Thursday, January 31, 2008

Doctor's Appointment Update

Apparently, it is not only normal to faint during pregnancy, it is the most common "scare call" that they get at my doctor's office. They always have people come in, to be on the safe side, so I didn't feel stupid at all for going in.

Dr. S said that it is a normal pregnancy side effect, due to a variety of issues: increased blood volume, blood flow being redirected, increasing pressure on major arteries in the body, progesterone dialates the blood vessels, etc. Sometimes, it can be a more serious indication of an underlying illness, but a brief medical exam seemed to rule out any of the more worrisome culprits, like cardiac illness or a seizure disorder.

He recommended that I continue my increased fluid intake, but instead of water, I use a sports drink to rehydrate for about half of the fluids. He advised that if I ever feel the onset of another spell to lie down immediately, even if it's in public. If I am sitting, he said that I could put my head between my knees - at least until my belly interferes with such!

He did notice that my heart rate was accelerated, and since I didn't feel nervous at all and my blood pressure was normal, that can be a sign of dehydration or a thryroid issue. He did run a blood panel, complete with a thryroid check, complete blood count, and to check for anemia. Those results should be in by tomorow, but he really didn't seem concerned that they would show any abnormalities.

My one remaining concern is that I am on my feet. A lot. My job requires me to walk and move around quite a bit. I fear fainting in front of a customer, but since I work in hospitals, it would be the best place possible, if not a tad bit embarrassing. Also, I drive constantly, but he said that it would be really rare to happen while I was sitting down. Let's keep our fingers crossed on that score.

I have a nice bruise on my noggin from last night's fall, but the scratch is barely visible and my bangs hide the damage. I did have another near faint at the grocery store this afternoon, so I took his advice and crouched down by the cart, head between my knees. I am going to be really popular in grocery stores!

I left with an appointment to follow up in three weeks - at that appointment, we will get to hear the heartbeat for the very first time. That will be really exciting!

A Little Worried. . .

And for once, not really about the baby.

Well, I am always worried about the baby. Always. There are about fifteen precious minutes after the ultrasound each week when my mind is at rest, that I know my little one is okay. Then, the worries begin again, only to build and build and finally crescendo about twenty minutes before the next ultrasound, which is why I always arrive at my RE's office practically in tears.

However, a new worry has wiggled its way to the forefront of my mind: I am dizzy.

No, not ditzy, although I am that, too. The latter wouldn't concern me one bit, however, because I am always kind of ditzy (in a charming way, I like to think, though my husband might disagree).

The dizziness started a couple of weeks ago, maybe three. At first, it was your garden variety dizziness, which caught me off guard when I rose too quickly after a nap or sitting for a long time at my computer. Then it starten happening when I would throw up. And soon, it was accompanied by stars and a black "tunneling" vision that would cause me to sit down quickly.

Saturday night, however, it caught me by surprise, as I was already sitting down. And the black tunnel vision clouded over my entire eyes. I didn't want to be dramatic about it, but I think I officially passed out. While sitting down, luckily. Since then, I have had a few "fainting" episodes, usually in the morning or evening.

Mildly concerned, I brought it up to my RE at this last visit. She waved it off with no concern, telling me that it was common knowledge that in "olden days" (her term, not mine), one of the first symptoms of pregnancy was fainting. She admonished that I get up slowly and drink plenty of fluids.

Check and check.

Last night, it got a bit more serious. I was making my self some tea in the kitchen. I had not been sitting or lying down anytime within the past fifteen minutes. I was actually feeling pretty good, standing at my kitchen sink and filling the pot with water.

The next thing I knew, I was on the kitchen floor, with a sore right temple and wetness trickling into my eye. I gingerly touched my forehead and the finger came away stained red.

My husband was not yet home from work, but I was pretty freaked out. I got up, rather unsteadily. I was too afraid to look at my head, for fear that the blood might make me pass out again. I'm not usually lightheaded at the sight of blood, but these are strange times.

I turned off the water still running from the faucet, grabbed the phone from the kitchen counter, and sat right back down again on the kitchen floor. I called my husband, who was just turning into our driveway. He hurried rather impressively to my aid, but I don't think that I had explained the bleeding situation fully (All I asked was what time he thought he might be home, since I had fainted again). When he saw me, hunched pathetically on the kitchen floor, with blood trailing down my cheek, he got kind of shaky himself and was about to throw me in the car for a trip to the emergency room. Luckily, a more thorough inspection of my "wound" showed us that it was really just a paltry scratch, which bled a little more than it normally would courtesy of the Lovenox (blood thinner) that I inject daily. I had a nice red mark, already bruising lightly, but it didn't really hurt much.

Of course, we called my OB, who made room for me in his schedule this morning. A quick Google search pretty much confirms what my RE said: fainting in pregnancy is usually normal. It can also be attribued to anemia, poor nutrition, dehydration, gestational diabetes, and low blood pressure. These are all fixable things.

But I am still a little worried.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Junk Mail

One of my girlfriends has been going on and on about the e-mail service that she signed up for during her pregnancy. She loved the weekly updates, friendly reminders, and details on the inner workings of her baby. The e-mail newsletter also included a helpful "What To Pack For the Hospital" list and "Birthplan" template, both of which she used.

Now that the baby is born, she loves the weekly updates for developmental milestones, coupons for formula and diapers, and links to on-line boards where she can "talk" with other new moms with babies just the age of hers. She even got a discount coupon for a free massage through this wonder-site. I must admit, it all sounds very wonderful.

For the past two weeks, she has been urging me to sign up. And yet I resist.

Why might that be?

Because I am still getting these weekly e-mails from my first pregnancy. Two years ago, I innocently signed up for the exact same service, thinking how great it would be. And it was great. Until I lost my baby. I politely e-mailed the address listed for unsubscribing to the list, to no avail. I tried a second and third time on that route. The e-mails kept coming.

I tried finding a way to contact the site another way. I sent e-mails to other addresses in the contact section. No such luck. I finally e-mailed their sitemaster, begging for me to be taken off their list, explaining that by this time, I had lost two pregnancies. I got a form letter back, thanking me for my interest in their site and congratulating me on my pregnancy! No matter what I tried, I was still assaulted by the e-mails, which such cheerful subjects as "Week 24 in Your Pregnancy - Viability!" I finally contacted a moderator for one of their bulletin boards and pleaded my case. She was sympathetic and offered to contact the site for me. But the e-mails kept coming.

So now, I get messages for my two year old's development. And coupons for Gerber Graduates. And articles about "When to Start Potty Training." I'm sure these things will be very helpful for me someday, but not right now.

So, even though I am feeling positive about this pregnancy, I still don't have the courage to sign myself up for another round. Just in case.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Baby's Got Moves!

Today was an amazing day.

The heartbeat was clear as day, at a perfect 172 BPM. The baby measured exactly one week ahead of last time, at 9 week, 3 days (a tiny bit ahead of schedule).

But the most amazing thing of all is that our baby did something that we have never gotten to see before. Our baby moved. And not just a tiny flutter that you had to be watching for - our little one was dancing! I thought it even looked as if it was trying to suck its tiny little hand. My husband and I were in complete awe of our child - after all, neither one of us can dance well, look what our little one can do at only a few weeks old!

After looking around at everything else, the technician let us have one more long look at the baby, who obliged us by looking as if it gave a little "Hey, guys!" wave!

We are so in love.

And now, just so you can see for yourself how cute this little one is. . .

Monday, January 28, 2008

Morning - HA! - Sickness

Having morning sickness is like being stalked.

You know it is there, following you, waiting. You try to duck and dodge it, do different things, hoping that it will miss you.

Sometimes, you get lucky. You manage to evade the sickness.

Other days, it seems that you cannot escape. It grabs hold of you and won't let go.

