Friday, August 30, 2013

First trimester screen

Today was the big day- we got to see the most of the baby yet! More than any blurry image at the fertility's doctor's (though those were cool too), this time it really was like a real baby. It kicked it's little legs, it waved it's little arms. It was really cool, and the sonographer gave us a guided tour for about half an hour. We saw brain, heart, lungs, ribs, placenta, etc.

Still a baby. Not a kitten. 
Several pieces of good news: combined with the blood work I did two weeks ago, the results of this ultrasound place us a in a very low risk category for Down Syndrome and Trisomy 18/13. I told them about using a 23 year old donor egg, and that placed us in an even lower risk category.

The other good news is that the placenta appears to be in the right place. Of course they'll check again at 20 weeks, but with the bleeding I've been having, the midwife did mention the risk of placenta previa. The sonographer does not think that is the case. And the midwife did more strongly think it was my cervix. I bled a lot yesterday afternoon, which was actually kind of reassuring, since she'd touched my cervix, so that furthered the feeling it's just my overly sensitive cervix causing the spotting. In any case, I have not had ANY spotting in about 24 hours now, so I am extremely grateful for this too.

Okay, on to the not as good news. The sonographer thinks, with about 70% certainty, that I'm having a boy. It's hard to describe why I am not presenting this as good news. I guess- I just almost don't want to know. I thought I did, but somehow now I feel like a bit of the magic is gone. I know it's too early to know for sure, but I wish I had not asked. Oh well. I'll just try to put it out of mind for the next seven weeks. And if I still don't want to know then, I can always ask not to be told. I thought I'd want to know... but now, it feels so real. I want this baby so badly that sometimes I want to fast-forward through pregnancy and be holding the little one already. I need to work on slowing down and enjoying.

Maybe if the spotting stops, I can relax and try to enjoy. I think having an IVF pregnancy, after so many troubles, has kind of scared me. It's taken away any oblivious, carefree attitude that I might have had. Or maybe I would always have had worry. I just still struggle with a deep mistrust of my body and it's ability to do what comes naturally to so many others.

But. But. I am being a brat. Even my lab slip said "normal first pregnancy." I made it to 13 weeks. The risks of Down's are low. I think I would like to slowly ease back into exercising and enjoying. That's my goal for this next month: exercise, relax, eat well, and try to allow myself some excitement.

[Ok, this was a really boring update. Sorry. I'm just a hormonal mess today.]

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ups and Downs

Today I went to see my midwife. I just couldn't live with the anxiety anymore. I'd been spotting for 11 days, light spotting, but spotting nonetheless.

It was a very reassuring visit. First, she listened to the heartbeat. I cannot ever hear that whoosh-whoosh-whoosh without crying. I am still in such disbelief that it's really me, sitting in an ob/gyn office, not the infertility clinic. One interesting side note: I always had high blood pressure at the infertility doctor's. Sometimes, I wouldn't even let them take it, because it would just stress me out. But the last two visits at my midwife's have been 128/80, and today, a perfect 119/80.

Anyway, the heartbeat was fine, and then she did a quick pelvic exam. She said my cervix looks "very pregnant" (huh?) and that her strong feeling is that it's my cervix bleeding, not anything in the uterus. She dabbed away a lot of blood- all brown- and told me it's going to be okay. For some reason, my cervix is very sensitive and irritated. She said this will likely stop soon.

Tomorrow is my big hospital ultrasound, for the nuchal translucency screening (and also marks 13 weeks). Even though our donor was only 23 years old, I want the extra reassurance. I also want to see the baby again! I am really looking forward to this.

So, I guess I can relax again. I'm not sure if I will ever fully relax until the bleeding stops, but I will try. She said most women really feel better at around 20 weeks, when you can start to feel the baby move on a regular basis. I cannot wait.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My body hates me

Just when I was starting to relax...

Today, I started spotting again. Not as much as last time, but bright red, fresh blood again.

We just heard the heartbeat two days ago, and one friend reports she spotted twice a week till week 13 (I'm not quite at week 12). So, I am not freaking out.

But I am really disappointed in my body. As if infertility and failing 8 Clomid cycles and 3 IVFs wasn't enough, now I can't even have a smooth first trimester. My body has to taunt me with days of doing fine, and then bleeding again. It's so unfair. How am I supposed to trust my body or any of that other crap the birthing books all spout? Most women get pregnant, stay pregnant, and figure all will be well. I get my hopes up, then spend Saturday night in horrible fear, then relax again when it stops, and now today have to keep seeing red again.

I am not panicking, but I am just really frustrated.

