Wednesday, August 31, 2016

16w - Constipation

It seems uncanny that on almost all of the pregnancy apps and in the books I read, they have started to mention constipation. I'm afraid I'm suffering from it, and it is not fun. I eat a lot of vegetables and fruit, and I've just added two morning prunes to my diet to hope that helps even things out. Yesterday I had to retreat to the bathroom twice for over 15 minutes each time. I work in an open plan office and in a small team. People notice when you disappear. That's all I'm saying. Aside from the general unpleasantness and fear that I'm going to give myself hemorrhoids, or rather, worsen what I already have. I've been looking online for additional remedies I can add to my diet. The one thing they all say is to drink more water which is something of a downfall for me because I've never been able to drink that much water (or drink anything in general, they don't call me the camel for nothing). I've increased my water drinking with the pregnancy, but I still probably drink less than  your average person. So I'm going to work on that as well. Blah.

Midwife appointment yesterday went well. My blood pressure is very good. Better in fact, then when I was not pregnant. I asked if it's normal for your blood pressure to drop during pregnancy and the midwife said at this stage yes. Anyway, that's alright. The midwife was annoyed on my behalf that when I went for the 12 week scan they didn't do the Nuchal screening test. Although the NIPT is a more accurate test, it's not a fail-safe and a double check would have been completely reasonable. I was a little bit annoyed at myself for not advocating better at the time. Now it's too late. So I'll just have to rely on the NIPT results alone. We also went through all the results of my blood work that I got done after my first appointment and everything was normal and good. Including my iron, which I was concerned about. I also learned that I am blood type O+. I'm not sure I knew that, although my mom did say she thought I was O something.

My gut area is feeling bloated again, although hard to tell if it's from growing baby girl or from constipation. I mean, the belly is going to keep growing, so these feelings are normal. I'm just not sure what it's from at the moment. In the long run it probably doesn't matter. I'm still wearing my regular clothes however. Maybe not the tightest stuff, but most of it seems fine.

I intermittently feel upset that my best friend has gone back to not talking to me. I can't remember what I've put here about this situation. Suffice to say, she's been trying to get pregnant (for kid #3) at the same time I was trying to get pregnant. I got pregnant, she didn't. She stopped talking to me. Then she started talking to me again a month later, but really it was only because she got pregnant, but then things went wrong and she lost the pregnancy, so now she's not speaking to me again. She's struggled with fertility issues for years, and it's amazing she has the two kids she already has. She's been depressed and probably hasn't slept well for 4 years. So I understand she's not well. But even though I understand that, it doesn't mean that her absence of friendship doesn't hurt me at the same time. It's upsetting. And I have a lot of other friends who are awesome and interested and available so I feel rude for complaining about this one friendship, especially to people who are being so great. So I'm also trying not to talk about it to too many people, but it still upsets me a lot.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

15w6d - Fast and slow

Tomorrow I will be 16 weeks officially.  I remember when I hit 10 weeks and I was thinking, wow, it's so fast!  25% done with pregnancy!! Now time is really going much slower.  Still 4 weeks to go until the half way point. I'm not complaining, it's just interesting that the first 10 weeks seemed to pass in no time at all, and now it feels like being pregnant is just the normal way of things and I'll be pregnant forever.

Of course if I think objectively about the calendar, this is not true at all.  February isn't all that far away in the grand scheme of things. It's almost September!

I've decided to go to the States in October when I'll be 24/25 weeks pregnant. A reasonable time to travel I think. I didn't go at all last year, and I don't know when I'd feel up for going next year (if at all). So it seemed like a good idea.  It's a quick trip for me- only 2 weeks. But should be good.

Because I bought the air ticket, I'm going to try and buy very little else this month. Although a colleague told me about someone selling a 'next2me' crib in her local swap group which is what I'm after at a good price. So I'm going to try and buy very little actively, but if things fall into my lap, I'm not going to ignore them either.

