Wednesday, December 23, 2009

ah yes- the glucose test

I didn't take the glucose tolerance test yet. The whole point of doing it on Monday was so that I could drink the sugary drink before my MW appointment, then spend most of the one hour in the appointment rather than sitting around twiddling my thumbs. But (probably because of all the snow), the lab guy wasn't there before I went into my MW appointment. I didn't notice if he was there when I came out, but it didn't matter... by then, the whole time-saving (or less time-wasting) plan was shot. It's still a little early for the GTT, which I'm told should happen around 28 weeks. Since I have to visit the birth center at the hospital some time next week (or the week after) for a rhogam shot, and there's a lab in the hospital, I'll try to consolidate those into one trip. Even though my work would chalk the time out-of-office up to "sick leave," I hate wasting time. Sitting around for a solid hour doing nothing but waiting for the blood draw post-drink would drive me bonkers.

So, no results yet on the GD front. And I forgot to ask about additional ultrasounds. I was distracted by having to request a script for OTC pre-natal vitamins. My FSA rules changed in October (can they do that mid-year? doesn't seem right)- vitamins are no longer considered a "health expense" unless aimed at treating a specific condition and specifically recommended by a physician. I still have $35 to spend, so I want to stock up on some vitamins and have it reimbursed by my FSA.

In good news, and maybe this isn't news to most of you (but it was to me)- I was a little concerned that I've never received a bill from the MW's practice for all these monthly visits, so I asked at the registration desk. Apparently, there are no co-pays for pre-natal visits. Hurray! That's why I've decided to spend my last thirty-five FSA dollars on vitamins.

Monday, December 21, 2009

26w4d- all is well

Today's visit to the MW revealed:
BP is perfect, 120/70.
Ishkabibble's heart rate is in the 140's.
Fundal height is 27cm (no idea what it should be, but MW says that's good).
No protein in today's urine sample (protein is a sign of preeclampsia).
I've gained 30 pounds since I expressed OHSS concerns to the RE in July.

That last one has me a little worried, but the MW is not phased a bit and expects to see me gain about a pound per week from here on out (for a total of about 45 pounds- OUCH!). In her words, the weight "doesn't hurt the baby. It's just more work to do after the baby's born." I'll make a more concerted effort to stay away from cookies and sweets (you know those tinned holiday cookie samplers? I'm a sucker for those), and increase my fruit and veggie intake. Exercise has been pretty easy to include lately... last week was all about walking and my yoga DVD, but now that winter has arrived I plan to break out my dusty x-country skis and hit the trails around my neighborhood.

I asked the MW how I might tell which sensations are kicks and which might be punches. She directed me to the web site. The site is all about optimizing fetal position to facilitate an easier childbirth. It's a little disjointed and scattered, but interesting. And I like the idea of using gravity to guide Ishka into place rather than resorting to more aggressive means. Based on what I read, and some feedback from the MW, I believe Ishka is head-down and facing to my right. I feel fluttery sensations very low that are likely hand or head movements, and stronger slower sensations near my navel that should be feet.

Winter has indisputably arrived and left a beautiful, fluffy white calling card. I know a lot of people curse snow and ice and cold, but this is the time of year when I wholeheartedly enjoy the outdoors. Not that I shy away from being outside the rest of the year, but local parks and trails are so darned crowded in spring and autumn, and hot in summer, that I just don't enjoy them like I do in winter. I have the world nearly to myself, and the few people I encounter tend to be mellower and more congenial than the fair-weather outdoorsmen.

Along with the glittering landscape, the 18-inches of snow gifted us with 15 hours of snow-plowing yesterday. We've been a bit bah-humbuggish around our house this year because of the early lay-off and the expenses of first getting pregnant and now planning for Ishka's arrival. We didn't set up our tree because there'd be no presents to put under it. But with this wonderful storm, we can spare a little to splurge on some small something. The prospect of doing a little holiday shopping seems to have lightened C's mood, and I know I slept better last night knowing that the truck earned its keep this month.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

25w6d- double digits!

99 days to go! Ishka celebrated by having a little dance party at 2:30 this morning. I honestly believe this is the first time the baby has woken me up. I've been sleeping more lightly than my norm, so little things like a cat repositioning himself or an ache developing in my back have been the usual culprits. I worry that I'm not drinking enough... I haven't had to get up in the middle of the night to pee at all during this pregnancy (I probably just jinxed myself). I think I make up for that during the day, though.

Still no cravings, no aversions. I enjoy the occasional cup of (decaf) coffee now (especially when someone at work leaves a box of doughnuts next to the coffee maker). My next MW appointment is Monday, so I'll know then how much weight I've gained and I'll be tested for gestational diabetes (oh, yippee). I must remember to ask if we'll have any more u/s opportunities, or if we've had our last look at Ishka until birth. I'd like to see at least one or two more times, just for peace of mind. We're still strong on the "we don't want to know" front, although there have been a few moments when I seriously considered the benefits of knowing Ishkabibble's gender ahead of time.

I hope everyone out there is having a wonderful holiday season!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dear intended ornament recipient,

I am a bad, bad secret Santa. I suspect that the head elf, who put together the whole ornament exchange, sent me an email weeks ago with your name and address, along with your Christmas tree's color scheme or theme or other such ornament wishes. In my weekly in-box cleaning, I didn't see that message among the 368 junk emails and deleted it into the trash bin without reading. I'm so sorry. I bought an ornament. A lovely one that I think is beautiful and which I'd be happy to send to a good home, but I don't know where to send it or even if this exact decoration is welcome. I am so sorry that you ended up with a lousy secret Santa.

I'll keep asking for your address, and will even brave the shoppes once more to search for an ornament that meets your requests, should I receive a missive containing your info. Don't give up on me yet! And if you happen to be part of the ornament exchange and don't receive yours, please let me know... there's still hope.

Happy holidays!
Bad Secret Santa

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

24w5d update

Well, the holiday was wonderful. C and I went to his father's for turkey on Thanksgiving itself. His niece (I guess she's my niece too, but she was around a long time before I entered his life) was recovering from swine flu and bronchitis, but came anyhow and thoughtfully basketed the rolls when they came out of the oven. I avoided the rolls. And sat as far away from her as I could. Here we are more than a week later and I'm still healthy, so either that flu shot worked its magic, or my superb hygiene did the trick. Either way, I'm happy not to be sick.

Thanksgiving Saturday was a big Italian dinner at my parents' house (we're Irish... so of course Italian is our favorite food). It would have been a lot bigger except that my brother and his whole family stayed home. SIL and two of the kids were sick the week before, and my brother and their other two were sick on Thanksgiving itself. No technical diagnoses, but they suspected some strain of flu had made its way to their house and didn't want to spread it around. I'm grateful, but missed seeing them. I hope everyone's healthy for Christmas.

Pregnancy-wise, things continue to roll along smoothly. I feel movement all the time now, everything from flutters to nudges to full-body (I suspect) acrobatics. I have no cravings or aversions, and my overall appetite has decreased a bit so I'm eating less food and less often than early on. None of the scales in my house are accurate, but I suspect I've gained about 18 pounds so far (I was up 16 at the last MW appointment). I wasn't thin to begin with, so I'm hoping to keep the total weight gain under 30 pounds (originally, the goal was under 25, but with 15 weeks to go that may not be reasonable). My MW hasn't expressed any concern about my weight, and I'm still using my yoga DVD and walking several times each week. I'm eating healthy meals and rarely indulge in sweets or junk food, so I'm not really worrying about the pounds. I ordered the crib and changing table/bureau last week, when I learned that it takes 12-14 weeks for them to arrive. C finally joined me at BRU, and I let him handle the gun as we rounded out our registry. The next visit with the MW will be on 12/21, and I'll do the glucose tolerance test that day as well.

Sleep... I mentioned previously that I'd say something about it. Well, for about a month now I have been unable to sleep comfortably on my back. Historically, I've always been a back-sleeper, but lying on my back now makes my lower back ache, which wakes me up. I bought a c-shaped body pillow, and that's helped a lot- I wedge the long side of the pillow against my back, place my head on one curl and use the other between my knees. I slip another pillow under my belly, and "hug" a small travel pillow to keep my shoulders from slumping together. The cats love this arrangement. Instead of waking to an aching back, I awake to one furry body cuddled up against Ishkabibble and the other nestled behind my knees. It's very cozy, and I'm glad that cold weather has moved in because this wouldn't be nearly as pleasant if nights were warm. It took a few weeks to work out this pillow configuration, but it's working and I'm better rested than before I bought the c-pillow. Getting out of bed is quite entertaining, though. The edge of the bed is behind me, so I have to extricate my bottom leg from the c-pillow, roll on top of it (and hope I didn't start out too close to the edge... yes, I've fallen out of bed once or twice), and then swing my legs down to the floor. C and I may soon need to switch sides of the bed because I'm not sure Ishka will let me maneuver this way indefinitely.

