Sunday, February 24, 2013

11 Weeks

I can't believe I'm already 11 weeks along. I still can't really shake the feeling that something will go terribly wrong at any moment. No one knows at work. No one knows back home, except for my sister and B's brother. It's so hard not to share it. But then I remember how worried I am, and it makes me more resolved to keep it to ourselves until we have a better idea about the health of our babies.

We're visiting home in March. I will be around 14 weeks and that's when we'll share the news, if everything looks good at that point. We have this plan to do a big reveal at the airport. When we were little we would ALWAYS make signs or dress up and go to the airport to greet family coming to visit. One of my favorite examples of this was when my aunt was visiting for Christmas so we dressed my sister up like a Christmas tree and made a big, sparkly sign, and met her at the gate (back when you could still meet people at the gate). Like most airports, the one back home has a big dramatic escalator you ride down to greet your awaiting family. The plan is to make big signs, wait for all the people from our flight to go down, and then go down the escalator one after the other. B first, with a sign that says "We're Pregnant!" and then me, a few seconds later, with a sign that says, "with TWINS!" My sister will take a video of us coming down with her iPhone, and B will take a video from his phone of our family's reaction. At first we were planning on having my sister convince just my mom and dad to come get us, but then we started thinking maybe we should invite B's family too. They'll know something's up if EVERYONE is there. But maybe they'll think it's because of the deployment or something? We'll try and keep it casual.. "Hey, we'd love to see you as soon as we get in, would you maybe want to meet up at the airport and go for a quick bite to eat after we get in?"

I dunno, maybe none of it will work out. At least we'd have everyone there.. and that's the best part of the plan anyway. It's all pretty exciting.

We have our next ultrasound this Thursday! I'm excited to see how these little blobs have grown. I have been getting cramps, having lower back pain, and feeling sort of dizzy and light headed. Of course, Dr. Google has lead me to believe that these are all signs of an impending miscarriage, which is why I moved up the ultrasound three weeks. I just have to know. I can't imagine the thought of carrying around dead babies waiting to miscarry, waiting three more weeks to find out they're gone. It's pretty morbid, but that's sort of how my mind works. I just want to let myself get excited about this pregnancy. I want to be 12 weeks and see healthy babies. I know that that wont necessarily mean that I get two healthy babies in September, but it will make me feel much, much more secure. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

8 weeks 5 days

After a mess of referrals and phone calls and confusion and frustration, I actually made it into the OB a week after my last ultrasound... you know, the one where we found out we were pregnant with TWINS.

I had to drive to the base and take a urine test before they would even put in a referral for me... I was told they needed a positive test at their facility before even beginning to process a referral to an OB for an ultrasound, even though I already knew I was having twins which carries a higher risk, and was warned by my RE that they could be the very dangerous "mono-mono twins," and even though PCOS already makes me a high risk pregnancy, there was no rush to get me in to see a Dr.

When I arrived at the hospital and spoke with a receptionist about getting an order in for a urine pregnancy test she seemed confused.. "when was the first day of your last menstrual cycle" (Nov. 30) "and have you taken a pregnancy test" (yes) "how many?" (I've taken four at home test, gotten blood work done 4 times, and had two ultrasounds) "oh, then why do you need me to put in a request for a urine test?" (That's a really good question.)

So anyway, after a bunch of that bs, I got in to see a midwife a week later (pretty good turnaround.. but it did take a lot of calls and transfers to higher ups). We saw two growing, moving, little blobs with strong heartbeats (of course we got the one ultrasound machine that they "can't figure out how to get the sound to work on" so we couldn't actually hear the heartbeats, but we saw them on the screen). And after a little more bs at the appointment desk, I got scheduled for a "new pregnancy orientation" this Friday as a walk in and after all the testing they require (more blood, probably) I have another appointment with an actual doctor! (I know, pregnancy orientation? WTF, right? There's like a million pregnant military wives on base at any given moment so I guess it makes sense to wrangle them all up and make sure they're not too incompetent to carry a baby to term). I hope that it will be of value to me and isn't just a remedial high school health class where they tell you not to eat sushi and shit.

B actually told his brother about the pregnancy yesterday. I'm really glad he did because we aren't telling anyone, except for my sister who was visiting when we found out, and I feel like he needed to talk about it with someone besides me. His brother was really supportive and excited, but he also asked why we would be trying if we knew he was deploying for six months. Two days ago his sister, who actually knows a little about our infertility struggles, but nothing of the pregnancy, told him, "well, just make sure you don't try now, you wouldn't want to miss a pregnancy, that would just be too hard." I feel like that will be the general consensus when we share our news.. why would you want to have a baby when your husband is deploying? I guess the short answer, and the one most likely to be shared by B, is that there is always going to be a deployment looming. We aren't going to put our lives on hold just because it might happen.

