an {un}official last post

this will be my last post… at least for a while.  i started this blog during a time when i needed it most.  i found hope, strength, and encouragement from so many of you.  it was fun to see many of us get pregnant and have babies within a few months of each other.  some of us have gone on to get pregnant again {whether planned or unplanned}, some have decided they are content with the baby or babies they gained from that long awaited successful cycle.  unfortunately for me, i’m sort of stuck where i was before.  even though i’m a mommy to brian, i have a longing to feel another baby stretching my belly, to hold another fresh little bundle, to smell that new baby smell.  and i want a sibling for brian {because life is easier when you have someone to discuss just how crazy your parents are with}.  but here i am, stuck being {in}fertile, only this time, our go-to treatment {FET} doesn’t seem to be working.  my womb is empty once again, and my heart has a hole that is longing to be filled.  i wanted to share one last update {or lack thereof} and provide some closing thoughts, mostly because i need closure.  stick with me if you can.

after brian, we had 7 frozen embryos left. i never really tracked my cycle, but imagined it would be much the same.  coupled with hubby’s awful sperm statistics, it just seemed easier to go back on birth control and try to get pregnant through a FET.  well, things are seldom what they seem.  our transfers post brian have been everything but successful and easy.  brian was our only AA embryo.  we had one AB, and 6 BBs.  when transferring our AA led to brian, i always imagined God set apart the AA and AB as our two children.  i imagined the AB would be successful, so naturally i was shocked and upset when the AB didn’t even survive the thaw.  we transferred a BB back in may, which led to a negative pregnancy test and an awful skin reaction called dermatographia for me.  after 2 weeks of pure hell crawling in my own skin, the dermatographia slowly improved over the next two months but never went away.  we waited the month of june out, but hubby and i agreed it was probably time to start the process up again in july.  of course my RE has never seen the skin reaction, the allergist told me it is what it is and the only treatment is an antihistamine which i already take daily, but my dermatologist offered a little more in at least trying to determine the cause.  he said the skin reaction is usually caused by a meciation, in my case he felt the antibiotic we used for the FET protocol, and that it usually takes a month to go away.  desperate for answers, i wasted a ton of money at my old acupuncturist who promised quick results with one or two treatments.  finally after 8, i accepted that his treatments were not making a difference for me.  i did seek the second opinion of another acupuncturist and traditional chinese medicine doctor.  her treatment plan seems more promising and easier on the budget, so i decided to stick with her.  she cleared us to try again and said we could fix the underlying cause of the dermatographia after another baby.  so, we were back at in july with another transfer scheduled for early august.  i wish this transfer had a happy ending, but it doesn’t.  we transferred one BB, which implanted, but is currently ending in a chemical pregnancy.  and, the dermatographia is worsening, despite changing the antibiotic in the protocol.  to say i’m frustrated would be an understatement.  i have so many emotions – resentment, anger, feelings of abandonment, sorrow, the list goes on.  while we still have 4 embryos left, i don’t feel that my body is in a state to accept them.  knowing nothing about the health of these embryos, it’s hard to keep putting them back in my uterus since we do know my body is upset, as evidenced by the dermatographia.  i’d like to say we will try again one day, but time will tell.

as for the emotional aspect – call it whatever you want, chemical pregnancy or not, there was a tiny baby in me, that i now choose to believe is in Heaven with the first baby we lost through ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage.  i really felt like God was opening doors this last cycle, so it is hard for me to see the door close and to lose another baby.  i desperately do not want this to be my last experience and memory with pregnancy.  it’s hard to end on such a sour note.  i’ve had a hard time managing my grief this go around too.  how do i let myself grieve while experiencing so much joy from brian?  the two are separate but intertwined.  i see my bouncing little boy, with his full head of blonde hair and big blue eyes, but have this extreme sense of loss and sorrow.  i know time will bring healing, it did the first time.  but brian also brought healing to my first loss, and i pray that there is another baby to bring healing to the second loss.  in the meantime, feeling the twinges of my body trying to accommodate this life, but knowing there really isn’t life is hard.  hubby and i have framed every picture we received of our embryos on transfer day.  it sits on our nightstand, but like the last, this one will also be taken down and filed in my huge medical organizer.  i’m sure one day i will have the strength to look at the two embryos that never came to be again.

another reason i started this blog was to share my faith through this journey.  i have friends who are Christian, who also experience trials, and who also keep the faith.  i also have friends that can’t accept God and Jesus because of the injustices they experience and witness in the world.  how do you explain loosing a baby?  or when a child is born with a debilitating disease?  or when anyone gets a cancer diagnosis?  or when a loved one’s life is cut short because there should always be more time?  or when entire cities of people are harmed by natural disaster?  i hate when people try to bring comfort by saying “everything happens for a reason.”  i don’t think this is always true.  i don’t think there is a reason innocent babies have to suffer.  i don’t think there is a reason i have had two miscarriages {or at least i don’t know the reason yet}.  often times, there is no explanation.  stuff happens.  life happens.  life is not perfect, for any of us.  but i choose to believe in our Creator.  i choose to have faith and hope.  i choose to believe that one day, my aches and pains will be made better, that one day i will meet the two babies i never got to hold on this earth.  i also believe that God works all things together for the good.  the Bible tells me this, and it’s easier on the heart than to think there is no God or a God that doesn’t care.  while i hope and pray for healing on this side of Heaven, i look forward to complete restoration and perfection on the other side.

to all those waiting on babies or something else in life, don’t give up hope.  don’t lose faith.  the journey is tough, but there will one day be healing.

