Friday, April 24, 2015

1,022 days

Or, 2 years, 9 months & 18 days.
146 weeks.

That's how long it has been since Nathan died.

And, I still can't handle baby showers. I tried and I guess overall it was a success. I mean, I stayed until the end (it was a work shower).

But, it was hard. I cried. The mommy-to-be cried as I cried. Thankfully, nearly everyone was gone by then and not many witnessed my blubbering.

She's having a boy and seeing all the decorations was incredibly hard.

Please understand, it's not that I'm not thrilled for her because I am. The whole thing just felt so... familiar.

This is my friend who was pregnant with me before. We had the same due date. She has a lovely son who is nearly 3 (plus a second son due very soon) and I'm here praying every night my daughter makes it to birth. Just let me keep her please.

I thought finally being pregnant would make it easier but... nope. It was still heartbreaking.

And, well meaning colleagues said things like "it will be your turn next".

It's a very awkward dichotomy to be happily pregnant but, still mourning the loss of my son.

My friend suggested maybe once I give birth to baby girl, I'll feel a sense of closure and it will allow me to handle baby showers (boy baby showers?) better.

Part of me thinks yes but, I'm not sure. I guess only time will tell.

I really did think I'd be okay today.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

24 weeks AKA medical viability

Another milestone to tick off not to mention 60% of the way to the finish line.



Today I woke up early so I could lay in the bath quietly with my eyes closed and feel baby girl moving around.

As a full time working mom, I get very little time alone. So, I like to get up super early sometimes just to spend quiet time with my daughter.

I feel her every day throughout the entire day but, I'm usually too busy to really take it in. The back of my head registers that she's moving around but, I don't get the chance to just relax and really experience it as it's happening. Her movements are so important to me and I want to be able to enjoy every wiggle and every kick.

On another subject...
Yesterday at T-ball practice I got to talking to one of the other moms. She was asking me about this pregnancy and Ryan's and the conversation lead to me saying that no, this was actually my third.

I told her a little about Nathan and she then told me that she just lost a pregnancy this past December at 22 weeks.

The conversation became a lot less awkward then because I felt like at that point, we understood each other and there was no need for any discomfort over the subject.

We exchanged experiences and feelings and all-in-all it was a good conversation (given where we were and the circumstances).

She intends to try for another but, is nervous about it. We talked a bit about how that wonderful blissfulness of being naive is gone forever. Every mom who has suffered a stillbirth will tell you that, too.

With that being said, I told her that every week that passes by I feel more and more confident. I can't say I am where I was with Ryan (or even Nathan) this far along but, I'm feeling good about this baby girl.

That's the best I can say because, probably insanely, I'm still afraid of jinxing it.


Friday, April 17, 2015

GD results are in...

I PASSED!











With all good news comes some bad news, of course.
Since I did this one early and failed the one hour, I have to go straight to the three hour at my next appointment (was originally scheduled for the one hour again).

Here are the results:
Fasting = 77
Pass is 95 or lower

Hour 1 = 156
Pass is 180 or lower

Hour 2 = 115
Pass is 155 or lower

Hour 3 = 46 (she said this was too low and was a little concerning but, it's a pass)
Pass is 140 or lower

My own monitor was pretty off on all numbers really.
When I started to read up on glucose monitors yesterday (expecting to fail and figured I better do some research) I found that none of the OneTouch monitors have very good reviews at all. The biggest complaint was how wildly inaccurate they are. So, I was planning to ask for a prescription for a different name brand that had great reviews.

My next OB appointment is 5/13 (27w) and, I'll have to sit through the three hour again but, I'm feeling pretty confident now it won't be a problem.

Hoorah!!!


Thursday, April 16, 2015

The 3 hour glucose test

I figured since I have to sit around for thre hours, I'd "live" blog.

Last night:
James went out last night to get us a nice dinner so I'd be plenty full and as ready as possible to face an entire half day of fasting.

Within 5 minutes of finishing dinner, I threw it all up. 
Awesome.

What we're looking for along the way:


8:AM:
I'm starving.
First up will be the fasting blood work.
I took my own before coming up to the office and got this:

That's passing.

Now I'm sitting in the waiting room doing exactly that... waiting. 
The lady who will take my blood isn't in yet. Once she takes the first set of blood, I drink the orange glucose crap.

8:14
Fasting blood taken and drink finished.
Bad news is, I'm not even allowed to drink water over the next 3 hours!

9:20AM Hour 1
My own test said 184, that's a fail.
Feeling ok so far.

10:20 Hour 2
My test days 178, another fail.
Getting extremely hungry! One more hour to go.

11:30 Hour 3
My test says 61, finally a pass!
And, I'm now willing to eat an animal alive.
But, other than being incredibly hungry, I feel fine.

