Monday, December 30, 2013

First OB appointment-

So things went well, she was very reassuring and she has put in a request for the peri to schedule a consult with us. We discussed a lot, and I left feeling very reassured. We also got another scan, and while the hiding baby was hiding we did get to see them both moving, and we could see their hearts beating strongly. Things looked good! I go back to see my OB again on the 28th, but I'll probably see the peri before that for our consult. We also discussed testing for issues, so A and I are discussing options and deciding what we want to do.

Here's the babies: The best angle we've gotten so far with both of them in it, even if the bottom one is blurry!

I am relieved that everything is still going well, but it does still make me anxious. I'm trying to stay positive and hope that maybe it's just my time for "easy." I don't know. So much went wrong with V that this has been... different. I don't know. It leaves me a little disjointed.

We announced on FB... yikes. I'm nervous about that of course, but we did a cute photo that was a homage to a photo we had done with just V and us. I never got to do something like that either, it's all new territory.

So far so good. I just keep reminding myself that nothing bad has happened yet, and I plan to continue being as proactive as I can.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Two years old!

V turns two today. It's a little surreal. I mean it's believable, but where did the time go? I don't know, but it's awesome. He is definitely my rainbow after the storm, my little dream come true.

It's been such a busy week, with Christmas and birthday preparations. I have to make cupcakes for his party tonight, get everything together, and figure out a few last minute details. I also have a cold so I don't feel like moving, I've been sick since the 23rd but feel a little better today... in some ways. Right now the kid is in gift overload and he's still not done. It's chaos. But it's good.

I get all sentimental when I think of his existence, his conception, his time within me, his birth... I spent so long just hoping to get there, and then the moment (while things did not go as planned and it was scary) was still his, and it was the most wonderful moment. My little mischief maker, charmer, dreamer, and lucky star. I love him so much.

I'm also 12 weeks and 1 day pregnant today, hopefully with two viable and healthy babes. Our appointment is Monday so I can't wait for that, I am getting anxious. I had another nightmare last night, which seems to happen as we get this close to an appointment. Hopefully nothing happens and all is well though.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Anxiety

I've been having really bad anxiety lately. It's not that things haven't been going well, it's just that... well, they've been going so well.

Let me start over. We told our families. Cue panic attack. I got to do a cute announcement, for the first time in our life, and instantly wondered if we're going to regret that. We didn't get to do that with the first three, obviously, since we lost them so soon. With V things just went wrong from implantation, and it was one bleeding crisis after another, and all I could do is write up a thing about spending the night in the ER, morphine was helpful, and oh yeah we're pregnant. So far this pregnancy, while physically demanding, has been going so smoothly. Maybe too smoothly? I don't know, but we announced. Most people didn't get it, but it was cute, and now it's out there.

And oh god, what it something goes wrong? Now they know, and I'll have to put up with all the well meaning, asinine, or apathetic reactions should they go wrong. Oh, you lost one? Could be worse. Oh you lost both? Just try again. Or here's the most familiar reaction- silence and a complete erasure from their memory like my babies never existed. So it's out there... it's not the end of the world, but oh god, it's out there.

What else? Oh yeah, the appointment at 12w4d (STILL ANOTHER FLIPPIN' WEEK AWAY) which if I don't get the answers I feel comfortable with means I'll have to start hunting for a new OB rather late in the game. I'm working on my list of questions/demands, and trying to rack my brain for more, but it's making me so anxious. I always get anxious before appointments, but this is worse. I feel like waiting three weeks to get in has been excessive and I have no way of knowing if it's from the holidays or their attitude towards pregnancy. I'm just worried I won't get the care I need, or I'll be hopping around struggling to find a doctor for too long. I'm just... ugh. I really hate they made me wait this long to get in, and I've been cut loose prematurely from my RE so I could get in with an OB who COULDN'T EVEN SQUEEZE ME IN ANY SOONER.

So, I've been feeling a little anxious off and on. Obviously I can't tell people any of this... because not only would they think I was bat shit crazy, but they totally wouldn't understand. Hell, they're already asking if we know the sex of the babies yet and when we're finding out (jokes on them because we're NOT). They simply can not understand, they've never been through what we have. I'm still worried we won't have live babies to take away from this. We should be 11w4d today... are they still alive? I don't know. And they have no idea about the risks with twins, and won't listen to anything I have to say. I just... ugh. I needed to get that out somewhere.

This week has been long. Wait, we're onto a new week. This week is going to be long. Our third family Christmas thing, then actual Christmas, then V's birthday, and then V's birthday party, and THEN finally the appointment. I just have to survive until then, and try not to overdo it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Alls well-

I'm 10 weeks + 5 days and alllllss well*... as far as we know. Still no bleeding or anything, so that's good- right? I don't know. Probably. I stopped Crinone at 9w6d and have been taking 200mg pharmacy compound progesterone a day since... but ran out last night so we'll see how that goes. I've been getting headaches from wearing my glasses, so every night I'm just done. I haven't been getting on the computer as much. I've had such horrible digestive issues that I've barely been functioning, it was really bad for awhile. But things are getting better there, I think, with the help of medicine.

So, I feel better than with V's pregnancy but also worse.

I still have two weeks until I get to see my OB. Which feels like forever. In the meantime I'm building a list of a hundred questions (which may be an exaggeration) about my care with twins:

- Are they still alive? And then...

- My biggest thing is being referred to a Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist for joint care with my OB. I'm worried she won't do it, and I feel like this is imperative. It's not that I don't trust their care, but I'm not a normal patient with a singleton pregnancy... heck, I'm not even a normal patient with a twin pregnancy. They can be a little laid back, and I feel like I need a lot more monitoring than if this was another singleton pregnancy- I have learned that being pro-active is always better than wondering what if... and I plan to push this issue or switch doctors if I have to.

- Asking about the frequency of cervical scans and growth checks; requesting that they start at 16 weeks.

- Dietary needs (protein, iron, calories, etc...) and testing for gestational diabetes (GD). I'm assuming I'll be tested earlier because of my PCOS and twin situation, I remember getting a random glucose draw at 17wks or something with V in addition to the 1 hour GTT. I stayed on Metformin with him and barely passed, so who knows how that'll go.

- Whether we'll be switching to Heparin again at the end, and discussions of how things will play out with a recurrent c-section (RCS).

- I don't really know what else to ask... so, suggestions are welcome! I would really appreciate it. I've been doing my own research, but I'm a fan of utilizing all my resources. I don't mean that in a bad way either- I've learned so much from people out here on the internet, in this community, and I truly value it. So anything you have to offer, I'd love to hear it. Thank you!



*I hope someone out there heard that in the voice of the vulture guard from Dis.ney's Robin Hood. It's always been one of my favorites :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

9w4d

They're still thriving. Insert HUGE sigh of relief. It was still hard to see the second baby because it's hiding behind the first really really well. I'm talking if we didn't know it was there and hadn't dug around to find it, you wouldn't even know it exists. Whew. So two babies, two heart beats, two very blurry views... but we're good.

I have officially GRADUATED from my clinic. For serious. Hopefully for the last time in my life. With V I walked out of there with my one special baby spoon, today I received two. I can hardly believe it. If all goes well with this pregnancy and these babies, our family will be complete.

Wow.

Here they are... not a great shot, but as I said they were hiding from us. I bet we probably could have seen more with an abdominal scan, but then the measurements wouldn't have been as accurate. A took a video of them and the HBs this time... we didn't do that with V and I always regretted it. The video is a lot more amazing than the photo but here you are!

