Saturday, November 21, 2009

Picture Poses

Gabriel and Nathaniel

Nat sat with his arm like this for 2 minutes straight!

Our little Gabey Baby

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pictures

Mama giving Nathaniel kisses with Gabe in my other arm.

Daddy holding the boys- Nat is on the left, Gabe is on the right

Two very proud Grandmas!

Monday, November 2, 2009

They've arrived!!


To those who have not already heard- our precious baby boys have arrived.

Gabriel Douglas, 5 lb, 10 oz, and 17 inches long was born at 7:03 am on October 30th.

Nathaniel Robert, 6lb, and 17 inches long was born shortly thereafter at 7:05 am.

I will post a more detailed birth story later, but the basics are: my water broke around 12:30 am, we checked in to L & D at 3:00 am the boys were assessed and their heartbeats were looking wonderful, I labored for a few hours and felt great. Began to monitor them again and Gabriel (Baby A) was in distress. We were unable to locate a heartbeat from him. Occasionally we would pick it up, and it was either in the 180's or in the 70's, and when we did hear it it had very distinct eurythmia that we had never once heard during the pregnancy. I was rushed into the OR, "knocked out" and within 3 minutes they had Gabriel out, with Nathanial following two minutes later.
The boys are doing well now. We are working on maintaining their weights. Gabriel had an echo cardiogram performed a few days ago, so we will hopefully be hearing from the cardiologist with good news.
My recovery was not so pretty. I lost a lot of blood during the surgery, and ended up requiring 2 transfusions. I was a wreck the day of delivery; vomiting regularly and completely disoriented. I hear that I was a terrible shade of yellow/green. Once I received the blood from the transfusions my recovery significantly changed for the better.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Almost there

We met with my doctor on Tuesday. She was glad to see that I was still pregnant. She said she grew a little concerned on Monday when she had returned from vacation and found hospital paperwork on me and had seen that I was admitted. Luckily, she found out that only one 34 week preemie had been born, so she knew it wasn't me.
The appointment went well, still more progression. The great news is that she only wants me on bedrest for another week, so as of Tuesday the 27th I can be up and moving around.
We went back on Wednesday for a growth scan on the babies. She wanted to reassess their positions and see how big they are now. Well, I am still carrying big babies because according to their measurements they are both over 5 1/2 pounds. Baby A is still head down, perfectly in my pelvis and just waiting to go. Somehow Baby B managed to completely flip without me realizing it. He is still transverse, but his head is angled down now. I'm hoping that he will slide right down into position once his brother is born.
We will see how the no bedrest goes. I highly doubt I'll be out running around. Just laying and reclining all day causes a lot of pain on my joints and back.
So who wants to guess on when these kids are going to arrive?
My guess is next weekend. Just in time for Halloween and to share their Grandma D's birthday.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

2 1/2 weeks down, how many more to go?

I have managed to complete two and a half weeks of bedrest. I am quite proud of myself! My front window is not really allowing me to enjoy much of fall, and there are times when I feel like the walls of the house are closing in on me.
I was really naughty and went to Target the other night. It was my first time leaving the house in week. I had to, I was crawling out of my skin. It was a nice, short trip, which I ended up regretting because I got so out of breath and had a lot of contractions during the 10 minutes I was in the store. I
We had an appointment yesterday with one of the doctors that I had seen a few times in the hospital. She was very happy to see me still pregnant.
Everything looks great. The boys heartrates are good, my blood pressure is very good (even more so for being pg with twins the nurse told me), I have progressed a little more from the last time I was in, but that is to be expected at this stage. She said my cervix is thin, but not paper-thin, and between a fingertip and 1cm dilated. Baby A has moved down low again to where he originally was. He'll probably remain there until he and his brother decide that it's time to make their grand entrance.
They weren't too concerned about the weight loss, but would really like to see me with an additional 5 to 10 pounds. I'll try my best, but it's so hard to eat anything these days. My stomach is beyond the point of being squished.
My personal doctor returns on Monday, and I have an appointment with her on Tuesday. I will also be able to deliver at my own hospital as of Tuesday. We have pretty much hit all of our goals, and Joel and I are quite excited about that.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Scary Belly

Here are the latest belly shots. I had to show one at an angle to give you the best view.
No full body shots because that would require me to look half decent, i.e., to shower, get dressed, and actually do something with myself. Right now I am really just enjoying being a lazy bum;)




Good news

I went in yesterday for another cervical length u/s. Can you believe that my cervix lengthened?! I was shocked. The tech even called in the doctor to confirm what she was finding. The doc agreed- my cervix has lengthened back out to over a 2 and the funneling is gone. This is amazing news!
Baby A who has always been extremely low has managed to move up in my pelvis. His head was causing all the extra pressure, funneling, and cervical shortening.
The bed rest seems to be working wonders for me and the babies. Although I am more uncomfortable now since Baby A moved back up which in turn causes Baby B to basically live under my rib cage.
Laying down all the time is doing wonders for my circulation. My feet and legs look normal again. I am trying to keep drinking as many fluids as possible to keep the contractions at bay. With the extreme fluid intake and the better circulation I have somehow managed to lose 5 pounds. I know that it all came directly from my hands and feet. No worries about it, I am still on track ,weight-wise, and we have no concerns about the size of these boys.
The babies really seem to like me on bedrest. Being able to lay down all the time keeps them very active. My tummy looks like a bowl full of wiggly jello with babies jumping and kicking and hitting all the time. My skin is stretched so tight across the top of my belly that you can almost see an outline of Baby B. We do this cool trick where I can press his butt and his head pops out on the other side of my belly, and then I press his head and his butt pops out. That poor child- he is always getting picked on. Mostly because he is the easiest access.
I'll have to put another belly pic up because I am looking quite big now. My belly measured at 40 weeks about 2 weeks ago, so I am probably a 42 now. Scary.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Our Latest Adventure

We arrived to our appointment early Monday afternoon and hoped to find out some good news at our u/s check-up. Unfortunately that did not happen. The tech looked and my cervix without measuring it and let out a sort of "Huh."
I asked "Bad news?"
"Your cervix is really thin."
"How thin is really thin?"
"It's a 1" (anything less than 2 is bad)
"There is also funneling" (funneling is bad)
We met with the doctor. Not my doctor, since she is on vacation in New Guinea. it was one of the other practitioners who had an opening in her schedule.
She looked at my numbers and gave us our stats. The best we could hope for is another 2 weeks. They could give me meds in attempt to stall labor, but they would only let me hold out for another 48 hours, and there are risks involved.
Our instructions were to head to the hospital and start monitoring. She would consult with some other doctors and let us know what happens next. Plus those meds are essentially used to provide enough time to get the betamethasone shots in, and we were able to do that last week.
We headed out to the hospital and I got all hooked up to the machines. The boys are still VERY active and my contractions are still irregular and mostly only happen when I move around.
We met with the second doctor who checked me out and agreed with the u/s findings- 75% effaced and dilated a fingertip. She had a hard time trying to decide if she should transfer me downtown to the U (since this hospital is not equipped to deal with 32 week preemies), or if they should keep me overnight and see how I was doing in the morning.
They decided to keep me overnight for 24 hour monitoring and recheck my cervix in the morning.
I was pumped full of iv fluids and had the TOCO wrapped around my belly all night. The nurses came in all night to check on me, check my contractions and occasionally monitor the babies.
The doctor came in around 8 am to do his rounds and re-checked my cervix. Thankfully, it had not changed. They decided to send me back home on a more strict form of bedrest. I am only allowed to use the bathroom, shower if necessary, and go up and down the stairs once daily, other than that I am to be in bed or on the couch, preferably laying down.
Joel has set me up a nice little home in the bedroom. I have the big screen tv, a stack of movies and books, paper for lists, the computer, a cooler full of snacks, and the massage chair.
We met with a NICU nurse practitioner who informed us of what would be going on with the babies once they are born. We won't be able to take them home, they will likely stay in the NICU for a few weeks. They'll need iv's, possible respirators, feeding tubes, and "fake bake" under the lights for jaundice. There are no big risks for them if they are born right now. Joel and I are very positive. We know that the babies will be in good hands at the hospital, and that the Lord is looking out for us.
Right now we are really just waiting for these babies to arrive. Hoping they hold out for a little while, but ultimately knowing that they will be okay when they do.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