Today is one of those cannot escape days. I feel so icky. I can't wait for the much-heard-about second trimester burst of energy. My house is a disaster, my laundry is piled sky-high, and my poor dogs have learned that no matter how pathetically they whine and whimper, the best they get today for exercise will be a romp around the yard. I long to cook dinner for my husband again, without gagging my way through half of it.

I look forward to not having to run from the kitchen or living room whenever he heats something up for himself. I want to be able to eat when I am hungry without regretting it a few minutes later.

I am glad to be pregnant, but oh, I wish that I didn't have to feel like this.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Nine Reasons Why

I have a new reason to love Sundays. Sunday is the day that my little widget on the left changes to reveal a new "baby" for the week. I have been trying to think of a nickname for our tiny one, and Widget keeps coming to mind. Like most nicknames, it isn't one that I set out to find, but it seems to be sticking.

Nine weeks is a "dangerous" week in my mind. You see, even though we thought we were pregnant until our 11 week OB appointment, the baby actually stopped growing at 9 weeks, 5 days. For that reason, I fear this week a bit more than the others, even if, statistically speaking, the sixth through eighth week are the most likely for fetal demise. Statistics have not been our friend so far, but I am hoping so much that this is our time.

In that vein of positive thinking and as we enter this ninth week, I present to you . . .

Nine Reasons Why This Pregnancy Is Different and Should Result In A RLB*

1) IVF - We've never done that before!

2) Lovenox - I don't even feel the needle stick anymore.

3) Perfect heartbeat - and that's not just a gushing mother saying it's perfect. The ultrasound tech used that very word herself to describe out little one's 174 bpm heartrate at 8 weeks, 1 day.

4) Still measuring ahead - At 8 weeks, 1 days, the baby measured 8 weeks, 3 days, or measuring exactly one week bigger than at our last scan.

5) Pregnancy vitamins - oh, and a baby aspirin that I take each day with those, too.

6) Zofran - sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't, but I haven't had to

7) Pure and utter faith - getting stronger with each week that passes.

8) No spotting - despite my incessant checking.

9) Constipation - sorry, Ladies, this blog is not for the faint of heart. This is a new symptom to my cache of symptoms. I have not had this in other pregnancies, or at least not to this degree. Prune juice has become my new best friend! I figure anything different in this pregnancy has got to be a good sign. Right? Right.

*Real Live Baby

Saturday, January 26, 2008


My lovely friend Tracy has tagged me for this meme. And how can I refuse a newly pregnant woman? There are even rules to go with this game:

1) Link to the person that tagged you.
2) Post the rules on your blog.
3) Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
4) Tag at least three people at the end of your post and link to their blogs.
5) Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6) Let the fun begin!

I really had to wrack my DIPSy brain to come up with. . .

Six non-important quirks about me:

1. I have a yellow light phobia and it's actually kind of serious. You may laugh, but my heart actually starts pounding as I approach a stale green light at an intersection, or where I am the lead car coming up to an intersection from a long distance off. I have been pulled over for going through a yellow light (I wasn't given a citation, though, proving that it wasn't that stale) and had an embarrassing slide through an intersection with a former boss, so that combind to make me downright scared of yellow lights.

2. I collect antique jewelry - those big jeweled broaches are my favorite. I have an entire closet filled with antique jewelry boxes which, in turn, are filled with the glittering beauties. I get most of my pieces at thrift stores or garage sales. . . which seques nicely to

3. I like second hand stores and rummage sales. I love Goodwill, Value Village, garage sales, estate sales, you name it. And not just for jewelry. I actually buy clothes there, too. I draw the line at underwear, socks, bras, or anything that can't be thoroughly washed or dry cleaned. I save a fortune this way and I get some really beautiful things for a fraction of the cost.

4. I have two spots on my body that I hate being touched. One is on the base of my spine and the other is my inner wrists. It just gives me the heebie jeebies to have those areas touched. I don't even like leaning on a table with my wrists exposed and it drives me nuts when other people stand like that.

5. I love potatoes. I will sometimes order my entree based on the side dish choice. For example, if I am trying to decide between the chicken or beef, if the chicken comes with rice and the beef comes with potatoes, I will choose the beef - and then usually eat just a bit of that and give it to my husband.

6. I used to bite my nails, and still do, actually. It's a horribly gross habit, so I have managed to get it undercontrol enough that I usually only do it in private. But I used to gnaw the poor things to the quick and beyond. My parents tried everything to get me to stop, including that horrible nasty nail polish that tastes like vinegar - I grew to like the taste! They also used bribery and offered to buy me a beautiful ring with my birthstone in it - I managed to "kick" the habit until the ring was on my finger and then, back to biting. What finally got me to stop was when I was in a work meeting and looked over and saw a colleage going to town. It was disgusting! Immediately, I knew that I did not want that to be peoples' impression of me. So, I now limit my chewing to private time.

Okay, now I tag Maria (for a little something to ease the boredom of the 2ww), Polka Dot, and Alison! Good luck!

Friday, January 25, 2008


When one of my girlfriends was pregnant for the first time four years ago, I thought she was losing her mind.

Some examples and things that I still tease her about doing:

She went to work with black suit pants on - wearing the navy pinstripe jacket of another suit - and didn't realize it until she got home and her husband commented on it.

She got into the car to meet me for lunch one day, was talking to me on the phone while she drove there, but drove to the other side of down for a hair appointment that she didn't even have.

She went in for her first prenatal appointment, they gave her the cup to pee in, she went in, used the restroom, and forgot to pee in the cup. Perhaps not that bad, but she did it four months in a row!

These are just a few examples, I could keep going, but you get the idea.

Four years ago, I was not facing IF, so I was able to really get into her pregnancy. I planned a baby shower, took daily walks with her (we were also neighbors), and read her pregnancy magazines. It was while reading one such publication that I stumbled across an article, describing this exact condition. Turns out, it wasn't only my dear friend. It was such a widespread phenomenon that it even had a name - Dumbness Induced By Pregnancy Syndrome [aka DIPS].

Well, folks, DIPS seems to have struck me down. I went into the grocery store yesterday with a long list of "must haves." Even with the list, I left the store with only about half of what I had went there for.

My husband has had to ask me three times to print out my W2 form. That reminds me . . .

I am meticulous about my work calendar. In four years of doing my job, I have never no showed for an appointment. This week, I have no showed twice. For appointments clearly marked on my calendar.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Nothing Fits!

Okay, now I am not complaining about this.

I am just kind of wondering why in the world, at only eight weeks pregnant, my clothes do not fit?!?!

For the record, I have not gained weight. I have actually lost four pounds in the past two weeks, not that I am trying to lose weight, but morning sickness makes keeping food down really difficult.

It's actually not just my waist that is the problem, either. My breasts have started really filling out these past few days. I cannot button my fitted jackets any more. Unfortunately, I don't think that fitted jackets look that great or professional when they are unbuttoned. About half of my business suits have fitted jackets. The half that have the looser, longer cut jackets? Well, those tend to be higher waisted in the pants - so they don't fit either.

I have a wonderful girlfriend who was pregnant last year. She knew what to do and got me two pregnancy bands.

I almost feel like a fraud, wearing my first true article of "maternity" clothing. Not that you can tell, it is hidden well under a sweater and buttoned jacket. But I know it's there. It's like I keep waiting for someone to walk up to me, tap me on the shoulder, and say, "You know, it's way too early to be wearing maternity clothes."

I agree. So tell that to my pants and jackets!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Word On Waiting Room Etiquette

I am pregnant now, but that doesn't mean that the years of IF pain are suddenly gone. I think those scars might stick around for a very long time.

Yesterday, something happened at our IVF clinic that I am still in shock about. It is something that I honestly would not have believed if I hadn't seen in with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears. I have heard some pretty insensitive things over the course of the past two years, but yesterday's event takes the cake. I purposefully did not write about it yesterday, because I did not want to take any of the joy away from the excitement of our 8 week ultrasound. But now I have to share, because well, sharing is what this blog is all about.

