Dumplin’: 36 Weeks Gestation

Hurray! It’s October! 
  Well, I must say that I feel a million times better this week than I did last week, energy-wise. This whole “nap three times a day” instead of sleeping a full night’s sleep is working really well for me. Depending on how much sleep I get in my midnight and early morning naps, I am able to get away with two naps a day and still feel great. Clearly, this schedule wasn’t conducive to work, so I’m officially off work now!! In many ways, this is sad for me too, as I was loving my classes, the kids, and my colleagues, and gave me a wonderful outlet to socialize, which I don’t get as much when I’m cooped up at home. However, DW and I have actually been very busy socially recently, and will continue to, right up until Dumplin’s due date. So that helps me to strike a bit of a balance, and gives me things to look forward to, besides our little one’s arrival. 

My pelvis still hurts though, and I’ve kind of come to accept that it’s gonna stay that way, and/or get worse with time. Let’s think of it this way- I’ve gained 42-45lbs now, and I’ve managed to stay pretty lean overall, so my guess is that a lot of that weight is stacked on my chest, and in my belly- all weighing down on my already Ehler-Danlos lax pelvis. This week, I’ve also noticed that my vulva is all swollen, which actually hurts. 

Other than that, the added sleep has made me feel good enough to go back to lifting weights this week. I did a leg/back day, a shoulders/tricep/chest day, and a leg/calves/biceps day, all separated by 1-2 rest days. I cut my weight down to about 75% of what I was lifting 3 weeks ago, and shortened up the number of sets, so I’m only lifting for about 30 minutes each session. I just don’t want to stress out my body, or Sir Dumplin’. I’m also trying to walk the dogs every to every-other day, but some days, my pelvis just can’t handle it. 

At my midwife appointment on Tuesday, my fundal height jumped significantly from last visit to this visit, and my midwife is concerned that Dumplin’ is gonna be really big. She is sending me for a biophysical profile and size ultrasound, which I’ve booked for next week, on the same day as Mochi’s 11.5 week ultrasound, so that DW can also attend. We’ll get to see both babies on the same day!!!

I also talked to my family doctor again, and now have a more comprehensive requisition to test for cholestasis. Luckily, my itchiness has faded a bit from being super intense to moderately itchy. I am however, feeling a lot more right upper quadrant epigastric pain at night, and I’m not sure if it’s my gallbladder/liver or Dumplin’ shoving his little feet under my ribs. I only feel this pain when I’m lying on my right side.

Other than that, all is well. I’ve noticed that Dumplin’ has been much less active the past 3 or 4 days. I have moments of freaking out, but then eat something, lie on my side, and start kick counting, and he passes, but with much smaller movements than before. My guess is that it’s getting really cramped in there, and that he is starting to take longer naps. I have noticed hiccups pretty much everyday though, which is apparently him practicing his breathing.

The dogs have been really annoying lately, I think because I’m home again, and they tend to boss me around when I am. They’re constantly wanting in and out of the side door (into the yard), begging for walks (when they’ve already had a glorious off-leash hike in the woods within the past 24 hours), and right now, they are begging for dinner at 3pm. It’s not such a big deal, except that I’m 36 weeks pregnant, and getting up and down is a struggle for this pelvis of mine.  Today, I have been busy sewing some more drool bandanas, bottling and starting the second fermentation in a batch of kombucha I’ve been brewing, and I played around with modifying my favourite GF oatmeal raisin cookies into lactation cookies. They are just delish! 

Now, my eyelids are drooping…. I think it’s time for a nap!

Before I go, here are this week’s bump photos:

   
 

Advertisements

Dumplin’: 32 Weeks, and Mochi: 6 Weeks 3 Days

Holy smokes friends, I haven’t posted in ages. I’m sorry. Life got really busy and crazy and is gonna continue that way until Dumplin’s here, and then it’ll get busier and crazier.

