29 January, 2017


Ever since I knew what an epidural was, I have decided it was not something I wanted. Now that I am older and wiser, I recognize that it may be unavoidable at some point, but I still do not want one. My mother birthed all eight of her babies (yes, I come from a large family) naturally. She was one tough woman. Her first labor was definitely the worst. She was in labor at the hospital for around seventeen hours and was diagnosed with preeclampsia, but still labored naturally and successfully gave birth to my oldest sister. (And that was in 1979--well before natural births were common.)
I knew as I got pregnant that I would have to find a technique that worked with me. There are not too many average American women that can go into labor and deliver without painkillers or having been taught a birthing technique. I looked up Lamaze breathing because that is what my mother did. I was not terribly excited about what I read. The Bradley method sounded interesting, but for some reason, it did not click with me. Finally I found HypnoBirthing and enjoyed what I read. It took me a while to find a class that was relatively close to where I live. Finally, when I was at my December appointment with my midwife, she suggested a name that was in my area. I signed up for the five week class and we got started.
The instructor is a wonderful lady who could talk for hours about anything and everything. She is a pool of birthing wisdom. She has stories for everything. I have been to three of the five classes and am extremely glad that I can attend any of her future classes for free because I would love to learn everything again before baby girl comes. (Husband had to miss yesterday's class because he was not feeling well at all, so we will probably at least attend a repeat of that class.) The first class was all about what HypnoBirthing is and what we would get out of this class. The second class contained information about the scripts and hypnosis. Yesterday's class was all about the science of birth and the best way to get through the process. I am excited to see what the last two classes hold.
Husband and I have been practicing going into the deep relaxation. I fall asleep somewhat frequently because we are only home together right before I go to sleep.
I cannot wait to become more adept at the whole process and to see how it works with my labor and delivery.

Thirty Weeks, Four Days

Time for an update on our baby girl.

I recognize that I have been scarce around this blog. The reason has nothing to do with the pregnancy. I could not hope for a better pregnancy at this point. I have been absent because Husband has been going through some medical poking and prodding through the last week. Its climax arrives tomorrow (on my birthday!) when he receives an MRI to ascertain if his thyroid cancer has come back. He is determined that it is back. I am still trying to stay optimistic that maybe something else is wrong, but in my speech, I frequently refer to the cancer as being back.
His cancer was not supposed to come back.
He started the initial visits with a new endocrinologist in December and the tests started then. The worst part of the latest round of tests is the low iodine diet he gets to be on. Traditionally, patients are only required to be on this diet for two weeks. The doctor's office was a little slow in scheduling the MRI and pulling everything together. By the time tomorrow comes and goes, he will have been on the diet for twenty-four days. This diet would not be so terrible for a day or two, but twenty-four days of eating this diet is insanity. He is already a vegetarian, but with this diet, he has to take all dairy and eggs (particularly egg yolks) out. He cannot eat anything with sea salt in it. Because you cannot trust many pre-made foods, he has had to make every component of his meals for over three weeks. There is no convenience of opening a can of beans. He has to boil his own. We are both glad that it is over tomorrow.

Onto baby news.
We had our last appointment on January 17. It was also my gestational diabetes testing. I did not mind the syrup-like drink that I had to chug. I would not go out of my way to drink it, but I think some people are way too dramatic about it. I ate beef and eggs for my high protein breakfast. I am always the best blood giver. Thanks to the heparin I administer twice daily, the blood flows like crazy.
Next we had the ultrasound. I had convinced myself that the cyst was gone, but there was always a tiny part of my brain that mocked me for thinking this and tried to convince me that the cyst would be there along with a myriad of other problems.
The cyst was indeed gone and at 28 weeks, 6 days, baby girl weighed three pounds, four ounces. That would be the 67th percentile. We received one picture (probably the last one until she makes her grand debut) and were sent to meet with a new doctor.
Recap: We did not care for the original doctor at the clinic we signed up with. He was very impersonal and treated us like a number on a list. Husband disliked the doctor within the first minute or two of the original appointment. We liked the midwife we saw last month, but she suggested we also see a doctor because of my possible complications during childbirth. Husband told me that if we did not like this doctor, we were leaving.
The new doctor came in and I think we were both calmed immediately. He is a slightly reserved fellow, but extremely knowledgeable and he treated us with concern. Our appointment turned out to be nearly half an hour because we continually bombarded him with questions. He answered each one perfectly and thoroughly. He apologized at one point because he was going extremely in-depth. No apology needed for this scientifically minded couple. We both love the facts.
We determined that I will not have to be induced early (hallelujah), and he thought the rest of the pregnancy should be just fine for me. They do not want me to go too far over my due date because of the disease I am borderline for having, but he said I would be fine going into labor on my own. He also described this disease that I may or may not have and talked to us about some testing that could be done after the baby comes to hopefully be able to tell one way or another if I have it.

