Now That’s a Big Dumplin’! And DW’s Transfer Date!

  
(Photo from: http://www.boozyburbs.com/2012/10/18/brand-new-mandu-factory-northvale-nj/)

Today we went downtown for our 28 week biophysical profile ultrasound at Mt. Sinai. I’m only 27 weeks 5 days, but close enough. Not everyone has this ultrasound, but after our scary NT scare at 12 weeks (thank goodness everything turned out okay), we get all sorts of fun precautionary appointments. Seriously though, we love the extra opportunities to see Dumplin’, and what he’s up to in there. The reassurance that all is good is also very nice. And like I’ve mentioned before, the peeps over at Mt. Sinai are da bomb and might be getting an Edible Arrangement from us. 

The ultrasound itself was actually really short in duration. Previous ultrasounds at 14 weeks and 18 weeks were about 45 minutes, we saw lots of stuff, and were given a pretty good commentary by the ultrasound tech. Today however, it was 8 minutes, and the guy doing it barely said two words. I guess he’s not a morning person? 

Pro Tip: Bring a hand mirror to your ultrasound appointments- so you can watch and see baby as they’re doing the scan! This is what we’ve been doing.

We got to see Dumplin’s positioning- he is already head down, right by my cervix, which is 3.4 cm right now. His face is looking at the left side of my back, and his legs are tucked near my far right ribs. Which is exactly the position that I predicted! When I feel movement, it’s usually strong kicks near my right ribs, and punches near the bottom of my left belly. Sometimes I feel both at the same time. I also rarely feel what feels like bubbles or popcorn popping near my cervix. I’m guessing that that might be hiccups?

Anyway the specialist said that at this point, there’s less space so Dumplin’ is unlikely to change position. So I’m really happy that he’s already setting himself up in a good birth position.

Functionally, he scored an 8/8 on his Biophysical tests- amniotic fluid, fetal movement, fetal tone, fetal breathing. Mommies are very happy about this!

The blood pressure in his umbilical artery is perfect, and my placental integrity is a grade 1 (best).

Size-wise, little Dumplin’ ain’t so little. His head is measuring 30 weeks, his legs are measuring 29 weeks, and overall, he’s measuring 1 week and 1 day ahead. He weighs 1260 grams = 2lbs 13oz, which puts him at the 80th percentile for his gestational age. 

I’m sorry if I’m boasting too much. We’re just so relieved that all is good with our little man. Ultrasounds have been kind of traumatic for us after all of the fertility treatments, sad miscarriages, and horrific NT scans. To have a “perfectly normal” scan is something to be celebrated!

So yeah, that’s one big Dumplin’!

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In other news, DW’s started her daily regime of 27 pills (13 different drugs/vitamins) + 1 injection, and FRIDAY IS TRANSFER DAY!!! We are nervous and excited about it, and I’ve been giving her “spa” treatments everyday- massages and acupuncture on alternating days. We are begging the universe for some good vibes.

Pregnancy update to follow in a few days… 

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!

Swimwear Success!

Thank you to each and every one of you for encouraging me to continue my quest for the right swimming suit.

A few day ago, I popped into a Thyme Maternity store on my way to the gym, hoping to find some shorts and a bathing suit, since none of mine fit anymore (25lb+ pregnancy weight gain so far). I must’ve tried on every single one-piece and tankini that they make, and two pairs of shorts. NOTHING FIT. I tried a size up. STILL DIDN’T FIT. I tried two sizes up. STILL DIDN’T FIT RIGHT

The sales girl said “Go with the size you normally wear, our clothes are meant to accommodate your growing belly…. Blah blah blah… Grow with you… Blah blah blah”, so I did. I’m normally a medium in most things, but grabbed a large too, just in case.

Holy hell.

Let’s first talk about the shorts. I COULDNT GET THEM PAST MY THIGHS. The large size, I could, but it gaped in the bum, and I felt like I was waddling in them. All of their shorts were like this for me.

Now the swim suits were a different kind of hell. Stepping into the leg holes of the medium one-pieces, I couldn’t get the suit past my hips. I seriously think that had I tried to force it, I would’ve ripped the stitching, so forget that. The large fit mostly, except that the leg holes felt like tourniquets around my thighs. Like if I had gone swimming in that suit, my legs would stop working due to restricted blood flow. Also, there’s an elastic gather just under the bust, and I have some wide lats thanks to my athletic back. Again, tourniquet right on my rib cage. The boobs of the tops were so empty and sagged like a deflated balloon. I definitely couldn’t go out like that. So I tried the XL, which did absolutely nothing good for my self-esteem and looked all sorts of wrong. 

