Sunday, August 30, 2009

we survived...and it was almost fun

We both survived the visit from my family. And, oddly enough, all of that dread and pessimistic preparation seemed to have done the trick - we actually had a good time, we all got along, and I almost feel bad for dreading it so much! My nieces - 4 and 2 -were wonderful and fun to spend time with. My SIL seems to have come down a notch or two and was very easy to talk to and, at one point, asked me if my mom was throwing me a shower b/c she'd like to be "in on it" but said it would be hard to plan exclusively from 4 hours away....which was shocking to me...and considerate! She did look about 7 months pregnant...but I guess that is expected with your third. She looked at me and said how she remembers she didn't look as big as she does now with her first until she was almost giving birth (very unlike her to be self-deprecating, so I was nicely surprised again). In any event, we had a good time. Brett and my brother sat around laughing and drinking beers. We do all know that we have different views on things and, though my brother and his wife used to pick on us horribly for that, they seem to now be willing to live and let live. Maybe we are all growing up.

I have discovered one major pregnancy symptom- I am a HUGE klutz. I am hurting myself and breaking things left and right. I'm not very big so my balance can't be that far off (and yoga has been going fine) so I'm assuming it has something to do with being tired a I don't move as well as I usually do...not sure. I just know that I have a sprained finger, a blood blister from where a mop 'bit me', a badly stubbed toe, almost fell down the stairs 2x yesterday and broke a glass 2 days ago. I'm a mess.

The other thing is that I have a lot of pulling pains in my belly area. It is really really uncomfortable. It seems that that nice strong core I've cultivated from 12 years of yoga is holding in my organs and uterus and everything and this is seriously causing my hips to move slightly out (which makes them sore) is also causing stretchy pains from the strain of holding all of that in. My mom just keeps looking at me and going "I don't remember any pain like that, are you sure that is normal?" Yes, mom...its normal...

So...onto where our little peanut is in her development...

She is the size of an avocado! This week she is apparently working on her facial expressions! Her uterus is fully developed and her ovaries are already containing primitive egg cells (uh oh, watch out daddy!). Her skin is still translucent but her heart is pumping 25 quarts of blood a day...crazy.

Interesting developments this week - there have been a few instances this week of women who knew what sex baby they were having finding out they were having the other sex. One of them transferred a CGH normal female embryo and her 20 week anatomy scan showed that she was very clearly carrying a well-endowed boy. Um, eeek. She then discovered that this is the main error for CGH embryos b/c the x and y chromosomes are the smallest and so are the hardest to define with accuracy. So, we might still have a surprise. Another woman did one of those genetic tests at home where you prick a finger and send your blood to a lab and they tell you if you are carrying a boy or girl. It said "girl", and her anatomy scan said "boy". She is now pretty upset and selling brand new baby girl stuff on craigslist. The last one is a friend of mine who, at her 20 week scan, the OB said, "it is a girl - I am 99.9% sure". Well, at 29 weeks, she had a 3d u/s and boy did they see boy parts! She isn't upset -other than the fact that they need to re-paint the nursery and return a lot of stuff (and get the word out b/c her shower is next week!). So, my first thought was, uh oh...maybe we shouldn't have told anyone we were having a girl...and then more stories came up and now it seems that the "wrong gender predicted" quota is likely met. So, I'm pretty secure that we are having a girl...but I really still don't care either way. I just think it must be very mind-shifting to be talking about "her" and "she" and picturing her for months and then be told otherwise!

We have our next OB appt in 2 weeks or so and we are getting our detailed (and last) scan then. Hopefully they will be able to confirm or deny our CGH results...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

family stress

So, thank you for supporting me in my last post. I wasn't really mad at anyone in particular, but noticed a few comments, had no idea who they were directed at, but wanted to say something. I know of several women who feel so guilty about blogging about their pregnancies (after many, many years and many, many treatments) that I wanted to say that we should cut them (and me!) some slack. But, it is every one's choice...and it is my choice that I continue to follow all of my favorite infertility blogs and so end up reading the unfortunate comments, so what can I say?

