Monday, January 31, 2011

18 weeks

I could definitely feel the baby move around more this week. Obviously nothing too distinctive, but there was more "bubbling" happening in my abdomen. And although I don't look too different this week from last, I feel quite a bit different - this week I had a couple of days where it felt like my stomach was stretched tight (although I guess I could blame that on eating too much too!), or it felt like it was tingling. One day it even felt like I had put Icy Hot on the sides of my belly, which was a little weird, but I imagine it's just from things continuing to stretch out. My difficulties talking have unfortunately come back again. That was one of the earliest symptoms I had, which luckily had gone away pretty quickly, but now I'm having troubles finishing words/sentences again, which is both frustrating and slightly amusing at the same time.

I'm continuing to have some fairly mild cravings, in that certain foods almost always sound appealing but only rarely become something that I'm fixated on. I'm still eating more bacon and fruit than usual, and even expanding from my "normal" fruits (bananas, pears, strawberries, blueberries). So now I'm eating oranges, which I've never been too much of a fan of, but since I'm still craving fruit juice (and yet not drinking the juices I finally caved in and bought), that hits the spot better than, say, a banana would. I also have a newfound appreciation for cherries, which was fine when they were on sale the last couple of weeks, but harder to justify paying full price for them normally (i.e., $10 for 2 lbs, which wouldn't take me that long to go through). The other new craving is one that disturbs me a bit: chocolate. I normally tolerate to strongly dislike chocolate, so I was a little shocked at myself earlier in the week when I actually bought a Hershey bar at work - which I ate all of and then didn't feel so great. So in an attempt to manage this craving a bit better, I bought a couple bags of Hershey's Kisses and dole a few out to myself each day to take to work. That seems to be working out better, since I know if I just bought bars of chocolate I would probably eat too much at once again, which wouldn't be that helpful in keeping my sugar levels stable. So chocolate cake and ice cream are still out for me (based on the "did my stomach turn when thinking about eating it?" test), but it looks like I'm able to at least derive some enjoyment from chocolate bars, which is just bizarre to me given how long I haven't cared for chocolate. But hey, at least it's not pickles yet! :)

In non-baby-related news, our house is pretty much trashed right now. We had recessed lighting put in our living room a few weeks ago (we finally have light in there! I can read and actually see my book!), which prompted a few other smaller projects involving spackle and paint. Then we decided to finally move most of my remaining stuff from my mom's and Ryan's stuff from the other house - some of which ended up in the attic or sold on craigslist/ebay, but the rest went to live (for the near future, at least) in our dining room. Since we finally got the recessed lighting put in, which was a project we had talked about for probably two years, I think it helped motivate us to take care of another long-discussed project of replacing our bedroom set. While the old bedroom set is still in great shape and looks nice, it didn't give us as much storage room as we wanted and the style didn't really fit in with the rest of our furniture (i.e., minimalist and Swedish). So we embarked on an epic journey last weekend to pick up bits and pieces of our new (to us) bedroom furniture from Ikea, Rosslyn, and Centreville (thanks to craigslist). The new bed is put together now, which is really nice but unfortunately hasn't instantly fixed my sleeping issues like I was kind of hoping it would :( But now we have two dressers in the bedroom, and the old bed hanging out in the main floor storage area - that is, the dining room - until we can sell the old set. Maybe this is our weird version of nesting? Or maybe we just enjoy the added challenges of having an obstacle course as our main floor...

17-18 week comparison

Saturday, January 22, 2011

17 weeks

This week was marked by more crazy dreams (a True Blood/Weeds/Narnia hybrid somehow involving vampire pirates) and another episode of waking myself up with creepy laughing. I'm pretty sure I can feel the baby moving around now too :) The midwives said I should start feeling it any time now, and while I thought I had felt movement once around 13 weeks, I'm starting to think that was some flukey muscle spasm, because the movements now don't feel the same and are in a different location. So every once in a while it feels like there's some carbonation just below my belly button, which is a little odd but definitely cool. I'm not sure if the baby is going through a growth spurt or something, but I've been ridiculously hungry this whole week - like, within half an hour of eating, I'm already ravenous again. And not only that, but since I usually get a bit cranky when I'm really hungry, I've had a couple of days now when I've been in a terrible mood all day except for that half-hour window after each meal... poor Ryan :(