“for I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” {Jeremiah 29:11}

those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. he who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him {Psalm 126:5-6}

and we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose {Romans 8:28}

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not pregnant

the title says it all, but i documented how i felt along the way, mostly because i wish i had done this with brian to have a comparison.  some days i felt totally normal, and other days i swore i was pregnant. 

2 days after my transfer, i thought i felt implantation cramping, otherwise felt normal.

3 days after the transfer, i felt dizzy, saw dark brown/nearly black streaks exiting with leftover crinone, and could feel my heart beat in my uterus {sounds weird, but i could feel that with brian early on}.  but something strange happened.  my entire abdomen cramped up when getting up from laying down (this also happened  on transfer day at the fertility clinic and once on day 2).  WTH body?   WTH?  probably it’s way of making sure my embryo didn’t implant.  

tested 4 days after the transfer in the morning, definitely negative – mostly did this because with brian i thought the first two + tests were evap lines, so i wanted a clean control {and for the record i no longer believe in evap lines}.  no longer feel my heart beat in my uterus, and felt normal.

5 days after my transfer the lightheadedness returned, HPT still negative. 

6 days later, negative.  feel normal, but my emotions are fragile today.  i know not every cycle will work, that’s why we started “early.”  but i have this overwhelming fear that we will slowly deplete our frozen embryos with no success, and then i’m back to square one and need to do another egg retrieval. and will my insurance company let me?  or will we have to waste time with IUIs again?  and maybe my thyroid levels are off and that’s not helping?  this process is complex.  the human body is complex.  

7 days later, still negative.  still lightheaded.  had acupuncture, and chuck thinks i could be pregnant.  every time i give up, i get another wave of false hope.  definitely emotional torture.  and i’m starting to question chuck’s credibility. 

8 days later, still negative.  this is awful, but i’m going to remove the framed picture of our embryo from my nightstand.

day 9, negative.  and i’m done wasting HPTs.  blood test is on day 11.  i had it moved up a day so i had time to cancel my next shipment of PIO.  i think i’m depressed.  i mean, i poured myself into this process for 6 weeks to just lose two embryos.  i never imagined that i would be this upset.  after having brian, i felt so complete… i thought i would be ok if he were to be our only little.  but my heart is aching again.  and i’m bitter.  i’m tired of going to the doctor to try to get pregnant.   i’m tired of spending thousands and thousands of dollars on these efforts.  i cry at least once a day, usually two or three times.  i’m seriously a wreck.  

day 10… didn’t even test.  i honestly couldn’t face another negative.  i know the answer is negative, so no point rubbing it in my face unnecessarily.  emotionally, i’m doing a bit better today.  i had a long walk with a dear friend who is also embarking on the FET journey after years of {in}fertility, and it was good to just spend some time with someone who gets it.  in processing, i’ve come up with quite a long list of questions for dr. w.  mostly related to things that were different this cycle than with brian:

  1. were my thyroid levels good prior to the transfer?  
  2. could PCOS be at play here?  should i take metformin again?  what have my estrogen and FSH levels been at CD3?  
  3. could the mucus ball in my uterus at the start of the cycle impacted this?
  4. what about the crazy abdominal cramps i had right after the transfer?  have you heard of this before?  is this my body’s way of trying to prevent implantation?
  5. should we consider transferring more than one embryo in the future?  

i’m sure my questions won’t be well received… they never are.  i think my RE’s office wishes patients would play dumb and not think with their own brains.  i’ll probably ask nurse mary or whoever calls tomorrow to help me schedule a debrief appointment.  i don’t give a damn if they don’t like my questions… they will be answered, and if i must, i will take my business elsewhere.

day 11, negative.  no surprise here, but the phone call still crushed me.  mostly because nurse mary {still not my fave} acted like we will have to take a break between cycles.  say what?!  she is checking on this with dr. w, hopefully she actually does her job and gets back to me about this soon.

i probably will not recap FET take 3 unless there is new and different information to share.  best of luck to all those waiting on babies.

health updates

hypothyroidism… the pendulum has swung and my TSH is now double the normal range, almost 8x what my historical levels were… and free t4 is low.  synthroid it is… probably for the rest of my life.  could be worse, but definitely adds another layer of complexity for future pregnancies.