My test results based on my own monitor doesn't necessarily reflect what the blood test they do will show.

Overall, I expect to fail based on my monitor but, who knows.
Official results will come tomorrow. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

23w (GD test update at bottom)

Yesterday was my first GD test (I'll do at least one more).
The orange drink wasn't as bad as I remembered. After I had the drink I was called back for my normal OB appointment.

Quick stats:
Heartbeat: 150+
Weight: -4lbs (it's okay I promise!)

It was a little strange at first because the doctor came in and recognized me.
Wait... a little background is required here.

I had a different OB when I had Ryan and Nathan. That OB was a one man practice so you only ever saw him and he was the one that delivered your baby.

As it happens, when I went into labor with Nathan, my OB was in the same hospital having emergency open heart surgery so, the practice I'm using now was covering for him.

I was in the hospital on strict bed rest the week before I delivered Nathan so I saw a LOT of doctors. Some that were on the hospital staff and some from the office that was covering for my doctor.

The doctor that ended up doing my c-section was a wonderful man who spent a lot of time with James and I after Nathan died and was well and truly concerned for our well being. In fact, he was my OB's best friend, they're like brothers.

So, when I got pregnant with baby girl, I found out my OB was retiring from OB work and would only be a GYN. So, we chose the office that delivered Nathan.

This office has several doctors and they like for you to rotate and see each doctor throughout your pregnancy.

Back to yesterday.
I'm in the office and the doctor walked in and said something like "Hi! I remember you!" and gave me a hug. I was dumbfounded. I didn't recognize her at all and that was clear because she explained that she had "admitted" me to the hospital with my last pregnancy. She obviously knows the outcome of that so, she was well and truly happy to see me.

She was wonderful and chatty and very attentive. Once again I was overwhelmed with emotion at being treated so kindly. Believe me, when you've been through a stillbirth, you NEED kid gloves. And, I've gotten it at every appointment.

After the appointment I still had 30 minutes left before they could take my blood so I sat and waited. About five minutes before it was time for them to take my blood, I tested my blood with my own monitor. To pass, you need 130 or less. My own test came up as 157!

So now I'm waiting for the official results. Let's hope the one I did was very, very off and I pass the GD test. If not, I go for the three hour test. Ugh

I should hear back today, maybe tomorrow.


Test results in: FAIL
Now I have to do the 3 hour test tomorrow morning.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

22 Weeks AKA 6 months (in charts)

The name game
I'm on two due date message boards and on both, there are threads with people revealing what they're naming their kids. These threads are dozens of pages long and, unbelievably, the name we've chosen hasn't come up a single time.

I find this amazing because we've chosen a beautiful and quite normal name with the traditional spelling.  

*Side note, I seriously weep for the future. It's inevitable that one day we will be casting our presidential votes for either Blaze Axle or Jessyka Wynter (not kidding, actual names people have chosen on my due date boards).

The big GD test
Tuesday I go in for my glucose test. I've never even come close to failing one before but, I'm nervous this time. Not for any reason in particular (that I can pinpoint at least). I think it put the fear in me when a very healthy friend recently failed the 1 hour and 3 hour. 

Now, in my head I KNOW that it's a crap shoot. GD has very little to do with lifestyle and eating habits, it's often just the luck of the draw.

With that being said, people who are overweight do have a slightly higher chance of getting GD. 

Fingers crossed for a normal result. I really don't need another thing to stress over (but then, does any pregnant lady?).






Monday, April 6, 2015

Baby Kicks? Definitely.

It turns out I needn't have worried about having an anterior placenta at all. She's making her presence known just fine thank you very much.

Starting this weekend, the movement turned into actual kicking. In fact, this morning at work, one was hard enough to take my breath a bit!

I can't seem to catch it quickly enough to see if I can see the movement from the outside. It's still rather sporadic throughout the day but, she's most active in the evening. She's plenty strong though and I'm loving every second of it.

Given that she was an ounce away from being a pound last week, I'd say she's probably just about a pound by now.

James and I agreed that after the anatomy scan, we'd go register for baby items. This is something I've been looking forward to so much and Saturday was the big day.We both had so much fun walking around the store picking out items for our daughter. James somehow managed to sneak in some scans that I didn't know about until I got home and looked at the registry.

Someone on my birth board suggested using babylist and I tried it out. I absolutely LOVE it! While we registered at a couple places, this site allows you to condense your registries in one place so you only have to give out one link to anyone who asks. Also, you can be on any website at all and see something you'd like to have for your baby, and you can click on an icon and add that one item to your babylist registry.

For example, I was on the MLB website and found adorable Nationals onesies for her. I was able to add it to the registry. I also added a DC United bib, too. Brilliant!