On my end, things are going really well. I am feeling a lot better. I'm exercising and starting to get some energy back...though, given yesterday, maybe a little too much energy. I thought I overdid it during the day, was exhausted by 5PM and then by bedtime, couldn't sleep. I got about 3 hours of sleep! I have no idea why and am starting to wonder if this is just normal. My symptoms are almost non-existent at this point and I haven't started to get the predicted "must eat everything in sight" symptom. In fact, I'm still not all that interested in food. If I don't eat for a couple of hours, my belly hurts but then I have to figure out what I feel like eating and nothing really sounds great. Although I had this amazing thing this weekend- do any of you have a Yogen Fruz near you? OMG, it is heaven. They blend fresh frozen pro biotic yogurt with any fruit you want....yum. Anyway, I haven't gained anything really yet- 1.5 lbs though I do look like I am rockin the beer gut at this stage. I am hoping to pass into looking like I am pregnant soon b/c it is funny to see me with my beer gut in my racing colors speedo at the pool:-) (and, yes, I am going to post a belly pic soon...have been working up to it - well I just keep forgetting to get Brett to take a pic of me)

I should post a warning here b/c I was hoping to be more light-hearted but this post turned into a panicked bitch-session about family visiting later this week. If you don't want to hear me complain about my miserable sister in law and my family, skip the rest of this post!

I am not looking forward to later this week when my brother and sister in law visit. It is sad to me b/c my brother and I used to be so close...I mean, so close that when we were kids my mom used to punish us by separating us. Then, in college, I became best friends with the woman who would become his first wife. We all partied together and hung out and had really great times...then something happened. He divorced my friend and married the monster, who I really tried to like for his sake, but it didn't work. Anyway, I am sad that we don't all get along and sadder still that I so rarely see my two nieces. So, I look forward to seeing them but it is always tempered by the fact that when everyone is in a room, we are all either trying to find topics to not argue about, or arguing. Its sad.

Anyway, they are coming on Friday. His wife got pregnant about 6 days after I did (she knew we were trying again and she likes A LOT of attention). She apparently has already gained a ton of weight already trying to convince everyone that this time it is a boy (my family is insanely chauvinistic and I HATE it) and therefore, would be the savior of my family name on this her way of convincing everyone is to show how different this pregnancy is from the others. So, this time she is apparently constantly nauseous (so she says) but not throwing up and so has to eat constantly, which results in 14 week pregnancy weight gain of about 30 lbs. It is going to be hilarious - I am further along but absolutely do not look pregnant yet and she looks ready to give birth.

Also- and here is where I get upset - I hear from my brother that after 2 c-sections she is insisting on trying for a VBAC again (she tried last time but has very big babies). It is not recommended by her old OB so she is going to a hospital 2 hours out of the way where they are saying that they will induce her labor 10 days before full term so that the baby is still smallish, that way she can have a vaginal birth (b/c an unmedicated vaginal birth is so much easier than a c-section, I hear -read that sarcastically, please). She says b/c she got to 1cm short of full dilation last time that she practically gave birth vaginally and knows exactly how much pain it is so will insist on a regular birth this time. THIS KILLS ME. Yes, I want a vaginal birth. If I can avoid major abdominal surgery, I will. However, if it is medically recommended that I have a c-section and it is safer for my baby, I will do that. I would never risk my baby b/c I want something done my way. (but again, I did a lot of not fun things to have this chance, they are, according to her, repeatedly, "very very fertile" and according to my brother "all I have to do is put my boots under the bed"). Apparently they went to a bunch of OB's around them and they all said they'd recommend a c-section in her case so she took it to another state...over 2 hours away.

