Microblog Mondays: 22 weeks 5 days

Happy Monday everyone!  I’m feeling grateful today.  I am happy to be almost 23 weeks along in this pregnancy. Everyday I feel this little alien in my belly move and am so happy to be having this experience, even when it’s less than pleasant.  I am still throwing up a few times a week on average which is not fun. In fact I feel like my gag reflex is getting weaker (or stronger… not sure what the correct descriptor is). Seems like the slightest things can make me puke these days.  Baby is causing me to cough sometimes which unless I really concentrate is typically followed by gagging and frequently running for the toilet. I couldn’t figure out why she’d be making me cough and someone suggested the coughing is caused my her kicking my diaphragm. That makes sense. Not sure if that’s what’s really happening but it makes sense.

As of last week I have been officially released from the Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist practice.  No more additional appointments no more ultrasounds to check my cervical length. The scans at 16, 20 and 22 weeks showed no indication of cervical shortening or funneling, nothing to indicate any need for concern. They said that at this point they would not consider this pregnancy high risk. I DO still have a higher chance of pre-term labor but given that, that history is with a twin pregnancy and this is a singleton the dr is not too concerned. She even said she wouldn’t be surprised if I went past my due date since this would be my first full-term pregnancy. That was all really great news. She also said that she thought it would be fine if I wanted to change from the OB I’ve been seeing to a mid-wife for a more natural holistic experience. So that’s good.   The scary thing was that night I ate something bad or something cause I got violently ill. **** TMI WARNING ****  I was puking into a trash bag on my lap while sitting on the toilet. It wasn’t pretty. And when I was done, there was blood in the toilet and when I wiped. I waited a couple of hours and when I peed later and there was still blood I started to get a little worried.  I kept checking but there has been no additional trace of blood, thank goodness. I’m guessing it was either the transvaginal ultrasound or the violence with which I got ill or some combination of the two that caused the bleeding. It’s been almost a week with no more blood so I’m hoping it was a one time thing.

So I guess that’s it for now. I’m still pregnant and hopefully I will be until mid-December when it’s time for this little girl to join us on the outside.

20 Weeks 3 Days

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20 weeks and 3 days, that’s how pregnant I am today.  Three and a half years ago I was also 20 weeks and 3 days pregnant, then I went into labor and the world came crashing down around me. Losing our twins was incredibly hard. Learning how to keep going as individuals and a couple took time. It has been a long 3 years. So much has changed. I have changed.

I realized this week that the twins due date had come and gone without my noticing. This is not the first time that has happened. I think there was only one year when I was aware of the date’s significance as it passed.  I know this is mostly because as much as it was their due date, that day never really belonged to my boys. I knew they would come early. Not that early, but before their due date.  When I realized that I had missed the day, it didn’t make me feel sad like it once did.  I think I have released that day and any heavy feelings associated with it. The twins actual birthday, the day we lost them, is still a date of significance and always be. They will always be missed but I know the experience has made us better people and hopefully better parents.

As I sit here I can feel this baby move. It is the most amazing thing and I am so thankful to finally be pregnant again and to be this far along expecting a baby this year. I can’t help but have some fear about losing this pregnancy. I think it’s only natural given what we’ve been through, but I do feel that this time will be different and that things will be OK. I’ve started looking into birth options and thinking about building a registry – things I’ve been afraid to do until now. Come December I expect to hold this baby, my daughter, in my arms and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Anatomy Scan

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We went for our anatomy scan on Tuesday at 19 weeks 6 days. Everything is fine but we did get a bit nervous during the appointment.  Everything seemed to be going fine. The baby was moving quite a bit and the tech was having some minor issues getting clean shots of what she needed. She had to jiggle my belly a few times to get the baby to show the parts she was looking for.  The tech was explaining what she was looking for as she grabbed and labeled the images. When it came time to look at the heart she seemed to get quiet and it felt like she was spending a lot of time and taking a lot of pictures but she wasn’t talking about what she was looking for.  Then she moved on confirming the baby’s gender and finished the external ultrasound. She had me clean off the gel and use the bathroom so she could do the trans-vaginal scan and check my cervical length. Once all the measurements were done she said that she’s not really supposed to say but everything looked good and that the Dr. would be in shortly.