The women in Chris's family have decided I'm carrying "high and round (as opposed to low and pointy)," so Ishka will be a girl. In the only baby dream I've had since becoming pregnant, Ishka was a boy. Over the next few weeks, I'll play with old wives' tales and see what they predict.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

22w6d- presence known on the outside

Today was another milestone. Before I got out of bed this morning (no easy feat these days, since I've begun piling pillows around myself to keep from rolling onto my back at night- I'll discuss sleep another time), I felt a pretty dramatic nudge from Ishkabibble. Half asleep, I put my hand on my belly in the same spot, and Ishka did it again. For the first time, I felt the baby move from the outside. No repeat since those first nudges, so I wasn't able to share the sensation with C, but I'm sure that will happen soon. Ishka tends to be very active during and right after dinner, so I'll make sure C stays within arm's reach tonight.

EDD is in exactly 4 months, or 17 weeks from tomorrow. If anyone asks me what I'm thankful for this year, I'll rub my belly, smile and say, "The people in my life, even the ones I haven't met in person yet." And that includes YOU.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

22w0d- SURPRISE!

I had a routine appointment with the midwife today, during which she asked if I'd gotten the swine flu vaccine yet. When I said I hadn't, and that the closest I'd gotten was a waiting list with my PCP who can't say for certain that they'll even get the vaccine, she said she had some and I could get the shot today. Of course I jumped all over that opportunity, and was very happy to note that they administer the single-dose, pre-filled syringe variety which is preservative (aka. thimerasol, aka. mercury)-free!

So, newly vaccinated, I might be able to relax a little at our Thanksgiving gatherings. If someone sneezes, I might still stay for pie. As long as they don't sneeze ON the pie.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

missing all my sistas

Has anyone else been having trouble reaching cyclesista lately? Instead of adding all the blogs I read to my blogroll, I'd been cruising over to cyclesista every day and catching up with everyone from there. But now, when I try to access cyclesista, all I get is the March 2006 "welcome to cyclesista" entry... no blog list. Help! It's been maybe a week since I caught up with everyone, and I miss you all.

I just checked in on BB's blog, where she posted that Cyclesista is undergoing some technical changes and may be unavailable for a little while. I apologize if I'm not as comment-y in the interim... I should have added everyone to my blogroll instead of reaching you through Cyclesista all the time. I'll catch up with everyone soon!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

starting to get excited

The mobile arrived yesterday, and it's gorgeous! C wanted to hang it immediately, but I want to wait until we've put all the baby furniture in the room so we can place it just so. I'd like to put it above the glider (which we don't have yet) so Ishkabibble can see it while we nurse. That might mean it's above the changing table too, depending on how we arrange things.

I decided not to buy the pricey night stand to go with the crib we chose. Instead, I went to the local unfinished furniture store and found a mission style end table (night stand, end table... what's the diff?) that would work perfectly. They were having a sale on finishing services, so they're painting it black for me. We'll have our first new-bought piece of baby furniture in less than a week! It'll join the pack-n-play and portable crib that friends gave us when they cleaned out their attic in August.

A very dear family friend has offered us the use of her bassinette. It's seen at least 4 generations of babies, and the name of each one who slept in it is inscribed on the base. It's not just the fact that she wants us to use it, but that she'd like Ishkabibble's name immortalized on it with her own family members that really touches me.

I've felt movement nearly every day for the last week now. "Flutters" does describe it well. When I feel Ishkabibby moving, I imagine little arms waving or legs dancing and can't help but wonder what the baby is responding to. Was it something I ate? A song on the radio? My voice? I'm looking forward to learning what makes this little one smile and giggle and dance.

We're touring the birthing center on Saturday. My next appointment with the MW is Thursday. I still hardly believe this is real, and that in just 18 more weeks (give or take) C and I will meet this little person we made (with a lot of help). Can't wait!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

10 random things

Inspired by Eileen, and knowing that I'd love to know more about each of you, here are 10 random things that you wouldn't know about me from reading my blog.

1. I used to have a southern drawl, having lived in Georgia from ages 3-10. I failed a few spelling quizzes when we moved in MA in 5th grade because I couldn't understand my teacher's Boston accent. I still have trouble understanding my husband sometimes, but I think he makes his accent worse by mumbling and using a lot of regional colloquialisms that I never heard before. I lost my drawl, and have been accused of sounding either midwestern or Canadian. But, put me in a Waffle House for ten minutes, and it all comes back.

2. I always dreamed I would get married some day, have a daughter, and name her Emma. Then I met C and realized that he can't have an "Emma" because the resulting first-last name combo would sound too much like "hemorrhoids." I married him anyhow. That's love.

3. I am a thorough soccer nut. I had the choice when I was 7 to play either soccer or flag football, and I'm incredibly happy that I chose soccer. I organized several friends to try out for our high school boys' team as a sophomore and was instrumental in finally getting the school to field a varsity girls' team in my senior year. One of the most moving moments in my life was when I attended a Women's World Cup match at Soldiers Field with 70,000 enthusiastic fans who PAID MONEY to watch women play soccer. I used to idolize players like Pele and Franz Beckenbauer, and I love the fact that my daughter, if I have one, will have female athletes to admire. I still play soccer, and referee, and hope to coach my own children some day.

4. I still exchange Christmas cards with my 4th grade teacher. She gave me her address when my family moved to MA, and we've sent cards back and forth ever since.

5. The Cave Metaphor from Plato's Republic rocked my world in 1985. That's why I earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy. My husband believes I overthink things.

6. Bruce Cockburn is a songwriting and guitar god.

7. I had knee surgery when I was 23, and have a 5-inch scar up the front of my knee as a result. For the first year or two, it looked like I'd knelt on a pink rubber centipede (like a fishing lure) and it stuck. I decided to befriend my scar, so I named it "Herman."

8. Some day, I would like to learn to play the French horn. The transition from the 3rd to the 4th movements of Beethoven's 5th Symphony features horns and is the most joyful, exhilarating music I've ever heard. I want to play it.

9. I got a perfect score two years in a row at auditions for the New England Music Festival chorus, auditioning in a trio with two friends of mine who were (and still are) incredible sopranos.

10. I cannot tell a lie. My memory is not great, and I would never be able to keep track of the made-up stories. Besides, as a quasi-existentialist, I can't condone lying at all. That, and I'm just plain bad at it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

19w5d- chugging right along

I have nothing much to report, pregnancy-wise. I may have felt some movement on Sunday, when I took Ishkabibble to her first professional sporting event (a soccer game, of course). There was a crowd of Brazilians sitting two sections away, playing some remarkably loud drums during the entire match. I like to think Ishka was dancing in response to the music. Then again, I'm not completely sure that what I felt was baby-movement. It'll come soon enough. One of the tidbits of info garnered at last week's u/s was that the placenta is between Ishkabibby and my belly-button, so movements may be muffled and less apparent early on.

My belly now extends further from my spine than my chest does, so I think I am starting to look more pregnant than fat. The last couple of weeks have been wonderful- no need for naps, and I only need 8-9 hours of sleep each night. Sometimes, I wake refreshed after only 7 1/2 hours... my normal pre-pregnancy sleep requirement. Aside from my increased girth, I feel like my old self, and occasionally almost forget that I'm pregnant (not really... I mean, after all it took to get here how could I forget?). Ishka must be crowding in on my stomach because it sure doesn't hold what it used to, and I think I've felt the beginnings of heartburn a couple of times. I've never experienced heartburn before, so I'm not exactly sure, but I definitely don't like lying down within an hour or two of a meal. I may have had my first craving last Friday... for KFC. Then again, maybe I just didn't want to cook.

It's hard to believe that in just two days, Ishka will be half-baked. I'm amazed that March feels so close and so distant at the same time. We picked out the furniture and registered at BRU, but we haven't actually ordered anything or completed the registry yet. First, we need to rearrange the guest room (future nursery) so that everything will fit. I chose a theme based on a mobile and some watercolors that I found (they'll customize the mobile colors to coordinate with the watercolors... not "match," per se, but "go")...

We haven't decided if the walls need to be painted. For now, they're a soothing pale green below a white chair rail, with baby blue above. It was a little boy's room before we bought the house, but I like the colors even for a girl. I've never been a big fan of pink. I'm thinking of looking for a lamp kit and a wooden sail boat toy that I can somehow turn into a nursery lamp. We'll see how that goes.
So, that's it... things are progressing smoothly, just how I'd like them to. The next visit with the MW will be at 22 weeks. My PCP is finally taking names for a contact list for H1N1 vaccines, so maybe I'll get one after all. I'm just a normal pregnant woman now, and our whole IF history is not just inconsequential to the folks taking care of Ishka and me, they know nothing about it. It's kind of wierd... like this pregnancy isn't the tremendously huge deal that I make it out to be. but it IS. Believe me, it is.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Level 2 u/s @ 18w6d- and other news

The big event yesterday was the level 2 u/s. First, we met with the genetic counselor, who explained how our odds changed so dramatically in just a month, from 1:150 to 1:16. One contributor was simply the passage of time; chromosomally abnormal pregnancies are less likely to survive to the gestational age when our second blood sample was drawn. The smaller population to which I can be compared exaggerates my deviation from the norm. Additionally, the second blood sample was analyzed for more indicators of a potential problem, so the results carry a bit more weight in assessing the overall risk for DS. There wasn't any one thing that "got worse" and dramatically altered my odds. My results just happened to fall into a pattern that fits with a hgher-than-normal risk.

