Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012...Trauma and a Miracle.

I have never cared less about a New Year than this year.  We have no plans.  I barely even knew that New Year's Eve is actually tomorrow.  Mr. GG flies out for a business trip on New Year's Day.

Originally, I was planning to spend New Year's in the NICU.  But now it just doesn't seem like there is a point.  Baby should be asleep.  And sure I can tell him one day that we were with him at midnight...but does it really matter?  I will be awake since I usually pump at 11:30 but I'm just not that into it.

That being said, Mr. GG and I did come up with a last minute plan.  Sushi and wine.  Hot tub and smores by the fire pit.  And sex.  (I really hope my mom isn't still reading this blog.) We have not had sex since...hmm...well somewhere back when I was pregnant.  And before that was probably before we started IVF.  In April.  Our count for 2012 is probably somewhere around 10.  Maybe I underestimate.  We were trying to make a baby at the beginning of the year.  But since then...close to zilch.  Until tomorrow... ; )

Being in the NICU is getting harder and harder.  The first 3 months were fine.  I knew he needed to be there.  I wasn't supposed to have him until January.  But it's almost January.  And all of the people that were due around me are starting to have their babies.  And take them home.  I kind of felt like if we could take him home by his due date, that it was all okay.  Because all of this has been borrowed time.  But it's very likely that he won't be home by then.  I'm working on preparing myself so I don't totally freak out.

He just needs to eat.  But it's so hard!!  He eats 44 mls a sessions, but the most he's ever taken by bottle is 22 mls.  And that was just once.  Yesterday he took 17 twice.  Today 10 (but he was working on a big poop at the time).  Two days ago...2!  He seems so normal at this point.  His heart rate still drops occasionally, but in general he's doing so well.  He's over 5 pounds!  He seems so close to coming home...yet I have no idea when he'll start to get how to feed.

Anyway...2013 is going to be a whole different world.  2012 thoroughly sucked.  Besides the fact that I conceived and had Dylan.  That was great.  But every single thing surrounding it was traumatic and I will gladly put it behind me.  Here's to a new year!

And to those of you who are still in the trenches...I am rooting for you every day.  I was a little frustrated by the fact that during the Sandy Hook coverage everything focused on parents.  "Go home and hug your kids today" was all I saw on FB.  But you do not have to have a child to feel utterly devastated by what happened that day.  I've been thinking about this since then and wanted to all of you to know.

If you are still interested in following Dylan's blog and haven't been added yet, send me an email.  If you have put your email in a comment instead, I probably haven't added you.  Sorry!  It's much easier to reply with the link by email.

Here's a recent pic:


Friday, December 21, 2012

Exclusive Pumping: Supply

I've been worried about my supply since before Dylan was born.

My sister had her first in June and has struggled ever since with low supply.  It's been so frustrating for her.

Then, after Dylan was born, the lactation consultant put the fear in me even more!  It's so important to follow a few rules at the beginning and if you don't, you potentially won't be able to make up for it.  Premie moms typically have a harder time with supply so she really drilled the rules in my head.

The basics:

  • Pump between 8 and 12 times each day.  I'm sure you can do the math, but this means every 2-3 hours.  To me 8 times doesn't sound like a ton.  Every three hours sounds like a bit more...  But what I didn't take into consideration was that pumping takes 30 minutes itself, then add another 10 for prepping/cleaning and it feels like you've just finished when it's time to pump again!  Nuts!  I stuck with 8 pumps a day.  I honestly cannot imagine doing even one more.  If you do...wow!  I had a lot of trouble waking up in the middle of the night.  I'd sleep through my alarm with no recollection of hearing it and then feel guilty the rest of the day.  But missing a pump every once in awhile is not a big deal as long as it's not every day.  You can always add a pump in later...they do not need to be evenly spaced.
  • Pump until you are empty.  This one is so hard at the beginning.  First - I never felt empty.  Second, I didn't even know what empty felt like.  Until one day...  An empty breast feels completely deflated - not firm at all (really weird).  Basically, you want to pump until 5 minutes after the last milk comes out while trying to build supply.  You are training your breasts to make more milk.  "They" say you only need to pump for 15-20 minutes at the beginning.  I probably did that for the first 2 days until my milk came in, but as soon as it did I went all the way up to 30 minutes because the milk never really stopped coming!  I think this was key in establishing a good supply for me.  The number of minutes in a day that you pump is just as important as the frequency.
  • Keep up this schedule for at least 12 weeks.  This is the amount of time that your body is learning how much to make - basically through supply and demand.  The more often you empty your breast the more your body is told to fill the breast.  Makes sense, right?  I've cut down a little bit quicker, but I've been really careful about watching to see if my supply has dipped.  If you are worried about supply, do not drop pumps until after 12 weeks.
  • I guess the last thing would be to use a hospital grade pump (or at least a quality double electric).  I use the Medela Symphony and I love it.  It's much quieter than most pumps which is nice when I'm pumping in the middle of the night.  I also think it's two-phase system helped build my supply.
I've been saying I have a good supply, but if you're new to this, you probably wonder what that means.  A baby eats approximately 30 ounces (give or take 10).  Some people make upwards of 60 ounces a day!  But oversupply can be just as big of a problem as under supply.  So when I consistently hit about 35 ounces a day I dropped to 7 pumps a day.  When my supply stayed put for awhile at 7, I dropped from 30 to 20 minute sessions.  I'm now at 6 pumps a day, 20 minutes per session, 10 weeks in.  This is earlier than the 12 weeks and I agonized about dropping, but I went slowly and I can always add more time back in if I notice a dip.

Here's how my supply came in:

Week 1: maxed out at 10 ounces a day - I seemed to add an ounce a day after my milk came in (But at the beginning it's literally a few drops, then 10 mls, then maybe an ounce.  It starts very slowly...don't worry!)

Week 2: maxed out at 23 ounces - about 19 average

Week 3: average - 25 ounces (max 28)

Week 4: average - 29 (max 31)

Week 5: average - 31 (max 34)

Week 6: average 31 (max 36) - dropped to 7 pumps a day

Week 7: average 36 (max 39)

Week 8: average 34 (max 38)

Week 9: average 36 (max 39) - dropped to 20 minutes a session

Week 10: average 33 (max 39) - dropped to 6 pumps a day

I currently get between 4 and 5 ounces a session with somewhere between 6 and 9 ounces during my early morning sessions. (You make more milk during the night - I also go longer between pumps.)

I still worry about my supply each and every day!  But I'm a worrier.  But Dylan is only eating a little over 10 ounces a day right now so I have frozen a ton of milk.  A TON.  I even had to throw away about a quarter of my supply about a month ago because someone left the freezer door ajar and I didn't even cry.  Because I have SO MUCH MILK.

Don't believe me?

Check it out. 


Our regular freezer.  They are stacked 2 deep.  Each bag hold between 3 and 9 ounces!  (Average 5.)



Thank goodness Mr. GG had just bought a new fridge for the garage.  Also 2 deep.


Ooh...some room left in the door!

There are also about 100 frozen bottles at the NICU.  I've been a busy girl.

If you are having a difficult time pumping, just remember that it gets better.  It really does.  It took about 2 weeks for me to not feel desperate, but every now and again I'll have a bad day.  And also...pumping more will help with all problems.  Don't skip pumps - just power through and it'll get better!

Who

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Exclusive Pumping

I've been meaning to write this post for weeks now, but after just spilling breast milk all over my computer to the point that my mouse barely works...now's the time.

There are some things that the pregnant and not yet pregnant ladies need to know about milk and pumping.  Here are a few that I've learned.

1) Don't stop using the stretch mark cream on your boobs after you give birth!  My breasts went up one cup size during pregnancy from a C to a large D, but they are ginormous now - to the point that everyone comments on them.  I was looking at the sports bras at Target since mine are too small (and are size small - or maybe medium).  I held up the large...no way.  XL, maybe.  I got it home and the XL was perfect.  I know understand some of the gripes of the large chested.  My clothes (that still fit) just don't look the same since my whole body shape is different.  I know this might be short-lived, but it's here now.

You are going to need some new bras for your new size and new need for comfort.  I LOVE these:

Bravado Nursing Bra

They're on the pricier side for a nursing bra, but they are extremely comfortable.  I bought a medium before my milk truly came in (it takes a few weeks for it to pick up volume) but it's still comfortable.

