Tuesday, August 15, 2017

30 Weeks

Umm.. a cucumber? That seems smaller than a butternut squash. Oh well
30 weeks is such a great milestone to hit. We got to have an ultrasound on Friday when I hit the 30 week mark. Baby girl was doing well and her estimated weight was 3lbs9oz! She's weighing right on track for her gestation, so that was good news. My cervix was also long and closed, so also good news.

We got to see which part of her is pushing up into my ribs and it was her butt! She sure likes to push her booty up high making it very difficult to get comfortable. I've read she gains about 1/2 pound a week until she comes now, which means she will put on over 4 lbs! I have no idea how I'm supposed to make room for that. I already feel all kinds of huge and uncomfortable and like my belly is stretched to the brim.

Overall sleep and anxiety are better too. Thank goodness and praise God! I guess the whole "nesting" thing is real because I've been de-cluttering and organizing the whole house one room/closet at a time. This also means I've created a mess in unorganized spaces in the meantime, but the goal is to get the house cleaned out in the next week and a half. It's a lofty goal, but I'm guessing I'm going to be too uncomfortable to do much of that after that point.

I also made my first trip to Labor and Delivery through the ER this weekend. I'll start by saying all is fine and baby girl is fine. But, she made me nervous on Sunday. Usually this baby girl is very active all day long. It's often uncomfortable as she wiggles, kicks and apparently adjusts her position all day (and night).  But on Sunday she was really calm and quiet. I didn't feel her nearly as much as usual. I got worried enough that after dinner I called the on-call line and although the nurse practitioner said the movement I was getting after dinner was enough to be encouraging to her, I was still worried. So, she encouraged me to go the ER and have them check me in to Labor and Delivery in if I felt anxious, so I did.

I went in and I'm glad they did. Of course once I arrived and checked in she started getting really active again. But, either way I'm glad I went in and the reassurance was nice! It was also a reminder of why I'm so glad we chose the hospital we did. I arrived there in about 5 minutes and it was so calm. It wasn't at all the crazy and chaotic ER that I was anticipating. Other than one elderly couple I was the only one there! Checking in and getting taken upstairs to the L&D wing was super easy and all was calm the whole time I was there. The nurses were kind and got right to setting me up to the Non-Stress-Test. I had this done in the regular OB office at 25 weeks, so I knew what to expect. They get my belly connected to a monitor so that it measures baby's heart rate for 20-40 minutes. I ended up being connected for about an hour. They want to see the heart rate go up and down to indicate that she's moving around freely, and she was. So they reassured me that all was well, which helped me sleep Sunday night.

Yesterday (Monday), she was back to her regular wiggly self thank goodness. Feeling her move around all day may be uncomfortable, but it's reassuring. I know something going wrong at this point is not common, but of course I'm super in tune, knowing that I'm the only one that will notice if there's an issue, so I take it all seriously. I know a few women who have had late stillbirths and less active babies, so of course I'm paying attention each day and don't want that to be me.

As of today, (Tuesday) we have 58 days to go. Did I already mention that my c-section is scheduled for October 13th? At moments, like when I'm trying to get things cleaned up and the children are making disasters of the entire house, 58 days seems like not enough time, but most of the time it still feels like a long way away and I hope the time passes quickly. Either way I hope the time passes quickly, but that I'm also able to get the house cleaned out and prepared for new no-name baby. :)

This may seem like a weird ultrasound photo, but it's looking right at her face! You can see her face is filling out and her mouth, nose and eyes! 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

29 weeks

I wish this update said, "I love being pregnant and my sleep issues and anxiety are totally solved! Praise God!"

But instead it will say that I'm simultaneously very grateful to be this far along, that I'm feeling much better than I was several days ago, but that anxiety and brain chemistry imbalance are real and no fun to deal with. But still, praise God, right? :)

My OB said that it's common for women who have previously struggled with clinical anxiety or depression to have a big resurgence in third trimester. Well, that's me! (The anxiety part) I wish I weren't dealing with this and it's hard as I wish I was a totally happy-go-lucky pregnant lady who is enjoying every moment, but I'm not. Which is especially disappointing after the long road of infertility and loss we've been on. I don't want her to come before she is ready to be in the outside world, but I'm also ready for her to be in my arms. 99% because of the anxiety and 1% because pregnancy is hard and uncomfortable. 

Looking at the photo I shared, I feel much larger than I look. I walk like a waddling pregnant lady for sure, especially after a big meal. The good news is that I'm pretty used to the gestational diabetes and my numbers are much better with a new and more accurate monitor so there is no insulin in my near future. I even found some high protein, low sugar ice cream, so I don't feel deprived anymore. 

I'm grateful the weather is not so unbearably hot because I've been able to go on walks again. Usually it's just a mile, but that is no easy feat when waddling and pushing a stroller. It's been really helpful for my mental state to be active and outside regularly again. 

A big milestone.. we are officially registered! We've had a couple of people offer to host showers for us, and while the idea is so lovely and we want to do it I'm not quite emotionally ready to commit to a date yet.  But registering seemed like a good next step. Maybe in the next week or two I'll be feeling well enough emotionally to get that on the calendar. A shower would be fun! And the only ones we ever had the baby was already there (the buddy). 

Thank you all for the support and prayers! And for checking the blog! It's so wonderful to have the support and prayers from so many people who love us and this unnamed baby already.❤️ (Why are girl names so hard to choose?) 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

28 weeks

So, today I'm 28w6d. I have been anxious awaiting 28 weeks for so long and was ready to celebrate and start doing baby preparation (because literally none has been done and I want to start preparing and believing this baby will be coming home alive with us). 

But this week was riddled with increasing anxiety about the gestational diabetes, following by intense and scary insomnia, panic attacks and crippling anxiety. So there hasn't been much by way of celebrating. 

I'm grateful for my team of medical experts who knew it was time for intervention and for a God I experienced in a brand new, intimate and healing way this week for the first time ever personally (so this is cause for celebration and hallelujahs!)

It's been a rough week but I'm trusting that God will be faithful and walk me though this phase. I can write more later, but that's 28 weeks in a nutshell. 

Good news is baby is alive and kicking and we get a growth scan in 8 days at 30 weeks. 


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

27 weeks

Friday I hit 27 weeks and because of my Gestational Diabetes diagnosis I got an extra MFM visit in on Thursday. Everything looked good with baby, fluid and cervix, which was good. We talked about gestational diabetes, the risks, generals of how and why to keep track of blood sugars, etc. He was kind and optimistic and said I definitely have a mild case. BUT, it's very likely I will have to go on insulin. Sigh.

I have to test my blood sugar every morning upon waking up and then 2 hours after each meal. My numbers after meals are fantastic and totally within normal range. However, my morning numbers are a little higher than he would like them to be. And the super annoying thing is that those numbers are almost entirely decided by hormones in the placenta. Whomp, whomp. So, if my numbers are great all day and not first thing in the morning then insulin is the only way to get them where he wants them to be. It seems like we will wait until I hit 30 weeks and get an official growth scan of the baby and have 3 weeks of blood sugar levels to go off of to decide if I'll need to take insulin or not. For now I'm experimenting with bedtime snack since that's the only thing that can really affect those numbers. I've tried a few different things without success, which is a bummer. And also, they say as placenta gets bigger the numbers usually get harder to control as well. Yuck.

