Archives for the month of: January, 2015

I threw up when I woke up this morning. I’ve been in denial, hoping my nausea was from the UTI amoxicillin, but it’s definitely still morning sickness. Being at work was hard. I wore a dress and knee-high boots that made me look fat. I’m not pregnant “enough” to look pregnant, I just look like I’ve gained 20 pounds! I’m excited to show properly! I have had more energy and need my car naps at lunch less and less. I still took one today, but woke up before the alarm I’d set on my phone. During my commute home I started to feel ill again, and threw up when I got home. I was more careful to eat snacks between meals today, but it didn’t seem to help. I also haven’t gone to the bathroom in over 24 hours (and believe me, I don’t mean peeing!). The constipation causes sharp pains in my abdomen throughout the day. I haven’t bought Miralax yet, which was recommended by another blogger, but I will ASAP! I’m not used to being constipated, and it doesn’t help that salads and vegetables don’t appeal to me when I’m nauseous. Before dinner I took a Zofran and went out for a run. To my surprise, I had tons of energy on the run too. I even sprinted a block at the end.

After a shower, I made pizza!

I love pizza, especially thin, cornmeal-and olive oil-soaked crust and lots of cheese. This isn’t a recipe exchange blog, I was just so inspired by the recipe posts I wanted to share morefood pictures!

I used Trader Joe’s whole wheat crust and jarred sauce for convenience as it’s a weekday, but making both is easy and gluten-free crust is delicious!

Red peppers, black olives, vegetarian sausage and kale:

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Add organic mozzarella:

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And bake at 500 degrees for the best result:

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I managed to save a few pieces for J, who gets home from a business trip late tonight!

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Mamaetmamen nominated me for this recipe trade off, but unfortunately I can’t figure out how to insert a link to her insightful, real and recipe-filled blog.

This is a versatile dish that is flavorful and satisfying. I love using brown rice noodles for added health, but they’re difficult to find. Whole Foods carries the brand that I use here. You don’t have to use tofu; chicken would also work well.

I adapted the recipe for the sauce from :

The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients

For the sauce:
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari (can be gluten-free)
2 T rice vinegar
3 T sesame oil
4 cloves crushed and chopped garlic
Red chili oil OR red chili flakes to your taste (I use about 2 teaspoons)
2 T sugar (you could use liquid agave)
2 T canola oil
4 scallions, chopped

For the protein:

1 package of extra-firm tofu (like Wildwood form Whole Foods or high-protein vacuum-packed from Trader Joes)
OR 2 chicken breasts

For the noodles:

1 package (4 servings) of wide brown ride noodles, white rice noodles, or buckwheat Soba noodles

For the vegetables:

Chopped carrots, broccoli, spinach, and/or mushrooms in any combination

Method

Chop tofu into small cubes and sauté in canola oil until crispy (I also used a splash of sesame oil). Alternatively, sauté chicken in pieces until cooked through.

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Chop garlic, carrots and any other vegetables you are using, except for spinach. Sauté in a tiny bit of canola oil, and throw in any leafy greens you are using towards the end. Sauté until greens are limp but do not overcook.

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Put a pot of about four quarts of water on to boil, salting the water and covering the pot. When it comes to a rolling boil, add the noodles and cook uncovered according to directions (the brown rice noodles I use cook for only four minutes).

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Meanwhile, make the sauce by whisking all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, adding scallions at the end. You can vary the ingredients as you like (less oil, more scallions, more or less salty).

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As soon as the noodles are drained put a little sauce in the pot, add the noodles and stir, then add the rest of the sauce and keep stirring. Add the tofu or chicken and all of the veggies.

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Serve hot with chop sticks or a fork. You can squeeze some lime over your bowl or add more spice.

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I wrote this last week:

Saturday morning, for a few hours, I felt the joy of the second trimester. It was amazing. It felt a world apart from the fear, anxiety and constant nausea of the past few months, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you! It quickly slipped out of my hands (see my previous post about throwing up all over creation and missing a day of work) but I know it will be back in a few days, and I am sooo excited!

