3+3

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’ve had a couple of glasses of champagne so I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.  Here are some thoughts according to some key stats for me in 2017:

0
That’s how much free time I’ve had since getting back from Australia and that’s why I’ve been so woefully poor at updating my blog.  I remember reading ridiculous interviews with celebrities where they would say annoying things like there wasn’t enough time to eat, but now I understand it.  Some days it is really hard to find time to eat and when I do I find I’m stuffing something in a huge hurry.  Long gone are the days of a relaxing lunch or dinner! After surviving the return journey’s jet lag, we then had baby N’s christening the very next weekend.

Over here the christening is a VERY BIG DEAL and the babies don’t just get a little drop of water on the forehead, they get completely dunked in the water which can be somewhat traumatic for some babies.  With this in mind I was completely stressed by the whole thing, but you know what, baby N was a star!  He slept through the first half an hour of the ceremony in his godmother’s arms (parents are not allowed to touch the baby throughout the ceremony) and then when he was dunked in the water he did a bit of a complain but what more or less fine with it and was totally happy once he was bundled up in a bunch of towels.  I loved him so much on this day! Then there was Christmas and then he got sick and then I got sick, so yeah sorry for not writing more.  But onto the actual post…

17
17 July 2017 was the day baby N was born.  One of the few advantages of an elective c-section with a cool doctor was that I was able to choose his birthday. I love the balance of his birthday being 17-07-17 (American friends it is 07-17-17 where you come from which is not quite as cool).  It’s also David Hasselhoff’s birthday which did put me off somewhat but not enough to change it.  We also got married on 23-03-13 so I have a thing for balanced numbers.

338
I finally did a count of all the injections I took in the making of baby N and 338 was the final total.  This included the down-reg meds, the stims meds and the Clexane that I took throughout the entire pregnancy and for six weeks after his birth.  Even this number is probably lower than the final total as it doesn’t include the full round of IVF I did previously or the meds I was given in hospital.  I self-administered the injections myself and I swear if I’d not been so exhausted I would have thrown a party on the last day of the Clexane injections!

5.5
Baby N is now 5.5 months old and becoming even more lovely every day.  He has a cheeky smile that he willingly gives out to loved ones and strangers alike (I think he’s a natural flirt) and I am regularly told by people that he is a calm and friendly baby.  He is very communicative, only crying or complaining when he is hungry, tired or in pain. As someone who is highly strung I simply cannot believe I have managed to produce such a chilled out baby.

8.8kg
Baby N weighed 3.4kg at birth and now he is a huge 8.8kg!  Not only that he has been above height since his birth (53cm) and now stands at around 70cm which is the height of an average 7 month old, but he’s only just turned 5 months.  I have learned the hard way to buy clothes two sizes up as there have been way too many cute things he’s simply not been able to wear because he is extra tall for his age.  I find that people ask to hold him and then give him back to me after 3 minutes because they’re tired from holding him.  At least my arm muscles are pretty epically strong these days! But now it makes sense why people say babies grow so fast, because they really do.  These past five months have been both epically long and incredibly short.  I don’t know how to explain that better but it’s the truth. And I’ve got to say the last 6 weeks has been insane in the level of development that has happened.  I can now see my baby turning into a little boy and even a little bit of personality appearing. It blows my mind!

1
The number of teeth baby N has.  While it’s not freakishly uncommon for babies to get their first teeth at 5 months, they usually get them around 6-7 months old.  When the tooth surprised me by poking its way through I was also delighted as it explained why my previously excellent sleeper had been so cranky and awful for the past few nights.  I guess I had hoped everyone was exaggerating about how awful teething is, but now it seems they weren’t. The fun of parenthood is never-ending it seems.

16
That’s how many kilograms I gained when pregnant.

13
That’s how many kilograms I’ve lost since giving birth.  The first 9 were not so hard to lose, the next 4 have been beastly and required heavy dieting (food is the key to weightless, folks).  I still have 3kg to go but I’ve been too bothered with surviving life to try recently.  They need to be gone quickly in the new year though.  Even so, I can now fit into most of my pre-pregnancy clothes apart from my super skinny jeans and that is quite a good thing for my psychology.

734,856
The number of times I have questioned my ability to be a mother. Maybe it’s just me, but the level of self-doubt in this is huge. I constantly wonder if I’m doing things right or could be doing things better.  Mothering is REALLY HARD!

30+
Boxes of tissues (Kleenex for American friends) we have been through since July.  Most of this can be attributed to crying (mainly me, again), but also baby reflux/vomit, baby drool, and then all the runny noses (baby + parents) caused by the various illnesses suffered. I know a few of you are expecting babies very soon – go buy lots of packs of tissues as I promise you that you’ll need them.

0
The number of foods baby N has rejected since starting solids two weeks ago. I have absolutely adored introducing “solid” food to baby N (puree barely counts as solids) as he seems to be super-keen to eat whatever I give him.  While we have had success with pumpkin, sweet potato, carrot and pears, the real winners so far have been banana and apples. Two days ago he even ate a whole (albeit small sized) banana!  I could not believe he managed to find a space for all of that, but he did! But oh my goodness the poo is something else!!

3+3
But in all of this what I cannot quantify is my gratitude that this New Year I am a mother.  My journey was bumpy and difficult and I know how lucky I am to have my rainbow baby.  So this New Year’s Eve I am home with my husband and my cats and my baby.  This is by far the least glamorous NYE I have had in a very long time, but also the most peaceful and satisfying (also comfortable… hellooo tracksuit!). This time last year I was still in a world of anxiety about whether my embryo would continue to grow inside of me to be a healthy baby. The year before I had just lost our first baby.  This year we are a family. Mummy, daddy, baby and 3 lovely cats.  3+3 and perfect.

 

 

Bye Clexane!

