Friday, February 27, 2009

Note for Rachel

Hi, Rachel! Can you send me your email? I'd love to be able to respond to you other than through posts. I know that you sent it at one time, but I'm not sure which one it is.

Have a great day, everyone!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

13 weeks, 0 days: Into the Second Trimester!

Mmmmmmmmmm. Life is good. Very, very good.

The above translated: We had our first visit with our midwives!!! Yes!!! At last!!! It was like coming home after a long, long time away. I have missed those visits horribly! There's nothing like it in the world. I'm just bummed that it's another month before our next visit! But I mean to savor every moment of this pregnancy, and I don't want to rush it (now that I'm feeling a wee bit better, that is!). But after hanging out in doctors' offices so much, it was just great to be back home.

In fact, I have sometimes contemplated lifelong childbearing just to be able to continue our visits with our midwives! Two problems, though. #1 - the everlurking threat of HG, #2 - the fact that I don't want a big family (in fact, I find the thought of two children to be overwhelming!). I adore being pregnant, but a big family is not something I deeply desire. Otherwise, I might just do it so we could spend time with our great midwife team!

Here is our midwives' webpage, just for fun (and I know that all of my readers have prenatal care providers they love, so please know that I'm not trying to win converts!):

Global Midwifery Homepage

I would also post Wendi's page from Arizona Midwives, which featured a picture of Wendi holding DS a few moments after his birth, but upon visiting the site I find that it is being reconstructed and is mostly unavailable. Next time!

We were also able (easily, this time) to find baby's heartbeat!! Hurray!!! Despite being wildly pro-life, I still have a feeling of unreality about pregnancy until that magical moment, and it was just great. Much different from last time. Last time, I'm afraid to say, I was too stinking sick to really care. It wasn't a big deal. This time, feeling better and having brain-space for thoughts other than "I want to die!", I was absolutely ecstatic. Hurray!!

Today we officially enter second-trimester land, a big land-mark for me. Of course, the concept of trimesters is a completely artificial human construct - but it still is a big deal! I am so thankful to be past the first part, even though I'm still feeling yucky (expected).

In other good news... DH got the position with his company! Hurray! He starts in two weeks.

So after last week being a week of disappointments and delays, this week was a week of completion and joy. What a nice conclusion! And now, onto the challenges that we will face in coming weeks.

Love to all!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

12 weeks, 2 days: Moving Right Along

Hello, everyone! It's been a while!

Things are going well here. NVP continues to recede ever-so-gradually in its typical two-steps-forward-one-step-back fashion (and occasionally one-step-forward-two-steps-back), and I am thankful for every bit of progress. I don't know about anyone else out there, but for me NVP never resolves quickly (though it certainly appears quickly!). It is week upon week and month upon month of infintessimal steps. But at least we're getting better and not worse! That is a huge praise.

One BIG change between my last pregnancy and this current pregnancy is that I haven't lost the 15 or so pounds that I lost last time. Instead, I've rather gone the other way! I won't say by how much for fear of shocking our gentle readership, but much more than I was expecting. (Ahem!) Probably the result of eating constantly to attempt to stave of nausea without throwing all of it back up, LOL! Well, I don't mind - horribly, that is. It was nice to lose the weight last time, but I can think of more pleasant ways to lose 15 pounds - like cutting off my arms and legs with a penknife, for example! A bit of extra pregnancy-weight is nothing to complain about in comparison.

Last weekend and the beginning of this week was a time of repeated disappointments. I had to miss the doula training (too tired/sick), we had to miss Phoenix's annual used book sale (too tired/sick), something I was hoping for didn't come, and an expected annual visit from a good friend didn't happen (couldn't come). Then our first midwife's appointment had to be canceled (hopefully to be rescheduled for this week), and DH had a big disappointment at work - a position that he had interviewed for with his company and been basically promised on Friday was rescinded on Monday (his prospective boss's boss pulled rank and decided that he wanted to be the one making the decision) and he had to start the interview process all over.

But things are looking up! We still have our appointment this week to look forward to, and DH still has a chance at the job - he should find out this coming week.

My parents showed up for a visit on Thursday, and my mom is going to stay a couple of weeks to help out. Hurray! My poor mother walked in the house, took one look around, and started frantically cleaning. To date, she hasn't stopped yet. Can't say that I blame her - any normal human female would have had the same reaction to our house! And our house is appreciating the attention - it is not quite the pit that it was a few days ago. Well, NVP plus a toddler plus a move will do that to the best laid plans! If I was feeling better I know I would have an unstoppable compulsion to rearrange everything she's doing, since it's definitely not "my style" of unpacking, but for the present, the term "whatever" comes to mind. I'll leave the compulsive rearranging for when I'm feeling better!

