December 31, 2013

18 Years (And Still Incubating, I Hope)

So the Christmas Eve ultrasound went well - Kiddo's heart rate was up to 150, and s/he was measuring 7w4d (one day ahead). The sac continued to look better, and the neural tube (where the spinal cord will grow) was visible as a thin black line in the middle of Kiddo's body.

Now I am counting down the hours to the next ultrasound, which is on Friday afternoon. It's about 64 hours away at this point. There's no reason to think anything is wrong, but I am nervous. There has been persistent brown blood almost every time I wipe, and occasionally a bit of pink, but no bright red since one week before Christmas. Most days, I've had mild nausea that usually starts around noon and lasts for most of the rest of the day.

So what's making me nervous? Well, I haven't been feeling as much round ligament pain or joint loosening the last couple of days. And I just don't feel as pregnant. I lost that "pregnant" feeling during the beginning of week 9 with pregnancy #4, and then we found out the following week that that Kiddo's heart had stopped beating during the 8th week. But then again, I also lost that "pregnant" feeling with Miss A during her 8th week, and she was still in there, heart beating strongly. My uterus is probably still too tilted to hear anything with the home Doppler that I have, so I've decided (so far - I could certainly cave at any point) not to torture myself by trying to use it.

In the meantime, plenty of other things have been keeping me occupied.

First of all was the magic of Christmas. It was wonderful with Miss A last year, but even better this year! She was able to tear the paper off her gifts much more easily, and she has several that she loved. We got her a set of traditional wooden blocks, and one of her favorite things to do is stack them high and then watch them fall over. It is the first time she has full-on belly laughed. Up until now, there have been lots and lots of giggles, but for some reason, the site of blocks falling over (even if it's just 2 or 3) brings out the biggest laugh that she has ever had. It is so much fun to experience that with her!

She also loves her little rider, complete with drum, horn, and keyboard. She rides it around the house, and we also try to go for a walk with her around the neighborhood whenever we can. It's great exercise for all of us. (And, selfishly, we always hope all that exercise leads to a long, deep nap afterward. :-) )

In addition to the holiday, the end of the year also brings our wedding anniversary. R has been putting up with me for 18 years now. We celebrated by going out to breakfast, then coming home and trying to clean up as much as possible. (These days, we've gotta take those rare opportunities when we get them!) After that, we went to a movie, which we haven't done since Miss A was born, and then out to dinner. Overall, it was a lovely day and a great chance to spend some time re-connecting one-on-one, even if it was while we were picking up the house.

The other thing that has been keeping me distracted and busy is work. We're getting ready to enter our busiest time of year tomorrow, so the last few weeks of December and first few weeks of January are always crazy busy, with an early start to the day once the year begins. (I'll be working on and off tomorrow, and starting work at 5 a.m. beginning on Thursday for the next couple of weeks.)

There have been a lot of interesting changes at work this year with a new team being formed, and figuring out how that new team will work with the existing teams, including the one that I am on. A couple of days before Christmas, one of my co-workers approached me with an offer to join the new team that has formed.

There are pros and cons to this. The particular offer she made to me is probably the only time I will get an offer like this in my career, so it warrants serious consideration. On the other hand, I feel like any time you make a transition to a new position, even if it's with a company you're already with and with colleagues you already work with, it requires stepping up your time/energy/effort commitment.

I have not talked with my co-worker about the Kiddo situation yet. We are meeting to discuss the offer some more on Friday before the ultrasound. I will probably wait to see how that goes before saying anything about it. It's still early, and I'd rather wait until the second trimester (early February) to share that news. But if I do wind up transitioning to the new team, I don't think I'll be able to wait that long. All of the colleagues I'd be working closely with are in another state, and I will need to explain that I can't travel to meet them.

We'll see what happens, both with Kiddo and with the job situation, in the new year. 2013 has been an incredible year. Here's hoping that 2014 is equally incredible, not only for us, but for all of you, especially those of you who are awaiting your miracles this coming year!

December 21, 2013

Still Incubating (7w0d)

Every time I start to think things are settling down, I wind up seeing a pinkish color that is closer to red than I am comfortable with. After a while, things turn back to brown, and the cycle seems to start over. So hopefully things won't change in a drastically negative way after I post this update...

We had ultrasound #3 yesterday morning. Thankfully, I have not passed any other large clots since Monday night, and the last truly, definitively, without-question-it's-bright-red-blood incident was Wednesday morning. So I knew the gestational sac was still in there, and I was hopeful there was still a heartbeat.

There was, and it's speeding up appropriately - 135 bpm. Growth is exactly on track, measuring 6w6d, which is what yesterday was.

It's amazing how much an embryo changes in such a short period of time. There was less than 94 hours between ultrasound #1 and ultrasound #3. At #1, the baby was measuring 0.66 cm and looked like an ever-so-slightly curved line attached to a circle (the yolk sac). By yesterday, it was 0.87 cm, it was obvious which end was the head and which end was the rump, and the ultrasound tech said she could see the brain beginning to form. Incredible.

That is one of the silver linings of all the infertility/pregnancy drama we have to endure - we get a view of our Kiddo's in utero development that few people ever get to experience. It is so amazing to witness it.

The gestational sac looked a bit better, too. Still not as perfectly shaped as I'd like to be comfortable, but not nearly as squished by the hematoma as it looked on Tuesday. The tech who did our ultrasound yesterday was the one who had done most of our ultrasounds with Miss A. She hadn't done the first two this week, but she said she looked at my images from Tuesday before calling us into her room, and she was very happy about the way the sac looked compared to Tuesday. She couldn't see much fluid in the sac on Tuesday, and that had concerned her.

To me, the hematoma still looked about the same size as it did on Tuesday, but R said he thought it looked smaller, and when the tech measured it, she said it had shrunk considerably, from 16 ml to 5 ml. (She measured the width and height, but gave me the volume measurement. I'm not sure why. The tech on Tuesday did the same thing.

Based on how that scan went, we decided to go ahead and do the next round of IVIG. It's scheduled for Monday at 4 p.m., and the next ultrasound is scheduled for the next morning, on Christmas Eve.

