holding my breath — October 29, 2015

holding my breath

We got some not-so-good news today and I feel like I’m holding my breath waiting for Friday. Ross and I went in for our appointment at 2:30 today, Wednesday Oct 28. They called us back quickly for blood work and then we had to wait just a few minutes for the doctor to arrive. He came in and asked how I was doing. I mentioned becoming short of breath after what is normally an easy activity for me. Also that I had been tired and forgetting simple words. He smiled and said it sounded like I was pregnant. 

He placed the ultrasound where he wanted to and I immediately saw flashing!! This must be the heartbeat! He said that we should definitely be able to see it today. I will be 7 weeks tomorrow. He continued to look and pointed out the flashing, but shared with us that he was not convinced that was what we were looking for. He was having a difficult time finding the fetal pole. He looked for several minutes and I started asking questions. I had a feeling this was not going the way it should. 

He did tell us that there were a few things that had him concerned. The first being that what we thought may have been the heartbeat was “artifact.” In other words, not the heartbeat. I became tearful at this point and Ross grabbed my hand. The nurse handed me a few tissues and I tried to gain my composure as I continued to listen to the doctor. He shared that things were not as defined today compared to five days ago.  He looked around my uterus for at least 10 minutes. There were no pictures printed to show the progress of our baby. Instead, I sat up on the exam room table and spoke to the doctor about whether or not I wanted to stop my medication today (not ready for that yet) and we discussed the odds of there being a heartbeat on Friday (low).

All of a sudden we were discussing the option of a D&C. This was not happening. There was supposed to be a heartbeat. I was supposed to go back to work and show off my latest ultrasound picture and give a report on the baby’s rapid heartbeat. But all of those happy thoughts came to a sudden halt. The lifetime that I’ve dreamt for our baby in the last 3 weeks is looking very bleak. I want to have so much faith and hope at this point. I want to believe that this will have a happy ending. But my hope is fading fast. 

The doctor was telling us that he wants to be prayerfully optimistic, but I got the feeling that he is leaning toward what my body and science is telling him. That a miscarriage will be confirmed on Friday. He told us that with my history of multiple miscarriages and that our first IVF attempt failed and now our second IVF is likely ending in a miscarriage that he is ready to refer us to a Reproductive Immunologist.

I didn’t even know there was anything more specialized than a Reproductive Endocrinologist, which is what Dr. G is. He shared that these doctors are on the fringe of the latest research for infertility. He said that there is one in Dallas, one in Chicago and one in New York City. He said I would likely be referred to the doctor in NYC because Dr. G has worked with him in the past. 

The doctor and nurse left the exam room so that I could get dressed and I had a bit of a breakdown. I pulled myself together and we went out to the nurse’s station and set up our appointment for Friday. The doctor wants to be the one to do the scan on Friday, so he asked the nurse to schedule it for a time when she knew he would be available. We rode the elevator down 4 floors and walked out to the parking lot. Ross asked for my keys and drove us home. I was concerned about his truck, but he wasn’t and just kept driving. 

I called my mom. It was about 3:30 at this time. She left work and was at our house just after 4:00. It felt like I had been crying for hours at this point. I was drained. Mom and I drove to Starbucks and then stopped at the grocery store. Since we got the news this afternoon, I began mass texting a lot of friends and family. The support we received this afternoon was overwhelming. I am so grateful for all the replies. 

I let my boss know that I would not be back today and filled her in on what was going on. She had all my assessments and groups covered for the next two days. I thanked her, but feel that it is best if I go in to work. I won’t be doing any groups, but I’ll be going in to work on paperwork. I do better when I am busy. There is a small part of me that is wanting to remain hopeful for a heartbeat on Friday, but with our history, the negativity really has a way of creeping in and camping out in my head. 

I hugged my mom tonight before she left and wondered out loud if I hadn’t prayed enough. Mom hugged me tighter and reminded me that this was not a punishment. I know in my head that I serve a mighty God, but my heart is breaking right now. 

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6w2d — October 25, 2015

6w2d

I had a 9:30am appointment Friday morning and Ross went with me because my anxiety was high. We waited almost an hour before being called back. I read something really neat that someone had posted somewhere about how to handle long waits at the doctors office. One of the suggestions was to pray for the other people who were in there waiting with you. There were about 10 other women and couples when we first arrived. I took time to pray for each one of them and then for my doctor and his staff. I noticed how this helped calm my nerves. 

