Tuesday, November 19, 2013


The ultrasound yesterday was not good. The tsunami of clots on Sunday apparently swept away the gestational sac as well. The hematoma is gone, but there's no visible sac and no visible heartbeat. I go back in tomorrow to confirm, but I have zero expectation of a surprise.

I feel so betrayed by my body. There's nothing we could have done to prevent this miscarriage - no treatment to avoid or manage sub chorionic hematomas.

With our first two miscarriages, it was a chromosomal abnormality that meant the embryo just stopped progressing, and those embryos could never have been babies.

This embryo was a perfect little girl. If my body had done its job properly, she would have, in all likelihood, been another fabulous child like C.

I was sad yesterday but not all that surprised. Sunday was horrific, so it's not surprising she couldn't survive it.

DH is devastated. As he says, we'll always wonder what she would have been like.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

On track, but...

I had my first ultrasound last Tuesday (11/12), and measured exactly on target (6w2d) with a good heartbeat!

However. (If you're squeamish, you may want to skip the next part. TMI warning.)

I started bleeding the previous Tuesday (noticed dark brown blood that night), so went in for my weekly beta on Wednesday instead of Thursday. It was good, at 4454. I asked for an extra beta on Friday so I could make sure it was continuing to climb, and it was, at 6042. Had another bleed Friday night/Saturday morning (including some small clots on Friday night). So I moved my Thursday ultrasound up to Tuesday. Bled again Monday night/Tuesday morning. But the ultrasound, as I mentioned above, showed a healthy pregnancy, along with a moderate sized sub chorionic hematoma (35mm x 15mm or so) which is where the bleeding is coming from. I had suspected this was the case, but it was so reassuring to get an ultrasound to confirm.

Doctor said to take it easy, but to expect more bleeding. I cancelled a trip that I was going to take this past weekend, and have been generally taking it pretty easy. My husband is taking this month off in between jobs, which is fantastic timing, so he's been able to shoulder a lot of the (21 lb baby) load.

I hadn't bled since Tuesday morning until this afternoon. When I noticed a little light red bleeding. And then passed two medium sized clots. And then an hour later, a truly horrific, fist-sized clot. And an hour later, one about half that size. But I'm not bleeding much, and it's not the bright red thick blood. And the clots are getting smaller now.

So I'm very curious about what the hematoma will look like tomorrow morning. And how big it is. And of course I'm hoping the pregnancy is still on track. But I think all this bleeding/clot messiness is just happening alongside the pregnancy.  Still enormously stressful and unpleasant (and the clots cause a lot of cramping.)

Hopefully this is the one issue I have to deal with for this pregnancy (like my marginal placenta previa in my pregnancy with C).

Sending love and strength to @ImpatientJelly and her boys, who were just born at 24w1d.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


And our FET worked! I'm pregnant!

I tested on Monday morning, the day before the 10dp6dt beta, with a digital test, and got a positive. The first beta came back at 78, which was half what my son's first beta was, so I was a little anxious. But the second beta, two days later, was 272, which was very reassuring!

Lots of twinges, and I get really tired around 4pm, but otherwise feeling good. Naturally I just caught a cold, which is less fun on no medication...

I go in on Monday for another Intralipid infusion, and have the first ultrasound on November 14. Due date is July 6!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

9 months and planning ahead

So C turned 9 months old last week. He's amazing. Super mobile - pulls himself up to standing with ease all day long (and sits down so carefully, it cracks me up). We suspect he'll be walking pretty soon - he barely has to hold on when he stands up now so his balance is getting pretty good.

He has 8 teeth. We had a dentist appointment in mid-August and now brush his teeth daily. One of the reasons to see the dentist was that I wanted a second opinion on C's lip tie. I'd gone to a pediatric ENT and she confirmed he has one (level 3) but didn't recommend correcting it. However, this was after she told me she'd never corrected a lip tie, despite being the ENT who does all the tongue ties at our health center. Weird. So the dentist agreed - he does do (laser) corrections, but since C's doesn't go between his teeth, he thinks he may not need it.

