Saturday, December 29, 2012

He's here!

Baby C was born Tuesday, December 18, at 9:54pm about 48 hours after we started the induction process. He weighed 8lbs 5oz, 20.75 inches long. He's perfect and even the doctors and nurses admitted he's an incredibly cute baby.

The birth story (lots of detail to help me remember! And written over a few sessions, so possibly a bit repetitive):

Sunday night we arrived at the hospital at 7pm to be induced. Got our bags unloaded and settled into the room. Our hospital usually has patients stay in the same private room for labor, delivery and recovery, unless things get really busy.

Around 8pm, I went on monitors (for me and baby), and around 8:40pm the nurse inserted Cervidil to ripen my cervix. (I'd been 70% effaced and about 1cm dilated for roughly 2 weeks.) The nurse was nice but not super competent - she botched a blood draw and ended up calling a lab tech to come do it, and the Cervidil insertion was extremely uncomfortable. At 9:30 I felt crampy, and at 11:30 I was feeling contractions - not super strong, but by 2am they were about 5 minutes apart. I wasn't really able to sleep much - the hospital environment isn't conducive to it, and at 2am the contractions were distracting enough that I gave up trying. At 6am we started doing laps around the hallways and the contractions continued to get stronger.

At 7am Monday I got an awesome new nurse, and at 7:30am my doctor visited and check my progress. Of which there was none - still 70% effaced, and about a cm dilated. Ugh. He decided to leave the Cervidil in until noon when he would return to check me again.

We did laps all morning, I took a shower, and rested (but didn't sleep). I noticed a rash on the inside of my thighs - maybe from the Cervidil? or the lubricant the nurse used to insert it? The shower helped clear away whatever was causing it, but it was sensitive for about a day. I also had some vaginal pain, which may have been a internal version of the external rash. Never figured it out.

I wasn't hungry, but had some fruit and drank a protein juice drink and had a cookie. I'd baked cookies all weekend and we doled out plates of cookies throughout out stay which the nurses loved.

More laps, more time in room. Baby was doing great on monitors the whole time. My doctor showed up around 2:30 instead of noon, which was annoying. He checked me again, and I was 1.5cm dilated, and my cervix was still posterior. Ugh.

The doctor inserted a foley balloon, which threads through the cervix and has balloons on either side of the cervix that are inflated with saline to encourage the cervix to open (mimicking the pressure of the baby's head). It was very uncomfortable going in, and started stronger contractions.

I was monitored for 20 minutes in the room afterwards, and then allowed to walk around again. Contractions were definitely stronger (I called them a 5 on the 0-10 scale) and I got a little teary because they were coming fast. I took a 20 minute shower which felt great.

My fabulous nurse left (sob) at the end of her shift at 4:30.

My contractions were easier to handle after the shower. I was sitting on the side of the bed for a vitals check with the new nurse, and all of a sudden was sitting in a puddle. I thought my water had broken! But when the nurse checked it with a pH strip, it wasn't amniotic fluid. Turns out I had sprung a leak in one of the balloons! (Quite unusual.)

My doula arrived around 7pm - my contractions had gotten strong enough with the foley balloon that I knew I'd need her help during the night.

My doctor came back at 7:30pm and removed the foley (no discomfort), confirmed it had been the source of the leak, and broke the amniotic sac (also no discomfort).

My doula suggested trying some new positions - she'd brought a birthing ball, so I sat on the ball and leaned on the side of the bed. The first contraction was... dramatic. While I'd felt some water leak after my doctor broke the sac, it was nothing like this - I gushed hot fluid all over the ball and the floor. It was really funny, and I got a big case of the giggles. I had bloody show at this point (never saw a mucus plug at any point, though).

Contractions started getting stronger, and more sudden. I leaked fluid here and there all night long.

9pm-10pm I tried a lot of different positions. Contractions were now a 6 out of 10 in intensity. They weren't painful, just intense and uncomfortable.

Midnight check by a new nurse showed I was still 3cm, and maybe a little more effaced. Monitoring overnight was terrible (baby and I were doing fine - the wireless monitors kept getting out of position and the nurse wouldn't notice). We got good at fixing and resetting the monitor ourselves.

Got a new nurse at 7:30am who was also great - took me a bit to get used to her style, but she was awesome. She checked my progress as my doctor was in surgery, and I was STILL 3cm and about 90% effaced. I was so worn out after a hard 12 hours of contractions that I decided it was time to get an epidural. Amazingly the anesthesiologist was right outside (probably the nurse had anticipated me) and I got an epidural about 10 minutes after deciding to. It felt weird going in. After it took effect, it was amazing - I could feel a contraction but they didn't hurt. And it was a very precise epidural - I was numb from the bottom of my breasts to the bottom of the belly. My thighs were sorta numb, but I could move my legs (and by the time I was pushing my legs weren't numb at all).  It was apparently a pretty low dose epidural, and I had a button to top it off which I could use every 10 minutes.

I got about 90 minutes of napping before they started the Pitocin. I started feeling pressure against my cervix, but not the contractions. I got itchy and had some shakes. By early afternoon I was 7cm dilated and 90% effaced and around 3pm was 9cm and 100% effaced. The nurse guessed it would be at least two hours for the baby to descend.

I napped a little more - eyelids felt heavy. We increased the epidural strength a little in the early evening.

New nurse at 7:30pm. I didn't have great chemistry with her (this was consistently true of the night nurses - some were more competent than others, but none were great). At this point I was fully dilated and she told me I could push a little but that it would take awhile for the baby to descend - he was still at about -1 station. About 15 minutes later, she went to call my doctor as she was seeing his head everytime I pushed. Finally something went more quickly than expected!

The doctor arrived which started two hours of pushing. He did a lot of perineal massage during pushes which I hadn't anticipated and was often uncomfortable. The took out the cathether that I'd had in all day post-epidural. I popped capillaries in my eyes, and left finger bruises in my legs while pushing. Initially my doctor thought it would be pretty fast, and the pediatrician arrived maybe an hour in, and my husband got gown and gloves (he wanted to 'catch the baby').  I pushed hard for pretty much the whole two hours. And when his head finally came out, it wasn't particularly noticeable - I think because he'd been so close for so long. (I did want to kill the nurse earlier when she talked about the ring of fire about 15 minutes into pushing... I think I said 'this is NOT the ring of fire' and later said 'THIS is the ring of fire', though honestly it was all hard and no single part stands out in my memory. At some point in the pushing I was given an oxygen mask - I assume because the baby was getting a little stressed.

My husband did deliver the baby - after the head came out, the doctor instructed him on how to move the baby so the shoulders popped out one at a time, and then the body. I had sort of expected the body to be an easy push after the head, but it was still a big effort.

My husband put the baby on my mid-section, and I reached down to get him. We waited for the cord to stop pulsing before the cord got cut (which my husband had no interest in doing). And then we had about 20 minutes of the three of us meeting each other. We let the baby root around on my chest to find my breast, which was pretty amazing. He was really alert, and I have a fantastic photo my doula took of me and the baby looking at each other.

While we were bonding, the doctor and nurses were massaging my abdomen pretty hard. I got a few stitches for a first degree tear. And after about 25 minutes, my doctor realized my placenta wasn't detaching. So the pediatrician took the baby to get cleaned up, and my doctor started working on me. Initially it was heavy massage and some gentle tugs on the cord, but pretty soon I got a dose of fentanyl, and lots of doctors and nurses started showing up. The fentanyl made me pretty out of it, though I was still feeling really uncomfortable, and I was (in my head) annoyed at how many nurses seemed to be in the room. (My husband says it was something like 3 doctors and 4 nurses.) I eventually got another dose of fentanyl, and after about 90 minutes, my placenta was finally out (in two pieces). Apparently it was pretty messy, and I lost a bunch of blood. My poor husband was really freaked out - he was sitting on the daybed with the baby watching them work on me.

They wanted to put my catheter back in afterwards but I really wanted to avoid it  so the nurse said if I could get to the bathroom and pee and not pass out, they could skip the pacifier. Well I got to the bathroom with their help, couldn't make my body pee, but didn't pass out, so they let me be.

As I mentioned, the hospital usually keeps patients in one room, but my room was so messy after the placenta extraction that they wanted to move me. However there were 5 babies born that night, and they didn't end up having a different room for me. Someone came to clean up but didn't do a very complete job...

I was woozy and managed to sleep a bit. Bringing me up to something like 6-7 hours total sleep since arriving at the hospital on Sunday night.