I also started yoga last weekend, which was a welcome return back to something I really enjoy. I started practicing yoga maybe 5-6 years ago, but then stopped a couple of years ago because I didn't want to deal with the stress of getting pregnant in the middle of a session (which probably wouldn't have been a big deal at all, but I get stressed about stuff like that - would I switch to pre-natal classes immediately after finding out I'm pregnant? If I didn't, would any of the normal poses harm me or the baby? Etc.). Obviously, the poses we're doing in pre-natal yoga aren't that intense, but I got some good stretching in, and I was even surprised that we were doing some of the poses we did, which will maybe help me calm down and not be so worried/conservative about doing anything - I mean, I've heard plenty of stories of people who keep jogging and working out while pregnant. Meanwhile, I get worried about going for too strenuous a walk. And I actually stayed awake for the relaxation/meditation section of the class! That's always been a mystery to me what goes on during that time, because in every class but maybe one in all the years I've been doing yoga, I've fallen asleep during relaxation/meditation. So even being arranged into the most comfortable position ever, courtesy of a whole stack of blankets, I managed to stay awake and get into a more relaxed state than I've been in years.

I also spoke with the midwives again to make a decision about the high risk doctor. I spoke with a different midwife this time, and she reiterated that the decision to stop seeing the high-risk doctor needs to come from me, as they can't really direct me to stop seeing them since they've provided a whole plan for my care and they believe it's medically necessary to continue seeing me. She assured me that the extra ultrasounds were ok, since I was a bit worried after seeing some research indicating that there were risks involved with repeated ultrasounds. She also told me that if I had come in without already having seen the high risk doctor that they wouldn't have referred me to them if IVF was the only risk factor I had, and she said that they consider me as having a normal pregnancy now, which is nice to hear. It still seems so strange to me that everything seems to be going normally now, so it's good to hear confirmation of that from my medical providers too to remind me that everything is ok. She did confirm that there is a higher rate of pre-eclampsia (and thus restricted growth) associated with IVF pregnancies, so they will be monitoring me a bit more closely for that, and we'll just have to take it as it comes if any ultrasounds do indicate that the baby isn't able to grow properly towards the end. So, we basically decided that I would continue seeing the high risk doctor as well, as long as my insurance will continue covering it. They must have just changed their forms after the new year, because prior to that, every visit to the high risk doctor involved me signing some form that stated they expected my insurance company would not pay the claim because they would view the treatment as not being medically necessary, and then it would include the total cost of that day's visit - which is a little unnerving to have to sign something each time agreeing to be responsible for paying potentially hundreds of dollars worth of costs for a 30-minute visit. So they've changed the form now so it's not quite as scary, but I figured I should still call my insurance company now that it's been a few months since my first visit to see if there are any issues with processing the claims for the high risk doctor.

A few more people know and/or guessed at work this week, and I'm starting to see why - this week I can definitely see a difference, and it appears that my usual work pants and jeans will only be getting a few more weeks of use out of them at best.
16-17 week comparison

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

16w4d Ultrasound

I had my first appointment with the midwives on Monday, which was great. I feel the most comfortable with them than any other medical provider I've been to, and my slightly more crunchy tendencies are welcomed :) So she listened to the heartbeat, said it was exactly where it should be and sounded great, and then we mainly just talked about my history and care under with the high-risk doctor, and we also touched on some other things we'll discuss in more detail later, like labor and hospital stuff. She also seemed a bit skeptical that I'm still considered high-risk just because this is an IVF pregnancy, but since they are considered the experts in high-risk pregnancies, she said she'd usually defer to the high-risk doctors' opinion if they really do think it's medically necessary to keep seeing me. She did ask me to call her back to talk about it more after I tried one more time to see if I really needed to keep seeing them too, since we're concerned if I stop going to them that it would burn some bridges that we may need later, and if it really is necessary, then obviously I should keep going to them anyway.

So I went in to see the high-risk doctor yesterday, which went well too. Everything was fine that they wanted to check on, and I asked again if I'm still considered high risk, and I again got the answer (from a different doctor this time) that they consider all IVF pregnancies as high-risk. I was planning on going back to them for the 20-week ultrasound anyway, but then the big question is whether I keep going back to them after that point for monthly ultrasounds. They confirmed that they do think it's necessary for me to keep coming back since IVF pregnancies tend to have a higher risk for pre-term labor, pre-eclampsia, and growth issues. They didn't know why that is, but at least with pre-term labor (and possibly the growth issues too), I imagine that can probably be at least partially attributed to IVF pregnancies having a greater incidence of multiples, which have a higher rate of pre-term labor (IVF or not). So I don't exactly buy this as a valid concern for my situation, but I also wonder how much it would harm things if I just finished out the treatment plan the high-risk doctor laid out for me, just in case. There are some concerns about repeated use of ultrasounds, and I'm also worried that I may be pressured to induce later on if they believe the baby isn't growing well (especially since ultrasounds are not always a very accurate way to determine weight), but I guess these will be things I talk to the midwives about later this week.

