Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tears, tears, and more tears

It started last week when B brought me a sweet surprise. It's been really hot here, at least for me, and I've been feeling miserable. He knows how much I love the iced green tea from Pan*era, so when he went there for lunch, he bought me one. When he gave it to me later, I don't think he was prepared for me to start getting teary. It was very hard for me not to burst into tears and I had to assure him that it was because of how sweet he was, not because of anything he did wrong. He kept repeating "I just brought you some's no big deal...why are you crying?" with a surprised look on his face. He continues to tease me about my reaction.

The next episode happened at our 33 week appointment when they did an ultrasound to check on the size and position of the baby. As soon as his image came up on the screen, I choked up. I couldn't say anything at all. We saw him wiggle his toes, swallow, and blink. And we got some good news - he's head down! Based on where I feel his movements, I was pretty sure that was the case, but it was nice to be assured. He's also almost completely curled up on my right side, giving me an interesting lopsided look. They think he weighs about 4.5 pounds and will be 6-7 at birth. They also showed us that he has enough hair to show up clearly on the ultrasound. It looked like a sea anemone surrounding the back of his head. I guess the old wives tale about heartburn and hair holds true for us.

Then last weekend we were on the subway. It was a crowded car and a woman immediately stood up to give me her seat. I protested because we only had a few stops and I didn't mind standing. She announced loudly that she was NOT going to sit down while a pregnant person stood, so I gratefully accepted her offer. And promptly started tearing up's hard at this stage to forget that I'm pregnant, but when I think about how much I wanted to be the pregnant person on the subway and what it took for that to happen, I am really humbled. Sometimes it's hard to believe how much things have changed in such a short amount of time.

And finally there was the hospital tour. It started when we parked. The parking lot was right next to our fertility clinic since they're a part of our hospital. As we walked down the hill to the main building, I remembered clearly walking down that same hill, ovaries painfully swollen, watching the slate gray sky give way to some snow flurries and hoping that all of this was going to be worth it. Please, please, please, I thought with each step. Once we were in the hospital and they took us into a labor room, there were more tears. If everything keeps going well, I realized, I will be in a room like this next month having a baby. Again, I never forget that I'm pregnant, but this overwhelming sense of gratitude just hits so hard. We drove around to the clinic before we left and I remembered all the time I spent in that building and sent some good thoughts to the embryos still waiting for us there.

Nothing much to report other than my hormonal teary episodes. I'm 35 weeks today. I've been pretty uncomfortable, especially with the heat and humidity. I'm ready to have this baby, but hope that he waits until August 11 when my Mom gets here from California. My Dad is arriving on August 15, my official due date. Until then, we continue to wait and get things ready for our new arrival.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Technical Difficulties

Whew. It's been forever since I've posted to my blog. Not long after my last post, our computer suffered a meltdown. We tried everything to fix it on our own, but nothing worked. We're lucky enough to have a laptop to use as a backup, but it's ancient - about 4 years old - and Blogger was too much for it to handle. It crashed repeatedly when I tried to sign on. I was afraid of killing it, so I stayed off while we got our computer fixed. They ended up backing up our files and wiping the whole system before reinstalling Windows. The entire process was long, expensive, and I think our next computer will likely be a Mac!

Things have been going well with my pregnancy. I can't believe that I'm 32 weeks tomorrow. We went to California and had another ultrasound. This is my favorite picture of the little guy:

My parents were thrilled that they got to see Baby S and the whole experience was amazing. I see so much of B in the pictures. He says he doesn't see it, but that's just because he wants the baby to look like me.

While we were in California I had a nice talk with my sister's SIL. Her best friend has been going through IF and they were told IVF is their best chance. She asked me all kinds of questions about what we went through. I told her everything I could and gave her my email address for the friend. I haven't heard from her yet, but I hope I will. I can completely understand, though, if the last thing she wants to do is talk to someone who is currently pregnant. That would have been hard for me, too.

I've been very lucky with everything so far. I passed my GD test even though it wiped me out for the rest of the day. All of my appointments have gone well. I did have a 12 pound (!!!) weight gain in one month, but things have returned to a more normal 1 pound a week.

