Sunday, September 26, 2010

Still a papaya! Yet I'm 23 weeks

Another week under the belt!! Woohoo! I'm feeling well and in fact some symptoms have improved a lot.
The swelling around the ankles is completely gone, this may be due to a cooler temperature (but in Ireland it hardly went above 20°C when the fluid retention started) or it may just have been one of those things that comes and goes. I'm glad it's gone for now.
The Braxton-Hicks contractions have also disappeared which is great because even though it was normal it made me feel a bit more anxious. I'll gladly welcome them back further on. I have to say after the OB visit on friday I do feel a bit more confident that things are ok.
Little Elvis is moving very regularly after breakfast, after lunch and in the evening until I go to bed. When I get up for a pee Elvis also moves around a bit but it definitely doesn't affect my sleep.
Energy is pretty good, although yesterday I did quite a lot of walking between shopping and heardresser and ice-cream (yes I know about the weight...sure who would say no to an ice cream when they are just so so delicious??) and I was in bed before 10 pm!
Tomorrow I'm travelling to Florence as I am part of an examining panel for MSc degrees (in fact one of my current student will defend her MSc thesis) and on tuesday morning I'm meeting some colleagues from my home town University to discuss common projects. I have also a bit more shopping to do as tomorrow is Mike's birthday and I have a nice idea in mind, I hope I can find what I'm looking for.

I can't remember if I had updated recently on the attic project, but we are at tender stage and hopefully we'll be able to get going in the next two-three weeks! The agreement is that everything must be finished by early December. Let's hope!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A quick one

I wanted to update on my "peace of mind" visit to the family friend OB/gyn today just a few hours after landing in my home town!
He basically did a full scan to the depth of the anatomy scan! Mom was there too and I think she was so so happy and impressed with all the modern technology and all that you can see. Elvis is growing perfectly, every measure is just as it should be! His estimated weight is now 591 grams! And while the OB was very happy with Elvis's weight gain he gave me a little lesson about mine...he said I really should pace myself or I may have some problems in the last trimester... boohooo right so, I'll do my best.
He also measured by doppler the blood-flow to the uterus (in Ireland nobody ever checked, I didn't even know it was a parameter to look at!) and it's also perfectly in the range.
The placenta is still low but it looked a bit higher to me, he also was not concerned and just said to have it checked it again in a few weeks.
Finally I really wanted him to check my cervix (in fact that was the main thing I wanted to have checked!), but in the office where we were today the machine didn't have a transvaginal wand (just my luck!) so he offered to do an internal exam and get a feel for the cervix. I jumped at the oportunity as I mentioned before in Ireland this is never done. Anyway, all looks good at the manual exam, no obvious shortening and certainly it's tight close. From the external scan there didn't seem to be any funneling and the baby is high and not sitting on it, so he reassured me as much as he could and this will have to do! (of course if I could write down we had a measure for the cervix...)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A couple of Braxton Hicks

Thanks so much for your comments on the ring and the belly! Mike was very proud of himself!

So with all the travelling that happened last week, I had noticed that my belly became tight at times. Not painful at all, just rock hard. It would go away within a minute or so and it was worse if I was in bed belly-up. Then I came home and it happened a couple more times. I also sometimes experience a stabbing sensation in my whoo-haa, nothing breathtaking and it lasts just a second or so. Plus my tail bone seems sore. And my tummy is acting up a bit (in the sense that some days I don't go at all, others I have to run to the toilet!). Mmmh. You know I have the fear of pre-term labour and incompetent cervix so....I kind of started wondering...

What's normal and what isn't?

To be totally honest, I wasn't particularly concerned, but then I'm travelling again this friday and certainly I don't want to underestimate something that may be important. On monday I called the hospital and spoke with a midwife, told her all my symptoms to see what she thought. She said "Nothing to worry about, these are Braxton-Hicks, perfectly normal". Really? At 22 weeks? Somehow I thought they would start further on, like...30 weeks or so. She also said "The stabbing sensation is your pelvis stretching and the same is valid for the tail-bone which is readjusting" Are you serious? At 22 weeks?? Maybe. Surely I checked my book and the ever faithful Dr. Google and all I'm experiencing does in fact appear to be normal from 20 weeks onwards. I'd like this to be spelt out in every corner of the World so that anxious pregnant women don't get too stressed out. For extra reassurance I also called my OB who was extremely nice as always and he too reassured me it was all normal. Right so, I'm convinced, it's normal.