In the morning, all the grandparents showed up to meet the baby. I breastfed throughout the day, and ohmygod was it painful. The nurses and lactation consultants who checked the baby used words like piranha and barracuda. I called him Shark Boy. (A week later I had an appointment with a lactation consultant who helped me improve the latch, so I'm no longer in tears every time I breastfeed.)

Wednesday night he was weighed, and was down to 7 lbs 12 oz which was an entirely normal 7% weight loss. The night nurse, however, was telling me I should pump and supplement, which was crazy. And my doctor stopped by to say hello and confirmed she was crazy.

The hospitalist pediatrician, who was amazing (we checked to see if she also had office hours for patients, but alas she's only in the hospital), said he was doing fine, but when we checked his bilirubin levels they were elevated.  We'd also checked for infection since my waters had been broken more than 24 hours before I gave birth - all good there.

We went home on Thursday night, after Baby C spent the afternoon under bili lights for the elevated bilirubin levels. That was really hard, because he was under the lights in goggles, which he hated, and just a diaper, and we couldn't really comfort him. I could only breastfeed him 30 minutes every 3 hours. And he was so upset by the goggles he'd scoot his way up in the bassinet until he could rub his head and dislodge the goggles, which would then smush his nose. We'd fix it, reset him, and it would start over.

Friday we had a pediatrician appointment to recheck bilirubin levels. His weight was up to 7 lbs 15 oz, and thankfully his bilirubin ended up being stable (which is great since the risk is based on level vs. hours since birth, so he was becoming lower risk as time passed. She asked us to schedule another appointment on Sunday to get him weighed and to make sure the jaundice hadn't gotten worse.

Sunday the jaundice was fine - but his weight was down to 7 lbs 2 oz. Which wasn't good. Apart from the weight, he was doing well - no personality shifts, breastfeeding regularly (although my milk had only come in about 2 hours before the appointment), having wet and dirty diapers. So the doctor told us to supplement 0.5oz with every breastfeeding session, and to have another appointment on Monday to see if he'd gained.

We supplemented two feedings with formula, and I started pumping after breastfeeding so we could supplement with breastmilk after that. Monday he'd gained more than 2 ounces! So we were able to stop supplementing. And Wednesday, when I had the lactation consult, he'd gained another 3 ounces, so our next appointment isn't until his regular 2 week appointment.

I'm not pumping now, since I'm trying to let my nipples recover, but will probably start up again in a week or so since I want my husband to be able to bottlefeed expressed milk starting at 4 weeks.

So we're home and settling into our new life as a family of 3! My husband has been great with the baby - even in the hospital he was really good at soothing and handling the baby. I didn't change a diaper until day 4 or 5!

A few observations about the hospital experience:

  • The day nurses were universally better than the night nurses.
  • Birth is a lot gooey-er than I expected.
  • Bring your own toilet paper and Kleenex to the hospital - single-ply is not your friend.
  • Sleeping in the hospital is nearly impossible.
  • Nursing in the hospital is really uncomfortable - hospital beds aren't good ergonomically, and you don't really want to be sitting in a hard chair right after giving birth. I wish I'd brought my nursing pillow.

Thanks to everyone for their support along the way - it's been a long journey - more than 5 and a half years since we started trying to have a child, and it's amazing and surreal that he's finally here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

38 weeks plus

Neglected to post on Saturday, when I actually hit 38 weeks...

So a few exciting things happened since my 37 week post.

I had an ob appointment last Wednesday for monitoring. The non-stress test went fine, as always, but my blood pressure was elevated (something like 118/86). And my feet are really puffy. They really want the lower number to stay below 90, and my doctor was worried I might be developing preeclampsia. So he asked me to go in on Saturday morning for another round of monitoring, and we'd make a decision about inducing earlier at that point.

Saturday morning went in and my blood pressure was normal. Like, pre-pregnancy normal. And the baby passed the non-stress test with flying colors (as always - he's a super wiggler). So no reason to speed up the induction, but my doctor asked me to come in Monday morning for another round.

Went in this morning, and NST was fine and blood pressure is fine (not as low as Saturday, but normal for pregnancy).  Still about 70% effaced, maybe slightly more dilated than last Wednesday, and soft cervix.

Last Wednesday my doctor was pretty sure we'd end up inducing by now, and now he thinks we may make it to this weekend as originally planned. I go back in on Wednesday for my regular appointment, and if all still looks good, we'd likely induce Sunday night.

The uncertainty has been challenging, particularly for my husband who's trying to get work stuff wrapped up before paternity leave, but despite not having a solid date, it's all for good reasons - baby is doing well and I'm doing well. And if we can keep him in until 39w (which we'll hit on Saturday), his risk outcomes are the same as for a 40w baby.

That said, since the version, I am dramatically less comfortable. The puffy feet mean I can only wear flip-flops or my Mephisto sandals (and I really wanted to not be the pregnant woman in flip flops...), and the baby's movements, which have always been vigorous, sometimes take my breath away. We took a (probably too long) walk on Sunday morning, and I'm super sore from it - ankles and shins are hurting (damn flip flops). On the plus side, I had a fantastic prenatal massage this morning which hopefully helped work some of it out. My massage therapist thinks my body is ready, and guesses I'll go into labor pre-induction (hope she's right!)

Had another acupuncture appointment today to try to get labor started. I ended up queasy afterward, which is not a usual acupuncture reaction for me. Hoping it's an early labor signal.

One thing that's really been annoying me is that when we've told family about the pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), the reaction is 'eat less/no salt'. Not only does that not affect PIH, it implicitly blames me for it, which I resent. I am eating extra protein, and trying to stay well hydrated (snagged the giant mug from the hospital when we had our version - I try to drink 3 of them a day), but it's a placenta/immune system thing, not a salt thing. Grr.

The nursery is all set up except for a bookcase that's arriving this week and will go under the window. Photos, as promised!

I made caramels to bring to the nurses at the hospital (if we have advance warning, I'll bake cookies instead and keep the caramels for us. :) All our Christmas presents (that have arrived, at least) are wrapped and under the tree. (My husband and I aren't exchanging presents this year, but we're still doing big presents (as opposed to stocking presents) for immediate family.)

Less than a week to go, and could be any day now! A friend of mine had a baby 10 days ago and I met him last Friday when he was a week old. Crazy that I'll be there so soon!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

37 weeks!

What a huge milestone! Officially full term. And only 2 weeks to go until we're at least being induced - crazy!

Today was the last day I had something scheduled that I really wanted to get done before the baby comes. I've been telling my little guy that he's welcome to come anytime starting tomorrow (Dec. 2).

**pregnancy complaints coming up**

I'm remarkably less comfortable now that he's head down. I mean, I'm completely relieved that he turned in Thursday's version, but now when he moves it's his whole body moving around, and it's often uncomfortable. And my feet/ankles are consistently swollen (and uncomfortable at night), and my hands continue to be quite painful. But my energy level continues to be good despite getting pretty poor sleep (I can't remember the last time I felt like I had a good night's sleep... I joked today that I'm about to go from good quantity/bad quality to bad quantity/good quality sleep.

I've gained about 30 pounds at this point - I'm sure some of it is water looking at my lower legs/ankles/feet, but otherwise it's all in my belly/chest. People are saying I look much bigger all of a sudden, though I don't have that self image. I do feel more awkward, and it's harder to do things.

**pregnancy complaints over**

The nursery furniture is set up, and the wall decal and mobile are up. (I promise I'll post pictures soon!) Now I'm doing loads of laundry with tiny clothes - incredible and emotional. Hospital bag is in progress.

Our lives are going to completely change so soon! We can't wait!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Breech update

I mentioned in my 32 weeks post that my baby was still frank breech (head up, feet up by his face).

At 33 weeks I started doing everything I could do get him turned. Acupuncture, moxibustion (both with my acupuncturist and at home, twice a day), inversions, watsu, chiropractor (Webster technique).  The Spinning Babies website has lots of helpful information about these techniques if you want to learn more - that's where I learned about the inversions.

I felt like the baby was trying to turn but just couldn't get into position. He's super super wiggly - as in when the doctor told me to do kick counts and make sure I get 10 kicks in an hour twice a day, I told him I usually get 10 kicks in about 90 seconds, every hour of the day.

Moxibustion would make him wiggle, inversions would help him slide up in my torso, watsu made him incredibly, violently, active for hours afterwards (and was super relaxing and therapeutic for me - if you have a watsu practitioner nearby I highly recommend it in late pregnancy), and the Webster technique felt like it was giving him more room. But he didn't turn.