If you know me you know I'm a huge researcher and answer gatherer, so you won't be surprised that by the time I met with the dietitian for my appointment yesterday I pretty much knew everything she shared with me. She also said my diet and numbers look great except for morning fasting numbers, which are just a little high. She again explained that those numbers have nothing to do with how I'm eating or anything, just how much the placenta and its hormones are blocking my body's production of insulin. So if there's any consolation it's that I can be confident that it's not MY fault and I'm not doing anything wrong, but it still stinks. I'm not wild about being on nightly insulin, but of course I'll do whatever helps keep baby healthy.

I will admit that the planning that goes into eating for gestational diabetes is annoying, but I don't yet feel deprived or like I'm missing out on all the best foods ever or anything. It's a little bit of a good reminder to eat small meals all throughout the day, which is better for me anyway since I was feeling all yucky and bloated when my meals were too big before. I'm more attentive to when I'm full now. I eat breakfast, take my sugar levels 2 hours later, then have a small snack, followed by lunch 2 hours later, then blood and snack 2 hours later, then dinner 2-3 hours later, and then a bedtime snack (and sometimes 2 snacks before bedtime if there's 4 hours or more between dinner and bedtime).  So basically I'm really attentive to eating every 2-3 hours. I accidentally forgot a morning snack on Sunday and felt yucky and too hungry by the time I was home from church to eat lunch, so I will now try to be more attentive and aware to eating all throughout the day. 

I'm REALLY hoping that I get more optimistic when I hit 28 and then 30 weeks (oh I hope I get there!) After the anxiety of the diabetes I was finally feeling some acceptance on Friday, but then all weekend my anxiety was needlessly high and my brain was convinced something terrible was about to happen. It's sad because after the point where I stopped being terrified of my water breaking (of course I'm still nervous that this could happen, but less so at this point) I started being scared that she would just die at any point. Sigh. Pregnancy after loss is so hard. I wish I could be confident that all will be well, but it's just so hard to believe this could actually have a happy ending of bringing home a baby and my brain is unable to truly believe that yet when I know there are so many things that could still go wrong (not likely, but I know the possibilities now).

So, there you have it. I've made it to 27 weeks, and actually am just 3 days shy of 28 weeks. Oh that these next couple of months would pass quickly!

Thank you all for the support and prayers and comments!! It means so much to know so many people care, are praying and want to stay in the loop of what's going on with us! It's so so appreciated! 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

26 Weeks

I will say that this is the first week I officially felt like my belly is definitely larger than my chest, so that's good! And it took awhile since my chest has grown 3 cup sizes from pre-pregnancy (haha). When I go out in public I still try to wear outfits that "hide" my belly as much as possible to avoid people asking me anything I don't want to talk about, but it's getting pretty difficult to do at this point.

It feels like a long time ago since my check in with the MFM on Friday. But, everything looked good. Baby girl measured 25w5d, which freaked me out at first. But, he said that that was totally normal and good and it's normal for babies at this phase to not measure their exact gestation. And that the most important thing to watch is if she's growing symmetrically and she is. Of course I'm still going to worry, but they only check growth every 4 weeks. I just hope she continues to grow well. After my water broke with Miriam and I was already scared out of my mind, an ultrasound indicated she was over a week behind which made things worse, so these 2 days behind did bring up some PTSD. Sigh. It's hard to imagine that this time everything can go ok when I'm just afraid of something terrible happening again.

The biggest news of the week is that I failed my glucose test so I have gestational diabetes. :(  To be honest I spent a lot of time crying the first couple of days. Even though I know I can eat healthfully and let go of sweets and it will be manageable, it's just another thing to add to my already overwhelmed emotions that I was just barely holding together. Despite all of the big emotions of this pregnancy, this was kind of the breaking point of holding it all in and I just let all the tears flow. And of course I can't help but feel like it's my fault and be frustrated with my body for this. :/

Today I had a check in with my OB and she said that gestational diabetes is caused by an "overactive placenta" from the baby, so it's definitely not my fault. The placenta just emits too many hormones that block normal insulin production (or something like that). Ugh. I've been eating healthfully and checking my blood sugar since Monday and so far my numbers have been fine (except when I ate out Monday evening and my numbers were slightly over). I guess my MFM better like me because he's going to see me even more often! I have an apt with him tomorrow to discuss the gestational diabetes, and then I have an apt on Monday with a nutritionist to be sure I know how to eat to keep the blood sugar levels where they should be. It was quite a pain that I had to start taking my blood sugar on Monday without being able to meet with the nutritionist for a full week, but thanks to the internet, and a very kind pharmacist who showed me how to use the glucometer, I think I'm doing ok.

To be honest I don't mind the more restrictive diet. I can handle that even though it's annoying and means not giving in to cravings or sweets. I'm just worried that I spent 25 weeks of this pregnancy without paying attention to my blood sugar and am worried that I negatively impacted her somehow. And of course I'm worried about how this whole thing will affect HER through all this, and I'm fine doing whatever it takes to keep her healthy. My OB told me that the risks are more associated with women whose blood sugar isn't well monitored, but of course that doesn't entirely put my mind at ease.

Just 2 more days to 27 weeks. Hopefully in a week I'll feel more comfortable with the whole diabetes thing and it will feel less overwhelming and stressful. I'm told the fasting level (the first level of the day) is the most important, and that's hard because it seems hard to control. I only have 2 fasting numbers to go off of and they've been "ok" but I would like to see them lower to put my mind at ease. Sigh. Ugh.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

25 weeks!

 So, I know I'll be 26 weeks tomorrow, so I'm very late to post this, but better late than never?

We had a wonderful week last week with extended family in town! My sister and her husband and their two girls were in town, and I can say with confidence that Sweet P doted on their baby girl like crazy. She asked about her every single time we got her up from nap or in the morning. She misses her cousins!

We also got to see both sets of my grandparents within a week's time, and my cousin, his wife and my uncle! It was so great! But, needless to say, it was exhausting. We had such a blast and it was so wonderful to see everyone, but I think I realized I'm an introvert in this phase of life, needing some more quiet time to recharge, and there wasn't as much of that as usual. Hence why this post is several days late. I have added napping back into my life too. I hadn't taken a nap since first trimester, but I think I'll be having them more regularly now.

The day I turned 25 weeks baby wasn't quite as active as she had been in the previous week, so of course I freaked out. The OB's office saw me that afternoon and did a Non-Stress-Test. That means they hook up your belly to a heartbeat monitor to measure baby's continuous heartbeat and movement for 20-30 minutes. They want to see variations of heartbeat to show baby is active, and she did wonderfully, reassuring us that she's doing just fine in there. The nurse reassured me that at this gestation, as long as I feel daily movement at some point, that's totally fine. Some days she will rest more and some days she will move more. And that's ok. But, of course, it's practically impossible not to worry.

Monday, when I went to get my progesterone shot, the nurse told me I failed the 1-hr glucose test (to see if I have gestational diabetes). Ugh! I actually cried when she told me. I feel like the emotions and physical demands of pregnancy after loss are similar to walking around carrying a gigantic beach ball that's really hard to hold. By carrying it around I'm just barely hanging in there. But, the thought of adding the additional stress of diabetes seemed like too much. I know in my head that it's usually well managed with diet and regularly taking blood sugar levels throughout the day, but the idea is a bit overwhelming. 

