Monday, May 12, 2008


This past Saturday was my baby shower. It was the most beautiful shower I've ever been to- not that I've been to so many- and I'm trying not to be biased. It was thrown by my mother, DH's aunt, and my SIL and I must give them so much credit for all the work they did to plan it. And what made it even better is that I could tell how much joy it gave them to do all the work to make it a beautiful, special day for me. And it was.

When everyone walked in, there was a gorgeous baby book on the table (I learned later that it was handmade by one of my aunt's friends). Everyone was to fill in little cards with advice or words of wisdom and love.

My aunt had prepared a fantastic slideshow that was running all day. It consisted of photos of me as a baby and young child, then of DH at the same ages, then of us together, and some of Blobby too. Quite humiliating though, were the close up shots of my growing belly, which were intended just for my close family to see. Oh well, I guess a pregnant woman's belly is seldom private. But the best part was the soundtrack. You guessed it- the Beatles. :-)

Now the tables. The centerpieces were some type of flowering plant; the closest match I could find would be the Exacum, which has little purple flowers. Around each centerpiece, they had placed various baby and children's books such as Goodnight Moon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and (my personal favorite) Everyone Poops. Of course, I got to keep all of the books to read to Blobby. The favors were a beautiful smelling soap and a leather baby moccasin containing a little bag of pink and blue m&ms. The moccasins are going to be donated to a women's shelter.

The first activity was a burp cloth decorating contest. Everyone was given the opportunity to paint plain, white burp cloths with fabric paint. The guests were also provided with an apron that said 'Sheri's Baby Shower' on it and could also be taken home. I was to judge which two cloths were my favorites and the winners got a prize.

The second activity was in no way meant to humiliate me, but it was a little embarrassing! I had to walk around and model my baby belly and everyone had to guess the circumference. Then my SIL measured me and the winner got a prize. In case anyone cares, it was 44 inches.

Then we played a couple of rounds of Baby Bingo. Of course, there was also lots of food and delicious dessert.

The most significant part of the day was my speech. I had planned on talking about infertility and 'coming out' to those who didn't know how I got pregnant in the first place. I was so afraid I'd chicken out, but I prepared a very emotional speech and did have the balls to deliver it, although as I was shaking and trying to fight back the tears. I talked about how Mother's Day is a very difficult day for those struggling to become mothers, and how I was so lucky because my medical intervention worked but it doesn't work for everyone, and how Blobby is very special because heesh is the lone survivor out of 18 embryos. I also mentioned those people in our families who have passed and who, I feel, have been looking out for Blobby and me. I talked about Tricia and how she has been my baby's guardian angel and I thanked her. Looking around the room, I observed many tears. I probably produced more than everyone put together.

Lastly, it was time to open gifts. I was rushed because we only had 20 minutes or so. We got such beautiful things. It's very much a blur, but I loved everything. And what's more, I felt very loved.

I will add pictures as I get them. For now, try to imagine the most beautiful day ever. Because that's how I felt. It was a fantastic way to celebrate the upcoming arrival of my baby that came close to never being.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I Me Mine

I've been tagged!

4 Things I Did 10 Years Ago (1998):

1. It just so happens that 10 years ago I had four huge, life-changing events in my life. The first one is that I completed my Audiology Master's degree. It was an intensive, 2 & 1/2 year program and I was so proud to be finished. Not only did the degree take that long, but before I could start, I had to complete two years of undergraduate prerequisite courses before I could apply to grad school. So we're talking about more than 4 more years of school after graduating from college 6 years earlier.

2. The second huge event was that as soon as I graduated from my Master's program, I got my own apartment. I had been living with my parents while still in school because I could only work part-time and didn't have any money aside from a small savings account. I started renting an apartment in a co-op building about 15 minutes away from where I had grown up. It was a huge deal for me, having always lived with someone, whether it be my parents or college roommates. And it was an important step for my independence, even though I had yet to accept any full-time Audiology jobs. I had to dip into my savings for the first few month's rent, but it was worth it to say that I was finally living on my own. I didn't get my first real job until 1999.

3. I found out that my parents were separating. It was a long time coming (and should have happened years before), but it still hit me hard- not because I believed they should have stayed together, but because it was done very suddenly and seeing my parents living together had been the only way I knew. A couple of years later when I met my husband and subsequently got engaged, I had to start therapy in order to deal with planning my own wedding simultaneously with my parents going through their divorce. I had a lot of trust issues to deal with. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

4. I lost my maternal grandmother. This hit me very, very hard. She wasn't my first grandparent to pass, but she was my first grandparent to pass whom I was very close with. It was a devastating loss and I still think about her practically every day. It brings tears to my eyes every time I think about how much I wish she was still around to meet my husband and soon-to-be-arriving baby.

4 Things I Did 5 Years Ago (2003):

1. My DH & I celebrated our one-year anniversary. We did the traditional unveiling of the frozen wedding cake top and tasted it and then spit it out because it was so disgusting. I can't remember what we did for dinner but hopefully it was tastier than that cake.

2. I was working at an Eye & Ear hospital as an Audiologist which was my only major source of stress at the time. I was commuting via two trains which took an hour and 20 minutes door to door each way, and I had an insane boss who said inappropriate things and butted in to everyone's personal life. I wanted so badly to leave my job but it was the only real job I had known and was a little too complacent at the time. Thankfully I ended up leaving two years later and it was the best decision I ever made. That loony-tunes boss is still causing my former coworkers stress.