Rewind to yesterday afternoon. As usual, my husband and I were more than a little nervous riding the elevator up to the 10th floor. We were shared the ride with a 30-something blond woman, who was holding a packet of our clinic's intake papers. We didn't share a word, but from those papers and the nervous expression on her face, I guessed that she was a first time patient.

We stepped off the elevator and into the reception area of our clinic. Now, let me paint the picture for you here. Our clinic does not have a large waiting area. It is shaped like an L, with the long part of the L running by the reception desk and the shorter end of the L is where the limited amounts of chairs and couches are. There has been more than one appointment where I could not find a seat in the waiting area. It's tiny.

So, when we pushed open the frosted glass doors, I was immediately assaulted by the sight of not one, but TWO sets of twins, one set looking about eighteen months or so, and the other set around a year. There was also a baby stroller, covered, so I am assuming that the infant inside was still pretty young. Now, there have been kids in the waiting room before, but never like this, where baby almost outnumbered adult.

My husband went to use the bathroom while I checked in. After speaking to the receptionist, I had to literally step around the toddling older twins. I paused to avoid stepping on the little girl and in doing so, stopped to admire both sets - after all, I'm not heartless, and I love children. The mom of the one year olds caught my admiring (and probably a bit wistful) glance and said in a loud, self-important tone, "This is what happens when I get pregnant."

To clarify, I asked her, "Did you get pregnant through this clinic."

She responded back in a perky (loud) voice, "No. These are natural. I had no problems getting pregnant."

"How lucky for you," I managed to choke out.

Okay, I will stop here to say:

#1: What the frick was she doing in the clinic waiting room anyway? She was obviously not a past patient. I decided to give her the benefit of the the doubt on this point. I thought maybe she was there as a surrogate or egg donor.

#2: The door CLEARLY states that this is a fertility clinic. And there are no other medical offices on this floor, so it's not likely that she accidentally got off on 10 and turned the wrong way. No, she knew she was in a fertility clinic. Why would you ever loudly proclaim your fertility for an entire room of obviously fertility-challenged men and women?

#3: Don't even get me started on the whole natural thing. Is my pregnancy unnatural in some way? Is my baby less natural than her baby?

If the story ended there, I guess you could say that I asked for it. I stopped to admire the babies, I made the (stupid) mistake of asking her about her children. Fair enough, I deserved what I got.

But the story doesn't end there.

I went and found a seat in the crowded room. As usual, the other women and I exchanged those surreptitious glances, wondering what the other is "in for," but not breaking the barrier of silence and pain. I noticed the blond sitting down on the other side of the room, looking painfully over at the twins when she thought no one was looking. Her naked envy was hard to watch, especially because I am fairly certain that my face held that same look.

My husband joined me a minute later, having missed my "natural" conversation with the twin mom. For the next ten minutes, we nervously waited our turn to be called back, trying to think happy thoughts. During this time, we were subjected to various comments from the fertile such as, "Oh, my children are my life. Don't you wonder how you ever lived without yours?" And of course the inevitable, "We were blessed with the twins, but we don't want any more children. So, now I have to be on the pill again. Those hormones make me crazy!"

Now, to be fair, the mom of the other children kept her tone low and almost seemed embarrassed as they continued their conversation. But continue it they did. Finally, I noticed the woman seemed to be preparing to leave. I started to breathe a sigh of relief when she did the unthinkable.

She cleared her throat and made an announcement to the entire room:

"Good luck, everybody. Maybe you'll end up with twins [Gestures to her children], or triplets, or even quadruplets! Or maybe you won't. Either way, God only gives you what you can handle. And maybe you just aren't meant to have kids!"

And then she left. Finally.

Leaving everyone open mouthed, looking at each other in disbelief. The blond lady finally said aloud, "I guess she's right. God must not give me more than I can handle, because she finally LEFT!"

We were called back right at that very minute, but I was still fuming, still am angry a day later. I know, I know, she probably thought that she was being nice. And you have to look at a person's intent, blah, blah, blah. You know what, though, sometimes ignorance is not an excuse.

Okay, I feel better.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Our Blessings Continue

Our 8 week, 1 day ultrasound was perfect.

The baby is still measuring ahead, at 8 weeks, 3 days, or exactly one week bigger than s/he was last week. Perfect.

The heartbeat was a resounding 174 bpm. The technician used the word "perfect."

The sac looks great, we could see the umbilical cord.

The little spine was forming already.

The little arm and leg buds were there.

And the best part was that at one point, she moved the camera, and the baby moved. It was a reflex and just the tiniest flicker (my husband missed it), but both the tech and I had saw it. She said that reflexes are a good sign that all is developing and working as it should.

Eight weeks is a milestone in the reproductive endocrinology world. If we were "normal" IVF patients (meaning, no miscarriage history), we would be graduating. Given our history, the weekly ultrasounds will continue. However, given how everything is looking right now, they are putting our chances of losing this pregnancy as minimal.

My husband and I are thrilled.

We are also a little scared. Scratch that, we are a lot scared.

You see, at 8 weeks, 2 days, Gummy Bear's heart beat was a rousing 176 bpm. Although there had been a little lag in growth earlier, he was measuring two days ahead at that appointment as well. So, we've been here, and we've been heartbroken.

I cried for the first time in the ultrasound room today (usually, I am too busy firing off questions to really let the emotions in). They were tears of happiness and also fear. Each time this little one grows, my heart melts a little more. The walls that I have built start to crumble. I start to really love my baby. And while that is the most wonderful and natural thing in the world, it is also scary.

But I have hope that this time, the only tears that I will cry are tears of happiness and joy. And that come August 30th (or a few days earlier or later), we are welcoming our little boy or girl, and finally, all of that love will have a real live baby to focus on.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Two Years

The calendar is divided BC and AC, and I feel like my life's calendar is divided along a line of its own: BM/AM. I wrote about this in another post, but my life has recently been defined by what it was Before Miscarriage and what it's been like After Miscarriage. It's been two years since our battle against IF started. It's difficult to really think about all that we've lost, but I also must reflect on what we've gained.

The month of January had started out sadly for me with the death of my close grandmother on New Year's Day. Her death was not unexpected, but it was still sad to say good-bye to her. One of the things that I was most sad about is that my grandma would never hold my newborn baby. If there was one thing she loved, it was a new baby to fuss over in the family.

January 21, 2006 was a Saturday. This was the day that we found out that we were expecting. When that second line came up, I was actually dizzy for a moment. We weren't planning on a pregnancy - not yet, anyway. But we were still thrilled. Our whole lives changed in that exciting moment that we found out we were going to be parents. In a way, I felt it was very "circle of life" that my grandmother's passing would be so close to the arrival of a new soul into our lives.

We threw ourselves into changing our lives to accomodate our coming little one. We cleaned our house with vigor and put it up for sale. We were determined to move to a smaller house so that my husband's salary could sustain us. We only had a little over a week with that pregnancy, but we dreamed about and loved that baby to distraction. I started a journal for the baby, and one entry is particularly heartbreaking for me to read now:

"I am going to make myself enjoy these precious months that are just for the two of us, because right now, I can make everything safe and wonderful for you, and I won't always be able to do that for you later on. This I think will be the very most difficult thing as a parent."

Oh, the innocence of those words. The innocence that would be ripped from me just four days after writing this entry, when the bright red blood brought me to my knees in terror and disbelief. Despite my care and concern for our little one, I had failed in my first and foremost responsibility as a mother - keeping my child safe. The first night after we lost our pregnancy, I had a horrible nightmare, in which I kept searching for my child. I would go from person to person, begging for help in finding my lost baby. No one would help me.

And the nightmare would continue. Over the course of the next eleven months, I would lose four more pregnancies. Each loss would further alter the person that I was, the person that I have become. For awhile, it seemed as if the worst part of the nightmare was that no one took our losses seriously and that we had to suffer alone, without any assistance. We finally got some help, took a break, lost another early pregnancy, grieved and tried to move on.

