Monday, September 16, 2019

Pregnancy Part 7

Today is 15 weeks. I am feeling happy and hungry. Despite eating lots over the weekend, I did not gain a significant amount of weight. It is so easy to get stressed about eating too much, not eating enough, and whether I'm eating the "right stuff."

I am pretty much hungry all the time now. I am a bit concerned because I looked at my lab results from my first trimester screenings and although everything looks good with the baby, it seems like some of my levels are elevated, which points to a UTI. Of course, when I called my doctor's office this morning I found out that she hasn't looked at the results yet because she was on vacation last week. I'm not so upset about her taking vacation, but I hope I will get a call back today with some advice about whether this is something to be alarmed about or just nothing.

I made the appointment to speak with Human Resources at my school to get all the information and paperwork for my leave of absence in the spring. I informed my boss that I will not be teaching. It is all starting to get pretty real.

We ended up taking a spontaneous trip to Santa Ana over the weekend. We left school at 3pm and sat in traffic for 3 hours on the I-5 freeway. We listened to the Practical Entrepreneur podcast and This American Life podcast. We snacked on fruit and energy bars. We drank lots of water. It was actually pretty relaxing for me at least. We arrived at our hotel around 6pm, dropped off our little doggie, picked up McDonald's drive-through, and went straight to the football game at Newport Harbor High School. The game was a blow-out. Corona del Mar scored 55 points against Lakewood who scored 7. It was still fun to sit with family and greet my nephew out on the field after the game.

We got back to the hotel around 10pm, ate a bit of snacks and went to sleep. We both slept so well, we decided to book another night! It was so relaxing. I had the continental breakfast at 7am, then went back to sleep for a bit. We woke up at 9am and went to meet family for brunch at Coco's in Anaheim. We went back to the hotel, watched a couple of episodes of Keeping Up with the Kardashians and then the movie Devil Wears Prada on the E! network.

My sister called and it was great to have a long chat with her. We had dinner at the Stonefire Grill and then went for a long walk on the beach. We got back to the hotel in time for dear husband to have a dip in the jacuzzi while I watched a couple episodes of Midsomer Murders on PBS.

Corona del Mar Main Beach
The next morning, we had continental breakfast together around 8am. Then we took Edna Jo for a long dog walk around Santa Ana. There were lots of other dogs and people to say hello to. When we got back to the hotel, we packed up and got on the road home by 10am. Traffic was nice and we were home within 1 hour. We did some grocery shopping and then took naps. A couple loads of laundry and some garlic-butter chicken later, we went to bed around 9pm.

It was great to get away, but we have some plans for next weekend. We plan to do some house-cleaning (bathrooms, vacuuming, etc.). A good thing about getting away is that you come home to see how your house looks compared with a professionally-maintained hotel room. Let's just say that our whites could be brighter. I'm glad fall is coming, I am getting done with this heat. I did sleep with the windows open last night and it was glorious.

The things I was missing on the trip were: flip-flops, shorts, headphones/earplugs, swimsuit and sunscreen. We've perfected our packing routine to the bare minimum from our bicycle travels, but now that we're driving, there's no reason not to bring a few more comfort items. Also, it would have been good to have two sets of utensils. I ended up eating leftover mac & cheese with my hands and then the next morning Mike cut his mouth on the crappy plastic spoons in the breakfast area. There's no reason why we can't bring our own silverware.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Pregnancy Part 6

Got a phone call from my OB's office today. Results from NIPT are in. Everything is normal. We're having a boy. That is all.

I am looking forward to next month, where we will travel down to the beach (in 4 weeks) to see my nephew's football game. We will stay in a hotel with my mother-in-law and her husband, which we have stayed in before. I love their continental breakfast. Then we're going back to the same hotel (in 6 weeks) to see my father-in-law for a formal dinner. I guess I am just looking forward to some fun trips to break up the monotony of the semester.

I think we have decided to skip the babymoon over thanksgiving. It seems silly to travel 200 miles away for no reason and spend a few hundred dollars on hotel, gas and food. I imagine I will be exhausted by that time and I will want to do nothing but rest. I wish we could take our dog on Amtrak. I wish I could still ride a bicycle. As dear husband keeps reminding me, I will have the rest of my life to do those things. This pregnancy will only happen once.

