3.25.2009

Houston, we have a heartbeat!

I had to get up to pee for the second time at 4:30 a.m. When, at 5:40 a.m. I was still not slipping back into sleep, I decided I needed something to eat. My stomach was not letting me sleep!

Up for a piece of raisin toast I went. Then commenced the awkward dance M and I have become so adept at. I wake him up by getting up in the first place and then again by coming back to bed. He tries desperately to get back to sleep, which tossing & turning keeps me from getting back there myself. Repeat ad nauseum until the alarm goes off (unless I relegate him to the couch, which I did for the first time yesterday morning and felt guilty for having done the instant I saw his long legs extending past the end of the couch).

I made it to The Appointment on time (miracle of miracles). When I was called back, I saw that M-A had cut her hair short and complimented her on it. As we were led to the room, I felt simultaneously embarrassed that I had brought an entourage (M and my sister T), and also nervousness that my doc was going to do something embarrassing like forget my medical history or my name.

Instead, I admitted my weight out loud in front of my husband and my sister. Never a comfortable thing, and much much different than saying it to my doc's NP. Doc came in with his game face on, brisk as ever as he got my details: date of LMP, a little spotting here and there but otherwise nothing to report.

Then, we waited and waited - not a usual thing in this office - and finally went back for The Main Event (aka the ultrasound). T waited politely outside while I stripped "from the waist down" and draped the green little sheet over my lap. My doc came in and two conversations broke out simultaneously, both about dogs. M-A told me about her retriever, while Doc told funny stories about his 4 dogs, and by the time the conversations joined together, Doc was talking about dogs on the bed and the phrase "weinie up" he and his wife created about their sole male Corgi, all the while I'm scooching my butt down, putting my feet in stirrups, and he's taking cultures. That's Dr. M for ya! LOL!

I made sure M and T were both in viewing proximity for The Main Event (the monitor, not my vag!). And then, I saw a nice, ovally gestational sac. Score! Then an embryo. Double score! Then a small flutter. Triple score! I stopped holding my breath. (in more ways than one)

I hated when Doc would freeze the image to take measurements because the visual of the heartbeat would pause and I just wanted to sit there and watch it flutter all day long!

I feel like I can finally be happy! While there's still a chance of miscarriage, it is now decreased by 10-15%. We like to decrease risks wherever possible, so this is great news! I see him again in 2 weeks, which is slightly more frequent than the average pregnancy, but reassuring all the same.

We're happy and cautiously excited (which seems like an oxymoron). M's trying to commit me to a name, so I know he's excited and ready.

In other news, the stomach did so much better today. The only thing I can attribute it to is that I ate better foods more often and earlier than normal. I really need to get back on the water! And get new running shoes, 'cuz I'm cleared by Doc to start exercising again, but figured I'd better wait until this stomach stuff clears up!

~Nichole

3.24.2009

Love/Hate

I can't say I've ever really loved food. During most of my 20s, food was only a means to an end, an interruption of my regularly scheduled program. Since then, I've found that I've come to enjoy food, but I'm so far from being a foodie it's ridiculous.

But now, I'm finding that I pretty much hate food. I get grossed out by the thought of food, but I spend a lot of time thinking about food because I don't want to eat, but if I don't, my stomach is very unhappy. I tend to think about everything I eat in terms of how it will taste when I burp it back up. I've found that while bland foods work, bland foods also suck. But so do spicy ones. And I'm still burping up everything I eat.

I made a grocery list last night and was grossed out by most everything on it. M cooked with onions last night which nearly gagged me. I can barely stand to look in the fridge because there are: 1) leftovers (gross!); 2) bland foods; 3) whole, gutted trout that M caught this past Saturday.

I ate a great chili dog for lunch today. All beef, with turkey chili & beans, onions, mustard. . . yum. Not so much about 30 minutes later. . .

Yup! It's official. I hate food. Hopefully, not forever.

~Nichole

3.21.2009

Perfect Storm

Unfortunately, I've had enough UTIs to know exactly how my body reacts to them. A couple of days ago, my body did something funny that made me wonder if I had one. I thought "nah!"

