December 26, 2011

Small Steps, and Questions Answered

We reached 26 weeks on Dec. 23. We are at least 2/3s of the way there. I am still very nervous, very scared about how this will turn out. I still make no assumptions that are are definitely heading toward a happy ending, although I know the odds of that are good at this point.

But you will be happy to know I have started to make small, small steps toward preparation.

I have researched pediatricians and picked three to meet with. I have not called their offices yet to schedule appointments, but assuming we make it to 28 weeks (the day of our next appointment, Jan. 6), I will.

I have started to put together a list of things we need to do. It is still very short at this point, but I will continue to work on it.

We will be hanging out at R's parents' house on New Year's Day, so I told R that we should inventory our baby stuff while we are there that day.

And I have ordered a book, The Expe,ctant Pare.nts' Compa.nion, that promises to tell you what you do and don't really need for baby. I've read through a lot of it. At this point, all I can say is carriages, cradles, bassinets (I still don't get the difference between those last two), playpens, strollers vs. travel systems, ect. - I feel completely overwhelmed. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please feel free to chime in.
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About the doppler...Thank you to those who encouraged me to get it. It has been a sanity-saver. I did some searching online and found wav files with the sound of a baby's heartbeat on doppler vs. the cord vs. the placenta, so now I can identify all three. What would we do without the internet?

I try not to use it every day, but if I get nervous, I bring it out.

I've been feeling more movement, so that helps. The other night, while I was icing for the Lo.venox injection, I noticed that a spot on my belly moved. I kept watching, and it happened again. I texted R to come quick, but then there were 4 or 5 jabs in a row and it was really funny to see my belly looking like there was popcorn popping inside of it trying to get out, so I started laughing, and that was the end of any movement.

So R still hasn't seen it yet, but hopefully he will soon. I think I'm starting to feel some rolling types of movements now instead of just individual jabs here and there.
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Picking a date, inductions, and such...The doctor didn't push us to set a date at our appointment on Dec. 23. Unlike the nurse practitioner, she said as long as we pick one by 30 or 32 weeks, it's fine.

The reason they like to pick dates so early is because it's exclusively a high-risk practice, a lot of their patients wind up being induced. They only deliver at one hospital, and it's a popular hospital for deliveries, so they like to get on the schedule early.

I don't yet know for sure if the plan in our case is induction, because I keep telling the peri that that's a conversation for another trimester. But since we're coming up on the end of the second trimester (the peri's office counts 28 weeks as the start of the third trimester), I won't be able to say that for much longer. :-)

But my guess is that it probably will be an induction, because my understanding is that I'll need to stop the Lov.enox a couple days before delivery to reduce the risk of hemorrhage. So we'll need to know when the delivery will be in order to time the stoppage.

Which brings us to the whole C-section versus vaginal delivery question.

I'm a little bit torn about this one. I'd been thinking C-section, because I want the doctor to be able to get Kiddo out as quickly as possible in case of an emergency. Since Kiddo has a 50/50 chance of inheriting R's Brug.ada Syndrome and since the irregular heart rhythm it causes (ventricular fibrillation) is fatal 90 percent of the time if the person isn't able to be shocked back into a normal rhythm within two minutes, I wouldn't want to wind up in a situation where Kiddo gets stuck in the birth canal, goes into v-fib, and they have to scramble to get him/her out (or worse, can't get him/her out) in time.

So, in all likelihood, that's probably the route we'll go. However, I have read online in the past week about how when a baby is born via C-section, its lungs aren't squeezed as tightly and therefore don't expel as much fluid, which can cause complications. And I hadn't even thought of the challenge of not being able to drive for at least a few weeks afterward while recovering.

Because of those things, we will have a conversation with the peri during one of the next couple of appointments about which approach she thinks is the best one in our particular case. If she thinks it's a vaginal delivery, then that's what we'll try for - I just want to do whatever will be best for Kiddo given our particular circumstances.

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MC - I'm so sorry your beta dropped after your BFP. I know how devastating it is to have hope rise (even if it's just a little bit) and then come crashing back down again, and it's especially hard this time of year. But it sounds like you're regrouping, and I hope your next attempt results in a much happier outcome.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Just a quick note to say all is well here. Christmas always comes too quickly, mostly because I get very over-ambitious about all the stuff I want to bake. So much baking to do, so little time... :-)

But the day was lovely. I will post some pictures as soon as I figure out how to download them from my new digital camera, which was a gift from R.

Also, thank you to all of you for your comments on my last post. There were several comments/questions about choosing a date/induction/ are we having a C-section/how is the doppler working, so I will write more about that soon too. Our next appointment is on Jan. 6.

In the meantime:

Merry Christmas! (albeit a day late)

Happy Holidays!

Happy New Year!

December 14, 2011

You Want Me to Pick a Date For *What*??

Our 24-week appointment was on Monday, and it was a bit surreal.

Kiddo still looks good. This was the second growth scan, and s/he measured 1 lb 9 oz, in the 56th percentile. Never have I been so thrilled about an "average" number as I am about average numbers like that...

After the scan, we had our usual appointment. The peri's office is a very personalized practice, and they all know our story, so they all know how detatched we're trying to stay from hope.

So at each appointment lately, the nurse or nurse practitioner asks a few questions to gauge how we're doing on that front. (And probably to check the state of my sanity.) Have we opened the envelope? What are we doing to prepare? Have we met with any pediatricians? Have we thought about signing up for classes at the hospital?

No; absolutely nothing because it's still entirely too early; no; and if anything, I will contact a nurse educator to do a private class for us.

I explained to the nurse that I had told myself that if we made it to 20 weeks, I would create a list of things we would need to do, and if we made it to 30 weeks, I'd consider starting to do the things on the list. Then 20 weeks arrived, and I told myself that 6 weeks was still plenty of time to create a list, so I moved the 20-week plan out to 24 weeks. Then when last Friday arrived, I told myself I'd wait and see how Monday's appointment went before making the list.

She looked at me, took my hand, and said, "Hun, it's time. Make the list."

I still haven't done it.

Then the nurse practitioner came in. At one point, she mentioned that during our next appointment (12/23) or the one after that (1/6), we'll pick a date with the doctor.

I looked at her and, in total sincerity, asked, "A date for what?"

Yes, she was referring to a delivery date.

It honestly did not even occur to me. Picking out a delivery date is what people do who assume they're going to take a living, breathing baby home from the hospital. Apparently the people at the peri's office think we will be one of those couples.

In my head, from a totally logical point of view, I know everything looks very good and there's no reason to think we won't be one of those couples. But all these years of heartache have made it a lot harder for my heart to get on board with that idea.

I'm not sure I can pick a date.

I've avoided knowing due dates as much as possible, and while I know the due date for this pregnancy, I also know we're not going to go that far. The last thing I need is yet another date on which to pin my hopes and dreams. I told R we may have to give the peri a list of dates we don't want, tell her to schedule a date that's not on that list, and then if we make it that far, just let us know a day or so in advance what day and time we need to show up at the hospital.

He was not fond of that idea, but it may be the best I can do.

December 11, 2011

Am I Doing This Correctly? (And, 24 Weeks!)

The doppler arrived a few days ago, but I'm not sure I'm really finding Kiddo's heartbeat.

I've used it 4 or 5 times so far, and every single time, the sound that I think is Kiddo's heartbeat has been in the exact same place - right above my hairline, just to the left of center. The rate has been in the 130s-140s, but should it always be in the same place?

I do think it's been Kiddo at least once or twice, though. The first time we used it, there was a lot of static as I was moving the probe around and figuring out how to use it. Kiddo was not happy - I got kicked a couple of times. :-)

The next time, I found the heartbeat pretty quickly, but then I think Kiddo tried to hide by burrowing deeper toward my back, because the sound got more faint after a few seconds. I'm sure s/he must be thinking "Oh, great, here we go again..." every time I turn the doppler on... :-)

On a related note, we reached 24 weeks on Friday. I still can't believe it. I have now started a new countdown to 28 weeks, which the peri's office has repeatedly mentioned as the point at which there's not just a chance of viability but 90 percent odds of viability with a good outcome.

So, 3 weeks and 5 days to go 'til 28 weeks...

December 08, 2011

I'm Having a Moment

Please forgive me, but I'm having a pity party moment.

I know I have a lot to be thankful for, and believe me, I am. I'm very grateful to be pregnant, to be less than 24 hours away from the 24 week mark, to be able to feel Kiddo moving around.

I'm still an infertile though - 100 percent. I've read a lot of women who have gotten pregnant after infertility say at some point that they feel like they've "crossed over", and others who feel kind of in between, not like a completely "normal" pregnant woman, but also not totally in the IF world any more, either.

Neither of those are me.

Some people live the nightmare for a year or two and then go on to find success in treatments without any miscarriages or other setbacks. They have all the kids they planned to have, and while infertility touches their lives and leaves its painful mark, their lives seem to eventually evolve into "normal": it winds up being pretty much exactly what they had envisioned, even if it took longer to get there than planned, and the mark eventually fades or disappears altogether.

Then there are those of us who have lived the nightmare for a much longer period of time. There's not just going to be a temporary scar; instead, for a lot of us, infertility has literally altered who we are. It hasn't just taken us on a brief, inconvenient detour - instead, it's changed our lives in irrevocable ways.

And it turns out that even being pregnant, even feeling Kiddo's movements, doesn't make it all better.

What has brought on this statement of the obvious, you ask?

Really, I have no one but myself to blame, because I brought it on myself. 'Tis the season. I opened a Christmas letter from one of my college roommates. She has two kids and generally leads a great life - great husband, great job, great house, annoyingly slender (I say this with affection, really), etc.

There have been some years that I have just not even opened her letters because I knew I couldn't handle it. But this year, I did.

I try really, really hard not to count anniversaries. And don't ask me how, but for the most part I manage to be pretty successful at it. But she was due with her second within just a couple of days of the due date of my very first pregnancy. And her daughter will be 8 in a few weeks.

