Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ho hum

Trying to keep up with the study (got 91.5/100 for my last assignment - woohooo!!!!), work is happening, and the baby is growing. My belly's definitely getting pointier, and despite still being nearly 5 kg under my pre-pregnancy weight, my pants are getting tighter around the belly.

Andrew's parents are here for 3 weeks, but are off exploring the US and Canada for most of it, but it means we have to keep the house clean, and the fridge stocked with real food (since The Company feeds us 3 meals a day). They seem to be having fun so far though.

Nothing else terribly exciting happening. We're booked in on May 10 to get a funky 3D/4D ultrasound where we'll find out the sex of the baby, so that'll be cool. I reckon it's a girl (which means it's probably a boy), anyone want to put their bets in for the sex? :)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Aortic aneurysm and being pregnant

I s’pose it’s about time I talked about the health issues for me associated with having a baby. I have an aortic aneurysm, which is a ballooning of the aorta. Mine is in the aortic root (which is where the aorta connects to the heart), and is currently around 4.4cm. The upper range of “normal” is 3.8cm. My dad and aunt died of aortic aneurysms when they were 28 and 24 respectively, and their aneurysms were both in their aortic root, so it’s definitely genetic and not just a coincidence.

The cardiologist over here I see is David Liang at the “Stanford University Center for Marfan Syndrome and Related Aortic Disorders” who is fantastic. I was seeing a cardiologist back in Australia, but they were nowhere near as knowledgeable as the guys over here in the US.

Anyway, so Dr Liang said if we wanted kids we should do so sooner rather than later because if my aneurysm got any bigger, it would be too risky to go through pregnancy. So my Depo Provera injections finally started to be wearing off a year after my last injection, and Andrew and I were deciding whether we should wait a bit longer, or start trying to have kids. Next thing we knew, I was pregnant. How ‘bout that? Decision made!

So I booked in for the high risk obstetrician, and she ended up bringing our first appointment forward a week to recommend termination to us. Apparently they see young people with aneurysms who get pregnant as very risky because of the lack of data. The most common sex and age group for non-genetic aneurysms are older males who funnily enough don’t often get pregnant :)

There was so way we’d get a termination, I was grinning like an idiot the entire time she was telling me she didn’t agree with us being pregnant – I didn’t care, I had a little baby growing in me and was pretty bloody excited!

We’ve since had another OB appointment, and I’ve spoken to someone else who has genetic aortic aneurysms in their family. I now have more information and understand the consequences a lot better and fully realise the risks of me being pregnant.

So during pregnancy the body’s hormones make things like connective tissue stretchy to let the child grow. This is bad for things like aortas that are already bigger than they should be. The heart is pumping a lot harder to support the little life form, which is why a lot of pregnant people get high blood pressure. For me it means the blood is pumping harder through the weakened, stretchy aneurysm. So things could go wrong at any point.

The risk is my aneurysm could dissect (split). When this happens, it is generally rather painful - it was described to me by this girl who has aneurysms in her family and had a dissection 3 years ago at age 28 as “like someone had ripped my chest open with a chainsaw and someone was blowing a blow torch inside”. It requires open heart surgery to replace the damaged aorta, and is a long surgery with a very long recovery time.

I previously wasn’t too worried about the risks as I know they’re pretty low, and I didn’t really understand how the body changes during pregnancy (except for the obvious changes), and what it means.

Now I have a much better idea of the risks involved, why it could change all of a sudden, and the girl I’ve been talking to about genetic aneurysms said that in her family they seem to be getting dissections at between 4.2-4.6cm (mine’s 4.4). I had no idea they COULD dissect that small. So it’s a massive reality check for me, and the risks are all of sudden a lot more real, and it’s all sunk in.

Understanding this a lot better now, if I could go back in time and have the choice again of getting pregnant again, I probably still would... I am confident that if I do end up having a dissection (which is a very slim chance, but still a chance), that I am near the best cardiologists and surgeons in the world, and will be well taken care of.

It all hit me on Wednesday, and was still sinking in yesterday and I was very shaken up about it all, and quite scared of the consequences, but I got it all out of my system, and feel much better for it today. I hate the fact that there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it, and there’s nothing else the doctors can do about it - they won’t operate unless it grows suddenly, or reaches the 5/5.5cm mark over time. I’m on beta blockers to keep my heart rate and blood pressure down, and I just have to be very careful – they recommended easy walking as the maximum amount of exercise, and to do nothing to get my blood pressure or heart rate up.

We’d also planned a trip to Dublin in June to renew our US work visas since Andrew will already be in Edinburgh for a conference, but they won’t let me fly because I’ll be 6 months pregnant then and my heart is working very hard at that point, and the risks are too high. As well as that, if anything goes wrong, I’m a long way away from my doctors.

So hopefully Andrew can renew his work visa, and mine is dependent on his, so the lawyers should be able to sort something out so I can just go to Canada to renew, or even better, do it from the US (apparently you can’t reapply from inside the US...)

So that’s the latest on the health dramas for those of you who have been wondering.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

14 weeks tomorrow!

I'm officially in the second trimester now! *happy dance*

Tomorrow I'll be at 14 weeks - it's just FLYING by :) The nausea is all gone, just have the occasional bouts of not feeling the best, which is completely manageable. I have got a heap of energy back, although am still often tired.

Between work, study and growing a life form though, I guess that's understandable :) Lucky Andrew is very supportive and does all the housework which gives me time to study and nap when I need to!

