it’s been a while…

i do not actively blog any more.  my passion sort of fizzled after having brian.  also, i went through a lot of muck trying to conceive again last year and just didn’t feel like i had a lot of positivity and encouragement to share.  however, if someone happens to stumble upon this blog, especially for support through infertility, loss, or a difficult pregnancy, i’d like them to know how things turned out for me.  so here goes my update.

most of 2016 was hard for me.  i do not want to rehash my infertility woes in this post, but see immediately proceeding posts to read about the muck.  i was not in a good place.  hubby and i {mostly i} decided it was time to move to a new fertility clinic.  the one we used to get pregnant with brian operates more like a business than a medical facility with the goal of trying to help couples build a family.  i couldn’t take the nickel and diming any more – after having lots of bad luck and feeling like my doctor {and the other doctors and nurses} really didn’t care about me, i could not keep forking over thousands of dollars for fees not billable to insurance.  we had things all ready to move to a new, smaller clinic that was establishing a presence in town.  in the meantime, we had one last ovulation induction cycle at our {soon to be} former clinic as a trial to see if we could transfer a frozen embryo on that type of cycle vs. a classic FET cycle since i kept having allergic reactions to something in the FET protocol.

so, i took letrozole and used gonal-f, triggered with ovidrel, and just had sex.  i couldn’t even bring myself to pay the extra $160 non-billable fee for an IUI.  besides, i knew this drill… we did this type of cycle several times before moving to IVF to conceive brian, and it. just. doesn’t. work.  at least not for me.

well, surprise!!  as sure as i was that my period was coming – sore boobs, cramps before menstruation – we actually got pregnant!  10 days after triggering, something possessed me to pee on a stick, and there were two lines.  hubby didn’t want me to call the clinic that day.  we’ve had so many chemicals, why bother.  a dear friend who had been walking most of the struggle with me last year encouraged me to call anyway.  i did, had my first beta draw that day, and my hcg was 11.  my estrogen and progesterone were also pretty low.  whomp whomp.  nurse denise kindly told me not to expect this to turn into a viable pregnancy.  that was a wednesday.  she told me to double my progesterone suppositories and originally told me to come in the next monday for repeat labs, but then said she would feel better if i came friday.  i actually got a call the next morning saying that dr. wing wanted to check my levels that day (thursday), so that if everything went up, he could administer intralipids that friday.  {side note: intralipids are sort of a controversial treatment – in theory, this IV administration of fat and proteins is supposed to keep your immune system from going crazy and attacking the embryo.}  surprisingly, my hcg, estrogen, and progesterone all experienced a decent increase the next day.  for the next 3-4 weeks, i had a lot of blood draws to keep tabs on hormone levels and a lot of intralipids.  eventually, we had our first ultrasound and saw one tiny little baby, measuring perfectly on track with a strong heart beat.  i still can’t believe it… i got pregnant by having sex {yes, with letrozole and gonal-f too.  but sex.  and no FET}.  this was definitely healing for me.

my pregnancy was scary, and we were high risk… again.  sigh.  i had a bleeding scare at 11 weeks.  my OB’s nurse had me come in for an ultrasound.  i knew it was a bad sign when the tech left the wand in my vagina and walked out of the room to get the doctor on call.  their assessment, a damage to the lining of my uterus that could cause a miscarriage.  i was immediately sent to the high risk doctor {i was supposed to see them the next day anyway for my initial appointment and NT scan}.  turns out my OB’s office just had crappy equipment and the “damage” to my lining was actually a blood vessel that they couldn’t pick up the blood flow on.  my time at the high risk doctor was supposed to end after making sure the repaired separate uterus didn’t compromise the integrity of my cervix, but by that point i had been diagnosed with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), so i had appointments with the high risk doctor for the remainder of the pregnancy.  ICP is a liver issue that can happen during pregnancy.  my liver was too busy trying to process high levels of estrogen and progesterone that it couldn’t keep up with processing bile, so bile acids spilled to my bloodstream.  this is super, super dangerous for the fetus, like causes stillbirth dangerous.  believe it or not, my OB did not want to diagnose me as having cholestasis despite lab results to prove it.  he was acting under one of the four high risk physicians who has a wildly different idea of what constitutes ICP.  so, at 20 weeks pregnant, i set out to find myself a new OB.  the new OB listened to me, explained what he knew about ICP, and treated me for it.  this OB is still in the same hospital network and had to work with the same high risk physicians, but he consulted with a different doctor at the high risk practice who agreed that i should be treated.  the most important treatment for ICP is early delivery, and for me, that meant 36w4d.  there was a lot of swirl leading up to my induction date.  apparently the high risk physicians said the baby couldn’t be born before 37 weeks unless i had an amniocentesis to prove lung maturity, even though my new OB had been telling me all along that delivery needed to happen at 36 weeks.  my OB continued to keep tabs on my bile acid levels during weeks 35 and 36, and they continued to rise.  he decided it was best to stick with the original plan for induction at 36w4d.

