Archive for January, 2011


Friday, January 21st, 2011

We had our first “official” visit to our new doctor yesterday, and it was loaded with coolness, planning, and information.

Frank was with me this time, so he got to see Hokey & Pokey in action, and hear their quick little heartbeats.  I admit I cried a bit from all the awesome.  The doc put some images & video on a disc for us and we can bring that disc back every time & she’ll keep loading it up for us.  Yay!

Hokey and Pokey… 10 Week Ultrasound from Helianthus Photography on Vimeo.

I’m stunned at how totally organized and on the ball they are.  Both the doc and her assistant/receptionist are powerhouses and had everything I could possibly think of (and a whole bunch of stuff that I didn’t think of!) pre-prepared for us.  She already has us booked up with all the appointments we’ll need, straight through until April!  Since we’re having twins, we’ll get ultrasounds every month, which is fine by us.  We love to see our little wigglers.  The cervical cerclage (small surgical procedure to reinforce my compromised cervix) is booked for our anniversary on Feb 2, & I’ll probably take the next day off too.  Also, while she’s doing my cerclage, she’s going to do a PAP to make sure that my cancer is still gone.  A nuchal translucency scan & bloodwork is booked for Feb 7, my cerclage follow-up is on Feb 18, they’ll do a detailed ultrasound on March 25, and then a regular ultrasound on April 21.  May/June/July will also have regular ultrasound appointments, but they’re not booked yet.

Very interesting is that while we were there, the results of the blood they took on Tuesday came in.  They checked my blood type (my mom said I was O, but I didn’t know for sure), and it turns out I’m actually AB negative.  I don’t know much about blood/blood types, but apparently there’s also a thing called RH factor that is very important to know about when you’re pregnant.  Apparently, I’m RH negative… and although we haven’t checked him, if Frank was RH positive, Hokey and/or Pokey could be RH positive, and then my body might have an immune response to them, and essentially send antibodies to attack the babies’ red blood cells.  How screwed is THAT, eh?  Luckily, there’s a shot for this, so just before we left, the good doctor jabbed me in the butt with the reassurance that all will be well.

We hope you enjoy the little clip of Hokey & Pokey.  It’s a little fuzzy, and they’re still really small, but you get the idea.  They’re about the size of strawberries now. 🙂

Scary Weekend, Good Outcome

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Well!  It’s been an emotional couple of days.

I had a bit of a scare this weekend, with two episodes of sudden bleeding.  I knew “spotting is normal”, but it seemed like too much too fast to be “spotting”, even though it did stop on it’s own almost as fast as it started.  I didn’t want to be hysterical/paranoid, so I decided to wait & see if it happened again.  I knew there were lots of things that could cause a bit of bleeding, and it didn’t necessarily mean that anything was really wrong.  But even so, I blamed myself a little bit for jinxing it (by letting myself get excited about a baby shower), so between fear and guilt, I had a good ol’crying jag.  But the rest of the day was ok, and Sunday was ok, so I felt ok about not rushing to the hospital in a panic, and decided to wait until my scheduled doc appointment on Thursday this week.

But when it happened again on Monday night (last night), I decided that I’d call the doctor in the morning.

The receptionist was awesome, called the doc for me, and called me back within 10 minutes to tell me the doc says she’s not worried, everything is probably fine, but considering my history (being an IVF patient, carrying twins, and having had 2 leep procedures for cancer, etc), she thought we’d all feel better if I got looked at, so to head into the BC Women’s & get assessed.  Even better?  She’s the attending doc there today!

So, I went to the hospital, and they were totally prepared for my arrival.  They gave me the whole nine yards: blood, urine, ultrasound, and a look at my cervix.  The ultrasound showed some dark spots, likely to be subchorionic hematoma(s), and very likely the source of the sudden, short-lived bleeds.  (Subchorionic hematoma just means a blood clot under the placenta).  Even if I bleed a bit again, as long as it’s the same kind of thing as before, it’s totally fine.  The only thing I should get worried about is if I get tightening/cramping feelings (not the sharp pokey ones), in which case I should go to emergency right away.

Beyond that, everything is totally peachy.
Both heart rates are perfect, and they were both awake, so I got to see them both wiggling around.  They have little mitteny-hands 🙂

And, I love my new doctor, SO MUCH.  She’s so bright and clear, and yeah, totally cheerful, and clearly loves babies.  She was super awesome, very relaxed, great bedside manner, and was so NOT in a hurry about the ultrasound.  She hung out there with me for quite a while, both of us just staring & grinning at the screen, watching Hokey & Pokey wiggle around.

In light of my cancer treatments & compromised cervix, we talked about doing a cervical cerclage (a stitch that reinforces my cervix so it can’t open early), which I’m totally on board for, so she’s going to book me for that shortly and will do the procedure herself.

So, I’m not to do any more worrying, because everything is cool, and I’m to take it easy for a couple of days.

A Bit o’Sunshine

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

I was invited to a baby shower/blessingway thing for a friend of mine, which is really lovely, and I’m totally gonna go.  I haven’t been to one in a long time…I’d sworn off them because it was too hard for me emotionally.  I made the mistake of agreeing to host a blessingway a few years ago, and I spent half the party out on my patio, crying.  After that, I made excuses not to go because it was just too hard to pretend to be “ok” when I really, really wasn’t.  I felt selfish for not being able to get the hell over myself and go celebrate my friends happiness, but I also felt like it was unfair (to me and everyone else) to have me lie convincingly about being ok, just so as to not ruin their day.  Sounds complicated, but it’s all just part of the self-inflicted mind-fuckery of fertility troubles.

