Thursday, June 28, 2012

13 weeks - How I'm Feeling

I normally write my posts on the weekends.  Sometimes I write an extra so there's a midweek update, but I think I'm going to start a regular thursday update just on pregnancy stuff so I can do more rambling on the weekend posts ;)  I'm going to start answering the series of pregnancy questions you've probably seen on other pregnancy blogs before.  I'm mostly went off of the questions used over at Suz's Treats by Suz for her recent twin pregnancy.  I'll probably add others as I think of them. So here goes...

How far along? 13 weeks exactly

Maternity Clothes? 100% yes for pants and shorts, but I can get away with the billowing pillow case shirts that are in style now.  My fav outfit has been the sundress. I'd be in a sundress everyday if I could. (and I usually can.)

Weight Gain? 4lbs

Sleep? Actually going really well this week despite ds getting up before 7. I seem to be sleeping very deeply and getting good quality sleep with only one trip to potty per night.

Movement? Ugh, playing the 'was that the baby?' game all the time. But I'd have to say no, I don't think I'm feeling movement though it's really hard to tell.

Gender? BOY! So says the NT scan. Will be nice to have a confirmation further down the road.

What I miss? Toughie. I really do love being pregnant. I guess I'd have to say guilt free soda. I did abstain completely during most of the 1st trimester, and switched from aspartame containing diet soda to regular, but it still doesn't feel good knowing I'm giving my body sugar and caffeine.  At the same time, it feels great having soda again.  Sparingly, of course.

Food cravings? hmm... I wouldn't say I crave the same food over and over again. Once I satisfy a craving it's usually gone for a bit. This week I've wanted ground beef and extra sharp chedder cheese. And, though i've never really liked radishes, I kinda want some for my salads.

Aversions? Don't really have those either, although foods I already don't like now sound truly horrific.

Labor signs? NO!

What I'm looking forward too? Just enjoying more weeks of pregnancy. Despite losing my last pregnancy, I'm in no rush to get this one over with. I enjoy this special time and all the little milestones along the way. Oh, and going to the beach next week!

Any pregnancy news? It's a BOY!! But that was covered in my last post. Nothing since then. lol

Baby prep accomplishments? Made some progress in the messiest guest room, ever. Cleared enough junk to unfold dh's old weight bench and put it up on craigslist. Also washing the hardwood floor in the bedroom for the first time since we had construction done in December.  Hope next to paint our terribly ugly chimney in that room to match the beautiful white hard wood wall we have in that room. Maybe this weekend I'll include pics of all my endevors!

Belly pic: I think these will always be a week behind until I figure out this process a bit better, but here's my week 12 belly pic.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

It's a....


But I'll start at the beginning.  It was a long wait in the waiting room, and by then I had made peace with the fact that it would be a girl.  We had struck gold once. I knew my heart wanted a boy, but I was totally ok with a girl.  I'd started staring longingly at girl clothes and girl themed strollers, and I thought I'd actually be a little disappointed if it turned out to be a boy.

We finally got called and as soon as the doctor walked in I liked him immediately. He was such a stiff-necked nerd stereotype I had to keep myself from laughing out loud.  He immediately jumped into the statistics, definitely a numbers guy.  He talked about the percentages of finding this and that wrong, false positive rates, and his accuracy rate at predicting gender. He said if the baby was over 55mm he would be able to give the gender with an 85% accuracy, but I was only listed at 11w4d so he couldn't make any promises.

I laid down on the table and he took FOREVER to get himself situated. I wonder if he's got OCD because everything had to be just so before he started. Of course, every woman who has had a miscarriage freezes up those seconds before a scan worried there will be no heartbeat.  I was dying by the time he finally started! There a heartbeat. Phew!  Once that wave of relief hit, I immediately asked about the gender. I'm thinking, "Just get it over with and tell me what I already know. Girl. I'm totally ok with it."  He said the baby measured 62mm, but by then I couldn't remember how big it had to be for him to guess! While I was contemplating this, he said "You curious about the gender?" He was obviously joking since I'd asked him about it a few times the appointment already.  I said, "yes!" And he found a good profile shot and started typing a caption at the top. B-O-Y.  You guys, I totally lost my marbles and started sobbing with joy! My reaction shocked me even while I was crying! I thought I was fine with either!  Tears were running all the way into my ears I was crying so hard.  So happy! I think the doc was a little annoyed and slightly offended that I'd have such a strong preference, but I just couldn't help myself.  How lucky was I?  A second live baby and the gender I wanted. Who gets two of what they want?  Driving home I kept telling DH I just felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