I got my newborn pack of gnappies this morning. They are so tiny!! I really hope they work out. Although still not the cheapest option by a long shot. Maybe later, if I use cloth inserts over disposable. But the disposable inserts still come out at up to 7x the price of the cheapest disposable nappy. Considering there is less material to them (as an insert and not a full nappy) this is particularly frustrating.  Even if the materials are more eco friendly, I don't think I believe the mark-up is fully warranted. But anyway, we'll see how it goes.

Later today I have my first real midwife appointment as the first one was mostly an intake appointment. Sort of looking forward to it. Not really sure what happens. Maybe I'll update tomorrow.

Friday, August 26, 2016

15w2d - Family

I've had two very different talks with my parents over the past week.  I try to talk to my parents (individually, they're divorced) once a week or so. Sometimes it works out to every other week. Sometimes longer. My parents are incredibly different people and my relationship with them individually is also very different.

My dad is good with money. By good with money, I also mean he can also be cheap and frustrating and does not live in a way that I agree with by any stretch. But when it comes to saving money and planning for the future financially, his advice is very useful. So I had emailed him a couple of weeks ago asking if I should be looking at life insurance policies. When we spoke on the phone he said no, because he would help support the child if something happened to me, in that all of my inheritance from  him would then be for my daughter. This led on to talking about who might care for my daughter if something happened to me, and how that would work. It was all a very reasonable conversation but did make me think that I should get on top of that before giving birth. My dad pointed out, rightly, that if something happened to me during the birth, I needed plans in place. Of course there is zero reason to think anything so dramatic will happen, but that was sensible advice. It's also important seeing as I have no siblings and both of my parents are old and in my opinion, not capable of caring for a young child (or a child in general at their ages) so it is important and something I need to discuss. I have a couple of very close friends in mind I could speak to about it, so that's the new plan. So that was my discussion with my dad.

My mom and I have a difficult relationship. We don't always get on and there's a lot of underlying animosity on both sides. I find my mother very difficult to deal with, as I'm sure she finds me. It's just how it is. But impending grandchild has raised all sorts of issues that cause me continual stress. For starters, my mother is just inviting herself along to 'be here' for indefinite periods of time without asking. She informed me that she plans to get a one way ticket to the UK and will return when we agree it's a good time. I've stressed to her that I really do not want her here for any more than 6 weeks at a time, and even that seems excessive to me. Especially considering she will want to stay in my (small) house and be on top of me all that time. I know she believes that she will be helpful, but my mother has ideas of what being helpful means and then there is the actuality of what she will do. She thinks being helpful will mean holding the baby whereas what being helpful really means will be cooking, cleaning, laundry etc.. I suggested she may want to not stay with me the whole time but she didn't like that either, again saying 'we can decide at the time' as if having arguments about kicking her out because I don't want her in my house anymore is going to be easier than her just having a place she can go to when it's obvious she needs a)sleep or b) to give me space? I also thought it would be useful to tell her my intentions regarding child guardianship which did not go over well. She clearly assumed that if something happened to me that she would just have the child. Which I can't see. On top of which it would create all sorts of issues of having any relationship with my father (my parents are not cordial) and it would also mean my dad, out of spite, would then not support the child either. So aside from the fact that my mother physically really can't do it, it's not good for any number of other reasons. But she got all shitty with me about it, although eventually seemed to come around to accepting that it's my decision. Just a fucking headache. I wish she would stop assuming things about me and child and ask me what I want or what she can do. She gets overly upset if I disagree with her 'wonderful plans' but she didn't ASK me what I need or want. Because the reality of the situation is it has nothing to do with what I need or want and everything to do with what she wants. As it gets closer to the time, I will put my foot down, and I guess it's good to have these preliminary conversations now as it exposes various things. It's just that every one feels like a battle. Really not fun at all.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

15w - Thrifty

Last night I went for the fetal doppler again as I wanted to assure myself I am still, actually, pregnant. Again it took a little bit for me to find the baby's heartbeat but there is no mistaking it when you do because it's a rather rapid 'thump thump thump' as opposed to anything else that sounds like my own heartbeat (which I also heard).  So I heard it and then turned the doppler off, content that yes, I am still actually pregnant.

