Apple Cider Vinegar Experiment for Curing Heartburn

I promised I’d report back regarding the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar on heartburn…  I hate to break it to you, but I would not recommend this treatment.

A few nights ago, after dinner, I decided I needed to finally give this a try.  With awful heartburn in check I downed one tablespoon of straight apple cider vinegar and proceeded to chase it with a full glass of water.  First, the taste was AWFUL but would be tolerable if the cure was effective.  I waited a full 30 minutes with nothing more to eat or drink and remained upright, as I was watching TV on the couch.  I honestly felt no relief.  I wouldn’t say it made me feel worse, but it definitely didn’t make my heartburn better.  Before I went to bed I chugged a few mouthfuls of Maalox along with a handful of Tums and finally felt some relief shortly there after.

I realize that heartburn, along with all pain, is subjective and therefore impossible to compare or measure, but based on this experiment, I won’t be relying on apple cider vinegar to cure my heartburn.

Heartburn & Apple Cider Vinegar

Ugh, my heartburn. It’s always been bad, long before this pregnancy, but it’s getting worse… The medication I’ve been on for years just doesn’t seem to be controlling it now, so in my quest to find relief I may need to resort to other methods.

Several friends/fellow bloggers have suggested I try apple cider vinegar. I’ve been reluctant so far though, for several reasons. The last time my gastroenterologist scoped my esophagus, stomach, etc., he stressed treating heartburn with medications meant to suppress acid, for the sole purpose of preventing internal damage. See, I understand that acid reducers, like Tums, don’t solve the problem, they are quick fixes rather, but they prevent damage which can lead to cancer and even death.

Last night when I got into bed I complained to Eric of my heartburn. (Somehow complaining does make me feel better!) Anyway, I asked him what he thought of trying apple cider vinegar and his first response was, “Hum, more acid to cause more damage doesn’t sound like a good idea.” Curious though, I performed a very quick Google search and came across this article. Now keep in mind my search was quick and I did not verify any sources of information…

The site is basically saying that the medical field has acid reflux all wrong, that those with such issues are actually suffering from not enough acid in their stomach. The article states that, “…when the stomach is lacking in acid, it must churn violently to make the best use of its limited acid. This in-turn causes pressure and back flows of the existing acid.”

Um, really, cause I feel like I have plenty of acid! In fact, I happen to know my true issue, from the scopes performed, is that my lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is supposed to close once food passes, doesn’t always, thus allowing acid to creep back up. So in my case, adding more acid doesn’t seem logical.

Before I completely dis this suggestion from so many though, I’m going to try it tonight, assuming I’ll have heartburn, which is 99.9% likely. The article suggests a “tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and chase it with a glass of water.”

I’ll report back with my findings, but in the meantime, has anyone tried this, and if so, what was your experience?

Weekly Pregnancy Update – 21 Weeks

How far along: 21w0d – the start of the 6th month!

Baby’s size: 10.9 in. (crown to heel), 15.2 oz., about the size of an eggplant.

Total weight gain: I gained 1.4 lbs. last week so up 8.6 lbs. from egg retrieval.  I’m off today so took this picture after my very late afternoon shower, hence the wet, undone hair, no makeup, and glasses.  Oh, and I’d just eaten a fairly impressively sized lunch as well!

21 weeks

Stretch marks: I noticed a few on my hips, but I believe they are from early last year, when I gained quite quickly from the fertility meds.

Sleep: Really depends on the night.  And even with a pillow between my knees I wake with terrible hip pain.

Symptoms/Feeling: Honestly, the last week I’ve felt kind of crappy, but I blame the progesterone I started last Tuesday evening.  My heartburn is much worse this week, and I’m peeing more than ever, even more than I was last week!  And I realize I need to get a lot bigger, but from someone who was used to their flat stomach, this is quite a change for me!  Bending over is difficult, which I just didn’t imagine at this stage.

Best moment of this week: I think sleeping in today, as my work is off for Martin Luther King Day.  I woke several times during the night, peeing and Eric’s snoring, but I slept great from 7am when Eric left for work until almost 10am when Kona woke me to go outside.

