Monday, 14 August 2017

#Microblog Mondays: Calm

Not so micro, but I'm writing it on a  Monday.... (Content: pregnancy, emotions, partially clothed photographs)

We returned from a 10 day family vacation on the west coast a few days ago. I had committed to having a healthy emotional state for this long-awaited trip, and hoped to be in a healthy physical state too (that being a tad less in my control). I managed both, for the most part. My in-laws from the USA flew in for a week, and we also had a few days on our own. Mr. Turtle and I call this our first "real" vacation in 4 years, because 4 years ago he started his Master's, and he finished it at the end of July. Although we've done plenty of fun stuff in the past 4 years, Mr. Turtle always had assignments hanging over his head, or the beginning of a new course to think about, and this time he did not have to worry about any of that (although he persisted on worrying about passing his final course, despite achieving a perfect GPA and several scholarships over the course of the degree....such is life.)

Our goals for the trip were to get away to a fun destination, but one that could be reached in a short flight. Considering AJ's age, I thought she would enjoying exploring the seashore, and I wanted to share this exciting experience with her. We have many interests, but we thought a nature focus would be best, and save trips with emphasis on culture and history for a later date. I hope the state of the world does not preclude these trips in the future: I seriously wonder if AJ will have the same freedom to travel (mostly worry-free) as I enjoyed. I do hope so, though I have doubts.

We divided our time between relaxing at the rental house, exploring parks including old-growth forest and beaches, enjoying a couple of local playgrounds and the waterfront, and a restaurant or two. My food aversions are not too bad this pregnancy, although I tolerate WASP food the best (and Greek). No fancy sauces or seasonings please. Of course, our destination is the origin of this eponymous treat, which was enjoyed by everyone.

Fun things we enjoyed with AJ and the in-laws, in no particular order:

  • playing hide and seek (AJ loves to look for people but hasn't quite mastered hiding and staying quiet until found)
  • playing catch with a beach ball
  • exploring the roots of huge trees
  • making sandcastles, picking up shells and splashing in tidepools. AJ's first comment about the beach was "Sandbox....Sandbox....!" A very big and interesting one it was, too. She did not want to go in the "big water," i.e. ocean but loved the sand and small pools.
  • Playgrounds, of course. There were a few excellent ones in the area. Any excursion requires locating a playground ASAP.
  • Small "hikes" in provincial parks (like meandering walks....not backpacking up
  • An extended amount of time for AJ to bond with her out of town grandparents. This was so good for all of them. 

We took a couple of day trips off our "big island" to some little ones. One was Gabriola Island, where Mr. Turtle and I had vacationed 4 years ago. I particularly wanted to return to this island. We had a great time back them, but that trip was also right in the middle of escalating infertility angst. My wonderful memories of swimming, kayaking, playing with cats, and exploring beaches are mixed in with anxiety about a very long cycle (I think I even took a pregnancy test at one point), several troubling medical diagnoses and one unknown genetic test hanging over our heads, and wondering if we would ever have a child. I still enjoyed it a lot, but I had an urge to go back with AJ, and little Sprite on board, and see the place from a different life perspective. So we did. And we just loved our day there.

One of our favourite spots - then and now - was a beach that we reached by a short hike.

Photo from 4 years scenery photos  this time!

As soon as we reached the beach, I walked into the ocean. If my last thought on this earth is of swimming in the ocean, I think I would die happy. There is nothing like the feeling of floating in cool water surrounded by sky and mountains and trees and silence. Also, since my recent months have been dominated by fatigue and nausea and trying to mentally escape my body, it was marvelous and freeing to be in my body and enjoying its sensations and movement.

Afterwards I went for a walk along the nearly deserted beach to dry off. Mr. Turtle joined me and we had a lovely talk. At one point he asked me "How are you feeling?"

I chose to give a not so obvious answer; I've been thinking about it ever since.