never wrote about this one, but started getting random joint pain a couple of weeks after i went back to work (at the same time i had another psoriasis flare on my face).  at first it was mainly my wrists, which i attributed to using the keyboard for 8 hours a day after a 6 month break.  then my knees started hurting, then finger joints.  i spoke to my primary care, who was concerned that it could be psoriatic arthritis.  she ran some blood tests, most of which came back normal, although i am vitamin d deficient.  she referred me to a rheumatologist anyway, as blood work usually appears normal in psoriatic arthritis.  at first look, the rheumatologist thinks this is all related to my immune system going haywire postpartum (that’s what postpartum thyroiditis is caused by). he did order some additional tests to check for joint inflammation, i should get the results later this week.  he also put me on an anti inflammatory drug to see if it helped with the pain.  it did, but then i stopped taking it after a few days because i was taking every OTC medication under the sun for a cold, started synthroid, started an antibiotic, and drum roll please… started birth control again.  so, because the NSAID helped, i fear the worst that there is real inflammation.

on to the next thing, finally got a normal pap smear after over a year of abnormal results with cell changes due to high risk HPV {thank you, husband – still not completely over this one yet}.  although, i’m not holding my breath as i will have HPV for life and it could show up again at any point unannounced.  you know what’s so messed up about this situation {besides me making the right decisions and dealing with the consequences of husband’s poor decisions}?  i got the gardisil shot in high school.  apparently it does not cover all strains of high risk HPV.  abstinence is the only thing that will do people, and you better believe i’m preaching this to my offspring.  i think another reason i’m having such a hard time getting over this one is that i could’ve made different choices too.  i knew some came before, but didn’t think it was a big deal.  wrong, it is a big deal.  it is a big deal because i have yet another health problem to deal with.  life is messy.  it just is.  prime example of my ever growing need to part with perfection.  and to forgive.  why is it hardest to forgive the ones you’re closest too?  including yourself?

moving on, i went to see my RE thinking i would need metformon again since i have a history of PCOS.  and guess what, apparently research shows that it’s only really beneficial for ladies with PCOS that are overweight and boarderline diabetic, which so far is not me {i’ve learned to never say never}.  we discussed the goal of future FET(s) and decided it was best for me to resume taking birth control so that my body will be at baseline when we’re ready to move forward.  i have mixed emotions about this… after all that we’ve been through, it just seems wrong to prevent pregnancy.  however, i truly feel that God gave us the number of embryos we have for a reason and i do not want to waste them.  and to be honest, i don’t want to even think about having another ectopic pregnancy experience.  3 months of being fake pregnant and methotrexate to shut it all down, not fun.  further, the odds are against us for natural conception – even if my PCOS were magically cured, the husband has pretty terrible swimmers {a result of HPV?  kidding.  but really, he should have some sort of consequence}.  {also, if you know me in real life, i kindly ask you not to broadcast this whole HPV thing to the world, or anyone really.}

oh, i almost forgot the best detail yet about this appointment with my RE.  i stopped breastfeeding 2 months ago, but still hadn’t started my period.  until the evening before my appointment with my RE, same day i had the repeat pap actually.  my OB was a bit concerned and told me that if i didn’t start by january, to give him a call.  life has a funny way of organizing events sometimes.  oh, and the first period after you’re done breastfeeding, it’s no joke.

so back to doctor appointments.  daycare is rough.  especially the daycare germs.  they are super germs that don’t give up until they’ve got you pinned.  brian got a cold, turned double ear infection.  husband caught he cold next, but eventually got over it.  i thought i was going to sneak by.  false.  it got me, and it got me good.  it turned to a sinus infection, and i’m pretty sure the worst sinus infection i’ve had to date.  my primary care was off the day i felt the sickest, so i got luck of the draw at the doctor office.  the man i saw is an idiot.  he said “you just have a cold and giving you an antibiotic would be like killing a fly with a machine gun.”  he wrote a prescription for an antibiotic anyway, but told me not to fill it unless things got worse and lasted several more days.  so after two days of having a fever and feeling like crap, i decided to fill the antibiotic.  i made the right choice, because i kid you not, the biggest most disgusting ball of mucus i have ever seen managed to exit my right nostril about 30 minutes after i got back from the pharmacy.  it was green, streaked with blood, firm in the middle, and the size of a quarter in diameter.  so i started taking the antibiotic, until a family member tipped me off that this antibiotic wasn’t strong enough for a sinus infection.   after two days of taking it with no improvement other than the fever going away, i practically had to beg my primary care to switch the antibiotic.  she finally agreed, and it has literally taken an additional 4 days to feel human again.  everything that comes out of my face is green.  with that, i will just reiterate that daycare germs are super germs.

i’m sure the world wide web isn’t all that concerned with what’s going on with my health, but on the off chance that someone is, there you have it, folks.

just like that… i quit.

pumping… it’s over {well to feed brian at least, i’m still removing milk to try to avoid mastitis as i wean}.  this is a hard post for me to write.  my breastfeeding journey was full of highs and lows.  obviously, most recently lows.

brain did not latch initially and needed his tongue clipped.  after we got that taken care of {when he was 2 weeks old} i got mastitis.  i was going to try to get him back to breast, but the mastitis did me in.  it was all i could do to even pump during that time.  i definitely couldn’t handle a {h}angry fussy baby on top of feeling like death between mastitis and zero sleep.