So, I am going to get A LOT of unsolicited advice about pregnancy from someone I really can't stand and has been very very mean to me over all of my struggles. Someone who said of her best friend, who was undergoing IF treatments, "I hope it doesn't work, they should never be parents" (when her best friend is sweet, is raising her husband's 7 year old daughter, and has a very solid marriage). I am hoping I can keep my mouth shut and let her talk...or learn to change the subject. However, every other subject under the sun doesn't work in our company either. They are planning to home school starting soon (a very heated topic of discussion in my family) and they have changed religions and are becoming very rigid and opinionated, so any topic becomes hard to talk about. They are starting to disagree with even the thought of IF treatments, so even Brett and I feel discriminated against. It is awful. I love my brother, but how did all of this happen? Seriously, my brother grew up one block outside of NYC on Long Island, my SIL grew up one town south of us, just a few blocks from Queens too...and they are now farmers who barely have running water in their house and plan to home school! (there is nothing wrong with home schooling if approached properly...and if you continue to let your children experience different things in the this instance, not good!).

You can tell how stressed I am just thinking about all of this. So, I'm hoping to start letting some of this go. I've been dreading this visit for weeks and am now just looking forward to getting it over with so we can move forward into the fall. We have a fun trip scheduled to visit with Brett's mom and sis in Michigan and some college football action out there. I want this weekend to be over so we can start looking forward to that!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Feel free to delete me

So, I've noticed something strange online lately. I totally didn't expect it and am totally blindsided by it. I've read several bitter-ish comments on blogs about people in the IF community being rude enough to title their blog posts with how many weeks pregnant they are or updating their facebook status with pregnancy announcements, or being rude enough to "flaunt" their pregnancies by posting belly pics or ultrasound pics on what used to be fertility blogs. You are totally free to have your own opinions...but I can voice mine too...and if it bothers anyone, please delete me from your blogroll, I really won't mind at all. You've all been very supportive of me as I've struggled and stressed and I hope I've been supportive and will continue to be supportive of you in all of your struggles...

Here is my thought- we need successful fertility blogs out there! We need to see someone make a goal. We need to see beautiful, round pregnant bellies so that we remember that the goal is worth it and attainable and that there is some goodness in the world! I remember I was right behind 3 other women in the fall with my pregnancy. I used to check on their status daily in the first few weeks of my pregnancy so I knew what to expect and what to look forward to. Then I miscarried...and they supported me in my pain...and I continued to go to their sites knowing that I would have been just a week or two behind them but also knowing that I had to follow through with their stories so that I could see there was some good and there was some success and happiness does come for some of us. I followed through. They all gave birth just last month. To happy, healthy babies that keep them up all night. Do I miss that my baby (due July 9th) didn't get to be born? Of was horribly painful to remember and know that he or she didn't make it...but it made me also feel good for these women who finally had their dreams realized. How could it not?

Another point- Why shouldn't women who have struggled for years, gone broke, ruined their bodies and just plain suffered be allowed to enjoy their pregnancies? Speaking for myself...I know I've left some of you behind...I think of you often and check your progress almost daily...and worry when I don't hear from you. I cry at your loss posts or your BFN posts. I still feel that....but dammit, I am going to enjoy this pregnancy! I've been you for 7 fresh IVF cycles. 6 times I've watched women pass me in this marathon. I think I finally deserve to be excited about my pregnancy and flaunt my belly and shout out my making it past the first trimester. If you don't agree -delete me. Its that easy. I'll notice and be fine with it. I'll be honest, I think that those of us who suffered have more of a right to post our pics than others at times. It never bothered me a bit - what bothered me? When Brett and I were taking a walk a few weeks ago and I saw a woman who was obviously late in her third trimester smoking a cigarette! That bothered me...I thought why is this easy for her? (b/c you know it was...the rest of us gave up everything- caffeine, smoking, gluten, sugar, dairy, name it, we gave it up to try for this). Why can't one of my IF "friends" have that child that is right now suffering cigarette smoke in her body? NOT FAIR. I do still try to be sensitive to you all - but when you get pregnant, I will be the first one insisting on belly pics and u/s updates and encouraging you to enjoy the hell out of it. This is what you've worked for and I don't care if you are obnoxious (I doubt you will be) but flaunt it - enjoy it! live life!

