27 Weeks Pregnant

I know that the start date of the Third Trimester is a blurry thing, but I don’t care, and am gonna celebrate entering the Third Tri today at 27 weeks pregnant anyway. So woohoo! Cheers friends! 

Things have shifted a lot this week in terms of my nutrition, comfort, and fitness. 

First of all, I normally find cows milk disgusting on a regular day, and especially during the first trimester I’d gag at the thought of it. But now, I’m consuming almost an entire sleeve of lactose-free milk (about 1 and 1/3 litres) per day, and can’t get enough of it. I wake up, and the first thing I think of is how delicious that cold bowl of Rice Chex and milk will be for breakfast (I normally eat eggs for breakfast- and have, for years. Never cereal! Wtf?). Sometimes I have another bowl in the afternoon or before bed at night. I am also making decaf espresso skinny vanilla lattes, eating cottage cheese, and have recently discovered (and polished off a box of) Skinny Cow Cherry Cheesecake Greek Yogurt (ice-cream) bars. It is bizarre. I guess Dumplin’ needs it?

Secondly, I can’t see my vagina anymore. My view is shielded by my bump, and makes grooming a bit difficult, so I’m just gonna go all wild nature woman and leave things be until it’s L&D time. Though, I also might consider utilizing the services of DW’s body care and spa. 

Thirdly, I think I’m reaching my limit for pelvic stress in terms of lifting weights. Yesterday I did leg/back day, which included weighted sumo squats with a 60lb dumbell, resistance band side-shuffles, 30lb weighted lunges, leg extensions, pull-ups (assisted), rows, and heavy (60kg) cable chin ups. My upper body was fine, but my pelvis felt like it was gonna separate later that day. It was super achey, and I even declined a lovely evening family walk with DW and the dogs last night because I felt like I couldn’t walk comfortably. 

I also noticed some tightness in my abdomen a couple of times during my workout, and when rolling over or getting up from sitting or lying down. My guess is that the tightness is maybe Braxton Hicks? It doesn’t hurt, and just feels like a squeezing sensation. 

Sleep continues to be a bit crappy, but I’ve reunited with my Snoogle aka “Chastity”, and we’re trying to make it work. I’m needing a nap daily in the afternoons now, which help a lot with my exhaustion, but kind of mess me up for sleep at night if I nap too long. The naps are amazing though. Truly rejuvenating.

Anyway, that’s all for now. My in-laws are here and we’re heading downtown to see a Jay’s game.

I’ll post a bump photo next week 🙂

Happy Thursday everyone!

Embryo Transfer #6: Frustrations

So DW is on cycle day 9 today of her FET cycle. So far, she’s had blood work and ultrasounds done during her previous cycle, and during this treatment cycle on day 3, and her next will be on day 12 (Friday). We have been with this clinic since 2012, and it really hasn’t been feasible for us to change clinics because of all the monitoring that needs to be done before work. This clinic has 4 locations, which makes them fairly convenient for us, since we work in two different cities. However, our relationship with them isn’t without significant frustration…. 

I’ve had time to cool off about it, so I will just casually list off the ridiculousness and incompetences that we’ve had to deal with:

1. Nonsense: When DW went in for her monitoring last cycle, they kept insisting that I had to come in to update my bloodwork since she hadn’t been active for almost a year. I suspect that this must be protocol for heterosexual couples, but we’re a same-sex couple, and my blood work has nothing to do with DW’s FET or the status of our embryos. Plus, the nurses know who I am (I mean, 3 years, 4IUI’s, 2IVF’s, 5 transfers, and 50 grand later, they better know who we are!), so logically, why do they need my blood? We argued with them for a while, and all they said was that they needed updated bloodwork because the embryos came from me (still doesn’t make sense!). Anyways, we just keep ignoring their requests because I ain’t getting poked to satisfy their stupidity and inability to critically think.

