What to Expect When You are Not Expecting

My adventure of getting pregnant over 35 starting with clomid

What if? September 1, 2010

I feel like the guinea pig of natural products and home remedies for pregnancy related issues.  I will try anything.   I must tell you that a lot of them are just not working for me.  When I found out I was pregnant at thirty seven I knew that I was already at increased risk for genetic issues just because of my age and wanted to try to keep things as basic and as natural as possible.   We are so fortunate that thus far all of our genetic screening has come back positive- so far so good.  Unfortunately this isn’t the case for everyone.  I  have a family member who is autistic that has really given me a different perspective.  Her family has some very strong beliefs on diet and vaccines and shared a lot of information with me that I had previously been unaware of.  I know that there are a lot of controversial theories out there and even though I am not sure where I stand on all of them it is definitely on my radar screen because I am in a high risk category.   There does seem to be a common opinion that there are an increased number of children diagnosed with it.  Even though I am not certain, I don’t take any of the information lightly when thinking about my pregnancy and how I want to raise my own children.

What I have found out is that there is no right answer.  There aren’t a lot of facts because women do not want to sign up for scientific studies when they are pregnant- no one wants to put their pregnancy at risk- so a lot of research is done on animals and what is “considered” to be safe and what should be avoided is not absolute.  Personally I am a  “what iffer”.  Tylenol is considered safe- but what if it isn’t?  High fructose corn syrup and unnatural sweeteners like aspartame are said to be safe by most- but what if it isn’t?  Benedryl was once considered not safe but now is…but what if it really isn’t? Many holistic practitioners would recommend otherwise.  The information is so confusing!  I mean my god it was once acceptable to drink and smoke when you were pregnant!  I think every expectant woman and mother needs to do what she is comfortable with and that is the right thing to do.   For me I am trying to find a balance.  Do I eat everything organic?  No.  (wish)-  do I have high fructose corn syrup from time to time?  Yes but I try to avoid it.   Will I take a sip of a diet coke every once in greatwhile-  sure but no more.  In the case of medication I am not there yet- I am scared to ingest anything other than my PNVs-  Tylenol, prescription pills, herbs you name it.   I may be making this pregnancy harder than it needs to be in dealing with these maladies…but I just keep thinking what if?  I can deal with a lot to keep this baby healthy.  I realize that I am the extreme and am totally ok with it.  I figure though that I should use some of my crazy for good and put the word out on some of the products and remedies that I have tried during the second trimester so far:

  1. Burt’s Bees- Sun block and After Sun-  – not so much-  they seemed to work as a sunscreen but would not absorb into the skin.   Acne solution did not work for me at all.  Hand Cream-  smell you later-  not really a fan of any of these products- wish I was because they are everywhere!
  2. Yoga – Helps with back pain, and relaxation.  Would recommend Yoga for Pregnancy DVD but hey I started out already enjoying yoga.
  3. Jane Iredale –  Cleansing Mitt-  Sucksville.  Their claim- it is supposed to clean your skin without soap and thus no chemicals.  The fact- I tried this for a few days and immediately broke out.  Say hello to the new heater on my chin!  It is also hard to get the make up off the mitt.  The solution- it does remove make up effectively so I think I am going to use it for that only but not regularly.
  4. Simply Divine Botanicals- Amazing.  Their claim- chemical free skincare- The fact- ingredients are natural and they work.   I have oily skin and use the following:  You Can’t Zit Here – AM and PM- Pack Your Bags- Skincredible (daily)- Baby Face- every other night.   I will use these long after I am pregnant.
  5. Moroccan Method Shampoo and Conditioner- hates it- it was like washing my hair with dirt.  It did not feel cleaned or conditioned afterward and took forever to dry.   It left my hair stringy and not very manageable.  I am so glad I got the samples only- because I will not use these products again.   The conditioning spray was ok but not great.  I am sticking with ABBA- still a few chemies but vegan and much more accessible- you can get it at Ulta.
  6. Bare Escentuals Vs Jane Iredale Make Up-  I have now used both products and don’t really notice a big difference in the foundations except the Jane is much more expensive.    Jane Iredale Lip Gloss however is amazing and lasts a lot longer than BE that is a keeper.
  7. Avalon Organic Soap- has some chemies but still gives a lather and smells good.  I will continue using this until I find something better- available at Trader Joes and Whole Foods and not too expensive.
  8. Salt water rinse – supposed to help with bleeding gums and sore throat- been doing this the last few days….seems to help a little but not a cure- will continue and keep you updated.

So what works for you?  Tell me the good the bad and the ugly – anything helped you with stretch marks or what about the god awful swelling I keep hearing so much about?  I would love to hear any suggestions from real people- not the paid advertisements I read online all day- what is the skinny?

