Sunday, December 28, 2008

You pilot always into an unknown future

L.E.O. has allowed me to handle the Christmas holidays fairly well, except for the continued lack of interest in chocolate. (Maybe this means he/she won't like chocolate as a child and I can have it all. Probably not.) Our last childless Christmas (assuming all goes well) was very nice; Mom and Dad came out to visit and we had Eric's family over as well. Eric's sister gave us a photo album for an ultrasound, which will be much nicer than the Similac one we got in the goody bag from the doctor.

I got around nine or ten hours of sleep every night, and it suited me nicely, as did the constant snacking that's normally part of the holidays anyway. The food aversions continue, particularly to brassicas. I always liked broccoli and cauliflower, but now they smell gross. I feel like I'm six years old. However, tomatoes--in the form of sauce and salsa--are okay, and so are carrots, so I'll have to get my vegetables in non-green form for the time being. (Yes, I am taking a supplement with folate. Oranges have a decent amount of folate, and I'm eating a couple of those a day. Fruit's okay; it's just the vegetables that are dicey.)

Regardless of the continuing and annoying symptoms, and my family's reassurances, I continue to be worried about possible miscarriage. Eric and I discussed this earlier and had no actual data on the risk, other than that it goes down after the first trimester, so I looked it up. It turns out to be difficult to locate actual data about miscarriages; most of the things I found were questions on Yahoo! Answers or pregnancy forums with completely nonhelpful responses. Apparently not many mothers-to-be are looking for real numbers. But I did find this article, which studied a large group of pregnant women with no symptoms of incipient miscarriage and found that 9.4% had a miscarriage before 6 weeks, 1.5% after 8 weeks, and less than 0.7% after 9 weeks. I've just entered week 10, so I'm feeling better. I won't be completely convinced until I hear the heartbeat, but I'm feeling better.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I know, I know, make up my mind already.

Now I'm getting anxious because the nausea is going away. I'm still averse to eating most things, but the actual nausea is rare. Eric tells me that I've been having the nausea symptoms for a couple of weeks and they're supposed to go away, and I'm still having all my other symptoms, and I am not having a delayed miscarriage, stop saying that. I kind of wish I were at the phase where I could discern L.E.O.'s movements, just for some reassurance. On the other hand, feeling better is kind of, you know, nice.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Don't ask how I feel about ice cream.

"Ugh," I said last night, putting the cinnamon back in its place and sealing up my bag of oatmeal. "I think that's the first time cinnamon has ever smelled bad to me."

Eric started back with a look of horror. "And I'm completely indifferent to chocolate," I said. "It's terrible."

"You're a monster!" he said. "You must be pregnant."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pfft. Amateurs.

Note to other future supervillains: if the only people you have tailing you are the cops, you're doing it wrong.

I suppose we can give them the benefit of the doubt; perhaps this was all a cover-up for their real operation.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Week 8 nurse visit

I woke up during the night (one of multiple times--my friend Holly wasn't kidding when she told me a couple of years ago, "Sleep now") and turned over and felt a brief, wrenching pain in the left side of my pelvic area. The pain went away and I went back to sleep, but in the morning when I got to work (after having a horrible time packing my lunch because I opened the refrigerator and recoiled because everything looked foul) I looked up "pain in pelvic area" and came up with several possible causes. The one that seemed most likely was ectopic pregnancy.

I got to the doctor's office on time and admired a little seventeen-day-old baby while I waited ("Sidnee Trinity," the father said, spelling it for me, and when I said "That's unusual," looked at his wife and said, "It's what she wanted"). The nurse came and got me and shook my hand and congratulated me and asked me about eighty questions on my health, Eric's health, my family's health, and any conceivable medical procedure that had ever been done to me. I seem to have dropped a couple of pounds since I was last there, possibly since I haven't been eating much the last few days. She scolded me a little for that, saying that food was important and I'd feel better if I snacked constantly, and started in on the questions. "How many drinks a week did you have before you got pregnant?" she said.

"It's more like how many a month, or a year."

