Dumplin’ and Mochi: 37 Weeks and 11.5 Weeks Gestation┬á

The past couple of days have been a rollercoaster of emotions and excitement. 90% good, 10% not so good. 

Both DW and I had midwife appointments on Tuesday– at different clinics because I couldn’t get in with the midwives in our municipality. 

– my appointment went well. Dumplin’ was measuring 38 weeks, and the midwife mentioned that if he continues to keep measuring so much ahead, that I may need to be induced, but that we’d wait to see what the ultrasound says.

– DW’s appointment was fantastic!! After the typical long history and information gathering, we got to hear Mochi’s heartbeat on the Doppler!!!! Some of you might not think that this is a big deal, but after all of the miscarriages, it’s such amazing reassurance to know that there’s a wee little fetus in there, with a heart that is thumping away.

On Wednesday, we both had ultrasounds, again, in different cities. Mine was in the morning, and went well. It was a biophysical profile and a growth scan, to estimate how big Dumplin’ was at 36 weeks 5 days… And well folks, he’s huge! He’s already just about 8lbs, putting him at the 93rd percentile for weight, and equivalent to 39w4d. I didn’t get the results of his biophysical profile until today… But more on that later. He’s dropped nice and low, so low that the technologist could barely get his head measurements because of it being so low in my pelvis. His face is facing my right hip, his back is on my left side, and his knees and feet are up near my right ribs. Here’s a shot of Dumplin’s chubby face resting on his chubby fist:

  
– Mochi’s ultrasound went well too. He/she is measuring almost a week ahead, has all four limbs, and showed off his/her rolling skills and flailing arms. Mochi’s NT measurement was 1.2mm, and CRL was 5.7cm. I only got to see Mochi at the end of the session, but I could tell it was good news because DW was just beaming! Here’s a photo of Mochi, at 11w3d:

  
And a comparison of Mochi and Dumplin’ at around the same gestational age:

  
Today, I received a stressful phone call from my midwives about Dumplin’s biophysical profile. Apparently his amniotic fluid is really low. The midwife wanted me to do a repeat ultrasound ASAP, and then called me back because she realized my ultrasound was just yesterday, so asked me to repeat it next Wednesday instead. We are at risk of oligohydramnios, which means a consult (and transfer of care) with an OB and early induction. Since Dumplin’ is already 37 weeks, the midwife says he can safely come out anytime now. So now I wait until Wednesday’s ultrasound, and then Thursday for the results. The normal range for amniotic fluid is from 5-25, and mine is at 8. The midwife says if the level goes down at all, then we have a problem. This makes me wonder- if my level seems to be the cut off, why not just arrange for the consult with the OB now? Anyways, I’ve been feeling really sad and worried about Dumplin’. I also feel guilty that my body doesn’t seem to be providing him with an optimal environment right now. This wait is gonna kill me! I guess this partially explains how I’m hiding an 8lb baby in this bump:

  
Keep us in your thoughts and prayers. While I’m excited that we might meet Dumplin’ as soon as the end of next week, I just want what’s best and most safe for our little boy. And keep cheering for Mochi to continue growing and developing into his/her awesome self!

Thanks friends! Love to you all.

NIPT Results

I had a rough day today. I had to drag myself out of bed to use the toilet several times last night and this morning because we went for sushi yesterday, and I made some poor choices. Yes, I am still eating raw fish and seafood (ie. Sashimi, sushi, maki) but I trust the places that I’m eating at- they are busy, have a high turnover, and are clean. Plus, from what I have read, food poisoning from sushi is just as bad for you non-pregnant as pregnant, so it’s not like there’s a greater risk during pregnancy. That’s not why I am having the runs though. I usually try to stay away from things with any “sauce”- teriyaki sauce, soy sauce- because usually, they have gluten in them. Wheat flour is a common ingredient in soy and teriyaki sauces, so I have to buy special gluten-free varieties, which are expensive, and most sushi places won’t splurge on that kind of thing. So those yummy beef-wrapped enoki rolls and the bulgogi beef ribs that I ate are probably to blame for the mucousy gluten-sludge in my toilet. It’s so nasty. When gluten hits my digestive tract, an autoimmune reaction happens. My body tries to get rid of it by producing lots of mucous so that the gliadin proteins in the gluten aren’t in contact with my digestive lining because it’s so irritated. This means lots of nasty poops. Anyways, my belly bloated up within a few hours of eating, and it was so painful. I felt a lot of pressure a bit higher than I used to, thanks to my uterus growing out of my pelvis, and pushing everything like my bowels upwards. Luckily, the worst of it is over now, and I’ve re-learned my lesson again to stay away from gluten!
Sorry to have subjected you to the descriptive details of my poopy adventures. Kudos for surviving that.