eventually i got into a routine with pumping and taking care of brian.  i consistently overproduced, but i wasn’t too upset because i could stash the extra away for a rainy day.  however, pumping around the clock got old once brian started sleeping through the night.  my last pump of the day was around 10 pm, and i was {still am} always up to pump no later than 5:45 am.  usually my body would wake me up before, but i’d make myself wait it out in hopes that it would eventually regulate.  no such luck.  i would consistently pump 15-17 oz in the morning, and 7-11 oz throughout the day.  that’s just ridiculous.

there was one stressful period in june when my boobs wouldn’t let down.  it lasted for a week.  after that, my let down reflex was phenomenal.

on august 12th, brian started getting green poop that smelled like vinegar.  a couple of days later, he started cutting another tooth so i was hopeful this was related to teeth.  however, the poop continued on so i finally took him to the pediatrician.  since dr. google informed me that the weird poop could be related to lactose overload, i brought a bottle i recently pumped to our visit.  the nurse practitioner we saw is also a lactation consultant, and she instantly said the milk looked a little green and appeared to be mostly foremilk.  so i went back to fully emptying to try to balance things out, but the next evening my supply tanked.  the following morning i wouldn’t let down, and that’s when i threw in the towel.  brian is now getting milk from my frozen stash – we started with april and may when i know the milk was better quality.  he has already gained 4 ounces from Wednesday… the prior 10 days, he barely gained an ounce.  worst.  mom.  ever.  fail.

naturally, i’m second guessing when my supply deteriorated and worry about feeding him anything from the last month or so.  i have an email out to the lactation consultant at his pediatrician to get her opinion and thoughts on maybe switching to feeding 1/2 breastmilk, 1/2 formula from now on.  more to come.

pumping was a lot of work, it came with a lot of sacrifices for me.  my goal was to make it {no set amount of time, just make it}, and i did.  for 4 months.  i never thought i’d stop this abruptly, but i don’t trust my body any more.  i’m done.  i’ve read that PCOS can cause oversupply, or maybe it was because i exclusively pumped.  of course i want an explanation, but i really just want to put this behind me and continue on with a healthy baby.  this has been hard, but i’m trying to focus on the positives with brian.  i just hate to think he wasn’t getting all that he needed, breaks my heart.

crazy things are happening

well, i’m 8 weeks postpartum, and bleeding still hasn’t ceased.  i had about 3 days last week with little to no blood, then on sunday bleeding returned.  but this time, it was a darker blood, almost resembling my period.  it stained one pantiliner, then took a break.  so yesterday i followed up with the OB since bleeding still hasn’t stopped and i still feel as though something is “stuck” down below.  the pelvic exam went well, but my OB ordered an ultrasound just to make sure there’s nothing hiding out in my uterus.  ultrasound will take place next week with my colposcopy.  then this morning, the dark blood is back, and there’s more of it.  if it’s not my period, i don’t know what it is, but guess i’ll know for sure in a few more days and then again in a month or so.  i feel ripped off – lactating women usually don’t see the return of their menstrual cycle for 6 months or so after delivering.  i wonder if stupid PCOS is to blame.  so much for hoping my body would “reset” after having a baby and be normal.  oh well.

in other news, the babe has slept through the night the past two nights.  sunday was such a horrible day {poopy blow out on hubby during our first visit back to church, little rifts with the hubs, bleeding again, fussy baby not sticking to my “schedule,” body image issues, and the list goes on}, by the end of the day i was convinced i was depressed.  we fed the baby much earlier than usual, and then we went to bed {me feeling very defeated}.  the next thing i know, i hear a few whimpers over the monitor, i feel like my boobs are going to explode, then i check the clock to see that it’s 4:45 am!  brian went from 9:30 pm to 5 am between feedings sunday night.  after such a horrible day on sunday, i viewed this as a glimmer of hope, but fully expected brian to revert to his old feeding schedule with an overnight feed the next day.  last night we fed him at 10 pm, and he lasted until 6:15 am this morning.  i sure hope the trend continues – it would be just in time for my birthday next week :)  he hasn’t been napping well recently, but is today, so i have no idea what to expect.  brian’s schedule change has definitely rearranged my day a little, but i’d rather get 6 hours of consecutive sleep at night and figure out the day time stuff as it comes.

in my google searching for “breastfeeding period returning PCOS”, i did run across a few sites that say when baby starts sleeping longer at night and the breasts aren’t emptied, the menstrual cycle can return.  so maybe the two are related?

a visit to the {in}fertility clinic

i brought baby brian to dr. w’s office today for a quick visit.  and quick it was.  we chatted with nurse denise the most, spoke to dr. w for maybe three minutes, and nurse mary for even less time.  it was good to see them now that i’m on the other side, and they seemed to enjoy seeing the result of their work.  nurse mary and dr. w both immediately said that brian looks like hubby.  if several friends didn’t already mention this, i would think they were coached to say that to make IVF patients feel confident with IVF {i’m having a harder and harder time determining who brian looks like, although i did think hubby at first}.