2) You're going to get milk everywhere.  So much so, that you'll stop caring.  I had a bitch of a day today (worthy of another post) and ended up going 5 hours between pumps.  My large bottles are still dirty from using them overnight (when you make more milk) so I'm using 2 1/2 ounce bottles.  When they get full, they overflow.  This has happened to me a few times now.  I think I'm watching and paying attention; the next thing I know I'm sitting in a puddle of breast milk.  Fun.  I'm not sure exactly how breastfeeding compares, but most people who breastfeed pump at times anyway.

The best place I've spilled milk?  In my lap.  In bed. In the middle of the night.  A whole bottle overturned.  And it's so sad because it's a product of so much effort!  This must be where the phrase "Don't cry over spilt milk" originally came from.

3) You need a lot of supplies.  I mentioned the need for a hands-free bra in an earlier post, but it's a MUST.  Get it now.  I'm sure you're planning on exclusively breastfeeding, but when it doesn't work, or if your baby has to go to the NICU, you're going to want this handy (the hospital will supply you with a pump and pump parts).  When you get home, you're going to need lots more pump parts.  I have 5 full sets plus a bunch of odds and ends.  I was washing twice a day.  Now I wash everything once and just one at a time in the middle of the day.  You'll want a bottle brush for the bottles and horns, but otherwise there are no specialty tools to clean pump parts...it's just a pain in the butt.

You'll also want Lansinoh lanolin for your nipples.  You want to keep them moist so that they don't crack (so you don't get mastitis or thrush).  You can lubricate the flanges with lanolin also, but I prefer olive oil.  I just keep it in a little tupperware container and use a paper towel to apply it.

I also have Medela quick clean wipes for times when I'm not around a sink, but they're expensive so I use them sparingly.

Oh and breast milk bags.  I've used Target Up & Up and Lansinoh (everyone's favorite).  I haven't defrosted any yet, but I've heard you should do it in a bowl in case the bag leaks.  I'm going to try Honeysuckle brand next since you can get them in a larger quantity.

ETA: an electric sterilizer.  Mine still hasn't come from Amazon, but I am completely over using microwaveable bags 6 times in a row to sterilize all of the parts.

*     *     *     *     *

Pumping is hard.  I know that breastfeeding is hard too, but they are different hards.  You'll want to quit.  You'll feel like your entire life is chained to the pump, but it does get better.

There is so much more to say, but I'll save it for another post.  If anyone has pumping questions, please feel free to ask!

Also check out the Exclusive Pumping boards on BabyCenter or iVillage and Kellymom or LaLecheLeague.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Nursery Sneak Peak

Dylan's nursery is not nearly finished.  So far it's just paint, a rug, and a closet unit, but it's coming together!  I had my shower today FINALLY and came away with some really cute additions to the closet.


The closet is IKEA.  It was definitely the hardest IKEA piece I have ever put together.  Mr. GG said he would have smashed it to pieces if I hadn't figured it out...but I love the final product!  The middle section is a toy chest.  We plan to hang a rod above the dressers eventually, but I needed somewhere to put the cute stuff from the shower and it's perfect!


Here's a close-up of the best part.  The picture in the middle is my shower invite designed by my husband's step-dad's girlfriend (that's a mouthful - but she'll be "Gram" to Dylan).  She did this in watercolor and had it framed.  A friend got the elephant from pottery barn and my mom got the dinosaur.  That's a picture of Dylan in the middle.  My mom put pictures of him around the shower.  My step-dad made a slide-show too.  It was set to Forrest Gump Suite and was quite emotional.  

We still have a long ways to go to finish the nursery, but we're getting there!  (Just need to buy the crib and changing table, decide on a glider or rocker, and get the details.)

If you haven't read the other blog, Dylan's doing really well.  He's 3 pounds, 3 ounces today...huge to us.  We set up a Christmas tree in the NICU.  Things are going well : ).

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Holidays are Hard : (

I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the holidays this year.  Mostly, I'm really excited.  I think not having work stress makes Christmas season much more fun.  I'm excited to put Dylan in his little "Gift for the Ladies" outfit.  I think the nurses will love it!  I think we'll have fun ringing in New Year's at the NICU with him.  We'll sneak in some Martinelli's and some glasses...

But today was not fun.  Thanksgiving is not something that you can bring to a hospital.  It feels wrong that all of my family was together, but not him.  It's not fair.

Mr. GG and I planned on going to the hospital on the way to my mom's, but because we wanted to take the dog and because there would be tons of food in the car, it couldn't work how we had planned.  I was already feeling a little sad that Dylan was missing out on family time, but this put me over the edge.  It's true, we still had 3 options; leave the dog at home, drive separate, or go see him after, but I still lost it.

I think Mr. GG was caught a little off-guard by the tears so he said "It's okay, we can fix this" thinking I was upset about not going to the hospital, but when he asked what's I wrong I just said that's it's because HE'S in the hospital.  It just felt all wrong and enhanced the isolation that I already feel for him when he's at the hospital alone.

I knew that I could not relax for a second today without going to see him first, so I drove the hospital (still crying) while he drove to my mom's with the food and the dog.

He was fast asleep looking super comfy when I got there : ).  They had even reduced his oxygen, upped his feedings, and eliminated one of his IV nutrient infusions.  Pretty cool.

As soon as I saw him, I instantly felt better.

Thanksgiving with my family was nice, but it'll be much, much better next year.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Way too Long...

You may think I've abandoned this blog but I haven't!  I'm still here...  I'm 6 weeks post partum this weekend.  It feels like a mix between forever and no time at all.

I know many of you are following Dylan's blog, but I just want to give a quick update for those of you that aren't.

After surgery on Halloween, things were kind of up and down.  Dylan was doing ok, but not great.  He's wasn't progressing in his breathing and it was very frustrating.  So the doctors decided he needed steroids.  They have some risks, but do wonders for the lungs.

They did not disappoint!  Within a week after steroids he was off the ventilator and onto a machine called a SiPAP.  Within a few days of SiPAP, he was trying just high flow Oxygen (like adults get), and now he's on the high flow over half the day!  Amazing progress.

He's also getting noticeably bigger and increasingly interactive.  He even got his first little mini head bath this week.  I'm getting to hold him twice a day, change his diapers, take his temp...fun stuff : )

Although this is still stressful and not what I had envisioned, I'm doing pretty well (most of the time) and I'm having a lot of fun getting to know my little guy.

If I don't post before then...Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

PDA Ligation w/ Update

Dylan is having surgery this afternoon to close his PDA. It's supposed to be relatively simple, but it's still surgery.

I know all of the risks but also have faith thy it'll be fine. The surgeon is really good and I am confident that he will do a good job.

Please keep Dylan in your thoughts. I will update when things are calm, but please do not take a few days silence to mean that anything is wrong.

*UPDATE*

Everything went really well.  Hopefully now he'll be able to get off the vent soon.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Single Embryo Transfer

When I've seen this written out, it's always been "Elective Single Embryo Transfer," but why?  In Australia, transferring one is typically recommended (*edited - thanks for the info Aussies!).  But in the United States, transferring two embryos in the norm.  Is it to keep SART statistics up?

Before I explain why I wish I had only transferred one embryo, I want to acknowledge that there are definitely situations where transferring two or even three embryos is the right decision.  If there is a definite egg quality issue or advanced maternal age or history of failed IVF cycles, two or three might be the correct course.

But for me, I don't think it was the right choice.

When you go through IVF you get warned about all potential problems.  Increased risk of birth defecst and other problems too numerous to list right now.  Also increased risk of twins and higher order multiples.  But everything is given a percentage.  With the exception of twins with a 30% chance, everything is given miniscule odds.  Because there are so many possible things that can happen and because many of these things can happen in a typical pregnancy also, we, and I bet many other people, just glossed right over them. "Sure, sure, we accept the risks."

Now for our situation.  We definitely had a morphology issue (4%), but it was unclear whether we had issues on my side or not.  I spotted consistently for 2-3 days before my period and had a rather short luteal phase, but the RE did not seem overly concerned about this and only proscribed Progesterone for our IVF cycle, not the Clomid cycles (who knows if this was a good decision or not).  I also had borderline numbers for some egg quality markers, but my antral follicle scan showed 16 I think?  A pretty good number.  It looks as though all of the markers of egg quality (or ovarian reserve) are pretty poor, especially when your numbers are right on the edge of normal.  I had also had one chemical pregnancy (out of about 15 natural cycles) which shows that we could get pregnant.  Again, who knows what caused it not to work.