Finally, I am injection free!  Last night was the last time I had to inject myself with a Clexane blood-thinning injection which means that today will be the first day since 11 November 2016 that I do not have to jab myself! I am so excited about this as it feels like a weight is being lifted off my shoulders and it’s another step towards being “back to normal”.

That being said, I’m grateful to the Clexane as I don’t think I would have my baby otherwise.  I am convinced that the (higher than standard dose) of Clexane was the crucial difference between another missed miscarriage and a live baby. I even had my placenta analysed and the doctor confirmed that he could see I had issues with thrombosis and he expects that without Clexane I would have had another miscarriage.  While this has been my theory all along, it is so good to have vindication from a medical professional.

For those of you who are also trying for a baby via IVF and have stuck with my blog, I just want to remind you that my IVF doctor was NOT the one who tested me for my Antithrombin III deficiency (thrombosis problem).  I took myself to a haematologist for a bunch of expensive additional tests and this is how I found out about the issue with the thrombosis. It was also my haematologist who insisted on the higher dose of Clexane when my IVF doc (who is also my OBGYN) was doubtful about it. If there is one thing I have learned throughout the whole infertility/IVF journey is that you have to be your own advocate.  You have to do the extra research, ask the hard questions, push for additional tests if things don’t work out as they should.  I would not have a baby right now if I hadn’t done that for myself.

As for my previous post, thank you to those of you who reached out and offered comforting and helpful words.  I am feeling a bit better since I wrote that post, perhaps just getting it out on the blog was therapy in a way. I did speak to my paediatrician about how things are and we have agreed that for now we won’t take any further measures but if things get worse then I am to call her right away so that we can do so.  I’m happy with this as I know she is on the alert and will help me if I need help.

In the meantime, I am trying to get out of the house each day on little excursions to keep myself sane.  Sometimes this is to the Mall and other times it’s to a coffee shop. Sometimes it is to catch up with friends.  Next week I have set up a playdate with another new mum (who I met through this very blog!!) and I’m thinking to also pay a visit to my husband’s aunt who is very kind and will hold the baby for me.  Life is far from perfect, but I am hoping that these small attempts to get my shit together will eventually help me to find my new normal.  Until then, at least I don’t have to deal with Clexane jabs anymore!! 🙂

The small guy is here!

Yes, the day finally arrived and our little boy was safely born yesterday (17 July) at 8.35am. He weighs in at 3.420kg (about 7 and a half pounds) and is a very long 53cm. 

The boys holding hands!

As an overall summary of the c-section, it was remarkably unstressful and painless. I had been nervous as hell about the whole thing in advance, especially the epidural, but actually that stress was misplaced. 

I was taken into the theatre at 8am and the epidural took a few minutes to administer. The general anaesthetic before they insert the epidural was barely even a prick of the skin (it’s much more painful to have the central line put into your hand). It took a few minutes for the epidural to take the full effect and the only bad moment was that my blood pressure dropped dramatically at this point and I felt very nauseous, did some dramatic retching into a dish and had a bit of a cry. I was given something else to balance me out and felt fabulous after that. 

The actual c-section surgery was very quick – maybe 10 mins long – and totally painless. I had two surgeons working on me and they were pulling and yanking and leaning on my chest to get the baby out which was strange but did not hurt. 

Hubby was fascinated by all of the surgery so spent most of the time watching that rather than sitting with me. Watching his face was a good distraction – he is not at all squeamish so he loved seeing the whole process unfold. 

Before long our little guy was pulled out and I immediately felt substantially lighter and able to breathe fully again!! No big surprise after we learned how long he is! He let out some beautiful big wails straight away so I knew he had strong lungs. The doctor gave me a little peek at his face before the paediatrician took him for a few mins to check him over. 

He was still crying when she brought him to me and so she rested his forehead against mine – would you believe even that small amount of skin-to-skin contact was enough to soothe him. 

At this point, I also got a good look at him and I realised actually he doesn’t look like a replica of my husband as we thought the scans showed but actually he looks just like me as a newborn!! That was quite a surprise!!

After a few minutes of being sewn up I was taken to the recovery room where I was reunited with the baby, our son, for some proper skin-to-skin. The midwives helped me to get him to latch on and within less than 30 seconds he was feeding. It was incredible! In fact it turns out he is a real booby-lover as I’ve had almost no problem getting him to latch on since. 

I felt pretty good for the rest of the day yesterday which was certainly assisted by some light epidural top-ups and so much adrenaline coursing through my veins!!  We had some immediate family come as visitors yesterday (everyone has now seen my boobs) and now today there are other people popping by which is nice. 

This morning I was finally disconnected from the catheter and the central line which meant I could have a shower. It was a magnificent shower as I felt so gross but I found myself very overwhelmed by dizziness and nausea and barely made it back to bed before vomiting quite heavily. I think I’m a sensitive soul when it comes to vomiting in general so they gave me some anti-nausea meds and I’ve felt great ever since. 

It’s been quite a big developmental leap to parenthood but it’s great so far. I’ve even gone from being a nappy/diaper-changing novice to changing two today – one of them quite a messy meconium poo one. 

My belly has gone down significantly which is great. I do wonder what the scales will say too! I still have some bloating and baby belly flab (of course) but I am hopeful at least some of this will shift in the next few weeks. 

So 30 hours into motherhood and I’m hooked!! Seeing how much this little guy is bonded to me already and my heart is melted. 💙

*In the interests of retaining anonymity on the blog, anyone who wants a better photo of the baby is welcome to comment below and I’ll email you some pics directly. 

The final countdown

We are now DAYS away from the small guy arriving and us becoming parents and it is blowing my mind!  I have definitely been feeling more anxious these past few days than at any other time since the early days of the pregnancy. This is also not helped by practically everyone who crosses my path saying encouraging things like:

You’re never going to sleep again
Life as you know it is over
Enjoy the peace while you can

I remember people also said similar doomsday-style messages of “encouragement” before we were married and they were all complete BS because I really like being married. I do wonder what on earth inspires people to say such negative things dressed up as a joke or a lighthearted comment.  I mean seriously, you’ve been through this before so why are you not being more encouraging and saying what a wonderful new dimension having children brings to life? And – as my Mum says – if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I think I really need to walk around with earplugs in for the next few days or else I might have a heavily-pregnant-hormone-induced rage at someone soon.

