Monday, February 23, 2009

Shrove Tuesday, aka Pancake Day (13w6d)

Once again, the sun will rise tomorrow on another Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday if you will) for many parts of the world. And tomorrow, my husband and I will partake in our customary Pancake Day tradition.

For those of you who have been longtime readers, you may recall the details about Pancake Day and the traditions we have in my home province of Newfoundland to celebrate the special day. Historically, Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday and thus the beginning of the 40 days of Lent. During Lent, it was customary to give up life’s ‘sinful’ pleasures (such as eating meat or whatnot). In today’s world, this has been extrapolated to giving up things like pop, candy, chocolate, television, credit cards, things like that for the 40-day duration. However, in the days of yore, before Lent began, you were supposed use up the things in the pantry like meat, butter, flour, etc., lest they spoil during the Lenten period.

Pancake Day to the rescue! By making Pancakes and cooking up any meat, you’d indulge in one last lovely meal before being good and pure for Lent. In Newfoundland, there are Pancake Day races, church breakfasts, socials, etc., and when I was a child, we always had pancakes for dinner on Pancake Day. However, in Newfoundland, you’re supposed to add something more to your pancake batter: trinkets. Each trinket symbolizes your future and as I child, I recall with great glee stuffing my face FULL of pancakes to find the money, or the ring, or whatever we were searching for. My sister and I used to be fiercely competitive and we’d devour as many as we could in an attempt to get more money than the other.

Anyway, the trinkets that we use in Newfoundland are as follows:
  • a penny, to symbolize poverty in your future
  • a nickel, to symbolize wealth
  • a string to symbolize a fisherman (if a boy got it, he would be a fisherman, if a girl did, she would marry one)
  • a wedding ring, to symbolize that you would marry soon
  • a button, symbolizing that you would never marry
  • a nail, symbolizing that you would soon pass away (we never used this one in our family; far too morbid!)
  • a thimble, symbolizing that you would be a seamstress/tailor
And let the race begin! My sis and I would immediately grab the biggest pancakes we could see in the pile, in the hopes of getting ‘two items for the price of one’!

Two years ago I wrote about Pancake Day here on my blog and again, one year ago. Two years ago, I had my mom and my aunt with me to celebrate Pancake Day and we had a lovely time together. This year, it’ll be just hubby and me and we’ll carry on the tradition of course. It brings a smile to my heart to do these things and feel close to home and family when I do them.

But more to the point, two years ago I wrote about how I feared I would never get the opportunity to share these types of special traditions with our own family. Yes, I have shared the tradition with my stepchildren, and some friends, and many of you, my fellow bloggers (bless you all), indicated that you loved the idea of the Pancake Day tradition and you would take it up yourselves! I remember distinctly how Mel from Stirrup Queens reminded me that while I might not yet have the chance to pass on the tradition vertically to my own children, however, I had just passed it horizontally. And she’s absolutely right.

This year, Pancake Day sees me with a glimmer of hope as we mark 14 weeks exactly on Pancake Day. That glimmer is getting brighter by the day. But I have this hope, with all my heart that by this time next year, hubby and I will be having pancakes with a 6-month old baby nearby. And as that baby grows up in our house, I will teach the traditions, and share them happily, knowing that maybe one day, my own son or daughter will have pancakes with his or her family and tell the stories of how they used to do this ‘back in the old days in Mom’s home in Newfoundland.’

I can only hope.

Happy Pancake Day everyone. May none of you get a nail!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

NT Scan; Pic now added (13w)

Yesterday, after much ado, I finally got to have the NT scan after which I went for the bloodwork to make up the first part of the IPS testing. (We'd tried to do the scan before if you remember, but Petit was too petit!)

Anyway, yesterday's scan was wonderful although it took quite awhile before Petit would cooperate and give them a good view of the nuchal fold so they could get a good measurement. We tried with external u/s and a full bladder first, and since it's been almost two weeks since I saw Petit at all, I was able to exhale when I noted that the baby was moving all around. Whew. Okay, so the test...

There was no way Petit was going to cooperate at all. So the tech asked that I go empty my bladder halfway, which I did and then hopped back up on the table. A second try and nada. Petit just wasn't cooperating! Stubborn, just like me! Gotta love it.