I'm trying harder than ever to keep up with grading and to stay on top of my students so that they are turning in their work on time. I'm hoping to lower my stress by not falling behind.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Pregnancy Part 5

Yesterday morning was my "First Official" OB appointment. The other one was like an interview or initial consultation. I had some blood drawn for hemoglobin and HIV testing. I left a urine sample. My doctor did a pap smear and a cervical measurement. We looked at the fetus on the ultrasound and I got to hear the heartbeat, something like 145-150 bpm.

I am feeling pretty tired with my normal teaching schedule. I am also starting to get a bit hungrier than I was before. Today is the first day I thought to myself "I don't get paid enough for this." I feel like I have never had that thought before. Instead, I used to ask myself what more I could be doing to do a better job. This semester I get so tired after teaching, it takes so much out of me, I feel like I deserve twice the pay for the same work.

The heartburn is getting so real. Like, goodbye nausea... Hello, heartburn. There's no way to win. It's bad after lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. I am drinking water like crazy, which is not a bad thing I guess, just trying to wash the heartburn away.

Here is a graph of my weight since starting the Zita West Diet (March, April, May, June) and becoming pregnant (July, August). I feel good that I did not gain a significant amount of weight in the first trimester.

I got a new addition to my regimen of vitamins: 81 mg aspirin to prevent preeclampsia. Apparently, I am presenting with a "constellation of risk factors."
  • First pregnancy
  • Obesity (BMI > 30)
  • Over 35 years of age
  • In-vitro fertilization

It doesn't sound good when the doctor informs me of this, but there is nothing I can do but take the aspirin and hope I don't get it. There were 8 risk factors on the website I looked at, and I only have half of those. It's not exactly comforting to know that the causes of preeclampsia are unknown. Even more disturbing is that it may have a gradual or rapid onset.

Following the babycentre recommended diet for 10 days, I hit about 50% of the recommended meals. Sometimes the dinners are too complicated and I have had trouble eating my morning "snack," just due to timing issues. I bring the food to school but I don't actually eat it. On weekends, we do other things just out and about, so sitting at home and eating specific things at specific times is not on the agenda.

Yesterday, my phone said it was 103 degrees. We are in a Heat Advisory. "Across the valleys and mountains, temperatures will warm to between 95 and 105 degrees"

I am just looking forward to the nights when I can open the windows. Maybe Saturday night? There was one night where I slept on the floor in my bedroom. One night I went downstairs, where it is several many degrees cooler.

My hopes of getting the NT and NIPT results at my OB's appointment were not realized. I am not sure when I will get those results. My doctor told me to download a hospital app and then pair it up with MyChart but I couldn't get it to work. I guess it is good for me to feel what my students feel like to be on the "flip-side" of the coin. I sometimes tell them to do something that is supposed to be easy and then they can't seem to do it. I feel like my doctor told me to do it like it would be simple, but I just can't figure it out.

On a positive note, I believe I can take the spring semester off without any penalty. Now that I have been promoted to Y3, I can take a leave of absence with no worries about losing my entitlements. I had to have 6 years of continuous service to reach this point. Phew!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Pregnancy Part 4

We had our NT scan and blood draw for NIPT on Monday morning, but we have to wait until our next doctor appointment to hear the results. That will be a week from today on Wednesday, September 4th. During the ultrasound, the technician said that our baby was being very good and cooperative, which made me worry that he was not moving enough. But she did show us the heartbeat and dear husband confirmed that he saw movement.

It is my week 12 of pregnancy and week 1 of the semester. I feel I am turning the corner from the first to second trimester symptoms.

Week 10 - Aug 12-18 disrupted sleep, frequent urination, morning sickness, heartburn, headaches, flatulence, increased thirst
Week 11 - Aug 19-25 headache, neckache, heartburn
Week 12 - Aug 26-Sept 1 frequent urination, leg cramps, increased thirst, tender breasts

We have about 3.5 more weeks of summer, which is a relief because I am getting tired of this summer heat. This morning it was a glorious 68°F and slightly humid, which I love.