I want to continue the post now that another week has gone by. I’m starting to love being pregnant. I always knew that if I was ever pregnant (which was doubtful until last year) I would love it. This faith comes from my love of my body, exercise, food, and all things natural, emotional and human. I didn’t think I’d ever be a mom, but now that it’s becoming a reality, I’m truly loving it. I’m still nauseous – in fact, I drove home from the grocery store today gagging – but it’s lessening and the fun stuff is starting to happen.

Now that we’re feeling a little more confident and stating to think about preparing for a healthy pregnancy and childbirth, I’ve been exercising every day. This week I did two forty-minute runs (stopping to walk a few times), a workout step-up box and weights work out video, my prenatal barre video which is HARD, a Zumba class that kicked my ass (literally), and yesterday I rode my bike to prenatal yoga and back. I feel great except for the gagging part.

I’ve waited for months to join prenatal yoga, and due to the hematoma I wasn’t going to my yoga studio at all, so being back feels like coming home. The studio is an artsy, spiritual grassroots place with an indoor studio and an outdoor studio surrounded by trees and flowers, right in the center of LA. It’s fantastic. I’ve never been to a yoga class to make friends, and the camaraderie in this class is astounding. Moms introduce themselves, chit chat about their pregnancies, and are super supportive of each other. Yesterday I met another lesbian and we talked about donors and fertility clinics. There are also some partners and grandmothers attending. The prenatal instructor is a doula. She gives variations for different trimesters throughout the class. Some postnatal women bring their babies, and yesterday the instructor carried one of the babies around for awhile, demonstrating poses with him in her arms (the mama was fine with it). It’s such an open, fun and supportive environment. I’ve made a like-minded friend who is also an older first time mom. It is so nice to be surrounded by pregnant ladies to talk to, since I don’t know anyone else who is pregnant. We’re going to have lunch after yoga in two weeks.

I’m also really enjoying food. It’s nice to desire healthy food after two months of eating morning sickness food like Pringles (yes, I ate Pringles, and a lot of other unmentionables). I’m still eating a lot of grilled cheese and tomato soup, but I’ve also been able to stomach kale, tofu, fresh salads, lots of fruit, and Korean bibimbap, and I’m not interested in junk food.

J is excited too. Now that I’m showing, she talks to the baby a lot through my belly. She’s tried to listen to her move around a few times but of course she just hears my digesting noises. Last night we went to a dinner party at her office and she introduced me to several people as her “pregnant fiancé”! It was embarrassing but funny. I think it was a good time for her to share the news with a lot of her colleagues she doesn’t often talk to on a personal level. I wore high heals and when we got home my feet were killing me. J was so sweet. She lit some candles and got out some massage oil and gave me an incredible foot massage! I love getting special treatment from her because it feels like we’re celebrating the baby together.

The only thing I’m a little anxious about is figuring out where we’re going to live. We looked at houses and made some offers last fall, but decided to hold off in buying a house. Now that we’ve decided our apartment is definitely not where we want to become moms, we’re ready to pounce on some houses, get into escrow and move in while we still have time. Renting a house is also an option, as buying in LA is so horrific, so we’re keeping our options open.

That is my 2nd trimester update. My love and hope goes out to all of you who are in different stages of grieving, fearing, hoping and celebrating. You’re all such strong women and incredible mamas-to-be.

No of course the drama will never end, we’re going to be moms! This first trimester has been full of urgent issues though, and they’re not going away yet!

Saturday was a great pregnancy day, which I will also write a post about… Until the nighttime. We went to see The Hobbit, which was incredible, so much better than the other Hobbit movies that it was more like a Lord of the Rings movie! Before it started I ran to pee (which I still do every thirty minutes) and when I wiped, there was bright red blood. Again? Oh, please, after this amazing day and being 13 weeks already, please don’t go away little girl, please stay.

Back in here theater I told J what was happening. We decided to stay, since we’ve been through this before, but moved our seats from the middle of the theater to some of the empty handicap seats in the bottom row so I could keep going to the bathroom to check on things. I was worried, but I kind of knew it was okay because it had happened three times before. It wasn’t very much, and the two other times I went to check on it, it was only a little bit of blood, not as much as previous bleeds.

