fully baked

August 12, 2010 at 7:27 pm (Pregnancy at Work, Pregnant body, Third Trimester) (, , , )

We’re at 37 weeks now! Baby is now considered full term.

I can’t believe we’re here… Every day I am amazed at how big and strong baby feels inside me. My belly is absolutely HUGE – it sticks straight out and is so perfectly round that it looks like I’ve stuffed a beach ball under my shirt. Both M and I sometimes can’t help ourselves and let out a breathless “woah” when we notice how big it is.

I’m lucky that the weather has been mostly co-operative this summer. There have definitely been days when it’s awfully hot, but for the most part I’ve been able to cope quite well. My office is air conditioned and we have plenty of fans in our house. We also bought this amazing stacker tower fan, which is two fans stacked on top of each other. It’s been a life save. We keep it at the foot of the bed and just point it right at me to keep me cool on the hotter nights. I don’t think I would have made it without it! It’s getting hotter again now, though, just as I’m going to be biggest and heaviest.

I only have a week left at work before I go on mat leave. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I’ve been awfully tired lately. I don’t sleep well at night because I’m too uncomfortable, even with my trusty Snoogle. Baby seems to kick a lot just as I first lay down, so it’s tough to fall asleep. Then, I usually wake up 3-4 times through the night because I have to pee. I’ve noticed in the past week or so that I’ll be woken up by some pretty serious Braxton Hicks contractions. They’re strong enough to pull me out of my sleep, and the way I’ve gotten them to go away is to get out of bed and do a bathroom run. Because this always happens at night, I sort of get the feeling that I’ll go into labour at night. I know it’s really not a good indicator at all, but that’s just the feeling that I get.

At my now-weekly exam, the doctor told me today that the baby has started to drop. Very exciting stuff! It’s still not fully dropped into my pelvis, but apparently baby is lower than it was last week. So – things are starting to happen. I think I really freaked M out a couple of days ago because he came downstairs and found me sort of hunched over holding up my belly. It was just so heavy and I could feel a lot of pressure from the baby pushing down. I’m guessing that that’s when baby started it’s descent lower into my pelvis. M said that there seemed to be a lot of grunting and other noises coming out of me that night!

Next week, we’ll do a pelvic exam and check my dilation and effacement. I am really starting to wonder when the baby is going to come!

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the end of an era

July 11, 2010 at 12:33 pm (pregnancy after miscarriage, Pregnant body, Third Trimester, Thoughts) (, , , )

I’ve had a belly ring since I was 19. Not a barbell, like most people have, but old school, an actual ring. I used to change the bead on it all the time, going from bright blue to plain silver to red, and sometimes even hanging various trinkets off it like oval crystals. In my twenties, I would often wear cropped shirts or sweaters because I wanted to show it, and my toned stomach, off. For a long time now, though, it’s been completely covered, unless of course, we were on a beach or in our hot tub, or some other bikini type of situation. Most of the time, I even forgot that I had one at all.

I have been wondering for some time now how long I would be able to keep my belly ring since I was pregnant. I even asked my doctor about it a couple of visits ago, and his response was most unhelpful: “They don’t teach us that in medical school.” I wasn’t exactly impressed, and went to the internet for answers instead. Unfortunately, answers from women who also had belly rings while they were pregnant ranged from them taking it out in the 2nd trimester, to leaving it in the whole time. I also read a variety of experiences from women who’s piercings closed up during the time the ring was out to people who were able to put them back in afterwards with no issues at all.

Over the last several weeks, my belly has remained in that threatening-to-pop stage. I don’t think it’s getting any closer to popping out now than it was before we went on our “babymoon” to Hawaii almost a month ago. Who knows if it ever will or not, but I still have my fingers crossed that I’ll get to keep my innie over the last few weeks. My navel ring, though, had adopted a permanently crooked position, always leaning over to the right, with the bead leaving a small, round, painless dent in my very round belly. I contemplated taking it out, but worried about what would happen to the piercing.  Would it close up? Would the hole get stretched out due to my growing belly? I had heard about those special pregnancy navel rings that are designed to be longer and flexible so that you can keep them in during your entire pregnancy. They can be quite inexpensive, and are available at most piercing places.