For now, we are just continuing to take things one day at a time, and I am trying to stay off my feet as much as possible. Today, I've been feeling some low-grade nausea all day, along with a slight sensitivity to smells. My progesterone and estrogen meds have not been increased, so I am hoping that is a sign that my body is starting to kick in with its own contribution of hormones. Whatever the reason, nausea always makes me so happy. (Especially low-grade, but I'd even be thrilled with the lay-in-front-of-the-toilet-all-day variety.)

R laughs when I get so excited about it, but what can I say? I love every moment that I feel pregnant. And since we can't exactly afford our own personal in-home ultrasound machine so that I can see visible proof of the pregnancy at all times, I'll gladly take nausea as some form of reassurance.

December 17, 2013

Not Feeling Confident About This

Ultrasound #2 wound up being this afternoon. As of now, I am still incubating, but we are not feeling great about the chances.

I wound up having a lot more bleeding last night. I knew at least some of the hematoma had evacuated, I just wasn't sure if it had taken the baby with it. Unfortunately, the RI says that I need another round of IVIG, so I wanted to make sure there was a reason to do it before we fork out another $4,000.

The heart rate had increased by 3, and there was a day's growth. So, yea for those things.

Unfortunately, not all of the clot had liquefied, and the part that is still in there is pressing on the gestational sac. From what I've read online, in general, SCH tends to increase risk of miscarriage to about 10 percent. But the peri gave us only 50/50 odds since the clot is taking up more than half of the uterine cavity. She thinks if this does not go our way, it will probably end within the next week.

The bleeding stopped by this afternoon, and I was hoping that would be the end of it, but bright red has shown up again, and I'm starting to feel pain again.

I know there is a chance this could still work out, and we're not discounting that. But on the other hand, because it is a large clot, that makes me a bit nervous about what our increased risks would be if this pregnancy does continue. Large SCHs tend to be associated with higher risk of placental abruption, PPROM, and pre-term labor.

The peri wanted us to still keep our Friday morning ultrasound appointment, although she said if something else significant happens between now and then, they will bring me in sooner. Without me even saying anything about it, she also said she wants to monitor me 2 or 3 times a week until this resolves, instead of the planned weekly appointment. I appreciate her concern, but honestly, at this point I know there's not really much that can be done other than wait and see. So unless I wind up in a situation again like last night, where I'm not sure I'm still pregnant, I may try to stick with weekly appointments.

R and I also decided to hold off on the IVIG for now. If this pregnancy ends, I don't think it will be because of lack of a second round of IVIG - it will be because of the hematoma. The RI's nurse said they believe IVIG can help heal SCH. I did some searching online, and the doctor's (Beer) thought was that elevated NK cells can contribute to hematomas. But the thing is, my NK levels and my T-reg levels were fine as of the most recent testing last week. The only thing that was elevated (34.7, when they want it to be below 30) was cytokines. And, I did a round of IVIG right before the transfer, and yet the SCH still developed, so I don't think IVIG is necessarily the solution to this particular hematoma.

December 16, 2013

So Much for 'Normal'

About that last post - everything uneventful, no bleeding, no staining. Yeah, not so much anymore.

The bright red bleeding started this morning, followed by back pain and general lower pelvic achiness. I called the perinatologist's office and got our first ultrasound moved up from Wednesday to today.

I was totally expecting bad news. So imagine my surprise when there was a heartbeat - 121 bpm at 6w2d, and the Kiddo measured at 6w3d.

I also knew as soon as I saw the ultrasound screen that there is a large subchorionic hematoma in there, too. It looked slightly larger than the gestational sac. The ultrasound tech said that the uterus is still small at this point, so it all looks close together, but the Kiddo is actually on one side of the uterus and the hematoma is on the other. So at least it's not right under it. I'm choosing to be thankful for that.

There's not really anything to do but stay as hydrated as possible and keep my feet up as much as possible, which is tough to do when the Little Miss is home. And right now she's feeling ill, so I think she's going to wind up being home all day tomorrow.

The next ultrasound is scheduled for Friday morning. I had a lot more bleeding this afternoon, so I don't know what the current state of things is, but there's no point in going in every day for ultrasounds - there's nothing anyone can really do but wait and see and pray.

I've said for a long time that I'd like three Kiddos. But if we are fortunate enough to wind up with two, it's very possible we may stop at that point. I forget how hard this is until I'm in the middle of it.

December 10, 2013

This is Bizarre

Today is 5w3d. I had blood drawn yesterday to check E2 and P4 levels. The results came in this afternoon: normal.

"Normal" is not what we normally experience. This feels very bizarre, surreal.

It's still very early. I've gotten this far before, only to have it fall apart. But so far, there has been no bleeding, and there hasn't even been any staining in the last couple of weeks.

The first ultrasound is scheduled for the afternoon of the 18th, which is a week from tomorrow. Assuming nothing starts to look wrong between now and then. That will be 6w4d, so if this is truly on track, a heartbeat should be visible at that point.

The perinatologist's office has a new receptionist. Everyone there is fantastic, they totally get all the mental stuff that IF inflicts on their patients. But I don't think the receptionist has much experience with that yet.

She asked who my ob was. I explained that I don't have one - Dr. H manages my entire pregnancy from start to finish. She insisted that I need a regular ob. I told her I would not go to one. She put me on hold, came back, and proceeded to schedule the appointment.

Then she asked when my last menstrual period was. I had to explain about the FET. I told her I would give her the LMP date, but only if she promised to not tell me what the estimated due date is. I told her that I know vaguely that it would be sometime next summer, and I don't want to know anything more specific than that at this point.

Then I brought up that I want the ultrasound tech who did my first ultrasound with Miss A to also do this first ultrasound. She explained that they don't schedule a specific ultrasound tech, only the doctor. I replied that I know that, and I still want that particular ultrasound tech to be the one to do it. She had to put me on hold again to confirm that the tech will be there that day. (She will.)

I swear I could hear the receptionist's eyes rolling skyward. I totally recognize that I give a whole new level of meaning to the words "difficult patient". And frankly, at this point, I don't care.