Still I'm going to have an ultrasound and proper cervical length measured by the family friend OB/gyn on friday afternoon as soon as I arrive home....

If I'll ever be pregnant again I have to believe I'll be more relaxed, time flies only when you are enjoying it right?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

22 weeks and I'm back!

And it's 22. Still amazed to be honest.
The conference-trip away to the Azores was great (food was something else and the views...oh my God...totally recommend it) but feet and ankles were so so swollen but the temperature didn't really allow to wear support socks...I took it as easy as I could and to be honest being away made me a bit nervous. You know all the what ifs...But I had the doppler with me and it was such a reassuring thing! The highlight of the conference was that my student won the best poster award! Woohoo!! So nice for her and for me too!

My belly is growing and I feel the baby moving much more regularly specially since the last few days! And it's a papaya now! Woohoo! But I am a bit more tired (perhaps still from the trip), we were away at the weekend too so a bit more travelling added up...and I'm going to Italy next friday! I promise that's the end of my travelling...and I have a cold as a nice gift from the air plane too...

When I came home on friday last, it was my birthday and Mike surprised me with a totally unexpected gift! Almost two years ago I had gone back to our jeweller with an idea of a ring in mind. We chose the stone and planned the design, but thing and another the ring was never ready when we were in Italy and I kind of gave up on it after a while. Well...the ring magically appeared in Dublin in my kitchen!

I love it! And it's great also I can wear it now, it was planned for my right hand but due to the bit of fluid retention it doesn't quite fit and I am wearing it comfortably on my ring finger which felt very bare since I had to take off the weeding and engagement rings!

I'm also posting another series of belly pictures to humour you a bit (I know you can't wait LOL!) I don't have a weight update as I was away and I religiously take it on Sunday morning after peeing and before breakfast...

What do you think? It seems almost the same to me, I know the pics aren't identical but a part from the fact that the belly feels higher (I could find the heartbeat beside the bellybutton the other day!) it has not projected forward much. We'll see if I have a growth spur in the next while. Oh and I'm starting pregnancy yoga tomorrow!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

21 weeks (tomorrow!)

It's a day early but given that I'll be flying to the Azores very early in the morning I'm not sure I'll have the time to update.

So this week really flew by. With all that happened it feels like the days were on top of each other. Yesterday there was the funeral of the girl who passed away and I decided not to go. I get so upset and emotional at funerals I don't think I could cope with the devastation of her parents and friends. I hope everyone understands.

I'm feeling well overall, I've changed the prenatal medicine since yesterday and my tummy has taken a turn! I hope it'll settle soon.
I feel more regular movements, definitely every day now and it's really reassuring. I can feel them as high as my belly button at times and if Mike has his hand in the right spot at the right time he can feel the kicks too! He loves it and makes so so real.

I'll bring the laptop to the conference so I hope I can stay tuned with what my cyber friends are up to, otherwise I'll catch up with you all when I'm back next weekend. Actually the plan at the moment is that as I touch down in Dublin on friday (my birthday wohoo!) we'll bring the cats to the cattery and we head off to the countryside for the weekend visiting our dear friends in their fairy tale cottage! So lot's of travelling ahead, I'll make sure I'll rest as much as I can any time I can.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Anatomy Scan

It went well! Wohoo!!

But the day started really badly. I came into work and found out that a girl doing her PhD in the lab beside mine passed away suddenly last night. it sounds like an aneurysm but it's not know yet. Her friends were devastated as you can imagine, their supervisor was out of the Country and expected back today so I was alone there with them not really knowing what to do... It was terrible.
When Mike arrived saw the dreadful atmosphere and tried to make me focus on our little Elvis and that it was different and that everything would have been ok. But our trip into town wasn't the most cheerful.

