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Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ Category

Last week, in the middle of all the hubbub of packing, we had our last doctor’s appointment in San Francisco.  The nurse practitioner asked if I had felt any movement from the baby yet.  I had not and she said not to worry, that it was still early.  I am currently at 15 weeks; fetal movement more typically occurs at 19 weeks or later, but sometimes mothers do feel movement a little earlier.

Today, I thought I felt a little movement.  It felt different, like a little fluttering in my abdomen.  Perhaps it was the baby moving?  Or more than likely, it was just gas.

That’s my deep thought for the day.

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Growing Rotund

At the end of a productive day of packing (thanks, Gail, for all your help!), seeing an old friend (thanks, Sam, for hanging out!), and ice cream (thanks, Al, for the Humphry Slocombe!), I am struck by this one predominant thought: I feel fat.

This is, of course, because of Beanie Baby and I feel no guilt for eating that ice cream, thank you very much.  But the increasing girth of my midsection is somewhat disconcerting and the tightness of my clothes is definitely uncomfortable.  The problem is I’m in that in-between stage, where I don’t really look pregnant, but I do look larger than normal, and most people are too polite to ask if I’m pregnant.  In other words, I look fat.

I have an “apple” body, which means I tend to gain weight in my midsection.   When I was 20 pounds overweight for most of last year (thanks to my stressful job), I looked about how I look now.  Last year, several people asked if I was pregnant and I had to cheerfully retort, “No, I’m just fat.”  One particularly clueless guy kept insisting that I was pregnant, even after I repeatedly told him that I was not.  (Note: Do not insist a woman is pregnant after she tells you she is not.  This is very rude.)  

I did lose quite a bit of weight before getting pregnant and now I am gaining it all back.  It’s all for a good reason, I know, and I must remind myself of this.  But being overweight is a fairly recent memory, which felt very similar to these ill-fitting clothes and protruding belly.  Though I must admit, the pregnant belly jiggles a little less than the fat one did.  

Will only grow bigger in the next six months.  Aiya.  Hubby says I’m glowing.

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Cravings

Many pregnant women have food cravings, though these cravings seem to be very specific to certain foods: ice cream, hot dogs, croissants, pizza, etc.  I seem to have multi-ethnic, equal-opportunity cravings, including the following:

Pho
Refried beans & rice
Hummus
Ramen
Curries
Fish tacos
Waffles

Mostly I’m just starving all the time.  I’m thankful that I have an iron stomach and haven’t had too much nausea.  But the hard thing is I’m not really able to plan meals in advance because my craving will change from moment to moment.  It feels out of character for me to be so flighty.  

Hubby says I’ve been noticing pink things more often.  And last week, I did get weepy watching an episode of “Supernanny.”

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Preggers, finally.

I am presently 12 weeks and 5 days pregnant.  The first trimester has been mostly nausea-free, though I do feel exhausted often and feel like this baby is sucking the marrow out of my bones.  So I nap a lot.  And I pee a lot too.  

Baby Bean in utero, 12 weeks, 5 days

Baby Bean in utero, 12 weeks, 5 days

I’m 40 years old.  My darling hubby and I conceived naturally, after 18 months of trying.  We had to switch OB/GYNs once (the first one was pretty clueless and wanted to shove me off to IVF immediately because of my age).  My current OB diagnosed me with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) after an ultrasound examination and put me on metformin to regulate my blood sugar.  I then went through 4 cycles of Clomid, 3 cycles were monitored, and we still failed to conceive.  

At this point, we were referred to a fertility specialist, who recommended we try IVF with ICSI (that’s when they inject the sperm directly into the egg), because hubby was having some issues too.  They would pump me full of drugs, harvest my eggs, inject them with hubby’s sperm, implant 2 or 3 embryos in my uterus and hope that one of them stuck.  They gave us a 25-30% chance of success, given my age.  The procedure would cost us $13,000.  

This was all very discouraging, of course. The entire process was completely devoid of soul.  I felt very uncomfortable with it.  The fertility clinic, while warm and friendly, was treating my body like a machine.  It’s a business to make babies, and big business.  To me, this just felt wrong.  We were talking about bringing a child into the world, not a widget.  

I told hubby I wanted to take a break from the fertility clinic.  I wanted to take a step back and evaluate the process, consider my infertility issues and my health as a whole.  We would have to face the possibility that we could not conceive and have a biological child.

The main thing about “Advanced Maternal Age” (which is over 35) is the question of egg quality.  The older you are, the older your eggs, the more exhausted your egg reserve.  It makes you feel mortal, which I suppose isn’t a bad thing, but it was greatly disappointing to face the possibility that we couldn’t have a biological child.  We had always talked about adoption (and still hope to adopt!), but the inability to conceive was a loss we would have to grieve.

Around this time, I started to see an acupuncturist and do my own research about infertility.  I came across The Fertility Diet, published by Harvard Medical School, which addressed diet issues regarding PCOS.  Basically, the research encourages a low-glycemic diet to help control blood sugar issues.  I also read a book called Fertility Wisdom, which outlines the role of traditional Chinese medicine (chi, blood flow) in conception.  This latter book was a little woo-woo, but I liked the more wholistic and spiritual approach it took towards conception.  The philosophy was that we could not control whether we got pregnant or not, we could only prepare my body to invite a child into our lives. 

I definitely needed to lose weight; I had gained about 20 pounds thanks to the stress of my previous job as the executive director of a non-profit.  I put myself and hubby on the fertility diet and exercised more.  I lost 18 pounds.  Hubby lost 20.  I was ovulating naturally, without the aid of drugs, for the first time in years.

Three months after starting acupuncture, diet and exercise adjustments, we conceived.  40-year-old eggs.  Miracle baby.

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