Friday, November 25, 2011

week 31: four navel oranges

fruiby is growing so fast that his size can no longer be described by individual fruits! he needs a whole fruit bowl!

thankfully, things have settled down since the dramas of earlier in the week. i have had an ecg, and an ultrasound of my heart to check what's going on in there, but i'm yet to hear back about the results. i expect that we'll get some info on that around the middle of next week.

our obstetrician is part of a practice of five obstetricians and two midwives, and they like their patients to meet all of the staff before giving birth, in case your particular ob can't be present. that way you're not in the hands of a complete stranger if your usual ob is with another person, or sick, or can't be there for some other reason when the time comes.
for this reason, our scheduled appointment was with a different ob this time. she was just as friendly and capable as our usual doctor, so it was no big deal. it was the day after we got back from sydney, so i was feeling incredibly tired, and completely over talking about my health and my body. i told s how i was feeling before the appointment and she did a lot of the explaining, which was lovely of her.
we had a listen to fruiby's heart, felt my tummy, took my blood pressure, and measured my fundal height, and everything looked good.
we talked about the fact that he is so big (i think i mentioned in my previous post that he is in the 97th percentile for his gestational age), and i asked if that was something i should be concerned about, given that he's more than two standard deviations away from the mean baby size, which denotes statistical (thought not necessarily literal/physical) abnormality. she said that the margin of error in the actual measurements at this stage is about 15%, so he may not actually be as big as all that, but that to be on the safe side i should take the glucose tolerance test to be extra sure that i don't have gestational diabetes, because that is the main thing that causes babies to be extra big. i'll be taking that on tuesday. unlike the glucose challenge test that i took the other week, i have to fast before this one, and it involves two blood tests instead of one, with a two hour wait between them. more of a hassle, but hopefully not too big a deal.

i'm starting to get a little more uncomfortable in my body now. sitting down for too long is unpleasant, and lying in bed in one position for too long makes my hips and legs ache. basically i am behaving like a restless child, unable to just sit still!

i'm getting some round ligament pain as my belly gets bigger. it's not unbearable, but it's certainly annoying and uncomfortable. it kind of reminds me of period pain, but i think that's more because of it's location than it's nature. i'm yet to experience any crampy, contractiony type pain. i wonder if i will get braxton hicks contractions or not?

energy levels are still very low, but i'm taking a super-strength iron supplement that i hope will kick in soon. this should also help with the breathlessness and dizziness too, as low iron means that your blood isn't as good at transporting oxygen around your body. fingers crossed.

i am loving the movements i can feel now. i am much more aware of them because they are so much more pronounced than they have been. it is so cool to feel the bumpy bits of his little body, and have him kick back when i poke him. that definitely makes the discomfort worthwhile.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

adventures in sydney: from the hilton to the hospital

on sunday, s and i flew up to sydney for a little holiday. we'd planned a couple of days of fun, and were looking forward to it as out last just-the-two-of-us holiday before fruiby arrives.

we decided that since we were only going to stay for a couple of days, we'd do it in style. we checked in to the hilton, where our lovely room was on the 35th floor with a beautiful view of the town hall.
 view from our room: town hall and queen victoria building.

self portrait in hotel room

we had tickets to see bell shakespeare's julius caesar at the opera house so headed down to the harbour for that.
s and the bridge

in retrospect, that's where i started to feel a bit strange, but i put it down to general pregnancy weirdness. s noticed that i wasn't feeling super well, and we weren't very impressed with the production (portia was chewing the scenery, caesar had the weirdest fake accent, and the rest of the cast were generally underwhelming), so we decided to duck out at interval. we'd planned to go to food society for dinner, but s was worried that i looked to pale and unwell, so we went back to the hotel, ordered room service, played cards, and watched a couple of movies. it wasn't an exciting night out, but it was very relaxing and enjoyable. and since s and i are total nannas, it suited us very well.
i never go anywhere without a deck of cards

the next morning we partook of the hilton's amazing buffet breakfast. i bloody LOVE a fancy buffet breakfast, and this one was particularly good.