My husband and I were fully prepared to have twins.  We did a little bit of research about the risks and knew it was a very high probability and we accepted it.  We never ever considered the chance of higher order multiples for a couples of reasons.  One, the biggest chance was associated with Injectibles + IUI cycles because there is less control of how many embryos are released at ovulation (that what gave Kate + 8 her sextuplets).  Then looking at the numbers, the risk was extremely low with transferring 2 embryos.

But after finding out that one of our embryos split into identical triplets, I started doing more research and although identical triplets are still extremely rare, identical twinning with IVF seemed to be somewhat more common.  I started to wonder why more data has not been collected and why this issue wasn't discussed with us carefully beforehand.  We honestly did not really realize it was a possibility.

I really loved my RE.  And I trusted him.  And still do.  But at some point when this is less fresh, I'm definitely going to discuss this with him.  Even if it still is as rare as they say, I'm still going to encourage him to counsel couples about the possibility.

Because all that would have changed if we had transferred one egg, is time.  It might have taken longer for IVF to work.  (We did a plan that was called a "success guarantee."  If we used all of our eggs from one fresh cycle either in the fresh IVF or FET and did not have a take home baby, we would get all of our money back.)  But that guarantee stipulated transferring 2 embryos.  I think he would have negotiated on this point, but still.

After all of what we've been through, time is the least of our concerns.  It seemed that we were trying to have a child FOREVER and that Mr. GG was getting older quickly (he's 43),but  if we could have delayed this process for a few months and had a simpler pregnancy, we would have done it in a heartbeat.

I encourage you to talk to your doctor carefully about how many embryos to transfer.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dylan's Birth Story

At 23 weeks and a day, Friday September 21st, I drove about 20 minutes from my house to meet my BFF (also pregnant) for dinner.  I had been feel bad all week and even went in the day before to do a urinalysis to see if I had a UTI.  But on Friday, I felt so much better.

I went to the bathroom before going to the hostess stand and found that I was bleeding, bright red, kind of a lot.  I had the worst sinking feeling in my stomach and started to freak out.  I first called the hospital...they agreed that I should come in.  Then, I flagged down my friend as she approached the restaurant...crying.

While she was driving me to the hospital, I started to feel contraction, not painful, just lower abdominal tightening.  At this point I seriously thought that I had miscarried.

I had no idea where to go when I got to the hospital.  The signs to Labor & Delivery are not very clear.  So I wandered around while bleeding and crying until another pregnant lady took pity on me and found a nurse who took me to Triage.

When the doctor did an ultrasound, we immediate heard a heartbeat and saw movement.  At that point I felt like everything was fine and that I'd be able to go home.

*     *     *     *     *

The next 2 weeks and 2 days were a mix of bleeding, contractions, really intense contractions, baby monitoring, blood draws, IVs, pretty decent hospital food (lucky!), family and friend visits, Game of Thrones (read Book 3, watched season 1), Magnesium, Terbutaline, Antibiotics, Steriod Shots, constant beeping, and lots of nurses, doctors, and a social worker.

*     *     *     *     *

On October 4 or 5 (25 weeks), my water broke.  I wasn't doing anything.  I had just gone to the bathroom and I was sitting or laying in bed.  I felt a little gush, not a lot, and then more a little later.  It was determined that I probably had a "high leak" since my water never fully emptied.

After confirming the water break as best as possible, the doctor discontinued the Magnesium at 2pm on Saturday, October 6th due to the risk of infection (or maybe it was 10am).  By 6:00pm, I was asking for something for the pain.  My contractions were at an 8 out of 10 for me.  They gave me morphine twice.  We were still hoping at this point that I would not go into labor.

By midnight, the pain was still extremely intense and they didn't want to continue morphine if I was indeed going into labor so they checked my cervix to see if I was dilated so that I could get an epidural.  I was 3cm and the epidural was in by 12:45am.

My mom was already staying with me so we called Mr. GG to tell him he better come too.  It was really cute watching my mom and my husband in sleep chairs next to each other. : )

(A note about contractions:  Over the two weeks, I never stopped contracting, even on Magnesium.  My contractions ranged from 3 an hour to about 11 - you're supposed to go in if you have over 6 in an hour.  Most of the contraction I could feel, but they weren't painful.  I just felt tightening either at the top or the bottom of my uterus, sometimes the entire thing.  The weekend before labor, the contractions were extremely painful - to the point that I would have to breathe through them.  They were one level below crying.  This is how the labor contraction felt too (until the wonderful epidural).)

So anyway, I slept great all night.  In the morning my sister showed up and because we thought it would be a long time, my mom and sister went to take my dog to my sister's house and get breakfast (which I wasn't allowed to eat.  They starved me off and on during the last couple of days.)  Sometime after 8:00, probably 8:45, they decided to check me.  Lo and behold, I was 8cm!  I didn't need to be fully dilated to deliver my little guy, so this was a big deal.  Within the next 5 minutes, I felt the baby drop - it was like a "whoosh" and I felt the pressure they always talk about.

It was time.  Doctors were already in the room and they had me start pushing.  They weren't able to keep his heart rate on the monitor, so they clipped something to his scalp instead.  They still couldn't get a good rate (to see whether or not he was in distress and needed a C-section), so they decided to move me to the OR just in case.

Pushing was different than I thought it would be.  It was difficult to push in the right spot.  During each contraction I probably pushed about 4 times.  He was crowing after the second push.  He was out by the 3rd or 4th.  I could feel a lot, even with the epidural.  It was not comfortable in the slightest, but I could handle it.  I also had a ton of pain in my hip even before the epidural.  I guess it didn't get to everywhere it should, but I didn't know that it was wrong until he came out.  The second he came out, all of the pain vanished.  It was an amazing relief.

I don't really remember exactly what happened right after.  I know the NICU team was working on Dylan. I could hear him cry and make little sounds while they worked on him.  I found out later that Dad got to cut his cord.  They also brought him over to me before taking him to the NICU and I got to touch his face.  (He was that stable which was awesome.

Then I had to deliver the placenta.  The doctor pushed on my abdomen hard while having me try to push the placenta out.  We tried for awhile, but it would not budge so she had to do a D&C to get it out.  The anesthesiologist gave me a C-section dose of meds in my epidural and I slept like a baby during the procedure which took about 30 minutes.  I was awake and back in my room shortly after.

*     *     *     *     *

The weirdest thing about the recovery is that I was freezing and shaking for about an hour afterwards.  I had at least 3 blankets on me, but I was still violently shaking.  I felt fine though.  For my first meal, I had my mom go and get Einstein's (bagels).  It was amazing.

Dad went with Dylan to the NICU, but I wasn't allowed to go until I could walk.  Feeling came back pretty quickly and I was moved over to the post-partum side.  We had some guests both before and during the move so we didn't get to go to the NICU until around 2:00 I think.  If I had my way, I would have not allowed any visitors until the next day (except my immediate family).  It was too much.

*     *     *     *     *

Although I was prepared for a C-section, I felt really lucky to be able to have a vaginal delivery.  It made recovery and the ability to see Dylan much easier which was helpful.

I never got to the point where I was even thinking about birth.  Even while I was in the hospital I didn't consider it since I was working on keeping the baby inside.  One thing I know from my experience and others is that it rarely goes how you want it to.  It's really only the end that matters...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"You're doing so well!"

No I'm not.

I'm just not going to cry in front you and tell you how I really feel.

And do you really want to know anyway?  I know you care, but it'll just get really awkward really fast if I tell you that I cry randomly throughout the day with no apparent trigger.  Or that I also cry when anything changes at all.  I'm talking...you tell me you're coming at 4:00 and then change it to 3:45 kind of changes.

And ask me to think hard about something?  Impossible.  Sometimes I forget why I got up from the couch.

I have no real desire to talk to anyone (besides my husband and my doctors).  I have no desire to go anywhere socially.  I just want to sleep.  And to have Dylan have a good calm day.

Pump.  Clean.  Pump.  Maybe eat.  Maybe shower. Pump.  Drive to hospital.  Pump.  Repeat.




Sunday, October 21, 2012

IComLeavWe

The last time we met, IComLeavWe, way back in May, I was newly pregnant and had no idea how difficult the next four months would be.

Here's an excerpt from my last ICLW post:  (I sound kind of excited, don't I?)

"I signed up for this month's ICLW right at the end of last month's close and SO MUCH has happened since then!

My first IVF was a success (so far) and I am 5 weeks 4 days pregnant.  I'm feeling tired, my boobs are sore, and I'm having some other random symptoms, but they come and go in frequency and intensity so often that I often doubt that I'm really pregnant.  Although I really have no good reason to believe I'm not.

