It’s been a while!

PC Diary @ 24 Weeks 1 Day

It has been a while since I last wrote so this may be a bit long, but I have broken it up into chunks.  I took a mini break from my blog to focus on some other things that I really needed to get out of the way.  I have thoroughly missed it!  I have been reading other blogs, but not actively getting involved because quite frankly I am an addict after all and it is quite amazing how much I really care that others are finding themselves well on whatever stage their journey is at.  For me, my journey is literally in the middle of nowhere.  I know I am somewhere good, but feel like nowhere. Here is what has happened since I last put an entry in my pudding club diary….

I am 24 weeks pregnant today.  It’s insane because I am sure the last time I checked I was 20 weeks.  I have lived in a strange four weeks of madness – feel free to skip to the paragraphs that look like they might be the most interesting to you!

THE NEW HOUSE. After my mum flew back to the UK, Chris and I had to finish off getting our garden in order.  It was quite a mess when we first moved in.  My mother did a wonderful job of landscaping the front garden (she’s a bit terrifying when you give her a hedge trimmer!!!), but there was still more to do in order to make it look truly presentable and get it up to the standards of our new neighbourhood association.  We received a letter just after mum had left warning us that our garden needed tending to and this had been our 4th warning since April this year.  The association was not aware we had just bought the house so we thought – screw you we have worked hard at trying to get this all done!  As our garden is on a corner plot almost all of it is on view from the street.  But all our new neighbours have been commenting how lovely it is to see the garden restored and acknowledge that it will take some time to get it up to scratch.  Particularly the lawn which has been overrun with elephant grass.  With 100F weather the past few weeks and my pregnant state it has been slow going.  What is exciting is the beginning of our vegetable garden!  Chris built some raised beds and we planted carrots, turnips, radishes, squash and broccoli. Yum!  We plan on having three raised beds for rotating a variety of crops.  Homegrown food tastes so much better – assuming we can keep the neighbourhood wild rabbit and other various bugs away, stopping them from getting some early tastings in before us!

THE BABYMOON.  We went away on our babymoon cruise from Boston to Montreal.  I have written a separate post about this one.  But in short, we loved it (even if Chris got sea sick!!!) and the idea of arriving somewhere new every morning was simply wonderful.  There was also a lack of internet so this meant I lost touch with some blogs L But also took a break from the outside world.  It was nice and I wished it could have been longer.

THE INTERVIEW. The day after we returned from our babymoon I underwent a 3 hour test for the job I had applied for in my team (this would be a promotion for me).  Then the day after that was my interview.  It was a tough process because as I have said before I was up against some of my very talented colleagues.  I went out to dinner with all the other candidates the night before the interview (some of whom had flown across the Atlantic for the process) and it was very strange.  Strange, because I would love the job, I am certainly capable of it and wanted it, but at the same time would welcome any of them to join our team.  The type of community I work in is a small one, so we tend to all know each other somehow and the job opportunities are limited so it is inevitable that this happens.  When my boss later told me that I was not successful I was disappointed in myself, but at the same time equally happy for my friend who was successful.  Let’s call it a certain schizophrenic moment in my life.  I am hard on myself when I do not succeed, but equally I am happy that I did my best and have no regrets, so how can I ask more of myself?

THE FETAL ECHO CARDIOGRAM.  Back to the week of the interview, the very morning of my interview I had an appointment with the maternal fetal medicine specialist doctor.  This appointment was scheduled because we conceived through IVF, apparently there is an increased risk to baby’s heart.  I did some research on this issue and found that it was a very slight increased risk (like 1 or 2%) so I am not sure how essential it is, but we did get to see some very cool stuff!  I was a little worried, which I think is nothing unusual, and it was also probably bad timing having the interview lined up for later the afternoon.  Fortunately, Rocky was a little star – or a little show off according to the ultrasound technician.  The whole thing took about 45 minutes.  We got to see Rocky’s overall growth i.e. her head, brain, body etc were all measured, and the very cool bit – her heart.  We were shown all the different valves and atriums of the heart, the blood flow and its direction being pumped in and out.  Quite simply put, it was an incredible experience.

heart.jpg

The blood flowing through a valve appeared heart shaped!

