Wednesday, September 23, 2015

12 weeks and some number of days

This week was my first trimester screening, which basically means lots of viewing time using a high tech (external!!) sonogram machine.  It.was.awesome.

Baby is measuring 5 days ahead and is also very, very energetic!  His constant bouncing made it very hard for the nurse to take the photos she needed (but made it that much more entertaining to watch him*).  "This one is going to give you guys a run for your money" she said.

So we've got a giant baby who is never going to stop moving. I fear for our house.

We went public a few days ago, telling more extended family both in person and via phone calls.  We also did the whole social media announcement thing.  You would think at this point it's starting to feel real, but nope.

This week we also had genetic counseling.  My RE thought this was overkill, but the OB felt it necessary given the prior loss, which was due to a chromosomal abnormality. I pushed back on going but as the OB said "it's just talking" so why not?

I'll tell you why not: because after 30 minutes of going through our family history (which is really boring because everyone is pretty damn healthy), we got to listen to all the reasons why our baby is at a higher risk of an issue.  The big takeaways:

1) I'm 34, which increases chances of a problem
2) We had a prior loss due to a chromosomal abnormality, which increases chances of a problem

so all in all:  no shit Sherlock

And the real kicker is - there's nothing we can do about it.  So all that counseling did was scare the crap out of me.

Tomorrow is an appointment to the regular doc (it's like a part time job keeping up with all the appointments) to check out the trouble breathing and heart racing problems I am having.  A lot of times it feels like I just can't get enough air.  Since this is happening so early in pregnancy, both the RE and the OB are a bit concerned.  I'm not concerned really, but it is unnerving and uncomfortable, and it happens a lot.  So I'll be happy if there's something they can tell me to do to help when it happens.

Yesterday I was terribly sick all day and now I am sitting here trying to suck in air.  I must admit it gets to me every now and then.  But then I take out my doppler and hear that fast little pitter patter of baby's heart and I'm reminded what all this is for.

*No, I don't know the sex.  The anatomy scan is not until 20 weeks.

Monday, September 21, 2015

8 weeks, 3 days

**This is part of a series of posts I wrote when pregnant, but before we announced publicly.**

At my RE's office, once you are pregnant, you switch to seeing the "pregnancy nurse".  As you can imagine, I've never been so happy to see someone again.

After seeing the heartbeat, we were given the choice of weekly or bi-weekly ultrasounds.  I'll give you one guess as to which one I picked.   (Honestly, who chooses to wait 2 weeks to see the baby again?!).  The weekly assurances have been incredibly helpful.  It's nice to have affirmation that all the things I felt in the 7 days prior must have been normal, because the baby is still growing, heartbeat flickering away.

The heartbeat has gotten steadily faster.  Going from 127, to 157, to today's 172.  Something else that has been steady: the nausea.  Not to mention the cramping.  It's like every fiber of my body is screaming at me to lie the hell down at all hours of the day.  As someone who is not used to sitting still, it's frustrating and hard to get used to.  My house needs cleaning! The garden is out of control! All I can do is shrug and hope that I'll feel better when I hit the second trimester.

I feel like I have to constantly add a disclaimer every time I talk about symptoms:  I still feel so lucky, and wouldn't change this for anything in the world.  But you know, I'm still a pregnant lady looking forward to a day when I feel a bit more normal again.  I already feel like my body is not my own (I've already said goodbye to my thin waist, which stopped being thin almost immediately), but that's okay.

I still don't feel like I've let out all the breath I am holding, and probably won't until I'm holding a crying baby in my arms.  Although the pregnancy nurse made a really good point as she said, "My kids are in their 30's and I still worry all the time."  I suppose worry is here to stay.

For now, I take it one week at a time, with an eye on hitting 12 weeks.


**This is part of a series of posts I wrote when pregnant, but before we announced publicly.**

127 is the most beautiful number.

My betas continued to look awesome, and our first ultrasound was perfect.  Everything was measuring on track, as opposed to last time when I tracked a bit behind.  Looking back, there were a few little signs that were screaming "warning" at us, but we had no idea what we were looking at.  So long as the nurse told us everything was fine, it was.