fortified with danish, fruit, yoghurt, juice, and whatever else we could fit in our tummies, we boarded the monorail (how could i forget to take a photo of the monorail!?), and headed to the powerhouse museum for the harry potter exhibition.
it was absolutely brilliant.
there were hundreds of costumes, props, and set pieces from the philosopher's stone, to horcruxes, four-posters from the gryffindor common room, beauxbaton & durmstrang uniforms, collections of items from different staff members' classrooms (including lupin, umbridge, snape and sprout), quidditch memorabilia, books, wands, sweets - there was so much to see. i took a couple of photos, but they in no way do the exhibition justice.
buckbeak and a baby thestral 

'weasleys wizard wheezes' products, and educational decrees 

fawkes and some sweets 

me, sitting on an armchair in hagrid's hut. s had to help me out of it!

there was a store at the end, and i was hoping to get fruiby a stuffed hedwig or crookshanks but they didn't have any plushies at all. the merch was actually quite limited, which was surprising given the many, many things they could have had (time turners, stationery, marauder's maps, all kinds of sweets, books, etc). we picked up a few things though:
a quidditch tee shirt for fuiby (probably for when he is about 18mths...), some chocolate frogs, some bertie bott's every flavour beans, and a hogwarts tea towel.

after the exhibition we had some lunch, then went for a little wander around the shops. i don't have a lot of energy at the moment, and my feet swell up to alarming proportions at the drop of a hat, so we didn't do heaps of shopping, but we did have a good look around in kinokuniya, the MOST wonderful book shop. i was particularly excited by their range of stationery and art/design books
 a tiny portion of the stationery at kinokuniya

i tried not to go tooooo crazy. i bought some small stationery items (including washi tape, some letter-writing sets, and a bunny stamp), and the japanese version of cath kidston's 'stitch'...

... and a few books for inspiration in my sewing designs

we were both thoroughly exhausted after that, so we went back to the hotel, where s had a nap, and i had a pedicure
crimson toes

then it was time for a late dinner in luke mangan's restaurant 'glass'.
s's dinner: poached marron, corn-fed chicken, garlic cream, heirloom carrots, puffed quinoa, ginger jus gras
e's dinner: darling downs 200g beef fillet, cauliflower custard, caramelised fig & endive
s's dessert: coconut and mango bombe alaska with lychee salad
e's dessert: chocolate and tonka bean bavaroise with peanut ice cream

the next morning we had another delicious buffet breakfast (only better than the last because this time we knew which were the most delicious things!), and went for a look around the shops. i was having to stop pretty much every ten minutes for a brief sit down because i was so tired and my feet were so sore, but it was fun to look at the pretty things.

when we got back to the hotel to collect our bags, we sat down in the foyer to have a drink and wait til it was time to head off for the airport. as i sat, playing a game on my phone, i suddenly started to feel very strange. my head felt like it was expanding, and i got very hot and sweaty. s tried to talk to me, but i couldn't really respond, and i felt very vague and woozy. the feeling only lasted for a minute or two, and i felt ok again, so i decided i was fine, but then ten minutes later it happened again.
i decided to call one of our midwives back in melbourne to tell her what happened ask her if she thought it was wise for me to get on a plane. she said i should definitely see a doctor before flying, so s went straight to the concierge who contacted their in-house doctor.
the hotel staff sent us back up to our room, where i lay on the bed for a while until the doctor arrived. she asked a lot of questions about how i was feeling, said 'oh dear' a lot, then took my blood pressure, which was 160/120. not good. she sent us straight to the royal hospital for women with a letter explaining what had happened so far.
when we got there, they admitted me pretty much straight away. they took some blood, did an ecg, and put bands around my belly to monitor fruiby's hart rate. they also took my blood pressure again, and it had dropped to a much better level.
monitoring fruiby 