All the commotion is upsetting our scorpion population, which is once again on the move (3 or 4 in the past 48 hours). Our toddler found his first "very own" scorpion on Thursday and is immensely proud of himself, and we had a grand scorpion hunt this morning looking for one who scuttled between boxes (he got away). No one's been stung yet, but living in Arizona in scorpion territory - it's only a matter of time. Hopefully it will be an adult rather than DS! (Adults typically have no problem with the stings - kids can have some really scary reactions to them.)

I still cannot figure out how to get Blogger to direct blog responses to our new email (J, do you know?), so I'm still having to read them manually. And thus....

For Rachel! ..... My due date is September 5th, plus or minus a week or two. How about you? I just met a mum in my MOMS club who is due two days before me, so it'll be fun to see how we compare. Also, re: Zofran, I noticed with my insurance that they would pay for the same amount of 8 mg or 4 mg Zofran, at the same copay, so if you do end up needing more, that might be an option - you could get the higher dose and split them.

Have a lovely weekend everyone! I'll check in sometime next week.

Monday, February 16, 2009

11 weeks, 4 days: First Pregnancy Perks!

First, a question: Is it normal for a woman to go from feeling "slightly showing" to "six months showing" over the process of a week? My goodness! My waistline has expanded drastically this past week! I'd be thinking "twins" except for the fact that I have heard that almost every second-time mom experiences this amazement at how much faster one starts showing the second time through. Anyone out there had the same experience? All I know is that my too-big pants are only going to fit for another couple of weeks, and then it'll be into maternity pants! Hurray! My favorite part. The one time of a woman's life when she's actively trying to get people to notice how far her stomach sticks out, LOL!! (Last time I wore the tightest clothes I could find and only got the following: "Gosh, you aren't showing much, are you?") This time I think it will be easier, mwa ha ha ha!

I also had another fun experience.... My back started itching a couple of days ago! Last time it took me a week to figure it out; this time, only about 12 hours - this is the sign that my tummy skin is stretching! How fun. I don't know if that's common or not, but it was a fun realization. For me the first trimester has almost nothing to do with "baby" - it's always just "SICK." These little things have reminded me that there is light at the end of the tunnel!

I'm still sick, but the peak is definitely past (so far, that is). My stomach still gives me tons of trouble and nausea is an ever-present companion, sometimes problematically so, but it's better than it was a couple of weeks ago. I am extremely thankful for that. I can even cut up an apple for my toddler! Hurray!

My mom is coming to stay with us at the end of this week, so I shall assign the kitchen to her and look the other way while food is put away (*gag*). Real-life friends, please remember that I keep my blogging life private from my parents (with all due respect to my excellent parents, blogs about my reproductive life aren't something I really want my mother reading), so please don't mention these blogs to them if you see them while they're in town.

Have a wonderful holiday! I'll check back in soon, probably after our first midwife appointment this week. Love to all!

Friday, February 13, 2009

11 weeks, 2 days: Learning Humility, Slowly

Morning sickness seems to be my chosen vehicle of spiritual growth. Last time, hyperemesis taught me compassion - the fact that there are circumstances in which people can't just "suck it up and deal with it." I learned that one on the fast-track. This time, my moderate morning sickness seems to be teaching me humility - the ability to accept help when needed. I don't know about all of you out there, but I have a really hard time accepting help - or even worse, asking for it. Just a huge mental block. I love helping people, but I don't like to be helped. I think we're all in that boat.

Anyhow, the deaconesses at our church had long-ago offered to send us a couple of meals to help us out. I refused, though I was grateful for the offer and should have accepted it. Then, out of the blue a lady from our church called me up and said, "I've made you guys dinner. When can I deliver it?" Wow! And it was great. And it prompted a wake-up call - We needed the help, so why wasn't I accepting it? So after a few days of thinking it over, I swallowed my pride and contacted the deaconesses to tell them that we'd like to take them up on their offer.

In thinking about it, I realized that refusing needed and offered help is some weird combination of pride and selfishness. Pride in wanting to seem self-sufficient, and selfishness in not allowing people to express their love when they want to bless us.

So... I have learned two lessons:
#1 - Be willing to accept offered help when needed.
#2 - Be on the lookout for people who need my help, and be ready to offer it - by force, if necessary!

I have also learned a couple of other handy life-lessons this week:

First of all, NEVER try to cook paper containered-food in a toaster oven. I tried a Sam's club lasagna in our garage toaster oven last week and it was a disaster. I managed to put out the fire, but both the lasagna and the toaster oven are now headed for the trash. Sad.