We got back views, front views, even some twisted views as the baby was turning now and then. So the tech called a colleague who happily helped out by pushing on my belly a few times in rapid succession, and with a quick flip, Petit who had been lying on his/her side, back down, did a complete flip in utero and now Petit's back was up on top of the screen! The white 'string of pearls' on the monitor that are the baby's spine look so flexible in utero, don't they? And it was so incredibly wild to see the somersaults! There were little hands (I could distinguish fingers) going everywhere every time the tech pushed on my tummy! Soooo cool. I was enthralled with it. I'm sure I was just staring at the monitor, watching every movement.

But alas... still no good position for measurement. So I went and emptied my bladder and they did an internal u/s (ah, the good ol' dildo cam! How I've missed you my friend! ... NOT) to see if that worked any better. And voilà! It did indeed!

The NT measures 1.7 mm., which Dr. Google tells me is a very good measurement.
Heart rate: 154 BPM
Crown to rump length: 7.08 cms
Dating: 13wks 2 days (I was 13 wks and 1 day, so right on track)

I got some pics (I'll scan and post them later) and then dressed and made my way to the other end of town, keeping my fingers crossed that my local lab was open. It was and I barely made it before closing time. I needed two sticks to find a vein that would cooperate and boy, it hurt like hell. I will never be able to relax for bloodwork! They got what they needed for the IPS, thyroid, pre-natal testing, etc., and I made my way home, nursing my throbbing arm. Oh well. The things I've had to put up with to get this far are nothing short of mind-boggling to me, but when I see that monitor and I get to see Petit, it makes it all worthwhile!

On another note, it was wonderful to go out with Pam and V last weekend. They happened to be in town to visit family and we hooked up for a late lunch at a local pub. It's always so good to see them; we seemed to pick up right where we left off! There was never a quiet lull in conversation and I am HOPING to be able to go visit them in June sometime. We'll keep our fingers crossed!

I think I've finally settled on the colour and style of furniture for "The Room That Shall Not Be Named." I love the Da Vinci Kalani line (in honey oak, because we don't know if we're going to have a boy or a girl). Now to find a retailer that will either ship to Canada, which would simplify things, or alternatively, a retailer who will ship to near where we are, but just over the border in the States. I know that Babies R Us doesn't carry Da Vinci stuff (maybe they can order it? Dunno.) and doesn't have it either. So I might be scrounging to find out how to get this up here. I'm still pondering that one.

And last week, somewhere around 12 wks 2 days, I started to have some serious troubles doing up my pants at the waist. They fit me fine everywhere else, but the waist is giving me grief. Besides, what I can manage to squeeze into in the morning is certainly super uncomfortable by the afternoon! I had to pop out and invest in a tummy sleeve (similar to the Band but cheaper) so that I can continue to wear my clothing! What a great invention these things are. Honestly. I ought to give hubby one for those Thanksgiving Turkey dinners; that way he wouldn't wear sweatpants to the table to accomodate his expanding tummy with the sumptuous meal! Ha ha ha!

Today is February 19 and it is the day that President Obama comes to our city on his first visit. It's a bit of a slap though, cause unfortunately it looks like there is going to be no opportunity for his adoring public (and I mean that in all sincerity; Canadians are enthralled with the man and you'd think that Britney or Miley or someone was coming to town, with all the excitement in the air) to meet him or see him at all. The road closures are extensive and that starts three HOURS before he even touches down on the tarmac! Airspace is shut down for 45 mins surrounding his arrival and departure times, and the city is crawling with cops, secret service and security personnel. Given where I work, we've had nothing but communiqués on the topic for the last three weeks or so. Such hoopla! I'll be working away in my office, but I know that people have come from all over the country to try to glimpse the new President. I hope they're not disappointed entirely.

Edited to add the pic, as promised:

13 Weeks

13 Weeks

Monday, February 09, 2009

I'm Still Processing All This... 12 Weeks Tomorrow

While there is really nothing going on, I sat down to sort of make a quick list of things I could fill you guys in on, and look! There’s all kinds of things to tell you about!

A quick update on Petit; I went for part 1 of the IPS last Friday and unfortunately Petit was too petit! You need a minimum of 4.5 cms and Petit measured 4.3 cms so I have another appointment later this week. Not to worry; everything is okay and I’ll be able to get the first part of the IPS done on Friday if all goes well.

On the symptom front, in the past week, I’m finding my teeth are super sensitive now. I don’t gag or anything (as I know some women do when they brush their teeth) but I feel my gums are just hyper sensitive to the touch and rubbing the toothbrush over them repeatedly has got to be akin to water.boarding! Bugger me! But there’s nothing I hate more than bad breath or feeling that my teeth aren’t cleaned, so I wince and bear it.