I asked about the impact of DS on labor and delivery- would my baby's life be at risk if I went into labor not knowing whether or not she has DS? No, it would not. Individuals living with DS are at increased risk of heart defects, but symptoms should be observable in utero via ultrasound and via doppler. Other health complications occur later in life, if at all.

Since knowing whether or not our baby has DS would have no influence on our birth plan and wouldn't change how happy we are to be expecting, we've decided not to accept the amniocentesis that's been offered. Even though the risk of complications is small, the knowledge we'd gain would be essentially useless. Sure, we're curious. We're also curious if this baby is a boy or a girl. And we're curious if she'll be athletic or if he'll be artistic, if he'll have bad dreams or if she'll eat her vegetables without a struggle. But all these things will be revealed in their own time, and that's part of the joy of discovering and learning who this little person is. I don't want to know it all at once, now. So, no amnio for us.

Then we had our u/s and consult with the MFM specialist. Unlike the tech who did our NT scan, this one was all business. This was no photo shoot. We watched as she collected images of Ishkabibble's brain, heart (4-chambers, just as it should be!), kidneys, arms, legs, fingers, toes, stomach, intestines, and spine. Much of the time, it was hard to tell just what we were looking at. When she got to Ishka's privates, she advised us to turn away from the monitor. C wanted to look, and that would've been OK with me as long as he kept his mouth shut and let me believe he was as ignorant about Ishka's gender as I am. but, no, he had to ask me if I'd mind if he looked. Silly man! Luckily, even though he then looked, he had no clue what to look for because the images don't look much like 3-dimensional babies and he hasn't had a lot of practice looking at ultrasounds.

Then the MFM came in and revisited a lot of the body parts that the tech had examined. She explained a few specific markers that she was looking for with respect to DS. The humorous in each arm is often distincltly shorter in a fetus with DS. The kidneys are often enlarged and prominent. And there's frequently a thick fold of skin behind the neck. Ishkabibble had none of these markers. The GC had advised us that if no markers were found on the u/s, then our odds would essentially be cut in half, but the MFM wasn't comfortable putting numbers on anything. I'm simply satisfied that our odds did not get any worse. There was nothing apparent to strengthen a suspicion of DS, and Ishka appears perfectly healthy. Hurray!

Believe it or not, that wasn't the best news of the day. One of my co-workers congratulated me on the pregnancy and asked how much time I planned to take off when the baby's born. I explained that I wasn't sure I'd be able to afford more than the 4 weeks of vacation that I'll have saved by then. Then she gave me the best news I've heard in quite a while, maybe since the BFP and Ishka's first u/s... I am entitled to 8 weeks' PAID sick leave when the baby is born! And that does not include any sick time I might need to use before the birth to accommodate bed rest or complications that preceed delivery. Under FMLA guidelines, I'm allowed 12 weeks' leave following the birth. Now I know I can use as much of that as I want without missing a penny of my salary. With C laid off and trying to start a business (and me praying for another snowy winter), I've been worried about our finances lately. I slept better last night than I have since C was laid off. Hurray!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

some days, I just want to give up

With all the controversy surrounding the H1N1 vaccine, it took a lot to convince myself that the risk would be outweighed by the benefit. I asked the midwife if her clinic would be getting the vaccine to distribute.

Wouldn't it make sense, if pregnant women are at the top of the list of who should get the vaccine, that the vaccine should be distributed to OB's offices? Am I unreasonable for thinking that way?

Anyhow, no vaccine at the midwife's/OB's office. She instructed me to contact my primary care doc (does anyone really see their PCP more often than their OB/GYN/RE?- what a misnomer!), so I did. I specifically inquired about the H1N1 vaccine. I did NOT ask about the seasonal flu shot. I didn't even mention it. I was surprised when I got a call back yesterday informing me of a flu clinic this Friday and letting me know that they'd booked a slot for me. How nice! I was happy to be getting that over with before I had a chance to reconsider.

So, today, the PCP's office called to confirm Friday's appointment for the vaccine. Just to be on the safe side, I said, "This is for the H1N1 vaccine, right? That's the one I had called about." Nope- it's the seasonal vaccine. And no, they're not taking names or making a list or offering any information on the H1N1 vaccine. I'm welcome to call them every few days to ask if they have it or know when they'll get it, but they can't promise that they'll ever get it.

Am I overreacting or is this utterly ridiculous? Pregnant women are supposedly at the top of the "list" of recommended recipients of the vaccine, but no one knows where to get it or when it'll be available. And, the real kicker, no one seems to give a damn. They put the fear of God and a dead fetus in our heads and then turn their backs on us.

And what about the thimerasol-free vaccine that's apparently preferred for pregnant women? No mention of it anywhere. When, or more accurately IF, I ever get into a flu clinic for the H1N1 vaccine, will they give me the chance to look at the bottle to see if there's mercury in it? And why do they hide mercury behind the totally not-mercury-sounding name of thimerasol?

At this point, I am about ready to just give up on the whole vaccine thing. Screw it. If it's this hard to find, it must not be that important.

I have the level 2 u/s apointment, along with a consultation with a genetic counselor and an MFM specialist, tomorrow afternoon in a big city hospital. I'll ask there about the vaccine and mercury. Maybe, since they're BIG, they'll actually know something.

One last thing- a friend's daughter got the seasonal flu vaccine two weeks ago. Today, she was diagnosed with the H1N1 virus. Just a little anecdotal evidence to support my decision not to get the seasonal vaccine first.

Friday, October 23, 2009

H1N1 and NPR

I heard an interesting report on NPR about a correlation between H1N1 and the seasonal flu vaccine in Canada. Here's a link to the transcript, if anyone's interested. Health officials found a correlation between getting the seasonal vaccine and an increased risk of contracting H1N1. This is why I chose to forego the seasonal vaccine. I do intend to get the pandemic vaccine, if it ever makes it to either my primary doc of my midwife. I may pursue the seasonal vaccine after I receive the pandemic one, but not before. A big part of why I want the H1N1 vaccine has to do with the immunity passed on to the fetus/newborn for up to 6 months after birth.

No matter what, Ishka is loved

I finally got to tell C what was going on when I got home last night. The bottom line, on which we both strongly agreed, is that we love this little one growing inside me, and if Ishkabibble turns out to have DS, then we'll just deal with that. At no point would either of us consider terminating this pregnancy. That was absolutely never an option.
We've both known individuals with DS. I've worked with the Special Olympics, and one of C's distant cousins has a child with DS. All I want is for our child to be able to enjoy life.

That said, from my reading yesterday I learned that there are a number of health issues faced by people living with Downs. I don't want an amnio just to test for DS. If our baby has it, so be it. We love Ishka no less, and the knowledge would not affect how we feel about this child. So, from the perspective of knowing just for the sake of knowing, I'll wait until we meet Ishkabibble face-to-face. That's how I feel about learning the baby's gender, too. BUT- because there may be health issues that could potentially complicate how Ishka enters the world, I want to do all I can to find out if she will need immediate intervention or a specialist standing by at his birth. I don't want to enter labor blindly or naively thinking that everything is perfect. I'd like to anticipate whatever complications we can, based on whatever testing the MFM recommends for HEALTH reasons, not for the sake of simply knowing.

I haven't received a call back from the midwife yet with the date & time of my level 2 u/s and appointment with an MFM. Until we have the information and guidance that I hope to glean from those, we're in no position to make any decisions regarding amnio or anything else. For now, I am just happy that Ishka's heartbeat sounded strong and healthy this morning on the doppler, and I'm looking forward to feeling movement from the baby on a regular basis. I am thrilled to be pregnant and can't wait to see C in the role of father. Truly, nothing has changed. And we still have the 15/16 chance that Ishka is perfectly "normal."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

unexpected phone call... at 18w0d

Sitting at my desk at work. Phone rings. I answer. It's my midwife, and she has the results of the second round of blood work related to the testing for Downs Syndrome. I brace myself, but really am not at all prepared for what she has to say. Just a month ago, she told me our odds were 1 in 150. There was no caveat or stipulation that another blood test could reveal something completely different. I thought we were in the clear, and in spite of my age we'd have a healthy "normal" child.

The baseline chance for someone my age having a child with DS is 1 in 47.
My odds, one in sixteen.

Why can't I focus on the fact that this means we have a 15/16 , or better than 93%, chance of our child NOT having DS?

Why am I thinking that this is so horrible- that our potentially only shot at having children won't turn out perfectly? What's so wrong with having a child with DS? Why am I thinking that if our child does have DS, we won't want to try to have a second child? Am I a bad person for wanting to have a perfectly healthy child, and for considering DS to be a defect?

Do I want to do an amnio?
Do I want to know for sure before I give birth?
What affect would knowing ahead of time have on how we treat this pregnancy and this child?

The Level 2 u/s is even more important now. Not that they can diagnose DS from an u/s, but apparently there are certain indicators that can be seen. We'll receive genetic counselling from an MFM specialist, and I can have an amnio done if we want it. I'm trying not to think too far ahead until we have more information.

I feel as though we just got too lucky and this is the price we have to pay. With every windfall comes an unexpected expense.