Eight. R and I should have an almost-8-year-old second-grader now.

And - valid or not, I'm choosing to blame this on the pregnancy hormones - somehow all I can do is sit here and cry for all of the losses that represents. All of the milestones, all of the little moments, all of the big celebrations.

And yes, hopefully we'll get to experience those soon with Kiddo. But one child does not make up for the loss of another. Or, in our case, 7 others. I knew that intellectually, but I guess I'm just now recognizing it emotionally.

You would think I would be smart enough to stop there. But no...

Then I go on to read about her younger sister, who is probably about 34 and had a child several years ago and has severe endo. And got married a couple months ago. And is now apparently 3 months pregnant. You know, the way "normal" people do that. And has already picked out a name for the baby, because she's Just. That. Sure. that she'll be bringing a living, breathing, healthy kid home from the hospital in about 6 months.

I don't think I can blame the pregnancy hormones for my feelings about that news. Good old fashioned bitterness and jealousy get the credit there.

Like I said, pity party. And still an infertile, 100 percent of the way.

December 04, 2011

I Caved

No, not on finding out the gender. The envelope is still hidden. :-)

Instead, I gave in and ordered a home doppler this afternoon.

I've been hesitant to do that because I've read that sometimes you can pick up the sound of blood flow of the placenta or umbilical cord instead of the baby's heartbeat and therefore wind up with a false sense of security. Or, on the other hand, have a hard time finding the heartbeat when it really is there, and therefore become panicked about it.

But a couple of you suggested it after my last post, and between those comments and realizing that this is not likely to get much easier in the coming weeks, I went ahead and bought one on eB.ay. Please feel free to share any suggestions or tips on how to use the thing.

On the bright side, I should mention that on some days the movements are now strong enough that R can feel them. The first time he felt them was on Wednesday night. It was a very brief but amazing moment to share with him, a moment I wasn't sure we'd ever get to experience. Friday night was another active night for Kiddo, so he got to feel it again a few times then.

One other thing I'm looking for thoughts on: short-term disability. Work has been unexpectedly even more stressful than usual for the past month, and my blood pressure is starting to creep up a little bit when I monitor it during the day (typically in the high 130s over the high 80s). And mid-December through February is our busiest time of the year, so the stress isn't likely to ease up much between now and March.

I mentioned this to the nurse practitioner on Friday. My bp was something like 138/87 at that appointment. She said there aren't many things that they/we can control, but stress is one of them, so she asked if I'd be open to short-term disability until delivery.

For the most part, the answer is yes, but I have a concern. From what I've read online, it seems like short-term disability applications for pregnancy get denied a lot, and you don't know what the outcome of your application will be until you're already out of the office. If the application is approved, I would still receive 60 percent of my salary, but if it's denied, I wouldn't. And while it wouldn't absolutely make or break us, it would put a major drain on our emergency fund.

I didn't think to ask the nurse about it, but I will bring it up at my next appointment. For now, we agreed to just monitor things for the next couple of weeks and see how it goes.

If any of you have experience with applying for short-term disability for pregnancy-related reasons, I'd love to hear them.
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MC: Since you don't have a blog I can post on - thank you very much for your kind words. I'm glad our story has somehow helped you and your partner. Congratulations on her finishing bed rest, and I hope you receive BFP news very soon!

November 29, 2011

Movement Is Not Making This Easier

I do not do well with Kiddo moving only intermittently. I have a feeling I'm going to be an obsessive kick-counter.

Last Tuesday, I noticed I wasn't feeling movement as often, and it wasn't as strong. I began to worry. I called the peri's office. The nurse reassured me that this is normal, that it's too soon to feel consistent movement.

That helped. For about 12 hours.

On Wednesday, the movements were even less, even lighter. By early afternoon, I was in tears and couldn't take it any more - I knew I was going to be a basket case all weekend if I didn't have some reassurance. So I called and asked them to fit me in, and they did.

And of course Kiddo was moving around a ton, which wasn't surprising given the amount of sugar I'd consumed in the 18 or so hours leading up to the scan in an attempt to get him/her to give me a definitive kick.

It turns out s/he was head down, kicking into the biggest part of my uterus, which was why it was so hard to feel.

Thankfully, by the weekend, I started to feel movement more regularly again. And yesterday, it was even strong enough that I could feel it externally when I put my hand on my abdomen. Just barely, but I could feel it. Unfortunately, R had already gone to bed and he was in the guest room because we both have minor colds right now, so he didn't get to experience it yet.

But I still get stressed about it. For instance, I feel movement the most between 8-11 p.m., and now here it is 10:30 p.m. and I'm realizing I'm not sure if I've felt it tonight. So now I'm nervous again, although there was definitely movement earlier today.

In other news, I managed to finish one of my papers but not the other. I requested an incomplete, so I have a month to finish it, although my goal is by Monday. The incomplete means a 10% penalty to my overall grade, but right now my goal is just to get the classes done. As long as it's a passing grade, the grade is not my highest priority at the moment...

And since we went for a scan last Wednesday, we moved yesterday's appointment to Friday.

Ten (almost down to 9) days to the edge of viability...

November 21, 2011

19 Days to the Edge of Viability

A quick post...

Everything still looked good during Friday afternoon's ultrasound. The Kiddo looks like s/he is starting to add a little bit of fat/chub - very adorable.

I've been feeling movement more regularly throughout the day for the past few days, which helps me to worry a (tiny) little bit less. I am still so thrilled every single time I feel something. I've had R put his hand on my abdomen to see if he can feel it, but invariably the Kiddo stops moving then. I know it's probably still way too early for that, but he's been right beside me through every bit of these last 9 1/2 years, so I want him to be able to get to experience this (happy) part of it, too.

I have two major papers to write for school between now and Thursday. I don't know why I keep doing this to myself. I like school, I really do. Yet I procrastinate, which is why this will be a short (for me, anyway) post.

The peri's office is closed on Friday, so for the first time we are going 10 whole days (gulp!) between appointments. If not for the regular movement, I don't know that I'd be able to survive until next Monday without another peek.

I am behind in commenting, so please forgive me. I will catch up after the papers are done.

Meanwhile, I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

November 12, 2011

20 Weeks, and Emotional Progress

There have been small steps in emotional progress this week, but steps none the less.

We've been hanging out at R's parents in preparation for having a garage sale at their house. Most of the stuff we're going to be selling is down in their basement, which is also where all of the baby stuff resides from our failed adoptions. (After we sold our previous house and moved, I refused to let any of that stuff cross the threshold into our new house.)

So there we were on Wednesday night, and curiosity got the better of me. I had R pull out one of the suitcases of stuff. It had somewhat less emotional stuff in it - a baby carrier, the thingamajig you put into a carseat to make it smaller so that an infant is snug in it, some plastic-backed swatches of rather stiff fabric that I'm thinking are maybe mattress protectors that go under the mattress sheet.

I think it would have been harder if I had opened the suitcase to find all the onsies, receiving blankets, towels, etc. we had bought. But what was there was okay - I could handle it.

We have more stuff in boxes down there, but R's brother had piled a bunch of clothes on the boxes, so we couldn't easily get to them for now. That was okay, too. But R also showed a little bit of emotional progress/forward thinking/hoping: he asked his brother to begin removing some of his stuff over the next several weeks so that we could eventually get to it.

And I also got a pleasant surprise - we have more baby furniture than I remembered.

I knew we had two cribs, given to us by two different friends, a very cute dresser R had refinished, and an armoire from my mom. But I had forgotten that the friend who gave us one of the cribs also gave us a tall chest of drawers and shorter chest of drawers that match the crib. So I'm thinking (imagine me, allowing myself to consider the possibility of a happy ending in the near future!) that we could put one of the cribs and the small chest of drawers downstairs so that we would have supplies more easily at hand without having to always run up and down the stairs.

Then, in a sign of even more progress, when we went to our appointment yesterday, I forgot to stare at the ceiling until the heartbeat was announced. It took a couple of seconds of staring at the ultrasound screen before I realized what I was doing. Then, just as it occurred to me and I quickly glanced away, the tech announced the heartbeat.

But there are still backwards steps sometimes, too. I was at work on Thursday when I began to have a lot of anxiety about not having felt the sensations I think are movement in a while. I texted one of my friends to say that I was tempted to leave my desk and drive around in my car with the radio on to see if I could elicit some movement from Kiddo. I didn't, but I was still super stressed about it until I finally felt some movement again late Thursday night.

So, like I said, small steps, but steps none the less.

November 04, 2011

Almost Half Way to Goal

At 19 weeks, you'd think I could walk into an ultrasound room feeling a little more confident that we'll see a heartbeat on the screen. Yet there's still a twinge of anxiety and nervousness every time.

I wasn't planning to ask the peri about what she's thinking in terms of the timing of delivery; it feels way too soon to even be thinking about it. But when she commented that I was almost half way there, I told her I was hoping that today was half way, that she wouldn't make me go any farther than 38 weeks.

She said studies have shown that 39 weeks has the most optimal outcome rates, so her goal is for me to go to 39, but she won't make me go any farther than that. But she said she'd also be happy with term (at least 37 weeks) if that's the way it turns out, and okay with late pre-term (35-36 weeks), but that if there were signs that the best thing would be for the baby to come out earlier, that's what we'll do.

I told a few more people this week.

I hadn't shared the news with my VP yet, but I had decided I would tell him if the big scan went well, because he and my boss are starting to plan 2012 and they need to factor in my absence. He was very supportive and also understood why I'm still not ready to let the rest of the team know for another several weeks.

Last night, I got together with a group of friends. All of us used to work together, and one of us was visiting from out of town for the first time in several years, so we went out to dinner together. I almost chickened out - I still look pudgy rather than pregnant so I could've gotten away with hiding it - but I took a deep breath and shared the news. They know what we've been through so they were very excited. But I still can't talk about it like a normal pregnant person.