Yes, there has been so much sadness these past two years. There have been rivers of tears, mountains of anguish, paths of pain. If I had known two years ago what I know now, I am not sure that I would have had the strength to put one foot past the other.

And I am not so cocky or confident to believe that it could be over. I know there are still many more hurdles to face. This pregnancy gives me hope for the future, but there are no guarantees. I might not be at the end of this journey yet. If I knew for certain what I still have to face, I might not have the strength to go on.

But what I still have, even after these two long years, is hope. That hope has been bruised, bloodied, and battered. There have been times when it has all but disappeared. Somehow, though, it has always struggled its way back, refusing to be completely beaten.

I also have a firm rooting in what to be thankful for and what to prioritize. This pregnancy takes a higher order than anything else. That wasn't the case in our first pregancy, when material matters took first place.

My marriage has weathered the storm and come out better on the other side.

I have learned who my real friends are - and who I can count on for support.

I have gained new friends - both in real life and here in the blogasphere.

I am generally more compassionate (although I sometimes have less patience for people who complain about the "little things").

I have a better relationship with God - I know longer ask God for things, but instead pray for acceptance and peace in His will. And I don't pray for myself first, I pray for others.

These two years have taken things from me, that I cannot deny. I do not wish this life lesson on any person. But I also take stock of what these two years have given to me and know that I am a stronger person. I know that even if this is only the beginning of our journey, I can and will handle what lies ahead. I honestly hope for a smoother path, but I know that I will prevail, no matter what the obstacle.

Hope is not dead. We will be parents.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Eight Reasons Why

Well, would you look at that.

Over there! To the left! See that little moving shape in the black box? Our little baby is starting to look a little less like a blob and a little more human.

According to Pregnancy Week By Week at Babies Online, our baby has a face! Features are becoming more obvious, as his lips, tongue and nostrils, as well as the buds for 20 baby teeth are already present. The back muscles are growing along the spinal column, and his or her reproductive organs have started to form and soon will become either testes or ovaries. The arms and legs are growing and elbows and knees appear as well. The fingers and toes are starting to show but are still webbed. Our baby is about 8 - 11 mm or 0.31 - 0.43 inches in length.

Our baby is starting to show signs of reflex activity - an automatic response to certain types of stimuli Connecting you and the baby, the umbilical cord with all its blood vessels, is starting to function. In fact, what will be our baby's intestine is forming in the umbilical cord as well. An ultrasound done this week would show our baby's fluttering heart and reflex movements.

To commemorate the beginning of the eighth week, I present to you:

Eight Reasons Why This Pregnancy Is Different and Should Result In A RLB*

1) IVF - Good egg, good sperm, good embryo. That's gotta help, right?
2) Lovenox - My stomach is a rainbow of bruises, thanks to the lovely nightly encounter with the needle, but it's worth it.
3) That beautiful heartbeat - At 7 weeks, 1 days, the baby's heartbeat was a nice and steady 145 BPM. Right on track for it's gestational age.
4) Measuring ahead - At 7 weeks, 1 days, the baby measured 7 weeks, 3 days.
5) Pregnancy vitamins - They were a bit harder to keep down this week, but I am giving it my all.
6) Zofran - this week, I had some good days and bad days, but the Zofran still seems to help.
7) Pure and utter faith - As the days tick by, a little bit more hope seeps into my spirit. I am finding myself checking for spotting less (although still pretty constantly) and not worrying as much about every single twinge.
8) Knocking on wood here, but absolutely no spotting. In every single other pregnancy, I have had spotting. With Gummy Bear, it was just a bit and just once, but it was still red blood. Despite my constant checking, I have yet to find even a tinge of brown or speck of pink. Thank God.

*Real Live Baby

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Bump In The Night

Actually, it was more like a crash.

At 1:05 am, my husband and I were rudely awakened by what could only be described as a horrible crashing noise.

We live about five houses in from a somewhat busy street. Usually, the street noise doesn't bother us, especially at night, when the traffic dies down.

Once before, we were dragged from bed by a horrible noise, and a stoned teenager had driven his car into a rock wall on the side of our neighbor's house. Unfortunately, he died that night.

So, when I heard the noise, I immediately feared the worse. The noise had sounded close, although we were both fast asleep at the time. We peered out our front window, our eyes noting that the street seemed darker than usual.

My husband saw it first: the light post that would usually illuminate the darkness was instead lying in a twisted heap in the middle of the street. Then I saw the truck in the nearest yard.

I grabbed the phone to dial 9-1-1. My husband went to see if he could help. By the time he got his shoes on and got out the front door, the truck revved it's engine and pulled out of the yard. As I was reporting the accident to the operator, I noticed another truck leaving our down the street neighbor's driveway and roaring off down the street in the other direction.

A moment later, our neighbor stumbled down the street toward my husband. I watched from inside as they talked for a few minutes. Then my husband came inside, shaking his head. These particular neighbors are "famous" in our development for their raucous parties that go into all hours of the night. When I last left on a business trip, my car picked me up at 4:00 AM, and there was someone passed out on their front porch. We have never called the police, but our good friends' house sits up behind theirs, and the parties have kept them from sleeping many times.

The neighbor told my husband "not to worry," because it had been his friends that knocked down the light pole. The neighbor claimed to have been fast asleep at the time. My husband said that it was clear that he was intoxicated. They spoke a bit longer before our wayward neighbor stumbled home.

A few moments later, a patrol car pulled up. My husband gave a statement of what we had heard and seen to the deputy, and also the conversation that he had with our neighbor. The lights from the patrol car illuminated the tree on the other side of the street that had also been hit and torn from its roots. It was a miracle that the person driving was able to avoid the many cars parked along the street, but the poor tree and light pole weren't so lucky.

The police officer walked down to the neighbors house and about ten minutes later, our neighbor was walked by in handcuffs. It turned out that the truck responsible for the damage belonged to our neighbor and was parked haphazardly in his driveway, although he claimed that he wasn't driving. Since the truck belonged to him and because he couldn't tell the deputy who had been driving, he was going to end up being the one that went to jail.

It took a few hours for everything to be cleaned up. Several of our neighbor's friends ended up coming to his defense, but in the end, the patrol car still pulled away with our neighbor inside.

I am just thankful that no one was hurt. The truck could have easily veered into someones home or another car on the road with an innocent person at the wheel. My teen aged cousin was killed in a drunk driving accident when I was 12. It was my first encounter with death and has made a strong impression on me since. I watched as that side of the family was nearly ripped apart by her death. Even though my cousin was not driving at the time, she made the very bad decision to get a car with her intoxicated boyfriend and failed to fasten her seat belt. Her boyfriend survived the accident, and I remember staring at him at my cousin's funeral, wondering what it was like to have that on your conscience. I remember him begging and pleading with my aunt for her forgiveness. She wouldn't even look at him.

I hope our Saturday morning rude awakening was a wake up call for our neighbor. The only victims of his crime this time were a tree and a light post. It could have been so much worse.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dr. Google Says. . .

He may have a medical degree in pure evil, but I simply cannot stay way from the good doctor. On days when the fears of miscarriage creep into my brain, I try to find online reassurance.

I stumbled my way across this site, which is for a lab service that does testing for all sorts of pregnancy loss, including recurrent miscarriage.

The exerpt that I found to be particularly comforting is this:

"A loss was most likely a chromosomal error if...

  • The fetus failed very early. For example, blighted ovums are pregnancy failures in which the fetus never develops. These occur before six-and-a-half weeks and about 90 percent of them are chromosomal errors.
  • A long time goes by between the failure of the fetus and the failure of the pregnancy. For example, let's say you had a blighted ovum but your pregnancy was perceived to be clinically normal at twelve weeks. (The placenta can continue to grow and support itself without a baby for up to two months and, therefore, pregnancy hormone levels will continue to rise.) The fact that your placenta was chugging along without a baby on board speaks for adequacy of the uterine environment and adequacy of placental growth and development.