3. NYC (and the entire East coast) had a blackout that summer. I was still at work and all of a sudden all of the power went out. Immediately, everyone thinks the worst. It was less than two years after 9/11 and when you work in Manhattan, bad things cross your mind on a daily basis. You could be walking down the street and hear an ambulance siren, and think, oh no what happened now? It was in the middle of the summer and we all had to leave work and walk. I walked from 2nd Ave. & 14th St. all the way up 2nd Ave, walked over the Queensboro Bridge (59th St.) into Long Island City, Queens, then walked to a coworker's apartment in Astoria, Queens. DH was tied up with something so my dad was nice enough to come pick me up and drive me home. It was an exhausting walk in the heat and I had horrible blisters on my feet and it was so good to be home.

4. DH & I were supposed to leave for Toronto a couple of days after the blackout. We had hotel reservation but unfortunately not only was NYC and its suburbs affected, but so was Toronto. Plus we had a lot of unfinished business at home that we had to take care of, i.e. we didn't want to leave all the food in the fridge and freezer until we knew the power was back on. So we ended up postponing our trip one day. We drove to Buffalo first, where DH went to college. We ate some wings at his favorite college wing joint and drove by Niagara Falls. Finally we arrived in Toronto but half the city still was without power. We couldn't do lots of things we wanted to do, like visit the Shoe museum (ok that was what I wanted to do) because they were still without power and were closed. However lucky us, we got to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame (yes you can probably sense my sarcasm here). Even though our trip wasn't as planned, we still had a great time in Toronto. I'd like to go back someday and complete some unfinished business.

5. We got snowed in in Arlington, Virginia. We were visiting our good friends over President's Day weekend and were hit with a huge blizzard the day before we were supposed to leave. So we got snowed in and my DH and our friend had to literally shovel their way out of the side street since no plows had come. On our way home the wipers on our car broke and we couldn't see, so we had to call some dealerships to see who was open on President's Day. We found one somewhere in Maryland so we had to wait there while they diagnosed the problem and located the part needed to fix it. Several hours later we were back on the road and a trip that should have taken about 4 hours, took around 10. Good times.

4 Things I Did Yesterday:

1. Went to two doctor's appointments, the first of which was my Maternal-Fetal specialist (or high-risk prenatal doctor) and the second was my regular OB. You can read details of those visits in yesterday's entry so I'm not going to go into that.

2. Went to work, as usual. I am currently working for a manufacturer, providing training and support to other Audiologists.

3. Checked out our apartment next door while DH was painting the nursery. We're finally in the painting stage. Over the weekend, DH & his cousin worked their asses off to get the office and the master bedroom painted. Yesterday, DH painted the majority of what will be the nursery. So far it is looking great.

4. Nothing else too exciting, I'm afraid. I worked until 7pm so any further free time after work was spent laying on the couch with my feet up on the arm of the couch so that my hideously swollen feet could become a little less swollen. It helped a little bit; but after having awakened super early this morning and being up for an hour or so, my feet are already back to where they were.

4 Shows I Love To Watch:

1. LOST!- Still don't have a clue what is going on, but love that show. Some people really do have way too much time on their hands- have you read some of those super detailed theories that are going around the internet?

2. The Simpsons- After how many years that this show has been on? It's still hilarious (yes some are better than others, but still kicks the asses of so much crap on TV that is supposed to be funny but just isn't) and DH & I originally bonded over our love for this show so it has a special meaning.

3. Top Chef- Love the drama, love the cooking. That's all I have to say.

4. 30 Rock- Tina Fey cracks me the F up. Love her!

4 Things That Make Me Really Happy:

1. Napping, especially when DH can join me

2. When I change the station on my radio and a Beatles song just happens to be starting

3. My kitties when they are snuggling up with me and being purry

4. Feeling my baby move around inside me and hearing its heart beating

Now to think of 4 friends to tag:

1. WaterBishop

2. The Follicle Report

3. BabyStep

4. My Journey...

I chose these four friends becaue they have been supportive friends and regular readers. I hope they participate!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I've Just Seen a Face

Today was a 34-week ultrasound and OB follow-up. Everything went fantastically. One goal of the u/s appointment was to take a look at the placenta and see if there were any more calcifications forming; there was a little bit more but my doctor said that I'm still not a Stage 3 so things are still looking good. The other goal was to measure the amount of amniotic fluid; levels were normal.

I also mentioned to my fantastic u/s tech that the last couple of times we couldn't see Blobby's face because hir (hir is my made-up gender-neutral pronoun- maybe it'll catch on!) hands and feet were in the way. So she made a point to try to get a good angle so we could see Blobby's face. Because Blobby has moved down and flipped over on hir stomach the hands and feet were free but the face was looking down, so we did the best we could! I think we have an adorable baby in there. :-)

She also said that Blobby has a decent amount of hair! I wonder if that old wives' tale linking heartburn with the amount of hair is right after all. The hair was waving around and looked very much like Maggie Simpson hair- perfect!
So things went very well with the Maternal-Fetal specialist. In fact, when she came in to take a look herself after the u/s tech had finished, she made a comment about how she was happy to have an 'easy' patient. Wow. Who would have ever thought that my case would turn out to be an easy one? And by a high-risk specialist's standards. That certainly makes me feel good.
Next was my OB appointment. Urine tests for glucose and protein were normal. I gained another 4 pounds in 2 weeks which isn't bad, considering how much fluid I have been retaining (oh yeah, I didn't mention that my swollen, ugly, Shrek feet are back). I had some blood drawn so they can check all important levels including hemoglobin. As my doctor explained it to me, because I am having a C-section and have had a history of low iron, she wants to make sure that we check my levels now so that we can increase my iron intake with enough time to get 'tanked up' before my surgery. Makes perfect sense. I really hope my hemoglobin is normal; those iron pills are a nightmare!
We also discussed a date for the surgery. My DH & I had decided that Friday, June 6th would be the least of all evils since Blobby and I would be in the hospital getting looked after by family and nursing staff when DH has to go out of town for two days. My doctor told me today that if she had it her way, she'd book me for May 30th, which is a week earlier! I think that's a little early considering that our apartment is still not fully renovated and we still have a lot to do before we can settle it. Plus, the earlier I have the baby, the more time DH would have to take off work without pay, and the less time during the summer (when DH is off) that I would have before needing to return to work. So I think the 6th is the best choice. I should also note that two weeks ago when I had seen my other OB at the practice, we discussed all of these factors and she ended up booking me in the OR for Monday, June 9th and didn't tell me. I had initially asked her if we could do that day instead of the 6th since DH would be home by then, but she had told me that she would need to cancel out all of her and her colleague's patients at the private practice in order to do that since Mondays are not normal surgery days. So I figured that day was out. And besides, I talked myself out of wanting that day because that would mean that I would be less than a week away from my due date and home alone worrying that I would go into premature labor. And if god forbid something did happen, DH would be 3 hours away and I would be scared shitless. So no thank you, let's take the baby on the 6th and not have to worry about that!
On a completely unrelated note, I am aware that I have been tagged by Lizzybo, which I will have to work on at another time. I will post my answers as soon as I possibly can!
And many thanks to everyone who has been following my & Blobby's progress and sending me luck and love. It means a lot. I can't believe we're only a month away. And then I'll be seeing that adorable face in person.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm Only Sleeping