He weighs 18.5 pounds, and is 29.5" long. This puts him at about the 25th percentile for weight and the 90th percentile for length. Long and lean! He's in 12-18 month one pieces and tops (and is close to growing out of the one-pieces) and still in some 3-6 month bottoms (but also some 12-18 month ones if they have all elastic waists).

He's a really happy baby. He's vocal (and sings to music) and grins and laughs easily. We just started a Music Together class - he's usually observant for the first half of class, and then gets into the instruments and singing and dancing. He enjoys food: we've done Baby Led Weaning the whole time - took about 2 months for him to switch from "food is interesting and fun" to "food helps when I'm hungry", and now he eats quite a bit at each meal.

I don't know that I ever really blogged about it, but we do cloth diapers during the day (itti bitti tutto's) and disposables at night. Around 8 months I read the book Diaper Free Before 3 and started putting C on the potty before and after naps, and any time I noticed him holding his breath or grunting like he needed to poo. We have about a 50-60% hit rate, and often he'll pee a little bit even if his diaper was wet, suggesting he knows what the potty is for (e.g. he doesn't just use the potty when his bladder is full). We're generally quite good at getting poops in the potty. My mom is totally into this early potty training thing and is triumphant when he successfully uses the potty for her. Hee!

I started introducing formula when he turned 8 months as I planned to fully wean by 9 months so I could start prepping for a FET to give C a sister (our embryos were fully tested so we know the genders). (I wouldn't have weaned except for wanting to start the sibling journey quickly given how long it took us to have C.) I dropped a nursing session every 4-7 days until early September, when I tried to drop the morning one and he got really angry. So I ended up doing a little nursing and some bottle for morning and evening sessions, and then having my husband do the bottle every morning (and evenings when he was home in time) which worked really well. My last nursing session was September 11 (though I didn't realize it at the time, *sniff*), and my last pumping session was September 12 (2 oz). That last week I was only doing one nursing session and one or two small pumping sessions a day. I thought that would make it easier to stop altogether, but fully weaning was actually really uncomfortable. The first couple of days weren't terrible, but then I had 3-4 days of really swollen breasts with hard lumps - made it hard to sleep, or do anything (like bathing C) that required leaning on something. Ice and ibuprofen helped. And finally today, for the first time, I'm wearing a regular underwire bra in my pre-pregnancy size. 32DD's have never looked so small.

It was hard to wean. I loved breastfeeding C - it went smoothly after we got him a good latch early on, and I loved being able to calm him down. And it was so convenient compared to prepping bottles with formula. But it's also nice to be able to wear normal clothes without worrying about nursing access, and now that C is only on bottles, we've been able to get into a really good routine:

Wake up (typically 6-7am)
7oz bottle
Breakfast 60-90 minutes later
Nap 1 (3 hours after he wakes up)
7 oz bottle after nap
Lunch 60-90 minutes later
Nap 2 (3-3.5 hours after he woke up from Nap 1)
7 oz bottle after nap
Dinner 60-90 minutes later
7 oz bottle at bedtime (usually 60ish minutes later)

That last bottle we hope to downsize gradually so he's processing less liquid overnight. :) But right now we don't want to mess with anything as he's been consistently sleeping through the night. When we first got on bottles, we were doing 5 oz, then tried 6 oz, and now 7 oz often gets finished. Per day he's usually drinking about 25 oz and he's eating pretty good meals for solids. I'm curious if his weight percentile will shift at his 12 month appointment.

I know I teased you up there about planning a FET... I've been on birth control pills for almost 2 weeks now, and my last one will be on Saturday. Next week I have bloodwork to check hormone levels, and will have a period (which I fear will be epic since my period didn't come back while I was breastfeeding). And my FET is scheduled for 10/19! We re-ran my immunology bloodwork earlier this month and it's really good - barely abnormal, which is great for me. So we'll do two Intralipid infusions, and then two more if I get pregnant, but no Humira this time around.

It's funny, both DH and I had forgotten about the estradiol valerate shots. That there were shots, that they're IM shots, and that they're twice a week. In all our IF journey, we only did two FETs, both in 2012, and the second one resulted in C. So the routine wasn't imprinted on our brains like all the stimulation protocols were...

