Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Status Report - 111 Days to Go!

It's the last day of 2008, our final year as a childless couple. Last night, FINALLY, The Husband felt his baby move. I've had that all to myself for a couple of months now, but I'm very happy to share. The little brat has been rather uncooperative in that regard, moving out of the way every time daddy's hand was in the right spot to feel the kicks. It must frustrating to be the dad - he's just as invested in this little creature as I am, but other than painting the nursery and listening to me whine, there's not a whole lot he can do for baby until he/she makes a Grand Entrance.

Speaking of him/her, January 5th! The follow-up ultrasound is January 5th. This kid had better let me see what they are. I could no longer resist the temptation to buy baby clothes, so now this kid is going to be stuck wearing yellow and green for the first few months. That's what they get for being so stubborn!

Farewell, 2008! I can't wait to greet The Parasite in the coming year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Status Report - 126 Days to Go!

Hungry? Really? I can't imagine NOT being hungry. I eat all the time now. Seriously, this morning I got up early because I was starving and I HAD to eat something - waiting was not an option. I've shoveled something into my face every hour or two since waking. I had a phone conversation with a friend with my mouth full half the time because I could not put the fucking fork down for long enough to behave in a civilized fashion.

A typical day is a breakfast of cereal or some other whole grain product and a giant bowl of fruit and some decaf coffee with lots of milk. Then yogurt about an hour later. Then another hour after that, more fruit. Then lunch, usually something heavy on the protein with some grain or other and a vegetable or two. And then an hour later more fruit. And then some nuts or seeds or cheese with soy milk. And then dinner, again heavy on the protein with some kind of grain and vegetables. And then usually some more fruit a little later. And then another snack of nuts or seeds or cheese or something. That's for ONE DAY, people!

I had no idea that I was going to need to budget for a HORSE in our weekly food shopping. Granted, I'm making sure I don't throw a whole lot of crappy food into the mix because this kid has their whole life to eat junk food, I don't need give them a head start. At my last ultrasound (19 weeks) baby was in the 73rd percentile. That's one BIG baby, and I'm not a terribly large person. I have gained 6 pounds and as of 3 weeks ago, one pound of that was purely baby and it's undoubtedly more now. He/she is just sucking everything I manage to feed us. If I keep eating like this, I'm fairly convinced I'm going to give birth to a baby elephant.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Status Report - 139 Days to Go!

We are officially past the halfway point, there are fewer than 20 weeks to go!

I do have to go for another ultrasound, not because anyone is worried about what they saw in the last one, just because they couldn't get every view they wanted and we might as well. Also, I am quite simply DYING to know what this kid is, so he/she had BETTER cooperate or I'm going to start eating nothing but bitter vegetables.

Baby is moving A LOT this week. There are big, booming kicks here and there plus general rolling around like he/she is trying to get comfortable. It's a creepy feeling to be sure, but it's a good reminder that this is ACTUALLY happening, we have a baby on the way. I have an anterior placenta, which simply means the placenta is in the front rather than at the back of the uterus. It doesn't mean anything to baby, but it does mean that Daddy still hasn't been able to feel any activity because baby is at the back. He has admitted to being a little jealous that there's something I have with baby that he can't share in. I've told him if he's feeling left out, he's should try swallowing a live rodent and letting it run around in his belly, stomping on his bladder for good measure. Oddly, he's just not that interested in sharing the WHOLE experience.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Status Report - 142 Days to Go!

My child is as stubborn as his/her mother. The ultrasound that we looked forward to for so long to reveal the sex of this child? It was a bust. Oh, sure, the baby is doing fantastically well, all the measurements are bang on and looking great. But every time the sonographer got the wand to where it needed to be to tell us the sex, the little brat would stick a hand or a foot in the way. They told us the odds are 50/50 that it's a girl or a boy. Fantastic! Because I couldn't have figured that out without very expensive diagnostic technology!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Status Report - 160 Days to Go

Child, I dub thee... KICKY!

The first time I felt the baby move, I was horrified. "Ewww! ALIEN!"

Then it became rather endearing. "Hey there, sweet thing! Mommy loves you!"

Now it seems to only happen at the most inopportune of times. Like when I am trying to concentrate on something at work. Do have any idea how hard it is to concentrate on something when there is a very small person tickling you from the inside?

In 14 days, I have another ultrasound. At this one, they *should* be able to tell us the baby's sex. I say *should* because I'm hearing more and more stories about babies who just won't cooperate, hiding their bits from the scan as though they have anything to be bashful about in utero. Fingers crossed, I'll walk out feeling pink or powder blue. If not, I'm forking over the extra $$$ for a private 3D ultrasound. I wanna know, DAMMIT!