31 weeks 4 days

I headed back to the hospital yesterday for another NST. The babies are looking great.
At the NST testing, the Fetal Non- Stress test, they are watching the movement of the babies and how their heartrates respond, along with my uterine contractions.
The babies passed with flying colors. Baby A is definitely the more cooperative of the two little ones. We rarely lost his heartrate, perhaps because he is being squished by his brother and can't really move. Baby B would squirm all over the place and we would lose his heartrate, which completely messes with the test since we were trying to analyze what the rate was doing when he did move. He is my squirmy worm, a little monkey.
I got my second shot of betamethazone. That should be all I need to mature these little lungs for whenever they should decide to arrive. The nurses kept apologizing for all the shots that they were having to give me. It just made me chuckle, and I had to let them know that these were IVF twins, so shots don't faze me in the slightest.
My stict bedrest has been downgraded to modified.
I am able to get up and move around, but I am mostly stuck either on the couch or in bed. I just need to rest a few hours each morning, a few each afternoon, and most of the evening.
The benefits of bedrest are huge. It reduces the strain on my heart, increases the blood flow to my kidneys and helps eliminate excess fluids (I can wear my ring again!!), it increases circulation to the uterus and provides additional oxygen and nutrients to the babies, it reduces my stress hormones, takes pressure off of my cervix. Limiting my activity level reduces my contractions, and conserving my energy allows more of what I eat to do directly to growing the babies nice and big.
I head back to the clinic Monday morning for another cervical length check and to meet with one the doctors. Wouldn't you know it?! My doctor is on vacation for the next 2 1/2 weeks. How dare she have a life?!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bedrest boredom

It looks as though I am officially on bedrest. We went back to the hospital today to have the Fetal Fibronectin test and the results came back positive - not what we were hoping for.
To further explain the test, fFN is a sort of "glue" that holds the amniotic sac to the wall of the uterus. This "glue" starts to break down between one and three weeks before you go into labor and is slowly leaked out into the vagina. The test was performed and sent to the lab and the results came back showing an elevated level, meaning that the "glue" that is helping to hold these babies in, is breaking down. I was monitored while I was there and there wasn't much going on as far as contractions were concerned. I started receiving my shots of betamethasone in hopes to mature the boys' lungs. I head back tomorrow for more monitoring and another dose of steroids. In the meantime I sit, or lay, and try to keep these babies baking as long as possible. No work, no cleaning, just hanging out and gestating.

Here's a little of the fun stuff that we found out yesterday at our appointment before all the dramatic stuff happened.
The boys are continuing to grow very well. They both still have big heads, 35 1/2 weeks and 34 weeks, their bellies and legs are measuring right along with their actual age, 31 weeks. Their weight estimates are around 4lb 7 oz, and 4lb 3oz. Baby A has hair. Baby B seems to have a perfectly round head, with a little bit of hair in the back. I'm now thinking that Baby A will take after his daddy and Baby B will take after his mama.
My belly is now measuring 40 weeks. Let's see how big I can get it!! Somehow I have managed to get this far with no stretch marks (knock on wood) My guess is that I will wake up tomorrow morning covered in them just for writing that and acknowledging it.;)
Baby A is still vertex and still extremely low. The doctor felt his head while checking my cervix. Baby B is still transverse and will likely remain that way.
I spoke with my doctor and as long as Baby B doesn't grow much larger than his brother, I will get to try a vaginal delivery.
The Lord has been on our side and we have been so thankful for how far we have come. The babies look extremely healthy and have grown nice and big. Hopefully, with rest, I can keep them in a while longer.
Thank you for following us on this amazing journey.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pre-term?

I had a feeling something was up. I haven't been feeling that great for the past week or so. My Braxton Hicks contractions have been coming like crazy, almost anything I do will cause them. Walking, rolling over, bending, twisting, anything and BAM! there they are. Two days ago I started having more menstrual type cramping. I haven't been able to time any of these, they don't come in a pattern.
Last night, while at work, I was pretty sure that (WARNING: TMI) I had lost part of my mucous plug. Again, I wasn't too concerned since there was no blood or anything.

I had a doctors appointment today, and while the boys are looking fabulous and growing big, my cervix is changing. It has started to shorten and dilate. My doctor sent me to the hospital to monitor my contractions. I was contracting and my uterus is "irritable." Not sure what an irritable uterus is,exactly, but to me it just looked like a bunch of little squiggles in addition to the larger contractions on the monitor printout. They gave me a shot of Terbutaline to stop the contractions and it seems to have worked for now.

I will return to the hospital tomorrow for the fetal fibronectin test.
If it comes back positive then my body is preparing for labor and I will likely have the boys in the next two weeks. I would be on bedrest and need steroid shots to speed up the lung development of the babies. If the result is negative then we are in the clear for a few more weeks.

Please pray for us right now. It's too early for these babies to be born.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

30 weeks

I am finally in the 30's! Looking back this pregnancy seems to have flown by, but each day as I get closer to the end seems to be moving really slowly.
Last week was great. We had more good news from the doctor on Friday. I am still doing a good job carrying these boys and I still have no signs of preterm labor. The swelling, aches and pains have started in on me. And although we are shooting for keeping these guys in until at least 36 weeks, I am really looking forward to the day that I get to meet them. I am counting down the weeks and days.
Baby B is still transverse and Baby A is still vertex. I'm interested to see what my doctor says about me attempting a vaginal delivery. They don't have much more space to move around, and most doctors agree that the position that twins are in at 30 weeks is likely the way they will stay for the remainder of the pregnancy. We'll see, they may defy the odds and Baby B may manage to work is way head down, but I don't really see how considering that his brother's legs and feet are in the way.

My sister threw me a beautiful baby shower on Sunday, with the help of my bff and my mom! It was so wonderful getting to see all sorts of family and friends. My sister-in-law and mother-in-law even made the drive all the way from Wisconsin to help celebrate! We received such great things. Our nursery is packed full of baby items.
I think the shower shocked Joel into the realization that these boys will be arriving soon. He has been helping me organize and has made a list of all sorts of projects that he wants to accomplish. He started working on them the day after the shower. Before he goes to work, or after he comes home he is working on finishing the nursery or sorting through the items in the spare bedroom. He's doing a great job!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another great appointment!

I got the results of my 3 hr. glucose tolerance test back and everything looks normal.
Thank goodness! I was going to be really crabby if I had GD since I have been doing a good job of eating right and remaining active throughout this pregnancy.

We had the long overdue ultrasound this afternoon and the boys are looking wonderful. Good heartbeats -150 and 164 bpm. Their amniotic fluid levels look great, and they are measuring wonderfully! They are both still measuring ahead, and they both have nice big heads (32 weeks big). Their estimated weights right now are 3lb 8oz, and 3lb 10oz! I was thinking they were still in the 2 pound range, so it was surprising to hear how large they are.
What's shocking is the realization that I am now carrying about 7 lbs of baby(ies) around.
No wonder I have been feeling so sluggish lately! Only a few months left...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

GTT

I managed to get through my glucose tolerance test without vomiting. I wasn't sure I was going to make it through the first hour. But as each hour passed I felt better and better. Except for the last 45 minutes when I was ridiculously hungry,thirsty, kept burping orange glucose drink, and had the worst heartburn of my life. The minute after I got my last blood draw I chowed down on a Kashi trail mix bar, downed a bottle of water, and had two Tums.
I was lucky enough to be allowed to leave the clinic during each hour, so I headed over to Target during one session, and I got my toenails repainted during another. I had to make this best of my day off! Target is always known to cheer me up.
I'll get the results of my test on Monday, since the clinic is closed over the weekend.
I will also get to have another u/s, finally!
I was supposed to have this one 2 weeks ago, but the u/s tech had a death in her family, so it was rescheduled for the following week. Then they had to reschedule the new appointment since the funeral landed on the same day and the tech wouldn't be in. Somehow they thought they had contacted me to reschedule, but they never did. I was finally able to get in on Monday.
I hope that Baby B is starting to move into a head down position. Baby A is ready to go, so we're just waiting on Baby B to cooperate with us so we can attempt a vaginal delivery.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Belly Shots

27 weeks


28 weeks


I'm hoping for some good ultrasound pictures tomorrow! I'm also hoping that I pass my GTT!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Appointment. Update

Everything looks fine for the most part. There are still no cervical changes. The boys heart rates are good. My blood pressure is normal. My weight gain is right on track.
I am measuring 36 weeks, just like I figured I would.
I did the one hour oral glucose tolerance test and failed it. I'll have to do the three hour test now.
I scheduled it next Friday morning before my u/s. Joel told me that he will be there for the ultrasound, but has no intentions of hanging out with me all morning at the clinic. What a poop.
I'll be bringing in a good book to keep me entertained. Target is right across the street. Maybe they'll let me leave to do some shopping.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

27 weeks

I am now 27 weeks, and I am finishing out my last week in the second trimester.
I cannot believe that I'll soon be in the third tri!
My belly is continuing to grow steadily. I'll find out my actual measurement tomorrow at my appointment, but I am assuming that I'll continue my pattern and measure 9 weeks ahead- so 36 weeks .
My stomach is starting to feel like it can't grow any larger, and my skin feels like it is going to snap if is stretches anymore, yet I have between 9 and 11 more weeks to go.
I get many comments "Looks like you've finally popped!", "You're tiny for twins", "You are all belly".
Yes, I do seem to be carrying these boys well, at least for now. I'm just frightened of how I will feel once I start measuring 43, 44, and 45 weeks.