The answer was: Calm. But a specific kind of calm. Jordan Peterson talks about the both the fear and the appeal of the unknown (chaos). One one hand we wish to avoid the unknown because it means leaving the safety of the familiar. As humans we really, really like safety, because it allows us to create a predictable present and future. On the other hand, the unknown/chaos contains treasure to be discovered, and the possibility of a new, better kind of order. While the present order might be comfortable, it can also be stifling (or corrupt and decadent).

I know many kinds of calm (I am lucky that way, I suppose). I have experienced the stifling calm, when I was physically comfortable and life was predictable but I wanted so badly to escape, to confront whatever chaos was outside my bubble and find out what I was truly made of. I felt this way a lot in my teens and early 20s. I had a fairly sheltered life, which had its advantages but also made me deeply uneasy.

Then there is the calm that happens shortly before I know that everything is going to change. This is an amazing feeling that is hard to describe, but marvelous to experience. It's like a simultaneous acceptance of both the ordered present and imminence of unknown chaos. I found my mind going back to another vacation, more that 10 years ago, on the Greek island of Kefalonia. Kefalonia is a place of beauty, wonder and mystery; I could (and have) written plenty about my experiences there (not on this blog). I was in a very different life space then: 26, single, traveling (somewhat) alone in a (somewhat) foreign country and culture. I had no certainty about what I'd be doing in a few months for work or where I'd be living or if I would have a relationship.

As I explored the tiny village where I was staying, and swam in the sea (of course) I had the profound conviction that my life was going to change, very soon. And the thought left me deeply happy, and calm, although I did not know what that change would look like. I had a fantasy in my mind at the time, involving a musician I had a crush on and was going to travel to see in a few weeks. The fantasy didn't come true, but my life did change in the the next few years. The mystical side of me believes Kefalonia whispered secrets to me; it is a magical place where I could "see" the future (not literally see in a vision, but see through my intuition). The rationalist in me observes that I was so determined that my life was going to change that I would have made it change no matter what. I think both are true.

When I sat on the beach on Gabriola, I felt the same kind of calm. The present moment was perfect: Mr. Turtle, AJ, my happy in-laws sharing this time with us, a beautiful beach, the sound of water in my ears. I also knew it as temporary. Perhaps it was the expanse of the ocean whispering to me. And I loved the thought of change too: that I would evolve, that expectations and presumed certainties would crumble, but that in that change there is potential, and a new order.

And some pictures. I guess this is my first "belly photo," taken at the same beach. I like it a lot.

Glamour shot!
Tree home
AJ drawing a rainbow in the sand

Happy summer to all.....I hope it brings a kind of calm to you that you can enjoy!

Thursday, 27 July 2017


(Content: second pregnancy, ultrasound - including photo, at bottom - plans)

For me, the first trimester feels rather like being on a runaway train (or at least, a train I do not control) heading toward a track switch. A hand is on the track switch, ready to send the train in one direction or another, but I don't know which, and I don't know what is down that track.

I suppose all of life is actually like this, but being the (flawed, mortal) carrier of another life I always feel it more.

Sprite's 12-week ultrasound, including nuchal translucency scan and other screenings, felt very much like an upcoming track switch. Of course I knew what I hoped to see, what everyone else hoped to see, and indeed, was expecting to see: with more confidence than I felt, it often seemed.

I thought about and read about all sorts of possibilities in the days leading up to it. I can't say I had any coherent thoughts about them. I just had to different possibilities.

But we got the best possible results last week. Remembering that AJ was rather unco-operative at her scan last time around, and wouldn't move for the technician, I ate a couple of candies shortly before the scan. Maybe it worked, because the first thing the technician said was "there is the baby moving around" (phew) and then told me to go pee, because despite never drinking as much as recommended I still managed to have too full a bladder.

Sprite was very wiggly throughout the whole scan, which was lovely and fun to see. There was no trouble getting all the measurements, and they lined up with what they should be. "Everything that should be there, and nothing that shouldn't," as Mr. Turtle put it. He/she is slightly longer than expected for gestational age - a tall baby? Heart rate is identical to AJ's (Ember's) at the same age: 150. I may amuse myself by trying to read (contradictory) things into that information: but mainly I'm happy - VERY happy - that Sprite is developing normally as far as we can see and my odds for chromosomal conditions are revised to 1 in the thousands, with no further screening recommended. I'll take those odds. My due date was revised to January 31st. I am rather unreasonably annoyed by that; I preferred February 1st. It's just a day though.