Yesterday we had our last appointment with our doctor prior to delivery. It was overall unremarkable in a good way – baby looks great, he is still measuring long (tall) and weighing in at 3.2kg / 7 pounds already!! Keep in mind I’m at 37 weeks and 4 days, if baby reached 40 weeks or more he would be really big (as would I be). Eeeek!  The doctor said these measurements are not exact though.  Also, the doctor kept emphasising that his weight was because he is long, not because he’s overly chubby.

The baby has dropped more into a position ready for birth.  He’s not fully engaged in the pelvis yet, but he’s certainly on his way.  This was no surprise to me as I have also noticed the bump sitting lower.  This has positives and negatives… positive because I can now breathe a bit easier (yay) but negatives because if he so much as shifts to one side I feel like I need to pee urgently.

Every time the baby moves these days – and he moves a lot – it is awkwardly uncomfortable.  It’s like he’s shuffling my internal organs!  Also the Braxton Hicks are getting more strong each day and sometimes take a bit of heavy breathing for a few seconds to get through. This has put the fear into me that I could go into labour earlier than my scheduled c-section which would be bad in my situation.

Why bad? As I’ve described previously, as part of my battle against reoccurring miscarriages, it has been discovered that I have an issue with thrombosis – a condition called Antithrombin III deficiency.  Put simply, this means I have a deficiency of a protein that stops blood from clotting and I’m at higher risk of blood clots generally.  There is a theory that if you have this deficiency it can be a high risk factor in causing miscarriage and so the treatment is blood thinners, in my case daily injections of Clexane.

Clexane is routinely used as a blood thinner during IVF transfers as it is believed it may assist with successful implantation of the embryo. The dose that most people are given for this practice is usually 2000mg or 4000mg and only for a few weeks, but I started on 6000mg and am now up to 7000mg – quite a high dose!! I have been taking the daily injection since early November and, apart from it being very expensive and not claimable on insurance – it also means that any kind of surgery needs careful management.

From a pregnancy delivery perspective, and because I’m having a scheduled c-section, I need to be very specific about when I take the Clexane ahead of my surgery. The anaesthetist won’t do an epidural if I have taken the Clexane within about 24-36 hours because there is a risk of the epidural needle striking a blood vessel and causing spinal bleeding which can… well, it can lead to horrible things like paralysis.  These are the things that keep me up at night currently!

Now throw into the mix that if I go into labour naturally:

a) I won’t be allowed to labour naturally due to my previous myomectomy (surgery to remove a fibroid which also involved taking a chunk out of your uterus, thus making the uterine wall thinner and more at risk of uterine abruption during labour)

b) I will need to deliver via c-section ASAP but won’t be allowed to have an epidural if I have taken the Clexane within 24 hours (which I will have as I take them every morning) and will instead have to deliver under a general anaesthetic.

I do not like any of these options!!! So most of my appointment with the doctor yesterday was discussing my options for taking or not taking Clexane.  As the Antithrombin III deficiency was identified by a haematologist and not my ob-gyn, he can’t really over-rule the dosage and also I don’t want him to as the end of pregnancy brings with it the highest  risk of a blood clot generally.  That could be very, very bad for both baby and for me!! We ended up agreeing to speak to the haematologist to see whether I could at least reduce the dose to 4000mg- which would mean an epidural would be possible within 12 hours of the last injection – but she has come back this morning to say absolutely no to that as it would be “very dangerous”.

While very glad everyone has mine and my baby’s welfare in mind during these discussions, hearing the haematologist say stopping/reducing the Clexane dose now would be “very dangerous” did not make me feel at all calmer!  In fact I had a bit of teary moment during my appointment, but the doctor did say my concerns were justified so that made me feel a tiny bit better about the crying. Also the nice ladies at reception were all trying to get me a drink when I came out.  Maybe it’s not good for business when heavily pregnant women come out into the waiting room looking like a mess!  Haha!

So now I am having regular chats to the small guy inside me and encouraging him to stay in there for a few more days until the date of the scheduled c-section.  I am also on the alert for any and all suggestions that labour could be on the way (bleeding, bloody show etc) because in that case I will FOR SURE stop the Clexane!

In between all of that, I also decided yesterday to clean the fridge which I had not expected to be as dirty as it was.  Then I started on the drawer where I keep my cutlery/silverware and that was also more disgusting than I imagined so it got scrubbed out too.  After that the kitchen floor looked like a muddy army had passed through it so I mopped the floor.  That was all in all about 3 hours physical work yesterday and so I was pretty tired after that! The fridge does look spectacular though.  I even took a photo of it! Hahahaha!

The weather is insanely hot still and my feet have gone out in sympathy.  They are not huge but they are definitely a lot more puffy than normal.  I’ve tried elevation, ice baths, light walking and frankly they just stay the same so I think they will until baby arrives.  I’ve decided unless they suddenly go huge (i.e. a sign of pre-eclampsia) that I’m not going to worry about them any more. That’s the benefit of only having days to go as you think, okay I can deal with this if it’s only for a short while!

Week 36 – Bye work, see you next year!

That’s right!  No more work for me as I am on maternity leave now!  Yesterday was my last day in the office and it was really a strange feeling to walk out at the end of the day and know I wouldn’t be coming back for at least six months.  I was not super-emotional about it, more kind of numbed by the strangeness of it all.  I think my entire pregnancy has been characterised by a feeling of disbelief that this is really happening to me, that I’m actually having a baby. My losses and failures had hit me so hard that I had prepared myself partially for a life where I would never be a mother, so even now with a giant belly protruding I still find it hard to process that this is actually happening.