2. Inconsistencies: So on her last cycle and during this cycle, DW had elevated prolactin on her both of her day 3 blood draws. They told her that anything over 30 (don’t remember the units) was elevated and then made her repeat her prolactin bloodwork the next day while fasting (in fact her day 3s were also done fasting coincidentally), and her repeat levels were normal (29) for her monitoring cycle and 39 for her treatment cycle. They then said that the normal range was 40 or less, and that her prolactin values were fine. WTF? How did the normal range change from 30 to 40? This nurse has made major mistakes in the past and I’ve argued incessantly with her but it just makes her even more unwilling to check her facts. Also, I know that high prolactin can affect implantation, and have read that other RE’s consider normal as 25 or less, and ladies with anything higher are put on bromocriptine or Dostinex to bring it down before transfer. Sadly, there’s nothing we can do about this because this nurse is not very open to other opinions and the RE is very uninvolved in checking levels it seems. 

3. Incompetences: so my endocrinologist (who is awesome, and I trust very much) says that TSH should be less than 2 preconception, and when I was trying to get pregnant, she vigilantly had my blood TSH, T3 and T4 levels checked monthly to keep me under 2. Last cycle, DW’s TSH was 3.8, and the damn fertility clinic seemed to think this was fine. I argued with them about it, and apparently my RE seems to believe that a TSH under 4 is acceptable. I’m so upset about this because for our 4IUI’s with me, my TSH was around 3.9 and my endocrinologist (looking back at old bloodwork print offs that I demanded from the fertility clinic) thought it was unacceptably high. I’m frustrated that the fertility clinic doesn’t seem to prioritize optimal hormonal levels, but instead is just happy with us trying under suboptimal conditions, wasting sperm, wasting embryos, wasting time and money. I feel so strongly about this that after her day 3 bloodwork last cycle, we “unofficially” started DW on 25mcg of Synthroid from my stash. In one month, that brought her TSH down from 3.8 to 2.8, so we added another 12.5mcg daily = 27.5 mcg daily to hopefully bring it down a touch more. Frustratingly, the fertility clinic only checks her TSH once in a cycle, so we have to just keep our fingers crossed that her levels are hovering around 2 or less. I’m also a big stressed because I’m still taking Synthroid and my stash of pills isn’t large enough to be supplying both of us until my next refill is eligible. But my priority is giving her body enough thyroid hormone to support a pregnancy. It just sucks to have to be so clandestine about it. We’re also doing the same thing with her and prednisone. 

I know I’m a bit over analytical about all of this baby-making, but DW has suffered 2 miscarriages of 4 of our best day 5 blastocysts. Despite their “investigations” the clinic has not been able to identify any reason for her losses. They have demonstrated inconsistencies, incompetencies, and don’t seem to critically think about our unique circumstances, but rather treat everyone with the same “cookie cutter” approach. Changing clinics at this point is pointless, since most clinics around here function very similarly (what’s the incentive in improving when you’ve got a 3-6 month wait list of patients?). So basically, our approach is to just go ahead with the transfer, hoping that by lowering her TSH her prolactin might balance out too, and that the autoimmune meds help deal with the unexplained RPL. As I mentioned before, this is DW’s last go at it. She took a year off after her last loss to be ready to face this juncture again. We hope that it works, because I can’t even imagine the heartbreak if it doesn’t. 

If you have any experience with prolactin or TSH levels, I’d love to hear from you. 

As usual, your support is invaluable to us. 

26 Weeks Pregnant

  
This week has been another busy one for us. On Friday we attended a small lesbian wedding reception in Guelph, where half of the guests were out-of-town East Coasters (Nova Scotian mostly) and the rest were either Greek or Hockey girls. It made for an interesting mix of people, all of whom enjoy the drink and conjure a bit of rowdiness. The food was delicious, and we even had enough for doggy bags. 

Saturday, we had a hockey team pool party at a teammate’s home about an hour and a half away. Her house backs onto a river, and is full of adorable antiques and custom-carpentry accents that she has made herself. The pool was amazing for this preggo on what has probably been the hottest day of the summer so far (feels like 43 degrees Celsius, full sun). I basically spent the entire time in the pool. We had a scrumptious BBQ, and joked around about how we’re all getting too old to continue playing hockey and should put together a softball team instead. Problem is, that I can’t throw nor catch. Damn. The hostess (who also happens to be our amazing goalie) made us a gift for Dumplin’: 

 
 Isn’t it beautiful? We haven’t hung it on the wall yet, but it will fit perfectly with the colours and slightly rustic look of his nursery. 