 Afterwards, relieved and ravenous, Mr. Turtle and I went out for lunch and had a nice visit. I had decided that if all looked good at this scan, I was going to make a mental and emotional effort to Move On: and follow that up with actual actions, in so far as I am able.

First step: "allow" myself to be happy.

And then:

Start wearing maternity clothes. I actually washed them all the day before the ultrasound, but I didn't put them in my drawers: I left them in the laundry basket tucked away in a corner. I'm at a weird stage where regular size pants aren't comfortable, and tend to fall down, but maternity clothes don't quite fit right either (at least in the first part of the day). But the maternity clothes are still better overall, and unlike last time when I tried to stay in regular clothes with bella bands, and conceal what was going on, I'm all about comfort now.

Referral to ob/gyn. I have the same ones as last time, which I'm happy about, and see them in the fall for the first time. I stay with my regular doctor till then. Again, I'm pretty matter of fact about it. It feels good to take this step.

Contacted our doula from AJ's birth and made plans for her to attend the upcoming birth. I haven't discussed the "birth plan" in detail but assuming it will be the same as AJ's: hospital birth, as few interventions as possible but retaining all options, and Mr. Turtle and doula in attendance. I am really happy that I can have all the same pieces in place as for AJ's birth. I know I can't predict what will happen, but it is comforting to have familiar elements. I'm especially happy that we can have the same doula. Last year she moved out of the city with a new boyfriend, though she still returned for some births. However, the boyfriend is now a fiance and they are moving back to the city this fall. Another way in which "timing" has worked out just fine, despite having, like, no control over timing.

Get my hair cut and highlighted for the first time in 4 months. I have been growing it longer, and then when I got pregnant and was sick all the time I didn't want to go to the hairstylist. But I have been feeling neglected. I had a new stylist this time, and I gave her my perspective that haircuts are temporary, I don't take myself too seriously, and I trust her to suggest what might look good. So I got a slight trim, not losing a lot of length but much weight, and some highlights that we tinted strawberry. The pinkish colour will fade in a few weeks but it's fun for now and I'm liking how it works with my skin.

Manicure and pedicure, which I still haven't done.

Embracing better daily energy and health. I still turn into a pumpkin around dinner time, but I can keep going quite well in the middle of the day for several hours, and I am even skipping my noon nausea pill. (I still carry it with me, in case things go south).

Processing that this will most likely be my last pregnancy and child. I'm 95% sure it will be, assuming it ends in a live baby. If not, I might find the courage to try one more time, though I  don't like to think of that. At all.  I will be 38 in December and after 6 years of focusing significant time and effort on getting pregnant, I really think I'm done. Of course I have all these brain patterns specifically dedicated to TTC, and who knows what I will do with them all.

I have to admit, that the thought "this is the last time I'm pregnant" has so far brought a feeling of relief. I want this pregnancy to work, because I want and love my unborn child. But also partly because I really don't want to do this again. The nausea was worse, the fatigue was worse; I'm older and busier with responsibilities. The screen didn't suggest chromosomal differences, but of course that's not a guarantee: I always have in the back of my mind I COULD have a special needs child (anybody can). I have faith that I'd face that reality with love and resolve, but I'm not anxious to take on further risks as we age.

Still. I know my nausea and overall physical weakness is affecting my emotions at the moment, as as those symptoms (hopefully) lesson, I'll probably have more complicated feelings about this likely being the last time. I hope to embrace those feelings with the awe and gratitude that we are in the position to make this decision while getting what we wanted. It's a VERY different decision than the one we would face if the gamble did not pay off. And we were one little track switch away from that reality.

