Switching to Heparin

A few years ago I discovered that I have Factor V Leiden, when I had a DVT in my left leg. That was fun. After a few days in the hospital and a few months of recovery, I went back to my normal life. Until that fateful day last summer when I peed on a stick (and found myself just a wee bit pregnant), Factor V and I haven’t really kept in touch.
After being officially declared knocked up by the medical profession, it was on to prophylactic Lovenox shots (blood thinner). One daily. I distinctly remember griping about having to shoot up on a daily basis with that tiny needle, and feeling plenty sorry for myself in the process. Especially those days when I jabbed a vein and earned a nice bruise for it.

The basics of a "bruise yourself" kit

The basics of a “bruise yourself” kit

OB initially suggested taking me off Lovenox for 24 hrs come week 39 and immediately induce. I’d prefer to let labor start naturally if I can, so we agreed that I would switch to Heparin (another blood thinner), with twice a day injections. Heparin gets out of your system faster, so if anything comes up or starts early, my treatment options are better.
The doctor held to his bargain of twice a day – but upon reviewing doses and syringes, it became evident that I’d have to do two shots, twice a day.  Doc conveniently let the pharmacist break the news to me, but with 7500 units a day, in syringes that only hold 5000 units and needles that dull after drawing up & one stick through my lizard skin – it was the only option.  Well, I lie. My other option would be using a larger syringe with a sewer pipe sized needle. Oh. Hell. No.
The heparin needle is quite a bit larger than the pre-filled Lovenox, and the first couple of days I didn’t exactly feel like an expert drawing up and injecting, but as with everything you get used to that fast. What I’m not getting used to is the size of the needle, and just about every stick yields bleeding and bruises. Thankfully I have outgrown anything with a proper waistband, and my soft, oversize yoga pants don’t irritate too bad.

18 more days…  not that I’m counting down or anything!!

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Oh hey look…

I still have a blog!

I’m glad WordPress graciously allows for slacky bloggers, because I’ve certainly been one recently.
Not that there hasn’t been plenty going on, because when you are about 9 months pregnant, life is just full of excitement and thrills, hormones and mood swings.

Odds are most of the stuff going on with my bodily functions are interesting only to me, but for posterity I shall put them down on paper. Screen. Because maybe one day when the hormones sober up, I’ll want to go back and read it with a clear head.

First up, I went for gestational diabetes testing, and flunked that with style. Turns out you can projectile vomit that orange sugar testing liquid they give you quite a distance. Even someone such as myself, with a proven record as a neat and mess-free morning sickness puker.  Many apologies to the cleaning crew at the lab for hosing down the tiles. I tried to wipe most of it up but the grout wasn’t looking so hot.
I was pretty devastated with the outcome, but a good buddy of mine who is diabetic lent me a blood glucose meter and trained me up in the works. As it turns out, my blood sugar is boring as hell and by producing a glucose log at the next doctors appointment I was told to monitor only fasting glucose and take it from there. I’ve remained predictably boring on that front too ever since.

Best get some work done now – but more catching up soon. Pinky swear and promise.
 

Stuff, stuff and more stuff.

No denying that with new babies come new needs, and new stuff. Especially when it’s the first baby in the family.
Cribs, changing tables, clothes, scrubs, wipes, car seats, strollers to just name a few.

I haven’t been around babies much and I really don’t have a great idea of what is necessary, needed or just nice to have. I go from being scared that I’m accumulating way to much stuff, to fearing that I won’t have bare necessities to keep an infant alive.  Also, before you tell me that “it’s all going to be fine”, you best remember that I’m about as full of pregnancy hormones as I can be, so I don’t have to make sense, be logical or any of that.

When I read this most excellent post by Joshua Becker of becoming minimalist over the weekend, it hit home. It was a really nice and subtle reminder that my own brand of minimalism is still an important ideal to me. With all the endless fucking cuteness readily available in baby-land, it is hard to not want one of everything. Ordinary items that are easy to pass up become irresistible once they’ve been embroidered with tiny ducks, frogs and monkeys.  Them marketeers certainly know how to make ovaries rip out a wallet and make a purchase.

But, for now I’m less critical of my stuff accumulation. I’m taking it easy on myself and allowing this once-in-a-lifetime experience to wash over me. I’m practicing ahimsa (non-harming) by being kind to my bloated self – and always continuing Svadhyaya (self-study).

And on the self-study front, I’ve had some unexpected breakthroughs.