today provided a sense of closure for me.  last night i gathered up some leftover {but new} fertility medicine that i didn’t need so i could donate it to the practice {the staff uses medication like this to help patients whose insurance may not cover fertility drugs}.  i also threw away my old sharps container and almost empty vials of progesterone in oil and lupron.  then today, i walked in dr. w’s office as a parent instead of multi-year patient.  even if i need treatment to conceive a future child {if i can forget about how hard the first two weeks of brian’s life were and dare to embark again}, i will already be a mommy.  something about that reality just changes things.  beyond the mental closure, there was a physical sense of closure for me too.  the office was undergoing renovations when i was sent back to my OB last fall, and it looked totally different now.  it was not the place i was accustomed to.  if i do need treatment in the future, i’ll be walking into a “new” clinic with less reminders about all that went wrong {or not my way} in the years leading to brian.

finally, i hoped to ask dr. w’s thoughts on birth control as i have my postpartum appointment with my OB next week and know birth control will come up, but i didn’t have the opportunity to do this is our three minute conversation.  i have two thoughts: 1) birth control just seems wrong after all i’ve been through to have brian, and 2) i’m not sure hormonal birth control is the right option since i have PCOS.  on one hand, it would help prevents cysts, but on the other, it may aid the mess that my hormones are with PCOS.  apparently there is a small window when my cycles will be normal after weaning, and i may want to capitalize on this to try to conceive naturally.  seems like i should not use hormonal birth control then.  anyway, i ended up sending dr. w an email with my question, so i hope he replies.

that’s all for now.  i hope to blog about my postpartum recovery soon.

baby brian

baby brian arrived on monday, april 6th at 8:38 pm.  he weighed 7 lb 2 oz and was 20 in long {thank you Jesus that low papp-a turned out not to be an issue for us}.  we think he looks like hubby, and he’s absolutely precious.  it’s hard to believe he’s ours.  he does have a sacral dimple, which could impact his leg development {crawling, walking}, but for now all we can do is pray and continue our faith journey.

there’s so much i want to write about… my labor, his birth, and his first few weeks of life.  time seems to be limited now, so i’m sure this post will be in draft mode for a while {maybe i’ll get to finish it up during all of the frequent feedings}.


let’s start with labor

we arrived at the hospital at 7 pm on Easter sunday {when i was 38 weeks 6 days pregnant}.  i needed cervidil to help further soften the cervix as the most progress i made on my own in that department was 85% effaced, 1.5 cm dilated, and -2 fetal station.  baby brian appeared to be quite comfy in there because at 37 weeks i was 70% effaced, 1cm dilated, and -2 fetal station.  sunday was the easy part.  the doctor on call inserted a “tampon” like device containing this medicine right up against my cervix.  i had to lay for 2 hours as the medicine started to take effect {kind of a challenge for a full-term pregnant lady who pees a lot}.  after my two hours were up {around 11 pm}, i got up to pee and get ready for bed.  then i received a sleeping pill that was horribly ineffective at putting me to sleep.  i asked the sweet nurse what we could do about that, and she recommended adding a pain med she was authorized to give me.  that one definitely helped with sleep, but i needed two doses to make it through the night.

the next morning, the nurse removed the cervix softening medicine, unhooked me from the fetal monitors, and let me get up to shower.  then it was time for pitocin.

the same doctor on call checked me the next morning and i was either 2-2.5 cm dilated {can’t remember}.  she was ready to break my water, but i panicked {i counted on progressing a bit more and having the epidural so i didn’t feel a thing}.  by that time, it was shift change time and i learned that my OB was on call that day and should get to deliver brian!  he was supposed to be on vacation, but was sick the previous week and apparently took someone else’s shift to repay them for covering for him.  this obviously worked out very well for me, so i wasn’t complaining.

i saw my doctor briefly, but then he got whisked away to a c-section.  both doctors left orders that i could have an epidural whenever i wanted {guess they weren’t concerned about slowing down labor since they could just kick up my dose of pitocin}.  i decided i was ready for it, but had to wait for the anesthesiologist to finish the c-section and start one other person’s epidural.

eventually it was my turn.  i expected that inserting the epidural would hurt, but it was a breeze.  the anesthesiologist was a woman who had two epidurals before, so it was great to have her talk me through the process.  and thankfully my epidural was perfect.  i could feel the tightening of my uterus with contractions, pressure when it was time to push, but no pain.  the only real side effect i experienced was that my legs were super warm to the touch.

a bit later my doctor stopped by to break my water.  all i have to say is gross.  there sure was a lot of amniotic fluid.  and it kept dribbling out until i gave birth.

from that point i would get occasional cervix checks between naps.  the rest was definitely a good idea since delivery and the first week of a baby’s life are no joke.  i did snack on ice chips and an orange popsicle before things got super serious.  the closer i got to pushing, i started getting the body shakes.  apparently that is normal.