But hey. In CS Lewis's Screw Tape Letters, the senior devil gives the junior devil this wise advice about humans: Do whatever you can to prevent your human charge from living in the present. It is better if he lives in the past, but better yet if he lives in the future. Because when they live in the present, humans are the closest they can get to heaven, if they only knew it.

So, begone devils. Here is my present, my ever changing growing present. I give you: Sprite.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Life is easier, with some exceptions

I'm cautiously optimistic I'm on an upswing. I'm getting some pleasure out of mundane things; that's how I can tell.

The nausea seems better overall. I'm scared to write that because several times it seemed better and came back in various shades of awful. I'm still actually quite terrified of it, and reluctant to voluntarily reduce my medication dosage. But I do feel better overall: I have a good appetite most of the time, and my "yucky" times are more predictable: they mostly happen in the evening now.

In the past few days I was able to go on a day trip with AJ and Mr. Turtle to the mountains and take a short hike, which was awesome. AJ loved seeing all the flowers on the trail: she rushed from one to the other squealing: "More flowers! More! And more! Yellow flowers! Red flowers! White flowers! Squeeee, A BUG!" This is a parenting fantasy come true. I always wanted my child's formative experiences to be with nature. We spend so much time in the created world of humans, and  the technological side of it is especially penetrative. But before AJ is too immersed in the created world, I want her to understand what it is created from and about. A flower is not just a picture or a symbol or a cartoon, it is a flower. She will have many mediated experiences of flowers, but nothing should replace her experience with a flower.  Seeing her on this hike made me feel like I am succeeding here. I'm happy.

I also found the energy to do some daytime activities. We spent an afternoon with my mom at a local park and outdoor swimming pool. We had a picnic. We splashed for hours. Life was good. I had lunch with a (very pregnant) friend I haven't seen in a while.  I should be around 11 weeks now. My ultrasound (including nuchal translucency and other screening) is next Friday. No bleeding (but I check the toilet tissue every damn time; I always see blood in my mind.) I'm hoping this next ultrasound shows everything is just fine, and I'm hoping that it is a before/after milestone: Before, caution, hopefulness in check, fatigue, illness, disconnection; After: Feeling better, reassurance, more engagement with the world, more active planning for a baby. And family vacation. At the same time I know hope is just hope.  I know our lives could take other twists and turns. But I hope.

In the meantime I'm starting to act a bit more alive, and to take enjoyment out of small things, and it's kind of satisfying to deal with small annoying things vs. terrifying things that derail my life. Today's accomplishment so far: using up the balance (minus a few cents) on a pre-loaded credit card I've had for....two and a half years? and which is about to expire. This was not as easy as you might think and in conclusion I am not a fan of either preloaded cards or online shopping. I must be old. This card was electronic use only. So I had to think of stuff I could buy most easily online, which isn't as easy for me as it might be for some people. Then it took me a while to figure out I had to register the card online for it to work at all. OK. The first few purchases (movies) were easy. But then when the balance got lower I couldn't just buy whatever I wanted. First I forgot the balance on the card, and went online to check it. Apparently I can't answer my own security questions correctly (is the answer to "what model is your phone" "iPhone5" or "iPhone" or "IPHONE 5" or......). Account locked, customer service called.

Once I dealt with that I went searching for items on Amazon that were within a certain price range. I can never think of what I need or want when my goal is specifically to SPEND MONEY. I found a  CD that cost less than the balance. Good. Then I was down to just over 6 dollars, which is when it really got challenging. I filtered my search for items that were around two dollars. That should have made things easy, but nope. I don't know if it's just an (Canadian) thing, but there are all sorts of items listed for a couple of dollars and cents, but when you go to order them, about ten dollars of postage is added on. Seriously, WTF? Who would buy pencils for $1.50 and then pay ten dollars postage? Why even show me that crap?

Anyway, I finally ordered two sheets of stickers for AJ and reduced my balance to a few cents, which I don't care about. This is probably how the company makes money: if everyone leaves a few cents on their cards, they get to pocket it. Whatever. PSA: don't buy people preloaded cards. Give them money or a cheque FFS. Plus you don't pay tax on cash or a cheque.