My husband and I have were TTC for 20 months, since the middle of our Costa Rican honeymoon.  We had a chemical pregnancy last September in month 14 which spurred us to go to see an RE.

I started acupuncture in January, and have done 3 unsuccessful Clomid IUI cycles since then.  We started our first IVF with an antagonist protocol in April, had our retrieval April 26th and our transfer of 2 embryos 5 days later. 

Our first ultrasound is in 8 days and I can barely handle the wait!  I'm sure my husband thinks I'm completely crazy by now, but I guess that's part of this pregnant after infertility adventure!"

That's a pretty accurate summary of our story up until that point.

I have shared basically EVERYTHING that has happened since then which has caused my blog to get a lot more attention.  Much of it positive, but some extremely negative.  I'm not going to rehash old issues, but here is a summary of the past four months:

At our 1st ultrasound, we found out that we were pregnant with Quads after transferring 2 embryos (1 split into triplets, the other was a singleton). One of the triplets didn't progress past Week 7, so we were then pregnant with Triplets (1 set of identical twins, 1 singleton).  We decide to reduce the pregnancy to a singleton based on the risks of a triplet pregnancy and my individual risk factors.

I had only a couple of weeks that I felt "good" the entire pregnancy.

At 23 weeks I started bleeding and contracting and was admitted to the hospital.  I stayed there on Magnesium and bed rest to lessen the contractions for two weeks before my water broke.  I had contractions, sometimes extremely painful, the entire time.  After my water broke, they stopped trying to prevent labor in case of infection and I went into labor and had my son less than 24 hours later. (There was no determined cause for the bleeding or contractions.)

My son Dylan was born at 25 weeks and 3 days on October 7, 2012 - 2 weeks ago.  He's doing pretty well in the NICU and will be there quite some time.

Now I'm pumping 8 times a day, visiting Dylan twice a day, and trying to stay sane.

*     *     *     *     *
Here are a few topics that I know I want to write about during ICLW:
  • Single Embryo Transfer.  This is the one thing that we would have changed.
  • Postpartum Emotions after having a Micropreemie
  • Dylan's Birth Story
  • Pumping
I have another site devoted to Dylan's progress.  If you'd like the link, you can email me.  I don't want to link it to this site.

Welcome!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Milk!

I think that all mom's of preemies should get a care package of nursing supplies.  It's really hard to be thrown into exclusive pumping without any knowledge whatsoever of breast feeding.  I didn't get to the point of taking classes.  I know a bit because my sister has a newborn, but not enough.

One thing I got immediately was a hands-free pumping bra.  This should come with the bottle kit!  Trying to hold the pumps the entire time is extremely frustrating.  If you move wrong, the milk drips out and you've lost the "liquid gold" as the doctors call it.

My hospital is extremely pro-breast feeding, so as soon as I was moved to my postpartum room, my nurse was teaching me how the use the pump that was already at my bedside.  She even squeezed my breasts to see if anything came out (weird) and I already was producing colostrum a few hours after baby's birth!

At first, I was almost embarrassed to take the few drops I was producing to the NICU to be frozen, but the nurses kept reminding me that it's "liquid gold" and that he'll get so little right at the beginning that the bottles with a few drops will be perfect.

But then on Tuesday night (2 days after birth) I produced 1 ounce of milk in a sitting!  I was really excited.  So it looks like my milk is coming in really well and I'm being extremely dedicated to make sure that I produce as much as I possibly can.

It will probably be a few more days or a week or so until they start introducing food to the baby (straight into his stomach).  At first, the point is not nutrition, it's to start colonizing his intestines with the helpful bacteria that my milk has in it.  They'll see how he does and slowly introduce more and more.  He won't be able to try a bottle until he's around 32 weeks, so that's another month plus of gavage feeding.

Pumping is not fun.  I'm doing it about every 3 hours from start to start.  It takes about a half an hour.  Then there's tons and tons of cleaning of supplies.  It seems like as soon as I'm done and thinking about what to do next, it's time to pump again.  BUT...it's the one thing I can really do to help my son and in that way, it really helps me feel like I am a part of his care.

*     *     *     *     *

More Updates:
  • Head Ultrasound today showed that the brain bleed has not changed which is really great news.  Hopefully it will clear itself up.   Issues to watch for will be clots or increased bleeding.
  • Bilirubin levels have gone down which means baby is no longer at high risk for jaundice, so his lamp was turned off, his little sunglasses came off (and I got to take them home) and he's in a nice dark, calm environment.
  • It's really common in baby's this young for a valve between the lungs and heart to be open.  When the baby is in the womb, mom's blood has oxygen already in it, it skips the lungs and goes directly to the heart (through this little artery) - like a short cut.  All babies have this shortcut, but it usually closes when the baby is first exposed to oxygen right after delivery.  His is not closed and he's showing a few symptoms, but not the major ones.  They are deciding today or tomorrow whether to treat him or not, but it looks like they will.  The risk is that the drug constricts all arteries and can cause an intestinal perforation which would have to be fixed with surgery.  Additionally, if the drug does not close the artery, a small clamp would have to be placed, also with surgery.  Hopefully one of the simpler solutions will work.
  • I changed baby's diaper today!  He's had the same nurse for the last 3 days and she is fantastic.  She gave me some mementos to take home to make a scrapbook for him; his sunglasses, a tiny little (clean) diaper, and a heart shaped monitor sticker.  She also showed me how to change his diaper which was really cool.  It's the first thing I've been able to really "do" to take care of him.
*     *     *     *     *

A note about comments...  

As you may have noticed, I've been posting more negative comments.  One reason is that although they bother me less and less as time goes on, I want to let everyone help me deal with them rather than just dealing on my own.  I'm still partially surprised, partially not at the "meanness" of some people, but that's the world...  I've also had a few comments that I still haven't published, just because they totally twist my words around.  Like saying that a nap is the most important thing to me.  That's not what I said.  I would still have preferred to be in the hospital if he was still inside of me, but once he was born, I desperately needed to get my strength back.  If I get sick, I can't see my son.  

I also realize that my blog has only the slightest shred of anonymity.  Many people know my true identity.  There were reasons that I didn't want to share every decision with "the public" but I'm kind of over it.  I would not have changed one decision except that I would have only transferred one embryo.  I'll probably post more about that later.  I've shared my infertility and pregnancy roller-coaster pretty freely in my real life and have only received support.  I know there are people out there that would not support me, but there are enough who do and would that if a broader audience finds out, so be it.  With that...I'll post his name and a picture later this week.

Last word.  This blog has meant so much to me over the past year.  I don't think I could have dealt with some of things that have come my way without getting my thoughts out on here and receiving support from the infertility community (and beyond).  Thank you.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I'm free!

Although I wish we could have made it longer in utero, now that baby is born, I'm so thrilled to be free of the walls of the hospital!!

I haven't been outside since September 21st!

It's going to be slightly harder to go see baby since I can't drive for a couple of weeks, but luckily, I have an extremely supportive family included a retired mom who will make sure I get to see him as often as possible.

But now if I want to take a nap (I'm exhausted), no one can walk in and interrupt me.  It's weird that even though I don't have baby with me, I'm still pumping every 3 hours including at night so it still affects my sleep.  I tried to nap in the hospital but it was impossible.

Now I'm on my own couch, with fresh air coming in through the open windows.

And then I'll go to the hospital with Mr. GG after dinner just like we do every other night.  Ideally we would go before and after dinner...we'll have to work out a routine.  Then I plan to go every morning also.

*     *     *     *     *

Baby can breathe on his own which is great, but because of his age, he has apnea.  He either forgets to breathe or gets too tired to keep breathing.  So he's on a ventilator to make sure that he breathes, but he is breathing regular air - the same as the rest of us.

Baby has a Level 2 (out of 4) brain bleed.  This is extremely common and level 2 is not extremely worrisome.  They will recheck on Thursday and we hope it has not progressed.

He had a blood transfusion today which is also going to be pretty common.  Babies of his size have so little blood in their bodies and he can't keep up.

Otherwise, he's looking really good. His little fingers can squeeze my hand.  Sometimes he squeezes a tube between his toes (he got his dad's toes...looong toes) : ).  He also has his dad's ears and a full head of hair.

I feel happy when I see him, not sad because I think he's strong and can fight.  But I do get sad frequently when I'm by myself.  I'm sure some of it is hormones.  It's hard leaving a hospital without your baby.  But overall, I'm doing well, thanks in large part to the support of all of you (well 99% of you).

