Wednesday, October 29, 2008

28w1d: Bye bye, Second Tri...

... and hello to the third trimester! I can't believe that I've made it here. Every day, this is getting more and more real to me. I am truly grateful.

After Thumper, and then Thumperina, I have yet another new nickname for the BabyGirl. Kixie...Kicksy...or something like that. (I don't actually use these nicknames in front of other people, except maybe S, sometimes.) She is getting stronger by the day. I love her little movements, even though they still sometimes make me feel like maybe I just ate something that is causing my intestines to do flip-flops.

S and I went shopping for baby furniture last weekend. We checked out two stores: Babies R Us, and USA I realize that this sort of info is pretty boring if you're not currently in baby-furniture shopping mode right this very moment, but I will share a few details for anyone who actually is interested in this stuff. We ended up buying at USA and we chose this convertible crib and combo dresser by Mu.nire. Yes, in white. I realize after shopping for baby furniture that the current trend is more along the lines of black and dark espresso-colored woods, but S and I were both a bit hesitant about this look for a baby girl (or any baby, really). I know a few of you have gotten these darker sets, and I'm sure that it will look great, but for us, white or natural wood seemed to fit our vision of a baby nursery. And natural is apparently so out of style that they won't even be carrying it anymore (who knew?), so we went ahead with white. I was almost tempted (by feeling unstylish) into considering a rich medium chestnut finish, but really, the bedding and everything else looked cuter with white, so we stuck with that. We splurged a bit on the furniture, but then got a glider that was on the cheap side (but still comfy). Hopefully we won't regret that decision!

Of course after I got home, I googled Mun.ire furniture and read tons of horror stories about delayed shipments which meant no crib for 4 months, etc. However, our items were in stock and were actually delivered today (about 72 hours after purchase). Now we just have to open the giant boxes and make sure that nothing is missing, scratched, or chipped!

As far as bedding (still boring, I know!...) I have just attempted to purchase the Lambs and Ivy Bright Butterfly set off of EBay. Just the quilt, sheet, crib skirt, and valence for now. We'll probably do a few other accessories, but I am officially Too Scared to buy a bumper since some organizations have recommended against it. Also, I had not used my Ebay or PayPal account for several years, so I had to update my current address, credit card info, etc. Ultimately, I need to wait a few days for PayPal to verify something, so hopefully the EBay seller won't be mad at me for the slow payment.

At Babies R Us, we came across a stoller that was the exact model and color that I had been considering. They normally carry these only on their website, but it had been returned by someone who had ordered it online. This meant that it was marked down by $94 off the usual price! Yay!! It's the Bob Sport Utility Stroller in blue. (The other choice was red, so blue seemed, we wanted gender neutral.) For the little baby phase, we haven't yet decided whether to get an infant carseat + an adapter for this stroller, or an infant carseat + one of those stroller frames, or whether to get a travel system. I also need to make sure that the stroller we bought actually fits into the trunk of my car (a Civic).

Physically, I have been feeling pretty well except for occasional Braxton-Hicks type contractions that occur a few times a day. Also, I have noticed that my abdomen is getting a suspicious vertical ridge above my belly button when I try to sit up. I'm afraid that I might be developing an early case of either a ventral hernia or diastasis recti (separation of the rectus abdominus muscles). I suspect the latter, because I don't think that it's too bad, yet. Since I noticed it, I have been sitting up in a different way (rolling to the side, and then using my elbow to push up) to try not to exacerbate it. Some websites that I consulted suggested doing this during the rest of pregnancy, and then doing certain exercises (or even seeing a physical therapist) after birth. Of course, by doing that, my abs are probably losing even more strength, so I don't know if I'm doing the right thing or not. But I really hope that this goes away once there is less internal pressure.

My weight continues to rise steadily. I was up about 18.6 lbs as of this morning, and as much as 20.4 lbs the day before that. I'm hoping to come in under +35 for the pregnancy, but at this rate, I'm not so sure about that. Most of my weight is in the belly, but there is definitely a fair amount elsewhere, too. Last Friday, I tried on a pair of pre-weight loss (2003) pants -- 1 or 2 sizes above my more recent size -- and found that the 2003 pants fit perfectly. I have been keeping about 4 pairs of these pre-weight loss pants specifcially with the thought, "maybe I can wear them when I'm pregnant or post-partum," but about 2 months ago I tried then and thought, "No way! Way too big in the butt and hips, even if my belly grows." Well, apparently, all of me has grown and they fit well. However, I think I'll probably grow out of them, too, in the not-so-distant future. I am already bored with all of my maternity wear, but it seems like a waste to buy much more of it.

