Seeing Pink, Again!

12 weeks

I really thought we were having a boy this time! But I’ve never been so excited to be wrong.

It feels strange to know this early. I realize some people know even earlier, if they tested the embryos before transfer. We found out early with C, too, but that was around 16 weeks. I’m not even in the second trimester yet. Almost, but not quite. If I believed in jinxes….

More importantly, the Panorama test result was low risk for Down syndrome, Trisomy 18, and Trisomy 13.

I feel like I can breathe a little easier knowing this information. I would feel even better if I could pick up the heart beat on my Doppler at home, but I haven’t had much luck. I heard it once last week, and I’ve tried twice more since then with no luck. I know it’s still early, so I’m not freaking out.

I met with my doula today, just informally. She was excited that I’m planning for a VBAC and thinks I’m a great candidate. (She used to be a labor and delivery nurse, so she knows a few things.) She’s also excited that I want to use Hypnobabies to help manage the pain. She had another client use the same program recently, and said it worked wonderfully. That makes me feel good!

For now, I’m focusing on names, and staying calm and relaxed.

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10+ Weeks

Today has been emotionally exhausting. Leading up to my first OB visit this morning, I was actually doing just fine. Slightly anxious, but nothing to write home about. Then I got to the OB’s office. I was the only one in the waiting room for about 2 minutes. After that came the parade of heavily pregnant women. One after another, until there were 8 other very pregnant women in the room with me less than 5 minutes after I arrived. You’d think it wouldn’t bother me much, being pregnant myself. But that’s when the anxiety started to set in.

Once in the exam room, my anxiety just kept increasing. I was annoyed by the nurse’s questions about my history and current medications. (I know they have to do it every time, but when you visit the doctor frequently, it becomes tedious.) She kept saying, “Since you’re only 9 weeks…” and I kept correcting her, “No, I’m 10 weeks 3 days.” She kept saying, “Well, we have to go by the last ultrasound,” to which I replied, “My last ultrasound was only off by a couple days, so I’m still at least 10 weeks.” She insisted, “Well, that doesn’t change the fact that the doctor probably won’t even attempt to listen with the Doppler, since you’re SO early.” I realize she was trying to manage my expectations, but in some ways she just made it worse. (Oh, and the way she kept focusing on my last menstrual period, like she couldn’t get her mind around the fact that I didn’t get a fucking period before I started my FET cycle, because, hello, I’m infertile! Drove me mad.)

After the nurse left the room, and I waited for the OB to come in, I burst into tears. I tried to stay calm, but couldn’t. I kept remembering my first pregnancy, where the doctor couldn’t hear the heart beat at that first prenatal visit, and the ultrasound confirmed a blighted ovum. Even though I saw a healthy, growing baby 10 days ago, I still feared the worst this morning. Thankfully, my OB was very understanding. She tried the Doppler for about a minute, then wheeled in the ultrasound machine. It wasn’t the greatest image, but we saw the baby dancing around and heard the heart beating. That was all I needed!

We discussed VBAC, and she stressed that I was an excellent candidate, since the reason for my Cesarean was breech presentation. She raved about my doula when I told her who I planned to hire. I knew I made the right choice! (I should note here, this OB is different from the one I saw with my last pregnancy. This new OB was actually the on-call doctor who delivered my daughter 2 years ago when I went into labor before my scheduled Cesarean. I don’t dislike my previous OB, I just knew there was probably a better fit with someone else.) She officially took me off all progesterone and estrogen. (YAY!) I will continue the baby aspirin until a few weeks before my due date.

So…. Even though my mind is at ease right now, I still feel blah after all the crying from this morning. You know how it is, the crying hangover: exhausted, emotionally spent, a slight headache. From now on, I need to focus on more self care. I have the Circle+Bloom meditations already, I just need to download them to my phone and make time to listen each day.