Hoping so much that things continue going well.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

On the lighter side-

Ditching my pregnant after a loss brain for a moment to talk about what else is going on. Today I'm 8w5d pregnant. Yesterday I had tons of cramping and pain down below, seems my round ligament pains are already kicking in. No spotting or bleeding still, and I am clinging to that. It was scary given the timing though, as we were that far along with V when the SCH struck.

Whenever I get hungry (which I am like all the time) I get nauseous, then I get dizzy and everything sounds disgusting. Yet I'm hungry and eating makes it better? It's weird. I have a major aversion to pasta sauce right now, so no spaghetti or lasagna (which happens to be V's two favorite meals). I'm okay with salsa and pizza sauce though, since I'm actually crazing pizza and nachos. Ground turkey, a staple in our diet, sounds disgusting lately. So, anyway... finding food that doesn't make me nauseous is a challenge. I haven't had full on morning sickness, it's just the all day on/off nausea and heart burn. I almost threw up a couple times, I'll admit, but I have a really strong reflex against that. I never had morning sickness with V, it was just this persistent nausea/heartburn.

I also have really bad digestive issues from the high progesterone, but I'm trying to balance it out with Colace.

With the weight gain, which I wouldn't say is pregnancy related, none of my old pants fit me. I have some maternity pants I picked up at the thrift store, and found some "fat" pants in the attic I'd hung onto. Score! The fit, a little loose, and that works great. It'll help me get through a bit longer anyway.

My ovaries still get caught and cause pains from the cysts, but there's a huge improvement in how I've felt since the fluid in my abdomen dissipated. I feel a lot better! When the OHSS initially set in and worsened early in the pregnancy it was bad, and I definitely don't want to repeat that again. I am just very thankful mine was mild. Sometimes it hurts to clear my throat or cough while laying down, it makes the ovaries tug/twist, so I have to be careful of that, but I'm doing good.

Our next appointment is less than a week away now, which is a relief for me. While I hate having so many appointments, with my loss history I am so so paranoid of history repeating itself. I am thankful for doctors willing to coddle me.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Still here-

Almost a week until our next ultrasound. Not that I'm counting down the days or anything. Thankfully this past week went quickly because of the holidays and the fanfare it brings. I had trouble hiding my bloat, but I think most people just assumed I gained some weight back so they didn't say anything.

Monday I'll be 8w4d. I had started relaxing by that point with V, we had a great scan at 8w1d... then two days later everything hit the fan thanks to my subchorionic hematoma (SCH). Then again at 9w4d. This week is going to be a long one, I'm telling you that now. We don't know what causes SCHs, just that certain populations seem to be at increased risk (read: ME). Will I get another one? I don't know... but I know it can happen at any time and it's completely out of my control. There's nothing I can do to stop it, nothing that can predict it, nothing that can help me recover from it if it does happen, nothing I can do to stop it from causing damage.

I feel like with two in there it's more risky should I get one, and that scares me. I specifically remember a conversation with my mother last pregnancy, she said "Too bad it isn't twins," and I looked at her and said, "I'm glad it's not. The SCH is huge, it probably would have detached the other ones placenta." V's was massive, and if there had been more than one in there it probably would have. My REs both (old and current) thought I had a high chance of getting another one this pregnancy, and they both told me, "Hopefully not as bad."

We didn't discuss the risk with multiples and we haven't discussed the possibility of another SCH since. Maybe I'm borrowing worry, but it's a very real possibility and I just want to prepare myself. I wasn't prepared with V, I saw the blood and assumed the worst. With that amount of blood, I don't know anyone who wouldn't! And I know there's a good chance it can happen again.

So far I haven't experienced any spotting or bleeding, but that can change at the drop of a hat and I know that. Things can go from happy to harrowing without notice. You can go from pregnant, to limbo (or simply not pregnant) before you know it.

Pregnancy is such a fragile condition.

Sigh.

Nothing bad has happened yet- may it stay that way.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Progress-

I was so anxious in the waiting room I almost threw up. It wasn't pretty.

My RE had a hard time finding the second one because of the angle and positioning, I was really happy that the one was growing but starting to panic that the other one wasn't in there anymore. It was, it's just really good at hiding! So the photos aren't that great and we had a really hard time seeing them both., BUT they are both still there and appear to be on track. Both had heart beats.

Huge sigh of relief.

I go back in two more weeks. Really hoping they both keep growing and I don't develop a SCH in the meantime. I'm 7w4d today, and I was 8.5wks when I developed one with V. I really really hope nothing happens next week.

One day at a time!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dreams and rememberings-

Four years ago today we lost our third pregnancy. That's when I just shut down because I didn't have anything left to give. I had known before we even got out the gates with that one, that it would end. It was still a heavy blow.

I went to sleep last night and woke up from a nightmare. I had went to my ultrasound and my old RE told me that the OHSS was worse. As we left I panicked and asked A about the babies. He said they had fetal poles, but no heart beats, and it looked good. I flipped the hell out, because at 7w4d they should have heart beats... and I knew they were gone.

Really subconscious? You couldn't let me just ignore everything until Monday?

Maybe I'm more worried than I let myself believe. Okay, so yeah I know I am. I can't bear the thought of losing them both, and losing one would be bad enough. What are the odds of them both being chromosomally abnormal though, right? Hopefully at least one is still in there. The idea of twins has already been firmly rooted in me, and the loss of one will mean not just mourning the baby lost but the possibility of a set and what that would have meant.

Two more days.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Realization-

I just realized my ultrasound to check viability is the Monday before Thanksgiving.

We confirmed my third miscarriage the Monday before Thanksgiving in 2009.

Yeah, that's not exactly the most relieving realization.

These next three days need to hurry up, I need to get this over with before I start to lose it. I'm still doing pretty well coping with detachment, because frankly it still doesn't seem real, but I'm starting to get a little panicky now.

Still no spotting or bleeding. Symptoms come and go. Some cramping, and I did overdo it a little yesterday at a holiday Christmas light show, but I made sure to take frequent breaks so that shouldn't have been out of my realm of physical capabilities. I think the OHSS is starting to subside a little because I don't get as excruciating pain when my bladder is full. I'm sick of drinking Gatorade. I'm sure my ovaries are still huge though by the pulling/tugging I get if I'm not careful enough.

I just want to see what's going on. I hate being in the dark like this, waiting to see if things are going to fall apart or come together. This really is the hardest part for me.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Still here-

I'm still here and as far as I know everything is still okay. No spotting or bleeding, a new pregnancy symptom, cramping off and on, just waiting it out until the next appointment.

Maybe once a day I allow myself a little freak out. Mostly I just let myself forget I'm pregnant and live in denial... it's a lot easier that way. I am worried that we'll go in Monday and find that either one or both are no longer growing, either scenario is pretty crappy- I'd much rather go in and find them both thriving.

These two weeks have been incredibly slow.

I have a few plans over the next couple days, so I'm hoping that they'll help make the time go faster.

Four more days.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Lovenox and OHSS-

So my OHSS is pretty mild, but it sucks. I'm chugging Gatorade and trying to get plenty of protein. I'm trying to take it easy, but sometimes my ovaries get twisted the wrong way in their massive state which hurts and ques worries over ovarian torsion. Fun times. I'm bloated and it's tender, when I have to use the bathroom everything starts competing for space and it causes pain. I've gained 5lbs since trigger, but it looks like a hella lot more. I don't mind the appearance, let people think I've regressed on my weight loss (which I have, obviously) but my pants don't button. I could force them, but then we run into problem #2- My lovely Lovenox bruises. And I'd be in SO MUCH PAIN.