I feel like we're getting all organised with this whole baby thing. We've had an ultrasound which confirms the baby is happy and healthy (so far!), I've made the second trimester, we've booked into the birth classes which are scheduled for August, we have our second obstetrician appointment next week, we're booked in for a funky 4d ultrasound where they can tell with 99% accuracy what the sex is (that's a few weeks away still) and we're starting to think about the baby room and how to set it up.

It's getting rather exciting! Only 26 weeks to go... :)

Friday, April 06, 2007

In search of laksa

So tonight I wasn't feeling 100% - possibly because my belly got very poked in the ultrasound this morning, and I had breakfast and a decent sized lunch (I can't eat much these days!!). So I was not terribly hungry, and definitely not wanting anything too solid. I wanted a nice, clear, liquidy soup. I was thinking of getting some Pho from the local Vietnamese place, but then decided what I REALLY wanted was laksa.

We were at Costco bulk buying ridiculous amounts of crap, and the more I thought about laksa, the more I wanted it. So we went into Downtown Mountain View on the search for laksa. There was a place in Canberra that did FANTASTIC laksa. So tasty and satisfying. THAT'S what I was after!

I thought it was Thai cuisine, so we went searching all the Thai places but nobody had even heard of laksa! So after calling 3 different friends, we finally found someone near the internet. Dan saved us and informed us that it was actually Malay/Singaporean cuisine, and there was a place around the corner from where we were walking which sold it. Woohoo!!

So we went there, and finally got some laksa to take away. Then near the car I realised it was leaking. The paper bag had a styrofoam bowl with a plastic lid, and a Chinese style fold up container which had the noodles in it. Unfortunately the weight of the noodles caused the laksa lid to cave in and laksa to go all through the bag. Ruh-roh!!!!

Lucky my husband is very patient and wonderful, so he drove back to the place we got it from and we got them to get a new bowl of laksa, and they put it in a nice plastic bag!

So we got home and the noodles were thick, and soup wasn't clear :( It was more coconuty than the Canberra place, but it was ok. I much prefer vermicelli noodles in my laksa, but this was still fine. I wouldn't race back there again, I'm keen to find other local laksa places, but it was definitely tasty, and definitely filled the hole without making me ill!

13 week ultrasound

We went along today for genetic counselling and a nuchal translucency which tests for Downs Syndrome, Trisomy 13 and Trisomy 18. It was all pretty straight forward, they made sure we realised that our child would have a 50/50 chance of inheriting the family heart condition, which we know, and they explained the other testing we were having.

The nuchal translucency was really just an excuse for us to see the baby again :) We have no family history of anything like that, we're young and healthy, and as far as I know, we're not related :) So the ultrasound showed that the baby is fine and looks clear of anything major.

It was an awesome ultrasound though. The first one it was just a wee blob. This time is actually looked like a baby! And it was bouncing and jumping around, wiggling its arms and legs. It was VERY cool. I couldn't believe how active it was! And the doc could poke my belly with the ultrasound transducer (so wikipedia tells me that thingy is called) to make the baby move so she could get a better photo of it! I could have sat there all day watching the little baby wiggle around. It certainly made it a lot more real! It was great to have Andrew there as well so we could share that moment together :)

Anyway, so here's PJ (Pollock Junior) at 13 weeks. Hopefully we can find out the sex in about 6 weeks!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

So much stuff!

Tis the season of receiving it seems!

Look at all the cool stuff we've acquired over the last couple of days! And yes, that's Smudge at the top of the pic being nosey!

Shona knitted me the awesome beanie - the colours are gorgeous! (see pic below for me modelling it) Then we have 3 books that Briana, our neighbour who's due to have a baby in 7 weeks doesn't need/has duplicates of, gave us on Sunday, then Fiona sent us our first baby clothes!! 100% Australian cotton - mmmmmm :) The green shirt with "No instructions or warranties" on the front has a big WARNING across the back. And the Little Buddha shirt is so cute!!! Then Chris (Briana's husband), brought us around the cookies tonight that Brianna just freshly baked (they're still warm, and the choc chips are all melty and yummy) to say thanks for Andrew helping them destroy a couch that was stuck in their stair case :)

So between Briana and Christina (another wonderful neighbour with a 6 month boy), I've acquired a bunch of baby books! Louise lent me the Kaz Cooke one, and I bought the "What to expect when you're expecting" one. This is all of them so far. I've read a little of each I think - I need time to finish them! I've also got a couple of magazines people have given me, and I think there's another book lying around somewhere...

People are so awesome :)

And here's my modelling my funky beanie!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Well aren't I just an idiot?

I've noticed that I haven't had many new posts in my Google Reader for a while when I used to get heaps every day, and haven't really thought much more of it. A while ago I told Shona that she should really update her blog and she said she had been. I realised the blogspot feed had changed, so changed hers, but for some stupid reason didn't think to change anyone elses.

So I was just wondering this morning what's happened to everyone and manually went searching for blogs, and discovered so many new posts!!!!! I had a look at the blogspot feeds and sure enough, they're all the old feed addresses. Such a pain that they changed them!! Looks as though it changed around January 25 and I haven't had any new posts for about 20 people since then...

So if anyone's wondering why I haven't commented on their blog for a while, it's because I'm an idiot :)

My job for tonight (after I finish my assignment...) is to fix all of the blogs in my reader.