Five weeks to the edge of viability...

November 01, 2011

Movement?? And Other Craziness...

First, about the movement. I can't say with 100 percent confidence, but I think I might have felt it for the first time last night. Either that, or I have been hoping for it so hard that my mind has resorted to manufacturing the feeling.

It wasn't really a fluttering, more like a foot or hand (I'm guessing) very softly bumping up against the wall of my uterus repeatedly. It's kind of hard to describe. I wouldn't call it a tapping feeling, either. It happened when we were laying in bed before turning the lights off, so after I finish this post I'll go upstairs and see if it happens again tonight. (I know it doesn't always happen every day in the beginning.)

The other craziness...

Remember when I was feeling restless while on bedrest and decided to set up an exercise program for R? Yeah, well, that didn't go so well. He did it sporadically a few times, and then that was it.

So, after hearing a couple of my friends rave about an exercise program called crossfit that's gaining popularity, I got the bright idea that he should try it.

I found a crossfit gym that is literally two blocks from his office. I called to inquire about price and whether it's something someone who is not in shape can do. Yes, absolutely, each participant works at their own level, I was told. They offer to let people come in and try out one session for free to see if it's something they want to commit to.

I prodded R into attending, which he did reluctantly on Saturday morning.

About the time the class was ending, I got a phone call. He sounded tired and annoyed more than anything, so I knew he was ultimately okay, but the words "doctor" and "fracture" and "wrist" came up. Thankfully, he didn't actually break his wrist - after spending several hours at urgent care, it was determined to be a sprain, and he's now wearing a splint.

Since he called me at the end of class, I figured he'd hurt it around then. But it turns out he actually injured it during the first drill, which involved running forward 25 meters, running backward 25 meters for a total of 250 meters. During his second backward run, he leaned his body too far back and fell. He twisted around to try to catch himself, which is when he landed on his wrist. Still, he continued to press on through the rest of the session.

To add insult to injury, he was the oldest participant there, and it was the day before his birthday.

Apparently my attempts to get him into better shape are actually dangerous to his health. Maybe someday I'll also tell you about the time I set him up on a man-date with another tennis player and he came home with bloody feet as a result.

And yet more craziness...

Work has not been a super happy place since layoffs were done several months ago. Due to the manager I wound up reporting to, I've been spared most of the pain, but 20-25% of the folks in my department who were not laid off have since left, and I know another 15% or so are actively looking. Meanwhile, more and more work continues to be added, and it's not like we were light on work to begin with.

So with all of these people leaving or looking around, it's kind of become contagious. I searched online, and I found a position that sounds like it would be a great fit. The scope of work is narrower (i.e. more reasonable) that what I'm trying to juggle now, and it would be a significant salary boost. I meet all of the qualifications.

Except that FMLA only applies if you've been with a company for 12 months or more, and obviously Kiddo's going to come out before then.

Still, I think I'm going to apply for it and just see what happens. (Don't worry, I happened to have a therapy appointment this week, so I talked it through with her before deciding this.)

Maybe I won't even be called for an interview. But if I do happen to make it to the point of a job offer and they can't give me a written guarantee that they would keep the job for me while I'm out, or if any complications arise with the pregnancy between now and then, I can always politely decline.

October 28, 2011

The Big Scan

These past few weeks, I've been pretty calm, not too nervous before our appointments. But for some reason - maybe because today was the big scan - I was much more nervous.

Last night when I measured my belly, it had shrunk a little. (I know, I know, stop doing that!) My chest has been sore and having shooting pains all week (which I read was normal, so I didn't freak out about those), but when I got up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night last night, I realized they weren't very sore. So the boob-poking, which I hadn't done in weeks, recommenced. Thankfully a few hours later, the soreness returned.

And, thankfully again, there was a heartbeat on the screen this afternoon. As well as:

  • a brain that was symmetrical
  • a four-chamber heart
  • a three-vessel umbilical cord
  • two kidneys

  • Kiddo is now exactly 1/2 a pound, about 7 inches stretched out, and measuring in the 60-65% range for all measurements but one. That one (I think it was a skinfold measurement on the head) was at 27%, but the ultrasound tech said it's tough to get an accurate measure of that and it was still within the normal range, so we're not worrying about it. Today is 18w0d, and everything except that measurement was in the 18w1d to 18w3d range.

    The only thing that concerned the tech was that my placenta appeared to be "marginal" - not covering the opening to the cervix, but right next to it. So she wound up doing a transvag ultrasound at the end, which thankfully showed it wasn't quite as close as she originally thought. It was more than 2 inches away (apparently within 2 inches is considered marginal), so she said it's low-lying. They'll recheck it again at some point.

    And that lady already knows me well. I asked her how long my cervix was and that I was worried about an incompetent cervix. She said she would only tell me it was more than 3 inches long and that she wouldn't give me an exact number because I'd obsess about it during every appointment. This was during the transvag ultrasound, and she also pushed hard on the lower end of my uterus to put pressure on my cervix. It didn't change, and she said the fact that it didn't soften or open a little bit was a good sign. Maybe doing that was just BS and wouldn't cause a change even in an incompetent cervix, but it worked, because it did reassure me a little bit.

    Two more weeks to the half-way mark. Six weeks to the edge of viability. Here's hoping those weeks pass really quickly. And, more importantly, uneventfully...

    October 22, 2011

    About What You Said...

    I love blogs, but one thing they don't seem to accommodate so well is a back-and-forth kind of conversation. There are a lot of times I want to respond to comments, but I figure if I do so in the comments section, most of the time you won't see them. Or if I respond via a comment on your blog, you may have to find your comment on my blog to figure out what the heck I'm talking about.

    So, if you have any suggestions on a better way to do this, by all means, please share. In the meantime, since this is the best idea I have, this post is going to be a random collection of responses to recent comments...

    * * * * *
    Enjoying this pregnancy - Based on a few comments some of you have made, clearly I'm not doing a good job of making it obvious how much I'm enjoying this pregnancy. I am, I promise. Truly, really, honestly.

    There's an underlying concern about whether it will end well, and I'm realistic enough to know that concern isn't going to go away. Sometimes the concern overshadows the joy, and I realize that's when I tend to post, so you're reading that part of it more than the rest. But the joy is definitely there, and in the day-to-day, it's usually much more prominent than the concern/worry/fear that something may go wrong. I'm even starting to relax a tiny little bit if you can believe that.

    * * * * *
    My weight and the brownies - I didn't mean to imply that I was going to try to gain 6.5 pounds in 3.5 weeks, only that that's where I should be if I was exactly spot-on with the peri's recommendation. But I know being a few pounds off from that is okay, and ultimately as long as Kiddo is growing appropriately, it's alright to be on the low side of weight gain. The brownies weren't an attempt to try to gain all of that weight, I promise!

    Speaking of the brownies, I definitely enjoyed them. It's very rare that I encounter a form of chocolate that I don't enjoy. :-)

    * * * * *
    Increased blood pressure / pre-eclampsia - Thank you for the reminders that a sudden increase in weight gain is something to pay attention to. I'm definitely concerned about blood pressure / pre-e issues, so I'm monitoring my bp at home a couple times a day. I took the monitor in to the peri's office a couple weeks ago to see how accurate it was compared to their readings, and it was very close.

    I'm also keeping an eye out for swelling, but so far I've only seen a little bit of it at the end of the workday, and once I come home and put my feet up, it's usually gone by bedtime. When I'm not pregnant, it's not too unusual for me to gain a few pounds over a couple days depending on what I've been eating, so I took the wait-and-see approach to this week's weight gain since I wasn't noticing any swelling, and I'm back down about a pound and a half.

    * * * * *
    Gender - A couple of you mentioned that you thought it was a boy for various reasons. I hope you're right!

    Someone (I think IRL, though I can't remember for sure) told me they knew of a couple who found out by giving a baker an envelope with the gender in it and instructions to tint the cake pink or blue on the inside so that they would find out when they cut into it. Given my fondness for baking, that sounded like a pretty neat idea, so I think that's what R and I might do. Although still not unless we make it to 30 weeks. For some reason, that's the milestone that's sticking with us as the point at which we might be comfortable finding out.

    * * * * *
    On a related note, attachment - We're definitely already very much attached to the baby, even without feeling the kicks/movement yet. We have been since seeing the heartbeat for the very first time. I know there's no point in pretending otherwise.

    But somehow in our minds, we've made distinctions between 1) the baby we see on screen each week, and 2) the idea of actually taking a living, breathing, baby home from the hospital, and 3) that living, breathing baby progressing to the point of us being able to do things like dress her up in a tutu for ballet class or R taking him to fly model airplanes with R's best friend and his son.

    We know without a doubt that it would hurt like hell if something were to go horribly wrong. I guess what we're trying to do is limit the loss to that point. If we don't think about taking a baby home from the hospital and all those other fantasies that follow that stage, maybe we wouldn't feel those losses as much.

    * * * * *
    Planning - This one kind of goes along with the last one. As much as we're trying hard not to assume too much and plan for any of it right now, I did (albiet very cautiously) discuss picking a pediatrician and pre-registering at the hospital when the nurse practitioner brought it up during our appointment on Thursday. She was very proud that I was willing to engage in any sort of conversation about it at all. :-)

    * * * * *
    Maternity clothes - Since I still have all of my clothes from my pre-thyroidectomy days, so far I haven't needed to shop for anything other than larger underwear and bra extensions. But I was in Ta.rget the other day to buy a gift for someone, and I decided to be brave and wander through the maternity section.

    I don't think I'll be doing much shopping there, though. First of all, it was a tiny section - all of about two rows of racks. Secondly, half of the stuff in those racks was XS! (And the racks were full, so I don't think it was just that they were all out of the rest of the sizes and this was all they had left.)

    I get it that if you're petite to begin with, you're still going to need sizes that are on the smaller side even in maternitywear. But most of this stuff looked like clothing that would be tight on a thin 10-year-old, much less an expectant mom. I had to wonder, just where exactly are all of these super-skinny 30-weeks-along pregnant women that the store's buyers are obviously buying for?

