Friday, June 28, 2013

Seven Quick Baby Takes Volume Two

Okay, first, a bit of background without which this post might not make sense:

First relevant medical professional is Dr. M, who is trained in NaPro Technology but doesn't do regular prenatal stuff. He's been monitoring my progesterone.

Then there's my OB practice, with a Dr. W, a Dr. B, and a nurse practitioner. They do all the routine prenatal appointment stuff.

Okay, now actual updates:

My progesterone was 35 on Wednesday. (So it's still up from the 28 of four weeks ago, but sharply down from the 47 of two weeks ago.) Dr. M assured me that this number is still "consistent with a healthy pregnancy", but he still didn't like that it went down, so I'm back on 100 mg of intramuscular progesterone twice a week. (I was on 200 mg from 6 weeks to 12 weeks, and then 100 from 12 to 14, and then nothing from 14 to 16.)

I don't actually mind the shots so much (they're not up there with raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, but 22-gauge needles don't actually hurt as much as they look like they're going to). Right now I'm more freaking out that instead of being a random fluctuation this is a sign that Tad's placenta is deteriorating prematurely or something similarly dire.

Scott remains cheerfully optimistic about it all, though, and he brought me chocolate, and it's only 57 days until viability, right?

I also had an OB appointment yesterday morning (with the nurse practitioner). I didn't get an ultrasound, which was weird. (I realize I've had more than my fair share, but I haven't yet had an appointment without an ultrasound, so it was still weird.) I did get Dopplerized for the first time, though, and got all schmoopy hearing Tad's little heartbeat compared to my big old slow one. (Tad's heart rate seems to have settled into the high 150s, if you're curious.) NP had to chase the baby around with the doppler, which amused me, because this is the second time I've gotten the "very active" line from a medical professional. I wonder if 10 a.m. is just time for Baby Zumba, or if this baby is active ALL the time and I'll never sleep again. (I wouldn't mind. Feel free to be perpetually awake, baby, as long as you live.)

I weighed 187 at my appointment, which is only worrisome to me because it's 7 pounds up from 3 weeks ago. I was all prepared with a speech about how my metabolism is probably just compensating for first tri weight loss and I'm only 4 pounds up from my pre-pregnancy weight (which is 100% normal for 16 weeks), but NP didn't bother mentioning it at all. Apparently they really don't care at this OB office.

(My blood pressure was 118/68, which is like ALMOST DEAD for me--I usually toy with the white coat hypertension thing--in case anybody's worried about that.)

I've since decided that at least a few of those pounds were water weight from the Sugarpalooza of vacation (insulin affects cell permeability; it's SCIENCE), so I'm not really worried any more. I will probably be less militant about my Eat All The Things Diet, though, since my body seems to have remembered how to gain weight.

(I also worry about weight gain because disproportionally rapid weight gain was one of the first signs of my endocrine system going all to pieces a few years back...shortly before I was diagnosed with depression + anxiety, but a good long while before I was diagnosed with PCOS + insulin resistance. You'd think there'd be some kind of basic hormone workup for young women with mental health disorders, but apparently therapists just tell you to think positive and maybe take some antidepressants if you're really stuck in your un-positive-thinking ways.) 

The anatomy scan is scheduled for July 29. I was burning off a lot of my anxious energy earlier this week trying to decide if I want the ultrasound-doing-person to make an educated guess at whether the baby is a he or she sort of baby. (I still haven't decided.) Obviously I know the anatomy scan isn't primarily aimed at identifying the baby's sex, but I don't have the emotional stamina to worry about Tad's vital organs being as they should be, so I have to burn off the anxiety somehow, and dithering over inconsequential things is a great way to do that.

(I just looked it up, and July 29 is apparently the feast of St. Martha. People who get worked up over inconsequential things, unite!)

Has anybody else had that super-heightened sense of smell thing? I have it, and it's not nearly as cool as it sounded. I don't seem to notice any fresh-baked cookies or flowers I didn't before; I just notice all sorts of weird smells nobody else does. (I keep thinking things are burning because of the way a hot stove smells, and there's this stretch of road on the way to my OB's office that always smells like rotten hot dogs, and I JUST CHANGED THE SHEETS WHY DO THEY SMELL FUNKY AGAIN.)

