7 Quick Takes – Return Edition

1. So it turns out that yesterday's ultrasound wasn't to look at the baby. Silly me, I figured with my long history of secret miscarriages they were just going to take a peek and make sure the baby was still kicking around and growing properly. Especially since they're stuffing me to the gills with progesterone, which would inhibit the obvious symptoms of a miscarriage.

But no! They just wanted to check on some ovarian cyst. *sigh* The ultrasound tech had mercy on me and took a peek, which is one reason why I love this new new NEW obstetrician's office, but really they're worried about the cyst. But I get ovarian cysts about as often as I get huge honking zits. Unless it's bigger than my head, I'm not especially worried about it.

2. Also, stuffed to the gills with progesterone. This has left me sicker than sick. Right around the beginning of October, I crashed into a puddle capable only of eating peanut butter toast, visiting the toilet, and doing my genotyping PCRs. (And the genotyping PCRs sensed my weakness and chose that moment to revolt. That revolution has been quashed, but it was brutal.)

So they started with 200mg intramuscular progesterone injections twice a week, and added another 300mg daily *ahem* non-oral progesterone when the injections weren't providing enough of a jump. Urgh. All that surging around of progesterone has contributed to pre-medication brutal season of morning sickness and left me wiped.

3. Because I can't stop being a scientist ever, after a few weeks of injections, I had the following observation: the injection site developed massive, awful itchy welts about 12-18 hours after an injection. They go down after 3-4 days, but wow. Now, my OB had warned me about how some women develop an allergy to the sesame oil used as a vehicle for the injections, but I'm pretty sure I haven't developed an allergy to sesame oil. Why? Because I eat sesame seeds and oil all the time, and I haven't had a hint of an allergy reaction, not even mild oral allergy syndrome.

Plus, the non-oral progesterone, which is not in a sesame oil vehicle, also itched like crazy.

My hypothesis? I'm allergic to my own progesterone. My body has adapted to produce just enough that my cycle looks relatively normal… but doesn't produce enough to sustain a pregnancy.

So I told my OB my theory. She said that if I'd told her this two weeks ago she'd have just looked at me funny (n.b. she was looking at me funny at that very moment) but in the last two weeks she'd read several convincing papers about that very hypothesis. …I think I scared her a little.

We agree that it would be absolutely cool to be able to get a skin allergy test at your OBGYN's before you were even pregnant to see whether you would need progesterone support. Nuts, this could lead to a whole new direction of research on miscarriage… (Not that mainstream medical science does much, shame on them.)

4. On a completely different note, my son is getting pretty good at making omelets. I don't let him do any of the actual cooking, of course. And he's still a little timid when it comes to cracking eggs. But I need to do less and less remedial whisking for him every morning.

5. Breakfast Omelets – I've been living on these lately

  • 2 eggs
  • pinch kosher salt
  • pregrated mexican cheese blend
  • a few slices deli shaved ham

Preheat a griddle or frying pan. I use a nonstick griddle, so I don't have to grease anything. Whisk up the eggs and salt until it's all uniformly yellow, with no chunks of clear egg white floating around.

Fry the ham up till it's got nice brown spots and is smoking a little. On shaved ham this only takes a minute.

Pour it onto the hot (greased) pan and immediately use a spatula to get it to spread out into an even layer without too many bare spots. My egg runs away on me because my oven isn't perfectly level, so I just kinda scoot the runny bits around in a rough rectangle till they've set.

Sprinkle the cheese down the middle of your eggy rectangle, and drop the ham on top. Fold the sides up and over the ham and cheese, like a trifold letter, and you're done.

This whole business takes practice, but, after a week of morning omelets, I'm getting pretty good.

6. I didn't use my spiffy Saint Nicholas bishop cookie cutter this year – I was too tired to bake cookies. This makes me a little sad. On the plus side, at least I don't have to make a Buche de Noel for the lab Christmas party (which comes at the obscenely early date of… three hours from now. Crap.

7. GeekBaby has been very nice to me this whole time I've been sick. He's also been extremely cuddlesome. But he routinely asks “when my cooking and baking will come back?” which makes me feel like I'm letting him down a little.

I'm going to have to get back up on the horse though. We're having a D&D group pre-Christmas party on Gaudete Sunday, before Christmas spreads us out to the four corners of the earth. It's been a long time since we've been able to get together, and I'd like to have, you know, a real party. Not like the one last year where no one showed up.

Bonus Take: We get to have the anatomy ultrasound on our 9th anniversary! How cool is that?

For more Quick Takes, visit Jennifer @ Conversion Diary!