The next day, I attended a baby shower. I was shocked that of all the guests that came, I was one of two that were friends. Everyone else was family. Is this a common thing? Do friends not typically come to baby showers? Our baby shower guest list is almost entirely friends. My family lives far away on the west coast, and DW has a small family, so only her mom, her SIL, and her niece were invited. I’ve got one aunt that lives about an hour away, and she might come, but I’m sad to not have more family here. Also, it seems as if only a few people have RSVP’d to my friend who is hosting. Any tips on how to remind people to RSVP without being annoying? Anyways, the baby shower was nice, but I realized during it that I hate group baby shower games. Yup, that’s right. I hate them. I had already mentioned to my friend who is throwing our baby shower that if she wants to do games, they need to be at “stations” around the room, where they are optional. I think people mostly like to mingle and snack on treats anyways right? The shower venue was also excruciatingly hot. Twenty ladies crammed into a little townhouse with non-existent air-conditioning on the second hottest day of the summer, and two preggos radiating heat does not make for a very comfortable party. Sweat was literally beading down the side of my face. I was sticking to the white leather sofa seat, and opted to stand instead. Yuck. Cue the swollen feet too.

Monday we attended our pre-admission registration at the hospital. Now, homebirth or not, we have to register at the hospital anyway, and prior to lately, I was really preferring a home birth for Dumplin’. When it comes to states of discomfort, I much prefer to suffer alone. I have had two instances of ovarian cysts rupturing (intense pain warranting a morphine drip- luckily this is the worst physical pain I’ve ever experienced). The first time, I spent the duration curled up on the floor at home, crying and trying deep breathing exercises until it was over, and the second time my girlfriend at the time admitted me to the hospital emergency department, where they hooked me up to an IV of morphine and had me stay the night. Mentally and physically, I was more comfortable enduring the pain at home. The morphine didn’t make a dent in the pain, and having nurses and doctors poke and prod but not be available when we needed them was really frustrating. Anyways, long story short, I have always felt that I would fare better birthing at home- on my own time, self-empowering, rolling with each wave and contraction- I could do it. I am an athlete and have been keeping physically fit during this pregnancy. The birth would be attended by two experienced midwives. My dogs would help in keeping me calm, and DW would be able to support me without outside limitation. There would be no crappy hospital food, no mandatory 24 hour hospital stay, no anxious travelling in a car with a fresh newborn, and no nasty germs from being in a hospital. 

Problem is that I’ve got a major case of the “what if’s”. I know that my L&D will be supervised by two very well-trained midwives, but what if something should go terribly wrong, and we need to head to the hospital ASAP? We are about 15 minutes from the hospital, but is that enough time? I would never forgive myself if Dumplin’ was negatively affected by this. And after everything we’ve been through these past 3 years to get to this point, how could I risk it? 

Anyway, I flip flop on this a lot now. I keep thinking that maybe once we know how big he’ll be, closer to his due date, maybe I’ll be swayed one way over another. All I know is that wherever he is born, I will be supported by two midwives and my wife. I am not doing this alone. I like the freedom and greater sense of control that comes with a home birth, but I also like the access to greater safety interventions if they’re needed too.

Yesterday, DW went for her Day 3 bloodwork and full-bladder ultrasound. I am frustrated with the clinic again (oh, I was so happy to be done with them!), but I will write about that in another post. We then took transit (GO train and TTC subway) downtown to watch two Pan Am games- Women’s field hockey: Argentina vs. Chile, and Canada vs. USA. All I can say is, Argentina is in a class of its own- their team was fantastic. 

  We bumped into a couple of old friends there, and DW’s coach from her varsity days. Afterwards, we hit up Sushi on Bloor where I “shared” (translation: I ate 80% of) the platinum sashimi platter, a salmon roll, and ikayaki with DW. My wife is so giving. When we got home, I was the most swollen I’ve ever been this far. A day of commuting, walking, and playing downtown in the hot sun took its toll on my pregnant body. I must say though, our day trip downtown rekindled my love for the city and for the TTC. Before bed, I took a cool shower, which was lovely.