Other pregnancy stuff:

-I have pregnancy bloat that sort of looks like a bump. It's kind of amusing. I haven't brought out any maternity clothes (waiting on that ultrasound) but I put away a lot of clothes because I have no interest in wearing them. The less is touching my body, the happier I am, so I'm living in sundresses and linen smocks. I finally did take out my maternity bras because I could no longer pretend my regular bras fit. I'm not quite filling up the G cups but they fit much better than the other ones.  It all suggests I'm probably still pregnant so not complaining.

-Crazy vivid dreams. I think I had this during the pregnancy with AJ too. Sometimes they are disturbing, sometimes amusing, somethings just plain weird.

-Peeing. A lot.

-Fatigue and ickiness, but not as bad as it was

-Unkempt hair, because I want to be feeling better when I get it cut and maybe highlighted.

-No food aversions really, other than avocado. I just randomly like and hate things. I'm temperamental and kind of ridiculous.

-Absent minded. If I don't literally say out loud "I'm now doing X. I have now done X" half the time I can't remember 5 minutes later if I did it.

Carrying on. One day at a time, one small pleasure and errand at a time.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Microblog Monday: Exhausted

I had some interesting topics in mind I was going to write about, but can't muster the energy or enthusiasm for them today. Which is often the story of my life. So I'll save the interesting stuff for later, and just write about how zapped I am today. At least I'll have a blog entry to show for it.

I have good days. I was at a historical theme park most of the day Saturday with family and friends (I  have a real life mom friend now, wow) celebrating Canada's 150th anniversary. I did really well. And then yesterday and today I could do almost nothing. Putting a load of laundry in or picking up AJ's toys was a major effort. For every chore I contemplated doing, I contemplated just giving up and going to bed. Going to bed won at least half the time.

I am sure part of this is physical but part of it is psychological too. It's hard to get excited about life when I am focused on merely existing (eat, sleep, not get sick). And then there's also the underlying pregnancy anxiety. It's not overwhelming at the moment, but it's there.  I'm not always scared but constantly managing it (and the tiredness and nausea) leaves me.....flat. I'm not really into anything.

We also found out today that my sister in law (Mr. Turtle's brother's wife) is pregnant. She is due exactly a week after I am supposed to be. Hahahahahaha. I mean, this is good news. My BIL and SIL are lovely. Everybody wants them to have kids. I want them to have kids. They were married 4 years ago (3 years after us). I worried at first they would have kids before us, which I did resent, but they waited (voluntarily, as far as I can tell, and I have a good nose for these things). Even with all the fertility issues, we still had the first grandchild. And hey I'm pregnant again, against the odds, and currently no reason to believe it won't end well.  I have to admit the situation is kind of cute. It's something for Mr. Turtle and his brother to bond over, and I'm sure they will. Still. Part of me wants a belly buddy and part of me shrinks from the idea. I felt the same way when I was pregnant the first time and so coincidentally were many other bloggers I followed. You hope everything goes well for everyone but there's also that feeling of dread for what it will be like if one of the pregnancies ends sadly while the rest go smoothly.

Anyway. SIL is across the continent so it's not like this will in my face all the time, though it will be an important part of our lives.  It's just rather ironic and it makes me both more aware of the shadows while pushing them away with whatever energy I have.

The other thing I have to figure out is the best way to tell new mom friend I'm pregnant. She is older, needed fertility treatments to conceive her son, and had a loss last year at 19 weeks. I have to disclose at some point but I really want to do it in a way that is sensitive. We either text each other or see each other in person. I'm leaning towards texting but I'm traditional and cringe at disclosing something like that via text. I dunno. Maybe I'll try to think of an excuse to get her email. Email seems more dignified somehow.

Maybe I'll figure it all out this week. Or maybe I'll just sleep a lot.

