Update

Who knew, the days get away from you quickly when you have a baby and it doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for blogging!

My daughter is now just shy of 4 months old. I love her beyond measure, more than I thought possible… All those cliche things that new Moms say, but are so true. I have had a blast at home with her, and returning to work recently was tough, though fortunately only part-time.

It’s unbelievable how much a baby changes after the first 1-2 months. Once she hit 3 months, she started doing all kinds of new fun things. It’s almost hard to believe that just a few short months ago she was sleeping 90% of the time and had no ability to interact.

I am thoroughly enjoying her smiles, cooing, increased attempts to babble, and most especially, watching her discover the world around her. (Our dog has become fascinating to her recently!) I dream frequently about her future: What kind of child, teenager, and adult will she be? What will she enjoy? What will she be afraid of? As I’m sure we all do, I hope beyond all hope that she wakes up happy and fulfilled every day.

What I was not prepared for was the constant worry! My worries of miscarriage are now replaced by worries about my child. Is she developing properly? Am I a good enough Mom? And so on.

In the first 2 monts post-partum, the anxiety was the worst and I do wonder if this can be attributed to some from of PPD/PPA. It has improved over the past few weeks, almost as if I am coming out of a fog. More than anything I just want to enjoy each second with my child, and she deserves better than a nail-biting worrying obsessive Mom. I tell myself each and every day that I am going to do better, for her. And little by little, I am.

I’m not sure how much I will continue to update this blog, as I started it to document the pain and struggle of infertility, partially with the hope that others would find it and not feel so alone. Now that I have overcome that, it no longer seems appropriate to broadcast my happiness when others still struggle.

Ending the last few weeks on an eventful note

Just when I was getting ready to spend the last few weeks of my pregnancy doing the “normal” things like nesting and getting everything in order, my body reminds me it has other plans.

Last Thursday night my husband was out to dinner with colleagues, so I settled in for an evening relaxing on the couch.  Out of nowhere, I felt the strangest pain in my back.  It wasn’t excruciating, but certainly noticeable. I wrote it off as muscle pain, considering I’d been having a lot of muscle pain in my back lately. I changed positions a few times, hoping it would go away, but it didn’t.

It got a little worse, so I decided to go to bed for the night in an attempt to sleep it off. But it kept escalating, so I couldn’t fall asleep. By the time my husband got home, I was crying from the pain. He too thought it was muscle pain and suggested a hot shower. The pain was localized in just the spot that made me start to think it might be kidney pain. In tears, I called the on-call number for my OB.  The midwife asked me to describe the location, then suggested I go down to labor & delivery to get it checked out.

Five hours and a whole lot of pain later, an ultrasound of my kidneys revealed kidney stones. I was admitted for the night and hooked up to IV fluids in an attempt to flush the stones out.

Thirty six hours later it had become clear my body was not going to pass the stone on its own.  It was Saturday morning by this point, and I had been in the hospital since Thursday night.  It was strongly suggested I allow a ureteral stent to be placed.  I begrudgingly agreed. I was not happy about being sedated while pregnant, but by this point I had spent almost two days in excruciating pain that even the painkillers barely touched.

The procedure was quick and my baby was monitored the whole time until s/he perked back up after the sedation wore off. I woke up to instant relief from the kidney pain. I was finally discharged the following morning from the hospital after regular monitoring of the baby through the remainder of the night to ensure its well being.

All the nurses assured me that labor would be a walk in the park after my kidney stone experience, but I’ll never know how true that is, considering baby will arrive via scheduled c-section.

I’m home and trying to recoup now, though this stent comes with its own set of pain and discomfort – Not exactly a welcome addition on top of the aches, pains and edema I’ve been dealing with. But, I can’t complain. For three years I said I would undergo absolutely anything to bring my baby into this world, and its clear the universe is holding my feet to the fire on that one. I would gladly do it a million times over if it means this baby will arrive healthy and safe in a few weeks.

3rd Trimester!

At 27 weeks + 5 days today, I am, for all intents and purposes, in the 3rd trimester. I can’t believe it.  For 3 years I dreamed of what it would be like to enjoy the holiday season, my favorite time of year, full of hope with a big round belly.  It is surreal that this is actually happening.  Just one year ago, I sat home with my husband on Christmas Eve and watched movies because family celebrations were too painful.  Two years ago, I ran out of church crying because I was overwhelmed with fear, loss and emotion.

I was overcome with hope and happiness in the waiting room of my OB this morning, as I looked around at the Christmas decorations and heard the holiday music playing, and realized that I am living what I have dreamed of for years – Being happy, healthy and pregnant during this special time of year.

