Friday, February 27, 2015

It's a... (for real this time)

It seems appropriate that my 200th post would be announcing something so wonderful!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

16w growth scan

We had an early AM appointment with the MFM doctor for a routine growth scan today.

Heart Rhythm: Regular
BMP: 154
Amniotic Fluid: Normal
Estimated Fetal Weight: 6oz (67%)
Fetal Position: Vertex
Cervix: Normal Length
Overall measurement: 16w4d
Placenta: Anterior with no anomalies
Umbilical Cord: Three vessel

We don't return to the MFM again until April 2nd for the anatomy scan which I'm really looking forward to.

The sonographer was able to confirm sex (I'll tell soon, I promise!) which was a nice bonus. 

After lasts week drama filled ultrasound, I cried when I saw baby moving around today and heard the heartbeat. It just filled me with so much relief again.

I wonder if this is how it will be going forward. 

The first several ultrasounds (except for the first heartbeat one) I was pretty chill. Now, I walk in just expecting the worst and when I see baby is alive and well, I get super emotional. 

I did listen to the heartbeat on my fetal doppler last night so that should have provided me with some degree of reassurance but, I know all too well that a night (or, in Nathan's case, 4 hours) everything can change. 

I bought the first outfit for baby this weekend at Target. We were there for something else entirely but, I couldn't resist going to look at the baby clothes. I'm telling you, this outfit spoke to me!

Carters is having a big 50% off sale and I have a coupon so, we're going after work today to pick up a few more things. 

Hardest thing I'm dealing with right now are daily migraines that I forgot to ask the doctor about (Tylenol isn't cutting it) and sleep training myself to sleep on my left side. I always end up on my stomach. Not a big deal right now but, as I get further and further along, it will matter more.

That's it for today.

I do expect to be able to announce the sex tomorrow!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

We're having a ...

Harmony results came back and all is well.

Before I go public with the sex, I'm giving friends, family and anyone interested the chance to join an online baby pool I created.
Go ahead, make a guess!

My last ultrasound was yesterday and there was some drama...

The OB's routine is to try to find the heart beat with the doppler first. I've been using a doppler at home all week and it takes me a good 30 minutes to find it. The doctor doesn't have that much time so, when they can't find it after a few minutes, they send me over to the ultrasound room.

No problem with that, I knew he would likely do an ultrasound.

As we're walking into that room, our doctor and James are talking about soccer. The conversation continues as I get up on the table and push down my maternity pants so he had full access to my belly.

There is a big screen TV in the room so you can see but, the thing is, it's not up high enough for me to see well at all unless I lift up my head.

The doctor puts the transducer on my belly and he and my husband are still chatting away.

I move my head up and look at the screen for maybe 2 seconds. I see no movement, no heartbeat flicker... nothing.

I put my head down and wait for the bad news.

Still, they're taking about soccer. The doctor pauses in his conversation for a moment so I look up again.

Again, I see no movement at all and I'm about to start crying.

Their conversation about soccer continues and I finally put my hand up and say something like "is the baby okay?!"

Clearly the doctor and my husband had no idea I was upset and panicked. The doctor said "looks fine, see the heartbeat there?"
I look up again and said "no" because, I still saw nothing.

So he turned on the sounds so we could hear the heartbeat. Yes, there it is. A HUGE feeling of relief washed over me.

The doctor measured it to be a strong 154. He helped me up and the look of concern was clear on his face. He obviously felt bad for my distress and understood.

I said I have "post traumatic ultrasound syndrome". The thing is, twice in my life I have been blindsided by an ultrasound that delivered the news my baby had no heartbeat. Once at 10 weeks and once at 32 weeks. You don't get over that.

I spent the rest of the day still shaken up.

It just proves that I will likely never get to a place in this pregnancy where I feel safe and comfortable.

So, I'll do the best I can to relax and just hope for the best. It sucks to not have control but, that's just how pregnancy is, I'm afraid.


Monday, February 16, 2015

I am a unicorn

Recently Patient Subfertility wrote about the phenomenon known as an "infertility unicorn".

Awaiting Autumn describes it best:
An infertility unicorn is a woman whose story gives hope to so many other struggling women. She's the woman who - just when she was about to run out of money, hope, strength and actual eggs - magically conceives naturally and goes on to give birth to a beautiful miracle baby. 
The irony of the infertility unicorn is that very few people have actually known one... except for the know-it-all fertiles who relentlessly give you advice like "just relax". They always seem to know an infertility unicorn...
I'm not writing about being a unicorn to boast. I'm actually writing because I want to give hope.

Before I go further, let me say this; I never had a definitive infertility diagnosis. I wasn't really listed as unexplained infertility, either. It was assumed my age was a factor along with below average AMH (but normal FSH) results.

I would ovulate every month and have completely normal cycles. Sperm analyses were all normal.

My first RE hypothesized that the positioning of my cervix was an impediment (making it hard for sperm to get where they needed to be to fertilize and egg). My OB thought that theory was unlikely. And, it turns out, he was probably right.

Mostly likely, all I needed was time to get pregnant. But, at 38 (when we started), time wasn't something we had a lot of.

Ultimately, we did get pregnant naturally. And (coincidentally?), it did come when we had decided to take a break, spend time getting healthier before diving into IVF.

I had given up hope on getting pregnant naturally and was absolutely dreading IVF. But, I was going to do it because having another baby meant that much to us both.

Don't give up friends. Keep fighting the good fight and know I'm right here cheering you on. I haven't forgotten a single one of you still in the trenches working hard to get your baby.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Need Gonal-f?

