Friday, December 6, 2019

Pregnancy Part 16

There are only two weeks left of fall. We have entered the rainy season here in Southern California. We survived Thanksgiving. We watched the birth video at our Bradley class. We toured the labor & delivery suites at the hospital. I helped out with Operation Firefly.  It is 10 days until our next OB appointment, the one where I will do my glucose tolerance test.

Here is a round-up of the symptoms for the past month:

Week 22 - Nov 4-10 headache, neckache, backache, heartburn, abdominal itchiness
Week 23 - Nov 11-17 acne, abdominal aches, heartburn
Week 24 - Nov 18-24 heartburn, headache, tender breasts, Braxton-Hicks contractions
Week 25 - Nov 25-Dec 1 heartburn, tender breasts, heart palpitations
Week 26 - Dec 2-8 heartburn, headache, leg cramp, heart palpitations

I get check-ups from a nurse via phone through my health insurance. I told them about the heart palpitations and they suggested I call my OB, who suggested I call my PCP, who suggested urgent care, but I'm refusing to go to urgent care because of exposure to sick people. I plan to just wait until my next appointment and see how my blood pressure reading is at that time.

I tried to write a blog post earlier in the week but I was just too exhausted to actually write anything. I had planned to teach a lesson (at this very moment) about how writing can help you learn new things, but I asked my students to RSVP whether they wanted to attend class or not and 7 out of 9 people said they would rather not attend. The other two didn't respond, which I take as a no. I got so sick of students giving me excuses why they couldn't be in class and I have so little energy, I just made an executive decision to give them the option to vote. I'm not going to waste my energy getting upset that the students aren't attending class.

We got rid of some more e-waste from our home and office. I love the Nicole Bernson SAFE Center. Seriously those people rock my world. I did a bunch of letters of recommendation for students applying to PhD programs. It was hard because I had some old files that are no longer accessible, so I had to just start from scratch.

The Thanksgiving holiday was a good one. My aunt and her new husband came to stay with us. We had a nice dinner ready and waiting for them when they arrived in town. The next morning we had a nice breakfast and then walked to campus. They sat in on my lecture and then we walked home. It has been fantastic weather, cool and humid, with super-clean air. I am loving it. Then we did all the shopping for the big meal. Thanksgiving day we watched a live stream of the Macy's parade, which is one of my annual traditions. We started preparing the food, baking a pie crust, chopping veggies, etc. My cousin came over and baked a sweet potato pie while my aunt took a nap. We baked a pecan pie and I made a layered banana pudding. We got the shrimp boil going and it was super easy and fun.

When I start to feel a bit of pain in my belly, it has been helpful to kind of swing it side to side. I don't know if that settles the baby or just distracts me from the pain. Putting on music and doing a bit of light dancing has really been helping me beat the blues. I find I have a very hard time just sitting, my back gets really stiff and I just feel miserable and restless.

The day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) we avoided all the shopping craziness and took a public transportation adventure to Exposition Park. We went to see the space shuttle and an exhibit about dogs that we've been wanting to see for months. It was great for me to do all that walking because like I said, it's been torture to just sit still. I also had the tastiest ice cream at the Grand Central Market.

Over the past two weeks, I had the occasion to enjoy a particular food so much that I actually started bawling over it. One was a fresh-out-of-the-oven cinnamon roll. The other was the banana cream pudding. I get some strong cravings, I assume due to pregnancy and/or nostalgia, and when I get to eat exactly what I wanted, the emotion is just so overwhelming.

After our guests left, we had a few days of just sitting around the house with our feet up. One thing I did was use a Black Friday promotional code to order our travel system (stroller + car seat). The price dropped from $449 to $229 and then I had a 20% off coupon on top of that. I think about it all the time and I'm checking the FedEx tracking constantly to see when we can pick it up. Someone purchased the first item from our BabyList registry. I realize not everyone will follow what we picked out, but it is really nice that at least for those who enjoy shopping from a registry, it's there to give them an idea of exactly what we would want.

We also spent about 3 hours dealing with Sprint to decide what to do with our cell phones. I enjoy my phone a lot and I feel bad getting rid of it if it is working fine. So we decided to purchase our devices instead of upgrading to the newer model.

I found it hard to return to work after the 4-day weekend. I started chanting to myself "Keep it Simple" to just remind myself that I don't have to be amazing, I just have to show up and not get too dramatic. I had a fun time learning EquatIO with some women at my university. It's a program that helps you make your equations accessible for those who are blind.