The other thing I struggled with was whether I would just take it out permanently. I’ll be 33 this year, and I certainly don’t show it off anymore. On the other hand, though – I still like my piercing. I find it cute and sexy and fun. (Well, maybe not so sexy with my huge belly, but pre-pregnancy, I think it still looked great.)

In the end, I decided it was time to just take it out and I can decide after I have the baby if I’ll put it back in or not. If it does close up in that time, then so be it. It’s highly unlikely that I’ll bother getting it re-pierced. But if I can put my ring back in, then maybe I will wear it again. I just hope that the hole doesn’t do any strange stretching over the last few weeks of my pregnancy and leave me with a weird scar. I guess we’ll just wait and see!

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my, how you’ve grown!

April 23, 2010 at 8:59 pm (Second Trimester, Thoughts) (, , , )

We had our ultrasound yesterday. It has been 12 weeks since our last one and it was in one word: incredible!

At our 9 week ultrasound, baby was 1 inch long and looked just like a gummy bear, complete with the little arm and leg buds. But now! We could see baby’s head in profile, with it’s little nose and mouth! We got a lovely picture of the bottom of baby’s foot, so it looks just like a little footprint. And we also got a picture of baby’s spine, with each and every vertebrae clearly in view. It was so wonderful to see how much baby has grown these past several weeks. The technician also measured baby’s heartbeat at 148, very nice and healthy, to my relief.

I must say, though, there are a couple of things about ultrasounds that I don’t like. One, that M is not allowed to come in the room with me at first. He has to wait outside for about 10 minutes while the tech checks things out, then they let me know that I can get up and tell him to come in. Why is that? I should have asked, I know, but it must be torture for him to sit out there wondering if everything is OK. With every minute that he has to wait longer, I think he must worry that something is wrong and that’s why he hasn’t been summoned in yet. Two, I hate the way the techs look at the screen for so long before they say anything to you. I was laying there for several minutes before she said a word. For the first while, I just looked up at the ceiling, but after awhile I stole a look over at her and watched her changing expressions: frowning, satisfied, curious, frustrated, inquisitive…. I was torturing myself wondering if that meant she saw something she didn’t like or if she just needed a new pair of glasses or a better angle to see what she was looking for. After just a few moments, I decided I shouldn’t drive myself crazy with the guessing and just go back to looking at the ceiling. It was definitely the more sane choice, and I’m glad I forced myself to do it.

She said that baby looked a little bit smaller than expected, which wasn’t a huge surprise to me as that’s what they told us at the first ultrasound. I let her know that my cycles are a bit long, more like 31-33 days instead of 28, so she said that likely explained it and that if the due date is off by up to as much as 6 days, they usually didn’t bother to change it. I may be called back for another ultrasound in 4 weeks if they decide to check on the growth rate, just to make sure that it’s the date that’s off and not that baby isn’t growing fast enough. However, she said that everything looked good and that there were no concerns. Baby was also a bit uncooperative at first, deciding to stay in a curled up position. After I emptied my bladder and came back, I guess baby woke up or maybe had more room in there, and agreed to stretch out a bit for some of the other checks and measurements.

The only other thing is that apparently my placenta is on the front wall of my uterus. This is also called an anterior placenta. It’s not a big deal, even though most of the time, the placenta will be at the top of the uterus. Basically, it just means that baby’s movements may not feel as distinct as they would have if the placenta was not in the way. Think of it as if baby was kicking me through a pillow instead of directly in the gut, which i think is probably a good thing! Luckily, the placenta is pretty tough and won’t be damaged at all, even if baby is using it as a bit of a punching bag or dance floor. I also read that an anterior placenta can sometimes make it a bit more difficult for the doc to hear the baby’s heartbeat with the doppler, but we had no problem at all. As soon as the doctor placed it on my belly, there was the heartbeat, loud and strong, even bigger than last time. We also heard a few swishing sounds, which was baby moving around in there!

I think things are starting to feel more real for me now, as well as more safe. Every time I get to see baby or hear it’s heartbeat, it reassures me. We’re one step closer to meeting in September.