Emily Erin, since you don't have a blog that I can comment on to answer your question - We did the immune testing before this cycle. We had already decided that regardless of the testing, we would not do LIT again, even if it means never having another child. The situation at the border has changed significantly since we went 3 years ago. The process requires both of us to go, and we just weren't comfortable with the risk, given that Miss A is here now. Thankfully, the testing showed that we did not need LIT again.

It showed that I did need IVIG. While I was pregnant with Miss A, I had great insurance that covered it. Unfortunately, that insurance changed in June, and IVIG is no longer covered. However, we do feel that the immune treatments we did were what made the difference to result in success last time, so we paid out of pocket. It's expensive - the initial testing was about $1,300, the IVIG itself was $3,500 (I need to lose some weight - the amount is based on weight, and the cost is based on amount), the nursing fee for it was another $400, and the next round of testing, which I had drawn yesterday, was another $1,000.

I wound up doing 3 rounds of IVIG with Miss A. If they recommend that I do it again, we'll have to move some balances around on credit cards, but we'll do it. Assuming this all ends well and we try for a third child at some point, we may give it a try without IVIG and see what happens. Maybe if it works twice, my body will start to recognize that it's okay to allow kiddos to grow in there...

When I was pregnant with Miss A, eventually the monthly testing cost settled down to about $400, so hopefully we'll get to that point again soon. Between that, co-pays (I have to pay one every visit, because it's a perinatologist rather than a regular ob/gyn), co-insurance, and meds, the pregnancy with Miss A cost us about $1,000 per month out of pocket. Paying IVIG out of pocket, this one is going to average $1,500 to $2,500 per month, depending on how many rounds we wind up needing to do. That's $12,000 to $20,000 before the kiddo even arrives, assuming I go through 8 months of pregnancy like with Miss A. And that's not counting the cost of the transfer or travel for the transfer.

Tenants moved into our old house at the end of last month. Now we need the real estate market to keep improving at a healthy (not crazy, but healthy) rate for the next couple of years to have any hopes of paying all this stuff off...

December 02, 2013

2nd beta

I spent all day biting my nails, then got a call from the clinic at 5:45 p.m. saying they hadn't received the results yet from the local REs office where I had it drawn. Fortunately, I was able to get a hold of the local RE, and he was still in the office.

Beta #2: 329, a doubling time of about 41 hours. And P4 is up to 45. Yea!

Out of all 8 pregnancies, I believe these are the best beta numbers I've ever had. (With Miss A, the first beta was 2 points higher, but the second one didn't double.) It still doesn't feel real.

Assuming there are no concerning signs that appear in the meantime, the next steps are repeat E2 and P4 in a week, and then an ultrasound in a little more than 2 weeks. With Miss A's pregnancy, we wound up doing our first ultrasound on 6w0d. That would be a Saturday in this case, so we won't be doing it on that day. I'd like to hold out until 6w5d if possible this time around. We'll see what happens - that is still too far off to talk confidently about it. I likely won't even call the perinatologist's office to schedule it until about 1 week before, assuming we get that far...

In the meantime, we are having such a blast with Little Miss this holiday season. My mom put up a 4-foot tree today, and when Miss A came home, she saw it, let out a happy squeal, and ran right to it. She stared at it with such joy, so mesmerized, reaching out to gently touch the ornaments. That angelic look - pure childlike joy and delight - was such a beautiful, amazing thing to witness. We continue to be so thankful, every day, and not just because it's the season of thanksgiving.

December 01, 2013

1st Beta Results

It would be really nice to have a time where a nurse called with test results that were nothing but good news, but we don't seem to have that kind of luck. I knew immediately from her tone of voice that not everything was ideal.

HCG - 147 (With the pg that resulted in Miss A, it was 149, but we transferred 2 that time, and we think that both initially stuck. This time, we only transferred 1.)

E2 - 300-something. Normal.

Progesterone - 14-point-something. This is the issue. I didn't even ask and she didn't say, but I think it's supposed to be above 20. She asked if I was doing the suppositories 3 times a day. (I am.) She confirmed that I am taking the PIO daily instead of every other day like their typical protocol. (I am.) She made sure I'm using a 1.5" needle and not a 1" needle. (It's 1.5".) Then she sounded stumped. So she told me to bump my PIO to 1.5 ml, up from 1 ml. She's not sure the increase will show up within 2 days, so tomorrow's number might still be low.

I'm not overly freaked out about the progesterone level at this point. With Miss A's pg, my level dropped down to 5-point-something. That was back when the clinic's standard protocol was suppositories only, and no PIO, and at that point, they had me add PIO. So from that perspective, 14 isn't horrible. And when I tried to wean from the progesterone with Miss A, my numbers dropped down below 20, and that was when I was at the end of the first trimester. So I figure to be at 14 at this point isn't all that bad, comparatively speaking.

What's worrying me more is that I've continued to do daily FRERs, and the line is not getting darker. Yesterday's line was about as dark as the control line, but this morning's looked slightly lighter than yesterday's line. R was a quick thinker, and managed to be pretty convincing when he said he thought the control line looked lighter than yesterday's, too, so he thought it was just a variation in the test, and not necessarily a reflection of a declining HCG level. (Both were tested with FMU, and both were from the same box.)

On the bright side, there has been no more staining. We'll see what tomorrow's repeat tests show. Even if all the numbers look good, we're certainly not anywhere close to out of the woods. I'm only 4w1d today, and it's usually between 6-8 weeks when things have fallen apart for us in the past.

November 29, 2013

Here We Go Again

So, the second line seemed to be darkening appropriately. After testing twice a day Monday and Tuesday, I managed to limit myself to just once a day on Wednesday and yesterday.

And now there is pink. Sigh.

I was happy with how the line looked yesterday morning. And throughout the day, I was nauseous and completely, totally exhausted, to the point that I only made one of the three dishes I was planning to make for dinner, since I kept having to lay down to rest. Then once we got to R's parents house, I couldn't even manage to stay at the dinner table the whole time because I was so tired.