In our Bradley class, we watched a video of natural childbirth. The woman was pretty calm throughout the whole thing and she had a good amount of patience. Her doctor was also super calm. It was almost freaky. It was interesting to see the hospital right on the same day. Unfortunately, they have only so many labor & delivery rooms, which were all full at the time of the tour. They did show this video and recommended we watch another two videos that were filmed at our hospital.

Even though I can't ride my bicycle right now and I won't be going to this weekend's Metro BEST ride or CicLAvia - The Valley, I still went out and helped hand out free bike lights during CSUN's operation firefly. It was hard being on my feet so much on Tuesday, I even took the afternoon on Wednesday off and went home to put my feet up. I had such a headache on Wednesday. I guess it's getting pretty real that the third trimester is just around the corner (i.e. next week!)

It's almost time to pack the "hospital bag" and I'm not sure exactly what to put in there. I have some pregnancy apps that make recommendations, but I guess I'm just finding that all a bit overwhelming right now. A few things our hospital suggested are PILLOWS and NIPPLE CREAM so I guess I will start making that list and packing that bag.

In other family news, it's one week until we see "A Christmas Carol" at the Glendale Center Theater. My nephew just had surgery yesterday to repair a torn ACL. So we will be visiting with them in Newport Beach in two weeks (Babymoon Part 4, I guess). That way they won't have to travel up to see us on Christmas day. Then, we're having a Christmas dinner at our house in about 2.5 weeks. My brother-in-law will be staying the night with us. Dear husband has a week off (between Christmas and New Year's Day) so I'm really looking forward to relaxing at home together.

In other work news, it's 1.5 weeks until our department holiday pot-luck and white elephant gift exchange. I enjoy getting together with my colleagues and playing this fun game, but it does mean that I need to get all the ingredients for the dish I will make (banana cream pudding again) and buy two gifts for exchange. Not to mention holiday shopping for family, which I suppose we will do this weekend.

I got such a great gift from my "Secret Stork" which was arranged through my reddit monthly bumper group. I spoke with a colleague who has had 3 deliveries (the 3rd was a set of twins at age 39) and she told me that it's good to read about other people's experience of pregnancy, whether through an online community, a blog or an actual book. It can help normalize all the strange feelings. I remember reading lots of other people's blogs about infertility and pregnancy after IVF and it was a big comfort to me, which is partly why I keep writing these pregnancy posts. This year will be among my most active in blogging, so I feel encouraged that this pregnancy experience has given me so much to write about.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Pregnancy Part 15

The food journey has been quite wild. Now that I'm looking at the data, I am actually doing OK on hitting the meal plan, better than my last check-in. It just seems bad since we're eating out more.

Week 19 - 31% (seven fast food)
Week 20 - 43% (four fast food)
Week 21 - 37% (five fast food)
Week 22 - 46% (five fast food)
Week 23 - 34% (seven fast food)

Just 3 more weeks of the second trimester. I'm definitely gaining weight faster than the recommendation for my BMI, but I'm not sure there's much I can do about it. If I eat less, I end up with a monster headache that lingers for 36 hours and I'm definitely not wanting to go through that again.
It seems like my weight gain is pretty steady and linear. The app from my healthcare team says that I should reach 206 to 215 lbs by the end of my pregnancy and I'm on track to exceed both of those numbers. I feel like I'm almost ready to give up on all this tracking nonsense and just live my life and grow this baby and stop micromanaging it. Maybe after the semester is over and I'm at home all day and I can cook what I want and eat when I want and shop when I want and relax most all the time, then I will be able to let go a little bit of this strict control and eat more intuitively.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Pregnancy Part 14

This weekend we worked on our house tasks and took a day in LA. Last weekend, we did some shopping, then more shopping, then house tasks. What I mean by house tasks is furniture assembly and redistribution of items into the new furniture.

When we moved to our Northridge condo around 2.75 years ago, we agreed that we wouldn't buy any furniture or decorate until we had lived there for 1 year. After that time, we bought a few bookshelves, a pair of lamps and some end tables. Nothing too expensive, since we live across the street from the Goodwill. Maybe all together it cost $200 (or less). It doesn't look bad, in fact we were so overjoyed to have the extra space and white walls.