Friday is the new moon, which feels appropriate. By then I will have met and set the expectations for all my students and we will be ready to build on our foundation. After Labor Day holiday, of course.

With all the pregnancy cookbooks I bought, I am finding the most helpful menu plan from a website called "babycentre." Although I have only loosely followed it for a few days, it is already helping keep me calm and on track for getting all the protein I need. Some of the food sounds strange, such as "bubble and squeak" which I found out is like a fritatta.

I am motivated to keep eating healthy and making as much food as possible at home. We are just starting to feel concern for our future financial plans. If we could get into the CSUN Children's Center, that would cost $1300 per month, but they do not admit children under 18 months. Each of my paychecks were $2800 in the spring, which was for 11 units. There is a place called "Montessori Source" child care offered near our house. It is off-campus for $950 per month and they accept children as young as 1 month. Another place called "Happy Penguins" is a bit further away. People keep telling us to put our names down on waiting lists for these places, so maybe after we get the results of the NT/NIPT tests back I will feel confident enough to move ahead and do that.

We have been driving to school, but I am hoping that we can start walking. I guess if bicycle riding is out of the question, at least we can walk? Dear husband is afraid that I will be too exhausted by the end of the day to walk home. Luckily, I have so many caring people around me, I am getting lots of advice from co-workers about what the next few months will bring.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Pregnancy Part 3

We are heading straight into the school year. My job officially starts tomorrow. I have one meeting on Thursday and one meeting on Friday, so this week is still an easy week.

I hate how unbelievably slow my internet is in my bedroom, yet I still come here to write blogs. It is perhaps a more intimate space. How I am feeling is resolute. I pledge this semester I will not stress about work. I will stay on top of my grading by creating LESS work for myself now. I will "stick to the script" and not do anything beyond the minimum requirements. I will cease to overachieve. Those are the goals anyway.

In terms of the semester and how it relates to my pregnancy:

Week 11 - Aug 19-25 department meetings
Week 12 - Aug 26-Sept 1 weekday classes begin (semester week 1)
Second Trimester
Week 13 - Sept 2-8 *no classes Monday, Labor Day Holiday (semester week 2)
Week 14 - Sept 9-15 (semester week 3)
Week 15 - Sept 16-22 (semester week 4)
Week 16 - Sept 23-29 (semester week 5)
Week 17 - Sept 30-Oct 6 (semester week 6)
Week 18 - Oct 7-13 (semester week 7)
Week 19 - Oct 14-20 (semester week 8)
Week 20 - Oct 21-27 (semester week 9)
Week 21 - Oct 28-Nov 3 (semester week 10)
Week 22 - Nov 4-10 (semester week 11)
Week 23 - Nov 11-17 *no classes Monday, Veteran's Day Holiday (semester week 12)
Week 24 - Nov 18-24 (semester week 13)
Week 25 - Nov 25-Dec 1 **no classes Thurs & Fri, Thanksgiving Holiday (semester week 14)
Week 26 - Dec 2-8 (semester week 15)
Third Trimester
Week 27 - Dec 9-15 ***Final exam Weds, Dec 11th (CHEM 100 from 10:15AM-12:15PM)
Week 28 - Dec 16-22 ***Finals week ends on Tuesday, Dec 17th
Week 29 - Dec 23-29 ****Grades are due by Monday, Dec 23rd

I tagged this post "beauty" because I can finally see the "pregnancy glow" starting and the acne and dry skin starting to recede. I have had some ups and downs lately with my symptoms. This past weekend I felt really good, but then on Monday I crashed and burned. I had an all night-all day (24 hour) migraine that was really a bummer. Being pregnant is a challenge because I can't just pop a few pills or take whatever I want to ease the symptoms. I have to be really "in touch" with my body and just feel the pain and take appropriate action (just rest). So I spent all day yesterday in bed.