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an exciting week

April 20, 2010 at 7:18 pm (pregnancy after miscarriage, Second Trimester) (, )

This is going to be a big week for us! On Thursday, we are going in for our regular monthly appointment as well as our ultrasound! I’m really excited for that since we had our first ultrasound back at 9 weeks. It will be amazing to see how much baby has grown. Also, on Saturday, we have an appointment booked for one of those 3D ultrasounds. Our parents and M’s siblings will also be on hand for that one so we can all see baby’s face for the first time together!

We always look forward to our monthly visits at the prenatal clinic because we get to hear baby’s heartbeat. I read that at 20-22 weeks, baby’s heartbeat starts becoming much stronger, and that it can even be heard with a regular stethoscope. When we were at the vet this past weekend, I was tempted to ask him if he thought he could hear a fetal heartbeat with his animal stethoscope… I thought he might think it was a crazy thing to ask, so I bit my tongue! I remember how much awe we felt last month when we heard the difference between that visit’s heartbeat and the previous months. I wonder how much it will have grown now!

I also have a few other questions that I want to ask this week: 1) I have a belly button piercing – when do I have to take it out? I don’t want to take it out too soon and have the hole close up, but I don’t want to leave it in too long and have the piercing get all big and stretched out. 2) I noticed a few times lately that I get a short, quick pain in my belly – is that just round ligament pain? How do I tell what’s normal and what’s worrisome? I don’t have any longer duration cramping or any bleeding. 3) We want to get away one last time before the baby comes. Will it be safe to fly when I’m 28/29 weeks pregnant? I’ve read that the 2nd trimester is the best time to go on vacation, but that late in the 3rd trimester, it’s not advisable to fly in case you go into early labour.

Our 20 week ultrasound is on the same day as our prenatal appointment (actually, we’re a week late, so it will be at 21 weeks for us), and it will be at the hospital where I plan to deliver the baby. We pulled out the picture we got from our 9 week ultrasound to check it out again – baby was so small at that time, just 1 inch long. It looked just like a gummy bear with it’s little arm and leg buds sticking out. It will be mind-boggling to see how much baby has grown now. Baby is about 6-7 inches long now, with fully formed arms, legs, feet, toes and hands! We should be able to see the spine and other bones starting to form and harden now, too.

We will have to tell both ultrasound techinicians that we don’t want to find out the sex of the baby. Hopefully the little one co-operates and doesn’t do a backflip with it’s legs spread eagle! I’ll have to laugh, though, as it would just be fitting for M’s baby to flash everyone his or her bits 🙂 They will also take a recording of baby’s heartbeat and put it into a teddy bear that we can take home with us! I am most excited about this wonderful keepsake so we can listen to that lovely thump-thump-thump-thump whenever we like. We are going to play it for our other children, the furry kind, to introduce them to baby!

As excited as I am, I still have some nervousness with these upcoming appointments. I don’t think the fear and doubt will ever quite go away, even as my belly (and boobs!) continues to grow like mad. The past two weeks have seen an incredible amount of growth in my tummy, but I can’t help but worry just a little. What if the umbilical cord gets wrapped around baby’s neck? What if baby’s heart stops beating? What if we go to the ultrasound, or even worse, the 3D ultrasound with our family, only to find out that something has gone terribly wrong? I know I can’t think like this, and I do try to focus on all the positives, but it’s still scary. I just want Thursday to arrive so we can get to see and hear our baby again!

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the washing machine

March 23, 2010 at 7:04 pm (pregnancy after miscarriage, Second Trimester) (, , )

Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile. I feel like I haven’t had much to write about. My belly is still growing and I’ve given up on regular pants. I’m now exclusively in yoga pants or leggings since I find them to be the most comfortable. I think I could still squeeze into one pair of jeans and one pair of dress pants, but why bother? I enjoy wearing some of the new maternity shirts I’ve bought because they’re cut to show off my expanding belly. Depending on what I’m wearing, it’s actually very obvious that I’m pregnant now and not just fat.