So yesterday, at 36 weeks, 5 days, I went to the hospital for my doctor to do a version (official term is 'external cephalic version' or ECV). This involves the doctor manually turning the baby from the outside of the belly - sorta like squashing a watermelon seed under your finger and having it squirt out the other side (this was the image that popped in my head during the version!)

I was at the hospital for about 3 hours, with prep (they prep you for an emergency c-section because there's a tiny chance the version can either stress the baby or cause the placenta to detach), pre-monitoring (non-stress test) and post-monitoring (non-stress test).  The version itself took about 90 seconds. It was intensely uncomfortable but bearable. (My husband helped me through it, and I realized I need to cut my nails before I give birth, as he was ok with me squeezing his hand, but not digging in with my nails. Hee!) After 90 seconds, my doctor said, ok, we're done, and I couldn't tell if it had worked so had to ask.

Such a relief! If he stayed breech I would have had a scheduled c-section as very few doctors in the US do vaginal breech births (my doctor used to but stopped after a particularly tricky/risky delivery). So now I just need him to stay head-down (it's unusual but possible for him to flip back), and I can work on going into labor naturally prior to being induced on December 15 at 39 weeks.

After we got home, our nursery furniture was all delivered, and we hung our mobile and started putting up the wall decal. I'll post a photo once it's done.

Tomorrow I'm 37 weeks and considered full-term! Crazy!

Monday, November 5, 2012


On Saturday we went to a tea hosted by my RE for his new parents and pregnant patients. He does this twice a year, and it's a nice chance to see him and the staff who helped us get here, and meet other IFers who've had success.

He went around the room to chat with each couple, so we got a few minutes with him. He called us his trailblazers.

Last year, after our terrible SIRM cycle in Las Vegas, we decided to move on to donor eggs, and wanted to come back to our local RE, who had done our first 4 IVFs. However, at the time he didn't offer CGH testing of embryos (tests all 23 chromosomes), just FISH PGD (tests 9 chromosomes), and his shared risk plan required transferring 2 embryos. I contacted him and explained we were ready to do donor eggs, and that we really wanted to work with him, but only if he could offer us CGH testing, and would do single embryo transfers. He agreed (although it meant we couldn't do any version of the shared risk plans), so we were the first patients to get CGH via his clinic.

He shared with us on Saturday that now CGH is standard, single embryo transfers are standard, and frozen transfers are standard, and that he considers us the reason they moved that direction.

Feels good to have helped, indirectly, all those patients who came after us.

And since we expect to start working with him again at the end of 2013, we were happy to hear he's now doing the endometrial scratch that's proven to dramatically increase implantation rates.

In other news, we had our newborn care class yesterday, which was relatively useful and interesting. Nothing earthshaking, but good information. Both my husband and I have read a lot of books, so the class stuff tends to be largely repetitive.

Breastfeeding class is Thursday, and I haven't done much reading on it yet, so hopefully will be a more valuable class.

I've also realized that I've entered the swollen ankles/feet part of this pregnancy. Even in the mornings my ankles are a little swollen, and by the end of the day, ankles are visibly swollen and feet are puffy.

And I'm horrified to admit that my belly button may be starting to turn into an outie. I had a navel piercing way back when (removed when I had my laparoscopy in August 2009), so one side is kind of pinned down, but when the baby was pushing my belly yesterday, the other side definitely bulged a bit. Eeek!

33 weeks and 2 days today. Tomorrow we can say we have five and a half weeks to go. Yikes!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

32 weeks!

I've turned into a pretty sparse blogger these days - sorry about that! I am active on twitter, at least...

The last four weeks have gone really smoothly.

I had an amazing baby shower at the beginning of the month. My sister-in-law and a friend co-hosted, and we asked people for their favorite children's book to jumpstart the baby library. We got a bunch of books we know and love, and a bunch of books we're not familiar with, which is great! Every night my husband reads one to my belly. :)

Last weekend we went to the used book store (where we have tons of credit since we sold 39 boxes of books this summer) and found some more books. I found this great list a few weeks ago of classic kid's books, and we're filling in the holes. We're swimming in books now, but no complaints. Just need the furniture to arrive!

Incidentally, does anyone know which Pottery Barn white furniture finish most closely matches the Pali white furniture finish?

Last weekend we also met up with a friend who's an amazing amateur photographer, to take some maternity/couple shots. Haven't seen them yet, but am eagerly awaiting them!

We had a third trimester growth scan at the hospital on Tuesday, and everything looked great. No sign of an echogenic bowel. Our little guy was so active, when the ultrasound tech first put the probe on my belly, he pushed it off. She said she hadn't had such a strong baby!

Ob appointment was Wednesday, and was all good. My doctor suggested we research placental encapsulation (which amused me, since it's not the sort of thing doctors usually do) - he always thought it was weird and gross until a patient of his did it for her second child after having a really hard recovery from her first. And she did so well that he's now convinced it can be helpful. Next week I start the non-stress test (I'd thought I was just entering the every-two-week phase of appointments, but apparently I'm going straight to the every-week appointments.) We're still planning on an induction at 39 weeks due to my elevated inhibin and hCG levels in my second trimester bloodwork. I asked my ob about c-section risks (since inductions have a higher rate of c-section), and he says a lot of it is because of the reasons people are being induced; that those moms are more likely to have issues that mean they or the baby doesn't manage labor well. He doesn't think my c-section risk is much higher, in part because of the way they induce now, where the meds more closely mimic the natural process.

And hopefully acupuncture and massage will help get my body ready too.

The baby is still breech (frank breech, which means his feet are in front of his face) and he's facing my spine. He still has a few weeks to turn on his own, and I'll be doing acupuncture starting in about a week and a half if he hasn't moved yet. Eventually, if he's still not turned, my ob will do an external version.

Sleep is less smooth - I typically get good sleep for the first 2-5 hours, until I have to get up to pee. And then toss and turn for the rest of the night. My ob recommended magnesium, which seemed to help one night but not the other.

A little heartburn here and there, but not bad or regular.

I ended up taking antibiotics for the lingering cold/sinus infection. Still blowing my nose and coughing up gunk, but feeling better and it's interfering with my sleep less.

Happy to report our se.x life is doing well.

No Braxton Hicks contractions that I've noticed. I'm doing prenatal yoga once a week, as much for the social side as the yoga side. I had an annoying experience with one of the classes last week (I'm trying out all the various locations/instructors to see who I like best) - when I mentioned I'd be induced at 39 weeks, the instructor launched into the Henci Goer anti-medical establishment stuff. I've read The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, and while I'm generally in agreement that there is too much medical intervention for things that can be managed naturally, I'm not willing to risk a stillbirth and trust my fabulous doctor. So was really turned off by that class, despite really enjoying the social side - 6-8 woman, all due within 2-3 weeks of each other in December. But I tried a new instructor/class last night which I enjoyed, so maybe I'll switch to that one as my regular yoga class.

I am getting bigger day by day - it's kind of amazing. I'm up somewhere between 19 and 21 pounds, depending on the time of day, which I'm happy with. Everyone tells me that if they don't look at my belly I don't look pregnant (and everyone expresses surprise when I say I'm 7 months pregnant - I'm guessing that'll get worse now that I'm 8 months pregnant...)

Tomorrow we have our childbirth prep all-day class, and over the next 3 weeks we take the rest of our classes and have our pre-birth meeting with our doula. I pre-registered at the hospital (!!) and it's definitely feeling like time's flying by. 7 weeks to go!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

28 weeks - amazing!

It's amazing that I'm 28 weeks today and in my third trimester. I'm still frequently surprised to be pregnant, and I'm so grateful to be here.

It's been a fairly uneventful 4 weeks since my last blog post. Three weeks ago, I had a day with a bunch of Braxton Hicks contractions - never enough to trigger a call to the doctor, but they happened here and there throughout the day. So I ended up with an OB appt 2 weeks after the last one, instead of waiting my usual 4 weeks (well, not 'my' usual 4 weeks, since I've seen him about every 2 weeks this whole pregnancy). Cervix was perfectly normal, but it was really nice to get that confirmation.

I had my gestational diabetes screen, which I passed - yay! Also did bloodwork for parvovirus, CMV, and toxiplasma, since those could have caused the "somewhat echogenic bowel" in the 20 week scan. All negative for current infections - again, nice to rule them out.

We took a quick trip to Chicago (where I met the lovely @Calmantha) for our babymoon. Had a fabulous dinner, after which our little guy was incredibly active. My husband and I were both watching my belly bulge and ripple as he wiggled around. When we were going to sleep I told my husband he should put his hand on my belly, which he did, but then had to move it cuz it was keeping him awake!