I have now recovered a lot more from the shock and anger caused by the resignation of my maternity cover. Tuesday was bad, but by Wednesday I started to find the whole thing funny in a way. Even after essentially bailing out of the job and sending a legal letter to my company with some interesting claims in it, this woman then contacted me directly. I still cannot work out what the point of that was – was it to assuage some guilt, to explain herself, or because she thinks she can be my friend still? Who knows, but I didn’t reply.

My work also threw a little party for the two babies who will soon be arriving (my colleague is due a few days after me) on Thursday.  It was a total surprise and really fun so I have gone from not wanting any baby shower to having two baby-related parties in one week! Haha! And other colleagues from abroad sent me some absolutely gorgeous flowers yesterday so there was a lot of love.

I’m a bit worried that I won’t know what to do with myself on Monday so I have booked in for a 10am hair appointment with my super-fabulous hairdresser who has the best celebrity gossip stories ever.  He used to be a model years ago in London and has worked for lots of celebrities so a visit to him is better than reading any gossip magazine around. I think about 25% of his stories are true, but I don’t mind as he tells them so wonderfully!

Weight gain: I have had a big week of gaining!  I went up about 1.5kg in ONE WEEK!!  That’s more than 3 pounds for you folks who prefer it in such measurements.  I did have only a small weight gain last week so maybe I have been making up for lost time.  Also, there have been a lot of cupcakes and other such naughty things this week due to all the parties.  In any case, I feel like the bump grew a LOT this week and so I have officially transitioned into the category of feeling huge and self-conscious about it. Ugh.

Symptoms: My old friend heartburn is back again.  It did take a bit of a holiday for a few weeks there around the second trimester but now seems to be back with a vengeance now.  Acidic food and chocolate are known causes, but other things randomly set it off too so I’m having to be a bit more careful.  Also, this week has been a heatwave with every day hitting 40 degrees plus (that’s more than 104F).  Even at night it is getting down to only 25 degrees (77F).  This is the kind of weather that’s hard to deal with even if you’re not pregnant and when you are it is actually AWFUL!  Thank goodness for air conditioning!

The hot weather has also brought with it some mild puffiness of my feet and hands so I have retired my rings for a few weeks until baby comes.  I didn’t see the point of risking them getting stuck on for the sake of a couple of weeks.  I am also finding that my feet are raging hot to the point of distraction.  I have even taken to using an ice pack on them to bring some relief.  Both Dr Google and my actual doctor told me this is totally normal and basically deal with it. Great.

Eating: It has been a very random week of cupcakes, brownies and crisps at work so I don’t think it was my finest nutritional week, at least during working hours.  Also with it being so hot, hubby keeps bringing home mini-ice-creams which are amazing and totally hitting the spot.

Sleep: My sleep is more or less as poor as it’s always been, however I think the stage of my pregnancy and the heat is making me more tired.  Most nights this week hubby has come home from work or gym or whatever at about 8pm and found me asleep on the sofa.  So my nap game is brilliant even if my night-time sleep is less than average. Next week I am sooooo going to be about afternoon naps!

Movement: Baby is not engaged at all in my pelvis so he’s still doing a merry dance around my uterus throughout the day and night.  Now that he’s so big and there’s less space in there it can really be uncomfortable to the extent that it even hurts at times.  I’ve also noticed that sometimes he does a bit of a vertical stretch and I can feel him pushing down on my bladder.  That is seriously weird when it happens.

Emotions: Not too bad this week.  Very little crying other than one fraught moment on Tuesday shortly after the maternity leave replacement sent her legal document thus exiting the company. But you know, I think I would have cried at that even if I wasn’t pregnant.

Missing: Not being the size of a whale.

Purchases: Mini-ice-creams by hubby. Many of them.

We finally built the stroller last night too and it looks great.  It also looks kind of huge when it’s in the middle of our lounge room. Not long now before we will actually get to use it!!

Looking forward to: It not being so dammed hot here! Also looking forward to a couple of weeks (hopefully) before baby makes his arrival so I can do a few things around home and relax a bit too.

Best moment: The surprise baby party at work was really nice.  The baby shower on Sunday was also great, despite my reservations.  Oh and seeing the small dude on the 3D scan was wonderful!  It’s incredible that he’s practically ready for the outside world now. That little spec of embryo on the end of the catheter last November has now become an actual human being.  IVF is freaking amazing!

Exercise: Getting out of bed and going to the loo now counts as exercise in my book. Seriously.  I promise I used to run marathons although I wouldn’t blame you for not believing me at this point!

Bump update: People, actual strangers, now say things to me like “Oh you must be due any day now”.  I think that says everything.  I am actually happy these days not to be going to 40 weeks (or beyond).  Less time to get even bigger!

FullSizeRender 38
Yes, that is my kitty going around my legs as I take the photo

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Here she is!  Just for perspective, she weighs 3.3kg which is approximately the average weight of a full term new born.  

img_7093.jpg
The view from above!

Week 34 – Must start listening to body!

A few weeks ago I attended a free breast-feeding seminar and there was another girl there who was 34 weeks pregnant and I remember her saying that she’d really noticed a big change over the previous two weeks. I thought she was exaggerating at the time. I now no longer think she was exaggerating as that’s exactly how I feel too! The past two weeks have seen a step change in going from pregnant but pretty okay doing most things, to very pregnant and now kind of useless at doing most things. I am not handling the transition particularly well!

In addition to my gardening efforts on Monday night that left me in pain and pretty much exhausted even on Tuesday, I then hit the pool on Wednesday night to do a few laps. Well actually I did 40 laps in 30 minutes and felt amazing while I was in the pool. As soon as I got out of the pool I was struck down by pretty intense contractions. I laid down on a sun lounger and had a snack and some water, hoping that would help. It didn’t. So I stayed there a while longer before going for a shower and heading home. At home I then lay on my left side for a while and things did not get better. The contractions continued and were quite painful. In particular I was getting lower back pain similar to that of period pain and it was at this point I started to get worried.

