10 days

Between the last several weeks flying by, and my c-section getting moved up a week thanks to another patient delivering early, I am now only 10 days away from (hopefully) meeting my baby.

I was conflicted about whether to insert the “(hopefully)” there, but in these last few weeks, my confidence has waned as the fear mounts about everything that could go wrong. I never would have guessed I would be 38 weeks pregnant with still so much uncertainty over whether I will bring my baby home.

I don’t know why I feel so much anxiety – I have no reason to believe anything will go seriously wrong, other than the few hiccups I’ve had (kidney stones and now GBS positive). I guess I’ve just done too much Googling and reading about all the tragic things that can happen.

I am trying to live minute to minute, then day to day.  This is similar to how I felt when I was dealing with the subchorionic bleed in the second trimester and was desperately hoping to make it to viability. Every so often I think, “Ok great, I’m another hour closer.” I wake up in the morning and mentally tick another day off my countdown. The nights are the worst.  I wake up at least 5-7 times a night to use the restroom, and when I get back into bed, I can’t go back to sleep until I feel the baby move and kick a few times. Needless to say, between that anxiety, my kidney pain, and frequent bathroom trips, sleep is not something I am getting much of these days.

At this point I am actually seeing the upside of delivering via cesarean. Being GBS positive plus all the other things I worry about may have made a natural delivery too anxiety provoking for me to enjoy. (By the way, I know bieng GBS positive isn’t the end of the world – Just one of those additional wrenches in the plan that throws me all off balance, mentally).  If I can get to next Thursday without going into labor or having my water break, and can walk into the OR healthy and ready, I may finally be able to relax a little bit as they bring my baby into the world.

 

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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.

Countdown to Viability

I am currently 21 weeks + 1 day and 20 days away from 24 weeks, or, viability.  Am I the only one desperately counting down to this milestone?  I know that as of 24 weeks its not like I could birth a fully developed baby guaranteed to survive. But it is comforting to know that in 3 weeks, if something goes wrong, something could at least be done to try and save the baby.

I know this is a morbid thing to focus on.  But the past several weeks have been scary as I have felt like once you’re in the late teens/early twenties weeks of your pregnancy, you’re somewhat in open water.  You’re far enough along where something tragic could happen, but not far enough along for anyone to be able to do anyting to stop it.

Had I not experienced bleeding last month (and way too much googling over what SCH’s can lead to), I probably wouldn’t be so focused on this.  But, at the moment it’s the only thing keeping me sane as I’ve continued to dream up new fears every week.

On Monday of this week I had an appointment with the MFM doctor.  This was an appointment requested by me to check in on my SCH.  The MFM said he did not see it, only a marginal sinus (I believe this is a placental lake?) which was not a threat, and not the same thing as an SCH. In addition, I have had no fresh blood in 5 weeks and no old blood in 3 weeks. The fear has not left entirely but I did feel marginally comforted after the appointment.  They also did my fetal echo (required for all IVF patients), and fortunately it was perfect!

Something that has been bothering me a bit is the onset of Braxton Hicks.  I seem to have started them earlier and with more frequency than other first time mom’s.  Mine started around 19w and I can have up to 10-12 per day, though not every day.  Of course it didn’t take long for that to instill the fear of PTL in me.  Plus, they are just plain uncomfortable.  I’m trying to rest as much as possible and drink a lot of water.

I have also started to feel the baby move, which is amazing but also kind of weird!  It feels like a little snake swimming around in there. But I love knowing that it’s an experience that only baby and I will share. My bump has popped and there is no mistaking now that I am pregnant.  I still haven’t purchased a single thing as I don’t feel ready to do so, though I am starting to get pressure from my family and husband to begin preparing.  With (hopefully) a full 19 weeks to go, I feel I have plenty of time left.

Betas

Well, my FET was officially a success (so far), as confirmed by bloodwork this past Thursday. At 9dp5dt, my beta came in at 233.  This is by far the best beta I’ve ever had.  In my previous 3 chemical pregnancies, I never really even got out of the teens for my first betas.  For my blighted ovum,  I was at 86 at 16dpo.  I was thrilled for a few hours, but then anxiety set in.  One strong beta didn’t mean much, I told myself.  I started to get a horrible gut feeling that the number would drop for the second blood draw and that would be that.