Oh, and they'll check on baby's development too.

Another thing they don't tell you about until it's too late? Round ligament pain. Or, as I like to call it "Holy FUCK! Somebody just stabbed me in the groin!" Yes, it really does hurt that much. It goes away after a minute or two, but WOW! I knew the end was going to be painful, I had no idea it was going to hurt nearly all the way through.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Status Report - 171 Days to Go!

Planning to get pregnant? Well, let me tell YET another thing you may need to buy, YET another of those things nobody tells you about until it's already too late...

Nipple cream.

Yup. Lanisoh - the cream of choice for breastfeeding mothers - is also the very best friend of pregnant women with ever-changing, super-sensitive nipples. A little smear of that when you're hopping out of the shower saves you a whole day's worth of grief as you twist and turn to get to a point where your BRA doesn't hurt. You're welcome. Doesn't it sound like FUN?

In other news, I have a medical condition that's not really related to pregnancy, so I won't go into details. Ever the one to desperately seek a silver lining, one bonus is that to keep an eye on things, I'm getting lots of extra ultrasounds. That means lots of chances to see the baby before he/she makes his/her debut. This time, when the sonographer started the exam, baby was kicking and flailing like nobody's business. I can't feel that yet, but it's tres cool to watch. Check out the long legs on this kid! He/she's going to be taller than me at birth, let alone in adulthood. Of course, taller than me is not much of a feat, but I digress...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Status Report - 178 Days to Go!

Our kid is a brat. I mean that in the nicest possible way, but still, he/she is a brat. I had a midwife's appointment on Thursday and I was so totally excited about hearing his/her heartbeat for the first time. The heartbeat is fine, and the midwife's trained ear allowed her to find it with the Doppler very quickly. Except every time she got a lock on it, the little bugger would move away. So it's official, our kid is a brat. At least we know it's ours.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Status Report - 182 Days to Go!

Officially in the 2nd trimester - Woo hoo! This weekend involved a cross-border shopping trip to get some winter gear to cover my ever-expanding ass & baby bump. I was doing so well up to Week 11, not gaining a single pound while eating well and growing said bump. Then all of a sudden, it started creeping up on me. I'm up 2.5 lbs as of this morning. Not life threatening, of course, I am pregnant after all and it's well within the range of normal.

However, I have decided it requires a scaling back on the non-essential nutrients, like M&Ms and dinner rolls. I have no interest in spending the first two years post-delivery working off baby weight. Oh, and I should probably consider dragging my ass back to the gym now that I'm not so exhausted that brushing my teeth is nap-inducing.

Next midwife's appointment is on Thursday, where we'll finally get to hear his/her heartbeat.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Status Report - 192 Days to Go!

Hey! Look, it's my kid:

Pretty cute, eh? This was taken on Thursday morning, two weeks after the last ultrasound. In that two weeks, the baby has doubled in size. He/she (and I seriously cannot wait until I know the sex so I can refer to the baby as HE or SHE) is 6.6 cms from crown to rump. Go ahead, you know you want to, get a ruler.

This ultrasound was to check the Nuchal Translucency, an indicator of chromosomal anomalies like Down Syndrome and Trisomy 18. Any measurement under 3.0 mms is good, our baby's is 1.7 mms, so that's one more hurdle cleared. One week, three days left of the first trimester.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Status Report - 198 Days to Go!

Under 200 days until we're due to meet our little one. Woo-hoo! Two weeks, two days until the end of the first trimester.

The energy level is coming back a little, and the nausea is down to a rare wave here and there. I guess they weren't lying about the second trimester bringing respite from the symptoms. Until the start of the third...

This week, the IPS screening. It's another ultrasound (because pregnant women loooooove them ultrasounds) and a blood test that is screening for Down Syndrome and other chromosomal anomalies. While I'm fairly confident this isn't a big concern, it's another thing I'll feel much better about when it's over.

Before I was actually starting a family, I was absolutely certain that the only way I'd give birth was doped to the gills and pain free. Epidural? Yes, please. I'll take two! I was going to have a team of doctors and nurses and my partner (whom I did not know at this point) was going to be out in the waiting room, pacing and handing our cigars all 1950s-style.

Because I harbour an obsessive thirst for knowledge, after the positive test, I started researching birth statistics. I learned how much more likely I am to need surgical intervention once medication is introduced, and obviously surgery is more risky than natural birth. I could live with that if I were the only one in jeopardy, but I also learned how much higher the risks are to my baby. And I just cannot accept that risk on someone else's behalf.

