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!