I got my second blood draw Saturday morning and was a wreck all day waiting for the results. I sat at my kitchen table for hours, staring at my phone, not even able to move. Finally, by late afternoon I got the call that my numbers at 11dp5dt had increased to 599 – Just about a 36 hour doubling time, which is great.

Since getting that news yesterday I’ve started to feel a little more confident, but I am still terrified. I believe the odds of this working out are pretty good, but after three years of falling on the wrong side of the statistics (recurrent losses…a loss with a PGS normal embryo…etc.), I am conditioned to believe that I will always be that one in a million who gets a bad hand.

I have felt so much more anxiety in the past few days than I ever thought I would.  I always believed the past three years that once I got great looking betas I would just “know” it was a good pregnancy and could relax.  That is not the case at all.  I am terrified that I am going to end up blindsided and something bad will happen. After everything I have been through in this journey, it feels impossible to believe that all of a sudden I woke up one day, my transfer was successful, and I am really truly finally pregnant.

I have one more beta scheduled for next Friday, 5 days away. It is going to be a really tough week but I think the best I can do is keep myself preoccupied and just try the best I can to relax.  These 5 days are going to pass no matter what, so I might as well not torture myself in the meantime.

7dp5dt

I meant to document more throughout this FET and it completely fell by the wayside.  I think I maybe have been too nervous to document another failure.

My transfer day was really special.  My doctor was not scheduled to do any transfers that day, but he wanted to do ours so he made a special exception.  I keep joking with my husband about being VIP’s there. He says its not exactly the place he wants to be a VIP, but I feel like at least it makes things more pleasant!

Anyway.  The day after transfer I lounged most of the day, and my husband gave me a sweet card and got my favorite foods. Basically every day since then has been an emotional rollercoaster of me thinking it worked one second, then convinced it didn’t the next second.

Originally I had planned to take a home pregnancy test only the morning of my blood test, but this morning (7dp5dt, 2 days before beta), I changed my mind. I could not wait any longer.  The second my husband left for work, I took the one and only test we have in the house.

If I did not have the history that I do of multiple miscarriages (including a PGS normal embryo!), then I think I would have been happy with the result this morning. It was a solid line, and certainly much better of a line than I’ve ever had this early on.  And I did feel elated, for the briefest second.  Then immediately I started worrying again that this will turn out to be another chemical pregnancy like my first FET. And now I’ve basically been paralyzed with fear all morning.  I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to take another test tomorrow.  What if everything is fine but the test doesnt look any darker? I’ll spend the whole day having a meltdown. I think I might just want to live in ignorant and hopeful bliss until I get my blood results.

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FET #3 has begun

After delaying this FET twice earlier in the year, somehow it is already time to get it started. Two weeks ago I started Lupron and had my endometrial scratch done (ouch), and last week was my baseline appointment.

The transfer is set for June 7th. Almost exactly one year after my beta for my first transfer, which ended in a chemical pregnancy. For almost every medicated/IVF cycle I’ve had in the past three years, I’ve looked for signs that the universe would align and I’d finally get pregnant with my take-home baby. Surely I would have thought that my transfer being on almost the exact date of my beta last year was some kind of sign. But, I no longer believe in signs. Or any kind of infertility serendipity.  It just is what it is.

I have mixed feelings about this cycle. I certainly don’t have the excitement and hope that I felt with my first FET last year, because I know realistically now the odds of it working are slim.  I’m sure there is still a tiny shred of hope deep down inside me somewhere, otherwise why would I still be doing this? I mostly feel dread and anxiety. Infertility is so much easier when you are between treatments and just living with the dull ache of childlessness day to day. The acute pain of facing another failed treatment is so much harder, and that is what fills me with dread.

As always, we have a plan for what we will do next should this transfer fail, which always helps me  feel a little better.