NOT! I happen to be enjoying one of my insomniac nights at the moment. It's not that I'm not tired; it's that I am finding it harder and harder to get comfortable, and the heartburn and acid reflux has been really bad tonight. I had been asleep a whole 45 minutes when I was suddenly awakened at about 1:15am by the feeling that I was choking on acid reflux. And of course since then the heartburn has been horrible. I can't sleep sitting up and I'm afraid that if I lay back down I'll start to choke again. So that fear happens to be keeping me up.

The good news is that my horrifically swollen feet and ankles are so much better than they were last week. Here is a pic of what my almost normal feet looked like a couple of days ago. I was off work last week and made sure that I rested a lot and kept my feet elevated for much of the time. Pardon the lack of pedicured toes.

Here's what my feet looked like the previous week. They had gotten so swollen that they actually hurt from the skin being stretched so much. I hope once the hot weather comes back that they don't get this bad again. DH called them Shrek feet. Thanks hun, but I haven't turned green yet.
And on another good note, I hadn't mentioned in my last entry that my coworkers surprised me with a baby shower! It really was a surprise. They created this ruse in which we were supposed to have a teleconference on Friday after work (wouldn't be the first time) with our big boss in Chicago. Now this guy is the epitome of a workaholic and thinks nothing of keeping us late on a Friday night for training. So we all gathered in the conference room and made the call to Chicago. The big boss answered and things seemed to be going normally until one of my coworkers interrupted him (and I'm thinking, boy does she have a huge set of balls!) and told him that his voice sounded very hoarse and it probably wouldn't be a good idea to continue with the meeting. I'm thinking, yeah right- this guy has never let anything get in the way of a good training session. But he agreed that his voice was still bothering him from a conference he had given a couple of weeks earlier and that he should just stop the meeting and instead wish ME congratulations on my expected baby. I'm still thinking, this has got to be a joke- he would NEVER decide to cancel a meeting, but I thanked him and fully expected for him to continue on with the meeting. Then he suggested that instead of the meeting, that we should all have a party. There is no way those words just escaped his mouth. So everyone agrees and stands up and says, 'let's go have a party!' They usher me into the break room, where it had been beautifully decorated with pink and blue tablecloths, balloon centerpieces on each table, platters of noshy food and candy, and big baby-themed banners. I was so moved by it all. I still couldn't believe that the night had been reserved for me instead of a teleconference that I had been dreading all week (especially considering my ugly, painfully swollen feet and how exhausted I had been). It was really lovely and I couldn't get over that my workaholic head honcho boss wanted to be in on the surprise. Everyone really worked so hard to plan and execute the shower and I really appreciated what everyone did.
It's still so hard to believe that I'm even in a position to be the guest of honor at a baby shower. It's almost like a dream. That is, if I could get some freakin sleep.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

You'll Be Mine

It's starting to sink in that in 6 or 7 weeks, we'll actually get a baby out of this deal. I don't know quite what it was, but my mind wasn't letting myself believe it for a while. I just kept thinking that something would go wrong. And yet, as the weeks progress, so does Blobby, and it's really turning into something real.

I had another ultrasound appointment today. The good news is that Blobby is still measuring beautifully on target and everything looks good. The placental calcifications looked to the doctor to be slightly worse but not causing enough concern that she'd want me to return for weekly monitoring. And the two fibroids that I have couldn't be located, which is a great sign that they're not interfering with anything. Blobby was very active and we saw his/her hand in his/her mouth, the mouth opening and closing, the eyes and nose, the little fingers and toes. It's quite amazing to see our baby in such detail. The approximate weight is now 4 & 1/2 pounds, which means that if something were to happen and Blobby would be prematurely born, the chances of survival are very good.

I also had a follow-up at my OB. Urine glucose & protein levels were normal, blood pressure was normal at 110/70, and I gained another 4 pounds in 3 weeks for a total of 19 pounds. Also my doctor isn't too concerned about the excessive swelling in my feet and ankles that I had last week. Right now it seems to be much better, so as long as I'm not experiencing any other symptoms of pre-eclampsia, it's all within the normal limits of being pregnant.

I have to say I'm also a bit overwhelmed with some other issues at home. Our 'new' apartment still isn't completely renovated yet and we have only about 6 weeks to be completely moved in. I'm getting VERY stressed about it. DH tells me not to worry- it'll all get done; but it's hard not to worry when I'd like to be living there and settled in before the baby comes. Also, the longer we go, the less I'll be able to do to get the apartment ready.