Last weekend we took our first prenatal class - this one was a CPR class. So we're both re-certified. Our childbirth class isn't until late October, and we have a bunch of classes between that and mid-November.

The nursery is looking really good. It's painted, the new light is in, the rug is in, and this week I put up the curtains. We ordered a custom mobile to go with our color scheme (apricot, leaf green, mint green, brown, goldenrod), but we're waiting to hang it until we have the furniture. The crib and dresser will actually come in sometime in the next 2 weeks, but the glider won't come until early November, and it makes sense to have them all delivered together. Alas. I'm waiting to wash all the tiny clothes and diapers until we have the dresser to put them in.

Ob appt this week was quick. We got to peek at the little guy, who's looking good. He's measuring a bit ahead, but he's been doing that the whole way.

My baby shower is next weekend - I can hardly believe it. Just amazes me that I'm having a baby shower.

I have a growth scan on October 23 (31.5 weeks), and then an ob appointment the day after - then I officially move to 2 week appointments!

I feel my little guy all the time.  I'm at the point where I'm supposed to do kick counts once a day. But honestly, there are very few hours where I don't feel at least 10 movements. As I get closer it'll be more important, since there are some potential concerns about placental sufficiency (see last post about being induced at 39 weeks).

I look quite pregnant now, although everyone who sees me comments on how little I look for being 7 months pregnant. I've gained about 17 pounds at this point, and it's all belly and chest.  Some of the maternity clothes I bought early on don't fit anymore (or aren't long enough) so I did a round of shopping this week and got a bunch of cute fall stuff.

Not a lot of symptoms. I'm still getting over this cold that I got in late August, but it's clearing out. My back is hurting more - likely directly correlated to the weight in my belly. And I have tendonitis again - in fingers this time. I suspect it's a combination of pregnancy hormones + overuse from iPhone/iPad stuff. Trying to be good about resting the fingers as much as possible.

Really, really happy. I suck at getting pregnant, but I've turned out to be pretty good at being pregnant, and I really enjoy it. My mom enjoyed being pregnant (and had no stretch marks, which is the best predictor for whether or not I'll get any...)

Sending love to the blog and twitter friends who particularly need it right now.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

24 weeks!

So happy to be crossing the viability milestone. It wasn't something we thought about at all until we had the scary early 2nd trimester bleed, but since then it's definitely been the point on the horizon we've been watching.

Now we get to look to 28 weeks, but it does look more and more likely we'll be having this baby in December.

I had an ob appointment on Thursday, and found out he wants to induce me at 39 weeks due to my elevated hormone levels in my second trimester bloodwork (hcg and something else). They're not super elevated, and it's very likely it's because of the bleed, but elevated numbers indicate a possible placental insufficiency issue, and are correlated with an increased chance of stillbirth. So inducing at 39 weeks is just being cautious, in case the placenta isn't keeping up with the baby.

All in all, I'd rather not be induced (duh), but there are some practical benefits. Our due date is Dec. 22, so by inducing a week early, we get his birthday further away from Christmas. It also makes it easier for my husband - the first couple of weeks will be during company holidays, instead of being paternity leave (though amazingly he gets 4 months of paternity leave that he can take in the first year), so work will be quiet - and it makes it easier for family visiting from out of town, since the timing will be more predictable. And I'm a planner, so having a schedule is nice.

That said I'll be talking with my doula to see if there is anything we can do to improve the chances that the first stage of induction (the gel that softens the cervix and hopefully starts contractions) works, and that I won't need further medication to get contractions started.

And of course it would be awfully nice if I went into labor naturally right around 38w6d.

Everything else at the appointment went great. It was the first appointment with no ultrasound - just a conversation, and then he used a doppler to hear the heartbeat (I haven't done that at home since I've felt the baby move at 18w) and measured my belly.

I'm up to 12 pounds gained - almost exclusively the bump and breasts - a little around my hips. I feel good, and everyone says I look good. I'm loving maternity clothes, and I've definitely reached the point where everyone recognizes I'm pregnant (though they don't necessarily say anything).  I bought a few more maternity items this week - 2 tops, and a pair of pajamas. I also got some Hot Milk maternity/nursing bras that I bought through one of the online sale sites. Really cute and comfortable (I got wireless ones).

The nursery is really close to being ready to move stuff in - I had some repair work done earlier this week, and I'm meeting with a painter today to get a quote. The crib/dresser are ordered, the rug is already here, the light is already here, and I'm ordering the glider today! Really looking forward to getting the room together.

In the next three weeks I'll be doing the glucose tolerance test - just the 1 hour, no fasting version. I'll also be screened for toxoplasmosis, CMV and parvovirus, since those could be linked to the echogenic bowel that was maybe seen at our first Level 2 ultrasound in early August. Unlikely to turn up anything, but since I'll already be having blood drawn, easy to add in to the testing. And my next ob appointment is the last week of September.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Almost 23 weeks

We had our repeat Level 2 ultrasound this morning. Well, I did - my husband ended up being out of town on a last-minute business trip.

Everything looked normal. It was a different doctor (the same one who did my NT scan, but different from the one who did the Level 2 at 20 weeks) and she said everything looked normal. Based on the other doctor seeing something, she is recommending a third trimester ultrasound just to check in, and also suggested I could do bloodwork for CMV, parvo and toxiplasmosis just to rule out some other reasons why the bowel could have been 'somewhat echogenic' in the 20 week ultrasound. It's also possible, though unlikely, that when I had the bleed between 13 and 14 weeks that the baby swallowed a bit of the blood, which would show up as brighter.

She's a great doctor - really approachable and knowledgeable - the total opposite of the woman who did the 20 week ultrasound. This one even gave me her cell phone number in case I had more questions.

All the growth stuff is right on track. He's 1 pound, 4 oz. now, and right at the 50th percentile for size. He's measuring about 1-2 days ahead.

Not ideal that my husband couldn't make it, but I'm very thankful I got to call him with good news.

Usually he's really sleepy in the mornings and I don't feel him much. Well I guess the ultrasound probe being pushed around my belly woke him up because he was very active. It was the first time I could watch him move on screen and feel him move in my belly - really cool.

He's also a future gymnast or yoga instructor - check this out:

I didn't rotate it deliberately - he's head down, and during the ultrasound, folded himself in half. About 2 minutes earlier, his legs weren't in that position. Amazing!

I had my first unprovoked 'stranger' comment on my pregnancy today - my butcher said 'oh, by the way, congratulations!' while wrapping up my meat. Hee! I definitely notice lots of people looking at my belly, but I think most people are tactful (or have learned to be tactful) enough to not comment without being told I'm pregnant.

Every afternoon/evening, if I lie on the couch, I can watch my belly move around. Sometimes it ripples, which looks really strange. I'm hoping my husband can hear the heartbeat soon - I forget which site mentioned that should be possible. I'd like for him to have his special connection to the baby since it's the one thing I can't experience that he may be able to. He loves having his hand on my belly while we watch TV or a movie and is always surprised by how constant the movement is.

It's still surreal that I'm pregnant, and *this* pregnant. My baby shower is only about 6 weeks away (admittedly it's early - I gave a range of dates to the two women who are hosting it, and the one that worked best was the earliest), and we start taking classes in 4 weeks (first one is a CPR class).

I feel great, and have only gained about 8 pounds since the BFP. Sleep is sometimes ok, sometimes rough. I usually sleep well until I have to get up to pee, and then sometimes fall right back asleep and sometimes toss and turn. The only other weird symptom I've had is that the inside of my belly button was weirdly squishy the other night. I'm guessing the baby must have been putting pressure on it in some weird angle. Oh, and my uterus definitely goes above my belly button now because I'm feeling kicks above it.

We also finally announced on Facebook that we're expecting. Got lots of great notes, including a few from people who shared they'd also dealt with infertility while trying to have kids. (I'm open about infertility on FB, and was in the status update wherein we announced the pregnancy.)

Ordered the crib and dresser and light for the nursery. Already have the rug. About to order the glider once the fabric swatches I requested arrive. So crazy!

I found a doula (who isn't pregnant - the first two I tried to hire are pregnant and not taking clients). Feeling productive. :) And our next OB appointment is next week (currently they're every 4 weeks - they'll start being every 2 weeks in late October).

Sunday, August 5, 2012

20 weeks

Yesterday was 20 weeks - amazing! Even though people call this the halfway point, it isn't really. We didn't know we were pregnant until 16 weeks ago, so I think we have 2 more weeks to halfway. That said, it's still a good milestone.

