Weekly LBC

That’s Live Baby Check.  And, check!  Holy crap it really looked like a baby on the screen today.  I’m trying to use that word a lot…in writing at least.  I still find it hard to say out loud.  Babybabybabybabybaby.  I am having a hard enough time believing I’m really and truly actually pregnant (another word I struggle to use), and I know that at least 98% or so of the population naturally associates the word pregnant with the word baby, but damn I am blocked on that when I am myself the subject of sentences containing those words.  Don’t get me wrong, I am stupidly happy after these ultrasounds every week, but even right after seeing the baby (BABYBABYBABYBABY) on the screen I sort of feel like I’m overwhelmingly happy…for somebody else, or something.  Hard to describe, I guess.  I am choosing to believe that my brain will catch up in plenty of time…or at least in the nick of time.

Anyway, yes.  I’m nine weeks, five days today, and Cletus the Peanut measures 9w6d – a whole day ahead.  Which is awesome, so long as it stays that way.  I don’t know exactly how much variability in growth rate is normal, if any, but I would be unsettled to next time then measure right on or a day behind.  Whatever, I guess I shouldn’t worry about a hypothetical.  For now, all is grand.  Heart rate is 172 beats per minute, and we saw him/her moving around again.  Even rolled over and faced us at one point.  From that view we could clearly make out the head/face (not features or anything, of course, but still) and the forearms crossed over the chest.  So surreal.  Crown-to-rump length is 29.7 mm, so in theory somewhere between this and this.  By that measure, we are officially in fetus territory. Wow.

I do want to touch on some cluster of cells/embryo/fetus/baby distinction/semantics stuff…but that needs to be another post, another day.  Hoping today’s dose of reassurance will lead to sleeping like a rock, maybe even for more than the measly six hours I’ve managed to get lately when I’m lucky.  Also hoping that I will look back at that sentence come mid-summer and laugh at how spoiled I am right now.

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I must be stronger now, or something.

Because it didn’t kill me after all, though last night I thought I was surely dying.  Thanks to the cursed flu shot, I’m guessing.  The shot itself was nothing, of course.  I kind of laughed afterward, as I was braced for something nice an burn-y, sting-y like heparin is, but I barely even felt the needle go in at all.  Had the start of a headache a couple hours later, some nausea, which I thought nothing of, just carried a baggie of crackers around with me as we did some running around.  By the time we got home, however, I was feeling decidedly yucky.  Fleece pajamas and three blankets and I was still shivering something ridiculous.  Figured I needed to eat something other than crackers, so I did, which seemed fine for a bit, though the headache was getting steadily worse.  Mike didn’t think I had a fever, or much of one anyway, but I was feeling so chilled and shivery I ended up making him run to the store for a thermometer and some Ty.lenol.  I thought for sure I was roasting little Lightly Salted Cletus, but when he got back with the thermometer it read 98.5°F.  I sort of didn’t believe it, and by then it felt like the vise on my head was about to pop my eyes out of their sockets, so I went ahead and chased the Ben.adryl I’d taken to try and pass out with a Ty.lenol.  Both seemed to help…for a bit.  Was able to fall asleep on the couch for a little while.  Still felt awful when I got up to go to bed, though I convinced myself that I should go ahead and take the met and prenatal.  Probably should have skipped them for one night.  Who knows, maybe I’d have been up at one puking my guts out either way, but ughhh.  Thought I’d be good after that, but still woke up pukey and headache-y an hour later.  Broke down and took another Ty.lenol and another Ben.adryl.  And still had to get up at four to pee, of course.  Amazingly, I feel almost okay today.  Tired as hell, of course, and my head feels kinda sore, like a headache hangover, but like a million bucks in comparison to 12-15 hours ago.

I really hope that Frankie/Peanut/Cletus was unaffected by all that.  Definitely ready for another checkup tomorrow.  I don’t really want anyone to suffer the flu, but I’d kind of like to hear at some point how awful it is this year so I can feel like all that was justified.  I usually manage to dodge most side effects, but I’d never had a flu shot before, and I guess all bets are off with a pregnant system.  I thought if anything it would take a day or two for side effects to show up, but that was pretty lickety-split.  Gah.  I just hope it’s a one-shot deal and I don’t get waves of it or something. Yuck.  But yay for immunity (to last year’s strains, at least).

ETA:  Thanksgiving was great.  I should not overlook this so easily, as I clearly have a lot to be thankful for and could not ask for a better contrast to last year than what I’ve got going right now.  Well, I could ask for a nap, but I’ll happily settle for a piece of leftover pie and a decent night’s sleep tonight.  Fingers crossed.