It's like a really annoying and useless superpower.

I've heard that some women miss their waistline after they get pregnant. I never figured that would be me, because I didn't really have a waistline--it was more a crease, level with my belly button, dividing my abdomen into two little squishy hills.

Well, now the whole pregnancy thing has made my abdomen turn into one united squishy hill, and although it makes me exceedingly happy to think of my baby growing bigger and bigger, boy do I miss that waist-crease. Now, I hike my skirts up to my belly button and they just slide right off. I'd try the under-belly look (I'm pretty sure at least some of my skirts could be cinched to fit there), but I don't think any of my shirts are long enough to bridge the resulting gap, and nobody needs to see my vampire-pale, stretch-marked belly hanging out.

(Remember that rapid unexplained weight gain I mentioned above? Yep, I got stretch marks all over without even getting a baby out of the deal. PCOS is just the gift that keeps on giving.)

Obviously, the solution to this problem is maternity clothing. I was waffling on purchasing anything because major retailers are too expensive (seriously, $39 for a shirt?) and Goodwill is unreliable. When you can find something there, it's usually awesome, but sometimes you have to try repeatedly, and I just don't have that kind of time in between frequent naps and Eating All The Things.

So my mom went out to a local consignment store up where she lives and bought me 7 shirts and 1 skirt. She is apparently also going to buy me some new things online.

My mom is pretty cool sometimes.

Speaking of my increasingly large belly, pictures! Because what's a pregnancy post without some literal navel-gazing?

(Well, not really. My shirt is staying DOWN. See above note about vampirism; I'd probably blind you or something.)

First, 12 weeks (and 1 day)!

This is pretty much the baseline shot; at that point I hadn't noticed any difference in my figure. (Meaning it's normal for my stomach to pooch out a little bit. In fact, I was expecting a lot more pooch than that; apparently all that weight I lost before getting pregnant actually made a difference.)

Now 16 weeks (and 1 day)!

Those are actually different shirts; I got the same style in two colors way back when. Also, the second picture was taken in Williamsburg; remind me to write a vacation post.

And now I'm just going to hit publish before I think twice about encouraging strangers on the internet to comment on the largeness of my squishy belly.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My husband is awesome

Scott and I left for vacation Thursday at about 8:30 a.m. and got back Monday at about 10:15 p.m. I have spent the last two days slowly getting back into my routine, but some things kind of fell through the cracks. Like meal planning. Last night I had Scott dig through the freezer and find some pork chops. I didn't know what I was going to do with them, but I figured I might as well have them thawed in case I thought of anything.

When I picked Scott up from the bus stop, I still hadn't thought of anything. After some discussion, he said, "Why don't we do something with that lemon that's left over from my birthday?" (In order to make lemon cake, it takes the zest of two lemons but the juice of only one, so we had a poor naked lemon sitting in our fridge.)

So Scott threw together butter and lemon juice and garlic and chives and made these amazingly delicious pork chops. It was awesome because we got to eat a delicious dinner and also awesome because the sad little leftover lemon didn't have to get thrown out unused.

The end. More blog posts later to catch you up on all the interesting happenings in my life.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lemon-Dill Chicken

This is a recipe I pretty much made up myself.

About 2 pounds chicken
1 stick butter
1 fresh lemon
Dill weed

1. Cut chicken into medium-sized pieces; spread evenly in some kind of oven-safe pan.

2. Cut butter into thin slices and layer over chicken.

3. Zest and juice lemon; spread evenly over chicken and butter.

4. Scatter dill weed over all.

5. Cook in 300 degree oven for about 1 hour and 40 minutes. (Probably less if you thaw your chicken out ahead of time. Or preheat your oven.)