so, on june 14th, i reported to L&D at 7:30 PM for cervadil.  my nurse told me it would cause strong period-like cramps in my low abdomen and back.  when i was induced with brian, cervadil was a nonevent, i was expecting it to be the same this time.  well, an hour into it, the cramps appeared just as described.  they lasted throughout the night, and IV pain meds were not touching them.  at 4:45 AM on june 15th, i paged the nurse begging for more pain meds.  she said no, that the cervadil could be removed and i could get an epidural and they would start pitocin.  one problem, there were two people ahead of me for an epidural, and one of them was a c-section.  at some point in conversation, it came out that the cramps i was having were actually contractions, but they were not regular, so i guess my nurse didn’t take them seriously.  shortly after 5 AM, my nurse removed the cervadil and checked my cervix, it was only 2 centimeters.  i got up to wash my face and brush my teeth in preparation for the epidural – i knew i would be stuck in bed after that.  i was still in excruciating pain, and the epidural was taking forever to show up.  at 5:30 AM, i got up to pee.  after i was done urinating, i felt liquid running down my leg.  i knew i was not peeing on myself.  besides, who pees down the side of their leg while on the toilet?  that seems almost impossible.  i wiped up some of the liquid with toilet paper, it was tinged pink.  i yelled into our room for hubby to call the nurse {i did have to yell as he was still snoozing}.  she causally shows up 10 minutes later to confirm it was indeed my water breaking.  at this point i think i’m dying through contractions.  my nurse still didn’t take me seriously, she said they will hurt worse now because there is no water to cushion the blow.  she didn’t check my cervix again.  she leaves the room, and my only pain coping mechanisms were squeezing hubby’s hand off and swearing like a sailor.  around 6 AM (i don’t know what time exactly as it was all a total blur at this point), my crappy nurse returns and barks for me to get on my side.  apparently the baby’s heart rate was dropping during my contractions.  i was ordered to breathe too.  i told her i couldn’t and that i needed oxygen.  the oxygen didn’t make a difference, but i wore the mask anyway.  at some point i demanded she find a doctor or an anesthesiologist because i knew my pain was not normal.  she snickered at me and asked why.  she still didn’t check my cervix.  she at least stayed in the room to monitor the baby.  finally, around 6:15 or so, i told her something was coming out of me.  she asked if it felt like i had to poop.  the answer was yes.  i was still on my side and she asked to look between my legs.  she immediately told me to keep my legs closed and paged for everyone to show up – extra nurses, a baby nurse, a NICU nurse, a doctor, and a table of instruments for the doctor.  yeah, turns out i was in transition after my water broke, and my inexperienced nurse still didn’t pick up on that.  the doctor on call from my OB’s practice was in the OR with the long awaited anesthesiologist finishing up a c-section.  so, the OB on staff at the hospital had to be found.  she walked in, and several nurses helped me turn to my back because i was in too much pain to do it myself.  they put my knees/legs in the stirrups, i pushed one and half times, and baby austin entered the world at 6:24 AM {along with a giant gush of amniotic fluid, might i add… so the nurse’s explanation about less amniotic fluid to cushion the contractions was not entirely valid}.  the OB on call from my OB’s practice walked in to deliver the placenta.  my OB showed up an hour and a half later – still in shock from delivering without an epidural, i was super snarky and told him he missed the whole thing, that delivery did not go as planned, and that i did not have an epidural as planned.  i can say that recovery after this birth was much easier and quicker than with brian.  austin basically birthed himself, and i had way less drugs and pain meds, which had to be helpful. 