I am definitely running low on energy these days. My body is getting sore and the swelling is starting to kick in. I am experiencing serious pressure from Baby A who is laying low in my pelvis, yet it's hard to breathe with Baby B crammed up under my ribs. I just can't seem to win. I'm hoping that someday soon they will finally decide they are uncomfortable in their positions and each pick a side to lay on, rather than top and bottom.

I told my current employer my work intentions after having these babies. It is just not going to work out for me to return to my current position since Joel also works evenings. Finding affordable, evening childcare for twins would be ridiculous, as well as not financially feasible. I would probably lose money by continuing to work. Joel has found a second job, and he will be the bread winner for our family.
I intend to stay through the end of October, although things may change if I need to go on bed rest, or if I get too uncomfortable.

I have another appointment tomorrow afternoon. I'm expecting that everything will check out okay. We were suppose to have an ultrasound tomorrow, but they had to reschedule it for next week. It will just be a boring, standard appointment except for the 1 hour glucose test. I am hoping that I have avoided the GD.

On that note, I am off to bed. The boys are kicking up a storm which usually means it's past my bedtime. They tell me when it's time for bed, and kick me in the morning to wake me up. They have already taken over my life ;-)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Whose side has the twins?!

I'm sure that I'll get this question for the rest of my life, but it is already getting old.
"Whose side has the twins?"
There are a number of irritating things about this question.
As you all obviously know, these twins were conceived with assistance. Do I really care to share that with anyone and everyone who asks that question? No, not really.
I could answer that they run on my side because that is technically correct. My mother has a set of twin aunts, and twin cousins. But these babies are not naturally occurring twins.
The irritating thing about this question is that people don't understand how and why twins occur in the first place, and if they did they wouldn't ask the question.
Naturally occurring twins run on the mother's side, the father has absolutely nothing to do with it.
Fraternal twins are hereditary. Identical twins are a fluke, a mysterious anomaly.
Fraternal twins happen when two separate eggs are released and fertilized by two separate sperm. They are two sibling who are simply womb-mates.
Identicals occur when a one fertilized egg splits into two embryos. They share the exact same DNA and therefore they look alike and are the same sex.(Strangely there are people who ask if boy/girl twins are identical)
We are 99.9% sure that these boys are fraternal. First, because we put two embryos back. Second, because they were 5 day old embryos and they both have their own amniotic sac and placenta.
Identicals can share a sac and a placenta, or they can share a sac and have their own placentas or they can each have their own sac and placentas. It all depends on how old the embryo was when it split. If they were identical twins with their own sac and placenta then the split would have had to occur on day 3, and these boys were still hanging out in the petri dish during that time.
Enough with Biology 101, back to the initial question.
So, in most instances I will respond with a "We had some help getting pregnant."
The usual response is "Oh... IVF?"
I'm a pretty open person, so I'll answer "Yes."
The stupid response I hear time and time again "We'll at least it's not ____ (insert ridicilous number here, usually 4, 6 or 8)!! Then it's some comment about Jon & Kate or Octomom.
Ugh. I would really love to set people straight on this misconception.
"Octomom" is a rarity. IVF pregnancies don't lead to high order multiples. She is a rare example.
Jon & Kate didn't do IVF, neither did the family with septuplets in Iowa from many years back. They used fertility drugs, but not IVF.
IVF allows you to choose the number of embryos you put back. Most fertility drugs just give you extra eggs to release, for a greater number of "targets" for the sperm.

Enough of the preaching from my soap box. I was just slightly irritated during my O/B appointment today when the nurse taking my blood pressure asked me the question and then proceeded to make the annoying comment.
I figured that someone in the medical field, especially one who works with pregnant women would know how reproduction and assisted reproduction works!

Nothing to report from the appointment. The boys heart rates are still great, as well as my blood pressure. No signs of preterm labor yet. Today's fundal height measurement.... 34 weeks!! Yep. I'm big already, but according to my doctor I carry it very well :-)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Picture Time

A little old... 22 weeks and measuring 31



Bad Blogger

Almost three weeks have passed and I did not even post once.
Shame on me.
I can't say that I've been too busy.
Mostly just working, and when I am not doing that I am resting, reading and attempting to get prepared for the birth of our monkeys.
They really do feel like little monkeys in my belly.
I have a feeling that any woman pregnant with multiples would agree, it's a little freaky having your belly jumping around and moving in four places at once.
I had an appointment a few weeks back. This one included another ultrasound.
The boys are looking so amazing. Their faces are getting more and more cute. Baby B was sucking on his toes when we did a close up shot of his profile.
As of now they are on opposite ends of my womb.
Baby A is very far down with his head resting right on my cervix and his body wrapping up my left side.
Baby B is transverse stretching all across the top of my belly with his head jammed nicely under the ribs on my right.
They were both measuring big. Baby B about one half a week ahead, and Baby A a full week ahead.
Fabulous news for us!!
I met with my OB who told us because of the babies sizes, approximately 24 wks and 24 1/2 wks at the time, that they were considered viable.
I was so beyond happy to hear that.
Getting to 12 weeks didn't ease my anxiety. Hitting viability and 24 weeks has absolutely allowed me to breathe a lot easier.
I started having my manual cervical checks, and as of two weeks ago everything looked good. There are no signs of pre-term cervical changes, and my blood pressure is excellent.
My doctor measured my belly and at 23 weeks I am measuring 32 weeks. That is right about where I am expected to be. They estimate that by 30 weeks I'll measure in both belly size and baby weight to be 40 weeks. Yikes! That is not that far away.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Little Visit to L&D

I had a bit of a scare a few days ago.
It started late in the evening, at around 9:00 pm with an hour left of work. I started having Braxton Hicks, which is not out of the ordinary for me. I usually have around 5-10 a day, and they are typically after walking up stairs, lifting things, or walking long distances.
For some reason this evening they started happening more frequently, and they even continued when I was sitting down, or put my feet up. I figured that once I got home and laid on the couch with a big glass a water they might calm down.
I got home, had a nice big glass of water and reclined on my left side. After an hour, they were still continuing to happen about every 15 minutes.
Now it was around midnight and at this point they seemed to get more painful, and the time between them was 10 minutes.I drank another two glasses of water and continued to monitor myself. I noticed more pressure in my abdomen.
I started to get really nervous, so I grabbed out my pregnancy books to look up some information.
Everything kept telling me that you need to contact your doctor if you begin to have more than 5 contractions, even if they aren't that painful, in an hour. I had already gone three hours of at least five contractions per hour.
I decided that what I really needed to do was go to bed, because staying up counting BH's was just freaking me out.
I headed up to bed and tried to get comfortable, Joel was fast asleep beside me. Unfortunately, every time I seemed to roll over or get settled another one would come on, so I kept looking at the clock. Now they were happening every 7 to 8 minutes.
I had two choices: Attempt to go to sleep and just call my doctor in the morning, but risk something being terribly wrong and having me do nothing about it OR call the on-call doctor and ask what to do.
I decided to try the second option.
I spoke with the doctor around 1:30 am and after hearing what had been happening he told me to head to Labor and Delivery.
I woke up Joel, who was slightly confused, and explained the situation. He threw on some clothes and we headed out the door.
He was the picture of calm, cool and collected.
We drove to the hospital and arrived shortly after 2am.
The nurse took my vitals. Would you believe that my pulse was 102!? My b/p was fine, temperature was normal, and urine test came back normal.
Next they sent me for an u/s to check my cervix, and assess the boys' heartbeats.
My cervix was long (4.9) and closed, and the babies heart-rates were normal- both in the 140's. At this point we knew that the contractions were doing nothing to my cervix, so no pre-term labor. I had also only had 1 or 2 contractions since arriving at the hospital.
I was then hooked up to a monitor to see if we could monitor the contractions. By this point they had completely stopped. So we hung out in one of the triage rooms for an hour, watching Little Women while I was being monitored for the no longer existent contractions.
Since everything came back normal, and more importantly, since my cervix looked good, we were discharged and sent home.
I had a follow-up appointment today with my doctor. There is no concern since everything has been normal since. I will return next week for another u/s and check-up.
Although we had quite a scare that night, we did get a treat when they did the u/s on the babies. They gave us a disk of their pictures. The quality is pretty bad since they were just looking at the h/b. I am hoping that we get some good ones at the next appointment so I can scan them for everyone to see.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Kicks and Craigslist

The boys are kicking! I started feeling them for the first time last week.
At first I was thinking it was a muscle twitch. Then common sense set in and I realized that it was no muscle twitch, it was Baby A making his presence known.
I felt Baby B's kicks two days later. They are pretty amazing feelings. I would much rather experience their kicks, than their somersaults.
The flips and twists usually send me off to the bathroom, or give me some major braxton hicks contractions. I can't imagine how bad they will get as they get bigger.
Yesterday I was staring at my tummy while "B" was kicking and I actually saw my belly move.
Joel was able to feel "A" kicking this morning. They like to wake me up in the morning with kicks.