Secondly, NEVER leave your present of Valentine's candy for your hubbie in the same room with a toddler, unless you want to return to the room and see said toddler in a state of ecstasy, covered in chocolate and surrounded by wrappers.

At least there was one piece left in the box, so I was able to give a token gift. :)

Even though I've changed the email on this account, I'm not receiving by email comments left on this blog - I must have done something wrong. Hopefully I can remedy it soon. But since I'm not able to respond to people, a few personal notes....

Anna, thanks for the encouragement! I'm very glad I didn't try to do the doula training, because I think I would have paid for it big-time, and these last few days have been rough anyway. (And I just got a jury duty letter, so now I've got another battle to face.....)

Rachel, I'm praying for you - keep going! If you feel comfortable trying the Bendectin, I'd definitely recommend it. If you want advice on it, call up Motherisk and talk to them. Here's their number:

1-800-436-8477 - Morning Sickness

And here's their website:

Motherisk Morning Sickness

That is where I got all my info on Bendectin/Diclectin, and they can give you the scoop on dosage and drug combinations.

Also, Rachel, I've just been doing diaper changes by holding my nose - the only way to do it, I'm afraid - and by hoping that most can occur when DH is home. And I know about food preparation - that's why I'm not unpacking my kitchen, because looking at food labels is horrid. Hang on!!

Also.... Will your insurance cover any more Zofran? 4 mg/day seems awfully low. Right now I'm doing 24 mg/day - that's a bit high, and I'm trying to bring it down, but I really doubt I'd be doing too well on 4 mg/day. Will they pay for a Zofran pump instead?

Love to all!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Morning Sickness Moonshine, or Black Market Bendectin: How to Make a No-Longer Marketed Anti-Nausea Drug

I've been meaning to post this for months! So here goes:

But first, a quick personal comment based on Anna's wise counsel in her last comment: The reason I was considering doing the doula training despite not being up to it is that this training is, remarkably, free - and the cost is generally $150-300 - so a chance to do it for free is quite a chance! But I have decided to be sensible and not do it. For one thing, I'm not dying to be a doula - I was just going to do it for fun and information. For another thing, Anna, you're quite right - I've noticed that a day of overexertion generally results in a few miserable days of going backwards, NVP-wise. For example, I spent most of the day after our move (when I really overdid it) throwing up. So farewell, doula training! Hopefully some other time.

Anyway, Bendectin:

Bendectin is an anti-nausea drug that was on the market in the U.S. from nineteen fifty-something until 1983, when it was voluntarily removed from the market by its manufacturers. The reason? Allegations that it was causing birth defects. That sounds quite alarming, but the evidence of history has not shown any correllation between its use and an increase in birth defects, and most OB's approve of its use. If you look at the graphs over time, you will see that upon Bendectin's removal from the market, the rate of birth defects remained steady while the rate of hospitalizations for NVP doubled. It has been thought that Bendectin was used by lawyers eager for financial gain as a reason to start suing, and so it was removed from the market.

So, is it safe? I don't know. I'm inclined to think so (after all, I'm using it!), but I have been a student of the medical/scientific world long enough to know that scientists can (and do) manipulate results to produce desired conclusions (i.e. "let's do a study to show that this drug is safe" instead of "let's do a study to see if this drug is safe"). So I'll leave the possibility up in the air, while the majority of my belief is that it is safe.


THEREFORE, YOU NEED TO DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH AND MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION. Some people believe this medicine is safe; some believe it is hazardous to your child's health. If you decide to use this drug, make sure that you have done your research and come to your own conclusions. If you are unsure, err on the side of safety.


Bendectin is still on the market in Canada under the name Diclectin (and also, I believe, in the UK under yet another name), and there is at least one pharmacy that will mail-order to the US with a prescription. However, it's not really worth the cost and bother, since one can make it at home so easily. The only benefits of the real stuff are (1) convenience, and (2) time-release formula, which can't be duplicated at home.

And so, the recipe:

One Bendectin is:
10 mg Vitamin B6
10 mg Doxylamine Succinate, or Unisom - this is roughly half of one 25 mg tablet

* I always take the B6 in complex form (as B complex) rather than just B6. I also take more than 10 mg.
* There are two types of Unisom, so make sure you get the doxylamine succinate, and not the phenylhydrine gel caps
* Yes, Unisom is a sleeping aid, so you'll probably notice some drowsiness. It wears off in about 2 weeks, and I don't feel anything of it now (except for the normal exhaustion of pregnancy)

According to Motherisk (you can call them up and talk to them), here's how to start:
1 dose in the morning
1 dose midday
2 doses at bed time

That is for a total of 2 unisom, or 4 doses (each Unisom tab is 2 doses). You can move up to 6 doses (3 Unisom) if needed, and up to 8 under the guidance of a caregiver (and some people have gone higher).