of course my family was blowing up our phones as i labored all day.  they wanted very detailed updates, but hubby did a good job of sticking to sharing the minimum amount of info possible.  at one point my dad offered to “relieve” hubby and come sit with me.  what part about the fact that i’m naked under a hospital gown, leaking amniotic fluid, in labor, getting a hand stuffed inside my lady parts every so often and not wanting anyone other than hubby around do they not understand?  leave me alone people!!

the last thing i’ll say about labor was that the day time nurse the day i was induced was terrible.  and i had to deal with her from 7 am to 7 pm.  i had to remind her when it was time for medicine {seriously, who is the nurse?}.  my IV alarm went off several times and it took her forever to show up to fix it.  really, it took her forever to do anything.  one time i heard the baby’s heart rate dip after a contraction.  she was in the room so i asked her if she heard it too.  she replied with the typical “it’s common for the baby’s heart rate to drop during a contraction” response, to which I played dumb and replied “was that during a contraction?” {knowing that it wasn’t}.  she then decided i should change positions in bed.  it was her first day back from maternity leave with twins, so i’m sure she was distracted, but she was really awful.


delivery

my doctor checked me maybe around 6:30 pm.  i made significant progress, but his instructions were to let me “labor down” and get through shift change at 7 pm {part of me would like to think he knew how terrible that crappy l&d nurse was and he didn’t want to deal with her either}.  however, the constant pressure and urge to push kicked in a few minutes before 7 pm.  i called the bad nurse to my room and she talked me through how pushing should go.  we may have done a practice push or two, it’s all kind of a blur now.  the heart rate dropping incident happened right around this time and i lost it.  i didn’t trust her one bit and needed a second set of eyes on the situation.  luckily a good friend who works in postpartum was just finishing up her shift.  i texted her and told her i was about to lose my stuff and needed a good nurse.  she was so sweet and came over right away, stayed for a few pushes, and ended up staying for the delivery {it sure was nice to have another helper holding a leg}.

anyway, after shift change, the sweetest l&d nurse i could possibly imagine came in.  we started pushing more seriously around 7:15 pm.  my doctor wasn’t in the room yet, but apparently they don’t come in until right before the baby is going to pop out.  i had several good pushes, everyone could see hair!  but i did the typical ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ thing with my first few pushes.

eventually my doctor stopped by to check on my progress and watch a few pushes.  he ended up staying and helping coach through delivery.  i’ve said it before, but my OB is seriously the nicest and most patient doctor on the planet.  i’m so thankful he was there to deliver brian.

after pushing for about an hour and twenty minutes total, baby brian entered the world!  when the doctor held him up and put him on my chest, hubby and i were shocked at how big he was!  he then proceeded to wail for literally two hours as we did skin to skin and tried to get him to nurse, all while the doctor was delivering the placenta and stitching me up {somehow i managed to only land a 1st degree tear}.  finally a lactation consultant came in the room – she tried latching brian and spent what felt like an eternity talking about skin to skin and everything under the sun.  i finally lost it.  as my baby was screaming, my tears just started flowing.  i was exhausted and felt utterly helpless at being a mom.  at that point i think the lactation consultant finally got it – she just needed to feed my baby.  so she spent probably the next hour hand expressing colostrum into a medicine cup and feeding it back to brian with a feeding spoon.  not what i pictured his first feeding to look like.

brian then got his footprints made, weighed, and received his first bath while my l&d nurse helped me get up to pee and clean up.



postpartum

we finally got to our postpartum room around 12:30 am following delivery.  our sweet night nurse did a quick check of me and baby, then my parents {who had been camping out in the waiting room for quite some time} came to meet the baby.

my good friend works in postpartum and set us up with an awesome room with a view of uptown {where we used to live} and great nurses.  but the next day and a half are a blur in my memory.  every single muscle in my body hurt from delivering {back, abdomen, neck, arms, calves – you name it}.  i don’t think i slept more than 4-5 hours total while at the hospital.  there was always someone in and out of the room – doctors, nurses, lactation, housekeeping, nutrition, birth certificate, financial, photographer, etc.  after breakfast on the first day in postpartum i lost my appetite – it was a struggle to eat anything, and it stayed like that for the next 5-6 days.

feedings continued to be an issue for brian.  latching was hard {impossible without a nipple shield}, and i was instructed to pump and feeback after every nursing session to further stimulate my breasts since i have PCOS, which can sometimes cause an issue with milk supply.  i was frustrated, but lactation and our nurses kept encouraging us to put brian to breast.  he was peeing and pooping, so he must be getting something.

eventually we were discharged for the fun to continue at home.


life at home

the first week was rough.  i seriously thought my body was going to quit on me.  as i mentioned before, i couldn’t eat or sleep, and i was still so sore.  on top of it, brian was starving and feedings continued to be a challenge.  the first night home, he wanted to be attached to my boob for literally 3 hours.  my milk still hadn’t come in, and for my sanity we resorted to formula.  we went to the pediatrician the next day and discovered his tongue needed to be clipped, which is likely why he had a hard time latching.  he lost 9% of his birth weight at that point, jaundice was getting worse, and he was dehydrated {as evidenced by red crystals in his diapers}.  we all decided it was best for me to pump, feed back whatever i got, and then supplement with formula until my supply was established.