"Then I take it you're not drinking during pregnancy?" I nodded, and she went on to the next question: "If you were to drink, would you be most likely to drink beer, wine, or a mixed drink?"

She delivered a barrage of nutritional information, mainly on the importance of drinking milk and avoiding fatty fish, both of which I ignored. She also gave me pamphlets galore on regular screening, deluxe screening, and cord blood banking; a black "welcome" case for intending-to-breastfeed expectant mothers with formula and omega-3 supplements inside; a black carrying case for any expectant mothers with formula, a tiny pacifier, and sample lotion inside; and paperwork for the lab.

We had a relatively long discussion on cystic fibrosis and whether I should be screened. Since my brother James is a carrier, but with an unusual mutation that isn't part of the standard set generally tested for in CF screens, I maintained it wasn't a lot of use to get the screen. We eventually settled it that I would bring the letter with the name of the mutation to my next visit and they would see whether that mutation could be added to the standard. (I find this extremely unlikely, though Eric says he could design the primers for them.) In the meantime, if the screenings are normal, I won't hear back.

"Next time you'll get a physical examination and the doctor will hear the heartbeat," the nurse went on, rattling off a long list of things she's probably said thirty thousand times before. "You've probably been feeling twinges and cramping in your pelvis, that's normal, it's the uterus growing. You may start getting sharp pains, especially when you turn or move suddenly, that's normal, it's the ligaments stretching and your uterus realizing that extra room is there." I relaxed. I took the three bags of junk she'd given me, shook her hand again, and walked out, saying silently to my southern regions (is that weird?), Thank you for not being an ectopic pregnancy. When I got home I looked in the pamphlets she'd given me and these sharp pains are mentioned several times. I never heard of them before; I guess it's just another one of those symptoms they don't tell you about.

Friday, December 12, 2008

In mediation

This pregnancy is going to force me to rethink my relationship with food. Food and I have gotten along fine up until now; I cook, I like a wide variety of foods, I'm willing to try most (vegetarian) things, I eat reasonably healthfully. If you ignore the occasional salt-and-vinegar potato chips or extra helpings of homemade ice cream (come on, our ice cream is good).

However, pregnancy nausea has come upon me gradually. First only when I was very hungry or very full, then when I was moderately hungry, and now it's present almost constantly--sometimes very low-key, but hardly ever gone. It's having the same effect that having a cold does on my appetite: even when I know I'm hungry, I don't want to eat. But if I don't eat it will only get worse. I haven't actually vomited yet and I don't want to, so I must conduct negotiations with my body under the new, wartime rules. The old taste guidelines don't hold; the old stomach limits don't hold. Small meals must be the rule now (which is actually better for the body anyway, I believe). The taste guidelines aren't so easy to figure out, though.

I went to the grocery store a couple of days ago after work, and looking at all the food was actually distasteful. Even though I was hungry. (Luckily most of what we needed at the time was boxed or canned.) I've discovered that most food sounds distasteful, except (at least today) cheese Pizza Bites and oven-baked French fries--I think it's a comfort thing--and also, luckily, fresh fruit. But if I make myself eat something else, it goes down fine. I'm not sure if my body is trying to psych me out or if it's helping me the best it can.

Mom (as well as our Mayo Clinic book) says it's important to have bland things around to eat at all times--crackers, or bread. I'm trying this, though the fruit strips we buy from Target actually sound better. Unfortunately they don't have very many calories, so they can't sustain me. Courtney told me that cold things--ice cream, mainly--stayed down best when she was at her worst morning sickness, and I tried this theory out on some peach sorbet and it seems to hold good. I'll listen to Mom and the book and have bland things around, but I'll also experiment with cold, and fruit, and whatever I find that works. Also, multivitamins.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hiring decisions

My first two appointments are finally scheduled with my ob/gyn. I'm less and less sure about staying with them. After the not-calling-me-with-my-test-results thing, I was going to schedule my appointment (one at 7-8 weeks, one at 10 weeks, I was told), but couldn't produce the first-day-of-last-period date, so the woman told me to call back the next day, Tuesday. I did. The person on the phone, a different woman, insisted I give her my insurance information so they could check it before they'd schedule me to come in. Even though I've been going there for more than a year, I'd been there less than a month ago, and they already had it on file.