After I was called back, they quickly got my blood drawn and Dr G stopped by to shake Ross’ hand and then greeted me by name. He could have just looked at my chart to know my name, but I don’t care! It was reassuring for him to take the time to stop and give a personal greeting. We were asked to wait in the conference room until an exam room was available. We finally got into a room and waited again. My anxiety was at an all-time high. The ultrasound at the beginning of this week seemed to go according to plan, but the second time I’ve ever had an ultrasound while pregnant, the news has always been bad. This had happened twice before with 2 of the miscarriages. 

A nurse came in and said that the doctor was very behind and asked if we wanted to continue to wait or if we minded if she did the scan. I told her to go for it. As she was looking, she said that she was trying to get the position just right so that we could see what she was seeing. She mentioned a fetal pole and a faint flashing, which is the beginning of a heartbeat! She heard the doctor coming out and went to grab him before he got too far. He came in a few minute later, asked how I was doing and my response was “Nervous, but I always feel nervous lately.” He placed the ultrasound and in less than 30 seconds he said he was seeing 2 things he was pleased with. (Whew! I can beathe a little easier now.)

He showed us where the fetal pole was, which shows us that our baby has established itself in my uterus. Then he pointed out the “flashing” the nurse had seen. Two different nurses saw it, the doctor saw it and Ross saw it on the monitor. I’m not really sure if I ever saw it and my doctor knew that. He took extra time because he really wanted me to see it too to help reassure me. He turned the sound on because he said that sometimes you can hear it better than you can see it. That wasn’t the case with our little bean, but doc said that when I come in next Wednesday, it will be much more likely that we will see the heartbeat. 

I’ll be almost 7 weeks by then. The nurse said that every Thursday is a new week for me, since I had explained to them earlier that I had to ask a friend how they keep track of the days. I’ve just never been far enough along in a pregnancy to have ever been measured and given a due date. I can only hope that I’ll continue to have more positive experiences at the doctors office to begin replacing the negative visits I’ve had in the past. This has been a good beginning. 

Check out the picture below. The little white dot that the arrow is pointing to is our little baby! 

 

18 days post transfer — October 17, 2015

18 days post transfer

Just a quick update before the weekend. hCG was at 570 today 10/16, which means it continues to rise appropriately. Nurse called to give me the update and also schedule blood work and ultrasound for Monday 10/19. The ultrasound will be very quick. They just want to verify that our little embaby is in the uterus. Ross won’t go with me because they said that a heartbeat would not show yet. She assured me that they would let me know when to start bringing him with me. 
I also went to my 5th acupuncture treatment today. I went at 2:30 in the afternoon and was back at work a little after 3:30. Just in time to handle 2 crises, one of which ended up with me sending a patient to an in-patient hospital for a psych eval. Got home close to 7pm and quickly packed and we started our drive to Yorktown for the weekend. 

Yesterday 10/15 was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Last Friday I was asked by a friend who is also a contributor to Austin Moms Blog to write a guest blog on miscarriage. Here is the link in case you would like to read it. 

I also saw this today and it encouraged me, so I thought I would share: 

  

5th time’s a charm??? — October 14, 2015

5th time’s a charm???

My pregnancy test was positive!!!! And while we are very excited that this whole IVF thing worked, I remind myself that this is my 5th positive pregnancy test. Come ON, self! Why did you have to remind me?? 

Quick confession: I’ve actually known for a week that I am pregnant. Last Tuesday 10/6 I went in for my routine progesterone and estrogen check. The nurse called later that afternoon to go over my lab results with me and said that everything was looking good and that the doctor had the lab run a “secret” test. It was a beta test and it came cack positive. They said they would have been happy with my hcg being at a 10 since it was just a week after the transfer, but mine was at 35. 

I couldn’t believe it. She told me that I would come back again Tuesday 10/13 for my “official” test. Whoa! Wait a minute! I’ve been here before and had the test be positive and then my numbers start to go down, indicating a miscarriage. The nurse could tell that I was uncomfortable waiting that long and offered for me to come back on Friday before the weekend to have my numbers checked again. I went in on Friday and the lab results were in that afternoon. Hcg had risen appropriately and was at 131. Phew! Now I could go into the weekend feeling a bit more comfortable. 

The Tuesday we found out, I was so busy at work that I didn’t have time to call Ross. On the way home, I stopped at the grocery store and bought a card that had a lot of pictures of food on the front and when you open it, it says “Let the cravings begin…” Ross opened the card and couldn’t believe it at first. I loved being able to share that moment with him. We called my parents and my mom spontaneously asked us to come over for dinner before we could share our news. Perfect! We called Ross’ parents and talked to them and then called his brother. Tried calling his sister, but we didn’t get in touch with her until the next day. I sent my sister a message that she would get in the morning, as it was the middle of the night in Africa. We got to my parents house and told them the news. 