Liquid gold, but also torture in a syringe. The first few injections were easy enough but as the space has filled with bruises, needles don't want to go in, and increased sensitivity to everything that touches it... well, they haven't been going smoothly. Allow me to present exhibit A- I put my thumb there for scale reference. This baby is on the left side of my belly button, at the waistline... it's darker than in the photo, and yes... it hurts as bad as it looks.
Exhibit B- Here's what the other side looks like:

The things we do for love and hope.

Between these two issues though, I had to buy some more loose things to wear around the house. We hit up the thrift shop and I had no luck with stretchy skirts (winter anyway, brr) or pajama pants... so I said screw it and bought some maternity pants. The stretch is perfect for my tender belly. I got a few things, and was pretty happy about that. At the same time, I'm just over 6 weeks pregnant and I have in the back of my mind, "please don't let this jinx things." But damn, I can't go around with my pants held up with a hair tie- it still digs into my belly that way, it's just not as bad. I had to do something.

Here's to hoping I get to use them for the long haul, eh? And that this is all worth it in the end. Please please please... I hope the 25th comes here swiftly and brings good news with it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

echoing again-

Just like with V's pregnancy,  I can't escape this pregnancy after loss brain. The day of an ultrasound? Oh, I'm okay. Peachy. Everything looks okay today.

It's the tomorrow you have to look out for.

I'm feeling pretty optimistic about things. And I hate that. I really do. Illogical, I know. I feel optimistic, then I worry and remind myself how much worse it would hurt to lose them now after allowing myself to believe they might make it. Even if just for a moment: just imagining a cute announcement, or hanging two little stockings next to ours (like we did with V while he was still on the inside). It's going to hurt if we lose them anyway, but how much worse after allowing myself to imagine them sticking around? Ugh. Stupid brain.

The next 12 days are going to take forever. This is why I wanted to wait to go in, when we would see more. When we would know more.

I can't stop worrying, or preparing for the worst... some people cope better going in believing, but not me. This is how I cope. I have to remind myself that nothing is set in stone. I don't think a lot of people get that. I have to keep myself grounded. I've been burned too many times before not to. Hopeful? That's fine. Optimistic, bordering on believing? Oh no, not cool. I know... I know...

One day at a time.

Monday, November 11, 2013

5w4d

I guess I'll update after all...

Sooooo things looked good, aside from my ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS). I have fluid in my abdomen and my ovaries were, um, huge. I've been told to take it easy, no exercise (haven't been), cautious if we chose to have intercourse (err, haven't been), and to just be careful overall. Already there because I suspected OHSS early on. The abdominal pain was debilitating at first, went away with the trigger, only to come back with implantation. OHSS is aggravated by the HCG hormone, so bells went off for me then. I've been taking it easy since before trigger because of my ovary size. So more resting and drinking lots of Gatorade for me... and off to research it more. Recommendations/experiences are welcome in the comments!

The OHSS has probably been made worse because this is a twin pregnancy. Yes, twins. There were two gestational sacs, and two yolk sacs. It was still too early for fetal poles or heart beats, but as of right now there are two and they're measuring on track. We were pretty relieved there weren't more in there, and overall pretty happy... I just hope they both make it! I'm still very worried about another loss. I did lose the second one at 5w5d, but at that point she didn't have a yolk sac so these two are doing much better already. I'm trying to stay positive.

I didn't get a copy of the ultrasound photos, and I forgot to take a photo of the screen. Oops! Next time I go in I'll ask for a copy.

I think the Inositol helped with my egg quality. I can't prove that, of course, but I feel like it did. I used it on both V's cycle and this one and both had pretty good results. I definitely recommend it for women with PCOS though... it certainly doesn't hurt, and could help.

So that's where things stand. I go back in two weeks for another check, and we should be 7w4d then... assuming we make it that far. Let's hope! I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

For now I'm pregnant... and I guess I have both a Blackbird and a Nightingale.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Insurance headaches

So, they lied to me in February. Or rather, misinformed me. The 8% Crinone is not covered with prior-authorization, the 4% is... and it does us no good. My clinic is currently trying to get Endometrin pushed through with prior-authorization. There are a few reasons I am not a happy camper about this. I don't really feel comfortable switching to this, I've never used it, I don't know how my body will process it. Furthermore, it's twice a day instead of once a day... which means it's not the same strength as the Crinone. I had told them that if we can't get Crinone, I'd rather switch to PIO injections... but they seem really against letting me do this. Why? I don't flippin know! but you better believe I'm bringing it to my doctor on Monday... assuming everything looks good on the ultrasound.

Depending on the tier of coverage (which I can not see on the website, because Endometrin just says "not covered") it would be way more expensive than PIO injections anyway. I don't know how strong Endometrin is, but I'd rather switch to something I know will work good than risk downgrading my progesterone and risking spotting, bleeding, or a miscarriage. Not to mention, what if I pay for this vaginal supp then start bleeding from a SCH- I'd then have to turn around and pay out the ass for PIO OOP and risk not having the money.

We're still waiting to see if I'll need prior-authorization for my Lovenox (generic) because I've talked to two reps now and they've given me conflicting stories. It looks like they might have quantities limited to 28 days for a month, then require prior-authorization for more. I don't know, and I just want to throw something because I am so frustrated and just so DONE with this insurance company.

My husband's work changed because this new insurance was "cheaper" well, I tell you what, it SHOWS.

I guess we'll know Monday what's going on. With, well, everything.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Five weeks... I guess?

Well if things are still growing in there, I should be five weeks pregnant today. I've been pretty crampy off and on, but still no spotting or bleeding. Hoping that's a good sign! I've had a little nausea the last couple of nights too.

The closer we get to the ultrasound the more anxious I'm getting. I hate getting early ultrasounds, I'm always afraid to look. I mean they are amazing (when things are where they should be) but it's so overwhelming. I can't ever decide where to look first... away or at the screen. I usually just want to run out of the room and say forget it.

I have a nagging fear over Monday: I go between worrying that there won't be anything in there, to that there will be too many in there.

I don't know if I'm going to update right away. I may want to take a little time to process things, good or bad. I don't know. Please don't freak out if I don't update right away... I'm looking at you Celia, I know you've been watching like a hawk! I'll probably update when I get home, I can't seem to stay away from here, but in case I don't... please, please have patience.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Updates-

It looks like I'm keeping my appointment, they were pretty adamant about that. It'll actually be 5w4d, which is one day before things went south with my second pregnancy... so maybe it's just as well we're going in then.

My thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) has already went wonky this pregnancy, so my dose of Synthroid needs increased. I should start the higher dose tomorrow, I was on 50mcg but we're upping it to 75mcg. My level was 3-5 pre-pregnancy, while on Synthroid and trying to conceive it was around 1.4, and now it's back up to 2.98. Hopefully we can get that under control without issue.

I started the prior-authorization process for my progesterone. Let's hope they approve it! Otherwise I'm switching from Crinone to Progesterone in Oil (PIO) and I'll have to pay OOP. I don't see why they wouldn't, but my insurance is insufferable so they probably will.

4w4d now and still no spotting/bleeding, just cramping and the same abdominal discomfort. I've gained some weight because I haven't been working out, and I've been eating terrible... some of my pants are tighter, which is bad because I have a few bruises from my Lovenox already, plus the abdominal discomfort. I really just want to lounge around the house in pajama pants right now.