So I gave it. The woman said she'd put it through and when it was approved (is women's healthcare so downgraded that insurance doesn't reliably cover pregnancy?) she'd call back, possibly that same day.

She didn't call. She didn't call the rest of the week. My sister-in-law Angie gave me the name of the midwife association she goes to. (She used to go to my doctor's group, Maumee OB/GYN. So did Courtney. That's why I started going. Neither of them still go there.) I called back yesterday. "Melissa's the regular scheduler, and she's out," explained a yet different woman I spoke with, this one named Leslie. "I can't find your paperwork. I'll check with the billing department and call you back tomorrow."

I didn't expect a call, but I got one. I like Leslie. "We found your paperwork," she said. "Since Melissa's been sick I just didn't know how she had things organized." Not at all, was my thought, but I said nothing. We scheduled my 7-8 week appointment for next Monday--an hour with the nurse, she said, to get my medical history and give me information--and my approximately 10-week (really 11, if I'm counting right) appointment with the doctor to get a pap (sigh) and hear the heartbeat. That part cheers me up, at least. And I was grateful to actually get some information. I’m fond of Leslie. Still not sure about the office, though.

But I'm not sure whether Angie's association would help; I'm not sure whether I need or want a midwife, or if they supplant or only supplement an obstetrician, or what would happen to the hospital option (I have only one with Maumee OB/GYN, Toledo Hospital, and a 10% chance that my doctor will be on call at the critical time). Also, they're even further from our house than Maumee is, which would be a big pain, especially later on. There are other options, of course, but I don't know which ones are good ones.

Basically I don't know and I don't know what I need to know. Therefore, for the Eric would say... the Internet!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Symptoms they don't tell you about

I haven't had many pregnancy symptoms so far. Some *WARNING: GRAPHIC GIRL CONTENT* breast soreness and, er, slight leakiness other places, and perhaps a heightened awareness that there are working parts down there, *END GRAPHIC GIRL CONTENT* but no excessive tiredness or nausea as I'd been warned to expect, especially by my poor friend Courtney, who was alerted to the thought it might be a good idea to take a pregnancy test when she started throwing up after breakfast for no reason at about five weeks.

My newfound preoccupation with cooking may or may not be a symptom, since I've also been feeling kind of deprived of my usual cooking outlet--Eric hasn't been going to his normal weekly gaming night, so I don't get a cooking night to myself anymore. I may have detected a new one, though: excessive weepiness when listening to sentimental music. "Christmas Eve and Other Stories," specifically, by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I like this CD a lot, but the story parts are deliberately, unsubtly sentimental. In previous years that hasn't bothered me; but I put the CD in my car recently and started tearing up as soon as I got to the first story bit ("Ornament"). It was extremely annoying, especially since I was on my way to work at the time.

Desire to buy things might be another symptom...although I'm not feeling any desire to buy baby stuff specifically, so maybe that's just a symptom of the Christmas season. This will be our last babyless Christmas (unless something happens). Fa-la-la-la-la.

Monday, December 1, 2008

What to expect when you're expecting to spawn the next evil overlord

I called up the doctor's office today to ask after the results of my blood pregnancy test. The lab took blood last Tuesday. They promised results within half a day. I heard nothing on Wednesday, and when I called the lab, the lab said, "We can only release the results to your doctor," which is ridiculous, and the doctor's office was closed on Friday.

So I called. "It's positive," the woman I spoke with said, and I said, "Excellent," but I wasn't as excited as she was perhaps hoping, since I took a home pregnancy test a week ago and we've told our parents (and one cousin, because she's my Bev) already. I'm approximately five and a half weeks pregnant, which puts the due date very approximately July 30. We'll have better numbers once I go in for my first appointment. In the meantime, we're discussing what we'll do with our new little overlord (mostly in tones of "Ohmigod we're going to be parents what were we thinking") when he or she gets here, assuming all goes well. Darth Vader would be a great Halloween costume for a baby, wouldn't it?