I had my first "teaching" related nightmare last night. Nothing unusual, just showing up to class unprepared with a stack of papers in a folder all crazy (not organized) and no syllabus, no lesson plan, just chaos. So I will try to spend this afternoon on syllabi. Very kindly my department has assigned me the same schedule as usual, 5 different courses, which will be keeping me busy. I plan to eliminate as much homework (grading) as possible so that my "outside of class" workload is minimal. I have spent a few years trying to do what is best for students, and my department threatens me because I was so far outside the norm, so now I will do as they ask and do what is best for me.

I had great dreams about buying an iPad this summer and learning how to use Explain Everything and make my lectures great, but it didn't happen. I don't even think I will use PollEv or for in-class polling. Let someone else do that work, I'm going to use the slides from the textbook and just be as boring as possible. The only problem is that for SCI 100, there is no textbook and no slides. So I plan to just make that class a discussion every day. I am giving up on taking attendance and making food for the students. They can come if they want or not.

I added "bikethevote" and "climate change" because I'm really sad that my fellow cyclist and CSUN professor Loraine Lundquist missed the LA City Council seat by just 2% of the votes. Considering having a baby and raising him here in the valley, I am more motivated than ever to get local change here. More bike lanes! Better transit! Human-scaled street designs! We attended two transit-related events in August (1) regarding the light-rail through the Supelveda Pass (2) regarding the North Valley Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). There were so many people there just to show their outrage about these projects, it's just sad.

On a more positive note, we spent some good quality forest bathing time at the LA County Arboretum, Bee Canyon Park, as well as O'Melveny Park in the Santa Susana Mountains of Granada Hills. I found Bee Canyon and O'Melveny completely by chance. I was at Trader Joe's and zoomed out and drove to the nearest large patch of green on the map. I love the way we had such a wet year that all the trees and plants are blooming like crazy and there are tons of butterflies. When the early-morning weather is in the low 60s and the forecast is not above a high of 85, I rush out into nature and get my 30 minutes of "light walking."

I have been weighing myself daily. The weight has been pretty constant over the past month and a half. I guess that's good. Our last ultrasound was just last Friday (Aug 16th) and baby was measuring 10 weeks 6 days. The fetal heart rate was 165 beats per minute. My estradiol level was 2520 pg/mL and the progesterone was 24 ng/mL. I was cleared to stop all medications (except prenatal vitamins of course). I am still taking Vit B6 for nausea and Vit D.

I learned some acronyms from reddit:
FTM - first time mom
TIC - today I cried
NIPT - noninvasive prenatal testing 
cfDNA - cell-free DNA
REI - reproductive endocrinology and infertility
NT - nuchal translucency

As far as I understand, next Monday (8/26) we will have the NT scan with a perinatologist. The following Wednesday (9/4) I will see my obstetrician for NIPT blood work. The OB also wants to do a pap smear and possibly a cervical measurement. She referred me to a nutritionist, but I have not contacted them yet. Also, I am supposed to have a teeth cleaning at my dentist during my 13th week of pregnancy. So two of those appointments still need to be scheduled.

I seriously just spent about an hour deleting all the spam emails from the summer. My armpit sweat turned into a smelly stress-sweat, so I guess I need to work on maintaining my "OM" mindset when school gets underway. All I can do now is preparation. Finally, I tagged this post "meditation" because I have been doing some calming breaths and guided meditations. They are great. I am considering joining a group called Fit4Moms that meets in Sherman Oaks once per week for a Tuesday evening fitness class. Not that I am seriously worried about working out, but I think the camraderie with a group of other pregnant people may be a very good thing.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Pregnancy Part 2

It is Friday and this is a check-in post. I do not have much new news to share, but I wanted to spend a few moments to write down my thoughts and feelings in this 9th week of pregnancy.

When I write it that way, I realize that I am nearly one-quarter done. That means embryo/fetus is also one-quarter done. I am having trouble with nausea. Just yesterday the round ligament pain started up again after not really being noticeable for a few weeks. I guess that means my uterus is growing.

I switched from taking Vitamin B6 in a 100 mg dose once per day to a 25 mg dose 3 times per day, as recommended by my OB. Meeting her was a big milestone, I still have not opened the big blue folder of stuff she gave us. She wrote down all the names of all the prenatal screening tests that she has ordered for us and I will be submitting to those at my next appointment on September 4th.