Once she left the room DH and I let out a big exhale and remarked on how we both got nervous when she was looking at the baby’s heart. But then she said everything was fine and she wouldn’t say that if there was a problem. I told him they wouldn’t have me clean off and everything if there was an issue either. I figured they would call the Dr in before having me do that.  Then the Dr came in and said she wanted to have another look and we got very nervous.  She prepped me with more gel and started to take a few more images. She spent some time looking at the baby’s heart and then said everything was fine. I questioned her to make sure and told her that she made us nervous with the additional scan. She said that they do additional scans all the time and that we didn’t need to be nervous and everything was fine. She made it seem like she wasn’t totally happy with the image quality on some of the images the tech took and she just wanted to see it for herself to make sure everything was working fine.

So that’s it.  As far as we can tell at this point, this baby is totally healthy, thank goodness. We’ve had the cell-free DNA test which told us that there were no genetic issues with the baby and that she is a girl.  I did some sort of blood test looking for any neural tube issues and that came back clear. And now, our anatomy scan is clear and we are so thankful to be in this situation and have made it this far with this pregnancy.  I keep telling this baby she has to stay put for the next 17 weeks and that once we reach 37 weeks she can come whenever she is ready. We’ve done 3 weeks of the 17-P shots now – one shot each week. Even though my cervix length is good and shows no sign of shortening so far I feel like the shot is a little extra bit of security. I know it could be unnecessary and I also know that it is no guarantee of a successful outcome.  We will just have to wait and see what happens.

16 Weeks

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I’m starting to feel a bit better. The nausea is still an issue but I’m having more good moments than bad, most days.  I’m also officially unemployed as of yesterday. It’s a little strange to know that I no longer work at the place I’ve worked for the past 8 years. I’m working on getting a new job but I’m not ready to talk about it just yet. I have a good few weeks before I need to get concerned about finding work for financial reasons but I’m already a little worried about interviewing while pregnant.  I know it’s illegal to discriminate against a pregnant woman but a potential employer could just choose another candidate and there would be absolutely NO way to prove any discrimination. I’m definitely looking pregnant these days.  I might be able to mostly mask it with a loose blouse and jacket for an interview but to anyone who looks hard enough it’s pretty obvious.

I had an ultrasound on Tuesday afternoon. It was the 16 weeks scan the MFM suggested to check my cervical length. Everything is good. My cervix is measuring fine and the Dr. is not concerned at this time.  They’ll check it again at the 20 weeks scan. It was nice to get a peek at the baby. It’s hard to see clearly when the tech moves the wand around so fast but we did get a quick look and saw her move around a bit.

Yes, I said her. We are having a baby girl. Sorry to keep you hanging but we wanted to tell family first and we’ve just done that this week.  In all honestly there were some complicated emotions that came up and we needed some time to process them.  When I was pregnant with the twins and we found out that we were expecting boys I was a bit disappointed. I had always imagined having a daughter and I didn’t know what I would do with boys in New York City. Of course it didn’t take long until I was excited about the boys and then, of course, devastated when we lost them. I say all of this because I knew when I found out this baby is a girl that my husband would be disappointed.  As much as I have always wanted a daughter, he has always wanted a son. And while I hope to be able to have both a daughter and a son one day, based on our history this may very well be our only chance. So understandably my husband needed some time to adjust to the idea of having a baby girl and to re-mourn the loss of our sons. After all we’ve been through to get where we are with this pregnancy I was prepared for a boy or a girl and I would have been happy either way. I even feel a little guilty to be excited about a baby girl. I’m sure that will go away soon too. So that’s it… it’s a girl!  Come December we will have a daughter.

14 Weeks

It’s official. I am moving into the 2nd trimester and I am feeling pretty good about things.  I’m still nauseated much of the time. It seems to be inconsistent though. I can’t tell what’s going to make me sick and what isn’t. Some days/moments I feel good and then before I know it I’m fighting down a wave of nausea. I’ve now thrown up in every drain in my bathroom… toilet, shower and most recently, sink.  Gross I know.  Does anyone else have trouble brushing their teeth without puking? No… Just me? Figures.

My second attempt at my first OB appointment went well last week.  I decided not to hold any grudges since I’m most likely the one who messed up my appointment time when putting it in my calendar. Although I do think someone should have made an attempt to speak with me on that first visit with the wrong time. Even if it was just for a few minutes so as to not send me away in tears. This time around I met with the office coordinator person first who went through a stack of papers with us and told us more about how the office worked and who we should contact in what situations. She was very nice and compassionate when I  tried to ask some questions about labor standard practices and instead started crying because it brings up my experience losing the twins and it is still hard to image getting to full-term labor. I was able to calm down pretty quickly and after we went through everything she brought us to the exam room to meet with the Dr. A tech took my blood pressure then drew some blood for testing. The Dr. came in and she was nice. We went through my history. We talked about the 17-P shots and about how since my pre-term loss was with twins it puts me in this grey area that is outside of the studies. Since she said the same thing the MFM said, which is that there really is no downside or side effects to the shots, we decided to go ahead and initiate the process with insurance approvals and ordering the meds.  I can always change my mind but I’m thinking that better safe than sorry is the way to go on this one.