Another huge source of stress is the fact that DH has to go upstate for a class the weekend of June 7th, which is exactly one week before my due date, and therefore around the time my doctor would want to schedule my C-section. This means that either DH will not be home when I am released from the hospital, or he won't be home for the 2nd and third day that Blobby and I are in the hospital, since my doctor only schedules surgery on Wednesdays and Fridays. I asked about waiting until the following week but my doctor is very concerned that it would be too close to my due date and would therefore be too much of a risk that I would go into spontaneous labor, putting me at a huge risk for uterine rupture and even pregnancy loss. She said she's seen the end result of those and doesn't want to risk it. I would tend to agree. So yes, another thing to worry about. While the timing in general for Blobby's birth is fantastic since DH will be home for the summer, the specific timing issues are causing me a lot of stress. I know DH would want to be there as much as possible, but if he misses this class he would have to repeat it and that would suck.

So I'm having a much better week so far. Feet are only slightly puffy; heartburn is manageable; abdominal discomfort is much less. If every week could be like this one, I'd be a much happier woman. Still, so happy to be pregnant with a thriving baby who is kicking and punching and causing my entire belly to move in waves. This is the stuff I live for. And in a matter of weeks, Blobby will be here, in my arms.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Well it's my birthday today. Normally I would be seriously depressed about it but today I'm just mildly depressed. For obvious reasons, this birthday hasn't hit me as hard as recent ones have.

And that's all I have to say about that.

I also guess I should post some updates. I've been really bad about writing lately (bad blogger, bad!) so I apologize to anyone who has popped over looking for updates, only to find the same old crap. It started with some frustration when I couldn't find the perfect Beatles song for a post I wanted to write. It was when we met with the Fetal Echocardiologist back in February and I was searching for a song that would be appropriate; somehow Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band didn't really cut it. What can I say? I have high standards when it comes to blogging.

Blobby's heart was beautiful that day. Got very high marks from the Fetal Echocardiologist. Yay.
On February 26th I had a follow-up OB appointment and everything went well. I had gained 5 pounds in the 4 weeks since my previous appointment. I think this was my first weight gain; before that I had been even Steven with pre-pregnancy weight.

March 11th was my Glucose Challenge test. I was really nervous about that because before I even started with a fertility specialist, I got evaluated by an endocrinologist and was found to be borderline insulin resistant. So I was worried that I would be predisposed for Gestational Diabetes. Luckily, I passed my GCT with flying colors. My glucose was right in the middle of the normal range, so yay. However, they found that I was anemic so I was told to take iron pills in addition to my prenatals. Yuck. If you've never had to take iron pills, consider yourself lucky. And if you've had to take iron pills (pardon the TMI here) you might want to supplement with a nice stool softener like Colace. :-)

March 24th I had another follow-up at my OB. I had gained 8 pounds in 4 weeks- oy! Which meant that I was up a total of 13 pounds. I had my first Non Stress Test (NST) and sat with the monitor for 45 minutes. Blobby's heartrate was perfect and was showing the appropriate range of variability. So yay!

April 1st I had my 29-week ultrasound to make sure that Blobby's measurements were what they should be. Everything was measuring right on schedule, anywhere between 29 and 30 weeks. What a relief. Mostly because everyone's been telling me that I look very small so I was getting nervous that Blobby wasn't developing properly. But, thank whoever-is-in-charge-of-this, Blobby was perfect.

One thing we did see on the u/s that I wasn't expecting, however, was that I have what is called Placental calcifications. It is apparently something that happens often in pregnant women over 35 and isn't dangerous unless it gets so bad that it prevents the placenta from adequately providing oxygen and nutrients. Right now I'm at a Stage 2 which means there isn't any danger. If I get to a Stage 3, it will mean that I will require weekly ultrasounds to monitor Blobby and the placenta. My maternal-fetal specialist is being very proactive about this, which is certainly appreciated. However, I asked my OB about it and she said that every placenta is designed to live for 40 weeks. Sometimes in older women the calcifications occur sooner rather than later, but their presence has been debunked in the research literature as being a warning sign for anything. She said that my maternal-fetal specialist is one of the few practioners who actually looks at placental calcifications as something significant. So I guess either way, I'm covered. I have another ultrasound appointment on April 22nd (3 weeks from the last one) and we'll see what's going on.

So I guess that's the lowdown on what's been going on recently in my uterus. I find it so amazing that, despite having had to go through all the medical intervention to get pregnant in the first place, my body is taking over and is doing what it is supposed to do. I seem to have every typical pregnancy symptom they talk about. The swollen ankles and feet, the heartburn, the discolored and leaking nipples, the weight gain... but you know what? I am loving every minute of it and am so grateful for each and every symptom I experience.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mean Mr. Mustard

I'm really starting to get fed up with inconsiderate people. At work, while driving, in the doctor's office... doesn't matter- they're everywhere, and it's pissing me the fuck off.

Could be that I'm ultra sensitive to it lately, but it just seems like it happens much more often. Or maybe because I am a much happier person and much more laid back and patient about life, and I like being that way. Why can't everyone be? I don't know. But in the past two days I was just angered way beyond what I could tolerate.

First, yesterday morning I had an acupuncture appointment. It's a good 1/2 hour away without traffic and I am very careful to arrive promptly. Usually I am the first appointment of the morning, but yesterday there was another name on the sign-in sheet before me. My acupuncturist wasn't sitting behind the desk when I arrived, so I figured she was finishing up with her last patient. I went to the restroom and when I came back, my acupuncturist was sitting there so I knew she was finished. I guessed that we were waiting for the previous client to exit the treatment room. So I waited. And waited. How freakin long does it take for someone to put on their shoes, pull down their pants legs, grab their belongings and leave the room, for god's sakes? I'll tell you. It was a good 10 minutes (now making it 15 minutes past my appointment time). Finally this woman comes out into the waiting room and made a joke about how long it took her to leave. Turns out, she took a call on her mobile phone. Are you freaking kidding me? Does the thought cross her mind for a second that someone might need the room? Pissed me off! Not the aggravation I needed right before I'm about to get an acupuncture treatment. Needless to say I did not enjoy it as much as I normally do. I left with a stiff neck and back and a general feeling about how people can be assholes. Not a good way to start off the day.