And I can't call C right now because he's essentially on a job interview today, all day.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

17w6d- it's true what they say

The second trimester really is better than the first, although the vast improvement didn't kick in as soon as I hit 14 weeks. First to go was the nauseous, hungover feeling, but I still had no real interest in food (and was happy to no longer need to eat every 2-3 hours) and wanted to sleep all the time. For maybe two weeks now, I've been feeling more energetic and generally myself. The yoga DVD has gathered a little dust, but will see the light of day again tomorrow. And hopefully many more tomorrows after that. I do feel much better when I've done a little stretching and easy exercise.

I had another visit with the midwife on Monday, at 17w4d. Ishkabibble is doing great, with a heartrate of 142. I think I felt the first bit of movement on Monday night, and again last night, but it never happens when I'm focused on sensing movement so I'm not entirely certain that that's what I felt. What I did feel might be compared to a surfacing air bubble, kind of a rising to the surface sensation that doesn't end with a "pop," but simply ends.

I've gained 8 pounds since my first appointment with the midwife (my scale at home is horribly inaccurate, so any pre-pregnancy measurements are highly suspect), and my blood pressure is fantastic at 118/64. I should hear back from the nurse today about the schedule for our Level 2 u/s. I can't wait to see the baby again. It feels like it's been an eternity since the NT scan.

I'm beginning to look pregnant, and not just heavy, so I've begun telling people at work (I know, I already told a few, but those were just in my building... now it's becoming common knowledge), starting with the ones I most consider friends here. I suspect in just a few more weeks, I won't need to tell anyone anything. It'll be obvious.

All-in all, at nearly 18 weeks, I am feeling great and incredibly happy. C got laid off a couple of weeks ago, so I began looking for a part-time job. I'm worried about being able to afford to take more than my accumulated vacation time off from work when Ishka arrives. And even when I return to work, how in the world will we pay for child care? These things will sort themselves out, I'm sure, but I worry.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

a matter of taste

A friend gave me some extraordinary chocolate back in August, three kinds including one made with guajillo chile. I managed to taste two (the dark and the super-dark) before my taste buds rebelled and left no food or beverage appealing to me. I'm saving the chile chocolate for... I don't know when, but I hope that eventually I'll be able to appreciate it. I haven't experienced any cravings or true food aversions so far, but I also feel like my taste buds have been numbed. A gourmet meal is just as blah as a dry piece of toast. I'm thirsty, but no beverage tastes particularly good to me. And everything leaves a semi-bad taste in my mouth, so I've taken to chewing a piece of gum after every snack and meal.

Today, I think I made some progress on the food front, though. I took a chance and bought a chocolate chunk scone from the bakery on my way to work. The scone, especially the chunky chocolate bits, was really good! I can even say that I enjoyed eating it. Hurray! I love food, or at least I did until about 12 weeks ago, so to enjoy the flavor and texture of something again is a milestone. I did have to pop a piece of gum in my mouth as soon as the scone was gone, but the memory of the flavor lingers. Maybe I'll give (decaf) coffee another try tomorrow.

In pregnancy news, I am one day shy of a full 16 weeks along. I don't know how much weight I've gained because my scale is horribly unreliable, but I'll see the midwife again on the 19th, at 17w4d, for some accurate measurements. I no longer even try to wear non-maternity pants, and I'm about 50% into maternity tops to accommodate the much larger chest that has me sleeping in a stretchy sports bra every night. Our cheapie doppler has picked up the heartbeat twice. Ishkabibble is definitely a mover because as soon as I find her with the doppler, he moves (purposely mixing my pronouns). When I lie on my back, I can kind of feel a weighty spot which seems to be where Ishka is hanging out. I haven't felt any movement yet, although last night I may have... or it could have been the purring vibration from the cat lying beside me. I still need an extra hour or two of sleep each night, but I wake feeling refreshed now, which is a vast improvement over the constant exhaustion of the first trimester. I only occasionally want a mid-afternoon nap, and I usually have enough energy to cook dinner when I get home from work. And, for some reason, the smell of diesel exhaust has settled into my nose. I can't tell if it's lingering outside my window from a passing FedEx truck or if it's a figment of my imagination. It smells very real to me, and has been with me intermittently for about a week.

Monday, September 28, 2009

a little online shopping

I'm wearing maternity clothes today, and I LOVE them. Although the shirt is a little low-cut for my taste, so I have a lightweight scarf strategically draped around my neck. I have fallen in love with Old Navy's yoga pants. Their clothes never seemed to fit me properly before, but so far the maternity clothes have all been perfect. Even the length of the jeans (in "short") and the yoga pants are just right. And comfy! Above all else, that's what I was looking for. So, this is my wardrobe for the next 6 months or so. Luckily, I work in an extremely casual office.

I also ordered a prenatal yoga DVD and a doppler (under $35!), plus a few books recommended by my midwife. C still hasn't heard Ishkabibble's heartbeat yet. As soon as I located it Saturday, the baby moved and I lost it. I think Ishka doesn't like to be spied on. I plan to start doing the yoga tomorrow and really look forward to increasing my activity level. I've been a complete lump since about the 7-week mark. Now that the hangover has mostly subsided, I think a little exercise may wake me up a little. As it is, I am ready for a nap by the time I step out of the shower each morning, need another at about 2:00, and want to go to bed for the night by 7. True, I get up at 5, so that would only be 10 hours of sleep. but I'd like to stay awake a little more, and be more alert when I am awake, and I think exercise might help.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ahhhh, coffee

For the first time in over two months, I actually wanted a cup of coffee this morning. Decaf. Iced. With a splash of cream. Such heaven! As recently as last week, I found the smell somewhat unappetizing. Tea and cocoa just don't cut it for me- tea rarely tastes as good as it smells, and hot chocolate is too sweet for my palate. I'm looking forward to cradling a steaming mug on the chilly days to come.

Monday, September 21, 2009

it's all good

I had my second prenatal appointment with the midwife today. In addition to finally hearing Ishkabibble's heart beat (glorious!), I got the preliminary results of the NT scan and bloodwork. The odds of someone my age carrying a child with Downs Syndrome are 1 in 84 (or 1 in 67 if you consider maternal age at delivery... my EDD is 6 days before I turn 42). According to the NT scan, my odds are 1 in 150. Hurray! As for other trisomies, the risk for my age is normally 1 in 53. Based on the preliminary blood work, my risk, aside from the risk of Downs, is 1 in 10,000.

I can't stop grinning. Ishka was very cooperative to start off with today, allowing the MW to find a heartbeat in less than 5 seconds of searching. As soon as the probe pressed a little into my belly, though, Ishka backed off toward my spine and tried to hide. We could still hear the heart, albeit slightly muffled. Everything looks, sounds, and measures perfectly for 13w4d. I go back in another 4 weeks, and since I'm over 40 I get to schedule a more detailed u/s with an MFM. I have no intention of doing anything risky or invasive, but I'll take any opportunity or excuse to peek at Ishkabibby and see for myself that there's a little person thriving inside me.

I've gained 3 pounds, which is perfectly acceptable (my scale at home hasn't budged since five days past transfer... I need a better scale). I have yet to measure my waistline, but judging from the fact that I can't even zip most of my pants, let alone button them, I estimate I've grown at least 4 inches around the middle. None of my bras fit, although one remains serviceable. I'm planning to do a little shopping this week- I bought a maternity skirt, dress and shirt online, but it's getting cooler every day and I could really use some comfy pants.

As far as how I'm feeling at this point... well, dog-tired, for one. The constant mild nausea that was so like a hangover has dissipated, replaced by occasional but convincing gagging, triggered usually by an offensive odor but sometimes by the presence of a toothbrush in my mouth. I haven't measured, but suspect that my belly expands by several inches during the course of the day. By the time I get home from work each night, I am so bloated and exhausted that I have no interest in eating a decent dinner, let alone assembling one. Food still has no real appeal to me, flavorwise, although I find myself hungrier the last few days than I've been in months. I've completely lost my taste for coffee (decaf, of course, were I interested at all). All the symptoms are manageable so far. And I'd probably be less tired if I got to bed a little earlier every night. Bring on the second tri!

Friday, September 11, 2009

breathing easy

Ishkabibble is doing great. I believe I'll get the actual measurements and details at my next MW appointment on 9/21, but I can say that even to my untrained eyes, Ishka looks like a little person. Arms and legs, even the hint of fingers were visible on the small screen. And the flutter of a heart beating away at 162 bpm. Miraculous!

Of course, the baby would not cooperate with the u/s tech. For an NT scan, three criteria need to be met in a single image- chin off the chest, profile with nasal bones visible, and the fetus cannot be resting against the membranes. Ishka seemed to be resting when we first peeked, chin ON chest, and lounging against the membranes. The tech tried jostling Ishka by running the u/s probe back and forth across my belly. So, Ishka turned his/her back on us and we had a nice view of the spine. I was instructed to empty my bladder three times during the scan, even though I'd followed their instructions to the letter (empty bladder 90 minutes before appt., then drink 12-16oz water by appointment time). The lack of cooperation and bladder-emptying served a purpose though, as C was hung up in traffic and arrived late. Only after the second trip to the restroom, about 30 minutes into the appointment, did he arrive. I was worried I'd be in and out before he could catch a glimpse of our baby, but he got to watch as the tech continued to push and poke for another 40 minutes. I'll post the pictures as soon as I get them scanned. For now, they're framed on my desk at work so I can look at them all day long.