Now, onto the good stuff…..

I went to the gym today, and dragged my feet through my entire workout, which was surprising, because today was leg day, and I LOVE leg day. I guess the waiting by the phone for weeks had caught up with me, and I was starting to really feel hopeless about it all. 

I finished my workout, came home, and made myself a turkey sandwich (gluten-free bread, microwaved the nitrate-free cold cuts). Halfway through eating my emotions, the phone rings! 

It’s my genetic counsellor! 
She has good news!

Yes, that’s right….. GOOD NEWS!

Dumplin’ is LOW RISK (<1/10,000) for all three trisomies!! 

HALLE-fucking-LUJAH!!!! 

  
I texted and called DW as soon as I heard the good news, but she was picketing and unable to answer her phone. When she finally called me back, we both cried tears of joy over the phone. We are so grateful for all of your positive thoughts, prayers, supportive messages, texts, and comments. I honestly don’t know how I would get through this without all of you. 

 (Beautiful flowers from the very thoughtful MyPerfectBreakdown) 
Tomorrow, we have our early anatomy scan, to check out Dumplin’s heart and other body parts, and two and a half weeks after that we have our fetal echocardiogram. Fingers crossed that all goes well with these tests too. 

For now, I’m so grateful for this good news. Best Mother’s Day gift ever!

Another Fucking Roadblock

*Warning: lots of F-bombs released in this post*

You’re not supposed to write when you’re angry. You’re especially not supposed to write emails when you’re angry, but I just did. I couldn’t help it. I am just so angry right now. 

So I’ve been counting days (as you do when you’ve been cycling, going through TWWs, on edge for the next ultrasound, etc.) since I had my blood drawn and sent off for the NIPT test on April 29th. Like I mentioned before, another blogger got her results back within 6 business days, and today would be the 6th business day. So I’ve been anxiously going about my day, with my phone ringer on high and always close by. I made breakfast, I planted some bush beans, I got some chicken and potatoes ready in the slow cooker, I cleaned and disinfected the kitchen, all with my phone tagging along. I finally took a break about 10 minutes ago, checked my phone, and there was an email from my lovely genetic counsellor with a subject line of “Results expected next week”. God bless that girl for emailing me to let me know not to expect anything anytime soon, but CML blood labs can go and fuck themselves. 

Apparently, despite protocol being that they should’ve mailed my sample by courier (1-2 days max) off on April 29th, the sample wasn’t received until May 4th. That’s 5 fucking days! So now, because of this, I’ve been told to expect results sometime between May 11th to May 14th. 

I know some of you might think I’m just being a whiny baby about this, “what’s another week?”, but let me put this into perspective here:

It has taken us 3 years, 4IUI’s, 2 full rounds of IVF, and 5 transfers of a total of 9 embryos to get here. There have been 3 miscarriages along the way.

We got the abnormal result on April 17th. 

Paper work for funding for the NIPT was sent on April 21st, which was somehow never received by the Ministry of Health.

Paper work for funding for the NIPT was re-sent on April 28th, and thankfully approved on April 29th.

I did my bloodwork and the package was supposed to be sent off the morning of April 29th. Somehow it doesn’t reach the lab until May 4th?!! And now I am told I might have to wait as late as May 14th for results?!! 

Ladies and gentlemen, it has taken Canada one month to deal with something that should’ve taken a week. What. The. Fuck.

The impact of this is that my wife and I are in pregnancy limbo, crying on our bad days and worried as shit on our good days, losing out on a full month of pregnancy bliss due to what is hopefully a stupid false positive NT scan that I never really wanted to do in the first place.

Fuck.

Just fuck.

13 Weeks

Dumplin’ is the size of a peach or a jalape├▒o now. My belly hasn’t really changed since week 11, which has me convinced that my “bump” was definitely more bloat than bump. Maybe it’s shifting more to being a bump than bloat these days. I noticed a gradual decrease in the bloat after I stopped the progesterone suppositories, which makes sense.