For the most part, I’ve been feeling great. Just hungry. REALLY hungry, and all the time. I can’t eat a lot at any one sitting, but I honestly need to put something in my tummy every two hours or else I’m starving. I am feeling pretty proud of myself that I’ve stuck to healthy foods and snacks: fruit, whole wheat crackers, multi-grain cereal and lots and lots of water. However, I did cave yesterday afternoon and bought an ice cream sandwich from the office vending machine. It was heaven!! So good!

Today was our second appointment with the prenatal care clinic. It was thankfully much shorter than the first one, with no pelvic exam (hooray!). At the end of the exam, we got to hear baby’s heartbeat again. It was nothing short of amazing…. It was so loud! Baby was moving around a bit, so sometimes it would fade and she would have to re-position the listening device, but then she would find it again and the sound was so loud, I could barely believe it! When we got to hear it a month ago, it was there, but faint. It sounded like it was at the back of a cave. Which, in a way, makes sense… baby was so small at that time and my uterus had not started pushing forward yet. This time, the heartbeat was strong, loud and fast. The rhythmical beat sounded just like a washing machine! M and I just smiled at each other as we listened breathlessly. Baby’s heartbeat was 156 beats per min 🙂

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drums in the deep

February 25, 2010 at 7:27 pm (First Trimester, pregnancy after miscarriage, Thoughts) (, , )

Yesterday was Judgement Day. That’s what I’ve been calling it – the day that we would go in for our first “real” prenatal appointment. It was a day that I both looked forward to and dreaded, just like my first ultrasound. It’s scary to know going into something that it’s either going to be a wonderful experience or a devastating one. There could be no in between. Either we would get to hear baby’s heartbeat for the first time or we would be told that there was nothing to hear, that we had lost the baby, that I was about to have another miscarriage.

Upon arrival, I had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and go pee on a stick. Thankfully, M was with me to help me answer some of the questions. I have a terrible memory, and I think it’s even worse with baby brain. Honestly, sometimes I’m amazed I don’t forget my own head lately. A ton of the questions were around drug and alcohol use, and some were even about our financial situation. I can imagine that this would be an important one for the government, as they want to know whether they’ll have to be supporting this new family. I’m so thankful that we are in a solid situation with our house and our jobs and no debt. When I came back with the pee stick, the receptionist took one look at it and asked if I had any sweets that morning. I thought about it for a second, then remembered what I had for breakfast… “Um, I had Pop Tarts…” I answered guiltily. She said “OK, then, that explains it. It’s fine then.” I felt the need to tell her that Pop Tarts are not my usual breakfast – that I usually have Multigrain cereal and fruit. Oops.

The doctor seemed nice enough. Very open to questions, I noticed, and he even stopped whatever he was doing to fully give me his attention whenever I did ask something. Sometimes, my family doctor will continue writing as she answers, but not this doctor. I really appreciated that. He started with some of the basics, checking my breathing and that sort of thing, until he finally said it was time to listen for the heartbeat. He said that it could still be very faint as I was only 13 weeks and my uterus was still sitting back in my body, but that we could give it a try.

I think I held my breath and looked anxiously but excitedly at M as he pulled out the listening device. He began to move it around my belly, and we could hear the whooshing as he tried to locate the heartbeat. Then suddenly, faintly, I heard something…. ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum…. then it was gone, then back again. Our baby’s heartbeat!!!! I thought for sure that I would cry when I heard it, but I was nowhere close to tears. I think I was just concentrating so much on listening for it, and watching M’s face as he listened intently as well. I think because I had no reaction, the doctor asked “Do you hear it?” and I breathed out a yes. He searched for it some more and there it was again: ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum…. like a drum hidden deep in a cave.

We asked if it was safe to start telling people now. The doctor said everything looked great, and that the chance of miscarriage is now very low.

Our baby is in there, it’s real, it’s heart is beating, and I’m finally starting to feel like it’s safe.

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bloodlines and waistlines

February 15, 2010 at 1:17 pm (First Trimester, pregnancy after miscarriage) (, , , )

I’m terrified of needles. In fact, my doctor once teased me that the little kids were braver than I was when it was time to get my shots. So you can imagine my growing dread as the date of my blood test arrived.