When I went back to my appointment on Friday and found out my numbers were continuing to rise, I felt comfortable telling a few other family members and close friends. When the official test was confirmed again today, I decided I would share the news on the blog. 

I’ve had some fatigue come and go, my head feels a bit foggy at times, and I’ve had some tenderness in my breasts, but other than that, I have not had many symptoms. I get nervous when the symptoms are not there because in my other pregnancies, especially the first, I had pretty significant symptoms and then they magically began to disappear. I thought I was so lucky, only to find out that my body was terminating the pregnancy. I’m sure you will hear from others who have experienced infertility, that the symptoms of pregnancy are often a comfort. 

Ross and I were able to attend the Texas/OU football game in Dallas over the weekend. We had such a great time, not just at the game, but also spending some time with family, as our brother in law was the person who got the tickets for us and was also there and we stayed at Ross’ brother’s house and we were able to spend time with him, his wife and their precious 5 month old baby boy. 

I will go back to the doctor this coming Friday, 10/16, for more blood work. 

back to the real world — October 3, 2015

back to the real world

I went back to work today, but not before a few appointments. First, at 10am, I followed up at my doctors office for blood work to check my estrogen and progesterone levels. Then at 11am, I had an acupuncture session. I felt the most relaxed at this session compared to the first two. This was a follow up to the transfer and next week I will begin weekly prenatal appointments, hoping that I’m pregnant. My beta test is not until October 13th, but I’m going all in! I was in a bit of a rush to get to the office because I had an assessment with a possible new patient at 12pm. 

Made it throught the assessment in just under two hours and then worked with some of our student interns for about 45 minutes, as one of them was going to facilitate group this afternoon and I would be sitting in. While doing this, I was also catching up on everything that had been happening with our kids since I had been out. Today was also my co-worker’s last day. She has a great opportunity with a behavioral hospital down in Houston and while I am so happy for her, I will really miss her! She has taken me under her wing this last year and I have learned so much from her. As of Monday, October 5, I’ll be taking over her position as Lead Adolescent Therapist. I’m totally nervous, but feel like I’m ready for the challenge. 

My plan was to be in and out of group, but I stayed in for the first hour or so, then saw that one of the patients was upset and took her to my office for some one on one. Back to group she went, but time had flown by and it was already time for aftercare. I LOVE aftercare. This is when teenagers who have successfully completed our program come back on Fridays to join in on the last hour of group and let us know how things are going. Today 2 former patients came. We never know who will be coming, but it is a free service we offer them until they are out of high school. 

When group was over, I walked the kids up to the lobby and saw the mother of a patient who stopped in to give us an update on her daughter and this turned into an hour long session with the mom. So much for taking off a little early on a Friday! It was about 6:30 when I left the office, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I love working with these kids and their families! 

I saw that I had a text message from my doctors office when I was in the car. They asked me to check my patient portal. I checked it when I got home and the report from my blood work was good and I am to continue with my current medications and go back in on Tuesday. 

Also, and I’ll spare you the picture…you can thank me later, I gave myself the Lovenox shot this morning, like normal. It immediately bled a little, but stopped as soon as I wiped it with the alcohol swab. I didn’t think much of it throughout the day, until I happened to see my stomach later in the afternoon. I had no idea my body was capable of producing a bruise that looks the way it does. It is about an inch and a half in diameter and BLACK. The skin is also raised at the site of the bruise. It’s gruesome, y’all. 

We hung out with our awesome neighbors in the cul de sac after work and then Ross’ sister and her husband stopped by for a while. After they left around 10pm, the real work began. We have painters coming to our house tomorrow to paint just about every interior wall. The furniture has been moved to either the garage or the center of all the rooms and everything has been taken off the walls. Ross has been working on a lot of trim work around the hall bathroom door while I did the manual labor. Don’t worry! There’s still plenty that I did not even attempt to move myself, but I was able to make a lot of progress. We hope that they can get the painting all knocked out over the weekend. This will be the last little bit of work we do in the house for now. We gutted the kitchen back in February and finally got that project done. The bathrooms have also been under construction. I keep thinking the end is near, but the list keeps growing. New carpet, new windows, new baseboards….the list goes on. 

I’ll leave you with a few encouraging statements I’ve seen in the last day or two:    

 

bed rest: day 3 —

bed rest: day 3

Finally, the last day!! I’m looking forward to going back to work tomorrow and seeing the kids I work with. Also looking forward to being able to move. Period. The day started out scrolling through Facebook, when I came across an article from Counseling Today. Since it is October 1st, it is also the beginning of National Pregnancy and Infant Awareness Month here in the US. The actual day of awareness is October 15th, which was established by President Reagan. I thought the article was a good read, especially as I was currently on bed rest after an embryo transfer and have a history of 4 miscarriages and infertility. I made a comment on the actual article and then shared it on my news feed. 