The fun continued when we arrived home. It was pouring rain and we were wet, which may have had something to do with the electric shock I gave myself. I plugged my phone in and texted my mom about the blood, but my phone charger cord is frayed and I felt a small zap in my fingers, followed by a shock sensation in my left abdomen. I’ve never electrocuted myself before. Since it was too late to call anyone we started googling. It turns out pregnant women do electrocute themselves at home enough to have many forum discussions. Most women were okay, but I also found one study in which women who gave themselves large shocks that went from their hand, through their uterus, to their feet lost their fetuses or had serious birth defects.

We were still worried about it in the morning so I called the nurse emergency line, who advised me to go to urgent care.

Mind you, I just had an ultrasound on Friday. I feel like I’m at the doctor all the time! I don’t have another appointment until February, and I was honestly relieved to be done with them for awhile, but there I was, back in a waiting room.

The Sunday afternoon urgent care doctor had no ultrasound machine or Doppler on hand, but they called an Ob-Gyn down from the emergency room, machine in tow! She was so very nice and spent a long time showing us our healthy little girl. As you can see from the ultrasound pic below, she’s in a very skeletal phase this week, growing all kinds of cheek, jaw and back bones! You can even see the tiny beads of her vertebrae. She also jumped up and down at one point, even though she’s face down! I have a workout video in which you place your hands on a step up box and jump your feel out and up behind you; she did a movement like that! So cute. The doctor said, “I’m not doing that, she’s doing that on her own!”

This is the second pic in a row that she’s face down, but the doctors said that she changes positions a few times a day until later on. She’s probably like me, flipping around in her sleep all the time!

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All was calm again until this morning, when more drama ensued. I had to go to our fertility clinic for a final (hopefully) progesterone check. I got up at 5:45, really nauseous and gagging. Morning sickness has been calm for the past couple of days, so I was disappointed at how crummy I felt. I threw up bile while getting ready. On the way to the clinic I ate some breakfast, but felt increasingly horrible and threw everything up when I arrived. When I got to work I was crying out of sheer desperation, and my coworkers were so amazing, urging me to go home and promising to contact my clients for me. I gagged the whole way home and threw up again when I got here.

I’ve taken two doses of Zofran today, more than I have before, and slept for two hours. I kept down a grilled cheese, soup and a muffin (yes, my 1st trimester diet).

I know that there will still be a lot of worry and discomfort for the duration of the pregnancy and far beyond, but I’m really ready to start enjoying things. I got a glimpse of it on Saturday morning (will post) and I truly feel that once this tri is over, things are going to change for the better! I can’t wait.

Sorry this is so long. By the way, I wrote a post called “Annoying Doctor” yesterday but it posted a few days back and I don’t think many readers saw it. I’m only bringing it up because I’m curious what you amazing, strong and well-opinioned women will think of it, if you have time to take a look!

I know a lot of you are in frustrating TTC cycles or early pregnancy, which is the hardest part I think, so I’m sending you all love and support. Stay strong.

Yesterday was my 13-week prenatal appointment. I have every other Friday off, but the same doctor isn’t always available on that day, so I’ve decided to see a different doctor each time, which is fine with Kaiser. My opinions about kaiser have changed a lot – I used to despise them, but we switched locations to a nicer one, and their prenatal care has really impressed me.i have United Healthcare now too, but I’ve been using Kaiser for now. I don’t even have co-pays, which is really nice. The benefit of seeing different doctors is getting different opinions and perspectives, and of course, that I don’t miss work and I can enjoy my prenatal appointments on my day off.

Yesterday, however, I finally had a doctor I didn’t like. He wasn’t horrible, but he rubbed me the wrong way, rattling off statistics about every question I brought up and not really listening to me. I appreciated his knowledge but his attitude was less than. I had these questions (this is just a sampling, all paraphrased, with what I would have liked to have said following in italics):

My question: Do I stay on aspirin 81 (the fertility clinic told me to ask my doctor)?

His answer: Fertility clinics do a lot of “hocus pocus mumbo jumbo” that’s based on research that’s already been disproven, ie, the theory that luteal phase support will reduce chance of miscarriage. I large research studies, pregnancies resulting from ART who were on progesterone, estrogen, and low dose aspirin had the same number of miscarriages as those without progesterone.