Since Monday I've tried to eat like I already have GD (so no more ice cream and much reduced carbs), just in case I have it. But, tomorrow I go in for the 3-hr test. This means I need to fast after midnight tonight, get my fasting blood sugar level taken at the OB's office, then chug a giant drink of 50-100mg of sugar (WHAT!?) and then stay at the doctor's office for 3-3.5 hours while they check my blood sugar 3 more times. I feel like I'll be lucky if I don't throw up from that! I won't get the results until Monday or Tuesday of next week, but do say some prayers that I pass easily and don't have to add the worry of gestational diabetes to the list of concerns!

And tomorrow is ultrasound day! 2 weeks sure feels like a long time between ultrasounds when I've gotten used to weekly! Hoping all looks good, including cervix and fluid levels. And by tomorrow baby girl will have at least a 80% chance of survival outside the womb. Of course I'd like her to hang out in there for at least 10 more weeks, but it's still a great milestone less than 24 hours away. :) 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

24 Weeks!

Since the day I got the phone call that my pregnancy test was positive back in February, I have been counting down to this point and it finally arrived! I was 24 weeks on Friday and that technically means viability! That's the great news! It seemed like an ETERNITY waiting for almost 5 months (literally 20 weeks) and it finally arrived. Those 20 weeks were just as eternal, if not more eternal, than I anticipated, but, I made it! haha Of course, my mind is not entirely put at east, but it is a reassuring milestone to hit and I'm grateful to be this far (and very ready to fast forward at least one month in the future barring all goes well).

My MFM (high risk OB) told me Friday that this meant that at that point if baby came early she would have at least a 50% chance of survival and that every day that number goes up by 2%. But, he also said that based on the ultrasound Friday there is no reason to think that something will go wrong. I sure hope he's right. My cervix looked closed and measured about 5cm, which is a great length for this gestation (I'm told).

Unfortunately it's impossible for me to totally relax and enjoy this pregnancy entirely, but I'm trying and there are good moments. This is the first week that I have felt her move every day. Yay! My OB said I should feel daily movements for sure by this point, so I'm glad that has been the case. Of course it's another thing to worry about if I haven't felt her for several hours, but I'm guessing that's something almost every pregnant woman worries about, right?

I'm grateful she's been fairly active most mornings when I first wake up and am still lying in bed. That's nice and reassuring that I've started the day with some movement. I hope she keeps it up! I told Dave sometimes when I feel quick movement/kicks from one side of the belly to the other I feel like a pinball machine. hehe

You know the saying "it takes a village"? I feel like with our family building adventure it's already so evident how true that is. With our 2 kids sleeping upstairs, before they even came home to us there was the village of their birthfamilies, our social workers, and even the government fingerprinting offices (plus tons more people that I don't have the time or energy to list)! haha And with this baby there was our fertility doctor and nurses and now my specialist, extra doctor visits, and the nurses that give me a shot, etc. and... our supportive community of family and friends! It means so much to go to church and have people tell me they pray for me and this baby every single day. One particular mom (who lost her daughter to a heart condition at just a few months old and really 'gets' it) cheers me on every Sunday and says she's so happy to see we've made it another week. Last Sunday I had two different priests come up to me and say a quick prayer for the baby and offer words of encouragement. It's really, really nice to hear gentle words of support and prayer without offering empty promises that no one can guarantee. I feel very grateful for our church and the community of kind and wise hearts and spirits.

And last but not least, a precious ultrasound photo. It may look kind of creepy as ultrasound pictures often do, but Dave said on the high resolution screen he could really tell that she was opening and closing her eyes here so it was almost like she was looking right at us! The screen I was looking at wasn't quite so clear, but it's cool he got to see that.

Of course, I'm still praying daily nothing goes wrong for at least 4 more weeks. I told Dave today that if I make it to 28 weeks I think I'll want to finally start planning for a baby to come home. Of course I still also have moments of intense panic where my brain is convinced something has or is about to go wrong. I worry about every little thing that feels different or new or uncomfortable and wonder if it's worth a call to the doctor or not. And some days I just wait anxiously for 9pm, since it's the earliest I can get into bed and end the worries of the day. Every day I'm still pregnant feels like something to be grateful for at this point and closer to a higher survival rate should something go wrong.

And this time I don't have an ultrasound until 26 weeks! Eek! I know it's good since weekly ultrasounds throughout a pregnancy would be unnecessary, but I'm already counting down for 12 days until we see her again and hopefully get confirmation that all is doing well!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

23 Weeks

Last Friday I reached 23 weeks. Everything looked good at the doctor. I'm so glad I switched to Friday appointments! It helps to have reassurance going into the weekend. The MFM (high risk OB) gave me some encouraging statistics. He said of course that the goal is to get to 39 weeks, but that if at 24 weeks (so in a few days now) something goes terribly wrong and baby is born there is a 50% chance of survival. Many of these babies have long term issues, but 50% of them live. He then said that each day after that gives an additional 2% chance of survival, and by 28 weeks there is now a 95% chance of survival! It's amazing what they can now do in the NICU.

Of course we really truly hope we make it into the 30s for sure, and getting to 38/39 weeks would be amazing and the best possible outcome for baby. But, for now these statistics are reassuring.

But, I will also say that it's hard to remain optimistic. I want to be hopeful and plan on having a full-term baby, but after what happened with Miriam, that came out of the blue, it's hard to imagine everything going well this time. I still fear the worst most days and my nerves are totally frayed. June has been the LONGEST month of my life, and there are still 3.5 days left of the month! Aargh! It seems like an eternity until the point where I feel confident that we will bring home a baby! 

It sucks and is totally unfair. I want to enjoy being pregnant and planning to bring home a baby. I want to be filled with joy and be picking out names imagining them for a healthy baby girl. But, it's all tainted with loss and fear. Ugh. You can say what you want about trusting God and that I shouldn't be anxious because it's in the Bible (and yes, people have said this to me), but people said that during my last pregnancy too, including me! When I got worried I would tell myself that most pregnancies have no complications and would push worry out of my mind. And then our baby died. So, no matter your theology it does not make sense to trust God that this baby will come home because that trust didn't work out last time.

Well, sorry for that darker turn. But, the good news is that I have felt more baby movements. Overall that's great, except for the days that I don't feel much and freak out. haha Within the next week I'm told I should feel some movement every day, so she better continue to stay active so that I know she's doing well.

And in other news, the buddy is still super excited about this baby. And somehow he and Sweet P think that since there's a baby growing in my belly that there's one growing in Sweet P's belly as well. Whenever I mention that the baby is kicking they start talking about the baby in her belly too and try to feel her belly for kicks. Obviously a strong understanding of biology is not within the grasp of a 2.5 and 5 year old brain. :) And during prayers the buddy has also requested that this baby come home this time and has mentioned he's sad that Miriam didn't, and regularly asks me if the baby is still in my tummy. So, he's processing as well the events of the past year as we do too. I echo his thoughts and wishes and sure do hope this baby comes home too.