Physical therapy has been going well. My back pain has been improving. I have some major "kinks", and a ridiculous amount of muscle tightness and knots. The stretching and exercises I am doing seem to help. Right now we are trying to ease my mid and upper back pain, while strengthening my abs and lower back so I am able to support these boys while they grow.

Joel and I had a great weekend. We got a double travel system stroller off of Craigslist for $100!! It's in perfect shape. They usually cost around $500 to $600 new, so this was an amazing deal.
We also found a brand new Medela breastpump for $80, again courtesy of Craigslist. We have turned into real bargain shoppers.
Pricing items for two babies was extremely overwhelming at first, but after finding these couple of items for such a great deal we can breathe a little easier.

Monday, July 6, 2009

19 weeks

We just got back from another excellent visit at the Ob.

We started out with an u/s. The boys are looking excellent, and yes, they still appear to be boys.
She measured different areas in their brains. All appears to be normal. No increased chance of Down Syndrome. Their spinal cords are closed, so no Spina Bifida. Thank you folic acid!
Both have a strong beating, 4 chambered heart. Their fluid levels appear great. They each have ten fingers and ten toes.
They are continuing to measure a few days ahead, which is great for twins.
Baby A is very far down in my pelvis. This explains the intense need to pee every time he moves. Baby B is up high at the very top of my uterus. They both have their head near the other one's butt. It made for some great photo opportunities. You would see a nice shot of ones head, and a baby butt would suddenly come into view.
We have some beautiful profile shots. Both of them held their hand up near their face to pose for the picture. I am trying to compare them. Their profiles look the same, but perhaps all baby profile pictures look the same at this point.

The visit with my Ob was short and sweet. I got a referral to Physical Therapy for my back pain. It has been severe and constant, and it's not a back ache, it's pain. I have my first appointment tomorrow. I hope that they can get me some relief because nothing else seems to help. Other than the back pain, I am feeling great.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

17 Week Belly


Here's latest belly picture taken. My belly button is disappearing, along with my waist.
The boys are beginning to be quite active. I still haven't noticed any kicks, just the position changes. Baby B, our troublemaker, does most of the moving. He is the little guy who is higher up.
I will occasionally feel Baby A squirming around, but I think that he's typically quite content with where he is.
We have our next appointment and u/s on the 6th. I can't wait to see them in action again. I am hoping for some clearer pictures this time. I couldn't post the last ones because they were so fuzzy.
Wishing you all a fun and warm summer!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The BIG Reveal



That's right! We found out at our ultrasound a few weeks ago. Joel and I went in to the appointment questioning if they would be able to tell us so early.
One of the first questions the tech asked us was "Do we get to see what these babies are?!"

Both of the babies were cooperating enough that we were able to take peak between their legs. There is definitely boy stuff there. Although the tech said "Don't go paint the nursery blue quite yet."
The odds are that at least one of those penises is actually a penis and not just an umbilical cord disguising itself. We will have plenty more u/s to take a peak and make sure there are no changes.
How are we feeling? Ecstatic. We would have been happy for any combination. My mother and I were both thinking two boys. She holds the lone 2 Boys vote on the poll. I would award her a prize, but I think her two grandsons with be prize enough for her.
Just knowing what they are makes it more exciting. I feel like I can give them little identities. They aren't just "the babies" anymore, they're "the boys."
They are active little boys. I have been feeling them a lot more lately. I'm not really feeling kicks, and I'm not expecting to feel those this soon. Both of their placentas are anterior, meaning that they are in the front. They are acting as in insulation, so I won't feel their kicks, and neither will anyone else for some time.
I do feel them rolling around in there. They love to jump on my bladder.

My stomach is continuing to expand at an astounding rate. My belly button is about a week away from popping. That's a scary thought. I'll take another belly picture soon.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A new appreciation for Celine Dion

I've never been a fan of Celine Dion.

Okay, maybe back in high school when Titanic first came out, but that's where it started and stopped.
Her voice and songs have always irritated me. I think it's the warbling. You know, the extreme vibrato? Not my style.

A client of mine had his music blaring from his bedroom a number of weeks ago. Who do you think it was? Celine. Yuck.
The volume of it was so loud that I couldn't help but listen to the song. The more I listened, the more the lyrics started speaking to me. Then when the song was over it all made sense.
I remember reading something in some type of gossip magazine that she and her husband had tried for many years to have children. They finally got pregnant with their son after fertility treatments. This song has got to be about her struggle and success. Just read the lyrics, and for the heck of it search for the song and have a listen.
I actually downloaded this song onto one of my playlists. I can't help it. It makes me cry a good cry.



A New Day Performed by Celine Dion


I was waiting for so long
For a miracle to come
Everyone told me to be strong
Hold on and don't shed a tear


Through the darkness and good times
I knew I'd make it through
And the world thought I had it all
But I was waiting for you


Hush, love


I see a light in the sky
Oh, it's almost blinding me
I can't believe
I've been touched by an angel with love
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
A new day has...come


Where it was dark now there's light
Where there was pain now there's joy
Where there was weakness, I found my strength
All in the eyes of a boy


Hush, love


I see a light in the sky
Oh, it's almost blinding me
I can't believe
I've been touched by an angel with love
Let the rain come down and wash away my tears
Let it fill my soul and drown my fears
Let it shatter the walls for a new, new sun
A new day has...come


A new day has...come
Ohhh, a light... OOh

Why Me?

I used to ask this question all the time.
Why me? Why us? Why am I infertile? Why must we struggle so hard to have what comes so easily to others?
Of course I was never able to answer these questions.
I will probably never know.Perhaps not until I look into the eyes of these tiny babies.
I don't have the need to know anymore. I look at our struggle as a sort of blessing. We will have an appreciation for our children that many others will never know.

I recently started asking this question again, but differently.

Why now? Why after our first try at IVF when others have tried so many times, yet constantly failed? As ridiculous as it sounds- it seemed too easy.
Maybe that's why I am nervous about something going wrong, something happening to the babies.
I feel like it was all too picture perfect. A smooth stimulation protocol, retrieval, transfer, and Bam! I'm pregnant with twins.
I know too much. I've seen too much heartache and pain around me. I feel like if I put up a protective barrier of worry, that it will somehow protect me from the pain of something happening.

I feel guilty. I have friends struggling.
One of my close friends has tried for longer than what we did. She was blessed and became pregnant last fall, yet lost the baby 7 weeks later. They have tried again month after month, and they've failed. They are out of money, and running out of time as she is inching closer to 40. They are putting their dreams of children on hold. There is no money for adoptions, nor money for more fertility meds.
How do I make her feel better? How do I support her? I know the pain of failure, but I don't know the worry of seeing the dead end sign at the end of the road.

I know that I will never understand the plan that the Lord has for her.
Words don't help. All I can offer is a shoulder to lean on and someone to cry with. Maybe some advice from the Land of "I've been there and this is what helped me." She says that it's nice to talk to someone who knows her pain, but I can't help but think that this growing stomach will soon get in the way.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

OB and U/S

We had our 2nd OB visit and 3rd U/S appointment this week.
It was so exciting. The babies actually look like babies now. They have long arms and legs, and fat bellies.
Baby A is is lying the lowest, and is more on my right side. Baby A was pretty quiet during the scan. It was just hanging out, resting on it's side.
Baby B is on the left and is higher up. This one seems to take after Joel. It was moving non-stop, flipping and squirming. The tech had to poke me in the belly to try and get it to cooperate with us so she could get the measurements.
They were looking wonderful. They had nice, strong heartbeats, and were measuring at 15w2days, and 15w5days.
I have another appointment next month along with an u/s, and then one the following month, with another u/s. Then we start having the appointments every two weeks.