In the good news category, it's been five days now that I have not needed a nap. Just one week ago, I would have found that impossible to believe. I was in such a fog for about eight weeks, where I felt brain dead after about 1 pm. It is nice to feel smarter and more alert lately.

Anyway, I should go distract myself with a book or something. I just had to vent for a minute.

Monday, August 19, 2013

One Giant Sigh of Relief

Today was our first midwife appointment. I am 11 weeks, 3 days along. It is wonderful. I never, ever thought I'd be attending an OB visit. In my darkest hours, which were many, I imagined I would never be pregnant. I feel lucky beyond belief. And proud, that I kept plugging away, trying option after option. My bank account might be sad, but I am not (most of the time, anyway. I still have my share of anxiety and worries about everything, including being a mother).

Anyway, back to the appointment. The midwife assured us that nothing is wrong. I had no bleeding today, none yesterday, and feel totally fine. We heard the heartbeat and it's thumping away in there, healthy and strong.

The midwife did a quick exam, of my breasts and lungs and heart, and I guess she checked my uterus or something? I barely felt it, though she reported that I don't have a narrow pelvis or something. Huh? Well, whatever. Then we did my blood work, including testing for the first trimester screening (Down's, etc.). I scheduled the NT test/ultrasound for a week from this Friday, when I will be 13 weeks exactly. I am not too worried about it since my baby mama is 23 years old (or at least her eggs were- and will remain so, frozen for me). But I want the extra reassurance anyway.

I am very happy with the midwife practice so far. She didn't bat an eye about my repeated IVFs, and in fact, didn't ask one question about my having used a donor. In fact, it was totally irrelevant- I didn't even NEED to have mentioned it. Since I am under 35, prenatal testing is the same anyway, so it just didn't seem to matter. That was nice, not that I really care since I am okay with having used a donor. But today felt really like MY pregnancy and MY baby and that was nice.

The only thing different about an IVF pregnancy, the midwife told me, is that they'll do an EKG of the baby's heart, I think at the 20 week anatomy scan. That is because IVF babies have a slightly elevated risk of heart defects, so they just like to check.

So, I hope the scary spotting is behind me, though I think sex is going to be off the table for a little while. For now, I am just so relieved that the baby is still here, and that things are moving along okay.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Please, after all I have been through, do not let this be the end.

This afternoon I began spotting. I went to pee, and there were long streaks of bright red blood on the toilet paper. Bright, fresh blood. I almost passed out.

I have had a full or cramping feeling, maybe some twinges, all day.

No more bright blood, but residual spotting continues.

I stopped the progesterone and estrogen on Wednesday. My husband and I did make love this morning. I feel bad, but in general our sex life has really been on hold since the transfer. In nine long weeks, I think we have been together... Maybe three times? And now, I regret agreeing to it this morning.

Tonight, in tears, I called my midwife and she was very reassuring, she said spotting, especially after intercourse, is very common, and is seen in up to 25% of women. She said that due to the lack of heavy bleeding and severe cramping, I am most likely fine.

Today I realized again how precious this pregnancy is, and how terrified I am that things have been going too well. I am so scared.

UPDATE (Sunday morning):
The cramps seem to be gone, and no new spotting. I am still scared, but not as bad. I have a 9 am appointment with one of the midwives tomorrow, thank goodness. This is my second time spotting like this, perhaps it is something that I just need to accept. I don't know.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

11 week update: graduation, and thoughts on starting a new RESOLVE group

Yesterday was our last appointment at the fertility center. Yup, it's official: I have been released! I have graduated! Also, as of this morning, I am no longer on any medications (other than continuing the baby aspirin and my prenatals).

It's not a kitten, folks. My husband asked the nurse, just to be sure. 
It's a strange, scary feeling. And also kind of anticlimactic. Since my first positive beta, nine weeks ago, I've never even gotten a call from my doctor down in Atlanta. He did the transfer, was really nice, but it's been nurses since then. Not even the same nurse. Oh, well. I got what I wanted.

As for telling people, we're still being cautious. This is on account of three things: first, I'd like to get through 12 weeks and also the Down's screening. We're not too worried about it since we used a 23 year old donor, but you never know. We would terminate if there are any serious problems, as traumatic as that would be. I pray we never would need to make those kinds of decisions.

Second, I have a job interview! It's not an ideal job and I probably will not get it, but I don't want to totally ruin my chances if someone were to post something dumb on Facebook (I did change my wall settings today, so B's mom can't blab anything, she's kind of a Facebook stalker in general).