    Thank you to those of you who have suggested mail-order shopping to start with. I hadn't even thought of salespeople descending on me in the store. That's definitely something I want to avoid.

    * * * * *
    This post is getting ridiculously long, so I'll wrap it up. Next up: The details of our one-hour scan this coming Friday (18 weeks), unless I think of something brilliant to post before then.

    October 19, 2011

    More Happy Progesterone News

    It seems my body has gotten on board with its progesterone-producing responsibilities.

    During the previous test, it was 29 on one suppository a day. Monday's test showed a level of 39 after having been on one suppository every other day. So now I'm off the suppositories and will have another recheck next week to make sure the level is still okay.

    Also, about that weight gain thing - apparently all I needed to do was blog about it, because somehow I am now up 4 pounds in 5 days. I'm not quite sure how. I know I baked that pan of brownies, but there is still about 1/4 of the pan left, and R and my mom have eaten their fair share...

    October 16, 2011

    An Unexpected Challenge

    Since I've struggled with keeping my weight in a reasonable, healthy range for pretty much all of my life, I worried that I'd gain 40 or 50 or even more pounds if I ever made it to the end of a full-term pregnancy. I can honestly admit that back before we even started TTC, while we were still just in the thinking-about-it stage, it was more of a vanity concern than anything else.

    Now, I could care less about the vanity aspect of it, but I know that additional weight increases the risk of a lot of complications that I'm already at risk for. There are some risk factors I can't do anything about (age, IVF, PCOS), but I'd like to at least minimize the ones that are under my control.

    So imagine my surprise that here I am at 16 weeks, and I'm only up 3.5 pounds.

    This, despite 6 weeks of bedrest and minimial exercise since then. (Although I am trying to get into a regular, albiet very low-exertion, routine.)

    I don't need to gain a lot of weight during this pregnancy. The materials the peri gave me match what I've read online, which is that someone in a healthy BMI range (19-24) should gain 25-35 pounds for a singleton, a BMI of 25-29 should gain 15-25, and a BMI of 30 or above should be around 15 pounds. Since I was at a BMI of about 29 at the start of this pregnancy, I figure I should aim for an amount closer to the 15-pound end of that range.

    I think the peri is thinking something slightly higher, because I asked her in general about my weight gain a few weeks ago, and she said to aim for about 10 pounds by 20 weeks. Which means I've got about 3.5 weeks to gain 6.5 pounds.

    Normally that wouldn't be a problem for me. But I guess my body is burning a lot more calories than I realized in this process, and apparently I'm not eating enough for that. Although I certainly am eating!

    It's not like I'm dieting or skipping meals or anything at all like that. In fact, I baked a pan of brownies yesterday. (Accidentally used 1 1/4 cups of water instead of just 1/4 cup, but it turns out that if you turn the oven temperature down to 250 instead of 350 and bake them for an hour instead of 30 minutes, they turn out just fine.)

    I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining about this at all. I just don't want it to have a negative impact on the baby, although Kiddo seems to be growing fine at this point as far as all the ultrasounds show. At 18 weeks, we'll have the big scan where all the bones and organs get measured, so hopefully at that point we'll find out the percentile range the baby is in for size.

    With regard to the progesterone, I was supposed to get it re-checked on Thursday, but the order wasn't faxed over until Friday, so I just continued with the every-other-day suppository routine. I'll go get it checked tomorrow.

    As you've probably guessed, Friday's ultrasound went fine. This time, we could see the ribs. It still amazes me how we see something new during almost every scan.

    October 08, 2011

    Gender! It's...

    ...still a mystery to us.

    The answer is somewhere in our house, an ultrasound photo with a note on it, slipped inside a folded piece of the perinatologist's letterhead, stuffed in an envelope. I say "somewhere" because I told R to hide it, lest I become tempted to peek.

    During our weekly ultrasound yesterday (15w0d), Kiddo still wasn't cooperating on revealing the gender. Then suddenly the ultrasound tech told us to look away if we didn't want to know. She said she's 99% sure, because she was able to see both from the bottom and the side.

    At first, that made me think boy, because what would you see from the side if it was a girl? But then it occurred to me that not seeing anything from the side would also be a confirmation if she was thinking it was a girl. So who knows? Well, I guess the ultrasound tech does. But not us.

    I'm not sure yet when we're going to open it. Probably not unless we make it to 30 weeks. Maybe not unless we're on the way to the hospital for delivery.

    Or maybe we'll just let it be a surprise and then open it after the suprise has already been revealed.

    If we were "normal", if we hadn't been through the hell of the last 9 1/2 years, we would have found out yesterday. But R wants to stay as detatched as possible. We're afraid to start forming fantasies in our heads, and that's easier to do if we know "girl" or "boy", so for now we'll just hold off on finding out.

    And hope that when the time does come to open the envelope, R will remember where he hid it...

    P.S. I know I still need to post about progesterone. I underestimated the time it would take me to do schoolwork last weekend, which spilled over into last week. The short of it: three weeks ago, while on 1 suppository a day and 1/2 cc of PIO every other day, my level was at 19.7. And on Thursday, being on just 1 suppository a day and no PIO in more than two weeks, it was up to 29.something, so I'm feeling a bit better about it and hoping it's a sign that my placenta is kicking in. I'm now on 1 suppository every other day, with another recheck this coming Thursday.

    September 30, 2011

    Second Trimester!

    Those are two words I wasn't sure I'd ever be writing in regard to myself. Yet, here we are.

    I know some people count 12 weeks as the 2nd trimester, and others count 13. The peri counts it at 14, and for some reason I felt compelled to follow that - maybe because I wanted to be able to say it without any doubt about whether we really had reached the milestone.

    To celebrate, R and I went out to dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant.

    The ultrasound was pretty uneventful. The techs aren't measuring the length every time anymore, just doing a really quick check of the heart rate. It was in the 150s today, which is where it's been for the last few weeks, so nothing new there. This time, Kiddo was facing in a way that was difficult to see much, so the tech couldn't get a shot that she felt was worthy of printing.

    She casually mentioned that normally at this time, with most of their patients, they might not do another ultrasound for a month. I just laughed. Then she suggested that maybe I could try to stretch it out to two weeks.

    I told her I could be okay with that as long as we could hear the heartbeat with a doppler at the appointment during the weeks that didn't include an ultrasound. She said we're just at the cusp of being able to hear the heartbeat that way and that she knew I'd freak out if they had problems finding it. So ultrasounds it is, at least for a few more weeks.

    Given our rather tense conversation on Saturday, I thought it might be a kind of uncomfortable appointment with the peri, but she was actually very nice. She is trying hard to do anything she can think of to ease my fears (other than monitoring my progesterone levels). She mentioned the AFP (alpha fetal protein? - I haven't looked it up yet) test, which is a blood test that checks for spinal issues in the baby. It's supposed to be done between weeks 15-18, and she said "Why don't we just go ahead and do all of your tests at the beginning of the testing windows? The sooner you have results showing everything is okay, the better you'll feel." So we'll also be doing the big 18- to 20-week scan at 18 weeks.

    She also said she has another patient (further along than me) who is from the same RE and has had a very similar history to me. She said she thought it might be helpful for me to talk with someone else who is now progressing after so many losses, so she offered to ask that patient if she'd be willing to call me. I said that was fine and gave her my cell number to pass along.

    I also reminded her that it was another friend of mine who is also the RE's patient who referred me to her, and she said "Yeah, but that's not the same. Her history is different than yours, so for her, the pregnancy experience wasn't the same as it is for someone with your history." I'm glad she gets that, and understands that someone with as many losses as we've had is going to be so much more nervous than even the typical high-risk patient.

    About the progesterone...I'll write more on that in the next couple of days. It's late, and I'm finding myself yawning and struggling to keep my eyes open as I type this post, so it would probably be a rather incoherent update. For now, suffice it to say that I'm still taking the suppositories...

    September 29, 2011

    I'm Making Progess, But Not *That* Much Progress

    Unrelated to the topic of this particular post, I've noticed people writing on other blogs that they're also having the same problem commenting on blogs that I am experiencing. Today I was able to post comments on two Blogger blogs, so I thought everything was resolved, but then the next ones that I tried to comment on, no such luck. So if I haven't commented on your blog lately, please know that's why.

    * * * * *
    On to the post...

    An envelope arrived in the mail the other day. It was bright pink, and addressed to me in handwriting I didn't recognize, from an address I didn't recognize. I had no clue what was inside.

    It's the baby shower invitation for one of my former co-workers, who also struggled with infertility but didn't pursue any treatments and had resigned herself to living childfree. She confided her pregnancy to me this summer, right before we left town to do our transfer.

    I honestly can't remember the last time I received a baby shower invite. Some of our friends are single, some are older and finished the child-bearing phase of their lives a while back. Of those who have had kids in recent years, I think a lot of them just decided it was best not to send an invitation, especially our IF friends.

    Opening the envelope and seeing that pink and brown bottle wasn't nearly as difficult as it would have been if I was not also pregnant.

    I still don't think I'm going to go, though.

    If I do, I will cry. I don't think I will be able to hold it together. I will stand there and look at all of that baby stuff and see the cute baby cake and (heaven forbid) have to play the guess-the-flavor-of-this-baby-food game, and the whole time I will be thinking "Will I really get to have this kind of a day someday soon, or is this going to end in disaster and heartbreak, too?" Like I said, tears. And that would be bad form for a party guest.

    So I will have another co-worker help me shop - I still need moral support and hand-holding to walk into a store like that - and then I will make a plan to meet up with her and give her the gift before the shower.
    * * * * *
    In other pregnancy-related news, it seems morning sickness is kicking into gear more in the second trimester than the first. For the most part, it's been more low-grade. Then again, I'm wearing the acupuncture wrist bands I had R buy last month pretty much constantly, so I don't notice it too much unless I take them off for an extended period of time.

