Thursday, May 31, 2012

90% good, 10% fear

Sorry for the lack of updates recently. I've been traveling a lot for talks and otherwise swamped with work on top of being fairly exhausted. Sleep is getting tough. I hope it is not a harbinger of what the remainder of this pregnancy will be like. I am uncomfortable. My legs are restless and achy. My back has started to hurt sometimes at night. Which all translates to me getting through my busy days and travel as best I can and then trying to take it easy when I can.

Today marks 18 weeks, 5 days. Wowza. I can't believe we are still pregnant. That time is still passing. I show my stomach to Will almost every night, with the question/comment - "Can you believe this?!" He just smiles at me and says it's amazing.

It is feeling more real. I am able to hold the idea that we might actually have a baby on one hand, and simultaneously hold the possibility that we could lose her at any time. I was worried I wouldn't be able to imagine a good outcome at all, so being able to hold both outcomes seems like a step in the right direction.

Ninety percent of the time, I'd say I'm able to hold the good and imagine we will have a living child. We talk like this, that this child will have a name, and have a room, a future in our family, etc. Which is good, but also strange-feeling.

And then 10% of the time, I'm afraid. Sometimes deeply afraid. I've had lots of uterine sensations this week. I usually feel something once or twice a week, but this week it's been pretty much every day at some point. Sometimes just an odd feeling, sometimes a uterine tightening. Sometimes a stabbing vaginal pain, although that's been momentary. It's been hard not to get scared that something is wrong. That my cervix is giving way, that something is wrong with the baby. So I went in this week to get checked. Baby looked much the same as last week, slumped over with the weight of her ginormous, heavy head. The OB checked my cervix also, and she said it was fine. So that was reassuring, although I am still a little nervous.

This is the way things are right now. Trying to take an acceptance stance. Not judge myself. Just get reassurance when I need it. Take things one day at a time. Let myself a little more and a little more, imagine a positive outcome.

As far as we know, all continues to go well. Edging closer and closer every day. Hoping for the best.


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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

OB appointment 17 weeks 4 days

My husband Will and I met with the OB today.

And wonderfully, amazingly, all still seems to be going well.

She did an ultrasound and I had my usual immediate thought that the baby had died, but she was fine. This week, we could see her swallowing fluid on the ultrasound. The OB said this is a sign of an intact neurological system. So Yay! My tiny daughter is a champ at drinking her own amniotic fluid!

My blood pressure and weight checked out fine. The OB also answered our questions about my continuing nausea, almost constant leg pain, and fatigue. (I know - can you believe that these are my current "serious" complaints?! I am so lucky). It looks like compression socks may be in my future. The nausea and vomiting are likely to get better in the next month, but may not resolve completely. All that is ok. I am thrilled to be pregnant. Thrilled to be at this place. Still incredulous.

We also would like to take a vacation at the end of June so we were asking the OB's opinion on the safest places to go. She said Europe or Hawaii are both fine, but in Europe, we have to watch the cheese, can't have proscuitto, etc. So that makes me think we might prefer it post-pregnancy. So it seems likely that we will head to Hawaii!! I think the flight will be a bit tough, but it will be a wonderful trip if we can do it.

For your viewing pleasure, here is the little one. To me, it looks like she finds her head intolerably weighty. Poor thing!! She's propping herself up on my placenta!


My head is sooooo heavy!

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

17 week anatomy scan results and picture

Sorry for the delayed post. I know I made at least a few of you nervous. I was totally wiped out yesterday and had to also prepare a talk for today. This morning, I spoke to 400 military service members for three hours. Yowza. Ex-haus-ting. It went well, but I am glad to have the talk behind me.

So...on to the anatomy scan. Yesterday, at 16 weeks, 6 days, I had my first anatomy scan. I thought I would need to drink a bunch of water, but turns out, that was not needed. Will and I were nervous. Me especially. I worried that the baby had died (I hadn't used the doppler in the past several days to reduce the baby's exposure time, since I knew this scan would be long, but of course that left me extra antsy). I was also nervous specifically about heart defects. They seem relatively common, so just at baseline I was worried about it, and then I came across information in the past week that high vitamin E intake in pregnancy is associated with congenital heart defects. I haven't been trying to supplement with vitamin E, but I've been taking high doses of fish oil (10 capsules a day per one of my doctor's instructions)...and it turned out when I checked the bottle that it contained vitamin E inadvertently, I was supplementing this. Once I did the math, I started to seriously panic. I was way above the dosages associated with heart defects in this study. I've been trying without much success to calm myself since then.