I haven’t been sleeping well ever since last Friday’s abnormal NT scan. It’s weird, but it kind of made me go through some of the stages of grieving, even though nothing definitive has come up yet. I guess considering all of the possible outcomes has brought out a lot of feelings- for both myself and DW. We’ve both been crying pretty much everyday, and then feeling guilty for not celebrating Dumplin’ all moments of the day. It’s kind of like being in limbo- we’re scared to act as if everything is perfect with the pregnancy, in case… Just in case we’re let down again by life. But by preparing ourselves for the worst possible outcome, I have felt bad about how I’m treating Dumplin’. I haven’t allowed myself to be as connected to her, I’ve pretended that she doesn’t exist. It’s terrible, and I feel super bad about it. So as of yesterday, I told DW that I’m going to pretend we never got this stupid NT test done, and continue loving and baby dreaming about Dumplin’. I think she must be able to sense how I feel about her. I love her so much. We both love her so much. She is safe inside me. 

My family doctor has been amazing with trying to get us in to see the genetic counsellor (this Tuesday), and with submitting paperwork for funding the NIPT. We are still waiting to find out if we’ve been approved, and it’s taking longer than I expected. I thought I’d hear back by now. 

I’m still spotting a couple of times a week. I’ve noticed it happens a couple hours after I’ve had an orgasm or have been physically active. I’m not sure about the status of the SCH, but I’m assuming it’s still around. 

As the weather gets warmer, I find my dreadlocks to be a bigger and bigger pain. I love them, and feel most like myself when my hair is in natural dreads. It’s such an easy hairstyle too- I pretty much don’t do anything to them. Because I’ve had them so long now, they are self-maintaining. My longest dreads reach halfway down my back, and they are gorgeously mature. The problem is that they’re getting really heavy, and when I wash them, I’m nearly putting my neck out because they’re waterlogged. They are also super insulating around my neck and shoulders, which makes it hard to sleep sometimes. The weight of them is also starting to pull too much on my hair follicles, and I’m getting scalp irritation in some areas of my head. For all of these reasons, I have decided to part with my dreads. Now I bet a lot of you are wondering if I have to shave my head, and the answer is no. I’ve been patiently combing out each dreadlock. Since they are natural dreads (knots form on their own, and with my own hair) the mats are easier to comb out. I’ve already taken out 10 dreads in two days. I’m shocked by how little hair I have left, but I think it’s just that my hair is naturally very fine. It’s gonna be a thin straggly mess when I’m done, but I am going to Pinterest some hair styles that I might have my hair cut to. Combing out my dreads has always been a very emotional experience for me. I’ve done it three times, and each time it’s coincided with a major life transition. Maybe this time it is my soul welcoming motherhood?

Having a Hard Time

I just got off the phone with our midwife, and am waiting at my family doctor’s office for my appointment. The midwife says that I should be referred to a genetics specialist right away (and not wait until the rest of my blood results come in) because the Nuchal translucency value was so high. 

I’ve printed off requisitions for the NIPT blood test that can screen with quite a high level of accuracy for the trisomies. Since Dumplin’s NT value is greater than 3.5mm, we might qualify for this test to be covered by our provincial health care program.

*Update*

We applied for funding for the NIPT test. We should hear back in a couple of days. I have to thank Sarah of Hearts and Spiritbaby for their invaluable guidance and advice through this part of the process. I also want to thank all of you who commented on my last post because at the time that I hit “publish”, I was feeling so hopeless and helpless. But your helpful and thoughtful comments helped me out of that hole. Right now I feel like there is a plan. Applications are waiting to be approved. Appointments waiting to be made. There is nothing else that I can do. It’s out of my hands. 

I met with an old friend of mine from teachers college for lunch today. I caught her up on our year while we inhaled gluten-free pizzas from Magic Oven. She is an awesome lady, and such a good listener. She has Celiac Disease as well, and just recently had her entire thyroid removed due to fast-growing nodules. She spent last year teaching up in a northern community, and I loved hearing and seeing pictures of her experiences there. She is also a physics geek like me, but can’t seem to get a teaching job because frankly, there really are none available. It sucks because she is so good with at-risk kids.

Lots has been going on over here. I have just been so consumed by this abnormal NT scan that I haven’t had the balls to catch y’all up. I’m also sorry if I’m not as good at commenting lately for the same reason.

Here’s a quick list to catch you up:

– We might be going on strike due to the outrageous conditions being imposed on our teaching contracts (it’s not about money, the government wants to do stupid things to pay down their self-made debt. Things like removing the cap on class sizes and other ridiculous things that they are not publicizing). This means that as a two-teacher household, we will not be getting a paycheck from our employer if we go on strike. Money is gonna be tight.

– I am finally done with those nasty Endometrin suppositories! 

– I was offered (and accepted) the job that I applied for at a different school. It doesn’t start until September, but it’s 7 minutes from my house (compared to 45), and I’ll be teaching with a lot of my friends. I’m so relieved and happy about this.

