Blush: Menstruation Changes Article

I read this article from Heathline yesterday, and I loved it so much that I’m going to recommend it for today’s post.

It’s all about how menstruation changes throughout a person’s life (and it uses neutral pronouns!).

Image from healthline.com.

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Blush: Breaking Water

It occurred to me the other day that I don’t remember what to do if my water breaks. That didn’t happen with Dragon.

And hey, look at that, I need a topic for my Blush blog this week. If I’m going to research it anyways, might as well write about it, right?

What is the “water”?

Water. Image from shutterstock.com

In pregnancy, the water is the amniotic fluid that fills the sac that protects the baby in utero. This protection is both macroscopic (bumps and falls) and microscopic (keeps bacteria and other foreign microbes away from the baby).

How does water “break”?

The membranes of the amniotic sac tend to tear or rupture during labour, allowing for the amniotic fluid (water) to leave the body.

Will it be like in the movies, where there’s all of a sudden a huge pool of fluid on the ground?

Apparently this is rather rare (10-15% rupture before labour starts, and only a fraction of THOSE experience a gush of fluid). It will most likely feel like a sudden popping sensation followed by a slow trickle of fluid. Contractions are most likely going to be the first sign of labour, not the water breaking.

What’s the difference between “water” and urine?

The amniotic fluid is usually clear with a slight yellow or pink tinge and odourless (or sometimes sweet-smelling). If it is green or brown, it means the baby had a bowel movement and the health care team in charge should be notified. Urine is yellow (usually) and has a scent.

You can find out more about water breaking too early, what to do if labour doesn’t start, etc in the references. Check it out if you’re concerned or interested.


References

Today’s Parent
Baby centre
Mayo clinic
What to Expect


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Blush: GDM

GDM, or Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, has taken over my life.

In week 24, most OB’s/midwives recommend a blood sugar screening. You go in, drink an orange drink (I’ve heard there are other flavours, but the place I went to only had the one) that tastes like flat Orange Crush with 50 sugar packets added to it, wait an hour, and get your blood taken. They are testing your blood sugar level (at a higher accuracy than a diabetes monitor would be able to).

My results from that test came back at 8.4. The upper limit (to not have GDM) is 7.8.

So my OB had me go and do the whole thing again, but the two hour test this time.

The two hour test is slightly different. It must be a fasting test. They take your blood when you arrive before you drink, one hour in, and at the end of the two hours.

This time, one hour in, my blood sugar was at 12.2.

I had GDM.

Dammit.

Sugar cubes. Image from nytimes.com.

I was told this on April 5th. My appointment at the hospital with the nurse and nutritionist was on April 18th. I was given no further information.

Not wanting to endanger our unborn child more than necessary, we started doing research into how to control my blood sugar, and found the low GI diet.

Fortunately, not only was this very easy to follow (especially since I love veggies) but it ended up being the recommended diet to follow by the nutritionist that I saw two weeks later.

At the meeting with the nurse and nutritionist, I was given a diabetic monitor, test strips, and needles. (and a prescription for more of the latter two – thank goodness for insurance!) I was to prick my finger when I woke up and one hour after every meal (not snack).

Dragon insists on watching me do it and has started “pricking” her finger with a crayon and saying a random number.

I’m seeing the doctor at the hospital today, two weeks after the meeting with the nurse and nutritionist. She will hopefully say that my numbers are okay and I don’t need to go on insulin. We shall see. I’ve had a couple pretty weird readings.

On top of watching my blood sugars and eating a mildly strict diet, I also get to have more ultrasounds. One a month for the next two months, and then one a week until the baby arrives. These are to monitor his growth, to make sure he doesn’t get too big.

One of the biggest risk factors with GDM is the baby growing too large. Another is the risk of the pregnant parent developing type 2 diabetes in the future (ugh, fun).

I’m sure there will be more appointments that I’m not yet aware of. For someone with a toddler who sleeps until 11am and doesn’t have a car (but has awesome parents who give me access to theirs or drives me to the appointments, yes I know I’m very lucky), these extra appointments are very trying.

Let’s hope I don’t need insulin on top of the rest of this.


References

Diabetes Canada
Glycemic Index

Blush: Surrogacy in Canada

A few weeks ago, an article on surrogacy crossed my timeline. It was incredibly interesting to read; to get the perspectives of both the surrogates and the intended parents.

Image from
www.surrogacy.ca

The article states, at the end, that there is still a lot of misinformation surrounding the topic of surrogacy, and that the ethics surrounding surrogacy and gamete donation are still under debate.

Let’s clear up some misinformation:

In Canada, surrogates do not get paid. In fact, it is illegal to be paid to be a surrogate. There is usually allowance for expense reimbursement, and if the intended parents and surrogate agree to do IVF instead of traditional surrogacy (most surrogacies in Canada are done through IVF) then the expenses of that are paid by the intended parents. The bulk of expenses for surrogacy seem to be for legal fees and IVF.

Another myth is that it is hard for the surrogate to give up the baby at the end of the pregnancy. It has been found that, for the most part, the surrogates have no problems with this, as they are fully aware straight from the beginning that the child they are carrying is not theirs. (source)

If you do wish to either be a surrogate or have a surrogate, do your research. Evaluate your options. No matter your decision, I wish you the best!

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References

Surrogacy in Canada Online

The greatest gift (Parenting Times)

Surrogacy in Canada: What you need to know (Global News)

Blush: Chest pain during pregnancy

The past few nights, I have slept with my Teddy.

This is not my Teddy. This one looks more like Raoul, Dragon’s sleep bear. Image from www.chapters.indigo.ca

He was given to me by my grandfather when I was born, and he is VERY well worn. I haven’t really slept with him since I was a teenager (possibly earlier, but I don’t remember the exact age when I stopped cuddling him in my sleep).