I imagine that this would go really well with rice or something, but I didn't feel like cooking rice so we just ate the chicken. It was delicious.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Seven Quick Baby Takes

--- 1 ---

First off, this is the Tadpole. I might be a little bit biased, but I think you will nonetheless agree that my baby has the cunningest little elbow you've ever seen.

(This picture is from last Friday, but I had to send it around to the grandparents and give them first shot at admiring said cunning little elbow. You understand.) 

--- 2 ---

I decided that the baby needed a nom de blog for a couple of reasons. First, Scott is not sure whether he's comfortable with having both the baby's real name and its likeness on the internet, and I'm pretty sure you'd rather have baby pictures, come December. So I gave Baby a preemptive pseudonym. Second, this way I have options besides "the baby" and "it." Wouldn't want to seem impersonal, would I?

I picked Tadpole specifically for a couple of reasons. First off, that's what Tad looked like at the first ultrasound I had. (Long story, and I'm not going to tell it right now--let's just say nobody has an ultrasound at 6 weeks for funsies.) Second, froggies make a cute gender-neutral nursery theme.

(Thanks, Mom, for revealing my "looking at baby stuff before the first trimester is out" secret. We don't speak of such things where the fates might hear us, okay?)

--- 3 ---

Despite the fact that Tad is a boy's name, I've been getting much more of a girl feeling from this baby. Of course, back in March I had a strong feeling that it just wasn't our month, and lo! Two pink lines on March 31! (I'll tell you that story sometime too.) My womanly intuition might be a bit unreliable.

(My sister Teresa doesn't bother with womanly intuition. She just declared, emphatically, that this baby was going to be a girl. End of story. We'll see how that works out for her...)

I won't be sad to be proven wrong, but I figured I might as well officially log my guess, so I can be smug if I turn out to be right.

--- 4 ---

Conversations with my husband:

"I was going to say, 'You got to see your baby for the first time today!' And then I thought, no, you got to see a representation of your baby produced by sound waves. And then I thought, well, when you see your baby after it's born, you'll really be seeing a representation of your baby produced by your brain using light waves bouncing off...stuff."


"And then I thought, 'What is seeing, anyway?' and now my brain is all contorted."


"I was going to fix your hair for you, if you hadn't just done it. I like invading your personal space. Do you even have personal space, now that we're one flesh and all that?"

"I'm pretty sure I still have personal space. And our 'one flesh' is the size of various fruits."

--- 5 ---

My main pregnancy symptom during the first trimester was being TIRED. SO TIRED. I seriously felt like I only got up to eat and use the bathroom (not at the same time) for a while, though I have hazy memories of doing other things as well.

Well, now I'm all second-trimestery and have a more-or-less normal amount of energy...and I can't do anything with it. If I'm on my feet for more than an hour or so at a time, I start getting crazy round ligament pain, and if I ignore that (or have to ignore it because there's no place to sit down), my abdominal muscles ache for days afterwards, as if I did an intense workout (because I know what an intense abdominal workout feels like...). I keep trying to convince my muscles and ligaments that they're holding something that weighs considerably less than your average bar of soap, so they should stop complaining about the extra effort they're putting in. They never listen to me, though.

I'm guessing that it's so bad partly because this is my first pregnancy (all of you ladies who are on baby number 2 or 3 or 6 have things conveniently pre-stretched) and partly because I never exercise, and especially never exercise my abdominal muscles. Can't do a sit-up to save my life. You'd think this would mean my muscles would be loose and floppy and they'd just give way before my growing uterus, but turns out that lack of exercise means that they're not used to being stretched at all.

--- 6 ---

I did have some nausea and food aversions from about Week 6 to Week 10, but my pregnancy-induced vomiting count remains at 0, so I'm going to count myself lucky. (It is awkward and frustrating, though, when smelling food while it cooks causes you to be so nauseated that you cannot bring yourself to eat the food once it's done cooking. Scott made a lot of meals for a while there, while I hid out of smell-range.)