Here are max dosages:
Vitamin B6 - 200 mg/day (don't forget to add your multi/prenatal in the sum)
Unisom - 75 mg/day (3 tabs, or 6 doses) - this can be variable

Here's what I'm doing right now:
1/2 tab Unisom, 50 mg B-complex, 8 mg Zofran morning
1/2 tab Unisom, 8 mg Zofran midday
1/2 tab Unisom, early evening
1 tab Unisom, 50 mg B-complex, 8 mg Zofran evening

That brings me up to 5 doses Unisom per day (2 1/2 tabs), and I'm hoping to be able to drop one soon.

Note: When you're ready to drop doses, do it GRADUALLY or you can quickly regress. Make sure you can handle dropping one dose before dropping another.

Bendectin is safe to take together with Zofran. That's what most people, myself included, do.

One OB I saw claimed that the max safe dose of Unisom is one tab (two doses) a day. That scared me, but after reviewing my notes from Motherisk and going onto, I consistently found that 3 tabs/day is considered completely safe.

Does it work? Yes. It did fine for me on its own for about a week and a half (4 weeks-5 weeks). After that it just wasn't good enough on its own and I had to break out the Zofran. Supposedly, Bendectin suppresses nausea and Zofran the vomitting. Well, I can tell you that there's some cross-over there, but they're a good combination. They've made my life livable, at least!

So.... Make your own decision!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

10 weeks, 6 days: Slowly Improving

Yes, I think we're finally at that point where things are getting better rather than worse - huzzah! It's about time! (Not that I'm complaining.... Last time it was 20 weeks before I could say that.) It's kind of hard to tell because NVP is very unpredictable - a good day is not necessarily followed by more good days. They tend to alternate unpredictably. BUT.... last night I was feeling well enough to do some housework (first ever!) in our new house! Hurray!!! I scrubbed a layer of ketchup off of our kitchen table, set up our long-neglected files, unpacked a box and cleaned the high chair. What an improvement, albeit so minor! I can't wait till I can get back to housework fulltime - mainly because DH's idea of "I've cleaned the kitchen" is my idea of "When did the invading army leave?" or "For goodness sake, SOMEONE please call the health department!" So regaining our traditional and rigidly sexist gender-specific roles will be a blessed relief. :)

We have our first official midwife appointment next week (hurray!!!!), and I am completely excited about it. I have missed these for the past 2 1/2 years! I can't wait. Much as I know that many of you out there love your OB's, I am SO thankful that I don't have to go to one. Besides the indignity of having someone else do your urine tests for you (gross!) I hate the inflexibility and rigidity of most OB's. Even my consulting OB, who has the reputation as the valley's best naturopathic doc, is still inflexible about things that I would normally skip offhand, such as Group B strep testing and gestational diabetes testing. In fact, when I thought that I was going to have to do co-care with her, I had a set of very frustrating conversations with her office staff. It went something like this:

Me: "What if I don't want to do the gestational diabetes test?"
Nurse: "Well, you have to."
Me: "Yes, but what if I don't?"
Nurse: "Well, you have to."

It literally went on like that ad infinitem. I never did get a straight answer out of them. Thankfully I soon afterwards discovered that co-care wasn't necessary, so I was able to discontinue the conversation. But that's why I love midwives! My midwife says, "At this point you can do such-and-such a test if you want. If you want to, let's do it. If you don't want to, sign this waiver and let's move on with our lives." That is much better for me! I hate micromanagement, especially in health care. Thus, I happily skip all tests but one blood test and one hematocrit, and everyone's happy. (And yes, for those of you out there who are concerned, I thoroughly research all tests/procedures before deciding to forego them... This is not uninformed decision-making.)

And anyway, again, people, I know there are great OB's out there (some of you I know have some of them!). So don't put me down as anti-OB.... just overwhelmingly pro-midwife. :)

I don't know how I got off on that tangent..... The main point was supposed to be that things are at last looking up. I don't think normal life is yet in the immediately foreseeable future, but it is at least somewhere on the horizon. Another month or two, and things will hopefully be much better! I might even be able to.... (gasp!)... cook more than instant oatmeal!!

I'm still trying to decide if I want to do a doula training this weekend. I'm dying to do it, but I just don't know if I feel well enough. Actually, I should restate that - I know I don't feel well enough; I'm just not sure if I want to try to push it in order to make it there! I've got to decide by tomorrow, so we'll see.

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

10 weeks, 2 days: Email at Last!

