened. it's a difficult line to walk.

it's now 10am, and i just got a call from my ob/gyn who wanted to check in and make sure i was ok. i'm so glad we chose these people to look after us during this pregnancy - they are really excellent doctors, and extremely understanding people. which is a less common combination than you'd expect.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

maybe baby

this afternoon i watched maybe baby by shannon o'rourke. it's a documentary that follows six women (most single, one lesbian) as they try to conceive through iui and ivf.

they all had different experiences, one got pregnant on her first try, another miscarried, another used donor eggs as well as donor sperm. what they had in common was a powerful longing to be mothers, and a willingness to do whatever was in their power to make that happen.

as i watched, i identified so strongly with the longing that they felt. i recognised the shaking hands holding the home pregnancy test. i understood the mental bargaining that they did with themselves, the hopeful planning they all did as they waited...

but in the end i've been more struck with the differences between us.

as they talked about the financial, physical and emotional cost of the fertility treatment they received, and as the camera followed them into doctor's surgeries and focused on needles, stirrups, and catheters, i was reminded of how grateful i am that we weren't forced down that path.

when they received bad or disappointing news alone, when they attended doctor's appointments on their own, i thought about what a wonderful partner i have in s, and how lucky i am to be taking this journey with her.

when they recounted how many months and years they had tried and failed to get pregnant, i thanked my stars that it only took us three cycles to get pregnant. i mean, i have wanted this for a long time, and i definitely feel like i've been on a journey to this place for years (planning, hoping, preparing...) but at the end of the day, i really only had three cycles of anxiously hoping, with the real possibility of a pregnancy at stake.

so, i guess i'm just spending some time being grateful this evening. grateful for s, grateful to our donor, grateful that my body did what i needed it to (and continues to!), and grateful for the little person that we're all waiting to meet in january...

Friday, July 22, 2011

week 13: peach

this is the first of the second trimester, and i've been feeling great about that. there is so much anxiety and trepidation around the first trimester, and i've been very much looking forward to it being over and done with. the next big relief will be getting to 24 weeks, which is the stage at which the baby has a chance to survive if it's born prematurely.

this week i've had a bit of trouble with food and digestion. i've experienced heartburn for the first time (i was never prone to it pre-pregnancy), and had a couple of major stomach upsets associated with the types and quantities of food i'd eaten. i learned early on that 'small portions of plain food, regularly' was the way to go for me, but i've forgotten from time to time and overdone it a bit either with richness, spiciness, or amounts. the results have been... ugly. i'll try to learn from my mistakes!

we got the results from the bloods that the ob/gyn ordered last week, and they showed that my vitamin d levels are low. it's no big deal, i just have to take a specific d supplement in addition to my pregnancy one.

as i mentioned earlier, we had the 12 week scan, which was wonderful. i'm hanging out for the 20 week one now!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

12 week scan

we had our 12 week scan this morning.
it was great to see the baby on a bigger screen, with better imaging equipment. we got to hear the heartbeat, and see so many more details - hands, thighs, spine, brain. it was wonderful!
all the measurements were age-appropriate, and all major structural things were present, so the baby seems to be growing and developing normally at this stage.
we got to have a really long look because it took the sonographer quite a while to get a good view of the nuchal fold (which is the main thing we were there to see!). stubborn baby kept rolling over and doing headstands and things. i had to cough, roll around, drink a lot of water, take a ride in the elevator, go for a walk, all to try and get the kid to move in the right direction, but we got there in the end, and the results showed that there is a 1 in 6950 chance of the baby having downs syndrome, which is extremely low, and means that we don't need any further testing.
here are a couple of pictures:

 i love the profile in this one - you can see the little nose and lips

the 4d scans a kind of creepy and eerie, but cool at the same time.

i left the place feeling completely elated and glowy. it's funny, this baby's with me all the time, but i feel like we visited it today. it feels so much more real, safe, and alive when i'm looking at it. i think that's partly because it's still too little for it's movements to be felt. im sure it will make it's constant presence known soon enough. and i can't wait!

Monday, July 18, 2011

faqs for the masses

we've found that there are some questions about the baby-making process that we are asked over and over, so i made this faq sheet. this is partly because some people are shy about asking questions, and partly because answering the same questions several thousand times gets a little old...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

everything is better in tiny

i am doing my best not to get carried away with buying baby stuff. but it is HARD! baby stuff is so cute!

luckily, and we're not pink-for-a-girl/blue-for-a-boy kind of people, so that narrows things down significantly. my friend siobhan pointed me towards love it, love it, love it (their website is very flaky, so if it doesn't work, try again later), and they have adorable, bright, fun kid's stuff. i had to restrain myself from buying one of everything.

which isn't to say that i restrained myself completely...

our baby is already the coolest baby i know, and it isn't even born yet!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

week 12: large plum

this week the baby is the size of a large plum. there's something very satisfying about this. it's getting more and more substantial, and safer every day. incredibly, almost all of the baby's basic physical structures have been formed now. organs, bones, limbs, they're all there. all it has to do for the next 6 months is grow and get stronger.

i've had a relatively good week. everyone around me, including s, is sick, and while i've felt a bit snuffly, and had a touch of sore throat, my immune system has been doing a valiant job of keeping the germs at bay. i'm doing my best to support it by resting, taking vitamins, eating lots of citrus, and drinking all the fluids i can handle. and let me tell you, when your bladder is all squished up by an ever expanding uterus, that makes for a looooot of trips to the bathroom.

my boobs have been really sore for the last few weeks, and they seem to have become noticeably larger, if comments from friends are anything to go by. my bras still fit for now, but i may need to look into getting a couple of bigger ones soon. boo. i hate bra shopping.

there haven't been a lot of other pregnancy-related symptoms going on in my body. i'm not feeling sick, my hormones seem to have settled a little since the other week (though i'm sure i'm in for many more ups and downs along the way), and i'm generally feeling pretty normal. i'm keeping my fingers crossed that things stay uneventful.

 this week i also:
  • joined the australian breastfeeding association, who provide information and support for breastfeeding. this will be particularly useful and important if i have a caesarian birth, because that can pose problems for breastfeeding.
  • booked a baby capsule for the car. i wanted to make sure we could book the exact one we wanted, and you have to get in alarmingly early to do this. we're likely to buy things like the cot and the pram, but it's much cheaper to hire the capsule, since the baby won't actually use it for that long. i was really happy with the service at the place we used.

Friday, July 8, 2011

week 11: lime

this week has been better than last week, but so busy! we moved house, and it was very frustrating not to be able to lift heavy boxes, or move furniture. i've been doing what i can, and there's been plenty to get on with.
it's great to be in our new house - the house we'll bring the baby home to when it's born. the house they'll grow up in. it feels good.

this week we had our first obstetrician appointment. we really like the woman we've chosen. she is calm, sensible, respectful, and she has a sense of humour. she definitely makes me feel confident that she knows what she's doing, and we're safe.
she had ultrasound equipment in her office, so we got to see the baby for the first time. it's little heart was beating, and it was such a relief to see it. it made everything feel much more real. once we'd seen it, we decided that we ha to tell people - we're not quite at 12 weeks, but we just couldn't keep it in any more. here's a picture:

i'm hoping to make some more varied posts as soon as we get the internet connected again. but it's fruit in the mean time! :)