I'm probably getting a little too exuberant with it but, you never know what someone might feel inclined to get you so I'm adding a lot of different things on there.

We're not actually planning a shower but a "sip 'n see" instead. Basically, it's a baby shower that happens after the baby is born.

I am in such a wonderful and happy mood today! DC United won this weekend, today is opening day for the Nationals and it's gorgeous outside...

Why wouldn't I be smiling on a day like this?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

21w1d Anatomy Scan

Today was anatomy scan day and it went extremely well with everything measuring right on Target.

Some quick stats:
Fetal Position: Vertex
Heart Rhythm: Regular
Amniotic Fluid: Normal
BPM: 145
Weight: 15 oz
Cervix: Closed and Normal Length (4.7cm)
Sex: GIRL!

I get this nifty report at every MFM appointment


I can feel her moving every day now but, it's very sporadic. It's not a kicking feeling yet, more like she's rolling around. I have to admit, it's a pretty freaking amazing sensation.

She already has a lovely wardrobe of stuff we've bought her and donations from friends who are done having babies.

We're three weeks away from viability but, we certainly want her to stay put for several more months! However, viability will be a milestone to celebrate.

As for me, I'm feeling fine most of the time. I don't always sleep well but, my friend was nice enough to lend mer her pregnancy pillow which is helping me sleep better most nights.

I'm still feeling anxiety here and there but, I suppose it's less often as we get further along.

I have an appointment with my OB is two weeks and then back to the MFM in 4 weeks. Going forward, the MFM will check my cervix every four weeks because of the PROM (premature rupture of membranes) I had when pregnant with Nathan.

Side note: as I write this, baby girl is moving around.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on my blog and sent me emails and messages. The love and support... WOW!

PS - I don't have any adorable ultrasound photos of her profile because she keeps her face smothered in the placenta. :-/

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

20 weeks AKA Halfway there

This is  huge milestone for me. We're halfway to meeting our baby girl.
Well, technically, more than halfway because we'll have a scheduled c-section 5-10 days before her due date.



In other family news, Ryan is very excited to be having a little sister.
On Monday he said the following things to me:
1. I want to buy my sister shoes
2. I want to teach my sister how to play Angry Birds
3. I'm going to tell all my friends my sisters name is... (still keeping that private for now)
4. I want to take my sister to Kings Dominion (amusement park) and show her the dinosaurs

I'm happy he's so happy. Although, I'm pretty sure he pictures his sister as a toddler and not a newborn baby who will be a playmate. I've showed him pictures of tiny babies and tried to explain that's how she'll look when she comes home. I don't think it's sinking in, though.

Yesterday Ryan had his very first t-ball practice. He is the smallest kid on the team and the youngest. He could easily have been voted, after one practice, least likely to pay attention.

(We were told in an email before the first practice that the kids will be assigned their uniform number based on size. So the smallest kid will wear the number "1". I told James before we even met any of the other boys that I bet he'll be assigned 1.)

At one point the coach had Ryan come stand next to him in hopes of getting him to pay attention. Ryan's pre-school teacher had told me in the past she's having trouble getting him to sit still and pay attention, too. Today, when we dropped him off, I asked about progress and she said she makes Ryan sit next to her so as to keep his attention better. I thought that was a little comical and told her the t-ball coach is doing the same thing.

I'm not (yet) worried about his attention span since he's only 4. But, we're following closely to make sure this isn't a problem that gets out of hand.  He starts Kindergarten in August and I think that will be an indication of how well he copes.

As far as Kindergarten goes... man has that changed! When I was in Kindergarten, it was mostly play learning. Not these days! They sit at desks and do work and, in many cases, are expected to know how to read when they start.

I thought it was rough that his pre-k teacher had the kids doing Grade 1 workbooks but, now I see why. Pre-k is the new K and K is the new 1st grade.

The good news is, this summer the pre-k kids take a break from all that work and spend the summer doing camp type activities like going swimming once a week and going to the movies.

I want Ryan to be smart and excel in school but, can't they also just be kids for a while?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

19w1d

My online BFF Christy sent me this article yesterday about how it's hard to accept the happiness of a current pregnancy when you're stuck in the past of failed pregnancies.

This article hit the nail on the head for me. I have said several times that the excitement of seeing your baby alive on the ultrasound lasts, for me, about a day. Then I'm back to worry and dread.

Today was ultrasound day so, I'm feeling excited and hopeful. Today, I know baby girl will be here in July/August.

Tomorrow? Who knows what I'll feel. I've made it this far and that's pretty damn awesome.