I’m absolutely wiped from my day today. We’re back at work officially tomorrow, but I’ve been in to do some prep and helped with registering our students today. I spent all day on my feet, and lemme tell ya, I don’t think I’m gonna be able to keep this up very long. I do multiple flights of stairs each day, and just walking around from wing to wing has my feet screaming and swelling. I felt lots of practice contractions while standing for hours, and Dumplin’s kicks are more like elbow and knee scrapes because he’s running out of space in there. 

Speaking of which, I’m feeling awfully huge these days. Someone asked me at work if I was carrying twins! Others think I must be due soon. My dad told me that I looked much farther along than I am, and told me not to eat so much. 

My feet are super swollen and achy, my crotch feels like it’s been breaking in a new bicycle seat, and I’m waddling because my pelvis feels like it’s gonna split open. My chiropractor friend/colleague is coming over tonight to fix me up.

Sleep has sucked particularly badly too- somehow, I’m one of the minority of pregnant women who gets true third trimester insomnia. Like- I can’t seem to buy a good night’s sleep. I’ve tried everything- meditations, hypnosis, visualizations, no screen time, having some magnesium, good sleep hygiene…. And nothing. Now, this insomnia is different than my usual anxiety insomnia. This current insomnia allowed me to fall asleep, but the problem is that I can’t seem to maintain a deep sleep. My sleep feels shallow and like I’m fully aware of everything going on around me. It’s not restorative. It’s not quite deep enough. I’m getting up and out of bed well before my alarm, because I’m just not sleeping. And as a result, I’m super friggin’ wiped during the day, and need a nap at around 2:30-3pm, because I truly cannot carry on with my days like this. I am so so sooooo tired. And it’s been like this since 31 weeks.

In contrast, DW has been sleeping like a log everyday. She normally never sleeps in past 7:30am, but has been needing wake up calls at 9:30-10am because the first trimester exhaustion has her storing sleep. She has also been napping, so at around 2:30pm-3pm the house is vulnerable to intruders. We both stare at each other, eyes bloodshot and droopy, and wonder, “How the fuck are we gonna survive going back to work at the end of this week?”. Honestly!

In big news, DW had her 6w3d ultrasound today, and Mochi is definitely in there, with a crown rump length of 51mm, and a flickering HR of 121 bpm! And it’s just one Mochi. An HCG-producing  Mochi that is making DW sick already. Her pregnancy sickness is pretty bad- it keeps her in bed throughout the afternoon. We’ve gone to Costco and bought a huge box of Goldfish crackers for her to stash in the car and at work. I also made some quick oatmeal-based muffins, which are a lot healthier than conventional muffins, and provide her with a quick breakfast on school days. 

[Omg. I’ve fallen asleep twice since trying to write this post. So tired.]

I apologize if I haven’t been commenting as much lately. I’m seriously drained and can barely handle responding to text messages. I am trying to keep up with all of your posts though, whether or not I’m commenting. 

I will however, try to post at least every other week, to update you on how Dumplin’ and Mochi are doing. 

Now I’m gonna leave you with some fun pictures:

 Definitely bigger than 2 weeks ago: 
Fun at the cottage last week:

   
    
 

21 Weeks

I’m sitting in our yard, watching our plants grow, as I thumb type this post. Today is one of the few days this week which is not super humid. I was up early this morning, and took the dogs to the conservation area for a hike. It was breezy and cool, so I wasn’t as uncomfortable as I have been on our walks lately. The mosquitoes were bad though, as they usually are in the woods, so I still spray copious amounts of my own homemade bug spray (witch hazel and essential oils). 