We got home, and I saw a tiny spot of pink. It was accompanied by a little bit of progesterone suppository gunk (sorry, TMI), so I wasn't too worried about it.

Then, when I had to get up at 4 a.m. to go to the bathroom again, this time there was pink staining. And when I laid back down, there was pain. I wouldn't exactly call it cramping, but it was something, and it didn't feel like uterine stretching pains. I know all of that can be "normal" at this point, but I'd prefer not to have any of it happening.

I was going to forego the HPT this morning, but since I continued to see staining, I decided to do it. Fortunately, the test line was significantly darker than yesterday's. It's now to the point of being the same darkness as the control line. And the staining turned to brown and seems to have tapered off. But I have had plenty of energy today, which concerns me a bit.

The first blood test is tomorrow morning. I will once again be HPTing and comparing the line to this morning's line. And the number won't really tell us a whole lot until Monday, when we'll have information about whether it's continuing to rise, and if so, how much.

We will see what happens. So far, I am just thankful for pregnancy #8, regardless of how long it lasts. I am truly enjoying this, and this time, I have not yet felt any of the underlying fear that I experienced with Miss A's pregnancy. We still desperately want this to work, of course, but us becoming parents is no longer dependent on it, so that does seem to be taking some of the pressure off. Just one more thing on a very, very long list of things we are incredibly thankful for this season.

November 25, 2013

I Am Not a Patient Person

Transfer (of one day 5 blast) was on Thursday. My first blood test is scheduled for Saturday. And just how long did I last before I caved and ripped open a FRER? Exactly 94 hours post-transfer (4dp5dt). It wasn't even FMU.

I could be crazy, but I think I see the faintest bit of a faint, faint second line that was visible after about 2 minutes and is still visible. I even got out one of Miss A's old tests (yes, I still have them, and I know exactly where they are - yet more evidence of the crazy, I realize) to see if the line I think I am seeing is the correct distance away from the control line, and it is exactly the same distance from the control line as the Miss A test that I looked at.

So far, I have never had a false positive with a FRER. There was one time I made R take a test to see if I could see a faint line thinking that maybe it was an evap line or something like that, and on his test there was absolutely no hint of a second line.

Also, during my second pregnancy (natural and unexpected, about 2 months before our first IVF), I got a line that is very similar to this morning's line. When I went in a couple hours later to get a blood test, my level was at 5. So I know the FRERs are very sensitive. Of course, the beginning of the end of that pregnancy arrived a few hours later, but it also did not involve IVF, genetic testing, any sort of support meds, or IVIg.

I also know from lots of past experience that there is nothing - not a line today, not any other positive signs that might occur in the next 8 1/2 months - that guarantees we will be holding a living, breathing baby sibling of Miss A's in our arms next year. But for the moment, I am thrilled, and I'm just going to enjoy that feeling while there's reason to enjoy it.

And count down the hours until I test again, which quite possibly may be this evening.

November 21, 2013


I am officially incubating.

I chickened out a few days ago and called the clinic to tell them that we wanted to transfer 1 instead of 2. If I was 10 years younger, 50 pounds lighter, and had lower blood pressure, we probably wouldn't even have given transferring 2 a second thought. But given the reality of my physical shape, and the additional risks those things pose, I just couldn't bring myself to take risk that we didn't absolutely have to take.

Of course, as soon as I got into the transfer room, I was thinking "Ok, changed my mind again, I wonder if they can thaw a second one while I wait?" But I stuck with the plan.

Part of me thinks that since our last 5 attempts (including one natural attempt and one other single embryo transfer) have resulted in BFPs initially, there's a good chance this one will too. Then there's the other part of me that says "You transferred 1, you should have transferred 2, you really lowered your odds."

I'm already on alert for the "kneading" feelings I felt while on bed rest after the transfer with Miss A, although if I remember correctly, that didn't happen until the second day.

Do you think it's too early to start testing??

November 11, 2013

No News is...Well, No News

As you have probably noticed by now, when I get behind on commenting, I also tend to stop posting - I always tend to feel like I should get caught up on commenting before I post.

However, since my last post mentioned an upcoming FET and it's been almost 2 months, I just wanted to pop in and say there is no news to share either way yet (assuming anyone is even still wondering).

We were supposed to transfer in mid-October, but in the end of September, my varicella results came back. In spite of having the 2-part vaccine several years ago (I never had the chicken pox growing up, despite my mother's best efforts in sending me over to my friends houses when they got it), my immunity had waned. Even though Miss A is current on her vaccines, and R and my mom have both had it, since Miss A is in day care we opted not to risk it. Which meant I needed to get a booster vaccine, then wait 30 days to transfer.

Except that about 2 days after we found out those results, Miss A was generous in sharing the Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease virus that she caught. So I spent 10 days with a lovely burning sensation that was reminiscent of having an entire mouthful of cinnamon red hot candies at once, combined with about 20 canker sores all over my mouth and tongue. There were 2 days of work meetings I had to cancel because it was literally too painful to talk. And because it was an active virus, I had to wait until that cleared up before getting the booster.

So now we are scheduled to transfer on Nov. 21. We wound up having to do a protocol that does not include a lupron/progesterone overlap or BCPs, so there's a possibility I could ovulate on my own, which would result in the cycle being canceled and no chance to try another transfer until next year.

If we do transfer as scheduled, I believe the first beta would be 2 days after Thanksgiving. And since I always wind up testing at home at least 2-3 days before beta, we'll probably know whether or not we have a new exciting possibility to be thankful for. But regardless of whatever way these next couple of weeks go, we have a tremendous amount to be thankful for.

September 17, 2013

For Laughs

I picked up a prescription of progesterone suppositories the other day, and I had to laugh when I read the instructions printed on it:

"Take 1 capsule per twice daily as directed."

I know what they meant, but still, I couldn't help but stop and think "How many of those do they think I have?!"

(And yes, we're gearing up for a new FET. Still kind of in denial land. That's a topic for another post - hopefully soon.)

August 07, 2013

Miss A has a Broken Wrist :-(

Once again, the plan is not going according to plan. When will I learn?

