Archive | November, 2012

Sinking in

30 Nov

I feel like I’m in limbo.

I feel like I need to decide how to feel about this pregnancy.

I feel like it all became real on Wednesday.

I feel like my husband is now a Daddy, for real. And I am now a mommy, for real.

Okay, those were the thoughts that were all fighting to be heard immediately in this post. Allow me to dissect a bit.

First off, thank you all so much for your supportive comments. I never thought I would deal with bad news at the NT scan. The only news I was prepared for was “dead baby.” Okay, maybe not prepared for, but it was the only potentially “bad” thing I thought was in the realm of possibility. I did entertain the possibility that they would say our baby had Down’s.

You know what I thought when I heard that? Don’t care. I want my baby. This may be the only baby we ever get.

I didn’t think they would tell me that my tiny baby’s belly has a hole in it and his or her intestines are spilling out. I can’t tell you the horrible, terrifying images that came to my mind, but I will say this: When you find out your baby has a birth defect, a baby you never thought you’d have, your first thought is “Why?” Why us, why now, why after all we’ve been through. Out of the frying pan, into the fire.

The first thing I said through my sobs when we got back to the car was, “We can’t catch a break!”

“We already caught our break.” DH, ever the voice of reason and optimism.

While this is true, I’ve really struggled with feelings of guilt since Wednesday. I feel guilty for being sad, when I should still be so thankful to have a baby at all. Boom – there’s the hard truth.

Everyone says, it will okay! Stay positive! I appreciate that, and I want to get there soon, but for now, I need to be sad. And not because I went through infertility and now I’ve been dealt this hand. I think in a lot of ways, I’m lucky to have gone through infertility, given this hand. But I need to be sad because, I’m a mom. And I have a baby coming who’s going to face some serious struggles as a newborn.

Those days when you just imagine wrapping your sweet babe up in soft swaddling blankets and holding them and holding them and kissing them and kissing them and crying bittersweet tears for the bigness of the blessing. I have imagined that day and built it up in my head since very long before infertility.

I might not get that, at least not right away. I won’t get a lot of things. Even before the baby is born, my pregnancy will be drastically changed by this. It won’t be spent stressing over finding the perfect crib or paint color for the nursery. It will be spent stressing over finding the perfect team of doctors to fix my baby when he or she is born. It will be spent preparing for many days, weeks, possibly months, with a child in the NICU.

I’m okay with that. I know I have what it takes to get through this. Mo called me on Wednesday night and told me I’d be surprised how these types of things can bring out the best in you. I know this. Still I can’t help but envy every other pregnant person right now. Everyone who is getting that normal pregnancy right now. Everyone who hears my story and thinks, “thank god that’s not me.” It’s not an unfamiliar place, but I wanted that too. That “fun selfish pregnancy,” as Mo said.

But I’m really struggling with, how do I feel about this pregnancy? How do I go about telling people now? “We’re pregnant BUT our baby has a birth defect?” Or just, “We’re pregnant!” Do I decide to let myself be just as excited as I was before? Can I? When I’m terrified about the health of my baby and what the future holds? In short, is it safe to let myself get excited, given this new information?

I can’t answer those questions just yet. I need that Level II ultrasound. I need to find out what my next steps are and get moving. That’s why I feel like I’m in limbo right now. I can’t do anything for my baby (other than send so much love, which I have been) until that next step comes, and right now I’m just waiting for my old OB’s office to make that appointment for me.

Many hopes and expectations about my pregnancy and birth experience faded on Wednesday. Because of infertility, I’m used to that. I’m used to having to give up the way I wanted things to be. It DOES make it a little bit easier. But what I’m wondering now is, how many of those hopes and expectations can I still keep?

Since Wednesday, we’ve fully embraced the name “Turtle.” Turtle became real on Wednesday. DH has started kissing my belly all the time. Sometimes I find myself happy and think, how can you be smiling, your baby has a birth defect. And it does truly scare me to think about all those intestines floating around in my uterus.

But Turtle is ours. And I love him/her no matter what. So much. Already.

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Sigh.