the doctor decided that she wanted to keep me overnight, which we weren't happy about, but we knew that they were just trying to be thorough about checking everything. the staff were all so nice, and they even gave us a private room so that s could stay with me rather than having to find a hotel. we were extremely grateful for that, because i was there as a public patient and they were not under any obligation to be so kind and accommodating.
we were pretty well set up for an overnight stay, as we had all our holiday luggage with us. we had pj's, toothbrushes, etc., so we were able to make ourselves comparatively comfortable. the food was appalling (hospital food of the most stereotype-fulfilling proportions), but the nurses gave us their folder full of take-away menus and we ordered thai food. we entertained ourselves playing cards, and messing about on our phones/ipad.
take away on the antenatal ward

we both slept surprisingly well that night, in spite of s's bed consisting of a fold-out mattress on the floor, and my needing to be woken for various tests at different times. the next morning they did sever al more tests on me, almost all of which came back clear. my ecg from the previous day was the only exception, showing that my heart is enlarged, and that i have a murmur. the doctors told us that we would need to have that checked with further tests back in melbourne, but that it wasn't serious enough to stop me flying.
we had a serious of ultrasounds to check on fruiby (one of which was internal, which i was less than happy about - i had really hoped to get through this pregnancy without one of those!). he looked good, though they showed that he is a giant, in the 97th percentile for his gestational age (i'm now even more pleased to be having a caesarian).
the doctor wanted to make sure his heart rate and activity levels were textbook perfect before giving us the all clear to fly. this meant that i had to wear the belly bands again, and wait until we had a steady baseline of heart rate with regular spikes of movement.
waiting for the right read-out

for the first few hours fruiby was really active so we didn't get a baseline. i lay there getting more and more sore and uncomfortable while that little boy danced a jig in my belly. then one of the midwives suggested i sit up to make myself more comfortable, and he essentially went to sleep - we got that perfect baseline, but no movement spikes. it was so frustrating. in the end i ate a bunch of chocolate, drank half a bottle of coke, and poked him a lot to try to make him move, and that seemed to do the trick. we were finally given the all-clear to go, but had to wait for the resident to come and do the discharge paperwork. nobody could find her and she wasn't answering pages so we sat there for three hours waiting to be let go. we were so tired and overwhelmed by everything, that this last long, pointless wait was particularly hard to take. we were finally free by about 5:30, and got straight into a cab to the airport. we were prepared to wait a while for a plane, but the man at the qantas service desk took pity on us and got us on that was due to leave in about an hour. when we got on the plane, i asked s to show me a face that demonstrated how she was feeling about everything...
s is VERY happy to be heading home

j and j (fruiby's oddparents) picked us up and bought us home, which was so incredibly lovely of them, because we were just so exhausted and strung out and not having to deal with catching a cab was a relief. as soon as we got in the door we had showers, fed the pets, and tumbled straight into bed.
so i think we can safely say that our lovely little getaway didn't turn out quite as expected, but we're all safe and sound, and that's the main thing.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

week 30: large cabbage

fruiby is now the size of a large cabbage. this is making me think of cabbage patch dolls, and wonder if they were that creepy when i was a kid. back then i just thought they were cute, but they are kind of scary looking to me now... 

last weeks glucose challenge test also involved taking some routine bloods to check my levels of miscellaneous vitamins, iron etc. i heard back from the ob/gyn this week, and she said that my iron levels were low and i should take a supplement. for comparison's sake, last time they were 28, and this time they were 6. that might go some way to explaining the magnitude of this tiredness i'm always complaining about! i started taking the supplement a couple of days ago, so we'll see if that helps at all. i'm still pregnant, and i still have cfs, so i doubt i'll be springing about all perkily any time soon, but it would be nice to get a little relief.

i'm having to be a bit careful when i get up from a sitting position, as i am now getting quite dizzy when i do so. it usually passes quickly, but i just have to remember to go slowly because i don't want to faint or fall over.

fruiby has had a few very active days this week, so i assume he's doing fine in there. he'll sometimes respond with kicks if i give my tummy a bit of a press or a poke, but sometimes he ignores me. and fair enough too - it's pretty rude of me.