We're trying to get everything ready for August. I have a million different lists because I can't seem to remember anything these days. I even shaved one leg twice and skipped the other one a few days ago. B is getting more and more excited as the time gets closer. I've mentioned before that he was kind of distant in the beginning out of fear for what could go wrong...seeing his excitement has been one of my favorite things about being pregnant. And you know how some guys have sympathetic pregnancy symptoms? He is starting to "nest" lately. He was super excited with how clean he got the shower last weekend and has been a huge help. We're still working on a name. Our last name is very long, so two of the names we like would be over the top. All we know is that it will start with an S and won't be our previous first choice - Samuel - because we have a brand new nephew with that name.

I'm crossing my fingers that I will be able to finally post more often. I have a lot of catching up to do with all of the blogs I was reading before the crash. I'm looking forward to finding out how everyone is doing. My thoughts and good wishes are always with all of you even when technology gets in the way.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Update - the results are in!

When we first found out I was pregnant, I thought it was a girl. All of my family and friends thought I was having a girl as well. They said I have a "girl" personality. I'm not sure what that means, but I think they mean it in a good way. I tried the ring test and consulted the Chinese gender chart - both said girl. B was the only person who insisted from the start that we were having a boy, mostly because he was hoping for a girl. It became a joke between us in the long wait we had to 20 weeks.

Our ultrasound was scheduled for March 27. My MIL came with us and we were lucky - her friend is an ultrasound technician at the hospital and she was able to do the ultrasound. After she established the position of the baby, this is what we saw.

I looked at B and said "You were right, I admit it!" He didn't know what we were seeing on the screen at first, but our helpful friend typed "boy" on the screen for him and circled the appropriate area. We both had tears in our eyes. My MIL was with us and she just started whooping. I wonder what the people in the hall thought?

The rest of the ultrasound went well. All measurements were normal. We also got a few more looks between the legs. He's not shy, this one. And then the technician surprised us by switching to 4D...this isn't something she was supposed to do, but she did it because she is friends with my MIL. This is my favorite shot from the ultrasound.

Something about seeing that little face just went right to my heart. I felt much of the bitterness, sadness, and anger vanish when I saw him there. I can't even explain how it felt. It was like I wasn't really allowing myself to feel a lot of hope or excitement until that point and then all of those repressed feelings just started erupting. I still feel it today.

That night when B came home from work we took a walk and had a talk. He said he never considered how important it was to him that we have a boy because he really wanted a girl. But he thought about his Dad and how this baby will carry his name forward. Only one other cousin in our immediate family will pass that name on if he and his wife have a boy, and it's important to him to carry on the tradition. It was a teary conversation, but it was good to talk about our feelings and move forward with the rest of this journey.

So now we're trying to pick a name. We're calling him Baby S for now because we want an S name to honor my father-in-law. The middle name will be my maiden name, something that really touched my parents. We're heading to California in a few weeks to see my family. I haven't been "home" in almost a year - our December trip was postponed because of OHSS. We're planning a special surprise for my Mom - a 4D ultrasound. I never really thought it was necessary, but she's been so sad that she couldn't be here for any of my appointments and we thought this would make her feel included. Plus, who could turn down the chance at seeing that face again?

I hope to update this blog with a little more regularity. I'm still learning how not to feel guilty for feeling so happy and excited about this pregnancy. I never stop thinking about the people out there who are still waiting and are always in my thoughts and I still read your blogs even when I don't comment. It's weird to be an infertile pregnant person, and I'm still trying to find my stride.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Unearthing my emotions

We were finally able to tell the rest of our friends and family our news. It's nice to be open with everyone. I'm still struggling with the whole infertility thing. For example, B's pregnant cousin was telling everyone how she tested and found out she was pregnant. She asked me how I found out and if I thought it would be positive. I wanted to tell everyone about how I knew exactly when to test and explain my week of HPT madness followed by the obligatory repeat betas. But I chickened out and just told them I took a test and it was positive. True, but not the complete story. A part of it might be that I've always struggled with speaking to a group of people, regardless of how well I know them. But I was still angry with myself for not being more direct.

The next night we got together for a Superbowl party at my SIL's apartment. I was speaking to her MIL about the pregnancy and she started asking me questions that I couldn't really answer without coming clean. So I told her everything except our diagnosis. B is still not sure how he wants to deal with telling/not telling about the MFI, and I respect his wishes. I was surprised by two, it felt better than I thought it would to tell someone who knew nothing about our struggles what we went through. Two, I was so nervous/scared to take that first step that my hands turned cold and started shaking. But unlike the night before, I was happy with myself when we went home.