This time, everything leading up to the second ultrasound was looking great.  Better than great.  But we kept our breaths tightly held.  No amount of "perfect" or "beautiful" could calm us.  We knew all too well that we needed a heartbeat.

We counted down the days to the ultrasound.  Two days before, I woke up at 5 am, symptoms totally gone, and wondered, and panicked.  I never did get back to sleep that day.

On the day of, we barely concentrated on work, and we left early so we could get to the appointment.
I felt nauseous all day.   Was this morning sickness or just nerves? My husband did his best to convince me he wasn't worried at all, so I shouldn't be either.  He's usually a terrible liar, but this time he was the picture of calm.

As I sat in the room waiting, I was shaking.  I could barely speak when the ultrasound tech came in.  But a few seconds into the ultrasound she exclaimed, "There's a heartbeat".  I started sobbing happy tears and my supposedly calm husband let out a giant sigh of relief.  A machine malfunction and a switch of rooms later (way to keep us in suspense technology!) we learned the heart rate was 127.  Given that they had hoped to see it between 80-110, 127 is incredibly strong.  (Of course I asked if it was too high - it's not).  And then we got to see the little heart beating on the screen.

At this point, we were ready to call my sisters-in-law.  If you heard a loud noise around 5pm on August 12th, that was my one sister-in-law screaming.  Up until now the announcements to a few close people (mainly, parents) had been wary.  We smiled a cautious smile, and people said words of hope and encouragement.  But this was...well, the exact opposite.  This was pure happiness, in the form of the loudest screaming I've ever heard.  Her reaction made both me and my husband tear up.  In a process that has stolen so many moments of unbridled joy, this gave us back one of those moments.

We know we are not out of the woods, but this was a huge step.  As I texted to a friend, "Shit just got real."

Oh, and that nausea?  That was no nerves.  It hasn't gone away since.

"When you see a rainbow, the storm is still lingering."

**This is part of a series of posts I wrote when pregnant, but before we announced publicly.**

The glorious honeymoon period of getting a BFP has warn off, and I feel like I spend every minute of the day silently panicking that something might go wrong again.

In the beginning, the best indicator that things are progressing well is something we in the infertility world call a "beta". A beta is a blood test to check hormone levels, mainly of human chorionic gonadotropid, or hCG (because honestly, that's the last time I want to type that full name out).  HCG is produced during pregnancy, and it's actually what those at home sticks are detecting when they return a positive.  In early stages, it's key that levels of hCG double somewhere between 30 and 70 hours.  Here's what I have so far:

7/24/15 = I have no idea, I was too excited to listen.  On this day, it doesn't really matter what the number is, just that it's there.

7/27/15 = 321  (awesome number!  last time at this point I was at 93, but again, it's the doubling that is key)

7/29/15 = 644

That's almost exactly 48 hours to double.  The nurse has so far called my numbers "beautiful" and "excellent".

But they said good things last time too.

*sigh* and there it is.  There's that voice.  That same voice asks where my pregnancy symptoms are, points out that I feel exactly the same as I did last time, and cautions me not to get too excited.  Worst of all, it asks me how will I survive if something does go wrong again.

I don't have a good answer for that one.

I reached out to the ladies on, in a specific chatroom for people who are expecting after having suffered a loss.  So many people knew exactly what I meant, and agreed that that little voice is a dirty rotten bastard.

Later, someone posted this:

Faith Instead of Fear

And it so very well described what it feels like.  Getting pregnant again has brought moments of such joy and hope.  It's also brought with it bittersweet memories of last time, and such intense feelings of fear that it's all I can do just to remind myself to breath sometimes.

And so I wait, in both light and in rain, straining my eyes in the hopes of seeing a rainbow.   

Try #2

**This is part of a series of posts I wrote when pregnant, but before we announced publicly.**

Remember that post where I said this cycle was already over before it began?  I lied to you.