So why am I all of a sudden cuddling him again?

Because yes. (Sorry. Inside joke.)

I am cuddling my Teddy because I need the extra support between my arms as I lie on my side, otherwise my rib cage feels like it’s being crushed. And Teddy is exactly the right size to give that support and allow for easy rolling over.

Chest pain was not something I experienced in my first pregnancy. Heartburn, yes. Feeling like my upper arm was too heavy and crushing my sternum, no.

This seems to be a fairly common symptom, or at least, it was easy to find a reason why I was feeling this way. The expanding uterus puts pressure on the diaphragm, causing the rib cage to widen. Poof, pain. It’ll go back to normal once the baby is here because my internal organs will go back to their normal places.

If I had to guess, I would say that the placement of the placenta is what is causing the differences between this pregnancy and the last. The last one, I had an anterior placenta (forwards), and this time it’s up top.

Differences:

  • last time, I couldn’t stand the pain and nausea of being on my stomach, even at the very beginning; this time, I have woken up on my stomach several times and the only thing that hurts is my back
  • last time, no chest pain; this time, chest definitely hurts
  • last time, baby was mostly on the right side of my body (I felt very lopsided in third trimester); this time, baby is hanging out at the very bottom almost constantly (we’ll see what happens in third trimester)
  • last time, didn’t really grow out very much; this time, I feel like I’m already the size I was when I delivered

Hmm…that last one doesn’t really fit the hypothesis – you’d think the anterior placenta would mean a bigger belly because it’s taking up more room.


Reference

UPMC

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Blush: New game?

On March 4th, Global News* reported on a new interactive game* for mobile, called “Clit-Me”, designed to simulate different “techniques” to “satisfy” the clitoris avatar. Each of the five levels unlocks content and statistics on sexual satisfaction.

*Please note: gendered language is used throughout the article and game.

Image from globalnews.ca

This game was designed by eight interns at NFB’s Digital Studio in Montreal during their internship through the Université du Québec à Montreal (UQAM). During their research into the statistics on clitoral orgasms, they discovered that only 62% reached climax with a first time partner compared to 85% of those with a penis. So they decided to build a game that might help to close that gap.

I played it. It’s cute. A little clunky at times (especially the multi-touch level), but cute. This game is only available on mobile devices.

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Blush: Unconditional Surrender Statue

You may have heard that, following the death of George Mendonsa earlier this week, the statue depicting the iconic kiss at the announcement of Japan’s surrender at the end of WW2 was vandalized.

Statue depicting the iconic kiss at the announcement of Japan’s surrender and the end of WW2. The outside of the left leg of the nurse has been graffitied with “#METOO”.

I had heard that the nurse in the picture/statue had not known the sailor that had kissed her, but this vandalism made me curious to know more.

Fortunately, there is an article in The Smithsonian that had a chance to interview the nurse, Greta Zimmer Friedman. She died in 2016 at the age of 92. And while she remembers the event as “not romantic, but of celebration of the war being over” (paraphrasing), she also describes it as “not her choice to be kissed, the guy just came over and grabbed.” (paraphrasing).

Some interpret her statements as descriptions of sexual assault. However, Greta herself did not view it as assault, although she did understand the argument for it. (source NYT, as described by her son)
“[…]she made it clear the kiss was a “jubilant act” and “it was just an event of ‘thank god the war is over.'” ” (source BBC.com)

I am privileged to have grown up in a world that has not known war on the scale of WW2. I cannot imagine the relief, jubilation, and freedom that the announcement of the War being over would have caused.

No matter the cause of his excitement, or her retroactive approval, he should have asked for consent first. This isn’t a radical idea; simply respect others’ bodily autonomy. A quick question along the lines of, “Kiss?” or, “May I kiss you?”, would have had the same outcome.

Now, to get back to the vandalism of the statue, it cost $1000 USD to repair the damage.

The person who vandalized the statue was out of line. Although vandalism can be used as an effective, illegal, and destructive, form of protest, it feels disproportionate and disrespectful in this particular case. Damaging other’s property is against the law, no matter how much you disagree with the message.

It would have been better if they had printed a copy of the picture, graffitied on that, and taped it in front of the statue. Water soluble paint or chalk could have worked too. No damage done to anyone’s property, and the message would have gotten across.

Thoughts?


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Blush: Sophie Labelle in Ottawa

This is an emergency Blush post.

Sophie Labelle (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) is giving a talk in Ottawa on Monday, February 11, 2019 at Venus Envy on Bank St.

She is an incredible artist (Assigned Male Comics) and public speaker. She will be answering questions in French and English and then signing her books (available at time of the talk if you don’t already have any of them).

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Blush: Recommendation Wednesday: Time article about teens

My cousin shared this article from Time a couple weeks ago.

Image from www.time.com

It brings up some excellent points about the disconnect between what teenagers are taught and how the “rules” are applied in reality.

For one thing, when most teenagers (and adults) think about rapists, they think of some murky, shadowy stranger armed to the teeth lying in wait for their victims in the bushes.

Which is incorrect.

Rapists look like anyone who doesn’t listen when their partner says no.

Rapists are anyone who doesn’t get (and I quote from the article) “[…]consent needs to be
informed, enthusiastic, sober, ongoing and freely given.”

We should be teaching everyone about consent.

I mean, if my 2 year old can get it, then so can teenagers and adults. It’s not that hard, once you’re taught how it works.


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Blush: Binding and Care

I wrote about binding a while ago, but the other day, a post about self-care while binding crossed my dash, and I wanted to share it with you.

Image from www.gabrieljoffelmt.com

So go check out the post! It includes how to bind safely, breathing and relaxation, stretching, and self massage techniques.

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