Until yesterday morning at 5:30, when I got up to pee for the 3rd time during the night. 1 time, yes. 2 times, yes. But 3? A little excessive. Then came the stinging, tingling sensation in my bladder, which kept me from going back to sleep easily. Well, that and my tossing, turning husband.

The alarm went off an hour earlier at 7:00 so I could be up to get to work earlier before The Appointment. I went to sleep after M hit the "snooze" but then the phone rang. It was my doc's office calling to say the doc is sick and they have to reschedule.

I was like "you've got to be kidding me! Up early AND I don't get to see the doc?! No fair!" So I asked M to set the alarm for an hour later and went back to sleep. Sort of.

M admitted he was a little disappointed. He was looking forward to seeing La Niña (which we've taken to calling her and which M says sounds like a tropical storm and which I sincerely hope our kid's personality does not resemble. . . I digress.) I immediately thought there had to be a reason for it, but by the end of the day had to admit I was a little disappointed too.

It was a pretty suck day but I got through it. The stomach is still iffy, the boobs twingey but not aching or sensitive, and I seem to be the slightest bit less tired during the day. I theorize this last one is because I'm eating throughout the day. But maybe not. Who knows.

The Appointment is on Wednesday. I'll be just shy of 8 weeks. I alternate between visions of a fabulous exam in which we see everything is healthy and visions of a heartwrenching exam in which doc is quiet and apologetic as things don't pan out. I push the latter out of my mind and go back to the first. I've tried to supress my hopefulness, holding out for The Appointment. . . but, secretly, hope comes creeping in when I least expect it.

~Nichole

3.18.2009

{Insert Title Here. I'm too tired.}

I did go to the store last night, and have decided that ginger ale is my new best friend. You have NO idea how great it is to burb up something without a taste for once! Oh! and! it helps me keep from burping everything else up, too. Yea!

Oh, but I had to go back to the store today because I had a hankering for Ramen noodles (and decided I'd better get more ginger ale), but had to leave everything there because my debit card was sitting on the counter near the stove, right where I left it last night. Doh! I did not go back to the store like I promised. Instead, I used my energy to make tacos for dinner. Followed by a ginger ale chaser.

Today was another hard day to get through. I seriously need a mid morning nap every day. And a mid afternoon one, too. Ugh. I'm going to bed.

P.S. the spotting stopped today. Yea! Tomorrow is 7 weeks! And the day after that is The Appointment.

~Nichole

3.17.2009

Kicking me when I'm Down

I got to work this morning late. An hour later I was trying to find a way to keep from putting my head on the desk. Either that, or find a way to take a surreptitious nap in my car or an empty office without anyone noticing my absence.

I laid down at lunch, a daily ritual so far this week. It wasn't enough. I literally dragged myself back to work. Late again.

I came home early from work to sleep. I started getting stuffy, headachey, and just plain down over the continued spotting. So, I just woke up from a nap. I missed my 6:00 meeting.

I noticed a new package of toilet paper outside the bedroom door. I yelled "hello?" to an empty house and searched to find my husband planting in his garden. "Did you go to the store?" "Yes!" "I had a list" (pouting). ("thank you" probably would have been a nicer response, I know.)

But the list had things on it like ginger ale, ginger snaps, saltines. . . Things I've finally relented and admitted in writing that I need.

Oh well. I'm in no mood to go to the grocery store tonight - unless I could convince him to go again, this time with me.

In short, this baby is kicking my trash! (see previous post.) But the truth is that while it's totally taken me by surprise, I'm glad to feel my way through this crappy existence. M keeps saying "are you sure you want to do this more than once?" Today I answered him, "It's only 6 weeks - what's 6 weeks in the grand scheme?" And surprisingly, I meant it.

~Nichole

Checking the Chichis

On Saturday, I had a little spotting. Enough to cause a little worry, but not enough to be really worried. It cleared up in the afternoon, but then reappeared (although very scanty) Sunday morning and cleared up by the afternoon. Yesterday, there was nothing much to report. This morning brought darker spotting and a clot. I told M about it and he said “let’s just see what the doc says on Friday.” I took a deep breath and said “OK”. I’m so glad I can rely on him to be my strength, because the strength of my hope is not what it once was. My defenses are low, my hope is weak, and my body and mind are tired.