I recall laying in bed one night, crying because the cycle was going to be a bust.  My husband was all, "You don't know that yet!".  I will probably never live that one down, because the cycle turned out to be just fine.  Beautiful in fact.  Nice mature follicle, on time release of the egg, and a lining thicker than I've ever had.  When I went in for the Lupron shot my nurse even told me she had a good feeling about this cycle.

July 25th is when my blood test was scheduled.  July 21st is the night I had 3 separate dreams that I was pregnant, and the morning of June 22nd is when I took my first at home test and it was....negative.  The awful thing is that the sleepy haze I was still in led me to read it wrong, so for a good 10 seconds I thought it was positive.  When I realized my error, it was a bit soul crushing.

July 24th is when I took the next at home test.

I swore I could see a faint blue line - but it was a cheap test and at this point, I had to wonder if I just wanted to see a line so bad that I was convincing myself it was there, when it wasn't.  The line was pretty faint.  But in the back of my head, I heard the commonly used saying on the message boards - a line is a line.

I decided new, expensive tests from the drug store were needed.  NOW. My husband was at work, so I threw my clothes on, put on some shoes, and rushed down to the garage.  I opened the door only to car was still in the shop.

I considered walking there.  I have no idea how far it is - it didn't matter - I was going to get that damn test.  But then I had a brilliant idea - I happen to have a neighbor that is also one of the most loyal, thoughtful, wonderful people you will ever meet.  So I woke her up at 7 am with a phone call begging her to take me to the store.  And because she is such an awesome friend, she calmly said, "I am going to brush my teeth.  Then I am going to brush my hair.  And then.....I am going to come get you!!"

While I waited, I drank all the water I possibly could, knowing that may result in a negative if my hormone levels were really low.

When we got to the store, I ran in, threw down 50 bucks for 4 fancy tests (why I thought I needed 4, I have no idea), and then spent the couple minutes in the car ride home opening the tests to get them ready.  I swore to my neighbor I wasn't going to actually pee in her car.  When we got home, I ran inside, my friend right behind me.  "Don't think I'm not coming inside with you!" she had said.

The test required 5 seconds of urine.  I managed about 1.  And then I set a timer for 3 minutes.

And that test, in all it's $12 dollar glory, popped up with a totally irrefutable YES.


I spent the next 4 hours wondering how I would tell my husband.  I didn't get to do that the first time, and here I was with time to plan.  I thought of a lot of cute ways, but ultimately, wound up just standing right on the other side of the door, with a positive test in hand, and a big smile on my face for when he walked in.  Sometimes simple is good.

When he walked in, I got a shocked, "oh my god".  After about 3 seconds of him staring at the test, it sunk in, and I got a big smile, eyes that he'll claim were just being attacked by allergies, and a, "That's awesome" before a big, long hug.

Awesome indeed.

We decided to go for the blood test right then (half of my husband didn't believe it still), and the nurse called back asking if I had cheated (by taking the at home test) and an "I TOLD you I had a good feeling!".

My husband has expressed some fear of this going wrong again, and my parents were cautious in their reaction to the news (which really kind of sucks), but I'm firm in my resolution that we are going to be excited.  I am pregnant now, and no matter what happens, I will enjoy the shit out of this time.  Infertility and loss have taken so much, I won't let them have this one.  I'm convinced Baby G is sticking around this time.

And so, July 24th is when we learned I was pregnant.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

An amazing cause

This nonprofit organization was started by a couple after losing their daughter at 20 weeks into the pregnancy.  In their grief, they felt alone, and rather than just leaving it at that, they decided to help others.

I am so in awe of what they have done.  You can read more about their story and the cause on the link above.  You can also donate there, or you can purchase actual items for the care packages they deliver to those suffering from a pregnancy loss here:

And finally, if all you can do is spare 30 seconds, please help them to win:

Scroll down until you see Through the Heart, and simply click "Like".  It's as easy as that folks!

As someone who has been through a loss can tell you - simple things like socks and candy may seem silly,but knowing there are people out there who understand what you're going through, and cared enough to send you something means more than we can express.