If you are in need of a Gonal-f 900 IU Redi-ject pen expiration 2/2016, please email me at JessicaCHoward@gmail.com


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Pregnancy is so very glamorous

14w

No news yet from Harmony, hopefully Friday at the latest.

This has been a very tough week. Constipation has ruled my life since last Friday and it's been awful. I have never dealt with anything like this in my entire life.

I tried everything I could find in the drug store, including suppositories (short of enema - I was really hoping to not have to go there!). I ate all the foods suggested to relieve the problem and nothing at all was working.

My doctor suggested a trip to the hospital for IV fluids and "manual removal". Oh, please no!

So yesterday I woke up and said to my husband "this ends today!". Another trip to the grocery store for the magic foods and added every kind of fiber bar I could find.

All day I ate fruit, high fiber oatmeal with flaxseed & water with Miralax mixed in. When James picked me up from work I admitted defeat. We'd have to visit the hospital.

But, let's try one last thing I hadn't tried yet. We went to Rite Aid and I picked up Milk of Magnesia.

That did the trick. I felt like singing out loud I was so relieved. It tasted disgusting but, damn if it didn't get the job done!

I have to admit that all this made me worry so much about the baby. I know in my head that it's unlikely that any of this had an affect on him or her. Still, I can't help but worry.

So there we have it, my glamorous pregnancy story.

On another note, I bought some maternity clothes today. The pants are perfect but, the tops were too small. Holy hell have my boobs gotten huge!

I'll have to return them soon and get a bigger size, I guess.

I'm rather anxious now about my next appointment which isn't until the 20th. I need to see or hear the heartbeat and know that all is well.

Fly by time, fly by!

Monday, February 9, 2015

First trimester screening

I got the initial blood work back (not Harmony) and things are looking great.

Trisomy 21 (Downs Syndrome) 1:1019
Trisomy 18 & 13 1:1324

Not bad for a woman who turns 40 in 3 months.

One area of concern, though.
The PAPP-A showed low protein. The geneticist said this is associated with pre-eclampsia, low birth weight, fetal growth restriction & 2nd or 3rd trimester losses.

I'll need to do some research on all this but, she did say I'd get monthly ultrasounds to watch the growth. However, I was going to be getting that anyway simply because of the previous stillbirth.

She also mentioned NST will start early (at 32 weeks) but, I had also been told before that this would be the case again, because of the stillbirth.

I have an appointment with our regular OB in a couple weeks so I'm going to ask for a more thorough explanation.

In the mean time, anyone have any experience with this?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

2nd Trimester

13w

Well, most apps say I'm in the second trimester and one says 1st. It seems there is no right answer and 40/3=13.3333333 so, I'm going with the flow and I consider myself in the 2nd trimester (some use 14 weeks as the official start of the 2nd trimester).

As mentioned, I had the NT scan on Monday and from the ultrasound alone, things looked great.

Heart Rythm: Regular
BPM: 158
Amniotic fluid: normal
Estimated fetal weight: 3oz (59th%)
CRL measurement: 13w3d
Head measurement: 13w5d (No surprise there, Ryan has an enormous head)
NT: 1.73mm (well below the 3mm they look for to rule out a trisomy)
Placenta: Anterior (a little disappointed with this because it can make it very hard to feel kicks)

Now we wait for the Free Beta and PAPP-A blood tests which will likely come Tuesday or Wednesday next week. I don't feel like I'll be blind sided with any bad news from this but of course, it's not impossible.

The big thing to come from that blood test (assuming all genetic abnormalities come back clear) is the sex.

I've said over and over I don't want to know. Buuuuuuut..... I have to admit, last night I started to change my mind.

My Aunt said on text that she doesn't believe I'll be able to hold out. Even then as my resolve said "yes, I will!" a little voice in my head said "nope, no way".

The thing is, I'll need to make up my mind before that call comes. If I don't tell James that I want to know before that, he'll take complete joy and pleasure of knowing and not telling.

But, I don't think I want anyone else to know. If I know and James knows, is there any point in keeping it from everyone?

I still have a few days to think about it and once again, I'm reminded that the sex is really not the most important part of all this. I just want a healthy baby that I can carry to term and bring home to be a part of our family.

The fact that this baby is due in August and Nathan was due in August (but, born in July) hasn't been lost or ignored. I'm trying to separate the two pregnancies and remember that the due date won't be a factor in the outcome of this pregnancy.



Monday, February 2, 2015

So far, so good

12w5d
Today was the NT ultrasound and everything measured perfectly. There were no soft markers for any trisomy.
We did the blood work (Harmony) and we'll know results in 7-10 days but, there is no reason to believe that the baby has any genetic problems.

Incidentally, the sex will be known by the Harmony test, too. They're going to tell James what it is because he wants to know and I don't.

So, I'm finally ready to go social media official and this is my announcement:


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

12 Weeks

My OB had no luck finding the heart beat with the doppler so it was over to the ultrasound room I went.

Our baby was moving around and looked great, heart beat was 167. Other than that, no other news really. Well, I am down 3 pounds but, that's not a big deal.

On Monday we have the NT scan and all the blood tests to determine if there are any genetic abnormalities. 

I should probably be more worried since I am nearly 40 years old but, I feel okay about it. I can't change what will be so all I can do is hope for the very best for this baby. 

Any good thoughts you could send our way will be greatly appreciated.

Friday, January 16, 2015

My beautiful blob

10w2d
Today we had our first appointment with the MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine - AKA high risk doctor).