I’ve tried to convince myself that it’s really nothing and could be very normal, but I’ve internalized it more than I realized. Last time, my symptoms dropped off around 5.5 weeks. I’m 6.5 weeks and still have symptoms (plus a queasy stomach and food aversions on a daily basis, which I didn’t really have last time), but I’m paranoid they’ll drop off any second now.

Since “Careful with the boobs!” has taken its rightful place as my number one phrase, effectively ousting “I’m SO tired!”, I’m paying constant attention to “the girls” and testing their optimum level of soreness. They were not as sore yesterday as they have been. But, they were twinge-y and achey, so I supposed that to be a good sign. Plus I asked T and L, who basically both told me that the soreness is not on a continual upward continuum. Go figure. When I took off my bra at the end of the day, I found out how wrong I was about the soreness – still very sore. Symptom 1: check.

I think another reason I can’t keep the worry at bay is I’m still very tired. I wake up and feel rested for the first 10 minutes, which usually find me still lying in bed. So, by the time I get out of bed, I’m already tired again. I claw and crawl my way toward quitting time every day I’m at work. When I’m not at work, I take naps every day. I took a nap on Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, and Sunday afternoon. I even laid down yesterday at lunch, but more to rest than to sleep. Symptom 2: check.

This morning when I got out of the shower, I heard M clanging pans in the kitchen. I wondered if it would be oatmeal or cream of wheat. I walked into the kitchen and saw tortillas and what looked like eggs. I smelled spices - onion and garlic – and had to cover my nose. The smell nearly made me sick. Symptom 3: check.

I taste everything twice. Yup. I eat it, then I burb it up. Everything. Grapes, pizza, apples, egg burros, cereal. . . Everything. I can't eat leftovers for this exact reason. Even if they're good leftovers. Symptom 4: check.

"My bowels! My bowels!" (that's a scriptural reference, for shizzle.) Gas. Constipation. Totally sucks. Symptom 5: check.

Yesterday I prayed for some sort of assurance that things will be OK. I expressed my fears to M by phone. Last night, as I was falling to sleep like a brick from a building, M lay his hand on my belly. Several minutes later (after what I can only surmise was a prayer), he leaned over and said “I think everything is going to be OK” and some other comforting things and silently, I acknowledged that his reassurance can be my assurance for now. It will be enough. As I drifted off to sleep, for the first time this pregnancy, I had a vision of a baby: I picked up a tiny baby wearing a white onesie and held her to me, her feet tucked up to her bum, her hair dark, her skin pink. . .

~Nichole

3.12.2009

Searching the History

Out of sheer curiosity (and the littlest, teensiest bit of doubt-slash-fear), I pulled out my calendar from last year to search the history of my last pregnancy to analyze it within an inch of its life. You know, much like one tends to do with summers, boyfriends, and the like: was this like this last time?

When consulting the calendar didn't yield the information I was seeking, I turned here and found exactly what I was looking for: evidence that, despite my obvious hopes to the contrary, my last pregnancy had problems right from the start. Problems that this pregnancy is currently (and blessedly) free of.

So when that niggling fear came calling once again today, I forced it from my mind with the convincing thought that this baby will come to us if it's Heavenly Father's will. And no amount of worrying will change that.

~Nichole

3.10.2009

Doubting Tummy

I'm beginning to think it's all in my head. The mid-morning queasiness - right about the time my stomach would be empty-ish following breakfast. I can't wait for lunch. I feel better after lunch.

Then, I feel queasy again mid-afternoon. Except this time, I don't want dinner. I don't want anything. Do I really have to eat?

Fine. I'll eat some buttered toast.

And just when I think it's all in my head (I'm hypochondriacal like that sometimes), my wonderful husband mops the floors and the smell of Pine-Sol makes me feel positively sickly.

The only thing that sounds good is water. And vanilla ice cream.

M is listening to Redemption Song and mop-mop-mopping. I think I can get away with eating the rest of the ice cream from last night's a-la-mode. . .