On Wednesday we had our Level 2 ultrasound (which my husband was able to attend). Everything looked great (and the little guy moved all over the place - the tech even said 'wow, he's speedy'), except that the doctor said the bowel was 'somewhat echogenic'. She was not a good communicator - she said it's often a fluke but can be a sign of Down's or cystic fibrosis. When I provided the information that we screened the embryos with CGH so we're quite confident there's no trisomy, and everyone screened negative for cystic fibrosis, she decided we didn't need to talk to a genetic counselor and that we should just go back in 3 weeks. But she didn't give us any data about what % of echogenic bowels are flukes, what the risk factors are given the CGH/negative CF screening etc. I wasn't particularly worried, but my husband was stressed out.

I was amused that when she mentioned cystic fibrosis, my immediate thought was that my husband and I both screened negative for it. Which is true, but is less relevant than the donor and my husband screening negative - also true. I guess my brain has faded out the donor pretty effectively!

We did look at the placenta in the Level 2 ultrasound, and it's moved away from the cervix, so I no longer have to worry about placenta previa - yay!

We had an ob appointment on Friday, and talked to the doctor (not my ob but his partner - starting with the next appointment we see my ob) about it. He said not to worry at all about it. That as an isolated finding, given all the screenings we've done, it's extremely unlikely to be anything.

He also measured the placenta positioning, and the edge is now 35mm away from the cervix, which is great (less than 20 mm is considered placenta previa). So no more activity restrictions, and no more pelvic rest. So last night we had sex for the first time in more than 6 weeks - yay!

Next appointment is the repeat Level 2 ultrasound on August 23, and my next ob appointment is August 30.

I'm feeling the baby move throughout the day. My husband has felt him move a bunch of times now, and is always startled by it. So cute!

The vacation in Hawaii was very mellow - super reassuring to feel movement every day, since we didn't have the doppler with us. I will suggest not getting smushed by a wave, though - we were playing in the waves at one beach, and the surf was higher than it had been earlier in the week. I got knocked over by a big wave, and scraped my breast on the sand. Ow ow ow. Like road rash, right above my ni.pple. Not recommended....

Went to a baby shower for a family member yesterday, and it was really fun to be pregnant. A couple of other pregnant women, and a lot of couples with baby boys (no baby girls, oddly).  It was the first time we've seen a lot of these family/friends since we announced we were pregnant, so that was fun too. I do seem to feel the need to tell people when I meet them that we worked for a long time for this pregnancy. And when people ask if we know the gender, I often use that to mention that we did IVF, and we've known the gender the whole time.

Sending love out to the blog- and twitter-verse. Too much bad news recently, and so many of are constantly in my thoughts. xoxo

Friday, July 20, 2012


This morning, DH and I left for a week vacation in Hawaii. At the airport I had a Naked juice. Not long after, our little guy started doing what felt like somersaults. Apparently the sugar rush made him really active!

I've felt him here and there, maybe once a night for the past week, but nothing like today. All day I've been able to notice him move. Before it was like someone touching the inside of my belly with a fingertip. Today it's more like when your stomach flip-flops on a rollercoaster. Super cool!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Small steps

My placenta is taking them (small steps, that is). At my regular ob appointment today (16w4d), my placenta is now 20mm away from my cervix, which technically means I don't have marginal placenta previa anymore. 20mm is the minimum acceptable distance.

So I'll still take it easy until the next appointment, but I'm cleared to go to Hawaii, and my doctor says I'm basically back to being a normal pregnant person. Yay!

We got a quick ultrasound of our little guy, who's wiggling around as always. I'm pretty sure I'm feeling him kick now - maybe once an evening I notice a sensation like someone is gently but suddenly touching the inside of my belly with a fingertip.

I've only gained 2 pounds so far this pregnancy. (I did lose 2 when I went to Mexico for a week due to healthy eating and lots more exercise than usual.) I only do weigh-ins at the ob appointments, and they haven't said anything. Food is interesting again, which is great, but I'm definitely feeling the effects of having a squashed stomach - it's easy to accidentally overeat and feel uncomfortably full.

Next appointment is the Level 2 ultrasound on August 1 which should be great. I managed to schedule it for first thing in the morning to make sure my husband will be there. He was so bummed to miss the NT scan.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

16 weeks!

Actually yesterday we reached 16 weeks, but I was a lazy blogger - sorry. :)

Things have been quiet since the bleeding episode. I spent 10 days on bedrest (well, couch rest), and haven't had any additional bleeding, thankfully.

I'm still nervous about it, and it doesn't help that this seems to be the point in pregnancy where, er, discharge volume starts to increase. But all good.

I got anxious on Wednesday night for no really good reason. I've started having the heart palpitations which are fairly common in pregnancy, and even though I know they're common, it still stressed me out cuz it's new for me. So Thursday morning I snagged a last minute appointment with the nurse practitioner at my ob's office. She was kind and understanding and when I clearly wasn't happy with a Doppler (since I have one at home, so it doesn't give me any new information) she grabbed an ultrasound machine and my ob. So I got a peek at my little guy, who's quite active.

Our next regularly scheduled appointment is Wednesday and we'll take a look at my placenta position. We'll also get an opinion from the doctor about whether it's prudent for me to go to Hawaii in two weeks.

I've scheduled our Level 2 scan for August 1 - really looking forward to it (and having my husband see it since he missed the NT scan.)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Baby is fine

We saw the ob this morning and the reason for the bleeding is that my placenta has grown partly over my cervix (placenta previa). 9 of 10 times this resolves itself by delivery - if it doesn't then it would mean a c-section.

Between now and then it's not a big deal - my doc has me on bedrest for a few days and had me stop baby aspirin and fish oil until I've had 10 days with no bleeding.

Our little guy was very active - the ultrasound at this point is neat because his bones are calcifying and you can see individual bones and vertebra and stuff.

Thanks for all the love and support. This was the first bump in this otherwise extremely straightforward pregnancy, and it brought back all the fear from our first two losses. No fun.

Really reassuring to have a not-too-serious explanation for the bleeding and to know our baby is fine.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

So much for normal

Just this afternoon I was thinking I should write a blog post about how I feel like a normal pregnant woman.

And then around 7pm, while peeling a cucumber, I felt that wet feeling between my legs, and thought "that was weird" so I checked and my underwear was covered in bright red blood.

Called my ob's emergency number which unfortunately is being covered by his younger partner tonight, and he said bed rest until tomorrow am when I'll go in to be checked.

There's no obvious reason for me to be suddenly bleeding. Our ultrasounds have been perfect, the embryo is genetically normal, my placenta is in the ideal spot, my immune system is normal, and we heard the heartbeat this afternoon with the Doppler.

So my best guess is either a small sub-chorionic hematoma that ruptured or a small placental separation (tho none of the risk factors for that apply to me).

Very scared but trying to stay calm. It was probably less than a tablespoon of blood, and while I still have some bleeding when I pee, it's not deep red. It's more thin and red/pink. Sorry for the overshare...

I'm too scared to use the Doppler again to see how he's doing... Send good thoughts our way please!

Friday, June 8, 2012

12 weeks tomorrow!

We had our NT scan today, and it was great, except that my husband didn't make it there on time so he missed it. Luckily I got a bunch of great stills, but he's really bummed.

Here's our little guy, showing off his knee/ankle/foot while kicking. He's 6cm long, and measuring a little ahead (12w4d and I'm 11w6d).

The NT measurement was 1.1, which is great (since we did CGH we weren't worried about any of the stuff people usually worry about with this scan), and everything else they measured looked perfect. He wiggled a bunch - it's amazing that when they press harder with the wand he moves in response, and they also had me cough hard a couple of times to get him to change position. All that IVF transfer practice meant my bladder was full enough for them without being painful for me.

California provides risk estimates using both my age and the donor's age (since there's some tiny, hypothetical, possibility that even using donor eggs someone could ovulate and get pregnant with their own egg). The risk factor using the donor's age came back at 1 in 3800 for Down syndrome and less than 1 in 100,000 (which is the lowest possible) for trisomy 18. The risk factor using my age came back at 1 in 540 for Down syndrome and 1 in 21,000 for trisomy 18. I'm 10 years older than our donor, and I thought it was interesting what affect that had on the risk factors. (Without the bloodwork/scan I think my risk would be generically estimated at 1 in 200 based solely on my age, and about 1 in 1200 based solely on my donor's age.)