I'm mostly eager about the FET. I'm not anxious at the moment, and C keeps me so busy that the time will fly by (hoping that's true for the 2WW!) It took 3 transfers of perfect embryos to have C, so it's very likely the first transfer won't be the one. The only anxiety I (we) have is that of our 8 frozen embryos, only 3 are girls, and we really want our next child to be a girl. But we're lucky to have those 3 (not to mention the 8 total) and we're crossing our fingers it all works out. So glad we did the second donor cycle so we'd have all these genetically related embryos stored up...

I'm still on twitter, and I still read blogs, though often a month or so behind. With Google Reader gone, I'm using Feedly, which is great for reading, and not so great for commenting, so I've become a lurker on almost every site. Do know that I'm rooting for all of you, and I'm following your journeys as best I can.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

6 months

My son is 6 months old as of yesterday.

That's crazy!

It goes so fast. He's been so much fun for the past 3 months. Increasingly active and aware and capable of playing with objects and with me and DH.

He has all four teeth. Two of them came in around 3.5 months and the other two around 5 months. They're not all the way in, but they're easily seen (and felt - ouch! luckily he doesn't bite me very frequently...)

He's a joy. He's cheerful and giggly, and only fussy if tired or hungry. Sleep has continued to be great. For the past few weeks he's been waking up once between 4am and 5am and then going back to sleep until about 7am. Although DH was gone for a week and of course most of that week C decided to wake up around 6am.

But last night, for the second time this week, C slept entirely through the night. And last night he didn't even wake enough to make cooing noises to himself - we didn't hear a peep until 6:20am (he went to sleep at 5:40pm)! If I can get a good nap day (don't ask about the last few days of naps...) I'd like to shift his bedtime to more like 6:00 so he's asleep at 6:30pm and sleeps until 7:00am.

He's on the cusp of switching to two naps, though as I mentioned we've had a couple of really rough nap days this week. His 6 month appointment is this afternoon, so he'll get a bunch of shots, which probably won't help the rest of the week be any better. I suspect he's still below 50% percentile on weight, but hopefully hasn't dropped further. It's always fun to get his new measurements.

I've been interviewing babysitters and tomorrow night we're starting a regular date night babysitter so DH and I can get out to dinner and/or a movie and/or see friends. I still need to find someone I'm happy with for during the day on weekdays, when I have appointments or errands that conflict with nap time.

DH hasn't been able to take as much time off as he'd like. In April we went to Hawaii for a week. In May he had work travel so he only took a long weekend to be with me and C. This month he had a week of travel that took him away from work, so he's not taking more time. I'm pushing him to block out weeks for July/August/September because if he doesn't protect the time he won't be able to take it...

We're starting solids on Saturday (because DH wants to be there when we do) - current plan is sweet potato, broccoli, avocado and pancakes. We're doing baby-led weaning so no purees. I've been having him sit at the table with me (in his portable high chair that attaches to the table) when he's awake and I'm eating lunch. And I set up his real high chair this morning and let him sit in it. He's been fascinated when we eat for at least a month - watches the fork go from plate to mouth - so I think he'll be really into it. I ordered long sleeve bibs on a friend's recommendation...

My joint pain has been improving, though I've screwed up my knee in some way and am currently doing physical therapy for it. My fingers are improving, but still (again?) painful - probably because the numbness has gone away. But I wake up with painful finger joints, which I'm not excited about. My physical therapist (for the knee) said she had the same problem during pregnancy and it took almost a year for it to go away. Joy.

I'm below my pre-IVF weight, and actually have to go shopping because all of my pants are too big. I'm skinnier than I'd like to be, actually. I just don't have a huge appetite, and I struggle even to stay hydrated enough. That, plus breastfeeding, means I'm continuing to lose weight. I'm upping the fat content in my diet to try to compensate - I'd like to not lose more weight. Still squishy in my lower belly, and it's obvious when I've eaten since my soft muscles don't hold my stomach in as well, but I've never had a flat belly.