Miss anything: Moving however I want!  Although I know this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better!  Even doing laundry seems more difficult.

Movement: When I get in bed at night I definitely feel ‘things’.  It was comforting my doctor told me not to worry since my placenta is in the front.  I’m looking forward to feeling more and more as the days and weeks pass.

Food cravings: Still stuck on oranges and apples now too.  I guess there are worse things to crave than fruit!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope, feeling good in this department lately!

Gender: Girl

Labor signs: Is this where I mention my shortened cervix?  I’m assuming, or perhaps really praying, it’s still at 2cm.  I haven’t noticed much of a mess from the progesterone but I could certainly do without the heightened heartburn and peeing.  If it keeps baby girl in longer though, it will all be worth it.  Recheck is still two weeks away…

Belly button in or out: In but I’m getting scared.  Eric likes to tease me about it!

Wedding rings on or off: On!

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy but getting more anxious.  I’m still telling myself my cervix will be fine, but the more I read online the more scared I become.  I’ve noticed some cramping and definitely tightness of my stomach from time to time, but my pregnancy books say this is normal as the uterus prepares for delivery.  Did the rest of you notice this as well?

Looking forward to: Is it too soon to say her birth?  I don’t have much going on this week, aside from work.  I have been making a point to see friends more, and there is one in particular I’d really like to see, so hopefully her and I can meet up for breakfast or lunch this weekend 🙂

Purchases for baby:  The Baby Jogger Summit X3 arrived again, in green, again?  I know, this shit only happens to me, right?  I’m giving up on Kohl’s.  I’ll spend more to get what I ordered from another store.  I actually didn’t reorder it from anywhere yet.  It’s not like I need it right now, and besides, we are scheduled to close on our lot/construction loan the end of this month, and thus we need the cash for that.  Also, I better stop buying clothing.  I think I have enough of small sizes right now, and it is way too hard to try to guess what size she’ll be in which season.

Eric’s reactions:  Eric surprised me last night.  We were lying on the couch watching TV and all the sudden he started talking to my belly.  It was really cute actually.  He’s going to be an awesome father!

15w2d – Heartburn & Venting

Remember how I’m no longer seeing my therapist?  Well, lucky you guys, since I can’t vent to her, I’m gonna have to vent to all of you.  Feel free to skip this post if you’d rather not be brought down by my negative attitude today.  Most of the following is me getting my thoughts and fears out of my head.

First though, before the actual venting begins, I must say, holy heartburn!  I suffer from heartburn almost every single day, even before I was pregnant.  I have a bad case of acid reflux, GERD, or whatever they call it.  I had one of those fun scopes a few years ago and have since been taking 40mg of omeprazole/Prilosec daily ever since.  It does seem to help some, but I still often experience heartburn depending on what I eat.  Sometimes I swear even water causes me symptoms!  Normally I would describe heartburn as uncomfortable, but wow, I woke up around 4am this morning in terrible pain.  Real pain, way more than uncomfortable.  At first I thought the pain was more in my stomach, so I went to the bathroom and then tried to lay back down, but I noticed the pain was much worst when lying flat, a definite sign it was heartburn.  The pain was just so intense though, so I woke up Eric from his snoring…  He asked, ‘is the pain around your belly button?’ It wasn’t, so he said, ‘it’s indigestion, go back to sleep.’  Again, no help when I actually need his expertise!  So I chewed a huge handful of Tums and within 15 minutes the terrible pain subsided and I was finally able to get back to sleep.  Let’s hope this doesn’t happen every night!

So on to the venting.  How about bullets so you can clearly see where I stop complaining about one topic and move to the next!