  • I still think most all doctors are idiots, but I’m now allowing for the idea that they actually got into medicine for other reasons than to fuck me over – that simply comes as a convenient byproduct.
  • I’ve also accepted that hospitals need to cling to their stupid procedures because in the current system and political climate that is the only way they can operate without getting sued out of existence, and there are some nice people who work there. Again, fucking me over not the primary goal, just a happy coincidence.
  • I have also accepted that thanks to my FVL blood clotting stuff, old age and the preferences of a husband that loves me dearly, that giving birth in a hospital attended by an OB is the way to go. To minimize the “fuck me over” factor, we will have a lovely doula and a couple of select friends with us at the hospital.

And last big observation – it’s really not just me and the husband having a kid.  Granted, we get to be the stars of the show as mom and dad, but the participation of our families, close friends and really all the people in our lives have only added to the whole experience.  I resisted at first, but a couple of good friends knocked some sense into my head and now I wouldn’t have it any other way. This kid is going to grow up around some awesome people and personalities.

I’ve also knocked my head against some mild annoyance. Unsolicited, ridiculous advice tops the list, and then it’s always a matter of ideals or lifestyle that are so far from matching up with my own way of thinking that tend to trip me. Funny enough, most of the child rearing advice I get is from people who either have no kids or raised them 40 years ago. Relatively recent moms & and dads just pat me on the back and say “you’ll figure it out, we all do” and smile reassuringly.

I am now 6 weeks out from full term (of 40 weeks). Doctor initially wanted to schedule induction beginning week 39, but we hope to allow labor to start naturally, when the time is right. Come week 35, I’ll be switching from Lovenox (blood thinner) to Heparin, which has a shorter half-life in the body, in case labor starts early. Not really looking forward to stabbing myself twice a day, but oh well, for a most excellent cause. I feel so close in some ways, but I know the home stretch will be the hardest. Like any good endurance race, you’ll end up leaving it all out on the course and probably puke as you cross the finish line. Fine with me. I’m getting to be ready to meet the little monkey :)

Puttering along

So here we are, 29 weeks into the production.
11 weeks to go, give or take a couple, if everything goes according to plan – which I’m assured it almost never does, but it helps to have something to aim for.

Kid is trucking right along and seems to be hitting the major milestones of growing, kicking, punching and causing heartburn right on schedule. I can’t really say that the heartburn has been too bad though, only a couple of nights after eating Mexican food late in the evening. I learned my lesson on that one – Chili Verde is off the menu until April, no matter how tasty the damn thing is.

I’ve also made my way back into yoga with some renewed enthusiasm, after being lucky enough to be invited to take classes with the teachers of my teacher!  My teacher, Emma Tranter studied under Betty Larsen, who has studied directly under BKS Iyengar himself (and a host of others) and has over 30 years experience.  I’m super happy that they welcomed me in all pregnant and waddling, and I’ve really enjoyed getting a ton of tips on how to modify to accommodate the baby.  Prenatal yoga as presented in many online outlets hasn’t resonated with me, so being able to keep up my regular practice to a decent extent with those modification has been awesome. I still include inversions to a degree (with props and a spotter) and I swear the kid loves going upside down.  I had a pretty strong inversion practice before – but if you haven’t been kicking up into a handstand on a regular basis – pregnancy is not the time to start.

Being alignment yoga, there is naturally a lot of focus on the technique of the asanas (poses).  Betty also does an incredible job of getting you to approach your practice with your thought on the breath, and focus on the yamas and niyamas, with an almost meditative quality. Last week we went deeply into the groin area and the focus was on release. Us westerners tend to store a whole lot of tension in the hips and groin and runners/cyclists often add on top of that some imbalances specific to their sport.
Pregnancy comes with its own challenges – tilting of the pelvis, extra weight to carry and then in the later stages – the dance of the hormones to prepare muscles and ligaments for delivery.
For the groin class, Betty spoke about working the muscles of the groin in a manner of softening into release, and then release into opening. I can’t really think of a better mantra for birth than that one  – and if I can tame my breath and muscles to go with it, I hope it will allow me to be as relaxed as I can be.

 

 

 

Drizzly Friday

There are a lot of things to like about Florida in the summer – just about everything except the cursed heat that lasts forever. Since spring and fall are pretty nonexistent, it’s the winters that are my favorite. Especially when it gets cold (by Florida standards) and a little gray and dreary. The past couple of days have been excellent like that.