Once we went through my history and everything we needed to talk about. She did a quick ultrasound and we got to see the baby briefly.  We got to see a little bit of movement and baby arm waving and got a new ultrasound picture. The Dr. said everything looked good so far and that we should make another appointment for 4 weeks out. Then she got double bonus points for saying that if I started getting anxious and needed a quick ultrasound for piece of mind based on my history that she should be able to fit me in for a brief scan within a couple of days notice.  Nice, right?

I was hoping that my cell-free DNA testing results would be in that day but they were not. I did get a call the following day letting me know that the test results were all clear. Based on the effectiveness of this test there is very little chance that this baby has any genetic issues that would be of concern. I don’t need to do any further diagnostic testing at this point. Yay! I think knowing this is part of why I’m feeling so positive about things right now.

After she gave me the test results the genetic counselor caught me a little off-guard when she asked if I wanted to know the baby’s gender. I had forgotten that we included that in the genetic testing profile. I was alone when I got the call so I as much as I wanted to know I hesitated because I thought I should wait for my husband. But really, who can wait for these things?  Not me…   But I’m gonna torture you and make you wait because this post is already getting long and we have not told anyone yet. More to come on this topic.

P.S. – I have a job interview tomorrow – think good thoughts for me please!

Microblog Mondays: 1st OB appt. take 2

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My first OB appt was supposed to be Friday. It’s been in my calendar for a little over a month and apparently somehow, I’ve had the time wrong for all these weeks. I was very much looking forward to that appointment considering that I’m now 12 weeks 5 days pregnant and haven’t seen the OB yet.  DH and I drove the 20 minutes into downtown Philly and after circling around looking for street parking decided to park in the hospital’s garage. It was only $16 with validation (can you hear the sarcasm there? Parking in Philly is not fun or cheap, but I digress).

We walked the few blocks to my Dr’s office, took the elevator up to the 12th floor and when I checked in the receptionist said, “Your appt. was at 9am”.  Wait, what?  No it wasn’t.  It says 2pm right here in my phone. “Sorry but your appointment was for this morning, we don’t see new OB patients in the afternoon”.  Well if my appt. was for this morning why didn’t anyone call me? “We don’t do that until the end of the day”.  So what you’re saying is that I missed my appointment… but I have it marked down for 2pm, is there any way the Dr. will still see me?  She goes to the back to check…

In the meantime, I go tell my husband what’s happening and quietly start to panic. The receptionist comes back and tells me she’s sorry but the Dr is booked and can not see me. My husband gets involved at this point and pushes back a little because I’m starting to have a meltdown. He tells her that I’m 12 weeks already and we’ve had previous miscarriages and is there anyone who can see us today? She goes back to check again. Meanwhile, I’ve started crying at this point and have to go to the bathroom to try to compose myself.  I try to convince myself that everything is OK and that not having that appointment on Friday is not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with the baby. Everything is fine… nothing has changed in the past 5 minutes. You can have the appointment another time and it will be OK. I calm down a little and go back out there.

She comes back with the office manager who says she’s very sorry but there is no one who can see me that day. She offers to reschedule the appointment for Tuesday at 11:30 am which sucks because I already have a work meeting scheduled at that time and this means that I have to move that meeting and take time out of the workday to come back to where I already was. But, at least it’s only a few days away and not another month out. I couldn’t even talk to them, I was so disappointed and angry. I just walked away to cry and let my husband handle it. So now I have to go back and hopefully have my first OB appt on Tuesday. I do not have much confidence in this practice at this point. If this doctor is not some kind of wonderful angel when I meet her I will probably be looking for a new one soon. Anyone deliver in the Philadelphia area? What was your experience and where did it happen – So I know where to consider and where to avoid?

On a happier note, we did see my husband’s parents this weekend and tell them about the pregnancy. Even without the ultrasound picture and reassurance I was hoping to get from Friday’s appt, it was nice to be able to share the good news.

(Sorry this post was not quite so Micro… but I had to get that out.)