Breastfeeding has been going really well. Overall, I'm really happy with how my body has handled pregnancy, recovery and breastfeeding - my only real complaint has been the joint issues. No stretch marks, no crazy hair loss,

When we sleep trained C, we sort of forgot to keep giving him a bottle every couple of days and he fell out of the habit. He's finally gotten back on it - I can hand him a bottle and he'll drink 1-2oz happily, as long as he's hungry. If he's not hungry he just chews on the nipple and then forgets to swallow, lol.

He's much more comfortable with tummy time, and clearly wants to crawl though he hasn't managed to coordinate it. He's lifting his whole chest now, but hasn't also lifted his bottom at the same time, and doesn't seem to understand his feet can help him get traction. He wiggles from back to side to back to get to toys, and usually sleeps on his side.

He's very vocal, but not really with word sounds. Recently he's trying coughing as a method of communication. (I have allergies so frequently cough to clear my throat in the early morning when I nurse him.) He'll cough to himself for 15-20 minutes sometimes. I suspect he's also doing it because it gets our attention, since we make sure he's not coughing for a legitimate reason, so we're trying to ignore it.

It's very easy to make him laugh, although I have to keep coming up with novel approaches, since what worked yesterday usually doesn't work as well today.

I emailed my RE last night to inquire about timing for a FET this fall. I'd like to breastfeed until 9 months, which would be mid-September, and I need to know how long between weaning and starting the FET. In the meantime I've donated about 300oz of breastmilk to my local milk bank. Now that I have an empty freezer, I can start building a stash for when I wean - ideally I'd be able to get him those last 3 months using a freezer stash but I think that's probably going to be challenging.

I'm pretty calm about starting up FETs. Because we have known-normal embryos, and we know how to control my immune system, I'm not anxious. It may still take more than one transfer, as it did to get pregnant with C, but I don't have the uncertainty that I did before. We have a lot of embryos so chances are very good we'll be able to give C at least one sibling. Infertility is still something I talk about a lot. Frequently when talking with people about C, I mention that it took us a long time and a lot of help to have him (this is not uncommon in a lot of my circles, so I get knowing looks and nods all the time). I just turned 38, so I'll be at least 39 when we have our next child.

Sorry for the meandering post and brain dump - it's been a long time since I've blogged, so there's a lot to record. I've always used this space as a journal of my experience rather than a place to wrestle with issues. I do have a post in the works about all the egg donor/ART children's books I've acquired and which ones I like/don't like, so will try to get that one out sooner rather than later.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

3 months!

C turned 3 months on Monday - how time flies!

I've been a terrible blogger, but I'm trying to stay at least a little present on twitter.

C is doing great. He continues to be 50% percentile on weight, 70% on length and 97% on head. He's almost 14 pounds, based on the oh-so-scientific-home-scale-with-and-without-baby method. He has a long torso, so he's in 6 month tops and one-piece pajamas, but still ok in many 0-3 pants. He's in cloth diapers (www.ittibittiusa.com or www.ittibitti.com.au for their main website) during the day and size 2 (soon to be size 3) disposables at night.

He's really vocal - trying out lots of sounds. Ah-goo and oo-ee are current favorites. And on Monday he giggled at DH for the first time (and at me the day after).

Sleep has been rough, though not unusually rough for babies this age from what I've read. I've gotten at least 5-6 hours of sleep every night since he was born, just not all in one stretch.

He was quite gassy from 5 weeks to about 8 weeks - enough that it would wake him up and he'd scream until he burped/tooted. Thankfully that's almost gone entirely at this point now that his digestive system is more developed.

We ended up hiring a night doula to help us 2-3 nights a week. She'd arrive at 10pm and leave at 6am, and helped us from 5 weeks to 12 weeks. I'd pump right before she arrived (if he wasn't awake), and could usually sleep through the night until about 5am when I'd feed him (she'd do a bottle for night feeds). For the last week she was helping us, I'd sleep until 6am when she'd bring him to me in bed.

