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! 

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!


Gonna Look Like A Kardashian By The End Of The Month

Today is cycle day 7, and I have been on 6mg of Estrace daily for 5 days now, in preparation for our upcoming FET. I have already noticed some physical changes, which I’m not super happy with:

– my eyesight has changed again. Particularly my right eye, my cornea has changed shape, and my previously perfect fitting contact lens is not fitting my eyeball well anymore. It’s causing my eyelid to do a weird double fold thing. I am also noticing that street signs are blurry again through my right eye. I was JUST at the optometrist last week!

– my boobs are ginormous again. I have been wearing the same style of sports bra for at least a year now, with very little fluctuation, except for when I was pregnant. And when I was pregnant, my boobs basically inflated to the point where my sports bras (which are normally fitted, but with room to inhale comfortably) became like chest tourniquets. I literally worried about blood flow to my arms. Yesterday, I decided to get rid of all of my bras that don’t fit (8 of them, and sadly half being expensive Lululemon ones), and went out to buy two of the style and size that are still comfortable- stupidly, without trying them on. In my defense, I had just worn this size and style last week, so I figured it would be fine. WRONG! I was excited to put on one of the new bras today, and it is tight. Wearable, but tight. I’m an average chested girl to begin with- probably about a big B, but things are well on their way to full C-land. And since I don’t have pendulous boobs, the mass just seems to swell over my pecs, like a well endowed chicken you’d buy at the grocery store. I feel like my boobs are growing towards my face, terrified that they are going to choke out my thyroid, then suffocate me in my sleep. Yes, friends, this is what nightmares are made of.

– my pants are fitting a bit snug in the thighs. Fuck you estrogen! I’m consistently on a lower carb, paleo diet, with very few cheat meals just so this doesn’t happen! I weigh my food, track all my calories on myfitnesspal, and work out hard five days a week. What. The. Hell. Again, Fuck you estrogen!

– I’ve put on 4 pounds in the past 5 days (and I had previously been consistently at the same weight since last pregnancy ended). There is no way that this is from overeating. 4 pounds is a lot, people. In 5 days too! Again, Fuck you estrogen!

In all seriousness, I know that this is part of the process, and if taking the Estrace helps to make a really nice fluffy uterine lining for our embryo to implant, then so be it. But the side effects suck. Embryos/Fetuses have no use for huge mammaries. Curvy Venus butt and thighs are only useful if you’re auditioning for a Nicki Minaj video (think Anaconda). My eyesight is necessary for survival!

I’m worried friends, that I will look like Kim Kardashian (NSFW) by the end of the month- and I don’t mean her gorgeous face or lavish riches either. Though, it would be handy to have a shelf to place things, wherever you go, right?