i’m happy to report that mother’s milk tea helped with supply, so now brian is drinking all breastmilk.  but i’m still pumping.  i had an outpatient appointment with the lactation consultants at the hospital where i delivered, and they wanted me to latch first, then pump, then feed back the remainder.  that took feeding times from 30-45 minutes to 1.5 hours+ and i quickly decided that’s not for me.  i know that eventually  he won’t eat every 3 hours, so i won’t be connected to my pump all day long.  we still had his frenulum clipped as it can impact speech development, which would require general anesthesia later vs. a quick clip now.

sleep has improved greatly, although i still wish there was more of it.  hubby is back at work, so daytime naps are impossible as i’m always either pumping or feeding or cleaning bottles or doing laundry.

seems as though i’ve developed mastitis today, so that’s lovely.  really, i feel horrible – sore boob, red boob, fever, the whole 9 yards.  my OB prescribed an antibiotic, and i’m praying it works quickly.



family

what made the first week even harder is that my mom and dad would not leave me alone.  i got constant texts {most of which i didn’t reply to – heck i didn’t reply to anyone} and requests for them to come visit with more family members {which i had to turn down}.  no one seemed to understand that i literally felt like i was going to pass out all day long – no sleep, no food, and wacky prescription drugs will do that to a person.  they all thought i was crazy i’m sure, but i really couldn’t take care of myself, so didn’t want to deal with anyone else.

well, that was quite the lengthy update.  who knows how long it will be before i blog again.  thank you to all who have provided support throughout my {in}fertility journey.  and thank you Lord, for my beautiful baby boy.

3rd trimester – week 34

yet another week has passed, and we’re 5 weeks 1 day until full term.  crazy.  especially since i don’t look like it {i’ll get to my complex in a bit}.  as always, this week was busy.  here are the highlights:

  1. i had my first NST this week, and it went well.  little boy was pretty active.  the nurse walked in and said “holy happy baby” after he’d only been on the monitor for 10-15 minutes.
  2. i finished all of my thank you cards from the baby shower, which i felt like i needed to do before i could continue to focus on prepping for our boy.  i knew that once i mixed up all the gifts, it might be harder to identify who gave what as i tried to write thank you notes.
  3. i took a half day off work on thursday afternoon, and my mother-in-law and i went to a big consignment sale.  my goal was to score an exersaucer and an infant play mat.  i met my goal and then some {with a few cute little boy outfits}, but i’m not sure i’m thrilled with the infant play mat.  it’s missing some of the toys that hang down and make it fun.

this weekend was supposed to be 100% dedicated to baby preparations.  we did a lot of things for bitty, but of course, i didn’t get as much as i hoped accomplished.  his first load of laundry is going now {you have no idea how hard it was for me to start taking tags off to start washing little teeny clothes}.  hubby just installed bitty’s car seat, maybe we can get it inspected next weekend.  i bought a few nursing friendly bras/tops so that i can start packing my hospital bag.  speaking of nursing, hubby and i took a breastfeeding basics class at the hospital on saturday morning.  i’m glad we did.  it was very informative.  in fact, so informative that i learned my PCOS diagnosis will haunt me for life.  as if getting pregnant were not hard enough, apparently women with polycystic ovaries have a harder time establishing their milk supply.  awesome.  and apparently if your breasts haven’t grown that much throughout pregnancy {yeah, that’s me… well nothing’s really grown that much}, that can also be a bad sign.  really awesome.  oh, and flat nipples aren’t the best for breastfeeding either.  think i have those as well.  really super awesome.  one day at a time.

here’s my update for week 34:

  • weight gain: are you ready for this?  minus 1 lb.  i had to do a double take.  kind of concerning.  my doctor didn’t seem too worried as long as it doesn’t become a trend.  surely i still have normal “water weight” fluctuations right?  i just find it hard to believe that over a two week period i lost a pound while growing a baby.  if i gain a pound a week until full term, then i will gain a total of approximately 20 lbs.  seems easier for the post-baby weight loss aspect, but still doesn’t seem right.
  • food aversions: i should stop putting this category here.  there are certain things i don’t love, but that was the case before i was pregnant.
  • food cravings: starbucks’ strawberry banana smoothie {they tried to slip one past me and not put a banana in it this week.  you really think a pregnant girl won’t notice that?}.  walnut chocolate chip cookies {from just fresh}.  fun fruit like kiwis and strawberries.
  • symptoms: here are some new ones: wetting myself ever so slightly while sneezing, waking up several times a night/not sleeping well {takes being sleepy to a whole new level}, real bad pregnancy brain {we almost stood some friends up for brunch today – oops}.  ones i haven’t mentioned in a while: charlie horses in my calf muscles {yikes}, tight belly skin.  otherwise the same ones: indigestion/reflux {although i don’t think it’s caused by dairy – maybe it’s just caused by pregnancy}, constipation, pregnancy gingivitis, rib pain, occasional pressure/tightening, shortness of breath.
  • emotions: anxious, excited, afraid.
  • baby bump: according to the universe, too small for 34 weeks.  my OB also skipped the measurement this week.  please keep growing, little boy.
  • movement: presses {that seem to be getting stronger}, lots of stirring, lots of baby hiccups.
  • stretch marks: still the left breast.