Now, it feels even more real. There's a tiny human in there, not just a blurry blob. I started spreading the news at work, showing the pictures to a co-worker in my building just after I showed them to my mother. I posted the announcement on FB. I'm volunteering at a folk music coffeehouse tomorrow and told the organizer that I can't do any heavy lifting. I can say it now without feeling like I might be mistaken or faking it... We're pregnant! And it's human!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

the cat's partially out of the bag

I really don't recommend hosting a dinner party for 35 guests when you're 11 weeks pregnant, unless you get someone else to clean the house, make the food, set everything up, and do a little of the socializing. Saturday was exhausting, and I ended up sleeping through most of Sunday. Otherwise, it was a wonderful night. It was too warm for sweatshirts when guests began to arrive, and I couldn't wait until all were assembled to begin breaking the news, so we just told each person as they arrived. There were lots of hugs and congratulations and toasts. It felt so good to finally let people know, to share the joy with our families. Most of them have no clue what we went through to get here, but I think they understand what this means to us.

I haven't told anyone at work yet. I have no reason to wait, and no reason to tell. My mother, who works with me, has been unexpectedly quiet about the pregnancy. She even told me yesterday, "It's your secret to share." I didn't consider this so much a secret as a possibility, not quite definite and therefore not to be mentioned publicly. It's still somewhat unreal, and will likely remain so until I can feel life moving inside me. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's NT scan with a little trepidation... we haven't seen or heard a heartbeat in 4 weeks, and there is the chance, however small, that something could have gone wrong. I'm not really tempted to rent a doppler so I can listen to Ishka on a daily basis, but the reassurance of a healthy scan will ease my mind considerably. The chances of miscarrying diminish each week, and will drop below 5% when we get into the second trimester, but my last glimpse of a healthy Ishka was at 8 weeks. No matter how you look at it, my eggs are old. Chromosomal problems are a legitimate concern.

I guess I'm more worried about it than I admitted to myself, and that's contributing to my reluctance to completely publicize this pregnancy. Maybe after tomorrow's scan I'll feel more confident. I might wear my "Due in March" sweatshirt to work on Friday.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

an open mind

I should know better than to broach a serious topic on C before 7 am, but for some reason, religion was on my mind this morning. I think I saw something on the news last night, or over the weekend- some mucky-muck in the Roman Catholic Church was complaining that Ted Kennedy's funeral mass should not have been allowed in a Catholic Church because he supported equal rights for gays and a woman's right to choose whether or not to carry a pregnancy. C and I were both raised Catholic, but lapsed long ago, before we met. I don't know his reasons, exactly, but I couldn't stomach a religion that worked so hard to exclude people. As a woman, I felt excluded myself. My only role, it seemed, was to have kids and repopulate the Church. So I stopped going in my senior year of high school, and have returned only for weddings, christenings, and funerals.

In spite of our having turned away from Catholicism, both C and I appreciate the fact that we learned something about God when we were children. I think we would not have been equipped to make educated decisions about our personal faith without that foundation- CCD and Sunday school as kids; C even went to a Catholic high school for a couple of years. Initially, we believed we would have our baby christened in the Catholic Church, and we'd start going to mass again, as a family, to provide a similar foundation for our children.

Then I saw that interview on the news and was reminded how exclusionary the Church can be. I will not send my child to a closed-minded institution to learn about God. So, we now have about 7 months to figure out what religion we'll adopt as adults. I want to find a church that teaches acceptance and inclusion, that emphasizes the similarities between people and celebrates diversity. Whether we have a son or daughter, I want my child to feel valued in the religious community.

So, I'm curious what religions are out there that are more open-minded (I'm guessing there are few more closed-minded), and would love to get some feedback from whatever audience I have today. Are you practicing any particular religion? How does your faith make you feel welcome and valued?

C and I will talk about this some more. Probably a lot more; but not before 7 am.

Friday, August 28, 2009

big week

First, there's some good news in IF-land this week...

Gil introduced Trinity to the world- congratulations to the happy family!

Murgdan got a BFP, and will have a confirming beta on Monday. Hurray for Murgdan and perseverance!

I hope the success that these two have finally found continues to inspire and motivate others who are still TTC. I know each of our situations is unique, but it helps to see success around us. It's a comfort to see someone succeed. It CAN be done!

On the personal front, I had my first appointment with my midwife. I was a little surprised in some ways, but pleased all-in-all and pretty comfortable with my choice at this point. Firstly, the office was one massive advertisement. There were photographs of pregnant bellies and newborns and families displayed on every wall (even in the exam rooms), along with business cards and brochures for some photographer. There were "informative" posters in the exam room for various forms of birth control, all manufactured by one drug company (except for the condoms, I think). I was given a 10-pound "goody-bag" filled with ad-filled publications- parenting magazines, healthy-living guides, book lists, coupons, etc. I guess I've joined a new demographic that's notorious for excessive spending. Yippee. Can't wait to see who they've sold my address and newly-pregnant status to. I was tempted to find another practice. But then I met my midwife. The other surprise, which shouldn't have been (I guess) was the number of bumps and babies and spouses in the waiting room. It's a completely different atmosphere from the RE's office.

Oh- and the scale... shocker there, too. According to their scale, I weight 10 full pounds more than my home scale tells me every morning. My home scale, which agreed with the RE's scale when I was weighed 2 days before ER, and which has been telling me I'm down 4 pounds overall since ER. As if that weren't bad enough, I'm an inch shorter than anyone's ever measured before. I wonder how much shorter I can be before I need to correct my driver's license. My next appointment will be in another of their offices, closer to work (4 miles away!). I'm curious if it'll agree with my home scale or yesterday's office.

The practice includes 6 physicians and 2 midwives. Any one of them might be involved in my delivery, as it all depends on who happens to be on call when the time comes. I suppose that's standard, since no one can be on-call 24/7. It has me seriously considering finding a doula, though, so that I can have one-on-one attention consistently throughout my labor. The midwife I met yesterday appears to be pregnant. It's not socially acceptable to ask, and I couldn't tell if her dress was maternity-wear or just fashionably shirred below the empire waist. It should be obvious by our next appointment in just over 3 weeks. If she's showing, then I suspect she's at least a couple of months ahead of me, but I'll need to ask her how much maternity leave she plans to take. Not that it matters, I suppose, since the odds are only 50/50 that I'd see her anyhow... IF I labor during the work week, because midwives aren't on-call on weekends.

Anyhow, she was great. Before beginning an exam, she gave me her spiel on nutrition and exercise. Then she gave me the chance to ask as many questions as I wanted. We talked for over 30 minutes, and at no point did it seem that she was in a rush to move on to another patient or get my appointment over with. She explained the sorts of genetic testing available to me since I'm over 35 (we're taking the bloodwork & u/s approach for now... non-invasive, and potentially revealing). We chatted about birthing options, and the fact that I really have no idea what will work for me. She gave me a list of books and a video that might help me understand what's available. She assured me that her practice, and the hospital they work with, resort to medical interventions only when necessary or specifically requested by the patient (i.e. pain medication). She spent a good ten minutes trying to find the baby's heart beat with a doppler, to no avail, but all the time repeating that 10 weeks is still early for doppler and that a tipped uterus would make it essentially impossible to hear so soon. She didn't mention that my being a wee bit overweight wasn't helping with the doppler, and for that I am grateful... especially after the scale incident.

Then, she did a standard gyn exam and figured out that my uterus really is tipped, and considerably so. It's also way off-center. I suspect my lopsidedly hyperstimulated ovaries may have contributed... my uterus is off to the right, and my left ovary was the big performer. Apparently, none of that is a problem as she proclaimed that everything was sized appropriately and appeared to be progressing smoothly, so the lack of HB was a non-issue. She's confident we'll hear it next time, at just under 14 weeks. I would have cried (remember- I really need to hear or see that heartbeat... I've read Susan's and Mo's blogs...), but the nuchal translucency u/s is in just two weeks. I am again erring on the side of optimism and refusing to acknowledge that anything bad could happen. I can make it through two more weeks, especially as long as I continue to feel hungover and exhausted.

Today, I went in for an OB panel blood draw and met with even more convenience now that I'm associated with a practice and hospital in my neighborhood. Instead of driving an hour from home, thirty minutes from work, to have blood drawn, I drove 4 miles from my office to the lab in the same building as my midwife's usual office and was back to work before anyone even noticed I'd left. Seriously- no new emails or voice messages waiting when I returned.

Other big news? Well, I am officially cancelling the insurance that has paid for this year's IF treatments. The policy provided by C's union covers pregnancy, no matter how we got here, so I don't need the additional coverage any more. It's a huge financial relief to drop that monthly expense, especially as we fear that lay-offs might come early this year. We're hoping that C will be employed at least through Halloween, but you never know. He's looking into returning to a career as an long-haul truck driver, which could mean being away from home for a week or two at a time... possibly longer on occasion. I'd miss him. But, to be completely honest (and sometimes he does read this blog), I think I'd get more housework done if I were home alone once in a while. As a trucker, he'd be able to take time off when the baby comes, too, without jeopardizing his job.

And finally, we're done with crinone! If I can stay awake, maybe C and I will get romantic again soon. Yippee!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Looking forward to Thursday-

I'll reach the 10 week mark.
I'll have my first midwife appointment- and there'd better be an u/s or doppler because I need to see or hear that heartbeat.
The heat wave that has plagued the northeast will finally break, for real.

