Tuesday, February 10, 2009

RIP, August Lally

Over the weekend I began bleeding, was admitted to hospital and after a scan and two days in the ESSU (emergency short stay unit) I was told that our baby had died some time ago and I was in the process of miscarrying.

I was given medication today to speed up the process. At the moment I'm in a lot of pain (in many ways) and am doped up on strong painkillers as the rest of the foetus passes out of my body.

We called her August. I'm not ready to talk about this just yet but I will write something when I am.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Day in the Stomach of an Impregnated Vegan...

I'm sure there's probably one or two people who are curious as to what I actually eat each day, and how I possibly stay healthy - and especially through a pregnancy.

Well, if you do a bit of reading and research, you'll quickly find that it's relatively easy to get all your nutrients without eating animal flesh or byproducts.

But for those who are wondering what I do eat, here's an average menu:

Breakfast: Muesli with soy milk and a banana, glass of juice or cup of naturally decaffeinated tea. If I'm feeling extra hungry, a slice of wholegrain toast with peanut butter as well.

Lunch: This can be anything from bean nachos with corn chips and a tall glass of soy milk, to a huge salad with nuts and seeds and toasted lebanese bread with hommus for dipping.

Snacks: I snack on fruit, chopped up vegetables like carrots, slices of bread and peanut butter, hommus and toasted flatbread, nuts and fruit smoothies.

Dinner: I am a huge fan of stirfries at the moment. So, well marinated and fried tofu with heapings of fresh vegetables served over brown rice if I'm good, basmati if I'm not. Also, I love spaghetti bolognaise made on nutmeat on wholemeal pasta.

Sweets: Soy icecream is nice for a treat, as are oreos, skittles, fruit smoothies (a healthier option), dates, dried apricots and other dried fruit.

So that's pretty much a day's food! I also take a prenatal vitamin and vegi-caps of omega supplements, just to be on the safeside.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cloth Nappies: My new obsession

I think I'm in love. With modern cloth nappies.

I seriously can't stop reading about them...

So far, my favourite website is this one:


It just appeals to everything I love: frugality, anti-consumerism, recycling, craftiness, and DIY.

You know I'm going hard on the sewing machine when I get home. This site is useful too:


Pics of results soon!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Week 9: Scans and fears

"Your baby's taste buds are developing. There are distinct fingers and toes and the inner ear and eyes are formed, but the eyelids are still sealed. The little heart is pumping blood around the body and can be seen on an ultrasound scan. Wrist and ankle joints begin to develop. Organs continue to grow and more bone and muscle tissue continues to be laid down and the external sex organs have begun to form. Your baby is still less than the length of your little finger. " - http://www.askbaby.com/pregnancy-week-10.htm

So that's what Blobkin has been up to. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that they stick and stay, and get a little bit paranoid every single time I hear someone tell a story about a 10 week miscarriage, or going to their nuchal translucency scan and finding no heartbeat. Obviously, that's my worst fear at this point. I will be really glad to get this trimester over with, and start pushing some serious foetal development. Come on, kiddo. Hang in there!

The husbug and I are due to take a little trip to see the scan-folk soon. My midwife has sent out the forms and we're all ready to go. I plan to ring them as soon as I post this to make an appointment. The first scan is called a nuchal translucency screening, and it basically constitutes a check for birth defects. They take an ultrasound and some blood tests and combine them to give you a "risk factor" for things like Down's Syndrome. The "general population" score is 1 in 3500 (from memory) so if you get a risk score that is significantly high - say, 1 in 150 - you will be offerred further rounds of testing.

Two of those rounds include amniocentesis, and CVS (chorionic villus sampling). Amniocentesis is performed by inserting a hollow tubed needle through the abdomen (yeoooouch! I have needle phobia) and into the amniotic sac to extract amniotic fluid. They then spin the hoohah out of it in a centrifuge, and all the sloughed off cells from El Blobkin are separated out for testing. They can determine if the baby has any birth defects pretty definitively from this test, as well as the sex.

CVS is another fairly invasive test. I know I'm showing my bias there - let it be known that I'm not a fan of overtesting, partly because I hate needles and partly because I think many people are overzealous without merit when it comes to babies and medical stuff (which obviously does not include those with genuine, serious issues who need careful attention). CVS involves a tool being inserted into the cervix so that some of the placenta can be scraped away and tested.