28 Nov

I had planned to blog first about going home for Thanksgiving. The long awaited Thanksgiving where we’d finally share the good news with our families. I was going to talk about how infertility changed my perfect vision of what this would be like. How I worried the whole time that our Turtle was actually gone while we were telling everyone. How I made mental notes of exactly who had been told and how they would be untold. The fewest number of people we’d have to tell and how the grapevine would work.

But our NT scan came too quickly, before I had time for that blog post. And now I have to write this one. Okay, here goes.

So, we went in for our NT scan today. My one and only concern going in was seeing a heartbeat, first of all, and second, seeing an appropriately growing baby. Both of those things were apparent right off the bat. Turtle looked so much bigger, so much more like an actual baby! His or her heart was flickering away and we could see hands, a spine, parts of the brain. Eyes, nose, skull. It was unbelievable and we were beaming form ear to ear.

But then the ultrasound tech had trouble getting the specific NT scan image of the neck and profile that she needed. She said Turtle wasn’t facing the right way and kept pushing on my belly to get him or her to turn the right way. She said we’d take a short break then try again. She went to get me some water and gave me a lollipop to suck on while we waited.

DH and I were joking the whole time. Dancing around, trying to get Turtle to turn. I had a momentary thought that we didn’t know what was coming to us. It’s hard to describe, something like just knowing that this happy time was about to be taken from us. It didn’t help when she took forever to come back. And then I read a sign on the wall that said the ultrasound technician cannot give you the scan results, only a physician can. My guard is just starting to go up.

Eventually she came back and said the reason for the delay was because she was new to the practice and had to find out the protocol if they couldn’t get the right picture. She said the next step was to go to a Level II ultrasound with a specialist (red flag, ignored it) because they’d be able to tell us better. She tries again and still Turtle is not cooperating. She prints off a few pictures and sends us downstairs to talk to an OB. Supposedly this OB has to send us on our way to this other specialist. Odd in retrospect but we went with it.

Downstairs we went to wait for the OB. She comes in and starts sketching something on a piece of paper. I was hoping she’d be sketching the picture of the head they needed and would talk to us about why they couldn’t get it. But I see her label something as feet, then I see a belly button. Then she draws another similar picture, this one with no belly button and lots of squiggly lines coming out.

It appears Turtle’s intestines are growing outside of his or her belly. Some membrane burst, they don’t know why but it happens occasionally, and now they are just floating around in the sac. It’s a condition called gastroschisis. It will mean seeing a high risk OB for close and more frequent monitoring and it will mean delivering in Boston after all, at a hospital with a NICU. It will mean that Turtle will need a surgery, possibly two, not very long after his or her birth. If they can fit the intestines back into the belly, they will, but sometimes the belly isn’t big enough. Sometimes they have to stretch the belly out and wait for it to be big enough to receive the intestines. Sometimes the intestines are hanging out in a little bag outside the baby’s body for a few days or weeks.

Turtle will most definitely start his or her life in a NICU. We most likely will not get to hold Turtle until after his or her surgery(ries). Turtle might have a tube down his throat and will likely need an IV for nutrition for the first few days or weeks. Turtle will be undergoing general anesthesia as a tiny baby.

The doctor did a good job explaining everything as best she could. It was hard going in thinking we were just getting referred out for a little ultrasound technicality, only to learn our baby has a birth defect. Now we know why we waited so long. Now we know why we only received pictures of Turtle’s head, not his or her whole body. Now we know the real reason why we needed a Level II ultrasound.

I’m really struggling with this – obviously. DH is busy educating himself to the fullest. I am just trying to digest. It’s not the perfect start you want for your baby. How will this affect my pregnancy? How will this affect my feelings of excitement? I know Turtle will be okay. And I know he or she will never remember any of this, and will just have a tiny scar and a crazy story to tell. But for right now in this moment, with the information we have, it’s just really hard right now.

A few things…

20 Nov

A few things…

Episode 11 of Bitter Infertiles is now live – yipee! Go and listen, then go send Cristy some love! She has a lot riding on this current FET cycle and is, understandably, very jittery about it. I dare any of you to think of a time when Cristy hasn’t been there for you. Time to pay it back. Also, big thanks to Jenny of Stupid Stork for joining us!