For the sake of remembering them later, here are the symptoms I've been experiencing lately-
* Still feeling "hungover" almost 24/7. The only real cure is to eat, but ironically food no longer appeals to me. I'm not opposed to food or eating, and haven't experienced any real aversions. Everything just kind of tastes bland to me. A piece of toast is as enticing as chicken piccata.
* Trouble sleeping through the night. Not because of the dire need to empty a bladder at 2 am, which I was warned to expect (and haven't experienced), but because I simply wake inexplicably in the middle of the night and then spend an hour or more trying to fall back to sleep. As a result, I'm perpetually sleepy. I'm hoping the cooler weather coming at the end of the week will help with this.
* I don't like coffee. The last cup I made for myself (iced, with a splash of light cream) about 4 weeks ago, I couldn't bring myself to drink. Not an aversion, I don't think,... it's just not appealing. I don't even enjoy the aroma of C's morning cuppa.
* Expanding midsection, but little-to-no weight gain so far. I don't know my starting weight, but I suspect I gained at least 5-10 pounds while stimming. I was weighed in the RE's office two days before ER to provide a basis for OHSS monitoring ("if you gain more than 3 pounds in 24 hours, call us"), then I lost 6 pounds during the TWW. Now, I'm hovering 3-6 pounds below the pre-ER weight, so essentially no change since the TWW. Meanwhile, none of my pants fit comfortably. Thank goodness for the Be-band. In another week or two, I'll start recording actual measurements, for my own sake. I have more formerly "too big" fall/winter clothes than summer ones, so I'm looking forward to coooler weather and the chance to wear them. My heat-wave wardrobe is pretty sparse, especially since much of it wouldn't fit without revealing more than I'm willing to exhibit at this point.

But now, I just want it to be Thursday. I want some reassurance that Ishkabibble is still alive and well inside me. And I want to sleep for an entire night under a blanket instead of on top of it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

tears in his eyes

We still haven't told any of my family and most of C's about the coming addition to our happy clan. I like the idea of telling them all at once (or as many as we can assemble), so we've invited everyone over for dinner on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. I bought a couple of sweatshirts for us to wear for the occasion (I hope it cools off by then!)-

I think it'll be more fun watching who notices the words than if we just flat-out told everyone. The shirts arrived in yesterday's mail, so I opened them while dinner was cooking and showed them to C. In addition to our sweatshirts, I picked up a couple of onesies. I just couldn't resist. I tossed one to C so he could see what it looked like. Hi eyes welled up and his voice nearly cracked when he tossed it back to me saying, "You shouldn't show me baby clothes. You'll make me cry."

I've imagined for years how I would tell our family that we're expecting, and I get all teary and goose-bumpy just thinking about finally having the chance to actually do it. We have our first midwife appointment next week, and I'm erring on the side of hope by ignoring the possibility that anything bad could have happened since the last time I saw that tiny heartbeat.

Meanwhile, I am still hoping and praying for the IFfers who've suffered a miserable summer of losses and BFNs. I wish I could make us all pregnant. My commenting has dwindled recently, not because I stopped reading or caring but because I don't know if some folks want to hear words of encouragement from someone approaching "the other side." We're still a long way from holding a healthy baby... there's so much that could happen over the next 7 months. But we've jumped that first hurdle, and I understand the distance that creates from so many in the IF world. My thoughts are with all of you!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

salvation & salivation

Much as I like sour candies, preggie pop drops simply aren't for me. I don't like the aftertaste left by super sour candy and my poor tongue was getting shredded by the sharp edges that develop as each candy dissoved. Today, though, my ginger candy arrived. I love these candies! I've gotten them before from Trader Joe's, but the variety pack included flavors I hadn't tried before- so yummy! Maybe it's all in my head, or maybe I've just eaten so many of them today that my stomach hasn't been truly empty, but I feel much better today. Still dog-tired, but not quite so hungover.

Warning- ginger candies are really hot, in a ginger-spice kind of way. If you aren't already a fan of ginger, these aren't for you. But if you like ginger, these are amazing!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

8w0d, 149bpm- all is well

I have several more blurry u/s images to scan, but again there's not much to see. I was slightly concerned about size since Ishka measured a day behind at the first u/s, but today the wee one measured two days ahead (8.3 weeks size at exactly 8 weeks). Heart rate was a stunning 149 bpm. My ovaries are still slightly enlarged thanks to all the stimming (thank goodness... I was afraid I was just getting fat because my jeans still aren't comfortable), but not alarmingly so. We've been officially released to the care of whomever we choose.

At the point where a normal patient would probably hug her RE, I just smiled, said "Thanks," and waltzed out the door. All-told, I met with this woman exactly 7 times over 13 months and she never participated in any of my procedures. I feel more like hugging Dr. Aggressive, who happened to be working the weekend of my 40-egg retrieval and who encouraged us to go ahead with the transfer in spite of the threat of OHSS. My own RE, even before anyone knew exactly how many eggs would be retrieved, had recommended "freeze all" in my chart (without mentioning it to me). The second RE who worked the day of my retrieval, who actually did my retrieval, was against transferring too. I feel so lucky that Dr. A was on that weekend, and that he was the one to call with my fertilization report and to explain my options. Everyone else wanted to freeze my embies and wait. Luckily, we didn't.

Not to mock fate or anything, but I did ask the RE when we might begin thinking about #2 and what protocol she would propose for that. If we return to the same office, we'll follow the same protocol as our successful cycle (long lupron cycle with Gonal-f). And I still have a few years before I reach their maximum age for own-egg cycles, 44.

But for now, and for the next year or so, my attention is totally on Ishkabibble. I have my first midwife appointment in two weeks (I hope there's an u/s involved!). I picked her practice because they work with the hospital in my town and have an office in the town where I work. If we click, I'll stick with her. If not, I'll search around for someone else. My focus now is on staying somewhat local (can't stand the thought of fighting rush-hour traffic while in labor) and finding a group that doesn't default to major interventions for delivery. Sure, I want an epidural and a c-section if they're necessary. But ONLY if they're necessary.

Other happy news today- the crinone ends in just two more weeks! Originally, I was instructed to continue with it through my 11th week, but the RE told me today to stop at 10 weeks. One week less is wonderful news.

I'm still not telling anybody else.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

not much to say

I have a hard time thinking of things to say just now, in light of Sprogblogger's and Mo and Will's recent losses. I feel like the unworthy winner of some really big, life-altering prize. I did nothing to earn this or to deserve it any more than they did. And any minute now, this pregnancy could be taken away. I have an u/s scheduled for tomorrow morning, at precisely the 8-week mark. I hope to clearly see the heartbeat again, and to learn that little Ishka has caught up with expectations after measuring a day behind at the first u/s.

I had toyed with the thought of telling a few more people if tomorrow goes well, but that was before I heard about Susan and Mo & Will. They were farther along than I am. I'm older than they are. We're not telling anyone else until Labor Day, at the earliest. I'll be a few days short of 12 weeks at that point. I guess there's really no point at which this becomes a sure thing, but the longer I'm pregnant, the more attached I become to this life growing inside me and the more support we'll need to handle a loss.

But, that's enough dwelling on the bad side of what-if. This might work. I'm still enjoying constant morning-sickness. Not the earth-shattering kind. I just feel like I'm going through the longest hangover I've ever had. Food in general is not at all appealing, but I only feel normal while eating. I haven't the patience nor the stomach to actually cook anything, so I filled the freezer with frozen meals. I realize now why I never bought saltines before- I just don't like them, but I've munched them dutifully when the thought of popping another preggie pop drop in my mouth was more unsettling than the flavorless crunch of the cracker. I ordered a variety of ginger candies, which should have arrived yesterday, but FedEx has no record of picking up the shipment so who knows when I'll actually see them. I sent a pathetic appeal for expedited shipping to the company yesterday, explaining that morning sickness + pregnancy hormones = me crying when there was no package for me. They haven't responded. (Just checked FedEx- the package was finally picked up and should be delivered next week... I guess my appeal fell on deaf ears.)

And to end on a truly positive note, IrishNYC gave birth to a beautiful, red-headed baby girl last Thursday. This does sometimes work. IFfers do sometimes see dreams come true.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I thought C had made the name up, but when I plugged it into, real results appeared. This fits, I think. We IFfers worry constantly, whether we've seen a BFP or not- first about getting pregnant, then about staying that way. We know how neurotic we are, and how unreasonable our worries can be (sometimes).

So, here I am, finally pregnant. "What, me worry?" HA!