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Playing the odds- this isn’t Vegas baby! August 2, 2010

When will it ever end?   I have not been a very good blogger these past few weeks but I must say that I am getting my ass kicked by a peach!  As you might have guessed the baby is the size of a peach now and where as I had a string of good days yesterday was another one spent on the bathroom floor.  I thought this was supposed to be ending soon.  I guess not.  I know you are all dying to know what I have been up to since I have been so delinquent in my writing the past few weeks.  My business has been extremely busy and I have been having out of town guests the last few weeks.  My sister in law was in town for a conference so we got to have dinner dates throughout the week.  Beyond enjoyable!  She is so good to talk to and down to earth and we went to some of my favorite restaurants in the city.  Also did some shopping which was fun for her….me not so much.  Still haven’t figured out dressing for pregnancy yet but definitely did not enjoy trying on clothes that I couldn’t get over my gi-normous boobs.  I think it is def time for a new bra.  It was great to talk to her because she has two amazing little girls and has been through this.   She is also realistic about what pregnancy is really like and it was great to ask her questions about what she went through.  The day she left we had some friends over to round out a delightful weekend.  They were so cute and excited and it was great to talk to them as well.  She is a PA and had some interesting perspective regarding c-section over natural birth.   I will definitely be exploring this as we go along so more to come on what she told me are the benies of c!  I was feeling ok most of the week but it hit me like a ton of bricks after everyone left and then I was down for the count Sunday night.

We had some very exciting doctor’s appointments last week.   We had our 12 week check up at the doctor.   It’s funny but I search and search online and can never find information on what to expect during our doctor’s visits.   So for those of you wondering I will give it to you strait up….what happens during the 12 week appointment?   Not much.  The usual….pee in a cup and then meet with the doctor to review any tests/questions, kind of not so interesting. We went over most of our questions in the last appointment so nothing too exciting there.  The doctor did use the Doppler machine to play the baby’s heartbeat for us but I am a visual person and really didn’t get as much out of that as I do in an ultrasound.  It doesn’t really sound like a normal heartbeat like you would expect- sounds more like wings flapping.   What we did discuss during the appointment was genetic testing.   I need to step on my soap box here for a minute…  I can’t believe how the odds change for Down syndrome once you hit 35.  So many people kept telling us oh- it’s no big deal to have kids when you are older and you aren’t really at any more risk.  This is not true- the odds change significantly every year after you turn thirty five.   Had I known this – there are definitely things I would have done differently- primarily with getting a new doctor much sooner after my miscarriage and not taking his advice on waiting it out.   I didn’t have the time!  It upsets me dearly how poorly he managed our case and his lackadaisical approach had us waiting almost a year to get pregnant again.  It doesn’t sound like a big deal but it is if you look at the numbers it is.  At age 36  the chances are roughly 1-329 and at age 37 they are 1-259 when you get to 40 it is roughly 1-150 so time is of the essence here.  Something to think about.

So let’s talk about genetic screening.   If you are over 35 you are automatically offered it.   We decided to take it because we both felt that it would be great to know that everything was ok.  Let me just tell you it is a downer and awesome all at the same time.  The downer part is all the facts and discussion surrounding what could go wrong- does anyone really enjoy that?  No.  Also we have a friend that was given a false positive and went through a lot only to deliver a healthy baby.   Knowing this is possible is kind of nerve wracking.  Now for the awesome part- you get to have an ultrasound at 12 weeks and it is amazing!   We could see our baby’s face, arms, and legs etc.   The baby was moving around and we could watch it all.  It was pretty unbelievable.   We also could see the heartbeat and in the still pictures you can actually see the nose eyes and almost all the facial features.  Granted they are a little alien like at this point but pretty remarkable none the less.  It looks like the baby is holding a microphone to sing- so cute!  I can’t even imagine what it is going to be like at 20 weeks but feel so lucky that we got to have a sneak preview.

So for the nitty gritty on what they do in genetic testing.  The first step is an ultrasound where they measure the baby’s spinal fluid.  Don’t freak out if the ultrasound tech won’t tell you anything during – ours wouldn’t – but take the time to enjoy the rest of the ultrasound it is magnificent.   Then you give some blood-  shocker it’s not like you aren’t a human pin cushion already- then they call you in to the little room to meet with a counselor.  The good news is you get the spinal results right away; ours were great which was a huge relief because the spinal portion counts for 70% of your screening results.  Phew- everything isn’t roses yet but we are definitely skewing in the right direction.  Then they basically just review with you how to read the test results that you will receive in the mail and tell you that if there is a concern they will call you.  If we have a concern our call will come today.  Given our 70% status I am sure we will be a- ok!

So I am starting my second trimester this week and allegedly will start feeling better.  As if I can believe that.   I had a great week last week and thought I was finally seeing the light.  Only to get my ass kicked yesterday after a fun weekend with my parents.  I still feel like crap today and can’t believe how bad I was yesterday.  It is a new kind of bad where I feel like I am going to pass out all the time and am nauseous.   My doctor gave me the Zofram and since I have been so anti drugs I am so hesitant to take it but if this continues I won’t have a choice.   It is bad and I think yesterday was one of the worse days I have had. None of my old tricks were helping, water, food – nothing.  Little Baby why you got to be so mean to me?  I am praying the pregnancy gods- please please make it go away!  Bring it on big belly- just take away the sickness already!