Then at work, one of my coworkers pissed me off with her inconsiderate behavior. She sent an email out asking when everyone would like to go to lunch. This is something we've done every day since the beginning of time, since we need to have phone coverage at all times. Since we each work different hours each day, one day I might want to go to lunch earlier or later depending on my hours. So I responded with my time choices. WELL, at 3pm when I was supposed to go to lunch, she just LEAVES without a word. Takes my lunch time without saying anything to me. In the almost 3 years I have worked here this has never happened. She is a new coworker and has annoyed me from the first day she started working here, about 4 months ago. Maybe I'm being particularly hard on her since I don't care for her very much. All I can say is no matter what my personal feelings about her might be, I've always been a considerate coworker. There's no excuse for not being one.

Then this morning, during my miserable, rainy commute, this asshole cuts me off and almost hits my car, just because he doesn't want to wait for me to pass before he cuts across two lanes to make his exit. And there was NO ONE BEHIND ME! That really gets me. I'm nervous enough driving in bad weather as it is, with Blobby depending on me for his/her safety, without some schmuck thinking he should have the right of way because he wants it. Boy did I sit on my horn and curse him out (and then apologized to Blobby for my bad language). Not that he cared, because he was off on his way.

Probably the most annoying example of inconsideration is when I hear certain stories about my friends' doctors. I can't believe the nerve of some of them! One of my friends went for her '6 week' ultrasound on Friday to see if her post-IVF embryo had a heartbeat. The doctor could not find one. He scheduled her for a D&E. She and her DH spent the entire weekend devastated because they believed that their last chance at having a child had ended. I cannot imagine TTC for 10+ years, trying all sorts of ARTs, knowing that IVF is your last chance to conceive, and having it end this way.

Thankfully, she works at an OB-GYN's office and asked a coworker to do a quick ultrasound. And there was a heartbeat!! I really needed to hear this news, especially after Nat's devastating stillbirth almost 2 weeks ago. And even more thankfully, she continued with her PIO shots through the weekend hoping for a miracle, and she got it. Her doctor should be shot for giving up so easily (and for getting the dates wrong and underestimating her embryo's progress). So many doctors need to take some bedside manner classes.

I'm so happy to end this post on a good note. Our IF community really needed this.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I'll Cry Instead

I just got some very horrible news about a friend of mine. She was 35+ weeks pregnant after IVF and just lost her baby today. I don't have any details yet. Regardless of the cause, it just sickens and saddens me. I just can't imagine the pain and devastation of coming so close to having your baby in your arms, only for this to happen. Please send thoughts/prayers to her and her family.

I am just so sad for her. One embryo, one baby, no frozen embryos to speak of, and look what happened. And yet I can't help but selfishly think of my own situation, which was very similar. I was finally feeling comfortable with the thought of having a baby at the end of this journey. Now I wonder. I was always so afraid to accept that good things are really happening; when you do that, something bad always follows. But in preparing for a baby, you have to give in to those happy feelings so you can be fully prepared when the baby does come.

And I had. I had immersed myself in mommy-to-be culture. I started researching baby products and adding items to my registries, fully expecting to need them all. I was chatting about what life will be like 'when the baby comes' and thinking in terms of our lives with a new member of our family. Now what happens if this never comes to be? Am I making it potentially harder on myself if one day we receive the same horrific news as my friend did? How could we possibly go on?

I just really don't know what to say. I am so devastated by this news. There aren't any words to say so I think I'll just cry instead.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Two of Us

It wasn't so long ago that 'two of us' had a completely different meaning. It used to refer to DH & me. There was no one else; just us. But now, I am 25 weeks pregnant and looking the part. People are beginning to notice. My identity has completely changed. I'm no longer just me; I am me plus one.

I've been struggling with an internal dichotomy of feelings. I used to be so jealous of pregnant women and how much differently they were treated by our society. I wanted that so much, and yet my attitude was always like, what about those of us who can't have children? Why are we being repeatedly punished? First because we can't have what we want more than anything else in the world; and then, because we now have to witness other women being placed on pedestals only because they are pregnant. Am I not a valuable member of society for reasons other than my ability to procreate? I felt a lot of resentment and jealousy... but mostly anger. Living life without children was a strong possibility and I wasn't going to tolerate differential treatment.

But now, from the moment I started to accept the wonderful reality that I am to become a mother, I struggle with the fact that I am becoming one of Them. You know, one of those women who gets all the attention, is constantly being asked how I feel, do I need anything, do I want to sit down... my every need being attended to. And you know what? I like it. I watched others being the subject of this attention and longed for the day that it would be me. And yet I still remember that feeling that I had towards society's special treatment of pregnant women- that of anger and resentment. And I don't want to be enjoying this.