I hope to continue sharing our story with others in the future. I guess if anyone ever wants to see our collection of ultrasound pictures they'll know because we have the picture of our little embryos. It just continues to bother me that I have such a hard time talking about this. I have to wonder - if we had dealt with some other medical issue, would it still be this hard? Why, when I know intellectually that infertility isn't something to be embarrassed about, do I struggle like this? I think that so much of our struggle was my internal battle. I turned a lot of my feelings inward and directed a lot of my anger and pain at myself. Now it's all wrapped up in one big personal ball of yuck. Sharing it with others feels like giving them a glimpse at my soul. Even though I'm close to these people, once you let them see into your heart like that, you can't just take it back. It's so...invasive. I see now that a lot of my feelings were ignored and put aside as I focused all of my energy on getting through whatever appointment/treatment/phone call needed to be dealt with that day. Now that these feelings are ready to be dealt with, it scares me.

In happier news, my doctor gave me permission to continue dyeing my yarn and I was able to start on Monday. Seeing a box filled with bright, cheerful colors that I created makes me feel so happy.

I hope everyone has a good weekend...if you're also feeling the effects of the lovely winter storm that happened earlier this week, my sympathies. It's a mess out there!

Friday, February 02, 2007

6 Weeks?

I can't believe that it's been six weeks since I posted to this blog.
So far everything continues to go well. I was released by my RE at 7 weeks after we saw the most wonderous thing - a tiny beating heart. Dr. C seemed genuinely happy and reminded us that he'll be there when we're ready for a FET. I was also told to stop my PIO at 9 weeks, which meant my last shot was the day before my birthday. That was an awesome gift, let me tell you. B kept asking me what I wanted for my birthday and I wasn't kidding when I told him being able to sleep without the pain of the lumps from the PIO was more than enough!

My first OB appointment was a week later. My OBGYN is really nice and she's the one who ordered the initial testing for me when I went to her at the one year of TTC mark. She went out of her way to make me feel good about having made it through IVF. Then came the best part - another ultrasound.
After this ultrasound we started calling the baby "gummy bear". It was amazing to see little arm and leg buds and we also got a great view of the spine.

And today was our ultrascreen/nuchal test. I pricked my finger at home at around 10 weeks - pre-IVF that little lancet would have scared me, but it didn't bother me at all. Since I'd already done the bloodwork, they were able to tell me right away that our odds for Down's went from 1/711 to 1/>10,000. The risk for Trisomy 18/13 went from 1/1,259 to 1/>10,000 as well. The nurse told me that my risk was in the range for a 20 year old. Whew! And we got some really amazing pictures. This is my favorite - my sister said that he/she already sucks his/her thumb like I did as a baby:
I think he/she looks pretty comfy in there. I drank some orange juice an hour before the ultrasound and the baby was moving all over the place. Even the technician thought it was funny. I was in awe of this little creature who suddenly looked so human. Unfortunately, B was not able to come to this appointment. We thought that we were going to have an ultrasound at my regular 12 week appointment and he came to that...but we "only" heard the heartbeat on the Doppler. He's working out of town this week and it would have been very hard for him to make it back here for the appointment. I was lucky enough to have my MIL with me, and while we were waiting for the results she reunited with one of the people she used to work with as a sonographer. So for our 20 week ultrasound if she's available, she'll do it. That made me feel good because if the orange juice doesn't work I feel like she would be more patient trying to find out the sex. I have a strong feeling that it's a girl, and B told me he really, really wants it to be a girl, too. Of course we're happy with anything, but since everyone thinks it's a girl it will probably be a boy. :) And tomorrow we're going to tell most of B's family our news at a family dinner.

So that's what's been going on here. I've been struggling lately with the aftermath of IVF and infertility. I can honestly say that becoming pregnant does not relieve all of the stress, worry, and emotional pain. It's like post traumatic stress disorder. I sometimes feel like I don't belong anywhere. And there are so many irritating pregnant people. You know the fertile people who announce they're FINALLY pregnant after 2 months of trying? They transform into pregnant people who fall into deep depression over their disappointment in the baby's gender. I can understand a preference, but do we really need message boards devoted to this disappointment? And I keep running across the book "My Boys Can Swim!" which is supposed to be a guy's guide to fatherhood. I don't think B would even open that one up. I was also fortunate enough to read a post claiming that people who can't get pregnant on their own are not meant to have children and all IVF babies carry a genetic deformity. Sigh.