Today the me and the Bean start into week 28. The iPhone app says she’s now around the size of a “Chinese cabbage“. I have no idea what that is, but it resembles a head of romaine lettuce, just a little thicker. I guess this is this is the official start of the third trimester and that is a pretty exciting milestone.  I feel big and round already and I’m really not sure how mother nature plans on  packing another 3 months of baby-growing into my belly. Next up is a butternut squash, then large cabbage, a bag of oranges, jicama, pineapple and as of week 32 we start going through the melons. If I make it to 40 weeks, the grand price is a small pumpkin. Yikes.

Things are definitely getting a lot more real and I’m coming to terms with the thought that in a few not-so-short weeks, there will be a whole new little person in the world. I swing between excited and terrified. I’ve never been a baby-gaga person and I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t really have a clue what I’m getting into. On the bright side I have a great support network of friends and family that a) know what they are doing and b) are willing to lend a hand, so this should all work out somehow.

The Bean is coming along nicely I think, and is especially fond of kick sessions right when I’m ready to go to sleep. Watching my belly bop up and down from kicks and punches is getting to be my favorite part of this pregnancy, FAR more entertaining than nausea, insomnia, bloating, farting and all that other stuff.
And on that note, a swift kick to the ribs to remind me to get back to work.

Have a great weekend everyone!

 

Can you breathe?

People sometimes tell me that they are too stiff to do yoga. Usually they come to that conclusion after pointing out they can’t reach their toes. I’m not sure where, when and how the toe touching became the standard unit of measurement for your ability to do yoga, but it sure is out there.
We can probably blame the internet… somehow.

The interesting thing is that for a lot of us chair-bound-bum-sitting westerners, bending down from standing to touch your toes – with good form/alignment – can be a pretty advanced move. Especially for my athletic friends, the runners, swimmers and triathletes. The short hamstrings nation.  Now please note that running in and of itself does not cause short hamstrings, but improper running form and/or overload in training can surely contribute.
So why is it that the same people, who totally get that training and conditioning is required to run a sub 20 5k (that’s damn fast for you non-runners), don’t think that “training” yoga (aka practicing) would in a similar manner yield improvements? And maybe even one day a reunion with those elusive toes.

I’m not sure. Maybe they aren’t keen on yoga, and it’s a handy way out. Or maybe it’s the competitiveness that won’t allow them to come in and be beginners at something? There are many reasons for choosing not to go to class – but not being able to touch your toes shouldn’t be the one to keep you from practicing.

And maybe I’m just bitter about the toe thing because mine are gradually disappearing from view. Properly aligned forward bends are already a thing of the past, now modified heavily with a chair, and a block. Sigh. But – they still feel oh-so-good, and the little one starts kicking up a storm after a few standing poses – and that is fun :)

To conclude, you are not sure if you can do yoga or not, just ask yourself “can I breathe?”.  If the answer is yes, you are good to go :)

Halfway Hoopla!

Big day today – the 20 week mark!
Those 20 weeks have gone by both excruciatingly slowly and stupid fast at the same time.  And now it’s 20 weeks left, give or take a few days.

The changes in my body are becoming much more noticeable. In the past couple of weeks the belly has really taken off.  The “damn, somebody chubbed up” sideways glances have been replaced with the more gleeful “oh, there is a baby in there” looks. From other women that is, guys tend to be looking a little north of the belly where a good bit of expansion has taken place as well.
I have put away a lot of my clothes for the next few months, just crossing fingers that this pregnancy won’t turn me into an eternal hippo. The wardrobe theme is now “stretchy” and I’ve found that stretchy comes primarily in 3 colors: black, gray and hot pink, at least at or around my budget. So gray and black it is!

In the past few days, I’ve also definitely felt some strange sensations, flutters and stuff. I’m pretty sure that it’s the baby moving, but there is an off-chance that it could be some hellish gas fumes working their way around my innards, can’t ever quite rule that out. I’m pretty stoked to finally feel the movements. BabyCenter.com  says that most start feeling the baby between weeks 16 and 22, and notes that thinner women start feeling stuff sooner. I think they just subtly called me fat, but I can’t be sure. I’m going to be offended anyway although I’m sure this mini pumpkin muffin I have here should ease the hurt.

Stressballin’

Not sure why, but I’ve been a little wiggy lately.  Well actually that is horse shit, I know exactly why. There has been a lot going on, but like a good little westerner, I try to gloss it over, pull up the big-girl pants (getting bigger by the day) and troop on.

