Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving

A happy belated Thanksgiving to all! I meant to post this yesterday on Thanksgiving, but I over-stuffed myself and ended up in a food coma for the rest of the night.

Supposedly digestion slows way down when you're pg so that the baby has more time to absorb all the nutrients it needs. This made for a very long miserably stuffed feeling. You know the ill feeling after eating an all you can eat buffet? Well let me tell you, it's 10 times worse when you're pg. No more big meals for me for the rest of this pg! Family, please remind me of this at Christmas! =)

Well, I'm sure you can imagine what we are so incredibly thankful for this year. We finally beat infertility, we are finally pg! But what kept interrupting my thoughts was all my friends out there that are still in the trenches, still fighting the fight. My heart goes out to each and every one of you. Keep fighting and know that I'll be right beside you rooting you on.

All Our Love,

Tall Dude & Short Chick

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

10 Weeks

10 weeks already, can you believe it!? Here's another boring update.

Results of today's hormone check:

Estrogen: 1175 (up from 892)
Progesterone: 14.77 (up from 12.42)

CCRM wants me to reduce to 2 patches on Fri. They also wanted me to drop to 1 Endometrin but I chickened out. It scares me to death to go off of the progesterone as it's maintaining my lining until the placenta takes over. CCRM said they really need to get me completely weaned by 12 weeks or the baby can start absorbing these extra hormones, but that it would be ok stay on 2 Endometrins a little longer and reduce at the next check. I'm to recheck next Tue.

Symptoms:

* The prednisone-like after taste is gone after 5 days, so I will get to enjoy my Thanksgiving dinner. Yippee!

* I haven't had any spotting in 8 days. Yeah!!!

* Still exhausted as ever. Yawn!

* I haven't been feeling up to par the last few days. I think it's due to my hormones going up and down during this weaning process.

* I had uterine achiness all night last night that kept me awake. I think Seven's home is going through a little remodeling.

That's all for now. See, boring!

Monday, November 23, 2009

9w5d

Today's hormone levels after weaning off Estrace and 1 Endometrin:

Estrogen: 892 (down from 1442)
Progesterone: 12.42 (down from 17.14)

Removing the Estrace was a huge drop in the amount of supplemental estrogen I was getting. So I'm relieved to see my estrogen still at a decent level.

My progesterone dropped as well, but it's still at a good level and a tad higher than many of my previous levels.

CCRM wants me to stay on my current doses. They want to give my placenta time to re-adjust. I'm to go back Wed for ANOTHER blood draw... my poor veins.

Symptoms:

This week I have a new unpleasant symptom. I guess it's labeled metallic after taste, but I think mine is a little different. If you've ever had to take Prednisone, it leaves a horrible medicine after taste. I'm not on Prednisone, but for some reason all my food/drink, even water, leaves a Prednisone-like after taste. I've had it for the last 4 days. Finally, for the first time ever, I feel free to eat as much as I want without the guilt, ya know, because I have 2 stomachs these days! LOL I'm really hoping it goes away in time to enjoy a nice Thanksgiving dinner.

Other than that, just still incredibly exhausted and having occasional uterine achiness. All good signs!

Friday, November 20, 2009

9w2d

I had another hormone level check today.

Estrogen: 1442 (nice rise from 903)
Progesterone: 17.14 (highest level to date)

CCRM is weaning me again, yeah!!! They are completely taking me off the Estrace. They are also decreasing my Endometrin from 3x/day to 2x/day. So that means I'm now down to 2 vaginal suppositories a day instead of 4. I cannot tell you how happy I am about that! I'm to remain on 3 estrogen patches every other day. I go for another level check Monday.

I also had an OB panel done today which required 6 vials of blood. Anyone have any idea what this tests for?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

9 Weeks

I heart Wednesdays! Every Wednesday, I turn over a new week and clear one more hurdle. My inbox fills up with all the pg week by week emails I subscribed to. Hubby and I read them together to see what's up with both the baby and my body. It's amazing all the changes that take place each week.