Just keep thinking those positive thoughts that baby will continue to thrive!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Baby GG was born today at 25 weeks, 3 days


If you've been following my hospitalization, thank you so much for your support. It has really meant a lot to us!
Yesterday my doc decided that my water did in fact break (which I basically knew since the day before) so we had to discontinue meds to stop contractions in case I developed an infection and my body tried to make me deliver.
I went off of meds around 2 pm yesterday. At 6 or 7 I started needed pain meds. At 12:45 am I was 3 cm dilated and got an epidural. I had a nice calm sleep and then when they checked me in the morning at around 8 am, I was 8 cm dilated! (And pretty shocked.)
Baby did fine the whole time so I was able to try for a vaginal delivery.
At maybe 8:45 or 9, I felt the pressure all of a sudden, almost like a "pop." We started pushing almost immediately. They decided to have me labor in the OR since they were having trouble monitoring baby's heart rate and wanted to be close for C-Section. In the OR I pushed about 3-4 separate times and he was out!
We heard a little cry and then some baby murmuring sounds while they were taking care of him. I got to see him and touch him real quick before they took him to the NICU.
I had to have a D&C for my placenta, but they gave me a C-section dose in my epidural so I slept through it.
Baby is almost 2 pounds which is great for 25 weeks, 3 days. He was able to breath on his own, but wasn't consistent, so he was put on a ventilate, but it's great that his lungs are working normally. I got to see him later in the afternoon. I'm already pumping! Things are crazy.
It's going to be a day to day process, but so far so good. We are relieved and anxious all at the same time. (And I get to walk! Which is quite nice after 18 days of bed rest.)

Friday, October 5, 2012

My Water Broke...(Hospital Update - 25 weeks)

I've been starting posts over the last few days, but they just haven't been quite right and then I've been interrupted.  But I'm sure you're wondering how baby and I are doing!

We hit 25 weeks (in utero) which is a really huge milestone.  Much bigger than 24 in the NICU world.  His overall viability increased to 80%.

Starting Saturday night, my contractions got painful and they stayed that way up until yesterday.  They increased my Mag and gave me a bunch of Terbutaline shots, but nothing made them hurt less and nothing spaced them out further than 5 an hour.  I also found out that my cervix has continued to shorten from 3 cm when I came in, to about 1 a couple of a days ago.  I'm 1 cm dilated.

On Tuesday night, I was moved back from ante-partum to Labor and Delivery.  I was actually really pissed because it happened right after the nurse's shift change and I think she was just feeling "busy," not that I was changing.  So they moved me to a dungeon of a room (no windows) and tried to put me on a bed pan.  I almost had a panic attack thinking of the bed pan and almost refused altogether.  BUT...I follow authority and I tried it.  When I really couldn't do it (and it was really uncomfortable and probably increased my contractions), they let me use a bedside commode (like a portable toilet).

I expressed my frustration (mostly through tears) with every aspect of that evening and in the morning got bathroom privileges back and I got moved to a room with a window.  Yay.

You have no idea how much the small things, like a window, add when you are in the hospital for weeks at a time.  I also have a big wall calendar that visitors sign and we mark down the days and the milestones.  A little rolly-cart with random stuff and lots of plants and snacks and magazines from friends and family. When they make you move, they give you about a 10 minute notice.  Luckily, Mr. GG was there at the time to pack up all of my stuff in a way that I wouldn't freak out about.

*     *     *     *     *

But you probably want to hear how I am now.  Well...we got the contractions under control yesterday and I am SO much more comfortable.  But then, my friggin water broke.  I just went to the bathroom, came back, and felt more liquid than normal, that's it.  The doc confirmed 70% that it was my water, although I still have some left (it was probably a high leak).

So most people deliver within 48 hours of their water breaking.  But some can make it for quite awhile, most commonly, about 2 weeks.  The big risk factor now is infection, so I'm on new antibiotics.

I'm also still bleeding.  It seems like a lot to me, but the doctor is not extremely concerned at this point (until it becomes more).

So we sit tight until 1) I bleed too much and need baby out 2) baby's heart-rate drops 3) I show signs of infection (elevated temp, tender belly).

We had another consult with NICU to understand what things will look like after birth and although it was mostly information I expected or knew, the doc was super calm and comforting and just seemed like an awesome guy to have around my the preemies.  They also said that they already have a bed made up for Baby GG...and that hopefully it stays empty for awhile longer.  (Sidenote: a brand-spanking new NICU with private rooms that we can stay in with the baby is opening at the end of the month.)

*     *     *     *     *

Anyway...we've had a rough few days, but oddly enough, my water breaking was not the bad part.  I feel like baby could come very soon, but I'm definitely hanging on and being thankful for every day he stays put.


Monday, October 1, 2012

This is Getting Old

At some point last week I kind of felt like a fake - like everyone else in the hospital was there for a legitimate reason and that I wasn't really.  I've done this to myself before, thinking my issue is less significant or whatever, but the bottom line is.  THEY admitted me and never said that I could go.

Unfortunately - I don't feel like a fraud anymore.  Many of my nurses have told me to "stay boring."  Well the last couple of days have been far from boring.

This will recap the last post a touch, but whatever...

Two days ago (while Mr. GG was here - things always seem to happen when he's here), the contractions started to hurt.  Throughout the week I was rating them 0-2 on the pain scale.  I could feel them and they felt weird and tight, but they didn't hurt.  The contractions on Sat night were coming every 5 minutes and were a 5 or 6 on the scale.  That's when they gave me my first Terb shot as well as a 1mg bolus of Mag.  And it worked...until the next morning when the contractions started picking up again - still moderately painful.  So they did the Mag and Terb again.

The third Terb was in the evening I think.  It worked magically for an hour, then I started having contractions again.  "We" decided just to watch them and stop shooting me up with drugs.  So overnight, they increased to about a 7 but did not increase in frequency (3-4 an hour I think but maybe it was more).  I kept telling the nurse that these were more painful, but the odd thing is that the monitor has been having trouble picking up these more painful contractions.  They are lower, like really bad menstrual cramps, and spread out through my upper legs.  So she didn't want to call the doc until she saw a pattern.  Frustrating.  I basically didn't sleep from 12 to 4 am.  Well...I kind of did in a weird dream-like state of pain.  I'd wake up and try to remember to tell her that I just had one, then I'd wonder - "Did I just have one? I'm pretty sure I did.  Why else would I have paged her?"  I'm losing my mind a bit.  They ended up giving me a 4th shot at 4 am.

I was also dreaming of epidurals.  I think that is about the amount of pain where I would start asking for one.  But girls who are trying not to deliver babies don't get epidurals.  They get to suck it up.  Fun.

Today they measured my cervix again and it's a bit shorter (2.1-2.4) but still not in any kind of danger zone.  They don't think I have an infection and don't think I have a placental abruption (based on temps and blood work).  So there is no harm to baby or myself right now (besides my sanity which I can deal with).   So whenever these contractions start, we'll just try to stop them.  Until we can't.  Or I'm distressed or baby is distressed.

I definitely know I need to be here, that's not really a question.  I'm not feeling like I'm missing things out in the real world yet.  I think that'll be ok until the holidays.  But I am starting to get jealous of the regular pregnant people.  Starting?  Who am I kidding, I've been jealous for years now...I'm used to that too.  Wearing your cute maternity clothes.  Having your beautiful baby showers.  Driving.  Working.  Shopping.  (It's ok though pregnant blogger friends.  I am still happily following along.  I take most of my animosity out secretly on strangers or random uber-fertile FB friends.)

I just want to know that in the end, my baby will be ok.  Then everything is worth it. I do believe that is true, but I want a cosmic guarantee.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Terbutaline

Let's see how writing a post while on Terbutaline goes...  Is this what speed feels like?

My contractions have gone a bit nuts in the past 24 hours and I've ended up having 3 Terbutaline shots (a muscle relaxer that also speeds up your heart) as well as 2 1 mg Mag boluses.

Last night the contractions started to hurt and they were coming more like every 3 minutes or so (in my less than accurate count).  They made me totally think about how awesome epidurals must be.  The pain was the kind that made me stop listening or doing what I was doing and need to just breathe for a bit.  But not crying pain.  It was kind of a like really bad menstrual cramps - they radiated down and across my upper legs.