A couple of weeks ago I had a little tiff with my doctor, which ended with me firing his ass. Long story short, he casually presented me with results that were not mine and could have had dire consequences if they were. The whole conduct I found quite unprofessional and then in trying to see the actual results and setting shit straight, they were less than cooperative. This caused an incredible amount of stress for both me and presumably baby Bean, that was entirely avoidable. Over a week later and I’m still waiting for a callback from the office, despite following up several times. So, off with their heads – there is no chance that I want that doctor anywhere near me when it comes time for delivery. I’m on the hunt for a new OB now – the best in the world preferably, because I have a bit of a built-in distrust for the medical profession in general.
Husband gets 5 stars for his performance during the whole episode. While I turned into a blubbering sobbing mess that spent half a day crying at the dog park, he shook the network into action, got facts, lined up tests, brought me bubbly water with lemon and put the world right again. He’s going to make a great daddy.

Then a good friend had himself a little heart episode and is currently in the hospital getting that condition under control. He’s one of the lucky ones that actually had warning signals and heeded them, so everything looks like it will have a fabulous ending there. Phew.

So between those two big ones and a few smaller stressors, I must have let my guard down a little, because Nausea showed up again. She’s not as feisty as the first time around so thankfully I’m not feeling as dreadful.  Just shrunken appetite and predictable sink spewing – especially in the kitchen. I don’t know what it is about my kitchen sink, but it’s become my all-time favorite location for puking. Perfect counter height, great access to fresh water to rinse my mouth out after and a pleasant view out the kitchen window as I retch. So much better than using a toilet – I’m really surprised this isn’t covered in the pregnancy books.  And lo and behold, this time it’s true morning sickness, and I feel fine for the rest of the day.

Stock alert: Angel Soft on the rise

Or at least I imagine it should be.  That one, and the Publix Greenwise toilet paper that is my other staple go-to brand.  But I guess that would just raise Publix stock in general….  I’m not exactly a financial wizard when it comes to those pieces of paper.

But moving right along, into the TMI of the day. For my foreign readers, TMI stands for too much information, as in “I’m about to tell you something you’d really rather not know”.  So now that you have been sufficiently warned, you can either close this browser window never to return or read on at your own risk.

In my life, or at least as far back as I remember, I’ve been a neat pee-er. Like most females (there ARE exceptions, but those ladies are highly trained), I sit down to take care of business.  Then I pee in an orderly fashion, steady stream smack down the center of the toilet, wipe, close the lid (male readers: ask a female friend to demonstrate), flush and wash hands. Done.
If I’m in a porta-potty or a gnarly public restroom, years of swimming, biking and yoga have given me strong legs. I am able to hover beautifully over the opening for extended periods of time without ever touching the nasty seat, and STILL maintain an orderly flow without spraying the seat/walls/floors etc. Wrap-up procedure remains the same.

But now. Well, pregnancy has severely disrupted the process. I’ve sort of lost that precision if you know what I mean – the steady stream now more resembles a babbling brook. As a result, toilet paper use has doubled if not tripled and I can’t even imagine what would happen if I attempted the porta-potty squat.  Little by little this process is robbing me of every ounce of dignity I’ve ever had. The crazy part is that I’m loving it.

Snot on

14+ short weeks ago, when that sperm met that egg, the pregnancy gods were having party. Of the rowdy kind, doing shots of tequila, having fun and feeling generous. And in their infinite kindness and through their drunken haze, they bestowed on me the Deluxe Supreme All Options Included Pregnancy Package. At no extra charge.

By now, I think I have finally left the puking days behind me. My constant companion, Nausea, has been faithfully by my side through thick and thin. A few days ago I was sure I could feel her grip starting to slip, and momentarily rejoiced.
Then I started sneezing and soon sensed the snot factory kick into action. Ahhhh I thought to myself, just a little fall cold, I can handle that – piece of cake compared to puking, right? Wrong.
Not a fall cold, not allergies, not just a little dust up my nose. It’s ANOTHER SNEAKY DAMN SYMPTOM of pregnancy, that fails to be widely publicized. The literature chalks it up to hormonal changes causing additional blood flow to mucous membranes. That, combined with added blood volume, causes the lining of sinus/nasal passages to swell and sometimes restricting the airflow. There is even a fancy term; Pregnancy Rhinitis. The good news is that although it can last for the entire pregnancy it should clear up right after delivery.
Even if I’m not experiencing a runny nose – only congestion and sinus pressure along with mad backwash, I am not feeling particularly grateful. My mood is more along the “pissed” and “where the fuck is my blissful 2nd trimester” lines.

Damn you, Estrogen and your skanky hormonal cohorts. And again Evolution – what the fuck? Taking the whole survival of the fittest a bit far, aren’t we?