This week I've entered the 3rd month and my embryo is now officially a fetus. Little Seven is the size of a green olive. My uterus has doubled in size and my belly may start to show. It's definitely fuller, though I'm not so sure it's uterus. Probably more likely the extra food I've inhaled. We thought now would be a good time to take a baseline belly shot since it appears there's going to be some growing in the weeks ahead. So here we go. (lovely black residue courtesy of estrogen patches)


Hcg is also at it's peak this week and it warns that m/s could be at it's worst. I guess I have officially escaped m/s, not a single hint of it. The exhaustion has reappeared though and it's a good thing I don't have both. I think I would just have to sleep with my head in the toilet.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

8w6d

Today was our anxiety reliever u/s that my ob/gyn ordered for me. It came just in time as the anxiety was starting to kick in. All of my symptoms have disappeared over the last 2 days. While symptoms come and go and it's completely normal, the symptoms were my binky.

First stop was the dreaded scale. I gained 3 lbs in 1 week, holy oink! Did I not say I could eat like a man? Now that my extreme hunger has seemed to fade away, at least for now, hopefully my weight gain will slow down.

The u/s was definitely not as high tech or as high quality as I had been getting, but it was still great. Here's our little bean with big head on the right and stomach to the left. The placenta is on the left side.


CRL:
1st measurement: 17.2mm 8w1d (5 days behind)
2nd measurement: 18.5mm 8w3d (3 days behind)

I'm trying to not let the measurements freak me out as this was done on a portable machine and the ob/gyn said all was perfect.

The yolk sac is getting smaller and the placenta more profound which happens as the baby's nourishment transfers from the yolk sac to the placenta. Hopefully this means the placenta will take over hormone production soon. The placenta is at the top of my uterus and away from my cervix, yeah!

I asked if the hemmorhage was still there and she took about 2 seconds to look and said she didn't see one. I'm still having very light spotting off and on but nothing to worry about.

She measured the HB using her watch and said it's about 150 bpm and that was great. I'm not worried about the difference from last week since it was measured by the u/s machine then.

As we were admiring the HB, little Seven did the jig! That was the highlight of our week, our little baby moved! I wasn't expecting that at all.

Here's a short video clip of the u/s. The ob/gyn points out the head and limbs. After Kerry zooms in, you can clearly see the heart beating away. At the very end, you can see Seven start to wiggle and then the video cuts off.

video

I get another anxiety reliever u/s in 2 weeks and then she said if I wanted to do the NT scan at 12w, I could. I said heck yeah, it means another u/s! She also said if the anxiety gets too bad before my next u/s, to just call her and she'll see if she can get me in. Wow, can't get much cooler than that!

After our appt, we went up to the 6th floor to visit a friend in the hospital. After our visit, we ran into the nursery. I got so excited, we were on the L&D floor! A nurse saw my excitement and asked if we wanted a tour and we jumped at it. It was so surreal to see where I would deliver! The thought of labor scares most pg women, it makes me giddy. We'll see how giddy I am in the end, lol!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

8w3d

Yesterday's hormone levels after dropping from 4 estrogen patches to 3:

Estrogen: 903 (>300)
Progesterone: 11.07 (>6)

No more weaning for me, both numbers dropped.  Boo!  I'm so ready to shut down my bedroom pharmacy.  I'm to remain on my current doses and go for another check next Fri.

For those of you that did this protocol, when did you start weaning and when were you completely weaned?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

7w6d

It's been 12 days since my 1st u/s.  8 of those days, I've endured anxiety-inducing spotting in an assortment of brown, pink and red.  While I know it's very common in early pg, especially IVF pg, it's also the prominent sign of m/c.

