Thursday, February 24, 2011

persona non grata

I am 15 weeks today!  I had my two-weekly ultrasound, and the cervix is nice and stable, 3.8 cm with no funneling (no opening at the internal os, the top of the cervix).  This was good news.  The baby's sex was not visible since the umbilical cord was between the legs.  I think I will get another chance to look at my 20 week scan in Vancouver.

On the minus side, it felt to me like the ultrasound department were always a little cold with me, and I told my OB that I feel like they dislike me intensely over there.  He talked to them yesterday and was told that the whole ultrasound department thinks I am snooty and conceited and feel so uncomfortable with me that only one ultrasound tech has ever agreed to do my ultrasounds, the others all go hiding when my turn comes.  The good thing is that I am not becoming schizophrenic, there is a reason for my paranoia.  The bad news is... that we seem to be back in kindergarden, hello!  I unfortunately don't know whom to approach about this thing, since nobody said anything to my face, it is all behind my back like good ol' honest people.

I am not even going to mention how weird this whole thing is.  I am always friendly when I go over there, I mean I often work in the hospital and hence make small talk and say hi and smile and all that in all the departments.  However, I guess I am always very scared when I go for the ultrasounds, for fear of bad news (i.e. cervical changes) and that must be what they are picking up, being my extreme tension.  One would think that, as health care providers and generally human beings, they would have some compassion for my situation, but hey no, let us all gang up on the one person that seems to be distant and makes us feel uncomfortable because she is certainly doing it on purpose and needs to be taught a lesson.

How very very disappointing.  And then again, life is like that.  I try to tell myself that the only thing that matters is that babyH is snuggled safely in the uterus, but tonight I am tired and cannot seem to forgive and forget with my usual ease.  Perhaps a prayer and a good sleep will help me be more accepting of people's ridiculous pettiness.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

random things

Here is a list of random things that happened this week:
1.  a little white worm fell out of my sweater today when I bent down to tie my shoelaces.  I am hoping it came from outside when I was travelling in Vancouver (here at lots below freezing there are no worms outside).  It was quite dead.
2.  my parrot can poop once every 2.4 minutes, ten times in a row.  I timed him tonight.
3.  I ate a bowl of soup yesterday and immediately after taking the last bite the entire soup bowl came back up.  I promptly vomited the entire thing back into the same bowl, and it even had the same volume!  it would have been funny if not gross.  Soup anyone?
4.  this weekend I injured my esophagus while vomiting and drooled for a whole night, could not swallow my own saliva because a painful swelling started developing in my throat.  That was scary.  I even woke up MrH and asked him to take me to the hospital, to which he told me to just relax, turned over and snored some more.
5.  but at least he cleans up my many bags, bowls and various containers of vomit.  He is a keeper!
6.  I have gained a grand total of 1 lb during this pregnancy.  With Adrian I had gained 14 lb or so by now.
7.  MrH felt the baby move yesterday.  He is quite obvious now.
8.  Tomorrow my OB will try to guess the sex of the baby if it visible on the ultrasound.  I am SURE that it is a boy.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

One hundred days of pregnancy

Today I celebrate my hundredth day of being pregnant with babyH.  A lot of miracles had to take place for this to happen.  The conception itself was a miracle, and something that we were certain that would not be possible four years ago when we got married (when we got married, MrH and I were absolutely sure that we could not have biological children together, and hence explored initially the donor route, until miracle worker no 1, my RE at the IVF clinic, tried a certain new technique that, to our great surprise, worked well both for Adrian and for babyH).  So, it is a miracle that the embryos were conceived to begin with.

It is also a miracle that I got pregnant, after one year of trying and not succeeding, and then another year of trying and not succeeding after losing Adrian.  Every pregnancy is a miracle, but even more so for a woman like me who does not get pregnant easily.  But the thing that brings me the most hope and that I find the most miraculous is the trans abdominal cerclage, which nobody else wanted to give me except for my OB, miracle worker no 2.  He has disregarded the MFM suggestions for another TVC and went ahead to do a procedure that he had not really done before as a preventative measure, and only once as a rescue measure.  I will never forget that he did this for me when no one else would, following his belief that in my case it was the right thing to do, and his instinct that it would work better.

There are other things that bring me hope as well.  Living in a world where all of this is possible, the IVF, the operations, the surrogacy that I might go to if this does not work.   So many possibilities that would have not been there for me in another time and place.  If I were born 100 years ago, my life would have consisted of getting pregnant and miscarrying at 18 weeks every time, and going over and over through the first trimester extreme nausea and vomiting that I go through.  Possibly 20-30 times.  Unless I were dealing with a bit of infertility then as well, to give me a break from that kind of miserable existence.