only 9 weeks til we meet him!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

baby and childrens' first aid course

this morning s, along with our friends s&r, went along to a baby-and-child-specific first aid course run by st john's ambulance. it went for a few hours and covered a lot of useful information about a range of injuries and illnesses that can effect children and what to do if and when they occur. we covered everything from bruises to amputations, grazes to snake bites, fevers to seizures, and then some. i must admit, by the end i was a little freaked out about all the terrible things that can happen to kids, and surprised that any of us managed to survive into adulthood at all, but i was very glad to have gained some practical knowledge and skills for dealing with emergencies.

s, asking if i really am going to be taking photos of everything she does (um... yes?)

i felt like these mannequins were staring at us the whole time. kind of creepy.

r, practicing cpr on an adult mannequin

s and r learning how to do cpr for infants

s, practicing the technique for stopping a baby from choking

s, perfecting the technique for administering an epipen.

in the end we actually absorbed a LOT of new information, and i am very glad i took plenty of notes. they also gave us a really good reference book, with clear information about dealing with accidents and emergencies (and lots of helpful illustrations), and we'll be keeping that handy just in case.  

this was a really good experience and well worth taking the time to do.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

week 29: butternut pumpkin

yes, folks, we are in the realms of pumpkins and melons now. shit is getting real.

this week involved another routine trip to the ob/gyn (they're fortnightly from now til 36wks, and weekly after that), where i had my glucose challenge test. see this post for details. i have since heard back from her and i 'passed' the test. no gestational diabetes for me! hooray! i've had some comments from some people seem to have been a bit hurt by how blasé i was about the test, having had negative reactions to it themselves (mainly nausea from the drink). i didn't mean to downplay their experiences, and i hope they didn't feel marginalised by my subjective description of the test. i tried to explain my feelings about it in a reply comment on lj which i think bears repeating here:
"... my issue is with people making other people unnecessarily scared and anxious by telling horror stories. it's the same with mothers telling pregnant women their awful birth stories - what do they hope to achieve by this?
i got so anxious about taking this damn test, and i was really quite annoyed that i went through all that turmoil for something that wasn't even remotely unpleasant for me.
it's one thing to warn people and say that they might experience some negative side effects, and another to deliberately try to frighten them for the sake of it."
so, my apologies if i hurt your feelings, and hopefully you'll understand where i was coming from.

fruiby seems to be doing well in there. he definitely has days of being more active, and days of being more relaxed and quiet. on the quiet days i have to remind myself that everyone has varying levels of energy and activity from day to day, even unborn babies, and that just because he isn't dancing a jig in there, it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with him. and sure enough he'll be wriggling around cheerfully again the next day.

he's head down, which explains the pressure i've been feeling on my bladder - i'll go to the bathroom, and then sometimes feel like i have to go again literally 5mins later, it seems the pressure is triggering the 'need to pee' sensation. my hips have also been a bit sore (especially at night when i've been lying in the same position for too long), and i guess having a head wedged into my pelvis might have something to do with that too.

at the risk of this post turning into one long list of aches and pains, i also have to report a relatively consistent feeling of tenderness (like pressing on a bruise) in my upper right abdomen. i mentioned it to my ob/gyn and she thinks it's just the muscles stretching, so i'm not worrying about it, but it is oddly localised, and annoyingly THERE. hopefully it will go away as those muscles continue to stretch and change.

my fingers have now swollen up sufficiently to prevent me from wearing my beautiful not-a-wedding-ring*. my finger feels very naked without it, and i miss it's sparkly presence! i thought about wearing it on a chain around my neck, but i felt very anxious about the possibility of losing it so instead i'm tucking it away somewhere very safe until after fruiby is born.
my feet are also swelling up, charmingly. several pairs of shoes no longer fit. luckily the weather is warm and i only really want to wear birkenstocks and thongs anyway, and they tend to be less restrictive.

i sat my last exam for the year today, and fruiby was remarkably considerate. i was a little worried that he would decide to do some bladder trampolining or something, and distract me, but he seemed to sleep through the whole thing. preparing for that exam was an odd experience. i'm normally relatively aware of my own cognitive abilities (for better or worse), and can gauge how well i am learning and retaining information, but i really didn't feel that this time. my memory, my cognitive processing power, my grasp of language, and my concentration/attention span have all become unknown quantities to me in the last few months and that has been really disorienting. luckily i feel like i answered each of the four essay questions with sufficient detail and clarity to at least pass the exam, but i went into that room without any kind of certainty that that would be the case. it could have gone either way.

ok, i think it's time to wrap this unusually long post up...!