However, if a heartbeat was documented for your baby at seven weeks and you lose your pregnancy at seven weeks and two days, that starts making it less likely that it's a random wrong chromosome number accident. The shorter the death to loss interval, the more likely it is that other factors contributed to the pregnancy loss. Some of the things I always ask patients are: You saw a heartbeat? When? How long after you saw the heartbeat was it before you had any symptoms? What size did the baby measure at death? Did you have any symptoms at a time when you knew the baby was still alive because there was an ultrasound heartbeat?

If you are cramping and bleeding and the baby is alive that obviously has to raise the suspicion that some malfunction in the uterine environment or placenta is causing the baby's death. Your cramping and bleeding means that your tissues are breaking down. The baby is still functioning fine within its little shell but the shell is actually cracking.

My losses have all either been very early (the first bulletpoint) or Gummy Bear's loss, where my body kept doing all of the right things, but nearly two weeks had passed since the baby stopped growing (second bulletpoint). Of course, doctors have always said that the losses were probably chromosomal, but they never gave a reason why they thought that, just quoted the "50% of all early losses" blah, blah that we've all heard.

I am finding this comforting because hopefully this means that we have just had really bad luck. Horrible bad luck, but bad luck nonetheless. My body isn't killing healthy babies (as I have always secretly feared), my babies haven't been healthy and nature has taken it's course (somehow, that's more comforting).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sick and Tired

I am thrilled to be pregnant. I just want that made clear. I don't want anyone thinking that this post detracts from my joy.

That being said. . .

I don't think that I have ever felt this tired in my entire life. The combination pregnancy hormones and what I am calling my phenergan hangover make me feel like I have chugged an entire bottle of heavy duty nighttime cough syrup. I feel underwater.

The medications keep me from vomiting, but they don't keep me from feeling like I want to. Every bite seems like a battle. I get hungry, then go stand in front of my refrigerator, desperate for something to appeal to me. Usually, I come away empty handed. Watching television has become tortuous. Has anybody else realized how many food commercials they have on?

Yesterday, my husband went to the store on a mission for two things that I thought sounded pretty good. White bread for cinnamon toast and chocolate pudding. The chocolate pudding was pretty okay, until it didn't settle right and gave me the rolling feeling of nausea for the rest of the night. Continuing his desperate attempts to get me to eat something, he made me toast and brought it to me in bed this morning. What a guy!

Of course, it goes without saying, this is all worth it for our baby. But can the second trimester please hurry up!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I Need A Scanner

I definitely need a way to scan this beautiful picture in so that you can all see this.
  • At 7 weeks, 2 days, our precious little one is measuring a day ahead at 7 weeks, 3 days.
  • His or her little heart is beating away a breathtaking 145 BPM.
  • The sac looks good, the ovary cysts are shrinking, the doctor says that it all looks good.
  • It's amazing the difference that a week can make in size. Incredible.
We go back next week, Tuesday, January 22, at 2:45 PM for our 8 week scan. According to our doctor, 8 weeks is a big deal. If we are still tracking this well at 8 weeks, she is going to put our chances of loss at less than 5%. Now, look upwards at the title of this blog. I have been here before and I have been in that unlucky group. But that's rare. It shouldn't happen again.

Thank you for those prayers.

I am afraid to say how attached I am getting to the little darling. Maybe even time for a nickname. . .

Nerves of Steel

Okay, I certainly don't have nerves of steel. I thought that I could summon them by posting such a bold title.

Despite my positive List of Seven, I am still trembling at the thought of a Bad Ultrasound today. I keep trying to picture a Good Ultrasound, but it's difficult.


Deep breaths until then.

Please, God, let this baby be okay. If not, please help me be okay.

Monday, January 14, 2008

First OB/GYN Appointment

I love my OB's office.

This is something that didn't happen overnight. To recap my history with OBs:

1) My first OB might have been okay. I actually never met him. But when I started bleeding heavily and called the on-call doctor, it happened to be him. He was nice enough (if businesslike) and told me that there was nothing that could be done if I was losing the baby that early. He told me to come in the next day for a HCG blood test. The number came back at 26, which of course for six weeks pregnant was abysmal. His nurse told me that I "wasn't even pregnant," which confused me and devalued my feelings. I her asked for loss support and was flat out told it was for women that had later term losses. Next!

2) My second OB started out all right. She was a little cold at my follow up appointment, but I figured it might be a good counter-balance to my tendency to freak out. However, when she told me that it was my fault that I kept having miscarriages (well, my fault for testing so early and finding out that I was pregnant and then miscarrying), I knew it was time to move on. This post goes into more detail about our final appointment together. Let's just say that I need someone with a level head and some compassion. Next!

3) If you have been following my blog for some time, you might know that my RE is a great doctor, one of the best in the area. She teaches at the University of Washington, which has a great medical school. She is a nice enough person, but at times, her bedside manner leaves something to be desired. Things have gotten better since we started the IVF cycle, but the cynical part of me really resents the fact that we had to get to the "big leagues" (and spend the big dollars) to get to see the softer side of her, but I also don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

To be honest, I have always wondered if perhaps it is me, not the medical professionals, that are lacking. I mean, come on, it's not their fault that I miscarry. Maybe it's not them that lack the bedside manner that I need, perhaps I need too much. Perhaps because of my bad experiences, I want someone to blame, and they are an easy scapegoat. However, one of the great things about doctors is that there are a lot of 'em, so I had the luxury of continuing to look for one that at least seemed able to handle my issues, if nothing else.

When I went to Dr. S's for the first time last fall, I was eight weeks pregnant with Gummy Bear. When the nurse, K, took my history, she shared her own personal story of several miscarriages before her healthy son was born. I knew I had found a soul sister.

When we went in for the ultrasound that showed Gummy Bear had died, she seemed to take it as personally as we did. She gave me the biggest hugs and was always there for us. When I called the following Monday to schedule the D&C after a second high level ultrasound confirmed that the baby had died, she said that she had been praying for a miracle for us all weekend. I knew it came from her heart.

Dr. S also seems to be a kind man, just the sort of person that I would love to bring our baby into the world. He is the perfect combination of matter-of-fact (I am hysterical enough for both of us, thank you very much) and compassionate. He struck just the right chord of empathy for what we had been through and positive thinking for the future in our follow-up appointment. He also went to medical school with my RE, so it's good that they have a decent relationship with each other and don't mind "sharing" me for the first trimester. All of this combined to let me know that I had found my OB.

The day after we got our positive beta, I called to get in with Dr. S. I knew it was early, but his schedule fills quickly. Turns out that it was a good thing that I called. He wasn't taking new patients. I was very disappointed, but asked if he or K could refer us to someone else. When K saw that it was me, she made an exception, and they took me on as a patient and even worked me into the schedule earlier than they normally see OB patients.

Today was my "intake" appointment, which is basically just the background stuff and some basic blood work. K was amazing, as usual. She told me that she was concerned about any anxiety that I might have and said that anytime I needed to hear the heartbeat or "take a peek" to ease my fears, just to call her. She even offered an ultrasound today, but we are going in for the ultrasound tomorrow with Dr. M, and my husband wasn't there. It made me feel great to have her support. She gave me a big hug and told me that she had been waiting for this day for a long time and was so excited for us. K said that she feels it is a "sisterhood," those of us that have had losses and that we need to stick together. Talk about somebody who gets it!

I feel good today. I was starving this morning and ate breakfast with no problem. I can't take the Zofran on workdays as I drive constantly for my job, so it freaks me out a little that I feel so . . . normal. I actually don't feel pregnant at all today. But I haven't had a speck of spotting, so I am just hoping that it's one of those good pregnancy days that normal women would embrace.

One more sleep until the ultrasound. It is scheduled for 2:30 PST tomorrow. I will be 7 weeks, 2 days. Praying for the best. . .