But I so am. Not necessarily because of the special attention that I have been receiving. Moreso, I am enjoying the fact that we have overcome so many odds that were stacked against us. Blobby is the baby that I was starting to think would never happen; the baby that developed from one lone embryo that was destined to survive when 17 of its brother and sister embryos were not; the baby that was at such a high risk for various genetic abnormalities and chromosomal disorders and yet so far, has been passing all of its tests with flying colors. I do feel like this baby is so special. For whatever reason (and this still boggles the mind), it has beaten the odds and is thriving and growing and will be born. So when people shower me with concern and attention, I will think to myself, I'm not better than anyone else because I'm pregnant, and it's not me who deserves this; it's my baby. I'm just the middle man; the messenger; the go-between. One-half of the two of us.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Feel Fine

On Tuesday, 1/29/08, I had another follow-up appointment with my OB. I saw the third OB in the practice, since they like you to see each doctor at least once when you're pregnant. This was a male doctor, which was strange, because I'm so used to only seeing females. And there's a good reason why I do. He (and I've found, other male health practitioners) blew off a lot of the things we were discussing. Like it was no big deal that they found the Choroid Plexus cyst, because, as he put it, eh, they always go away anyway. Maybe so, but until we know for sure that this particular cyst will 'go away anyway', I'd like my concerns to be validated. Back to my more sensitive female doctor next visit.

So I had my blood pressure checked (normal at 120/80), my weight taken (I only gained one pound since last my visit 4 weeks ago, which makes me even with my pre-pregnancy weight), and protein and glucose levels in my urine checked (both normal). The nurse listened to the heartbeat; really, the nurse did all the work. The doctor just came in, reviewed my chart, felt my belly, and that was all.

The best part about the visit was that this was the first doctor's appointment that I've had since August that didn't require any blood to be drawn! I can't remember leaving that office without a sore vein in my arm or hand. It felt great.

I return for another follow-up in 4 weeks.

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but my one major problem that I've had this entire pregnancy has been chronic sinus congestion and excessive mucus and post-nasal drip. It's pretty gross to talk about, but it's sometimes been so bad that it's made me vomit and dry heave. In fact, I've thrown up more from the mucus than I did my entire first trimester from morning sickness. It has made it very difficult to work because speaking on the phone seems to make it worse and I have to put my phone on mute while I gag and dry heave at my desk. Fun, huh?

So I went to a regular GP doctor about 3 weeks ago. She prescribed Rhinocort nasal spray and told me to buy over the counter Robitussin. I used those for a few days, but honestly did not see any improvement. And I didn't want to be taking any medication just for the hell of it. Then I came down with a bad cold. Actually, it probably wasn't any worse than any cold I've had, but not being able to drug myself full of Nyquil really made me miserable. I was out of work for 3 days because I wasn't sleeping and I couldn't breathe or function during the day. Any medication that I could take wasn't helping at all, so why take it?

When I returned from work, one of my coworkers showed me an article she had read about natural and/or holistic remedies for common ailments. Under 'sinus congestion' there was mention of a Neti pot. I remember that my acupuncturist had mentioned it to me a couple of months ago when I told her about my sinus problems. But then she went on to describe its use as 'pouring water up your nose' and that broke the deal for me. However, I was now becoming desperate to give myself some relief of the constant mucusy post-nasal drip that was making me so miserable, and decided to give it a try.

Best decision I've ever made. I started using it twice a day- once in the morning after my shower, and once at night before bed. I could breathe again, and my mucus was significantly lessened or gone completely. I've been using my Neti pot for over a week now and my life has changed! I am feeling great and can spend more time focusing on all the wonderful things my body is doing.

Like growing! My belly is at a point where people who already know I'm pregnant are commenting on it. I think I'm not quite where strangers would assume I'm pregnant as opposed to just fat, but I'm definitely looking more pregnant each day that passes.

Blobby is starting to kick and punch me too. It's not painful at all; just very weird. I wish DH could feel it from the outside, but it's still a little too early for that. We tried a few days ago. I told him to put his hand where I was feeling the kicks and he didn't feel anything. So what does he say to me? 'Blobby kicks like a girl'. What did he expect- Mia Hamm? Oh god I hope not. At least while said kicking is occuring in my body.

More than halfway now.... 18 & 1/2 weeks to go. :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Magical Mystery Tour

On Friday, January 25, we had our level 2 ultrasound. I was so nervous about it because of the Choroid Plexus cyst and enlarged kidney that was seen on the 16-week ultrasound 4 weeks ago. Not to mention that what they saw on the level 2 would determine whether we were going to go ahead with the amnio that day.

The weirdest part about the entire visit was what I learned in the first five minutes. The tech had just started to look for the baby on the screen and she confirmed with us that we did not want to find out the baby's gender. I was worried that she would be looking at sex organs that day so I wanted to know ahead of time so I could look away. I asked her if she would be and she replied, 'oh, I already know.' I asked her, just from looking at the baby right now? And she replied, 'no, I knew from the last time.' OMG. The u/s technician and my doctor have both known whether our baby is a boy or a girl for four weeks! It was a very strange feeling to learn this. I mean, we definitely don't want to find out until the baby is born in order to maintain some element of surprise, but it's still a very weird feeling to know that somebody knows!

So we started measuring body parts. Based on the way the baby was laying, the tech was able to see some structures more clearly than others. One by one, each anatomical feature was measured and labeled. Everything seemed to be measuring on target or just a few days behind. We counted fingers and toes, looked at the face and up the nostrils, and watched in amazement as Blobby moved around like crazy. She jiggled my belly a bit to get Blobby in various positions so we could get better views of various structures. My baby is weighing 12 ounces. Wow.

It was a fantastic visit. Until the tech finished measuring everything and called the Maternal-fetal specialist in to do her own measuring. That was when my worrying started. The last time we were there, it was she who confirmed the presence of the Choroid Plexus cyst and enlarged kidneys. The way she studies the screen with an ambiguous facial expression makes me worry because you can't tell if what she's seeing is good or bad.

The bottom line was that everything was measuring within tolerance. Some structures were measuring a few days behind, which can be due to technician variability. I watched the doctor as she clicked on the word "Normal" next to all but three structures. The diaphragm and lips were not coming in clearly enough to see definitively, but the doctor noted that she didn't see anything that would lead her to suspect any abnormalities. Plus, both kidneys were measuring normally and symmetrically, and the best news ever was that the Choroid Plexus cyst appears to be resolving. What a relief!