I started getting bad anxiety about things last night. I feel a little better today. I just miss how zen I was a few days ago. I think there's just too many triggers, events coinciding. Like the birthday party last night, or the one coming up... we have one the day before my ultrasound, for a nephew, and it was his brother's party we were getting ready for as I started to lose the first one. I'm at the same stage today as I was when I lost the first and third ones. Just... a lot of reminders I guess... that this may very well be temporary.

Hang in there kid(s).

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hanging in there-

So far I haven't had any bleeding or spotting... knock on wood, positive thoughts, prayers, chants, meditations, good juju vibes. We're 17dpo, or 4w3d right now. I started losing both the first and third pregnancies around 18-19dpo. The second I made it until around 5.5wks. I'll feel better if we get past those milestones, but getting there is the hard part. In my heart I can hope, but I can't believe. I'm clinging to my hope, trying to allow myself to day dream, to think about happy announcements (something I never got), and making my own maternity clothes, to hope that this time I'll have an easier time... no bed rest, no bleeding, and no loss. And most importantly, a new baby or babies to love on sometime next year.

For the most part I'm okay. Until I think of something, like how we're going to a niece's birthday party today... we were getting ready for a nephew's birthday party when my first one started. I don't want to go through that again, I don't want to go through that again, dear god I don't want to go through that again... Or I start cramping, which is totally normal in early pregnancy, but my mind shuts down and I decide I should just drink a ton of water and rest on the couch. Overall, I'm doing okay... I chase V a little less, and I haven't been cleaning as much, but I play with him, I get online, I spend time with A, we go about business as usual. I don't feel pregnant, but it's starting to sink in that, yeah, I am. And I don't know for how long: another day, a few weeks, or nine months? It's completely out of my control. Then I stop worrying about it because it really is completely out of my control. I'm doing literally everything I can, so what's the use of worrying?

Getting past the second loss milestone is going to be the hardest part for me. I just need to make it through about another week. Sounds so simple, right? What's a week?

For me, it's like climbing Mt. Everest. Some people make it look like the easiest thing in the world, but here I am freaking out over every step of the climb. Why is that small part so hard for me? We never really got an answer for that, and that adds to the anxiety.

After that we have the milestones from V's pregnancy, while successful terrifying in it's own right.

Always another milestone. Pregnancy after loss isn't easy, everything is shadowed by the past. This being my 5th pregnancy, it can't exist in it's own happy bubble, instead it shares it's existence with all that was and all that is. While different, and unique (no doubt) I could never shake the past.

I can't even seem to settle on a nickname. Part of me wants to call it my little blackbird (from one of my favorite Beatles songs) but part of me leans towards my nightingale.

When referring to it so far, all I can seem to say is, "I hope it's a keeper."

For now, I suppose I'll leave it at that.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Second beta-

Doubling time of 44.3 hours, it went from 260 to 551. That is excellent! Not a guarantee of viability, but we are definitely off to a good start. Hoping so so so much that nothing happens.

They scheduled me for an ultrasound at 5w4d, which is too early to see much. I may call back to reschedule for a week later. While I would love to see what's going on, and the wait for the scan is going to kill me, but I'd really rather see more. Plus I would like to pay for less ultrasounds, my co-pay with them through the fertility clinic is ridiculous. I don't know. On one hand, I'm anxious. On the other, I'd really like to wait it out. Ugh. I have time to change my mind. I don't even know if we'll make it that far, so I am just going to wait and see, then think about it some more.

I'll have to start the pre-authorization process for my progesteone soon, since it could take a week or more. They told me I shouldn't need authorization for the Lovenox, but it had a clause that said for some doses you do... so who knows. I have Lovenox and Crinone to get me through a few weeks, but it's probably better to get that ball rolling and see what kind of crap my insurance is going to pull. Because, with this new insurance, I can usually count on them pulling something.

So... yeah. So far so good. Hoping hoping hoping the future holds more of the same.
Hanging in there.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I finished our costumes and tried to take some photos. I know I already showed off and described some of the work, but here's a final recap!

First, allow me to introduce to you... THE TENTH DOCTOR.

Allons-y!

This shot was just perfect, I loved it. He was chasing me around trying to poke my sensor balls and the camera with his sonic screwdriver. Ahhhh!

The costume inspirations came both from my love of Doctor Who, and the way we always jokingly refer to V as our little tenth Doctor. He plays with his hair all the time, and always has it sticking up ridiculous. Doesn't matter if I brush it, he likes to toy with that mess. He also gets the weirdest most intense facial expressions.

So I took a thrift store coat, and suit, then loosely followed patterns until I got them down to toddler size. It was a nightmare. No lie. My motto has been, "Costumes just need to look good from a distance." And I lived by it.

I bought the sonic screwdriver torch new, and the shoes... but he is totally wearing them all the time now. He really loves playing with the screwdriver. I didn't take a new picture of his cyberman bucket because while cute, it did not withstand a night of begging at the zoo. I used spray paint on hand to paint it silver, and it would have been better to have used something that adhered to plastic better. The paint was chipping off all over, so that sucked! It also got a hole in the bottom by the end of the night. Oh well, it was cute for photos while it lasted! He has a regular jack-o-lantern now and he loves that thing.

Okay, next... me! EXTERMINATE! Or rather, FEMMINATE!

I made the dress from a pattern and re-purposed the hat from one my mother found at a yard sale. Sensors are clear plastic Christmas ornaments spray painted (on the inside) and sewed on. I actually broke one at the zoo starting the car up... sad. I should have took the dress off first, I had a shirt and pants under it and did that for the drive anyway. Ugh. It was cold though and I wanted to start getting it warmed up as quickly as possible. I have spares, so I can fix it at least.

I only wore the shoes for the photo and effect, I can't wear those things anymore with my heel issues (only sneakers with insoles for me, I'm afraid.) Not as pretty as these babies though! I had the cardigan and gloves already, and got the pants because I wanted leggings. The weather here is unstable at this time of year anyway, so it worked out well! The black trim at the bottom of the dress is actually for inserting the hula hoop for a hoop skirt, which is way more Dalek-esque, but I forgot to grab it for the photos! Oops!

This is my husband as the 4th Doctor. Much simpler! A thrift store outfit, hat and wig too, then hot glued the wig to the hat all cut up for better fit... it worked! We already had the scarf since I bought it for him as a birthday present. 

All in all, everything was a pain in the ass (for sure) but soooo worth it. I doubt I could do this every year, but I at least got to do it this once... and that is awesome. I had fun, I love how everything turned out, and I made a wonderful memory.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tests and results-

The test was still pretty positive today, at 13 days past ovulation. Every time I take a test, I expect it to come back negative. I expect the previous ones to be lies, or to have lost this little one, and that's that. Even if I did lose it, I'm sure it wouldn't just turn negative like that... that's just my history borrowing worry.

I got in for my beta today and it went better than expected; it was 260.

Let me put that into perspective:
- At 14dpo with my second pregnancy, my beta was 147.
- At 13dpo with the third pregnancy, my beta was 30.
- At 13dpo with V's pregnancy, my beta was 72. It wasn't even up to 185 until 17dpo.

So... freakishly better than expected.

I go back Friday for another beta, and will hopefully get the results back the same day.