On the whole, the nausea seems to be subsiding. I rarely get up and think, “Oh dear Lord, let me puke now to get this outta my system!” But lemme tell ya, there are days when I sure wish I could! I’ve not had the pleasure of actually tossing my cookies during this pregnancy (knock on wood), but the waves of nausea making me wish that I COULD toss my cookies are frequent! Now, most days are pretty good, but once in awhile, ugh! I wish I could just get rid of the icky feeling.

And what the heck is up with my face!? This morning, I awoke with tiny red spots on my right cheek. On first glance in the mirror, I thought it looked like acne, but when I touched my skin, it was as smooth as always. Broken capillaries maybe? I dunno. The old wives’ tale about having a bad complexion during pregnancy means you are having a girl came to mind… but I don’t really believe in that, to be honest. I’m not sure what it is, but it is fading as the day progresses. Whew.
And looking in that same mirror this morning, I see grey hair peeking through. Horrid stuff! I’m on the verge of needing to colour my hair yet again and I’ll have to seek out a semi-permanent with no ammonia that is safe for me to use. I refuse to go through pregnancy with grey hair; not when there ARE solutions that work! Thank heavens for small favours!

I’m finding that my ‘girls’ are feeling tighter in my bra too and downright itchy! Eeek! Now, fair enough, with the harsh winters we have, my skin tends to be on the dry side at this time of year anyway. But no amount of moisturizer seems to give me relief right now! Hubby figures they’re stretching and growing and he might be right. Time to invest in a new bra and/or some other brand of moisturizing lotion to help I think.

One thing that has not been good to me during this pregnancy (TMI incoming… you’ve been warned!) my bowels! Dear Lord deliver me! I beg! The old standbys of increasing water intake and ensuring you get enough fibre in your diet are just NOT working! Honest. I must eat my weight in veggies and fruits (with legumes thrown in for good measure) every single day, but oh my heavens, nothing but continued use of a little docusate is helping me keep things moving at the moment. It’s not pretty. I’ve heard that giving birth is much like having the largest bowel movement in your life. I gotta say, if that’s the case, then I’ve had sufficient practice in the last two weeks! NO JOKE!

Tomorrow, I hit the 12-week mark and technically that’s three months, but of course, I’ll be into my second trimester sometime next week, knowing that the average pregnancy is 40 weeks long. Still, it sort of feels like a milestone and I am grateful to get this far. By now, a number of my co-workers already know and there are only a few pertinent people left to tell I think. Everyone seems so happy for us; I wish I could get to that point myself and enjoy whatever time I get, and just give in to “Hope” for a little while that everything will work out. You know? I wish I was normal in that respect. It’s hard though. I’m sort of letting everyone else carry that hope for me at the moment. They’re doing a great job though! I did go so far as to buy a pregnancy journal to write down some thoughts and things. I remember in my 20s, going through some musings, old cards and things that people had given my mom when she was pregnant with me. I want to give that to my baby too, and I want it as a record for myself as well. I told my best friend Mike that I was doing that, and his reply was “How eccentric! Hand written!” He’s right too. I want more than an electronic version of my pregnancy to give to my child. A shame that not many people do that anymore. There’s a question for you: Do you? Did you? Do you have any hand written notes, items, books, thoughts, whatever… that you are keeping for your baby? Something that isn’t electronic? I’m curious. Tell me what you think.

I have started peeking at the features on cribs, play yards, strollers, etc. and making some decisions on the things and styles we’ll be looking for when the time comes. There’s so much out there to choose from! What a vast array of items for infants! It’s incredible. I’m sort of hoping to go shopping with my mom and my sister for a few things; it may be the only time we get to do this so I want to make the most of it. Besides, their input is welcome and wanted, even though final decisions obviously rest with me and hubby.

Speaking about input, I’ve looked to my family (and hubby’s) for lists of names as we want to give due consideration to all family names available, plus the few names that we have chosen ourselves that do not belong to family members. I told my mom last week that we aren’t going to reveal the names we’ve picked until the baby is born, nor are we going to find out the sex of the baby before birth. My mom was totally aghast, “What? You mean I don’t even get to hear the names you’ve picked?! But what if I don’t like them!?” Um… sorry Mom; you had your shot with me and my sister. Now it’s our turn. If you don’t like the names, c’est la vie. But that’s the way it is and we want it this way. Go with it.
You can relax though; I guarantee you will like the names. Promise. Trust me on this one. Please?