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Seven Reasons Why

Today marks the beginning of another week. The Seventh Week, to be exact. This is monumental for so many reasons. I have only made it this far once before. That pregnancy made it to 11 weeks, but in the beginning, the heartbeat and growth were a bit slow. This baby's little heartbeat is anything but little, making it more likely to survive the first trimester and beyond. In honor of this wonderful occasion, I present to you a list.

Seven Reasons Why This Pregnancy Is Different and Should Result In A RLB*

1) IVF - We've never done that before. We know the egg was good, the sperm was good, the embryo was good. That's good.
2) Lovenox - Let's say that it was a rare blood clotting disorder that has ended my other pregnancies. Well, the daily shot of Lovenox that keeps my stomach a rainbow of colors should keep those clots at bay.
3) That beautiful heartbeat - At 6 weeks, 2 days, the baby's heartbeat was a rousing 119 BPM. That's above where it even needed to be for it's gestational age.
4) Measuring perfectly - At 6 weeks, 2 days, the baby measured 6 weeks, 2 days.
5) Pregnancy vitamins - I took these last time, but due to my overwheming "All Day Sickness," I couldn't keep them down consistently. This time, I have a different brand, that seem to stay down better.
6) Zofran - Or as I like to call it, my Miracle Pill. In my last pregnancy, I refused to take the medications prescribed to me because I didn't want to hurt the baby. After poor Gummy Bear died, I decided that I wouldn't be that way again. It made no difference. So, I take my pills. My appetite is still pretty nonexistant and I have moments of nausea, but it is way more controllable and I can keep food and beverage down.
7) Pure and utter faith - This one is dicey. I had really positive thoughts about my pregnancy with Gummy Bear. However, I have decided to put this on my list, because without it, I would have no hope, and that is what is keeping me going.

*Real Live Baby

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Rest of the Story

I am glad that I could bring a smile to your face yesterday with the story of The Unfortunate Apples.

For those that asked:

1) Luckily, there was only one other customer nearby. She did witness the. . . event. . . and asked me if I was okay. Telling her that I was pregnant was enough to mollify her.

2) I didn't know what to do about the apples. I finally found a produce person (who was coming out to stock the bananas, just a few minutes too late). I told him as delicately as possible what had transpired and he was great. He nicely offered to throw the entire bag and its contents away for me. They didn't make me pay for the apples even though I did offer.

After that, I made a pretty hasty retreat to the register, forgetting about 90% of what I had come in for. I figured my dear husband could finish our grocery shopping for me.

The thing about morning sickness is. . . you can have a good day and then a terrible day. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. Yesterday was actually a good day. And of course, since I am never happy, when I have a good day, I worry that something has happened to the baby.

It's hard to believe that the next ultrasound is in just three more sleeps.

Friday, January 11, 2008

How 'Bout Them Apples?

Picture this.

True story.

A girl is standing in the middle of the produce section of her local grocery store.

As she has shopped at this particular store many, many times, she knows exactly where the bathroom is - on the other side of the store.

The girl has been battling off waves of nausea for the past few hours, but they have been manageable waves.

All of a sudden, in the middle of apples and oranges, a wave of nausea starts heading toward the girl. This one is not going to be staved off. Desperately, she looks around the store. She is hoping for a nice, sturdy brown bag, the type they put by the mushrooms. Or perhaps one of the grocers has recently been stocking the bananas, a firm banana box would do nicely. Her frantic search reveals none of these things.

And she is running out of time.

Her purse is a viable option, but it's new. And small. And filled with her wallet, car keys, and cell phone.

She is out of time.

She grabs the nearest bag that she can find. . . a clear plastic one that she has just filled with apples.

And uses it.

Pregnancy. It's not for wimps. Or people that like apples.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Even Knowing

Even knowing that there is a good heartbeat. . .

Even knowing that I have an incredibly swollen and bloodied ovary. . .

Even knowing that I am nauseous if I stop taking my medication. . .

I am still so nervous about this pregnancy. Every twinge, every moment that I don't feel nauseous, every time my breasts don't hurt. . . I wonder if the baby has died.

I wonder how many of you read this blog and think, "Stop whining, you fool! You have everything that you have always wanted and you are still not happy! What is wrong with you?"

I wonder that, because I think that myself, sometimes. I wonder when I can finally breathe a little easier and have the ache in my chest go away. I wonder when I will start to really believe that a baby could actually be here in August or early September.

But please don't get me wrong. I am so grateful for whatever time I have with this precious little one. It's just that the more I love this baby, the more I realize what I have to lose.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What A Day!

Yesterday was a wonderful day, but it was definitely emotionally exhausting.

The night before, I had a horrible nightmare that there was nothing to see on the ultrasound. It was so vivid in its detail that I woke up sobbing and had to take several minutes to convince myself that it was just a bad dream. I had a really hard time getting back to sleep after that.

A lack of sleep can definitely exacerbate morning sickness. And morning sickness is not my friend to begin with. I don't even know what I was thinking, wishing it on myself again. This post describes my morning sickness from a previous pregnancy.

By the time we got to the doctor's office yesterday, I hadn't managed to keep down several attempts at breakfast or lunch. I hoped that perhaps it was just the lack of sleep and nervousness.

When we arrived at Dr. M's office, the receptionist said, "So this is the big day, huh? How are you feeling?"

To which I burst out, "I'm terrified." And started crying.

I can't even explain the tension that I felt in those last minutes before the ultrasound began. I just prayed and prayed that we would see something good on that black screen.

I had told my husband that I didn't think that I could look until they told me that it was okay, but I was wrong. I saw the sac first, and it looked empty, my worst fears coming true. But then I saw the flicker at the top of the sac and said, "That's the heartbeat, right?"

Then, I started firing off questions like any Good Infertile Who Hath googled Too Much. What was the rate of the heartbeat? Was the sac good sized? Was the baby good sized? Was the sac a good shape? How did my lining look? Luckily, the ultrasound tech was good about answering our questions and did so.

I asked her about my ovaries, telling her about the pains that I have been having, especially on my left side. She showed us two (in her words) HUGE cysts. There was also a lot of retained blood. She did check for blood flow, because the ovary was so large that she was worried that it might have twisted, but luckily, there was plenty of flow. I also had a smaller cyst on the right side, but that isn't really where the pains have been coming from. They said that it was completely normal after IVF, but that there isn't anything that can be done about it, as the HCG in my system causes the cysts to stick around. At ten to twelve weeks, when my hormone levels start to level off, then the cysts will get the idea that they are no longer wanted or needed and start disappearing.

In the meantime, I am not supposed to let my bladder get too full, as it can press up against the ovaries and cause pain. I had noticed that if I waited a bit too long, the pain increased, so that makes sense. The good news is that there is a perfectly normal reason for my discomfort and it's not a reason to run to the bathroom and check for spotting. That's a relief!

After the ultrasound, Dr. M came in and declared that everything was "perfect." They will continue to monitor me with weekly ultrasounds through the 12th week of pregnancy. We discussed the morning sickness and she gave me a prescription for phenergan to help with the nausea and recommended that I reduce my activity level as much as possible. With so many prior miscarriages, it's not like she really had to give me that warning, but at least it's doctor's orders now.

We had to stop by the pharmacy to pick up some prescriptions on the way home, so in order to give them time to fill them, we decided to make a quick stop at Baby's R Us for an ultrasound frame. We got the cutest one that says "So Tiny, So Loved" on it. It now holds a proud place on our kitchen counter, where I have already looked at it at least a million times or so. My husband picked out a tiny turtle toy "for the baby," which I thought was just so cute.

I ended up taking the medication and being able to keep some chicken soup down for dinner. It makes me pretty sleepy, though, so I took today off from work to hopefully start feeling a bit better with consistent meals and a lot of rest.