i struggled a lot, emotionally, throughout this pregnancy and am still struggling postpartum.  i spent the first 18 weeks in denial that i was actually pregnant and that another baby would be joining our family.  i also hid the news from most of my friends.  once i finally started to share about being pregnant, i was diagnosed with ICP, and spent the next 16 weeks living in constant worry.  now that the baby is here, we’ve had a lot of challenges with feeding.  breastfeeding was not going well because austin was too sleepy to eat, then he was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy, leading to my decision to wean.  a couple of weeks later, his intestines still seem to be a hot mess, and i’m regretting my decision to wean.  i have a few other health challenges that i’m trying to sort through – following up with the GI to make sure my gallbladder and liver are fine/healing post ICP, a small hole in my left retina, i’m overdue for a filling, and i’m trying to avoid a D&E for retained products {again}.  while none of this is life threatening, the combination of all of these issues plus a fussy newborn and a toddler in the terrible twos has almost sent me over the edge.  

to be totally honest, i’m still struggling with these challenges in the context of my faith.  i didn’t get pregnant when i wanted.  when i finally did, i had a scary condition, despite praying that my pregnancy would be free of complications.  i also prayed the entire time that i would be able to breastfeed, and that didn’t pan out either.  i definitely feel removed from God.  i know my expectations are probably too high in terms of living problem free, i am a perfectionist after all.  the Bible promises that we will have trials in this life, and it tells me i should rejoice through all seasons.  i know a lot of women are still waiting to become a mom, and would take small health challenges and formula any day to achieve motherhood… so, i guess i need to be grateful.

i’ll close by adding some of the verses that carried me through pregnancy with austin. to all those who are still suffering through infertility, loss, or a high risk pregnancy… keep running the race and keeping the faith. 

and the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed  {Deuteronomy 31:8}

have I not commanded you? be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go  {Joshua 1:9}

fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand  {Isaiah 41:10}

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3rd trimester – week 35 so far

our 35 week ultrasound went well.  bitty boy measured in the 58th percentile, which was great news.  he was asleep the whole time and didn’t want to show us his face {despite the ultrasound tech’s attempt to wake him up by hitting my belly repeatedly with the ultrasound wand.  really, lady?}.  the biggest surprise of the appointment was that we learned he is head down now!  i’m still shocked since he had been transverse for 2 months, presumably due to having a uterus with more space horizontally than vertically {the byproduct of having a repaired septate uterus}.  honestly, i wasn’t mentally prepared to hear he is head down.  it took a while to get used to the idea that he would likely arrive via c-section, but i managed to get there by thinking of the benefits like having a scheduled date and avoiding rips.  i’d rather have a vaginal delivery, but the fear of the unknown {when will i go into labor, will my water break, who will be on call} is definitely getting the best of me.  but really, we are likely several weeks away from d-day, and let’s face it, i can plan as much as I want, but just because i have a plan doesn’t mean that’s how it will go.

the day after my appointment with the high risk doctor, i had a follow up with my OB.  he seemed perplexed by my extremely low papp-a level, but healthy looking baby.  he told me he called the high risk doctor.  the appointment was very informative as he shared their plans for me and bitty over the next several weeks.  i will have weekly NSTs for the next 3 weeks.  {assuming nothing happens before}, i will be induced at 39 weeks if my cervix “shows favorability.”  if it doesn’t, i will have two NSTs during week 39.  and i’m not to pass my due date.  sounds good to me!  my OB also tested for group B strep this week, so i guess i’ll get the results next week.

i still have lots of baby prep to do – pack hospital bags, set up playard/bassinet, organize his room, buy diapers {that one is probably key}, get car seat inspected, and the list goes on.  hubby and i did take an infant CPR class this week.