The other fabulous news I got today is that we re-ran my immunology bloodwork this week to see how my immune system is doing with the pregnancy. Both my NK levels and my TH1:TH2 numbers were completely normal, which means I'm done with intralipids! If my immune system were reacting, we'd see it in the bloodwork. Turns out my body is considerably better at being pregnant than getting pregnant, and I'm enormously grateful.

Tonight is my last Lovenox injection and my last progesterone suppository (eek!) and I leave on vacation tomorrow for a week. It's scariest going off the progesterone, but my level stayed steady at 19 this week (was 20 last week) so my RE said it's fine to stop.

We told my parents last Saturday at my birthday dinner (they were surprised and happy, but had a little inkling because I'd mentioned I'd been eating lots of watermelon, and my mom craved watermelon when pregnant with me); we told my husband's dad and his wife on Monday, and then told my husband's mom last night.  A friend loaned me her doppler this week, so after we told my husband's mom, we let her hear the heartbeat, which was super cool.

So all our close family knows now and is just thrilled. Is it bad I'm already stressed out about how much time people are going to want to spend here when the baby is born?

When we get back from vacation, we'll email some friends and family who aren't close enough to all get personal calls, and then I plan on posting to Facebook, acknowledging our long path to where we are.

It's been a big week! Sending love out to all you wonderful people, wherever you are on your journey. I'm grateful every day that we're pregnant and things are going well.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Third time's the charm

We had our first ob ultrasound today (the first two were with our RE). We're 10w5d.

This one was a big deal. Not because of the ultrasound, per se, but because my ob was the doctor who did the scan in my first two pregnancies where we found out about the missed miscarriages. Those had actually been the second ultrasounds for those pregnancies, which is why we stuck with our RE for the first two this time.

I had no logical reason to be anxious about this ultrasound, but Pavlov works quickly, and two bad scans definitely gave me a bad connotation to an ultrasound with my ob (who I adore, and who took extremely good care of me, especially with my second miscarriage - I will call him Dr. R).

I was queasy this morning, as I often am when I wake up (since it's been hours since I ate), but eating didn't help this time. My husband and I drove separately to the doctor's office, since he needed to go to work afterwards, and my heart was racing. We got there about 5 minutes early for a 9am appointment, and realized that he was in the office next to his old office. I was happy for a new environment, and the offices are much nicer.

We didn't get called in until about 9:20, which felt like a very long 20 minutes to wait. Our appointment was actually with his nurse practitioner, since he's so hard to schedule with, but I'd traded email with him beforehand and he would come in to do the scan. I hadn't met his NP before, and I burst into tears as soon as she walked into the room. I had to explain that it wasn't because I actually had anything to worry about, just that prior history was making me scared. She got it (and I really liked her). About 10 minutes later he came in and did the scan - my first abdominal scan! It made for a slightly less clear image, but it was still easy to see our little guy, and he almost immediately did a giant wiggle. Dr. R let us hear the heartbeat (first time - at our RE's we'd just seen it), which was great. He took a measurement (within range, a day or two smaller than our due date would suggest, but the measurement is pretty imprecise with the lower quality image), and then the scan was done!

We went through a bunch of pregnancy stuff with the NP, all of which I knew but my husband didn't, and they gave me lab orders for their OB panel (most of which I've already done for IVF, but it was just easier to do the whole panel than to pick and choose the ones I haven't done recently), and for the first trimester screening (as part of the NT scan process). Tomorrow I'll call and schedule our NT scan, which technically we could skip since we did CGH, but hey, it's another chance to get an ultrasound! (I was amused that the reason for the NT scan that's checked on the form is 'advanced maternal age', even though my ob knows we used donor eggs.)

All this time, the only family member who knows we're pregnant is my husband's sister. We're telling my family on Saturday night, at my (slightly late) birthday dinner, and my husband's mom is visiting us from out of town starting next Thursday, so we'll tell her then. My husband's dad will get a phone call this weekend to confirm (he kinda knows, for some reasons that aren't relevant on this blog. :)

It's hard to believe that it's really happening!

Monday, May 21, 2012

A twitchy gummi bear

That's what my husband said after our ultrasound on Friday: "omg, there's a twitchy gummi bear in there!"

(sorry for the posting delay - we went away for the weekend after our appointment on Friday.)

We were 8w6d for the appointment on Friday. He's grown a bunch - about 3/4" long, all four limbs visible, and every 90 seconds when he wakes up, he twitches. So very cool - and unexpected: we've never had a good second ultrasound so we didn't realize we'd see movement already. Heartbeat is 177bpm and he's measuring exactly on target.

So relieved. Of course immediately after the appointment I fall back into that weird, abstract world where the fact that I'm pregnant seems hard to believe since there's no real external validation. My symptoms are minor - primarily that I feel queasy if I don't eat every 2 hours. I'm finally sleeping better, which is awesome, and at least partly due to the improvement in my allergies.

(incidentally I went to visit my doc to ask about allergy meds, and told her I occasionally used but dislike my netipot. She recommended trying the Neilmed nasal rinse system which I have to admit is much easier and less like water boarding yourself. I use it in the shower and it rinses all the gunk out.)

Next appointment is with my ob, on May 31. We deliberately did our first two ultrasounds with the RE because the second ultrasound was the bad one for our first two pregnancies, and we wanted to change things up this time around. :) but I've traded email with my
Ob and he's super excited for us.

My tummy has been getting smaller as I wean off the dexamethasone (only one more tiny dose on Wednesday) which is ironic. I look less pregnant now, but it should make it easier to tell when my belly starts growing.

And Saturday will mark the end of the IM shots of progesterone and estradiol valerate. Very exciting! Lovenox continues to 6/9 along w suppositories.

Sending love out there to those who need it. There are a lot of pregnant ladies out there but also some sad setbacks, and you're all in my thoughts.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

An Unexpected Gift

I touched on this subject a few weeks ago, but it's been in my mind, so here's a whole new post...

I'm so thankful we used donor eggs. It's such an amazing gift for one woman to give her eggs to another. But that's not the unexpected part.

The unexpected gift is the freedom from anxiety that we experience in our second pregnancy.

(Recap for those of you who haven't been following since 2010: first pregnancy in March 2010 ended in miscarriage at 9 weeks due to chromosomal abnormalities which shocked and devastated us; second pregnancy in November 2010 ended in miscarriage at 8 weeks due to chromosomal abnormalities, which we were sorta anticipating, given the problems with the first pregnancy, but still devastated us.)

Using donor eggs (and, more importantly, CGH-testing them) has freed us from that anxiety. It reset our expectations and has given us every reason to believe this will be a normal pregnancy. I know there's all sorts of things that can go wrong, but they're not top of mind, and they don't cause us stress.

The second pregnancy we were full of trepidation. We knew, intimately, how badly things could go, and so we were really reserved and cautious every step of the way.

This pregnancy, we've let go of all that. We know (to the best of modern science's ability to tell us) that we won't have a miscarriage due to chromosomal factors. And after seeing the strong heartbeat and perfect sizing last week, our RE says there's a 96%+ chance of making it to term, ignoring the CGH results.

An important lesson for us came from our first pregnancy. We had told our immediate families as soon as we found out we were pregnant. And we hosted Easter dinner, with all of them. My husband says it was the happiest day of his life. And he lamented that, after the miscarriage. But I told him the miscarriage did nothing to change that day. That we have to live in the moment because not embracing the happy and joyful times doesn't do anything to prevent the sad times. And that if we hadn't embraced that first pregnancy, he wouldn't have that wonderful memory of Easter.

So we're fully embracing this pregnancy. I'm occasionally anxious, but I think it's not far off the 'occasionally anxious' that any pregnant woman has. We're not telling anyone until right around 12 weeks (the timing works out that we'll be seeing all of our family between 11 and 12 weeks, so we can tell them in person) - and that is a leftover from previous pregnancies. But we know how we'll be telling them, and we've talked about all sorts of date-related pregnancy stuff.

I'm so thankful to be 8 weeks pregnant today.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Our ultrasound today went perfectly. We're 6w6d so it was easy to find. Instantly saw a strong heartbeat (141bpm). Measuring exactly on target size wise (9.2mm).

We go back in two weeks for another ultrasound then will switch to my ob.

Oh, and beta on Wednesday was 20,085. :)

So relieved and happy. I managed not to be anxious until about 15 minutes before our appointment. :)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Black box

(Status: 6w2d today. Next beta is Wednesday, and our ultrasound is Friday!)