I had to go in for the usual prenatal bloodwork before “the big day”, aka my first real prenatal appointment with the prenatal clinic. My appointment at the clinic is for next Wednesday, so I went in for my bloodwork last week. They check for all sorts of things, like your blood type, Rh factor, rubella and any STIs. (Side note: When did they change it from STDs to STIs??) I had to go in to see my doc first to get all the forms, then would head over to one of the many labs to get the actual blood drawn. She was very pleased to see me, because she knew how hard I had taken it when I miscarried back in October. That seems like eons ago now, but the feelings are still very sharp and clear in my mind. She told me about all the things they would be checking for, and she didn’t mention HCG levels. I asked if they check that and she said they don’t do that unless there’s concern that something is wrong. They just assume that your HCG levels increase throughout your pregnancy, and they don’t check it in routine prenatal screening. I know it sounds like I’m being paranoid, but I wish that they checked for that anyway, just to be sure.

Even though we had a very positive ultrasound only a couple of weeks ago, I’m still scared. I still want every reassurance possible that everything is OK this time, that the baby is growing and safe and healthy and that it’s little heart is still beating away. I still get terrified sometimes, and I try to tell myself  to just relax. Nothing has happened that should cause me to think that anything is wrong, but I can’t help it. I’ve had plenty of good symptoms, if you want to call them that, like bloating and nausea and dizziness.

My waistline is definitely growing now, too. I can easily hide it with sweaters or looser fitting clothing, but in a t-shirt and yoga pants, there is no denying my little belly isn’t so little any more. I had sadly given up on my skinny jeans weeks ago, but I found a handy little trick online at WhatToExpect.com. Just loop in a thick elastic band through the button hole and use it to wind around the button so you don’t have to do it up! Then you can still zip your jeans and hide the elastic with a longer sweater or top! It works great! M laughed when I showed him my little trick, but honestly, you could never tell if I didn’t lift up my sweater.

It was sort of fun this weekend to see family and our two friends who are in on our little secret. I could wear whatever I wanted and they could see that stuff is starting to happen down there. I showed my friend, V, the picture of the ultrasound and she was screaming and so excited. We also popped by M’s dad’s place and it was so cute to learn that he’s already keeping his eye out for baby hockey wear so that he will have something cool to give baby in December.

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my heart beats for you

January 28, 2010 at 8:25 pm (First Trimester, pregnancy after miscarriage) (, , )

The day I have been both dreading and anticipating finally arrived. Today was my ultrasound.

Two hours before my scheduled appointment, I started to drink those vast amounts of water that you’re supposed to drink before the ultrasound. You’re supposed to drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water in an hour and a half and NOT pee. Let me tell you – I have a hard time holding it for two hours as it is. Holding it while downing that much water wasn’t just causing me discomfort, it was painful! Every little bump in the road had me clenching my teeth, trying to keep my bladder under control. I could barely walk from the car to the clinic, and sitting down once I had checked in was a huge debacle. M told me just to go let a little bit out because I was so uncomfortable, and for awhile I refused, but finally I gave in and went. It was hard to stop!!!

Finally, they called my name and took us in. They asked M to wait for a moment in a seating area, assuring me that he would be able to come in shortly. The techinician could tell I was in extreme difficulty, so she said she would just have  a quick check and that I would probably be able to let some more out. Immediately upon placing the ball on me, she said I could go pee a cup worth! I was in heaven and much more comfortable when I went back in and laid down. Then she set back to work.

Some searching and rolling. A couple of strokes on the keyboard and a few beeps. I don’t think I took a breath. I don’t think my own heart was beating until she said those wonderful wonderful magical words:

I see a heartbeat.

Immediately, I started to bawl. “Thank God!” I cried. After a few more checks, she said she would go out to get M. As the door opened, he could already see my beaming face and the Cheshire Cat grin that stretched from ear to ear. She turned the screen to us again and showed us our baby. She pointed out the tiny heart beating away wildly, the head and developing brain, the little arm and leg buds. She described the little appendages as looking sort of like a gummy bear. How cute! Baby is a little bit smaller than expected at 9 weeks, and she asked if my cycles were a bit long, which I confirmed at about 31-33 days. She said that because it’s within 5 days that they likely would not change my due date. That remains at September 2, 2010. We even got a picture to take home with us and it shows that baby is just about an inch long right now.