Between 3 weeks pregnant (when I didn't know I was pregnant yet and had a doctor's appointment for an unrelated reason) and 9 weeks, my weight stayed pretty much exactly the same. I figured that once the food aversion issue went away, I'd start gaining weight. So imagine my surprise when I showed up for my second appointment at 13 weeks and change and found I had lost three pounds. (I don't own a scale, so I rely on doctors to tell me how fat I am. For the record, I'm 5'7" and went from 183 to 180. I'm not in danger of wasting away and depriving my baby of sustenance.)

It's not a worrisome amount of weight loss, but I'd still like to prevent it from becoming a trend. Especially since this is the one time in my life when I won't get told to lose a few pounds by every medical professional I encounter. Might as well take advantage of the "gain 20-30 pounds free" card. (When I brought up the subject of weight gain, my OB said he thinks I should gain 30 pounds, because I'm only "a little overweight." I think he knows which side his bread is buttered on and isn't going to risk offending a woman with weight lectures.)

Anyway, I went to Dr. Google, who said that in order to maintain my current weight I should be eating 2000-2200 calories per day. (Yes, I put "sedentary" as my lifestyle.) Add 300 calories per day for my hungry little tenant, and that comes to about 2400 per day.

So, starting on Tuesday, I instituted a system of eight (!) small meals per day. By "small meals" I mean about 300 calories apiece, so I come to 2400-ish at the end of the day without getting too full at any one time.

It seems to work okay (I don't constantly swing from "so hungry I'm going to chew my own arm off" and "sick from overfullness" anymore), but man is it HARD to eat that much food. I love food, so I definitely wasn't expecting to ever come to a time in my life when I would complain about having to get up and EAT SOMETHING, UGH, DIDN'T I JUST EAT TWO HOURS AGO?

(Watching TV in the evenings helps, because I always want to snack when I watch TV. But we're all out of Firefly episodes now. Need more TV-on-DVDs.)

I will report back after my next appointment. Hopefully that update will not be as long as this one. ("Quick" takes, they call them. Ha ha ha.)

--- 7 ---

I found out yesterday afternoon that in between May 28 and June 12, my serum progesterone level shot up from 28 to 47 ng/mL. Which means that now I am instructed to have NO INJECTIONS for two weeks. (And if my bloodwork looks good on the 26th, NO MORE INJECTIONS EVER. Or at least no more until I get pregnant again and my ovaries act like they have no idea what's going on.)

On the one hand, YAY! FORTY-SEVEN! On the other hand, I've been on some form of progesterone supplementation for the last 10 1/2 weeks, and I'd gotten used to the feeling of doing something that comes from offering oneself up as a pincushion. So y'all can feel free to say a prayer or two for things anyway, even though Tad and I seem to be out of the woods in this regard.

(It doesn't help that I've been having a flare-up of my anxiety issues lately. Probably because my brain doesn't handle major hormonal shifts well.)

On a related note, I'm pretty sure Tad's placenta has some kind of plan for world domination. It's a good thing it's going to be about a year too late for the Mayan apocalypse.

BONUS TAKE: It's my mother's birthday today. I forgot to get her a card. In about two years I will be able to get around this by having the baby scribble on a piece of paper and calling it a card, but for now I must feel vaguely guilty about my inability to remember birthdays and holidays while I'm at the store. Happy birthday, Mom!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Baby's First Material Possession*

Some time ago, my mother donated some baby clothes to a friend. The friend, being sneaky, sent her a thank-you note that contained a Wal-Mart gift card. My mother felt uncomfortable being "paid" for her generosity, so she gave the gift card to me.

That was back on Mother's Day. Today I needed to get my car's oil changed, so I schlepped off to Wal-Mart with my car and my gift card. I needed some new undergarments (Seriously, the situation around here is becoming entirely unmanageable. You'd think that wouldn't happen until closer to December, but apparently feeding babies is Serious Business and the preparations cannot be put off until the last minute.) but that seemed too prosaic a use for my first ever Mother's Day present, so I bought some baby clothes as well.

See? I took them out of their packaging, because while you're tempting fate with your boldness you might as well go all out.