Ya know, before I became an infertility survivor, I used to get so frustrated with those that finally became pg and then spent so much time wasting away their pg worrying.  I was like, OMG, you finally got what I want so bad, why are you not enjoying it to the fullest???  My philosophy was no matter how you spend this pg, happy or in fear, it's not going to change the outcome, so why not enjoy it to the fullest?  Well I can honestly say now, it's easier said than done.  While I am thrilled beyond words, there are times where I'm plagued with the fear of knowing I'm not guaranteed a live baby at the end of this.  It just unfortunately comes with the territory of working soooo hard to achieve something that is so fragile and can end at any moment.

With each passing milestone, I'm chipping away at that nagging fear and becoming more and more excited.  It's finally starting to become real.  I still find myself in situations where Kerry will tell someone I'm pg and I'm literally like, OMG, I am, I am pg!

Today was my 2nd u/s @ 7w6d.  I'm so relieved to announce that it was a perfect u/s!  Here are the stats:

CRL:  14.9mm, measuring perfectly on track at 7w6d (up from 3mm, measuring 2 days behind)
HB:  173 BPM (up from 117 BPM, notice the 7's?)
Yolk Sac:  Present
Amniotic Fluid:  Normal
Placenta:  Diffuse (CCRM said this just means it's still hard to see and spread out)
Hemmorhage:  16x12x9mm (up from 5mm, CCRM says it's still small)
Cervix:  3cm (down a hair from 3.1cm)

Here's little Seven who increased in size by 5x and has sprouted little arm and leg buds!  It looks like our little blob is cursed with my big forehead!



I asked when we would get to hear the HB and she said not until after the 1st trimester.  Apparantly they have seen some studies that suggest that using the doppler this early can be dangerous to the fetus as the frequencies are very high.  Ok, I'll wait!

I went ahead and had my hormone levels checked today, a day early, since I was already there.

Estrogen: 1262 (>300)
Progesterone: 14.85 (>6, finally increasing!)

CCRM wants to start weaning me.  I'm to go from 4 to 3 patches tomorrow.  I'll stay on the same dose of Endometrin and Estrace.  I'm to check my levels this Fri.  They like to check levels 2 days after a decrease, which is great in case it was too early to decrease.  If I'm still doing good, they may decrease again. I'll be soooo glad when I'm done with all these meds!

My prenatal appt ended up being a short Q&A session with my ob/gyn.  They are going to hold off on all the blood work until they receive my communicables from CCRM as they don't want to unneccessarily repeat tests. 

I addressed my concern of all the spotting I've been having and she told me this is nothing to worry about, it's very common and only a worry if it turns to red flow with cramps. So I'm done worrying about the spotting! 

I addressed my concern about my leeped cervix and said I wanted to take a better safe than sorry approach with it.  She was very on board and said she would keep a close eye on it with u/s and also do fetal nectin tests which tests for preterm labor.

I asked about the H1N1 vaccine and while she recommended it, she has none and has had a very hard time getting any in stock.  She mentioned that she has already had 3 pg patients who ended up on ventilators due to H1N1.  Scary!

I asked how many people I can have in the room during delivery.  I expected 2-3, but suprisingly found out that it's as many as can fit as long as everyone stays out of the doctors way.  She said she just did a delivery where the woman had her entire church choir (20 people) in the room during delivery and they sang to her.  Wow!  So I'm very excited as I'd love nothing more than to invite my 3 moms to witness the birth of their grandchild.

At the end, she congratulated us, said she was so happy for us and knew that we must be filled with anxiety in between u/s.  She then said, how about another u/s in 1 week, would that be too long?  Ha, 1 week, are you kidding me?  I would have been good with 2 weeks, but I'll take it!  It won't be the full blown nice u/s like I've had, but instead a quick peak to make sure there's a HB on a lower quality machine.  How cool is that!

So that ends the details of my appt today.

Symptoms this week:

Frequent Urination (thanks to those that admitted to not flushing every time, we have resorted to this as well as I can't imagine our sewer bill with peeing every 10 mins.  We've gone back to the old college saying "yellow is mellow, brown goes down")

Extreme Exhaustion (thinking of auditioning for a role as a zombie for some extra cash)

Hungry all the time!!!  I can eat like a man!