When I finally sat down to see the comments today, I was overwhelmed by your kindness. I am a nut job about keeping things, so I am printing the comments out for the baby book. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

So Tiny. . . So Loved

Sorry for the delay in posting. It's a long story, which I won't bore you with, since you are here for the ultrasound results!

First, the wonderful news:

One beautiful sack and fetal pole, CRL measuring exactly on track for dates, at 6 weeks, 2 days.

One beautiful heartbeat, flashing away so strongly that I saw it the minute that she focused the probe on it. 119 bpm, the little overachiever! It was a beautiful sight!

The okay news:

My left ovary has two large cysts and a lot of retained blood. This is okay because it explains the pains that I have been having and it is completely normal. It is just okay because it kind of hurts and there is nothing that can be done, it should resolve by 10 weeks or so.

The bad news:

Well. There is no bad news. This will sound funny, coming from someone who didn't want multiples in the beginning of this, but I guess you could say that I am. . . disappointed? No, not disappointed. That's not the right word. We are both thrilled with one healthy looking baby. The ultrasound technician said that everything is "perfect" with the pregnancy to date.

Dr. M came in, all congratulations and smiles, and yet. . . I still feel a bit of a pang for the second one that didn't make it, a bit of a failure as a good home to embryos. It makes me wonder what went wrong and fear for the remaining one. The receptionist even seemed surprised when we came back out. She said, "Really, just one? With those beta numbers?" Then, I think she felt kind of bad and backtracked, "Well, one is all you need, right?"

Yes, one is all we need. And just thinking about that beautiful, perfect heartbeat makes me melt. I just pray it keeps beating and beating and beating.

PS I couldn't close without one more heartfelt thank you for your love and support. I know that each of you has a lot going on in your own lives and it means the world to me that you take time out of your day to check up on us. I don't know what I would do without you.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Ultrasound Time Change

The ultrasound will now be at 1:30 tomorrow, due to the tech's schedule.

It's only a half hour difference. But it's a half hour.

One less thirty minute chunk of time to wait.

GSW 2008:

Breakfast barely stayed down

Lunch didn't cause me as much nausea, but almost

This is good. . . only crazy infertiles would ever call "morning" sickness good.

One More Sleep. . .

Several of you wonderful commentors have put time in terms of "one more sleep." I like that. Sleeping is one of my favorite pasttimes as of late (and actually, I am always up for a good nap), and it seems to be when time passes the fastest.

So, just one more sleep before we know more about the tentative future of this pregnancy. I would be lying if I said that my evil thoughts from yesterday were all gone, because they are not. And I imagine that they won't be for quite some time. If they ever do go away, I am sure that new ones will quickly replace them. However, I did have some quiet reflection time last night, asking God to give me peace. Barely fifteen minutes later, I had a pretty bad nausea moment. I haven't had once since, but I took that little episode as a sign from the Big Guy. Even if it was just a coincidence, I am more peaceful today.

My ultrasound isn't until 2:00 PM tomorrow and I am on the West Coast. Also, remember that we have to battle traffic for more than an hour north afterward. But I will do my best to post the results as soon as I can.

One more thing. No matter how this ends up, I am so grateful. Really. I will be devastated if there is bad new tomorrow, don't get me wrong. But I will still be so grateful. I am glad for the experience of being able to carry life, for no matter how short the time. I am happy that I get to have my little ones with me, even if I can't have them for the lifetime that I am praying for. I am so thankful for the support of family and friends, both in real life and here in blogland. I am on more prayer lists and support chains than I even feel that I deserve.

So thank you. No matter what.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Dark & Gloomy Thoughts

Today is a milestone for me. I have been pregnant many times. But only in two of my previous pregnancies did I ever make it this far. Today, I am six weeks pregnant. This should be enough to make me happy, to bring a smile to my face, to assure me that everything is going to be okay. Insteady, I am being assaulted with negative thoughts, convincing myself that this is going to end badly.

Where did my good attitude go?

I woke up this morning, convienced that Tuesday's scan will reveal nothing but a dark and cavernous womb of death.

I know, I know.

I have tried the logical approach to this: two healthy embryos, two great betas, a third beta that was okay if not perfect, RE's office is not worried, and I am increasingly exhausted, not a speck of spotting, in spite of my obsessive-compulsive checking. I mean, come on, there has to be something in there, right? Right?

But the little gremlin thoughts come creeping out when my positive side turns its back for a nanosecond. This is how that other chain of thoughts goes: that third beta didn't double, must be vanishing twin, not really any nausea, despite the fact that in my last pregnancy, I was already experiencing some by this time, boobs are sore at all, and who am I to actually think this could work?

There should be a law against making people wait this long for their first scan.

GSW of 2008:

Breasts tender, but only if I push at them, which makes it a question of what is making them tender?

Once again, no appetite at dinner last night, although ravenously hungry this morning

No real nausea

Crampy feeling this morning, kind of dullish and on and off

And of course, the negative thoughts, which I am not sure, but could be a symptom. . .

Just two more days to go.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

You Can't Hurry the Ultrasound, You Just Have to Wait

Time is sure moving s.l.o.w.l.y.

There have been other times in our TTC adventures where it has seemed to creep by, but I think that these past days have been the hardest and the longest.

I wish that my RE's office wasn't quite so conservative. In looking around the blogs of other recently pregnant women, it seems unusual that we have to wait until after the sixth week mark. Most others seems to be getting their first u/s done at the mid-five week mark. Of course, this way, we are almost guaranteed seeing the heartbeat(s), but then again, it will be a little more ominous if we don't see the heartbeat(s). Although my IVF coordinator disagrees and says that some people are just "slower," if there are no heartbeat(s) detected next Tuesday, I will have a really hard time not thinking the worst. After all we have been through, I don't need any more ambivalence. One or two nice heartbeats at 90 - 110 bpm will be just fine, if anyone is taking my order.

The GSW [Great Symptom Watch] 2008 continues. Some things that I have noticed:

This morning, my breasts were definitely a little sore, although they aren't now.

Last night, I just wasn't hungry for dinner and only picked at a small salad. Other than that, I am usually ravenous. My husband actually is amazed by the intensity of my hunger and the speed at which I am eating lately.

I am incredibly thirsty. I am not really sure if this is a pregnancy symptom or not. Perhaps I am just dehydrated.

I am exhausted. I fell asleep last night at 7:30. I did wake up a bit from 9:30 til 10:00 because I had to move from the couch to bed. Then, I woke up at 8:00 this morning and then fell back asleep for a nap from 11:45 until 1:30. And another nap doesn't sound too shabby right now!

I guess I just have to wait . . . and wait. . . and WAIT. . . for the ultrasound.

I hope that everyone is having a great weekend!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Eww & Weird

I think my body has decided that it doesn't like being a pin cushion.

Yesterday, my husband gave me my PIO shot as normal. Well, it was normal, until about two seconds after he pulled the needle out and then he said, "Eww." For the record, Eww is not what a girl wants to hear when her husband is looking at her exposed bum.

Then, my husband started dabbing furiously at the injection site, saying, "This is weird."

Again, not what a lady wants to hear when her husband is looking at her bum.

I turned to scowl at him and he was still wiping the sore spot. He looked at me and said, "The medication is oozing back out."

Eww. That is weird.

It wasn't just a drop of medication, either, it was a lot. As soon as the clinic opened in the morning, I called the IVF coordinator and left a message. I wasn't sure if this was normal or if I would get enough of the progesterone in my system. I wondered if I should give myself a bigger dose, or perhaps supplement with suppositories. She called back at the end of the day and said that it was completely normal and that there was no need for extra medication.

I relayed the information to my husband, so we were prepared for this morning's injection. Except for there's really no way to fully prepare yourself for the syrupy PIO to come spilling back out at you - while the needle is still in your skin.

Double eww. Double weird.