I feel lucky and blessed on a very deep level.  Seeing my husband's happiness and love for babyH adds to the long list of blessings.  I am full of hope at this point in my life, and it is not just the pregnancy that gives that hope to me, but also the long list of wonderful people that have supported me and did their best.  I could have never done this by myself.  I truly takes a village to make babyH.

I am entering the blog hop that Francesca started, for talking about what brings us hope.  I did not put down so many other things that give me hope, this is only a small list, but in reading the other ladies' posts I find similar feelings, so between all of us we will create a clearer picture of the complex tapestry of hope in our lives.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I am going through a rather stressful time at work, and that is why I am not very active on the blog at this point.  I am still working full time, and will likely have to cut back a lot or perhaps stop altogether at around 18 weeks, if my cervix is shortening on the ultrasound.  The OB said that it almost always does, although he did not know if with a TAC things will be different, given the fact that he hasn't done one preventatively before.  We'll have to live and see.  On the one hand, the situation at work is taking my mind completely off the pregnancy, and hence I don't have much time to worry about my cervix, on the other hand, I am starting to feel better from the nausea point of view and hence I hardly ever think about my pregnancy during the day.  I found myself running upstairs two steps at a time, as I usually do, and that is probably no good for my uterus.  The OB said it should be ok, and that I should think of my cervix as competent at this point in time, but really, who knows when the IC will raise its head.

I need to remember, all through this stressful time, that the MOST important thing in life is the people around me, my husband, my baby, my family.  As long as they are well, nothing else really matters.  We can always live more modestly and cut back on things, the job, money and things are just changeable, variable, adaptable elements in our lives.  The only thing that will really matter out of this year is whether I have this baby or not.  The rest is fluff.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

a tale of two pregnancies

Seeing as I am approaching 14 weeks, I have started to think back more and more about my first pregnancy.  Last night, MrH and I were talking about how we feel about this pregnancy compared to the first one.  He is more excited.  I, on the other hand, must admit that I don't feel the same awe and amazement as I felt the first time I was pregnant.  Then, everything was new, and for the longest time I did not think that it would ever happen, so I was extremely amazed at every step.  It was a minute-by-minute miracle, until it ended.  This time, I did not have the same surprise and awe.  I kind of knew that I would get pregnant and at least get to mid-pregnancy like I did the first time.

That is not to say that I love this baby less, I have probably bonded with the little thing at least as strongly and even earlier than I did with Adrian.  But the love I feel is calmer, and the feelings are more peaceful and quiet compared to the fireworks that my first pregnancy was.  It is a bit like making love the first time, you remember it, but it is not necessarily the best lovemaking ever.  This pregnancy, although I had bad nausea and vomiting, I felt more at peace, less freaked out by my body changing, more able to predict what will happen, and more at ease.  I have also felt the baby move a lot earlier, and followed his development more keenly.  I have listened to his heart more often.  I have freaked out less when I was bleeding, and I had more confidence that it would end up ok.  I am definitely not in the least consumed with worries about delivery, or childcare, or my career afterwards.  I have a strength and confidence that I did not have before, knowing that I can survive a lot of trauma and still be ok.

My train of thought ended with another important point:  there will be amazement and awe in this pregnancy too if it continues to a point where the baby is viable.  I have never been more than 20 weeks pregnant, so every week beyond that point will be a brand new experience.  I have never been hugely pregnant with a baby that kicks very strongly and has palpable body parts.  I have never had a live baby to hold, I have never breastfed...all of that will be new and amazing.  So, there is time for more miracles.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Tripe soup obsession

I have been absolutely obsessed with tripe soup for the past month or so.  It is all that I want to eat.  Last week I went to Vancouver and of course mom made me a huge pot of tripe soup, which I ate daily and packed the leftovers in my clothes luggage to take home on the airplane.  I mean, anybody who knows anything about me and my clothing relationship understands what a big obsession this must be if I am willing to spill soup over my precious cashmere sweaters.  It didn't matter, I took the soup home, it reached destination safely, and I had a small amount of it every day, until yesterday it was all GONE!  That was definitely a point of crisis for me, as I still only want to eat tripe soup and nothing else.