I've been going mad on EBay buying maternity clothes. Most of it is coming in at under £5 including the shipping.  And all name brands. I've been very pleased so far with my purchases.  I need some more tops and possibly leggings but I've got jeans and dresses and a couple of tops and a couple of bathing suits.  I also am looking at winter coats (as I'll be very pregnant in January).

Of course I'm also looking at other stuff that is less immediately necessary.  I got a great deal on three newborn baby sleepsuits that are not pink. I also purchased the newborn starter back of gNappies at a great discount (about 1/3 off?).  I'm keen to reduce diaper to landfill waste but not sure about 100% reusable to start so these seem like a good compromise.  Also, I have a big garden so if I can compost the pee-only inserts, that's definitely a lot less waste to landfill.  If I get brave and want to try washable inserts, the diapers also take reusable inserts as well.  And the reviews seemed good. I've also been looking at breast pumps and strollers. I need to go try out some different strollers to work out what I want and then I'm going to start seriously cruising EBay and Gumtree for that as well.  And a bedside co-sleeping crib.  Basically, I see no reason to buy new things when most baby things are outgrown fairly quickly and in perfectly good condition. All the money I save is money for extending my maternity leave and money for childcare in the first few years, so every bit helps.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

14w - Facebook

So I did it. I made the pregnancy announcement. Getting a lot of love from far and wide which is nice. And it is an easy way to tell people. Kind of scary. Does it make it all somehow more real? Or does it just make it more precarious in case something goes wrong?

At any rate, I'm enjoying the global love. It pairs nicely with the birthday love. I swear this is what social media is for.

Oh yeah, in the meantime, at 14w today, I can definitively say this is now the second trimester! Woohoo!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

13w6d - Happy birthday to me!

42.... I'm so old.  I'm saying it's my Douglas Adams year.  I don't know if I'll have the answer to life, the universe, and everything.... but things are definitely going to change!! Another friend told me that astrologically 42 is also considered a life changing year.  Anyway, it seems I'm consistent!!

Monday, August 15, 2016

13w5d - Sneaking doubt

I've decided to change the timing to my actual week count according to my midwife. It's just easier.

So at almost 14 weeks, I again feel 'not pregnant'. Nothing has happened, and nothing has changed. Or perhaps I get more comfortable with the subtle changes so they seem less new. At any rate, this means the doubt starts to creep in that something has happened that I am otherwise unaware of. I of course have no reason to think that something has happened. I have had no cramps, no spotting, nothing at all to suggest I am anything other than pregnant. It's just weird.

This weekend some friends of mine came to visit with their 2 children. I haven't seen them for a while, and I had not yet met new baby who was not so new anymore. They brought me a whole bag filled of baby clothes and some other goodies which was awesome. Although some are not labeled in English so it's not entirely obviously what size they are for, but if I put them next to the ones that I can read, it will be easy enough to work out. I mean really, what fits the baby fits, when it doesn't, they've outgrown it! For some reason I expected some of the hand-me-downs from their youngest who is a boy, but they managed to give me a bag from their eldest who is a girl. Apparently it's been used by someone else in between, but who cares? What was funny was how pink and purple everything was! Also white with some grey and beige, but mostly pink and purple. I guess that's the way forward! I was saying to a work colleague today that someone really needs to make non-gendered baby clothes in rainbow colors or lovely greens and oranges and yellows and browns. Why so much gendered clothing? It's ridiculous. It's also why one of the few items of clothing I am likely to indulge in is this number from a designer I've seen at shows in London for years.

One of the things my friends also brought was their fetal Doppler. We gave it a go and couldn't find the heartbeat. This was not entirely unexpected because first, it says it's for use from 14 weeks which I'm not yet; second, I've got extra belly padding which makes finding something the size of a lentil inside of a lemon inside my gut less easy; and third, from my NIPT scan, I learned I have an anterior placenta which can also make it difficult to find the heartbeat. While this didn't immediately fill me with panic, it also didn't help with my general feelings of 'not pregnant'. I don't have a midwife appointment for 2 weeks, so there is nothing to do but go about my daily business and hope that something starts to happen at some point that indicates to me that I might actually be pregnant! I mean, other than not having my period, having a tiny bit of a bump obvious to only me, firmer breasts, and more sensitive nipples.