    Last week, I did have my first-ever experience with tossing my cookies during pregnancy, but I'm not sure it was morning sickness so much as it was that I had gone too long without eating. It's been years since I've gotten sick in that way, and the next day, my upper abdominal muscles were sore from all the heaving involved, which just goes to show how truly out of shape I am.

    And speaking of shape, I'm beginning to notice changes in mine. I think my tilted uterus may finally be all the way in the correct position, because things seem to be pushing up a bit - I now have a natural muffin top even when I'm not wearing anything. I've only gained a 3 or 4 pounds so far, so I don't think that's what's causing it.

    But whatever the reason is, I'm fine with it. Excited about it, actually, because it means maybe things are still on track.

    September 27, 2011

    What To Do?

    First of all - Libby, please know I'm thinking of you and hoping the transfer results in a positive outcome. I've tried to post a comment on your blog about a dozen times, but it just clears the comment without posting it after I submit it. Not sure what's wrong, because I've been able to comment on other blogs. For those of you who don't know Libby, please go wish her success with her recent transfer.

    * * * * *
    I'm still unsure with regard to what to do about the progesterone situation.

    The score: 4 doctors think my level is fine and doesn't require additional support, 1 suggests additional support for a week, and 1 potentially suggests additional support until 20 weeks. You would think that having 2/3rds of them solidly on one page would put my mind at ease, but no.

    The 4 who think things are fine: Both of the perinatologists in the practice I go to, my RE, my RI.

    The peri who isn't the one I see was the first to respond to my call over the weekend. She doesn't think I need additional progesterone support but said it would be fine for me to take 2 suppositories a day until Friday if it would make me feel better. My peri called about 5 minutes later. It was clear she was annoyed that I was calling her about something we've already discussed and was very blunt in saying she absolutely would not order progesterone for me nor would she order any tests to monitor my levels. (To her credit, she also did her very best to try to reassure me that everything looks perfect and that she doesn't see any reason for me to worry.)

    I haven't had a chance to ask the nurse why my RE is fine with my level being below 20, because it came in a voicemail.

    And really surprisingly, the RI's office says anything above 10 is fine at the end of the first trimester/start of the second, even though their website says immune patients should continue progesterone support until 16 weeks. 10? Seriously??

    The 1 suggesting additional support for a week: The RE who was on-call for the clinic this weekend.

    The surprise of this one is that the nurse had told me on Friday that there was no point in asking him what his recommendation was, because that particular RE requires all his patients to be off all progesterone support by 12 weeks, regardless of their levels, no exceptions. But then she decided to go ahead and ask him anyway on Saturday since my RE hadn't responded yet. And the one who never recommends supplementation past 12 weeks told her to have me continue taking a suppository until this Friday, which will be 14 weeks.

    The 1 potentially suggesting additional support until 20 weeks: Another RI who I had consulted with last fall but decided not to work with because the additional treatment he recommends for some tough RPL cases is a drug I won't take. One of the risks of it is an increase in the likelihood of developing leukemia, and with my dad's and grandfather's history, I'm not going there.

    But he has a forum on his website where you can post questions. And while he didn't directly answer my question about what he likes the level to be at the end of the first trimester or directly comment on my particular level, he did say that for women who have had low progesterone levels and a history of losses, he keeps them on supplementation until half way through.

    If I was already his patient and he was already involved in managing some aspect of this pregnancy, I'd just go with his recommendation. But I'm not actually his patient (we only did a brief consult about a year ago), and I think it could potentially create an uncomfortable relationship with the peri if I bring in another doctor who will do what I want because she won't.

    If she was an average ob at a typical practice, I would shrug off that concern and find another ob if need be. But this is a fantastic practice in every other respect - they get what we've been through, they let me come in as often as I need to put my mind at ease, and I know I will get really careful and frequent monitoring. (Most likely weekly until 32 or 36 weeks, then twice a week at that point.) My friend who recommended this peri can't say enough great things about her c-section experience.

    I'm supposed to get my levels re-checked again on Friday, and I see the peri that day as well. I guess we'll see how it goes.

    September 24, 2011

    This Is Why I Don't Trust My Body

    The ultrasound went well today. Test results, not so much.

    Kiddo is still measuring on track - 6.7cm (about 2.5 inches) at 13w0d. I was thinking that measuring on track is a good indication of the health of the pregnancy, but the ultrasound tech dispelled that notion today. Apparently, because the size is so small at this point, the chance of being off on the measurement is too high to be a good indicator of the pregnancy's health.

    She said they don't start to use measurements for that until about halfway through. Still, we've had consistent growth, and I'm hoping that's at least a good sign.

    But test results are proving to be the bane of my existence.

    We got the official results of the NK scan today. Risk of Down's is 1 in 6,600, and risk of Trisomy 13/18 is 1 in 6,800, so both of those are very good. We saw the nurse practitioner today, and she went over that table of results with us.

    I didn't look at the results of the 3 individual tests that make up the results until we were in the car. The NT itself was 1.3, which we already knew was normal, and it was in the 50th percentile for results. PAPP-A was 0.90 mlU/ml and was in the 60th percentile.

    Then there was the free beta HCG, which was 20.88 ng/ml, in the 5th percentile.

    I know beta levels drop as the second trimester approaches, and free beta is much lower than the quant beta measured at the beginning of pregnancy. The one reference I was able to find for the difference between the two said that the free beta is generally about 1/2 of 1% of the quant beta, which would put my quant somewhere around 4,000.

    The 4,000 is pretty low for this point, but I've been focusing more on the free beta results. From what I have found online (I know, shame on me for Googling), free beta results that are in the 5th percentile or lower on the NT screening have 2-3 times the risk for delivery before 37 weeks and the baby being in less than the 10th percentile for growth, and about 5 times the risk of fetal loss before 24 weeks.

    So, I don't see myself relaxing much before 30 weeks.

    Then after that, I got this morning's progesterone results. I'd been off of everything for 2 days. It was 17.45.

    It was the optimistic nurse who called, and even she seemed rather concerned. I asked her if this happens often, and she said pretty much everyone is off of everything by 12 weeks and has a level above 20 at that point. I'm a week further along, and still not there.

    She is checking with RE to see what he recommends. I may not hear back until Monday, but she explained that either way, it would just be a recommendation. Since I'm at 13 weeks, they won't continue my care, so the peri would have to be the one to prescribe it if he recommends I stay on it. She also wouldn't tell me what I should do over the weekend, but she asked me what I thought I might do, and I told her I was going to immediately restart the suppositories.

    I was going to wait until Monday to call the peri, but my friend who referred me to her said to just call the peri now rather than stress all weekend, so I'm going to call her tomorrow morning. I'm going to insist on continuing the progesterone and regularly checking the levels for the duration of the pregnancy. We've approached our whole infertility experience - and this cycle in particular - with a "no regrets" attitude. I realize progesterone won't stop something bad from happening if there's something else that is a problem, but if something does go wrong and I'm not on it/don't have good levels, I know with 100% certainty that I would always have regrets about that. If she isn't willing to prescribe it, I think the RI would, so I'll go that route if need be.

    From everything I've read and been told, there's no risk or adverse outcome associated with being on it in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, Given that, it doesn' t make sense to me to not treat it and have me worry about it the whole way through. And let's face it, I would worry, big time.

    September 20, 2011

    No Ultrasound Today

    I decided to be brave and canceled today's appointment.

    So far, I haven't been too freaked out. I felt lots of round ligament pains yesterday, which always makes me feel better. I told R that Kiddo must be going through a growth spurt. I've had hardly any today, but they seem to occur a lot one day, then ease up for the next few days, so I'm not panicked about it.

    Also, I'm still having the fatigue. I slept 9-10 hours both days over the weekend, and I still needed two naps on Saturday and one on Sunday. I know the fatigue is supposed to ease up around this time, but I'll be fine with it if it sticks around.

    The last PIO shot was on Sunday. My backside is rejoicing. Tomorrow is the next blood test to check the levels - hopefully it will be good news. My chest seems less sore, but it's grown about an inch during the last three or four days according to the tape measure, so hopefully that's another good sign.

    66 hours to go until the next ultrasound. Not that I'm counting or anything...

    September 18, 2011

    More on the NT Scan

    Of all the things I've been freaked out about so far with this pregnancy, ironically the NT scan wasn't one of them. I think it's probably because we had already done chromosomal testing on the embryos, so we know the chances of Kiddo being normal (in that respect, anyway) are 90%.

    Both of the things that the tech looks for during the scan - the nasal bone and the nuchal fold thickness - looked good. The bone was visible, which is a good sign. And the fold measured 1.3 at 12 weeks; anything below 2.18 is normal at that point based on what I could find online. Both the tech and the peri said everything is looking exactly as they would expect it to look at this point.

    Blood was drawn for the other part of the screening, and we should get those results back in a couple of weeks.

    The rest of the appointment went fine, too. Not surprisingly, the peri isn't concerned about my progesterone level - she never measures it in her patients, so she said to just do whatever RE recommends. The current plan is for tonight to be the last PIO injection, continue the endometrin once a day, and recheck levels again on Wednesday.

    I told R that I will see how I feel tomorrow, and if I think I can make it until Friday's appointment, I will cancel the Tuesday appointment. I know at some point I have to stop going twice a week...

    On an unrelated note, to answer Libby's question on my last post: we downloaded I.Q.. It's a romantic comedy from the early 1990s, starring Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins. I'm very basic when it comes to movies - I like romantic comedies, or, occasionally, a regular comedy, and it better not have a sad ending. (I don't care if the ending is predictable, I just want to be entertained for a couple of hours, and I certainly don't want to wind up depressed at the end of it...)