Now, we are preparing to babyproof the house, which means getting everything up off the floor and into containers that the baby can't get into. Hence the need for furniture. We bought two dressers at IKEA which have 6 drawers each. The space we were concerned about was a metal shelf that had everything exposed.

Xmas 2017 / New Year 2018
I don't know if you can tell, but the dry goods in the metal rack above are organized by plant family. Other items moved into the new dressers included: glassware, tablecloth, fabric napkins, dishrags, aprons. And my seed library!

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The day in LA was fun and we did a lot of walking. Seeing the Walk of Fame is always an eventful day. We saw a movie at the Cinedome (56 years old) on Sunset and Vine, which is now called the ArcLight Hollywood. We ate lunch at Miceli's (a 70-year institution on Hollywood Blvd). I did wear my BellyBandit belt for a few hours in the morning, but I took it off at lunch. It was fun showing my in-laws how to ride the subway (Metro) red line.

I wish I had time to write more, but tonight we have a doctor's appointment and then Bradley birth class and then I am DETERMINED to get to the grocery store and get re-stocked. We've been eating out quite a bit since devoting our weekends to "home tasks" instead of grocery shopping and cooking.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Pregnancy Part 13

Symptoms you don't hear much about:

1) rhinitis
2) itchy legs
3) rib pain

I think I started getting rhinitis very early on in the first trimester. It was one of my earliest pregnancy symptoms. It's not on the app that I use for tracking symptoms. It feels like allergies or just a small cold. I have a constant stuffy nose, which results in shortness of breath because my nose isn't working properly. I end up doing a lot of mouth-breathing and chewing with my mouth open (which isn't attractive) and I'm surrounded by piles of used Kleenex.

The itchy legs were definitely a second trimester thing. I posted about it on reddit on Oct 7th (pregnancy week 18) but I must have been experiencing it prior to that. It mainly happens at night, after dinner, or while I'm in bed. I got so bad sometimes that it would wake me up in the middle of the night. Dear husband suggested that it was probably due to the dry air we have here in Southern California, but this was way worse than anything I can imagine. It would have me up out of my armchair (where I normally relax each evening) and on the floor stretching and slathering my body with 3 different kinds of lotion.

The rib pain has been going on about a week. It is all the way around my ribcage. I was freaking out because the 3 pregnancy apps and reddit group I belong to didn't mention it as a common symptom at this point in the pregnancy, but then thankfully the Zita West book mentioned it. Apparently, this is something people experience in late second trimester and third trimester.
So I wanted to just recap what I learned at birth class last night:

1) pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin. Contractions induced by pitocin are not different than contractions induced by oxytocin (both are painful).
2) epidural is not harmful for the baby. There are side-effects for the mom and potential complications. There is epidural and spinal delivery modes, depending on whether you are having vaginal or Cesarean birth. A component of the drug is fentanyl.
3) narcotics (demerol, morphine) are harmful for the baby because they lead to a lowered heart rate which can lead to Cesarean birth because when fetal heart rate drops, urgency to deliver the baby increases. Also, some laboring moms lose the ability to push naturally while medicated. It may be desirable to ask for an intramuscular injection of the narcotic to reduce transmission to the fetus and to slow the absorption rate of the drug into the body.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Pregnancy Part 12

Today I want to check-in. We have had our fetal echocardiogram at 21 weeks. We have had our 22 week appointment at the OB. Everything is looking good. No "holes" where they shouldn't be in baby's anatomy. Cervical length is good. Upcoming appointments at 24 weeks will re-check cervical length and at 26 weeks test for gestational diabetes. I thought my blood pressure was high at 137/77 but my birth class teacher says that something like 150/90 would be cause for alarm.

Here's the roundup of symptoms:

Week 19 - Oct 14-20 headache, neckache, heartburn, tender breasts, nipple soreness, increased thirst, appetite increase, shortness of breath
Week 20 - Oct 21-27 nipple soreness, bleeding gums/nose, headache
Week 21 - Oct 28-Nov 3 headache, abdominal (back) itchiness, heartburn, fatigue/exhaustion

Tonight is the fourth of my pregnancy HIIT workout classes (out of 6). I think it came along in just the right time of my pregnancy, where I had energy, which I am starting to feel is dwindling.