In The Great Symptom Watch of 2008, I still don't feel much in the way of pregnant. I haven't been pregnant for over a year and that wasn't exactly the successful pregnancy that I should compare against. I remember my first moment of pregnant nausea came right about the six week mark, and even then, it was manageable and fleeting. I had moment kind of like that yesterday, where I started sweating and feeling just a tad rocky, but it was over and done with in moments. Other than that, I wouldn't say that I am having much in the way of morning sickness.

Strangely enough, despite all of the progesterone that we keep jamming in to my posterior, my breasts don't hurt. They aren't even that sensitive.

I am tired. Dead tired. Fall asleep on the couch at 7:30 every night tired. Yawn throughout the day and dream of taking a nap in my car tired. I think tired is good.

I have also been having some pretty vivid dreams. Two nights ago, I dreamt that something was wrong with my uterine lining, but when they did the ultrasound, the embryos were fine. So, they took the embryos out, scraped out my lining, replaced it with some sort of synthetic lining and then wanted me to put the embryos back in. Weird.

Last night was a dream of the rated R variety. And my husband was not in the co-starring role. For some reason, I always find those dreams the most disturbing. Here I am, having the man's child(ren), and I can't even be bothered to dream about him in a racy dream.

So, I guess it's a mixed bag of symptoms. Luckily, the pressure/cramping seems to have died down (although another friend of mine said that she had the exact same feelings in her first trimester) and I haven't had a drop of spotting.

Tuesday cannot come fast enough.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


I survived the first day back. Yesterday, my positive attitude faltered a bit in the afternoon. I was having these weird. . . well, I can't call them pains, but they weren't really cramps, either. It felt as if I had pressure on my uterus. It didn't hurt, but it was definitely noticeable. I started checking for spotting like it was my job. Luckily, I never had any.

I also am still a bit queasy, although nothing like the morning sickness that haunted me during my pregnancy with Gummy Bear. I am okay with that, though. I certainly learned the lesson that pukey mom does not equal healthy baby. And I am not going to get too cocky, because it is really too early for the morning sickness to kick in with full force.

I did have a bit of a distraction yesterday, something that made me actually forget about this whole business for a bit - shocking, I know. I got a phone call from a friend of a friend, letting me know that the mutual friend (M) was in the hospital. M is a healthy, active 24 years old. She had sinus surgery right before Christmas, but was recovering well when I talked to her last week.

Last Friday, she got this horrible pain in her leg. She thought it was a bad muscle cramp, possibly from laying around too much the past two weeks. The pain got worse, however and started moving up into her thigh, so she went to the doctor. It turned out that she had a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) in in her leg. She was admitted to the hospital and started on blood thinners, but the clot moved into her lungs anyway, a serious condition called pulmonary embolism.

Although this a somewhat common after effect of serious surgery in the elderly, it is more rare in less serious surgeries, and extremely uncommon in young adults. They did some testing to find out the underlying cause and it turns out that M has a blood disorder. I visited her in the hospital yesterday and she was pretty down. One of the things that the doctor who diagnosed her told her was that she might not be able to have children.

She was quite drugged up yesterday, so I was not able to understand exactly what blood disorder she has. I know there are so many, but I thought most of them would be treatable with blood thinners in the case of pregnancy. I just thought it was really heartless of the doctor to throw that in on top of everything. . . especially when there is so much they can do to assist with pregnancy now.

All I know is that she is pretty down right now. She isn't married yet, but has been in a serious relationship for several years. She has talked about having children in the past and she would be a good mother. If what the doctor said is true and she can't have children, it is really unfair.

Then again, I guess that's the lesson that I should have learned by now. Infertility IS unfair. It hurts so many good people in so many different ways. It shapes part of who you are, or maybe more than just a part. I know that I am certainly a much different person now than I was before all of this started.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Hi Ho, Hi Ho! It's Back To Work I Go!

I should have known that it was too good to last. I was fortunate enough to be able to use a combination of sick days, vacation days, and company paid holidays to get two and a half weeks off of work. This was a benefit that most people don't have and I am grateful for the time off.

But it is really hard to come back to work.

I am in sales and it is a stressful job. I was promoted to a new position last February, but really started in the field in June after a long training period. I love my job itself. I adore the company that I work for, I am proud of the products that I represent, and I love interacting with our customers. Like any job, however, it has it's downsides.

One of which is that my boss comes to work with me about once a quarter. Now, I actually like my boss, and the worksessions aren't that bad once she gets in the car with me and we get going. But the days before are murderous. I am obsessive about getting two "perfect" days set up and really knock myself ou getting ready for her arrival. Because I am still so new to the position, I am also still in the "proving myself" phase. Since she does work with me so infrequently, I feel extra pressure to perform well, as that will be the impression that she has of me for the next couple of months before she works with me again. She is working with me next week.

The other stressful thing is traveling. Now, I am pretty lucky and don't have to do too much of it. However, we have a couple of big meetings coming up. These meetings are rather strange for anyone who has never been to a salesy-type meeting. We have to practice using our selling skills and materials in "role plays," which means you have to stand up in front of your entire region and pretend to sell to a pretend customer - with your peers, boss, and regional manager looking on.

And then there is one other issue . . . and this is my fault. There is a lot of paperwork. I used to be good with keeping up with it. But there is a LOT more paperwork with this new position and I have been spending a lot of time getting to know my new customers. And, if I am completely honest, I have also been focused on getting and staying pregnant, which has taken some of the time that I used to devote to keeping up with the mountains of paperwork. So, I feel as if I am constantly playing catch up with the administrative side of my job. Just thinking about all that I have to do is making my pulse raise. I can practically feel my blood pressure rising. . .

On top of that, a bit of the queasies are setting in. I am mid-week five, so that makes sense. It's completely manageable so far, but it's still there, like a lump in my throat.

But I had a nice break. Time to get back to work!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year 2008!

Ah, 2008. Behold the new year as it sparkles and shines. I have a lot of hope for this year. We've had a rough couple of years on this road to parenthood. In so many other ways, we have been incredibly blessed, but this one area of our life tends to be all-consuming.

2006 had been probably the worst year of my life, starting with my grandmother passing away on January 1, 2006. A few weeks later we were thrilled when we found out that we were unexpectedly pregnant . . . and then devastated when we lost our baby shortly thereafter. We then suffered four more losses in 2006, culminating with the death of Gummy Bear in December 2006.

I was a wreck for the weeks following my D&C. I honestly don't know how I got through it. Well, actually, I have a pretty good idea. My husband was my rock. Not one to publicly display his emotions, especially grief, he searched online, found a support group and took me to it. He even told our story when my voice got lost in my tears. He bought me a beautiful silver heart necklace with a tear cut from it to wear in memory of our lost angels. He went to three bookstores to find a book on miscarriage and grief. He hugged me when I cried and pulled me up so many times when the sadness literally brought me to my knees And on New Year's Eve, he came up with the most beautiful idea of all. He suggested that we write letters to our babies, put them in a balloon, and release them at a beautiful park overlooking the water.

One of the hardest aspects of miscarriage for me has always been the lack of closure. There is no memorial service, no obituary, no social rite of passage to say good-bye Not only are you robbed of your baby, your hopes and dreams, you are robbed of the right to a ceremonial farewell. This was our memorial service for our angels. We each wrote letters and then put them in a red balloon with white hearts on it. We walked to the edge of this beautiful park and with tears in our eyes, released the balloon together. It bobbed along, moving upwards until it was a speck. And then, it vanished. My husband said it was as if heaven had opened up the door and snatched it inside for the babies. It was absolutely beautiful. My husband then said that we should make this a New Year's tradition and write a letter to our angels every year, letting go of the sadness of the previous year and opening our hearts to the hope of the coming one.

My husband had to work until after dark yesterday, so we are going to continue our tradition today. For me, this has so much symbolism. My grief didn't end that day, but it was a turning point for me. I was able to look toward the future again and start dreaming of the day when we would bring our living children with us to release a balloon, sharing our hopes and dreams as a family. That day isn't quite here, but I have a feeling that it so close.