So I went through town looking for tripe.  For those of you who don't know what tripe is, here is a picture.  It is stomach tissue from cow or sheep, more frequently from cow.   It is quite a specific Romanian dish, and not even all Romanians like it, in fact it is safe to say more than half probably don't, and my mom is one of them, despite the fact that she makes a rocking tripe soup.  But fortunately for us, displaced Romanians, the Chinese population in Vancouver has some sort of use for it, so we buy it plentifully and wonderfully pre-cleaned of its membranous covers at the Asian Supermarkets.  My little town has a butcher shop and three supermarkets, none of them Asian.  The butcher shop at least heard of tripe, but I don't think he ever had any in stock.  The supermarket people looked at me a bit strange, trying to figure out if it is my accent or if I am truly mad, and then told me innocently that they don't know what tripe is.  I didn't want to risk explaining too much out of fear of being an outcast in society, even more than I am after the aspic story.

So I did the unthinkable:  I made tripe soup without tripe.  And, aside from the fact that it lacks the...main ingredient, it turned out a pretty nice rich soup that can keep me going until I get some shipped express from Vancouver, or until I find a nice cow willing to donate one of her many stomachs for a good cause.

In case anyone wants to know, here is how you make it:  Clean the tripe.  It takes forever, so rather buy it cleaned.  Boil some bones, preferably legs that make the soup gelatinous, but any bones will do, with some meat on them, I chose cow (to keep the theme going).  Boil them and boil them until the water goes down a bit (2 hours).  Add one onion, one carrot, one parsnip, and one potato.  Boil those too.  When soft, blend them and add them to the soup, take out the bones, separate the meat and put it back in the soup, add salt.  Then, the tricky part:  take two eggs and beat them a bit, add 2 tbsp vinegar and 1.5 cups of sour cream.  Mix the whole lot well, and, with the soup off the heat (but still hot) mix this egg-sourcream blend into the soup, constantly whisking.    DO NOT BOIL again afterwards, or the egg will curdle.  Then, take two cloves garlic, smash them, and put them in a sieve in the soup for a while, until the soup smells garlicky, then chuck them (keep the sieve though).  Eat the soup hot, with vinegar mixed in and a bit more garlic if you're not married to my husband, who has a sensitive olfactory system.

It is so good I could die.  And, even without the tripe, I had three servings today.  I think I will eat it non stop until it is done.  Sooooo happy!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


I had my scan today again, and the cervix seems stable.  It was a weird experience, because the tech measuring it here in my home town gets a consistently lower number than the obstetrician that measured it in Vancouver.  He got 4.5 cm one week ago, and she got 3.5 cm two weeks ago, and 3.25 cm today.  I think she is measuring it from the level of the cerclage, not from the internal os.  There was no funneling and the dark spot at the top of the endocervical canal has filled out with mucus, although it is still mostly dark, but dark-grainy instead of dark-watery.

The tech was extremely nervous, and I don't think I helped matters by insisting that the measurements be taken transvaginally (i.e. with the dildocam).  It is not because I am a perv, although sometimes after so much abstinence I wonder, but because the measurements are a lot more accurate transvaginally than transabdominally.  Not to mention that the requisition says transvaginally as well.  The requisition is also unclear in that my ob started writing "monthly" then in the next sentence wrote "every 2 weeks".  I believe the correction coincided with my threatening to slash his tires or my wrists if I don't get to see my cervix with my own two eyes every one to two weeks.  We settled on two weeks, that is called negotiation under duress.   However now the tech is confused reading the paper, and was probably happy not to have to see my vagina again for a whole month, but hey, that did not happen, because my shrill panic filled voice boomed from the table with the mantra "every two weeks" which I am reciting in my sleep, along with "transvaginally" for when I really can't get into a proper meditative trance.  The price I will pay though is that transvaginally they can't see the baby after 17 weeks.  I told her something that came out like "I don't care about the baby, only about the cervix".  I think she must have thought I am nuts.

BabyH says hi.  He has long legs.  I showed the picture to a friend and he said he looks just like his mother, with an empty transparent brain (pointing to the large ventricles).  Yep, the wind does blow through my brain nowadays indeed.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