We have all been through a lot to get where we are. They say infertility is second only to cancer in the kind of stress you endure and the amount of extreme treatments people will endure in order to succeed. That is why most of us started these blogs - to find support and give support to others who understand what we are going through. Most of us have lost a lot of real life friends over it because infertility does make you hide out from the world in many different ways -from avoiding pregnant friends for some of us, avoiding showers, staying home b/c you feel like crap from all of the shots and hormones, staying home b/c you are depressed about a BFN, or hiding b/c you just suffered a loss that no one would understand or want to hear about. We lose we find each other. Then I see negative comments online -maybe directed at me, maybe not - but I have a big mouth so I thought I'd mention it. It won't change how I act, what I do, because truly, I've been through enough to really care. But, I thought I'd say something for gives us a very bad image that we can't even be happy for other people who have struggled and finally reached part of their goal. Also I hope a lot of those comments aren't directed at me b/c I'm not even flaunting it - I'm still almost making myself sick I am so nervous about this ending bad. I am certainly not someone you want to "take down a notch", lol, b/c I don't have very far to go. I am finally emerging from the fear to say that I am going to start to enjoy this!

Finally I want to say that I have seriously learned something about myself. I can't keep my mouth shut about IF. Seriously, if I tell someone I am pregnant, I then have to say that we did treatments. I didn't know this about myself and I keep surprising myself. It seems I have a compulsion to mention it b/c I hate that it is always so hush-hush. I hate that miscarriage is also something that isn't talked about. So, I say it. I don't do it for attention or sympathy - I think I do it so that maybe they can relate. I had an older guy at the YMCA talking to me at the pool the other day. He asked me how many laps I swim, I told him and we started talking. Somehow I said that I just started swimming again on doctor's recommendation b/c I am pregnant. He congratulated me and I said that we tried with lots of fertility treatments. He said, "how long?" I said 3 years...turns out he and his wife waited 6 years for their first...and each of their 2 daughters have had fertility problems- including doing treatments and having miscarriages and they've both had success. It was a great conversation. I don't think there is anything wrong with the route we took to get pregnant, I'm not embarrassed, and so I guess I won't be shy about it. I'm annoyed when I hear people say that they are appalled by IF treatments...and if they say it to me, I will disagree and try to educate. Annoying, probably, but at least they will know more the next time they say something stupid to someone who did treatments. So, I seem to have passed into pregnancy still waiving my IF flag! Good or bad.

Anyway, I'm not mad at anyone who made these comments. I'm just giving my side of the argument. I think it is unfair to expect us not to enjoy our pregnancies. I know a lot of women cancel their fertility blog and start a pregnancy blog...but that seems silly to me sometimes. If you don't want to read my blog, please don't. However, people are used to my blog right where it is. I have friends and family who check in here. And, I like that my fertility blog has taken a happy turn.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

14 weeks!

We had our 14 week OB appointment yesterday and, shocker of shockers, I kept my pants on for the entire appointment!!! Literally, we got there for the ultrasound and I was ready to unbutton and remove, lol, but no - we are finally on to the belly probe! yay! Our little girl was perfectly sized for 14 weeks and has a huge sac lots of room to grow...but she was too big for the technician to do the NT measurements. I guess she needs a few "practice" scans and needs to submit the measurements, etc, in order to be certified. However, once she found out that we weren't good candidates, she was totally cool about it! She spoiled us rotten, moving the wand around for different angles and taking fun pictures. She was seriously the best. At one point, our baby stretched out her arm to full straight length! We saw arms waiving around her head and legs flailing. Brett kept asking me - "and you really don't feel that?" whenever she'd make a huge full body movement. It was beautiful! So, without further ado...