  • I think work is actually harmful to my health.  Remember N, my awful male coworker?  Remember his wife is pregnant, due a month before me, so they are about 20 weeks now.  Well, I seriously can’t take him.  Every single word out of his mouth is about the pregnancy, how he is going to handle the actual birth, how his wife is a crying mess of emotions, how she demands foot rubs, all about their centering pregnancy classes (in detail), everything he needs to learn and know yet, how his daughter isn’t ever dating, his comments about the baby and pregnancy just never end.  And granted, I get he is excited, but frankly, the rest of the office just doesn’t feel the same way.  As why should we?  I get I’m excited for my baby, but I also get my coworkers don’t need or want to hear every detail.  I mean my God, I know all about her checkups, the stirrups and all, her breast pump, and so much more.  He’s just sharing way too much, too personal, and on top of it all, he’s so immature about it all.  I just can’t take it anymore.  Even seeing him causes me anxiety.  I need a way to distance myself from him, but that’s almost impossible since we work on the same team and thus are forced to interact multiple times a day.
  • So why am I am so annoyed with N.  Well, I have a few reasons, and I assume most of them are my personal issues.  Perhaps others in the office actually like to hear about his wife’s pregnancy 24/7, although I doubt it!  I think what annoys me, or rather is hurtful too me, is his overwhelming oblivious attitude toward getting pregnancy, pregnancy, and beyond.  And yes, I get this has a lot to do with my own experience.  I am and have been scared of every step so far.  I keep thinking back to our two quality embryos from 18 eggs, which is not a great number.  I understand the risks, what can do wrong, how hard it is sometimes to be infertile, to go through IVF.  He, on the other hand, is clueless.  They got pregnant right away, they skipped all the testing, assuming their baby is normal.  I guess it’s the assuming that is the hardest for me.  I don’t wish something to be wrong with their child, but a part of me wants him to get a wake up call, to acknowledge this process isn’t always easy or perfect…  They have no idea what going through a miscarriage is, especially after IVF, when the stakes are so high.  I just wish he could at least acknowledge the risks involved, but he is clueless.  And I assume it’s the clueless that continue to live in their sheltered world, with their perfect babies.  So yes, I’m bitter it’s easy and happy for them, and hasn’t been for me.  I want to feel normal, to get pregnant the normal way without a team full of doctors at every step, to live in happiness and not constantly worry about how old I’ll be when this one is born, and if we will have to get more eggs, and what condition my eggs will be in as I continue to age.  Will we get more eggs, should we save the frozen embryo we have as a last resort?  What if we can’t get more quality embryos, what if our frozen embryos doesn’t thaw correctly?  Can I afford to breastfeed for a year before we try to get more eggs again, or will that be too long, will I be too old?  So much to think about, worry about…
  • Work continues to suck.  I continue to feel isolated by my teammates, including my boss.  It’s like I’m already gone to them, but yet here I sit.  I mean really, no one should have time to blog at work.  But my boss knows I’m bored and refuses to teach me new things, so what else should I be doing it?  I’ve been as open and honest with her about my time as I can…
  • I’m nervous about money.  I know, I know.  I know what you’re going to say, I’ve heard it before, and frankly I’m sick of hearing, ‘you married a doctor.’  Truth be told though, he’s still a resident for six more months, and residents don’t make great money.  I make more than he does currently.  I’ve never really been worried about money in the past though, as we spend within our means.  If we can’t afford it, we don’t buy it, we don’t go on the trip, etc.  I consider us smart about our money.  Yes, I do buy a ton of stuff I don’t need, but we are a two income household without children, there is always extra money, so if the bills are paid and I happen to want something, I usually buy it.  I know that might sound bad, but just being honest.  Eric just got back from Vegas though, and no, he didn’t break us, but he spent a lot, well, gambled away a lot, which is hard for me.  When I spend money I expect to get something in return.  When Eric spends money he expects to get entertainment in return.  He likes going out to eat, he likes traveling and gambling, to him it’s worth the money.  So yes, he spend a lot in Vegas, at a time when we need extra money, as it’s December, lots of Christmas presents to buy, and a house to build.  My next topic…
  • Eric and I are going Saturday to meet with our builder and finalize plans.  I’m not sure exactly what we are finalizing, as frankly I feel nowhere near close to finalizing anything.  We have picked a lot and an offer has been made, but the floor plans need to be finished and appraised before we can close on the lot.  I’ve posted several times about our floor plans, so if you’ve been following along, you’ve seen pretty much everything I’ve seen.  The plans themselves are rough, I mean, I know where the rooms will be and such, but I don’t have exact dimensions, doors and windows aren’t drawn in, etc.  The plans just don’t feel ‘done’ to me, as there are so many details yet.  But, perhaps they don’t truly need to be ‘done’ to close on the lot, what do I know.  Closing on the lot though means we hand over a chunk of money, money we could really use on bills, baby stuff, Christmas gifts, etc.  Truth be told we don’t have the full 10% the bank wants.  We have $50K in savings, so only 5%, but somehow the bank will make that work until Eric starts working next year and we can hand over the remaining 5%.  Handing over all of our savings though makes me nervous.  No, I don’t dip into the savings ever, but what if something happens and we would need to?  A lot can happen when a baby is due in six months!  And did I mention that I’ll quit work at the beginning of June when the baby is born and Eric is finished at the end of June?  That means we have one income in June, and no income in July as Eric doesn’t start working until August 1st.  And what if they pay him monthly and we don’t have income until September 1st??  I’m starting to freak out.  Granted, once he starts getting paid we will be fine, but it’s getting to that point.