here’s my update for week 35 so far:

  • weight gain: up 3 lbs for a total of 16.  is 3 lbs too much for one week?  let’s just say i didn’t deny myself nightly oreos and milk after last week’s 1 lb loss.  oops.
  • symptoms: i think i may never sleep well again.  here’s a new one, the bottom of my feet itch at bedtime {after i’ve showered and already covered them in lotion because i know they will itch}.  does this happen to anyone else?  also new, my ankles hurt.  maybe due to new flats?  and maybe i have slightly swollen feet, hard to tell.  indigestion, still.
  • emotions: disaster.  can i blame the hormones?  or maybe lack of sleep?  either way, just trying to pray through it all.
  • baby bump: i think it’s getting bigger.  maybe it’s those 3 lbs i gained over the course of the last week.
  • movement: lots of presses and baby hiccups.  the high risk doctor told me i should be kick counting, so i’ve started doing this when i’m at my desk during the day.
  • stretch marks: left boob.

in other news, brother and his wife had their baby this week.  it’s created quite the stir in my emotions.  so much so that it will get it’s own space on the blog and world wide web.  hopefully i can squeeze that post in soon as i need to get my thoughts out and “organized.”

23 week ultrasound & fetal echocardiogram

today we had a check in with the high risk doctor.  it was time for my next cervix check and fetal echocardiogram.  getting right down to business, our appointment went well.  and for that, i am so grateful.  thank you to anyone who said a prayer for us!

my cervix was nice and long still {despite my near daily mini panic attacks from the ever changing flow of cervical mucus}.  bitty boy measured right on track at 23 weeks 2 days.  my repaired septate uterus seems to be stretching enough with the baby, although he is breech since i have more room horizontally than vertically.  there’s still time for him to turn, so we shall see.  the echocardiogram went well.  the ultrasound tech and doctor looked at several parts of the heart: the atrium, ventricles, veins, the flow of blood, and probably more {i’m not well versed in anatomy}.  we did ask the doctor about the potential arrhythmia.  he doesn’t doubt that we heard a skipped beat or two, as it is quite common.  he said they see a lot of patients for irregular fetal heartbeats, some so strange they have the pediatric cardiologist come listen, but the majority of the time everything is ok.  apparently as the baby’s heart continues to develop, it can just have an irregular rhythm.

i loved the ultrasound tech today.  she was so sweet, very patient, and did a great job explaining everything she was looking at.  at the beginning of the appointment, she spent quite a bit of time to get us a good profile shot of our sweet boy.  she also gave us a 3D photo of his little face {hands down my favorite picture yet}.

overall, we’re very relieved that everything went well today.  i can’t ask for anything more at the present moment.  we go back again in 4 weeks.

below is our very first picture of our little boy in his petri dish on transfer day, followed by his sweet face at 23 weeks.  i am in awe of our Creator’s perfect design for His creation.

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{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!

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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.

faith over fear

it’s been a while since my last update.  a lot has happened, so here’s my attempt to concisely recap.

 

weaning – estrogen and progesterone

we survived.  praise the Lord.  guess my RE knows what he’s doing.  why i think i know better than him, i’m not sure.  well, not that i thought i knew better, but more that i second guessed him.

 

weaning – metformin

exhibit a, girl who is still second guessing her RE: i was supposed to stop taking metformin on wednesday (around 11.5 weeks).  cold turkey, might i add.  has that happened?  not quite.  i’m at least down to 500 mg instead of the typical 1,000.  a lot of {ok two} people i know who have PCOS and conceived while on metformin both took it through the first trimester.  apparently it decreases the chance of miscarriage.  the first trimester is 13 weeks, i’m 11.5.  would an extra week hurt?  seems like it would be fine.  so why didn’t my RE say stop at 13?  i put a call into my regular OB to see if he had an opinion.  i’m supposed to hear back on monday… think i’ll stick with my half dose until then.