I’m also sitting in the yard supervising the dogs, which I don’t normally have to do because they are so well-behaved. However, Juno was barking all morning in the yard (unusual), so I went to check on what she was barking about, and low and behold, I see this:

  It seems that a critter is living on the other side of the fence, and I speculate that Juno was trying to be all heroic and shit and wanted to kill the critter for us (her other mother has been very supportive of her natural killer instinct). She is a non-destructive dog, but a couple of years ago, she did something similar and chewed through a thick rain barrel to get at a ground hog hiding underneath it. The dog is stubborn as hell. I am not, so it’s very frustrating trying to train her when she’s got a bee under her bonnet. We don’t really know the neighbours on that side very well- they are renting the house from their uncle who owns it. I am not sure how it’s all gonna play out, but we will definitely have to pay to repair that part of the fence. With an imminent province-wide teacher strike (ie. No paychecks for either of us in September/October), and a baby on the way, we didn’t really need another bill to deal with. We have already cancelled our cable, DW hopes to teach some days in summer school, and I will be pausing my acupuncture treatments (paid out of pocket) to off-set some of the future financial instability. 

Otherwise things are good. I’ve got so much energy these days. I’m lifting weights (no cardio) every other day, and taking the dogs out every other to every day, and haven’t needed a single nap this week. This is all despite the shitty sleep that I’m getting too! Some evenings, I’m so energetic that I can’t sit down to enjoy an episode of Orange is the New Black (I’m also not impressed with the season so far either). 

I’m also a bit anxious again these days. I’m not sure where it’s coming from, but I know that this anxiety is common and tends to drive pregnant women’s nesting instincts, which is definitely true for me. I’ve sewn a ton of stuff for Dumplin’ already, and DW thinks I need to slow down or take a break from it. I’ve also been clearing out stuff from the room that is going to be his nursery, and hope for everything to be moved by the end of next week. DW’s dad and her will spend some time painting in a couple of weeks, and I’ll be sent to the cottage with the dogs to be clear of the paint toxins. I’m still working out what colours we would like for his room, but I know we want something gender neutral and likely some kind of grey or warm cream colour. I like this colour scheme, but we’ll have to see how everything comes together and then add accents. 

  The crib is oak but I might have DW paint it white to match with the dresser/change table and antique dresser that are both white. I hate the idea of painting an original oak crib, so maybe I won’t care if it doesn’t match. Nothing in our house really matches anyway. Today, I’m going to look (and possibly bring home) this pre-loved blue glider and ottoman from another mother. 

  
As for my bump, here’s a photo from today. It doesn’t look any different from last week or even from three weeks ago, but the scale says I’m steadily gaining about a pound a week. I’m not packing on the pounds like I was when I was on the prednisone though. 

  Speaking of meds, my thyroid has been doing really well. My TSH is 0.66 and T4 is 9.0 on only 12.5mcg per day. My endocrinologist wants me to drop my dose to 12.5mcg every other day and then retest in two weeks and then four weeks. If my TSH stays lower than 2, she wants me to go off of the Synthroid completely! 

Dumplin’s kicks have been felt more and more each day. I was washing dishes a couple of days ago and kept buckling over because I was startled by his strong kicks. Mostly his kicks are inward, but sometimes (rarely) they are towards the outside. DW felt him from the outside once this week. We plan to put him in muay thai when he’s old enough (not kidding).

Things are good. School is wrapping up next week, and Toronto Pride is just around the corner. We’re not sure if we will head down because it’s such a hot and sweaty mess even when not pregnant, but maybe. You know what would be great? Meeting up with some local bloggers for brunch/lunch on the Saturday of Pride. Any takers?

IVF#2: After 5 Days of Stims

Just a quickie today, but I wanted to update y’all after today’s monitoring appointment.

Yesterday, I went in for my intralipid infusion, which took about two hours, and involved me being hooked up via IV to a bag of what DW calls the “special mayonnaise”. At $750 a pop, out of pocket, it is also an expensive mayonnaise. I have very few superficial veins, and it took the nurses four tries to tap a live one. They eventually had to go for one in my hand, which hurt a lot, and with the Aspirin that I’m taking, bled a lot afterwards.