The Terb and Mag seem to stop it, but the worrisome thing is that I've now had 3 episodes of frequent painful contractions in the last 24 hours.  That doesn't seem good to me.  I met with a doc this morning, but I'll have a whole host of new questions tomorrow.

The frustrating thing is that I don't have any of the specific issues of preterm labor like a shortened cervix, broken water, I'm not effaced.  I'm just frickin slowly bleeding somewhere (not from baby...maybe from placenta) and either the contractions are causing the bleeding or the bleeding is causing contractions.

This is going to be a super long road if this is what it's going to look like.   But the alternative looks so much worse!  So anyway...no answers here, just updates.

(I'll write a more coherent post in the morning!)


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lots of Tears Today, but Not due to Baby (Day 6)

Today has hands-down been the worst day in the hospital so far.  Well, Saturday might have been worse be cause it's the day I lost my pregnancy freedom, but today definitely sucked.

Here's a picture to start my story:


So IVs are apparently supposed to be switched every 4 days to avoid infection and what not.  They gave me an extra day because mine was comfortable and my veins have been so difficult.  But today was the day.  I asked the nurse early when she expected that we would change it since I was already nervous.  Boy oh boy did I have a need to be.

First, my regular nurse tried.  After she failed, my skin was sticking out in a blob about a half an inch from my inch.  I'm not very squeamish, but I do not like when my arms change shape when they are not supposed to.

So she called an anesthesiologist.  He was a younger guy.  A TCU fan.  We chatted a bit.  Then he missed his stick on one arm and then blew the vein on my other hand.  That gauze in the upper right portion of my wrist is him.

So they called another anesthesiologist.  But he never came.

So this other nurse swore that nurses do it better than anesthesiologists anyway.  She blew one on my right arm and then got the successful stick in the hand of my left.  (The other large gauze is from my previous IV.)

If you're counting, that's 5 sticks, one IV.  Two of the 5 sticks will leave massive bruises, the other 2 were ok (I guess).

I think I was teary after my arm blew up the first time.  Then I really cried after the 3rd one.  Then in the middle of all of this, the resident comes in and turns my Mag up because I'm having so many contractions.  I'm pretty sure most of the contractions were crying and the others were caused by terror and pain.  But now I'm back on 2mg.  I'm holding off the woozy-drunkenness pretty well, but I feel it coming.

So instead of finishing a school project this morning, all I successfully did was get an IV in my hand.

But then my mom came and organized my room (I added a rolling cart to hold all my stuff and a wall calendar to help me keep track of the time) and my good friend came and brought me a small Jamba Juice (since I'm still fluid restricted).

And now The Princess Bride is on and I'm relatively relaxed.

And only lab techs and the most experienced nurses will be touching my veins (as I tearfully asked the Charge Nurse who appeared in the middle of the madness).

The problem is that no one believe that I'm a difficult stick because they can see my veins.  But then they roll or they break because they are fragile.

(Guess I hadn't quite let it go yet.)

Day 6 - Night 7 - Signing off.

(Well...super quick update: I'll be on Mag until Monday because they wanted to get me to 24 weeks (tomorrow), but they don't want to take me off on a weekend when my normal doc is not here.  So on Monday, we wean, then we watch.  For like a week.  If I'm stable after that (and not bleeding at all - it's still lingering) then I could go home.  I don't really see that happening though...)


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Keep Baby Inside. No Bleeding. (Hospital Update #3 - Day 5)

I just noticed that my last update says $2, not #2.  Oh well...I'm on meds.

I am pleased to announce that I am now only getting my blood drawn every 12 hours!  WooHoo!  I was on every 6 to check my Magnesium levels and boy is my right arm bruised.  They're only allowed to stick that arm because the IV is in the left.  I don't have cooperative veins.  They're small.  They roll around.  This has been quite fun.  4 different nurses had to stick me twice to actually find blood.  The best one was at 3:30 in the morning.  She turned all of the lights on in the room first, then took a half an hour to stick me twice and keep moving the needle around inside my arm.  It was lovely.

Last night they called the lab tech to take my blood instead.  It turns out that I taught both her daughter and son!  Funny.  I would say small world, but my school is very Philipino and nursing is the #1 most popular profession, so whenever I see a Philipino nurse I check their name tag.

*     *     *     *     *
Medically, I don't have a good update, but not a bad one either.  I'm still bleeding although it's not flowing at all. I find it when I have a BM (bowel movement - I'll just say that one once...).  They can't find a source or cause of the bleeding which is mostly good, but of course this still concerns them.

My contractions have been pretty consistent.  My high is still 6-7 an hour but I have periods with much fewer also.  They are not painful at all, but some cross the line into slightly uncomfortable.  I do feel almost every one.  This means they might decide to put my Magnesium back up (we lowered it because I was pretty stable and it was making me a sick zombie).  

I also started steroid shots today.  I'll get one today one tomorrow.  (Butt shots.  Ow.  I avoided those with my IVF.)  The steroid will help the baby's lungs mature in case he is delivered early.  

*     *     *     *     *

School is all set which is a huge relief.  I felt like I was abandoning all of my kids...just after I really started to get to know them.  But I found a great sub who is going to write all of the plans so I'm off the hook!  And I can feel confident that they are still getting a great education.

My puppy is a bigger worry/stressor.  We've been taking her to day play since Mr. GG doesn't have a lot of time to spend with her in the evening.  Usually I get home around 4...  He doesn't get home until 6 and then he comes to see me.  She's also spending half the week at my sister's with her cousin Roxy : ).  But I know that if I am released to go home (to strict bed rest), I won't be able to have her around all day. She's too rambunctious.  So I guess we will just stick with the day play and then when Mr. GG is home it will be ok.  I miss her : (.  I hope she doesn't think I've abandoned her!

*     *     *     *     *
By my count I'll be 24 weeks tomorrow, but by the hospital's, it's on Friday.  Either way...24 is big.  Viability!  (Although I've learned a lot more about this in the last week and a baby can be viable before 24 AND 24 still has very discomforting odds.)  The goal written on my "Labor and Delivery Plan" (hah) is "Keep Baby Inside.  No Bleeding."  That's what I'll be working on for the time being.

Thanks for all of your support!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hospital Update $2

Thank you so much for all of your well-wishes and success stories. They were just the mental medicine I needed over the last two day!

Yesterday was really tough for me and for Mr. GG although we both dealt with it on our own.  

I cried a lot.  What kept setting me off was picturing all of the scenarios that the neonatologist set in front of us.  They have to have a decision on whether you will intervene to help a severely premature baby. Also, we need to start taking steroids two days before the time that we decide to have interventions.  Hearing the word "comfort" as a type of care after a preemie birth just sent me straight to tears (still almost does).  BUT...I am not going to have a super-premature birth!  (I still could - that's just my positive thinking at work.)

Honestly, we have worked so hard to get this baby into the world that I just cannot imagine the universe would allow us to lose our precious baby.

The other biggest obstacle yesterday was just letting go.  I decided that I needed to make a list of all of the things I need to let go of:
  • being in charge of my day-to-day life
  • teaching this year (until maybe the end)
  • being at Open House
  • going to the AP Conference next month
  • wearing my winter maternity clothes
    • hey...my list is comprehensive!  and I was preparing for the worst case scenario - this one might not be a done deal.
  • having a baby shower
    • ditto - feeling more positive about this one now
I did this while crying, but it really helped and I've been totally okay with everything today.  I've just been planning as if I won't leave this room.

I also emailed everyone at school and did the "FB post" which helped make it real.

And then we got some good news.

I was feeling extremely shitty physically this morning.  Magnesium causes hot flashes (or just hot face for me), dizziness, nausea - all of the stuff that makes you be able to do nothing while on bed rest.  I couldn't even focus my eyes if I moved my head too fast.  But since my contractions were well-controlled by that point (only one in half a day), they tried lowering my dose by 25%.  The effect was magnificent!!  I can read.  I can think (kind of - I was trying to explain to my mom where to find the dog food and I couldn't think of the word "furnace" for the life of me...all I got was that thing in the house that heat, you know, with the door...my sister figured it out).  I can laugh.  I can handle this.

Sure my veins are shot from having my blood drawn out of just ONE ARM every 6 hours...  And my butt is killing me from sitting in various positions on this hard bed.

But my contractions have stopped and I can deal with all of the other stuff.

Right now I'm dealing while listening to baby's beautiful, regular, strong 140+ heart rate.