I will be returning in two weeks to get a better picture of the lips and diaphragm. I am eager to rule out cleft lip, which can be associated with many genetic disorders. Again, the doc did not see anything that would cause concern. And although the heart looked beautiful- four chambers and a normal heartrate, she suggested that we see the Fetal Echocardiologist just for peace of mind.

So, with all the good news we received on Friday, there was no reason to stay for an amnio. We left with smiles on our faces and beautiful photos of our baby.

With no amnio and no finding out the gender, some things about this pregnancy will remain a mystery. :-) We can't wait to find out for sure on the big day!

Edited to add on February 4, 2008:
I returned to the Maternal-Fetal specialist today so they could get a better view of those features that they couldn't see well the last time, the lips and the diaphragm. Blobby was in a completely different position today (head down, feet up by my belly button), and was being a little more cooperative, although the nose was angled right up into the placenta so it was initially difficult to get that view of the nose and lips. But we finally got them and everything looked perfectly normal! We even got a much better picture of the heart, which looked great. The u/s tech and doctor both commented on what a difference a week and a half made with respect to how those particular body parts were showing up.

They also commented on how Blobby has my facial profile. :-)

Next week, I will be seeing the Fetal Echocardiologist. I confirmed with the doctor that it's not because of anything she saw on the ultrasound; only that considering my age and high-risk status, she figured she'd have me cover all bases. My next ultrasound will be at 28 weeks. Normally, I wouldn't go until 32 weeks but again, being high-risk she wants me to come in earlier so they can monitor Blobby's growth. Fine with me. I love seeing that little munchkin on the screen. It is just so amazingly surreal that that 8-celled blastocyst we transfered back in September turned into our little Blobby with moving parts. I am completely in awe.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Word

So I've been trying not to think/worry/fixate on the soft markers that were found on the ultrasound 2 weeks ago. Later on that week, I had blood drawn for a second trimester quad screen, which screens for spina bifida, Down's, and Trisomy 18. I guess my 'don't worry' approach really worked, because I completely forgot to call for the results of the quad screen last week.

Thankfully, everything came out great. My risk for open spina bifida is 1 in 1500; the lab report states that the serum AFP value is considered NEGATIVE for a pregnancy at this gestational age. My risk for Down's Syndrome was lowered from 1 in 157 (based on my age only) to 1 in 3300, based on my age and biochemical markers; the lab report states that this screening profile does NOT indicate that the patient is at increased risk for a Down's Syndrome pregnancy. My calculated risk for Trisomy 18 was lowered to less than 1 in 10,000; the lab report states that this screening profile indicates that the patient is NOT at increased risk for a Trisomy 18 pregnancy.

So the question remains, should we even allow those 'very soft markers' found on my 16 week scan to affect our decision about amnio. I'd say that the blood tests would be more accurate than a subjective identification and measurement of a couple of structures on an ultrasound. Our level 2 ultrasound will be the true test. The kidneys should be more easily identified by then, and we should have a better picture of the Choroid Plexus cyst.

It should go without saying that I really am praying (to the extent that I pray) for a completely healthy baby. The most common question that I have been asked is if we're going to find out if our baby is a boy or girl (the answer is no, by the way). The gender of our baby has been the last thing on my mind; my concern first and foremost has been the health of my child, and honestly, while admittedly I am leaning more towards one gender than another, I couldn't care less if it's a boy or a girl. I want to give this child the best possible odds of a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

I have to admit, however, that I have another reason for hoping that this child is chromosomally and genetically normal. You see, there have been many online conversations on the subject of ARTs and their ethics. My viewpoint is that infertile couples have as much right to a biological child of their own and should be able to achieve one by whatever means are necessary. However, there are some who do not share this opinion. These people are typically of the 'holier than thou' mindset, and believe that they speak the word of God. They lecture and preach that if God had wanted us to have biological children, we wouldn't have been made infertile. Of course, these are people who can have as many children as they want quite naturally, and usually do. They think that people like me are going against God's wishes and deserve whatever punishment we get. We are going to go to hell because we are not leading the righteous path that God has paved for us. And we deserve to never have children because that's 'God's will' and we should never go against God's will. And if God forbid my child was born with something medically wrong, that would be more ammunition for these crazies to preach and lecture that we shouldn't have deviated from the path of righteousness.

So you see why I need to tell all of these 'more righteous than thou' assholes to stay out of my body, mind their own business, and SUCK IT. Beautiful children, conceived via ARTs, are born every day, and their parents love them and care for them as much as God would expect them to.

Monday, January 7, 2008

I've Got a Feeling

'...a feeling deep inside, oh yeah...'

I'm sure this isn't exactly what Paul McCartney was singing about, but I have been feeling Blobby moving for the past 3 days. I didn't realize what it was when I first felt it so subtly this past Friday. It doesn't really feel like those typical descriptions that you hear when women talk about feeling their babies moving. It certainly doesn't resemble any kicks or pokes; and I couldn't exactly describe it as the sensation of 'butterflies fluttering', although I can understand where that description comes from.

To me (and this will probably sound very strange to many of you), it feels like there is a vibration which lasts for approximately one second and resonates somewhere in the lower right section of my Nether-regions. Yes, that's right- I feel it in my hoo-hoo, my va-jay-jay, my 'down there'. Weird, I know, but that's where I'm feeling it. Could be that Blobby is hitting on a nerve which is shooting down to that area, or it could be that because my uterus consists mostly of scar tissue which probably has little or no feeling, I'm not actually feeling it in the right place, but in the surrounding areas.