We will be staying with our current clinic. At our next appointment, I will make sure to tell the front office that we will be under their midwife's care and (if they need to know), we are also consulting with the new doctor.

Baby girl's due date is just over nine weeks away. I cannot believe how close it is getting. Husband has taken on a new hobby of crocheting and he has made a couple hats for her along with a bunny and T-Rex. He is nearing the end of crocheting a fox for her also. There are several more projects he has lined up to make and he even bought rattle inserts to put inside some of his future creations.

I have decided to turn half my craft room into a nursery so last week I moved the furniture and started going through all my stuff. Even though baby girl will be sleeping in our room for the first six months or so, we want a place to keep all her stuff and to have a changing pad. I also do not want to nurse her in bed and because there is no room for extra furniture in our bedroom (I am not even sure how we will fit her crib), I will put the glide rocker I inherited from my mother in that room as well.

19 December, 2016

Twenty-Four Weeks, Five Days

The latest OB appointment on Friday was different than we were expecting. Husband and I felt as though we were both hit hard with unwanted and unexpected medical news last week which has taken quite a bit of mental adjustment.
We showed up at the clinic in the middle of a small snow flurry to find a packed waiting room. It was a Friday in the late afternoon relatively close to Christmas, so we should not have been too surprised. After waiting longer than usual, we were called back to meet with the midwife. She showed up and took a second to really talk to us. She made small talk, but she was perusing my medical chart which apparently had not been filled out (at all) by the other doctor in the clinic we had seen. Even more of a reason for my husband to dislike that doctor.
After asking all the clarifying questions she needed to get the gist of our fertility background, miscarriages, and IVF story, she asked me what I wanted the birth to be like.
"Well, I would love to have a natural birth, if it is possible."
"That may be hard to have happen."
Cut to the heart dropping. Huh?
The midwife went on to say that because I am on a heavy blood thinner (heparin), I would most likely be induced at 39 weeks. They do not want me to give birth within 12 hours of having taken a dose of heparin. My mother labored for very short periods of time after her first (17 hours of labor at the hospital), but who knows how long I will take. If I have recently taken the heparin, I could easily hemorrhage which would not be a fun addition to the birth story.
"The other option is we could just take you off at 36 weeks and bring you in several times a week for monitoring."
Ha. Husband did not like that idea at all. He was disgusted that we would "take a chance" that all would go well.
The midwife said that no matter what, if we chose to go with her for the delivery, she would definitely need an OB to consult with because of the blood thinner involved.
As she measured Baby and listened to the heartbeat, I told her of our dislike for the other OB we had seen. She said there was another doctor she thought we might like more. She said she would consult with him about what he would do in this case and suggested that we have our next appointment with him so that hopefully we click better with him.
I am reaching the end of when I would feel comfortable with changing clinics. My next appointment will be in my third trimester and I do not want a short period of time to get to know the clinic and doctor I will be working with.
For the next appointment, we will also have another ultrasound to check on the cyst. We both have the feeling that it has subsided, but there is always that slight worry in the back of my head.