Okay fine, I appreciate the statistical info, but do you have to be rude about it and negate everything the clinic we just spent a year of our life trusting has told us?

My question: Since the subchorionic hematoma is still present, what are your recommendations for sex and exercise?

His answer: The only reason I would tell you not to exercise would be so that I’m not the only doctor telling you to go ahead, since every other doctor will say not to.

Okay, I appreciate the honesty since I know that bed rest is not helpful for miscarriage prevention unless the SH is really huge.

His continued answer: Well, for heterosexual couples, or couples who are sexually active, pelvic rest is a good idea.

Are you fucking kidding me? Do you think my fiancé and I don’t have sex because we’re lesbians? The reason for pelvic rest isn’t just to prevent penetration, it’s to ensure your uterus doesn’t contract unnecessarily. This doctor needs to so some research on working with LGBTQI couples!

My question: Does my fiancé need to get a T-DAP? Will you bring this up with her when she’s here? (So that J can talk to the doctors about it herself since she doesn’t like immunization sunless absolutely necessary.)

His answer: Well, it’s debatable whether or not she needs one, there is some evidence that whooping cough rates have increased, blah blah blah, then he says, we do recommend it for fathers who haven’t had it in the last few years. It depends on how much your fiancé will be around the baby.

Excuse me?!?!?! It’s her fucking baby too, why would she not be around the baby?! Would you say this to a heterosexual couple?!

Needless to say, the doctor seemed a little homophobic, or at least needs to improve his bedside manner when working with LGBTQI pregnancies. I’m disappointed because he actually had a ton of helpful information and statistics, but he was one of those people who don’t listen and talks and looks at his computer while working with patients. Gggrrrr!

During the ultrasound, he jiggled the transducer a tiny bit and the baby jumped up and down. It was cute, but also a little jarring. I’d asked him why she wasn’t moving, so he did I it in reaction to that. He didn’t get the best picture but she’s still adorable! For some reason she felt like being upside down 🙂

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More posts to come this week, I’m already behind on updates!

And I feel like some bird of paradise
My bad fortune slipping away
And I feel the innocence of a child
Everybody’s got something good to say.

-PJ Harvey, Good Fortune

I could tell you all of the “bad” things that have happened to me in the past few years, things I may have brought on myself in some ways, self-destructive patterns getting the best of me, and some just plain old bad luck, the kind that drags you down for no karmic reason and keeps you feeling bad about yourself and anxious for years.

But tonight, I want to share the two things that have actually blessed my life in the past few years, two experiences that stand out and shape my life for the better.

When J and I started dating after several years of being friends, things just slipped into place. With both of our lives falling apart around us, we would stay up late, drinking tequila, opening bottles of wine when we should have been going to bed, talking for hours, and eventually, well, not talking. It was magical. We would listen to an XX song and feel like it was about us. We would lie around for hours on a Saturday morning, sharing our knowledge
about psychology and architecture, respectively, feeling like we were tripping off of the dopamine and oxytocin our brains were making for each other. When J left for Europe for three weeks she left me a secret package full of gifts to tide me over, and sent me handwritten letters from her hotel rooms in the Alps. We weren’t sure what would happen, both coming out of long-term relationships and J, about to move to LA. One night when we were talking about this, I told her how lucky I felt, how I would never walk away from something so obvious, how I didn’t even feel like a good or gracious person, but somehow I had been graced with her love.

The second fortunate thing happened today, when I got our genetic testing results. I’d been refreshing my email frantically on my phone whenever I returned to my desk, knowing they’d be coming soon as they were already several days late. One of those times I was rewarded with an alert from Kaiser notifying me that the results were ready. I called J but she was at a meeting on a business trip in Arizona, so I opened the email myself (we had decided this would be okay ahead of time). The email said that our results came back negative for any type of Downs Syndrome or other chromosomal abnormality, and that the baby is likely a… GIRL! I’m ecstatic. I really felt like it would be a boy, simply because I wanted a girl so badly that I had jinxed it. I read it over and over again to be sure I wasn’t imagining it, but it really said a girl! A healthy baby girl, growing inside me! I’ve wanted a little girl for years. Of course I would’ve adored a boy and instantly been excited about him, too.