We finally got our computer up, after 2 weeks post-move! It's been a long, long process. Therefore, I will now be receiving comments left on this blog (since we moved I've just had to check manually) and will be able to respond to them! Rachel and Anna, thank you for your sweet notes on my last entry! Rachel, I am praying for your pregnancy and am glad things are controllable so far.

We were at our midwife's house this morning, and she offered to try to find a heartbeat for us while we were there - fun! But no dice. Disappointing, but not alarming (to anyone but a paranoid mama-brain, that is) - 10 weeks is pretty much the earliest that they can (sometimes) get a heartbeat with a doppler, and I remember that they had a hard time at 13 weeks with us last time. We're going to go in for our first appointment in two weeks (hurray!!!) and will try again to get a heartbeat then. I am really pumped. Seriously, guys, I have had serious thoughts in the past of getting pregnant JUST so I could go back to having appointments with my midwives. They rock! There's nothing like a good hour-appointment with a midwife to make your day/week/month.

I am feeling a wee bit better and am rejoicing in it! In fact (dum dum da da dum) I haven't thrown up in 24 hours! Huzzah!! That's what I call progress.

Off to do things I should be doing!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

10 weeks, 0 days: Another Milestone!

I am so pumped to be at the 10 week mark!! I've been waiting for this for a long, long time. An online HG-friend (A., I think this was you?) said that morning sickness is supposed to peak at 10 weeks because that's when hormone levels stabilize. (Anyone know anything more about that?) And so, with that said, I am expecting to wake up tomorrow morning-sickness free!!

Just kidding, I might add. I remember with DS how desperate I was for that magical 13-week mark, because that's when all the pregnancy books said that morning sickness would be over for good. Ha! (And I've since read that that's rarely accurate.) With DS my morning sickness didn't peak till around 20 weeks, but I'm hoping for better things this time since we've got it somewhat under control.

But regardless, I'm still very excited. And not only should the NVP peak soon (if it hasn't already), but we're within a stone's throw of the end of the first trimester! That in itself is a cause for celebration. Hopefully within the next couple of weeks we'll be able to hear a heartbeat for the first time, and maybe then I'll be able to actually feel pregnant instead of just sick! Exciting stuff.

Well, work calls! I'll check in soon. Things are looking up!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

9 weeks, 5 days: A Lesson Relearned

Yesterday I relearned an old, old lesson - beware of smells when you are pregnant with morning sickness!

I had learned this lesson many times with DS, and of course, when one is pregnant with NVP, the whole world smells nauseatingly BAD - all the time, no exceptions. But I had forgotten how crushing strong odors can be, the more so because I pretty much stopped cooking when my NVP showed up, and DH has been eating mainly take-out (which, thankfully, is prepared OFF-SITE) or cold, non-smelly foods.

SO... Last night, DH decided to broil some hotdogs. I wasn't enthusiastic, but I went along with it. Oh, my goodness. I lasted for 5-10 minutes. My nausea levels skyrocketed unbelievably, and I completely lost it with one of the most violent and prolonged vomiting spells I've had this entire pregnancy! It was priceless. After coming out of the bathroom, I (1) told DH that he would be faced with instant annihilation if he EVER used the broiler again during this pregnancy, and (2) took my bottle of Trader Joe's orange oil spray and drenched my pillow and surrounding regions with it (so much so that I ended up burning my cheek with the stuff, LOL!) so that I could go to sleep protected from that hideous stench which now penetrated the entire house. Wow. I won't make that mistake again!

And so... Beware of odors. They are more powerful than you know.

Our move is going.... slowly. My goal (and it's actually been hard to keep to) is to unpack one box a day. Sometimes I manage it, sometimes I don't. All I can say is that we'll probably be able to hold our housewarming party and our Christmas party at the same time, at the rate I'm going! But I'm waiting for my mom to come back out - I will let her tackle the kitchen. Just looking at dishes and canned food is horribly nauseating, so I'm not even trying. Right now I'm spending a lot of time outside with DS. Don't know about the rest of you out there, but I just can't stand the smell of my house. I guess it's just the stale air with food smells thrown in (not to mention diaper smells, etc.), but just dealing with the smell of my house is a challenge. Last time I had to wait until the first week postpartum before my house stopped smelling. I'm hoping for a quicker resolution this time since my NVP is under the control of drugs, but I'll have to wait and see.

Right now I seem to have reverse morning sickness. I wake up feeling okay, and it just goes downhill from there until bedtime, when things are generally pretty desperate. I am thanking God for Zofran and Unisom, because I would be dead without them.

We FINALLY have internet, and will hopefully have email soon. So life is progressing! One small step at a time.