Last night was the second of our Bradley birth class. I am grateful for the information we get in these classes. Such as, the Babycentre diet I've been following lists papaya as a common food for the second trimester but I didn't know why. Our teacher explained that it is a natural source of digestive enzymes which can act as a natural antacid. The Bradley birth diet emphasizes eggs as a protein source. I also didn't know why, but our teacher explained that eggs represent complete protein that is easy to digest. As the baby gets larger, he will occupy more of the volume of my body cavity, leaving less and less room for my stomach. Hence, I will need to rely on eggs to get the protein I need rather than beef or other slower-digesting foods.

I started to google "bicycling while pregnant" this past weekend. The articles I found suggested that women experience a range of reactions from stopping entirely right from the moment you get a positive pregnancy test (like myself) all the way to biking until delivery. I feel comfortable with my decision, I don't regret deciding to step away from the bicycle, but some days I do miss it. For example, there is a CicLAvia coming up near our house and I guess I'll be supporting it in some way other than on a bicycle. Maybe we'll do some tabling.

We completed the third part of our three-weekend babymoon. First, Sept 13-15. Second, Oct 11-13.
Third, Oct 25-27: It was kind of sad because my nephew tore his ACL in a football game so he is out for the rest of the season. But we did have a great time walking around Dana Point. We parked at the corner of Golden Lantern and Dana Point Harbor Drive. Then we walked to the Ocean Institute. It was beautiful and so relaxing. On the map it looks small, but in person it felt like a very long walk. Luckily there were restrooms along the way so nobody had to be uncomfortable.

I've been assigned a nurse by my insurance company who follows up with me about lots of things. She gave me some dietary guidelines to follow:
  • whole grains (1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw)
  • vegetables (3 cup)
  • fruits (2 pieces)
  • milk (3 cup)
  • protein (6 oz = 170 g)
  • water (64 oz)
The Bradley method diet recommends similar things:
  • whole grains (4 servings)
  • vegetables (3 servings)
  • fruits (1 serving)
  • milk products (4 servings)
  • protein (80-100 g)
  • water (to thirst)
I have been feeling well when I eat 2100 calories and unwell if I eat 1600-1700 only. Last post, I wrote that I was afraid of gaining too much weight too fast. My birth class teacher suggested that I wouldn't need to worry about an overweight baby (9 lbs or greater) unless I start to show symptoms of gestational diabetes. So I think I'm going to stop worrying about gaining too much weight, because restricting my calories really made me feel like crap (bad headache) and I lost 2 pounds pretty quickly. A big take-home of yesterday's class meeting is that diet is something we do have control over so we might as well be mindful of it. And a healthy mom has more choices when it comes to labor and delivery. Next class, we'll be getting into drugs.

Another great thing about our babymoon holidays was that I got into the swimming pool. It felt good the first time in mid-October (pregnancy week 18). I mostly just stood there in the water. I also tried taking a shallow bath at the hotel. I was scared the water was too hot and I was scared to fall getting in or out of the tub so dear husband helped and supervised me. It felt really good getting in the pool during the third babymoon weekend at the end of October (pregnancy week 20). I actually did some light treading water and swam some very slow laps. This past Sunday night (pregnancy week 22), I took a bath at our house. My birth class teacher said that swimming pools and bath tubs, in general, are good for baby unless there is any reason to suspect that the cervical plug has been disrupted. If we get any leakage of amniotic fluid, then public bathing will have to stop.

I had a big technology scare last week. My work computer wouldn't turn on (semester week 10). This was a big problem because my home computer also wouldn't turn on and we got rid of it mid-October (semester week 5). Time is flying by so quickly yet slowly. It didn't seem like that long ago but it didn't seem like such a crisis because we were starting to consider nursery configurations. But to have both computers go out, I started panicking because I still have 5 weeks to go in the semester and I need to do a lot of grading and preparing lessons. I ended up using an old laptop from 2011 that had Word 2003 installed. It was crazy. I couldn't find any of the functions because they've all moved around. But dear husband found a PC that wasn't being used. We put my hard drive in there and it booted right up (after we bought a $30 cable to convert from DisplayPort to HDMI).

We finished-ish our baby registry. It was kind of fun trying on babywearing stuff. I bought a couple pairs of new shoes in 1 size up from my normal size. They are both slip-ons because tying shoes is getting trickier by the day. I got a few new pieces of maternity clothing. I started getting excited about the upcoming holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) and wanted to have a few nice things to wear. It seems like each month is more expensive than the one before it, there are just so many little expenses that we have as we prepare for the arrival of this baby. Tomorrow we're touring a day care. They don't accept children under 12 months of age and they want a deposit to hold our spot.