Microblog Mondays

Thursday, 29 June 2017

That's how it goes, and everybody knows

(Pregnancy talked about, rather abstractly)

I remember my first encounter with a school grapevine. I was 23, doing my first practicum at a junior high school. I mentioned  to ONE person that I'd taken harp lessons. The next day, two or three people separately asked me about my harp playing.

I made a mental note: "Oh, so that's how things get done around here..."

I'm not hugely opposed to gossip (if it mainly means spreading true information, not rumours or malicious statements). For one thing, as an introvert, I somewhat rely on people being more assertive than me in getting to know others. It's not a bad thing when people push at barriers to make sure people are cared for. In a school, it is important that teachers and all staff talk to each other about what they know about people because that's how wrap-around supports are built for students. And this particular junior high was a caring environment where I had good experiences and many students did too (of course there were also problems and mistakes made).

But still. Whenever some government agency or whatever is in the news for not sharing information properly between its departments, I think that the staff should come hang out in a school 'cause we would show them how it's done.

So, anyway, I think anybody that cares to know at my school knows I'm pregnant. I didn't really mean for that to happen. I'm not big on announcing things and I don't particularly want attention. I would have probably kept things mum till September if I could. But I went from being mostly normal to incapacitated with sickness in 24 hours. I told a couple of administrators and the people I work closely with that I was in the early weeks of pregnancy, because lying about it felt wrong and illogical. Most forms of GI upset get better quickly; it doesn't usually hang around for weeks and weeks and leave you incapable of working. I also didn't want people to worry that I was seriously ill with something awful. Plus they would start to being straightforward was the only good option in my view.

I never told anyone "keep this a secret" because that seemed weird too. What am I trying to keep a secret? People would still notice things were not normal. And then asking people be dishonest with others on my behalf is also weird. Still, any time I talked about being pregnant I added that it was "early" and "fingers crossed" and what I thought were obvious hints that this was not an "announcement" but a disclosure of necessity. My conclusion: People either don't understand the difference, or they do understand but they don't think it's significant.

Rather like the junior high of my practicum days, within a week of most five people?...all sorts with no direct connection to the situation were were congratulating me. Okay.

The two ladies I work most closely with say they didn't tell anyone. And I believe them because the obvious people that could have known first didn't know. Or said they didn't. But many less obvious did. I dunno how it all went down. People could have guessed too. Shrug.

What it amounts to is this: If everyone knows that I'm pregnant, they will also know if something goes wrong with the pregnancy. And I'm OK with that. I think. I can't say for sure of course. But I'm at a point in my life where I do not feel the need to pretend that everything always works out and human reproduction always goes smoothly.  The truth is, if you live long enough, some bad stuff is going to happen to you. Hopefully lots of good stuff too, but nobody lives a perfect life. I hope I get the happy ending of course.

There are many positives to honesty, and thank goodness I work in an environment where I'm reasonably certain I will be supported and won't be discriminated against. Unfortunately that is probably not true for every work place.  My principal almost immediately started planning for next year and strategizing how she could support me. This is new. At my last school nothing was done until I'd formally submitted paperwork for my leave. Here, plans are already in place and another teacher is (informally?) attached to my class with the intention of taking over next year (rap wood). Part of me is of course going "is this getting a bit ahead of things?" especially since I haven't even had the 12 week scan. I'd seen a heartbeat when all these wheels started to turn but nothing else. The other part of me is impressed: I can see how advance planning benefits the school and students and I can't help wondering if it has something to do with having a female principal. She exhorted me to please let her know how I was feeling later in the summer because it would help with planning. Okay then.

Everything looks fine with the pregnancy so far: I'm still tired and nauseous, with pretty good days and worse days. This is my last week of school thank God. I have no particular ambitions for the summer except to mosey along depending on how I feel. AJ will still be in full time care allowing me time to rest if that's what I need, but hopefully I can do some fun things with her too. Next U/S is July 21st which is when they do the screening tests such as nuchal translucency. So one day at a time remains a decent mantra.

Saturday, 24 June 2017


Content warning: pregnancy, yucky symptoms, ultrasound (no pictures)

I meant to update sooner, but my days don't necessarily go the way I expect.