In other news I've scored some great buys on eBay for maternity clothes and I will continue to scour the listings. I got a few things today. I think I've spent in total £25 on a few auctions and have 3 tops, 3 pairs of jeans, and two pairs of leggings. Considering one pair of jeans new is around £25, I feel pretty good about this.  Some of it arrived today and looks great, so I'll wash it and have everything ready for when I need it. Currently scouting pajamas, a bathing suit, and more tops.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

78dpo 13w4d - Sad dreams

They say that pregnancy dreams can be intense. I can't say I've noticed that my dreams are more intense than before, but I've always had rather epic and involved and very detailed dreams. Sometimes I have them in phases, and I have had some recently, but I've also not had some recently so I can't say I've noticed any particular change.

But I can say that because dreams are a way to deal with your current thoughts, that I have noticed a shift in content to often involve issues relating to my future child. For example, the other day I had a dream that my daughter ended up being very dark skinned, sort of like south Indian dark skinned. I'm sure this was brought about because I selected an ethnic donor. Now, I selected an ethnic donor who listed themselves as Caucasian and in the photos looked just a bit olive skinned tanned. Their ethnic heritage is Syrian, but I suspect that mixed with my genes, my child will look as I expected, Caucasian and a bit Middle Eastern perhaps which was what I was going for given that I'm always mistaken for Mediterranean of some sort or another and look like the Ashkenazi Jew that I am. But in my dream this child was very dark and I was fretting that I'd made some awful mistake and given her a harder life because she didn't look much like me as intended.

Last night I had a dream about relationships and fathers. My dream featured two men who I know from different couples that I know. These are lovely couples who I think have really wonderful relationships. The kind that most people don't have. I don't really remember my dream now, but I think one or both of these men were somehow available and I was talking to them, and then even in my dream it was some later 'scene' and I was explaining to someone else that I was dreaming of these men because I was feeling sad about the path that life did not pick for me and what I didn't have. And then I woke up.

Becoming a single mother was not my Plan A. I of course hoped to find the right person that I would have liked to have a family with. It just didn't work out like that. I don't regret my decision, and I don't feel bad about it in any way. But I suppose there are some particular uncertainties that come with, for example, using a donor, or not having someone else to rely on. On a day to day basis, I don't focus on these issues because I think they actually don't matter. Every new parent has fears and challenges that are unique to them and their child. I suppose it's just interesting to me what is actually playing out in the back of my head and being revealed in my dreams.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

76dpo 13w2d - How to tell

I continue to mull over the idea of doing some sort of pregnancy announcement. My books are varied in when the first trimester ends- end of 12th or 13th week. Tomorrow is officially 13 weeks by fertilization date. My birthday is in a week, so I was debating putting something up then, as I'm expecting a bunch of the standard happy birthday messages on Facebook. I've been telling people in person, but there are a lot of people I know who live in other countries, so this would be an easy way to get the word out. Isn't that what social media is sort of for? I'd like to be able to tell people in person, but I guess it's the next best thing. I haven't come up with any sort of clever way to do it- probably just a picture from the last scan.

It's been a bit weird for me that two good friends of mine, of the same age, who both got pregnant around when I got pregnant have both lost their pregnancies. I was excited that we were all pregnant, and now they are not. I'm feeling as though I am past most of the danger points, although there is always a small risk. A work colleague lost a pregnancy at 20 weeks last year, and I know of someone else who found out their baby had died just a couple of weeks before birth. While I still worry on some level, I am starting to feel ever so cautiously optimistic that this is really happening and I'm going to have a baby. It's hard not to feel guilty that I am still pregnant when they aren't. I mean, not guilty like there's anything wrong, but that I know my pregnancy may hurt them or be hard to deal with which makes me sad.