The more honest answer is that we've been trying now for 19 months to get pregnant. We've done 9 rounds of fertility drugs. We didn't know if we would ever get pregnant, and we were just starting to make some progress with our RE, so we weren't going to stop now, especially when the deployment wasn't "for sure" until very recently. So we decided that we might as well keep trying, hoping, if nothing else, to learn more about what it would take to get me to ovulate so that when he got back, maybe we'd be able to say "we were doing this and this and this and it was getting us somewhere, lets please start where we left off." I honestly didn't think it would happen for us before he left. But now that it has, we're just really happy. It will be hard, undoubtedly, but it's nothing we can't handle. We're just so blessed to be pregnant, and we've overcome so many hardships to get to this point, I know we will be okay.

I feel like sharing our infertility struggles makes it more understandable why we'd keep trying up until he left, but then on the flip side, sharing our infertility struggles brings up a whole different set of judgements about infertility drugs and multiples. I'm torn. I guess either way people will form their own judgements, and I can try to validate our decisions or I can let people think what they will. There is a 7% chance of twins on clomid. We accepted those odds. I didn't ovulate for over a year, even with low doses of clomid, so increasing it was really our only option if we wanted to get pregnant. I still don't know if my clomid use had anything to do with our twin pregnancy, but I do know that I don't want people judging my unborn children as some sort of medical side effect.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

7 weeks 4 days

We had a second ultrasound today. The doctor wanted to make sure the little one was growing properly after the dating of last week's ultrasound didn't put me as far along as we'd previously thought. We were so excited and nervous. I really just wanted to see the heartbeat. I kept feeling like, either our hopes will be completely dashed, or we will get to see a heartbeat and we will be ecstatic. I know seeing a heartbeat at 8 weeks is no guarantee of a healthy baby in seven months, but it does bring the statistic down for miscarriage.

We were seen right away and I didn't have to give blood. We were off to a good start.

After the doctor started looking around my uterus, she told us, totally nonchalantly, that the "first baby" was measuring right where they'd hoped, and the "second baby" seemed to be measuring right around the same. "Looks like identical twins," she said.

I was shocked. I just kept thinking WHAT. THE. FUCK?! I looked over at B and he seemed to be having the exact same thought. Is she serious? It had honestly not even crossed our mind to prepare for the possibility of multiples, even with the increased risk with taking Clomid, and knowing that twins run on both sides of B's family. Even after processing this information all day I am still sort of in shock. I am carrying twins. I didn't know if I would ever become pregnant, and now I was contemplating the idea of having TWO babies. We could be done building our family! I could never have to endure another fertility treatment! It's all very exciting. But with the news of twins comes a whole slew of new fears that we hadn't even thought to consider a day ago.

PCOS pregnancies are already high risk, but being pregnant with multiples carries additional risks all it's own. Also, the doctor was worried that they might be in the same sac, which we later obsessively researched and learned occurs in only 1% of multiple pregnancies and gives a 50-60% survival rate. The main danger with embryos in the same sac, called "mo-mo twins," is that having them in such close proximity might cause the umbilical cords to get wrapped or blocked. The doctor said she was referring us to an OBGYN and that we should try to be seen by a high risk one as soon as possible. She said it was possible that her ultrasound machine was not powerful enough to see the membrane separating the embryos. She called it "vintage" and said it was from the 70s. (Thanks TRICARE, I'm so glad you could send me to the CHEAPEST, MOST POORLY EQUIPPED, infertility clinic in the state of Virginia). At this point, that's what we're hoping and praying for. We've read that it's pretty common for it to be misdiagnosed early on in pregnancy. We're hoping we can catch this break.

I also learned that if they are indeed identical, which the doctor seemed pretty sure of, they will be the same sex. So my brief excitement about the thought of a boy and a girl went away pretty quickly. Part of me is scarred of having two boys (the other part of me is like, you idiot, you will be lucky two have two alive babies at the end of this, how could you worry, for even a second, that they might not be girls?). I think it's because I grew up with just one sister. I was never into sports or anything. I guess I'm worried that I might not be able to connect as well with a little boy. (Expect more on this later).