All of these tests carry risk. From Wikipedia:

"Although the procedure is routine, possible complications include infection of the amniotic sac from the needle, and failure of the puncture to heal properly, which can result in leakage or infection. Serious complications can result in miscarriage. Other possible complications include preterm labor and delivery, respiratory distress, postural deformities, fetal trauma and alloimmunisation (rhesus disease). The risk of amniocentesis-related miscarriage is generally thought to be 1 in 200,[2] although a recent study has indicated this may actually be much lower, perhaps 1 in 1,600.[2] In contrast, the risk of miscarriage for chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is believed to be approximately 1 in 100, although CVS may be done up to four weeks earlier, and may be preferable if the possibility of genetic defects is thought to be higher [3]."

My midwife advised me that I did not actually need to attend my nuchal scan, and advised me that it can often be a "gateway" to worry and further, invasive, risky testing. Well, we're approaching it like this: we want the scan, so we can confirm that there's a heartbeat and everything is fine. We also would very much like a picture for our friends and families to oooh and ahhh over (trust me - I have a mother in law who would probably crawl over broken glass for an ultrasound picture, she gets *that* excited about grandkiddies). However, even if the results bring back a high risk score - which is incredibly unlikely, due to our age and health - we're not going forward with any further tests.

After all, what would we do with that information? If I knew my child would be born differently abled, of course I wouldn't terminate the pregnancy. As long as they were able to have some quality of life and engage with their world - even if that's in a different way to others - I'm on board as a parent. So, being advised that my child may have a birth defect is one thing, but having invasive tests that carry risks of miscarriage (among other things) is completely another.

All in all, I'm feeling pretty positive about the scan. I'm just trying to push out negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Even if the worst happens, there is little point in ruminating on it beforehand - I really need to cross my bridges when I come to them.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Monster Knockers and Porn Star Norcs

There's a definite upside to being pregnant (other than a small grizzly addition to the family Lally). Incredibly huge breasts.

I've always been a small-chested lass, being of the pear shape persuasion. It was my well developed derriere, not my chesticles, that was the source of attention and praise from admirers. Okay, yes, some rampant objectification in there, but nevertheless I do like my round behind - it's comfy to sit on and has a nice cheerful perkiness. Yes, I was always all one way - and upon my top half sat two small, cute and serviceable bosoms.

Well, hell, pregnancy has completely flipped my world upside down. Gone are the yellow-polka-dot-bikini breasts. This is a new era - an era of maxim mammaries, of Giantesses. All of me is swelling and growing and The Twins are not missing out on that action, no sirrrr.

My Mum took me bra shopping today (and she paid, w00tage). I sauntered in, hoping to find something in lace, something purple - something that would keep me from feeling like a huge dowdy Victorian nursemaid constantly set to 'leak' (although thankfully that hasn't happened yet).

Have you been in the bra section for larger chested ladies? Ye Gods. It is horrifying. Gone is any respect for pattern, style or a minx like approach to underthings. These things are tents, inbuilt with supports that I swear are designed by NASA. I would not be surprised if the underwire is titanium.

I picked up a double D, thinking wrly to myself that it would be good for a bit of change room giggling. But oh, my sweet Christus. It fit me. With ease. My mother handed me an eighteen double D and a wry sadistic smile and chuckle flitted across her features. Thankfully that one was a little too loose, and with shaking hands I thrust it at her. We both agreed I was not psychologically strong enough to bear a purchase of that magnitude - yet.

Don't get me wrong. I like my New Year's gift from the blobkin. So does the husband - he's living with a (hormonal, hungry and constantly urinating) Maxim centrefold each and every day. I just worry what's going to happen in a month or two....

If you see me skulking out of Target with a tablecloth, some elastic and some lace - well...you get the picture.

The Chundersome World of Nausea and Cravings

Or - "Three sauces on a sandwich is neither gourmet nor mentionable in polite company."

Today, I ate the (so far) strangest thing since the Foetus began roosting. I thought I was Wonderwoman, impervious to the obscene and scandalous culinary lustings of the newly knocked up.

Oh no. Oh no, no, no.

See, pride comes before a fall. Never has this proverb ever rung so true for me as when I bit into a ridiculous salad sandwich that I've never before tried (though I probably will again).