In other entertaining news, I had to remind my mother that presents for the baby do not equate to birthday presents for me. She was very kind and offered me one of the baby items as a birthday present, but for my birthday- in a week. I suggested to her there were any number of things she could give to me, and that if she wanted to get things for the baby, that was awesome, but it wasn't exactly a present for me. Having talked to her last night, I think she may now look into getting me a pregnancy massage or something like that, which would be very cool. I also suggested a jewelry (for me) that symbolized impending motherhood. A meal voucher. You know, something FOR me? Anyway, it was funny and she took it all in good humor. I'm being usurped by the granddaughter already, and it's still a ways before she gets here!!

In better news, I weighed myself this morning and I seem to be back at a 'normal' weight and not the heavy weight I got last week. I'll check again the next couple of days because my scale can be wonky. However, I was concerned I'd put on too much weight; if the scale was right this morning, I've only put in 2 pounds since the start of the pregnancy as opposed to 7. Which would be much better.

Friday, August 5, 2016

72dpo 12w5d - Scan results

I had my scan yesterday morning and it was very exciting. Baby girl was moving ALL OVER this time. She was twisting and stretching and wriggling about. I saw her legs flex and kick, and her hand come up to her mouth. Given that she's the size of a plumb, this is pretty amazing. I was enthralled with looking at her. Unfortunately, I couldn't see the screen particularly well from where I was laying but I did get a couple of pictures. They also seemed to think that because my NIPT results were fine, they didn't need to do the Nuchal translucency testing. Which I suppose is probably true, although I would have preferred the double check. I had two radiologists in with me, a trainee and her supervisor. Because baby was all over the place, it did take some time to get the right measurements. I had to lift my but and wiggle, they tipped the table so I was inverted, all to try to get baby in a good position. It was sort of entertaining. I didn't care. It meant more time looking at her!

I don't have another scan now until week 20. I need to schedule my next midwife appointment for week 16. So there's a month here with not too much going on medically. Which is fine. I don't think it's sinking in really yet that there's a little baby growing inside of me. I don't know if it ever sinks in until you are holding your child. It's so weird.

I'm still considering doing a blanket announcement on Facebook. I'm not in a particular rush as there's obviously time to decide. I have started telling people as a matter of course now which is also weird. But sort of fun. Shit is getting real! (Which might be the tone of a Facebook post if I do end up making one!)

Baby girl at 12w1d, pausing for a brief moment!

Monday, August 1, 2016

68dpo 12w1d - Feeling good makes me feel bad

So the past two days I've felt completely fine. Of course what does this mean? It means I don't 'feel' pregnant. Which leads to me starting to worry that something has changed or is different or etc. etc. etc. I'm glad I have a scan on Thursday which should reassure me that everything is as it should be. There won't be another scan until week 20 I think, so I'm going to have to just find a way to believe that everything is fine even though I feel fine. Which frankly, sounds ridiculous.

I called my mom to tell her the results of the NIPT. She was very excited. It was a bit funny because she asked me if I've thought of a name yet. The thing is, I've thought of a baby girl name since I was 16 (and it hasn't changed) and since I was 24(ish) and my aunt died, I've had the middle name picked as well. So girl name has been set in my mind for a very long time. Which means at various points over time, I've discussed it with my mom. Because she basically guessed/knew the name that I've picked. I confirmed that's the name I'm planning but implored her not to share it with anyone. She asked why not. I said well,  when the baby comes, that's the name. Before that, people will have opinions. And frankly, I'm not interested in anyone's opinions. I think I got through to her and she'll keep it to herself. But I did say she could start telling people I'm pregnant because I feel I'm over that hurdle, first paragraph notwithstanding.

I've been recently attacked by some bastard bugs and have 3 very itchy spots, one on the back of my right hand, and one on each foot. I'm getting frustrated about my inability to take antihistamines and I may need to work out what I can actually take. I also suffer from a-topic dermatitis and my skin is breaking out and itchy in general. I broke down and used some very low strength topical cortisone last week. But anyway, these bites are particularly annoying. I woke up itching last night at 2am and 5am which is not what I needed at the start of running a workshop.

Next update I assume will be post-scan. I'm so much more relieved going into it though with the NIPT results in hand.