 

first OB visit

my OB has to be the sweetest, most patient doctor on planet earth.  he was concerned about my bleeding spells {finally, a doctor who cares}, so he chose to forego the initial pap and vaginal screening until my next appointment.  instead he spent 5 minutves trying to pick up bitty baby’s heart on his doppler {at 10 weeks}.  he was brave for trying, but no luck.  so then he had me wrap up in a sheet so we could sneak in the ultrasound room for a quick peak.  he couldn’t find the tech, so he just rolled up his sleeves and went for the abdominal ultrasound himself.  he didn’t measure or check bitty’s heart rate, but he did make sure the heart was still beating and the baby was still wiggling.  at that, he sent me on my way for blood work and asked me to come back in two weeks.  he did say that if i needed to come every few days due to bleeding to get me through the first trimester, that it would be totally fine {dr. w could use a few pointers from my OB it seems}.  i did give a urine specimen while i was there.  turns out i have a UTI.  seriously?  i haven’t had one since taking a bubble bath at the age of 5.  i bet i got it on transfer day when i got cathed {2 months ago}.  gross.  google says not to worry though, shouldn’t harm baby.

 

first maternal-fetal visit

where to begin?  what an appointment full of mixed emotions.

here are the happy things: bitty baby measured on track at 11 weeks, 3 days, and its heart rate was 170 bpm.  looks like its spine formed appropriately.  the fluid pocket at the back of its neck did not indicate downs.  and my doctor’s 80% guess of gender was girl.  that’s 100 votes for girl, zero boy.  {hubs and i changed our gender forecast to girl after about the 3rd consecutive week of a heart rate above 170.}

here are the things that give me anxiety: not sure how they can tell, but looks like i have more bleeding to do.  at least i was warned.  and, it looks like i’ll be visiting the maternal fetal specialist for the long haul.  even though i had the septum in my uterus resected, and even though the MRI i had prior to that surgery said i did not have a bicornuate uterus, apparently my uterine cavity is somehow still divided.  the maternal fetal specialist clearly picked it up on his ultradound and thinks it’s a bicornuate uterus.  this means i’m at a higher risk for preterm labor and/or incompetent cervix.

 

faith over fear

as you can see, the worrying did  not end after weaning off hormone support at week 9, and it won’t end after weaning off metformin.  there’s something to fear every step of  the way… i could drive myself mad.  i think God has me right where he wants me.  that place where i have to daily {minute by minute} surrender my anxiety to Him and trust Him to work out the details.  He has a plan, both for me and for bitty baby.  He often doesn’t reveal His plan while you’re in the throws of it.  He simply asks for dependence and faith.  i trust Him to finish what He has started, and i trust Him to work all things together for His good and glory.

these verses help encourage me that God has a plan for both me and bitty.  He knew what He was doing when i was in my mother’s womb.  He knew the story i would come to tell through all of my {in}fertility struggles.  and He knows what He’s doing with bitty.

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me… for You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  i praise You because i am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, i know that full well.  my frame was not hidden from You when i was made in the secret place, when i was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.  {Psalm 139:1, 13-16}

bitty baby, the casper

i had my 4th ultrasound today.  after last week’s scare and ultrasound showing a lower heart rate, i had no idea what to expect. i had acupuncture last night, and my acupuncturist said the baby’s heart rate was good.  so i felt a little better going to today’s appointment.  i still didn’t sleep well last night {worry, i’m sure}, and i was extra armpit sweaty this morning {also worry}.

so getting to the juicy stuff, the ultrasound went well!  bitty baby measured 8 weeks, 1 day {dr. w said baby’s measurements can vary within a range of +/- 3 days}.  i could very clearly see bitty baby’s heart flickering away today.  dr. w zoomed in on the heart and turned on the audio, it was so loud today!  bitty baby’s heart rate was 174 beats per minute, which dr. w said was good!  perhaps bitty baby was taking a nap or just stressed out last week, causing the lower heart rate.  who knows.  dr. w spent quite a bit of time looking around, and at one point bitty baby moved one of its teeny arms.  it was absolutely the coolest thing i’ve ever seen.  dr. w also told me that he didn’t see any blood in my uterus like the doctor last week did {um, probably because it all came out}, which was good news!