i have an ultrasound with the high risk doctor on tuesday to check in on the baby’s growth.  he is now just monitoring to make sure low papp-a doesn’t cause growth restriction.  since my belly seems to be a bit on the tiny side, i’m a little anxious for this appointment.  but really, what am i not anxious about?  also, if bitty is still breech/transverse, my OB will likely go ahead and schedule a c-section for 39 weeks.

for now, i’m grateful for how far we’ve come.  i keep praying Jeremiah 32:17.  God is mighty, so i’m going to focus on not worrying this week.

{in}fertility changes you

i feel more self-centered after the septate uterus and PCOS diagnoses, an early and drawn out loss, multiple months of fertility treatment, and IVF. and now that i’m currently experiencing a “high risk” pregnancy, i think the self-centeredness is worse. i can’t celebrate friends’ pregnancy announcements {with the exception of one or two ladies}. i wait until the last minute to RSVP to others’ baby showers. i don’t reach out to my sister-in-law who is expecting a little boy in march. not to mention, i delay making preparations for our little boy like registering, buying furniture, and painting his room. he doesn’t have a name yet, he’s still just “bitty.” i’m even hesitant to send out our 2014 Christmas card including one of our pregnancy announcement photos. i only think about me and how i can lessen the sorrow and pain should something happen to our sweet boy. i am selfish.

i always assumed that once we got pregnant, life would be grand. there would be no more pain and worry. i was wrong. i struggle every day to not live in fear. what if the low papp-a causes growth restriction? what if i get preeclampsia? what if my misshapen, repaired uterus gives up early? what if our ICSI and IVF baby has a heart defect like that 1% statistic? what if?

we are high risk. we have a few ugly statistics. God is mighty, but why are we worthy of a healthy pregnancy? why didn’t He heal my friend’s friend’s little girl? why did He let one of my other friend’s friend’s triplets die? why should everything turn out fine for us?

every step i take in this pregnancy like buying maternity clothes, finally announcing our expected boy, and ordering those Christmas cards, i confer with hubby on whether or not i would be jinxing us and bitty. i always rationalize, “if we can just make it to this appointment, through this test result, or to X number of weeks, i will relax.” but when we reach whatever the current milestone is, the bar moves one step further. ugh.

i just want to celebrate. i’ve thought about it and read this before: that making plans for a long awaited child is placing faith and trust in God. i don’t know how the story will continue to unfold. i don’t know what tomorrow or any day between now and april holds. at some point i have to turn my fears into faith. every day, multiple times a day, i recite and pray Jeremiah 32:17.

i’ve made some progress over the last week. i finally mailed those Christmas cards that were addressed, stamped, and ready to go for 5 days. and today, i bought the crib we’ve been eyeing while it was $200 off and i had pottery barn rewards. that’s about it, but it’s progress. i’m starting to lose track of a few registry wants, so maybe i’ll finally start working on one.

in other news, here is the 21 week bump. it looked much bigger in person, the black dress camouflaged it a bit. please keep growing, little boy!

IMG_0429-0.JPG

CVS update & other ramblings

we got the rest of our results from the CVS.  thankfully, all of bitty’s chromosomes look great {praise the Lord}.  now we’ll just have some extra monitoring to keep a close eye on things.  i’m not exactly sure what this will entail, but i’ll ask the high risk doctor when we go back on halloween.  that appointment is really for my first cervix check since i had/may still have a septate uterus.

this week i get to go to my regular OB for the glucose test and a heart rate check.  i’m not at all thrilled about drinking 50 grams of sugar in orange syrup form {especially because i still don’t like most sweets}, but given my history of PCOS, the high risk doctor prescribed an early test.  hopefully i can get the beverage down in the allotted 5 minutes.  i should also mention that i’m not allowed to have my usual carby breakfast that morning.  carbs can interfere with the test, so i’m stuck with sausage patties.

call me crazy, but i felt the need to purchase my own doppler.  my very own sonoline B arrived today.  it took us a second to find bitty {only because the baby was much lower than i expected}, but we eventually did.  the doppler isn’t the most accurate with the heart rate number it displays {hubby counted beats to double check}, but it accomplished the goal of allowing us to hear bitty’s heart.

our friend, who is also a talented photographer, came over this morning to take photos for our pregnancy announcement/gender reveal.  once they’re ready i will share them here {and on FB}.  think i may also go public with the blog then.  it stresses me out, but this part of my life journey is a part of my story and testimony.  not to mention, i hate how no one talks about infertility.  it’s a rotten place to be in.  my hope is that this blog can either help someone else or at least educate others.