-Update on me: I guess everything is going along okay? I haven’t had an ultrasound in weeks so I’m always wondering, is my baby still alive in there? I find it hard to believe I could really be 10 weeks 3 days. So I take it with a giant grain of salt. I’m 10 weeks 3 days but let’s wait until the next ultrasound to know for sure.

-My symptoms persist. All day nausea is still there. It’s such a pain, though I try to take comfort in it as my only sign that this pregnancy is continuing to grow. I’ve also started having occasional round ligament pain and, when I’ve been sitting at my desk for a few hours, lower back aches. The spotting has lessened but is always hovering. Lately it’s been mostly in the form of light brown stained CM.

-I have decided to stop feeling bad about complaining about the nausea. I’m an infertile, not a masochist. Just because I worked a little harder than others to get here doesn’t mean I have to enjoy feeling like shit all day.

-We’ve started telling a few friends, which freaks me out. And I’m super freaked out for Thursday (Thanksgiving) when we plan to tell a whole heap of family members in person. I had hoped to find the heartbeat on the doppler before we did this but… no dice. If anyone out there is thinking of buying one, spring for one of the nicer ones! We went cheap and now we regret it.

-I am overwhelmed by how much I have to be thankful for this year. My amazing husband who has become the sole caretaker for me, our dog, our cat, and the whole household (including cooking and cleaning), my supportive parents who reach out to see how I am every day, my work that has been so understanding, but most of all this little one inside me that has remained strong despite being thrown quite a few curveballs early on.

-Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving.

First appointment

13 Nov

So, we had our first OB appointment yesterday. Let me start this by saying that I was not at all prepared to leave my warm little nest at my RE’s office. I was comfortable with the process there, with the nurses, the doctors, and terribly spoiled by the weekly ultrasounds.

And I was also really thrown by the fact that “graduating” and picking an OB means figuring out where you want to deliver. That’s right, deliver. Something we infertiles have long trained ourselves not to think about because, yeah, right. Deliver. But whether or not I am going to get a healthy baby at the end of this, I have to at least pretend I am.

So we began thinking on this. My RE recommended an OB at his hospital downtown. At first I was fine with going with their recommendation and staying close to the nest. But then I started thinking about how very inconvenient it would be to have to get all the way into the city when the time comes to deliver. Getting in can take anywhere from 35 minutes to over an hour, depending on traffic. (Or on extra special days like today, two hours. Shoot me.)

One consideration: I want to labor at home as long as possible. I don’t want to spend my whole delivery in the hospital because then they might get impatient and push me towards pitocin. A hospital closer to home would make this a whole lot easier. Also, if we end up having to stay in the hospital for some time, it will be much easier for DH to run home to grab things, take care of the animals, etc., if we are near home.

And, universe forbid, we have a NICU stay in our future, then I really want to be close to home.

Here’s the thing: there’s a very nice, fairly state-of-the-art hospital about 10 minutes from my house. The birthing rooms all have whirlpools for water therapy. The main OB’s office that services this hospital is a combined midwife-OB practice, which we really like as well. But, we went through this hospital and this OB’s office with our first miscarriage and it left a bad taste in our mouths.

Still, when we considered all of these factors, we decided to go ahead and work with this hospital and practice again. Give them another shot. In theory, it makes so much sense. So like I said, my first appointment was yesterday evening with one of the head midwives.

Honestly? Once again, bad taste. This woman rubbed us the wrong way. She had a certain smugness about her. There was no, “welcome to the practice, my name is X, congratulations on your pregnancy, here’s how this all works.” We sat down and it was immediately – how many miscarriages? When was your last period? Do you have a family history of blah blah blah… She did a breast and vaginal exam on me that left me feeling like I’d been run over by a truck. And, I know this sounds horrifically shallow, but her shirt and white coat had stains on them.

She said everything “looks normal” but of course we don’t get an ultrasound until EIGHTEEN freaking weeks along. Unless we do the screening, which may or may not be covered by my insurance (I have to check). The amazing news is that this midwife NO LONGER DELIVERS THE BABIES. We were so happy to hear this, we may have smiled a little when she said it. So really, we never actually have to see her again. But still. (Good thing we caved and ordered a doppler last week.)