Soon I will let myself fantasize about names and clothes and so nursery, but I’m still a little cautious. For now, I just want to hug my baby but as she’s still inside me, I’ll settle for holding her tight in my belly.

First of all, thank you to Ladyloveandbabydust for generously sending me progesterone last week! It got to LA quickly and I didn’t have to order just a few pills, which would’ve been a huge hassle and delivery fee.

However, my level was tested at the fertility clinic yesterday and was only 17. 17 is perfectly acceptable, in fact it’s only concerning if it’s below 15, but the clinic likes it to be over 20 to be on the safe side, so they put me back on it. Ugh I was so excited to be done shoving powder pills up there all day long!

I requested to get a generic version from Kaiser thinking it would be cheaper and way easier to pick up (the fertility pharmacy is far away and had an expensive delivery charge), but when I picked it up from Kaiser it was $100 anyway.

The final part to my rant has to do with a burning sensation. I’ve heard mamaetmaman say before, that endometrian burns, and as I was arriving at work this morning, realizing my vagina was on fire, she popped into my mind. Ouch! As Gollum would say, “It burns us”!

However, I will go to great lengths to ensure our baby stays with us, so even kicking up my progesterone level a little and spending extra money is fine. I’m just not looking forward to torturing my private parts three times a day for two more weeks.

In other news, or lack thereof, our genetic testing results have not come back yet. I really look forward to knowing our baby is healthy, and can’t wait to see if it’s a boy or a girl! It’s going to make things so real… Hurry up, universe! And Verify.

I’ve lived in California for over 10 years and this was the first time I’ve been here for Christmas. We decided to stay because we weren’t out of the woods with the pregnancy yet, and because we just took a long vacation when we went to Italy. I had mixed feelings about it – it was nice to finally host, and not to have to travel, but I missed my sisters and the New England winter weather!

Christmas

Although J and I have run in the same circle for years, our parents have never met. We decided to get my mother and her parents together and it was really nice. I had to work on Christmas Eve, so by the time I walked in the door J had taken everyone out to lunch and they were old friends. My mom and I went to Unitarian service and J’s parents went to Catholic service, then we sat down to our feast. I made a salad with pumpkin seeds and cotija cheese and J made Spanish rice. My mom brought tamales from her neighborhood in New Mexico and made champurada, which is hot chocolate with blue corn and spices, for dessert, along with a Christmas cookie plate by yours truly. We had a delicious Christmas brunch too, complete with sticky buns made by my mom. J and I made Marcella Hazan’s homemade bolognese and bachemel lasagna for the third year in a row, a tradition we started and will keep forever. I even made a mini lasagna with vegetarian meat for myself. We had a relaxed day of opening presents, taking walks and well, for me, napping.

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We also took my mom out to a bar on Friday night! Not just any bar, but The Abby in West Hollywood, one of the allegedly best gay bars in the country! We used to hang out there, in fact, we were celebrating there the night gay marriage became legal in Cali, but in the past year we’ve been boring! My mom loved it, and she got to meet some of my fantastic friends. She had some fancy mojitos and got to watch the incredibly nimble dancers hang from the rafters.

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New Year’s Eve

We haven’t gone out on New Years for a couple of years and this wasn’t the year I would’ve thought we’d make it until midnight, but we did! I had to work all day so we couldn’t go to celebrate in San Diego. Instead, I spontaneously got us a great hotel room here in LA for the night, just to get away and enjoy an evening in a different setting (and, of course, to celebrate being off of pelvic rest!). After weeks of miserable nausea and lying around on the couch, we wanted to ring in the new year in a special environment. We went to the hotel bar when we arrived. While J had some wine, I had some… soup and seltzer. We then ordered a wood-fired pizza and ate it in the hotel room with a bottle of Prosecco and a box of chocolates. I had a few sips of bubbly but felt so guilty I couldn’t enjoy it, so went back to water. Aside from a nap around 10pm, I did make it until midnight!

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And at midnight, J got down on one knee and proposed to me again with my new engagement ring! It’s amazing. J designed it herself and it includes a diamond from her great aunt, and a tiny black diamond that was fairly-traded. If you recall, I couldn’t decide if I wanted bezel or tension set; well, my creative fiancé incorporated both! She totally nailed it; I LOVE this ring!