On Friday, these sensations were very few and far between- maybe once every 20 minutes or so. Saturday I barely felt them because I was running around doing shopping all day. Sunday I felt them a little more frequently, and today I feel them every few seconds. It's crazy!

Now, I realize that pregnant women can often confuse other, um, bodily functions with their moving babies. I can tell you with the utmost certainty, that this is definitely not gas (a feeling with which I am quite familiar with, thank you very much), or a growling stomach, or nerves, or a rumbling tummy after something that I've eaten isn't agreeing with me. I know what each of those feel like, and this isn't that!

I consulted a friend of mine who had her second child this past summer. She confirmed that during her more recent pregnancy that she felt a similar sensation and felt it very low, so she believes that I am indeed feeling Blobby.

What an amazing feeling. It's my baby!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Tomorrow Never Knows

Well, we've returned from our trip and we had a great time spending time with the family. I'm very relieved that I had no complications along the way and Blobby is still doing great. Yes, of course I used the doppler 3 or 4 times over the course of the trip so I could hear that beautiful heartbeat and feel reassured.

On Monday the 31st, I was squeezed in for another ultrasound. It was suggested by my maternal-fetal specialist, and who am I to refuse an offer for a scan? I really just wanted to get updated pictures, since the last scan was at 11 weeks and that was 5 weeks ago! Way too long for me to wait.

The u/s technician did her thing and I have to say it took a long time. Blobby wasn't in the most easily accessible position so it took some work to get a good angle. Lots of measurements were taken. Lots of body parts which I recognized. Also, little dark circles inside white areas, which apparently were worth taking the time to measure, but to me, had no more significance than little dark circles inside white areas. After her measurements were taken, she called in the maternal-fetal specialist, who spent a while taking her own measurements. She seemed to be focused on the same two areas, taking measurement after measurement. Now I was starting to become a little concerned.

After she was done, she told us that she saw a couple of things she wanted to talk to us about. Holy shit. My heart sank. This was the first time I had received any kind of possible bad news about Blobby. Let me tell you, it is not a good feeling. So after I cleaned myself up, we met with her in her office. This is what she found: a Choroid Plexus cyst in the brain, and an enlarged kidney. She called these 'very soft markers' for some genetic disorders, but explained that only about 1% of cases of the CPC have a genetic origin; the others are a normal part of fetal development and usually resolve by the third trimester. The part that bothers me so much is that we really don't know anything. If she was to tell us that seeing these abnormalities on the u/s means that our baby has a chromosomal disorder, we'd know and we'd deal with it. But nobody can tell us anything. It just sucks not knowing.

She went on to talk about the enlarged kidney. Because the fetus is only at 16 weeks gestation, it is still very early to accurately measure certain anatomical features, including the kidneys. She said it was very difficult to get a clear picture of the kidneys, but that compared to the other kidney, this one appeared enlarged. Again, this is something that may or may not have any genetic origin.

We further discussed the risks of having an amniocentesis. We are scheduled to have one following a Level 2 ultrasound on January 25th. We figured we'd reserve the appointment time, but have the u/s first. If we didn't see anything that caused any concern, we'd cancel the amnio. Because there are risks involved in amnio, including fetal trauma, loss of amniotic fluid, and even miscarriage, we would only take that risk if there was a large chance that our child could be born with a fatal disorder. Problem is, we may not really know for sure before having to make that decision. We may be basing our decision on all of these 'soft markers' which may not be significant at all. The good news is that the nuchal fold, which had been measured at my 11-week Nuchal Translucency screening, was still measuring well within the normal range.

In addition to that appointment, I had an OB appointment on 1/3. I saw a different doctor in the practice, who I loved. She really took a lot of time addressing my questions. We discussed in detail the issue of having or not having the amnio and she made a lot of good points. One of her arguments for having amnio is that it's not only about making a decision about whether to terminate a pregnancy. Another reason is, if there is a disorder that will require immediate medical attention, the doctors will know in advance what they will be dealing with. This is a really good point, but with such a low risk of having any chromosomal disorder, I'm not sure if it's worth having the amnio.

She also discussed with me reasons not to have the amnio. She could sense that we were leaning toward declining it, and confirmed that it ultimately is about what we are comfortable with. Would it be worse to give birth to a child with a disorder and be surprised, or would it be worse to potentially lose a chromosomally normal baby? After looking through the results of my 11 week NT scan and the repeat nuchal fold measurement taken at 16 weeks, she agrees that our risks are very low of having a baby with a genetic disorder. In addition, she reminded me that when you're dealing with a chromosomal disorder, the markers seen on u/s tend to be bilateral. In our case, both the cyst and the enlarged kidney were unilateral, which gives me a sense of relief that maybe the cyst is just a normal part of development and will resolve like it should, and maybe the enlarged kidney is not related to any syndrome or disorder. As the doctor added, worst case scenario, our baby will have one non-functioning kidney, but in those cases the other kidney takes over. It is not a fatal condition.

At my doctor's appointment I was also weighed. I only gained 2 pounds since my last visit. Considering that my last visit was before the holidays, that's pretty damn good. A non-pregnant person would be lucky if he or she only gained 2 pounds over the holidays, let alone someone who is expected to gain weight! I also had my glucose and protein levels checked, both fine; my blood pressure was normal. Blood was drawn for a progesterone level (I am now completely off the Prometrium) and for the quad screening which includes AFP. We should have more info about the results of the AFP next week, which will also help to come to a decision about the amnio.

So the level 2 ultrasound will be in 3 weeks. DH & I are trying not to be concerned until we have more information. Hopefully the picture will become more clear and we'll be able to arrive at a decision that we are comfortable with. A friend of mine gave me the advice that my instincts as a mother are already very strong, and that I should just go with my instincts. Because if even if there is no way to know what will come in the future, I know myself and I know how much we want this baby. I think I will heed that advice.