June 20th I went for my "official" early ultrasound, the one at 7-8 weeks. I had become anxious in the days leading up to it. I thought everything was probably fine, but doubt creeps in. Plus the day before I felt less ill than usual, so I wondered if the nausea was going away and what that might mean....yeah, that turned out to be a premature conclusion.

The ultrasound was a good experience. I was greeted by a young woman who introduced herself as a student, which made my heart sink a little. I worried about being in a vulnerable position with a less skilled person, and in addition if there was a problem with my pregnancy, I worried about the experience traumatizing her....I just don't want to have that role in anyone's life. But as it turned out she was only observing, and the actual procedure was done by an experienced technician. As the older tech put the goop on my belly, she said she would do all the measurements and then show me the screen. I didn't say anything but "Okay," but she clearly sensed tension, because a few seconds later, she added: "I see the heartbeat. The baby is alive. You can relax now. You can breathe."  Phew. I appreciated the compassion.

The student followed along on the screen. "Oooooh, that's so cute," she said. With the suspense over, I enjoyed her enthusiasm. The last early pregnancy scan she had seen was 6 weeks along, so she was impressed with how much more there is to see two weeks later. Since my last scan had also been done around 6 weeks, those comments were also reassuring.

I saw the heartbeat again, and the blob of two weeks ago was replaced with a sort of double blob: the head and everything else. The yolk sac and umbilical cord were visible, and the forming placenta. The embryo measured 7 weeks 6 days,  which puts me at 8+3 as of this writing, and I now have a fetus.

There was no need for an internal scan, and the whole procedure went promptly. I updated family and colleagues with a few texts. I then indulged myself by eating a hot dog and doing some shopping (the radiology clinic being located in a mall).

So the good news is my pregnancy is progressing normally, as a far as I can tell. My name for the little one inside is "Sprite." I go for my first prenatal appointment early next week and I presume the next ultrasound will be scheduled for 11-12 weeks.

The rest of my life is less normal. I continue to have a lot of nausea and fatigue. The severe vomiting hasn't come back, but I'm sick enough that most regular activities are not possible. I was off work for a full week and then went in a few mornings the past week, but I have not been able to make it through a full day. I have good days and bad days, and it's impossible to know which it's going to be, so the smart thing was to book a sub for the full day or afternoon and not be scrambling. I'm very lucky that I have a regular sub who knows my students well and really appreciated the work.

In addition to the nausea, literally everything I eat or drink leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. I am going to start carrying mouthwash or minty gum everywhere. I also have a heightened sense of disgust in general, probably because of the nausea. When I feel crappy, anything touching my skin and anything I can see disgusts me, so I go through episodes of wanting to throw out all my clothes and half our stuff. Not a good time to go shopping or to introduce me to new exciting ideas, ha. Open mindedness at an all time low.

Timing was not a consideration with this pregnancy, as we had no idea when or if we would actually get pregnant. It was roll the dice and hope for the best. If I could have had the luxury of timing it, I wouldn't have timed my second month for June when I have so much work to do. On the other hand, I am relieved, now, that I didn't get pregnant when AJ was younger. The fatigue and nausea means that Mr. Turtle is doing most parenting tasks, most days. Even with the full dose of Diclectin, there are a lot of hours/days when all I can do is lie in bed trying not to throw up. Grandparents have also stepped in many times, especially when Mr. Turtle had to study. I feel bad about not being an active parent. But it would have been much worse if AJ was younger and more dependent. Feeling like this with a small needy baby would be fresh hell.

The queasiness/inactivity also affect my mood. My outlook tends to be tied to my energy level, so when my energy level drops my mood usually does too. It's frustrating and depressing to not be able to do the normal things I do for business or pleasure. You don't realize how much of your well being is tied to familiar routines till they're gone. I've coped with it by adjusting my expectations because that's all I can do. I tell myself that all my year end work will get done somehow, the important stuff anyway. I don't actually know at the beginning of the day how or if it's going to get done, but when I feel slightly better, I do what I can, and I let the extra stuff go.