The doctor took lots of time doing the NT scan. He not only checked for downs, but also three types of trisomy. Everything came out perfectly perfect.  So far this pregnancy my due dates have been the 2nd, 1st, 6th, and 4th.  All the while I've known when I ovulated and wanted it to be the 3rd. Finally this doc believed me! He said the measurement certainly goes with my date much better than the 6th, and it's also the average between the earliest and latest date we've had. If we were to base a due date on this scan, it would be December 30th! Wowza, baby boy has grown! That measurement finally brings me the peace of mind I've been searching for throughout this pregnancy. He's big enough.  He's grown enough, enough to make it full term.  I'm now starting to really believe that this is going to happen!

I'm going to be mom to 2 boys! They're going to be able to share a room for a long time or even forever.  I'm going to see all ds's cute baby clothes again. They'll be a little less than 3 years apart.  Not as close as I wanted due to the miscarriage, but I'm really trying to move past it so I don't see the gap negatively every time I look at a family picture.  I'm just so happy it's a boy! So far, I've told hundreds of people if you include twitter, my personal facebook, and due date clubs.  Three people have told me about the friend of a friend who was told the gender at an early scan and the gender prediction turned out to be wrong at the anatomy scan. I realize this, but I don't see what that will change for us.  We haven't done a registry and probably won't until after then anyway. We have all ds's clothes so we won't be running out to buy a wardrobe or anything. If it turns out to be a girl then I will have a ton of shopping to do, but if it's wrong we won't have lost anything. We'll just have been happy for two months ;) If we find out it's a girl at the anatomy scan. I still think I'll be happy. I think I would have been fine if he said girl this time, I just wanted a boy!

Belly pic's up to last week! I think it's really going to start showing now. I feel much bigger this week!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Is This Your First Child? Oh, what an innocent question

At the beach I had a lot of time to reflect on this pregnancy and my last pregnancy, and how to make peace with the two. I was obviously pregnant, and I realized strangers soon would be asking me if this is my first. I believe during my second pregnancy I carried and lost a real child very adamantly, and yet, I'm not sure I want to bring everything up every time this baby is mentioned. There are ways to dodge the question with answers like, "This will make two little ones at home," or, "my son is 2," but it's not just about that. I will always pause and remember my second child, but I really don't want to bury myself in grief. I don't think saying I'll have two children isn't hiding my loss. I'm actually very open about my second pregnancy and you'd have to look mighty hard to find anyone in my life I haven't talked to about it. I've even told male coworkers, but should I have to bring it up every time a stranger wants to be excited about this baby?

I guess the question is, can I ever be excited about this pregnancy without acknowledging my loss? Or is all of this pregnancy about overcoming my last one.  I have followed the blogs of baby loss moms who've mourned away their next pregnancy. Who have whispered to their unborn child, "We need you to be born alive. Please, please, be healthy and born alive." It's not just that I don't want to be that woman, I don't want to be that mom. I don't want this child to one day read these posts and think, "Was it ever just about me? Or was it always about him?" Not to mention the pressure.  I love this baby no matter what happens.  I know he or she is doing their best to grow and be healthy, and that's absolutely good enough for me.  I never want to put the weight of my world on my child's shoulders.  It is my cross to bear, not theirs.  I know women pregnant after loss are quick to throw out the term rainbow baby, to explain how the new baby is extra special to them. I'm really uncomfortable with the term.  This baby is special all on his/her own, not because they follow grief.