Weeks 6-8 he was starting to sleep in his crib from 7pm to sometime between midnight and 2am, and would then feed every two hours, but I'd have to bring him to bed because I couldn't successfully settle him in bed. I never thought we'd co-sleep but it worked out reasonably well. Lighter sleep was still better than no sleep...

Then he had his 2 month shots, and his sleep patterns went to hell. He started waking around 10-11, and could sometimes be resettled in his crib until 12-2. (He's also had green poops since the shots, oddly.)

We planned on sleep training early, and based on our reading (my reading, really), 3 months seemed like a reasonable time to start given he wasn't having any issues other than not wanting to fall asleep in his crib. (We'd pick him up to calm him before resettling and he'd go right to sleep on our shoulder.)

So Monday, we started sleep training - happy 3 month birthday! We're mostly following Ferber. First day was rough - he cried through all of his nap attempts. And at bedtime he cried for 56 minutes, but then slept until 11pm and then resettled to about 1:30am when I fed him. Took awhile to get him down again, but he was down around 3am and then woke up at 6:15. Yay! And naps on Tuesday were all successful except for one, and he took 34 minutes to go to sleep at bedtime, and didn't wake until 1:15am (then slept 3am-5:50am). Wednesday every nap was successful, and all but one didn't require me to go back into the room to reassure him - one nap he even got back to sleep all on his own. And he slept from 6:50pm-1:50am, fed at 2am, and then slept another 3 hours, then another hour. So we're definitely making progress!  I sleep so much better without him next to me - I'd get all sorts of weird kinks in my arm and shoulder. But I miss the baby snuggles - I figure once he's really good at falling asleep in his crib, an occasional nap together won't cause problems.

My recovery has been great. I was back at my pre-pregnancy weight 4 weeks after delivery (though not the same shape...) and I continue to pull more non-maternity pants out of storage and move them back into my closet. No stretch marks (thanks, Mom!) I had postpartum bleeding for 8 weeks, and was one of the unlucky 25% of nursing mothers to have a 6 week bleed - kinda scary, actually, since I was suddenly having fresh blood and cramps. When I called my ob on a Sunday to ask, he said 'oh yes, it's one of the most common reasons I get called postpartum'. Would have been nice to have some warning that it was possible...  My fingers are still painful, though they're slowly improving, as are my ankles/knees. It's weird - there are patches that are numb to the touch, but pressure/strain can be very painful. But I'm seeing slow improvement, and my ob did tell me it could take months to go away entirely. We had se.x for the first time about 7 weeks postpartum, and it wasn't entirely comfortable, but was ok. (My se.x drive came back a few weeks earlier than that, which helpful.) It's gotten better since, though not quite back to normal (and TMI - I have a teeny bit of bleeding each time, I think from where I had a minor tear/stitches). Breastfeeding continues to go well - I'm so thankful knowing how common it is to have problems.

The placenta encapsulation was such a lifesaver. When I stopped the pills after taking them 3x a day for 2 weeks, both I and DH noticed a difference. So I kept taking 1 pill a day for a week or two, and then did it again here and there when I noticed myself being extra moody. I have a few left, and haven't taken any in about a month.

I'm back to my pre-pregnancy ability to hike - kind of surprised I didn't have to work back up to hilly hikes, but it's been fine. I've tried a bunch of baby carriers, and currently prefer the Baby K'tan, now that I can use the hug hold instead of the kangaroo hold.

I realized a few days ago he's halfway to starting to eat (or at least mess with) real food - crazy!

DH is taking a week of paternity leave every month, which is great. He went back to work 2.5 weeks after C was born, which was earlier than we would have liked, but January was a busy month for him. He's off this week while we sleep train - not a coincidence. :)

I regularly get comments about how much he looks like me, which I find entertaining. We did choose a donor who resembled me. But apart from those sorts of comments, I really don't think about his donor conception very much. Early on, my mom brought it up a bunch (to the point where I was going to have to say something to her soon) but then she started comparing him to me. She hasn't literally forgotten, but for all practical purposes she's forgotten. :)

I'm completely in love with C - he's gorgeous, and so cheerful when he's well rested.  He's very intent - really focused on things and absorbs them, and stubborn and smart. Around 2 months he started social smiling, and very early on would grin at us to make us smile. So fun! And now the giggles are great.