Still Shocked

All still looks well.  LSP is measuring right on at 8w5d, so all caught up for now.  Heartbeat’s up to nearly 166 bpm. With a CRL of 21.05 mm, s/he’s looking something like either this or this.  I’m guessing somewhat more like the latter than the former, because – get this:  we even saw it move a few times.  (!!!!!moreeleventy!!11!!)

So Frankie/Peanut definitely still lives, and is crazy close to the “end of the embryonic period,” meaning we are almost into Cletus the Fetus territory.  I am of course thrilled about this, and at times can barely wipe the idiot grin off my face.  But frankly, I don’t feel like I’m really quite believing this – even though I’m actually seeing it weekly still.  It seems so surreal that I am truly almost nine weeks pregnant.  I am loving it, yet at the same time disturbed how clear it’s becoming that a large part of my brain never believed this would happen – or, rather, believed this never would happen…if that distinction makes any sense.  I still try to steel myself and imagine my initial reaction if the RE were to say that there’s no heartbeat.  But seconds before and after those awful thoughts I am reminding myself to ask him about the flu shot and continuing meds and OB care after I “graduate.”  I do spend most late mornings and the majority of the afternoons feeling pretty gross, but I’ve still only thrown up that one time.  I’m tired, but rarely sleepy enough to actually nap or fall out for the night much earlier than usual.  I have symptoms…it just seems like they’re not quite intense enough to reassure me much beyond three or four days after a scan.  So I’m still going back next week.  Maybe after that one I’ll venture to go two whole weeks.  And then…I should be about done with the RE. I figure I will feel like an even bigger farce as an OB patient.  But I am starting to believe I will actually be one – so that’s something, something kind of huge.

Anyway, I did get some questions answered.  I can (and should, I guess) get a flu shot.  Staying on the heparin and prednisone past 12 weeks are “open for discussion,” (PHEW), but I will stop the progesterone (fine) and the metformin (hmmm) at 12 weeks or so.  Stopping the metformin doesn’t bother me as much as the heparin would, so overall I’m feeling pretty good about his attitude toward the meds.  I think it’s fairly reasonable.  The studies I read on the met were great for giving me hope at the time I was starting it and still imagining even getting and staying pregnant past six weeks.  I’d have to go back and confirm, but I don’t think there was a huge difference in live birth outcome between staying on it for the first trimester and continuing on for the majority of the pregnancy – and there is a tiny association with cleft lip/palate, I believe.  So I think I can make my peace with stopping that one.  Getting gestational diabetes would suck, but it’s a very manageable complication so far as I know, and it’s not as though stopping met guarantees I’ll have it or anything.  The prednisone is a minuscule dose, so it’s hard to weigh how much reassurance I’m really getting from that, let alone how much actual physical benefit – could be significant, could be nothing but placebo.  The heparin…I feel attached to, as silly as it is.  I thought I would hate it because it would remind me of the last pregnancy ending so quickly, but as I watch my piles of used syringes and emptied vials grow, it looks like accomplishment, of a sort.  But I’m still willing to be convinced that I could go off of it and be fine.  I just hate feeling like it would be an experiment.  I mean, it’s all technically an experiment, but I’m invested enough here to not of course be willing to accept an adverse outcome as at all “worth it” in the name of learning something.

Back to one day at a time!

Eight Weeks

That seems so surreal to me.  It’s not that much past six weeks, really, but…never been here, or anywhere that’s felt even remotely like the same area code as here before, so ZOMG EIGHT WEEKS!!!!!eleventeen11!

I threw up last night…er, this morning?  Whatever 3 am counts as.  Yay for puking.  Only slept for maybe ninety minutes, five to six thirtyish or so, though, so that’s not ideal.  I should be exhausted but the nausea keeps me from falling asleep; it’s charmingly annoying.  I think I ate more than half a sleeve of (unsalted) saltines in the hours between midnight and four am.  Not sure what set it off – maybe the metformin/prenatal vitamin combo, but I’m sadly more suspicious of the garlic in the risotto we had for dinner.  It was sooo delicious at the time, I was sad that I was full after two helpings, and it wasn’t even that garlicky, really.  But the residual smell in the kitchen even an hour or two later was not pleasant ‘tall.

I think that counts as an aversion.  Yay again for something so freakishly normal.  Never thought it would be garlic, which I’m normally very partial to, but I am not complaining.  However, if I don’t manage to nap soon I’m going to feel like I shouldn’t have called in sick to work…though something tells me I’d be pushing a meltdown to go in on ninety minutes of sleep.  I think that calls for a mental health day (and hopefully a Frankie/LSP health day, too).  I did leave my ginger snaps there though.  That was a fail.

Goal:  pass the fuck out already.

Still alive!