Boobs... I never mention this one because my boobs became fuller, darker and ummm, more happy as soon as I started progesterone and before transfer.  So I don't really consider it a pg symptom, more a progesterone symptom.  They have never been sore.  Well... they are getting bigger!  I keep catching my nipple on the door frame when I take a sharp right out of the bathroom.  Ouch!

Pg Brain!  I managed to drop an entire pizza and a full glass of water on the floor at the same time!  Talented!  Kerry is having sympathy pg brain as he knocked his glass of water over, not once, twice!  Today I locked my keys in the car.

I've still managed to completely escape m/s!  I think some of Lucky Seven's luckiness has seeped into my system.

The other day I was craving pizza sooooo bad!  Kerry decided to let me splurge on pizza once a month.  We went to pick it up and on the way back, I found myself equally famished and having to desperately pee.  As soon as I got home, I couldn't decide which was more important, so I killed two birds with one stone.  Kerry just happened to be carrying in the camera from his car and well, I got caught!


 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

7 Weeks

Seven turns 7 weeks old today!!!  May we have 33 more weeks together as one!

Today's estrogen/progesterone levels:

Estrogen:  1070 (>300)
Progesterone:  10.89 (>6)

CCRM asked me if I was ok to continue my meds for another week before they start weaning me. Well of course I am!  Weaning off the meds scares the crap out of me. So I go for another level check in 1 wk and then they may start weaning me.  Also, they called me in a prescription for Folgard.  They want me on the prescription strength folic acid even though my homocystine came back normal.  Ok with me, better safe than sorry.

Symptoms (week 4-6):

Frequent Urination (scared to see the next sewer bill!)
Exhaustion
Insomnia
Spotting (week 6)
Uterine Achiness/Pulling Sensation
Very Thirsty
Large Appetite (Kerry laughs at me on all the food commercials as I drool and say "mmmmm")

I've been very blessed with no m/s so far.  I'd be very happy to skip this one.

Today I bought my first maternity item.  It's a BellaBand which allows you to keep wearing your regular pants unbuttoned.  I figured I'd be needing this soon if my appetite keeps going at this pace.

6 days till the next u/s!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

1st U/S & Peri Appt - The Details

Some of you asked what made me decide to ask for the MTHFR test. After being in the world of infertility for quite some time, I've pretty much seen a lot of devastation. I've read way too many stories of women having recurrent m/c and then finding out they had MTHFR.  Once they were put on prescription strength folic acid and maybe blood thinners, they went on to have a successful pg. Such an easy fix to avoid the devastation of a m/c.  Now of course I'm fully aware that their m/c could have been completely unrelated to MTHFR and also that someone with MTHFR can have a completely normal pg without treatment.

I'm one who likes to be proactive and leave no stone unturned, which I believe is one of the reasons that I am finally where I am today. I've asked for the MTHFR test a few times in the past, but had always been told, oh you don't need that, we only test for that in someone who has had recurrent m/c.  Well as many of you know, lucky Seven was my last embyro. I couldn't afford to m/c first.  So I insisted on being tested.

I never imagined that it would actually come back positive. My ob/gyn immediately referred me to a perinatologist for a consult as she knows how important this pg is to me. The peri wanted me to have an u/s prior to the consult, I guess to make sure that I was pg before getting into any kind of treatment.

Kerry and I arrived for our surprise 1st u/s at 6w1d. We were both pretty anxious and trying to believe for the best. I peed and then headed into u/s. I first had the transabdominal u/s and immediately I exclaimed, there's a sac!  She then told me to go empty my bladder while she went and got the peri.  I had just gone! If I haven't mentioned it before, I have major frequent urination going on.

The peri and sonographer returned. The peri introduced himself and said "I've seen your ovaries several times". I said "well it's always nice to finally put a face with the ovaries". He's super nice and we both really liked him.

We got started on the intravaginal u/s. She first measured my cervix at 3.1cm, we're hoping this will lengthen some. They reassured me it would as pg progresses. She then removed the wand and said, go pee, your bladder is full again. 3rd pee in 15 mins! We were all cracking up.