Picture two slices of wholegrain bread topped with fried soy sausages, cos lettuce, rocket, red onion, olives and not-so-ripe avocado. That's all pretty reasonable (except for the avocado but it was JUST CALLING ME, OK.)

It was when I added a few tablespoons of dijonnaise, a good splodge of hommus, and a massive squirt of tomato sauce that I knew I was in trouble. It became progressively worse as I stared at the jam jar, struck by the spirit of exploration. Surely this wasn't madness or hormones - this was a gormand vision!

It says a lot for my self control - and probably Mum walking in at that point was a saving grace - that I only ate a bit of jam off my fingers and refrained from adding to the other sauces. For the record, the sanger was top quality. But you might have to become full of baby to appreciate it.

Oh! On another note, I am officially part of the Honorary Chucking Mother's Club. I was relaxing after a fine dining experience of beans and rice and a hefty swig of soy milk, and relaxing into a viewing of Knocked Up (thanks to Mother Goose for that selection - she caved into my demands to watch it. Because everyone knows better than to mess with a crazy pregnant lady). Suddenly - KA BOOSH. A huge wave of nausea sent me scurrying, laughing hysterically all the way, to the loo for a bit of chunder action.

I had another quick exit from brekky this morning, but nothing notable occurred. I remember this searing disappointment from my days of wooing tequila - I would much prefer that the nausea be followed by actual spewing. You're filled with a tremendous sense of hypochondria and ripped-offedness otherwise.

Anyway, that's all to report from the front lines of baby growing for now. Stay tuned - I plan on regaling you with research about hypnobirthing next.

(and yes, I'm serious.)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bipolar, Boobs and Soy, oh my....

That's what our little blobkin would look like right now...

Man, oh man, I am superbly stressing about how my illness is going to go during this pregnancy. So far I'm doing ok - considering everything. I'm at my parents for a wee break, because I was just finding a lot of things in and around my milieu incredibly stressful and it was good to escape and sort my head out. The parentals are WONDERFUL. You seriously find out the mettle of your parents for good or bad when you're not feeling the best or during a crisis. They drove up to Newcastle, picked me up, drove me four hours back to their place and I have a big room and lots of privacy and every meal made for me and endless cups of tea, videos to watch and hugs/use of phone/net/tv etc.

I guess I never realised until now just how much I really need my parents and that it is really OK for me to need them, and want them, in my life as active participants. For so long I have fought that and listened to people telling me the opposite but I guess facing having my own child has changed things. Suddenly I realise they are this patient, kind, loving resource, and they DO give me space and privacy but they are the kind of people who will drop everything if I need them. And they have. And they have done it before and you know what - I am so fucking ashamed of my behaviour in the past and of not realising until now just how much they love me and give to me. I always want them around, for support and advice because I know no matter what happens they will help me prosper or pick up the pieces.

But back to pregnancy. I'm actually more concerned about after I deliver. The main risk is Post Natal Depression, because I'm in the highest risk category, what with having bipolar. I think the lack of dairy in my diet settles me some, but diet and exercise can only go so far to managing mental health. I'm definitely not in the category of people who think you can just breeze through bipolar, taking lots of omega supplements and doing yoga to fix your mind. It just doesn't work. Yoga can't treat a psychotic episode, yanno?

So here are my options:

- Breastfeed for the first week so the baby gets the colostrum, then go on medication and bottle feed with soy formula

- Breastfeed for the first six months if I'm not presenting with symptoms of PND or post-natal psychosis, then wean baby, then go on medication

- Breastfeed baby for as long as possible, take medication with low risks and deal with the fact that baby will be getting some of my meds through the milk

- Go on medication immediately, bottle feed with soy formula

The most appealing option is number two - but I feel a bit nervous about throwing myself to the BP lions with it. If I wait until symptoms emerge it might be too late to avoid really severe problems - medications take a while to kick in. Everything depends on my mood after the blobkin emerges.

Probably the next best option is one - but I am concerned about giving infants soy. Then again, I am concerned about the poor little mite having an unhappy mum. Or the risks from consuming dairy, not to mention how dirty I'd feel exploiting animals. Plus lactose intolerance runs in both sides of our families, and there are major risks to consuming dairy. So I have to read more on soy and see if I can deal with the idea of whatever risk factors are there (and the evidence on soy is far from conclusive from what little I have read).

Ah, the joys of being a niche mum!