Her heartbeat was 140 and I'm down 2 lbs since my first appointment. That was a surprise to me because I feel like I've been eating a ton of food. The doctor was completely unconcerned with my weight loss because, I can stand to lose weight anyway and, as she said, at where I was pre-pregnancy, if I were to maintain the weight, that would be just fine and dandy.

I have no expectations of not gaining weight by 38/39 weeks (expected c-section time frame). Sure, good in theory but, I know me. If I can not gain more than 15, I'll be thrilled and call that a success (I gained 40+ with Ryan and about 10 with Nathan by 32 weeks).

Anatomy scan is in two weeks with my MFM doctor and, of course, hoping for everything to go well there.

My OB is moving up my gestational diabetes test to 23 weeks. Not because they have any specific concerns, but people who are overweight have a higher risk so they like to intervene earlier if it comes back positive.

My old OB let me take the drink home and down it one hour before my appointment but, this practice requires you come in, get the drink and sit around and wait the hour.

Assuming I pass, I'll still have to do another one a month later at 27 weeks which is the usual time they do the GD test on pregnant women.

As I was leaving my appointment today, the doctor hugged me and kissed my head. It was incredibly sweet but then again, she had just called my overweight! :)

Today is a good day.

Friday, March 13, 2015

18w 2d

I'm feeling some flip flopping going on in my belly more often these days. It's extremely subtle, nothing dramatic yet.

Unfortunately, with an anterior placenta, I likely won't feel strong movement or kicks until much later, if at all.

That's a bummer for someone who expects the worse to happen. I don't have anything but hope to tell me she's okay.

Time does seem to be flying and the love and support I've been receiving has been so touching.

I'm used to the Lovenox shots by now but, not the awful bruising. They don't hurt, I really don't feel a thing but, they look awful. Every time I get an ultrasound with a new doctor or ultrasound tech who I haven't met with yet, they look at my tummy and say "Lovenox?".

Ah well. At least I'm not feeling any pain from it and if it keeps baby girl alive, it's an easy price to pay.

I'm turning 40 in less than two months now and I can't believe it's here. I don't feel 40 (most days). However, I DO feel pregnant. Very, very pregnant. They weren't kidding when they said your third pregnancy shows super big and super fast. I was warned but... holy cow!

The weather is warming up thank goodness and it's put me in a wonderfully happy mood. I absolutely love Spring!

I think I might get the family into the city (DC) for the cherry blossoms this year and take some pictures.

Have a great weekend friends!

Monday, March 9, 2015

The crappiest kind of mentor to be

Just about two months ago I wrote about a colleague who lost her baby at 36 weeks gestation.
She has since returned to work and we've gotten rather close. We talk frequently and had lunch recently.

She told me how me being pregnant gives her hope and how she believes she can learn from my experiences and know how things might be for her when she's ready to be pregnant again.

While I'm thrilled to be able to be available for her, I hate that she is even in this position. I hate that someone I know has had to go through something so horrific and I am here for her to be able to relate to.

She is the first person I know in real life who has suffered a stillborn since I lost my son nearly three years ago. The thing is, I figured at some point in my life I'd be able to help someone cope by telling them that I've been there and I'm 100% in their corner as they navigate the grief and, hopefully, the anxiety that comes from being pregnant again.

But, I thought I'd be much older to be honest. I thought it would be someone I didn't know when that very thing happened to me.

Less than three years isn't very long to have waited.

It's therapeutic to be able to talk to her, too. While I have made friends who have gone through a stillborn loss, they are people I met through a support group and their losses happened before mine.

Not that it matters when it happened, grief is grief. But, being able to talk to this girl has been great for me, too. I feel less alone also.

I'm proud at how strong my friend is being in the face of her loss. As much as she's feeling grief, she's feeling hope, too.



Speaking of anxiety during pregnancy...

Last week, during a snow storm, James and I were navigating the rather treacherous roads to get to my OB because of a series of weird and disconcerting events over night. I called and asked to be seen right away and, they did it.

Bottom line, baby girl was fine. Heartbeat was 167 and she's still perfect.

The thing is, it was panic that brought me in. And, it's so hard to let go of the feeling that things are going to go wrong. I don't want to be like this. I want to be calm and serene. But, I can't get myself to that place for more than a day after I see her on an ultrasound.

Yes, I'm in a total paranoid place and I don't think I'll get to be relieved of that until she's in my arms. Trust me, it's not a great way to live.

I do manage to make it through my days acting normal. I'm not completely paralyzed by the paranoia. I manage each day but, the thought in the back of my head is always persistent... "is she still alive?".

The doctor was extremely sympathetic and he said himself that I won't feel safe until she's here. I'm afraid there really is no way around that. All I can do is take it day-by-day and deal with the anxiety and dark thoughts that persist.

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.