I’ve booked a flight to go home in early April; I’ll be about 19/20 weeks while I’m there. And I believe Mom’s sort of hoping to organize a little get-together (aka ‘shower’) for the few friends and friends of the family that I still know back home. One of these people is a girlfriend of my sister’s, who has been struggling with infertility for years now. I’m not entirely sure what treatments she and her husband have pursued, but I know they’ve been approved to adopt from China and they expect a baby in 2010 or 2011. It’s tough for anyone back at home, because there is no facility in the province to help infertile couples; you have to fly to Nova Scotia (at least!) for treatments and that’s a heckuva burden to bear on top of infertility. Anyway, I know that my sis told her that I am pregnant, and of course, being so close to our family, we’ll certainly invite her to any prospective ‘shower’ type event (Dear Lord, no silly games. Please. I beg.) It’s so important for me to let her know though that I understand COMPLETELY if she would prefer not to attend and that even if she intends to come and replies to the invitation stating so, that if she changes her mind at the very last second, I GET IT. I wouldn’t wish that sort of pain and grief on anyone, knowing what I’ve had to do in the past five years to protect myself on occasion. So I need her to know that it’s okay. We love her and it’d be sweet to see her there, but if she can’t do it, that’s okay. I'm probably one of the very few that understands what that can be like.

I talked to my aunt on the phone the other day; I asked what she was doing. She replied, “Sewing. Hand sewing.” (She was a professional seamstress/tailor before she retired and the woman can make anything, I’m convinced!) I asked, “Oh, what’re you sewing?” “I can’t tell you,” came the reply. I gave a little grin. I hope it’s a baby quilt; she’s always done baby quilts for anyone we know who is having a baby. I’m just hoping against hope that I’ll get one too for Petit.

Things at work are settling down. There’s an old Japanese saying that the nail that sticks out gets hammered down. Right now, we’re all trying to keep our heads down so we don’t get the hammer. It’s tense, to be sure. And each week that goes by, I say to myself, “One more week closer to maternity leave,” as if that’s my saving grace. I know it’s not, but still. Some days, it’s the best way to get through the day, you know?

I’m still playing EverQuestII and loving it, but there are some days that my nausea just won’t let me sit in front of the computer screen and look at particles, moving characters, dynamic mobs and all the rest. I know my sister-in-law (who gave birth just after Christmas) had to stop getting on the computer altogether for her first few months of her pregnancy because of her morning sickness! So far, I’ve avoided that, but I am being careful, because there is the odd night when the thought of logging in game turns my stomach! And NOT because I hate the game.

Good news from Canada’s capital though: the bus strike over! We’re still figuring out the logistics because hubby’s bus still isn’t running (not til mid-March apparently, and some buses won’t get back til mid-April!) but for now, we’re trying a few different things so that I am not doing the commute from hell anymore. That’s a huge relief. First time in 62 days that I’ve been at work before 7:15 and I LOVE it. Whew. I might actually get back to the gym!!!

The sun is getting warmer, the snowpack on my lawn seems to be melting a bit and I have daydreams of swimming in my pool again before Petit arrives. I know that winter isn’t over yet and we’re sure to get a snowstorm or two for good measure as the season winds down and spring begins to grace our corner of the world. Still though, it’s nice to hope that it isn’t too far off. In the meantime, I’m thinking of the poor souls in Australia who are succumbing to the extreme heat there right now and I wish there was something I could do. My heart goes out to them.

My heart goes out to my hubby too. He’s been so good to me during this pregnancy. He’s made sure I don’t do any shoveling, or heavy lifting. He takes care to do my injections on time (I’ve decided to do the PIO every two days now). He makes the greatest meals and makes sure I’m comfortable. I love him so much. Last night, as I was drifting off to sleep, I opened my eyes and looked up at my husband as he was reading in bed. I remember reaching out to touch his arm and I murmured, “I love you. You’re going to be a great Dad.” I have total faith that I’m right on that one; he’s going to be the most amazing Dad. And I can’t wait to see it.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Onward and Upward!

Well... it's graduation day. Talk about a scary prospect, huh? We're officially done with the RE; today was my last appointment there and tomorrow is my first appointment with a regular OB. I'm terrified. No longer will I be handled with kid gloves. No longer will I get to check on Petit on demand. No longer will I have the weekly contact with the support network at that office, although they all made sure that hubby and I know that we can call on them at ANY point during this pregnancy, even if we are dissatisfied with how things progress with the new doc.