Rocky was still showing an ‘echogenic bowel’ (where the bowel shows up bright as a bone on the scan) – that was identified from the anatomy scan at 20 weeks.  The specialist Doctor talked to us about that, she said she thought it was most likely she had swallowed some blood from a bleed I may have had in the early stages of pregnancy. Although I never had any bleeding (thankfully), it is still possible and not unusual with IVF babies according to the doc. She also asked if we had tested for Cystic Fibrosis.  We didn’t test for this because we thought as it’s a genetic disease and we don’t have anyone in the family that has it that we wouldn’t bother.  It turns out we were completely wrong with this assumption.  We had no idea how common it can be to be a Cystic Fibrosis carrier!  I looked into this some more and it is interesting that some carriers can actually exhibit mild symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis.  I have had this disgusting and unexplained phlegmyness that builds up over time ever since I returned from Iraq…I’ve always been seeking an explanation for this and there is some evidence to suggest that some symptoms can be triggered by a traumatic event. Weirdly coincidental?!  So perhaps I should get tested after all. We have a follow up scan scheduled for Tuesday so we can see if the echogenic bowel comes up again.

My mum pointed out to me that it was far easier in her day because you wouldn’t have to worry about these kind of soft markers for potential problems.  I am inclined to be in some agreement.  Ignorance may be bliss.  The silly thing is that even if Rocky were to have Cystic Fibrosis, medicine is very good that she is most likely to have a very normal life.  Actually my biggest concern isn’t Cystic Fibrosis as a diagnosis, it is the association of an echogenic bowel with intrauterine growth restrictions leading to pre-term labour.  This is my personal biggest worry.  Currently as at our last 22 week scan Rocky is within the normal percentile…and my bump is growing nicely so my worries are most likely irrational.

One last thing about our scan with the maternal fetal medicine – the doctor said there was some slight regression of blood pumping through one valve, she thought that as it was still very early this wouldn’t be an issue as she is so tiny still and can grow stronger with no problems.  She said she will put it on my notes and my Obstetrician can make a decision whether or not to book another echo cardiogram later on to be sure. So we continue to wait.

MY EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT.  So another reason I have been off the blog is that I attended my first residential course that kicked off the start of my executive development programme.  I am on a programme with 23 others from across my organisation, coming from various countries with various nationalities (like me an expat working in another country) and various professions, ranging from technical geeks to financial gurus to human resource ninjas.  The aim of this residential course was to ‘Know yourself’.  Yikes.  We all turned up thinking we knew ourselves….but apparently not after being put through a variety of exercises that required a lot of internal reflection.  I was beat by the end of the week.  At one stage I was feeling a little anxious at how vulnerably open I was with all these new people.  I talked about IVF, my blog, Brussels attacks, my deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan – my feelings about myself and others I work with.  Nothing was off the table!!!  It was also intense as we were forced into exercises that meant we quickly got to know each other.

We formed teams for our project work that was based on real life organizational problems.  I decided to work in a team that was tackling a big problem that was out of my comfort zone – some of the other projects were within my technical capabilities.  And I am glad I decided to do that, although it might sound crazy to not take the easy path, I think this project is something I have more of a personal interest in…so when it is late at night and I need to do research and I need to find the motivation I may actually want to work on it because it interests me.  I found this works well when I chose my modules for my Masters degree.  Modules I didn’t choose I found hard to motivate myself to complete…modules I chose I often read around the subject more.