So needless to say, a nervous-at-baseline Mo was especially nervous about this anatomy scan. 

Luckily, everything looks good so far. The center I went to has you meet with a high risk OB right when you do the scan, so we were able to get our results and have all of our questions answered. He said that all looked good. There were a few things we couldn't see yet, re: the heart (can't yet rule out a ventricular septal defect), at least one thing we couldn't see yet re: the brain (the corpus collosum), and the OB also said that later on the kidneys could turn out to be polycystic. But we saw what we should see at this stage. A four-chambered heart, a closed abdominal wall, a cute button nose, lips! (with no cleft), two kidneys with good blood flow, the stomach, all the bones where they should be. The OB said we could see 90-95% of what we need to see and that I should come back at 20 weeks, when they will be able to see the rest. 

They also checked my cervix, and although they didn't give me the measurement, it looked nice and closed, even to nervous me. 

The baby, they said, weighs about 6 ounces now (my little petite filet!).

And, they said that they are 99% sure that it is a girl.

Wow. A baby girl! That is just amazing. This whole experience continues to be so completely mindblowing. We haven't been hoping too strongly one way or the other - we just want a healthy, living baby. But a girl is extra special. In Will's family, there are 9 sons between all of his siblings. There are 0 daughters. In my family, 2 stepsons among my siblings, 0 daughters. So this little girl is going to get doted on, I do think.

So without further ado, here she is!


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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

In no particular order

  1. I had a dream that I was a human marsupial. I was able to look down in my pouch and see my baby, and just carry it around that way. I wouldn't mind this, if in fact it could be a possibility.
  2. According to one of my pregnancy e-newsletters, baby is now the size of my open hand. Really? That seems really big! How did that ever happen?
  3. I vomited Sunday evening. Yeowch. I thought the nausea and fatigue would be gone by now, but they really are not, at least not entirely. I feel fine and then suddenly I do not. And my gag reflex? Out of this world. It's only the second puke of this pregnancy, so nothing to complain about really, but it was surprising in its sudden-ness and in its force.
  4. Someone gave me a seat on the NYC subway. Because I'm pregnant. And because (gulp) I look it. OMG. I just stare at myself a bit in wonder - what is happening to my body? It seems so much larger. Also all of the sudden. Will assures me I'm not overly huge (thanks, Will!) but I feel big. I am out now at work (no big announcement, but have told key people this week and am no longer hiding it).
  5. Despite being fairly pregnant-looking, I feel like a fraud. It still seems like something to hide (before something terrible happens), or like I'm merely pretending to be pregnant. Am I? It's been a long time since my last period, but you never know. 

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Monday, May 14, 2012


Jen Knepper and her husband from Maybe If You Just Relax lost their beautiful 17-month-old daughter Ainsley on Saturday. They had already endured the loss of Evelyn, Ainsley's identical twin, who died just before birth. Please click over and send your support as they endure an unimaginably difficult situation.


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Friday, May 11, 2012

Mohs procedure update

I had the basal cell lesion removed from my upper back yesterday. I had a little bit of a scare because when I got there, they didn't seem to have me on the schedule (uh oh!). They managed to accommodate me anyway, which is good because it would have been hard to clear my schedule again anytime soon.

The surgeon was able to do the excision with me lying on my side, which was much easier for me than lying on my stomach. Then I waited for about an hour and a half, heard the margins were all clear, and then they put down pillows for me to lie on my stomach to have the incision closed. That was pretty uncomfortable, between my stomach and my pregnancy nasal congestion (hard to breathe!), but it didn't last too long.

They put a ginormous pressure dressing on that makes me look a bit like the hunchback of Notre Dame, but I think is helping significantly with pain/swelling. I've been icing it as well, per instructions, and so far have avoided Tylenol, but will take it if I need it. Mostly the area is sore and it also feels tight, like the skin is pulling (which it likely is, thanks to less skin + swelling). The doc put in two layers of stitches - a dissolvable under layer and a stronger outer layer that she will remove in a couple of weeks.

I'm really glad to have this taken care of and behind me.