I know that it's good to graduate, but heavens, it's a little daunting. I've always said that I know how to handle infertility, but now that I'm pregnant (but certainly not fertile!), I'm sort of lost! I've begun reading a few books and apparently a few co-workers who know have started a pool as to whether I'll be having a boy or a girl! A little premature huh for someone who's just over 11 weeks!

So the stats from today:
My blood pressure was superb at 128/80.
I've lost 1.5 pounds over the last two weeks. (YAY!)
Petit's heart rate measured 168 beats per minute. Right on track.
Petit's crown to rump length is 4.08 cms. Exactly right.
Petit's gestational age is 10 weeks and 6 days. (+/- 5 days) Thus... perfect!
The placenta seems "well established" and situated on the anterior wall which the doctor says is great. He thought that I might be able to cut down or stop the PIO injections but I'd rather finish the prescription. I might start doing the injections every two days as of 12 weeks or so, to slowly wean me off them. That might be the way to go.

And Petit is a wiggler! We saw arms and legs moving all around today; it was tough to isolate a heartbeat because of all the movin' and shakin' going on in there! Amazing to watch, that's for sure. Incredible. Nothing short of incredible to me. See for yourself! Once again, hubby is a budding filmmaker. For your viewing pleasure, today's video from the ultrasound! And yes, that's my voice saying, "Kicking??"

To celebrate, I picked up an English Toffee flavoured coffee today; my first since early November! I savoured every last drop, believe me!

Would it shock you if I told you that I peeked at Babies R Us yesterday? I had an hour to kill before heading from my office to the downtown core to meet some good friends for dinner. So I stopped at Babies R Us and poked around. I confess, I ooohed and aaahed over the beautiful items. It's so nice to fantasize. I had to give a giggle; I gave my family the update from the appointment today and one of my aunts wrote back to me saying, "So when can I start to buy some stuff for Petit!?!?" God love my family; I think they're getting excited too!

One more thing of note: I spent a bit of time during my lunch hour being interviewed to contribute to the Expert Panel appointed by the provincial government to study Infertility and Adoption in the province of Ontario. Approximately 100 people were chosen to be interviewed; I feel I am blessed to explain why I feel infertility should no longer be a taboo subject in our society and why the powers-that-be ought to look at the financial costs, possible regulation of the industry and options involved in aiding the population of Ontario (and Canada in general) when it comes to assisted reproductive technologies (ART). We'll see where it goes... but I'm remaining hopeful. To the best of my knowledge, the province of Quebec is on the verge of offering financial assistance/insurance to residents for ART (depending on the circumstances) and if one province offers this type of aid, so too should all the others and insurance companies will be obligated to provide some funding as doing otherwise would be discriminatory.

Hey Gil, what's up with your Ticker Troubles?
For those who've been keeping an eye on the pregnancy ticker at the top of the page, I've just changed it. Why you ask? Well, here's the deal:

Health care professionals have a variety of ways that they estimate due dates. When you do IVF, there are three dates to consider.
- the date of your last menstrual period (LMP); normal pregnancies usually only have this date to work with as the exact date of ovulation/conception wouldn't be known
- the date of your egg retrieval (or ovulation date)
- the date of your embryo transfer

Obviously these dates vary, and thus, so too do the estimated due dates. So according to which method they use, I've had THREE various dates given to me as estimated due dates!

Going by my LMP, my due date is August 22.
Going by my egg retrieval, my due date is August 25.
Going by my embryo transfer, my due date is August 28.

I tend to give more credit to the egg retrieval date; my LMP was deliberately modified with BCPs and why on earth would the transfer date come into play at all? I'm curious about that; I mean, some people have 2 day transfers, some have 3-day transfers, others have 4- or 5-day transfers! What would that matter because the embryo was conceived on the retrieval date (or thereabouts) so I'm very confused about calculating by the transfer date!

Anyway, I've changed my ticker accordingly. And by my calculations, Vee dear, that means you and I are due on the same date! Gotta love the cycle sistas!

Congrats to...
Crossing my fingers that J.J. at Reproductive Jeans had a great day today and that her c-section went well with beautiful little Ron being welcomed into the world!

And best wishes to my RL friends, T and M in Montréal! After 16 hours of labour, T gave birth to their first child, a baby boy! *throws confetti* YAY!!! He was born on Tuesday, February 3 at 18:46, weighing 6.2 lbs and measuring 19.2 inches. Congratulations to them both!