The tech was lovely and took all the time needed to explain to us what she was doing. Everything measured as it should be, Elvis is 20w2d (officially 20w3d) and doing really well. He was moving a lot and at times it was difficult to get the right angles, but she managed all the same.
One thing that really surprised me was that she was scanning as high as above my belly button!! Wow! Big step since the scans just above the pubic bone!!
I told her about my fear of the IC and she reassured me saying there wasn't really any reason to think I could have it but she had a look all the same. It was external u/s though so I'm not sure how meaningful or accurate the measure is, but for certain it was close with no funnelling (nice narrow canal) and appeared to be 3.6cm. Of course when I looked it up I read it should be 4 cm at my gestational age and I'm telling myself that 3.6 and 4 is almost the same...but I'll have it checked again when I'll be in Italy at the end of the month by the ever helpful family friend gyn!
One thing I have is an anterior placenta (which I knew already) a bit on the right hand-side (this is why I can feel movements normally) and it's quite low. Not covering the cervix but near enough to have the tech write down a note to be rechecked at 34w. She says it is likely to go up so not to worry but that I may experience some bleeding as I go further along. Great...
In fairness it was so good of her to give me a heads up in case it happens, she repeated it would be quite common, painless and to try not to panic, just go to the hospital and get checked, the cure would be a couple of days of rest. Apparently as the uterus stretches the placenta is pulled and is not so elastic and a capillary may blow hence the bleeding. If the placenta stays where it is I'll just have a schedule C-section which is definitely not the end of the World.
Here are two pics from today, the first one is the profile and the other one is a shot of the face! You can see the nose and the lips!
Next OB appoitment is on the 5th of October but as I said I may have a sneak peak at Elvis in just over a couple of weeks!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Half way through! 20 weeks

If someone could have promised me years ago this would have happen one day I think I would have made sure he/she became an official Saint. But you never know. Fears, doubts, tears have been my companions for the last three and half years. Sometimes people who find out about our story think I'm incredibly strong. But I am not that strong at all, I just played with the cards I was given, if I could have changed the game believe me I would not have thought about it twice, f**k being strong! Who cares? And yet I'm here now. I decided to do a proper "point of the situation" so I borrowed the typical questions from another blog and used them as guidelines. Here they go!

How Far Along: 20 weeks
Total Weight Gain: sadly, as of today, I've put on 11kg...this is massive
Maternity Clothes: yes, can't really wear anything else and my wardrobe is quite limited!
Symptoms: I feel very big, though I'm sure I'm not that big, and movements a slow and many seem like an epic achievement (like turning in the bed, or getting up from the floor). My ankles are swollen most of the time and I've started wearing those socks to improve the circulation, they seem to help.
Stretch marks: yes, on my boobs, they just exploded way too fast!
Sleep: I’m sleeping ok-ish, getting up once to pee and then I'm awake for a while, back to sleep and I'm awake around 6.30. Surely the fact that the Dude starts screaming like a seagull around that time doesn't cannot believe it until you see it!
Best Moment of the Week: Feeling a kick on the outside! It happened only once on Thursday night while I was in bed.
I feel movements every day now, but the frequency can be very very different. Some days only a couple of light touches in total, others much more often.
Food cravings: not really anything in particular, but definitely sweet things of all sorts, preferably chocolate based.
Gender: Don't know! We think we may go for a surprise!
What I Miss: Nothing at all, I wouldn't trade this for anything.
What I'm Looking Forward To: Honestly? Having Elvis here with us. Everything in between is a mix of anxiety and what ifs.
Weekly Wisdom: Listen to pregnancy relaxation CDs
Milestones: Half way through the pregnancy! Unbelievable.
Emotions: doing quite ok, but I am more irritable and a bit more emotional than usual. If I feel anxious I take the doppler out and listen to Elvis heartbeat which is now around 150bpm on average.
Upcoming Appointments: Anatomy scan on wednesday followed by blood tests for thyroid functions.

So this is it my readers, me and Elvis! I'll post belly pics at the end of the month (oh by the way, I was not bottomless in the previous ones! But it looks that way for some reason..)
In other news, I almost finished that proposal I mentioned last week, so I hope I'll be a bit more present after tuesday. Still have done nothing on the posters and I'm leaving next sunday for the conference...
Cats are well, Patches is without steroids now but back on the thyroxine, we just could not keep him off the meds, he was well for 5 days like I wrote last week but then he started getting worse, so we agreed that we do't care about the accuracy of the test, for us the value was so low that it's unlikely it was skewed by the meds or other illnesses.
Today there is the All Ireland Hurling Final and Mike is going to see the match, I'll be watching it from the couch! Come on the Cats!