We moved this weekend into the house we recently bought. So far:

  • Miss A wound up with a fractured wrist. (More on this in a minute.)
  • I came down with a cold that seems to be turning into a sinus infection.
  • R put an 8-inch-long by 4-inch-high scrape on the side of my car when backing it into the garage of the house we are moving out of.
  • R and Miss A sound like they're coming down with colds too.

    On the bright side, the bulk of the move is over (the unpacking has barely begun), and my mother and I have not yet killed each other.

    We have an appointment with the pediatric orthopedic surgeon in the morning, so we'll know more then. Thankfully, Miss A does not seem to be in any pain. She's mostly just annoyed by the splint she's having to wear, and I've been crossing my fingers that she doesn't smack any of the other kids with it in her day care room if they irritate her. (She's known there as "tiny but tough" because she doesn't take any crap from any of the other kids.)

    I had a plan to keep her safe and out of the way of any heavy objects during the move by having R's parents watch her. His dad was trying to use a tall, heavy, unsecured bookcase to make up a gap in the space where a security gate was supposed to go. He stepped away from her for a minute to get something. She was curious about the bookcase and wound up pulling it down on herself.

    Thankfully she managed to get herself mostly out of the way, because if it had landed on her head or trunk, it probably would have had the potential to be fatal. I can't really let myself go there, because if I think about it too much, there's a very real possibility that I will never let her out of my sight again...
  • July 15, 2013

    Catching Up - Parenting Stuff, Infertility Stuff, Random Life Stuff

    Not necessarily in the order of parenting/infertility/random life...

  • One of the main reasons I've been even more MIA than usual is because the deal to buy another house (mentioned a couple posts prior to this one) went through. We have been working on getting the new (to us) house fixed up and getting the existing house packed up. Former is going better than the latter. And trying (mostly successfully, so far) not to hyperventilate about the idea of having 3 mortgages at once.

  • Of course, timing being what it usually is, just as we got word that the bank accepted our counter to their counter, the tenant in the rental property we already have gave us notice that he was moving out. Thankfully, we were able to get that rented out to someone else very quickly, so we only had a half month of time where we didn't have rental income on it.

  • Because of all the real estate stuff, we haven't done an FET yet. Hoping for late August, maybe September. Need to get my butt in gear on exercising and taking better care of myself.

  • Went to a Lego event today with Miss A and our 10-year-old godson. Was stand-still-in-my-tracks shocked to go over to the little kids' area and see a small little pile of pink/purple/white Legos with a bunch of little girls crammed shoulder-to-shoulder around it and a much, much, much larger pile of yellow/red/blue/green Legos with boys spread out comfortably and only 1 or 2 little girls.

    Seriously, we haven't come further than this on gender in the last 50 years? Are the pink/purple Legos going to give the blue and green Legos cooties?

    If a kid wants to play with pink/purple Legos, fine. Just stick all of them in one pile and let them choose, don't make the choice for them in advance and limit it to either/or. Heaven forbid, what if a child wants to play with pink and purple and (gasp!) blue and red Legos?? I think Lego made a bad decision to set up the area with 2 separate piles based on "typical girl colors/typical boy colors". (I could totally understand if it was 2 separate piles of mixed colors, with one pile for 0-2 year olds and another for 3-5 year olds). But what was even more surprising to me was that parents seemed to be going along with the gender stereotyping, because in a lot of cases these were kids who were too young to understand the difference and make the choice themselves.

    (For the record, I plopped Miss A down in front of the primary colors pile.)

  • While we were packing up yesterday, we came across a box of "We want to adopt" business cards we had made during our first round of attempts at adoption. I commented how we wouldn't be needing those and should just throw them out, and R surprised the heck out of me by saying, "But what if we need them - if none of the transfers work, and we decide to try to adopt?"

    He's always had the stance that he'd be perfectly happy with just 1 kid, but Miss A grows more and more fun each day, and now apparently when I brought up the idea of throwing away the last vestiges of one of the avenues of possibility, he realized maybe he wants another more than he realizes. I'm just not sure I could ever attempt the adoption thing again. But for now, we packed up the cards and will be moving them with us.

  • It's 1 a.m. I need to get up in about 4 hours, do a couple hours of work, drop Miss A off at day care, and then stop by the other house to let the painter know that I am still not quite happy with the color of light green that we have chosen for the master bath, which will mean yet another trip to the paint store for him. Lesson learned - do not select paint colors based off of paint chips, since they never look anything close to that color on the wall. Hopefully the paint store can color match to a newly purchased bath mat...

  • Speaking of paint, Pinterest can be a very wonderful/dangerous thing.

    I came across (what I think is) a great idea for painting one wall in a playroom with 18-inch-high horizontal stripes, each in a different color, with shelves running wall-to-wall where each color meets the next. Miss A can use the lower shelves as surfaces to play with toys and dolls, and the upper shelves can be used for display. (The shelves are going to be 2x4s or 2x6s directly bolted into the wall studs, so no danger of them toppling down on her if she tugs on them or hangs from them.) R, our handyman, and the painter - all men - all shook their heads at me, but they're creating it.

    I also found great ideas for a playroom reading nook and making a coffee table with the top of it covered in chalkboard paint. There is now a $15 Goodwill find coffee table awaiting refinishing in our garage.

    Wonderful - ideas. Dangerous - me thinking I have the time/know-how to do these projects. It's kind of like me and the Food Network channel - I watch it and get deluded into thinking I can cook... :-)
  • May 15, 2013

    You Know You're an Infertile When...'ve traveled to your out-of-state clinic so often, the city the clinic is in feels like home. So much so that you can navigate your way to the places you need to go without consulting a map or GPS.

    #2 (aka You Know You're Sleep-Deprived When...)'re at work, an e-mail with the subject line "DE Roadmap" pops into your inbox, and your first thought is "Donor Embryos? Why is this work colleague e-mailing me about donor embryos??" And then it takes you a full minute of thinking to realize what else DE might possibly mean in the context of work.

    April 25, 2013


    Changes are afoot over here.