So now I find myself planning a midwife-assisted natural birth in six months. I haven't even met this kid yet, and I'm already ready to sacrifice everything I can to keep them as safe as I can. God help me, this kid has turned me into some kind of freakish Earth Mother hippie.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Status Report - 209 Days to Go!

OK, so I was suffering a little from the fear of the unknown. I had no idea how my baby was doing and there was nothing I could do about it. Given that I am a Control Freak by nature, this made me fucking crazy. Alright, fine, more crazy than usual.

The risk of miscarriage in the first trimester is very high. However, with proper prenatal care, once you have reached double digit weeks and the presence of a strong heartbeat has been confirmed, that risk drops to 3%. So I talked my midwife into letting me have an ultrasound far, far earlier than I normally would.

Today, I saw my baby's heartbeat. It was, without a doubt, the coolest thing I have ever seen. He/she has a healthy 163 bpm heart rate and is swimming around with a distinguishable head and eyes and little arm and leg buds. The sonographer assures us that everything looks like it should at this time. He/she is 3.2cm long right now, on track with my dates and due to join us in April.

Now I know for sure that a baby is developing normally, and it's on the way. Now I have a whole new set of reasons to be terrified!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Status Report - 215 Days to Go!

Yeah, yeah. Exhaustion this, nausea that. It's getting to be the same old, same old. I've got 3 weeks left of the first trimester, and it can't be over soon enough. You'd think that's because the symptoms generally abate after 13 weeks, and sure that's part of it. But mostly it's because after the first trimester, the risk of miscarriage drops significantly.

There is a tremendous fear involved in growing a person. The stats are out there, and they're scary. 15-25% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. While half of you is incredibly excited, mentally mapping out the nursery and window shopping for the coolest stroller money can buy ($1000, thank you very much), the other half is terrified that something is wrong with the baby, that at any moment you're going to have a telltale cramp that signals the end.

This is not helped by seemingly well-meaning (yet completely stupid) people pointing out that "it's early", as though any couple expecting a baby isn't already painfully aware of that. Here's a tip for those well-meaning (yet completely stupid) folks out there: Miscarriage is a real fear, and it's very sad, and any couple expecting a baby knows that "it's early" because they were both there at conception - they do NOT need your reminder.

If they choose to share their news earlier than you did or would if it were you, it's because they are happy and they want to share that joy. Should something bad happen, they will be sad and they would like some help coping with their sadness. Ya' know, like help them through it by saying a kind word or something crazy like that, rather than hiding in a cave like fucking lepers in a time of personal tragedy. The woman in particular will already feel like it's all her fault, and making it sound like they're jinxing it is particularly cruel to her.

When a couple shares the news that they're expecting a baby, the appropriate response is "Congratulations! That is wonderful news!" If they later have to un-tell the news, the appropriate response is "I'm sorry to hear that, do you need anything at this time?" Saying anything idiotic like "Why did you tell people so early?" is totally inappropriate, and also none of your business. If they tell you to go fuck yourself, either in person or in a blog post because they heard about your ever-so-unhelpful commentary after the fact, suck it up. You deserve it.

And seriously. Go fuck yourself.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Status Report - 225 Days to Go!

Allergies aren't fun. They're even less fun when sneezing actually HURTS. Yup, PAIN with every achoo. It's called Round Ligament Pain, and it's really, really annoying. The exhaustion is still here, and I get afternoon sickness. At about 3:00, an overwhelming wave of nausea takes over and stays with me all through the subway ride home. Now that I actually AM knocked up, I'm reading all the shit they don't tell you about before you've got your positive pee stick, like round ligament pain.

I have regressed to the eating habits of your average 5 year old. Friday night, I had my first real, honest to goodness, no basis in rationality, completely insatiable food craving. The lovely planned dinner of a small steak, potato and asparagus? Out the window. I *NEEDED* nasty, greasy, salty, terrible for me but oh so tasty Chinese food. Nothing else would do. In fact, the thought of eating anything else made me nauseous.

At the grocery store, I bought chocolate-dipped granola bars and string cheese. String cheese! Today, it was KD. Salty, mushy, fake-cheese nastiness and again, the thought of eating anything else was more than my stomach could take. I never eat this shit. Remind me to thank this kid with brussel sprouts when he or she is here.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Status Report - 233 Days to Go!

The doctor's office called on Wednesday afternoon to let me know that everything was OK, my levels were in line with where they should be. *Phew!* I should probably let my doctor know that freaking out hormone-crazed first time mommies with quasi bad news and little back up information falls under the category of NOT VERY NICE.