Oh...the good news:
Since the contractions are controlled, they are going to try taking me off of the Mag tomorrow and back onto the oral pills.  They'll watch for 24 hours and if the contractions increase I'll go back on Mag of course. But if they don't...pills mean I can go home!  I've done such a good job preparing myself for staying that I am almost shocked, but now I'm ready for either scenario.

Home will still be 100% strict bed-rest. And I honestly don't think I can have puppy around on bed-rest, but it'll be good.

I'll probably have another update on Tuesday.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My New Home?

(If this post is horribly formatted, I apologize. I'm typing on an iPad.)

Labor and Delivery.  I get to hear a little nursery rhyme chime each time another couple has a healthy baby.  I've counted at least seven today.

I went to meet my friend for dinner last nig since our husbands were out of town.  I peed before I left...like normal.  Then I peed when I got to the restaurant because it had been 20 minutes and of course I needed to go again.  But this time I was bleeding.  Really bleeding.  It was basically like my period.

On the way to the hospital I forced myself not to think about the worst possibilities.  But it was so hard not to.  I had a really tough week - some pink spotting Monday - brown the rest of the week - and a huge dose of tear-inducing anxiety mid-week.  But I felt better yesterday.

I haven't taken any classes or tours (I'm only 23 weeks!) so I had no idea where to go when I got to the hospital.  At this point I could feel wetness between my legs.  A nice random pregnant lady eventually lead me to where I needed to be.

As soon as I heard baby's heartbeat, I felt immediately better.  I was still bleeding, but there was no distress either in baby or me.  All vitals were good.  But I was also having contractions.  My doc said that bleeding can cause contractions and contractions can cause bleeding, so that combined with the ultrasound mean that there is no identifiable cause for my bleeding or contractions.

But contractions are bad because they lead to labor and my baby cannot be born right now! (You can intervene at 23 weeks to try to save the baby but the prognosis is very poor. We need to get to 25 to see a much greater improvement.). I don't know what we'll do if I do go into active labor, buti sure hope it doesn't happen for a long time.

I initially took an oral drug to stop the contractions but it didn't work.  Now I'm on IV Magensium which does seem to be working.

Last night I really thought I'd be out of there in an hour or two.  Now I'm looking at a best case scenario of 3-7 days and a worst case of now through 32 weeks.  I'm most likely done teaching (after only 3 weeks of school!) I won't even get into how stressful that is right now.

My cervix is closed and a decent length.  Bleeding has stopped.  Contractions much less frequent and intense. And baby's heartbeat is perfect (and so nice to hear).

Neither Mr. GG and I are surprised to be where we are even though we never considered it.  This pregnancy is just going to be one extremely difficult thing after another and then at the end, we will have a strong, healthy baby boy that we will cherish.

I'm staying positive.  Please think some positive thoughts for us.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Exercise

I've been trying really hard to get into some kind of work out rhythm so that I can feel better about the weight gain and hopefully slow the arm and thigh expansion.

Since the last post I've:

  • gone on a 40 minute walk with a friend
  • done free arm weight rotations
  • walked a couple of miles with the dog, down and up the huge hill we live on
I still REALLY want to do yoga.  I'd like to get a DVD like many of you have suggested, but I honestly don't think my dog would allow me to do yoga successfully at home.  (The dog is KILLING me right now.  We did some training, but it's like it has evaporated.  Need so much more.)

So that means I need to find a class.  I know they exist around me.  I just need to do it.  Ok...I'm gonna go do it.  Back in a minute.

Ok.  It's booked!  

I actually found a bunch of options and the studio I picked caters entirely to moms, both prenatal and post.  They even have childcare.  Sounds cool!

I'm feeling so much better in general that I'm really not crazy tired while working out.  In the first tri I couldn't walk around the block without get winded.

I will keep you updated on my progress!  (And thanks for sharing your fears and ideas.)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

21 weeks

I haven't shown you a belly pic in ages, but I got a pretty decent one today, so I'll show you.



I feel gigantic (but of all the bump pics I definitely like this one the best.)

I feel like a whiny broken record, but this weight gain thing is really hard for me.

Looking at belly pics on countdown to pregnancy helps a bit though.  I know everyone just seems to gain at different times.  I'm just worried about it coming off again afterwards.  The heat making my feet swell and hurt so bad to stand on is not helping!  But otherwise I feel great.

That's all for now.  I'm back to school and all out of words at the moment...

How was weight gain for you?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Halfway!! (And some Throat Fire.)

Although based on my mom and sister, I'm probably not really halfway.  They were both over a week late.  I'm actually hoping I'm late by at least a few days because as a teacher, you have to work 75% of the school year for it to "count" for seniority.  Because of furlough days, there are fewer days total which means even though I'm only planning to take 9 weeks, I may have to go back one day before Spring Break to make 75%.  I guess time will tell.  (Although if this baby tries to come out as big as his daddy did, I'm not going to be able to/want to hold out any longer.)  Daddy was almost 9 pounds.  He's 6'4, I'm 5'4.  My sister's baby was only 7lb7oz and still got caught under her pelvic bone and she had to have a C-section (after pushing for 2 1/2 hours!!).

I guess based on that paragraph, this is going to be a rambling post...  So be it.

Today was my first day back at school and boy am I tired (mentally and physically).  My feet are starting to swell and one of my arches was killing me by the end of the day.  I don't know what shoes I'm going to wear until it gets cooler out.  (It was 90 in my bungalow today.  No AC.  Fun.)  Kids don't come back until Tuesday, so today wasn't too bad, but I'm definitely tired.

And then on my way home, I realized I planned a birthday dinner with a friend.  What was I thinking?  So instead of driving a half an hour home and back, I am sitting in my mom's air-conditioned house close to school.

The puppy hasn't been home alone this long in awhile and I just got a call from Mr. GG saying she shredded an entire roll of toilet paper across the entire house.  At least toilet paper is funny since it's cheap.  (And he had to clean it up, not me...hehe.)

I had some former students come help me get books and supplies and I got to tell them (or show them I guess) that I was pregnant.  That was fun.  Kids get so excited!  One kid emailed me and said he was going to get the coolest baby shower gift.  Sweet : ).

My biggest complaints right now I guess are my feet hurting, difficult sleep since I can't get comfortable, and heart-burn.  I learned about the pain of raw onions a few months ago, but yesterday I had some salsa that had a few diced jalapenos in it.  OMG. Ow.  My sister and I decided it should be called Throat Fire instead of Heart Burn.  It's much more accurate.  My back is actually feeling much better after a top-notch professional massage about 3 weeks ago.  Oh, and I'm big.  And I'm sick of hearing about January moms who still haven't gained any weight.  I imagine it will even out towards the end since I'm not gorging myself or anything, but still.

We had our anatomy scan yesterday.  It is so frustrating to have someone look at your baby for an hour and not tell you if anything looks good or bad!  I won't get actual results until Thursday or Friday when a "real" doctor looks at it.  Everything looked ok to my un-skilled eye and she didn't spend extra time on anything except the heart, but I think it's because baby was squirming like crazy the entire time.  She had a lady she called "The Baby Whisperer" come in at the end and she basically re-did all of the major parts of the ultrasound only much more quickly.  I don't know if the first girl was just new, or if that's a bad sign, or if she just did extra or what.  Baby was also measuring big, 20w5d.  I'm hoping that's just for now...

In other news, my best friend keeps mentioning how boring her pregnancy is.  I don't think I'll ever be pregnant again, but if I am, I sure hope it's so boring I almost miss it!  The second trimester has been light-years easier than the first though.  I'm hoping this period sticks around for awhile.

I don't know how much time I'll have for blogging with school starting, but I have some really cute nursery ideas, so I'll try to post about them soon.  We're thinking dinosaurs!

My love to everyone...thanks for reading (if you actually got this far!). : )

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Almost 19 week update

I haven't felt like writing about my actual pregnancy in awhile, but a lot has changed so I'm ready!

Let's try bullets.  Nevermind.  Bullets didn't work.  On to headers.

The Belly
Four people touched my belly in a period of 2 days last week.  I knew this was coming, but I was still a bit surprised!  Three were my husband's co-workers; two of whom I've known for a really long time (one was a dude!  But he's a dad, so maybe that's why he's a belly toucher?), one I've known for about a year.   The last was a total stranger at Massage Envy.  I think they all asked permission which is nice and I'm not going to say no, but...not my thing.

I'm also starting to run into things with my belly.  This is really strange.  I'm used to easily sliding through small spaces.  Today, I turned at ran my belly into the end of a sleigh bed.