So I gave up, and went to the gym, trying to forget the whole experience.

When I got home, I settled on a poorly fitting old bikini which has adjustable strings on the hips, and a top that barely covered my ample boobs. To be more modest, I planned to wear a spandex racer back tank top that I had from Lululemon about a million years ago. This is what I would wear to my swim date the next day.

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Today, I had a swim date with a good friend of mine and her 1 year old twin boys. We had lots of fun towing them in floating fish-shaped foamies and splashing on the shallow stairs. We also got to go through the gazillion questions I had for her about: circumcision, baby products, episiotomies, baby weights, car seats and strollers, minivans, and mat leave. All was great until I caught a glimpse at my chest and gasped! I forgot to mention how my nipples have quadrupled in size (seriously), and are hard to hide in a regular padded bra, let alone a thinly padded swim suit bikini. Yup, I definitely need a bathing suit with more breast padding, or all the babies will be crawling to me looking for milk. I was so embarrassed.

So, after our swim (and lunch) date, I stopped by Motherhood Maternity, another store highly recommended by some of you. They had a much larger selection, and I grabbed a bunch of khaki shorts, sweat shorts, bathing suits (tankinis look funny on me because they’re so girlie, so I opted for the one-pieces), some sweat pants, and (what the hell, they looked interesting) a pair of jeggings. 

Everything fit. Perfectly

The shorts were awesome- they had the belly band and the large size was a bit big still, so I could grow into them through the summer. I grabbed them in a tan, dark green, and a super soft denim colour.

The swim suits fit awesome, though I immediately excluded the super feminine ones, or the ones that didn’t have enough breast padding. One in particular, fit great and had a nice design (though still a bit girlier than I’m used to), so I bought it.

The jogging pants, sweat shorts, and jeggings fit great too, but I didn’t plan on spending much, so I put them in my “no” pile. Plus, I’ve been able to fill those fashion voids with the massive amounts of spandexy or “Luon” Lululemon shorts and pants that I have accumulated throughout the years that still fit.

So, I got 3 pairs of super comfy maternity shorts, and a bathing suit for under $120 Canadian dollars (that’s like $100 USD for you American friends). Not bad, considering that I am in love with every item.

We have a wedding to attend in July, and I’m definitely considering buying a dress from Motherhood Maternity now. 

Woohoo! I found a swim suit!  

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! 

17 Weeks and Crafts!

As I mentioned several months ago, we haven’t bought anything for Dumplin’ yet. Not a single onesie, toy, or trinket. But our fertility clinic did give us a little parting gift, which consisted of a whole bunch of advertisements, and samples (of baby shampoo, nursing pads, Penaten cream, and a bottle). 

  
For a month, this stuff sat on our dining room table, until my MIL gave us a little gift of baby socks for Easter. Then I knew we had to make space for Dumplin’s stuff.

So I moved some knitting materials, and made him a drawer. 

Slowly, the drawer is being filled- still with nothing purchased, but with things that have been made for him.

I’ve been working on a chevron blanket, after being inspired by Molly at Hound Mamas. It’s not done, but here’s what it looks like so far:

 

My MIL sewed a beautiful receiving blanket for Dumplin’:

  
I’ve also been sewing newborn cloth diapers for him, which was inspired by Shawns at Shawns and Cade, who has made a great tutorial on the process. I’ve been obsessed with the cute flannelette prints at Fabricland, and bought some for a Mother’s Day Cloth Diaper Making gift basket for my MIL. Her kit has snaps and snap pliers, which were expensive to buy at Fabricland so I suggest getting them on eBay. 

  
For the diapers I’m making, I bought Velcro for some variety.

  
  
They’ve been super fun to make, and I’ve been spending lots of time on my sewing machine (and less on WordPress- so forgive the lack of comments). I’ve also made some cloth pads from the leftover flannel and microfibre (for DW), as well as some awesome burp cloths.

  
We love the skulls with shades! 

Other than that, we’ve been chillin’ at the cottage on weekends, and I’ve been lifting weights three times a week. 

 (Seat stealer.) 
I’ve been feeling good physically, except for two things:

– round ligament pain which started yesterday- ouch!

– trying not to sleep on my back (back sleeping is not recommended after twenty weeks due to compression of the inferior vena cava)- frustrating!

Other than that, I’ve just been crafting away, filling Dumplin’s drawer.

  

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 jalapeño 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?