In other, "i have ridiculous, frivolous fears that someone who is so blessed should not even be thinking about"news, I worry that people will attribute the fertility treatment with us having twins and think negatively about it. I guess after the whole "john and kate" and "octomom" craziness, I'm just worried that people will judge me for being some crazy baby obsessed woman who went to extremes. But the fact that they are identical means that this was NOT caused by clomid. Clomid causes multiples when more that one egg releases, which can result in fraternal twins. It doesn't matter. I know it doesn't matter. Even if the twins were a result of fertility drugs, it wouldn't matter. (Probably more on this later too.)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Okay, so NOW 6ish weeks

I had my first ultrasound! There's definitely a little glob growing in my uterus! I know now that its not a tubal pregnancy, which is a relief. What I am worried about is that I'm measuring at 6wks4days, but the prior to the appointment, the nurse had figured I was almost 8 weeks. So either my ovulation dates were wrong, which threw off all the dates after that, or my little bean stopped growing a week ago. Even though the nurse was able to see a flicker of a heart beat, which she assured me would not be happening if the baby had stopped growing, it still sort of terrified me to see that I wasn't as far along as I'd been obsessively calculating for the last month. The nurse got out a calendar and cross checked the dates with my various blood draws... estrogen levels, betas, all that, and told me that I probably ovulated later than the date I'd initially been given. She said that that the blood work I'd had done to confirm pregnancy showed levels consistent with several days prior to a missed period, not a day after my missed period as I'd been figuring. I hope I'm worrying for nothing.

My blood results showed a beta of, like, 90,000 something (I got the results by phone, very quickly, and without being able to write them down) and progesterone of 29, which is up from the last reading and is apparently excellent. My beta seems more like 7ish weeks, but the ultrasound is off +-4days so I could be more like seven weeks. I have another appointment for an ultrasound next Wednesday. I'm hoping the growth from yesterday to then is enough to put me a little more at ease.

I feel sort of cheated out of that happy excited feeling most expectant parents get to have. I feel like unless someone has struggled with infertility, or suffered a miscarriage, they don't really grasp how much could go wrong. This is why so many young first and second time parents post pictures of positive pregnancy tests on facebook right away. They are so blissfully unaware that something like 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. I haven't told anyone aside from my husband and sister. I feel like I'm going to jinx myself if I tell anyone before 12 weeks. I'm trying to let go a little. My body is doing everything it can to keep this little blastocyst growing. Nothing good will come of worry, so I'm trying to think positively and focus on the aspects of this pregnancy that I do have control over... like eating well, drinking water, doing yoga.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

6ish weeks

I'm in a precarious situation. I am ecstatic to actually be pregnant. I still sort of can't believe it. At the same time, I am trying to manage my expectations. 

My numbers are goodish:   
beta-86 (1/3), 1490 (1/9)
progesterone-43.2, 29.5

But I'm still really nervous about a tubal pregnancy. I have been having sharp pains in my abdomen, but they really haven't been in one particular spot, so its probably fine. My nurse told me that if my beta was above 1000 after my 1/9 blood draw that I could come in for an ultrasound, but then when she called with my results, she made my appointment for almost two weeks out. Her reasoning is that I will likely be 8 weeks by then and if all goes well, they will refer me to an OBGYN after the appointment. But I feel like, that's all good and well, but what if everything does not look okay? What if its a tubal pregnancy and they could've spotted it a week and a half earlier? Maybe waiting a little longer will mean a strong heartbeat, then I suppose it will have been worth it. If I had an ultrasound at six or seven weeks, maybe there wouldn't be a heartbeat, and that would probably stress me out even more.

Even as I type this, I sort of can't believe it. Is this really happening? Am I actually 6 weeks pregnant? Do I seriously have a little blastocyst growing away somewhere in my (hopefully) uterus? This can't actually work out in our favor, can it? We've faced so many painful obstacles, why wouldn't we have to endure a miscarriage too? But in the same sense, we've dealt with so many obstacles, maybe we're due some good news. Maybe this will be our "take home" baby. Maybe this will be one of those pregnancies I read about that is all worry in the beginning, continued worrying throughout, and then results in a perfectly healthy baby. Maybe, like so many of my PCOS "cysters" this will be the first in a string of devastating miscarriages. 

Sometimes I wish I was as blissfully ignorant as the women who get a positive pregnancy test and start buying onesies and making facebook announcements. I wish I could just enjoy my first trimester without the constant fear that something is about to go terribly wrong at any moment. I can't even imagine how devastating a miscarriage would be, and I hope I never have to find out. I take some comfort in the fact that my progesterone is good, I'm extremely healthy as far as diet and exercise, and I'm very young, these are all things working in my favor. It also brings me some comfort to know that if I do miscarry at this point, it is most likely because the pregnancy would not have lead to a healthy baby.