NT scan

I only have my ipad here and I can't type all that well on it so it will be a short post. The NT was brilliant, babyH is the next future genius of the century for all we know, at least judging by the way he is hiccuping and playing with his hands. The NT itself was 1.3 or something like that, and they measured a whole lot of newer markers like the nasal bone, the ductus venosus flow to check for tricuspid valve regurgitation, and the heart rate. Put together the markers are 97% good at picking up abnormalities I think, I appologize about not paying much attention to these details but I was much more concerned with my cervical length. I laughed with the genetic counsellor that I must be the only patient that comes for a nuchal translucency test and in fact only cares about her cervical length. But I was happy to hear that it was 4.5 cm wih no funnelling. The dark spot in the endocervix was still there but the doc today thought that it was mucus, or minor inflammation from the cerclage, although he said that he does not really know what it is but it did not look scary to him. Yay for the long cervix, that grew 1 whole cm in the past 2 weeks.
Overall I was very impressed with PCRM and with the knowledge of this doc that does the scans, he is only one of four in Canada that does all these markers, and is starting to teach the Vancouver MFM guys. Speaking of MFM, it is time to rekindle the relationship and so I asked my GP to refer me again as they promised to hold my hand through this pregnancy and to do my detailed 20 week scan at BC Women's hospital, where they generally rock compared to any other place that I know. Plus, I smell more trips to Vancouver and extra ultrasounds in my near future...which is nice and reassuring. And if sh!t hits the fan, I will have a doc already familiar with my story that will be more willing to accept the transfer to BCWH given that I am already their patient.

Plotting and scheming along...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

curried bison

Quick post before I run to Vancouver for the NT scan.  I have been asked what is a curried Bison.  Here is a bison:

To curry him, you take a pound of his ground meat.  He might not let you, so it is advisable to kill him beforehand.  (Obviously we are knee deep into my non vegan days right now).  He has a nice lean meat that is considered very healthy.  If you live in Northern Canada, any small butcher shop will have bison meat already packaged for sale.  Heat oil in a skillet on medium, brown the meat, and then add 1 cup of water in which you dump the following:  2 TBSP oil (grapeseed is good, olive is not), 1 tbsp curry powder (I get it from the Indian shops in Vancouver, so it's hot), salt, pepper, some Worscheshire sauce (sp?) and one teaspoon white vinegar, as well as (very important) South African Mrs Balls Peach Chutney, a large dollop.  Can substitute any other chutney, or simply some apricot jam, but it is not as good, however it works.  Then I add cubed potatoes or yams, and cubed carrots, and I let it simmer until soft and fragrant.  Serve over rice or quinoa.

Delicious.  Same recipe works well with beef and turkey, but we use mostly wild meat, so elk and moose and deer more often, it takes away the gamey taste.  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Hey, today for the first time in two months I had a moment...a brief moment...when I FORGOT that I was pregnant.  And it was quite amazing to realize that it was because I was feeling just normal, like I usually feel, full of energy and not nauseated one bit.  It did not last long, and neither did the nausea-free period of time, but for the first time in two months I got to cook a real dinner, with Sczechuan green beans, and parbroiled yams, and oven-roasted butternut squash, and curried bison with quinoa.  It was delicious, and of course I started feeling ill just after eating, but that is now my new normal, and I must embrace it, especially since it looks like things are getting better.

During my brief moment of amnesia, I passed the box of pregnancy tests and thought "I wonder when I am going to pee on one of those again, as in, when is my next IVF?" and then I realized hey, I don't need to think about that at all... Life is good.  And, as usual, when life is good, and I don't have much to bitch about, my blog gets boring and I lost a follower today.  I hope it is related to my absolutely boring writing style as opposed to my leaving an insensitive comment on someone's blog, it is not unlike me to put my foot in my mouth.

Just yesterday I was re-reading an old post, one of my first, called "Advice-have you tried".  Oh, my, I seem so rude now when I look back.  I was very fed up with the world and in particular with the general feeling that I had that just because they had the good fortune of having a normal pregnancy and fertility, people seemed to think that they knew what I was doing wrong and they were doing better.  Perhaps fed up with the world looking down on me.  I don't know...I realize now and did then as well that people loved me and wanted me to succeed.  That is the tragic thing about infertility, it hurts not just the one affected, but everyone else around them too (albeit to a much lesser extent).

I am not completely out of that frame of mind, but I am much less edgy since finally something seems to be going right.  I have felt like a raw animal for a long time, wanting something very primal, to be pregnant and to have a baby, and having it go wrong so many times that it is almost unimaginable.  One year of infertility treatments, then pregnancy, then loss, then another full year of infertility treatments, with two chemical pregnancies thrown in for flavour.  Sometimes I tell myself that it is a wonder I did not isolate myself from the world altogether, and try to allow for my edginess and occasional rudeness.  Other times I really don't know, it's not like the world owes us anything, like patience, or understanding, or compassion.  I don't know if I did as well as society would have had me do, but I certainly know that I did as well as I could, and that has to be enough because there is nothing more.