My Lovenox has started to burn more and leave a bit of bruising. I'm still having abdominal discomfort and issues with my ovaries pulling or whatever it is they're doing in there. It's not too bad, but I'm going to try and take it easy just the same.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sinking in-

12 days past ovulation now, and the test was still positive. There really isn't much point in continuing to check, but I need too. I'm waiting until tomorrow to call the clinic for a blood draw. I am technically 14 days out from my HCG trigger now, so they shouldn't have a problem with doing it now... but I'll just wait a day. The only thing getting a beta right now would do is get them to prescribe me Lovenox, but I already have some here at home. I've also got Crinone to hold me over. Maybe I'm just putting it off because I like being ambivalent to things right now.

I did start my Lovenox last night though. I braced myself for the familiar burn, and surprisingly felt nothing until the very end. Then it burned for a bit after. I do have a tiny red mark where I injected, but no big deal. At least it doesn't feel bruised and look terrible. May the rest of my injections go so smoothly.

I keep going between several emotions/worries.

Part of me worries this will end in another miscarriage. I mean, look at my track record. So far things are going well though: no spotting, no major pains, the lines are even nice and dark. But sometimes things are too good to be true, and I know that too.

Part of me thinks this is going to be okay. That since V worked well, we seemed to have a winning combination, that maybe we can repeat that. Since having him I know that it's possible, but that doesn't mean the same as probable. I feel like I'm being overly optimistic sometimes, like I actually think this could be a take home baby. Then I feel stupid, because I know I shouldn't get my hopes up. I know that the first trimester has always proven to be the hardest part of all this.

Mostly I just feel detached. I don't feel pregnant. It doesn't seem real. And I'm okay with staying here for awhile, in this place of disconnect. It sure beats worrying or making plans that may never come to fruit. I know it's early and that it's normal to feel disconnected, but this is stronger than that. This is where my losses come in. This is where I can't feel joy, or excitement. My hands shook when I handed my husband the test, and I said, "Looks like I'm starting my Lovenox tonight." No talk about having a baby, no talk of how he's going to be a daddy again, or I a mommy. I guess the fear just makes me go numb. My walls of self protection construct themselves quickly, efficiently, after much practice.

So I'll stay here, waiting and hoping.

Monday, October 28, 2013

11dpo

Looks like I'll be starting Lovenox tonight. I had gotten some positives on Wondfo for a couple days, but it was always way after the time limit and they're known for bad evaporation lines so I couldn't trust them. Maybe they were right.

Will call for a beta in a day or two. They won't let me come in until 14 days past trigger anyway.

Really really hoping that I don't lose this one too.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Update, sort of-

So I still a cold obviously, you know... pfft to that. But I'm starting to have some abdominal discomfort again too, whenever I sit/get up, which is unusual- with V's cycle it went away after a few days and didn't come back. But I also had complete corpus luteum and progesterone failure with him, despite having had 6-7 mature follicles. Maybe it was system overload. This time I had 3 for sure mature, and 3 14s that could have caught up by trigger (but no way to know), plus lots of itty bitties. My ovaries are probably still pretty ginormous. I'm still having tugging/pulling feelings from down there when I move certain ways, especially when I blow my nose. Even if I don't get pregnant, I assume I'm going to have large cysts afterward like I do on most injectable medication cycles. 8dpo now, so it won't be much longer. I already checked and the trigger is out of my system.

V is still pretty sick. He had started sleeping better, but last night was a total failure. Poor kid. I was really wanting to take him back to the zoo for their Halloween thing again, he really loved all the jack-o-lanterns, plus this is the absolute last weekend for their dinosaur exhibit; he really loved it. Last weekend he kept yelling, "Dino," and pointing them out, roaring... it was great. At least we went last weekend before he got sick. It's probably why he got sick anyway, ha.


Our costumes are DONE. Well, done enough... or should I say that I am done messing with then? I will post a photo once we all get dressed up. V is really opposed to me putting anything on him, even the coat! No idea why, I put coats and stuff on him all the time. It's like he knows I want it, so he doesn't- toddler retaliation at it's finest. I'll get him eventually, trick or treat is almost upon us! I think they all turned out pretty good. I just have one final thing I want to do to my hat, and if I can't make it happen... well, I'll live. I'll just be a little bummed out!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Blech-

It's been a rough few days around here. V caught a cold, so he wasn't sleeping, still isn't eating the best, and of course I caught it. It was only a matter of time considering the little guy is always sharing my water, or food, or giving me sloppy kisses on the mouth- so anytime he's sick, so am I. Really hoping we all feel better soon. And of course that it won't interfere with things this cycle. I think V is already starting to feel better, so that's something.

Four days until I start testing.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Geekery ahead- Costume Updates


Welcome to my Doctor Who themed Halloween Geekfest!

I've been working on our Halloween costumes and having a ton of issues with V's. You'd think having him go at the 10th Doctor would be easy, but alas... it's not. I have to work on the suit today, and finish the coat. The coat looks alright for a costume, meaning from a distance. Up close it looks pretty rough, and the inside is awful, but it'll do! I took a coat pattern and then disassembled a thrift store trench coat for this. His suit will be a disassembled reassembled suit. He also has a cheap sonic screwdriver flashlight, so that's fun!

A's costume, as the 4th Doctor, was easier. He had the scarf (birthday present) but needed the hat, coat, and clothes. We found a wig and hat at the thrift store, but for proper fit/look I had to cut the wig up and hot glue it to the hat. We also got him a coat and some slacks, while not exact it's going to be close enough.


V's trick or treat bucket is a Cyberman head now. I was originally going to do a K9 bag, but I got lazy last minute. I bought this bucket at the thrift store, spray painted it, and then drew the face on it. I think it'll be easier for V to use anyway, since he won't need to open it. Plus he LOVES buckets right now. We bought him some for summer, and a jack'o'lantern one for play (loves jack'o'lanterns right now too), and he just carried those around the house all the time. It should be good!

My costume is coming along nicely- the Dalek dress! I made the dress from a pattern, with clearance fabric (yay), then took plastic Christmas ornaments, spray painted them on the inside, and bore holes through them and stitched them on. Not the best job, but again... it'll do! I just need to work on accessories- planning on a little fascinator or something. I'm a little miffed, I was trying to find electric tealights for the fascinator- specifically ones that give off a white light- but so far have accidentally bought orange and yellow ones... you would think those would be labeled for light color, but no. So I guess no lights for my fascinator top.

I went to the zoo for their Halloween thing last weekend and had V wear a back up costume. My mom had picked him up a tiger costume at a yard sale for only 25 cents; score! The kids at the zoo loved it, he got lots of comments. We're planning on going again next weekend, all in costume. Hopefully it won't be too cold! I bought some black pants to go under my costume, but I'll probably still need my coat. Best laid plans and all that, ha! Oh well.

V sometimes says "Trick or Treat" so we're still working on that. It's really cute when he does though. Practice for the big day, right? Halloween is my second favorite holiday, so taking him trick or treating is one of those things I've always dreamed of doing with my kids someday... I'm pretty excited. If you couldn't tell. Ha!

So that's my costume update! I need to whip his suit together this week, and downsize the tie I found, make my accessory, and that should be it. I feel like I've been working on this forever, but at least it's coming together now.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

IUI

E2 on Tuesday was 1,309 so that was good. Our IUI today went well, we were running late, then had to stop and drop V off with someone, but we got the specimen dropped off, and only 10 minutes late! An hour and a half later we came back for our IUI, and no issues there. We had 39mil, which is great. About an hour after the procedure I starting getting ovulation pains, and since then my discomfort has increased- so I think the timing of the IUI was great!