Adorably, B has taken to calling the blastocyst a "polka-dot." Like, "I'll get the door for you and the polkadot" or "Are you and the polkadot feeling tired? Can I make you and the polkadot some tea?" He's being a real champ with all of this. He is just as scarred as I am that something might go wrong, but he's also so unbelievably excited. He's cried several times out of amazement that, for now at least, this is really happening for us. In a totally cliche turn of events, we found out recently that he's more than likely going to deploy to Afghanistan in a couple of months, on a six month deployment... or, if everything works out with this pregnancy, just long enough to miss the birth and the first month of our baby's life. More on that later, I don't really want to think about it right now I just want to pin more cute nursery pictures to my "secret" pinterest board.

The New Year

I just dropped my sister off at the airport after a nice long visit. I was sad to see her go, but the goodbye was much easier than it has been in the past because we're planning a march visit.

That's my excuse for the lack of posting. Anyway, here's what you missed:

I went to the rescheduled monday appointment. I was told I could not have the HSG test for another two months because "you have to try for 3 months on the same dose of clomid before I give the test"... Why? I'm not sure and as per ush it was not explained to me. I had one follicle that was a good size, but she said something about maybe it being left over from last cycle and it being, dead, or something. I can't remember, but I got the impression she did not think I was getting pregnant this try. She made me feel stupid for asking if I'd be prescribed more clomid if I didn't end up ovulating, which she has explained to me, and done for me, before, but she instead went on and on about how clomid was for ovulation induction as if I was a total idiot. To be honest, I can't remember a lot of what was said at that appointment. I know I left just as resolved as ever to try and get a referral somewhere else next month.

Tuesday the nurse I like called me and said "you will ovulate wednesday or thursday, so have sex blah blah blah. Christmas Eve morning you'll have to go for a blood draw, but you can go to a place that's 15 minutes away as opposed to 1 hr 15min away (yay!). Then, Dec. 28 you'll come in for a endometrial biopsy.. some women experience pain, take some Ibuprofen.

I had the blood draw. I did ovulate! I get to the appointment on the 28th and they say, oh, we tried to get ahold of you (they called me once) but your voicemail was full. They want to reschedule your biopsy because they'd done the math wrong and it was probably a bit early for the test. I asked if I didn't have an alternative phone number they could've tried me at... and why no one answered when I returned the call. I also told them I'd driven over an hour to be there this morning. The bitchy receptionist said "oookaaaaay" and then went a talked with the nurse practitioner, who I guess decided it was okay, because she ended up doing the procedure. It was one of the worst pains I'd ever felt in my life. The nurse equated it to a labor pain or getting kicked in the balls. It was awful. Ugh. I get queasy just thinking about it. The nurse told me, yes, I could still get pregnant this month and to call friday of next week or as soon as I started my period.

So I waited until thursday, when I figured my period should have started. Late periods, or totally absent periods were not abnormal for me, so I didn't think much of the fact that it hadn't started, plus it was not certain what day I even ovulated. I felt very crampy and bloated, so I figured I'd start my period any moment. I kept having pains in my abdomen, which I figured may have been residual from my biopsy, but I took a pregnancy test anyway. I hate to waste them because the only ones I had left were I EPT expensive ones, but I wanted to know... also, I wanted to make sure I was good to keep drinking  martinis. I peed on that stick, as I had done so many times, fully expecting a "not pregnant."

But it said "Pregnant." I was in shock. I had always thought about how I would share the news with my husband... maybe making a meal with all "baby" foods (baby corn, baby carrots, etc. ala Full House when Becky tells Jesse) or something of the like, but that all went out the window the second I saw the word "pregnant" on that little screen. I immediately called my husband and just told him, straight up, I took a pregnancy test this morning, it says I'm pregnant. "Are you sure?" he asked. I told him I was going in for blood work now, so we'd know for sure in a couple of days, but yes, I was pretty sure.

I zombie walked the test into the guest room to show my sister. Without saying anything, I walked toward her and handed her the test. After over a year and a half of negative ovulation tests, negative pregnancy tests, negative feelings (all around negativity), I had no expectation of seeing a positive, I was stunned. I was so happy my sister was there to share that moment with me. She was so excited for me, she took me to lunch and even bought me a new box of pregnancy tests just so I could be sure. I peed on both those sticks and both said positive. I'd pee on one every day if I could just to see that little plus sign. It's very exciting. But also, now I'm terrified. What if its ectopic? What if I miscarry? What if my blood work mysteriously says I'm not actually pregnant? So many questions.