9 Weeks

I know I’ve said this before, but all this waiting during the first trimester is pure agony. The last two weeks have felt like an eternity (which is a tired cliche, I know, but I’m tired, and cliches are all I have right now). My last ultrasound was fine, great even. I’ve had no more bleeding, no cramping. The only thing that has given me any real reason to be concerned is morning sickness that comes and goes. When it goes, I worry; and when it comes back, I’m only moderately relieved.

Finally, the day of my 4th ultrasound arrived, at precisely 9 weeks. I was nervous going in, needless to say, and even more nervous when I saw that my technician was the inexperienced one who did my second ultrasound and possibly got the measurements wrong. Again, it took her about 20 minutes to complete the ultrasound, and she had to have her work checked by an experienced technician before she could remove the wand. It was incredibly uncomfortable.

Fortunately, she let me know right away that the heart rate was around 169, and at the end, she let me see the little flickering heart beat on the screen. Later, I learned baby grew by 2 weeks 1 day since the last ultrasound, exactly 2 weeks ago. So, looking good! My RE officially released me to my OB, who I will see next week. I took my last estrace and Crinone yesterday, and plan to stop the PIO after my OB visit. Thank the gods!

I don’t know if it’s my age (almost 39), or the fact that I have a toddler, or the large amount of hormones I’m taking, but this pregnancy is kicking my ass in the exhaustion department. A couple nights ago I was so tired at 7:00 pm that I was actually a little lightheaded. I’m ready for my second trimester burst of energy!

With the bleeding and confusing measurements early on in this pregnancy, I’ve been hesitant to tell a lot of people. At the same time, I’m too tired and lazy to hide my already-visible bump, so it’s been a bit weird around people who haven’t seen me in a while. I can tell they want to say something, but are too polite or scared of being wrong. I think now, though, we will start telling more people, and letting ourselves believe this will actually turn out okay.

Oh, and the people who do know about this pregnancy are already referring to the baby as “he.” I have a boy feeling, too, but I can’t be sure if it’s because I kind of hope to have a boy, or if it’s actual maternal instinct. Time will tell!

After 2 Ultrasounds, Still in Limbo

Yes, that’s right! Lucky me, I’ve had two ultrasounds in the same week and I’m just 6 weeks pregnant.

In the wee morning hours on Tuesday (read: 1:00 am), I experienced heavy bleeding. Scary heavy bleeding, with lots of clots. I was sure I had lost the baby. I cried big, heaving sobs most of the night, in between rushing to the bathroom for another gush of blood, until my RE’s clinic finally opened and I could speak to a nurse. By the time I made the call, the bleeding had slowed to spotting. The nurse worked fast and within about 30 minutes, I had an appointment for just a few hours later for an ultrasound and blood work.

The ultrasound showed a gestational sac measuring 5w6d. I was 5w4d, so that was good. My progesterone was over 30, which was great, and my hCG was 6340, which according to the good ol’ Internet, was a 77 hour doubling time. This, I am assured by the Internet, is normal for this stage in a pregnancy. My wonderful RE was very reassuring that many women bleed like this and go on to have healthy pregnancies. I also heard many stories of hope from friends on social media. My thoughtful RE let me keep my already scheduled ultrasound for Friday (today) instead of making me wait an entire week for follow up. So, I left the hospital in pretty good spirits.

Today: Lucky me, I got the newbie ultrasound technician. It took her forever to get the images she needed, and then she had to have someone check her work. What should have been a 10 minute scan turned into 30. (My scans are done locally, then sent to my RE, 200 miles away.) When I finally got to speak with the RE, she had mixed news:

  1. The gestational sac was actually SMALLER today that it was on Tuesday, BUT a yolk sac was present and the whole thing looked beautiful.
  2. My hCG from Tuesday, with the 77 hour doubling time, was NOT her idea of a good rise.
  3. She could see a less than 2mm SCH, which explains the bleeding from Tuesday.