Frankie is still kicking (well, not really kicking yet but you know).  Frankie?  I dunno.  Peanut?  That’s about the size s/he is (out of the shell, in my RE’s words).  Maybe we’ll just go with Lightly Salted.  I kind of like that. There is an inexplicable (I will try, but be prepared for it to make zero sense) episode from my childhood in which my dad brought home some airline peanut packets (yep, dating myself here) from a business trip for us (what a treat!), and something about the way he said the phrase ‘lightly salted peanuts’ was absolutely pee-your-pants hilarious to my sister and me.  Completely dissolved into fits of giggles.  For at least an hour, probably.

Yeah.  Nonsensical.

Anyway, the heart rate is up to 154 beats per minute and he/she/it is measuring 7w4d.  That’s only one day behind 7w5d by LMP, so I guess we could say s/he’s made up a day or two since last week.  Don’t know if that’s really the right way to think of that, but last time we measured 2 or 3 days behind based on LMP.  Seems like good progress! CRL is 13.35 mm, so looking something like this creepy thing or this maybe slightly less creepy thing.  If you really want a fright go back and check out Carnegie Stage 15.  Yikes!  Glad we’re past that and moving onto stuff like gonads and nipples.  Wheeee!

I am clearly still not quite grasping that this is, like, real.  I get to keep going back weekly until 10 or 12 weeks.    I think that will help, though part of me is going to continue to be terrified every time that the heartbeat will just cease to be there.  I have no real reason to think that will happen, it’s just that I know that it does happen.  I am very encouraged; this is definitely the farthest (furthest?  I hate that one) we’ve ever gotten – maybe not date-wise, but definitely signs-point-to-good-wise.  They said today that I’ll discontinue heparin and progesterone after the first trimester.  Progesterone, fine, yes.  At that point the placenta should be doing its job and I am fully aware that supplementing won’t prevent miscarriage anyway.  The heparin I think I may be nervous about stopping.  I never actually tested positive for APS, and was never tested for MTHFR, homocysteine levels being normal, so I have no concrete reason to think I should continue it, but…I can’t help but fear a rogue clot in the placenta or the umbilical cord or…whatever else worst case scenario I haven’t even come across yet.  On the other hand, I won’t miss the bruising.  Maybe by 15 weeks or so my stomach won’t look like it lost a bar fight anymore.  See?  I am thinking I will get that far, it’s just…weird to have these thoughts.  I never wanted to give up and not try at all, but it seems like my mind was trying to prepare more than I consciously realized for the possibility that it would never even get this far. It’s a strange yet perfectly logical dichotomy of sorts.  Trying to acknowledge it and leave it be, not poke at it too much. Also, they’ll back me off the metformin at some point.  I’m on the fence about that one, too.  Studies have gone both ways on whether it may actually help prevent miscarriage or not.  It has, however, been shown to reduce the incidence of gestational diabetes.  A restricted diet does not sound like any fun at all, but…again, I never showed any definite signs of insulin resistance, and cart way the hell ahead of the horse on that anyway.

One. day. at. a. time.    

Tee Em Eye

I think Spot is out as a candidate for a nickname.  I’m becoming way too hateful of the gerund form of the word, as it…continues.  In a very unnerving similarity of timing to the last time around, there was….redness, several hours after the great scan on Tuesday night.  Not a lot, but more than I’d like to see, of course.  I’d stopped at my parents’ house, shared the good news and showed off the pictures from the scan.  We dropped off prescriptions and went out to eat to celebrate.  Picked up the scripts and headed home, where I continued to spread the good news electronically as far as it’s spreading at this point.  Like grim clockwork, as I get ready to go to bed I see it.  I tried not to freak out and did pretty well, but…for fuck’s sake, you know?  Realistically, I’m on blood thinners, and perhaps mister wandy exacerbated some irritation from the progesterone supplementation, so I’m willing to believe it’s “normal” and not indicative of doom.  It slowed way down overnight Tuesday and is back to the much less scary brownishness, but it would be even less scary if it would just STOP. Does it really seem like too much to ask?  Don’t answer that.

I did a lot of staring at the pictures from the scan that night, but I haven’t opened that folder since.  I’m keeping both panic and (to a lesser extent) attachment at bay as much as I can for now.  I think I’ll wait until Tuesday again to settle on a nickname.  Still being optimistic that I’ll need one, but the reality of seeing spots is unsettling at best.  I’ve gotten some fun suggestions outside of the comments here (Dino, Lizzy, for reptilian attributes), and I’m still hoping we’ll get to (and well beyond) the Cletus the Fetus stage, but right now I’m leaning toward Frankie.  It’s my little monster and I really want to see that heartbeat again on Tuesday and be able to say, IT’S ALIIIIIVE! and also,