18 Week Bump and Other Stuff

I’m pedalling away on a stationary bike as I finger-type this post. I’ll try to make this post flow as best as I can, but it’s gonna be random bits of info that I want to fill you in on.

First, here’s the bump picture that promised. If you’re following me on Instagram @mamaetmaman you already got a sneak peak yesterday!  My bump seems much more obvious when I’m wearing clothes, for some reason.  

Other snippets:

– my allergies have hit hard this week. I’m allergic to trees and true grasses, and on our dog walk yesterday, I had the worst reaction I’ve ever had- non-stop sneezing, mucus coating my throat making it hard to breathe, and my lips swelling up. I took a Benedryl when we got home, and felt way better very quickly and then slept for what felt like the entire afternoon.

– I thought my days of morning sickness were over, so I went off the Diclectin on Saturday. BAD IDEA because I was super nauseous (and feeling shitty from the allergic reaction from our walk) and then started back on it. When will the nausea end?? 

– DW took her TH1/TH2 test for natural killer cytokines a few weeks ago, to see if perhaps it could explain her multiple miscarriages. Her results came back within the normal range, and we’re frustrated. She’s been tested for all thrombophilias and autoimmune disorders, as well as had a hysteroscopy to look at her uterus, and everything has been normal. Nothing has come up to explain why her body rejected 4 of our best day-five blastocysts last year. She really wants to carry, but is scared of miscarrying again (we have 5 blastocysts on ice from IVF#2). Anyone with unexplained RPL find success with a particular protocol? We might try again with her one last time, but we want to do something different than the regular transfers because they haven’t worked at all. I would love some feedback.

– I received a wonderful gift in the mail today from Shawns and Cade:  

 Some diaper covers and homemade fitted diapers for Dumplin’.

– I have been feeling under the weather this weekend, and now have 19 fitted newborn diapers made for Dumplin’, as well as 10 burp cloths, many many cloth wipes, and my next project is nursing pads because I suspect that my boobs will start leaking soon. Any other homemade baby items you think are must haves? I’m anticipating lots of receiving blankets being gifted to us from my MIL’s friends, so I’m not making any of those.   

  

  – I have plans to integrate swimming into my weekly workouts, but don’t know what to do about a swimming suit. My pre-pregnancy ones definitely don’t fit, and neither do the bottoms of my bikinis. I don’t want to buy an expensive suit and then have to buy another one in a month or two… Any tips on where to find cheaper comfortable swim suits in Canada? Or what secure alternatives have you tried?

– cramps- I’ve had mild cramps all week, which I’m guessing is because my uterus is growing? It’s not super painful, but it makes me not want to work out or do anything strenuous.

– my IPS (prenatal screening) came back and my hormone levels look normal, confirming no aneuploidies and no spina bifida. Thank goodness!

Okay, time to go do some sumo squats! I’ll post again later this week!

18 Weeks: Fetal ECG and Anatomy Scan

Our day started early today, as we needed to be downtown this morning for our fetal echocardiogram at Sick Kids Hospital. Traffic was surprisingly light, given that we were heading down during the morning rush hour, and we made it to our appointment in good time. 

  
Sick Kids is a really neat place. As its name implies, it’s a hospital for sick children, and as such looks like a friendlier and more fun place than any old hospital. There are several sections of the hospital, and we were in the atrium section, which was constructed with an underwater theme. Sea creatures decorated the walls, there were sitting pods on all upper floors, that kind of looked like submarine windows, the metal work and elevators also matched the submarine kind of look. We saw lots of kids that were sick or injured, but all seemed in good spirits and smiling.

  
(A hallway in Sick Kids, photo from http://vikpahwa.com/photos/20140126-the-hospital-for-sick-children-atrium-1993-in-toronto-is-reminiscent-of-ontario-place/)

The fetal ECG went well. The actual diagnostic ultrasound took over an hour, and the dim lighting and warmth in the room made me nod off throughout most of it. DW was there with me, sitting at the end of the medical table and kept holding and squeezing my feet, which was sweet.

Dumplin’ heart anatomy and function looked perfectly fine.

Next, we headed across the street to Mount Sinai for our anatomy scan. The waiting room in that place is huge, and full of pregnant ladies. Most looked very pregnant. The last couple of times that we’ve been there, I’ve kinda felt self-conscious about how “unpregnant” I looked compared to everyone there. I also noticed that the women there all seemed to be either of advanced maternal age, or really really young (and accompanied by a parent). There were very few women that looked my age, which was weird to me, but I guess this is a department for high risk pregnancies…. So I guess that makes sense.

The anatomy scan went well. Dumplin’ is a stubborn little fetus, refusing to change position despite several agitations by the ultrasound sonographer, me laying on my sides, me getting up and moving, or me making exaggerated physical movements. Today he had his back to the world, tucked right into mama. Our sweet stubborn boy!

  
(Dumplin’ sleeping on his side- that’s as far as he would move for us.)

He is also huge! He’s measuring 19 weeks, and we are 18 weeks. His head is big and his femurs are long. 

All of Dumplin’s parts look normal, except he has bilateral choroid plexus cysts in his brain. Now, as an isolated finding, this is benign. Sometimes, it is a soft marker for trisomy 18, but when it is, it is usually accompanied by other soft markets such as: intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), hands in a permanently clenched position, and major heart defects. Since our NIPT stated with 96.4% reliability that Dumplin’ does not have trisomy 18, our geneticist isn’t at all concerned about the cysts. Apparently they are a normal variant in 1-2% of the population, and do not affect the function of the brain at all. Dumplin’ also is huge for his age (so no IUGR), showed us his opening and closing of his hands, and has a normal heart. As his mama, it’s hard to not be worried even though it’s nothing. 

 
(Dumplin’s choroid plexus cysts- the holes in the two oval structures above.)

The geneticist said that this cyst thing isn’t even worth pursuing, it’s so benign, but to calm my maternal worrying, they’re sending us for fetal biometry at 28 weeks, which is just another ultrasound that measures things and gives the measurements a score, then a combined overall score for all of the measurements. It basically gives a summary of the baby’s growth compared to the normal range. Y’all know I’m a data nerd, so I’m happy with doing this ultrasound, especially since I’m with midwives, we won’t likely get to see Dumplin’ again until he’s born. 32 weeks is a damn long time people!

In other news, I’m up 25lbs since pre-IVF. Yup, twenty-five pounds! And I’m only 18 weeks! This number was a shock to me, but my boobs are ginormous (seriously the skin is so tight that it feels like my boobs are going to explode), I can’t fit my thighs into my regular pants, and my bump is bumpin’. So I see where the poundage is going. 10 of those pounds were gained in the past 7 weeks (normal according to my midwife), so 15 lbs were gained between my IVF stims, retrieval, and the end of my first trimester. To be honest, I blame a lot of those first 15 lbs on the prednisone… Such a nasty drug that gave me moon face and efficient fat storage! However, also a miracle drug that calmed my immune system enough to allow Dumplin’ to thrive. So I’ll take the increased body fat if it means I get a baby.

I will take a new bump photo this weekend and post it sometime soon. 

These days, I’m brainstorming things Dumplin’ will need, so that I can prepare myself for budgeting for it. I’m stuck on a couple of items that are costly and so personal in terms of different people’s habits (like strollers). Maybe I will do another post in a couple of days and elaborate on this.

Lots of love to y’all and have a wonderful weekend!