Telling a stranger that this is my second child is telling them how delighted I am to be bringing a second child into my home.  I'll never forget the baby I delivered in January.  This Christmas will be difficult without him, and I'll celebrate his birthday every year.  Sometimes I'll remember him and cry for him and for me and the loss that my husband and son have also suffered.  When I do my facebook announcement I'll phrase the news more accurately, something like, "After the loss of our second child, we are overjoyed to be expecting a third child in January."  Hopefully I can phrase it better than that, but you get the idea.  The second pregnancy will be acknowledged as a child.  Whats the difference between acknowledging it to near strangers on facebook, but not bringing it up to strangers when they basically ask? It's hard to say, but mostly I think the difference is, I don't want them to forget.  My miscarriage was announced on facebook and I don't want anyone to forget about the baby I lost or think that I've forgotten him.  My facebook status updates after the announcement will just be focused on the joy of the new baby, and that's the difference.  My facebook friends already know about the loss, and will have a moment to reflect on that and the new pregnancy together just as I have.  From then on, we will focus on the future.  Total strangers will just celebrate with me in the joy that is a second take home baby.  They won't really have to pry to discover the loss though, "How did you decide on that spacing," will get a much more sobering, but honest answer.

So that's it. That's how I'm going to answer the question and why.  Dealing with the loss of a child is so deeply personal, and contingent on so many things I don't blame anyone for handling it differently.  They're doing what's right for them, the new baby, and their family.  Those baby loss moms whom I've accused of putting the weight of the world on their unborn children?  I've continued to follow them past the birth and they're great parents of happy babies.  The way they handled their pregnancy worked out just fine.  A perfect example of how differently we need to handle it.  As many posts on this topic as I've read, I don't think one of them helped me write this post.  The answer comes from within, not from outside sources.  How I'll handle the announcement of another pregnancy after this one? I have no idea!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

11 weeks update: NT Scan looms

What a busy week! What a range of emotions! It all started immediately after I posted my 10 week update last weekend. I went to the bathroom and saw blood. I guess it was just spotting, but it doesn't really matter.  You'd think an experienced girl like me would panic, but I just sighed.  Here we go again. I think my emotions completely packed themselves away in seconds. It's kind of amazing how easily I can turn my emotions off these days.  My logical brain knew this was different than last time, and the reasons seem endless.  Last time the baby passed three weeks before I saw blood, while this time, thanks to my home doppler, I'd heard the heartbeat just hours before the incident. This time we were already past the point where we lost the baby last time. This time there had been a second sac which we knew may cause some bleeding. There was every reason to believe this was still a healthy pregnancy, and honestly it couldn't have been better timing. The spotting happened just hours before my previously scheduled OB appointment. It garunteed me an ultrasound which I wouldn't otherwise have had.  Of course the baby was fine. We saw the stretching out of little legs and just as much movement as my first scan. Unfortunately, this meant we again couldn't get a great measurement, but the measurement we did get was just a day off where I thought we should be.  The second sac is pretty much gone, and they don't think I'll see anymore bleeding. I haven't, and hope I don't.

Then it was off to the beach, where I was obviously pregnant around acquaintences and friends of friends. I realized I was going to have to find an answer to the question, "Is this your first child?" I had a lot of time to relax and decide on an answer, and I think it deserves it's own post despite a plethora of blog posts on the subject in the fertility community.  It's sitting in my drafts folder and will probably be published on wednesday.

It's kind of unbelievable, but my NT scan is in 5 days.  That's the scan I've been waiting for. I know you're sick of me saying it, but I am hoping to get an accurate measurement to establish viability to my standards. Previously I'd also been hoping it would put the twin issue to rest, but I feel like last week's scan accomplished that already.  Finally, an expert (It will be a doctor specializing in early fetal scans rather than a u/s tech) will spend time looking very closely at the baby and make sure everything is ok.  I know I'm lucky to have had a scan practically every two weeks, but a cursory heartbeat check along with a poor measurement is barely any better than hearing the heartbeat on my home doppler.  All it tells me is that the baby is alive right now, and nothing about the future.  I know I'll never be totally reassured until I'm holding the baby, but I want someone to tell me prospects look good.  I hope to hear that they've checked, and don't see any problems.  I'm realy hoping to get the reassurance and confidence I missed out on during my first ultrasound. 

I'll put the results on twitter immediately after they happen on friday, and then on the weekend I'll post again. Did I mention I hope to find out the gender? I feel like there's so much other stuff to worry about I never have room to post about the fun stuff!