early in the ultrasound, dr. w was pointing out the baby’s head, torso, limb buds.  i commented on how large the head was {apparently 1/2 of the baby is the head right now}.  then dr. w said that babies either look like casper {the friendly ghost} or tweety bird at this gestation.  dr. w said we have a casper.  ha!  i love it!

i have another appointment with my RE next week, and it could be the last {until baby #2 perhaps}.  if all goes well, dr. w will refer me to a maternal-fetal specialist {high risk doctor since this journey began with a septate uterus}, and he will send me back to my regular OB.  after a year and 9 months with dr. w, it will surely be bittersweet to say goodbye.  but i’m looking forward to no longer being an {in}fertility patient.  it’s also time to start weaning me off all the extra drugs {hormones}.  unknowingly, last night’s progesterone shot was the last for now.  thank goodness, because we had another oozing incident.  i had some choice words and not lady-like things to say about that last night.  ultimately, hubby and i made the decision to administer another 1/4 of a dose.  i will continue estrogen patches and crinone for now.  as much as i hate crinone, i’m thankful it’s sticking around for now so all progesterone support doesn’t stop cold turkey.

returning to the topic of acupuncture, my acupuncturist apparently has a 98% success rate of determining the gender of the baby around 10 weeks based on the “pulses” he feels.  last night, his initial assessment was… drumroll please… a girl!  say what?  hubby and i still think it’s a boy {although after today’s ultrasound showing a high heart rate, i could buy into the girl forecast}.  it’s fun to have guesses on both sides, i think it will make the gender reveal that much more exciting!  3 girlfriends have all told me their guess is girl.  one even told me about a dream she had {before we even had the transfer} where she and her husband were babysitting our daughter!  maybe bitty baby is a little lady.  who knows!!

finally, i’m either growing a baby bump.  or i’m super bloated from constipation.  or both.  my pre-IVF size was a zero, so not really conducive to concealing bumps for that long.  i may find myself investing in maternity pants soon.  i only own so many dresses, and i can’t really wear running shorts to work.  otherwise, my symptoms mostly consist of being tired, still disliking sweets {other than homemade chocolate milkshakes apparently}, mood swings, extreme thirst, and the occasional headache.

well, that’s all for now.  as always, thanks for your prayers and support.  a lot of people were praying for bitty baby over the past week, and i know it made a difference.  God hears our prayers, people!

my friend sent me this verse last week.  i like it, so i’m going to share it:

and the Lord, He is the One who goes before you.  He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed. {Deuteronomy 31:8}

uterus: the before and after

i was on the fence about sharing the x-ray results from my HSGs, but it’s part of the story, so here it goes:

option 1:

Before

this is my unaltered uterus, the uterus i was born with.  apparently when in utero, a girl fetus’ uterus starts as two separate cavities that eventually fuse together to form the uterus.  what you are looking at above is a uterus that never fully fused {see u-shaped dip in the middle}.  with this option, i was told that i had a 30-40% chance of recurrent miscarriage and only a 60-70% chance of live birth, almost assuredly with preterm complications.

option 2:

After

option 2 is the post-surgery view.  given no other complications {and there are, that’s what this blog is all about} my miscarriage rate becomes normal and drops to 10-15% and my delivery rate is expected to be that of the “general population.”  the only potential “complication” is the need for a c-section due to my uterus having more space horizontally vs. vertically, but i’d take this risk over the others any day!

waiting

as i mentioned here, i wouldn’t learn the results of my uterus surgery until roughly three months later.  the same test used to diagnosis the septum (a HSG) is the same test used to see if the procedure was successful, and it’s pretty invasive.  apparently all of the cutting and reshaping is not to be messed with for awhile.  i originally thought i only had to wait two months {interpreted from the wait time of two cycles}, but later learned that a cycle means one period to the next.  so one period – to the next period – to the next period, which is two cycles, is really more like three months.