Even though I took it easy at home, the contractions kept coming. They were not at consistent time intervals and they were not painful enough for me to actually do something about them but they were bad enough that I was very uncomfortable and quite cranky. At one point in the late evening I warned my hubby that we might be taking a visit to the clinic for observation and that freaked him out a lot. He ended up putting into practice some of the massage techniques he learned at one of our recent baby classes and actually it did help to either calm me down and to ease the pain I was feeling. I was then able to get into bed and go to sleep, albeit I woke up a few times during the night with pains. Thankfully there was no such continuation on Thursday. It was very scary though!

I guess I need to really start listening to my body. I told one of my friends who has a 2 year old about the contractions and she really told me off. She said that I shouldn’t be swimming (or any other kind of exercise) in order to specifically do a workout, but rather I should just be making an effort to move and stretch at this point of the pregnancy. Given that baby is coming in a month I guess it’s not long now to wait so maybe I should just chill out a bit. I certainly don’t want to have another night like I did on Wednesday night.

Weight gain: I’ve seen a week-on-week gain of 500gm (about a pound) this week which seems to be in line with what the apps say to expect. I’m now 14kg (31 pounds) up on my starting weight. I’ve not been getting too caught up on this recently.

Symptoms: VERY TIRED! Contractions (see above) and Braxton Hicks when I do too much, and when I say do too much this can be anything from unpacking the groceries to hanging out the laundry. I am seriously challenged by the Braxton Hicks! I’ve noticed it can be a little hard to get my rings off if I get very hot (most days here are 32 degrees + / 100F). I also get a sore lower back if I sit in my office chair too long. And peeing. I pee a lot these days.

This image was in my weekly email from The Bump today and it perfectly sums up how I feel now!

Image 16-06-2017 at 8.13 PM

Eating: Nothing much to talk about here. Cold things are good but that’s only because it’s so damned hot here.

Sleep: A mixed bag this week, but last night was pretty good actually. Most nights are heavily disturbed by either needing to pee 100 times a night (barely an exaggeration) or general discomfort from the belly being kind of huge these days.

Movement: He continues to be very active with belly quakes still a regular part of every day. This is comforting as I know he’s still doing great in there.

Emotions: A bit cranky this week and when I’m not cranky I am very easily tipped back over to the cranky side. If I don’t eat regularly enough I burst into tears quite easily too.

Missing: Being able to do everything that I want to do, especially exercise-wise. I found a photo the other day of myself from back in October in yoga gear and looking in freaking amazing shape and it made me want to cry. I wonder if I will ever look that good again?!

Purchases: I went grocery shopping last night and put nappies/diapers in my trolley for the first time ever. It felt so weird that I sent a message to my friend (the same one who told me off about the swimming) and she replied, “Dude have you looked in a mirror recently?!!!”. It really made me laugh. That’s a true friend. I also bought maternity pads for the hospital. Eeeeek!

Looking forward to: Other than not carrying around an extra 14kg+ in body weight?! Well I’m also looking forward to maternity leave starting in just TWO WEEKS!! OMG, longest two weeks ever!

Best moment: Every time I get to lie down is considered a best moment currently.

Exercise: Well there was the gardening that went so brilliantly and then the swimming so I think it’s safe to say I have failed at exercising safely this week. No one follow my advice please, I’m clearly an idiot! In good news, the people at the pool I go to still have not worked out that I’m neither a guest of the hotel or a paid up member of their health club so I continue to get free swims. I’m enjoying this super power of pregnancy where I seem to get away with more stuff than I usually would. I think the lifeguard guy recognises me now but must just think I’m a regular member. I don’t know, but I try not to engage in conversations with anyone lest they find out my secret.

Bump update: I feel so much bigger this week than last. It’s kind of crazy how much difference a week can make. My belly button is still a “flattie” rather than either an “inny” or an “outty” but I think there is still potential for it to pop out before the baby makes an appearance.

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Bumping along!

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Boob vision with bonus kitty

Grow baby, grow!

We had a little scheduling change this week bringing forward my next doctor’s appointment to today. There was nothing dramatic about this, just that the original appointment time was not so convenient for my hubby.  In any case I was delighted as it meant not having to wait so long to see the small dude again!

Except he’s not that much of a small dude anymore with the doctor saying he is measuring long.  He also estimated the current weight at 2.2kg but explained because the baby is long that doesn’t mean he’s oversize for his development stage. We are both delighted as we are hoping this means he will grow up to be tall, but of course who really knows!

Otherwise the scan was pretty unremarkable.  The umbilical cord was in front of his face so the 3D pictures didn’t really show much other than one eye. I asked the doctor if our baby is cute and he laughed while saying “Of course!”. As if there is any other response! See for yourself here.

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Definitely cute, right? 

We also finally confirmed the date of the scheduled c-section and I am so happy as it was the date we wanted all along.  I’m not going to specify it here as I’m generally keeping it a secret, suffice to say it’s between week 38 and 39. Our next appointment with the doctor will be in three weeks time and I felt a bit emotional when he said it will probably be our last appointment before delivering the baby.

I suddenly realised WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A BABY!!  This is kind of unbelievable, despite my growing belly. Like wow!

I also requested the whooping cough vaccination, which was interesting because the doctor didn’t offer it to me, I had to ask for it.  In any case he was really supportive of having it and made my hubby have it too.  I might have been a little too happy and excited about hubby also getting to suffer for once. Saying that, it wasn’t even painful (I was almost disappointed)! In any case, for those of you who are thinking what whooping cough vaccination, read more here:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/whooping-cough-vaccination-pregnant.aspx

I also got my second jab for the RH negative blood.  The last time I had this done hubby wasn’t there, but this time I had an audience.  It is a jab that’s given to your butt (nice) and so as I turned around and hitched up my knickers on one side to flash a cheek, hubby helpfully commented “Now that’s a fine ass!”. The midwife administering the jab was very diplomatic and said nothing, just focused on the job she had to do. He is very naughty! Haha!