I checked the baby with doppler this morning and he/she seemed fine in there, heart beat beat beating away.

Now I just need to be careful not to lift anything or twist too much for the next few weeks and let this heal up really well.

I scheduled the anatomy scan for next Friday - hard to believe that a week from today we'll get to see the baby again, hopefully finding out everything is still going ok. I cannot even fathom that we will likely find out the gender at that time. Crazy. But then this whole pregnancy thing is crazy. Still makes no sense to me how we finally hit on the right combination of things to have an actual baby start to grow inside of me - and keep growing inside of me into the second trimester. Mindblowing, really.

Thanks for all of your continued good wishes and thoughts! We're getting there, a day at a time.

And baby, if you're listening, stay in there!! Keep growing!! Stay healthy! You are so, so wanted.


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Thursday, May 10, 2012

OB visit 15 weeks 5 days

My husband Will and I went to the OB this morning. She looked like she was planning to use a doppler for the first time this time, but when she saw Will she said we would do an ultrasound (Phew! Glad he was able to come!).

Baby was very quiet when she started the ultrasound, which got me scared - but the OB showed me the heart beating right away to let me know all was well. Nothing majorly new to report. You could see the brain and more mineralization of the bones. Will hasn't seen an ultrasound for a couple of weeks, so he was pretty floored. Then the OB asked if we wanted to know the gender, and we said Sure!!

She looked and looked and looked and thought she saw the three lines that would indicate a labia (so girl!), but she wasn't sure. The picture wasn't great quality, and the baby wasn't completely cooperating with his/her positioning. So we will have to wait. It will be nice to know, but honestly, we just want a healthy baby. 

She checked my cervix, which was long and closed (triple phew!). Said we'll keep an eye on it to help me stay calm.

We asked the OB when the anatomy scan would be and she said at our hospital it's done at 20 weeks, but at another hospital further uptown, their high risk group does one at 16 and one at 20. She suggested we go to their practice for the early scan, given our anxiety level due to my history.

So assuming I can get it scheduled, anatomy scan will be next week - wowza!!

Now off to the basal cell Mohs removal. I'll update later if I can.


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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I hate IVIG: thoughts on IVIG #4

This post is a bit complaining. Sorry.

I am one day post-IVIG #4. I'm wrapping up my day at work and feeling like stink. My head is throbbing; the lights are hurting my eyes. I'm very much looking forward to going home to bed.

The last couple of treatments, my reproductive immunologist let me have at home with a nurse. It was much easier to be tucked in my own bed, loyal boxer by my side, IV in my arm, trying to sleep through it as much as possible. For some reason, he's now changed his policy and required me to come in to his office. He also requires me to get the infusion in the morning, and since it makes me so sick afterward, means I miss an entire day of work. So I went in to his office and laid on a super-uncomfortable exam table from 8:30AM-2:00PM, fluorescent lights shining in my eyes. The exam table is uncomfortable when not pregnant. Now in my second trimester, it was fairly unbearable by the second hour. I was not a happy camper. I was an especially unhappy camper once the chills and low-grade fever set in. Because I had that reaction, they slowed the IV drip, making the whole thing take much longer. An hour after that, my IV infiltrated, meaning, we had to find a new vein...ugh...

I told the nurse at the end that I don't think I can do this again - go through this again on that exam table in his office (it feels especially egregious that he charges me $400 to use his office, when I'd much rather not!). Hopefully all of my blood work will come back wonderfully this next time and the RI will say I don't need another treatment, but if I do, I'll have to come up with another plan, one that will allow me to at least be semi-comfortable while going through this. We will see. I think the next blood work is in a few weeks.

I am very grateful IVIG exists, and maybe it's actually what's behind keeping this baby alive. I don't know. I wish I had a better sense of that, that I felt more sure of the evidence behind it (that there was any good evidence behind it), because I really don't find the treatment easy. And the cost? Well....yeah...that's sobering too. It is obvious, based on my physical responses to it, that it is powerful stuff. I sure hope it's doing something  helpful.

Tomorrow I see the OB early and then head to the Mohs surgeon for the basal cell procedure. I think I will be very glad when this week is over.


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Monday, May 7, 2012

Made me smile

Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to be pregnant. But sometimes I wish the world were a little bit more like this (as long as people didn't assume that you can "just" make this choice or that it's an easy path). 

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