12 Weeks

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I’m 12 weeks today.  It feels kind of crazy to be this far along already.  On the other hand, it feels like I’ve been sick forever. We got to tell my husbands sister about this pregnancy today.  She came over for a little while with her baby and we told her that (if all goes well) her baby would be getting a cousin for Christmas. She was very happy and excited for us.  It was nice to share the news. It feels good to have someone really excited for us since our own excitement although genuine is countered with a bit of anxiety based on our history. You can hear it in my words. Instead of just saying we’re having a baby in December, I said “if all goes well” we’ll be having a baby in December. It’s the distrust that infertility and loss has programmed into me. I’m working on it…

We had planned on telling his sister and his parents this weekend but the family gathering plans got cancelled. So we told her today since we had the opportunity and we’re planning to drive to my husband’s parents house this weekend and tell them in person.  I have my first OB appointment on Friday. It feels a little anti-climactic since it’s so late and I’ve already seen the MFM and genetic counselor.  It will be nice to have some renewed confidence that things are going well in there though.  I do feel like things are going well, but I’m expecting a quick ultrasound or at least an attempt at hearing the baby’s heartbeat with a doppler and that will give me an added comfort before we tell the husband’s parents this weekend.

I’ve still been feeling sick everyday. I have some moments of feeling better and I can keep it together OK usually when I’m leaving the house but I get tired pretty easily and don’t feel like being out for long before I’m ready to sit on the couch again or better yet if possible, take a nap.  I am better than the first few weeks of feeling sick I’m sure but it has not totally gone away yet. I’ve puked a couple times more since my last post and there have been plenty of times when I’ve felt sick but managed not to puke. I’ve had some fairly bad heartburn which is unpleasant but that seems to be the worst of it so far. I’m hoping the yucky feeling goes away soon like it does for most people.

11 Weeks

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Warning – This post mentions throwing up, if you’re sensitive you might want to skip the first 2 paragraphs.

I’m 11 weeks today.  I’m happy to report that I think the nausea is subsiding a bit. I’m starting to feel more like a functional human being again. Although yesterday I did throw up again, but this is only the 2nd time that I’ve actually thrown up in this pregnancy so in comparison to the twins when I was throwing up multiple times a day it’s a vast improvement. As much as the act of throwing up sucks, it’s the constant nausea and knowing I need to eat but not really wanting to eat any of the food I have at home and then feeling sick and burping like it’s my job when I do eat that is the worst part.  Also I’ve been stuck in my apartment without a car for the past week and going stir crazy. I can’t wait to get our car back so I can go out for some food – Chipotle, I hear you calling my name.

Yesterday’s barfing session capped off my first crazy pregnancy moment for this go round.  I’m working from home remember, so when my husband woke up he came to sit by me and say hello, well he was greeting with me making a barf face. I couldn’t help it. Sometimes the nausea comes up quickly and I thought I was going to hurl my breakfast in his lap and it showed on my face. I was able to keep it down but he was horrified and scrambled away from me to safety – away from vomit range. Which of course I found hilarious. He then proceeded to tease me about the previous night, because I had freaked out and woken up from a dream by gasping and sitting straight up in bed around 3 am, and then couldn’t really make sense of what happened and just sat there looking around for a minute. It woke and scared us both but it totally freaked out the cat who sleeps with us most of the night.  So he was teasing me about what happened and making me laugh. He made me laugh so hard that I started crying, it’s a thing I do. Then once I had started crying it was like my body said hey this crying thing feels kind of good let’s do that, and I started really crying, not laughing crying but really crying and couldn’t stop. My husband was like “whoa, what’s wrong, are you OK?” and that made me laugh then I went back to crying. I was trying to stop crying and blowing my nose and all verclempt and that combination of things pushed me over the edge and that’s when I lost my breakfast.  Hormones… Fun times…

Yesterday I had an appointment with a genetic counselor and had to take an Uber car into center city. Those appointments are super stressful because they talk about all the things that could possibly be wrong with your baby. Don’t they realize that I’m trying hard NOT to think about those things?  A 2-hour appointment discussing all the possible trisomies, micro-deletions and other genetic abnormalities was not fun. Then they took 2 vials of blood for the cell-free DNA test. I’ve never had this test before. I don’t think it was being widely used when I was this far along before. But it’s supposed to have less false positive rates than other screening tests, so it’s a good first step. I’m just hoping this baby is healthy because I really can’t think about the alternatives after all we’ve been through. I am a bit worried too because when I was feeling my worst I was really not great about taking my vitamins and most of the structural stuff happens so early in pregnancy that it could be too late now.  I just keep trying to trust that all will be OK.