I think I've been feeling the first movements. It wasn't like a kick or light movement. It felt like a big roll. I was laying in bed, and when I looked down at my belly and put my hands there, I noticed that my belly was completely lopsided. I think that Baby A had done a big flip over to Baby B's side of the womb. I called Joel into the room to show him how crooked my belly looked. It was quite funny, and really exciting. After a few minutes, there was another pressure shift and my tummy when back to normal. I think this is just the beginning of the acrobatics that are going to be occurring.

15 weeks

Here is the latest belly shot


Sunday, May 31, 2009

The New Arrival!!

Noah Allan was born yesterday at 2:44 pm. He weighs 7lbs, 1oz and is 19 1/2 inches. He is absolutely perfect and the most beautiful little boy. I am a very proud Aunt, and I am so absolutely proud of his mother who did an amazing job. Life is good. One perfect niece, one perfect nephew, and two little cousins for them on the way.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

13 weeks, 4 days

I had my first round ligament pains this week. They scared me a bit. I thought for sure something was wrong, until I was reassured that those pains were completely normal. I have also been feeling Braxton-Hicks contractions, which sounds completely insane to some people since I am only 13 weeks. Rest assured that most women start them at 6 weeks, but don't start feeling them until later on. Some women, most of whom have had previous pregnancies feel them much earlier. I started feeling them around 8 weeks. They happen maybe once a day, and only last about 10-15 seconds. It's strange to feel your uterus so rock hard.
The top of my uterus is right up to my navel right now, which I think usually happens around 16 weeks in a singleton pregnancy. My belly is starting to pop out a bit more.
I am up to a 7 pound weight gain. I am still having little bouts of nausea, but it has drastically eased from earlier. Right now the babies are growing from about the size of a lime (13 weeks) to the size of a lemon (14 weeks). It's ridiculous that they're compared to food!

The greatest news of the day is that Joel and I will "officially" be an Auntie and Uncle again sometime today. Our sister-in-law is in labor, so we will be heading off to the hospital sometime soon to gather with the family and meet our new nephew. May the Lord watch over Beth and the baby as he makes his entrance into the world!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

12 1/2 weeks




I am inching closer and closer to the end of the first trimester. Looking back it seems to have passed rather quickly. I am starting to feel better, and I have a little more energy. Although I am waiting for that spurt of energy that some women talk about.
I am so excited that the nice weather is finally here. I think I got a little sample of what the hot summer months are going to bring in those few days this week. It was not pleasant and I can only imagine how bad it is going to get. Needless to say, I turned the central air on. I could barely manage to sleep with the air and two fans pointed at me.
There are lots of fun things going on this summer. I have friends' weddings, my sister-in-law's wedding, and my brother-in-law and other sister-in-law due with their first baby in June. I am thinking that it is going to pass rather quickly, as summers usually do.
I have the next few days off of work, and I have lots of thing to accomplish now that I am not so down in the dumps. I have flowers to plant, and closets to clean out for the garage sale we are planning next weekend. I want to head to the store to get a pre-natal yoga workout since I am already starting to have back pain. I would like to remain nice and limber. I also want to start exercising some more. It pretty much went out the window during the first trimester. Call me crazy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

11 weeks, 1st OB visit

I had my first prenatal appointment this morning. It was pretty uneventful. After peeing in a cup, giving a few vials of blood, and going through the huge checklist and family history or illness and diseases, I met with my doctor. We discussed the upcoming opening of the new birthing unit at the hospital (yay! I love new!) but more importantly we discussed the pregnancy.
No big questions, or concerns.
I got a quick check-up and she assessed all my girlie-bits. I'm measuring a few weeks ahead, go figure, I've got two babies baking.
We briefly discussed the delivery. I'll be assessed at 28 weeks for pre-term labor, if necessary, I'll go on bedrest, if all looks good I'll be able to continue with my regular activities. I can deliver at my hospital at 34 weeks and beyond, if I go earlier than that I will be transferred to the University, or Abbott. The doctor reiterated that I will probably have these babies around 36 weeks.
She used the doppler to check for heartbeats. We could definitely hear one baby. After some searching we found another heartbeat, it was in another area and slightly faster, but the doctor seemed to think that it still belonged to the first baby. I'm pretty sure it was the second baby, but I'm not the OB/Gyn. Who knows? She wasn't at all concerned about just finding one, since detecting two separate heartbeats at 11 weeks with a doppler is difficult. Both of the ultrasounds we had showed strong heartbeats, so I'll have to be reassured by those that everything is okay.
We head back in 4 weeks for another visit, and another ultrasound. I am going to be spoiled by getting to see these babies so much!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Belly Shots

Taken at 5 1/2 weeks.




Taken last week, at 9 1/2 weeks.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

10 weeks, 2 days

From last Thursday through the day before yesterday I was feeling great. I was only sick in the mornings and the evenings, I thought the worst of my morning sickness was over! Once I spoke it, it turned on me. It's back, and I am actually really happy about it. Not being constantly sick makes me completely paranoid. I'd rather struggle through the day with some reassurance than fly through it being worried the whole time.
I had a great day! I went back to my old workplace and got to visit with friends and clients. It was great to catch up, but I really miss being there. I love my new job, and my new clients but it's not the same. I miss the friendships, the daily routines, the client's hugs, and their sweet, and sometimes naughty personalities. At least I got to leave with a couple of Scotcheroo bars, they cheered me up.
I've been taking belly pics to track my growth progress. I do seem to have a bit of a pooch going. I'll post some tomorrow. I have a feeling that in the next few weeks my stomach is going to drastically enlarge! I have managed to gain 3 pounds so far. Although with all the eating that I am doing, I am really surprised that it's not more!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Baby A

Photobucket

This is Baby A, also known as Tweedledum. The head of the baby is on the far left. You can still see the tiny yolk sac just below the baby.

Baby B

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Here is our Baby B, Tweedledee. The baby's head is on the far right. You can make out some arm buds in this picture. They are just below the baby's head.

Our Babies. The Tweedles.

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Here is my favorite picture of them. They are mirror images in this picture. You can really see Tweedledee's arms and legs in this photo.
Their heads are on the far ends, their little feet are both in the middle.
Joel and I named the babies when they were just Day 5 blastocysts. It gave us a way of feeling connected to them. We didn't want to refer to them as babies since we didn't know if they were going to stick, but they weren't just embryos to us. They became our Tweedles- Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

9 weeks, 2nd ultrasound

I think Joel and I had been most scared for today's appointment. At the last appointment we weren't sure what we were going to encounter. Now we have expectations, and two babies to be worried about. Sure I've been feeling sick, but "is it sick enough for twins?", or "did we lose one along the way?" My mind always goes to the worst possible scenario.
Well, no need for worries here. The babies are looking wonderful. They are measuring right in the range at 8 weeks, 5days, only one day shy of their actual age. We were able to see and hear their heartbeats. Those were the most wonderful little sounds I have ever heard. The heartbeats came in at 175, and 183 bpm.
We saw how their little arms and legs are developing and even got to see one of the babies squirming around. I am still in shock that all of this is happening in my body. I am so used to an u/s being used exclusively for measuring my endometrial lining and follicle sizes. It's amazing how just a few months later, using the same machine, I get to see my babies growing.
I think that the clinic switched the labels of Baby A and Baby B in the photos. She said it doesn't much matter right now, not until the placentas have established themselves do we really know which baby will be considered which. All that matters right now is that they look like they are developing on track, which they are.

