Monday 26 May 2014

And everything nice

Today was a beautiful spring day.

Spring has been late coming to the city, but the past week has finally fulfilled its yearly promise. Grass is green and tree buds are bursting into new leaves and flowers - and everything outside smells so good; I feel lifted up every time I step out of the house and take a breath.

We went in today for Ember's detailed anatomy ultrasound. At this U/S they look for all the external body parts as well as the internal ones. We were hoping to see Ember healthy and developing well and we weren't disappointed. :-)

(As an aside - I happened to run into my substitute teacher before leaving for the appointment, and I ended up telling her where I was going and why. It turned out that she had struggled to conceive and had had a stressful first pregnancy - that ended well. It was nice to make that connection and feel like I could be honest.)

At the last U/S (12 weeks 2 days) Ember was pretty quiet, other than some arm and leg movements. Not so this time, baby was wiggling all over the place! That was very cool to see. Ember's heartbeat was 142 bpm and we looked right inside the heart at all the chambers. We saw the more developed hands, feet, legs, and internal organs, and a few details of the face.

After a few minutes the tech asked "if we see anything significant, do you want to know?" I said yes - of course I want to know about anything significant! Although there was nothing insignificant about anything I was seeing. Then the anxious pessimist in me started to think "does he mean something significantly wrong?" and I started to feel jittery - until I realized what he was actually referring to. *groan*

After pointing out some blobs on the screen that I couldn't recognize as anything in particular, he said "I'm pretty sure that is a hamburger not a hot dog...." which is U/S sound code for....

Ember is a GIRL!!!

Mr. Turtle has been having baby girl dreams so I guess he was right on this one. The best part is that now she can start to feel more and more like a unique individual to us.

Other than the awesome experience of seeing Ember dance away on the screen, assuring us that her little spark of life burns strong, the tech was able to see all the vital parts so this was all good news. She measures 18 weeks and 5 days today and weighs 250 grams.

Here are some photos from the ultrasound. Other than the fact they show Ember's growth and progress, I confess that I'm not crazy about U/S photos. Honestly, they all look the same. But here are a few favourites.

A profile of her little head (that might be a hand or a foot near it - she kicked herself in the head a few times)

The head again, and that round staring thing is an eye. When I say U/S photos all look the same - I don't think I've seen one with such a freaky looking eye.

Feet. The hands and feet are still my favourite thing to see because they are so recognizable and so cute, especially when flailed about.

As for me, I am re-affirming my goal to move forward with a good attitude. I've done OK at keeping positive the past month.  As we move into the summer my other objective is for us to start actively tackling all the other big questions - you know, the ones that have to do with an actual baby arriving in the next few months. I've kind of avoided thinking of Ember as an imminently arriving baby, in part because of superstitious fear and anxiety, and partly because I'm just a little intimidated by the thought of all we have to decide/do/buy/learn/schedule.  I know I just have to take a deep breath, jump off the deep end and swim for it, and it will be fine.

At the same time, it fills my heart up to just sit still and be.

Friday 16 May 2014

How to Raise a Perfect Child

This made me laugh first thing in the morning, before an early morning staff meeting (which I'm going to be late for....whoop de do). I couldn't possibly resist sharing

How to Raise a Perfect Child (Huffington Post)

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Ember update, et cetera

I have the last set of my Finding Meaning Questions written, and I haven't yet worked up the nerve to press Post. Why? I think because the theme is faith, and I seem to alternate between a confused kind of guilt that I don't have enough faith in this pregnancy and future, and a pessimistic feeling that \I shouldn't dare feel any. And discussing either feeling in detail makes me a bit queasy.

So, well, I'll just kinda put that on the back burner for now.

Also, enjoy 50 Unexplainable Stock Photos. My favourite is the guy using a cake as a pillow.

I saw Dr. Gnomish again yesterday for regular checkup. It's been four weeks since my last appointment.

I am 17 weeks today (timed based on last U/S).

Ember has a strong heartbeat. 143 bpm yesterday.

My fundal placement and measurement (I guess that means location of top of uterus) was all normal.