Anyway, onto the fun stuff. It looks like the baby had been working on a few new body parts since the last ultrasound, since now I was able to see its spine very clearly, and its fingers and toes got more distinctive. It was all curled up at first and then started kicking around and waving its arms, which was neat to see. And it had its mouth open, so if you look carefully, I believe you can see it sticking its tongue out :)


Saturday, January 15, 2011

16 weeks

This week was apparently the week of telling people at work. I had told my manager last week and let her know it was ok if she told other people, because I've been remarkably shy and awkward about telling people myself. So she told our director, I managed to tell one coworker on my own, and then another of my coworkers guessed that I was pregnant, which marked my first "are you pregnant or just gaining weight?" comment ;) Despite having a ton of maternity clothes in my closet now, I've only worn one shirt and one pair of pants so far, since I'm not big enough to really warrant wearing them all the time yet. But then my regular clothes don't really fit right now either, so I cleared out all of my old shirts that were either too short or too tight so I'd stop getting frustrated by trying to wear them, and the remaining pre-maternity shirts should last me for a little while yet. I'm refusing to get the Bella band or any of the other bands that serve as the "between sizes" fix so I could keep wearing my regular pants longer, since hearing that other people felt like "a stuffed sausage" in them makes me think that would not go well with how irritated I get when I feel constricted around my waist. So instead I finally tried the hairband trick, which worked like a charm! I just happened to buy a new pack of hairbands recently, which just happened to have colors that match perfectly with all of my work pants, so using that instead of the regular buttons should bridge the gap until my maternity work pants start fitting better.

As far as symptoms go this week, the main one was more RLP, since I felt some discomfort just about every day this week. The horrible sleep continues, although this week I actually took one of the maybe two naps I've taken yet this pregnancy. Given how exhausted I am every morning when I first wake up, I would have expected to be taking a lot more naps, but I usually do pretty well throughout the day (which is surprising, seeing as how before I could barely stay awake in the afternoons without my daily Mountain Dew), and then I worry that taking a nap after work would mess up my sleeping even more.

I also went out to see Rudy for probably the last time in a while. I just brushed him, gave him his apple, and tried to take in as much of the horsey essence as I could (smell, sight, etc), just in case this really does mark the end of my riding days. Unfortunately, it was way too cold out to linger though, so I just gave him a few scratches and last hugs, and he actually hugged me back by curling his neck around me, which I like to think shows that he knew what was going on. I sent an email to his owner a couple days later to thank him profusely for letting me ride Rudy the last three years, and got his permission to come out whenever I wanted to see Rudy again. It will probably be several months before I might do that, though, since it's just too cold out right now, and I also purposely scheduled my pre-natal yoga classes for exactly when my normal horse time was. I figured I would have issues with wrapping up the horse stuff so I thought scheduling my classes then would force the issue, which is exactly what happened, since last week was the last chance I really had to see Rudy and tell his owner, since yoga starts this weekend.

15-16 week comparison

Friday, January 7, 2011

15 weeks

This week I got organized. I was getting worried that I was going to forget something important until it was too late, or get too overwhelmed by all the stuff to research, so I pulled together a checklist and arranged everything so I have a couple of tasks each week, which led to an instant decrease in my stress level :) So on the list for this week was to tell my new manager, research and sign up for childbirth classes, and switch from the OB to the midwives. The first task went well, although I still have to figure out the leave situation. We decided to go with Bradley Method classes, so we signed up for a course starting next month led by a couple in Sterling. Switching to the midwives was a little more awkward, since I essentially had to "break up" with the OB, but I guess that went as well as it could've. I just told them that it had nothing to do with the care I was receiving there, but since the pregnancy seemed to be progressing normally now, I wanted to switch back to the midwives since I've been a patient there for a couple of years now. I did have to have a short interview with the midwives to see if they would be willing to take me on given some of the issues I had earlier on in the pregnancy, but luckily that went well and I go to my first appointment with them on the 17th.