This week has been otherwise pretty unremarkable.  I’m a bit tired and slow to move, especially in the super-hot weather, but I’m otherwise doing really well.  The contractions keep coming, especially in the evenings but they are clearly just practice contractions (at this stage anyway) and not really stressing me out too much. Long may it stay that way!

 

 

Antithrombin III deficiency and pregnancy

This post is a bit of an educational one and is perhaps more relevant to the infertility warriors out there than the pregnant mammas.  But keep reading pregnant mammas as maybe you’ll learn something hear that one of your friends might find interesting.

As part of my investigations into possible causes of my multiple miscarriages, I was tested for something called Antithrombin III deficiency.  The results showed that I did in fact have a mild deficiency which, put very simply, means I am more prone to thrombosis or blood clots than the average person.

It is good to be aware of if for no other reason that if ever I am having a major surgery I can let my medical practitioners know to take extra precautions to prevent blood clots forming.

What makes it a particularly big deal for me is that it may have been a contributing factor in my infertility and multiple miscarriages.  It is also a big concern when you are pregnant as a blood clot is generally considered a bad thing for both mother and baby.

I am really happy that I went and saw a haematologist separately to my IVF doctor as haematologists are more specialised in this and I found my IVF doctor was and still is sceptical as to the relevance of antithrombin III deficiency.

The treatment that I have been given to offset the risk of thrombosis has been a daily, self-administered injection of a blood thinning product, in my case it is Clexane.  Many IVF doctors do give a low dose of Clexane as part of the embryo transfer process (you usually start a daily dose a couple of days after your transfer), but in my case I needed a higher dose in order to combat my deficiency.

So yes, I have been jabbing myself every single day with a blood thinner since mid-November last year and I will continue up until the birth and then for six weeks afterwards!  Let’s just say that with the IVF injections and now the Clexane, I am not at all squeamish about giving myself injections anymore.  In fact, I am incredibly efficient about it – it probably takes me less than 2 minutes and that includes unwrapping the injection from it’s packaging.  I am a pro at injections these days!

At about six weeks pregnant my haematologist checked my antithrombin III levels again and found that the dosage of Clexane was sufficient at the time, but she did caution me to come back to be tested again once I’d gained some weight with the pregnancy.  Weight gain and increased blood volume can impact the effectiveness of the dosage.  So back I went to be tested a week ago and I was freaked out to learn on Friday that I need to almost double my dosage of Clexane as I am back into the risky zone for thrombosis.  Eeeeek!

Actually I expected to have my dosage increased as I had noticed I stopped bruising so very easily which I did at the start of my pregnancy.  It was a sign that my blood was not so thin anymore.  I don’t know why, but I felt kind of sad for 24 hours after hearing I had to up my dose.  I think I’d gotten to the point where I felt like all my struggles to conceive and failure to be a “real woman” had started to melt away and this was just a reminder that this pregnancy is a miracle of science as much as anything.

But really it’s fine.  It’s important I do everything in my power to keep baby and me healthy.  So what if my dosage is increased? So what if I have a couple of bruises here and there? This will all be forgotten in the sands of time.

Moral of this story though is that if you too have had multiple miscarriages, especially missed miscarriages like I did, then I suggest you go and also have your antithrombin III levels tested.  It’s a very specialised test and so regular blood clinics might not do it.  It’s also expensive, but it’s probably some of the best money I’ve spent during this whole process.

 

 

Week 29

After all the fun and games of Thursday’s glucose tolerance test apparently all is fine. The clinic phoned me today with the results and I was all set to tell them there was no way I was repeating the test unless there was some actual evidence that I may have gestational diabetes, however my tough girl stance was not needed. I didn’t request the actual test results so I don’t know if I really did pass the test properly or just my doctor didn’t want me to come back to do it again and puke in his consultancy rooms for a second time. Either way, I’m not doing it again.

I ended up emailing my doctor on Thursday night to apologise for the drama and he said that I might have been sick because of low blood pressure. What?! No, I think I was sick because you made me drink the most disgustingly strong glucose drink on an empty stomach, then you poked my belly with an ultrasound! Maybe THAT had a bit more to do with the vomiting!

Anyhoo, I did ask him to confirm the weight of the baby – I swear he told me at the time the baby weighed around 1.3kg but I was about to puke at the time so who knows – but the doctor couldn’t remember anymore and neither can hubby. The doctor did confirm though that the baby is long. One of the last measurements he managed to take before they ushered me out to the ward was of the baby’s thigh bone so I guess that’s how he can work out length/height. I was a long baby and I’m pretty tall and hubby is also fairly tall too so we are hoping that our baby is not a shorty like my sister and hubby’s brother. We joke that it would be unfortunate if the baby ends up being a combination of my sister and his brother. Hahaha! Obviously neither of our siblings are aware of this joke as I don’t think they’d find it as funny as we do.

I am still annoyed that my appointment time was cut severely short  by the vomiting so I feel as though I didn’t get to really chat through the things I had planned to. I mean, I don’t really have any questions but it was all so rushed and brief that I feel a bit short changed.

My next appointment with the doctor is in a month’s time which seems to be in conflict with what all of the pregnancy apps say is the norm for the third trimester. They all say it will be fortnightly appointments from now. It’s not actually a big deal for me though as the clinic is five minutes from my house and so if I am ever concerned I can just pop in there and be monitored by the midwives and the doctor would see me if it was something properly concerning.