Monday, June 11, 2012

10 week update: OB appt tomorrow

10 weeks! And it's going to be a busy one. I'm working 3rd shift tonight, and then will be able to get about 3hrs sleep before heading to an OB appointment. It won't be anything special. Just pap and bloodwork.  I'll try to talk them into a scan, but I'll be fine if they just check the hb on the doppler. Then it's off to the beach with ds.  Just me and him in the car for four hours on not as much sleep! Oh geez. He's pretty good in the car though, so as long as the trip is without incident we should survive it. I'm more worried about how tired I'll be after we arrive. DS hasn't been that great about going to bed lately, so it's going to be a really long day. 

Hopefully, the week will include lot's of sand and fun, and then only one more week until my 12 week scan. The scan where all my questions will be answered. I hope!  We still haven't established viability to my standards. We haven't totally eliminated the possibility of twins, and don't yet have a firm due date. I'm hoping the NT scan resolves all these issues.

Tomorrow I'm going to speak with the doc about continuing metformin. The practice has changed their policy from my last viable pregnancy and now reccommends staying on metformin for the entire pregnancy. Since I'm not insulin resistant, nor have ever had or been high risk for gestational diabetes, I'm not sure if this is the right course of action for me. Last time I weaned off met at 14weeks. I'm thinking of staying on it until 24 weeks this time. That will take me well into the 2nd trimester, and my body will have adjusted before my GD test at 28 weeks.

I'll also discuss the blood test that goes with the NT scan, the alph quad protein screening. I agreed to it at first, but now I'm not sure. I'm only doing the NT scan to answer the questions listed above. Not at all to find out my childs risk of genetic defect. The test doesn't tell you whether they have it, only if you're high risk. Most of the moms told they're high risk end up with a perfectly healthy child.  Since I wouldn't do an amnio to confirm the results of the test, I don't want to needlessly worry away my pregnancy. I'm very worried that I'd be in the percentage of women told they were high risk only to either needlessly endanger thier pregnancy to prove otherwise or spend the whole 9 months in tears.

That's all for now. I finally changed the blog header to something acknowledging that I'm currently pregnant. One more belly pic for the road. 10 weeks!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How to Use a Fetal Doppler at Home successfully as early as 9 weeks

Update: The FDA has recently issued a statement recommending against the use of Doppler Ultrasound Heartbeat Monitors without supervision of a healthcare professional.  Please read the statement (link above) and continue at your own risk.  

I'm not a doctor, and this is not medical advice!

I ultimately found my baby's heartbeat with my home fetal doppler at 9 weeks, 3 days, but I think I could have found it sooner if I'd had more information.  So, I decided to write a post to help others searching for tips and tricks.  I used the Sonoline b Pocket Fetal Doppler, purchased new from a medical supply company off ebay for about $60.  It doesn't matter if you're 8 weeks, 10 weeks, overweight or carry a pre-pregnancy big belly, you will eventually find your little one's heartbeat with the fetal doppler. 

How to Use the Fetal Doppler:
  1. Expose your belly all the way down to the pubic bone.  The uterus is actually still a pelvic organ at this point and is really low.
  2. Put a lot of ultrasound gel on your lower belly.  The doppler will work better with a decent amount of gel under it, and when you're first looking you'll be moving the wand all over the place in your search. Aloe vera gel works just as well, but it has to be the gel and not the lotion.
  3. Put the doppler wand on your belly before turning on the machine. This will cut down on incredibly loud static once you turn it on.  To start, place the wand less than an inch above the hair line.
  4. I use mode 1 to locate the hb. It shows real time beats per minute (bpm). Once you find the heartbeat you can switch to mode 2 for a more accurate heartrate.  Mode 2 averages bpm for the last 8 beats.  The reason I search in mode 1 is it displays bpm faster so if you're in doubt, you'll find out quicker if you're right. 
  5. Turn the volume all the way up.  You may briefly hear the heartbeat before it pops up on the display. The sound is all you have to guide you.
  6. While leaving the head of the wand in place, angle it all around in a circle.  A good youtube video demonstrating this technique can be found here.
  7. If you don't find it, move the head over slightly to the left or right and angle it all around again.
  8. Be patient.  Time yourself, and spend at least 5 minutes each time you look.  I'd get frustrated before 5minutes and be tempted to give up, but you have to put in the practice to get the payoff.  Keep trying!