First up was weight and blood pressure (blood pressure was great. Weight... I won't even go there) and then the big moment, the ultrasound.

The sonographer told me I was far enough along to have an abdominal ultrasound. I was skeptical and was expecting to be told that she'd have to switch to transvaginal.

As I was getting on the table and she was typing in my info, we chatted a bit. I told her my OB had not been able to see much with even the transvaginal ultrasound a couple weeks ago but, that the RE was able to see the baby and heartbeat with it.

She put the thingy on my belly and we saw the baby right away. She said the doctor wasn't able to see the baby with the transvaginal ultrasound because my uterus is waaaay up high.

At only ten weeks she had to do the ultrasound around my belly button, I was surprised by that.

She spent about ten minutes on the ultrasound taking lots of measurements and measuring the heartbeat (measuring 10w4d, HB 181) and we got two good pictures to take home.

Then we were told to sit down and wait to be called for our consultation with the doctor.

We were sitting for about five minutes when the sonographer called us back over again. That worried me and I started to wonder what was wrong.

She explained she hadn't saved our results to the right file or something so needed to do the whole thing again.

For me... bonus!

In that few minutes the baby had already changed position so we got a new view and even 4 more pictures (awesome!).
Not to mention another listen to that beautiful heartbeat.

Finally came the consultation with the doctor. She was young (younger than me) and I didn't realize at first she was the doctor.

We talked for a good hour or even more. We discussed the Lovenox and she said because of the MTHFR mutation and the protein S and protein C deficiency, I'd stay on that until about 36 weeks.

We discuss Nathan and what they'll be doing (along with my OB) to do everything to avoid another stillborn.

Lots more was said about Nathan and what monitoring they'll be doing and what testing we are willing to do.

We'll return in just over two weeks to do the NT scan and the new(ish) MaterniT21 tests they can do these days (that wasn't available when I had Ryan and Nathan) along with other blood work. Then we'll meet with the genetic counselor.

I made it clear that I don't want to know the gender (MaterniT21 will give gender as early as 11 weeks) and she told me to let everyone know we talk to along the way. They'll note the file not to reveal gender.

All in all, it was a great appointment. It's always wonderful to see the baby and see/hear the heartbeat. It's a huge relief every single time.

Introducing Baby Blob

Sunday, January 11, 2015

From embryo to fetus

I'm 9w4d now and I feel mostly the same except for being tired nearly all the time.

I was off work for 11 days over Christmas/New Years and it was a wonderful break. I was able to sleep late and take naps when I needed to.

Getting back to work was a bit of a shock to the system to be honest. Around noon most days I'm ready for a nap.

I don't have much to update on my little energy thief. I don't return to the doctor until this coming Friday.

After a long talk with our new OB, we decided to use him for delivery and he'll see us along the way but, we'll also be seeing the high risk MFM doctor.

We're going to work hard to avoid having me deliver where Ryan and later, Nathan, were born. It's a fine hospital, best in the area in fact but, I had a son die there and I just don't know that I can ever feel comfortable there again.

However, they do have the best NICU in the area so, if there is trouble, I'll be told I have to go there. And, if there were to be trouble, I wouldn't have it any other way of course.

But, it's much too early to have those conversations. I'm not even close to being out of the first trimester.

The good thing about having two doctors at two different practices take care of me is that I'll have ultrasounds every 2-4 weeks depending on how the scheduling works out. Both doctors will do an ultrasound at every visit.

Otherwise, life is normal. I had pretty bad hyperemesis with Ryan and Nathan but, the nausea has been completely bearable in this pregnancy (makes me wonder if it's a girl).

However, 9 weeks is much too early to think about such things. I am really just taking it day by day. I can easily get busy at work and go an hour or more with the fact I'm pregnant not crossing my mind at all.

I guess it's not truly hit me full force yet. Maybe after the next appointment when we've seen the baby again it will really stick with me.

As I stated before, it's hard to not expect things to still go wrong.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Beyond devastated...

Two and a half years ago, as all regular readers know, I gave birth to a stillborn son at 32 weeks.

The thing about making it that far into a pregnancy (as I've written here before) is that you truly believe that nothing will go so wrong that it won't end with your baby in your arms. Maybe premature, maybe needing the NICU but, alive.

But, when they tell you, weeks before you're due to deliver, that your baby has died, your brain doesn't compute this truth. You literally can't make the words fit right in your head.

It's not that I didn't know stillbirths happened. I just didn't think they happened to people like me.
What I mean by that is people who have had great pre-natal care, access to top doctors and top hospitals.

My only comfort after was that when I bit that statistical bullet, it was unlikely that anyone I know would suffer the same fate.

Stillborn babies after viability is reached is quite rare so, I felt like I was offering a blanket of protection to those around me. Sad consolation prize but, there it is.

Then, I learned today, that a woman I work with lost her first baby this weekend at 36 weeks.

I cried for her but, I also cried for me. Why wasn't the death of one baby (my baby) enough to protect those around me?

How many moms in one small office building need to lose a baby late term? Who do I even ask this question to?

I can tell her that I understand what she's going through but, so what? It doesn't bring back her baby.
And the thing is, I don't know how she feels because, I had Ryan. I had a reason to get out of bed even when I thought the grief would swallow me whole.

Why are otherwise perfectly healthy babies still dying in the womb so late in pregnancy?
Where is the outrage? Where is the ribbon for the back of your car? Where is the demand for studies to be done and millions of dollars to be spent? Where are the celebrities asking you to donate your money to make a difference? Where is the ice bucket challenge for all these children?