Next we got to the exciting part, seeing our little bean. It measured 3mm. I addressed my concern that I thought it should be 4mm by now, they both laughed and said that's only 1mm difference. Thanks to those that pointed out that the gestational age varies during this time and 2 or 3 days off is totally normal. They use the CRL (crown to rump length) to determine GA (gestational age). 3mm put us at 5w6d, so just 2 days off, but totally within range.

Next they had me hold my breath while they looked for a heartbeat.  There it was, a blinking light on this tiny little 3mm baby! We couldn't hear anything, but the sight of it was beautiful. It measured 117 bpm, I love how Seven keeps running into the number 7.

They continued to look around and I about freaked. To the lower left of the sac was a 2nd smaller sac!  I was like, please tell me it didn't split! He said no, that's a hemmorhage.  It's actually a SCH (subchorionic hemmorhage) where the placenta separates a little from the wall of the uterus. He said it's small (5mm) and should not pose a problem and should go away on it's own. This is one of the main reasons for early pg bleeding. I told him other than around beta, I haven't had any bleeding. He said I probably wouldn't then.

If you look at my u/s in the previous post, you can see this white mass to the lower left of the baby. In a different plane of view, this area contains the 2nd sac, the SCH. It's pushing into the fetal sac causing it to look funny shaped.

After the u/s, we had our consult.  I addressed my concern that due to the MTHFR, I was terrified that my baby hadn't been getting any folic acid and how that causes things like neuro tube defects and spina bifida. The peri explained MTHFR to us as an illustration. He said that each gene is like a two lane highway. With being heterozygous, one lane is blocked and the other is open, so a car can just drive around the roadblock and keep on going. The condition would be much more serious if it was homozygous where both lanes were blocked.  He said because I had no family history of blood clotting issues or strokes, he didn't think this would cause me any problems except maybe a slight increased risk of preeclampsia. I asked that since my normal BP is very low at 100/60, would that be in my favor to not get preeclampsia and he said no, my current BP doesn't change my risk either way. He really felt that there was nothing that needed to be done differently as I was already on baby aspirin and extra folic acid.

He said that we would know how much the MTHFR was affecting me when the Homocystine level came in. If it was elevated, we would need to make sure I was put on Folgard and if it wasn't elevated, I could just continue on as if I didn't even have the MTHFR.

Well my Homocystine came back normal!  The normal ref range is 3.7 to 13.9 and mine came back 7.7.  Notice the sevens?  I think that was Seven's way of saying "chill out mom, I'm ok in here".

I asked if there was anything else I needed to be tested for. He said no, that even if something came back positive, he wouldn't change anything I'm doing, so why stress me out.

I then discussed my concerns of being at risk of incompetent cervix due a short cervix due to having a leep in 2004. He really didn't feel like 1 leep would cause me any problems. I asked if we could keep an eye on it anyway and he said absolutely.

I asked when my next u/s would be and he said 18 weeks. I about fell off the table and exclaimed, are you serious???  I let him know that I will go nuts if I have to wait that long.

After I got dressed, the peri suprisingly came back to my room to discuss the hemmorhage.  He said after looking at my chart, he noticed my last few estrogen levels went from 1163 to 3022 to 798.  After seeing that, he wondered if that 2nd sac was in fact a 2nd fetal sac, as in the embryo split but 1 didn't make it. He then said he still really thinks it's just a hemmorhage. I start asking a million questions and then he smiles and winks at me and says "I'm just finding an excuse to get you another u/s in 2 weeks".  How cool is that!

So my 2nd u/s is scheduled for Nov 10th at 7w6d. Afterwards I have my first prenatal appt.

I've been on bedrest for the last 2 days due to spotting.  It's either from the u/s or the hemmorhage.  As long as I stay off my feet, it goes away. If I'm up and about too much, it picks up.  Today it seems to have stopped, so bedrest works!