    We hadn't seen this particular movie before, and it was cute, at least the part of it that I saw. Meg Ryan was her perky romantic-comedy self, so however you felt about her in You've Got Mail, you'd probably feel the same in this movie. I fell asleep halfway through, not because it was boring, but because the fatigue that eased up for a few weeks has returned again. But R watched the whole thing, and he said it was my kind of movie. That's about as much of an endorsement that can be expected from a guy forced to sit through a chick flick...

    September 16, 2011

    12 Weeks: NT Scan

    More to come tomorrow, because I've promised R that I will watch a movie with him and not spend the evening on the computer, but just a quick note to say there's still a heartbeat, and the scan went well.

    Kiddo was sleeping, so it took a really long time to get the correct positioning for the scan, but we certainly didn't mind all the time we got to spend watching him/her.

    And my progesterone went up ever so slightly, to 21.6. Who knows, it could just be a time-of-day fluctuation and still virtually identical to Wednesday's levels. But for the moment, I'm enjoying the fact that the scan went well and not freaking out about the progesterone.

    September 14, 2011

    Weaning: Progesterone Dropped Like a Rock

    My next post was going to be about how I am enjoying this pregnancy (a lot, honestly, I promise!) despite my worries. But then I got the call from RE's office about the latest P4/E2 results, so enjoyment is once again taking a back seat to concern.

    The weaning had been going well. For some reason, I haven't ever been nervous about the E2, only the P4. They've been weaning me very slowly. I was on 3 progesterone suppositories per day and 1cc of PIO per day. We started by going to 2 suppositories a day, still doing the 1cc every day. Tested a few days later, P4 was at 35. Then went to 2 supps and 1/2 cc every day. After a few days, P4 was at 39. I was excited - I thought this meant my placenta was taking over.

    Then we dropped down to 1 supp a day and 1/2 cc every day. P4 went back to 35, but the nurse assured me that it fluctuates, so I still didn't worry about it. (That was Friday.) Then we went to 1 supp a day and 1/2 cc every other day.

    Today's test result showed P4 at 19.7.

    The nurse said RE wants to see it above 20, but from what I'm reading online, the typical P4 level at 12 weeks (today is 11w5d) is around 33. And my P4 would be even lower than 19.7 if I wasn't on the supp and 1/2 cc.

    For some reason, I've just always been nervous about my body's ability to produce an adequate amount of progesterone without supplementation, so I asked the peri about it during our first appointment. I've read a lot of information online about supplementation during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters being necessary for some women and that it's totally safe. However, it also sounds like there are a lot of OBs/peri's who don't believe in it.

    I think my peri falls into the second camp - she basically said she doesn't use it after the first trimester and that if the placenta isn't producing an adequate amount, that's a sign of a bigger problem with the placenta that would likely jeopardize the pregnancy. But it seems like there are a lot of women out there who had second trimester losses, and then when they were on progesterone in subsequent pregnancies (including during the second and third trimester), they went on to have healthy babies. So obviously their placenta didn't completely fail them...

    The plan is to continue with the 1 supp and 1/2 cc every other day for now, and then re-test P4 on Friday to see if it's increasing. If not, I'm going to insist on going back up to a higher dosage. I asked the nurse what happens if it stays low, and she said she'd have to talk with RE.

    On the other hand, it seems my E2 is perfectly fine. I'm down to 2 patches every other day and no estrace at all, and my level was just under 1,200 today. The nurse said that level was totally normal, and it's up slightly from just under 1,100 when I first started weaning. I couldn't find much info online regarding what normal E2 levels should be at this point, but the couple of charts I did see seemed to indicate it should be closer to 2,000 at 12 weeks. So not sure what to think on that one either.

    To top it all off, yesterday on and off and for most of today, I've had a resting heart rate of 100-120 bpm (tachycardia). It finally seems to be easing up this evening. I'm not sure it's pregnancy-related, though. That used to happen a lot when I was in a hyperthyroid state before my thyroidectomy, so I have assumed it was thyroid-related, especially because it didn't happen for quite a while after the surgery.

    But then it started happening again last summer and really started to become annoying last fall, so I assumed my thyroid meds were too high and asked my family doc to lower my dosages. If you recall some of my posts from spring, that didn't work out well - I wound up in acute kidney failure (resolved by increasing my dosages back to what they were), and the tachycardia went away on its own.

    Peri just checked my thyroid levels last week and free T3 and T4 were a little lower than mine normally are (but still within the normal range) and T4 was up to 4.45 (it had been 1.something a couple weeks before transfer), so she's increasing my Syn.throid from 125 to 138, but I haven't started the 138 yet.

    It looks like we'll have lots to discuss during my appointment on Friday...

    September 13, 2011

    Trying to Reason With Worry

    Once again, I was totally nervous about today's ultrasound. And once again, everything was fine. Kiddo is still in there, heart is still beating, body is still growing. Or at least, it looks like it to me - since these are just reassurance ultrasounds, the tech didn't measure length the last couple of times.

    I had no real reason to think things wouldn't be fine. I'd had low-grade nausea for a couple days, and I still felt the round ligament pains, although not as much the last couple of days.

    And still, I get really stressed beforehand each time.

    R tried to reassure me. In the past, when he's said "It will be fine", I've told him not to say that for fear of jinxing it. This time, I didn't scold him, I just let it go. I guess that's progress, at least.

    But I still can't let go of the tissue box. When we had the first ultrasound last month, when I climbed up onto the table, I had R hand me the tissue box that was sitting on the counter. I wanted easy access to it in case it was bad news, plus it gave me something to hold and focus on. I still make him give it to me every single time.

    I tried reasoning with myself this afternoon, after the appointment. Realistically, I'm doing everything I can do to encourage this pregnancy to continue. If something's going to happen despite that, then it's going to happen. If I spend all this time worrying and everything turns out fine in the end, I will have tarnished an incredible experience with worry. And if I spend all this time worrying and it ends badly, all that worrying wouldn't reduce the grief. So I'm trying to let the worry go. Not necessarily very successfully, but I'm hoping I'll get better at it with practice.

    Whatever will be, will be. Maybe I should tattoo that on my forehead.

    September 11, 2011


    Here they are, pictures as promised.

    The first one is the most clear one from Friday's ultrasound. The head is on the right side, and the white triangle is the nose. I think the ultrasound tech said the straight right line below that is the upper mandible, and the white area below that is the jaw. The left foot is on the far left side of the image, and the right foot is the light white blob above the short bright white line. I'm not sure what that white line is or what the bright white line running along the bottom is - maybe the spine?

    This next photo is not the most attractive, so I can't quite believe I'm sharing it with you. But it is what it is. At least I don't have to show my face... :-)

    And let me just say, not all of that bump is baby, not by a long shot. Even when I weigh 40 pounds less than I do now, with a BMI that is in the "Healthy" range (i.e. below 25), if I were to wear something form-fitting, I'd still have the kind of stomach that makes people look and think "Hmm, is she or isn't she?" About 90% of my body fat tends to congregate in my belly, something that no amount of sit-ups or cardio seems to be able to change.

    From yesterday (11w1d):

    September 09, 2011


    There's a nose! I'm almost as excited about the nose as I was the toes.

    It's late, so I'll leave it at that for now and post more this weekend, maybe even an ultrasound pic and the first belly shot, if I get myself organized enough to scan in the first and take the second.

    I should have posted sooner, so I'm sorry if I worried anyone. Our appointment was toward the end of the day, and when we got home I took a long nap and then did something I haven't done in a couple months - cooked dinner.

    September 06, 2011

    My Body Is...Functioning??

    RE's office began weaning me off the meds last week, and we made the second change to the dosages over the weekend. I had blood drawn on Friday and again today. And even though we cut the PIO down to 1/2 a cc per day from 1 per day, my progesterone level rose a few points.

    I've been worried that my placenta wouldn't kick in, but apparently, my body is functioning. Correctly.

    I honestly don't know how to wrap my head around that. I've had, literally, 8 1/2 years of bad news about how my body doesn't function like it's supposed to, many of the malfunctions being fertility-related, others not. So this is new.

    I think the best way to explain how I feel is to say "Hopeful, but not yet trusting." The analogy that keeps coming to mind is having a relative who has an addiction and decides to check himself into rehab. You're hopeful, because he's taking a positive step in the right direction, but that doesn't mean that the day he walks out of there, you're going to be 100% trusting that he'll stay on the wagon permanently without the wheels falling off at some point. Building trust takes time.

    On the bright side, the ultrasound tech said that today I looked more calm than I have in the past. Apparently I've had a pretty wide-eyed, freaked out look up to this point. (Big surprise, I know!)

    And I was feeling pretty calm, until we were on the way over there and I realized it's 10w4d, and the only other ultrasound we've had during the 10th week was the one at 10w2d when we found out that Baby #5's heart had stopped.

    I had a few moments of panic where I thought maybe we should just skip the mid-week ultrasound this week - somehow 11w0d (Friday) sounded safer to me. (I didn't say logical, just safer...) But I kept those thoughts to myself and let R drive on.

    This time, the tech was able to see Kiddo well enough through an abdominal ultrasound that she didn't need to follow it up with the transvag approach. Heart still beating, still in the 160's, legs and arms had grown and were waving around a lot.

    Kiddo is measuring 2 days ahead of schedule. I just wish I could call my dad and tell him that. Today is the 4-month anniversary of his passing.

    September 05, 2011

    Venturing Out

    We didn't wind up going to the movies this weekend, mostly because the two movies I was most interested in are no longer in the theaters. But I did have R take me out to run a few errands.

    I think I overdid it a little bit, but everything still seems to be fine. I got out of breath walking from a parking lot to the back of a store, and then when we got to the grocery store, I had to sit at a table by the coffee kiosk, because I knew there was no way I was going to be able to make it around the store.

    I'm glad we're doing the twice-a-week appointments, because I seem to hit a point of concern around mid-day on Mondays. Today, I was concerned because I hadn't been feeling any stretchy/pulling feelings, which I've had pretty much every day. But thankfully, they're back again this evening.