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I wish we could have our wedding before the baby comes, but at least we can start planning it again soon.

I’ll leave you with a picture of Giuliana and Gabriel, my niece and nephew (from different sisters), together at Christmas. I wasn’t there, which killed me, and I can’t wait to have Christmas with all three babies next year. Aren’t they adorable?

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It’s been a looooong time since my last post, so I’m going to do lots of pregnancy updates, then write another post about our holidays.

My mother was in town for Christmas. She’s a midwife so it was super helpful to have her here, and she got to accompany us to two prenatal appointments – our first official prenatal check-up and our genetic consultation. We went for lots of walks and talked about all things baby!

11 Weeks

Our first prenatal appointment was long, but just reviewed a lot of stuff we already know about health, nutrition, and the baby’s development. That ultrasound was awesome – the baby was floating up and down and waved a hand at us twice! Here’s our 11-week ultrasound pic from 12/23/14:

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Genetic Testing

On 12/26/14 we had our genetic test. My mom, J and I met with a counselor who asked the genetic history of J and the sperm donor. As J is an orphan and doesn’t have any known bio relatives, and our sperm donor is squeaky clean, it was very fast! The counselor drew a family tree that consisted of two branches, then said he was done. We brought our donor’s medical and genetic profile from Fairfax Cryobank, which he flipped through, but the donor has no medical issues and no remarkable family medical history. The counselor did a great job of explaining everything to us and outlining each available test. We had the non-invasive Verify blood test done, which is a cell-free fetal DNA test where they analyze pieces of the baby’s DNA from my bloodstream. It’s amazing to me that they can find out so much from my own bloodstream! We are still waiting for the results, which will notify us of any risk of Down’s Syndrome, Trisomy 13 and Trisomy 18. It will also tell us the sex of the baby.

Boy or Girl?

A side note on little boys and girls – I desperately want a healthy baby and will immediately be excited and embrace either sex or anything in between. I have a strong desire for a girl however, and we’re inviting our little one to be a little girl. I’ve always been a girl’s girl, I love everything female, both friends and lovers. I have two sisters, and I went to my mom’s alma mater women’s college. I was brought up to be a feminist. I love make-up and dresses and baking with my sis and girl talks. I know I’d have a great mother-daughter bond, but if we welcome a boy, I’m going to learn a whole lot and love that, too!

12 Weeks – Finally!

I didn’t have another appointment scheduled until next Friday, but yesterday I was having a tough time feeling like I could still miscarry. Every day I struggle with this, wondering if the baby is still okay. I called our nurse and she got me in at the end of the day for a reassuring ultrasound, which J
also showed up for!

Yesterday, 1/2/15, we finally reached 12 weeks!

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Morning Sickness

I’ve continued to struggle with awful morning sickness. The week before Christmas I threw up a few nights in a row. I’ve continued to wake up around 3am most nights feeling like there’s poison coursing through my veins. My cure is half an almond butter and jam sandwich and a cup of almond milk, which usually settles my stomach until the morning. I can’t eat Thai food, or anything very rich. I finally got a prescription for Zofran, which helps a lot, but some nights I still throw up. On Tuesday night I threw up dinner, then woke up in the morning and threw up bile on New Years Eve and went to work feeling totally dejected! I do feel grateful for the sickness at times; it’s a way for our baby to communicate to me that everything is okay.

Little Baby Belly

I’m not a big fan of belly pics, especially after struggling with weight gain for the past few years, but I’ve had some requests so I’ll do one once a month!

Generally people don’t start showing until 12-16 weeks, but I’m definitely already there! Due to the subchorionic hematoma, I haven’t been able to exercise very much. Add a lot of Christmas eating and morning sickness carbs and you get a bloated and quickly growing belly, which I’m trying to embrace!

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I’m finally able to work out again! I went for a run on New Year’s Day, huffing and puffing but loving every second. I’ve done a few workout videos with light weights too, and tonight I’m headed to a restorative yoga class and sound bath, which incorporates chanting and vibrational gongs! In a week I’ll be in the second trimester, and I can’t wait!