Here is a closer look at the patterns:

*Technically, there are a few things up at my parents' house that have already been reserved for this baby, but I don't actually have them yet. Maybe this should be "Baby's First Possession That Isn't A Hand-Me-Down."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Conversations with my husband

Him: "I can't stop thinking about my thumb." [He shows me the thumb he cut yesterday, band-aid-less.]

Me: "Awww, do you want me to kiss it?"

Him: "No, I'm just wondering how long it will take to heal."

Me: "That's like Installment #15 in 'What happens when all your social skills come from interacting with 4-year-olds.' People think I'm being sarcastic, but I'm like, 'Isn't that how you express sympathy when somebody hurts themselves?'"

Him: [packs up for work]

Me: "I like four-year-olds. They don't make a lick of sense, but grown-ups don't make a lick of sense either. At least four-year-olds know they don't make a lick of sense."

Him: [funny voice*] "You know the difference between you and a five-year-old, Herman? The five-year-old knows he's a fool. He doesn't try to fit the world into these reasonable categories. He thinks, 'If a butterfly eats too much nectar, does he have to burp?' You would never think to ask that."

Me: [laughs] "Did you get that from somewhere?"

Him: "No, I'm just making it up."

*I thought he was using his Bob Newhart voice, but he claims it was a "fake gangster" voice. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Seven Quick Takes: Burying the lede edition

--- 1 ---

Conversations with my husband:

Me: What are you typing and to whom? [I could see that Skype was the only window he had open, so this was a reasonable question.]

Scott: Philosophy of RPGs...and you can probably guess from the subject.

Me: The Andy?

Scott: Yep.

Me: Though the subject doesn't really narrow it down. You'll ramble about philosophy of RPGs to anyone who will sit still long enough.

Scott: True...

--- 2 ---

The Andy has a blog, which I admittedly never read, because I'm only interested in videogames insofar as I have to understand them in order to have a conversation with my husband.

(I found the Andy's blog after Rosalie found me via Seven Quick Takes--at least, I think that's how she found me. Turns out there's a whole circle of "people I knew at Franciscan who have blogs"; it also includes "Bob" and Liz. The lines between blog world and "real" world grow ever fuzzier...)

--- 3 ---

Wednesday of last week, I made an executive decision that we were having fast food for dinner, for the first time in our marriage. I feel weirdly guilty about it, but seriously. Wednesday was a terrible day, and sometimes at the end of a terrible day you just need to wolf down a cheeseburger instead of spending an hour lovingly crafting a homemade meal.

(Everybody's fine. It was just one of those days.)

--- 4 ---

Last Saturday, we went to see a play put on by the local homeschool group. Scott's youngest 3 siblings were all in it.

Other than the funny bits of the play, the most amusing part of the evening was when Scott repeatedly called people by the right last name but the wrong first name. Since he graduated from high school six years ago, all of the people he actually knew are no longer around, and their younger siblings have gone from being little kids to being teenagers. Apparently it's very confusing.

--- 5 ---

After our fast food adventure, I was seized with one of my periodic vegetable-eating fits and bought lettuce and tomatoes and whatnot. We've never successfully finished a bag of lettuce, but that doesn't stop me from trying again. So far it's been six days and we've eaten two hearts (it's romaine lettuce) and started on the third. The outer leaves of the third heart were a bit wilty, but I perked them up with cold water, and the inner leaves are still in good shape. So hopefully I'll manage to eat another salad or two in the near future. (I've been having salads as my afternoon snack almost every day, and I've been packing a salad in Scott's lunch every day. He loves salad if somebody else chops the veggies for him.)

--- 6 ---

The pea plants are still more or less undead. I think the wilty bits at the bottom are the result of the bug infestation a few weeks back, not the result of my benign neglect and the heat. 

Also, here are FIVE WHOLE PEA PODS which I harvested from my plants over the course of the last several days. I keep meaning to cook them up when Scott is home to enjoy them with me and forgetting. Maybe I'll remember tonight. 

--- 7 ---

I got rid of the ticker down at the bottom of my blog with the little turkeys counting down to my birthday, because I finally found a ticker I like better. See?

Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!