– I started knitting Dumplin’ a baby blanket. It’s similar to the Chevron pattern that Molly from Hound Mamas made for her little girl. I’ve got a lot of random yarn, and so far I’ve just been working on the cream colour section. I thinking of making it cream- grey- cream- pale green- cream- grey- cream

I also made a delicious Manhattan clam chowder:

 
I made a huge batch yesterday, which became dinner for today because I spent the entire afternoon crying. Thank you to the good friend that texted with me (you know who you are). Please keep our Dumplin’ in your thoughts and prayers. Fingers still crossed for a healthy normal blood screen. We love you Dumplin’.

11 Weeks

  

This past week has been very similar to last week in symptoms. Still nauseous, still (but less) tired, the occasional headache, and spotting here and there. I’ve been experiencing some insomnia again though. I’m falling asleep fine, but waking up many times in the night to pee, and sometimes unable to fall back asleep. I’m also a bit anxious again, but there’s some work stuff going on, and I’m stressed by the uncertainty of it all. I don’t want to post about it yet, but will probably have some news for you in two weeks. An opportunity has come up for me to potentially be a lot happier, and I’m in the midst of jumping through some hoops. Hence my lack of posts and comments on here. I’ve been busy!

The weather has been weird lately. We had a snowy Easter, then tons of rain the past few days, and today it’s 15 degrees Celsius! I took the dogs out today, and many sections of the conservation area are flooded. For example, this picnic table is not normally under water.

  

My dogs are a bit safety dumb, and decided to go swimming in the very fast flowing creek. Juno, the big dog, is a very strong swimmer, and got swept downstream despite her efforts. The little dog, whose body type is best described as a lead bowling ball, decided to try to rescue her big sister, and almost got pulled right under the water’s surface. I ran along the water’s edge, hoping they’d find some shallower area to climb back out, and was so scared that the little dog would drown, that I almost jumped in myself. Thank goodness, the both got close enough to an edge to climb out. No more heroic acts for a while okay, Clementine?

Yesterday, I had a midwife appointment. She explained the 12 week fetal ultrasound and bloodwork testing, and did a physical examination. She did a breast exam (boy was that sore), an abdominal exam, and listened to my heart and lungs with a stethoscope. Everything was fine, except, I have a heart murmur.

 

I’m pretty sure I didn’t have one before, so this is likely due to the pregnancy. Apparently 6% of women develop what are called “flow murmurs”  during pregnancy due to the 40% increase in blood volume. The heart valves can’t handle the extra blood, so it regurgitates a bit. It’s supposed to cause a bit of shortness of breath, but isn’t a big deal, and goes away after birth. I have noticed that I’m sort of breath, but I’m still planning on an active pregnancy once the second trimester rolls around. 

Oh, and I’ve gained 8lbs so far. Damn. I knew it was inevitable, with the prednisone, going from high intensity physical activity 5 days a week to leisurely walks 4 days a week, and my nausea-fighting strategy of never letting my stomach be empty. Also, this baby likes carbs, and a whole whack of nasty bad-for-your-health food. For example, today, I had a strong craving for corned beef hash. I almost puked opening the can and frying it up, but it was delicious. Yesterday, I inhaled nearly half a loaf of the most delicious GF rye from Nate’s Bagels. I’m also drinking decaf diet pop a few times a week, which I maybe would’ve had once or twice a year! Since I’m giving into my cravings, I’m getting sufficient calories. The +8lbs confirms this. I’m not beating myself up over this. Once this nausea is over, I will return to a more nutrient dense diet. Until then, I’ve still got 3/4 of a can of corned beef waiting for me in the fridge. Yes, I’m a bit ashamed that I didn’t throw the rest of the can out.

  

My body is changing.

Last week, DW marvelled at my changing pregnant body, and admitted (lovingly, and matter-of-fact) that “Baby, I have a feeling you’re gonna get huge”. I do too, hunny. I do too.

The midwife also found Dumplin’ with the Doppler, and I was able to record her heartbeat for DW, who hasn’t had a chance to see or hear her thus far. Little Dumplin’ heart was thumping away at 160-170bpm. It was such a reassurance to hear it. Funny thing though, is that Dumplin’ doesn’t seem to like the Doppler. She hid shortly after we recorded the clip, and we couldn’t find her again. The midwife said that some babies are drawn to the Doppler, and you can hear the heartbeat louder because they’re coming closer to it, but some babies don’t like it and hide. I guess I won’t be buying a Sonoline B. 

Next week, we’ll be going for our 12 week Nuchal Translucency scan. I’m super excited about this because it will be the first time that DW will see our little growing baby. I’m sure there will be tears!