    They've been feeling a little different the last couple of days - somewhat higher up than the groin area, and more sharp/pinchy than achey. So of course that makes me nervous, too. :-) But I've been telling myself that it's probably because my uterus is moving into a different position and it's (hopefully) starting to rise up a bit. Plus, this is a couple weeks further than it's ever stretched before, so the change to sharp/pinchy makes sense.

    I'm curious what all of you think about renting a doppler? I would have expected myself to already have ordered one, but I haven't. I think I'm worried about how I would react if I couldn't find the heartbeat. R thinks it will just cause me extra worry and stress.

    And one last question. I just switched over to the new Blogger interface before the last post, and even though I'm still entering two returns after the end of each paragraph, now I'm having to put in line break tags to prevent the posts from being one giant paragraph. I never had to do that with the old interface. Am I doing something wrong, or are any of you having the same issue?

    September 02, 2011

    Double Digits

    I'm beginning to feel like a broken record, but in a good way.

    There's still a heartbeat. It was down to 167 or 168 today (from 182 a week ago), but I know it usually peaks at about 9 weeks and then starts to slow back down again, so I'm trying not to worry. Both the u/s tech and the peri said it was fine.

    We are finally into the double digits! Kiddo measured at 10w1d today, so 1 day ahead of schedule and almost exactly 1.5 inches in length. My retroverted uterus has also started to move into the correct position, although the tech guessed it'll probably take another couple weeks to get completely straightened out.

    Today, Kiddo was on his/her stomach, the head slightly lower than the body. We could see an arm waving and the body moving a lot, but we couldn't really see the legs/feet today. No toe viewings. :- (

    Since I haven't had any bleeding in 15 days, the peri said I can start to do light activity around the house. No exericsing, no heavy housework (ha! Even when I'm not pregnant, heavy housework is not likely to happen), no returning to work yet. She said we can discuss returning to the office during next Friday's appointment, depending on how the week goes. I did get permission to go to a movie, though, so I'm looking forward to an out-of-the-house adventure that does not involve lab work or an ultrasound wand...

    The Tuesday ultrasound really helped with the stress factor - I was more calm going into this ultrasound than any of the prior ones. Of course, the fact that I had to go to the bathroom about 15 times yesterday (literally) and felt nauseous this morning also helped, too.

    But I'm still only scheduling appointments one week at a time. I'm happy, I'm thankful, but I'm still taking this in very small increments.

    August 30, 2011


    It's amazing what a difference four days can make.

    I did okay through the weekend, but then yesterday I started to really freak out again about my lack of symptoms. I was in tears. (Perhaps I should count being overly emotional as a symptom?)

    So after talking with a friend who encouraged me to just go in and get scanned again for the peace of mind, I finally gave in, called the peri's office and told them I need to come in twice a week for a while. They were great, as usual, so I'll be doing Tuesday ultrasounds and Friday ultrasounds and appointments.

    I was so incredibly nervous this morning. I haven't been tired or nauseous or had headaches since Friday, and the need to go to the bathroom isn't quite as strong anymore either, so I was really trying to prepare for bad news. But thankfully the heartbeat was immediately visible.

    Kiddo is measuring on track - four days of growth since Friday. And instead of arm and leg stubs, there are now longer arms and legs, and even feet and toes! We could see where the bones are starting to form/harden in the head and in the toes.

    Technically the toes looked more like a dog or cat paw at this point, and we could only see three or four of them on each foot, but hopefully they will all be there when they're supposed to be. :-)

    I couldn't believe how much more human-like Kiddo looked today even compared with just a few days ago.

    On Friday, I know I blogged that I was more terrified than happy after the ultrasound. But this time, there was just huge relief and the same kind of happiness I felt after the first few ultrasounds. Hopefully this will carry me through to Friday's appointment without too much of the crazy reappearing before then.

    R is laughing at me - I just keep saying "Toes! There are toes!"

    August 26, 2011

    In New Territory

    Heart rate 182 (up from 167), Kiddo measuring 8w6d, which the peri said is fine even though today is actually 9w0d.

    So, this is a new milestone - the furthest we've ever gotten with a heartbeat before is 8w1d.

    With the first three ultrasounds, I felt a huge relief as soon as we saw the heartbeat, and I was so incredibly happy for a few days after. (Well, 12 hours in the case of the first ultrasound, since I started bleeding a lot again the day after that one.)

    The odd thing is, I don't feel that way this time.

    Of course, there was relief as soon as the tech said there was a heartbeat. (I still refuse to look at the screen until the heartbeat is announced.) But now, I just feel mostly...terrified.

    I don't know what to do in this place. I don't know what to expect from here, what it's supposed to feel like, how it's supposed to go.

    With all of our other pregnancies that got to the point of ultrasound, there was always just an oddly shaped gestational sac, or in the case of pregnancy number four, something that looked like a large white grain of rice, with kind of a large end (the head) on the 8w1d u/s. The ob's office just had a regular-resolution ultrasound machine.

    I've been thrilled that the peri's office has such a high-resolution machine that makes it easier to see things. And it is pretty cool.


    But - this week there was very clearly a head. There are little leg buds and little arm buds. And a torso. He/she wiggled.

    Kiddo is not just a large white grain of rice anymore. This time, the ultrasound tech typed "Baby" on the screen where Kiddo is for the pictures she printed out for us. Up until this point, it's always been "Embryo".

    I've been attached to and grieved every one of the seven babies we've lost. I've felt the loss, even of the second one, which I realized on a Sunday I was pregnant, we got the faintest of faint lines on Monday morning, the beta that morning turned out to be 5, and I was bleeding by 2 p.m., so I barely even had a chance to realize I was pregnant before it was over.

    But this, this would be a whole other kind of loss, a whole other kind of grieving if it were to end badly. And each week, it becomes more so.

    So, like I said, terrified.

    But on the bright side, the peri really understands. She said if I need to come in more than once a week for reassurance, that's totally fine. She's had some patients who came in every day for ultrasounds for a while, until they got to a point where they started to feel more comfortable. R's head shot up when she said that - I think he was trying to figure out how on earth he'd shuffle work meetings every day if I decided to go that route. :-)

    I think I'm going to try to stick with once a week appointments, because if there's bad news, I'd just rather get it at the end of the week than the beginning. But if I start to stress, I may take them up on extra ultrasounds.

    I need to go get progesterone/estrogen drawn for RE, and his nurse mentioned that I'll probably start weaning based on those results. I'm going to ask her to let me wean a little slower than usual, because I can only imagine how freaked out that will make me.

    I'm trying to be hopeful that my body can work correctly without the extra meds. The peri asked if I'd started getting headaches this week, and I have. She said that's usually a sign of the placenta's hormone production kicking in.

    So add headaches to the list of things I hope to keep having, in addition to nausea and stretchy feelings...

    August 24, 2011

    Chant With Me

    Thou shall not get thy hopes up too high.

    Thou shall not get thy hopes up too high.

    Thou shall not get thy hopes up too high.

    A couple days ago, it was a constant repetition of "Please, please, please let there still be a heartbeat." I swing back and forth like that. Right now I've been feeling nauseous for several hours, so I'm back to "Thou shall not...", trying to keep hope in check.

    If there is a heartbeat on Friday (9w0d), it will be a new milestone for us. The furthest along we've ever been when seeing a heartbeat was 8w1d, four years ago this month.

    I did well for about 3 1/2 days after the last ultrasound. I didn't have a lot of symptoms on Sunday, but after being a constant shade of green on Friday and Saturday, I was kind of okay with that. But only for a day.

    So when there were still no symptoms on Monday, I started to get nervous again. Then it occurred to me that during the pregnancy four years ago, the ob thought the baby likely died within a few days after that 8w1d ultrasound. I realized that I was at 8w3d - a few days after 8w1d - and the nervousness escalated to anxiety.

    On top of that, I noticed vaginal discharge that was different than anything else I've experienced so far (I'll spare you the details) after all the fiber I'd been eating finally took effect.

    I caved and called the peri's office.

    I love that place. They are all so nice and understanding. The nurse called me back and reassured me that everything sounded perfectly normal.

    Still not very many symptoms yesterday, still very nervous. Then this morning I started feeling nauseous about 15 minutes before a major phone presentation I was giving (from bed, involving about a dozen people from our largest client, with my mom huddled in her bedroom with the dogs, me praying they would stay quiet and not give away the fact that I'm at home). I figured it was just nerves about the call, though, especially since it went away after the call was over.

    But then it came back again late this afternoon, and it's stuck with me. Which makes me slightly green again, but happy nonetheless.

    And trying desperately to keep hope reigned in.

    P.S. Thank you all for the comments and ideas on fighting the morning sickness on my last post. And a special thank you here (since I don't think you have a blog) to A for delurking. :-)

    August 20, 2011

    About That Lack of Symptoms...

    Not so much a problem any more.

    I woke up yesterday with a major case of morning sickness that lasted until falling asleep last night, and within an hour or so of getting up this morning, it was back again. There have been several times I thought I might actually throw up, but so far I haven't. I've had morning sickness with other pregnancies, but it's been more mild - never to the point of almost throwing up.

    Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining. I'll deal with it if it means all of this turns out okay.

    I'm open to suggestions on what's worked to help minimize it. R is at the store shopping for ginger ale, gingersnaps, chicken noodle soup, pretzels, and an acupressure wrist band.

    Right now I'm munching on saltines and 7 Up. I feel okay as long as I'm eating, but a few minutes after I stop, the nausea sets in again. And I figure eating my way through it for 16 hours straight is probably not going to be the best approach, at least not from a weight gain perspective...

    There were also a lot of strechy/pulling feelings yesterday. Normally I feel them but they don't bother me per se, but yesterday it was enough that I was contemplating taking some tylenol. I think my pain threshold was just unusually low because I was already feeling not great from the nausea.

    Overall, I'm thankful for the symptoms. I just keep trying to remind myself that having symptoms now does not necessarily equal the outcome we hope for down the road. It's still waaaaayy too soon to get our hopes up...

