about 4 years ago

It's a girl!

Or at least, that's what the sonographer said at yesterday's 20-week ultrasound. Many shots between the legs at all angles and no sign of penis, so the verdict is a girl. They also pushed the due date back a week to 8/25 because she appeared a week smaller than the standard. Since I am very far below the standard size, I am not sure this baby is in anyway underdeveloped.

But with more reassurance under my belt and having passed through the least stable part of pregnancy now, I feel more equipped to look at my pregnany discomfort, hoping now that it's a "past thing".

As it happens, starting last June (right before my first pregnancy and miscarriage), I started using Google Doc to record my daily food & exercise record. At that time it was more out of curiosity to see how my diet preferences change over time. For example, right after I came back from Japan, I spent a month or two eating a ton of homemade Japanese cuisine, many of them taken from my Japanese temple vegan cookbook. After morning sickness really started to set in, it became helpful to see how much I was eating, throwing up, and sleeping.

In the spirit of a good data analyst, I compiled the data into an excel sheet and charted.

Let's look at throwing up, the most widely known morning sickness symptom:

Week 1 starts from the last menstrual cycle. Since ovulation and subsequent fertilization usually happens around day 12-14, with another week needed for successful implantation, it is not surprising that nothing happens until week 7. By the way, I tested positive for pregnancy in week 5.

The Y-axis is the total weekly throwup count (thank goodness it's not daily). Starting week 9 (at this time my recording of daily throw up is a little sketchy, a lot of NAs in there), I started experiencing pretty consistent throw up --- pretty much all exclusively of dinners. By week 11, the throw up was daily and at week 13 it peaked with some days with multiple throw ups. By week 15, which is when the internet says you're supposed to feel better, my throw up times did die down. It was completely gone in week 18 but came back up once this week, I think from a slightly stale meatball spagetti (worst thing to throw up, by the way, I got acid burns and red spots on my face from broken capillaries).

Concurrent with the throw ups were frequent trips to the bathroom during the night. I have always been a frequent peer (pee-er?), but that was only during the day. These are trips to the toilet after I have already fallen asleep, and sometimes I would only pee a little, only needing to come back after a mere 5-10 min.

Here is the chart for my nightly toilet visit. The Y-axis, unfortunately, is the average nightly visit, not a weekly total count. So on average, I wake up 4-5 times to go to the bathroom every night. The peak of this coincides with my throw up streak from week 9 - week 16.

Seeing this chart is one of the reason I told my husband that when we move to another house (we rent now), I want two bathrooms. One for me to just pee to my heart's content. Maybe I should even install a bed next to it to save time. The other unfortunate side effect of peeing a lot is THE AMOUNT OF TOILET PAPER BEING CONSUMED now weekly at our household. I don't have the stats for this because my Amazon Subscribe & Save of 48 rolls of toilet paper did not arrive in time to catch up to the consumption rate (it was originally set to arrive every 4 months) so I ended up going to the local Walgreens for restocking. Let's just say I consumed a lot of toilet paper.

Now let's move on to my personal #1 nemesis in pregnancy discomfort. Yes, this one trumps throwing up, peeing, cramping (data not shown), headaches, breast soreness, etc. It is what I call "midnight hunger".

Midnight hunger is defined as the need to wake up several hours after I have already gone to bed, go sit in the dark kitchen, and eat a bowl of cereal or a slice of toast. Then wait 20 min for the food to go down, bruth my teeth, and lie down again. The Y-axis here again is the total weekly count. It would seem like it didn't happen as frequently as the other two which was good, because if it happened nightly I would've given up on life very quickly.

Waking up to pee is easy --- I can do it semi-asleep, and most people can. Waking up from hunger, real hunger that's twisting your stomach, while your head is heavy from sleep, is pure awfulness. Many times I tried to fight it by going back to sleep, but failed. I simply couldn't sleep with the hunger pain. And after the food goes down, I feel bloated and would have to sit or stand there for the food to go down...s.l...o...w....l...y. There was no pleasure in eating the food.

The reason it gradually went away has to do with several factors. First, the bloating and indigestion slowly got better. I had less heightended sense of smell which meant I could eat more. And I also deployed a "defensive snacking strategy". This usually entails eating some saltine crackers, toast, or milk right before bed. It sometimes worked.

Taken all together, this is what it looked like up until now.

Now, I am going to stop complaining about other more minor pregnancy discomforts and talk about more positive things. One of the reasons I felt very bad during those worst weeks was the inability to do activities. Not just not being able to go on a rope, or jump on a trampoline, or practice contortion, blah blah blah. That I gave up really quickly. I couldn't even move much. Here is a chart of my total weekly exercise "blocks". Each block is a continuous exercise activity that is at least 1 hour, and most of what I do is either yoga, circus, or rock climbing. Walking in the park does not count.

The stats before the pregnancy (week 1 - 4) is pretty typical for me. I exercised on average 5 or more days per week, sometimes having more than one activity per day. As my pregnancy discomfort set in, my exercise count per week quickly dropped to zero. Even as I gradually felt better, because I can no longer exercise in the evenings (what I used to do) due to having much lower energy levels, I still end up with less total workout time.

The good news is the latest I have been able to exercise till is 8:30PM last week. It did take a small toll on me as I felt very very tired afterwards, but being able to do evening exercises is much more practical for me.

At this point, you may wonder if I got any work done at all. I also thought I got no work done during those weeks. But I pretty much don't remember what happened those weeks unless I go back and look at my work notes and work emails, which I'm too lazy to do now. Instead, I have been using RescueTime since early last year to keep track of my productivity level. RescueTime automatically categorizes things as being productive and distracting and calculates a "productivity %" by day or week. Sometimes the categorization is a little off, which you can manually adjust. I just went and did a quick check and it mostly got things right: SSH terminal (my main mode of work), Outlook (work email), Evernote, and Powerpoint are my top work-related applications. YouTube and other social networks are properly cateogrized as highly distracting. It did categorize Google Maps as very productive, as well as my visit to my Japanese learning site, but I think on the whole they don't take up much time and don't skew the results.

By taking the weekly logged hours x productivity %, I get the weekly productive hours. Note that the week here is by calendar week (and not the gestational week used above, which starts on a Tue), so it's a little off.

Nevertheless, according to this chart, my average per week productive hours did drop a little, but actually not that much during the hellish week 11 - 13. I wonder that I was doing in week 15 - 16.

So this pretty much sums up my current data analysis. I didn't log sleeping hours, but I pretty much sleep a minimum of 8 and up to 10 hours a day. With all the frequent waking up, I just need those extra hours. Work has been accomodating as I now only drive down to work (40-min commute each way) twice a week and work from home for the rest. I think that definitely contributed to being able to get some stuff done during my sober hours.

As I have passed the halfway mark, I am going to start thinking about what to buy. Oh yes, decorating the house and purchasing baby items will no doubt reignite the shopaholic in me! Stay tuned.

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