I'm going to do my glucose tolerance test tomorrow AM. My fingers are crossed. Hopefully my polycystic appearing ovaries (and possible PCOS) will not cause me to fail! I don't think I have any blood sugar issues, and there is no diabetes or gestational diabetes in my family, but you never know!

In other news, I completed my Medical Oncology board certification exam yesterday. It was a pretty difficult test, so I can only hope that I passed. The results will be available in 3 months... around the same time that Kixie makes her appearance, I guess. I'm sure I won't care much at that point!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

25-26 weeks

Something really stressful happened at my last prenatal appointment (October 8, at 25w1d). It started out routine -- pee in a cup, blood pressure, weight...

My doctor came in and asked me about any symptoms. I told her that I still had the occasional tightening of my uterus, but nothing consistent and no vaginal bleeding to go along with it. I mentioned how it had been worse while riding the aforementioned bike in San Francisco (see below). She said that in general, she does not advocate bike riding during pregnancy as "you could get hit by a car" and because she's had a previous patient "flip over the handlebars and get hurt" while mountain biking. Well, OK... S and I don't even own our own bikes, and we have rented bikes exactly 2 times since we met 3.5 years ago, so I guess it won't be too hard for me to follow her advice.

Next, she proceeded to place the Doppler on my belly. Whoosh...whoosh...whoosh... a nice strong heartbeat.
But then: whoosh...whoosh.........whoosh.........whoosh.........whoosh.........whoosh..............whoosh............whoosh..................whoosh...whoosh...whoosh...whoosh
I could see wave of concern cross Dr. K's face. "Let's listen a little longer," she said.
Me: "The heartbeat showed down for a few seconds, didn't it?"
Dr. K: "Yes, but now it seems fine. It went into the 90s for a few seconds, and then came back up."
(It slows down a tiny bit, but not nearly as much as before.)
Whoosh..whoosh..whoosh..whoosh.. (for about 2 or 3 minutes)
Dr. K: "Well, everything seems OK. I think the baby probably just pinched her umbilical cord for a few seconds." (My face, I'm assuming, looks terrified.) "If you're really concerned, you could always go to Labor & Delivery and get monitored for a couple of hours."

At this point, I start to basically panic. As bad luck would have it, I have two patients scheduled for appointments that morning, starting in about 30 minutes. And afterwards, I am the consult attending at the VA, so I need to round on the inpatient service. Obviously, I could go to L&D if it's recommended or necessary, but it will require some major stress and inconvenience to others to make arrangements for someone else to cover these things for me.

I explain this to Dr. K, and she quickly back-pedals.
"I don't recommend that you go there; I think that everything is fine."
I try to negotiate a return to her office later for another heartbeat check... or maybe I'll go to L&D in the evening. My eyes fill with tears.
"No, I don't think you should. I wouldn't go there if it were me. Everything is fine. Let me get the ultrasound machine and let's take a look."

So, she got the ultrasound machine and we saw BabyGirl inside, head down for once, squirming and moving normally, heart appearing nice and fast and rhythmic, doing practice breathing with her diaphragm moving up and down.

And so I decided to NOT go to L&D. I wish Dr. K had never mentioned the words. My own rationale was somewhat like: 25w1d is way too early. If I got there, who knows, they might end up panicking and doing a C-section or something crazy. What else could they do if there really was a problem? Alternatively, they might order a bajillion more tests for me and BabyGirl. I know that would be SO scary. Somehow, I did believe that it was just a fluke and I didn't really want to be monitored and hear that again and just get more and more scared and worried. Did I spend the evening reading about decelerations and fetal heart monitoring?: ummmm, yes. But almost all of the info I could find referred to the perinatal period (ie during labor). And a decel lasts for minutes, not seconds. There's very little written, as far as I can find, about blips in heartrate that last for only a few seconds and which are noted at a random prenatal visit.