I have my first OB appt next Friday. It’s funny that I have seen the MFM and genetic councelor before an OB but that’s how this is playing out. I stopped taking my PIO shots over the weekend. My RE released me at 7 weeks once we saw the heartbeat because I live a couple of hours away now and he said to ask the OB when they wanted me to stop the PIO.  Well seeing as how I’ll be in my 12th week before I get to see the OB and the MFM was the first appointment I could get, I asked him. He said he didn’t know about that and to ask my RE. He also said they could ask their fertility team if I wanted but I figured it would be better to go back to my clinic since they know my history. So I called my nurse at Cornell and asked her, she said that the MFM should have been able to answer that question and that my Dr. never keeps patients on PIO after 11 weeks. She told me to drop to 1/2 cc and then stop at 11 weeks. So I dropped to 1/2 cc and did the shot for a few more days and then one night I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. The thought of drawing up the shot and then warming it and having my husband do the injection was just so overwhelming that I decided we were done. That’s it, no more. 3 more days of 1/2 cc of PIO is not going to make or break this pregnancy at this point (or at least dear god I hope not) so, yay no more needles in my poor PIO lump filled ass.

In closing today I want to ask anyone reading this to hold positive space and send loving energy to my friend who blogs over at Spirit Baby Come Home. She has been fighting so hard and so long for this baby and they are SO close… she is dealing with a number of very scary actual and potential complications and I just want mother and baby to be together, healthy and safe with her LP and MT very soon.  Please join me in sending love and support her way.

9 Weeks 6 Days

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That’s how far along I am today. I can say that with confidence (well as much confidence as someone in my situation can muster) because I had an ultrasound yesterday and little Seven is still in there.  His or her heart was beating away. I even got to see a little baby wave/wiggle movement during the scan.  It was amazing and so comforting to see. It’s crazy to think how tiny it is and how much is going on inside my body. We could clearly see the baby in profile and she printed me a picture with it’s little arm and leg buds in the air. I don’t know if it’s the difference between the trans-vaginal ultrasound and the abdominal ultrasound wands or if it’s just a question of screen resolution quality but the image seemed a little blurry to me and not as crisp as at the fertility clinic. But either way I got to see the important stuff…  the little one is still there.  I couldn’t see much at first but the young lady who was my sonographer calmed me very early by saying she could see the heart beat which of course was my major concern.

After the scan the MFM Dr. came in and said that everything looked fine and that baby was measuring right on target so far. We also spoke briefly about pre-term delivery and how I am at higher risk due to my previous pre-term labor.  I hadn’t really thought about that.  He said it’s hard to know if I might have a problem because pre-term labor with twins is not as strong of a predictor as per-term labor with a singleton. He said that he would want to monitor my cervix more than a regular pregnancy to try to keep an eye on it and make sure it’s not shortening.  Based on the scan I had a few days before my delivery of the twins I don’t think I had any cervical issues but you never know and I’d rather have them check it more often to be sure.  The MFM also mentioned the possibility of doing 17P shots to help prevent pre-term labor. This is apparently a form of progesterone that is injected weekly from around 16-20 weeks to 36 weeks or delivery. The MFM said there was no potential side effects to using it. But I have to do some research and see how I feel about it. Then I need to find out if my insurance will cover it before we make our decision. But at this point a weekly injection is better than the daily ones I’m still doing and if it could help me deliver this baby at full-term, why not do it? Have any of you done these shots? Any information or opinions on it you’d like to share?

Until this point the challenge since my last miscarriage in 2013 was to get pregnant again. Now it seems the challenge is to stay pregnant until this baby reaches full-term. But yesterday’s scan proved that we’re doing OK so far and I just have to take it one day at a time and do what I can.  I’m still nauseous and not feeling my best. But I have been having better days since I started taking a B-complex vitamin consistently. It doens’t make it go away but it makes it tolerable most of the time. I haven’t actually thrown up again, although I’ve come close a few times but I’ve managed not to. The MFM said I could continue to take the b-complex in addition to my prenatal because he doesn’t think the amounts are too high and I’ll pee out any B vitamins that I get too much of anyway. So that’s good. I had stopped taking the prenatal in favor of the B-complex because of how it helps the nausea.  The burping is continuing and it’s certainly not polite but I can’t do much about it my body is not really my own at this point.  I’ll be 10 weeks tomorrow and I’m hoping that over these next few weeks the nausea goes away. It would really be amazing to be able to enjoy being pregnant and not feel miserable (or terrified) the whole time.  I guess I need to get those pregnancy books unpacked finally!  I have my first appointment with a regular OB scheduled for June 5th. I will be in my 12th week. If all goes well at that appointment we’re planning to tell my husband’s family. Most of my immediate family already knows but we’re waiting to tell his family in person.  I’m looking forward to it.