But now… well, it’s different now.  So I was thinking about that today.

I’ve been really bogged down by how bad I’m feeling physically, and really, I *am* happy and grateful, but it’s hard to be present in that when I feel like crap all the time.

So I took a moment to imagine forward to being at my friend’s shower, and then another one for another friend just behind her, and then another friend after that…. and knowing that now, I’ll have my own fullness and joy to bring there with me, instead of an empty womb full of sadness.  And I realized that after all of theirs, it’ll be time for mine – something I didn’t think I’d ever have.  Happy thoughts!

And then… I decided that I don’t want a baby shower or a blessingway for myself.  I often find them to be either cheesy, or stilted, or too gift-pressured.  I’m just HAPPY and I want to have a relaxed, happy day with my womenfolk, and be happy together.

So I decided that I want a shikhatt!

I want dolmades, tabouleh, and olives, and I want a roomful of women cracking jokes, making sexy eyes and doing pelvic drops. Yes!

Oh, what’s a shikhatt, you ask?

Well, in a nutshell, it’s a special thing at Moroccan celebrations,  commonly seen at weddings and childbirth.  A shikhatt is led by a woman (a sheikha), or a troupe of sheikas who come to entertain the celebrants.  Sort of like a halfa (Mid East dance party with food & belly dancers), but rowdier & with a mission.  The sheikhas are women of “worldly and carnal knowledge”, which they communicate through their bawdy songs and dancing.  The sheikha’s performance is not only to entertain, but also to coach a virgin-bride for the marriage bed, or a mother-to-be for the birthing room.  The very famous belly dancer “Morocco” (with whom I had the pleasure of taking a shikhatt workshop with a few years ago), wrote an article on it.  It can be found with some digging on her own site, or directly here.

If we have any “official” sheikhas in town, I don’t know of them, and I don’t feel I need it to be all official even if I did.  But I do know plenty of dancers, and I’d want a lot of them at my celebration anyway, so why not make it a fun thing?  I can’t think of anything better in the world than a feast of Middle Eastern food & music, and a crew of happy women dancing together. 🙂

Also, please enjoy some video reference. Great music too!

8 Weeks

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Happy New Year, everyone!  Hope you had a wonderful holiday and are jazzed for a fresh trip ’round the sun.

We haven’t met our new doc yet, or had another ultrasound or anything, but I thought I’d do a little interstitial post.

I’m still rockin’ some serious fatigue, but I’ve gotten a bit used to it now, and find it a bit easier to manage.  I’m not requiring epic mid-day naps at the moment, (which is GREAT), but I do run out of juice easily and spend most of my evenings on the couch.  So far, “morning sickness” still hasn’t kicked in, but I am experiencing “evening gross”.  Sometime around 6pm, I start feeling generally icky.  Not really barfy, just kind of unwell, a little braindead, and really heavy.  Thus the many evenings spent on the couch.

The part that really sucks though, is being at reduced capacity and not feeling like I can accomplish anything.  I’m used to being a rockstar, and now I feel more like a rock.  Part of it is the fatigue/energy thing, but it gets to be a vicious cycle too… the less I do, the less I can do.  Of course it’s important to get a bit of exercise during pregnancy, and I know that getting a little blood/oxygen going always improves feelings of wellbeing, energy etc… so I need to do it.  But everything is stiff and sore, and even though I try to make myself go for a little walk or a bit of gentle yoga, I still feel like a lump.  Last week, my dear friend & massage therapist gave me an outstanding treatment, and before I even got off the table, I felt awesome.  I was all buzzy and energetic, and felt like… well, I felt like myself.  It was GREAT.  I hadn’t felt that good since Friday sunrise at Burning Man.  And you know what?  It lasted about half an hour.  When that rockstar feeling slipped away, and I started feeling heavy and gross like I always do in the evenings, the depression that came with it was epic.  I felt like I was never going to be awesome again.  Yes, I know it’ll pass, but still…it sucks right now.  I try to strike a balance between being grateful, and validating my grumpy feelings.  Go me.

Haven’t had any cravings yet, but I have some pretty clear aversions.  I ate a piece of cheese the other day (that I’ve previously tried and liked), and I totally flipped out.  The taste got right up into my sinuses, like smoke – sort of how it feels when you eat too much wasabi.  Yeah, gross.  Not eating that again.  Also?  Fresh basil.  Put some in my Vietnamese noodle soup the other day and thought I was going to hurl.  The smell was nasty to me, but the taste was even worse – I couldn’t finish my soup!  And I can smell everything.  I can’t wear my perfume right now, partially because even just a little bit smells too strong to me, but mostly because it’s an oil-based scent, and although I didn’t ever smell it before, I can smell the slightly off-ness of the oil which makes me gag.

But perhaps the most odd, and unfortunate newfound aversion, is this:  Zombies aren’t funny anymore.  I mean WTF?  I *love* zombie movies, am very entertained by zombie paraphernalia, have had a most excellent time dressed up as one, and even have awesome recurring zombie “dreams” that aren’t really nightmares, because really, zombies are pretty funny.  We discovered this by deciding to start watching Walking Dead, which we’d been really looking forward to.  We got not-very-far-into the first  episode, and I got all squirmy, my “evening gross” got even worse.  I figured out pretty quick that it must be a pregnant thing, which I can understand, but it’s still a bummer.   I made a deal with Frank to keep watching it, with the agreement that if it gets too much for me, we can shut it off.  Yeah, lame.

So that’s all the fun symptom-news.  Next update will likely be related to an ultrasound or something 🙂