    One thing was expected, the other, not so much. But both are good.

    The expected - an FET cycle. CD1 showed up on Monday, which is about a month after I stopped nursing Miss A. I had decided not to rush things and just give it a few months to see if it was going to show up on its own. A lot of women warned me that this first period would be excruciatingly painful, but I have to say that thankfully, so far that hasn't been the case at all. There's been lots of bleeding, but not much in the way of pain.

    So when I saw the definitive sign that it was CD1, I called the clinic to schedule a 1-day work up. They couldn't get me in next week, so they're putting me on BCPs and scheduled the work up for mid-May. After that, the plan is to go immediately into an FET cycle.

    However, it's possible that the plan may have to be postponed for a month or two.

    That's because of the unexpected - it appears we may have bought another house over the weekend.

    I say "appears" and "may have" because the sellers have accepted our offer, but it's a short sale, so we still have to wait for the bank's response, which could take 45-60 days. And it's possible the bank could reject it, even though we offered more than list price.

    If the deal goes through, we'll be downsizing by about 20 percent. It's still a good-sized house - just over 3,000 square feet. It's a one-story as opposed to our current two-story, so it would be easier for my mom and our 15-year-old dog, and we wouldn't have to worry about Miss A around the stairs as much. It's also 4 houses down from a "tot lot" play area and a large, grassy greenbelt, 1/2 a mile to a top-notch elementary school and a park with a playground and tennis courts (R played in high school), just a few miles from my aunt, and exactly the same distance to my in-laws, down to the 10th of a mile, just in a different direction. So I really, really hope it works out.

    I have discovered that an unexpected side effect of parenthood is bravery, at least in my case. I've wanted to downsize for a few years now, but I could never work up the courage to push the issue with my mom and R, because I knew they would hate the idea. But now Miss A is here, and I know we don't get do-overs on any of these moments we have with her, and somehow that knowledge makes me more brave.

    The plan (don't I always have a plan? :-) ) is to rent out our current house for 3-4 years with the hope that it will increase in value to the point where we could sell it and get out of it the cash that we put down for it when we bought it. If we're able to do that, we will be able to turn around and pay off the house we are buying, which will give us the option of me being able to stay home without us having to bite our fingernails and squeak by every month. I grew up in a household where there were often questions about where the money was going to come from to pay that month's mortgage payment. Even as a little kid, I was aware of the stress, and I don't want that for Miss A. But I want to have options.

    Let's hope things go a lot more "according to plan" for this house plan than they did for all of my IF plans...

    March 20, 2013

    The Best Year (So Far)

    Miss A turned 1 year old on Sunday. We are amazed that a year has gone by. It feels like it's only been about 3 months.

    I wish I could find the words to more eloquently express what an incredible year it has been. It has been so much better than we even possibly could have dreamed of. There have been so few tough days that I probably wouldn't even need 10 fingers to count them. Mostly it has just been pure joy. We are so thankful for her, every day.

    We had a lot of fun celebrating her birthday. She was actually pretty neat when it came to the smash cake. I had visions of frosting and cake flying everywhere, but she didn't spread the mess far. She was much more interested in the frosting than the cake itself and kept squeezing it through her fingers while she was trying to get it into her mouth. Since she didn't seem to be going crazy with eating it, we didn't think much of it, but then the poor thing wound up having (what I am assuming was) a bellyache. She woke up at about midnight and was up for 2 hours, whining (which is unusual for her) and wiggling around because she couldn't find a comfy position laying on me.

    Here she is before the bellyache set in:

    Happy 1st birthday, Miss A!

    February 05, 2013

    Feeling Like an Idiot

    I had the appointment with the gynecological oncologist today. R came with me for moral support. And that thing I saw on my ovary is...

    Nothing, apparently.

    I haven't heard from my PCP's office yet, but I told the nurse at the appointment today that I had an ultrasound done on Saturday, and they were able to call the imaging center and get information about it. I don't know if the gyn onc saw the actual ultrasound images or just received the report (I'm guessing the latter), but apparently my ovaries looked normal. Well, normal as far as PCOS ovaries go, anyway.

    So she didn't do another ultrasound, but she did do a pelvic exam and a rectal exam (first - and hopefully last! - time I've had one of those). She said everything felt normal.

    Overall, the appointment was reassuring. She said the fact that I was on birth control pills for 8 years, have had a pregnancy, and have been breastfeeding for almost a year are all things that help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. Because of the PCOS, which involves higher levels of estrogen in the body, she is more concerned about the risk of uterine cancer.

    Irony of all ironies, to reduce that risk, she recommends that once we are done with fertility treatments for good, I should go back on birth control pills until I'm at least 46 or 47. She is aware of my Factor V Leiden mutation but thinks that a progestin-only pill would be safe. Still, she suggested that once I get to that point, that I meet with a hematologist to discuss the risk. I definitely hadn't envisioned several more years of birth control pills in my future!

    She also wants me to lose about 40 pounds, follow an anti-inflammatory diet, and exercise for at least 150 minutes a week. All of which is stuff that I know I need to do, so now I just have to get my butt in gear and actually do it. She wants to meet with me again in 3 months, so I need to have some progress to show at that time.

    All of that still leaves the question of what is bugging my right hip, pelvis, and lower back. My PCP may be waiting for the x-ray results before giving me a call, so we'll see if that sheds light on anything. I'm beginning to suspect some of it may have to do with bad posture. My mom has a small desk chair that has a back support pillow strapped to it. I asked her if I could borrow it the other day. When I sit in that chair, my symptoms aren't nearly as bad, other than some minor aching all the way across my lower back, which I suspect is because sitting up straight for long periods of time isn't the kind of posture that area of my back is accustomed to having to support. If the symptoms persist, I'll go back to my PCP to talk about the MRI he had mentioned a couple of appointments ago.

    Thank you again for the support. I feel like the girl who cried wolf. I hate it when I don't know what's going on with my body, and that I get so nervous any time I have a symptom of anything.

    February 04, 2013

    No News

    By the end of last night, I managed to convince myself that what I saw on the screen was a simple functional cyst with very thin septations. (Apparently, it is quite possible for those to have their own blood supply, at least according to the research that I did.)