My blood pressure was a bit higher than the last time, but nothing dangerous. Actually, I suspect the higher blood pressure and Ember's slightly faster heart rate was because I had managed to work myself up into a bit of a snit. My last doctor's appointment was a few days after the 12 week U/S and I was unusually calm, since I had recently seen Ember doing great. Seeing as I hadn't been checked out in the 4 weeks since, I had had ample chance to imagine things that might go wrong.

But everything looks fine!

I am noticeably bulgy in front, at least if you know what to look for. Not so bulgy yet that people can see at a glance that I'm pregnant, at least I don't think so. I may get around to posting a picture if I get around to digging out the camera from the bag where it's resided since San Diego.

The nausea is quite a bit reduced, but not yet to the point where I can go completely without the Diclectin. I tried again this past weekend, but by Sunday was having increasingly severe waves of nausea, so I took one. I'm not taking any more than one a day. I feel fine today, so I might try going without it again. Doctor reassures me it's OK to take it when I need it. I'm eating well, although I can't stand the sight of big slabs of meat (meat mixed with pasta is usually OK) so I worry about enough protein/iron.

The boobs are growing and growing. I still occasionally get the fiery pains inside one or the other, but not too often. Last time it happened was in the car so I pulled one out of my bra and was whimpering, which was amusing and I suppose a little embarrassing for Mr. Turtle. Have I mentioned that pregnancy has caused me to mostly forget whatever modesty I once had.

Still having a lot of vaginal discharge. Still so not fun, if apparently harmless. Occasionally it is brownish. In the past 3 weeks I've had pinkish discharge about 4 times. Most often after a bowel movement (ya know TMI is my favourite). I called my doctor's office freaked out the first time it happened. Doctor was actually off sick at the time, but I talked to the nurse(?) and she reassured me that it sounded harmless, and not to worry unless I saw heavy bleeding. Internet searches also reveal that many people have pinkish discharge after BMs. It still rather ruins my day when I see it, but it's very little and always goes away, so trying not to PANIC PANIC PANIC. Doctor was also reassuring at my last appointment.

Internet tells me cheerfully that round ligament pain is a common symptom of the second trimester, and I think I'm getting that more frequently. At least I'm thinking that's what it is. Sort of an intermittent pulling sensation on one side or the other, sometimes radiating into the middle of the pelvis. It comes and goes depending on how I am sitting or moving. I've had it off and on but it seems like more in the past week or so. My computer chair is apparently not so comfortable. The couch is just fine. Another reason maybe that the blog has not been regularly updated. I deep breathe and tell myself it's muscles stretching. I really hate the idea of feeling any pain though, especially because since the (difficult) beginning of the pregnancy, people have said "as long as there is no pain/heavy bleeding you are probably fine." I know in hindsight I'm not in any severe pain, but still. I've also been warned that my fibroids, while near the top of uterus and not considered a risk to the baby or delivery, may cause pain and bleeding especially later in the pregnancy. Bleah.

Two people in the last week have commented that they see the "glow." It is nice to hear that. I also have a new short haircut which has upped the pretty factor, and made me feel less like I have a dirty mop on my head. My hair has been more oily and I don't like fussing over it, so when it gets long it tends to be neglected. I'm starting to care a little bit more about my appearance, and have bought a few new clothes that flatter/conceal.

I think I might have felt movement occasionally. I can't be sure, because I'm so desperate to feel it I might be imagining things. Dr. Gnomish says if I think I have, I probably have. I could also swear that if I lie or stand very still, I can see tiny ripples across the top of my belly. I think it is the baby because it looks, well, alien. I certainly can't do it on purpose.

What else.

Anatomy ultrasound is 26th of May (at about 19 weeks). I so hope this is a great experience.

First appointment with the ob/gyns (after which I will not see Dr. Gnomish again, till after birth) is on June 3rd.

I want to hire a doula, so I've started making little inquiries. Haven't met with anyone yet, but I really hope we find a woman who can be help before, during and after birth. Especially since I know nothing about babies. How little I know about babies can be a whole other post. My life circumstances have coalesced somehow so that I have never had any extended contact with babies. I'm not exaggerating. None.

Everybody tells me things are fine, great, normal. So I'll continue with my goal to move forward with optimism. Every week is a victory.