IMG_6052

Yesterday, I also noticed globs of egg white cervical mucus, which tells me my estrogen levels are high. Each of the little follicles in my ovaries release estrogen as they mature, contributing to the clusterglobs in my underpants. I anticipate that it is bound to get messier by the day. Lucky for you, I did not take pictures of this, as I might have been tempted to post them.

Today, I ran from appointment to appointment. I had really bad insomnia last night (probably due to high estrogen levels, which messes up my sleep every cycle), and took 50mg of diphenhydramine hydrochloride (Benedryl) at 11pm. Benedryl makes me super groggy and I was laying in bed like a zombie this morning, almost missing my monitoring appointment at the fertility clinic. Over the course of 15 minutes, I managed to shower and dress, set up the crockpot for pulled pork, fry some eggs (sunny side up), butter some gluten-free toast, and make myself a protein shake. I also made it to my appointment only 4 minutes late. Phew!

At the clinic, I had blood work and ultrasound done, which revealed 10 follicles on each side (20 in total!), 4 of which are 10mm or larger. They still have a ways to grow, so I go back in on Friday for my next monitoring.

IMG_6056

I’m happy with this number, and now just want them to grow into big fat juicy follicles. Last IVF, I ended up with 36 follicles, with only 19 being mature. This time, since we are doing a fresh transfer back into me, I hope I am not overstimulated, but still have a good number of mature eggs to make good quality embryos. *Fingers and toes crossed*

After monitoring, I rushed downtown to my acupuncture appointment. I’ve got a whole bunch of herbs that I need to take to increase my kidney yang, as my pulse was a bit slow and weak. I also had an acupuncture treatment, which was nice. My TCM doc is a bit of an odd duck, so it’s always an interesting treatment.

Next update on Friday!

Ugh.. Where Can I Buy Some Sleep?

It’s 4:44am right now, and I have been trying to fall back asleep since 2. We went to bed at 11:30 tonight last night, and I think I may have finally fallen asleep at midnight.

I have been having problems sleeping on and off ever since July, and it has progressively gotten worse since then. I think that all of these treatments have my hormone balance all out of whack and it is affecting my sleep cycles… Oh and my anxiety levels! I’ve talked about my recent struggles with anxiety here, and how my family doctor encouraged me to take Cipralex (Lexapro), an SSRI. I wavered in my decision several times, got desperate after 13 days without a good sleep and filled the prescription, and then our last FET failed, and the potential of doing another full IVF had me reconsidering starting the Cipralex.

Here’s why:
Cipralex is an SSRI, a serotonin re uptake inhibitor. Normally, when serotonin is released between your neutrons (nerve cells), there is a sort of pump-like mechanism that gobbles it all up (re uptake). The Cipralex turns off this re uptake mechanism (inhibits it) and allows the serotonin to linger a little longer for your body to benefit from it. This happens in many places in your body- of interest to those with mental health issues, there are receptors in the brain. But there are also receptors in the ovaries, which is why I’m hesitant to start it right before an IVF cycle. The IVF stim cycle is such a crapshoot on a good day, and seeing as how my first IVF went so well, I kinda don’t want to add any new factors to the mix.

Last IVF:
On lupron (20IU–>10IU)
On Gonal-F (200IU)

2015/01/img_0569.png

2015/01/img_0570.png

Part of me feels like once I get pregnant, and I mean safe zone pregnant, the anxiety and sleeplessness will go away. But following some of your journeys, I have come to realize that the worrying doesn’t really stop, and the sleep issues might get worse. Another part of me feels like if things are still super shitty, it wouldn’t be a big deal if I waited out the minor heart defect risk of the first trimester, and started the Cipralex during the second. I am willing to deal with the temporary risk of infant withdrawal symptoms.