Early pregnancy has its own challenges. It's too early to have real symptoms that can't also be attributed to the meds, and so there's no feedback or reassurance that there's actually something growing in there! It's not unlike the black box of going through IF treatment - where you do all the steps they tell you to, and you hope things are happening, but you don't really know until you have an ultrasound or bloodwork to confirm what's happening.

I do have cramping and twinges, and I'm a little smell/texture sensitive, but otherwise I feel like I always do (but happier. :) I look forward to being further along and showing (not to mention then I get to tell people about it!) and eventually having the physical connection of knowing my little guy is moving around in there. But in the meantime, it's just more waiting...

Really looking forward to getting through this week with hopefully great beta numbers and a great ultrasound.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Still going strong

Had another beta today - it's up to 4539 (was 339 a week ago), so that's great! One more beta next Wednesday and then our ultrasound is scheduled for Friday, May 4. Which is 6w6d.

I had a major cramp the other night when I sneezed (no joke!) so we joked that maybe I sneezed out the baby. But he's still in there!

I was a little anxious last night, knowing we'd get numbers today, but overall I'm really content and happy and not worried.  As grit and patience wrote in a blog post last week, using donor eggs, and CGH-tested donor eggs at that, definitely relieves some of the anxiety.

And we're choosing to be joyful and not fearful. Having lost two pregnancies, I know all of these milestones are just markers on the way to actually having a healthy baby, but we've done and are doing everything we can to manage to that result. If something goes bad, we'd rather have the good memories about how happy we were, than live in fear of it and let that dampen our joy.

Our due date is December 22. Yesterday my car was in the shop for a regular maintenance, and when it came back, they had put a sticker in the window to remind me about my next oil change. The date on that sticker is December 23, so everytime I look at it I giggle.  We'll reach the second trimester in June, which is good timing because my husband's mom will be in town visiting us before we all go on vacation together (all our other parents live locally). So we'll be able to tell everyone face to face. And we can position it as 'let's talk about plans for Christmas' (we juggle three families at the holidays, so we always have to plan way in advance... :)

No morning sickness, but I never had any with prior pregnancies. Still thirsty, still get tired (although I'm not sleeping very well due to allergies) early. Swollen but not overly sensitive breasts, and a little more veiny than usual (which I've never noticed before). I'm wearing my Bella Band everyday, and it makes my pants a lot more comfortable. The progesterone and the dexamethasone definitely make me bloated.  Dreaming, but not the crazy vivid ones I remember from previous pregnancies - although I don't remember when they started. I feel little cramps pretty often.

10 days to the ultrasound!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Beta #2

After a long delay due to my local lab mishandling the sample, around 3pm I finally got the number.

I was at the clinic for an intralipid, which we decided to do even without the second beta number. Afterwards I was scheduling the ultrasound and the fax finally arrived.

339! So slightly more than doubling in slightly less than 48 hours!

I've had a little brown spotting, which I would much prefer not having, but I know it's common so trying not to e stressed about it.

First ultrasound scheduled for May 4!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Positive! (and a beta!)

After an anxious weekend, in which I held out and didn't POAS, I woke up at 2:30am this morning and had to pee. I stayed in bed, afraid to go test, and then realized there was no way I was going back to sleep *without* peeing. So I got up, which woke my husband a bit, and did the home pregnancy test. It was immediately (within 10 seconds) positive. So I called out to him that I'm pregnant and he said 'really?!' and came into the bathroom. So we had 20 minutes of middle-of-the-night cuddles and chat and then tried to go back to sleep, which eventually worked for a couple more hours.

This morning I went for the blooddraw, which I did around 9:15am, and expect to get the call from my clinic in the early afternoon. Beta came back at 165! Repeat beta on Wednesday and I'll do an Intralipid on Thursday afternoon.

Here's the photo from 3am (there's also a 7am photo of the same test that I posted on twitter):


Last night my husband asked me if I thought this cycle worked - he's been very positive about this cycle because I've been so happy for the past month and he thinks that makes a difference - and I said I did, but that I was still scared. After a cycle with all the right symptoms ended in a BFN, it really teaches you not to rely on symptoms.

That said, I've been really tired every afternoon, although I haven't had the 'sleep-like-a-log' phenomenon (yet?) My breasts were really sore right after transfer, but have been much less sore since. I've been extremely thirsty (this happened with my first pregnancy too) and drinking waaaaay more water than I usually do. And no specific low abdomen pulling sensations, but various cram pings. And I did feel what I'm pretty sure was implantation the night of transfer.

First hurdle crossed!!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

IF is like a video game

I read Mel's analogy post a few weeks back, and it's been floating around my brain.

And then this past week I was faced with what to do about my PIO shot the night my husband was going to be away. Previously I've had my next door neighbor (a doctor) do the shot on the single occasion I've needed an IM shot without my husband around.

But instead of having her do it, I decided I could do it myself. After all, I know it's not a painful shot, it's just awkward, but there's no reason I shouldn't be able to do it.

So I did. And it was easy (and yes, a little awkward, and also, man it takes a lot more effort to inject progesterone in ethyl oleate through a 25g needle than any of my subcutaneous injections in my belly...)

And it got me thinking... Infertility is like a video game where no skill is involved, just luck.


Oh, and there are no save points. Only the final result matters. Getting part way there doesn't mean you get to start there the next time you try.

Some people waltz through the game and win easily and never have any set backs, and don't think twice about it.

Other people keep trying and for no obvious reason can't make any progress.

But, as with video games, we can track achievements that you collect along the way, not just the win/loss result at the end.

Here are the IF achievements I've come up with. I'm sure you can come up with others - post them in the comments and I'll add them to the list.

Fearless Pincushion was the last achievement I needed. Now I've collected them all, and Monday I'll find out if this time I won or lost.


Willing Pincushion = received injections as part of fertility treatment
Brave Pincushion = self-injected subcutaneous injections as part of fertility treatment
Fearless Pincushion = self-injected PIO or other fleshy-part-of-your-back-hip injections
Clumsy Pincushion = accidentally stuck a needle in some of your body you didn't mean to

Beginner Sharpshooter = done 10 injections
Intermediate Sharpshooter = done 50 injections
Advanced Sharpshooter = done 100 injections
Master Sharpshooter = done 500 injections
Sharpshooter Instructor = know all the local places to drop off a full sharps container

Bronze Voodoo Doll = done 2 injections in a session
Silver Voodoo Doll = done 3 injections in a session
Gold Voodoo Doll = done 4 injections in a session
Platinum Voodoo Doll = done 5+ injections in a session
Embarrassed Voodoo Doll = accidentally had to do an extra injection because you forgot to mix the saline with the powder

Junior Explorer = self-injecting in a public bathroom (airport, restroom)
Social Explorer = going into a single stall public bathroom with a partner to get a PIO shot
Dive Explorer = self-injecting in a filthy public bathroom that requires covering everything with paper towels
Senior Explorer = self-injecting in the front seat of your car while parked on a public street
Neighborly Explorer = self-injecting at a friend's house
Ninja Explorer = self-injecting while on vacation with people who don't know
(This category initially brainstormed by Dead Cow Girl.)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

2ww #6

Update: embarrassingly, I miscounted - this is my 6th IVF 2ww... Title and post updated to reflect that.

Had the FET yesterday. The (genetically perfect) blast was graded 5AC and was about 70% hatched when the transfer happened. Our RE said that meant it would probably be fully hatched and ready to implant by yesterday evening.

I had a few twinges last night and was overall a little more crampy than usual all afternoon (usually I'm not crampy after a transfer). Took it easy on the couch (watched the first two episodes of Season 2 of Downton Abbey with my husband - love that show) and stayed quiet. Had a lazy morning and am now up and about but keeping it low-key.

My husband has been more emotional about this transfer than I have. He was teary at the FET, and again last night. He wants this so much, and it's been such a long journey for us...

This is our 6th IVF-related 2ww, our 2nd FET, and our 8th attempt (2 cancelled cycles in there). I'm glad FETs are so much easier, and faster - it's been less than a month since we found out the last one didn't work (that was on March 11).

Beta is on Monday the 16th. I know I've always been strongly anti-POAS, but it worked out well last time to POAS the morning of beta - better to get the negative there than be on pins and needles all day for a negative phone call. I'll be using my local lab since it's a weekday, too.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Final count

We got 2 more embryos to freeze out of the remaining 5, for a total of 8 genetically perfect embryos! (One even made it to Grade 1 before being frozen.) I have the CGH results, and the embryo report, but not the report that combines the two, so I don't know the exact breakdown of how many were expanded blasts, etc.

