Wednesday, May 27, 2015

29 down, 10 to go

The MFM wasn't so sure that delivering at 38 weeks was necessary so, at this time, we're aiming for 39.

That still depends on how the BPP & NST's go of course. If something seems off, they'll make the decision to go earlier.

I don't mind waiting until 39 as long as everything is looking okay. I know that newer studies have shown there are huge benefits to keep a baby in until 39 weeks because of the development that goes on between 38 and 39 weeks.

All well and good assuming everything is fine. However, if something feels wrong, I'm going to fight and make sure they do the right thing this time. We lost Nathan because of the "wait & see" approach and, well... hell no. Not again.

I've been pouring over the dates when things started to go wrong with Nathan.

My water broke at 30 weeks. I went into labor at 31 weeks and again at 32 weeks which was when he was ultimately born via emergency c-section.

The MFM said it was significant that the water broke before I went into labor. It indicates that pre-term labor was due to the water breaking so, had it not been for the water breaking, pre-term labor likely wouldn't have happened.

Okay, I see what he means. But, what was the cause of the PROM (premature rupture of membranes)? That's something we're still unsure of and will never know with certainty. So, how do I know I won't suffer from PROM again?

The truth is, we don't. However, if that does happen again, I won't be agreeing to any plan that keeps Hannah inside of me this time.

With all that being said, I have high hopes that the next ten weeks or so will go as planned and everything will be fine without any complications or drama.

I'm counting kicks/movement every evening and will start doing that twice a day now. Today it feels like she's sitting very low and pressing on my bladder. Very uncomfortable! I'm running to the bathroom frequently and I'm sure the receptionist is sick of seeing me go flying past her desk so often.

I had lunch with my friend/co-worker today. She delivered her stillborn son at 36 weeks back in January. She was kind enough to bring in a photo album filled with pictures of her precious son and I couldn't help but shed tears looking through them. The love and anguish is so apparent on her and her husbands face and I was struck again at the complete unfairness of it all.

I have to say though, she's a fighter. She's handling her grief so well that she amazes me.

Her kindness and support has been huge for me since we've become close. Today I came into work and there was a gift from her at my desk for Hannah. The fact that she's less than six months removed from her own loss and she thought to buy something for me really speaks volumes about her character.

I look forward to the day I get to repay the gift for her next baby. I hope it's soon. Very, very soon.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Let's try a new position

28w 2d

Yesterday I had another MFM appointment.
They had some computer issues so weren't able to give me my normal blue sheet with all the relevant info so I'm having to recall details from memory.

Fetal position: Breech and facing my spine (although, thinking back, the sonographer showed me how her face was still up against the placenta. And I know my placenta is anterior so how can she be facing my spine? I think that part was recorded incorrectly).
Fetal weight: 2lbs 15oz (67%!)
Heartbeat: High 150's
AFI: 15
Cervix: Long and closed (can't remember exact measurement)

Hannah is growing well and is pretty big for her age. The cord wasn't anywhere near her neck thankfully. The movement from transverse to breech isn't a big deal this early on. Still plenty of time for her to go head down.

She had the hiccups during the ultrasound which was unbelievably cute to watch (I'm pretty sure she has the hiccups as I sit here and write this).

Laying down on my back for even a minute or two is extremely uncomfortable so that makes ultrasounds tougher.

I start weekly BPP testing on June 5th and weekly NST testing on June 12th. I had thought the NST testing would start the same time as BPP testing but, it turns out they don't consider NST testing very reliable before 32 weeks so, that's been put off a bit longer.

The past few days she's been pretty crazy with the kicking and thumping around in there. I don't care how uncomfortable it gets, I love every single second of it. My daughter is growing big and strong and that's the most important thing.

Temporary discomfort and all the trips I have to make to see various doctors over the next ten weeks is nothing at all. I'm just so happy to have her with me every day. We can't wait to meet her.

But, not just yet.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Come drink the water

Friday when I was leaving work I stepped on the elevator with a colleague who works on the same floor I do but, on the other side of the building.