    That kept me calm and (no pun intended) functional and able to actually get some things accomplished today. Because of that, I chickened out about calling the doctor's office. I figured if I got a call from there, I'd answer it, but I didn't.

    The appointment with the gynecological oncologist is tomorrow, late in the morning. I'm assuming she will do an ultrasound, so I will just see what she has to say.

    I've realized that from now on, I should only look at the ultrasound screen if I'm in the room with someone who is allowed to explain what they're seeing. Lesson learned.

    February 02, 2013

    Edited: There Is Something On My Right Ovary

    I had the ultrasound done this morning.

    The tech didn't say anything and I didn't ask, but there is definitely something on my right ovary. It looked like four follicles stuck together, but he was measuring it as one. I searched images online, and it looks like a complex ovarian cyst. Those are the kind that have the potential to be really bad things.

    He also did blood flow imaging. When he was on the right side, I remember seeing a pretty clear image of blood flow and thinking that must be my ovary's blood flow. I don't remember if it was going to the cyst or not, because I didn't know to look for that, but I think it was.

    Blood flow to a cyst is a really, really bad sign.

    Also, while he was looking at my bladder, before he did the ultrasound, there was something on there that looked long and thick and squiggly and very white. I don't know much about bladder ultrasounds, but the fact that it was very white (the more white it is, the more solid it is) and squiggly (not of consistent shape) also makes me nervous.

    I am scared. Very, very scared.

    The tech said my doctor will have the results when he gets into the office on Monday morning. That seemed really fast to me. I don't know if that's standard practice or if he's going to be rushing it along because he thinks it shows something concerning.

    I am going to try to be patient and wait until Monday morning and call my doctor's office first thing. I am debating going to the ER and telling them I'm having pain and that I have a cyst. But if it's something bad, they're not going to be able to do anything before Monday other than possibly confirm it. I don't know that they could say for sure that it's something not bad. So I might as well just wait. I'm just not sure how I'm going to make it through the weekend.

    Edited to add: Thank you for your comments and prayers. I have calmed down a bit, and I am not going to the ER, I will wait until Monday for the ultrasound report.

    Usually Googling this kind of stuff freaks me out more, but I've actually found some information that has reduced my panic a bit. Of course I'm no expert on any of this so I could be completely wrong about what I saw, but right now what I have found is comforting me, so I'm going with it.

    I think what I saw was a fluid-filled multi-septated cyst. I know follicles are supposed to be completely black on ultrasound (fluid-filled) without any white (solid matter). Other than what I am thinking are septates (a few lines going in various directions), I didn't see anything else in there. I found a study online that says septated cysts without a solid mass in them that are less than 10 cm and the septates are less than 3 mm are almost always benign. I didn't ask how big the thing was when the tech took measurements, but I saw a lot of my typical small PCOS follicles (usually less than 1 cm) in there, and this thing looked like it was maybe 3-4 times as large as that, definitely not 10 times as large. Also, I pulled out a tape measure, and I don't think the things I'm assuming are septates were anywhere close to 3 mm thickness. So, all of that helped.

    Also, I read something else that said even if there is blood flow to a cyst, in pre-menopausal women it is not a reliable sign of whether something really, really bad is going on. And I can't say for sure that the blood flow was even going to the cyst. So I'm also hanging some hope on that.

    Oh, and that long, thick, squiggly, white thing that I saw next to my bladder? Um, after looking at some ultrasound photos, I'm about 95% sure that it was my bladder wall.

    I plan to stop consulting Dr. Google now (no, really). I will post when I have news of the report. Depending on how calm I am, if I am able to focus and get things done on Monday, I may even just wait for the doctor to call me rather than beg for the results first thing in the morning. And I am 2 hours behind East Coast time at this point in the year, so don't be surprised if there isn't a post until evening.

    Thank you again for all of the supportive words and thoughts.

    February 01, 2013

    Seriously Freaking Out

    I know I haven't been around much and have lots of catching up to do in terms of commenting. I was planning to do that next week because R and I are taking the week off to stay home and get things done around the house. (I have been reading, just not commenting very frequently.)

    So I apologize for not commenting much, and for posting again before catching up on the commenting. But I'm freaking out.

    I didn't 'fess up to this in my last post, but I've been dealing with anxiety lately, and this week it seems to be getting the better of me. It's not entirely unfounded, but I go automatically to worst case scenarios.

    In the beginning of December, I started having some mild lower back pain on the right side. It didn't go away after a couple of weeks, so I went to the doctor. By that time, I was also having some very mild right hip pains and pressure. The doctor diagnosed a pulled muscle in my lower back and recommended ice and ibuprofen as needed. (I should point out that I carry Miss A on my left hip, not my right one.)

    Well, the back pain has eased up, though I still feel it sometimes, but the hip thing is getting worse. The pain isn't really getting worse, but the pressure is. Occasionally I feel mild pain in various places on my hip, and sometimes I'll have shooting pain down the back of my leg. Usually it only goes to my knees, but occasionally my toes tingle too. But overall, the pain is very mild.

    What does seem to be progressing is the pressure. It's kind of hard to describe, but basically just to the right of my c-section scar, at the edge of the pelvic area where it meets the groin area, I feel pressure. At first it was just when I was sitting, and if I would scoot forward to the edge of my seat so that my leg could be straight as it reached the ground, that would reduce it. Now I can feel it when I stand as well - it just feels like some sort of mild pressure, like something is pressing slightly on the area.

    I went back to the doctor a couple of weeks ago and he sent me to physical therapy, but that hasn't helped it. I went back again yesterday, and this time he pressed all over the area and he didn't feel any lumps or bumps. (Neither do I, and I've pressed it a lot.)

    I do have some swelling I guess you could call it immediately above the right 1/3 of my c-section scar. That's the side the doctor ended on when she was stitching. It's not a lump there either, it just looks like I have a little bit more fat protruding on that side, but the area wasn't like that (lopsided with more fat on one side than the other) before my pregnancy. The edge of my pelvic area where it meets the groin crease also seems to be just the slight bit swollen. There's no redness or anything like that, and it doesn't feel like anything is protruding that can be pushed back in, like a hernia. Also, those protruding/slightly swollen areas are soft - I don't feel any hard pieces of tissue in there.