The distance modules start next week and the next residential course is in November…I’m excited to be doing this course, but the first week was pretty intense emotionally!  I am not sure pregnancy hormones helped much :-s

PREPARING TO BECOME A MUMMY.  After my list of things to do blog post several weeks ago, I have done very little to check anything off of it.  Mostly because of all of the above busyness!  And also I am kind of STILL in denial.  Yes I know, I really need to get over that!  I went shopping for some maternity clothes whilst I was in the UK (which by the way was very disappointing as most stores only do maternity stuff online…blah blah blah) and ended up in the baby section.  I love the clothes in the UK compared to the US.  I think it is because I feel that clothes in the US are overly girly and garishly pink.  I like pink, but not that much, I equally do not like the fact that even animals in the US are genderfied (I am not even sure that is a word!!!!)  In the UK, there seems to be more baby clothes that can be girl or boy.  Anyway, I picked a whole bunch of stuff up. Then absolutely freaked out when I thought about the sizes I was picking….in the UK they use baby sizes ‘tiny baby’, ‘newborn baby’, 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months etc….All I could think of was, what if I get all this stuff and something happens to Rocky?? What if she doesn’t make it? I understand that this is a common feeling amongst all pregnant women – I mean it would probably be unnatural not to have these thoughts.  So I put everything back and walked out of the store empty handed and decided to go home.  Now….I did let my parents choose some outfits for Rocky when we were out together.  If I hadn’t let them I think they may have been a little upset because I know they want to and it was probably the only chance we would get to shop together before Rocky’s arrival.  So they bought Rocky some very sweet, non-pink outfits and I love them.

This is not to say I have not been thinking about Rocky’s arrival and completely bury my head in the sand.  I’ve started to do some research into the long list of baby related items we need to buy!  There is so much choice out there!!  I bought a couple of British baby magazines to flick through and get ideas (which by the way are waaaaaay better than the US baby magazines – I can’t put my finger on why I think that, I may simply be biased).  I will pat myself on the back, however, for finally booking a weekend birthing class as well as a parenting class for the end of November, beginning of December.  I really hope Rocky doesn’t arrive before this because all the classes were full up ‘til then!  I’m not overly happy about these classes because I would much prefer to do something longer for the birthing side, but our work schedule is not overly conducive to regular classes.  Perhaps when we eventually find a doula she may offer private classes that we could do.  This is the next task on our list…find ourselves a lovely doula!

THE BUMP.  So at some point during the residential course my bump ‘popped’.  Two people commented – Chris and someone I had just met on the course. Chris saw my bump on skype and was like – your bump is sticking out further than your boobs now!  And the other person I had just met said something had changed in the size of my bump over the week I had been there.

bump.jpg

As I was queuing up at the airport security one of the officers noticed I was pregnant and said I should have a body scan rather than walk through the scanner (I don’t know why, but I guess it has something to do with not needing an extra search if the buzzer goes off).  Also when I was on the tube someone offered me their seat.  Which was very kind, but I didn’t need it.  I had ordered a ‘Baby on Board’ badge to arrive at my parents’ house for my London trip, but I didn’t need it in the end because generally the bus from the hotel to the school usually had seats available. The one thing I am finding more difficult now is bending over to put my shoes and socks on.  I need to sit down for starters as well as really reach to get to my toes.  I think some more yoga is needed!  Rocky has been kicking my bladder a lot this week and generally being a little wiggle monster.  When I was sat next to one particular guy on the course, every time he spoke she kicked! It was quite funny!! But I absolutely love every single move she makes, it makes me very happy indeed.

THE END.  OK, most of you have probably gone by now…but I had 4 weeks to catch up on and I am sat on a transatlantic flight! If you made it to here I give you a big hug and a high five.  I will post an update after our scan on Tuesday (oh I also have the lovely gestational diabetes test then too :-S)

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13 thoughts on “It’s been a while!

  1. Amy M. says:

    I agree with you about the clothes…well, the US clothes anyway. I HATE pink. I realize with having a daughter I will have a lot of pink in my house, but I have refused to buy many pink outfits at all, or pink anything. (B actually got mad at me when we were doing the registry because I was avoiding it so much!) I just hate the stereotype that girls have to wear pink. There are also hardly any gender neutral clothes in the US! At least around here. I tried to buy some stuff before we knew the gender, but it was SOOO hard!!
    Sounds like things are going great. Sorry you didn’t get the promotion, but it sounds like your classes are going to be great. Good to hear the house is coming along as well. I had more to say, but I’ve forgotten, and it’s getting late so I don’t want to go read through again lol!! I’m glad you’re back though, I’ve been wondering how you’ve been doing!! Welcome to the second half of your pregnancy!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thegreatpuddingclubhunt says:

      I’ve seen more gender neutral clothes in boutique type stores but they are often ridiculously expensive! I’m not averse to pink, I just think there are many other beautiful colours of the rainbow a little lady can wear!! Well I haven’t bought any clothes yet, but when I do get round to it I’m going to try to be diverse in colours! Actually just read Emily’s comment below and it’s true that the best colour choice for clothes will be clearer after she is born!