We were making small talk (I think she asked when my due date was) when she said "There are so many pregnant women on your side of the building, I'm not drinking the water over there!".

I laughed, nearly hysterically and said, "In the water? If only! It took me years, thousands of dollars, medical intervention and several disappointments to get to this place!"

Hopefully I didn't come across as a bitter woman, that wasn't my intention at all. I just blurted those words out without thinking.

Of course, in the end, I fell pregnant without any of the extra help. But, I didn't mention that because, I'm pretty sure I had already said too much to a woman who is just a work acquaintance.

So who knows... maybe it is in the water.

And, maybe I just stumbled across a way to make a few extra dollars:

For Sale: *Magic Fertility Water
*Disclaimer: May take anywhere from 6 months to never to become pregnant - results vary.


Or, maybe not.

Friday, May 15, 2015

3 hour glucose tolerance test - Round 2

Another pass!

Results:
Fasting: 77
Hour 1: 145
Hour 2: 143
Hour 3: 75

No more GD testing, no more fasting (until c-section day)!

With the worrying I've been doing lately, one less thing to add to the list is fabulous news indeed.

I should stress that I don't have any specific concerns that are worrying me, more of a general worry. I'm getting really close to 31 weeks which is when I went into pre-term the first time with Nathan. Knowing this makes me rather anxious about the chances of pre-term labor again. I'm at a greater risk now that it's happened before.

We love Hannah so much but, we're not ready to meet her yet. We need her to stay warm & cozy right where she is for another 11 weeks.

Also, the position of the cord at my last ultrasound is on my mind a lot. Draped over her shoulders like some diva wearing a scarf is too close for comfort. Fashion & accessories comes later sweet daughter - stay away from the cord!

It's going to be a very long 11 weeks.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

27 weeks - hello 3rd trimester

Today I took the second (and final, I hope) 3 hour glucose test.

I didn't bother testing myself along the way because the numbers were so off last time on my meter. However, it did feel much different this time. At the end I wasn't shaking and didn't feel hypoglycemic at all. It's probably because I ate late last night and haven't thrown up in several days.

Quick stats:
Blood pressure: 124/78
Weight gain: +1 lb since very first appointment
Heartbeat: 150
AFI (Amniotic Fluid Index): 19
Fetal position: still transverse

Hannah gave us all a good panic during my check-up, though. The doctor wasn't able to find the heartbeat with the doppler which is very unusual for 27 weeks.

We had to wait (very nervously) about ten minutes to get to the room with the ultrasound as it was being used by another patient. In the mean time I was asked about movement and I admitted that last night it took nearly 2 hours to get ten kicks which was unusual. I don't get much movement in the morning at all so we can't use that as a barometer for an AM appointment.

Within a second of the transducer being put on my belly the doctor said something along the lines of "there's a little movement there". Okay, relief and now I can look at the screen.

However, she didn't move much at all but, the heartbeat was very visible. The doctor tried to get her to move and Hannah was having none of it.

During the ultrasound, the doctor who delivered Nathan came in to give me a hug. Word has spread in those ten minutes waiting for the ultrasound room to be available. Doctors were nervous. I was nervous.

I was reminded again to be aware of movement and if something seems unusual, to just call. She stressed to me that it's not a problem to call and she'd rather all our minds me put at ease if something seemed "off".

Bottom line though, she looks fine but, they do want to move my next MFM appointment up so that was rescheduled to next week to get a look at the cord.

As soon as I went back to sit down to wait for another blood draw, she started to move around which gave us all peace of mind.

The OB is going to ask the MFM for permission to deliver at 38 weeks. Even for scheduled c-sections, the standard practice now is 39 weeks but, my OB would like to go a little early based on my history. I completely agree and hope the MFM will permit. Given how nervous the MFM doctors are over my obstetric history, I suspect they'll also agree that this is a good plan of action.

Of course, I'm at higher risk for pre-term labor again so we're all just holding our breath hoping to make it to 38 weeks.