Sorry for the morose post but, I'm in utter anguish over this.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

The best of 2014

I'm going to take a minute to acknowledge the great things of 2014.
So here they are in no particular order:

  1. My husband. He has somehow managed to stay positive when my head went to very negative and dark places.
  2. My son. His love and energy made sure I couldn't feel sorry for myself for too long.
  3. My Aunt. Even if she's worried, she sticks by me along the way.
  4. New friends like Christy. She has helped so much to keep me sane over the last few weeks. I can't even tell you guys what her online company has meant to me. I wish she were my sister or, at the very least, my next door neighbor. She's not the only blogger I've felt a wonderful connection with. TTC in my 40's has become a good friend. They both could use your positive support so if you haven't already checked out their terrific blogs, head on over. 
  5. My BFF Felicia.  All the great words I know aren't sufficient to describe her.
  6.  All the bloggers on the right hand side of my blog who are writing interesting and supportive blogs and fighting the good fight.
  7. A very special shout out to Stephanie Jackson for her amazing YouTube blog. She makes TTC so funny that it really did make me laugh even on my very worst days.
  8. Whatever stars aligned just right in order for us to conceive the seedling growing in me right now.
  9. Every single person who commented on my blog this year. I've been given wonderful support and great advice. I feel honored with every comment left.
Here's to a wonderful 2015 and my sincerest hope that those ladies still in the trenches will get their BFP this year and go on to have the beautiful babies you all deserve so much. 


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The post I never thought I'd be writing (most recent update at bottom)

November 28th, 2014 - 11 DPO
I am pregnant.
It's the day after Thanksgiving. Once again, for no reason that I can pinpoint, I took a test. A gut feeling. 

It was a FRER and that pink test line was there. So light but, there. My first thought? Another chemical. That line is too light. 

My cousin had spent the night on Thanksgiving so I woke her up and called her in. "You see it, right?". Yes, she saw it.

Well, there is a way to tell if it's a super low beta again, I can take a digital. The two times I've had chemical pregnancies this year, I could never get a digital HPT to show positive.

Just as I thought, "not pregnant". From everything I read, most digitals require at least 50mIU/ml. 

I tell my cousin to not say anything, I know how this ends. I debate with myself whether or not to even tell James. He's at work and I'm at home but, in the end, I text him a picture of the positive test. 

So light that only b&w captures the test line.


November 29th, 2014 - 12 DPO
I take another FRER. I can't really tell if the line is any darker. I don't think it is. Or maybe a little. 
What the hell, let's take another digital.
Huh. Well, that's new.

11DPO v 12DPO

Oh. My. Gawd.



November 30th, 2014 - 13 DPO
I wake up early in the morning with a thought in my head. Haven't I read before that the CBE weeks estimator is actually quite sensitive (seeing as it calculated as early as 1-2 weeks)?

Maybe I should take a regular digital that is supposed to be not at all sensitive. 

Still positive! I'm allowing myself some hope here folks!

Okay, what if I take a different brand? Will a FRER digital still be positive? The answer is YES+ !

Could it be? Could it be?
YES+! YES+! YES+!


December 1st, 2014 - 14 DPO
I wake up confident and don't take a test.  I'm so happy and plan to call my doctor about starting Lovenox and getting a beta done. 

I take a digital and regular cheap test with me to work, just in case I need it to get through the day.

I don't even last the morning before I give in and take the cheap one. I don't like the look of the second line so I panic and worry. My anxiety is super high. 

New plan. 
I'm going to drink a load of water and then take that digital test. My urine will be super diluted and if it's positive after that maybe I can relax a little. 

I sat in the bathroom at work with my eyes closed and fingers crossed. Three minutes later, it's positive. 

In the evening we went to Target and filled the Lovenox prescription. I was petrified of giving myself this shot because I've heard so many horror stories.

My verdict? It wasn't a big deal at all. It did bleed but, wasn't painful at all. A small price to pay for a new life. 

I DO NOT like the look of that line. 
Okay, that's better.

December 2nd, 2014 - 15 DPO
AM POST
Well, I guess the cats out of the bag at work. I just wretched in front of five people and word will spread quickly. No one said anything to me but, if they did, I can hardly say "I think it's a stomach virus" or whatever because then I'll be told I should not be at work putting others at risk.

Today is beta day but, I won't have results until tomorrow. I'm still a bundle of nerves. Last night I took the CBE weeks estimator test again and it didn't move from 1-2 weeks to 2-3 weeks. I suppose I'm right on the cusp so I shouldn't be too worried. I'll take another one in a few days because I just have to see it move up.

I still fear a chemical pregnancy and Dr. Google isn't helping. I know that I should stay away from Dr. Google but, it's so hard.

I know there are many good signs (such as the nausea) but, it's a crap shoot. Pregnancy is so fragile. Early pregnancy in particular.

PM POST
The beta is done and I'll have the results tomorrow. But, in the mean time, I took another CBE weeks estimator. I figured today, or maybe tomorrow, it should flip from 1-2 to 2-3 and it did!

I did a little research on what the beta thresholds are to make it flip from each "category" and found this:

This test reads 1-2 weeks pregnant at a HCG of 10-157, this actually means 3-4 weeks.
A reading of 2-3 is a HCG of 156-2600, this is for women who are 4-5 weeks pregnant.
Finally, a reading of 3+ weeks is any results over 2600 and you would be 5+ weeks.

So, this is mean that when I get my results tomorrow, I can expect it to be at least 156. It will be interesting to see if that's accurate.