I'm very obviously pregnant, but not huge.  Quick story: We golfed at Pebble Beach last week.  (extra aside: I cried through holes 8-12 on Day 1 and quit at hole 11 on Day 2.)  Our caddy started the day by saying: "My sister-in-law is the exact same size as you.  She's due in November.  When are you due?"  January.  Thanks dude.

How I Feel
I feel SO MUCH BETTER!  Starting about a week ago I realized that I can look at a food menu and order basically whatever I want.  For the entire pregnancy before this, absolutely nothing sounded appetizing and at least twice I ordered something and could not take a bite.  This included salad which I found odd.  I still haven't tried spinach, but I'm back to all other salads.

I can also exercise more easily.  I'm really only walking, but I have the energy to do it.  The only problem is that the next day my hip always hurts.  Still planning to get to a prenatal yoga class but it's just not happening.

But...after a marathon closet reorganization with my mom today, I completely hit a wall.  Bending over and sitting on an ottoman for hours made my belly really crampy on the underside.  It didn't "hurt" per se, but I literally had to stop and put my feet up for awhile to get it to stop.  I hope I can make it through an entire school day!

Back Pain
I've been having some major back pain.  At times I feel like my back will never not hurt throughout the remainder of this pregnancy.  I feel like part of it is from side-sleeping.  I've been working on different pillow options, but for the moment I know that I need something between my knees and something to support my arm.  Much of the pain is in my mid-back between my shoulder blades.  But I also have had some major lower back pain.

But...(until tonight after the marathon cleaning...which was still worth it), I had the best massage of my life last weekend and it totally cured my back pain.  I've had a few throughout the pregnancy, but at Massage Envy you lay on your side.  It feels good while you're there, but it's just not worth it - no lasting effects.  The nice places have a foam pillow with a cut-out for your belly.  It feels amazing to lay on your stomach.  Guess I'll be getting lots more massages!  I'm sure the wine I'm not drinking will pay for it : ).

Clothes
I have loved back to school shopping since I can remember.  This year's back to school shopping is all-maternity (obviously), but I need a lot to make it through and I want to get it now while I still have time. If I hate what I'm wearing, I'm in a bad mood all day so I really wanted to find the pieces I need to feel like I truly have things to wear.  Someone is going to get a lot of hand-me-downs when I'm done!

My summer/hot day uniform is fold-over skirts with a fitted tank or tee.  All of my regular tees still fit since I'm short and they're stretchy.  My fall/cold day uniform is going to be leggings with long flowy shirts and boots.  (I decided this while trying not to look at my co-worker who was adorably pregnant last year.)


I got most of the shirts at a boutique that I usually shop at (cheap cute stuff!).  I can wear ALL of them after my pregnancy which is awesome.  They might not all fit in the last month or two, but we'll see...

And I got most of the pants at the Motherhood outlet in the Pea in the Pod section.  I got 4 or 5 pairs at a HUGE discount so I've got every color/thickness covered.  I also have 3 pairs of jeans that I bought at Pea in the Pod way back at 9 or 10 weeks.  One designer splurge and two sale pairs.

I also got a few shirts at Target, two from Motherhood online (this was my first true online buying experience and I have to return 80% of it), and a bunch of random basics and business clothes from a good friend.

Registry
I started my registry!  I'm going with Amazon because I hate the mark-ups at Babies R Us.  My mom will just have to teach all of her friends how to check off items that they buy themselves.  It's super easy though.  Since my nephew will be 7 months by then, I'm going to be able to get a lot of stuff from my sister which is awesome.  I'll post some of the bigger things I'm deciding on later.  Oh my goodness it's overwhelming!  But I got a fabulous link from Her Royal Fabulousness, Lucie's List.  Check it out!

Nursery
I haven only the vaguest notions of what I want to do and am quite overwhelmed by it.  First I need to redo the guest room to fit what is now in the office...  But I know I want to put a quote on the wall.  I want it to be from a book or an author if possible.  I searched a ton tonight, but couldn't find anything quite right.  The best at the moment is Dr. Seuss, "The more you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go."  But I would love more suggestions if you have any!

Anatomy scan is next week.  I get to see little GG every other week, which I know is a luxury, but I'm still a bit anxious about the anatomy scan.  Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My Husband

I'm writing a new post today!  Can you believe it?

I've mentioned before how awesome Mr. GG has been throughout this entire process.  At times I accuse him of being unemotional (like when he writes "Happy Anniversary, You're so sexy!" on a card after I write an entire page), but he has the perfect personality to be my support as he consistently has been throughout our entire journey with infertility.

So this post is dedicated to him, on our second anniversary.  (By the way - this was my total freak out deadline.  This was the "future" date that I had permitted myself to completely lose it by if we were still not pregnant.  Thank goodness it never came to that because I really had no idea what to expect from myself, but I knew it was looming deep inside me.)

*     *     *     *     *

Once we found out that we were indeed pregnant, Mr. GG went to his favorite store, Costco. (He wore Kirkland brand jeans before he met me and I banned them.  Not ok for your jeans brand to match your toilet paper.)  He bought a huge, probably larger than life-sized teddy bear.  I thought it was really sweet of him.

When we found out we were having a boy, Mr. GG just lit up!  He started talking about the baby all the time and made one more really important purchase, a baby-sized Chargers Jersey that matches the two that we have.  I laid the jersey on the bear to finally announce our pregnancy on Facebook.

But he's been sweet in other ways too.

For my birthday, he bought me a necklace (yep also from Costco) representing a mother and child.  It's simple and totally my taste and I love it.



When he gets home from work or sees me after a short absence, he kisses my belly and then kisses me. : )  He's not overly showy of affection, so I think it's really sweet.  He even did it at a work event (for him) at our local racetrack in front of lots of people, although he had been drinking : ).  

*     *     *     *     *

I know our 3rd year of marriage will be very different from our first two in great ways and in hard ones.  

1) No dealing with infertility!  Woohoo!  (Although I still feel like I could jinx things by saying that out loud.) We started trying on our honeymoon so this has literally consumed our entire marriage, although it has brought us closer in many way. 

2) We'll have a baby!  Mr. GG will get to change the first diaper of his life : ).  We will get to figure out how to parent together which I know will take a lot of compromise.  But we'll be a family and I'm so excited.

So thanks for everything Mr. GG and I mean everything - from buying me chicken noodle soup and Gatorade when I was recovering from retrieval  - to carrying my laundry basket upstairs for me - to letting me cry when I really needed to. 

I love you so much!  You're the only person I could imagine myself going through this with.



Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Best and Hardest Year of My Life

Last year was my "Golden Birthday." You've probably only heard of this if the actual day of your birthday is in the second half of the month.  I hadn't heard of it until my husband mentioned it a few years ago.  Your Golden Birthday is the year in which you turn the age of your day of birth.  And it's supposed to be the best year of your life.

In imagining my "Golden Year," I probably wouldn't have scripted it the way it went.  As I turned 31 last year, I had some of idea what what was in store for me, but I couldn't have fathomed everything.

We had already been TTC a year last year on my birthday.  At this point I knew it was not going to be easy, I had started to seek medical help, I was frustrated and bitter, but not depressed about the situation.

But I had no idea how difficult and rewarding the year would actually be.  I did 3 IUIs and 1 IVF cycle.  I had more responsibility at work, which I asked for and enjoyed.  I welcomed my second nephew, but my sister's first.  I got my first dog since childhood.  (This was definitely part of the hard part! But I love her so much!)  I started blogging.  I had my first student teacher (I will not be trying that again anytime soon).  I reconnected with a lot of college friends; some through blogging, some in other ways, but I'm so happy about this!

And I got pregnant for the first and second times.  I cried a lot.  Probably more than most years.

But the amazing thing is that I felt old enough and strong enough to handle this year.  This year did not break me and I would say my relationship with my husband has just continued to get stronger (it's been about 6 years now).

I'm glad this year is over and that it held the times it did.  Well most of them, I would definitely have edited a few things out if I had been in charge of my destiny.

This year to come will probably be even harder, but in a way that I so welcome!  I'm going to learn how to take take of a newborn.  Communicate with my partner about parenting (I think we'll be good at this, but there are definitely a few things we will have to work on).  Figure out how to have a career and a child at the same time.  And how to pump at work.  (This is the part that is stressing me out the most currently.)  But I'm excited about this new challenge.  I've been hoping for it for ever and trying to make it happen for the last 2 years.

So let's go 32!

And again, thanks to all of you out there who have become a part of my life in ways small and big throughout the last year.  I could not have made it without you!