I am not without any fears or cares – Typing this still gives me anxiety, as the thought creeps into my mind – Christmas is still 4 weeks away, anything can happen between now and then.  But today I am trying to focus on the positive and keep the worries at bay as much as I can. I had my first growth scan today and all looked perfect. Baby is estimated at 2lb 10 oz today and in the 50th percentile.  Right on track! I was shocked and disappointed to face the fact that I have gained 35 pounds so far, but knowing my baby is healthy makes it worth it.  Plus I found out that I passed my 1 hour glucose test, so I know to some degree my health is not in danger.

I did learn that the baby is breech as of right now, but the midwife said there is plenty of time for that to change.  I am going to try not to worry about it right now and see what happens at my next scan. I found out today that I’ll be getting ultrasounds every 4 weeks due to my mild hypothyroidism.  Now that I am in my last trimester, I am being seen every 2 weeks total, which is great.

I felt good enough after today’s appointment to start ordering some things for the baby. I chose and ordered a diaper bag, along with a few other items.   I am sure my anxiety will ramp back up in the next few days but for today I am enjoying feeling hopeful and happy.

Last week of the first trimester

Today I am 13 weeks, just one week away from starting the second trimester.  I can’t believe I’ve made it this far. I never actually believed I’d be pregnant.  I am still incredibly nervous and panic about something daily but in between, I am grateful that I have reached this point.

Last week we had our NT scan at 11 weeks 6 days and everything looked great, baby was even measuring a day ahead.  Unfortunately they were not able to give me the results from my bloodwork as I inadvertently had it done too early. I chose not to repeat the lab work however, as I felt comfortable with the results of the NT scan plus knowing the embryo was PGS tested.

In the past week we shared the news with our parents and siblings. I am not yet ready to openly share with the world, and am definitely not the type of person to do some cheesy social media announcement (maybe its 3 years of infertility – I really hate those). But it was nice to let our immediate families in on this secret.  Having been in the know about the long journey to get to this point, they were thrilled and there were lots of tears. Some family members don’t quite understand my anxiety and are ready to move full steam ahead with planning/buying/talking about the future which makes me uneasy.  But I’m sure we’ll all learn to navigate it.

I’ve been too nervous to really buy any pregnancy related items or take weekly pictures, but thought I might enjoy documenting some of my pregnancy here.

How far along? 13 weeks

How big is baby? From what I’ve read, about 3″ long and just under 1 oz.

Total weight gain/loss:  3 lbs, all in the past week – oops.

Maternity clothes?  No – too early! In the past week I’ve had to use a hair elastic to close my pants.  They still button, but its a bit tight.

Sleep: I’m in bed at 8pm every night but able to stay up past 9:00 here and there as a little bit of energy returns.  I am having ridiculously weird dreams almost every night.

Best moment this week: Sharing the news with our parents and siblings.

Food cravings:  ….Everything! And none of it healthy. My appetite is still out of control and all I seem to want is junk food.

Food Aversions: Not many, but still no interest in coffee.

Pregnancy Symptoms:  Emotional. I’ve been watching sappy movies I never had interest in before, and what’s more, crying at them. Had a meltdown the other day because it’s too hot outside. Still tired, and very very hungry.  Some headaches here and there.

What I miss:  Turkey sandwiches.

What I am looking forward to:  It’s hard to answer this because I feel too superstitious and anxious to say that I am looking forward to any future pregnancy milestones because I don’t have the confidence I wish I did that I’ll make it that far.

Upcoming appointments/events:  I go every Tuesday to my OB’s office for a quick appointment to listen to the heartbeat on the Doppler.  They have been very kind and accomodating of my anxiety.

Milestones: Starting to share the news.

7w2d

I have opened my computer multiple times over the past few weeks to write an update, but couldn’t bring myself to do it.  All I can think about is how much it would hurt to go back and read pregnancy update posts if I lose the pregnancy.

If I keep letting that fear control me, I’ll never write new posts and regardless of how this goes, I know I would regret not documenting any of this time in my life.

My 3rd beta at 5w1d rose to 6460, with a doubling time of I think around 42 hours.  Again, another milestone! My first ultrasound was scheduled for 6 days after that, on June 30 at 6w exactly. I was petrified.  I had multiple panic attacks. I convinced myself wholeheartedly that my pregnancy was ectopic (despite having no signs of this, aside from what are probably normal feelings in the uterus!)