Even the receptionist was a sourpuss. And then they sent us to the hospital to have about 15 vials of blood drawn, I kid you not. So that’s that. We have another appointment in a few weeks with a different midwife, one who delivers. I really hope we have a better experience with her.

In the meantime, I’m going to try my hardest not to puke all over my desk this morning. So much easier said than done.

Graduation

7 Nov

This morning found us once again on pins and needles going into our “graduation” appointment at the RE. Yesterday I had a gush of bright red blood, the largest amount yet. It was definitely unnerving, but I really tried to keep my head on. That’s not to say I didn’t entertain the possibility that it was all over but either I’m getting numb or I’m just tired after so many weeks of being jerked around.

It took a second for my searching eyes to find that little flicker when they first inserted the wand but before long, there it was. Flickering away. At 188 bpm. Which they said was very good. The baby was also measuring right on track and is actually starting to look like a baby! We could clearly see the head, the little belly, and the arm and leg buds. DH said he/she looked like a little turtle, so that will be our new nickname for the little one!

It was a surreal appointment in a lot of ways. I can’t really believe it’s over with my RE. Our favorite ultrasound tech really took her time today, showing us everything, the spine, the yolk sac, the placenta, everything she could see. She took way more pictures than usual and even said, “Don’t tell them how many pictures I gave you!” She’s been such a doll and I’m really going to miss her! We both gave her long hugs as we left today.

The spotting/bleeding, they’re not overly concerned about. They said it could have been the hematoma as they weren’t really seeing it today, or perhaps the other sac, which is still in there, still big and you can see the “remnants” floating around in there. The good news is we have a strong heartbeat and a little baby that continues to grow. We’ve never gotten this far and now I’m really starting to get excited.

Of course I woke up this morning with the worst case of nausea… I could barely move! If not for the u/s, I wouldn’t have left my bed. Our doc recommended an OB at Tufts, but if we go with her, that means we’ll have to get into the city to deliver. At rush hour, thats an hour+ commute! I’m not sure I quite feel ready to deal with figuring out where to deliver (thoughts on that to come), but it appears the time is upon us. Nuts.

Thanks to all who thought good thoughts, today and all the days leading up to today. This has been a rocky road for us all but I think the time has come to exhale a tiny amount and allow myself to entertain the hope of a take home baby here.

8 weeks, 2 days

5 Nov

An update on me is overdue. I apologize. I’ve just been trying to survive these past few weeks. I’m not going to lie, with the all-day nausea and frequent vomiting, it’s been tough. But I haven’t wanted to complain and so, radio silence.

Anyways, here’s what’s up:

-Today marks 8 weeks, 2 days. Never ever thought I’d get this far. It kind of freaks me out on a few different levels that I’ll blog about soon.

-My spotting had been going down but today I wiped bright red blood again. I know I have a small hematoma, and I also know that right now I’m not having any cramping or pain. So I’m going to go ahead and not freak out, despite my instinct to do so.

-My next ultrasound is on Wednesday, anyways. At which point I’ll be 8 weeks, 4 days. At which point, if all looks well, it’ll be time to choose an OB. Which is a whole other set of challenges that I’ll blog about soon. I am just really focused at this point on getting through Wednesday and still having a heartbeat.

-In no way am I assuming this will all work out. I hate thinking about the future of this pregnancy because I have so much fear. Everyone tells me to be positive, but it’s been tough, between the vanishing twin, the spotting, and the sickness.

-Today I’m wearing acupressure sea sickness bands on my wrists which are supposed to help with the nausea. I’m definitely still nauseous but feeling just a shade better, just enough to make it through the day I think. I’ll take whatever I can get, even if I do look like an 80s aerobics girl.

-Other symptoms include: exhaustion (in bed by about 8:30 every night, usually after already snoozing on the couch a bit), strange tastes in my mouth, vivid dreams, restlessness in the early hours. I do not have very sore breasts, nor am I experiencing very much frequent peeing.

Okay, sorry for the scattered nature of this post, it was all I could manage. I’ll be back on Wednesday with an update on the ultrasound. Maybe if all looks well after that, I’ll finally get around to making that separate pregnancy page here. Maybe.