Weight gain: This has been another week of minimal weight gain – less than half a kilogram. Overall, I’ve gained a little under 11kg (24 pounds) and I’m actually okay with it. Even my Ovia app gave me an ovation today for maintaining a healthy weight which is nice of it. Something has changed in my mindset the past few weeks as the bump has grown but the rest of me has stayed more or less the same. I think I was always fearful that I would gain weight all over my body, but so far that hasn’t happened. I am now embracing the bump and even wearing tight clothes! I should probably caveat that by saying practically everything I wear is a bit tight. This is sometimes by design (maternity wear) but often not. Haha!

Symptoms: I had another calf cramp on Tuesday night but I was ready for it this time and hubby even managed to help me out by stretching it. This was at 5am and when I thanked him for his help the next day he had zero memory of it. What this shows to me is that he’s so used to me and my weird night-time happenings now that he doesn’t even wake up anymore.

Apart from the awful glucose tolerance test and vomiting episode, I’ve not had a lot of symptoms this week. Perhaps I’ve been a bit more tired than previous weeks but that was mainly on Wednesday as I stayed up too late watching the semi-final of Eurovision on Tuesday night. Seriously, I love Eurovision and so the tiredness was worth it. I prepared myself better for Thursday night’s second semi-final so I was not quite as exhausted today.

Anyway, symptoms… I asked the doctor (pre-vomiting episode) about the probable cause for my dizzy spells and he said it’s most likely to do with low blood pressure. My blood pressure on Thursday was 113/71 but I think it occasionally drops lower when I get very hot and/or very tired. So essentially I should stay cool, well-hydrated, well-rested and eat well throughout the day without big gaps of time between snacks. I have felt a lot better at work this week because the weather has gotten a bit hotter and this means my colleagues have been very keen to turn the AC on at work. This makes me so much more comfortable and energised at work!

Eating: A couple of nights this week hubby came home unexpectedly late from work and by the time he arrived I was completely over everything about dinner. This has led to very light dinners (overgrown snacks actually) which seem to have done me no harm. However, I did have a good hearty meal of steak (cooked well done) and salad with quinoa on Thursday night and that was particularly good after all the glucose test dramas earlier in the day. Maybe it turned out my body really wanted some actual food after that!

Sleep: I want naps!! Someone design me a work day where it’s acceptable to take naps!

Movement: Baby has really stepped up the movements this week and his kicks can be really violent now! I get some movements that are so strong my whole bump visibly moves. I have named these “belly quakes” as they are like an earthquake in my belly. It’s good that he’s moving though as I know he’s growing and getting stronger.

Emotions: I’ve been much better emotionally this week. Some of the issues that were bringing me down last week with work and conflict over the baby room have been resolved or improved in some way. Work was busy this week but not like the previous two weeks thankfully.

Missing: Nothing really. I’m all good this week.

Purchases: I think hubby might have finally placed an order for the Mamaroo. We have been mulling over this purchase for some time and I am being swayed by the fact that everyone I know who has one raves about it. Hubby also loves gadgets so this appeals to him. Let’s hope our ninja baby loves it too!

Looking forward to: Hubby finally starting work on the baby room. The first step is to dismantle the guest bed we have in there and put it in our store room. He’s giving the mattress to his parents so this might even happen this weekend. Then we will get it repainted and wallpapered. The baby furniture is delivered in the first week of June so we better get moving!

Best moment of the week: The 30 seconds I saw the our small ninja on the ultrasound scan before taking ill. He’s looking pretty cute here and seems to have hubby’s lovely lips but who knows as ultrasounds are not exactly great at picking up on these things.

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Exercise: Yoga is getting funny now as it’s not so easy with a 10kg bump in the way, however I am not giving in yet!! Walking has been good though and I feel strong. I get a bit slow on the hill on the way home but other than that I actually overtook some people in the park the other day. Yay me!

Bump update: It really is just a big round bump up front with very little extra junk in my trunk! The bigger my bump gets, the more reasonably-sized my giant boobs look too.

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Week 28 – Third trimester hot mamma!

Helllooooo third trimester! If I’m honest, I had gotten to the point in the IVF road last last year and I really thought I’d never be pregnant or have a baby ever so hitting the third trimester is even more exciting and incredible than I could ever have imagined. I’ve looked back at old posts and this time a year ago I had just gotten the news that my second pregnancy was also not viable. So that was two missed miscarriages within about 5 months. I think I actually got worse mentally after that before I got better, but overall it was an epically awful time.

Yet here I am a year later – and seriously, it feels like just yesterday all that happened – and there is an actual, live, kicking baby inside of me. For so long I wondered if IVF was just a big scam, but then it worked. IT ACTUALLY WORKED!! For any of the IVF warriors who are reading this and are questioning the whole journey (god knows I was) then I hope this gives you some kind of inspiration to keep going.

Even after all the trials of getting pregnant and IVF, it’s almost comforting to know that you can still have disagreements over a lot of baby decisions! Hubby and I have been in a battle for some time now over the name of the baby, our son (wow, it still feels weird to write “son”). We ended up each asking one close friend for their opinions without the friends knowing which name we each favoured. Just my luck though that both friends went with hubby’s choice. I think I have officially lost the battle. In good news, the baby now has a name and hubby says I get to choose the name if we have another baby and it’s a girl (I assume if we have another boy the battle will recommence). This does feel like an empty victory for me, haha!

During the whole naming process I have had some regrets about my past though. It’s very hard to choose a baby name if the names you like are those of ex-lovers. I would give some advice to my 20-something self to only date men with names I don’t really like as I have had to rule out several names based solely on the fact that I had longish and memorable relationships with them. Not something you’re thinking about when you’re getting hot and heavy with someone new when you’re 20-something!!

On to this week’s summary…

Weight gain: Minimal this week! Phew! I continue to feel like I’ve gained a lot of weight though. When I’m on my feet for any length of time I feel the extra 10kg in my feet. When hubby makes fun of me needing a rest or a sit down, joking that he doesn’t believe I ever ran marathons (I damn well ran 6 of them!!) I want to strap 5kg ankle weights to each of his ankles! I probably would if he wasn’t still recovering from his knee surgery. Just so he shuts up!