Here is a side view...notice the hand in front of her face! It was much clearer on the screen and at one point, we counted 5 fingers!

This one is a little scary, lol, it is either her "Leave me alone!!!" shot or her "ROCK ON!". Personally, with the little skull thing she has going on, I'm going for the "rock on" one.

Another angle with the arms raised.

We did get to see her legs too...but none of the pictures showed them. She was mostly reclining in there with her legs slightly elevated, looking very chill.

I found out yesterday that my insurance only covers one more 'routine' ultrasound, which will probably be around 20 weeks (this one was a total "freebie"). We are also likely to do a 3D/4D one after 30 weeks because the office makes them pretty affordable since they know they are all out of pocket and those pics are so cool. Unbelievably, I am starting to believe that we will make it that far. I'm really starting to enjoy this. I feel better...still a little nauseous, I have some cramping, am having heart palpitations (which my doctor has said is par for the course at this stage), and still, unfortunately, don't love food yet....but I'm not all-out sick like I was. I have to get Brett to help me take a belly shot...still not really looking pregnant, just a little chunkier around the middle. I have no waist to speak of but no real baby belly either, but I'll post a pic of that soon so you guys can be the judges. I am hugely relieved to have made it this far...and am very very thankful.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

No ultrasound? are you kidding me? edited again

So, I think I've been very very patient. I went in to the OB at 10w2d and had my first non-RE ultrasound. At that appointment, I did try to request an NT scan (detailed ultrasound at about 12 weeks that measures fetal neck and head for markers for down's syndrome) but the OB said I didn't need it b/c I did genetic testing. I told him I'd still kind of like to have it (not forceful enough, I know) but he said it was not recommended and not needed and then asked me why I wanted it. I said I wanted another u/s in 2 weeks that is covered by insurance and this one is supposed to be very detailed, which sounded great to me. He said no. Then he said that we will have to wait until the next appt at 14 weeks. I made a joke about waiting 4 weeks for an ultrasound when we are used to having them every week, but I said okay and I made the "I am a trooper" face. The OB was nice, I've heard great things, but I didn't have many questions and the appointment was very short.

Today I decided I should call them before my Tuesday appt to make sure that I am scheduled for the u/s. I am not. They do not do another u/s until about 20 weeks. The receptionist said that they usually do about at the first appt, one about mid-way and one towards the end, unless there are problems. My jaw dropped. She suggested I call my insurance and see how many are covered and then see if I want to add one in on Tuesday if it is covered. My insurance says that an unlimited number are covered if there are medical reasons to support the u/s. Now, from the tone of the office, I am guessing that they won't say there are medical reasons unless I am bleeding uncontrollably or have cramps. However, I do have a call in to the nurse to ask if massive IF treatments and recurrent miscarriage and serious emotional instability of the patient can be considered a valid medical reason. Here I thought I was being great while all my other IF friends who are pregnant still go in for u/s's every 2 weeks or even weekly, and I am patiently waiting 4 weeks! Am I totally overreacting or would you expect more u/s's in my circumstances? Any of the women who read my blog and had normal pregnancies recently - how frequently did you get u/s? should I just try to relax and assume all is alright in there? I feel like I've been so good without seeing her for 4 weeks....that maybe a monthly u/s was almost standard...little did I know!

Okay, take that back. They called as I was writing this. No ultrasound. They will not allow me to have one in the next few weeks. They say it just isn't justified. What the hell?

Edited to add - I just got a call a few minutes ago from the nurse. She talked to my doctor and they arranged to get me a free practice NT scan on Tuesday. Basically, the u/s tech is trying to get certified for NT scans so we will be one of practice subjects...I think it is weird b/c we will be past the 14 week mark so the measurements they are hoping to take won't make much sense probably (I've read they have to be done before 14 weeks) but I am thankful that they are willing to help me out and give me some reassurance. I kind of gave up on this and resigned myself to less scans but I am nicely surprised that they were willing to do this for me:-)

Monday, August 10, 2009

One trimester down, 2 to go!!!