I have been receiving support calls from my longtime friend (BFF). She mentioned lots of things yesterday that brought me comfort. One being that the first trimester is a lot of work for the body with very little outward change. I feel like my hips have shifted, like actually gotten wider. I feel like the fat on my "saddlebags" has migrated somewhere (or vanished). But getting through each day is a challenge because I have so little energy and I am nauseous nearly all day every day.

My OB clarified that I should plan to gain 11-15 pounds throughout my entire pregnancy, which pretty much seems impossible but I guess if the nausea keeps up it will not be difficult. I have already increased the daily calories I eat from 1700 to 2000 and shifted my macros from 25-35-40 to 20-40-40 for protein-fat-carbohydrates. I have difficulty meeting the 20% protein goal since the thought of meat makes me want to vomit.

Month 1 - June
Month 2 - July
Month 3 - August
Month 4 - September
Month 5 - October
Month 6 - November
Month 7 - December
Month 8 - January
Month 9 - February

I have been looking into birthing classes, so if we want to start the class in month 5, then that would be in October. So it is not too soon to start contacting people. I will definitely speak to my OB at my next appointment to see if she has any serious recommendations, or if there are any mandatory classes at the hospital where I plan to deliver. I am sure they cannot make these classes mandatory, but I guess I mean highly-recommended.

Of the "diet" books I have purchased, I am not super-satisfied with any of them.

The Whole 9 Months: A Week-By-Week Pregnancy Nutrition Guide with Recipes for a Healthy Start by Jennifer Lang MD has some nice color illustrations, for example folate-rich foods to eat during the first trimester. There is one meal idea that I would like to try, curried squash, but I have just felt too crappy to actually go into the kitchen and make it.

Eating for Pregnancy: Your Essential Month-by-Month Nutrition Guide and Cookbook by Catherine Jones is a more practical book. Many of the recipes are as simple as opening cans of beans and heating them up on the stove. Or some other recipes are for raw foods like guacamole, which does not have to be cooked. I have made three recipes from this book successfully. Dear husband made one of them also, so that gives you an idea that it is user-friendly for a more novice home cook. The only complaint I have is that these recipes make like 6 or 8 servings and I have been spoiled by The IVF Diet by Zita West being portioned out for two adults only. I have not been very good at eating leftovers since many sources caution you against eating soft cheeses that may contain listeria unless they are straight from a package to your mouth.

What to Eat When You're Pregnant: A Week-by-Week Guide to Support Your Health and Your Baby's Development by Nicole M. Avena PhD has been completely useless. I really did not find any meal plan or recipes in this book and have basically not found it to be helpful. Maybe it just was not what I was looking for.

Healthy Eating During Pregnancy: 100 Recipes for a Nutritious Delicious Nine Months by Erika Lenkert is a book we found at the $10 or Less Bookstore (used) while the other three we bought on Amazon. This one is funny because it is more for gourmet foodie types of people, all the recipes are contributed by chefs of high-end restaurants. There were three recipes in there that I flagged as "want to make" but I have not made any of them yet. Dear husband approximated one of them, since we had bought the ingredients, but he was not working from the cookbook. Instead, I was shouting instructions at him from another room. This book has full-color glossy photos of some of the meals, which may or may not be something that entices you.

We bought some other books just about pregnancy, and we are working our way through reading them.

Your Pregnancy Companion: Everything You Need to Know About Pregnancy, Birth and the First Weeks of Parenthood by Zita West is a book that I got on Kindle first and then a hardback copy arrived in the mail from Amazon (used). The way this book is worded really puts my mind at ease. Many other pregnancy books have language that hints at natural pregnancy and Zita West always makes a point to acknowledge that her readers may have concieved through IVF and points out how the advice may differ for IVF babies compared to "free sex babies." Of course, she does not use that term, that is something that I have picked up from the infertility reddit.

The Pregnancy Book For Men: From Dude To Dad in 40 Short Weeks by Gerard Janssen is a book that we found at the $10 or Less Bookstore (used). It may be silly or it may be useful, time will tell.