The best part about our visit today was that it was back in our old clinic. The one we started out at and did most of our fertility treatments through.It was really sad for us when we weren't able to get pregnant with their help. They are such kind and caring physicians and nurses, and we always looked forward to the day that we could return with our good news. When I checked in I was surprised by how thick my medical file was, and that just reminded me of how far we have come.
The triage nurse came out to check and see who was scheduled for appointments that day. She saw my name, and that I was scheduled for an early OB appointment. She congratulated us and said that she had been thinking about me the other week, and wondered how I was doing. She passed on the news to the u/s tech, who announced my name with enthusiasm when I got called back. I got hugs and huge congrats from her. It made me tear up having all of these women care about us so much.
During my u/s, my midwife, who was my first fertility specialist popped in. She had just heard the news that we were back in the clinic, pregnant this time. She wanted to come in to congratulate us and the see the babies. She asked who I was going to use as an OB, I told her that she had been my first choice, but obviously wouldn't be able to do the delivery because of the twins. She then said that she wanted to be at the birth of the babies, which just about made me cry.
She will take the time out of her personal life to attend the birth of our babies just because she wants to be there to support us, because she has a connection with us. She guided us through the difficult times of infertility, we worked with her for 1 year and 7 months before we had no other choice but to move on. I am so happy with where I am. I feel so absolutely blessed to be here.
The Lord was looking out for us, and while the road of infertility was long and hard, and heartbreaking, I can honestly say that I wouldn't change it. We were meant to travel that road, and endure those hardships for a reason. Getting to see those babies on that screen and hearing their perfect heartbeats makes it all worthwhile. I won't ever forget what we went through to get here. It will forever leave a scar on my heart, but that scar will heal, it has healed, and it has somehow left my heart stronger.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sick and Tired

Those are the two words that best summarize how I have been feeling lately.
The morning sickness has continued to plague me morning, noon, and night.
I still haven't actually vomited, just a constant feeling of needing to run to the bathroom at any second. I've tried virtually every trick out there, nothing seems to work. I'm not dying, and I'm still able to eat, so I'm not rushing to my doctor to get a prescription or anything.
The exhaustion has left me wiped out beyond belief. I look at both of these things as signs that things are progressing and developing how they are suppose to.
I haven't done much lately other than sleep and muster up the energy to head to work.
I am counting down the weeks to the end of my first trimester, as well as hoping that I am one of those women who loses the exhaustion and illness overnight. I guess we'll see.
They say that two babies equal double the aches and pains, so I try to remember that this is just the beginning of what's to come.
Joel and I have been doing some reading up on twins. It's mostly been pregnancy information, and so far we have learned a lot.
Nutrition with two babies is a top priority, as is gaining weight. Twins don't gain their weight in an upward climb through 40 weeks like singletons do. They start to slow down around 28 weeks since they essentially run out of room to grow. The goal is for me to gain about 30 lbs before 24 weeks, and then continue to increase that through their birth. If I am able to do this, then the babies should have a higher birth weight, and spend less time in the NICU. I haven't gained anything yet.

We've learned that even though my due date is December 1st, I'll probably have them in late October. Twins are typically born at 36 weeks, but 35% are born before 35 weeks. It's scary stuff to think about. While we are so excited to have two, sweet babies, they also come with a lot of risks.

We have our second u/s tomorrow, and I am excited to see how much they have grown. I still don't have my first OB appointment for another 2 weeks. It's a bit backwards having had 2 u/s before even my first OB appointment. I'll have seen the babies twice before I've even heard their heartbeats on the doppler!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

7 weeks, 1st ultrasound



For some reason the image wants to upload on this blog wrong.
If everyone could please turn their head to the right they might notice- Baby A, and Baby B. We've got two baby beans baking! We're having TWINS!!!

We had our appointment yesterday afternoon. I was a wreck all morning. I kept praying over and over again just to see a heartbeat, one beautiful heartbeat.

When I was laying on the table I just stared at the CNP performing the u/s, trying to get a good "vibe" and hoping for good news. Joel was able to see the one screen in the room while I, of course, wasn't able to see it. He saw the two sacs right away, but waited for her to say something, and gave me no hint of what he was seeing on his face. In fact, I think he looked a little confused, so I just ended up staring at the ceiling and praying.
She said "There are two sacs, and there is definitely one heartbeat." I started to cry and grabbed Joel's hand. One heartbeat, that was all I wanted, if the second baby hadn't made it, it would be terrible, but I could deal with it. Then she probed around a little trying to get a good view of the second baby and added "And there's the second heartbeat." Ahhhhh!!! We told her that this was the best news we had heard in years.

My parents say they knew it all along. Joel said he had a feeling, although when I pressed him last week on a prediction he wouldn't answer me. I guess I was the only person out of the loop. Strange, considering I'm the one carrying them. I guess looking back I should have known. I've had all day and all night sickness from 4 weeks on, and I've been ridiculously exhausted. I had just been attributing it to the IVF.

We are so thrilled by this news! We are also scared out of our minds at the same time! More money, more time, more space, but so much more love to give and receive.

The consensus from everyone who has heard the news so far is that we are having one of each. I've got no "mother's intuition." Even if I did have an idea, I wouldn't believe anyway, I thought there was only one baby in there!

We've officially been released from my RE back into the hands of my OB.
The next u/s is scheduled in two weeks, OB appointment in four.

I'm just a plain, pregnant gal with twins. It's nice to finally join the rest of the world!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Struggle and Loss

I came upon a poem the other day. It was one that I always carried with me, tucked away in a small pouch in my purse. When I was having a sad day, or when I sat in the waiting room before an appointment, I would take out this poem and read it. It would remind me that the pain that I was going through was to make me a better mother.
So I'm putting this poem here for all of us who are struggling or struggled to become mothers, and for anyone who has experienced the loss of a baby, or babies.

I've never agreed with the first stanza. I would never say that my struggle makes me a better mother than a woman who didn't struggle. I will be a much better mother than the one I would have been had I not experienced the torment of infertility.




There are women who become mothers without effort,
without thought,
without patience or loss,
and though they are good mothers and love their children,
I know that I will be better.

I will be better not because of genetics or money or because I have read more books,
but because I have struggled and toiled for this child.

I have longed and waited.
I have cried and prayed.
I have endured and planned over and over again.

Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.

I will notice everything about my child.
I will take time to watch my child sleep,
explore,
and discover.
I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life.

I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold, and feed him and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot or cry tears of a broken dream.
My dream will be crying for me.

I count myself lucky in this sense; that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child.

Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love.

I will be a better mother for all that I have endured. I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend, and sister because I have known pain.

I know disillusionment, as I have been betrayed by my own body. I have been tried by fire and hell that many never face, yet given time, I stood tall.

I have prevailed.
I have succeeded.
I have won.

So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.
I listen.
And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely.

I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth when life is beyond hard.

I have learned a compassion that only comes by walking in those shoes. I have learned to appreciate life.

Yes, I will be a wonderful mother.

- Author Unknown

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Goodbye Meds!

I am completely done with my meds. Yahoo!
My P4 levels came back great. The average progesterone levels in a first trimester pregnancy are between 9 and 47. Mine came back "well over 100" according to my doctor.
So no more shots in the butt! (My rear end is very happy) I was getting really bruised, and Joel said that he was running out of areas to inject.
I am officially now on my own in this pregnancy, no help from any meds other than the baby aspirin and prenatal vitamins.
I'm feeling really great so far. Meaning, that I am still nauseated, bloated, exhausted, peeing constantly. Every time that I feel like puking, or I start to dry heave, I say a prayer to the Lord and I thank Him.
I also ask for strength, and for Him to look over the baby(ies) that I am carrying.
We just have another week or two until we get to have our first ultrasound. It's very early compared to when most women have them. That's partly for the purpose of confirming the pregnancy which is, of course, important to the couple, but also for the CDC, since this is ART. Every cycle that was started, retrieval that was attempted, transfer that took place, positive blood test, and confirmation u/s must be recorded specifically for the clinic and for the United States' IVF statistics.
I will remain with my ivf doctor until the pregnancy is confirmed through the ultrasound, once at 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 weeks and then 2 weeks later. Once everything looks like it is progressing normally, I will be released back to my regular ob/gyn.
Speaking of my ob/gyn, she called me up the other night at 7:30pm just to congratulate me on the pregnancy! She had gotten the fax from my ivf clinic and wanted to call and check up on me. She asked how I was feeling, and said that she was really happy for us, and that she was looking forward to seeing me very soon.
I thought that was such a sweet thing to do.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Picture Time



What is happening in this picture?? It's multiple choice, so venture a guess.

A) Joel just showed me the awful picture he took of me on his phone, and I am so disgusted by it that it has brought me to tears.

B) I just beat my high score on Tetris.

C) I have the nurse on speaker-phone and she just told us that we are pregnant.

Kudos to you, if you answered C.

I'M PREGNANT!!!! I AM FINALLY PREGNANT!
I thought that I would go my entire life without getting to utter those words.

It feels so weird to write those words, and even more strange to say them out loud.
I don't like to say them too much, I'm scared that I will jinx it.

After 3 years of struggling, begging, praying, and pleading, it finally worked.

God finally answered our prayers. I am so beyond thankful for making it this far.
We have a long way to go, so keep the prayers coming.
My initial HcG levels look great. They are nice and high and doubling like they should.
I have also been taking my fair share of home pregnancy tests just because they don't taunt me anymore with a stark white space.
There are two beautiful pink lines, and one is getting much darker than the control line.
Joel makes fun of me, but all of my SOP girls understand where I am coming from.
I should have kept them hidden from him, but I couldn't help but be so excited to show him how the line keeps getting darker.