It all makes me wonder about the design of humans. If I was a wild animal, I would have been dead for a month probably. Some predator would have eaten me and AJ while I was puking under a tree. Or we would have starved. Human females and babies are terribly impractical and helpless compared to our mammal counterparts. It actually really sucks! Thank God for Mr. Turtle and everyone around me who is so supportive and helpful. I really appreciate my relationships and my place in a civilized society.

Anyway, not to be negative; that's just where my mind goes when I'm constantly sick.  On the good side, I've heard a lot of podcasts and watched the Hobbit trilogy in entirety. That helped for a while. The only problem is now I associate them with being sick guessed it, they disgust me. I don't know if I should do things I enjoy for the next month or stick to things I don't particularly like.

Yeah, you know. The miracle of life. It's wonderful. One day at a time.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

A rough few days, but everything looks good

Content warning: pregnancy, symptoms, ultrasound (no photos)

Monday morning I used my second Clearblue digital with weeks indicator. The one I took a week before had shown 2-3 weeks pregnant. Sure enough, this test showed 3+ weeks pregnant.

I didn't have much time to feel happy about that before I started to feel nauseous. A little, then a lot. I ended up staying home and throwing up all morning. In the afternoon and evening, I was up and down. I felt well enough to do a few things, but anytime I tried to eat I would throw up again.

Still, I seemed better overall so I thought I was managing it. Boy, was I wrong. I woke up at 2am Tuesday and dry heaved for 7 hours. It. Was. Horrible. I have sore pecs today from being on my hands and knees retching. Since I obviously wasn't coping well Tuesday morning, Mr. Turtle drove me to Urgent Care. They gave me fluids and Zofran by IV. The doctor felt obligated to tell me that one unpublished, unduplicated study had shown Zofran possibly linked to heart defects.  But the drug has been widely used for years, including on all 3 of her pregnancies, and no other evidence of harm was indicated. I opted for the Zofran. I may wake up at 3am one night and hate myself for this, but the way I was feeling, I thought I needed the big guns. Also, it was a one time use. The doctor gave me a half-dose to play it safe.

The Zofran and IV fluids did help, and within a couple of hours I was feeling more like myself. I am deeply, wildly grateful for modern medicine and easy access at times like this. Although my condition was not immediately dangerous to me or my pregnancy, I cannot imagine living with that kind of nausea, never mind functioning in a normal way. And, I'm back on Diclectin, which does work very well for me. Again, ideally I'd like to not use any drugs, but everybody has a limit, and vomiting every 5 minutes for 7 hours is mine. I'm still home today, but well rested and starting to eat normally again.

Because of the severity of the nausea, the Urgent Care doctor sent me for an ultrasound, to rule out molar pregnancy or multiples. I had the feeling things were fine, but it was a little nerve wracking since it brought to mind the series of inconclusive early ultrasounds I had when pregnant with AJ.  I went in today and was lucky to have a very nice, very skilled tech. She saw one sac, ruling out molar (huge sigh of relief). Nothing else showed up externally, so we did internal. She took quite a long time looking at things, so I nervously amused myself by checking out her facial expressions every few minutes. She looked relaxed, focused and intrigued, so I chose not to ask questions.

Eventually, she turned the screen toward me.  One the screen she showed me a sac, a tiny fetal pole inside, and - wonders! - a little flicker of a heartbeat. The image was very clear and I could see everything she pointed out. She said it was challenging to measure the heartbeat but she recorded it twice at 120bpm. There was definitely only one embryo, no twins. This is a relief since if I was going to have twins, I'm pretty sure they would be identical. I cannot imagine myself ovulating two good eggs. And identical twins are more likely to have complications. So this was good news, all around. She dated the embryo at 5 weeks, 6 days which sounds exactly right.

So, on one hand it hasn't been the greatest of weeks, but at least we got some reassurance that things are progressing well so far. I'm still crossing my fingers for a smoother run the rest of the month.