And third, I want to be really sensitive in how and whom we share the news with. Pregnancy announcements were always so hard for me, as I've written about before. I don't know that we will say anything on Facebook at all, but even when sharing with colleagues and friends, I haven't decided how much info is TMI and how much is being aware and open that it's not easy for everyone. These are all things to consider in a few more weeks.

This week was the first RESOLVE meeting that I didn't attend and I'd say that felt weird, except I believe I slept through most of that time anyway. I am still having such exhaustion. I guess since I dealt with infertility for so long, none of my friends warned me what being pregnant would really be like. I am SO tired, and never feel well-rested, and must nap every afternoon or I feel like the flu times ten. I also struggle with nausea most evenings, but thankfully not usually in the daytime when I am at work. I don't really mind any of it too much though, because this is what I wanted.

Back to the RESOLVE thing- a friend from the group and I, both pregnant, have talked about starting a Pregnancy and/or Parenting after Infertility group. I checked out our local library and it has a good meeting space that we can reserve once a month. But, for some reason I have been dragging my feet about actually starting the group. I guess I am not sure exactly what role it would have in my life or other's. I definitely had some anxiety in the first few weeks of pregnancy, and I still get nervous before ultrasounds, but I'm wondering what specific needs a group like this would fill. Has anyone else heard about these groups? There are some, scattered around, mainly in larger cities. Anyway, something to consider a bit more.

My next doctor's appointment will be with the midwives, on Monday morning. I need to gather my donor's info and my own medical records to bring with me. I hope the midwife is understanding and supportive about our history.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Phone Call with the Midwives

Since I will be released from my fertility center in one week if all continues to go well, my nurse had suggested I contact a provider who will be taking over my care. So this morning was my initial phone conversation/intake call with the midwives that I will use for my prenatal care. 

I was a little nervous about this choice. My original intention, years ago when I thought I'd be pregnant in no time, was to have a baby at the birthing center in town. It's a free-standing birthing center, staffed only by midwives, with no epidurals or other drugs or interventions offered, and a homelike atmosphere with birthing tubs, etc. I even went on the little tour and info session, 2 1/2 years ago when I thought we'd soon be pregnant after a few months of trying.

Well, ha. That didn't happen, and the birthing center now does not accept IVF patients. I've written about this before so I won't get into it again, but it's pretty fucked up in my opinion. Anyway, it's not an option and I'm not choosing to dwell on it. 

The next best thing seems to be the midwives who work in the same practice with an OB, and deliver at my local hospital. And actually, now that I have been through surgery and four IVFs, I actually think I want more options, more monitoring, perhaps drugs at delivery if I feel I need them. I've just been through so much, and I think I will appreciate a bit of increased testing and monitoring and the options of interventions. Of course, what do I know, this early in the game. I still don't even feel pregnant, just damn tired.

Anyway, this morning was my initial phone intake consult with the nurse who works with the midwives and OBs. I was a bit apprehensive, since it's true that my medical history is a bit more complex than most women's might be. But I was happily surprised! The nurse didn't bat an eye when I told her it's an IVF pregnancy and that I'd had four IVF procedures. She asked for my transfer date instead of my LMP (yes! she understands that the LMP question provokes some anxiety in me!) and was also nonchalant when I disclosed that we had used a donor so my own medical history is irrelevant in some ways- but I have all of the genetic testing for my donor and can bring that to my first appointment. She didn't ask me any more about that, but just treated it as normal, acceptable part of my medical history.  She also took a moment at the end to give me her own words of wisdom- she said a good friend had IVF and wishes someone had warned her that pregnancy care will seem really relaxed and laid-back compared to the personal, intensive monitoring done for IVF patients, and not to worry about this because most pregnancies are healthy and this is to be expected.

Whew. To have someone treat me just like any other pregnant woman, yet be understanding and graceful about all I have been through, was like a mini-healing session by itself. Sometimes it's still unbelievable that I am actually pregnant, as opposed to just tired or depressed (all the sleeping) or fat (all the eating!). But this call made my feel very normal, and that was such a gift. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Weaning Begins...

Guess what? Amazing news: I am being weaned off my drugs!

I got the call late yesterday from one of my doctor's nurses. I am now dropping to two patches of estrogen instead of four, and one progesterone applicator a day instead of two.

Of course I am nervous as hell, because these medications are what has been feeding and supporting my pregnancy. But I guess my placenta must be starting to take over. We saw the yolk sack and the umbilical cord at yesterday's ultrasound- not sure if those things are related or what, but seems like it might be?

So, last night when my alarm went off at 8 pm, I just shut it off and continued reading my book. Totally weird.

I am really scared and really excited and, as usual, really tired  :)