Not that I believe in signs, but I would love this to work out. V was our 4th pregnancy, on our 4 year anniversary of trying, on our 4th inject cycles. This cycle is our 5th inject cycle, on our 5th month trying for a second baby, and if we got pregnant it would be our 5th pregnancy... just saying, it's kind of neat how that all lines up. Of course, there's a good chance it won't happen... I only have a 25-28% chance (depending on your sourse, some say much lower) at pregnancy this cycle... but a girl can hope.

I start progesterone in two-three days, and will probably start testing in 12. Let the wait begin!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Updates and rememberance

Okay, so our ultrasound went well. I was really worried it wouldn't, given the discomfort and especially as he zoomed in on my ovaries... they were basically just black masses of follicles. All over. Every single millimeter. The good news is that most of them aren't mature, or near mature! My biggest ones are 18.8, 17.1, and 16.7 and those are on my right, plus a ton of smaller ones. On the left I have a 13.8, 14.6, and 14.4 among the various smaller ones. Basically they exploded in a short span of time, just like last inject cycle when we conceived V.

The plan? Trigger tonight, then IUI about 36 hours later (Thursday morning). Really really hoping this goes well! With the state of my ovaries I expect a lot of pain/discomfort in the coming days.

It's easy to blow past today and focus on what's going on, because the timing of this cycle fell like this, but today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day. I've talked about it before, I talk about it every year, I post about it on social networking sites, and at 7pm I light my candle in memory of the children we lost, my niece that passed away, and the children of my friends and family who were gone too soon.

Pregnancy and infant loss is something that we as a society don't talk about, we skirt the issue, we avoid it and cloak it in silence thinking that silence is somehow better than acknowledging it. It's not. It's isolating and it leaves us to shoulder our grief alone. My children were loved, and lost, in the blink of an eye- while I have much to celebrate today, it doesn't erase the pain of what we went through and those that we lost. It doesn't erase the physical pain, the contractions I endured alone, the trips to the ER, or the suffocating emotional grief... those are a part of my story, and if I didn't have other women there who had been there before to guide me and hold my metaphorical hand I don't know how I would have survived it. So I broke the silence, and I talk about these things no matter how uncomfortable, because someone was once there for me. And now I can be there for someone else.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Smallish update

I got my E2 level, and it was 509. So a bit higher than they'd like already, and was told to take 150iu tonight. Done. A little worried since I already did two days of 225iu, but that's what happens when no one checks my estrogen and gets back to me. They must be having staffing issues because someone is usually in there 7 days a week, but no one was in there Friday or Sunday this week... so no one saw my E2 level until this morning. Yay me, right? A little uncomfortable with that.

Speaking of uncomfortable, my ovaries seem to be expanding at an exponential rate. I mean, I'm sore. Extremely tender in my lower abdomen. It hurts a bit to bend. It's not like the pain of ovulation last inject cycle, but I can definitely feel them growing. I hate to imagine what it'll feel like after trigger. Or what it'll feel like if we don't. Or if I ovulate on my own. You know, worries and stuff, blah blah blah.

Ultrasound tomorrow afternoon... we'll know what's up soon enough.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pressing on-

Five days into stimming and I have one follicle on my left ovary (9mm) and like three or four on my right ovary (biggest is 13, smallest is 9). Basically we're doing the same as on previous cycles, this is pretty much where I was with V's cycle. I have yet to hear back about my estrogen (the lab still hasn't posted it online either, argh), but the RE I saw today told me that from what he saw on ultrasound I should stick to the same dose (225iu) for a few days.

This does worry me a little because within 4 days I went from 4 maturing follicles to like 6 or 7 mature with V. Huge difference. And that was after lowering my dose due to my estrogen level.

He gave me the option of coming back Tuesday or Wednesday, and I opted for Tuesday because of the 13. If it continues to grow at the typical rate of 1-2mm a day, it could be anywhere between a 17 and a 21 by Wednesday. So basically I'm worried it will get too big by Wednesday and I'll ovulate on my own before then. This has happened to me before on an inject cycle, and I really don't want to risk it again- it would ruin my chances of an IUI. Going in earlier means I risk having to come back for yet another ultrasound, but I think it's better to play it safe.

I was hoping my weight loss would make some difference in my treatment, but I didn't hold much hope for it. Good thing I didn't, eh? Ha! 50lbs less than my last injectable cycle and... well, nothing! Same old, same old. My ovaries are awful stubborn. Or should I say my PCOS is wicked evil.

Anyway, if we're lucky we'll have good news Tuesday and an IUI on Thursday. Positive thoughts welcome!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What happens on an injectable cycle?

Jessi asked on my last post what happens in an injectable cycle, and you know... that's a good question! This is my fifth injectable cycle, so I'll lay out the basics... but let me tell you, no inject cycle is the same, and how everyone reacts is different too! This is only my experience! Our response dictates how our cycle goes down, and influences how much it'll cost, and how long it'll last... while injectable FSH give us more control over things, it takes that same perceived control out of our hands.

First of all, injectable cycles begin with a typical cycle day three baseline. You go in, you get an ultrasound to make sure you have no cysts and your lining is thin. Usually you'll get an estrogen draw (E2) too. If things look good, you can start stimming that very night. You usually have to wait until the afternoon to start stimming though, because for future scans you'll be waiting for your clinic to call you back with your E2 level (which usually happens in the evening). I'll get to that though!

Injections can be scary the first time around. I had a needle phobia, which I promptly got over. No choice. The needles are small, and you inject them subcutaneously (in the fat, not muscle). When I did my first injectable cycle I iced beforehand and used a Gonal-f pen... didn't realize I had already stuck myself and pulled it out on accident! Didn't feel a thing. Some medications come premixed in pens, while some require mixing- also not a big deal. I mix my Bravelle at every injection, and it's very simple.

After your first scan they'll have you stim for a few days at whatever dose they deem fit- I believe most clinics will start a first timer out at 75iu a day, but it really varies from clinic to clinic. Since we know what dose I need (a whopping 225iu*) we start there straight from the get go. On a first cycle they'll have you come in more often, because they don't yet know what dose you'll need or how you'll respond. This is where the control comes in- unlike with oral meds, they'll be adjusting your dose daily pending your response. If your dose isn't doing enough, they'll increase it, if it's doing too much they'll dial you down. We have a ballpark idea how I'll respond, which is why we can wait 4-5 days before bringing me back in, but on my first cycle we were coming in every 2-3 days. First cycles tend to take longer, and are more expensive, because of all the uncertainty.

When you come back in, you do another ultrasound and an E2 draw. The ultrasound shows what has already happened, if there are any follicles maturing or taking the lead, or even already matured. The estrogen predicts what's going to happen, or rather it tells them what's going on behind the scenes. Your estrogen rises in response to the dose you're on- if your dose is too low, it will barely rise. If your dose is too high, it will sky rocket. My clinic likes to see it double every couple days. So at your follow up appointment they look at both sides of the issue to figure out the whole picture- this in turn decides your continuing dose. My clinic always calls in the afternoon after they've looked at my E2 level, and let me know what to do from there. If things look good, you come back in however many days seem fitting. If one is almost mature, they may have you come back sooner. If it looks like things are going slow or taking longer, but dose looks good, you may come in later. If they're upping your dose, you could come in sooner because they don't know how you'll respond to that dose...

See, this is where that perceived control comes in! It sounds like a bunch of guesswork, and in a way it is, but it's educated guesswork. They have studies and reasons for the dosage changes, and the extra monitoring is necessary so that you get enough mature follicles but not too many mature follicles- it's a very fine line to navigate!