I then watched some TV and was texting friends and family throughout much of the morning. My cousin Elizabeth stopped by for a quick visit mid morning. Soon after that, my very good friend Lindsay stopped by with lunch and a visit with her two little ones. The afternoon was filled with more texts, Facebook and TV. Then my cousin Fauna came over with her husband and daughter. She had cooked dinner at her home and brought it over to share with us. I am so grateful for the outpouring of support that Ross and I have received the last few days. It would have been easy enough to do things ourselves, as Ross works from home and was here to keep an eye on me, but it means so much that our loved ones will go out of their way to come by and encourage us. 

There really is not much to report for this last day of bed rest. Ross and I are currently hooked on season 5 of The Walking Dead and watched a few more episodes of that before going to bed last night. I did call my doctors office earlier that day because Dr G mentioned twice after the transfer that I would need to come in Friday for blood work. I called and spoke to a nurse and she got met set up for a Friday morning appointment on the 2nd and then another appointment Tuesday, October 6. She said that he just wanted to keep a closer eye on me this time. They will be checking on my estrogen and progesterone. I’ll give another update again soon!

Oh! I almost forgot! Remember how I mentioned that I made a comment on the actual article in Counseling Today? The author of the article emailed me yesterday to personally thank me for my comment and how I had encouraged her. Mind.Blown. It was so neat to hear from her. She also shared words of encouragement. The article link is below: 

http://ct.counseling.org/2015/09/empty-crib-broken-heart/ 

bed rest: day 2 — October 1, 2015

bed rest: day 2

The day started off with a couple of long blog posts, which helped keep me busy for a while. However, by the afternoon, I was getting pretty restless. I have been trying my best to stay as relaxed as possible, but forcing relaxation isn’t exactly relaxing. I have been uber vigilant about my medications this round, not that I wasn’t before, but I feel like I have just been paying closer attention. I’m proud to say that I have not missed one dose of anything in the last month, as I feel that with something like IVF that is so out of the realm of what I can control, at least I can control my medicine schedule (which is still dictated by my doctor, but whatever).

Here’s my current medication regimen in pictures: 

 

Lovenox shot before and after. This is done every morning and I’m getting the bruises on my belly to prove it.
 
 
Progesterone in oil taken every night. Yes, that needle is indeed an inch and a half long. Props to Ross for giving this one to me in my hip/butt area. I actually have a lot more pain with the Lovenox, as it burns like crazy for about 10 minutes. The progesterone is in oil and besides the initial prick, it doesn’t hurt even though it takes a full minute to get the medicine pushed throught the syringe/needle.
 
 
This is my nightly cocktail of medications, vitamins and supplements. I currently take 4 pills in the morning too, but didn’t take a picture of those.
 
I wrote a list yesterday to describe bed rest:

1. Boring. 

2. I found out that you can watch Law & Order for 13 hrs straight, if you really want to. 

3. Every twinge in my body makes me think it could be the embryo implanting. 

4. Then doubt creeps in. 

5. Doubt is the enemy. 

6. B.o.r.i.n.g.

7. Bed rest is not what it’s cracked up to be. 

8. No matter how much I thought I’d prepared to entertain myself, I’m still BORED. 

9. At least I have a comfy bed for our guests (I’m set up in the guest room currently). 

10. Doesn’t make me any less ready for a change of scenery. 

They told me to drink a lot of water, so I’ve had 94oz each day of bed rest so far. That’s 3/4 of a gallon, in case you were wondering. I did cave yesterday and asked Ross to bring back an A&W Root Beer for me when he ran out for an errand. Oh, and Pringles, but I was totally bummed when Ross called to say that they did not have BBQ Pringles at the particular convenient store he went to. Not very convenient, if you ask me. My appetite has decreased since I’m literally burning zero calories, so a handful of chips and a few sips of soda was my dinner last night. Yes, I’m fully aware that this is not healthy, but I’ll get back to my regular routine Friday. 

Season 5 of The Walking Dead recently came out on Netflix and Ross and I stayed up late last night watching 4 episodes. Being on bed rest is a bit bizarre to me because I am a relatively healthy person and rarely get sick. It’s such an odd feeling to be confined to your bed when you feel healthy, but I am determined to follow doctor’s orders to do everything I can (aside from the unhealthy diet thing 😁) to ensure a positive outcome. 

I have so enjoyed the phone calls, texts and Facebook messages the last few days! It really helps the time go by faster. I’ll update again tomorrow!