Maybe this is all the hormones talking, and the stress catching up with me….

Beta #1 Results

If you read my post from earlier today you know I called my clinic and asked if I could come today (14dpo) for my beta, instead of tomorrow as it was originally scheduled.  So at 10:30am this morning my blood was drawn by a very nice women around my age.  We chatted about how she’s been trying for seven years to get pregnant and thinks perhaps it’s time she saw her doctor for some assistance.  Wow, she is way more patient then me!

Maybe an hour later I received an email that I had a new message in MyChart, a new test result, my hcg level.  Beta #1 at 14dpo was 189.  I was honestly shocked to see the number, hoping for 100, but never guessing it would be that high.  A wave of calm passed over me, but it was short-lived.  I didn’t see the results of my progesterone or estrogen levels posted, so I figured they would be relieved in the usual way through the patient information line, so like any inpatient IVF patient, I began calling the 800 number every 10-15 minutes.

Finally at 2:30pm this afternoon there was a new message posted by one of the nurses.  She confirmed my beta of 189 and passed along results of my hormones levels as well.  I wasn’t too concerned about my progesterone level since I inject 50mg each evening; that level was 58 compared to last cycle of 52.  If you remember, last cycle we transferred two 3-day embryos, found ourselves pregnant with one, but weren’t able to find a heartbeat at our 7w6d ultrasound, with our embryo measuring just 6w6d at that point.

My estrogen level today was 584 compared to 74 last cycle.  My first question to the nurse, why the much, much higher level this pregnancy, as I was expecting it to be low again.  The nurse explained that your estrogen level early in pregnancy is a good indicator of the strength of the pregnancy.  She said that they supplement if the level is low to help the pregnancy along, but that needing to supplement is never a good thing.  Wow…  I really wish they would have explained this to me back in May when I got my first positive.  While it obviously wouldn’t have been happy news, it might have prepared me a bit better for what was to come, my miscarriage.

So here is a little recap of my IVF cycles, if you find yourself at all interested 🙂

Due date is June 1st as based on the date of my egg retrieval, and first ultrasound is scheduled for the morning of October 13th, three weeks from now, at which point I’ll be 7 weeks pregnant.  Hopefully I’m not getting ahead of myself, as I obviously still need to see a healthy doubling beta Wednesday morning.  Ultimately though, looking back on my first pregnancy, I’m feeling a lot more confident this time around.

As far as symptoms and such, the majority are a result of the progesterone injections, the sore, slightly enlarged breasts, peeing more often than usual, maybe a little extra heartburn, but I have issues with acid reflux as it is.  I noticed today that the palms of my hands and underside of my fingers are incredibly dry.  As in, almost peeling.  I’ve heard progesterone can cause dry skin, but this seems a little extreme!  As for the light spotting I was experiencing, the nurse confirmed with me again that as long as it’s light and brown in color I should be okay.  Thankfully though, I think most of that has come to an end, for now anyway.

As confident as I’m feeling, I’m still scared as hell for Wednesday’s beta #2 results.  If I’ve learned anything from this process, it’s that months of planning and years of dreaming can all disappear in the blink of an eye.