Monday, June 19, 2017

22 Weeks

So, this week and weekend was most definitely better than the previous. Our counselor was so right about switching to Friday appointments. We had a really good appointment Friday and got a few good pictures of baby girl. I also asked if there were ANY indications that I should be worried or concerned or that it looked like I could have pre-term labor and he said no. This was reassuring to hear.

Of course I felt confident for about 24 hours and went back to feeling anxious again. From the beginning I have been counting to 24 weeks. That's the current state of viability where it's said if a baby is born that early he/she has a 50/50 chance of survival (those who live often have long term challenges, but survival is very good!). I've said if I got to that point I would be able to start believing we could actually bring home a baby. But, as I approach that gestation I know it will probably take until 28 weeks until I actually feel significantly more optimistic and less anxious. 

Of course I wish I could be excited and truly believe we will be bringing home a baby, but I am SO not there yet. I had a friend ask a few weeks back how I was managing to balance preparation with my anxiety and I said that there is absolutely no preparation going on, and there wouldn't be until July. Now, I'm thinking we will wait until at least August to prepare anything. Some would say that 2 months isn't enough to prepare for a baby, but we have brought home babies twice with less than 48 hours of preparation, so 2 months would feel like an eternity. :)

Anyway, I would say that the nerves and the milestone weeks are the big things where my focus lies at this point. Even though every doctor visit and ultrasound has been encouraging, I still start counting down to the next one pretty quickly. Even if I was told there was a 99% chance this baby would come home healthy, it would still be impossible for me to believe that until we get to several more weeks in the future. (And no one has said that. I think it's actually like 95%. Which was super reassuring to me last pregnancy, but obviously we fell in the 5%, so how could I not be worried the same would happen again?)

In good news I'm told she's about the size of an ear of corn (woa!) and weighs about a pound and is about a foot tall. She's definitely bigger than Miriam ever was now. I feel sad to compare them to ea but once you've seen and held a baby born too early it's impossible to not think about that size of baby being inside you on the milestone dates. Pregnancy apps say that within about 4 weeks she should double in weight and that feels like that will be a good milestone too. 

One super sweet thing. Thursday afternoon I had a voicemail from the cell phone of our fertility doctor. He was calling because he just wanted to check in and see how I was doing. That man is seriously the sweetest. I swear, if we were having a boy that kid would be named after this doctor! I called him back Friday after our good appointment and he was so happy to hear all was going well and he asked me to keep them posted, especially around milestone weeks because he and others there at the clinic think about us often and are really pulling and hoping for us to get this baby girl home! He assured me (like everyone else) that it will be normal to continue to have anxiety and that reaching 24, and especially 28 weeks will be huge accomplishments. He said if I can get to 32 weeks I will be set. Of course we want this baby girl to "cook" the whole time to be as healthy as possible, but he said that 32 is such a great gestation and that even though babies born that early may have significant NICU time, but that they almost all have fantastic long term health. That seems like forever away, but I will most certainly be doing some significant happy dances if we make it that far!

And in great news, Dave got his doctorate degree yesterday! He started working on it before the buddy came home, back in January 2012, and he is officially DONE with school! He has worked SO hard over the years and it's such a great accomplishment! It's also the perfect degree for him and what he feels called to do- it's a Doctorate of Worship Studies. Go Dave!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

21 weeks

Oh man. This week has been a doozy, and not in the best way. 

Miriam was stillborn at 21w1d, so I was dreading Saturday, the day I would be the same gestation. I was so ready to get past it and was ready to celebrate at 21w2d so that I could be the most pregnant I had ever been. But, Friday night, I had enough extra discharge (TMI I know, but there's no better way to explain the situation) that I was worried. It definitely didn't feel like my water BROKE like last time, but it was different enough that I was worried I was leaking or something.

Of course the worst time to be worried is Friday night since the doctor's office is closed until Monday. Friday-Monday doesn't sound like a long time to be worried until you are right in the thick of it. I called the on-call doctor line at my OB's office Friday night (she's in a practice with 5 other OBs) and the on-call doctor was the same one that insensitively told me I was going to have a miscarriage back in February. So, I was obviously disappointed she was the doctor on call. But, I explained the situation and although she tried to tell me not to be worried, she also spoke in a way that was (again) really insensitive, and also essentially said she didn't want to come in and check me out. It was really dismissive.

I tried not to worry, but how do you make your brain stop worrying when PTSD kicks in? I spent most of the weekend on modified bedrest in case I WAS leaking amniotic fluid, and every trip to the bathroom, sneeze or bathroom urge was compared to those last days of pregnancy with Miriam between water breaking and losing her. It was a ROUGH weekend. I counted down hours until Monday and I'm not exaggerating. I called in a replacement for my church job and stayed home from church on Sunday. I wish that I could have 100% believed the doctor on call when she said she didn't think I should be worried, but I was a wreck. When you've had a loss and something reminds you of the trauma of last time, it's almost impossible to get out of that worried cycle without confirmation that all is ok.

Side note: Dave is amazing and wonderful to me. He is quite literally the best husband. He was so kind and gentle all weekend to me and took care of the kids all weekend. He didn't tell me I was crazy or exaggerating and although he tried to calm me down he completely understood why I was so anxious. And he completely supported me when we had a baby-sitter come Monday morning at 7:45am to watch the kids so we could be at my MFM's office (high risk OB) the moment they opened at 8 (even though I didn't have an appointment until 3).

Every time we leave the parking lot at the doctor's office we say how grateful we are for such a good, compassionate, and knowledgeable doctor less than 10 minutes from our house. Despite not being on the calendar for 7 more hours (although I did cry from the moment I stepped into the office) he saw me right away and had the ultrasound done showing every thing was normal and baby girl had a full fluid sac. Even after having good news I continued to cry as emotions were very high after the weekend for goodness sake! He sat with me and answered all kinds of questions and concerns for at least 20 minutes and never ONCE made me feel like a crazy lady. Actually, he reassured me over and over how normal it is to have high anxiety in a pregnancy after a traumatic loss. He is a good man and I'm so grateful he's my MFM!

But, unfortunately, my anxiety has stayed high this week. My counselor has showed me this chart (or a similar one) a few times and mentioned how it would be ideal to live in the 1-2 range. But, that of course I will be living in the 3-5 range for a lot of this pregnancy and that that that's ok. Of course we talk about strategies for getting closer to the 2, but to be honest, if I'm at a 3 level that would be success. 

But, I was definitely at a 6 all weekend. After being at a 6 all weekend, it's hard to get all the way back down to a 3. Especially if you're already a naturally anxious person. So, I've still been functioning at a 5, even after the good visit on Monday. I would say there are time I'm distracted enough to be at a 4 (hooray!), but I don't know if I've gotten back down to just a 3, and certainly not to a 2. But, I'm working on it.

Have I also mentioned how much I love our counselor? She's is a total gift. She is an infertility survivor and seriously one of the kindest and wisest people I have ever met. Today she gave me more practical tips for helping to manage the anxiety. Like calling my OB's nurse and explaining how I felt Friday night talking to the on-call doctor to discuss possible ways to be sure I feel like I can come in whenever I need. And seeing if I can change my MFM appointment to Fridays instead of Mondays so that I can go into weekends with a (hopefully) good report. Isn't she so smart? Both calls have been made and so I get to go back to the doctor in 2 days! Never in my life have I counted down with such intensity to doctor appointments! ha!

Anyway, the weekend was tough. And I'm super disappointed that my anxiety didn't go away once I hit 21w2d like I had hoped. Sigh. That was an unrealistic expectation. But, it's still a good accomplishment that I have made it this far and so has baby girl! 

And I will end the post on a positive note... despite the weekend being mostly stress, there was a very high moment. Saturday night, so the exact gestation I was when Miriam passed, we felt baby girl kick! Eek! I felt it AND saw it through my belly! I never once felt Miriam move so this was so, so exciting. Dave was sitting right beside me and got to see and feel it too. It's actually quite an odd feeling. Since I've spent most of the pregnancy not wanting to talk about pregnancy or this baby as a real person it's kind of scary and weird to think about there being a little 1lb (ultrasound Monday estimated her weight to be 15oz, about 3-4 days ahead of schedule... go girl!) being inside of me pushing against my insides. It's quite miraculous, and honestly, quite unbelievable. I hope she gives me some good clear kicks more regularly to give some reassurance that she is doing well in there.

So, there you have it. I would LOVE for next week's update to be more optimistic. For now I'm still counting down days and sometimes hours to be closer and closer to when I will hopefully start to feel more optimism than anxiety. Today there's still more anxiety than optimism, and that's ok. But I would sure love for that balance to switch.

Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers! And can you do me a favor and leave a comment if you read this? I would love to know who is reading and it really is like a little virtual hug of support knowing people are caring and checking in on us. <3

Monday, June 5, 2017

20 weeks

Today is 20w3d. I actually took this picture on Friday when I turned 20w. It felt significant since last pregnancy my last weekly "bump shot" was 19 weeks. Once my water broke and I was on bedrest I didn't attempt weekly photos since my belly totally deflated after my water broke and I was also so depressed and anxious. So having a 20 week shot seemed like a big deal. I also wanted to take it early in case something bad happened before Sunday (I usually take the photos on Sunday since it's the only day I'm guaranteed to wear something nice and do my make up). 

Today's appointment with the MFM went really well again. Whew! My cervix is doing great and baby girl was active enough that we saw her curl up to do a flip. My pregnancy apps say she is about 10in long and weighs about 10oz. It's hard to read those stats since they're so close to what Miriam measured when she was born. 

Today as I was putting the buddy down for his nap he asked me if there was still a baby in my belly. I said yes and told him I was going for a check up after his nap to check on the baby. He very excitedly asked if he could come along and I said not this time. But hopefully we will make it far enough that I will feel confident to bring him to one. I'm sure he would love it. 

I also got my 5th progesterone booty injection. I am feeling so so grateful that I didn't have a reaction to them as I was so worried that I would! I always go to the OBs office to have it done (MFM is on the 4th floor and OB is on the 2nd of the same medical building) and today we had Dave watch how she drew up and administered the shot to consider having him do it sometime. However, after watching the process I think he's going to recommend I just keep having a nurse do it. :) After all the injections he's had to give me through the IVF process (seriously there have been over 100) you'd think he would be used to it, but those intramuscular needles are BIG and he's not wild about it. Hehe

Last week was very tough emotionally. The days before and right after the my previous PPROM gestation were so anxiety filled. I was literally shocked when my water didn't break on those days. It's amazing experience is such a strong teacher. Most people reading this see pregnancy as durable and your personal experience as well as those around you is that once you get pregnant, and especially once you're out of the first trimester, you will have a baby. That is 0% my experience. Experience has taught me that pregnancy leads to death and trauma. So I'm having to re-learn that that isn't the truth about pregnancy. Its serious work to re-train your brain to go in a different neural pathway. You know what helps? Experience that proves it otherwise. So even though I'm not convinced that this pregnancy will bring home a baby, I AM now convinced that I can make it to 20 weeks without loss. But it took actually living it to believe it. The next brain retraining will be to reach and pass 21 weeks. 

I will say I think the #1 thing that helped me get through last week was distraction. I would love to give you some deep or spiritual answer and say it was prayer and/or meditation, but it was definitely distraction. When I got super anxious (and dave was around to watch the kids) I would put "Friends" on my cell phone to stream and would clean out a cabinet or closet. It was the only way to distract myself enough to cope. Our therapist said this was very normal as it allowed me a chance to be in control of something. And to be honest I'm in control of very little right now. I also started practicing piano out of my childhood practice books, which has been a challenge, and also lots of fun. 😜 It has literally been 20 years since I played so I'm impressed with my "level 2" piano playing skills. 

I am SO READY FOR IT TO BE JULY! July means viability. If I make it to July it means if something goes wrong baby girl still has a chance to survive outside the womb. It's about a 50/50 chance, and most babies born that early do have significant health concerns, but I'm hoping that reaching that point allows me to breathe a little deeper. And I'm really really hoping we make it to August, at 28 weeks. And really really really hoping we make it to September! I'm hoping if I arrive at my birthday still pregnant (I'll be 34 weeks) I'll believe that there will be a baby to take home. 

Now if there's so much worry and doubt when is a good time to upgrade to a minivan? (Only very slightly rhetorical). 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

19 weeks 😳

Today I am 19w4d. That means tomorrow I will be at the gestation I was when my water broke with Miriam. Thank goodness I have a counseling session booked for tomorrow already! There will be plenty to talk about.

To be honest I've been pretty proud of myself for how well I've been doing emotionally the past few weeks as we got closer to this date. Last week at the anatomy scan I was surprised how many times it felt like I would burst into tears. Not necessarily happy or even sad tears, just really overwhelmed tears. I can remember so vividly all the ultrasounds that were so terrible last time with Miriam, and since the anatomy scan is the longest ultrasound I had so far all of those memories came flooding back and it was hard to focus on the happiness of a good and healthy ultrasound.

Yesterday was a very anxiety filled day. Every twinge or pinch I felt and trip to the bathroom were PTSD reminiscent of last time with Miriam and convinced me it was the beginning of the end again. It took me a bit by surprise, but I've found that when anxiety really hits me I can live and breathe through it, but I don't get a big sigh of relief until a good doctor visit. So, I struggled through yesterday (you know I'm not doing well when I don't even care if the house is a total mess) and thank goodness had an appointment this morning.

I specifically asked about my amniotic fluid level and that looked great. Whew. Baby girl also looked good and had her little feet up by her head this time. And my cervix was also long and closed and measured at 4.8cm! The longest yet! Yay! So, we took some deep breaths and were grateful for such a good appointment.

However, there is still a lot of anxiety. We've talked in counseling that it's ok for me to feel anxious and that it would be unusual if I didn't feel this way. That's what a previous traumatic event does to you.  You may think I'm exaggerating, but if I shared with you the details of how everything happened you would agree there was trauma involved. Dave and I both have flashbacks to August and the upsetting and heartbreaking things that happened. These memories pop into our heads at inconvenient times and are hard to get out of your head. Thank goodness for good counseling because I have strategies in place to help put those out of my mind as much as possible while in this already anxiety producing stage. But, it still happens and still contributes to mental and emotional unrest. 

So, if you think of us in the coming weeks, please say a prayer for us. Please pray that baby girl continues to grow healthily and that my body will continue to be a healthy place. My biggest fear is my body failing this baby too. And please pray for emotional and mental health in the coming days and weeks. There are going to be days where I feel somewhat incapacitated by fear, which is to be expected. But, I'm hoping and praying (and begging) we get to viability the last day of June and that this baby girl will still be going strong! It seems like I may never get there, but I'm trying so hard to take it one day at a time.  

To be honest, when I saw this profile today all I could think was how similar it looks to Miriam's face profile.
A open mouthed grin and a foot by her head. A promising future in dance or gymnastics, right?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

18 weeks

Tomorrow I will be 19 weeks, so I'm a little late to this weekly update, but so be it.

I'm seriously in the countdown now. Today I'm exactly 6 days from the gestation when my water broke last time so anxiety is high. I know that will continue as I (hopefully without incident please God!) live out the days between my PPROM and Miriam's birth/death gestation at 21w1.

Until then I'm attempting to be busy and counting down all the days to every appointment. I feel like when I've seen "pregnancy update" blogs before they do cutesy things like what the mom is craving or how her clothes fit, etc., but I just can't make myself go there yet. Hopefully once I get to 24 weeks I'll feel more "cutesy" about this pregnancy. And hopefully I GET to 24 weeks! It's just 5 weeks from tomorrow but seems like an eternity!

Good news from this week! We did the anatomy scan on Monday at 18w3d and baby girl looks great! All the measurements looked good, and so did my amniotic fluid level and cervix. Every time we leave our weekly appointments Dave and I just talk about how grateful we are for our doctors and how close they are to us (10 minutes in traffic). And I'm TOUGH on my doctors. :)

Here are the photos of our little girl from the anatomy scan! Isn't she just so cute? ;-) And if you're curious about names, many have been discussed and nothing has been decided. With all 3 other kids we were in a total time crunch and we're happy with all the names we chose, so I have a feeling we won't settle on anything until we absolutely have to. Please God let that be at least 4 months from now! 

Cute, little profile

Open mouthed smile!

Left foot

Thursday, May 18, 2017

What causes PPROM? And what is a TAC?

I mentioned that I got a TAC a few weeks ago, so here is the post where I explain it.

There are a few theories as to why I lost Miriam, and we decided to do everything possible to prevent either one of these possible things from happening again.

1. Underlying infection
My MFM actually thinks this is the reason that I had PPROM (water breaking way too early) last time. There was never any infection found in my bloodwork, Miriam's placenta, or anything else, but this is what he thinks. This is not a crazy thought though as it's a common theory for undiagnosed PPROM. This is the scariest option to me since there's not much doctors can do to prevent this, since they never identified an infection last time, even after my water broke. The only thing I can really do is pay attention to any signs in my body. BUT, we also have a "natural guy" that does electro-dermal screening and detects infections WAY better than doctors can. It's a little on the "woo woo" side, but hey, we are up for trying anything to detect infections. I'm currently seeing him once a week to be on the lookout for any infection, and so far so good. Whew!

2. Pre-Term Labor
This is not highly suggested by most doctors because it's not usually considered 'pre-term labor' unless it happens after 24 weeks, and my water broke at 19w5d. BUT, we are still doing the only thing they know to do by giving me weekly progesterone injections. If I started having contractions or cramping, there are other medications I could be given to prevent labor. But, I seriously hope and pray that doesn't happen this time, at least not until at least 24 weeks! (Doctors are more likely to treat pre-term labor then, as opposed to earlier when baby wouldn't survive outside the womb anyway). 

3. Cervical Polyp Removal
At 18 weeks last time (which I'm very close to now... yikes) I started having spotting, which obviously scared me. After a healthy ultrasound, a cervical polyp was found by my midwife, and she said it was nothing to be concerned about, but that I would continue to have heavy spotting unless it was removed. So, she referred me to an OB who removed it several days later. 6 days after removal, my water broke. All the doctors say this was not related at all, but it's hard to not wonder. We also found a couple of studies online that showed that removing cervical polyps makes you more likely to lose a pregnancy, but apparently they are not widely accepted.

To help prevent any polyps in this pregnancy I had a hysteroscopy done by my RE in November. This is where they send a tiny camera up through the vagina, cervix and uterus to make sure everything looks good. When this was done they found a couple of budding polyps and removed them. So, hopefully none pop up in this pregnancy! But, of course if one does there is zero chance we will remove it. So, please pray I don't get any spotting or a polyp as this would freak me 100% the heck out. 

3. Incompetent Cervix
If you have undiagnosed incompetent cervix you will just keep losing babies. This is the most common reason for multiple PPROM losses. It's also believed by some doctors to be the primary reason for 2nd trimester losses. The usual treatment for this is a cerclage. Typical cerclage placement happens after first trimester (so they know you won't have a miscarriage due to genetic issues), and they stitch your cervix closed (or as close to it as they can) through the vagina. These cerclages have a 70% success rate for healthy babies coming home (although some are still born prematurely).

I heard about the abdominal cerclage through online support groups for women who experienced PPROM. It was also recommended to me by my RE and he suggested I not transfer any more embryos until I had the TAC (trans-abdominal cerclage). This cerclage is placed at the very top of the cervix, and provides a 95% success rate instead of 70%. However, because it's so high it has to be placed surgically. Instead of a stitch, it's a permanent band up there. Usually before recommending a TAC doctors want you to have TWO second trimester losses and/or a failed vaginal cerclage. However, there was zero chance we were going to just "see what happens" to see if I had another second trimester loss!  Pregnancies with vaginal cerclages also often involve bedrest, and we really wanted to avoid that. You can see in the picture below how much higher TACs are than other cerclages. 

So, in December, we drove to Indianapolis to get a TAC laparoscopically placed by one of the top 2 successful TAC surgeons in the country. It was my first ever surgery (besides my wisdom teeth taken out and that hardly counts). The surgery and recovery weren't too bad and I just have 4 tiny scars on my belly. Because there's a pretty permanent band at the top of my cervix I will have to have a c-section. Pretty ironic for the lady that chose to get her pre-natal care at a birthing center last pregnancy, right? However, after losing Miriam my "ideals" for birth went out the window and my priority now is just living child. One would think those are low expectations, but for me they seem rather high.

Anyway, so that's what a TAC is and why I got it. There's certainly a chance that I don't even have an incompetent cervix and didn't "need" it placed. But, which is worse? Having it and not needing it? OR needing it and not having it and losing another baby? I would certainly take the former!

As you can see we are being very proactive about preventing PPROM this time around, but of course, I'm still a nervous wreck knowing that any day anything can go wrong. Last pregnancy I truly believed pregnancy was durable, but this time my head couldn't be further from that truth. Please continue to pray for us and this little baby girl. We would love for her to be a full term baby!

Monday, May 15, 2017

17 weeks

Today is a good day. I will admit that my weekends are pretty anxiety filled since they are the last 2 days before my weekly doctor visits. And my appointments aren't until 3:15 Monday afternoons, so I'm READY when the ultrasound tech calls my name. 

I have 4-5 more weekly checks before I move bi-weekly checks. My MFM wants me to come weekly at least through my loss date (21w1d) mostly for my own anxiety. At these appointments after the tech calls me back she always does a general belly ultrasound to be sure baby overall looks good, measures the heartbeat, and checks the fluid level. Today was the first day I was actually worried about the amniotic fluid levels and thank goodness they were good! She also confirmed for sure that baby is a girl, so the blood test 6 weeks ago was correct! 

Then I get a transvaginal ultrasound to measure my cervical length (the main purpose of the appointment) and today it looked good at 4.7 cm long. Then, the high risk doctor (MFM) comes in and answers my questions. He is so awesome and gracious with his time with me. He always answers all of my questions thoroughly and kindly. I have probably said this before, but I hate it when doctors talk down to their patients and/or treat me like I'm stupid for having lots of questions. But he never does and he also appreciates my nervous/stupid/self deprecating jokes, so I really like him. 

I then venture 2 floors down where my OB's office is and a nurse gives me my Makena/progesterone injections. Today was my second so here's hoping it goes well again like last week. I also love that these doctors offices are so close together and only 5-10 minutes from my house. Each one of these recent appointments I leave feeling so grateful. I continue to hope and pray that all continues to go well and I will keep having good appointments for 20 more weeks. That sounds do-able, right?

This weekend I realized that I was exactly 4 weeks from the gestation I was last time when we lost Miriam. So I know the next month is going to be especially hard. To be honest most days I can't yet see past that point and things still going well and this baby still growing healthy and strong, but I hope and pray every day that that becomes true. It's hard to not fixate on my anxiety and think about the trauma of what happened in August. I want there to be a new ending so very badly. 

In my head there is endless counting. Today I am 2 weeks and 2 days away from the gestation when my water broke. That's scary to think about. I can't even imagine how my emotions and mental health will play out that week. I know there will be fear in the coming weeks, especially when I hit that 19 week mark. Deep breaths necessary. 

In good news, I ordered some maternity pajamas and they are glorious. The shorts are the most comfortable shorts of my life, and the nightgowns are even more amazing. My sister also loaned me her fancy pregnancy pillow (the snoogle) and it is also awesome. So between the cozy pillow and pjs I really, really look forward to bedtime now. ❤️

Thank you all again for all the prayers and thoughts. I believe they are carrying us through this anxity filled time. The countdown continues. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

16 weeks

Here's a question... when I post weekly updates should they cover the week before? Or should I post them at the end of the week in which I'm pictured? So if I post a "16 week update" should it include what happened before I hit the 16 week mark? Or what happened during week 16?  I've never done this before and this is a legitimate and not a rhetorical question. Haha

Since I'll be 17 weeks tomorrow I guess I'm choosing the latter for now. Adjustments can be made so please advise. 

The hardest part of this pregnancy by far is the anxiety. I know there are uncomfortable and difficult parts to pregnancy, but I don't care much about those. It's the mental and emotional hurdles that are tough. I look forward to every doctor, counseling, and acupuncture appointment as if I'm clinging to them for dear life. I breathe a sigh of relief each time there is good news or I get support. But at home and in between every appointment I wonder when things will go wrong. It's nearly impossible for me to imagine there being a healthy baby at the end of this. I wonder if today is the day we get bad news or that my water will break. I have moments of panic where I wonder if my water is about to break any second and what I would do if I'm in a public place. That may sound silly, but last time my water breaking totally came out of nowhere and was completely unexpected. And without a definite reason for what went wrong last time I'm terrified it can happen again, even if I'm told it's not statistically likely. 

But I will say that my apt Monday was good. We heard the heartbeat again, which is always reassuring. I also got my first progesterone shot. Often times after a loss like ours progesterone shots (usually called p17 or the name brand of Makena) are recommended in subsequent pregnancies to prevent pre-term labor, if in fact that was part of the problem. These needles are huge and go right into your behind. 😳 

Your nurse can give you these injections and that's what we opted to do. I had a small amount of anxiety about this due to my horrible reaction to a different kind of progesterone shot used for fertility treatment (progesterone in oil). Dave gave me these shots, which were also right in the booty, starting right before our embryo transfer back in February, and my body reacted terribly. My butt muscles got so tight that I had to sleep on a heating pad on the couch, and I still could barely sleep at night, and I also could barely walk. So I was very nervous this was going to happen again! Thankfully it did not, so I will be able to keep taking the Makena injections once a week through the rest of the pregnancy. I hope they help! My OB's nurse is so kind to be willing to give these to me once a week. 😀

In possibly exciting news I may have started to feel baby move. I have an anterior placenta, so I'm told I likely won't feel her until 20 weeks or so, but over the weekend I felt what may be early flutters. It was a very new sensation to me and felt like a "flip flop" on one side of my uterus. My OB said it could be baby, but she doesn't want me to get disappointed if I don't feel her again much, if at all for several weeks. So, who knows? 

Otherwise, my body feels healthy and I don't feel sick like I did in the first trimester. I've officially gained 10 lbs so no worries there either. I bet I could slow down a bit. Haha 

Thank you all so much for the thoughts and prayers. I know we will need them especially in the next month as we come up to the gestational age I was when my water broke and we lost Miriam. I'm trying to take it one day at a time, but I know the coming month will he emotionally difficult and I just pray we make it to the other side without anything horrible happening. ❤️

Thursday, May 4, 2017

15 weeks

Please pardon my tired smile here. Posed photos do not come naturally to me. 

No big updates this week, except I had my first cervical length check. I have a TAC that was placed laparoscopically in December (more about that to come since you probably have no idea what that is), and it is helping to keep my cervix nice and long, over 4cm as of Monday. 

My MFM is great and I will be seeing him regularly for my cervical checks, and maybe some other stuff if I make it to the third trimester. He knows I'm a total worrier, but never belittles me or my questions and explains everything as thoroughly as possible to help put my mind at ease. This is not that common in doctors so it's much appreciated by me! 

For the past couple of weeks I have had a lot of twitches, pinching, pulling, and unknown uterus and uterus-adjacent feelings which have had me on edge. He assured me that it sounded within the realm of normal and that with a TAC I would likely feel more of this than in a pregnancy without it, so that made sense and helped me feel less worried for about 24 hours. 😀

Dave and I have been going to weekly counseling and it has been invaluable. Now that I'm well into the second trimester and just 4 weeks from when my water broke with Miriam, we are doing everything possible to support this pregnancy and my mental health. Yesterday in counseling we talked about the fact that managing anxiety is healthy, but that I'm having to come to the place of accepting that I'm going to be anxious. It would maybe even be unhealthy if I wasn't concerned in a subsequent pregnancy after loss. So I'm "ok" with being anxious. But I also know that there's a dangerous level of anxiety and I have to use various coping measures to keep in manageable. I'm sure I'll have plenty to share about anxiety in the weeks to come. 

Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Each day that I pass seems like a huge accomplishment and I'm grateful for each day. But each day also feels like an opportunity for something to go disastrously wrong. It's so so hard to imagine things going well when all we know from experience is things turning tragic. Experience is a strong teacher. 

Tomorrow will be 16 weeks! I celebrate each daily and weekly milestone! Please baby keep cooking! 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Ultrasound and Belly Pics

So, I kind of hate belly bump and ultrasound photos. Or at least they were super hard to see for over 5 years for me. These kind of photos popped up at least on a weekly basis on social media for quite some time and it was always hard to see others' pregnancy announcements. So, I won't be showing any of these photos on Facebook due to their sensitive nature. But, I figure if someone takes the time to actually visit this blog they won't mind (and probably would appreciate) seeing these photos. So, here are the belly bump and ultrasound pictures so far. Due to me taking most of these photos in the evening, and also to the fertility drug hormone bloat, my belly was fairly puffy and much the same size in most of these photos so you can't really see a difference. But, I still plan to print these pictures and put them in a baby book. Hopefully there will be a child born alive that will appreciate seeing these one day!  

First of all I'll start with the day we transferred the embryo. This is me that very day at the fertility clinic hoping for the best! 

One pretty cool thing about IVF is that you get to see a picture of your embryo 5 days after conception. So this little blob is how an embryo looks 5 days after fertilization. Cool, right?! The app text is totally wrong though. It's definitely not the size of a grain of rice. Our doctor (RE) said it would fit on the end of a pen. So, it's teeny tiny. 

This is my refusal to smile big at week 6 since we were nervous as heck. We took it just a few days after hearing that I was going to have a miscarriage (but after we saw the heartbeat), so I was still quite an emotional wreck.

The first time we saw and heard the heartbeat at 6w3d. The baby is the little white worm looking object at the top of the sac. It's hard to believe there's "fetal cardiac activity" from such a tiny thing! 

I look way more pregnant than 9 weeks in this photo. I will blame a giant Mexican meal.

Ultrasound photo from my first OB (vs RE) appointment. Look at that little shape! This is when she started measuring one day ahead. So technically I was 8w5d, but she measured just shy of 9 weeks here.

At 10.5 weeks I had my first MFM (maternal fetal medicine specialist, or otherwise high risk OB) appointment. At this appointment he said I had a 90% chance of bringing home a healthy baby. That was encouraging! 

She was SO wiggly at this appointment! Like super wiggly. They say when you are this early they have plenty of room to move around. 

By 12 weeks we had just gotten the blood work back that baby was genetically "normal" (not a super thorough blood test, but detects common trisomies) and that she was a girl! So, we were feeling pretty good this week.

This was at 12w3d and look at that cute profile! That was also when they did the nuchal fold test, which measures the back of the neck, which can detect abnormalities, but the measurement looked great. She was pretty wiggly then too. :)

There you have it so far! I was hesitant about getting too many ultrasounds when I was pregnant with Miriam, but this time my thoughts are, "Give me all the ultrasounds to reassure me that everything is currently ok!" 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

An Update with News

I hate how neglected this space has become. But, life is busy and that's what happens. When I feel all the big emotions I write a blog post because it helps me process and also share what's going on in my heart and mind. But, sometimes it seems overwhelming to get something on the blog that makes it a worthwhile blog to read. And I get intimidated with my internal pressure and just don't write. And I'm guessing I'm not the only one who gets overwhelmed with all the various social media options of sharing what's going on in life. Right? Even after I stopped blogging regularly I would follow friends' blogs closely. Sadly, I haven't even taken the time to check the blogs! Ack! So, I apologize if I've missed some big (or even small) stuff from any of my readers! 

But, things continue to be busy here. After lots of darkness, confusion, and sadness, Dave and I decided we wanted to try to get pregnant again with our only other good embryo (it was created/conceived last April in the same cycle I got pregnant with Miriam). Since IVF has about 50/50 odds we assumed it wouldn't work since it did work the first time with Miriam and those odds made sense. 

However, we were shocked when we got the call that I was pregnant (I don't do home pregnancy tests. They have been mean to me for far too long. Instead I got a blood test at the doctor). We were so happy. I thought that if I ever found out I was pregnant again I would be immediately anxious, but we were actually very happy that day, and again 2 days later when we found out that the numbers doubled as they should. 

But, I had some spotting that was worrisome and at 5w6d a concerning amount and went to my OB's office for an ultrasound. The on-call doctor did an ultrasound and told me I was going to have a miscarriage based on what she saw. We were devastated. We called my fertility doctor to ask if I should stop taking the hormones to support the pregnancy, and he said no way! He recommended waiting up to another week to do another ultrasound, this time with him, to see if anything had progressed. Well, praise God that we listened to him. Because 4 days later we took the 2 hour drive to his office, confident we would get confirmation that I would miscarry, and instead there was a heartbeat! WHAT?! We were in total shock and were totally grateful! 

The reason for the spotting was found. There was a SCH, which according to our understanding, is like a clot that is on the outside of the baby's sac that can rupture and/or bleed at any time. It does raise your risk of miscarriage, so we knew it would need to be watched. Most of the time they shrink with time and aren't an issue, but they do cause spotting and bleeding on and off, and they can be worrisome. Of course this was frustrating, but we took the good news and hoped and prayed the SCH would do what we wanted it to and eventually disappear. 

By 12w the clot had gotten down to a very small size, small enough that the OB was not longer concerned and that I hadn't had spotting in a couple of weeks. Whew! At this point we also got blood test results that the baby didn't have any of the most common trisomies and was also a girl! A reason to celebrate! I call the call while Dave was at work, so I bought 40 pink balloons with the kids (I lied and told them they were for Dave's doctorate) and surprised him with the news of a girl when he got home from work. The truth is that we would have been thrilled to have either gender of course, but knowing which it is, helps the baby seem more person-like to us. 

Anyway, despite all the good news, we know what it's like to have everything be healthy and wonderful in a pregnancy, and things unexpectedly take a turn for the worst. I have held my dead baby in my arms and I am terrified it could happen again. So, as much as we are grateful, there is a lot of anxiety and a lot of extra visits to the doctor to be sure everything is ok. This time I am seeing a high risk pregnancy specialists and weekly visits start Monday with him. BUT, I do know there are friends and family that will want to know how the pregnancy is going, so I figure this is a good place to post regular updates so that I don't have to repeat myself multiple times. Especially since talking about it often makes me anxious. :) We have been much quieter this time around with announcing, and to avoid saying it multiple times, we went public on Facebook yesterday. But I won't be updating on FB much at all, especially since I know how hard it is to see pregnancy news on FB after dealing with infertility.

So, there you have it. Here is what we posted on FB. And I'll share more soon here. <3

"These two sweet kiddos are happy to share that their mom is currently 15 weeks pregnant with a baby girl!
After our recent and unexpected loss of Miriam at 21 weeks, you can imagine we are celebrating this pregnancy with very mixed emotions. Each day we hold both gratefulness and anxiety as we celebrate that signs point to a healthy pregnancy, but also know what it's like for that to be true and still have a late loss.
We hope you will join with us in prayer and in hope that this baby girl continues to grow healthily, that my body will carry her and keep her healthy until October, and that we are able to handle all the big emotions along the way. For the next 2-3 months it will be pretty difficult for us to imagine actually bringing home a baby, so it's possible we may not want to talk about babies, this baby, or even this pregnancy much yet, at least until we get to the point of viability. So, even though we are guardedly happy and aren't exactly jumping up and down and squealing, we are very grateful for this girl's life no matter what happens. And if we do bring her home I can assure you there will be jumping and squealing and we hope you would join us in that."