Now I just have the ENORMOUS boobs (up two cups, thank you very much and OW!) to contend with, and the general intestinal discomfort. Though it pains me to say this, I think I'm getting used to just generally feeling "unwell". So far, the morning sickness has been contained to dry heaves on occasion. I'm OK as long as I never let myself get to the point of actually hungry. It's all about the blood sugar.

Speaking of never getting hungry, I plan to spend the rest of today cooking tasty stuffs so I an eat well all week.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Status Report - 242 Days to Go!

I had blood taken for testing last week, and the results are in. At the stage I was at on Saturday (4 weeks, 4 days) the "normal" range of hcg (the hormone that you generate during pregnancy) is 500-6,000. My level is at 631. I thought that was just fine, but my doctor wants me to go back for another test to make sure its trending upwards as it should.

I am was very worried, but I have managed to talk myself off the ledge. First of all, I spent most of the afternoon at work running to the bathroom to cry. The only people that do that are pregnant women and the very unprofessional. I are serious professional, so it must be the raging hormones of the still very knocked up with a healthy as a horse baby.

Also, I consulted my good friend Dr. Google, who has assured me with a variety of sources that many healthy babies are born from pregnancies with low hcg test levels. Also, the charts are kind of bullshit. No, seriously, this is a direct quote from one of Dr. Google's sources "The numbers in the chart are only a guideline, and are so broad as to be almost useless."

Perfect! I ran to the bathroom to cry several times AND told my boss during my mid-year evaluation that I hate my job because of the stress caused by a number - STILL IN THE NORMAL RANGE - of a chart that is "so broad as to be almost useless." !Thumbs Up! Yup, I'm behaving in a totally rational fashion.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Status Report - 247 Days to Go!

Think Unicorns & Rainbows!

There are many things they don't tell you, those people who encourage you to join the With Children cult. Like when they say "you may experience some breast tenderness" they don't tell you your boobs will hurt so fucking much, you won't even be able to wear your purse the way you usually do because the strap will become an agent of doom. My already cumbersome boobs are swollen, and they hurt like hell.

There's the little things you take for granted. Yesterday, while showering, I had my leg up on the edge of the tub shaving it. I realized in a few months, I won't be able to reach around the belly to shave my legs. What the super fuck? I'll have to be a woolly beached whale? Oh, well now that's just great.

I've already accepted the fact that normal sleeping patterns are a thing of the past. I took a two hour nap yesterday, and I still laid on the couch for an hour before throwing in the towel and going to bed at 11:00. Apparently, my husband married a 9 year old with the early bedtime and everything!

So far, I have decided that there must be Unicorns and Rainbows in the delivery room, because otherwise there is no fucking way women would do this more than once. Seriously!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Status Report - 251 Days to Go

Still pregnant so far. I'm blessed, awful tired. To all the pregnant ladies out there who complained, and suspected (correctly) that I was kind of rolling my eyes at you, I'm sorry. I had no idea. Frankly, I thought you were milking it and conning me into doing stuff for you. Obviously, given that I am 4 weeks, 1 day along, people here don't know yet. But as I am seriously tempted to crawl under my desk and take a nap, I don't know how long I'll be able to keep it a secret.

The headache is pretty awful too, but that's most likely caffeine withdrawal. I substituted most of my morning coffee with decaf today, and I'm suffering for it. Hopefully this will go away soon, or I WILL hurt someone on my way home on public transit. If not today, another day.

Doctor's appointment is booked for Friday afternoon.

Monday, August 11, 2008

We Now Continue Our Program...

Oh, hi! Remember me? I'm your friendly knocked up blogger. That's right, a little over 4 months after the last false alarm, I have finally managed to convince the Clearblue Digital that I am, in fact, pregnant.

I'm in the midst of moving, so I figured the exhaustion was due to all the packing and unpacking and move this box here and the "Where the FUCK is the ...??" But then the tired didn't go away, and the PMS didn't start. And four different brands of pregnancy test showed positive. I was afraid to consult the Magic 8 Ball that is the Clearblue Digital Pregnancy test, aka the Most Sophisticated Piece of technology I've Ever Pee'd On.

I finally bit the bullet after work today. Now, the crappy camera on my cell phone doesn't show it clearly, but I assure you that does in fact read: Pregnant.

Why Life with a Parasite?

Let's look at the definition of a parasite:
par·a·site [par-uh-sahyt] organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.