So, I've decided to trust Dr. K and trust BabyGirl and not worry about it. BabyGirl has been helping me out by being increasingly active over past week, so I know that she's OK in there. Just felt a kick, in fact! I know that Dr. K truly wasn't worried because our next visit is in November, at 29 weeks... 4 weeks from our last visit.

Between now and then, the only thing I need to do is take the 1 hour glucose tolerance test. I picked up the bottle of the orange stuff from the lab. For some reason, I was thinking it would be a small bottle, but that thing is pretty big! I guess I'll do it sometime next week.

I told a friend at work about the Scary Prenatal Visit, and she offered to bring me her "Doppler". It took her over a week to find it, and it's actually not a Doppler, but something called the "BebeSounds Prenatal Gift Set." As far as I can tell, this was probably popular right before people started buying and renting their own Dopplers for home use. It is basically a battery powered microphone that you put against your belly, and then you turn up the volume and listen with headphones. Honestly, I can't hear the baby's heart yet. However, the placenta (anterior) sounds like an approaching freight train. The instruction manual says that this machine works best in the 3rd trimester, so I'm not quite there yet anyway, and who knows if I'll ever be able to hear anything over the placenta. Also, it is highly dependent on the baby's position. BabyGirl gives me a lot of reassuring kicks while I try to listen, too. I love her so much already!! Today she is 26w4d old!

Friday, October 17, 2008

24weeks: Anniversary and San Francisco excursion

Oh wow, I can't believe how behind I am getting. I wanted to record every detail of this pregnancy, and I just keep putting it off. And the longer I wait, the more I have to write, which makes me feel like I don't have time to write a catch up message. I guess I'll write part of it now, and part later!

First of all, S felt the baby kick for the first time at 24 weeks! Very cool!

S and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary on October 1st. Even though it was a Wednesday night, we went for a walk on the beach followed by dinner at a yummy Italian restaurant. Here's a 24w1d belly shot from our walk on the beach. As you can see, I've grown a lot lately!

Afterwards, our waiter at the Italian restaurant offered me wine, which I politely declined. As we were leaving, he said, "OH!!" and pointed at my belly. "Congratulations!!" This was actually the first time that a complete stranger had said anything to me (although people who know me have been commenting for weeks now.) And the very next day a random woman in the elevator at work also made a comment. So far, I haven't minded at all.

S and I went to San Francisco for the weekend of October 4-6th to celebrate the wedding of my very special friend K's little sister, R. It was a beautiful ceremony in an open field with a spectacular view of the Golden Gate bridge. I believe there were FOUR adorable little boys in the 10 months to 2 year age range, and it was great to see how well they did all evening, despite the unfamiliar faces and the noise.

Other highlights of the weekend included:

- catching up with an old ex-bf of mine (known him since '94 but only dated him in 2000-2001, so we are really more like old friends), and getting a chance to get to know his girlfriend a bit better. The only other time I had met her was at my own wedding, so you can imagine that I hadn't gotten much of a chance to talk to her then

- going to Golden Gate Park to check out the new California Academy of Sciences museum. Unfortunately, they had opened only 1 week before, so the line was way too long... Well, we saw it from the outside and had an opportunity to stroll around the park at least.

- being on a crazy crowded Muni train with hundreds of teens/early 20-somethings headed to some crazy event called the Love Fest. It looked like it would have been really fun -- if I wanted a chance to wear fish nets, boots, a pink wig, fairy wings, and a feather boa with thousands of my friends, and if I were about 20 years old. And then the Muni train in front of us apparently derailed... So we got to figure out how to get over to the BART train, rush back to our hotel, change clothes, and get to the wedding. Of course, our cab driver had never heard of the wedding location and was generally clueless, so we had to suggest that perhaps he should input the destination's address into his dashboard-mounted GPS. Amazingly, we made it to the wedding with about 5 minutes to spare!

- naively thinking that maybe we could just hop on a ferry to Alcatraz. No, apparently you need reservations weeks in advance!

- renting bikes instead. This actually made me kinda crampy and the (early maternity tight lycra waisted) cropped pants I had on are now way too small for my current belly. I guess I won't be wearing those again until the post-partum period!