Ish Kabibble
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to:
navigation, search

The origin of Mervyn Bogue's stage name, Ish Kabibble, can be traced back to the 1913 novelty song "Isch ga-bibble" and this 1915 cartoon postcard, which displays a spelling (Ish Ka Bibble) almost identical to that used by Bogue. Between the song and the card, in 1914, Harry Hershfield introduced his character Abie Kabibble" in his comic strip Abie the Agent.
Ish Kabibble (January 19, 1908 – June 5, 1994) was a comedian and
cornet player. Born Merwyn Bogue in North East, Pennsylvania, his family returned to Erie, Pennsylvania a few months after his birth.
He studied law at
West Virginia University, but his comedy antics soon found an audience. He performed with Kay Kyser on the television quiz show Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge in 1949 and 1950. He also appeared in ten movies between 1939 and 1950. In Thousands Cheer (1943), he is the band member who tells Kyser the joke about his friend receiving $250,000, and he sings "I Dug a Ditch" in that film. He's also a vocalist in That's Right — You're Wrong (1939), You'll Find Out (1940), and Playmates (1941).
In his 1989 autobiography, Bogue explained his
stage name, which he took from the lyrics of one of his comedic songs, "Isch ga-bibble."[1] The song derived from a boy named Ben, who thought the word was cool. "Ishkabibble?", which was purported to mean "I should worry?", prompted a curious (and perhaps not coincidental) association of the comedian with the "What, me worry?" motto of Mad's mascot, Alfred E. Neuman. While this derivation has been widely quoted on the Internet and elsewhere, the expression "ische ga bibble" is not Yiddish, and, in fact, contains no Yiddish words at all.[2]

Monday, August 3, 2009

A little more real

I saw a heartbeat today, and I cried. Then I went out an celebrated by buying a big box of saltines because the morning sickness has settled in. I feel fine when I'm eating, but 10-20 minutes after I stop, I start to feel hungover. I love it.

My husband is always making up names or tossing out as possible baby names some bizarre ones he heard somewhere... Mamalickaboobooday is one. I think we'll call this baby Ishkabibble until we meet him/her in person. It's one of C's favorites, and I like the ring of it. Little Ishka is measuring slightly behind what the RE expected... 6.4 weeks as opposed to the 6.6 they wanted, but not smaller enough to worry. Heart rate was a very healthy 117 bpm. I go back in 10 days for an 8-week u/s and final consult with the RE. If all is still going well, I'll be turned over to the care of my OB from then on.

I picked "my" OB/Gyn last year based on who had an appointment ASAP when we first discovered the root of our IF. I didn't give it much thought. I don't know if I should stick with her or look elsewhere... she seemed nice enough, and competent. I'm not sure how to screen an OB. Any tips on what I should ask or stats I should check? I searched online for the lowest cesarean rate in the area and found a small hospital with a well-regarded birthing center just 20 minutes from my house. Maybe I'll look for an OB wwith priviledges there.

I have a couple of u/s pics from this morning, but they're terribly blurry (I swear they gave me the worst ones of the bunch) so I'm not planning to post them. Maybe I'll get a better shot next week.

Heartbeat plus undeniable morning sickness = I'm pretty convinced I'm pregnant.

Monday, July 27, 2009

4:30pm, Monday July 27th... could it be?

I think I have a symptom! Hurray!

I feel icky, kind of like I ate something that isn't agreeing with me. It's not bad enough to affect my comings and goings. This just might be morning sickness! Of course, it's not morning here, but it's always morning somewhere. Maybe my morning sickness just flew in from Hawaii and is a little jet-lagged and behind schedule.

I've never been happier to feel a little icky.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

no symptoms here

Still no symptoms. I remain bloated- not as badly as the week after ET, and I can "fit" into all my regular clothes, but pants that used to require a belt stay up on their own. And the pants that didn't need a belt are uncomfortably tight. I don't believe that has anything to do with being pregnant. It's more likely lingering bloat from OHSS.

We've remained faithful to not telling anyone but our two closest couple-friends and C's father, and one friend of mine who lives three states away. I feel like a fraud for even telling them, since I still have nothing but a couple of blood tests and a handful of two-lined pee-sticks as evidence. Nine more days until our first u/s. That should make it more real, assuming everything looks OK.

Well, maybe I do have one symptom. I've been very sleepy lately. As soon as I sit down on the couch after dinner, my eyelids succomb to gravity and I struggle to keep them open. Doesn't matter what time it happens to be... 7:00, 8:30... that's it, I'm done for the night. I also find myself sleeping on my side a lot, instead of on my back as is my norm. And I desperately want to nap at around 10:00am and 1:00pm at work.

I had a baby dream the other night. Someone gave me two babies, both boys, to take care of for a few days. The boys were very dissimilar in appearance- one being very dark, with an olive complexion and dark eyes and hair, while the other was very light. They were given to me in swinglike contraptions, a confusing array of straps and buckles that provided a handle of sorts with which to carry the boys around. I could sling one over each shoulder, like purses. And I could hang them from hooks on the door when I needed my hands free for something else. They were angelic little guys, never crying, but looked at me with confusion in their eyes as if to ask why they were with me and not with whomever had cared for them before. I don't put much stock in dreams, but it was interesting.

I learned this week that our donor bears a resemblence to Kevin Love, Matthew Modine, and Michael Rappaport. That's a new feature on the sperm bank's web site. Interesting. I don't really see similarities among the three, so I guess the donor shares a feature or two with each.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

is angst a symptom?

Morning commute. Speed limit on secondary road is 45. The guy ahead of me is gawking at something off to the left, ambling along at 35 mph. I rejoice when he finally pulls off into a coffee shop parking lot, but my joy is short-lived as an 18-wheeler pulls out in front of me in the break created by slow-man exiting the road. Long, slow hill... adds at least 4 minutes to my commute (time is precious, isn't it?). Not a happy drive. Just annoying.

Arrive at work just as irksome co-worker pulls into the spot that I usually park in. When I began parking there, no one, and I mean that quite literally, would park in that little slice of the parking lot except me. It's an area that's well-shaded from about 2:00 on, so my car isn't a thousand degrees inside when it's time to leave work (I do not have a/c). At the same time, there are no trees or branches directly overhead, threatening to fall on my poor li'l vehicle in stormy weather. It's further from the front door than most spots, but I like the walk. But once I'd been parking there for six months or so, co-worker decided that on days when she arrived before me, she'd park where I like to. But not quite IN the parking space... no, she can't seem to maneuver her mid-sized SUV completely between the lines, so her front tire is always on the line separating that space from the one beside it, which is my default spot... still shaded after 2:00, but not smashed against the bushes that flank the only other spot in that small area. So I park, perfectly centered in my space for the day, and it's a tight squeeze to get out of my car.

If I'd not gotten stuck behind slow-man and lost those 4 minutes, I could have parked happily in my usual spot and co-worker would have parked where she used to park before I got her thinking about trying something new. Grrr.

My office-mates and I were planning to take two colleagues to lunch today to celebrate their birthdays, so I did not bring a lunch. I ALWAYS bring my lunch. I NEVER go out to lunch (except when we're taking colleagues to celebrate birthdays, 5 times a year). C and I go out to eat maybe once a month. Our "eating out" budget is puny, and I'm not about to waste any of it on lunch when a simple tomato sandwich is pure heaven to me. Speaking of which I have two huge tomatoes waiting to be sliced for sandwiches. They're perfect, and that's what I would have brought today. The husband of one of the birthday girls is unwell. B-day girl may not come to work today, in which case we're postponing lunch. Dammit. I can't justify going out and buying a lunch today and then having to go out again in the next week or so for the birthday thing. So, lunch today will consist of two granola bars, an apple, and a yogurt. Great. Just great. I could've had a tomato sandwich.

I know the world doesn't revolve around me. Four minutes is nothing in the grand scheme of things, and parking is first-come first-served. I'm sorry that birthday-girl's husband is ill, and I hope it's nothing serious. But I feel like crying and yelling and I just want to go home because I've only been out of the house for an hour and nothing has gone well. Is this pregnancy?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

another reason to be grateful

Without the warm, thoughtful, and wonderful comments I get from you who read what I blog, I'd be losing my mind right now wanting to tell someone that we're pregnant. I haven't been thrilled with the response from the two couples we did tell IRL. Yes, they're excited for us. But they really don't understand what it took to get here and they don't have the interest to ask, nor the patience to listen when we begin to explain.

You, though... you get it. You understand. Even though our paths have not been identical, you recognize the gravity of finally reaching this point. Even more, you understand the tremulous tightrope that follows a BFP, which is no guarantee of anything. I've followed your blogs and wept over your losses. So many have made it past where I am now only to lose everything. We're all doing everything right, but there is so much that is beyond our control and which can take it all away in a heartbeat. Our friends IRL simply tell us, "You'll be fine." The IF community empathizes, understands the mixed emotions we're experiencing now- the joy of a positive beta and the worry that this could disappear without reason or apparent cause. You're encouraging, as our friends IRL mean to be, but you recognize how much has been invested in TTC. I don't know if I've expressed it clearly enough, but I want you to know how thankful I am for all of you, commenters and silent readers alike. I wish I could hug you all. And I hope beyond anything that we'll all make it to the other side of TTC with our arms and hearts full.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Woohoo! Hcg at 512 today. I found an online calculator that computed my doubling time as 1.72 days or just over 41 hours. Sounds good to me. I'm still pregnant, even though I can't tell. I have an u/s scheduled for August 3rd, so I'll remain PUPO for at least another two weeks. Meanwhile, I'll research how likely I am to see a heartbeat at approximately 6 weeks 4 days.

The nurse who called with my beta number also provided me with a wonderful resource. I don't know if it's available outside MA, but if you have a health-care product that you are thinking of using and want to make sure its ingredients are safe for pregnancy, call 800*322*5014. You should have specific items' ingredients in front of you in case the actual item is not in their database.