For the next 8 months (estimated date of delivery, April 21, 2009), a little ball of cells (The Parasite) will live in or on me (The Host) and obtain nutriment. I'll let you all know how that works out for me.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

False Alarm

It would seem the Most Sophisticated Piece of Technology I've Ever Pee'd on was right all along...

We'll get 'em next month.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

It's for Science, Man!

Days Late: 6
Tests Taken So Far: 4 (3 limply-Pos, 1 decidedly-Neg)

Theory: Clearblue Digital may be sophisticated, but it's not that accurate...

Hypothesis: Other, much cheaper HPTs give you a better answer because they rely on simple chemical reaction, rather than hocus-pocus bullshit (paraphrased from my husband).

This Lady is kind of my hero. I fully admit that I'm ripping off her schtick here, but I have GOT to conduct my own experiments. I'm a "believe it when I see it" kind of girl.

Every single ad for home pregnancy tests claims that their test gives you an answer the soonest. "Up to FOUR days before your expected period!", they claim. "Doesn't matter what time of day you test!", they say. Truth is, they're only really effective when you're already a week late, and it really is best to use your first pee of the day because the hormone level will be the most concentrated. They just tell you that you can test early and whenever in the day because that will give more false negatives. And then you'll buy more pregnancy tests. I'm a fucking genius! (she exclaims, as she's dropped about $100 herself...)

Just shy of a week late, because I am very, very impatient and I just don't have time for this kind of experiment on a Monday morning, I've put them to the test. I've dipped the First Response test (that has yielded 3 Pos so far), the Most Sophisticated Piece of Technology I'll Ever Pee on, and the cheapest drugstore-brand piece of crap I could find in the same cup of first-thing in the morning pee, as per the instructions in the package. All claim results are accurate within 3-4 minutes, and to disregard the results after 10 minutes. The photographs below are the status after 5 minutes.

#1 First Response, 3 Pos so far (Test #5)

The Result:

Second line, but it's still very, very faint. Dammit.

#2 Clearblue Digital, The Most Sophisticated yada yada yada, 1 Neg so far (Test #6)

The Result:

Still "Not Pregnant". Dammit!

#3 The $7 Store Brand (Test #7)

The Result:

OK, it's the first time I've used this one. And it's negative. Dammit.

Dammit, dammit dammit! Now, I must change my theory.

The only brand of test that gives me a positive is First Response. Perhaps their design is flawed? Now that I've blown April's grocery budget on tests, it's time to call in the big guns. That's right, I'm calling the doctor and arranging a blood test.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The First Test (or 10)

Hi! My name is Julia, and I am a pessimist.

I'd try to change, but frankly, I'm a much happier person when I keep my expectations low. Because I am a pessimist, when I was walking home from work on Wednesday, I decided to pick up a pregnancy test. You see, I'd been having Girly Issues for a few days, and I was a day late. I figured as soon as the negative pregnancy test was in my hands my period would start, thus bringing my discomfort to an end.

Except it wasn't negative.

As a matter of fact, yes I *DID* just upload a picture of a stick I pee'd on to the internet at large. My mother would be so proud. Anyway...

As you can see (or maybe you can't, I have eyes like a hawk), there is a very faint line second line in the window.
Naturally, I assumed a line so faint couldn't possibly be a positive test. Naturally, a call to the Registered Nurse at the 1-800 line included with the test assured me I was wrong. They might as well just name it the "Yes, it's Positive" line.

Remember that pessimist bit? Yes. Well. My husband and I (OK, mostly me) needed more reassurance that it really was a positive test. Fine, fair enough. Off to the drugstore we went to buy "The Most Sophisticated Piece of Technology You'll Ever Pee On". And what did it say?

(Not Pregnant, for those of you who can't read blurry, over-zoomed text. I'd fix it, but I'm really quite lazy).

Well, what the fuck? The lady at the "Yes, it's Positive" line assured me that even a faint second line means the test is positive. How DARE the most sophisticated piece of technology I've ever pee'd on offer a dissenting opinion! Of course, I did the only thing a sane, rational person would do! (Remember, a whole 2 days late at this point...)

I took another test later the same day:

Positive, but not positive enough for my tastes.

And another one the following morning:

Also positive. Also not positive enough for my tastes.

As you can see, I started numbering them so I could keep track of which pee'd-upon stick I was photographing to share with the world at large. You're starting to figure out that I'm maybe a little bit crazy at this point, aren't you? You'll be well served keeping that in mind as we go forward.

So here we are, I'm now 4 days late and we STILL don't have a definitive answer. Just wait 'till you see the scientific experiment I've dreamed up for this weekend!