They keep walking this tightrope however long it takes for you to get a mature follicle. How many scans you have depends on your response, and how long you stim depends on all the factors mentioned above. Some clinics like to take the slow and steady approach, which is great for a first cycle, but you do have to be careful that they aren't overcautious.

My first RE was overcautious, he refused to up my dose despite no response, and he made me stim until cycle day 28... I wasted a lot of medicine and money on scans. We pay out of pocket, I have no coverage, and at the time we made less money than now. I spent $2k on ultrasounds, and another $1k on blood work, and wasted all my donated meds (from an assistance program)... to ultimately have a complete cycle failure (trigger failed). If I had known what I do now, I would have demanded better care. That cycle was the reason I left my clinic. First cycles can be trying, but they shouldn't be like mine was. There is a difference between being cautious and being overly cautious. If your E2 isn't rising, ultrasound shows nothing, and they're refusing to raise your dose- question it. Never be afraid to question the care you're receiving, or even at times demand a change in treatment. I learned a valuable lesson from that first inject cycle, albeit an expensive one- advocate for yourself. Always. Speak up, and make your wishes known.

Now, as you get towards the end of the cycle you may have to worry over how many follicles you have- I've seen many women cancelled because of over-stimulation. I almost was myself, and it's a real worry of mine even now. Every RE has their own cut off for over-stimulation, most don't like to trigger with more than three but some will allow more. You have to address these concerns with them, and discuss the risks involved. This is why they monitor you carefully and why you come in so often though- to minimize your risk. They take into account your age, history, what your reproductive issues are, and try their best to prevent high order multiples (HOMs) or ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS). Injectable medications carry the risk of multiples because you have less control than with IVF, but they do what they can to bring your risk down.

Once you get the right number of follicles and estrogen, you're RE should allow you to trigger. Either you'll be instructed to have intercourse, or opt for an IUI. Without male factor infertility (MFI) an IUI only adds an extra 1-3% to your chances. I usually opt for an IUI with injects since we pay so much out of pocket for the whole cycle; I mostly add one for the peace of mind and timing insurance, as we don't have MFI.

After that, the waiting game begins.

Hope that all made sense and was helpful/informative! Remember, I'm no expert and this is just my experience... but if anyone has questions, feel free to comment or email me.


*which isn't a lot for IVF, but is a rather high dose for an inject/IUI cycle

Photo is from one of my 2009 Bravelle cycles, haven't taken any from this one yet!

Monday, October 7, 2013

And the race is on!

I discussed everything with Dr. M and she told me not to worry about it, and that she's going to work with me here. I've had just spotting since stopping my birth control pills but my lining checks out as thin, no cysts, so we are good to go!

The plan is to start stimming tonight at 225iu, and I come back on Saturday. She wanted to do Friday, but no one is going to be in our branch that day (my clinic has 4 branches in the state now). Soooooo... Saturday it is.

Hoping for a good response, but not an overwhelmingly good response.

I'm so anxious over my first injection, you'd think this was my first time. Geesh.

Other than that, my nose is still congested and I've had a headache off and on... but I'm feeling a bit better, so that counts for something. A is planning on taking some vacation time next week, so we can just relax and get through this. So that's good. It'll be nice to have some help with V while I nurse my sore ovaries, as I'm sure they will be (whether we get to trigger or not).

This week is going to be a long one though as we wait to see what's happening. I'll get through it though! I'm sure there are a few tasks around the house that need my attention. Like the ceiling fan I've been meaning to install, the canvas collage I meant to do, or the costumes that need worked on... so you may see some craft updates while I kill time! Ha.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Starting to get real-

My baseline appointment is on Monday... so 4 days from now. Time to break down my infertile-psychosis for you, because I need to lay it all out somewhere:

1) First worry? Gas prices. Yeah I'm worried how the government shutdown will affect the gas prices if this goes on for long. I already have to spend $20 on gas for one visit to the clinic- simply going there and back! Will it affect the gas prices? Maybe not. But I've seen them fluctuate a lot over smaller societal happenings, so I wouldn't bet against it. I may be a worry wort, but this has crossed my mind.

2) Second worry? When to stop my BCPs, and when/if I'll get the withdraw bleed. These pills say that some users won't get a withdraw bleed. I didn't get one with the Natizia before we began TTC again in February, although I did ovulate 14 days after stopping them. So, there is a chance I won't get a bleed, or it'll be late, or what if it comes after my scan and mid cycle, or... I don't know.  So far this pack I had one day of mid-cycle bleeding, and a couple days of spotting, which is a HUGE improvement over all the other brands! Which makes me think I might not get a bleed at the end of the pack.

I'm sure she can assess my lining if I don't get a bleed, so I don't think it'll be the end of the world- just another potential complication. I think I'm going to stop them tonight, with hopes of getting AF over the weekend, or at least being ready to go on Monday.

Okay, I think we need a brief intermission. Enjoy this photo of my dog hating the coat I made him:

3) Okay... what else... oh, my limited funds. I have enough money saved to do one cycle that mirrors my previous cycles. I already bought the Bravelle (5 boxes anyway), so those are ready to go. I have Crinone and I even have some Lovenox. However, I only have enough money for roughly 5 scans, one trigger, and one IUI. If I need more meds Dr. M mentioned she might be able to get me some samples, but there's no guarantee of that. If I need more scans, or more meds... well, we'll probably have to cancel, unless we can borrow the money or get an expedited loan (psshhh yeah right). We don't own credit cards because we don't use them, so this is one of those instances that could bite me in the butt. So, I have to go in Monday and lay all this out for Dr. M.

With V I had 4 scans, stimmed at 225iu for 4 days, dropped to 175iu for 3 days, then 50iu, and triggered. My third pregnancy I had 5 scans and stimmed at 225iu for 8 days straight though. I don't know how I'm going to respond- my response last time was a lot better for some reason, and we don't really know why. That's the thing about injects, you have more control but the cost is so hard to predict! I've stimmed for as little as 7 days, or as long as 25 (yeah, first cycle I stimmed until CD freakin' 28! I'm still bitter about that wasted cycle and all the wasted meds, can you tell?!)

Why does this all have to be so complicated? I know some women can get away with paying $1,000 (or less somehow) for an inject cycle, but mine cost anywhere from $2,500 to $3,500. Heck, could be even more than that... you never know. Definitely not less though. That's a lot of leeway and uncertainty. It makes planning hard, especially when you just want to get things underway.

Ugh. Yeah, we need another intermission. How about this? A photo of V as a newborn:

4) On to the next worry: overstimulation! When Dr. M looked at my chart we briefly went over my last cycle and she looked at my E2 and follicles and said it 'gave her heart palpitations'. She looked shocked. Obviously we were at risk for high order multiples- we know that- but I really don't think we were at that high of a risk, given my history. She wants to start us back at 225iu, which I want since we can't play around too much with lower doses given our limited funds. However, if this coming cycle goes like last time I'm worried she'll cancel me.

The other thing is that I'm 50lbs less than last time. Which my infertility isn't dependent on weight, as I still didn't get regular cycles even at a healthy BMI, I was hoping it would help me respond to treatments. I just hope it doesn't make me respond too well. I just want to find the happy median, is that too much to ask? It might be.

5) Not related to TTC, so a random everyday intermission/worry, but I decided to try bangs out again. WHY DID I DO THAT?! I seriously had bangs all through high school and grew to hate them, and then it took me an ENTIRE year to grow them out. I really don't know what got into me, I just wanted to try something new so I started cutting. Bangs, for me, are something that always sounds good in theory but never in practice. I'll have to wait for it to dry to figure out how it looks, but I might need my hairstylist to rescue me from myself before this is over.