Sacred Pregnancy: A Loving Guide and Journal for Expectant Moms by Anni Daulter is another one we found at the $10 or Less Bookstore (used). It has color illustrations and meditations and space for you to journal for each week of the pregnancy. I have not written in it yet, mainly because I am terrified of miscarrying and I feel like writing to the embryo is weird. But maybe I will be able to get into this more as the pregnancy gets further along.

The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-Be by Armin A. Brott is one that I ordered through Amazon. I want my husband to feel like he is involved and informed about what is going on and that the process / journey is something that he is an important part of.

Last but not least, we got hooked on smoothies for breakfast when we were doing The IVF Diet. I found the following book at $10 or Less Bookstore (used).

Innocent Smoothie Recipe Book: 57 1/2 recipes from our kitchen to yours. Something about this book spoke to me, it was irreverent and goofy but the recipes seemed pretty straightforward. We have made at least four of the smoothies, which were great, and it has been the perfect way to add variety into our new breakfast regime. I find it interesting that the "Innocent" company is owned by the Coca-Cola corporation, but this book gives you everything you need to make their shakes at home. Some of the ingredients are more Euro-centric, meaning that I am not sure where to get things like lychee and currants, but I would say that it is possible to make more than half the recipes here in the US.

In other news, during the summer heat I have been watching the Harry Potter movies. It kind of makes me want to go to Universal Studios to the Wizarding World, but I would not be able to ride any of the rides so it might be kind of pointless. My OB said do not do anything "dangerous" which I felt was kind of vague. Why are most of my favorite hobbies (cycling, rollerskating) dangerous?

I have been feeling a bit more energetic since stopping progesterone in oil (PIO) injections. It is a real treat to have only a teeny tiny shot every third day. My butt muscles are still a bit itchy but healing and feeling better every day. Also, another random observation is that in weeks 5, 6, 7, 8, I felt like I did not NOT want to drink water. Like my morning sickness was making me afraid of water. I did NOT want to throw up. For the last few days, I can finally feel my thirst picking up and I could drink all day, every 5 minutes, which is good. Drinking less water was making me nervous.

Other symptoms: acne! My extremities are so dry. I finally broke down yesterday and slathered my feet with lotion, which I hate doing because it feels like walking on slime, but I was getting so dry that my skin was itching. Like, to the point where it would wake me up at night. When I had leg cramps, it was around the time I stopped PIO. I also took a Vitamin D supplement with calcium and magnesium, instead of strictly Vitamin D, and I think that helped.

Week 5 - July 8-14 - morning sickness, nausea, tender breasts
Week 6 - July 15-21 - headache, abdominal ache/pain, morning sickness, acne
Week 7 - July 22-28
Week 8 - July 29-Aug 4 - morning sickness, abdominal ache/pain, leg cramps, appetite decrease, headache, gas/bloating, food aversions
Week 9 - Aug 5-11 - morning sickness, nausea, acne
Week 10 - Aug 12-18

These are the symptoms I logged using the app Ovia. This app gives you some recipes here and there, it reminds you to take your prenatal vitamin, and there are articles on other topics such as maternity leave, maternity bras, kegel exercises and prenatal screening. I also check in with the app Hello Belly. The feature I like on that app is that it has checklists by week of your pregnancy. I feel it helps me take things at my own pace (you can scroll through the weeks and check off past-due items) but it also does not let you look more than 1 week ahead. I do feel a bit resentful that the “femtech” data is being anonymously sold, but I also appreciate what I get out of these apps (information).

In other tech news, I am considering upgrading MyFitnessPal account to premium. The reason for this is so that I can increase the daily target goal for calcium. I'm worried that I'm not getting enough. I find it frustrating that apps like MyFitnessPal and Clue don't have a setting where you can tell it you're pregnant. I guess the people who make those apps just don't consider it, or they figure the number of pregnant people at any given time is small, or they figure that pregnant women just eat whatever they want. I don't know the reason, but it is frustrating. My OB said that she will refer me to a nutritionist. When I get the recommendations from the nutritionist, then I will program those into MyFitnessPal to help ensure that I will be meeting those new goals.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Pregnancy Part 1

Today I am pregnant. This is the mantra that has helped me get from the 6-week ultrasound to the 8-week ultrasound. I know I have been pregnant because I have had "morning sickness" for a couple of weeks now. I fully abandoned my IVF diet cleanse and started carb loading. Recent meals that settled well in my stomach include: mac and cheese and pizza margherita.