But we're thrilled to have 8 from this cycle (we had 3 from the first cycle, and will be transferring the last one a week from Friday). Very very glad we did a second cycle with our donor - I'd be hugely stressed about using the last embryo from cycle #1 otherwise. And the timing has worked out perfectly.

Doing my estradiol valerate twice weekly, and I go in on Sunday for an ultrasound to check lining. Then I'll start progesterone and Lovenox, for FET on April 6!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Good news

We've had a rash of good news since the last post:

1) My progesterone was 0.0 at my CD3 testing, so the FET date moved up a week, to April 6!

2) We have a credit from previous cycles, so we don't owe anything for this FET.

3) We got our CGH results today. They ended up testing 18 embryos (one latecomer). 11 (!!) came back genetically normal, vs. 5 of 12 last time. Of the 11, 6 have been frozen - they're Grade 2, which means they're good quality. The other 5 are still being watched - 2 are further behind, but 3 are morulas/early blastocysts, so our RE thinks we may get 2-3 additional embryos to freeze. We'll find out on Saturday. Amazing.

I'm not one to count chickens (says the girl who has no baby and isn't pregnant after 7 IVF cycles and 5 transfers), but it's hugely reassuring to have a stockpile of embryos.

The past two days have been spring-like weather, and it's given me a big mood boost. And for some unknown but fortunate reason, my sex drive is back and better than ever. So we're doing pretty well over here.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

And we keep moving forward

Tuesday morning I went to the RE to have blood drawn for a repeat immunology workup. We got the results on Friday, and while my natural killer cell levels are normal, my TH1:TH2 ratios are slightly elevated.  I'll go in for an Intralipid this week, and then have another one before the next FET.

Saturday my period started, so I now have a calendar for our next FET, which is currently scheduled for 4/13. I'm going in tomorrow morning for estradiol/CBC/progesterone levels and an ultrasound. If progesterone is low enough, the FET could be moved up a week, to 4/6 or so.

Initially the nurse said I'd go on birth control pills for 2-3 weeks, but that wasn't consistent with what the doctor had told us in previous conversations, so I traded emails with him and we settled on this potentially extended prep phase. Still saves us at least a week, and if the progesterone level is low tomorrow, we'll save two.

Saturday was also retrieval day for our donor. They'd been tracking 24 follicles, but retrieved 30 eggs. We got the call today that 24 of the eggs were mature, and 17 fertilized normally! Last time we had 12 fertilize normally (of 16 mature). We'll be doing CGH - so our next update will be how many make it to biopsy. (Last time all 12 made it to biopsy and Day 5.)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Yet another BFN

Sorry for the delayed post - we spent all weekend with family, so I didn't have time to blog...

I did end up POASing yesterday (Sunday) morning, right before I drove to my RE's clinic to have my blood drawn for my beta. Stark white. No sign of a second line. Sigh.

The blooddraw confirmed a negative.

That's two genetically perfect embryos that failed to implant.

By now I'm quite uncompromising at ignoring any symptoms, since I know they're equally likely to be caused by progesterone as a pregnancy. In hindsight, I had fewer twinges than the previous BFN cycle, and no nausea (also compared to the previous BFN). I have yet to identify any symptom that's specific to the two cycles when I did get pregnant, apart from super vivid dreams; however, I don't remember when those dreams started and it may not have been in the 2ww.

I've asked my RE to redo my immunology workup (we do this every few months anyway) to confirm my immune activity is quiet before we go into the next FET. Blooddraw is tomorrow morning. I'll wait for CD1 and then we'll immediately go into the FET with the last embryo from the first donor cycle. That's the saving grace with these cycles - quick turnaround in between.

Meanwhile, my donor arrives in town today and her retrieval (for her second cycle with us) will likely be later this week, so I'll start getting updates about her counts really soon. The timing works out well - we'll know how many genetically perfect embryos we get from this cycle before we transfer the last embryo from the first cycle, and hopefully that'll be reassuring.

Would sure be nice for one of these embryos to stick - it's so hard to know that everything worked except the one part my body has to be involved in.

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, thanks for all the twitter love yesterday. I had to ignore Twitter for most of the day since I was hosting family, but every once in awhile I'd peek at my @ comments and appreciated the support.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

FET #1

Wow. I didn't realize I hadn't posted in over a month! Sorry about that... I've been pretty disconnected from the online IF community while prepping for this FET.

Which happened this morning. We transferred one female grade 6AB fully hatched genetically perfect embryo.

Transfer was easy. I've finally (on transfer #5) figured out how much water to drink to fulfill the requirement of having a "full" bladder without making myself miserable. Turns out it's 1/3 of a bottle of water.

I'm on the couch, where I've been all afternoon, and get to start puttering around tomorrow.

Since the embryo is fully hatched, implantation would be tonight or tomorrow morning, but my beta is still 10 days away on Sunday, March 11. Which happens to be a weekend we're spending entirely with family... (none of whom know we're in cycle - we stopped telling people those sorts of details after miscarriage #2). So for the first time, I'm seriously considering POAS on Friday the 9th. We'll see...

Our donor arrives in town in two weeks for her second cycle - so right after I find out if this one worked, we'll have the rollercoaster of following her numbers too.

It's hard to think that this could work - it's been so long since we've had good news. At least I know to completely ignore symptoms or the lack thereof.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Finally! On what would have otherwise been CD61, my period finally started. I've never had this long a cycle and was getting extra frustrated with my body's lack of cooperation.

I promptly emailed my clinic, to let them know, and I got a quick response with my prescriptions for this cycle, and with my calendar. Even though my RE told me it's 3 weeks to transfer, it'll apparently be 4 weeks. I go in tomorrow for an ultrasound and bloodwork, go in 2/8 for bloodwork, go in 2/19 for bloodwork and ultrasound, and the FET is scheduled for 3/1. Which is horribly late compared to when we thought it would be after our fresh donor cycle failed, but at least we have a date we should be able to rely on...

We'll be transferring one of our two perfect frozen embryos from the first donor cycle in this FET.

Meanwhile, we're waiting for our donor's CD1 so she can get started on cycle #2 for us. It'll take her about 6 weeks, so probably she'll be having her retrieval about 2-3 weeks after my transfer. Hopefully we'll get a handful of perfect embryos to add to our stash so we can create and build our family without having to do more fresh cycles. I'm so ready to be done with this.

In Google Reader, I have separate folders for IF, Expecting, and Parents. I now always have more new posts to read in each of Expecting and Parents, than in IF.  It's getting really old. It's been more than a year since I was last pregnant, and 2011 felt like a waste in the IF department (apart from our two frosties), not to mention our most expensive TTC year yet. It's fucking depressing when I think about it, so I try not to.

Kind of a weird post, I guess. I'm happy to finally be able to move forward with this FET, but I'm so frustrated at a deep, deep level about IF and my lessening ability to be hopeful. We had one perfect embryo not implant, who's to say that one of these two will. Ugh.

In other news, our puppy got spayed yesterday. Thankfully she's recovering easily and apart from moving up and down stairs more slowly, doesn't seem very affected by it all. That said, she was VERY happy to see us when we picked her up at the vet yesterday evening.

For a blast of good news to end this mostly depressing post, Jay had her son today - congrats, Jay!

Monday, January 16, 2012


I've been AWOL for awhile, waiting for my body to do its thing so we can get this FET going with the second perfect embryo from our donor egg cycle.

Of course, my body isn't cooperating. It's now CD50. My cycles are usually 32-33 days.

I had an ultrasound on December 15 with my RE, when my estradiol was about 80 and progesterone was effectively 0 (just realized I never posted an update after that appointment - sorry!). My lining was thin, around 6.5mm, and there was nothing visible growing in either ovary. So my RE thought maybe it was an anovulatory cycle, and expected AF around Jan. 1.

I finally got fed up waiting last week, and scheduled bloodwork for this weekend. I went in on Saturday. Estradiol is now 320-something, and progesterone is still effectively 0. Which means I can't go on birth control pills, I have to wait for ovulation, and then for CD1, when I'll finally be able to start the meds for my FET (estradiol valerate injections, and then eventually PIO).

My estradiol is high enough I should be close to ovulation, but I'm withholding judgement given how uncooperative my body is being. I've never had a 50-day cycle. Longest prior to this was 42 days, and that was years ago.

I was emotional over the weekend - we had some disappointing news in another part of our lives, nothing major, but not the result we wanted, and then I found out about my hormone levels. I could use some good news.

If I ovulated today, then with my ~12 day luteal phase, I'd have AF around the end of the month. Then 3 weeks of meds before transfer. So right now I'll be lucky if I get to do the FET in February at all.