Overall, this week, I have been feeling a lot more tired. I’m sure that part of it has to do with being out and about everyday, but I’m seriously starting to feel the 1st trimester exhaustion again. I’m also eating more again, and find that I can’t eat too much in one sitting or else I get indigestion. This basically means that I’m eating every two to three hours… Which feels like a part-time job! I am managing to get to the gym 3 days a week for weight training, which is less than previous weeks where I was making it to the gym 4 or 5 times. My workouts consist only of weights though, and run about 45 minutes in total. I’m not bothering with cardio because it’ll just burn calories that I need and I’ll have to compensate by eating even more food. 

I will leave you with pictures of some crafts. This past week, in the times in between events, I did a little more sewing. 

  Chevron wet bag (filled with 20-ish cloth diapers) that we will hang off a rod on the wall beside the change table: for soiled cloth diapers and cloth wipes.

  

Newborn- 3 month sleep sac made out of bamboo velour.

  

Wool kimono sweater.


Embryo Transfer #6: Cycle Day 1

DW got her period today, making today her cycle day 1 (CD1). She has been suffering from menstrual cramps, and has been enjoying the mama cloth (cloth pads) that I have sewn from scraps of flannel and bamboo fleece left over from making Dumplin’s cloth diapers. 

She called into the nurses line at the fertility clinic this morning, and has to do bloodwork and a full-bladder ultrasound on Wednesday (CD3). 

Here we go again!

In other news, we went into the hospital today for our pre-admission registration. The appointment lasted about 15 minutes, and involved an interview with a nurse. We were hoping for a tour of L&D, but instead were directed to an “online video tour” ugh. We were handed a package of reading material and sent on our way. The hospital is an older one, and is small compared to the newer hospitals. We have the option of paying for a private post-partum room (which we will request when it’s time), for which they only have 7 in total. Not much else to report about it though. I’m just excited to get these little things done.

Pregnancy update to come later this week 🙂 

Happy Monday everyone!

25 Weeks Pregnant, and Glucose Tolerance Test Results

Just a quickie to let you know that we had our midwife appointment today, and all is well. 

– my blood pressure was low as usual (110/60)

– my fundal length is 23cm (up from 21cm 3 weeks ago)

– Dumplin’s heart rate was within normal limits

– my CBC came back normal

– I’m up 32 pounds from my prepregnancy weight
And guess what friends?

Remember how worried I was that I might develop Gestational Diabetes because of a strong family history (my mom had it with me, all babies in my family have been 10-11lbs, including my sister)…..

Well…..

I PASSED THE 2 HOUR GLUCOSE TOLERANCE TEST!!!! 

Woohoo!! No Gestational Diabetes for me!
So we went out and celebrated by going for some delicious food at one of my favourite Indian restaurants, Banjara at Bloor and Christie. 

 My lovely wife  
Butter chicken:

 
Bhendi masala:

   
Lamb curry:

 
Pulao rice:

  
We are attending a wedding dinner this weekend, so I went dress shopping at Motherhood Maternity. I tried on a couple of dresses and sent these pictures to DW to help me choose one. Look at how weird my belly looks in the one on the bottom left:

  
No bump photo this week, but I figure that this picture above would make up for it. 

Happy Thursday friends!

Baby Nursery On a Budget Part 1

After spending muchos dineros trying to get pregnant (4IUI’s, IVF#1 and #2, 5 transfers, 4 rounds of intralipids), and having me off work for almost the entire school year, DW and I have had to be smart with our money. Building a baby nursery and the accoutrements that come with it is an area that we can cut major costs because a) people often sell used items in very good condition, b) if you’re not in a hurry you can look for sales on items that you need, c) you can repurpose old items that are still suitable for baby’s purposes, and d) second hand stores often have a plethora of baby things that are easy to sanitize.

I’m not usually one for details, but I thought I’d share our progress so far with making purchases for Dumplin’s room and needs, while on a budget. Now, we don’t technically have a budget in the literal sense of the word (like a numerical figure), but there are certain areas where you can cut costs, and we’re willing to either wait it out or spend the time and effort seeking things second hand. 