Nothing about this means I'm out of the woods. But, I feel like this just might end up okay. My gut is telling me to be excited. I hope my gut is right.

Day 2 of Lovenox was nothing. It didn't even bleed this time. I'm not sure why people make such a big deal out of them. Or maybe I'm an anomaly.

Hoorah!

December 3rd, 2014 - 16 DPO
Beta results were very good but a tad lower than I was expecting at 124 (progesterone 27). I was expecting it to be at least 156 based on the CBE weeks estimator test (see above graph).

Out of curiosity, I decided to take another test today to see if it still showed 2-3 and it did.

I know there is a margin of error and really, mine is quite close. So, I'm not worried. The beta tomorrow is the crucial one, it needs to have doubled.

So, another beta tomorrow (along with progesterone and TSH) then again next Monday and Thursday.

Fingers crossed that the numbers keep moving up!

Still on target

December 4th, 2014 - 17 DPO
AM
Today is round 2 and extremely crucial. I feel like I should be more nervous but, blood draw day doesn't make me all that anxious; it's results day that does that. And, results day won't be until tomorrow.

I admit I've been concerned that I've felt mostly okay so far. A bout of nausea here and there. This morning as soon as I woke up I felt a little bit of that. And, this morning at work, I got on the elevator and whoever was on it before me had marinated in perfume/cologne. I gagged a little but, I might have done that anyway!

(Seriously people, a little goes a long way.)

I want so much to tell you guys all about this but, I think it's best to wait until I get to the 6 weeks mark and see the heartbeat.

I don't know why I'm waiting because, no matter how this ends, I'll be sharing it with you guys.

I think I'm keeping it secret mainly because my blog is not anonymous. My friends & family read it and all my facebook friends have the link.

Two members of my family know (aunt & cousin) but, I'm not ready to have it out there for everyone quite yet.

PM
I did one more FRER just because I wanted to see the nice and dark test line. I am going to try very, very hard to stay away from testing until I get to the 5 weeks mark. At that point I'll take one more CBE weeks estimator to see it move from 2-3 to 3-4. Assuming todays beta results make that a possibility.

Nice and dark

December 5, 2014 18 DPO (Or is it?)
First off, the beta came in and it was great! More than doubled so we're off and running. So far, so good.

I remembered today that I did a manual override on Fertility Friend to make ovulation a day earlier than they had it listed as. I moved it to have ovulation the day of the peak reading on my fertility monitor but Fertility Friend had it the day after.

So, today could be 17 DPO which makes my beta numbers even better. But, since I've already labeled all the pregnancy tests, etc I'm going to stick with 18 DPO even though I could easily be 17 DPO.

I'll repeat the blood test on Monday and it should be about 1084. The doctor said once we get to 1000, we'll schedule an ultrasound to see if the fluttering heartbeat is there.

Fingers and toes both double crossed!
Above average!

December 7th, 2014 20 DPO
Yesterday I felt like things were right. I'm feeling fine. Tired but, fine. No nausea or anything like that. I started to have this deep gut feeling that my beta tomorrow would be bad news.'

Today the nausea returned at Target when I smelled coffee. Okay, this is a good sign and I feel better.

I hate having to wait 24 hours for my HCG results. I hate that Quest isn't like LabCorp where you got the results back the same day. I hate that our new insurance uses Quest instead of LabCorp.

But, this is the insurance that covers 4 IVF's. 4 IVF's I hoped I wouldn't need and now looks like I won't (knock on wood, fingers crossed, toss a pinch of salt over my shoulder).

I even allowed myself to look at strollers at Target today. I glanced at the baby clothes and smiled. I allowed myself to believe that this baby will be born in August and we'll be brining him or her home.

Incidentally, Ryan says it's a girl baby and her name is Sally.

December 9th, 2014 22 DPO
Next set of beta results are in and it went from 271 to 1938 for a doubling time of 33.8 hours.
I won't lie, this is amazing news. I was so nervous all day long.

Progesterone was up to 32.9 so that's still looking great, too.

And, I've graduated to 3+ weeks on the CBE Weeks Estimator HPT.

Ultrasound soon!


The trifecta!

December 14th, 2014 5W4D
No point is using DPO anymore, really.

My last beta was super duper (can't remember the exact number but, it's written down at work).
So, things are looking great.


December 17th, 2014 6W
The ultrasound went very well, the measurement was perfect.
Remember that it's still extremely early and anything can happen but, we're super optimistic.
As my doctor said, we're not out of the woods but, things are looking great.

I started chatting with a woman in the waiting room who has a son a year younger than Ryan and she's had two miscarriages since then, both at 8 weeks.
She was super nervous about her ultrasound today because she's nearly at 8 weeks and I felt her anxiety so much. I told her it would be okay but, those were just empty words.

I wish I would have stayed a little longer to see if her baby was okay. The chances of spontaneously running into her again are low. But, she's on my mind.

December 30th, 2014 7W6D
We have a heartbeat!

We have a wonderful, gorgeous and quite speedy heartbeat (178!). I cried tears of complete and utter joy!

No idea what I'm looking at other than it says the heartbeat is 178.57


________________________________________________________
How did I get here?

Well, the old fashioned way to be honest. However, I think a variety of factors helped. Most importantly (to my mind) was the diet, exercise, increasing my water intake and folic acid. 

That last one might sound strange but, this is how I came to the conclusion: when I was pregnant in October, before we knew it was a chemical, my OB told me to start taking 1600 mcg of folic acid in addition to my pre-natal vitamin. 