    August 18, 2011

    Emotionally Spent but Still Incubating

    We wound up going in unexpectedly this afternoon. Heart rate is 167 (up from 130 last week), and Kiddo is measuring exactly on target - 7w6d.

    I had been totally braced for bad news.

    We weren't going to move up the appointment. But then this afternoon, there was bright red blood once again. I hadn't expected it - after 8 days of no bleeding or spotting, I thought we were over that. I was hoping that tomorrow I'd get permission to get up and start moving around. Instead, I am still on bed rest until further notice.

    If the bleeding had been the only thing concerning me, I would have just crawled back in bed to see if it would slow down (there wasn't as much as some of the other times, and it is slowing down now) and waited until tomorrow.

    But because of feeling normal, noticing that the stretching/pulling feelings had slowed down to pretty much non-existent by yesterday, and realizing at 5 a.m. today that I'd screwed up my estrace pill dosing for the last 4 days (more on that in a minute), I couldn't wait.

    I called and texted R, but he wasn't responding. It comes in handy sometimes that he and his dad work in the same company, about 20 feet from each other, because I called his dad and asked him to track R down.

    The only thing that kept me semi-calm was that I wasn't feeling much pain, and no cramping. Still, I was trying to prepare myself for bad news. Instead, the tech said "Everything couldn't look more perfect." She looked thoroughly to see what might be causing the bleeding, but still couldn't find anything.

    One thing I was worried about was my estrogen level, but the peri doesn't think that would have been enough to cause a problem.

    I woke up as usual in the middle of the night last night, but this time I realized I wasn't having the night sweats that I get every night. Then it dawned on me that I had forgotten to take the evening dose of my estrace.

    And that led me to realize that I'd also been forgetting my morning dose for the last 4 days. I had filled my pill boxes for the week on Saturday, but I kept the estrace bottle on my nightstand to remind me of my evening dose, and I forgot to grab it when I was filling the boxes. Between two thyroid meds, Vitamin D, the extra folic acid pills, the aspirin, the dexamethasone, and the anti-depressant and probably a couple of others I'm forgetting, it's a pretty full, colorful box of pills, and I just didn't notice.

    I am still doing four patches every other day, though, and I was only missing one dose of the pills a day, so I imagine my level dropped a little bit but hopefully not enough to really cause a problem.

    RE's nurse wouldn't commit to saying "no" when I asked outright "This won't hurt the pregnancy, will it?" But the peri doesn't seem to think it would.

    The next ultrasound is in 8 days (next Friday), although the peri said they will absolutely fit us in earlier if the need arises.

    Can someone make it be spring already? Please? Anyone?

    August 17, 2011

    The Weekly Pre-Appointment Freakout Commences

    I was doing so well. After last Friday's appointment, I had 4 days of being relatively calm and normal. I even started a draft post about how I am enjoying this pregnancy, really, even though it's also been stressful.

    But zen only lasts so long.

    I woke up in the middle of the night Monday night as usual when the dog wanted to be let out. Usually I'll lay there for a moment, trying to determine if she's really up and wanting to go out or if she's just readjusting her sleeping position and will go back to bed, and try to close my eyes and go back to sleep. But it's generally useless, because at that point my bladder has made itself known and there's no ignoring it.

    Except when I woke up in the middle of Monday night, I felt like I could go back to sleep. I rolled over, closed my eyes again, then realized my bladder wasn't calling out to me and went pretty much straight into a full-blown anxiety attack.

    I'm afraid my uterus is shrinking and not pressing on my bladder as much. I'm also not as bloated - I just feel more normal in general.

    Also, the stretchy, pulling feelings I'd been having (I assume round ligament pains) had been occuring kind of all over, including on the sides of my pelvis. But now I'm only feeling them down low, so for some reason now I'm thinking that those feelings are really the reverse of stretching - that they're further signs of my uterus shrinking back down.

    Plus, I'm getting a kind of mild burning feeling in my cervix that I get right before my period is about to start. And I had been crashing for a nap every day around 5 p.m., but last night I was fine - didn't need a nap at all.

    This morning, I think my chest is shrinking back down as well. There was a tape measure involved, but I forgot to write down yesterday's measurement, so I can't be positive, but I'm about 99% sure I was bigger yesterday.

    There's no bleeding. The last bright pink/red I saw was a week ago today. The only stuff I've seen this week seems to be a little bit of vaginal/cervical irritation since I restarted the aspirin/Lovenox on Saturday.

    I know all of this sounds crazy. But during the other pregnancy where we saw a heart beat, we saw it at 8w1d, and around 9w1d I told R that I wasn't growing any more. My stomach wasn't getting any bigger (I popped really early that time) and my chest also stopped growing, but even more than those signs, I just had a feeling that something was wrong, and I started to physically feel normal (non-pregnant normal).

    At the ultrasound the week after that, we learned that the baby had died a few days after the previous ultrasound. I had a D&C a few days later (about 2 weeks after the approximate day of death), and I never had any spotting or bleeding during those 2 weeks, so not having any bleeding now isn't reassuring me all that much. (Although obviously I'd rather have no bleeding than bleeding.)

    I have work meetings for the next two days that I need to attend. I'm afraid to call and see if I can move up our next ultrasound appointment in case it's bad news, so I'm going to wait at least until tomorrow afternoon to call, but I'll probably try to make it all the way to Friday's appointment (54 hours at this point) if possible.

    This calls for some heavy-duty self-soothing. Ice cream may be involved in breakfast. If I put it in a blender, I can call it a smoothie instead of a sundae, right?

    August 15, 2011

    Cabin Fever

    Today is the 24th day of bed rest, and the scenery is starting to look a little monotonous. I can't really complain too much, though, because it's R who is getting the shortest end of the stick.

    The poor guy is doing all the laundry, grocery shopping, and cooking by himself, not to mention running up and down the stairs to bring me food and take dirty dishes away.

    Meanwhile, I lay here looking at the exercise room that is attached to our bedroom. Which, mind you, I never seem to be able to find the time to use under normal circumstances.

    But sitting here with a treadmill, elliptical machine, stationary bike, and a large collection of weights within my peripheral vision, I wind up thinking about my fitness. Or rather, lack of it.

    Which leads me to think about R's lack of fitness. And his super stressful job that just got more stressful a few weeks ago when his boss retired and he was given a lot of those responsibilities to take over (with no promotion/raise). And the fact that we're not 25 any more. And all the horror stories you hear about seemingly healthy if somewhat out of shape men in their early 40s with high levels of stress who keel over unexpectedly.

    So I decided it was time for action. I wielded the primary tool available to me at the moment - my laptop.

    R now has a shiny new schedule of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises to do. It works out to an average of about 35 minutes a day.

    Did I mention he hates to exercise?

    He's wondering how the heck we've landed in this alternate universe where he's climbing hills on the treadmill while I cheer him on from bed. I tell him it reduces my stress level to know that he's going to be taking better care of himself, and the lower my stress, the better for the Kiddo. No, I'm not above guilting him into it...

    I'm not sure he's entirely buying it, but he's exercising. So far, anyway.

    August 11, 2011

    Today's Sign Said...

    Continue to see where this path takes us.

    The embryo measured 7w0d (today is 6w6d), and the heart rate increased from 102 last week to 130. The ultrasound tech, who was the same one as last week, said she could also see the beginning of something (I have no idea what, I was too busy trying to soak in the fact that there's still a heartbeat) that is the next thing that's supposed to develop, so that's a good sign.

    She still couldn't see any sign of what might be causing the bleeding, but she said subchorionic hematomas can be difficult to spot, especially if they're small, and if I bled it out, it wouldn't be visible.

    We met with the perinatologist for the first time. I liked her. She talked through each of my issues, and the entire appointment from start to finish took more than 2 hours.

    She doesn't think the Lovenox and aspirin are necessarily related to the bleeding, so I need to talk with the RI's office about those. She does not appear to be a fan of IVIg, but she did say it was our choice whether to continue doing it. (We will.) I'm supposed to stay on bedrest for the forseeable future.

    The medical assistant who went over the paperwork I filled out before the nurse came in mentioned that I'll have to get registered at the hospital at some point. I think she said 20 weeks. That's so far from my mind, I wasn't really paying attention.

    As soon as she said it, I had a total reaction and kind of caught her off guard. I told her not to jinx things and that if I get to 30 weeks - if!! - then maybe we can discuss that kind of stuff. Apparently I would have to do it before then (again, if we make it that far, still not wanting to jinx it by thinking so far ahead) because they need me to be registered there in case something happens and I have to go in early. But seriously, did we need to talk about that now, when I'm still one day shy of 7 weeks??

    And due dates. Okay, seriously people, they keep insisting on talking about this. Last week the ultrasound tech told us. (I refuse to say what it is, so just look at July 13 as 2w5d and count forward from there if you really want to know.) Today when the doctor finished examining me, she said it, but she posed it as a question for me to confirm.

    I think my face blanched.

    I explained that we made the mistake of calculating the due date on the very first pregnancy, and it just became a painful day, so we don't like to know anymore. I suppose it's no surprise, then, that later on in the conversation she asked if I have a therapist...

    And then we got to the checkout desk and had to make appointments. Plural. The peri had told us to go ahead and book weekly appointments for the next month or so.

    I couldn't do it. It just seems too audacious to assume I'm going to need that many appointments.

    R finally talked me into making two appointments and suggested that starting next week, each week we'll just make one more appointment, so we'll always have two booked, we'll just be able to book them one at a time from this point on. He doesn't try to fight the crazy anymore - he knows it's just better to work with it. :-)

    It seemed like a semi-decent compromise, so I took a deep breath, tried to relax, and told the lady working at the desk that we wanted to make appointments for the next two Fridays.

    Her response (with a cheery smile): "Sure, no problem. What's your due date?"

    Does anyone know how to selectively erase something (a date) from one's brain?