16 December, 2016

When All the Pharmacists Know You

We frequent the local Target for all our pharmacy needs. (Not an ad.) We started going there frequently around the time husband was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last year. Ever since the round of IVF I went through this summer, I have also become a frequent buyer. We go there every other week, sometimes more frequently.
The pharmacists who are there more often know us by name which is nice and sad at the same time. "While you are here getting [husband]'s medication, I think we also have your wife's in stock also."
Because I take heparin twice daily, we have received several comments from them about that. (I swear I am the only person that buys liquid heparin from them.) "Hey, I thought of you the other day. Someone else came in to buy heparin. We ordered a large batch, so it should be ready for you when you need a new refill." (We have had to wait up to a week for them to get heparin in before.)
I think that we are irritating on occasion. I have switched needles a few times to get the ones that are most comfortable. I have switched dosages of heparin a few times to see if the more diluted stuff works better than the less diluted stuff. Husband has had his thyroid medication dosage changed many times, but the doctor's office is sometimes slow to inform the pharmacy. I worry we irritate them, but week after week, we are greeted with a smile and personal greeting.
Yesterday we had a very touching experience there.
We were stopping by to get yet another new thyroid drug for husband. (He's seeing a new doctor. This doctor seems to know what he's doing and has a much better bedside manner. Thank goodness.) As we waited in line, a couple of the pharmacists greeted us by name. One of them grabbed husband's prescription and said she did not see one for me. ("I don't need mine yet.")
Then we killed time, waiting to get to the front of the line. I heard my name called out. Slightly surprised, I turned toward the pharmacy, wondering if I shared a name with someone that worked there. Nope.
"Hey. I did something the other day and realized I probably should have asked you first. I know that you buy the smaller insulin needles, but since you pay for them out of pocket, it's super expensive. So, I sent a fax to your doctor asking for a specific prescription for them so that the cost would be covered by your insurance. I hope you don't mind that faxed them before asking you."
A couple months ago, we were at the doctor's office and I asked for a prescription for the new needles that I loved using. Well, we arrived at the pharmacy later that week only to find that the prescription was written for the fat needles that we do not like using as much. Husband and I both thought that maybe we just could not get our insurance to pay for the new needles because they were specifically for insulin.
After profusely thanking the pharmacist, we bought husband's new drugs and went on our merry way.

I have not stopped thinking about how kind that pharmacist was ever since then. I am sure some people would be offended because she did something behind their back, but I am so touched that she thought about the large cost of the needles and decided to do something about it.

I love our pharmacists.

Twenty-Four Weeks, Two Days

Today is my latest appointment at the OBGYN office. After this appointment, my next will be officially in the third trimester and I will have to start going every other week. I am not nervous for this appointment, but I am curious to see my blood pressure today.
I did not write about my last appointment. Most likely because it worried me and made me thoughtful. The 20 week appointment brought with it the anatomy scan and I loved every minute of it. She was moving around like crazy and we got some great shots of her. I love seeing how well she is developing. Her small but perfect bones. Her perfect little nose. Her adorable feet. Her tiny fingers. Her internal organs. The beating heart. The bladder. The brain.
We were sent in to talk with the doctor. (We met the doctor we are "supposed" to be with again. Husband did not mind him. As much.) He said I have an anterior placenta. (That explains why I do not feel her kick very much or very hard.) And then he hit us with a bombshell. Baby girl has a cyst on her brain. It's a small cyst. Nothing to worry about, but it's a cyst on her perfect brain. I panicked slightly while husband was able to ask the logical questions.
What does this mean? What should we do? What happens next?
Cysts on fetal brains are not unusual in the least. A cyst usually stands as a marker for another problem as opposed to just being a problem with the brain. A cyst could mean a disease such as trisomy 18 or 21. The doctor said that no other worrisome markers were found. That's a good thing. Because of this, he thinks the cyst will go away. There is nothing we can do about it. I just have to keep being healthy. We will do yet another ultrasound at 28 weeks to see if it has absolved. (Our fridge is already half filled with ultrasound pictures. I recognize that I have well over the average number of ultrasound pictures, but I am not one to complain.)
I obviously researched this upon arriving home and was calmed by what I read. It usually goes away. This should be nothing to worry about.
It does stay at the back of my mind, but I focus more on enjoying her in her cozy little residence. She loves moving in the morning and evening. I most often feel her kicks in the bottom left or top right of my belly. Sometimes she graces me with just a single kick, but I love the occasional moments when she decides to go all out for a minute or two. I am known for nudging her back because she frequently responds with another kick. Husband teases me for doing this.
Today we will meet the other midwife at our clinic. If we like her, we will stay at the clinic. If we do not like her, I think we will start shopping around for another clinic to attend. (That thought stresses me slightly. The fact that we will possibly change providers close to 2/3 the way through the pregnancy.)