Right now I guess I prefer my role as the undercover infertile. I can pass as a pregnant person and do my best to educate people on how insensitive their comments can be. Just because I'm lucky enough to be pregnant doesn't mean it's easy. I'm still working on adjusting. And I hope to be able to blog more regularly to help me sort this out.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

6 week ultrasound

Today I had another ultrasound and got to see a teeny tiny speck inside the sac:

I thought I saw a little flicker when the doctor was moving the wand around, but he didn't see it. I know it's really early to see anything, but I was still hoping. :) He said everything looks great - my ovaries are almost back to a normal size and it seems the danger of getting OHSS again has passed. I'm going back next week for another ultrasound and if we see the heartbeat, I'll be released to my OBGYN. He told me I'll graduate and shook my hand. I wanted to hug him.

I was feeling pretty good until yesterday - just tired and bloated. I'm embarrassed to admit that I had to buy a pair of maternity jeans. I didn't want to do this, in large part because I'm superstitious, but I had no choice. I'm blaming it on the OHSS bloat that stuck around. I tried on a zillion pairs of pants in a larger size, but they looked ridiculous. I'm also starting to get bouts of nausea. I can't complain, though. I don't think I've ever felt so content. All of this continues to feel like a dream.

It's strange to think that my next ultrasound will fall on the one year anniversary of my FIL's death. I've thought a lot about him during this whole process. I know that he's with us in spirit but I wish he could be here for our good news. After his death there was so much sadness and chaos. It's hard to believe that one year later so many positive things have happened. My FIL was the kind of person who could strike a bargain with anyone and make them feel like they were getting the better deal even if they weren't. We sometimes joke that he's negotiating deals for us even now. It doesn't feel like a joke these days.

I haven't felt like writing or much of anything the last few weeks...I hope that changes soon. Happy holidays to everyone!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Yet another update

It's been a long time since I've posted. I've been so tired and grumpy. We both caught a coughing cold at the same time and kept each other up at night, miserable. Lots of cough drops and a humidifier have helped a lot and we are now catching up on a lot of missed sleep. Today is the first day I've felt close to normal.

On Saturday we told our parents. I called my Mom pretending to be interested in the free flight she recently earned, asking her how she did it, how long it took to get the miles, etc. Then I asked her how she'd like to use that trip sometime in August. She caught on right away and was so happy. My Dad was at work so I called him and he was also very happy. It's weird - our anniversary is August 5 and last year we went to Niagara Falls to celebrate. We took long walks and hoped that we'd have good news by the time our next anniversary came around. At that point we hadn't even seen our RE yet, though we did have the appointment set up. Even though the months between diagnosis and IVF seemed interminable, when I remind myself where we were in August it seems like almost no time at all.

We went to B's Mom's apartment for dinner as we often do on Saturday. I took a picture of my digital HPT with the embryo picture in the background and printed a copy. We bought a Hanukkah card and put the picture inside. When she opened it she looked shocked. She wanted to know if we were sure, and I told her I had the beta early. Much shrieking, hugging, and tearing up followed. Then she called everyone who knows about the IVF to share the news.

Yesterday I had my OHSS monitoring appointment. My ovaries are still enlarged, but he said they're slowly going down. The pain I still feel when moving a certain way or walking too much is normal. The fluid inside my abdominal cavity is also going away. He was pleased with my progress. Then he took a look at my uterus:

The small dot in the middle of the image is our little embryo. So far it looks like there's one hanging out in there. It was totally amazing to see that little spot on the screen. So amazing, in fact, that I did something a little sneaky. After he left the room so I could get dressed, I noticed the image was still on the screen. I also saw the print button. Since you're looking at the image, you can guess what I did. How could I not?

When the nurse called me back with my bloodwork results, I asked her what my beta numbers were. On Friday (11dp5dt or 16 dpo) it was 65. Yesterday (16dp5dt or 21 dpo) it was 704. She said they are rising perfectly. I also continue to have normal hematocrit, another sign that the OHSS might stay away. Please, please, please!

B surprised me last night when he admitted to me that he wanted it to be twins. I had no idea he felt that way. We had a good talk about our feelings and it was the first time we really talked with the idea that this might just work. We're both big worriers, though I am the optimist in our relationship. I'm glad we were able to share some of our thoughts with each other.

My next appointment will be next Wednesday at 6 weeks. Still early to see a heartbeat, but that doesn't stop me from hoping anyway. I thought that I would be glad when the 2ww was over, and I am. But there's still a lot of waiting and hoping going on.