At 6 weeks exactly we saw, for the first time in 3 years, a heartbeat – beating away at 110bpm. (I will never forget any of these numbers!) I was in shock.  For 3 years I have pictured the moment I would first see a heartbeat and in the moment, it was so incredibly surreal.  In my fantasies my husband and I would sob beautiful tears of joy and our doctor might even show a little emotion, but of course that’s not what happened. Our doctor was thrilled, but I was so surprised I just laid there like a mute idiot.

I was on a high the few days after that ultrasound, and then panic set in again.  This is when I truly realized the roller coaster I was in for. The post-beta/ultrasound high followed by the return of pure anxiety.  By the time our second ultrasound came around a week later at 7 weeks, I was once again convinced this was over. This time it was 2 days without nausea that made me sure.

I hopped back on the exam table for that scan just two days ago, and miraculously we saw a completely appropriately sized embryo with another wonderful heartbeat right around 150 bpm.  My doctor patted me on the knee and said “Looks perfect!” Again I was a little stunned. In the realm of fertility/pregnancy, I am not accustomed to getting good news, much less hearing the word “perfect.”

At this point my doctor estimated our odds of a loss are less than 5%,but just typing those words makes me anxious as I know from experience this can be a wild ride and anything can happen.  For now I am going to take it day by day and still try and enjoy the good news we have gotten so far. I decided to let my guard down a little and indulge in a trip to Babies R Us to look at some of the baby stuff I’ve tried my hardest to ignore over the past few years. I am nowhere close to ready to buy anything, but it was a great experience to feel good enough to touch a onesie and coo over it like a normal person rather than flee the store in tears.

My next ultrasound is Thursday of next week at 8 weeks exactly and all I can do is hope and pray things continue to look ok.  If they do, my first OB appointment will be right around 9.5 weeks.

Bad Day

Almost two years ago, after a few too many surprise pregnancy announcements, I deactivated my Facebook account.  Periodically, when I’m feeling brave (or nosey) I’ll go back on and see what so many of the people I’ve lost touch with are up to.

Today, I was curious to see if any of the hundreds of people I follow on Facebook posted anything about National Infertility Awareness Week.  There are so many people on social media portraying perfect lives that, although I don’t want anyone else to suffer, it would be comforting to know that someone else out there is fighting the same battle.

I should have known it would be a bad idea.  I got sucked into a rabbit hole of looking at profile after profile.  So many women I used to be close with are now on their second or third child.  Women who got married after I did.  I feel like I’ve blinked and lost three years of my life. For my own sanity, I usually try not to compare my life to other people’s lives. But today I couldn’t help it, looking at the perfect family moments and photos that everyone else gets to have. The pain takes my breath away sometimes, when I realize that everyone else is able, with relative ease, to have the family they always dreamed of, and I am still so broken and alone.

I have learned to cope – not perfectly, but better than before – with the pain of failed cycles.  And the strain infertility imposes on our marriage, finances, social life… The list goes on.  But the loss of control over achieving my goals and dreams is something that haunts me regularly. No woman should have the ability to build a family taken away from her.  To have to sit by and watch what feels like everyone in the world create what you want so desperately. We are always told that life isn’t fair, and there is nothing like infertility to remind us how true that really is.

 

Retrieval #2 Complete!

This morning was my retrieval for my second fresh IVF cycle and it went pretty smoothly.  I had 27 eggs retrieved, which was almost exactly the same as IVF #1 (28 retrieved). Tomorrow we will get the fertilization report with how many were mature, and of those, how many were successfully fertilized with ICSI.  For my first cycle, I was disappointed with the fertilization rate (just under 60%, or 16 eggs).  I am hoping for a little better this time around as maybe it will give me an extra blast or two by day 5/6.

I absolutely hate this part of the process. Nothing is a sure thing with IVF, so just because last cycle I got 6 blasts doesn’t mean that will be the case this time. I could end up with 2, I could end up with 10. And even after the final blast count, I still have to wait for the PGS results. Since we are doing Next Generation Sequencing as well as the Mitograde test, I am sure it will whittle my batch of “normals” down even more.  We only got 3 normals last cycle, so I really can’t afford to get much less than that. Especially because we wanted to put ideally two aside for a last resort transfer into a gestational carrier, and keep a couple more to transfer back to me.

I know there are so many people out there who don’t even get one to transfer, so ultimately I really still will be grateful even if I just get one.  But it just sucks to have to worry about every single step of this process. Since I have so much trouble getting anything to stick, it would be nice if the part where we gather embryos was a little easier and more fruitful.

So, the countdown is on.  Next Friday we will find out how many blasts were biopsied and frozen.  Then within two weeks after that we should have the PGS results.  I have no idea how I am going to make it through the next 3 weeks.