i was {translation: made myself} miserable for those two cycles.  my reproductive organs were not cooperating with me {can you blame them? my uterus had been cut and reshaped after all}, and my periods were not normal.  due to my irregular cycles, the follow-up test got delayed.  because the test is invasive and involves radiation, it absolutely could not be performed if there was a chance i was pregnant.  i skipped a period right around the three month mark when i would be able to have the follow-up HSG.  so what does my RE do?  he tells me to wait.  i love to wait.  absolutely love it.  after several weeks of waiting, my RE orders a pregnancy test.  i was not pregnant {no surprise there, but sure wish i would’ve been}.  two weeks later, still no period.  so my RE ordered another pregnancy test and an ultrasound, which showed that i was nearing ovulation and indeed not pregnant.  i was finally able to schedule the HSG.

my RE’s office called with my HSG date, june 19th.  hubby was going to be out of town on business.  {not} awesome.  my RE is cool because he performs the HSG himself and does not outsource it to the local hospital, but this means that scheduling is probably not when you want it and you have to take what you can get.

i’m pretty sure i didn’t sleep the night before {at least not great}.  early that june morning i got back in the same awkward position {legs in the air and strapped into something that resembled giant ski boots, lying on the x-ray table}, waited for my RE to funnel some tools to my uterus and to inject dye, and voilà i’m looking at a monitor with real time results.  my first thought was ‘it looks slightly better, but not all the way, guess i’ll need round two of surgery.’ but then the dye kept filling up my uterus and suddenly i saw a picture that looked a heck of a lot better than the one i saw five months prior. after the test was complete, my RE spoke some of the best words i’ve heard in my life: ‘your uterus now looks normal.  if i didn’t know you had surgery, i would think you had a normal uterus.’  music to my ears.  pure music.

God heard my prayers about having children.  He let me know that we had to take care of a little anomaly first.  He worked through my doctor to heal me.  God is amazing.

i was on top of the world on june 19th {and for several weeks after}.  i was convinced nothing could ever bring me down.  God is so merciful and loving.  i was and still am so thankful that He allowed us to learn about this problem and fix it before it became a bigger problem.  i remember telling myself to hold on to this feeling and never let it flee.  i wanted to feel this joy every day.  the joy of knowing that my heavenly Father is there for me and cares for me.  the joy of knowing that He can and does heal.  i wanted to take this joy and hold on to it and never experience a trial again {or at least never feel like i was experiencing a trial again}.  but i’m human.  as time went on, my joy faded {especially as God allowed me to learn more about my reproductive system and allowed me to face more trials}.

the devotional jesus calling by sarah young pretty much got me through 2013 {in between awesome sermons and sunday school lessons}.  this daily devotion is written from the perspective of Jesus talking to you.  even as i write this post i find comfort looking back through this devotional and reading its perfect little nuggets.  here is the devotion for May 14:

I AM A MIGHTY GOD. Nothing is too difficult for Me. I have chosen to use weak ones like you to accomplish My purposes. Your weakness is designed to open you up to My Power. Therefore, do not fear your limitations or measure the days demands against your strength. What I require of you is to stay connected to Me, living in trusting dependence on My limitless resources. When you face unexpected demands, there is no need to panic. Remember that I am with you. Talk with Me, and listen while I talk you through each challenging situation.

I am not a careless God. When I allow difficulties to come into your life, I equip you fully to handle them. Relax in My Presence, trusting in My Strength.

Luke 1:37; 2 Corinthians 12:9

there are several reminders in this devotion that i love and i cling to: nothing is too difficult for God (Luke 1:37 appears again), talk with God, God allows trials but he also helps us through them.

for with God nothing will be impossible {Luke 1:37}

but he said to me, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” therefore i will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me {2 Corinthians 12:9}

how it all began

this is the story of how the journey started.  this journey began with a prayer.  a prayer for God to show me and the husband the right time to embark on the journey of parenthood.  not this past summer, but the summer before (maybe late july or early august), i started to pray about big life events that i knew were way in the future.  life events like finding my “dream” job {they call it work for a reason}, upgrading to a house, and having a baby.