The RE said the conflicting measurements could be a simple matter of different ultrasound technicians. I know that this early, things are so small and it’s easy for measurements to be off. Still, I worry that she wouldn’t tell me exactly how much smaller it was. Is that even possible, to have a shrinking sac, yet have a yolk sac appear when there wasn’t one before? And I’m not happy that she’s not happy with my betas. HOWEVER, I can’t help but think that if I had not had the bleeding episode on Tuesday, today’s ultrasound results would be awesomely positive, especially compared to this stage in my last pregnancy, when we couldn’t see even a yolk sac at 6 weeks.

So, I’m left not knowing how I should feel. Part of me is confused and worried. The other part is hopeful. The only thing to do now is wait another week for another ultrasound. My RE said another beta was not necessary, as it wouldn’t change our wait-and-see approach.

 

 

Eviction Date (Or, Careful What I Wish For)

I don’t think I’ve actually come out and said it here, but I’ve been ready to have this baby for several weeks now. Yes, it’s best for baby to stay put for the entire 40 weeks – or even longer – and I completely agree with that. In fact, from the beginning, I’ve known I would not accept any measures to induce labor before 42 weeks, unless medically necessary. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been wishing for her to come early on her own

Well, apparently, the universe chose to ignore the on her own part. Because she is breech, baby has been served an eviction notice in the form of a cesarean birth scheduled for August 25. The plan is to do one final ultrasound that day. If by some miracle she is head down, I will be sent home to wait until she’s ready, as originally planned. Otherwise, we proceed with the surgery. (I’ve updated my birth plan page to include our plan for a cesarean birth.)

Emotionally, I’m at peace with it. I have to be, since there’s not another option. Frank breech babies can be and are delivered vaginally, but my OB doesn’t have experience with it, nor do any of the others in the practice. Furthermore, I’m not a good candidate for ECV or external cephalic version. This is a procedure where the doctor attempts to turn the baby by manipulating her from the outside, all the while monitoring the baby for signs of stress. It’s safe for mom and baby (provided there are no known contraindications), though it can be painful for the pregnant person. It’s not always successful, and babies can turn back to breech even after a successful version. It’s usually done later in pregnancy to a) give the baby time to turn on her own, and b) make sure the baby is close to full term in case an emergency c-section is needed, which can happen.

After reading about ECV – personal stories, as well as studies – I honestly didn’t know whether or not I should try it. I was leaning toward not. On the one hand, I had my heart set on a medication-free, vaginal birth, and this was a chance to make that happen. On the other hand were a lot of risks (low, but still risks) and no guarantees that it would work. In the end, I’m relieved that the decision wasn’t mine. My OB declared that I was a poor candidate for ECV due to slightly low amniotic fluid and an anterior placenta.

Even though I’m at peace with having a cesarean birth, I’m still a little anxious about recovering from major surgery while taking care of a newborn. I will have lots of help, but it’s still a daunting thought. I’m trying to focus more on the end result: Our baby finally arriving, safe and sound.

So, it looks like I will get my wish for baby to arrive sooner rather than later. Of course, I was hoping for much different circumstances. I suppose I should be careful what I wish for!

Finding the Positive in Exhaustion

Maybe it’s the exhaustion talking, but I think I’ve uncovered the reason for it: Distraction. I’m way too exhausted to worry about this pregnancy. Well, not completely. I still have a few nagging fears, but they aren’t as strong as they were before.

And let me be clear: I’m not just tired. I’m completely drained. All. The. Time. It’s already taken me 20 minutes to write these few sentences, because my brain is so foggy, I can’t type accurately, let alone form coherent thoughts. Earlier today, I typed entirely wrong words in a work email. I had to read it through six times before sending it to make sure I didn’t sound like a complete idiot. I’m not even sure if any of this is making sense.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I realize this sounds dangerously close to complaining… which I think I vowed not to do on this blog, but fuck it – pregnancy, no matter how hard you fought for it or how much you appreciate it, is not all rainbows and chocolate cake. It can downright suck. And right now, for me, the suckiest part is the mind-altering exhaustion. (Yeah, I know – it could be much worse. But this is MY worst, at the moment.) I’m barely functioning at work or at home. People like to tell me, If you think you’re tired now, just wait until the baby comes! And maybe they’re right. Maybe it will be 100 times worse. I can’t fathom that. I can’t think straight. I can’t make decisions. Not even what to have for dinner or which toilet paper to buy. I forget all the things: appointments, names, where I’m going, what my point was….

sleep

My typical sleep profile these days.