I kept with this regime even after I had the miscarriage. 

I started progesterone right after ovulation (will take it until about ten weeks my doctor said). I'm sure the progesterone played it's part, too.

I don't know if the Lovenox is sustaining this pregnancy but, my guess is that its definitely helping.

Monday, December 29, 2014

19 hours to go...

Tomorrow morning I have my next ultrasound. This one is super important because it will determine the viability of our seedling. 

Of course whatever we see, nothing is guaranteed but, if we have a strong heartbeat I feel like I can relax for a while. 

My husband is pretty confident and it helps a lot. In fact, so many people have told me they have a good feeling about this pregnancy. I'm hoping for the best tomorrow. 

I can't even discuss what my gut feeling is because my obstetric history is full of fail. Six pregnancies in five years (well, 4 really because we didn't manage to get pregnant at all in 2013) and one living child to show for it. 

So yes, I guess I just expect to hear the worst. 

I suppose that does sound very negative but, please understand, my history has conditioned me to be negative.

That's not something you can just shake off. 

Wish me luck!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Here goes...

Today I am nearly 7 weeks pregnant.

All I know so far is the pregnancy is definitely in my uterus.
I had an early ultrasound that showed one gestational sac that measured exactly right.

We return on 12/30 (and 12/31) which will be 8 weeks and hope to see everything is great with a nice and strong heartbeat.

As you can imagine, I'm rather nervous. This is the furthest I've made it in a pregnancy since 2012.

I've been so distracted that Christmas has taken a back seat. I still have presents to buy, cards to send and a house to clean. But, I can't do it. I want to, but, my brain isn't interested in anything else at the moment.

Please, please, please send some well wishes, good vibes, prayers (whatever works for you) my way.

For some reason I feel like talking blogging about it is bad luck so, this is likely the last I'll write on it until 30th/31st.

Thank you and Happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A bit too soon

For those handful of people who read and commented on my post from yesterday, thank you!

However, I'm just not feeling like the time is right for that post so, I've unpublished it for now.

Nothing is wrong or anything like that. I just am not ready for it to be out there just this moment.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Another personal plea but, this time for my cousin

Dear Readers,

I don't intend to turn my blog into a GoFundMe plea for every cause but, I think we can all agree the one I shared earlier in the week was a worthy cause and I believe the one I'm sharing today is just as worthy.

Last year, in her freshman year of college (and, her 18th birthday to boot), my cousin was raped by a fellow student.

The school suspended him for a semester and he's now back at school.

The DA got back to Fiona last week and said they won't be pursuing charges against her rapist either. I believe they're saying this is a "he said, she said" circumstance and rape can't be proved.

I can tell you without a doubt that Fiona was raped. I know the pain and problems she's had since that day, I've seen it first hand.

So, I'm asking for help again.

And, if you do help, there could be something in it for you.
If you make a comment saying you made a donation (no matter the amount), I'll do a drawing on December 21st for a 2 pack of FRER HPT's.

If you have no need for the pregnancy tests, I'll substitute a pair of super duper lucky socks!
(Thanks Megan for the idea!)



Thank you and Happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Don't panic, there's time

I don't really have a lot to say but, I did enjoy Stephanie's latest vlog (that's what a video blog is called, right?).

And, I believe she's right. Time is on your side.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A fucking tragedy

Yes, I said a naughty word.
But, it's called for.

Yesterday when I went out for lunch to run some errands, I heard a story on the radio about a plane crashing into a home in Maryland.

I remember thinking "sheesh, hopefully at that time of day, no one was home".

Someone was home. Someone I know.
She died along with her three year old son and her newborn son.

First let me say I'm not looking for condolences. I didn't know the Gemmel's terribly well. We share a close mutual friend and a love of DC United so were often at social gatherings together. Ken came to the bachelor party I threw for our close mutual friend and they were once sweet enough to let me hold their daughter Arabelle who was just a few months old at the time.

I'm posting this because I'm asking for help for Ken and Arabelle who weren't home at the time.

Money won't bring their family back, I know that. But, it can help pay for grief counseling that they both will need for years to come, no doubt. Not to mention their house was destroyed by the plane so I doubt anything was salvageable.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for Ken and Arabelle. I'm asking my readers to please contribute if you can. No amount is too small.

You'll notice a lot has been contributed already but, please don't let that stop you from adding whatever you can.

Even if they meet the goal of $100k, that's nothing compared to a lifetime of Arabelle not having her mom and brothers and Ken not having his wife and his sons.

Added bonus?
If you make a donation, please comment on this post and I'll do a drawing for a 50 pack of Wondfo ovulation tests.

Not to mention the good Karma.



Friday, December 5, 2014

I want my innocence back!

When I was pregnant with Ryan (a honeymoon baby for real) we were so naive. As far as I knew, being pregnant meant having a baby in nine months (and, that's how it worked out).

We shared the news with our family at something like 6 weeks along. We had the ultrasound picture and showed it off like nothing ever could or ever would go wrong. 

How I miss being that person. 

As mentioned a while back, my friend/co-worker told me she was pregnant. She wasn't very far along at the time, maybe seven weeks I think. 

Having never suffered a loss, she had no reason not to share her good news. She got two lines on that pregnancy test therefore, she was having a baby. For her it was never a question, just a statement of fact. 
(She's still happily pregnant by the way)

For others of us, being pregnant brings just as much anxiety as trying to get pregnant. If you get the two lines, like I did in October, it means waiting on blood results and hoping for good numbers. In my case, I got a very low number that didn't double and we all know where that went from there, even if you didn't read my blog back then. 