For example, so far we’ve been getting Dumplin’s room ready. We used some no VOC primer and paint that we had left over from painting the basement (free) and then felt free to spend more on the best quality no VOC final paint colour for his room:

 The colour of the room before:  
Priming the walls:

 
Painted walls and closet:

  
We then repurposed two dressers that were just storing dog stuff and old university jerseys from both of our varsity field hockey days. These were in our crawl space and used to be DW’s baby furniture.

   
 We then hit up Craigslist and Kijiji and got some awesome deals on second hand items that we wanted:

We paid $75 for this glider plus a Boppy (would have retailed for $360 brand new):  

We paid $50 for this Snap and Go stroller (retails for $110 not including tax at BRU):

  
We paid $35 for this Diaper Genie Elite plus 4 refills (retails for $69.99 at BRU):

  
And our biggest score so far, was this Halo Bassinest with two extra sheets for $180 (retails for 299.99 + 16.99 + 16.99 = $377 including tax):

  
At Value Village today, we were walking through the electronics section to get to the baby section, and randomly just saw this:

 Prince Lionheart Ultimate Wipes Warmer, paid $5.99 (not including tax), but retails for $36.99 on Amazon.ca (hells ya!):
The last couple of weeks Babies R U has been running their Babyfest sale, so we picked up three items:
The Chicco Keyfit for $220 instead of $289:

 
And this nursery essentials kit, which includes a change pad, two covers, 2 waterproof changing pad protectors, 1 fitted mattress pad, and 2 terry cloth crib sheet protectors (retails for $80 not including tax, but we got for $45 – $10 coupon = $35 not including tax):

  
That’s all of our progress so far. More to come in Part 2… Which will probably be after our baby shower. Very little has been bought from our baby registry, so I’m sure there will be much more we will need to buy. 

My Darling Wife’s Beautiful Garden

As many of you know, we love food. No really, we looooove food. The fresher, the cleaner, the better. And it doesn’t get much better than picked from your own garden. Now, I am the luckiest girl because well, I get to do the “fun” jobs when it comes to our garden. I get to pick most of our seeds, I get to transplant little plantlings into the ground, I get to pick the ripened fruit, and best of all, I get to be creative with how we cook the food! DW spoils me and does all of the hard labour and the annoying tasks like turning soil, hand picking bugs and pests (organic gardening), constantly watering and weeding, as well as general maintenance of the plants (staking them, tying them up, pruning, etc.). She spends hours everyday working in her garden, so today, I decided that I’d do a little photo feature on my wife’s hard earned garden. 

We’ve been gardening for over five years now, and every year we make improvements to our systems and structures. One year we connected rain barrels to the awning over our patio, another year we added a pear tree and cut down a small maple tree, another year we added raised beds, another year DW constructed a trellis for our vining plants to climb. We’re into being efficient and environmentally friendly, so when we learn new things, we make changes to how we operate our little garden.

  
I’ll give you a tour:

 These are two out of our eight sweet pepper plants, just starting to fruit: 
  We succession plant cilantro because we use it so much in our cooking, and these are just starting:  

Two kinds of basil: sweet basil (front) and Thai basil (behind):

 
  The snow pea and snap pea bed:

   Juno and Clem’s chew stick pile, which DW is constantly tidying up:

  Raised carrot bed (with random other things like cilantro and beets that were dug up and moved there by squirrels): 
 Purple beans (on fence) and succession planted green beans (and a little Clementine):

   
 
 Swiss chard and lettuce bed:  
Swiss chard, gai lan, and some other random stuff we allowed to go to seed:

 
Beet and green onion bed:   
Plants in containers, and our sad pear tree, which was destroyed in the ice storm of 2013/2014:

 
 Sweet pepper:  
Cayenne peppers:

 Black beauty and Asian long eggplant:  
 

  

 
  
Zucchini patch:   
Can you spot the two zucchinis?

 
Rhubarb, potatoes, and Jerusalem artichokes: 
 

Acorn squash trellis (avec lacinato kale, lettuce, leeks, and wild asparagus) and the farmer herself:

  
 Look at the size of those acorn squash leaves!
The bottom bed of tomatoes, potatoes, short curly green and lacinato kale, and a front row of leeks: 
  
  
  
 
Butternut squash climbing another trellis over the shed, and the compost bin that houses Clem’s pet snake, Slitherin:
 A whole whack of dill and asparagus going to seed: