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Archive for March 2014

Eye problems

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It has been a really tough week, with my eyes being heavily impacted by the MS. My eye muscles are strained and my vision is weak. It sucks and stresses me out.

I can’t take corticosteroids. Well, I can, but it would be pretty ill-advised.

And I can’t take my usual homeopathic remedy, as it’s not safe during pregnancy.

Luckily, it does seem to be getting better (but so s-l-o-w-l-y)

I read that a top home remedy for optic neuritis is soya milk, taken at bed-time. I found a good one at Woolworths. Organic Soy Milk, in which the only ingredients are water and organic (hulled) soya beans. I’ve had a glass so far, and my eyes do seem fractionally, infinitesimally better.

And for the record, my walking is noticably improved. And my balance. I just feel dizzy quite a lot because of my eyes.

Then, just had to share these photo’s. They were taken a week ago. I had my Angry Bird T-shirt on and when I looked down, I saw to my amusement that the Angry Bird’s face was popping out in 3D, courtersy of my rapidly growing bump. Got Michael to take these snaps, because honestly, how often does that happen 🙂

Angry Bird 3D
Angry Bird 3D front

Written by Maggie

March 26, 2014 at 8:35 pm

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Feeling somewhat more delighted with life today :-)

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I took a good look at the 4D scan that I posted yesterday and had a good chuckle, because Vivienne is wearing her umbilical cord on her head like a hat 🙂 A girl’s earliest fashion accessory.

When I wake up in the morning and see my belly, I think “Oh no, look at the stretch marks that appeared overnight!” Then,on consideration, I realise that they are, in fact, pillow creases 🙂 And no, I most definitely don’t sleep on my stomach anymore. It’s the pillow that is next to me, lol.

This pregnancy has surprised me.

What I did expect:

At least some of the usual pregnancy symptoms. (Pretty much none, at this stage.)

To be quite huge by five months pregnant. (Not so much. I have a nice roundy little belly, but I’m still mostly in my own (elasticated) clothes.

What I was not prepared for:

Being plunged back into the MS wilderness, after five glorious, relapse-free years. (I really didn’t think this would happen.)

Anyway, the reason I am feeling happier is that the relapse appears to be backing off. (Bizarre, given my track-record but extremely welcome).

Symptoms that have improved:

My balance. No more of that feeling dizzy when I sit up in bed before I go to the bathroom at night.

Also, I can actually walk on the grass, which was a real challenge last week. (grass is surprisingly uneven if you have balance issues. I can also sit in the garden chair without it being a huge effort to avoid toppling over. Seriously, I felt exhausted after sitting in the garden for ten minutes.

I don’t have that spaced out, dizzy feeling anymore from not being able to focus my eyes properly. I think my vision is improving, too, though it is still not brilliant.

I have more energy (or it’s not so severely limited at any rate) and my walking is stronger. I can actually go to the shops with Michael without it being too huge an endeavour.

I’m not exacerbating anymore after eating a reasonably substantial meal. (Not much, anyway).

My balance is a bit better in the dark/ when I close my eyes.

My speech is better, too. While I wasn’t exactly slurring my words, I was finding it difficult to articulate some of them. This has passed.

New sympton:

I do have a new symptom, which is an intermittent numbness on my forehead. It feels rather like hair falling over my forehead, when there is none. I keep flicking away imaginary hair.

This doesn’t affect any function on my part, thankfully. It is mostly just annoying, but what it represents is more sinister. I’m hoping it will go away soon.

The trend seems to be, so far in the pregnancy, that a relapse lasts for about two weeks, and then eases off. I really hope this is the last one, however.

 

Written by Maggie

March 16, 2014 at 8:45 pm

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Just a quick update…

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Felt down today.

So happy on the one hand, so blah from the MS on the other. I should be happy that I have no trouble from the pregnancy. No back-ache (yay!), no nausea, no heartburn, no headaches, no stretch marks (although it is early days yet), no erratic mood swings (amazing, considering the MS stress). Very easy-going pregnancy.

The MS relapse does seem to be improving. My walking and balance are better. The trouble I had focusing my vision is also better than it was. Alas, my visual accuity has gone down quite significantly, which is terrifying. Mainly in my left eye. I still have very limited energy, but mobility-wise, it is at least better than it was. I am so very grateful for the improvements and praying hard that the improvement can keep going.

I’m very hopeful that the third trimester will be much better. The protective hormones are at their strongest in the last trimester and also, the weather is getting cooler every day now, which helps a lot!

I’m quite sure I felt Vivienne on the move today. It was very gentle; hard to be definite, but it felt similar to the previous little nudges that I thought I felt.

And to end off with, just look at this gorgeous little leg, belonging to Vivienne (from the 4D batch taken on Monday).. Ballerina maybe? 🙂 My little sweet-pea.

4D little leg.

Written by Maggie

March 15, 2014 at 7:02 pm

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Belly pics :-)

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I finally created a pregnancy ticker at Lilypie and I am loving it! Check it out on my right-hand side-bar.

Then, some overdue belly pics… Belly starting to pick up some momentum 🙂

Belly1Belly2

 

Written by Maggie

March 13, 2014 at 7:17 pm

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20 week scan

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I am definitely starting to feel better, MS-wise. Thank the Lord! I was feeling miserable and quite scared. I am very much against taking cortisone while pregnant, and it seems as if I’ve gotten a reprieve.

The thing is, I’m so in love with this little girl inside me. I can’t bear to think of causing her any distress.

I’m not feeling up to running a marathon (or even going with for the dogs’ daily 2km walk), but at least I’m not feeling dizzy the whole time from not being ables to focus my eyes. And also my balance is improved and I have a little more stamina with my walking. It is wonderful not to be getting worse, but in fact better.

I’m not used to my MS acting like this. Usually, once a relapse gets going, there’s no slowing it down. Pregnancy hormones are  doing weird things to my MS.

Monday, which was the first day that I had started to feel better, we went to our GP for the 20 week check up scan.

Thankfully, everything is looking so good. And it is definitely a little girl 🙂

The doc battled to get a good picture of her little face because she is always waving her little hands in front of her face.

But in this one, one can see quite a lot of her face.

So without further ado, here’s introducing the gorgeous little Vivienne Rose…

Image

Written by Maggie

March 12, 2014 at 11:59 am

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In a little bit of a limbo

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That’s how it feels. Waiting for things to get worse, or (hopefully) better.

I will say that I did not have an exacerbation today, for the second day running. I find it a lot easier to be positive and not stressed out if I do not get myself into a bit of a state, MS-wise. Which probably helps in itself.

I am very spoilt. My MIL sent over some pancakes for me. (Michael had his at her house). Thanks, Mom. Perfect for a rainy day. I must say, lying in bed, with the sound of the rain on the roof, doesn’t hurt, either.

I don’t feel quite as good as I did yesterday this time, relatively speaking. However, I did have a much better night, last night. Got quite a good night’s sleep, actually.

My eyes were bothering me a little today. (That thing where the muscles in my eyes don’t want to focus that brilliantly,)

All in all, though, not too bad a day. I wouldn’t say that it has gotten worse, at any rate.

Written by Maggie

March 5, 2014 at 7:47 pm

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Rest

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I decided to make it my business to rest today.

And while I don’t feel leaps and bounds better, I at least didn’t have a five hour exacerbation like I did every day for the previous week!

My dear MIL, bless her, made food for us so I didn’t have to do that. I stayed in bed a lot of the day, and watched what I ate (no gluten, no sugar, seems to help, and no heavy meals).

I also didn’t have to water my roses as there was gentle and continuous rainfall the whole day. Yes!!!

I’m amazed it took me so long to come up with Rose for our daughter’s second name. Seems a pretty obvious choice 🙂

So, not out of the woods yet, but managing the flare up better. There are some women that have to do bed-rest for half of their pregnancy. I won’t do full bed-rest, as I get too stiff, but frequent lie-downs seem to help.

Frankly, getting through each day without meds is a bit of a triumph. And one day closer to Vivienne’s birth 🙂

I hope tonight will go better, also. Last night I woke up to go to the bathroom and my balance was so off I nearly fell out of the bed. My balance is at its worst in the dark. Think I might sleep with the bathroom light on tonight, as per Michael’s suggestion.

Written by Maggie

March 4, 2014 at 6:17 pm

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Crap day

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First some good news. I am gaining weight nicely. For years I battled to get over the 49kg mark. No matter what I did. And I did not appreciate people remarking on it, either.

As of today, I weigh 53.5kg. As I was under 49kg to start with, that is a nice 4.5kg weight gain so far. Probably closer to 5kg.

My face has filled out some and I am loving it! All I had to do was get pregnant 🙂 Who knew 😉

I seem to imagine that I felt Vivienne on the move. Felt like a tiny,little nudge. Can’t wait for the next one. (Next nudge, not next child!)

In the not so good news, I feel rather shocking.

Every day I get an MS exacerbation. I feel like I’m back in the MS wilderness. I’m walking like a parody of a drunk person. Exaggerated, wide-spaced gait, bit duck-footed. My balance is terrible. I actually took my walker out of the garage today. Teddy was quite spooked by it. I haven’t had to use it since I’ve had the dogs. Unfortunately, using it hurts my back, I think. So during that time that I feel exacerbated, I should probably just sleep it off.

It seems to get worse when I eat, especially cooked meals. I had a smallish portion of curried mince and rice, gemsquash and a salad. Then it pretty much hit me. I was still hungry, so I ate bran flakes and then some toast. The more I ate, the worse I felt. But I feel so hungry all the time! Big time catch 22 here.

This time of the evening, I start perking up a little. Nothing great shakes.I can’t get it together enough to go to Spar with Michael. Definitely can’t drive myself during the day. It would be like trying to climb Mnt. Kilimanjaro.

I’ve been trying to work out how long this has been going on for. The symptoms I had with my hand lasted I think a little over two weeks. Then it got better.

This time round has been about a week. Maybe it will also blow over. Oh please let it just go away!

This is my only Vivienne Rose I will ever have. I don’t want to do anything that could hurt her or disadvantage her at all.

I am hurting and disadvantaging myself though, at this stage. I’ve been here before and I don’t want to go back.

Doctors seem to be quite divided over giving  cortico steroids during pregnancy. Some say go for it, some say don’t and some say just not in the first trimester.

I certainly don’t want to take it, but nor do I want to be disabled and not able to look after her properly.

Just hoping and praying that it goes past by itself.

Trying not to feel stressed.

Written by Maggie

March 3, 2014 at 8:49 pm

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Half-way mark.

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We’re pretty much at the half-way mark with this pregnancy. Elective caesarians are usually scheduled at about 38 weeks (hope not to go sooner than that). I’m thinking a caesar might be a good idea. I can’t imagine giving birth naturally with a possible MS relapse. I exacerbate just from doing the dishes! I’m still open to how things progress, however. I do think a natural birth is healthier for baby. We’ll just see how it all pans out. But based on how I’m feeling now… I’m thinking caesar.

My balance is not good. Walking is unstable and my eyes aren’t great. I was at Dischem today while Michael was in Sportsmen’s Warehouse next door. But it was so busy at Dischem (month end) and the service not great. I felt quite spaced-out and the queue at the till was so long, I decied to leave and go and find Michael.

Think I’ll stay at home for a good bit until I feel better and just relax.

Written by Maggie

March 2, 2014 at 8:49 pm

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Week 19

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Pregnancy going really well. Bump is coming along nicely. Still don’t have any side-effects from pregnancy that are bothering me at all, and for this I am truly grateful.

My MS on the other hand is a different story.

I’m actually really disappointed, because in the majority of cases, MS becomes pretty much dormant during pregnancy. I had sort of accepted that and it was definitely not among any worries that I may have had. Within six months post-partum, there is statistically a good chance of relapsing. I was not concerned about this, as by then I could take any medication I needed to, without worrying about a little fetus getting some cortico-steroids in.

That is not the case at the moment, however. I am fairly miserable and frankly, could do with a course of IV steroids. This is not my first rodeo and I’m not thrilled to be revisiting this particular part of my life.

That familiar sensation of my world shrinking in around me is, as I lose the abilty to walk comfortably and as far as I’d like, is not a nice feeling.

Basically, how my MS is manifesting at the moment, is muscle fatigue and a noticeable loss of vision.

I have an extremely limited amount of time that I can spend on my feet, either standing or walking.

if I go beyond a certain threshold, then I end up exacerbating, which is a short-lived (two to three hours) worsening of my symptoms to the degree that I can hardly walk or balance at all and my vision dims. Yesterday, I even had a brief spell of not being able to breath comfortably.

This has happened like clockwork every day this week.

I’ve barely been out the house.

If this was the first time it happened, I’d probably be a lot more terrified/ depressed. But i’ve been here before and at this stage, I can still cope.

I will be taking it (even) easier and resting as much as possible.

I will not be taking steroids at this point. I’m still optimistic that it might go away on its own, due to the pregnancy hormones that are supposed to be protective.

I’m going to take it week by week.

Written by Maggie

March 1, 2014 at 11:25 am

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