In other news, I bit the bullet (and calmed my stupid stomach butterflies - seriously what's to be nervous about? it's just calling to set up the appointment!) and called the doc today. Turns out he'll be "out" the rest of this week. They "fit me in" on the 20th at 9:30. I'll be 7 weeks by then. Sweet!

~Nichole

3.08.2009

Sister Secrets

I had to do it. After I exclaimed in pain because my boob grazed my husband's rib while we were posing for a picture, I had to do it. I lipped to my sister "I have a secret!"

She said "REALLY!? I was going to make a joke when you said your boob hurt, but I figured 'yeah, she's never heard that one before'! Oh my gosh!"

She swore to pray everyday and asked if she could go my appointment with me. I, in return, swore her to secrecy. It was a little brazen of us to be sneaking off to the bathroom every few minutes to talk about it, checking stalls for family members also in attendance at our cousin's wedding. . .

I don't think anyone's on to me though. And it's nice for her to know.

~Nichole

3.04.2009

Women Friends

I told another friend today. C is 32 weeks pregnant (and the one who started without me, though I don't really blame her). I e-mailed her today to find out how she's feeling and ended up spilling the beans. So now 3 of my girlfriends know. One is single and the other two are pregnant. I told L by text and B and C by e-mail - that's how good of a friend I'm not. I figure I'll tell J in person when I see her next weekend.

(I'm also not a good sister or daughter. I keep thinking how my mom and sisters are probably going to read this soon and wonder why I didn't tell them too. It's nothing personal, I pinky swear! I just don't want to get hopes up in case of the worst. Even though I don't think the worst will happen, but I guess I'll know for sure-ish next week.)

~Nichole

3.03.2009

Text Support

L: Bun still in the oven?

N: Yep. I’m still up the spout! lol

L: Ha! Still lookin good? No spotting?

N: None whatsoever. In fact I was just daydreaming about when I reach 8 wks, then 12, 16, etc. How are you?

L: Yay! Sounds promising. . . I’m good. Hungry :) finally getting my appetite back. Sort of. I’m at 13.5 weeks now. Exciting!

N: Yea! That’s good to hear. I keep waiting for the fatigue to be debilitating, but mostly it just feels like when I’ve got a cold + feel run down.

L: Yeah I was still functional, but tired and felt a little run down also.

N: Oh good. Then I’m normal – in that way at least. . .

~Nichole

3.02.2009

Medical Anxiety

I decided late last week that I would call my doctor early this week and make an appointment for Thursday, when I would be 5 weeks along.

I got to the afternoon, got around to getting ready to dial the doc up, and found myself very anxious.

So much so that I called M, who said "so go in next week. Or wait longer. Whatever."

So much so that I e-mailed B, who said "I'd wait until they can tell you something definite."

So much so that I texted L, who said "whatever you do, don't wait too long."

So much so that I called, e-mailed and texted all 3 within about 2 minutes of each other. And sometimes simultaneously.

Up until the looming phone call, I had been calm. So, I truly did not know what to do with the sudden jolt of anxiety. Once I decided to just wait until next week, when I'll hit 6 weeks, I felt so much better. So much calmer.

Later, I Googled "gestational sac" and found pictures of gestational sac at 4 weeks, 5 weeks, 6 weeks, etc. At 4 weeks, a gestational sac may or may not be able to be seen by transvaginal ultrasound. (My doc couldn't see it last time when I was 4 weeks, 3 days). At 5 weeks, a tv u/s should show the gestational sac with a yolk sac floating in it. At 6 weeks, you should see the gs, ys, and the embryo via tv u/s, and possibly even cardiac activity (though this is more likely between 6.5 and 7.5 weeks).

SO, I feel fairly confident that 6 weeks is a great time to go for my first visit, despite my doc's desire to see me "as early as possible". There's just no point in going in and hearing "this is where you're at and let's just see how things develop". I would rather go in when there's something to know/hear.

In the meantime, there's nothing to make me worried or make me think otherwise. Obviously if something comes up, I'll go in sooner. But until then, I'm feeling happy being like any other normally pregnant woman and not being medically managed so early on. Hopefully my doc won't hate me for it.

~Nichole

"May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world." -Ray Bradbury