So yeah, this is the shit that I am worrying about at what’s now 5:17am! Totally getting ahead of myself, over planning, trying to control shit that is unreasonable for me to control, feeding my anxiety with more anxiety… I suppose this is what my life has become. Sadly, seeing my therapist on a weekly to biweekly basis hasn’t helped much beyond that first visit. I know that therapy is so patient/therapist specific, but I feel like my anxiety is beyond the mending capabilities of talk therapy. I also feel like the only thing other than being pharmaceutically altered that will help me feel better is finally getting pregnant and staying pregnant. I know this is a tall order, and I am still working on not getting super upset that everyone on my Facebook is pregnant or has children already.

Anyway, it is amazing that I have lived 32 sweet years not knowing what anxiety feels like. I have empathy for those who suffer from mental illness. It is a struggle wrought with a lack of understanding or compassion. For many people, there isn’t a “solution” that helps them cope with life or even affords them the simple enjoyment of a day. And while there is a lot of encouragement to “talk about it”, the stigma remains, and people are forced to stay in the closet about it. Being a gay woman, I’ve already spent too much time in the closet.

Now, where does a gal go to buy some sleep at this time of night? (It’s now 5:40am. Faaack!)

Insomnia Sucks, And Cooking Fails

It has been over a week now, of the worst insomnia that I’ve ever had. I go to bed with DW at a reasonable time, but can’t seem to fall asleep without the help of 3mg of melatonin. If I take the melatonin, I fall asleep only for 3 hours, and then wake up and can’t fall back asleep. If I don’t take the melatonin, I lay in bed, frustrated, only to fall asleep at about 5:30am for 3 hours.

My sleep routine is good. I have a glass of Natural Calm (magnesium) drink after dinner. I am not consuming any caffeine all day. I get in some good exercise in the morning or afternoon. I load my carbs during my evening meal to increase serotonin. I’m putting away my phone an hour before sleeping. Our bedroom is dark, cool, and there are no dogs sleeping with us. I have tried guided meditation, which only sometimes works to get me asleep, but again, I wake up three hours later. I have also done some acupuncture treatments on myself to strengthen my lung meridian, as it is closely related to anxiety when deficient.

But, I’m still not sleeping.

I have also noticed, that I am more prone to insomnia and sleep disturbances when in my follicular phase. The progesterone floating around during my luteal phase makes for better sleeps. Although, there were several nights during my pregnancy when sleep was hard to come by.

Anyhow, if it doesn’t improve this week, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I can’t go on any medication- as most are not pregnancy-friendly. Benedryl and related over-the-counter meds don’t seem to work on me. They actually give me jittery nerves for some reason.

All I can do is wait to ovulate, it seems.

The little dog also doesn’t like mornings. Here we are cuddling with our morning decaf tea:

IMG_5309.JPG

I have been craving cheese bread lately, and went on a mission to try out this recipe: http://www.ca.momtastic.com/food/380469-gluten-free-cheddar-bread-recipe/

It baked up real nice:

IMG_5304.JPG

And I let it cool for a good twenty minutes before cutting into it, but it had a terrible texture. It was far too gummy and dense, probably due to the tapioca flour.

IMG_5314.JPG

After forcing down two slices, I decided that it wasn’t worth it. I toasted it in the oven as crostini, and then as croutons. DW had some crostini with pumpkin soup for lunch today, so the terrible bread is getting eaten.

IMG_5318.JPG

It also snowed yesterday. In a panic, we harvested all of our red pepper plants. I have so many, I am thinking of giving some away to our neighbours, or donating them to DW’s school’s hospitality program that cooks for the cafeteria.

IMG_5317.JPG

IMG_5306.JPG

Other than that, nothing really to report. We are still waiting to find out the results of my immune and thrombophilia bloodwork, and for my period, which will probably be in two weeks or so.

There has been a lot of excitement here in the blogosphere. Marriages! Inseminations! BFPs! Heartbeats! I am so happy for all of you. As I anxiously wait for a proper sleep rhythm to return, I will be cheering all of you on!