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  2. EmilyMaine says:

    Your bump (and you) look fabulous! Great to hear all is going well with the house and course. Sorry about the promotion but it is probably the universe saying “hey you have enough in your plate for now” and the opportunity will present itself again when it’s time. You sound like an amazing worker so I have no doubt there are promotions in your future. I hope all the scan stuff turns out to be nothing to worry about. You sound very together about it all which is good. Enjoy this next half of your pregnancy. It is all grow grow grow from here. Oh and I always said I would let dress my daughter in pink but it turns out she reeeeally suits the pastel version of it. Who knew? And a lot of the stuff I bought pre-birth in my preferred colours are t necessarily “her”. Funny how that happens. My son had really specific colours that suited him too. So funny when they are just little babies that they have their “colours” but it is totally a thing. Look after yourself 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • thegreatpuddingclubhunt says:

      My face didn’t look quite so fabulous but I thought my bump did so shared just that bit 😝 I’m liking the advice that it’s hard to know what colours will work best for her…maybe she will have yellowy skin and yellow clothes will not suit her!!! Or something like that anyway 😊 I guess we only need a few basics to get us started, then see what suits!! I like this idea a lot!!!! Thank you!!! Hope you are your family are all doing well 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nara says:

    Yay! I kept thinking about you and wondering how you are. I’m 22 weeks tomorrow so it’s interesting to read about the kinds of things you’re doing. I feel exactly the same about buying things for the baby and the same irrational thoughts about something happening and having to take it all back. And my parents have bought his one and only (so far) baby outfit! Also my bump popped in the last week too, probably as I’m fatter than you! 😂 Glad that you are doing so well at work. Disappointing about the job but I’m sure it was very close and the exec development course sounds brilliant! And your new house too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thegreatpuddingclubhunt says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling like this (about the buying things for baby business)!

      Yey for bump popping! Since last week I’ve had lots of random people ask me questions, offer up seats etc…I can’t live in secret anymore. So there are good things and bad things about the bump truly showing but you will get it all now!haha!!! I’m meeting a girl who is about to go through IVF for dinner tomorrow and I’m trying to figure out what the best baggiest outfit will be to make sure bump isn’t in her face 😳
      Not much longer to your first viability milestone now 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nara says:

        To be honest I think it’s okay to show your bump a tiny bit when talking with people who are starting. Because I think it is sort of encouraging to know that it worked? I don’t know. That’s how I felt. Like when we were at our private place last night, T said I was the only one with a bump. And whether I should hide it. I said when I used to come here earlier on I found it encouraging as the treatment clearly worked for some people!

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  4. lovingthemarriedlife says:

    wow you certainly have been super busy! Your bump is adorable! I think passing the 24 week mark made it easier for me to buy things since I passed the viability week! I love girl baby clothing but I don’t like pink I would have to get less of the girly stuff too! Luckily I’m having a boy and that’s not too hard of a color to avoid… lol… I’m so happy and excited for you!

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  5. flatwhitetogo85 says:

    Love the bump!

    Glad you’re doing well. It sounds like you’ve been super busy lately!! Sorry about the promotion but, as Emily said, it’s probably the universe telling you that now is not the best time for you. Also, at least you like the person who got it! Would have been unbearable if it was someone awful :p

    Good luck finding some baby clothes. It is a massive step and the worries about something going wrong or tempting fate don’t ever really go, but so far things are looking good and you and your parents deserve a bit of excitement and to do the fun baby shopping activities! Hopefully you can find a few non-pink outfits 😀 x x x

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