Even if you do get a good number, you're anxious about that second number, then the third. We know what those numbers mean, what number we have to see next to lessen the anxiety. 

Even if all that comes together, you hold your breath until ultrasound day when you see that heartbeat.

And, because I've lost a baby at 32 weeks, I don't know if I would ever get the chance to relax until the baby is home and in my arms.

The friend I just mentioned doesn't know if her doctor ever did a HCG beta test and what those numbers even mean, anyway. 

I miss being that person. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

#MicroblogMonday


We've started decorating the house and it's been a long time since I've looked forward to Christmas this much!

It's been great having Ryan involved and his excitement reminds me of how magical Christmas can be when your head is in the right place.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Time for me to be real

WARNING: Stillbirth post. If this is something you can't handle - read no further.


I hold back a lot on this blog for fear of offending a reader. I wish I were one of those people who could write what's in my head & heart and do so unreservedly, not caring about offending others. Not that I attend to say rude things about anyone, that's not what I mean.

In person, I rarely curse but, there are times on this blog I want to throw a word out there. I don't do it because I think of people who read my blog and I don't want superfluous words to turn people off.

Anyway, one of the things I wish I were more open and honest about is my son, Nathan. I don't write much about him because I don't want to scare future or expectant mothers. I don't want people to sit around worrying if it will happen to them (and also because writing about him ALWAYS makes me cry - even now as I write this).

I posted this article on facebook yesterday and it only got 3 likes. I know why and it doesn't upset me. People don't want to talk about stillbirth. Most would rather pretend babies don't die. Or, accept that sometimes early miscarriages happen but, once you get past the 12 weeks, all is fine and dandy so let's not talk about it, okay?

That wasn't my reality though. I gave birth to death. I will never get over it, get past it or let that go. So, don't expect me to. Over time, I've adjusted to the cruelness of it. I will not stop talking about it, though. I won't sweep him under the rug.

If someone thinks I mention his name too much, that's your problem, not mine.

After I made a post about discussions we've had with Ryan about Nathan, a friend asked me a really offensive questions. She didn't mean to be offensive, she had no idea it would be offensive.

She asked why we're talking to Ryan about Nathan (and by extension, death). I hated that question deep in my gut. Nathan is our son and his brother. We do the best we can to explain to him now and as he gets older, he'll understand more and more. But, you better believe that Nathan is our family. He's a son, brother, nephew, cousin and grandson.

I know the only person who could ask such a question is someone who hasn't experienced the deep grief of a stillborn (thank goodness!). So, it's okay. I'm not mad about it but, the question really stuck with me and was on my mind for a while.

My son was born looking like a sleeping baby. A little rough around the edges because of what he'd been through but, he was a baby. A 4lbs 1oz little boy who was wanted and is loved.

This is all a bit deep for the holidays. But, I needed to get it out.

With that being said, I hope every American has a lovely and safe Thanksgiving filled with family and fun. I'm very much looking forward to it myself.

Monday, November 24, 2014

So this is why people hate Mondays

On the way to work this morning our minivan started smoking from underneath the hood and it smelled awful.

When we pulled up at my building, I called AAA and had it towed to a repair shop that is highly recommended by the Lowes Island Neighborhood Watch group.

After stressing all day over how much the problem will cost us, the call finally came and, it was only $350  $650. That's not a scary number at all but, I'm still upset about it. Right before Christmas is not a good time to have to part with $350 $650.

Our minivan is only 4 years old, I didn't think we'd have to have any work done on it for  many years.

Still, it's lovely weather out and I intend to take advantage of it later this afternoon. Today will be a great day for a family walk.

I've been going without them for the last several days and honestly, I've enjoyed the time alone. I like having my music and being able to be alone with my thoughts, too.

On Saturday I even added some distance to my route which felt good. Small steps.

My new favorite app is Breeze by RunKeeper. I love, love, love this app. It counts your steps and gives you a new goal every day. For once, I actually am motivated to reach the goals. I don't know why I'm motivated so much by it, but I am. And, it's working.

I've lost a little more weight and I couldn't be prouder.

I don't think I became pregnant this month but, I feel like if I keep working hard, pregnancy is just around the corner.

Friday, November 21, 2014

3/4 DPO

Still have some dull aching cramps happening off and on.

What is bothering me about this is that they feel so much like menstrual cramps. A quick consult with Dr. Google tells me this is pretty normal but, it's not normal for me.

I'm not reading anything, good or bad, into it. I'm simply curious as to the what/why of it.

Last night when I was near sleep and I started feeling the dull aching I thought to myself  "oh, almost AF time" then I remember thinking "no wait, I only ovulated a few days ago". Then I fell asleep so I didn't get to complete the thought process.

Moving on...
I've noticed my readership is down. It's a funny trend because I realize readers aren't all that interested in the blog unless I'm undergoing treatments.

Reading about motherhood and TTC naturally isn't all that interesting I guess.

The truth is, I understand because there are several blogs I've stopped reading for various reasons. So, I'm okay with that and I expect that when/if I start the IVF process, the readers will return because they're curious about my journey and want to compare it to their own.

I know that most of my regular readers don't have children yet so, it might be hard to relate to someone who is now talking much more about being a mommy and the challenges that go along with that.

I suppose by being on ICLW, I'm "advertising" myself to a group of people whose journey almost exclusively revolves around TTC and most of those people are way past the "lets keep having sex and it will eventually happen" stage.