I am looking forward to that time in pregnancy when I can stay at home and lounge around in yoga pants and a sweatshirt. I want to take my dog out on dog walks and eat whenever I feel like it.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Pregnancy Part 11

Today we had our anatomy scan at the MFM doctor. It went well, with the exception of the fetus hiding his face from us. We got a facial side-profile, but he had his hands behind his neck and he was head-down, so I guess the ultrasound technician and the doctor both let it go.

The MFM doctor was kind enough to go over the results of our prior screening tests. Everything is low risk, something like 1 in 38,000 risk of abnormalities. Today's scans of all the features looked normal. We got to zoom in on his boy-parts so it is definitely a boy.

I'm starting to get a bit concerned about the rate of weight gain. This weekend, it looked like I was trending outside of the grey "safe" area. I will definitely try to rein in the eating and ramp up the workouts. I attended my first prenatal HIIT class and it was so fun (and so hard!)

We went out on a mission to fill out our baby registry with items like crib, changing table, stroller, etc. Some of these items we wanted to test-drive in order to imagine how they would fit into our house, car and life.

It didn't hurt that IKEA also serves food. We will be starting our Bradley Birth class one week from today, right after our fetal echocardiogram. Things are really moving along. We have to schedule our tour of the hospital maternity ward.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Pregnancy Part 10

Today dear husband is at a conference. I am at work and grateful to be busy. If I were sitting around at home, I would probably have more time to obsess over symptoms and things that could go wrong. Instead, I am keeping on top of my work and enjoying working with students.

Here goes the symptom roundup:

Week 16 - Sept 23-29 headache, neckache, shortness of breath, abdominal/pelvic discomfort, joint pain, leg cramps, increased thirst
Week 17 - Sept 30-Oct 6 heartburn, nipple soreness, shortness of breath
Week 18 - Oct 7-13 backache, headache, neckache, bleeding gums, tender breasts, increased thirst

We had our 18-week and second trimester screening appointment with the OB last week, everything went well. We had a list of questions that were answered. We heard the baby's heartbeat on doppler, but there was no ultrasound. I gave another vial of blood for AFP testing. I got the insurance stuff all straightened out with the State of CA screening program.

I wrote about the "babycentre" diet in previous posts, part 4 and part 5. I will admit that I have been following it loosely. It does help me see how many times I am eating fast food and not healthy food.

Week 12 - 49%
Week 13 - 26% (one fast food)
Week 14 - 28% (four fast food)
Week 15 - 28% (four fast food)
Week 16 - 26% (three fast food)
Week 17 - 31% (three fast food)
Week 18 - 37% (three fast food)

I don't feel good about these numbers, and I want to get the percentage of "following the diet" up higher, but it requires planning and shopping and with "pregnancy brain" I am really struggling with having the energy to actually sit down and decide what groceries I would need for a week. Then once the groceries are purchased, it is hard to get into that kitchen and cook all of those meals.

Regardless, I am still within normal for weight gained, but I'm starting to be afraid of a 9 pound or larger baby. We have been doing a good amount of walking. I've been monitoring the macronutrients and micronutrients on MyFitnessPal to try to get 40% carbs and 40% fats and 20% protein. More often than not, I end up with 50% carbs, 30% fats and 20% protein. But I am getting all the calcium and Vitamin A that I need.

This weekend we went back to La Quinta in Santa Ana. It was great to escape the smoke from the Saddleridge Fire (thanks climate change). We took our dog to Huntington Dog beach on Friday morning. It was absolute paradise. We went to my nephew's football game at Newport Beach. We went to Crystal Cove State Park on Saturday afternoon with my in-laws. They were escaping some fires that were set in Riverside. It was super to have two beach-walks in one weekend but it did get a bit hot at the end. The baby was kicking on the way down from the parking lot to sea level, but he calmed down once we got out to the area where the water meets the sand. On Sunday, we got to see some old friends from graduate school and spend a bit of time with their two daughters. 

Since I kept track of the items I had wished I had from our last trip, packing for this trip was a breeze. We had a wonderful time away and it was hard to come back. We put down a deposit on our prenatal classes in the Bradley Birth method, which will start around end of October. Tonight is my first prenatal workout class at Bini Birth center in Sherman Oaks. I'm excited but also nervous. I want to be strong when I am in labor. I'm afraid that if I don't work out, I will lose all my muscles that I will need to push this baby out and carry him around both before and after he is born.