I'm so lucky.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Almost 3 weeks in

We're doing really well. At his 2 week pediatrician appointment he weighed 8 lbs 4 oz (vs birth weight of 8 lbs 5 oz) so we were given the all clear to no longer wake him up every 3 hours at night to feed. Of course he's only taken advantage of that once so far, but it's still nice not to set an alarm. It's pretty amazing - in a week he went from 7 lbs 8 oz to 8 lbs 4 oz! He's now in some 0-3 clothes, and some newborn clothes no longer fit. He's still gorgeous. :)

We're co-sleeping, which wasn't the original plan. I have the Arms Reach Co-sleeper bassinet, which attaches to the side of the bed, but he sleeps much better (meaning, he sleeps) when he's snuggled next to one of us. I'm hoping to start using the bassinet for naps so he gets used to it - he often snoozes on his boppy newborn pillow which isn't so different.

He's often really fussy in the mornings - from 7am to 11am or so, which can be very frustrating. Usually it's DH who's dealing with it because I sleep another hour or two after I hand off the baby in the morning (DH is getting 5-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep now that we're cosleeping and the baby more or less goes straight to sleep after a nighttime feeding).

Breastfeeding is going well (and he's clearly eating plenty, given his weight gain). Recently he's been doing more snacking during the day - one side for maybe 15 minutes and then back to sleep, which means he's feeding more frequently and my nippl.es are feeling it. But overall things are smooth and easy, which I'm really thankful for as I have many online and offline friends who have struggled or are struggling with breastfeeding.

I'm still bleeding, but not all that much, and I'm still sore, but less than before. I think my stitches are still there (they're the kind that dissolve) but I'm afraid to look with a mirror. Sitting too long is definitely still uncomfortable. My legs aren't swollen anymore (though my right knee is still very painful), but my ankles and feet aren't quite back to normal though I (mostly) fit in regular shoes. My hands are still a problem - I'm taking ibuprofen regularly which helps with the pain and hopefully is helping them recover by reducing the inflammation.

I didn't mention in my birth story post that we had the placenta encapsulated. I'd heard about it (and was grossed out), but it was my ob who suggested we seriously consider it. He'd had a patient who had a really rough time after her first child was born, but did placenta encapsulation for her second and things went extremely smoothly. (Basically the placenta gets dehydrated according to traditional Chinese medicine practices and then ground up and put in little pill capsules, and for the first two weeks you swallow 2 pills three times a day, and then after 2 weeks use as needed.) We got the pills back the Sunday after he was born - and the before/after was stunning. The first few days home I had major emotional meltdowns, was in tears frequently, and every time I slept I had nightmares. Once I started on the pills, that all went away.  So definitely something I would recommend investigating. (After the birth we had the placenta put in a double-bagged Ziploc, and then in a cooler on ice - the next morning the preparer came to pick it up. It cost $325 including pickup/delivery.)

10 days after he was born I was down to only 3 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight, and 8 pounds above my pre-IVF weight. (I'd gained about 30 pounds by the end of my pregnancy, but a bunch of it was water weight from all the swelling in the last 3 weeks.) That's where I've stayed since, which I don't mind since I'm not allowed to do any meaningful exercise due to my recovery. DH and I went for a short, mostly flat hike last week, but that's the extent of my activity.

We've had visitors probably every other day, which has been good. My family has been awesome - cooking/cleaning/leaving leftovers.

DH goes back to work tomorrow, which we both find intimidating. I have friends coming each day for a short visit so I can hopefully nap, and my mom will come all day on Wednesday. Right now we're not hiring any help, but we'll see how this week goes. I'm hoping to get out and about a little this week using one of the baby wraps or carriers we have (I'm not supposed to lift anything heavier than him, so moving the car seat into the stroller is probably not a good idea.) I have 4 friends who've all had their first babies in the past 6 weeks and we're hoping to get together in person soon.

Overall it's great. He's perfect and we feel like we're doing a pretty good job of taking care of him and keeping ourselves going.