Ryan and I had been trying to keep an eye out for cheap maternity clothes on craigslist, and we scored pretty well on that last weekend. For $75, I got probably well over $1000 worth of clothes, and while the pants were kind of a bust since all but one pair are too short and some of the shirts are likely going to stay too big for me, that should have me set throughout the pregnancy for the most part. I figure I might go to H&M and pick up a couple trendier things once I start showing more, but all in all, that seemed like a success.

In terms of symptoms, the RLP have continued every day, which is fine. Things are growing and moving around, so I guess some discomfort is to be expected. The crazy dreams have continued too, which Ryan has rapidly lost interest in. So I still feel the need to share them with him, but now he gets a one-sentence summary, like "I dreamed I was staying at my dad and Rosey's house and there was a panther living in the house with me for two weeks before I got scared for my life that it was going to eat me, and then you called the cops and they got the panther and two other (smaller) large cats out of the house," or "I dreamed I was at a horse show in Estonia [which I had to look up later since I didn't even know where that was - turns out it's just north of Latvia, west of Russia] and people were riding backwards or under blankets that completely covered the horse and rider."

14-15 week comparison

Monday, January 3, 2011

14 weeks

I just stayed up past 2am for two nights in a row, and it turns out I can't really do that any more. Both nights, I was ready to go to sleep around 6:30pm but managed to hang in there until 2:00 (and drove home both times in my official capacity of DD, although Ryan can take that back over now since he's given up alcohol for 2011). But when I woke up this morning, I seriously felt like I was hungover. Maybe because I had been drinking oj/sprite instead of water, but I felt like I got run over by a truck. Also, as a new development in my issues with sleeping, I've been having some really weird dreams for months now, but I woke myself and Ryan up this week from laughing. I was laughing in my dream and apparently in real life too, and I was very creeped out by this. Ryan thought I was crying, but no. I was just doing some creepy laughing at 5 o'clock in the morning.

In less disturbing news, I may have felt the baby move for the first time! I think it's supposed to be way too early to be able to feel anything yet, but I felt some fluttering on my left side earlier this week that I haven't felt before or since then, so maybe. The RLP is getting to be a bit more pronounced too. I'm trying to move my body at the same time so I'm not twisting at my mid-section, but it's been hurting when I get out of bed and whenever I sneeze (which is still all the time). This is yet another symptom that I don't mind, though, since if it means things are stretching out for a growing baby in there, then I'm happy.

Also, my OB gave us some travel guidelines at my appointment this week. She recommended we travel between 18 and 28 weeks (so end of January through the beginning of April), so we're trying to decide if we're going to try to fit one more trip in while we still can. We've been thinking about going to Dublin and doing a working vacation (since Ryan's work has an office there and I'm pretty sure I can get approval to bring my laptop to do work outside the U.S.) to avoid using up PTO we'll need later on in the year, so if we do that, we've got a very limited window since my prenatal yoga and our weekly childbirth classes will be starting up pretty soon, and I'd rather not miss any of those (especially the childbirth classes). The other major problem is how in the world I'd actually make it anywhere on a plane, since I'm really trying not to take any medications unless absolutely necessary. I haven't flown without being on my beloved Bonine for over a decade now, and I'm a little scared to try flying without it now, especially on a long trip. So there's that, which could make for a very unpleasant trip full of motion sickness if something goes wrong.

I think I can actually tell a difference in the comparison pic from last week - it looks like my belly is filling out a little bit around what had been my bloat belly bump.
13-14 week comparison

13 weeks

A day I seriously never thought would come - 13 weeks! I'm either done with first trimester or three days away (depending on who you ask), but regardless, I'm so excited to reach this milestone. The biggest update from this week is that my bloat belly has gotten more firm, so less bloat, more baby! I realized it on Wednesday, and I've been poking at my belly more often than is probably sane ever since. I also think I'm having some round ligament pain (RLP from here on out), which has just been some sharp twinges on either side of my abdomen. RLP is apparently normal, and is just the ligaments that hold my uterus in place stretching out. Fun. I'm still fatigued every day too, but I'm still blaming that on my complete inability to get a decent night's sleep more so than any purely hormonal reasons (although I guess it's probably due to hormones that I wake up throughout the night). I'm usually able to get about one night in a week where I sleep almost the entire night through, although I think that's only because I'm so exhausted that my body finally gives in and lets me sleep.

12-13 week comparison