I am floating on air right now, with relief washing over me. I can’t describe the feeling of seeing that heartbeat! Seeing it pulse away so madly, so feverishly… it brings me to tears just to picture it again in my mind. I love you, baby, and I can’t wait to meet you.

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what’s up doc?

January 7, 2010 at 10:29 pm (First Trimester, pregnancy after miscarriage) (, , , )

This morning I went for my first doctor’s appointment. It’s just my GP, so I knew it would be a short visit and definitely no ultrasound. It didn’t matter, I was still excited to go. Last time I saw her, she was telling me what to expect as my miscarriage went into full gear. This was a much happier visit. She was pleased to hear that I had decided to stop playing hockey right away. “I’m not saying playing hockey caused your miscarriage, but it is a rougher and more physical sport, so it’s probably better that you’re playing it safe and taking it easy.”

So – M made the call to our friend who organizes our hockey team and said that I had hurt my ankle while out for a run last night and that I wouldn’t be playing tomorrow. I’m hoping this scenario is pretty believable since I have had multiple ankle and knee problems from running. It should also allow for a longer term “injury” that will keep me sidelined for a few weeks. I honestly don’t know if it will fly, though – we’ve been playing hockey together for years and I never really miss games even if I am hurt. For weeks, I just played with my ankles taped up and would swear in the changeroom as I ripped the tape (and some of my skin) off game after game. Between this “injury” and my “detox”, the rumors may start to fly!

I don’t know if I’ve written about my fake detox yet… It’s the same line I used last time, before I miscarried. My friends are used to seeing me every weekend and I always have a glass of wine or some other kind of drink. I had to come up with some sort of excuse as to why I wasn’t drinking any more that would be somewhat believeable. In a way, I think that because I’ve done this before, it will make it easier and less suspicious this time. I know for sure last time that one of the ladies on my team knew I was pregnant, so maybe since I’ve come off  “detox” over Christmas and had enjoyed some wine over the holidays, she’ll take it easy on me this time. Also, with it being January and so many people making new year’s resolutions to eat healthier and work out, etc, it will seem like a natural time of year to not be drinking. So what is my fake detox? This is what I tell people: No booze, no coffee, no pop, no fast food and no junk food. I explain that I will allow myself to have a salad or something from Wendy’s but that I won’t have a chicken burger. I think this works because I go beyond the normal restrictions of a pregnancy diet so it sounds more like health binge. Of course, when I’m alone or just with M, I will eat whatever I want.

Back to the doc – one of the things I REALLY wanted was to get an early ultrasound. She is normally great about this type of thing, and I know she really knew how hard I took the miscarriage. I also told her that I had experienced what I figured was implantation bleeding before I took the pregnancy test, and that I had a tiny spot two days ago but nothing since. (Yes, I did completely freak out when I saw it the other morning and we were extremely worried and upset… but yesterday I had one of those funny intuitions that everything was fine.) She said I could go in for an early ultrasound in a couple of weeks and that I should mention to them that I had a bit of spotting. I plan on making an appointment for the last week of the month so that M can be with me. I am looking forward to my ultrasound so much.

Once again, I find myself wishing that I could just fast forward time to the end of January so I can see and maybe even hear my baby’s heartbeat. It’s funny how often I have wished for time to pass by faster. When I first miscarried, I wanted to fast forward to November when I would have my period again. Then in November, I wanted it to be December so that we could start trying to conceive. Once December arrived, I wanted to fast forward to Christmas so I could take my pregnancy test.  Now I am wishing for a couple of flash forwards: 1) end of January so I can have my ultrasound, 2) M’s birthday in mid-Feb so we can tell my mother and 3) March so I can be in my second trimester and have less worry about miscarriage.

I know you are supposed to relish and enjoy your pregnancy, but miscarriage has ruined that for me, I think… Why haven’t they invented a time machine yet?

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