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8 Responses to 7 Quick Takes – Return Edition

  1. 'Becca says:

    Hi, I came here from Conversion Diary, so I don’t know your whole story…but when I was 17-20 years old I received monthly injections of progesterone in oil “to regulate the cycle”–I have since learned that that’s the phrase doctors use to mean “fill your body with hormones so that it stops doing things I don’t understand.” Every time, I got a welt that was warm to the touch and hurt a lot (although I don’t recall itching) and a fever. I am not allergic to sesame in the slightest. But my doctor said this was just a reaction to having that much oil injected under the skin–the body is like, “What’s THIS? Let’s have an immune system reaction, just in case!”

    The good news is that I was able to reduce this reaction considerably by taking a long, brisk walk ASAP after getting the shot. Moving the thigh muscle helps to spread out the oil so the body doesn’t freak out so much. Being pregnant and tired, you might not be up to exercising much, but any thigh-moving you can do might be helpful.

    Best of luck with your pregnancy!

    • GeekLady says:

      There were some theories about ten years ago on using hormone injections to ‘reset’ a woman’s malfunctioning reproductive system, but I haven’t been following them. Sounds like what you experienced though.
      I have plenty of pain following the injections, eased by walking, heat, and massage. But it’s usually faded to a dim bruised feeling by the time the welt surfaces. It itches like mad, and I can’t go around scratching my bottom all day. (The other medicine itches like mad too, and in an even less suitable place.) The injection site in particular feels like the skin allergy tests I’ve had done before. I guess for a negative control, I ought to inject plain sesame oil.

      …my obstetrician would have kittens.

      • 'Becca says:

        Better wait until after pregnancy to experiment with unnecessary injections. 🙂

        So, you are getting the injection in your buttock? Would your doctor be willing to do it in the muscle at the front of your thigh instead? That is what my doctor suggested to minimize the welt and avoid having to sit/lean on it.

        It was more like 20 years ago that I was having those shots. There was one every month unless I had a period on my own before it was time for the next shot. Finally I had a horrible reaction, as if to an overdose, although it was the usual dose. I went to a new doctor and found out that the dose I was taking was about 8 times higher than necessary! (But my reaction probably was caused by getting the shot when I had actually ovulated and was making my own progesterone already and would have had a period soon if I had been left alone. It would have been really nice if any of these doctors had told me how to detect ovulation!! But they all were certain I was not ovulating at all.) It was at that point I heard about the “reset” theory and began that kind of treatment, which does work. You take one dose of progesterone, which causes a period after you withdraw from it, and this seems to nudge the system (although they still don’t understand how it works) to begin having a cycle again. It would keep going for several months before it would “hang” again. Interesting.

        Whatever was causing my infrequent cycles was cured by having a baby; I sometimes have longish cycles now but not gaps of months and months. 7 of my relatives have had the same experience, but none of us has ever gotten a diagnosis other than “idiopathic oligomenorrhea” which just means “we don’t know why you have long gaps between cycles.” 🙂

  2. melaniebett says:

    Allergic to progesterone. That is rather fascinating as a hypothesis.

    In my first trimester I was eating an omelet every day. I got heartily sick of eggs and once I could switch back to oatmeal did so and am only now getting back to having an occasional omelet for breakfast. I sometimes do it with ham, though only when I have leftovers from a baked one. Often just sautee some onion and mushrooms and then put them in the middle with the mexican cheese.

    Very cool about the ultrasound on your anniversary! I have one last ultrasound next week. It seems so odd to be having one so late.

    • GeekLady says:

      The funniest thing about the omelet is that I normally hate the combination of cheese and eggs. We’re completely off the breakfast wagon, though. I’m hoping to make a double batch of tortillas today, so we have plenty for breakfast and for Our Lady of Guadalupe on Wednesday.
      I don’t know how odd it is, but my old OB always did ultrasounds at the late appointments. He was fussy about women delivering at 40 weeks though.

  3. Foxfier says:

    Odd, the smell of cooking pork makes me sick to my stomach when I’m preggers. (Which sucks, since it’s a major part of our diet! Two weeks before I got pregnant, I got a killer deal on two huge packs of pork. *sigh* I will have nag-material on my babies for ages!)

    Rather odd about the allergy, but it makes sense. Kinda dangerous to test for AFTER you’re pregnant, though!

    • GeekLady says:

      Hah, the best part is they’re stuffing me full of the potential allergen! It doesn’t seem to provoke a systemic immune response, but the welts are fairly impressive.
      It’s very interesting, though. I believe progesterone is involved in the suppression of the immune response to pregnancy, which could make this an immunological disease rather than a disease of the reproductive system. It’s so interesting that I wish I was more capable as a scientist so I could be involved in investigating it!

  4. Some specific instances of sesame allergy have resulted in skin rashes and inflammation after baking with sesame seeds and skin rashes from cosmetics that contain sesame oil.

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