July 3rd - 11dp5dt - E2: 1,014 pg/mL - P4: 31.4 ng/mL
July 5th - 13dp5dt - E2: 912 pg/mL - P4: 28.6 ng/mL
July 12th - 20dp5dt - E2: 1,110 pg/mL - P4: 29.4 ng/mL
July 19th - 34dp5dt - E2: 1,364 pg/mL - P4: 35.8 ng/mL
Aug 2nd - 47dp5dt - E2: 1,946 pg/mL - P4: 33.4 ng/mL

The fetal heart rate is 173 beats per minute, which is on track for the age of the embryo. In four days, we will be able to call this a fetus.

The news that we will be able to stop progesterone in oil (PIO) shots was surprising and very good to hear. The dose of estradiol shots was cut in half, so I will only have to endure 0.1 mL every third day. Continuing progesterone suppositories and estradiol oral tablets is not so bad.

Dear husband admitted that all the pseudoscience stuff we did prior to embryo transfer was part of the complex cocktail of good vibes that helped establish this pregnancy. The Sacred Woman, my prayer altar, the plants in my bedroom, the vegetable garden on our patio, all the dog walks, the acupuncture, the meditations on Ferticalm, our teamwork, the fresh cut flowers in the house, all of it helped me establish a calm and safe feeling, which may have helped the pregnancy establish itself.

I was worried about abandoning my "super healthy" and "garden of eden" diet. Shortly after embryo transfer I started gaining weight. I read that obese women should try to keep a constant weight or even lose weight in the first trimester, so this concerned me. But after tracking a bit longer, it seems like I gained a few pounds (probably in the breast tissue area) and then stabilized. I am still using MyFitnessPal to log food and weight, but I'm going easier on myself about what I am eating since my appetite is very delicate these days. 

I feel "good" between about 10am and 2pm and outside of those hours I feel very much like I have a bad hangover. The symptoms are headache and nausea with a little dizziness. I feel my boobs starting to hurt less, but the skin on my face is looking terrible! I have red blotches and dry patches and big blemishes, I've never had worse skin.

One big milestone that we did, which is partly why I changed the blog post title from "fertility" to "pregnancy" is we went to the Destination Maternity store at the Westfield Topanga Mall. I was like a crazy kid that didn't want to go to sleep, I made my husband walk ALL over the mall with me before going in to that store. When I finally got the courage to go in there, I just walked around gawking at the clothes and undergarments. I started looking at the sizes and they were S, M, L and a few XL. I was like whoa!

Luckily, dear husband started chatting up the saleslady. She took a look at my body and got out her measuring tape and got me fitted with a 38DDD nursing bra with underwire. She picked out two pairs of maternity pants in size L: one dark denim jegging and one pair of tight black slacks. They do have "petite" sizes so I don't have a lot of fabric bunching at the ankle. They fit weird, but she said that is how they are supposed to look. I also got a support garment that can support my "bump" after it pops, which has a pocket for an ice pack built into the garment. It is for when I'm teaching lab and running around. I have a feeling I will need some extra support under my lab coat!

I am feeling a bit nervous about my first appointment with my new obstetrician (OB). It will be on Monday. So far, they have given me the wrong fax number and claimed that they don't have my records when my fertility doctor sent them over 9 days ago. But I will continue to keep the faith that we will find support when we seek it. I don't have a list of questions for her, and I guess most of my questions involve costs of things and timing of things and who will deliver the baby and where the baby will be delivered (due to our health insurance) and what tests we can skip because we are IVF patients.

I downloaded three pregnancy apps (1) Ovia (2) Hello Belly and (3) Sprout. I like Ovia because it seems like it tracks symptoms well. I like Hello Belly because it has these checklists week-by-week that help me feel prepared and help me discuss things with my husband so that he can also feel prepared. If I'm not mistaken, Hello Belly prompted me to purchase a $20 lifetime subscription to unlock the content after a free download. The other two were free.