I am happy to accept that my blog these days is boring to that crowd. And truthfully, I'm still holding out a huge amount of hope that I won't have to do IVF. Especially after reading Patient Subfertility blog post from yesterday. Ouch!

I will have to be dragged to IVF like a kicking screaming child.
But, I will do it the early part of next year if it comes to that.

My first thought was to get started in January but, now I've decided to put it off until March and see what we can accomplish by then.

So, dear readers, expect my blog to continue to be rather boring until then.
And to those that stick by me until that happens, thank you so much. Your comments really do make my days better.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What does it mean, what does it mean?

Can you tell, based on the title of this post, that Ryan has us watching "The Nightmare Before Christmas" on and endless loop?

So, yesterday I was sure that I ovulated on Monday because EWCM was non-existent in the afternoon and, as mentioned, my OPK never did turn positive whereas my fertility monitor did show the peak reading.

However, yesterday I was surprised to see some traces of EWCM later in the day. And, all afternoon up until around bed time, I had serious cramps. They felt like menstrual cramps - very dull aching non-stop.

Hmmm.

I took an OPK again last night just to see if the cramping was an indication of anything. Nope, still negative.

I'm leaving the manual override on fertility friend to show ovulation happening on Monday but, I can't say I'm quite as positive about that as I was yesterday morning.

On a different note, I have a feeling something awful has happened to a facebook friend. Recently his wife tagged him in a post announcing their pregnancy. According to the ultrasound photo posted, they would about ten weeks along.

Yesterday he posted a rather cryptic message on facebook about something bad happening but didn't elaborate. They would be more than 12 weeks along now and I hope my suspicion is wrong.

I told myself maybe he lost his job (still an awful thing to happen when you have a baby on the way and right before Christmas) but then, he'd probably just say "What a horrible thing to happen with a kid on the way, I was laid off today" or something similar.

The fact that he didn't mention what this awful thing was has me wondering. I hope I'm wrong. I really, really, really hope it's something else crappy and not that anything has happened to their precious baby.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It's GO time updated

The OPK this morning was still showing negative and I have a theory:
I use the fertility monitor in the morning and it can only be used once a day.

Sunday: High
Monday: Peak

I didn't take the OPK until Monday morning and it was open circle (negative). Monday night it was still negative and this morning still negative.

So, what I believe happened is my surge began Sunday afternoon/night and by Monday morning the super sensitive fertility monitor was still picking up on the trail end of that surge but, for the OPK, Monday morning was already too late.
(Which would match up pretty well with my physical cues of ovulation)

I have really liked the CBE Advanced Digital OPK's but they have the same drawback as the monitor in that you can only use it once a day.

With the OPK though, you can use it morning and evening once it picks up a "high" reading but, not with a "negative" or "peak" reading.

So, I believe it would behoove me to get some of the wondfo's just to be able to have the flexibility of being able to test whenever.

I use Fertility Friend to track my cycles and since I don't temp, I use the OPK/Fertility Monitor setting. When you use that feature, it automatically assume ovulation is the day after your first peak/positive test.

In my case, I'm sure ovulation was yesterday so I'm overriding it this month to reflect that.

I'm not worried though, in the BD department, we got the job done. The timing was perfect so now it's just a matter of riding out the TWW.

Monday, November 17, 2014

It's GO time!

Or, at least, I'm pretty sure it is.

This morning the fertility monitor displayed this:



















Which matched up with EWCM signs.


However, because I like to cross check, the Advanced OPK displayed this:



















So to summarize those picture; the fertility monitor is showing peak ovulation and the advanced OPK is showing negative.

Very weird. But, I'm going with the monitor because A) it's best to assume the most fertile sign to cover your bases and B) like I said, it matches my symptoms.

Because I'm a curious person, I'm planning to take another OPK this evening to see if there is any change.

Fingers crossed for a November BFP!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tough conversations with a 4 year old

Ryan is now at an age where he's observing the world a bit more intensely and he's understanding family relationships and dynamics.

This has brought about some tricky questions that James and I are finding a bit tough to answer. 

For instance, he now has a better understanding that he has a brother. However, the concept of death is too abstract so, he can't quite grasp why his brother isn't with us.

For James and I, that's tough to answer. We're not a religious family so it doesn't feel quite right saying he's with God or Angels or whatever believers say to their own children. However, isn't that a nicer concept for him to picture than to just say "he's not here anymore"?

Sometimes I regret having explained to him he has a brother at so tender an age. However, Nathan is a member of our family and I don't want to pretend otherwise.

But, he's been asking more and more about having a brother (or a sister, depends on the day - he tends to alternate between the two). 

I used to tell him that yes, he will have one but we're not sure when. I no longer feel comfortable answering that way. It feels more and more like a promise I'm not sure we can keep. 

So I decided to use two of his friends as examples of single child families. When he told me Tuesday he wanted a sister I told him that G doesn't have a brother or sister either (and, according to G's mom, never will). I thought maybe that would make him feel a little less alone in a classroom/playground full of friends with siblings. Then I explained his friend P doesn't have a brother or sister either (not sure of their standing on future children) and that not having a sister or brother means he doesn't have to share his toys every day and he gets all our attention to himself. 

This didn't seem to comfort him and it's brought me to tears. Last night as we were eating dinner with my Aunt, who was visiting from out of town, he said again that he wanted his brother (I don't know if that was abstract "a brother" or if he meant Nathan).

I'm ill-equipped to answer these questions. Not just because of how Ryan will take it but, also because of how much it hurts me to have to admit now that Ryan might not have another sibling (something I used to think was a foregone conclusion). 

Ouch.