So, it looks like my second August baby will, in fact, be another July baby.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

It's not everyday you turn 40 (or, 16 as it were)!

I came in to work today to a "Sweet 16" themed decorated cube.

(So, I'm either 40 & pregnant or 16 & pregnant)

I'm sad to say goodbye to my 30's but, not because I fear aging. I'm sad to leave them behind because it was a truly amazing time in my life.

It was the decade I met my husband, got married, became a mom to two gorgeous sons and became pregnant with my own little princess.

Not to mention I met the best friends of my entire life in my 30's. I traveled to about a dozen or so countries and enjoyed the best and warmest camaraderie with my DC United family (I miss you guys terribly, I really do).

But, with so much to look forward to in my 40's, I know it will be another fabulous decade!

Thank you to every single person who impacted my life the last ten years!

Laissez les Bon temps roulez!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Birthday Ryan!

Five years ago today we welcomed our gorgeous and spunky son into this world. It was a perfect day.

He's a spirited & imaginative little boy who can build nearly anything with Legos and absolutely loves Transformers.

We're so proud to be his mommy & daddy!

Then
Now
Birth - 4




Friday, May 1, 2015

MFM appointment #5

Quick stats

Fetal Position: Transverse
Placenta: No Anomalies
Heartbeat: 158 BPM
Amniotic Fluid Index: 13.2 (normal)
Fetal Weight: 1lb 15oz (67th %)
Gestational Age: 25w1d
Gestational Age based on measurements: 25w3d
Cervix: Closed & 4.3cm (excellent)


So she's in a bit of a weird position. No biggie, still plenty of time to move back to vertex position. 

The cord is currently draped over her shoulders a bit like a scarf but, not around the neck.
Even so, I'm to start kick counting now so we can intervene early if there is distress.

I admit, I was hoping the cord would be far away from her neck and it's a little scary with it being so close and her being in this awkward position. 

It's still hard to get any good ultrasound pictures of her profile or face but, we probably got the best ones yet yesterday.

An uncooperative profile
Hand right by the face

She is determined to be a complete surprise upon arrival with no real glimpses beforehand. 
Fine by me really, I know she'll be beautiful!

We see women go back for the ultrasound and they seem to be gone five minutes and come back with only one picture.

We're always back there at least 20 minutes and are sent home with a whole scroll of paper worth of pictures. I guess that's the different between a routine appointment and a true high risk appointment. They leave no stone unturned. 

All is well and so far, so good. 

When we got home I took a bath and, a little later, James left to get Ryan and brought home his school pictures. 

As soon as I even caught a tiny glimpse of them in James' hand, I started to tear up. My son is growing so fast and time is flying by so quickly. 

Because this is his last few months in pre-school, they do graduation pictures along with the normal Spring pictures. When I saw they'd be doing this a few weeks ago, I thought it was kind of silly. Pre-school graduation? Whatever.

However, the adorable pictures totally changed my mind and it's worth the silly tradition for results like this.
"Graduation" picture

Spring picture


Honestly, I feel like I'm floating on air today. Everything is just so perfect and we are a very excited family just waiting for Hannah to join us. 

But, not too soon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

25 weeks & baby girls name

Apparently the next 3 weeks is when I'll feel the most movement from my daughter and from there, as she runs out of room, movement will decrease some and not be quite so dramatic.

In fun news, our crib arrived this weekend and it's gorgeous!
It's also a much nicer crib than we put on our registry. Turns out my in-laws bought the one we put on our registry but, Babies R Us saw fit to send us a crib that costs 2.5x more than what my in-laws paid for it.

It was obviously a mistake on their part but, we're just going to leave that alone.

We haven't set up the crib yet because we're still rather undecided what the bedroom situation will be.
As it stands now, we're thinking she will take Ryan's room and Ryan will move into the guest bedroom.

I still want to think of the matter more before we move everything around.

As for her name...
We settled on that some time ago but, wanted to keep it private for a while. I don't feel the need to anymore so here we go:





Our sweet girl will be called Hannah.
And, we're totally in love with her.

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: