Monday, August 25, 2008

Nearly 15 Months Old

Well hola everyone! Been too long. Just wanted to shout out to anyone visiting and say that I still read lots of the blogs that are still standing on my roll over there to the left. And some others, too. I still check in to cyclesista to see what's happening. Once a sista always a sista.

Everything good here. Boy and Girl are nearly 15 months old and really fun. They're popping molars, Girl is walking and Boy is taking a few steps, too. They hug and kiss each other and us. Boy throws and ball and chases it and loves books and music. Girl is extremely social and is a real ham who loves to imitate - she's got at least 10 words now. They amaze me daily. Hubs and I are starting to actually like each other again, after a friggin' HARD year with twin infants

I got my period after stopping breastfeeding. Holy crap, was it heavy. I mean HEAVY. Anyone else experience this? And it is taking a long time for my boobs to feel normal after stopping the breastfeeding - ouch. Advice?

Ok, that's it for now, got to get some stuff done around here. Drop a line if you're still reading!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

One Screams = The Other Cries

Anyone ever run into this interesting dynamic? (I'm sure it's a temporary thing, but want to handle it right...)

My kidlets are 9 months old. My little girl has started doing this thing where she shrieks really loudly and it's gotten a lot of reaction - at first we thought it was cute so we would "act scared" or shriek back to her as a game. The problem is, when she does it to her brother, it truly startles him and he bursts into tears. She, apparently, enjoys this reaction (I don't think she's enjoying that he's crying per se, just that she gets a fun, predictable, reaction every time).

I know this is partially our fault for reinforcing the behavior. My question is, where do we go from here - how do I handle it with the two of them? I don't want to start a chain reaction where she shrieks, he cries, i pick him up... etc. so I am trying to distract him when she scares him or trying to remove her and get her started doing something else.... anyone ever have anything similar?

Sometimes he is so scared with the anticipation that she's going to shriek that he fearfully turns away from her and sits with his back to her.

Any ideas appreciated!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

9 MONTHS old! Hello Everybody!

Hmm - gimme a shout-out in the comments if I still have any readers after this 6-month unintentional hiatus.

What's my excuse? Nothing you haven't already thought of. Twin babies is a busy life and pretty much everything else has taken a back seat for me. However, even this isn't really a great excuse, because I'm a loyal reader of bloggers like Jennifer and she manages to post meaningful, often downright hilarious posts a few times a week, and she's got twins, too. Damn cute ones. I am not gutsy enough to post my kidlets' photos online... boring, eh?

Anyway I thought it would be at least a numerically tidy effort if I posted today... since last time I posted was when the kidlets were 9 WEEKS old.

The babies are doing great. Girl has 5 teeth with 1 more ready to emerge for symmetry, and Boy has 4 teeth with 2 more just popping out. They both started sitting around 7 months and neither are crawling as of yet but are getting close. They roll and squirm and scoot and swim and do this weird face-plant thing with their toes and foreheads down on the ground and the rest up in the air in an inverted "V"... kinda like a messed up downward dog. They eat all sorts of fun solid food now, and we're still breastfeeding 5 x day. I can't believe we lasted this long, but now that we have, I am so happy about it. I think it's been a great experience for all involved.

Their personalities are un-earthing themselves more and more each day, and it is fascinating. Girl points to kitty cats in books and in real life, boy listened intently and danced to music for the first time today -some classical on the radio. Maybe we'll have a cello player? Their relationship with each other is really blooming, and I have to say, this is probably the most enjoyable thing to witness. They sometimes just sit there and laugh at/with each other.

I think Girl is starting to talk. For reals. She's only 9 months, but I swear she has said "up" "mama" and "wawa" (water) in context - I am not sure if she's just repeating something I've just said or if she really understands that these are words for things but it's pretty interesting! Boy is making plenty of good phonemes, but I'm not sure they're attached to anything yet. He is currently obsessed with his tongue - feeling it and making 'la la la' sounds. They have both signed for "milk" and have waved hello. They understand quite a lot. When I say "wanna go outside?" they both look right at the door, etc.

I wonder how you are doing... if you are reading? I'll be back soon and am lurking in the meantime.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

9 Weeks Old

All in all, this has been super fun. I am really enjoying myself and my husband is, too. It is SO much better than I thought it was going to be. Yes it is hard, yes I am sleep deprived, yes there are moments where I want to SCREAM AND GET AWAY from these two babies, but overall I feel extremely positive. It is exactly and presicely like everyone who has raised a child has said: it's by far the hardest thing I've ever done, and by far the most gratifying.

We have been very lucky to have family helping, even though our families live far away from us. My mom was here for nearly 3 weeks and then Hubs' mom or 2 weeks, and now Hub's sister. All have been cooking up a storm, feeding us well, doing tons of baby duty (and doodie) and really connecting with their grandchildren/niece/nephew. (doesn't hurt that Hubs' mom is a former L & D nurse!) And Hubs works from home so is always "on call" - but he's actually been able to work out in his office.

The babelets are smiling like crazy and developing at light speed. Girl is kicking her feet like she's in spinning class, and spent the majority of yesterday awake and happily alert. Boy is also spending a lot more time awake and smiling up a storm. He is also laughing on occasion, though he's still working out the exact sound he wants to make. Both respond like crazy to facial expressions, music, textures on their skin.

At their 2 month pediatrician visit they weighed 11lbs8oz and 11lbs2oz. They got their first round of immunization shots, which, of course, wasn't pleasant. However, neither got a fever or displayed much discomfort afterwards.

They are sometimes sleeping longer at night - up to 4 hour stretches. Or at least they WERE. Hubs decided to take them out the other night for a short jaunt to an outdoor concert thing to meet up with some friends. He wasn't there for long, but he went at just the time that we've been putting them down at night (around 7-ish, depending on where feeding is falling). They reportedly slept most of the time in their car seats, but nevertheless, they now seem rather confused about night/day and it seems like they've reverted a bit.

Has anyone experienced this? Is it terrible to think of ever taking babies to a restaurant during the time that might be their bedtime? Must we be tied to the house on schedule or risk the consequences of having them messed up for a week afterwards? Or is it just that they are little and not grasping the "program" quite yet?

We don't have them on a "schedule" - we're still basically on demand led by the first baby to request the boob. But they do seem to be falling into a fairly predictable pattern. We'd like to get them to go to sleep in their crib around 7PM and stay there (coming out for feedings) until the morning feed, which seems to be around 6:30AM. Usually what happens is we do evening feeding, bath time (they love it), then try to settle them down. More times than not, they will nap for about 1/2 hour and then wake back up, only to remain so until the next feeding (basically 3 hourslater at like 10PM). It's like they want one more Awake cycle. Sometimes, that's the end of it and they're down, other times.... not so much.

Advice? How can we encourage flexibility yet give them the predictable routine that kids take comfort in?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

One Month Old

SO sorry for longtime between posts, but... heck, you can imagine why!

Things are going really very well with our baby boy and baby girl. They are both lovely and cute and very different in personality and looks. I wish I felt comfortable publishing photos on the internet here, but I just don't. Seems like a breech of their privacy. So believe me when I say, they are cute :)

Breast feeding is still going really well. Tandem about 98% of the time. It's the only way to have some breathing space in-between! But I'd love some advice from you other twin parents... I sometimes feel so bad waking up the baby who is still asleep in order to get them going at the same time - is this in any way bad for the babies? I feel like I'm force-feeding the one who wasn't ready yet and/or disrupting his or her sleep cycle. I mean, neither baby seems to mind being offered the boob at any time (they basically love it)... advice?

We've introduced a bottle once per night, which gives me a 4-5 hour chunk of sleep. It makes a big difference. That and the fact that my husband is awesome - VP of Sanitation Services (ie: diaper man) and he is a very good baby-comforter. My mom is also helping during the day. One thing is for sure - twins require more than one adult. It's just too much for one person.

The babies are starting to really see us. It's fun! No smiles yet, of course, except for those gassy sleep smiles, but they are a window into what will come. Pediatrician tomorrow to see how they're doing at 1 month mark. They are getting fat, I can tell you that!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

So Incredibly Lucky

Can't write now, too busy tandem breast-feeding :)

Just wanted all of you lovely blog friends to know that we delivered by C-section two incredible babies. Forgive me for keeping their names and likenesses off the internet, but know that:

Baby A (girl) was born 6lbs 11oz and has loads of black hair...

Baby B (boy) was born 6lbs 6 oz and looks just like his (handsome) daddy.

We are incredibly grateful to the universe, to the way things sometimes go when they are very very good. We don't take these miracles for granted for one second, and wish every one of you even half as much love and life that we're experiencing right now.

More soon... when I've had a bit more sleep.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

37 weeks: Rolling... and... Action!

We're in the final countdown now. Today we've begun the process of induction! Cervadil was inserted about an hour ago, which I am told might start labor, then petocin if needed. Gulp! Maybe a vaginal birth will result, but if it doesn't go super smoothly, we'll move to C-section. I've got a heplock in and both babies on the monitor. Today, after 51 days in the hospital, I am now considered a real, true Labor & Delivery patient, and not an antepartum patient. (Cue graduation march music...)

The interesting thing is that I feel my body could go on carrying these babies for another couple weeks. My cervix is still closed & long and I'm not all that effaced. I have lots of contractions, but I've been doing that for months to no effect. But my perinatologist feels that now that we're term at 37 weeks, and the babies are matrure and fairly big, that it would not be smart to wait for a baby to become "sick" and then rush to get 'em out. Especially with the low fluid situation. Seems prudent to me.

So friends, fellow IVF'ers and reproductive adventurers, twin moms & dads and blog buddies... I'll see you on the flipside. Please send us good vibes, metta, prayers, your thoughts, all that good stuff today/tonight. I really am so ready now, after all we've been through. We've been incredibly lucky and loved through all of this, and Hubs and I don't know how to thank you enough. I look forward to introducing our daughter and son to you and telling you the story of their arrival.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

36weeks: All Aboard the Gravy Train

I have been holding this day in my head as a goal for a long time. I am so pleased to report that we've arrived at 36 weeks gestation for these two little buddhas. I am very, very happy.

Just finished being scanned by the perinatologist (who is a gem, by the way, and not only because she gives me good news). She declared me officially no longer high risk. :) Unfortunately this does not mean that I'm sprung from the slammer (hospital day 44 today!) but it does feel nice all the same.

And anyhow, no point in wishing to be outa here at this point, because things are gonna happen soon. The scenario is thought to be this: we allow nature to do its thing this week as we head towards 37 weeks. If I go into labor naturally, then fine. If nothing happens, then at 37 weeks these babes are fully baked and we'll induce. The doc said it won't take much - just a "whiff" of petocin - as she put it, for someone in my stage.

I am going to give a vaginal birth a go. All my docs agree that things are aligned to make this a reasonable and optimistic scenario for me. I'll be carefully monitored the whole time and will deliver (regardless) in the OR, so if any baby seems to not be liking the labor process, we switch to section. I've got no problem with that.

One additional good thing we learned today is that the babies have closed in on each other weight-wise. This is good, and here's why: Baby A will come out first. She will stretch me out as much as she needs to. Baby B will follow, and he is not any bigger than she is (he used to be!) so ther will not have to be a lot of labor in-between, which can sometimes result in the second baby becoming stressed and need to be delivered via section.

baby A (girl) is estimated to weigh 6lbs 4 oz
baby B (boy) is estimated to weigh 6lbs 3 oz

Of course the weights have a margin of error, but I am told by the nurses that this peri is "famous" for being quite accurate. And anyway, what matters is that they're still growing and the bonus is that baby A has caught up nicely.

So, will my next post be a celebration of week 37 or a birth story? Stay tuned!

(Can you believe it?!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

34weeks A Whale of a UtRus

Guys, I am huge. Official weight yesterday morning was 164.1 lbs. (remember, I'm only 5'3" and started at 116) No wonder I feel like my legs are gonna snap in half whenever I get up from this hospital bed to pee.

Yesterday was another scan by the perinatologist. She was VERY happy with what she saw. I know this sounds a bit repetitive (thankfully) but baby A's fluid is still low, but that baby still does not seem to be phased. Her fluid measured at an index of 7, deepest vertical pocket of 4.25. Baby B's fluid remains normal.

baby A (girl) is estimated to weigh 5lbs 3 oz
baby B (boy) is estimated to weigh 5lbs 9 oz

( these weights are +- 10%, and many of you have warned me not even to expect that)

The peri did not do an ultrasound of my cervix because she said she really doesn't care much at this point what it's doing - basically said she'd like to see me go longer (and thinks I will), but that from here on, whatever happens happens. My management remains the same - turb when needed, bedrest and much monitoring.

I am continuing on as usual and hoping for big babies with mature lung function after 36 weeks!

Contractions are happening at shorter intervals and are a bit stronger. But everyone seems to be of the opinion that this is no surprise. UtRus is so stretched as to think I am at term. I've been really lucky in that I've not had a lot of swelling, but my hands do feel "tight" and are a bit puffy. Mentally, these next weeks will take patience. I am so eager to get more days/weeks under my belt (so to speak. Do they even make belts this big?)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

33w2d & Hospital Bedrest Day 25

Still hangin' in there and really looking forward to reaching the 34 week mark. Then, all eyes will be set on 36!

Got scanned yesterday morning, and I am grateful for another good report:

Fluid on baby A is pretty much unchanged with an index 6.0 (deepest vertical pocket of 3.25). Still considered too low, and why I remain in da slammer. For sake of comparison, the other baby's fluid index was 10, which is normal.

My cervix remains completely closed & thick and measuring over 3.0 (it's curved a bit) - no beaking even though baby A's head is right down there resting on it. when she gets the hiccups I can feel it in my cervix! Weird. I think tomorrow that instead of Mother's Day, we will celebrate Cervix Day.

So... onward! I am feeling huger than ever, and contractions are getting stronger when they happen. Right now I feel in a bit of weird limbo where it's almost time to begin thinking about the fact that these babies are gonna be here soon... but part of me doesn't want to think about that too much or in too much detail because I so badly want them to stay in longer.

Bedrest, and especially in hospital, can be challenging. I know many people have done this longer than me, and with far more complications, and so I am trying to be stalwart about it. Most of the time I am ok and the days/weeks actually go along at a pretty good pace. But there are other times when it all feels so surreal and I kinda can't believe I'm here.

I do have the sense that later on, this time will be a mere blip and there will be plenty of other things going on in life! Sometimes my fears about becoming a parent, and the added challenge of two babies at once, rise and make me feel quite scared. Especially with the extra time to think. But something has happened to me while I've been here: I realize that I can handle this. Have been doing so for about a month now. And with a fairly good measure of resiliance. I need to lose my surprise at that fact and own it. I also need to entertain the idea that I may actually adjust into the challenges of twin parenthood better than I've been expecting. I know it will be hard, but at least I need to allow for the possibility that it might be easier (or at least more fun...) than I've scared myself into anticipating.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

32w3d Still Lying Here, Still Growin'!

Today is my 19th day on bedrest in the hospital. Some days go pretty fast, others are tedious & repetitive. All in all, I've been mostly in good spirits and we're gettin' there:

We just got scanned by our favorite perinatologist. Though she isn't sending us home - Baby A's fluid showed no change from last week - index of 6.5 - Baby A does not seem to show any evidence of hitting or constricting her cord, which is what they're so carefully watching out for with the low fluid.. All NST tracings thus far have shown two very happy babies. They show no reaction to contractions, have good accelerations, etc...

baby A (girl) is estimated to weigh 4lbs 6 oz
baby B (boy) is estimated to weigh 4lbs 13 oz

( these weights are +- 10%)

Even though I've been having contractions (constantly monitored as things can change fast) my cervix is still completely closed and fairly long (3.0cm) for this stage of twin pregnancy. i am really getting big - after all, I have over 9 lbs of baby in there (plus an extra placenta and amniotic fluid) so I am quite past the size that most people would be with a singleton.

... no wonder with that plus bedrest, walking to the bathroom and back (about 10 feet!) is fairly tiring.

so... onward. this was very nice news today and really helps get me through the more challenging days here in the slammer.

p.s. I am now over 160 lbs. Started at 116! (insert elephant sfx here)

Friday, April 27, 2007

31w1d Belly Full O' Babies

Well, I am not going home from the hospital. But...

Had an ultrasound today and both babies are looking happy in their movements, organ functions and heartbeats. They have both grown by an amount during the last 10 days that is within range and to be expected at this gestational age. I think they both gained about 200 grams in 10 days.

Baby A's fluid is still low, and still low enough to keep me here in hospital (probably until the end, barring miracles) but the measurement that the doc got today was a LITTLE bit better than the measurement last Saturday. At first she got an index of 5 but then the baby moved and shifted and she found another pocket and it looked more like 7. She told me that it may not be that the baby's fluid has actually improved, it may just be how she was able to capture the fluid on the ultrasound, but that it was a good thing. Definitely not worse!

My cervix is still completely closed and long, and contractions are carefully monitored and under control with turb as needed. Both babies are now head down, which explains what was happening the other night when it felt like Ultimate Fighting Championship in there. Also explains all the kicking in the ribs on both sides!

So - things continue to look good and I continue to feel optimistic. My next scan will hopefully be mid-week.

Until then, more bed-resting and gestating! I am very lucky to have things going along so well. Being in hospital is a pain in the ass but I am surrounded by plenty of women who are not having such a lucky time of it. So Grateful is the word of the day. May it continue.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

30w3d In the Slammer!

Sorry for lack of updates! I am now in the hospital, but not to panic, here's the deal...

At my reg. scheduled checkup on Wed. they found that Baby A's amniotic fluid is low. So that baby needs to be carefully monitored and here I am! Both babies are looking good and healthy. Baby A shows no distress or discomfort with her amniotic fluid situation. Hopefully things will carry on just like this and both babies will continue to grow like crazy in the next few weeks. Today is 30w3d. The perinatologist will come approximately every 3 days or so to scan me. So long as both babies are happy and growing, they stay in.

I am still having contractions regularly but they have not changed in strength - i feel some of them (not all) and they are never painful. Yesterday my cervix measured at 4.2cm! (closed, thick, no beaking) and another negative fFN on Wed. So preterm labor does not appear to be a concern at this point. Taking some turbuteline pills which make the contractions nearly go away entirely.

How long will I be in here? I have heard estimates everywhere from "a few days if that baby's fluid improves" to "until they are born". oh! In the hands of good docs, good nurses, and most importantly and always, the universe. it is actually very nice here in a very nice room. Of course walking on the beach would be nicer, but..

I think everything's gonna be fine. Good news is that babies are both growing really well. 4 days ago the boy was estimated at 4lb2oz and girl at 3lb11oz. All their functions and heartbeats are good. :) They administered steroid shots just in case.

isn't it cool that there is wireless internet in the hospital?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

28w Contraction Junction - What's Your Function?

Went to the doc for a checkup today. I was scheduled for tomorrow, but I moved it on up after getting frustrated with the number of contractions I've been having. I'm happy to report that cervix is still long-ish (3.8cm) and completely closed and my latest fetal fibronectin (fFN) test came back negative. So basically, everything's ok and we jsut carry on self-monitoring and taking it easy.

I've been experiencing contractions since about 25 weeks or so, but they've become more frequent. Sometimes, I can go for hours without noticing any (especially if I'm out and about). But sometimes - and especially in the evenings - I can have 4-5 in an hour or have, say, 3 per hour for 3 or 4 hours. It's not painful (I would say one of every 10 contractions I would categorize as "rather uncomfortable" the others just being noticeable not painful) but the mental aspect of it is unsettling. I lie there wondering how soon the next one is going to come and if I'm going to go into pre-term labor which doesn't help the issue.

I wonder if they would soon put me on tocolytic meds? There has been no talk of it thus far. Maybe they only do that if pre-term labor is imminent.

I can even tell that a contraction is coming because I get this weird compression feeling in my esophagus (or diaphragm?) and even sometimes some pressure feeling in my head for about 20 seconds before the belly tightens. Does anyone out there know what I'm talking about - experience anything similar?

The babelets are measuring just fine - they are estimated to be about 2lbs 8 oz now and one is only a little bit bigger than the other. Their fluids, heartbeats, other measurements and movements are all good. Now if their mom could just stop worrying and Her Highness the Uterus would kindly cease contracting! (or just do it a lot less -that would be good.)

Okay, so... now would be the time to chime in and tell me how you had contractions all through your third trimester and still went full term with your healthy baby or babies. Please no scare stories - can't take it right now.

Monday, March 26, 2007

26w4d I Am Blimpy

Man, I'm getting big. It's getting hard to walk around too much now, belly is SO heavy. But the babies are moving around in there and I know they're growing, so definitely no complaints.

I had a checkup today and all is well. I was scared because I've been having some contractions and they totally freak me out. I am fearful of pre-term labor. I had had a bunch of contractions during the weekend but never more than the "alert" number at which I am supposed to call my OB. Was so happy today when I learned that my cervix is still long and closed (4.4cm... which is shorter than 2 weeks ago, but apparently this is to be expected) and my fetal fibronectin (fFN) test came back normal.

We also did a short ultrasound, just to check fluids (normal) and cervix. My next apt is in 11 days.

Preparations are coming along nicely and most big things are done, which is good because I will be less and less mobile and the couch will be my home in a big way. But tomorrow I am still able to go for a swim, so I shall!

Sorry my posts have not been too long or personal or detailed. I'm not sure why. But gotta go with the flow. :)

Monday, March 12, 2007

24w4d A Good Checkup

Went for the 24 week checkup today and all is well. The kidlets are measuring roundabout 1lb9oz. and 1lb14oz. One is currently head down, the other head up, in a yin-yang style :) The other good news is that my cervix is still over 5.5cm and completely closed. I hope it stays that way! Feeling good overall. I'm slow and don't like being on my feet, sitting is good, lying down feels even better. And swimming is THE BEST!

I drank the yucky orange stuff for the glucose test but did not feel weird at all, so it must not have been that much sugar. I ate a piece of cake the day before at a baby shower and that made me feel all shaky and weird. So, I think the test will come back normal, but that I'm just not motabolizing simple sugars too well during pregnancy, which is fine - shouldn't really be eating that stuff anyway. Though I COULD go for a big box of Milk Duds right about now.

Doc agreed that I can come in every 2 weeks now instead of every 4 which makes me feel much better. Also got a rec for physio/massage therapy to help with these burning hip flexors. Yowch!

Mentally have had the best week in recent memory. Nothing "special" to report - just a real balanced and good feeling. Normal. Very few incidents where I have been evaluating my state or have been anxious. Predictable pattern for me, really, as I continue up the curve to feeling truly normal. For me, it takes pretty much the same amount of time to really get better (on a slow curve) from a depression period as I spent in the depression period. Interesting. Mind you, my therapist has never diagnosed me with "depression" , rather it's "adjustment disorder". Call it what you will, it's nice to be feeling better!

Hope you are all well - please do tell!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

23w2d Happily: Nothing to Report

Sorry for long time no post. To be honest it's mainly because Blogger is bugging the F out of me. Ever since switching over to the new "Google Login" things are messed up. So, I finally had the inclination today to deal with it.

Everything going well with the pregnancy thus far. I am looking forward to my next OB visit which is 8 days from now. I don't much like these "one month between visits"... It's so hard for a former IVF patient who was used to being monitored, scanned, poked and prodded every week at least. Especially now that we're getting further along, I can't help but have premature labor worries. I want to know how my cervix is doing and I hope the doc gives me regular fetal fibronectin (fFN) tests.

The other day we did make a trip to labor & delivery at the hospital (it was midnight). I was having some cramping for about 2 hours and when I called the doc on call, she said to wait another half hour and if no change, that I ought to go in. It didn't so we did. They put a monitor on me and for 2 hours detected NO contractions. But I was still having the cramping and ... well... passing lots of gas. So I guess we kinda know what that was now. But the thing is, I have heard that cramping and diarreah and general upset can come along with contractions, so I wasn't really sure. I think I have had a few contractions here and there, but they are not painful and not often. However, as you can plainly see, I don't really know what to expect and am a little skittish! The OB nurse who was dealing with me said I definitely did the right thing by coming in and that I should do so again if I ever had doubts.

Planning for the babies is coming along pretty well... getting things done and feeling a bit more relaxed about it all and less stressed in general (though there are days where I wouldn't say that :). It feels really good to be feeling more confident and happier about the way the future looks. It was rough being depressed through IVF and the beginning of this pregnancy. You BET I have done my research on post-partum depression and know where to go and to do it fast if I find myself in that place. Hoping for the best, but it is still a fear of mine. I sometimes talk about it with my therapist - which helps a lot and makes me feel less fearful and quite supported.

I am still swimming regularly and really love it - it feels great! I wish I had a pool in my backyard so I could swim all day long. Maybe I'll give birth to a couple of trouts. That would be weird.

Friday, February 09, 2007

20w1d Ultrasound All Good

We got our 20 week ultrasound with the perinatologist today and all is well. It was really fun to see the babies in there with more detail than ever before (duh) and moving around.

The girl is on my right and the boy on my left. I had sort of been feeling that this was the way they were situated but the doc confirmed it today. I am feeling more movement, a little each day, more on the right side. Both placentas are in an anterior position, so I guess the movements feel softer - there's quite a bit of cushioning in-between the babies and my abdominal wall (er, what's left of it ;) Hubs won't be able to feel them move from the outside probably for another month or so.

I was SO happy to hear that my cervix is still very long ("5 or 6 centimeters" the doc said) and completely closed. I hope it remains this way until appropriate time. Of course I am concerned about any contractions, and later, premature labor, as any person preg with twins would be. I don't think I have had any contractions yet, but to tell the truth, I am not entirely sure I understand what they feel like. Please describe??

This morning before I woke up I had an orgasm in my sleep. A strong one. And then I woke up right after. About 5 minutes after, I had some cramping for about 2 or 3 minutes, a little scary. Was that contractions? I am going to ask the OB about this on Monday. Anyone else ever experience this? Should I not have orgasms? (Not that one can help this during sleep!)

Will report back after the OB appointment on Monday. Looking forward to having ME checked out - blood pressure, blood glucose, etc. Sometimes I have some pressure in my head that lasts for hours and of course, I've mentioned the blood sugar issues. So, it'll be nice to get checked. Oh yeah, today I stepped on the scale in the peri's office and I was about 142 - ! I'm only 5'3", so this is quite interesting for me. I started at about 116, so doing fine in the weight-gain department so far I do say. Have never weighed over 135-ish, so it's pretty weird. But good. I am far more worried these days about the babies being big enough rather than myself getting temporarily whale-ish.

Friday, January 26, 2007

18w6d Getting Big Already

Gosh. I'm getting big. A little scary, as I am only 4 3/4 months pregnant, but that's the way it is with a twin pregnancy apparently!

Things have been so far so good, just getting a handle on all there is to plan and get together. It really threw me for a loop for the first couple months, but lately I've been feeling a bit better, a little more in conrol, a little calmer. The last couple weeks have been really good in the mental health realm - just... normal. And believe me, I am completely thrilled with "just normal!" Back to me. Hello me. Nice to see you again.

I will take this opportunity to remind all of you out there who may be having an especially hard time with IF, IVF, ART, losses, life changes... that getting help from a mental health professional is a Good Thing. It doesn't solve things overnight, but it does give you some tools and in the end makes a very big difference.

Been eating a whole heck of a lot. Often! Trying to do lots of protein and calcium and etc. Swimming rocks. I am trying to go 3 times per week at least. Now going out for a walk. My next Dr. appointment is the 20 week anatomy scan and then an OB appointment the next day. Will update then.

Monday, January 15, 2007

16w4d We Have an OB

This past week I went to visit yet another OB. He was very thorough and gentle and in the end after much rumination, I have decided to go with him. I loved the other doc that I saw (see last post) but she is in practice alone and he is in practice with 6 other docs who he's worked closely with for 20 years. Frankly, with a twin prgnancy, I just feel more comfortable knowing that someone is always readily available there in the office. And, by the way, it was the most organized dr's office I have ever seen. Everything ran like clockwork in there. And it wasn't an anomaly either - I've heard this from other people too.

I've been feeling pretty good - belly a-poppin'. Some great friends have given me some maternity stuff, so I am way more comfortable now - you girls were totally right on that one! I mean, I am not so big, but the tight pants just weren't cutting it anymore!

The one thing I wish I could fix right now would be this: every afternoon at about 3PM my mood takes a plunge. I begin to feel a bit depressed/anxious. It is so weird because it is the same time every day! I have tried to figure it out cognitively, of course, but I really don't think there's anything there, any association I can think of. I have tried an afternoon nap thinking maybe I am just worn out, but sometimes I can't even sleep at that time. I have tried eating a lot at like 2PM to avoid blood sugar issues. I am now trying to take a B complex vitamin at around 2PM to see if the B12 might be a mood booster around that time (didn't work yesterday). It's just so strange because mornings are good - totally normal, and I generally feel pretty good after dinner, etc. But that 3-7PM time is really a downer.

Could it be some hormone cycling? Other ideas? Has anyone ever experienced this particular issue?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

15w2d OB Selection

Yesterday I went to a new OB. I have decided not to go with the doc I saw for my first 3 visits because it wasn't a good fit. Without going into too much detail - her office was just too chaotic, lost some test results, not so good at follow-up, etc. I wasn't comfortable.

So, the new OB was really really good. Very confident and organized. She is in practice alone. I was a little concerned with that until I asked her who covers for her and the answer was "Two people - one is the OB who delivered my own two children, and the other is a colleague I work very closely with who is very highly regarded." So, this really isn't much different than the OB's all being in the same practice. Also, this doc takes on a fairly light patient load, so she says it's very rare that she doesn't deliver her patients.

I grilled her pretty hard about her thoughts on Cesarians for twins and her surgical philosophy. I know it's pretty likely that I will not have a vaginal birth, and I am ok with that. (Please, no lectures on this. I'd like a vaginal delivery, but chances are fairly unlikely, and I am not up for the first twin being vaginal with the second being rushed to emergency Cesarian under duress. I've read the stats, and I feel comfortable going with the flow and planning for best decision at the time.) The main thing is if I have surgery, that I want to be sewn up VERY conscientiously so that my athletic career can continue with decent core strength after recovery. This doc does not cut abdominal muscles (I think that's pretty rare these days anyway) and does not pull out the uterus - does the repair in the cavity. She sounded extremely confident in her surgical ability. She, herself, has had one vaginal and one Cesarian birth.

I was upfront in telling her that next week I have another OB appointment with another doc. This other one is head of obstetrics at the hospital we'll be using. I'm sure he'll be good, too, and then I'll have to make a decision. At this point, I am just really thrilled that I've found someone I can definitely be confident with!

My belly is getting harder and popping out a bit. I think I look like a person who drank a few too many beers during the holidays (ok, and ate a few hundred cookies, too). The days of buttoning my pants are over, and soon I will have to get some maternity stuff. I have a few friends who have offered to send me or lend me some of their togs, which I think is super generous and nice.

I've already rigged up my pants with a hair band in the way that my friend showed me - it's a good little trick! Unfortunately does not stop the zipper from flying low, though.

The low blood sugar eating frenzy seems to have calmed just a bit. I still need to eat regularly and carefully, but I don't seem to be crashing quite as hard or as often. Must come in spurts?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

14w2d Get In My Belly!

I am an eating machine. Trying to consume healthy stuff, and for the most part that is going ok. I seem to have no desire whatsoever for sweet stuff, which is totally weird for me. I barely touched any holiday treats because they just seemed kinda... ew. Normally, I would be eating a Christmas cookie or candy every 10 minutes if it was anywhere in the vicinity.

The hard thing is that I am starving just about 2 hours after I've eaten. Even if I eat something very high in protein, like this morning - 2 eggs on toast and cereal with milk. Hungry again just 2.5 hours later. My non-preg with twins self would be fine until 4 in the afternoon on fuel like that!

Does anyone have any tips (except for "keep eating!") that might make this a bit easier? I know it sounds kinda fun to be hungry all the time, but it's totally not. It's kinda demoralizing. Because I don't enjoy the food in the way I might when feeling normal. It's a VERY intense hunger but though I am not exactly nauseated all the time, it's still kinda yucky to eat about 70% of the time. But I HAVE to eat, and do it immediately, because if I don't the blood glucose plummets and the crash is not pretty: shaky, depressive feelings, dizziness.

Oh yeah, I should mention - I don't eat meat/poultry, which makes it all a bit more challenging. I DO eat plenty of dairy, eggs, and some seafood, though I am trying not to overdo this (mercury and other contaminant concerns + environmental concerns). I'm definitely into the tofu, tempeh, beans, seeds, nuts, etc. and trying to balance with complex carbs and good amout of fats. but I'm running out of creativity! Help! Anything you can think of besides "Suck it up, UtRus!" ?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

13w2d Fog is Lifting

I hope I am not speaking too soon, but it seems as if the nausea is lessening. A few days ago I got my progesterone level tested and it was 60 (!) so I went off the vag suppositories. I was on 200MG 4x per day until a week after the CVS. I think the combo of starting the 3rd trimester and going off all that extra progesterone has made a big difference. I've got two placentas in here now producing all they need.

I've noticed a big mood change at the same time. Soon as that extra progesterone left my system I have felt better than I have in months. Like a fog has lifted. I have had a few poignant moments of "feeling like myself" - do you know what I mean?

Ironically, I remember that going ON the progesterone when I did actually helped. I was feeling anxious at the time and it seemed to take the edge off those feelings. But then after a while, it felt different. As the pregnancy progressed and hormones icreased, it was more tired/depressive feelings rather than anxiety, per se.

Anyway, I am reminded that all this hormonal business that we go through COMBINED WITH the stresses of fertility treatments can make for a pretty intense rollercoaster. I think I have sometimes forgotten how big a part the chemicals play. I have mentioned before that I go to a therapist weeky, which really helps a lot. But it's nice to be reminded that brain chemistry is a *real* issue, and that we can only do what we can do in terms of cognitive behavioral therapy IN SPITE OF the hormones.

Thanks for checking up on me! All is well. :) I am learning to eat small meals very often (6-7 times per day) balanced with good protein, carbs and fats and plenty of fiber to keep things movin'. I was having some pretty intense blood-sugar plunges, and now I think I am finally getting a handle on this part. Walking 4-5 times per week and now about to go to my first prenatal yoga class. Will start swimming soon.

More soon - Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanza, Happy Bodhi Day... no matter how you celebrate, I wish you the very best and send my profound thanks to you for connecting with me. It means so much. I am reading you!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

12w Good News

Our CVS results came back normal. We are extremely relieved. And these are the final CVS results, with cultures and all. We still have to do AFP testing at around 15 weeks.

We now know the sex of the wigglers: one girl and one boy. Thank you, universe. So far so good. I still can't help the difficult scenarios that my brain thinks up. I hope I continue to become more optimistic as time goes on.

So... we're coming out of the closet slowly today. We're being really choosy and careful about who we're telling first. We have so many friends who have experienced loss and fertility problems that we want to tell them first, and gently, and coming straight from us. I hate this part of it. Especially with twins. It's not fair. Makes me sick to my stomach. And it's not the morning sickness.

Monday, December 11, 2006

11w4d CVS Procedure

I am lying on the couch taking it easy after our CVS procedure this morning. It went very well - the doc was able to get samples from both wigglers through my cervix, thereby thwarting the need to go through the abdomen. With twins, they often do have to go through the abdomen for at least one of 'em.

I would say that the procedure was no more uncomfortable than my HSG, which is to say, pretty mild. I have sort of a wacky curved cervix that creates a challenge for any doc trying to thread a catheter up there, but this doc was really adept! Frankly, the worst part was when he put the speculum in and had to wrench things around a little because of my retroverted uterus.

The doc had an awesome bedside manner and spent a lot of time with us. What a great guy. And so awesome to know that his stats are amazing. So. We'll get the partial results by the end of this work week, and the rest of the results (they need to culture cells) within 5 weeks.

Hubs was pretty nervous this morning. Actually, he mentioned it quite a few times this week. I think the anticipation is hard for him. For some reason, even though I am an accomplished worrier, I don't feel too worried about this. I guess I'm so used to people messing around in the ol' Ute that it just doesn't phase me much anymore. Also, as far as the results go, I figure that what is already is, and has been so since we put sperm and egg together. I want everything to be ok, but just don't feel any worry. Novel!

Really hope that everything is ok and that we can start to tell people. It's getting harder to hide - I'm a pretty slim person and am definitely showing a pot belly. And looking a bit thicker in general. I've made so many excuses and told so many little white lies (little pink and/or blue lies?) that I really am looking forward to coming clean.

And yes, we're gonna find out the genders. Stay tuned. Reading you, and fingers crossed for all the CycleSistas...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

10w1d Little Wigglers

Went to the RE for our second-to-last checkup. Here are Batman and Robin in their Bat-sacs in the Batcave at 10w1d.

The little wiggler on the left was waving her/his arms around and the one on the right was sleeping until the end of the ultrasound when he/she woke up and started wiggling around as well. I can't feel anything yet. When do you think I will be able to feel them moving? I have heard that with first pregnancies, you feel it later (because you don't know what it feels like?)...

And here is a wacky 3D photo of either Batman or Robin. I find it kinda freaky - it's so... REAL.

They are only about the size of kumquats but so detailed already. I didn't know that so much differentiation happens by this point. It made a big impression on Hubs as well.

We had our genetic counselling session to prep for our CVS testing one week from tomorrow. Learned a few new things, but we went into it fairly schooled up already. Really hoping everything will be ok. Stats are on our side (chance of 1:82 for each fetus - which means 1:41 overall - that something would be found to be wrong)... but we do know at least 2 couples who have had very bad results and have had to terminate. So, we are aware that anything can happen.

Nausea seems to be lessening in the past few days, but it's early yet, so not sure I'm out of the woods with that. Still getting desperately tired by about 3PM. Feels kinda like the worst sort of jet-lag. But overall, doing pretty well. And mentally, though I still have moments of disbelief, panic... I am going on 3 weeks now of a much-improved mental state. For that, I could not be more grateful.

UPDATE: Forget that above comment about nausea lessening. I blew technicolor chunks last night for the first time, ruining my record of "haven't thrown up yet." And it was this totally nice stew that Hubs had made. I felt bad about that (but not as bad as I do about all the blood vessels I broke around my eyes from yacking so hard). Almost lost it this morning as well. Is this gonna suddenly get worse NOW? At 10 1/2 weeks? Sheesh.

Monday, November 27, 2006

9w4d L'il Update

Sorry so long between posts. Thanks for checking in. Everything is so far so good with the two growing embryos... which now might be fetuses? Not sure of exact definition. Apparently they are about the size of grapes, so we are calling them "The Grapes."

I have been pretty sick. The first half of every day is pretty low-key as all I can do on most mornings is eat as much as I can get down in 2 separate breakfasts about 2 hours apart and then wind up falling asleep again. When I wake up at about noon or 1PM, I'm usually feeling a bit better and then try to get out and get some exercise by walking. I can't wait until I'm allowed to swim. Right now I still can't because I think there is some concern that it could wash away the progesterone vaginal suppositories that are so crucial.

I have not yet thrown up, and am really happy about that. And some days are really quite tolerable and not bad at all. But I have never been so tired. It's shocking (in a tired way, if you know what I mean). I had always heard of the exhaustion in the first trimester, but I had no idea it was so overwhelming. I now officially worship the women who take care of their other small children while pregnant AND some who do this and work too! I cannot imagine how they function. And yet, so many do it and do it well!

Mentally, things have been a bit lighter in the past 10 or so days. I don't have precise answers as to why, I only know that I am grateful and hope the trend continues. Even with the raging hormones, I seem to be spending less time depressed or anxious and more time in the "normal zone." Can't say I'm feeling AWESOME, but who would with 24-7 nausea? I have been continuing to work without fail at therapy, meditation and other parts of life.

It's pretty mysterious, how something that can seem completely overwhelming from one outlook can seem completely manageable (and maybe even fun?) through another outlook. The mind is so mysterious in some ways. But it does follow patterns, and if I can get quiet enough, it's possible to begin to discern... and slowly, like a determined snail, make my way across that barren concrete to another lush garden where I will likely, and with luck, spend the vast majority of my lifetime.

I have not yet formed a substantial attachment to these Grapes. I have little glimmers of looking forward to the future, but until we've gone through the genetic testing and made it further into this pregnancy, I don't really have the urge to be overly attached. I feel fairly optimistic, but I am wary. As... as we learn to be.

So on that note, we have an RE appointment in 4 days, an OB appointment in 9 days, as well as our genetic counseling session in preparation for CVS testing in a couple weeks from now.

I am reading you. :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

7w5d - First OB Appointment

I went for my first OB appointment today. I liked the doc a lot and think I will stick with her. She answered all my questions and was reasuring. I could tell she's heard it all before, and instead of finding that at all annoying, I found it rather comforting. Can you imagine how many people have asked, "Can I eat peanut butter during pregnancy?" We did a vag ultrasound and...

... there are still two and they are still both measuring normally with little beating hearts. One measuring at 7w6d and the other at 8w.

Last week, I noticed that my nausea decreased rather suddenly one day. This was a big change from how it had been at, say, 6 weeks when it was really bad. I had convinced myself that perhaps we'd had a vanishing twin, which is really quite common. I admit that I was somewhat comfortable with the idea, as I am still totally freaked out about having twins. But I was also relieved to see that they are both doing fine. And the nausea is back, in waves. Nothing original, I know. Not the first person to feel gaggy and food-hatin' all day!

I have still been feeling some depression. Which, I guess isn't all that unusual, since they say that 1 in 5 women experience depression during their pregnancy or post-partum. And today I learned that depression/anxiety is the number one complication of childbirth. When I think about it that way, it doesn't seem so weird or anything to be ashamed of. It's not made easier by feeing physically ill most of the time, and in fact, I think it has contributed to my challenges in bouncing back.

But I will bounce back. I know that these feelings are not who I am, and that they are temporary and treatable. In fact, I am signing up to be a part of a pregnancy/mood study at a local university. I just found out that I qualify nicely and I think it will give me some more insight and the coordinator told me that they refer women in the study to support systems regularly (therapists, psychiatrists, etc who specialize in this). Can't hurt, and I might actually contribute to helping someone in the future. That makes me feel really good.

Friday, November 03, 2006

6w1d Heartbeats and Nausea

I went for 6 week scan today and we saw two little fluttery heartbeats. Here is a 3D scan of Batman and Robin in their gestational sacs. Each about the size of a lentil! They each also have a "yolk sac" attached, though superhero uniforms do not yet seem to be present.

One of them is measuring at 6w4d (CRL=.61cm; GS=2.26) and the other at 6w5d (CRL=.54cm; GS=2.45).

Quite crazy indeed! Additional good news is that my RE wants to continue to follow me closely until 12 weeks. I am so grateful to not be let go right away. I also have made an initial appointment with an OB recommended by my RE (who has experience with IVF pregnancies, twins, high risk, etc.) 2 weeks from now.

I am also scheduled for CVS with one of the most highly regarded guys in the country for this procedure. Will do this test at 11 1/2 weeks because I have to wait until at least 11 weeks with twins.

So far so good and the best news of all this week is I AM ALLOWED TO RESUME EXERCISE because the placental separation I had has resolved. I am so grateful. I don't do very well without exercise. I really hope I never have to be on long bed rest. No jinx, no jinx.

Mentally. Wow. It's been really intense. I should have been expecting this, as I've read it in so many peoples' blogs... IF'ers don't just turn off the stress and uncertainty and all of a sudden turn into those people who feel unabandoned happiness. I am happy very deep inside, and I know I'm lucky so far and I am extremely grateful every day. But I am going to tell the truth here: I am quite shocked and sometimes downright scared shitless about twins. I had issues BEFORE about how having one kid might change my life in ways that I might not love, but now it's magnified.

Sometimes I feel completely overwhelmed, and last week I was very clearly depressed. The hormones are pumping. This week I'm feeling a bit different. A little calmer, a little less shell-shocked. I am trying to give myself permission to take time to let it sink in, to go day by day and grow with whatever grows within me. I am experimenting with a new paradigm right now: I will walk willingly through this gate of change and be changed by the experience. If this pregnancy (oh my god I wrote it!) carries on, I will be changed, my life will change. Grasping on to who I was with terror of losing the "before" is not only futile, it's irrelevant. I want to be excited and optimistic about this adventure. I have glimpses of it. But I'm not there yet.

Complicating the mental challenges is the fact that I'm feeling pretty sick. Food sucks. I hate food. I must eat it, however, and I do feel a lot better when I have chomped down some grub, but I am averted to everything. I have not yet yacked, and am remaining hopeful that it stays like this and doesn't get too much worse. The morning sickness was detectable at 4.5 weeks but really kicked in at 5.5 weeks.

What a friggin' trip this is. Any tips and assvice appreciated. And I am reading you. Fingers crossed for all the Oct/Nov cycle Sistas.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hope x 2 at 4w6d

I am no ultrasound technician, but I could make this out in about 5 seconds flat:

And each one has a little mass a-growin' inside (though I only got a photo of one) - see where that little white mark is pointing over to the left?

The reason I had this scan today is because I have been having a little mild pain in the right side of my abdomen for the past 2 nights - I was instructed to call if I had anything at all unusual, so I did. I am extremely grateful that there is no ectopic. Also grateful that they get me in with a simple phone call just like that!

During this wanding they also discovered:

1) that the pain in my right side is just some bowels acting up (they have been a bit uneasy this week, so this makes sense)
2) that i have a very slight separation between one of the sacs and the uterus. (I think that's correct - doc referred to it alternately as a "small blood clot" and a "separation.")

This #2 means that I am ordered to chill the heck out for the next week. Had to cancel a job that I was booked for and must knock off the exercise (was walking every day and MIGHT have broken into a run yesterday. Felt great, by the way). Not even going for walks allowed this week. It's not true "bed-rest" so I can sit at my desk and such, but must comply. My RE is hopeful that the separations will disappear. Also, progesterone increased to 200mg 4xday.

All I can say is, thank GOD for that inital very high Beta number. So we knew already for over a week that it could be two. Or else I would have fained dead away on the table. And I'm not a fainter. Presently I am maintaining "living in the moment" so as to not wig right out with anxiety over various implications.

It is extremely early - I am only 4weeks + 6days right now. Don't think I've forgotten that for a moment. Most "normals" would just be 6 days late for their period and wondering if they could be pregnant at this point. They would have no idea of these types of details. I know that either one, or both, of these things that are in there dividing could disappear at any time.

I go back in exactly one week to see if any little heart(s) could be fluttering and for fetal pole measurement, should we be so fortunate. At this time, however... ok. Pretty neat. And much further than we've ever been before. Which is really all one can ask for.

Hugs to you out there. Thanks for being with me on such a crazy, crazy day.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I Heart hCG

Second beta (9dp5dt, 10AM) = 464. Doubling time of 1.5 days.

For the past two days I have been wondering how to write about this. It's similar to what I have read on others' blogs. I feel:

1) Happy.

2) Sure it won't work out.

3) Relief that things (in this aspect of life) might actually work out.

4) Guilty that others are not experiencing what I am right now.

5) Thankful that at least I know I can even GET .... you know...

6) Calm when I realize that it is what it is and I can't control any of it.

7) Disbelief because I have never experienced this before and it happens to other people, not to me. This cannot possibly be real.

I hope that this positive does for you what other people's positives have always done for me: give me great hope. Just as their negatives, miscarriages and other challenges have made me cry with pain and continue to scare the crap out of me. I am a LONG LONG way from things working out in this part of my life, but we're further than we've ever been. I hope that no matter where you are on your journey you will get where you need to go, and I hope that I will, too.

I need all of you. Please stay with me. I will never start a pregnancy blog separate from this one, I will never "forget where I came from." Don't think for a second that I don't know that I could very well wind up right back where I started. In the blink of an eye this post could look foolish and full of hubris. But there's one thing I've been meaning to express for a while - from before this FET #2 even started.

I have learned more about myself in the past year and a half of IF than I have ever before in my life. Coming to the realization, about 6 or 8 weeks ago, that I was going to truly be ok and that my life could be good even without children has been a gift. I will never be the same. I got hurt and I have been working hard at healing - coming throught the other side of a battle with anxiety/depression brough on by IF issues was just hard enough for me to know that I can survive this. And whatever may come next. If anyone wants my assvice about therapy and meditation and other helpful hints, please ask and we'll start up an email correspondance.

I now wish I had written this before my positive so that there would be no doubt that the optimism wasn't due to the positive. This experience has been a gift. A gift that I didn't want when it showed up at my door. A gift that I wouldn't specifically wish on anyone else. But now that I've been living it, I can see the value. If it was deemed to be worth the (expensive IVF) price we paid for it on Antique Roadshow I would not sell it. I would keep it. It is part of who I am.

Please take some of the happiness generated by my current experience and put it in your own heart. It isn't mine, it is all of ours. Just as we're never alone when there's great pain.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Thoughts While Continuing the Wait

First beta (7dp5dt, 10AM) = 185.

Holy beta level, Batman! (and... uh... Robin?) Next beta scheduled for two days later (which is now tomorrow).

I am happy to know that an embie or embies are sticking well enough to produce some hCG. This means that I am capable of getting this far. We did not know this before, so it is a step in a good direction. It means, I guess, that anything is possible.

I have had a couple "symptoms" over the last few days: stingy bbs (especially nips - also flaky skin there just a little), one day of noticable cramping (5dp5dt), and some very mild waves of nausea. When I insert the progesterone poppers the vag canal seems to go way higher, my fingers can't reach the top (sorry for TMI).

Last month, during our first unsuccessful FET, I had pretty much these exact same symptoms but I couldn't test because we were on an island without HPTs to purchase! The symptoms suddenly disappeared at 10dp5dt, and then when I got my beta at 14dp5dt it was negative. So, either: symptoms at this stage mean nada OR if something was sticking last time and ended fast, the same thing could very easily happen now. I am just grateful to know that we got this far, and in fact, this was my impetus for testing so early. Wanted to try and "catch" it if something was there. Just for informational purposes.

Here is a list of things I did differently this month than I did last time. It means absolutely NOTHING in a scientific sense, there are zero controls. I just feel like writing this stuff down for some reason.

1) Bedrest ONLY the rest of the day of my transfer. Got back to normal, light activity the next day. (Last time, I had 2 1/2 days of bedrest.)

2) Acupuncture during FET procedure but NOT in the weeks prior or following. However, have been partaking in massage. (Last time, I did acupuncture about twice per week before and after)

3) Did not take valium during the FET procedure. (Last time I did.)

4) Started drinking milk (organic) for the first time in... 10 years?

5) Made concerted effort to gain a few pounds. I chime in at around 20 in terms of BMI and I might even be a little lower than that because I am quite muscular. I have read that even if an athlete does not display amenorrhea, a BMI of less than 20 can make pregnancy a lot less likely. Mind you, I don't know if this pertains only to ovulatory issues (irrelevant during IVF) or other issues like implantation, etc.

6) Have been taking sublingual Vitamin B12 1000MCG for the past 6 weeks. I am vegetarian, and don't consume a lot of dairy/eggs. (Again, anemia/B12 issues may pertain to fertility but specifically to ovulation...) But I eat very well, and a LOT, and of course have been taking the PNV's for over a year. Duh.

7) Did not drink this "Pregnancy Tea" that a friend gave me. (Last time I drank 1 or 2 cups per day during the 2WW.)

8) I'm realizing this list is totally stupid. There are a million variables - I didn't fly on a plane this time, I ate more burritos this time, I watched more comedies this time,... FORGET THIS DUMB LIST! IF'ers behave this way, I guess. Always trying to use the magical thinking to explain things.

Updates to come. Staying optimistic and measured. No thinking ahead, just thinking about what to have for breakfast.


oh. my. god.

never, ever, ever before. not one time in my life has this ever happened to me.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Distraction: The "5 Items In" Meme

Soralis tagged me back in JUNE! Talk about procrastination. Holy crap. What the heck, I could use a little distraction, so why not. :) Here we go:

5 Items in My Fridge
red miso paste
cashew nut butter
seaweed paste
organic apples
leftover whole wheat spaghetti

5 Items in My Closet
wrapping paper with skateboards on it
rolly lint-remover thing
new pink (!) t-shirt
black converse sneakers
dirty laundry (the real kind, not the metaphorical kind)

5 Items in My Car
new, unopened box of tissues "with lotion"
map book
emergency GORP in the glove compartment
paper bags to re-use at Trader Joe's
quarters for meters

5 Items in My Purse
cell phone
small container with a few Estrace and Micronized Progseterone in case I'm not home when it's time

5 People Who are Now Tagged
please tell me if you want this MEME! it was so long ago, I can't remember who already did it. I will add your link:
J.N. at Misconceptions of Pink Lines on a Stick you are tagged!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

FET #2 Launched

I introduce to you... Batman and Robin. The two 5-day blasts we replaced yesterday morning:

We are fortunate to have a really good embryologist at our clinic. These two freezies survived the thaw (as did our previous three. She's 5 for 5!), expanded fully, and are in me Utie. They are the last frozen embryos we've got. Should this not work, we'll be on to IVF #2.

I opted not to take the valium this time. I had noticed during my HSG and our first FET that I really don't experience any pain when a catheter is inserted into my cervix. Maybe I don't have many nerve endings there, I dunno. So though Valium is fun, I didn't want to take it if unnecessary. And I was totally fine. I got acupuncture before and after, very relaxing. I had the mildest level of cramping just after the procedure - just twinges that lasted about an hour. And yesterday I spent the day feeling relaxed but not sleepy or groggy.

I only did one day of bed rest this time. I wanted to do none, but the doc insisted that I comply and rest up for the remainder of yesterday. So. Humph. Ok. But there does not seem to be any proof whatsoever that bed rest influences outcome. And lying around for even one day makes my back/neck sore. I can only imagine how people on long-term bed rest feel.

Thanks for your good wishes and support. I really appreciate it and send the same to you, regardless of where you are on your journey.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Greenlight FET #2

We are planning to do FET #2 of two 5-day blasts in 5 days from now (Monday). At checkup this morning endometrium measured in at 9.3mm which is fine. I still have no dominant follicle that looks ready to ovulate. Matters not.

Tomorrow I cut back to 2mg 2xday of Estrace and begin vaginal micronized progesterone 200mg 3xday. Even if I ovulate later in the cycle, it apparently doesn't matter (and I probably wouldn't because I'm on progesterone).

Feeling pretty calm, mainly concentrating on other things, other aspects of life, while keeping hope and optimism for this part. I hope that both the embyos survive the thaw on Monday morning. I've scheduled acupuncture for directly before and after (very calming, and worth it just for that).

In my back pocket I've got the thought that our RE has a new plan in mind for IVF#2 should we need it. A protocol that involves less drugs. And this morning we saw lots of follicles on my ovaries. So, the idea is: not too much pressure on this FET - it's all part of the process. Hoping for the best and releasing control to the universe.

Not meaning to sound too crunchy here (as in granola)... but it's true. None of us can control whether this FET will result in a negative, a pregnancy, a viable pregnancy or a baby. And worrying accomplishes nothing. Therefore, I continue to do a great deal of personal work in shifting modes of thought about this. I tell you, it's a hell of a lot more comfortable!

Hope you're all doing well - I'm reading you.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Today's Wanding

It's FET "natural-medicated" cycle day number 9. Today's vag ultrasound revealed an endometrial thickness of just over 8mm. So looks like we will be doing ok in the thickness department. Tomorrow I increase the Estrace to 2mg 3x day for the next 5 days.

I had quite a few antral follicles, but the ultrasound tech only measured one. I am not sure it would be considered too "dominant". I hope that I will ovulate. Does anyone know at what point in a cycle a follicle makes itself known to look like it's gonna toss out an egg?

[Note: I mean to ask: by what day (average) in the cycle can a dominant follicle usually be detected...]

UPDATE: I think I am now understanding that since I am on the supportive meds (Estrace and will be on progesterone) that it doesn't really matter whether I ovulate or not. If I am anovulatory during this FET cycle, the effect is the same as a cycle when they shut down your ovarian function with Lupron. The meds take the place of what the corpus luteum would do after ovulation.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Starting FET #2

I went in to my RE to discuss the un-success of FET #1. We had a nice, long talk. Guys, he gave me an entire, non-rushed half an hour. He answered all my questions and it just so happens that my period arrived yesterday. (Yay!) So I got scanned and was found to be delightfully free of cysts. (Double yay!) That means...Tomorrow we start FET #2 cycle.

We're doing what I believe to be called a "natural-medicated" cycle. That is, no Lupron, no pituitary supressants. I will be taking only estrace and micronized progesterone and will be monitoring for LH surge of my natural cycle and doing the replacement based on when I ovulate. If I surge too early (before the endometrium is thick enough) they can put me on Ganirelix to suppress ovulation for a few days, but hopefully that won't happen. Also, I suppose it is possible to have an anovulatory cycle, which would result in cancellation for this month, but I think anovulatory cycles are unusual for me. The only time I have documented this is my cycle directly following IVF.

We've got two excellent grade day 5 frozen blasts this time. Last time we were very lucky that all three of our other 5-dayers survived the thaw. We'll simply have to hope for the same luck this time, because we have no backups. You just never know what will happen on the day.

The doc and I also discussed next steps. I always like to work ahead a little because it helps me not get too overly attached to the cycle at hand. He said should we need to go there, he'd like to do our next IVF cycle with less meds. He knows I stim well and says he's got a good protocol for me involving a much less intense drug regimen. All I will say at this point is, sign me up.

I did also ask about whether he thought we could try clomid/IUI's. We never went down that route because he felt it was more expedient and less expensive to go straight to IVF. I have a problem with my right tube (possible scar tissue from appendectomy) which effectively leaves me with only the left side in full function in terms of eggs likely making their way down the tubes. To increase chances in that respect would mean laparoscopy on the right. That, coupled with my propensity for growing cysts (which would mean postponement after postponement) all combines to make IVF the better option. This seems logical to me, though I am sure there could be other opinions.

Hubs and I are pleased to be starting this next FET chance so quickly. As happens to many of us after IF struggles and unsuccessful cycles, we're not too crazily optimistic but are hopeful and measured. I feel calmer and healthier than I have in a long time. I can't explain precisely why, other than the fact that I am growing from this intense and difficult experience and there are opportunities to be had. Meditation and therapy are helping in ways I could not have predicted. And my husband. Oh you guys, my husband. He has been so wonderful and supportive and balanced throughout all of this. I told him today that I am falling more in love with him through all of this. And it's true. Hidden gifts.

Monday, September 18, 2006

FET #1 Officially Negative

Just got the call. Beta was negative. Thanks for all your hopeful support, I really appreciate it, guys. I wish I could report different results. I believe that I will someday do just that. Tell me now all your stories of failure(s) in your past and babies you have now... each of these stories is a gleaming gem for me. What made you not give up? [addendum: I realize that most people with these examples aren't necessarily reading us any more...]

I know this is going to sound strange, but I am ok. Really, truly ok. It seems weird after kinda NOT being ok during certain lengths of time during the past 4 or 5 months (depression/anxiety). I don't wanna speak too soon, but I think all the work I've been doing with therapy and meditation and such is really beginning to take hold. The last couple days since getting the negative HPT at 12 and 13dp5dt could have been extremely dark. But you know what? It doesn't have to be that way.

I am not saying this isn't hard, I'm just saying that the bottom of my stomach is not falling out. I don't feel hopeless or overwhelmed. I can put this behind me. And I can begin right now. The news is painful, but the suffering is optional.

I have an appointment for Friday with the RE to discuss next steps, which I believe will be our second FET. We've got two freezies left - one is excellent quality, the other is just slightly less in grade. After that, if need be, we will try IVF again. But one step at a time.

I am interested in a non-medicated, natural cycle and wonder if my RE will go for it. I am a cyst grower, so we might not be able to do it, but I sure don't like the idea of going on Lupron again. Not so great for me mentally - like many of these drugs.

How long did it take after stopping Estrace and micronized progesterone for your period to come?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Not lookin' good

I am 12dp5dt. We're still away from home on vacation, and today I jumped into a store, grabbed an e.p.t. and peed. Negative. It was not first morning urine (big glass of juice maybe 3 hours before), but at this point it should not matter. Beta is in 2 days.

I am disapointed but so far doing ok. It's been a weird couple of weeks. Did not feel anything unusual until about 7dp5dt when I started getting very mild cramps and nipples stinging, especially at night. Breasts seemed bigger. No spotting at all, no bleeding.

I had the nipple twinges and mild cramps on and off until about 11dp5dt when those two "symptoms" suddenly stopped. I suppose I still have the occasional twinge, but really, it even seems like my breasts shrunk back down a little.

I had a little wild hope that maybe I was preg with more than one and a multiple was dropping off, therefore causing a drop in symptoms... but now I am pretty sure it's a done deal.

I will test tomorrow morning with first morning urine with the other stick that came in the pack. But tomorrow will be 13dp5dt (equivalent to 18dpo) and I should be obviously positive even on a crap-ass HPT by now. Beta is on Monday AM. At least I will be prepared for the inevitable. Need to make sure there is no ectopic and all that.

The hard thing is that I want to stop taking the progesterone and estrogen so that my period will come. But on the tiniest chance that there is still any hope, I can't really do that until the beta result.

Send your "Negative HPT but positive beta" miracle stories now... but know that I am currently disappointed but hanging strong. If I can remain so, this will be a victory either way.

Monday, September 04, 2006

They're In

Here they are, as named by Hubs: Larry, Moe and Curly...

Today we did the Frozen Embryo Transfer and everything went great. All three of the 5-day embies survived the thaw. Two re-expanded beautifully and the third sort lagged behind but was still viable. So after consultation about stats, we decided to replace all three into Utie, with endometrial lining measuring in at around 11mm which is a fine thickness. Good ol' Utie!

I am on bed rest today (happily typing from bed ; ) Feeling relaxed and as you guys know by now about me, measured and hopeful. Even if we wind up getting a + pregnancy test a couple weeks from now, there will still be many hurdles to jump.

Some good news is that we do have 2 additional frozen blastocysts for another FET attempt later on. This is quite a nice bonus.

The procedure itself today was, dare I say it, rather enjoyable! I did take a Valium (why the hell not?! It resulted in some fine napping this afternoon) and got relaxing acupuncture before and after. I have a challenging retrovrted uterus so my RE had to use a special catheter that basically navigates around a sharp curve in my cervix. He is extremely skilled and there was no problem.

It was really an emotionally intense moment at that time. 6 people in the room total: the doc, me, Hubs, the abdominal ultrasound tech, the embryologist and the nurse practitioner who has been really supportive and helpful. As the embies were transferred in, there was... how do I explain it... well, I am not traditionally religious, but let's just say the spirit of the universe, the spirit of the possibility of new life, was present. More than one person wiped away a tear and uttered his or her own invocation of hope - in a very professional manner. It was perfect.

And in a few days we take off for vacation. Other than not lifting heavy suitcases, I plan to enjoy myself thoroughly and think about all of this as little as possible - for it does not serve any purpose. We're scheduled for the first beta the day after we return - a full 4 days after they normally do it. I don't think I'll pee on a stick prematurely, though I cannot promise.

Oh! and by the way, you know how I am always talking about hormone manipulation (the BCPs, the Lupron, etc) and the effect all of it has on me in terms of depression/anxiety? Well, listen to this - ever since I started on the micronized progesterone vag poppers, I feel like a new person. No joke. The progesterone seems to have literally shaved off any edge of chemical anxiety. I think I just discovered something very valuable. You KNOW i will be seeing a neuro-endocrinologist in the future with some questions!

Will post again around Sept 18 or 19. In the meantime, reading you.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Here we go...

Thanks for cheering Utie on - it seems to have worked! (Never unerestimate the power of a good old-fashioned pep cheer across the internet.) Got examined today and endometrial thickness is at a 10.46mm which is good to go. As of tomorrow I cut back to 2mg 2xday of Estrace and begin vaginal micronized progesterone 200mg 3xday.

Our Frozen Embryo Transfer of two 5-day blastocysts is scheduled for Monday (Labor day - would be nice if that eventually turns out to be ironic) at 10AM. Acupuncture session directly before and directly afterwards while lying on the same table.

I'll catch up with you lovelies during the bedrest days and will tell you how it went. Oh, and the Lupron side effects do seem to be lessening somewhat. Grateful. Living in the present over here and comfortably on the middle path. I wish you all the same.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Utie is on the Varsity Team!

I wasn't sure how Utie would do, but turns out she's not on the JV team, she made varsity. Measured in this morning with a 7.7mm thickness after 8 days on Estrace (2mg 2x day). We're definitely only in pre-season here, folks, but it look as if Utie will not be a bench-warmer this cycle. Now we start 2mg 3x day for the next 5 days.

And get this freaky detail - because the RE took a while in getting into the room to check me out, my fave sonographer had the wand in me for a while. So for lack of anything else to do while waiting, we counted antral follicles. I had 7 on my left and about 16 on the Right. 16! WTF? When we did IVF retrieval I only had 8 antrals on that side. Maybe we'll put Righty on the team next season if this FET doesn't bring us the championship.

But back to the present. Today was my last shot of Lupron. And I hereby pronounce Lupron to be The Suckiest IVF Drug In My Experience Thus Far. Don't get me wrong, I am glad that it prevented me from growing a cyst, and successfully shut down my cycle, but the side effects suck ass. About three days ago I began having chemical depression dips that are so strong they even wake me up at night. Thankfully, they don't seem to happen much in the daytime, but the further we get from when the shot was administered each day (around 8AM), the dips are really intense. The nurse practitioner at the clinic told me it could take up to 10 days for me to get back to normal. Ugh. I'm hoping it'll be a lot shorter.

This drug shuts down the pituitary gland's release of FSH and LH. But the pituitary is also responsible for lots of other things... like endorphins, dopamine, CRH... all hormones that have a direct relation to mood, anxiety, depression, etc. I am COMPLETELY uneducated (except for the PhD from Google University, as they say) so I don't really understand it beyond reading on the internet. I don't know how Lupron would mess with other pituitary functions. But I do understand that depression, regardless of duration or cause, SUCKS. And I wish the docs and the Lupron people were more upfront about it.

Has anyone else experienced these sort of symptoms while on Lupron or other GnRH agonist? And if so, how long did it take you to normalize after going off the medication?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Time to get Thick, y'all. Mmm sayin'?

Got scanned this morning... still cyst-free after 10 days on 20units Lupron.

Tomorrow I cut the Lupron in half and begin Estrace (2mg 2x day).

I just ended a 5-day menstrual period and endometrium is currently measuring .48mm. We're aiming for 8-13mm. And since my name is Ut R Us I sure hope I can step up. C'mon Utie, you can do it. Let's go Utie, Let's go (clap clap)! C'mon everybody... LET'S GO UTIE, LET'S GO (clap clap)! (I'm laughing thinking of you cheering for Utie out there in cyberland :)

We've scheduled a trip to the E coast during the 2WW (just after the bed-rest days) - assuming we GET to the 2WW, that is. Beach, family and fun. It's my way of insisting on living life and having fertility projects be only a PART of it. We are arriving back home AFTER the traditional scheduled beta day. So either I will get a period or I'll go get the beta when I'm back from vacation. Right now I am completely fine with that. What will be will be. At that time and after that time.

Long way to go before then, though. So... I continue to practice "hope but no expectations." And I have started to go to regular Zen meditation sittings and sit daily on my own. That combined with talking with my therapist each week is really helping with perspective.

I hope you're all doing great.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

And the Verdict Is...

Isn't the word cyst funny when you look at it for a while? Cyst... cyst... cyst. Ha! Ha ha ha!

"Gee," you may be thinking, "UtRus sure is chipper today. Wonder what's with her?"

I'll tell you what's with me...

I am CYST FREE as of this morning's wanding. That's right, completely CYSTLESS! The Yasmin BCP did what it was supposed to do.

And it's a good thing too, because I am telling you guys, monophasic birth control pills SUCK for me. You know that little warning that they may cause depression (but usually don't in most people)? Well they sure as all hell do in me. The first week on them was awful. It's like a veil came down about 3-4 hours after I took the pill each day, causing nasty depression. Add to that dizziness and inability to concentrate. However, I am very happy to report that it's been much better during the last few days (day 7-10). My body is adjusting to it.

Okay, so what this means is that I actually have a FET protocol.

*** Pause... just to enjoy the feeling of wheels grabbing road instead of spinning and going nowhere. ***

Ok, so I am on the Yasmin BCP for 4 more days (scheduling thing) and then it looks like this:

the supression part
- Lupron 20 units for 10 days (BCPs to be ceased after the first 3 Lupron days)

the 28-day cycle part
- Lupron 10 units & Estrace 2mg 2xday for 9 days
- Estrace 2mg 3xday for 5 days
- Estrace 2mg 2xday & micronized progesterone 200mg 2xday for 14 days
-> FET projected for day 19 of this 28-day cycle (we've got 5-day old blasts)

I am very glad my RE mentioned to me that some people can actually grow cysts while on Lupron. I tend to think that if anyone can do it, I can! It would have been a blow to think I was "home free" from here and then be surprised. So, I am hopeful that I won't grow one, but no expectations.


This week I found out that my first cousin has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is 39 years old and had her first child 18 months ago.

If you are age 35 or older and are not pregnant right now and have never done so, GO GET A MAMMOGRAM. Many of us will (hopefully) be pregnant and/or breastfeeding in the years to come and you cannot get screened during this time. (Well, there are ways of doing it safely if there's a detectable problem while you're pregnant, but not just for pre-emptive purposes).

I just went and had my first one yesterday and already got the results today. Thankfully normal. But this taught me a lesson. We're not "too young" and none of us are exempt from the possibility of getting this disease. If caught early, breast cancer has an extremely good survival rate.

Please take care of yourself. You deserve it.