I've never been so happy not to eat sushi or drink beer!

fact or fiction

I'm having a hard time believing I'm pregnant. Aside from a few pee-sticks and a call from a nurse, there's no evidence. Sure, I have a bit of a gut, but that's as likely to be leftover from the mild-moderate OHSS as it is to be pregnancy related. Besides, no one develops a bump at 4 1/2 weeks. I'm probably just pudgy from prolonged inactivity during an IVF cycle.

I'm an empirically-driven person. I might sort of believe something I can't see, but I want as much evidence as I can get my hands on before I'll fully commit. Even then, evidence can be misinterpreted. I struggled in high school physics after my first philosophy class, where we read Plato's Cave Metaphor from "The Republic." Gravity, you say? Prove it! Time and space? Human constructs. They don't exist as absolutes. (I still love The Cave. It was honestly one of the most influential pieces I've ever read in my life and I can't imagine who I'd be today if I hadn't read it at 17.)

I'd really like something internal to signal that a life is growing inside me. Some sensation I've never felt before that I can point to and say, "when I felt ____, I knew I was pregnant." I know there's plenty of time to develop symptoms, and I'll (hopefully) be whining about them soon enough. But if these first weeks are all I ever get (dear God, please let that not be the case), I want something to make this time in my life unique and special.

I'm waiting for a call from the nurse with today's beta#2 result. A good number will mean so much. But I'd like to FEEL something too (besides all the fantastic emotions that well up whenever I remind myself that I am, at this moment, pregnant).

I'm an ogre for complaining. I'm truly lucky to be having a beta#2; lucky to have reached this point. I'm grateful, really. I'm just having a hard time believing the pee sticks and Thursday's beta.

Friday, July 17, 2009

doubling time- after a little research

You're all too kind, really, especially those of you who've been through the multiple betas that follow a BFP and who know that hcg levels are not supposed to double every 48 hours. If this were information that anyone in my family knew, and if any of them were aware of this blog, you can bet they'd have corrected me as quickly as they could type the words, "You're wrong."

I did a little research and learned that hcg levels should double every 48-72 hours in the first couple of weeks. I'm glad I found out before Monday's beta#2, otherwise I'd have been terribly disappointed with a perfectly acceptable result.

So, 103 yesterday. Four days between beta#1 and beta#2. (I love math)- I'm hoping for an hcg level of 240 or better on Monday. My research also revealed that an increase of as little as 60% in 48-72 hours has resulted in perfectly healthy births.

C's new hobby- he's been looking up baby names on the internet. And he likes to call out the possibilities to me from the office. While I'm trying to sleep. It's sweet, but I fall asleep in spite of him.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

we knew, and now the RE does too

Hcg is 103 today. I am definitely pregnant. I go back for another on Monday, by which time it should be over 412, if my math is correct... doubling every 48-hours or less, so in 4 days it should double at least twice, right? It's a little more real now, and I'm planning to spend the weekend reveling in being pregnant, but I know Monday's results can make or break us. It's still so incredibly early.

No more little blue pills (estrace)! Yippee!
Crinone continues... yuck. But worth it!

Still no real "symptoms" of pregnancy. No change in appetite or food preferences. Maybe a little thirstier, but since this is the first week that has even come close to resembling "summer" around here, the thirst may be more weather-induced than biological. I might be a little sleepier than usual, but that's hard to gauge. I get goosebumps every few minutes- but that's because I keep reminding myself that, for the moment at least, I AM PREGNANT !

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

5:35 PM, 9dp3dt...

I'm a lousy photographer, with shaky hands on a normal day. This was the only one (of many attempts) that's even close to in-focus. There is absolutely, without-a-doubt, a second line there. You may have to click on it to see it a little bigger in order to find the second line. It's a little darker in real life. I can hardly wait for some numbers to go with this. Thursday... just a day and a half away (cuz you can bet I'll be there when the doors open at 7am).
I need some decent photo-editing software.

"Sweetie, get your glasses and wake up." He saw it too.

The most ghostly, faint, barely-there, nearly imperceptible, am-I-imagining-this line appeared on the HPT this morning. C thinks he saw it too, but only if he held the test just-so and looked at it askance, with his eyes slightly squinted. Could it be? I'm all goosebumps and breath-holding now. Two more days until beta. No real symptoms, but a few maybes that haven't been worth mentioning.

I can't even take a picture of it because the line I think I see is too faint. It won't be real, and we won't truly believe we're pregnant until the beta results are in. I was convinced this cycle had failed. Now, I'm thinking just maybe...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

7dp3dt- negative

I bought a 3-pack of HPTs. I decided I have nothing to prove to anyone by not POAS, so why the heck not. Today's was negative, but since it's still fairly early, I can take that with a grain of salt. It's by no means a BFN- I consider it simply evidence that the trigger is definitely out of my system, so a BFP on some future date can be celebrated without question. Besides, if we pay any attention to the accuracy statement on the package, we can't trust anything it says today, roughly 10 days before CD1. It's only 53% accurate 4 days before CD1!

Geez, now that I think about it, this really is a blatant waste of money. My beta is Thursday, 6 days before expected CD1, and the HPT isn't supposed to be used until 4 days before. I'll already have my answer by the time the HPT is more than 50% accurate. It's still fun though... maybe I'll use one on Wednesday, preemptively, and then if I get a positive beta, I'll use the last one next week. There's got to be some satisfaction in finally seeing that second line, even if it's already known. I really want to see a second line.

Obviously, HPTs were not designed for the IF community, although I'm pretty sure we're their biggest customers. Do they really think any of us could wait until a missed period to test? Besides, with all the drugs we've taken, how the heck do we know when AF is supposed to make her next appearance?

I won't post photos of negative pee-sticks, but if I get a BFP, even after a positive beta, you can bet it'll be here for all to see. We could all use some proof that those things tell the truth once in a while.

Oh, before I forget- the bloating has nearly disappeared, although it was pretty fierce on Friday night when I squeezed into non-elastic/non-drawstring pants and went out for a nice dinner with some friends. Today, I can actually suck in my stomach for the first time in more than two weeks. There's still a definite bulge front and center, but that might be because I haven't done anything active in nearly a month. I return to work tomorrow, after taking a week's vacation post-transfer, and it's good to know I can wear my normal clothes and avoid speculation from coworkers. If they ask, I'll tell them (truthfully) that I bought C some gourmet cupcakes for his birthday and we've been eating them dilligently so they'll be gone before they're stale.

Friday, July 10, 2009

to pee or not to pee

I just don't know. Those sticks are evil, but I want to buy a few and use them up. I want to use one today, to see a negative and know it's because the trigger shot is out of my system. I want to use one tomorrow in the hope of seeing an early positive. I want to use one before my scheduled beta so I know before the nurses do, regardless of the outcome. I just want to KNOW. But those devil-sticks lie and manipulate and can't be trusted.

Here we are, 5DP3DT. I can't tell if the bloating has abated or I've just become accustomed to it. Most of my pants still do not fit, so I convince myself that I'm still experiencing mild OHSS, which would be a good thing because it would mean my HCG levels are rising, ergo I'm pregnant. Then again, I no longer have to stand or lie flat to take a deep breath (for a couple of days, there was nowhere for my diaphragm to go while seated), which means the potential OHSS is going away, which means no rising HCG and no pregnancy. Maybe if I POAS, I'll have an answer. But if it's negative, I'll just have to pee on another one, and then another, and then another because, honestly, it's too early to expect a BFP from even the most accurate HPT.

Yesterday, I self-medicated with gooey brownies. Tonight, we're going out to dinner with another couple, who know about last weekend's IVF. I just hope it's not the focus of our evening out. I know they'll drop the subject if I ask them to, but I'd prefer not to have to ask. There is more to life than TTC... at least I think there is. I'm having a hard time remembering that this week. I'm just ticking off the days until the beta. Six left to go.

Monday, July 6, 2009

a little look-see

Eeeny, meeny, miney, moe plus one for... luck?

I don't know which is which, but there should be three 8-cell, one 7-cell, and one 4-cell. I'm just hoping something sticks. I'm laying low today- did a little laundry, but otherwise haven't moved far from the couch. I'm already 3/4 of the way through the 2-liters of fluid that Dr. A recommended. The one great thing about IVF (aside from the higher success rate) is that the TWW is actually only 11 days, counting from ET. I'm already seriously tempted to pick up some pee-sticks so I can start using them on Sunday, 10DPO, aka 8DP3DT. Evil, evil pee sticks. I like to think I know my body pretty well by now, that I'll be able to tell definitively if I'm pregnant or not, but I know I'm delusional in that respect. I should still steer clear of pee sticks and just wait for the REAL answer on the 16th. I don't know if my will is strong enough though.
The BLOAT continues. Only shorts and pants that are normally several sizes too big fit today. I feel like a whale and don't really want to go out in public. This morning, I thought I'd shrunk a little, and I may have but just because I got up to pee 4 times last night. By the time I'd taken today's meds (2nd-to-last doxycycline pill plus three tiny estraces), washed down by a large glass of water, I was feeling as engorged as I did yesterday. My weight still hasn't changed, and my belly is still soft, so nothing to worry about there aside from embarassment. I feel OK- no residual pain from the ER, just huge and a little fragile- like I might pop.