as long as i can remember (we’re talking playing baby dolls with girls from the cul-de-sac here) i’ve always known that one day i wanted to be a mom.

i began to pray a prayer that went something like this: “Lord, please show me and husband the right time to have a baby.  and when that time comes, help our baby to be healthy.”  within a month, two months tops, i found myself in my doctor’s office for severe cramps.  mom had endometriosis, and my ob/gyn suggested several times i could be following in her footsteps based on medical details i will spare you from reading.  so naturally, when the cramps came two days before the flow started, i called my ob/gyn.  i made an appointment to discuss laparoscopy.  if i was going to pursue this surgery, i was going to pursue it while the insurance benefits were beneficial {happens every fall for me after a calendar year of being human}.  instead of being quick to put me under and scope away, {old} ob/gyn suggested she perform a few simple in office tests first.  a few weeks later, i had an ultrasound with a tech that clearly had an eye for shady uterus situations.  i knew when the tech asked me if i had an appointment with my doctor afterward that something was up.  sure enough, i learned that i had a possible septate uterus.  i spent the rest of the afternoon (possibly the next few weeks) in shock.  eventually i prayed.

several months and several tests later, i had a confirmed diagnosis of a septate uterus via MRI.  yes, i said months, several of them.  they felt painfully long, agonizing.  and because of that, i eventually found a new ob/gyn.  but that’s neither here nor there.  so with my referral in hand, i finally had an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist.  new ob/gyn assured me this matter of a shady uterus would be handled promptly, that RE would not delay.  music to my ears after three months of waiting to confirm the anomaly and hoping old ob/gyn would shuffle papers a bit quicker than she did.

husband and i show up to the appointment on a thursday afternoon two januaries ago ready to kick the septum to the curb.  instead, we learned that i needed another test {because the ultrasound, SIS, and MRI clearly were not enough}.  so i had an HSG.  it was awkward and uncomfortable, but definitely a cool experience as i could look up at the monitor and instantly see that {at least in my opinion} my uterus was in need of a repair.  “so here we go, let’s schedule this surgery” i thought.  wrong.  RE sent me away and said i’d likely have a few miscarriages first, but eventually my uterus should get the picture and stretch out a bit.  i left the doctor’s office in shock {again}.  if you give me a problem, give me a way to fix it.  that’s how i find comfort in life’s storms, knowing there is a way out {there is always a way out with Jesus, even if that way out is not during our earthly life}.

thankfully RE sent me an email just a few hours later (seemed to me as though he was rethinking his original {passive} plan).  he  noted a few {less than desirable} stats and ultimately said the surgery decision was up to me.  husband and i had been praying since the first ultrasound many months prior, but we really started praying.  and we enlisted anyone we felt comfortable enlisting to help.  i prayed for guidance.  an email, phone call, and office visit later, i was signed up for surgery.  hysteroscopy and recession of septum to be exact.  but not for another month.  {i know this is only my second post, but can you tell i’m inpatient?}.

finally, on a friday in march, i had the procedure.  i had several surgeries prior to this point (2 eye muscle surgeries, 2 wisdom teeth removals, 2 heart surgeries, a colonoscopy and an upper endoscopy), so i can safely say that recovery from this uterus surgery was not fun and not a breeze.  i bled.  i had a balloon catheter in my uterus.  i took hormones.  i had cramps.  killer cramps (much worse than the cramps that lead me to old ob/gyn five months earlier).  five long days after the surgery, the catheter came out, and i was sent home to wait for two cycles {which i later found out really meant three months} to see if the surgery worked.  RE warned me that it was not uncommon to need multiple surgeries for a septum. so the waiting began…

looking back, i know God heard my prayer.  He knew then and knows now that I want to be a mom.  He was watching out for me by allowing me to experience that miserable menstrual cycle.  He allowed me to learn of an icky uterine anomaly that needed a little fixing before we could embark on our journey to parenthood.  He listens and He answers prayer.  He may not always answer the way i imagine or in the time frame i prefer,  but God has His plan {the most important plan} and He knows what’s best.

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}

“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}