Symptoms: See my previous post for a more detailed summary, but occasional dizziness continues, as does generally feeling sluggish and being out of breath. Sometimes baby sits really high up right under my rib cage and I kind of have to wiggle into a strange position to feel like I can breathe properly. It’s more of an irritation than anything. Most of the time I feel pretty fine, if a bit slower than usual.

Eating: I continue to more or less eat the same but I think I am a bit more hungry in general these days. I try and eat every few hours as I can get a bit dizzy and bad tempered if I don’t. However, I really don’t seem to be struck by crazy cravings like you hear about. There are no pickled onions with peanut butter for me. I almost feel disappointed in myself that I don’t have to send hubby out at 2am for some kind of chocolate chip ice-cream and salsa concoction. Also because it’s hot I think this affects what I want to eat. Maybe if it was winter I’d want to eat all the carbs in the universe at this point of the pregnancy.

Sleep: What’s normal at 28 weeks of pregnancy for sleep? I wake up at least once a night to pee and sometimes twice a night. I’m so well-practiced at it now though that I’m barely awake when I’m doing it. I continue to sleep better in the first half of the night so I just try and get a good 4-5 hours in before I move to the restless-half-awake kind of sleep that seems to happen in the last few hours before getting up. I do go to bed earlier than I used to pre-pregnancy and hubby – who is a bone fide night owl – seems also to be coming to bed earlier as a result. He usually spends an hour or so doing his own thing after I go to bed before he joins me and since I now go to bed earlier, so does he! This has also started to mean he gets up earlier. I swear my hormones are getting to him!

Movement: The baby has moved on from being a ninja to now being a velociraptor. They’re the small but really aggressive dinosaurs from Jurassic Park. I’m not trying to suggest he is a mean baby, but rather his movements are STRONG these days. Sometimes they even startle me or make me wince. I thought this happened later on in pregnancy so I’m starting to wonder what the kicks and punches are going to feel like closer to the end. Sometimes he gets so active that my whole belly is jolting. It is funny, but it is so, so weird!

Emotions: This past week has not been great for me. I’ve been emotionally drained and feeling really down. Hubby and I had a ridiculous and upsetting conversation on Thursday night about what to do about the room which is due to the baby room / nursery. The details of our conversation are so boring, but I was overly sensitive to everything he was saying and just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Even by Friday – my day off work – I didn’t feel better (the discussion was not resolved you see). It was the worst day I’ve had in a long time, but I think a lot of it was rooted in tiredness.

It’s been a tough week at work and it’s been hot weather too which has contributed to how tired I feel. I think it’s the time of year where companies are trying to get a lot of stuff done before the summer break, but also I think both my boss and my clients are freaking out a bit about me going on maternity leave at the end of June and so are trying to front load my schedule. Lucky me!

In good news I’m doing better today and I am so grateful to be carrying this lovely baby inside of me.

Missing: This is not a new one, but I am really freaking out about how tiny my support network is around me. I am a very capable, independent person, hubby is awesome (he really is, despite what I occasionally write here) and his parents are kind and generous, so I’m sure everything will be fine. But his brother and wife annoy me which makes family gatherings not relaxing for me. My family is so far away and they’re not very proactive with support at the best of times so I just get sad about this stuff occasionally. I don’t see anything changing with any of this so I just need to get over it really.

Purchases:  I got online again and bought a pair of shorts, a swimsuit and some new summer sandals. Yay! Do you know I really only look nice in blue and grey shades at the moment.  Pretty much all of my maternity clothes are in shades of blue, grey and white.

We also collected the stroller today (which is grey) but we asked them not to build it yet so we can keep it stored in its box for another couple of months until baby comes.

Looking forward to: Finally resolving the baby room situation and my husband not being totally annoying about it all. I guess when the baby furniture all arrives in a few weeks and he realises there is no where to put it then he might do something. Enough said.

Best moment of the week: There have not been a lot of highlights this week, but I do have a funny story! On Thursday evening I was hot and tired when I came home from work so I took all my clothes off except for my knickers and I had a little rest on the bed in the spare room. I was lying on my side on the bed, obviously without a bra or top on, and my littlest kitty came to say hello. She spotted my nipples, which are now dark brown saucers rather than the petite little things they used to be, and thought she’d give them a little pat with her paw like she would a toy. It was so funny and surprising, if a little unexpected. I laughed and laughed!

Also, I saw Beyonce wearing one of the maternity t-shirts I own this week and it’s about as close to Beyonce that I will ever be! Hahaha!

Exercise: This week walking was the focus, with only one session of yoga. I could have gone for the second yoga session on Friday but I was too miserable and tired to be bothered. I did go for a walk instead so I wasn’t a complete lazy bum.

Bump update: The bump is now starting to get a LOT of attention. It’s gotten to the point where people have started to touch it without permission. Not many people do this – perhaps I give effective F-off vibes – but we went to see our architects designing our house yesterday and one of them (a woman) went for the belly touch. I don’t know if I gave her a look of death, but I probably did because I know what I was thinking in my head and it was not friendly! She did back off quickly so hopefully she got the message. She then started quizzing me about the usual stuff (is it a boy or girl, when is he due, how are you feeling) and I kept giving very short answers so that was the end of that. I am delighted to talk about my pregnancy to people who I know well, but this woman gets on my nerves so I think I went into full defensive mode. The house looks good though so that’s something.

I’m also confused by how the size of my bump rates as some people, such as my father-in-law, keep telling me it’s huge (thanks very much) and others (usually women) telling me it’s compact and neat. I have decided that men just have NO IDEA and should not offer any opinion on the matter!

The kitties have joined the photo shoot again this week as they seem to be more popular than my bump photos are!

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