I have a hormone level test on Friday, they'll check my P4. I'm hoping it looks good enough that I can stop the progesterone shots. I was already able to decrease my dose by half. They'll probably just switch me to the suppositories which are much more convenient.

We have an u/s in a few weeks to confirm a heartbeat. Please pray that we see one, because that is what I am so overly concerned about right now. We will also find out at that time how many babies there are. I'm almost positive there is only one.

Physically, I'm feeling great right now. I've got most of the early pregnancy stuff going on- cramping, super sore bbs, big bloat after I eat anything, peeing all the time, constant fatigue, waves of nausea. It's wonderful!! I have never loved anything more.
I thought that I would never get to experience this.
This is a gift. I am going to try to cherish every moment of it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Show and Tell


This is my very favorite little girl in the whole wide world! She couldn't get any more sweet, or perfect. I love to show her off.
Tomorrow my sister will turn 25, and Harper will be 4 weeks. What a fun day for them.
Harp has already grown so much.
Joel is pretty bummed that he hasn't gotten a chance so see her that much. He seemed proud of a something that I pointed out to him recently- he's Harper's only uncle.
I don't think that he had realized that. I'm sure that there are all sorts of uncle-type obligations that he feels he must fulfill now.

Happy Birthday Sister! Happy one month in the world Harper!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Counting the days

Aaaaah! I really want to know the outcome of this cycle, and at the same time I'm dreading it.
We'll find out sometime within the next 7 days. I have to go in for blood work a few times before they let me know the results.
I'm not telling anyone when it is happening because I don't need the added pressure of other people waiting for the results.
It will be difficult enough for us if it is bad news. We'll need to give ourselves a day or two to recover before sharing with the world.
If it's good news, then we might just like to bask in the glory of it. Maybe quietly celebrate the miracle with one another.

We have 3 snowbabies, if you didn't happen to notice it on the cycle history. 3 is a great number. A lot of people don't have any that make it to freeze, so we are some of the lucky ones. We are really happy with that number.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Snowbabies

I just got the letter from my clinic in the mail today, although I wasn't expecting it until next week. For some reason, I had a feeling it would be waiting for us.
We have snowbabies. Frozen embryos.
I won't go into details about them now, but Joel and I feel very blessed.
If this cycle is a bust, then we will have frozen embies to transfer next time.
If this cycle works, then we have the hope of someday giving our child siblings.

This process is now becoming more difficult.
I can handle all the meds, shots, and pain like a pro.
It's the emotional aspect that is really the hardest.
We are happy, yet we grieve.
Of course, they all didn't make it to the freezing stage. We lost some along the way. My hopes were high since we hadn't lost any by Day 5.
Of course, we knew they all wouldn't survive.
They wouldn't have made it in my body either.

Gluttony

Derived from the Latin gluttire, meaning to gulp down or swallow, gluttony is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink, or intoxicants to the point of waste.

Anna or Annie, however you know me, is a glutton right now.

It might turn into a problem.
I cannot stop eating.
Huge amounts of food all the time and I don't stop eating until right before bed which is usually at midnight.
Now ?! Of all times?!
I should probably be eating really sensibly right now, but I can't seem to stop myself.
A gigantic ham sandwich with a bowl of strawberries doesn't sound like a bad lunch, unless you started it out with a big bowl of chips and salsa, a cup of trail mix, and breakfast only 3 hours earlier. Last night I ate 2 suppers, with a bowl of cereal in-between, and 2 snacks before bed.
The sick thing is that I have been eating like this for over a week and a half now, and I seem to have lost a pound. I am actually at one of my lowest weights right now (Not counting the really unhealthy thin of '99 when my panic attacks manifested- that was horrible). Somehow when other women gain weight during ivf, I lose it.
I have always been an "eater." I love to eat. It is one of my favorite hobbies: eating and napping.
I used to be able to eat like a horse. Then I turned 22, and I lost the ability to eat whatever I wanted and not gain a pound.
I think that all the hormones I am on have sparked the metabolism of a teenager again. That, or I am just really slow at processing all these extra calories.

Now that I have spoken it, I must change it. I admitted that I have a problem. Let's all hold me accountable.
"I, Annie, will start to eat like a normal human being...starting...Monday"

I am happy to say that I am almost one week into this 2ww and I am surviving.

I'm headed to a Special Olympics basketball tournament this weekend. Some of the guys at my house are playing at it. They are so excited to have me, Joel, and my mom there.
I was given explicit instructions to arrive with noisemakers, banners, and the proper colored apparel. They said that they are going to make some 3-pointers just for me.
I love my job.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

This wait just might kill me!

We have to wait two weeks before we have our betas done. I am only 3 days in, and it is really hard to think about having to wait 11 more days. This wait is by far going to be the hardest that we have done.
How am I feeling?
Well, my butt still hurts. It helps a little to sit in a shallow bath tub of hot water. Not too much water in the tub, since hot baths, hot tubs, saunas and jacuzzi's are just of few of the many things on my "NOT to do list"
There is also no swimming, high impact aerobics, horsebackriding(ha) waterskiing(haha), running, sex, alcohol, high amounts of caffeine, or lifting anything over 10 lbs.

The rest of me feels alright. I'm a little crampy, which I guess at this point is fine. If it were next week and I was feeling like this, I would be really upset. I'm just hoping that the crampiness is the embies burrowing in for the long haul.

Emotionally I am okay. I am trying to be optimistic, yet I am preparing myself for the worst at the same time.
We know that this may not work, that the embryos may not stick and live. The odds are highly in our favor, but Joel and I tend to be at the losing end of really good odds. Our embryos looked great, and we still had a lot of them growing on transfer day, so we will take that as a good sign
I'm just trying to take it one day at a time.
I'm not daydreaming about babies, a pretty nursery, or cute clothes. Those daydreams ended years ago. I lost my innocence and naivety with so many other women I know. Trying to have a baby doesn't mean you'll ever have one, and pregnancy doesn't always equal baby.

I sound like a Debbie Downer. I'm really not down. I'm trying to remain neutral. Being too positive just makes the crash harder if it doesn't work.

Joel and I have done everything in our power to make this work. It is no longer in our hands. Whatever is suppose to happen, will happen.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Transfer


Meet our embryos!
They are the most beautiful things I have ever seen. To everyone else they look like a cluster of cells, but to Joel and I, they are our babies.
This is the closest to parents we have ever been. These embryos are ours. They are Joel, and they are me. We love them so much already.
The larger embryo is progressing a little faster than the other. It is already starting to hatch out of the zona pellucida. Bet you didn't know that human babies hatch out of shells, did ya? They have to hatch to allow the trophectoderm to attach to the uterine wall. If you look closely at the outer layer of the bigger blast you will notice the trophectoderm, that's what will become the placenta.

This has been the scariest day of all. We couldn't sleep last night. We both couldn't sit still during the ride to the clinic.
We waited to be called back to the meeting room. The embryologist walked us back to one of the offices. As I was following him I caught a glimpse of a picture of our embryos on our med file stack. It made my heart jump.
He started out by handing us the picture, I couldn't stop smiling and staring at it.


The embryologist went over all of our numbers. Of the 16 eggs that were retrieved, 12 were mature. All 12 of those eggs were ICSI'd, but one of them didn't fertilize.
All 11 of the eggs that did fertilize continued to grow, we didn't lose any along the way! The two best were the ones that we transferred to me today. The rest will be watched through tomorrow, and then frozen.
Our doctor told us that it can't get any better. Apparently we make good, healthy embryos.

I've been on bed-rest all day today. I hate it. I feel worthless. All I can get up to do is use the bathroom. I'm bored. I just keep putting my hands on my belly and asking the embies to stick with me.