    The doctor said he thought maybe it was scar tissue pulling. He ordered a hip x-ray and pelvic ultrasound as the next step, but he doesn't seem to be overly concerned. However, later that day, it started to feel like my intestines are pushing up under my ribs and I was feeling shortness of breath, and last night I was standing in front of the mirror examining the area above my belly button because it seemed to me like that area looked slightly distended. I was worried that fluid was building up in that area (ascites - caused by one of the very bad things I'm freaking out about). But I also realize that anxiety can do surprising things to the body. So I know that it's just as likely that those things and my decrease in appetite and frequent trips to the bathroom are from nerves rather than something ominous.

    I know there are a lot of different possibilities, most of which are totally benign things. Yet of course my mind goes right to the worst case scenario. Part of the reason is that I did IVIg during pregnancy to reduce my NK cells and cytokines, which are also some of the kinds of cells that help fight off really bad things. I know that doctors give IVIg to cancer (okay, there, I finally said the word) patients, and I never really asked my RI about how all of that works. But in doing some reading since then, from what I have found, IVIg is given to cancer patients after they're deemed free of cancer, oftentimes in order to prevent their immune system from rejecting something like a stem cell transplant. So I don't think IVIg causes cancer per se, but now I'm wondering if taking it could allow something like that to grow more easily if it is there.

    So, there it is - my craziness out in the open.

    I scheduled the pelvic ultrasound for tomorrow, but they don't do x-rays on the weekend, so I will get that done later this afternoon or on Monday. I doubt my doctor will have the ultrasound results back and reviewed by Monday.

    On Tuesday, I have an appointment with a gynecological oncologist, which ironically I had made several weeks ago before all of this started to unfold. She was on TV talking about prevention and early detection of ovarian cancer, and since I'm at a higher risk (due to the PCOS, being overweight, having Miss A after I was 30, plus the fact that my ovaries have been poked literally more than 100 times probably doesn't help either), I had wanted to talk with her about it. Her office requested my records from Denver and the ob, reviewed them, and decided that it was appropriate for me to see her, so I feel like that at least affirms that I am appropriate in thinking that I may need to be more aware and proactive about this than the average person.

    (I do realize that "aware and proactive" is very different from "completely freaking out", I just haven't figured out how to stay in that first category.) I had brought up my desire to be proactive in that respect to my ob a few years ago, who promptly blew me off by saying "Do you know how rare that is? I've had maybe 3 patients in my whole career who have been diagnosed with it." And yes, I know that it's not nearly as common as breast cancer, but I think it's something that occurs more frequently than could be called "rare".

    I also called and scheduled an appointment with my therapist, who I haven't seen since October since I was doing really well. We usually meet for an hour, but I scheduled an hour and a half. Maybe I should have asked if she had the entire afternoon available...

    I need to figure out how to get these runaway thoughts under control. I don't want to pass along this kind of anxiety to Miss A, and I know being around it can rub off, because I think that's how I got it.

    January 21, 2013

    8 Weeks (No, Not *That*)

    Eight weeks from yesterday, it will be 1 year since Miss A entered the world.

    I'm not sure where the time has gone. It has been an amazing, incredible year.

    So many things are different. Our house is filled with baby stuff. There is clutter, and I don't care. It's wonderful, happy baby clutter. I am just thrilled that we have a reason to have it. That we have her. R is happy now, all the time. He has more balance in his life. He still works really hard, but Miss A is his first priority. He doesn't have a need to bury himself in his work anymore to block out the hell we've gone through.

    A few things are still the same. I still wait for the other shoe to drop a little bit. I'm still hesitant to speak too far into the future. Yet, I bought her a bunch of 3T pajamas yesterday (because I've already bought her a ton of 18 month and 2T stuff), so apparently I'm more okay with looking into the future in some ways than others.

    I plan to nurse her until 1 year and then wean soon after that so that we can go back to Denver, hopefully this summer. But I can't imagine not nursing her. So if anyone has any tips on how to handle that, from either the literal or emotional perspective, please share.

    Overall, Miss A is doing great. One of the teachers in her day care room had raised some concerns a while back about her gross motor skills. We had her evaluated at the time, and she was borderline, so we had her re-evaluated before Christmas. She was still borderline on that evaluation, which is an initial, high-level evaulation, so she had a more in-depth evaluation a couple of weeks ago.

    She was 10 days away from her 10-month birthday at that point, and she tested as 10 months, 10-11 months or 11 months in all areas (cognitive, communication, fine motor, social/emotional, and adaptive/self-help) except for gross motor skills. In that, she tested at 5 months, so she begins therapy soon.

    The therapist thinks it's possible that the torticollis she had when she was younger is what's affecting her gross motor skills, so we're not overly concerned at this point. And she is making progress consistently, it's just not as fast as would be expected. She knows how to roll over from her back to her stomach and vice versa, going either left or right. But she doesn't roll repeatedly to get to things. Actually, she doesn't move around very much in general - she'll usually just sit and cry or lay and cry if she can't reach what she wants. But we did see her start to move around more this weekend, and she was apparently moving all around the room at day care today, so maybe that's about to change. (She moves by laying on her stomach with her chest off the ground and using her arms to push herself backward.)

    And she has started to get up on all fours (for about 5 seconds at a time) and rock back and forth, but she doesn't crawl yet. She also doesn't try to pull up on things or stand. She can bear some weight on her legs, but she doesn't like to, and we have to support some of her weight rather than just offer assistance in balancing her. On the bright side, all of this means that we've had more time than we expected to be able to baby-proof...

    Last weekend, I started doing some preliminary planning for her 1st birthday. It's surreal. We have a birthday party to plan for a child. I remember all those times when I read about other moms doing that, and I would wonder if I'd ever have a baby to plan a party for. And now she's been here for almost a year. Amazing.