So, I'm counting 13 weeks as the first trimester. Some people count 12 weeks, some 14...but 13X3=39, which is close enough for me:-) Plus, I must belong to one of those baby lists and all the "13 week" updates that came in my mailbox yesterday said "congratulations on making it to the second trimester!" so, here we are. I never thought I'd get here. Then I thought if I do get here, I will be so happy I will be dancing around the house, making my dogs crazy. I'm happy to be here but part of me is still in disbelief! I've made it to the 'safer' part of pregnancy. Supposedly, our chances of miscarrying now are down in the 1% area...which is amazing...but I'm still feeling so cautious. I'm happy....but cautious. I know our little girl is getting bigger b/c I look downright chubby in the belly area and when I use the doppler, I can find her in no time now, but sometimes it is hard to believe that I am carting around another person in my body! I feel like I'm constantly pushing off that moment where I feel like everything is going to be okay...first it was to make it past the 9 week mark and get a viable ultrasound (bypass the time of the last miscarriage) then it was make it to the end of the first trimester and now it is the point at which I feel movement and/or really start to show...what will I make it after that? Birth? first grade? high school graduation?

Anyway, besides my wacky inability to grasp the concept that we will have a baby in 6 months, things here are great. We have a new addition to the family - my mom's chihuahua has come to stay with us. I think she is a permanent addition. She just needs extra care that my mom isn't willing to give. Basically she is a morbidly obese 7.2lb chihuahua, who is the absolute sweetest thing on four (skinny, little) legs. I asked to keep her after the last time we dog sat b/c I wanted to see her a little more active and see if Brett and I can help her lose a little of that extra heft. So, I've been forcing the poor thing to walk and play:-) Its been fun.

I've been feeling MUCH better. I'm still tired and don't absolutely love food...but I'm not sick anymore. Once in a great while I'll feel nauseous, but overall, its almost normal. I just wish I liked food more...but my OB told me that I shouldn't worry, I'll love food too much all too soon. I've been going to the YMCA three times a week and swimming about 30 laps each time. Its been tiring but is great for me and our little one. I'm back to doing yoga and I walk a lot. Its not that I'm afraid to gain weight for this pregnancy...I know how important it is...I just can't gain a lot b/c I am at high risk for gestational diabetes b/c of family history. My OB said I should shoot for about 35 lbs and I'll stick with that. Currently, I am up 1.2 lbs:-)

Here is the update on my little girl:

She is the size of a....

Nutterbutter! Another book I have says that she is the size of a peach...but I liked the image of a little nutterbutter:-) Our baby can make a fist and suck her thumb this week. Her eyes are fused shut and she is making tiny little baby ribs and her bones and skull are solidifying. Her intestines have retracted into her abdomen and she is finally looking more human with her eyes in front now and her ears in the right place:-)

Oh! and, yes, the blog is moving into a pregnancy blog and then maybe a mommy blog and then an infertility blog again then a pregnancy blog, you get the idea. I started it as an outlet/update site and knew it was an infertility blog but the outcome of that infertility was this pregnancy, so will continue with it....following this journey forward wherever it takes us.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Missing in Action

Sorry everyone! I'll be MIA for another week or so...from both my own blog and possibly even from commenting on others (though I try to be resourceful and check on everyone anyway). My computer had a virus and is being worked on at Gee.k Its gonna be a while. I've taken my little mini-laptop to Panera a few times and use Brett's wireless connection on his laptop here and there...but access is spotty. I will reconnect in a week or so. In the meantime, everything here is great. I am officially 12 weeks as of yesterday so I'm starting to really be happy and optimistic and just enjoy this. I think after last fall, part of me believed that I would never get this is amazing.