9 more months is all I ask. Please stay. Please.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Pain in the Butt


My butt hurts. Well, it's more like my hip/butt area.
Unfortunately the shots never really end during ivf. I've moved on from the twice a day injections with the small needles to the once a day with the large needles.
These ones are not as easy as the last. They're the intramuscular ones that I thought I would have to do myself. We questioned our doctor on the day of the retrieval about me doing them myself, or doing the injections in the afternoon when Joel would be home to give them to me. They are suppose to be done in the evenings between 7pm and 9pm, but we both work in the evenings.
He nixed the idea of giving them to myself. He said it would be absolutely fine if I had them in the afternoon.
Joel has been doing a great job. I get it all ready in the syringe. He does the alcohol swab, the stabbing,checking for blood, slowly injecting, and then heat pack afterwards.
This med is in oil. Nice and thick, so you have to warm it up a bit so it comes out the of needle easier. Then it's best to heat the injection site so it doesn't just sit in the middle of your muscle, like a lump of oil.
It doesn't hurt right away. Mostly towards the end of the evening when I am at work. Walking up and down the stairs kills me. One side of me feels on fire, the other side is only slightly less painful. As soon as my one hip feels all better we have to jab it again.
It is a never-ending circle of pain, but I'll do it joyfully. We are blessed to have this option, and even more blessed to be able to use it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day 5 Embryo Transfer

I just retrieved the message from my medvoice line. It looks like we will be doing a Day 5 blastocyst transfer! This is great news.
Joel and I were hoping to do a day 5 transfer versus the 3 day because it has a higher success rate.
I am so happy right now. They didn't tell me how many embryos we have, or how they are looking which is a bummer. We must have a decent number that look good right now since they are willing to allow them to develop for a few more days. If the embryos aren't looking very good, they will usually transfer them on day 3, so that they are in their natural environment, instead of a laboratory.
I suppose that it is better not to know anyway. I would be completely paranoid about how they are developing. It's best just to leave it in the Lord's hands, with the assistance of the embryologist. I can't do anything to change how they are maturing anyway.

The transfer will take place on Sunday at 11:00 am. Exactly 120 hours from the time that my eggs were retrieved.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Wait

In the world of trying to conceive there is something called the "two week wait". This is the two weeks that occur after your attempt to become pregnant and before your period shows up, or doesn't show up.
They are long, and agonizing. You pray, and plead. You analyze every twinge and ache in your abdomen. You wonder if is an implantation cramp, or a menstrual cramp. You cringe every time you head to the bathroom, absolutely sickened by the thought of finding that your period has started.
It especially hurts when you have had to endure them time and time again, and every time the wait ends in a negative cycle.
Right now I am experiencing a different kind of wait. It's the fertilization report wait. It is just as agonizing, but luckily it only lasts a few days. I'm completely paranoid. It keep thinking that they will call to tell me that all of my eggs were bad, or that none of our embryos lived. It's difficult to remain positive sometimes. I know that I should. I have to literally pinch myself each time I start to think badly about.

While we wait for the fertilization report, I will leave you with some links to look at:

http;//www.rmia.com

This is our clinic: RMIA, Reproductive Medicine and Infertility Associates.

Everyone there is so absolutely kind to us. They are very prompt about getting back to us when we have questions. My doctor is the greatest. He is such a kind man, you can tell that he really cares about his patients. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the most perfect clinic for us.


http://www.tearsandhope.com/emptyarms_video.html


This is a video explaining the journey that infertile couples take. It is so beautifully done, and explains in perfect words how most of us feel.


http://www.stumbleupon.com

This is one of Joel's favorite websites to bum around at. It has links to interesting web pages.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Egg Retrieval

Today was one of our big days. The day of the egg retrieval.
Joel gave me my trigger shot on Sunday so that my eggs had reached their final maturation stage for today. The retrieval takes place exactly 36 hours after the trigger shot.
I met with the nurses and nurse anesthesiologist. My vitals were all taken, and the procedure explained by my doctor. The iv was started and we headed across the hall to the retrieval room. The nurse told me that the anesthesia that were going to give me would give me some amnesia.
I hopped onto the bed, the oxygen tubes were placed in my nose, and I was strapped in.
The next thing I remember was chatting with Joel back in recovery. According to him I had been awake for a good 10 minutes, although I couldn't remember a second of it.
Apparently I had chatted with the doctor, nurses, and asked Joel numerous times how many eggs we had.He answered that they had gotten 15 eggs.
A few minutes into our conversation, the part that I remember, and embryologist popped her head in to tell us that they had found one more egg. So we have a total of 16 eggs!
During the egg retrieval they took a large needle, Joel said it was at least 18 inches, and inserted it through the vaginal wall into each ovary. It was guided by an ultrasound image. The needle has a small suction and gently removed the follicular fluid within each mature follicle. The fluid traveled down a plastic tube into a test tube. Each filled test tube was passed through the window of the retrieval room into the embryology lab. The technicians in the embryology lab analyzed the follicular fluid and searched for eggs. Each egg that was found was placed into it's own petri dish where it is determined if it is mature and healthy.
All mature and healthy eggs will be fertilized.
We won't know how many eggs successfully fertilized and became embryos until Thursday afternoon. They will leave a message on the medvoice to tell us what day the embryo transfer will take place. It will either be Friday or Sunday.
Until then we just pray that the Lord and the lab take care of our embryos.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Day 8


I'm bloated. Completely stuffed with eggs and follicular fluid. None of my pants fit in the waist. I can't button or zip any of them. I went out and bought a B.ella band, one of those maternity bands to hold your pants up. I took a picture for everyone to see. Joel said it doesn't compare to what it looks like in person. It's really funny actually. I think that my guys at work are starting to wonder if I'm pregnant. I catch them staring at the bloat, then minutes later they are talking about babies. It's especially gigantic right where my ovaries are(I can locate them easily from the scars left from my surgeries). I'm hoping they remove all the painful bloat along with the eggs.
On to the news: Joel and I took an early morning trip over to Woodbury where our clinic's main office is located. The Edina clinic isn't open on the weekends.
I was the last b/w and u/s patient of the morning, so we had a nice long wait before being seen. I took a look at a travel magazine (bad idea). I think I need another vacation. We decided that when we are finally pregnant we will go somewhere to celebrate. Heading back to Mexico sounds good right about now.

Again, everything looks great.
My endometrial lining is now at an 8.8, triple striped, which is wonderful considering it doesn't need to be that thick until the transfer, which is about a week away still. Just that much more time for it to get cushy and make a nice home for the embryos that we will be putting transferring back.
We measured 20 almost mature follicles, with a handful of smaller ones!
I will be triggering tomorrow night.
It will be Joel's first time giving me a shot. My mom, and sister have always done my trigger shots before. This one has to be at 11:00 pm and he has the night off. I am sure he will enjoy inflicting pain on me, after the pain in the butt that I have been to him these past few weeks.
Everything is scheduled, and we will be doing the egg retrieval late Tuesday morning. Unless my E2 levels come back and indicate a change. I doubt that will happen, so right now we are planning on Tuesday.
Joel was told that he can be in the retrieval room while they are extracting my eggs. This, of course, made me jealous. I am fascinated by this whole process. He gets to see it first-hand.
He reminded me that I will be there.
I told him that being "put under" doesn't count. I think it would be so amazing to see the process. I guess having him in the room is second best. He can give me a play by play of what happened after I wake up.

Only a little longer until we have our very own embryos, our very own tiny baby seedlings. I just pray that the rest of this cycle goes as smoothly as the first part has.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day 6

Joel and I were at the clinic bright and early this morning.
He, of course, sat there all calm, cool and collected.
I, on the other hand, sat on the edge of my chair, and was practically hyperventilating until the ultrasound was performed.
I had pretty much convinced myself yesterday that this cycle was a bust and would be canceled due to my terrible E2 numbers on Monday.
I knew that as soon as my ovaries hit the screen the doctor was going to say "Huh, not much happening here."

Instead her response this morning was "Wow, you have a lot going on in there!"
I could have jumped off the table and hugged her.

Everything looks good. We counted 11 measurable follicles, and 19 smaller ones.

Follicles are the sacs that the eggs grow in. Eggs are far too small to be able to see on an ultrasound, so instead they look at the follicles. The doctor measures the size of their growth to determine their maturity. The follicles that continue to grow will contain an egg. When they get to a size of around 1.6 cm to 2.0 cm, then they are typically mature. When dealing with injectable meds and ivf the doctors also perform bloodwork to measure your estradiol, this is a second indicator of the number of maturing eggs. Estradiol levels are typically 150 -200 per mature egg. It will continue to rise as my follicles grow.
IVF is an amazing science. If we collect too few eggs, then the rate of pregnancy is much lower because there are fewer embryos to choose from. Too many eggs, then they tend to lead to lower quality eggs. Lower quality eggs create lower quality embryos that are not as likely to stick and continue growing once transferred back to you.
For where I am in my cycle, my u/s scan puts me right where I want to be. I am still waiting to check my medvoice line. My E2 numbers could indicate a change.
Our next u/s and b/w is on Saturday. I doubt that I will be ready to trigger that night. My initial calendar has me triggering that night. I think that perhaps after another u/s and b/w on Sunday, and/or perhaps Monday that I'll be ready for retrieval on Tuesday or Wednesday.