Extra Tips & Tricks:
  • Keep paper towels within reach.  Nothing like realizing you're covered in gel with your pants half down and no towels in sight. lol.
  • Most baby's aren't exactly in the center. (Old wives tale is that girls are on the left, boys on the right)
  • Everyone says to search on a full bladder, but I found my baby's heartrate so much better with empty bladder.  Try everything! Also try with full stomach or empty stomach.  I have to site this video on youtube for giving me that empty bladder advice. 
  • Try first thing in the morning or right after sleeping when bloat is the least.  If that doesn't work, go ahead and try at the end of the day when it's the worst.  Every body is different.
  • Plus size moms can still find the heartbeat early.  You may have to press in harder and it may take more practice or more searching time, but you can do it!  See a plus size mom demonstrate finding her baby's heartbeat at 13 weeks on youtube here.
  • A heartrate btw 60-100bpm is not the baby. That's you! You have veins and arteries carrying your blood to the baby and all over the place.  You'll pick up your heartrate often.
  • A heartrate around 124 with a lot of whooshing is probably not the baby.  There's an artery that runs all the way down your belly, and when the doppler is on that artery you hear your heartbeat and also a short noise in between the beats.  Not sure if this the sound of a nearby vein carrying the blood back on a brief delay or what, but the doppler picks it up and counts it as a separate beat.  This noise is easy to pick up, and sounds faster than your heartrate, but it's not the baby.  Another great but long youtube video can be found here that includes common sounds mistake for the baby.  It also includes a good explanation of the different modes.
  • The baby's heartrate sounds like a galloping horse, especially this early. It's super fast!  Here's my own baby's heartbeat. Note that the sound briefly fades and returns. The baby's moving around and it's hard to stay on him.

Hope this helps! Good luck! It really is the greatest sound in the world.

Monday, June 4, 2012

9 weeks, heard the heartbeat!

Take a listen to this!

Finally found the heartbeat today! It's been a rough week. DS has been having asthma difficulties, and they leave him so frustrated and in the worst mood.  On saturday in particular I was really at my limit.  His behavior was terrible, and I didn't know how to respond because it was so unusual for him to be that bad.  He was at the point of hitting, throwing toys and overturning furniture in anger, and having screaming fits.  Pretty much as bad as a two year old can get. 

I got my home doppler on friday and despite reading lots of advice on the internet, I still couldn't find the hb.  It didn't make me any more worried than I'd already been, it just frustrated me.  My ultrasound on tuesday didn't reassure me as much as I thought, especially since the baby didn't yet measure any farther than my last baby did.  I really needed and wanted confirmation that the baby was still alive.

On saturday night, while working 3rd shift, I spend a long time on youtube watching videos of 80lb girls easily finding their babies at 8weeks with their home dopplers, and giving advice.  Their advice was very helpful, but I was still skeptical that I'd be able to find my baby given that I'm in no way built like a teenager.  I slept with the doppler beside my bed, and tried it first thing after waking with a full bladder as suggested by most of the skinny girls. I did get frustrated after a few minutes, but tried to keep patient and continue. Eventually I decided to try it with an empty bladder since I certainly had to pee and empty bladder was suggested by one of those chics.  Returned to my bed and I swear I found the hb almost immediately.  There was a second of disbelief, and then tears. So many tears!  All the anxiety of the past week came out at that moment.  I still didn't know what was going to happen or how this pregnancy would turn out, but I knew my baby was alive at that moment.  It was a wonderful feeling, and I could have listened to that beautiful sound forever. It was such a gift.

But...I had to go pick up ds from the sitters. So naturally, I made a recording so I could listen to it over and over :) 

Sitter reported ds had a great morning filled with lots of good behavior.  I'd already come up with a plan for the day the previous night, and hoped to give him lots of attention, positive reinforcement, and patience.  It was still a difficult afternoon, but I handled it a lot better than the previous day.  Several times I was able to see a tantrum building and head it off.  I kept a positive attitude, and was careful to always speak with a cheerful tone even if he was whining or upset.  At one point when his behavior degenerated, I realized how bad his breathing had become and was able to improve both behavior and breathing with an inhaler treatment. 

All in all, it was a great day!  I hope to write a post this week on How to Use a Fetal Doppler since I really wasn't able to find a lot of info until youtube, and then another post next week right before my next appt on June 11th. Then off to the beach for a week! And a 12 week ultrasound a week later. June will be a busy month, I hope it's a great one!

Taken at work while exhausted from being up so late, but so happy to be pregnant!