Oh, yes. I remember. Being this exhausted means I’m not too worried about the baby anymore. Hell, I’m not even upset at the prospect of possibly having a cesarean delivery due to the fact that she is still breech. At this point, I would be happy to just fall asleep and wake up with a baby in my arms. And that makes me feel guilty, because…. Well, there is a reason, but I can’t put it to words right now. On the flip side, it’s nice not to feel so anxious or scared. I’m literally just trying to get through one day at a time, and capture as much sleep as possible.

Celebrating Baby

One pregnancy milestone I’ve been both dreading and eagerly awaiting has been the Baby Shower. Even before my miscarriage, I’ve hated them. For some strange reason, women are the ones who traditionally organize and attend the baby shower. The father – and all men – are usually left out completely (until it’s time to assemble everything). During the many-hours-long event, the mother is “showered” with gifts for the baby, and guests are expected to ooh and aah as she opens each one. Everyone participates in mind-numbing games (like Guess What Candy Bar Was Melted Into This Diaper to Make it Look Like Poop), while enjoying themed snacks and refreshments. Women tell war stories about birth and projectile diarrhea, at the same time crooning about how the whole baby thing is a beautiful miracle. So, yeah…. traditional baby showers are not my cup of tea.

At the same time, I wanted – NEEDED – to celebrate our baby with friends and family. We’ve been through so much to get to this point, and our family and friends have been wonderfully supportive.

And that’s exactly why I insisted that our “shower” part ways with tradition. I wanted my husband to be there, and for it to be a true family and friends event, with men, women, and children. No stupid games. Just a simple celebration with the people we care about. The only traditional thing about it was gifts for the baby. I felt a little weird about it, but honestly, babies are expensive (especially after IVF), and we could really use the help. But, we didn’t force everyone to watch as we opened them.

Overall, it was a fun and emotional afternoon. Cousins who I hadn’t seen in years were there, which made me cry. I was positively overwhelmed by how many people came to celebrate with us, and spent most of the party on the verge of happy tears. I did have one panicky moment where I couldn’t help but think What will we do with all of this stuff if something bad happens to the baby? What if something bad is happening right now? How horribly ironic would that be? The thoughts quickly dissipated, and I was quite relieved later when the baby wouldn’t stop kicking and dancing (even though she kept me up all night).

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35 Weeks Update

How far along: 35w4d (due August 28)

Total weight gain/loss: +15 pounds (?) over pre-pregnancy weight (I can’t be sure, because I haven’t weighed myself in a while and didn’t pay attention to it the last time I saw the OB)

Symptoms: 

  • Carpal tunnel – hands fall asleep during the night, keeping me awake most of the night. Left hand is almost always numb during the day.
  • Sore joints, especially my hands and knees.
  • Restless leg syndrome – actually, it’s my entire body that gets restless and a creepy crawly feeling all over just as I try to relax or go to sleep.
  • Swollen feet and hands – in this heat, it never goes away, no matter how much water I drink or how much I elevate.
  • Nausea has made a comeback.
  • Braxton Hicks
  • Wicked acid reflux

Maternity clothes: Goes without saying.

Sleep: What sleep?

Best moment: Surprisingly, the baby shower!

Movement: She loves to dance and kick the most when I’m trying to fall asleep at night.

Food cravings: Still none.

Sex of the baby: Female.

Labor signs: No real ones. Lots of Braxton Hicks.

Belly button: Still very much an innie.

What I miss: Wine. Sleep.

What I look forward to: Giving birth and finally meeting our little girl!

Baby buys: Swing and bouncer (on clearance), sheets for the bassinet, nursing supplies, dresser.

Milestones: Baby shower, painting the nursery, finalizing (sort of) our birth plan.