* gay marriage isn't legal in australia, but s and i wear rings on or left ring fingers, and we had a 'really big party' which was our equivalent of a wedding.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

a new nephew and a test

two days ago fruiby's first boy-cousin was born! he lives in perth (the other side of the country) with s's brother and sister-in-law, but we're pretty confident they'll have lots of opportunities to play and do mischief together.

may i present rafferty austen smith - the cutest thing out of subiaco since... well, ever:

today we had a check-up with our ob/gyn, who was happy with my tummy measurements and with fruiby's heart rate. my blood pressure is slightly elevated, but not to a point where we need to worry about it.

i also took the glucose challenge test today, since the pathologist is across the hall from the ob/gyn's office. i had been led to believe, through hysterical postings on pregnancy forums, that this test was a horrible ordeal and greatly to be feared, but since i have a couple of the risk factors for gestational diabetes i thought i'd be wise to steel myself and take the test.

i needn't have worried about it. the test consisted of drinking a bottle of sweet, slightly carbonated fluid (it tasted like extra-sweet sprite), waiting an hour, and then having some bloods taken (i don't mind needles, but even if i did, i wouldn't have been able to avoid this one because we were testing my iron and vit d levels at the same time).

even the wait between drink and blood test wasn't that arduous, because our ob/gyn had worded us up at our last appointment and told us to arrive early, take the drink, then have our appointment with her while we waited, thus using the time for something practical. i don't know what everyone was fussing about!

my main concern is with the possible results. i have been on some very restrictive diets in my time (what with all the tummy-complaints that go along with cfs), and the idea of having to go on another one isn't appealing. but it's preferable to being sick, so i'll deal.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

handmade gifts

we are really lucky to have a lot of creative and generous people in our lives. fruiby's first handmade gift was a cardigan from his nanna:

then our lovely friend jen knitted him a vest, and crocheted his first pair of cons:

and today, the gorgeous katie gave us these little booties:

this child is going to be rocking the handmade-chic look, and i am pretty damn happy about that.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

week 28: chinese cabbage

this week, fruiby is the size of a chinese cabbage, or wombok. 28 weeks is a very relieving milestone to reach. while babies born earlier often survive (with much medical intervention), their prognosis becomes a lot more positive after 28 weeks. this is mainly because their lungs are more developed, and they have more fat on their bodies. 

the biggest change for me this week has been in the kinds of movements i've been feeling. until recently i was just feeling what for fruiby would have been the stronger kicks and more pronounced movements, but now i can feel his more subtle and incidental wriggles, rolls, and rearrangements. it is the strangest feeling to have my hand against my tummy, and feel a little knee or heel go sliding past. i can't really identify which specific body parts are which, but i can feel their firm roundedness, and it's pretty amazing. the fact that there's a person in there is becoming more and more real to me.
s has had many more opportunities to feel kicks and movements (fruiby tends to be particularly active in the evening when we go to bed), and i'm really happy she's getting more opportunities to bond and connect with our boy.
ooh - and i can now see particularly strong kicks from the outside, which is cool, but unnerving, because it looks a little like he's trying to get out alien-style.

the tiredness continues unabated, and i am trying to manage it with judicious naps, and decent eating. my organs are definitely getting squished now, and my stomach makes the loudest and most pronounced gurgling/digestion noises whenever i eat or drink anything. seems like a vaguely tmi thing to mention, but it's really quite comical. i wonder if all that amniotic fluid in my abdomen is acting as some kind of amplification chamber?

speaking of food, i've been very keen on dairy this week. i've been particularly enjoying banana smoothies with breakfast (banana, milk, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, all blended together).

i have a big exam coming up, and summoning the energy to study every day has been hard, but i'm doing my best.

... and i think that's about where we're at!