6) I haven't been feeling well, liken I have some sinus congestion and a ton of pressure. I'm really hoping it's just allergies or something stupid, because it feels like a sinus infection and that would be no good right now. I've never had good cycles when I was sick, I either didn't get pregnant or my luteal phase would be shorter than normal, it's just never a good combo. I don't want to be sick and lay all this money down, then blame myself for moving forward when I already felt it was doomed.

Yes, I am all doom and gloom. Sorry! It's ingrained. Call it pessimism, self preservation, blame it on my depression and anxiety issues... it's just how I'm wired. Which is why I'm letting it all hang out here. None of this is easy regardless of how I feel about it. It's complicated, it's a major gamble, an expensive risk, a fleeting hope... it's the reality of the situation.

My husband, A, is much more laid back. I tell him all this and he says, "There isn't anything else we can do, so why worry? It's out of our hands." Ahhh, yeah. That is true.

But I'm just gonna worry anyway, and plan for every single possible (no matter how improbable) possibility anyway, because that's how I am. I have very little control over how things go down, but at least I can prepare for them.

That's one of the things I hate the most about all this, and I always have: How very little control we really have. How everything comes down to dollars and cents, available options and what we can consent to, never what we need or what we want. And then, we don't have control over how we respond, how things turn out, whether it'll work or not. I don't like feeling helpless. I don't like having such a natural, personal decision- expanding my family- taken almost completely out of my hands.

This is the hand we were dealt though, so we better make the best of it.

I'll prepare for the worst, and continuing hoping for the best. And right now I'm hoping that Monday goes smoother than anticipated.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Decision made-

I started bleeding while on my BCPs again... I have a week and a half until the inactive pills, mind you. A and I discussed stopping them early in favor of beginning this injectable cycle earlier, and we were all for it. I had some reservations, mostly that if we waited a week we would have two pay checks by potential trigger, rather than just one. Looking at the budget I decided it would probably be fine though, so I called to schedule the baseline. And I really didn't want to stay on them, because that means a two week long period. Gah. So it was either have a baseline on the 30th, or on the 7th.

Little did I know that my RE is on vacation this week. Ha! I could have gotten in with another RE, but I need in with my RE because she knows my situation and history better, and I need to discuss everything with her. That's okay though, really! That means we will wait the extra week, and we'll have more time and resources available. It gives me more time to prepare.

So, hopefully... if all goes well... we'll begin stimming on the 7th.

Now I just need to survive the rehearsal tonight, the wedding tomorrow, and the rest of this week!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mental leaps-

So I started a new birth control pack a week or so ago now- the final birth control pack before I can move on with this chapter. Whew. It's weird, not going to lie. I mean the birth control is weird. First of all, it's chewable. Why? I don't know. Secondly, it's minty. Tastes like a mint Tic-Tac, honest to goodness!

Finally being able to stop this nonsense is not weird- it's exciting. I am so sick of bleeding two weeks out of every month. It's uncomfortable, all that cramping, and constantly buying feminine hygiene products is insane. I'm just ready to move on.

Trying again, well, that's the tricky part isn't it? We should be good to go in October for this inject cycles, barring an emergency. After that, if it doesn't work, well... that's less certain. We may do some unmonitored Femara, but who knows. We decided to do one inject cycle next year; just one. Otherwise we'll try on our own, which is kind of a big joke isn't it? Maybe I can get some irregular cycles with the Metformin and Inositol, but I really can't count on it. So where does that leave us? Well, letting whatever happens happen I guess.

I don't know. We talked about things the other day, and maybe it's because we're on a break but I'm starting to feel a lot more zen about things. More willing to let things happen in their own time. Maybe I'm just getting tired of fighting, struggling, saving, being broke, being sad, being stretched so thin and I'm ready to throw the towel in before we really begin. Or maybe I'm just finding peace in a situation where I have very little control.

I really want another child, but when your options are limited you have to take what you can get. Lately, I've started to look on the bright side. With our ages, we do have more time to save and explore all options; we might not be able to jump right into adoption, but we would have plenty of time to come up with the money. When we were TTC#1 people telling me we had plenty of time didn't help at all- we had already been trying for years. Having more time didn't negate the pain. I know they were trying to help, but it just made me feel like others felt my feelings were less valid. Like, oh well you're young... so this should hurt less. Which was not the case. This time though, yes it does offer me some comfort. While we would like it to happen sooner, I do have some room to explore my options, and time to save for adoption if it comes to that too. Obviously we can only save for one option at a time, but keeping that in perspective gives me a little more hope.

I'm trying to find what positives I can. We've been thinking about the age gap between siblings- there are many positives to a smaller age gap, just as there are for a larger one. While we want them closer in age, it would not be the end of the world if it takes a little longer. V is a great kid, but he can be a handful. He is not like any of his cousins: he's an explorer, high spirited, and he never stops testing his limits. He is go-go-go! All! The! Time! Which is great, really. However, sometimes it's hard to picture chasing this tiny tornado while taking care of a newborn. I'm not going to stop trying now in favor of a larger age gap, because we do want them closer in age. Anyway, if we're honest here, that decision is really out of our hands when you get right down to it. If that first cycle had worked I'd be due this November... but it didn't work. And neither did the next 3 consecutive cycles. Whose to say any future cycles will work? The bottom line is, I might as well embrace the positives of whatever path we're led down. A larger age gap? I could live with that.

I'm getting anxious about the upcoming cycle. Financially we should be able to swing it, but I'm analyzing and freaking out about the logistics. I really hope I don't need another consult, because I already told her at the last one that we would be back in October for an inject cycle. I need to call them, ugh. I worry about the timing, since I need to talk to Dr. M at the beginning and not whatever RE is in the office that day. I probably just need to stop freaking out and talk to them. It's just getting a little real I guess.

The wedding is fast approaching too, and I'm a ball of nerves about that. We spent Saturday preparing the decorations, then Sunday is the bachelorette luncheon, then next Friday is the rehearsal dinner, and then THE WEDDING.Yikes. I don't do the best in social situations, and I don't like being the center of attention. I didn't even like being at the center of attention for my own wedding! But I can do this. My friend means a lot to me, and I am going to be there for her. I have never been part of a formal (or even semi-formal) wedding so it's all new to me... I just hope I don't mess up.

Deep breaths!

After that I have a week of calm before we begin trying again. No pressure, right?

I can do this. I think.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Excess-

My schedule is overfull this week. The last 4 days, then this Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday... so I better take a breather while I can, eh?

I have to figure out A's birthday cake still- that's this coming weekend. It'll be simpler than last year. I hope. It might be a pintastrophe. Darn Pinterest and these lofty ideals! Kidding, I love it. Always the DIY crafter here though, I enjoy working on stuff even if it often comes out crooked.

My friend's wedding is fast approaching. We still have a lot to do, like this week we're getting our dresses altered (a family friend of theirs, she can apparently do them quickly). We have to work on table settings, some other crafts, I'm making her a personal wedding gift (thanks Pinterest), I have to get the shoes she picked out, and lots of other odds and ends here and there.

The last BCP offered a switch up from the bleeding one week, skip a week, bleed again. This one leaves me hanging out for two weeks one way, then two weeks the other. Waiting for my clinic to call me back about trying yet another brand. Should be the last one though, thankfully! I can kick this crap early October.

Still not sure if we're going to do the inject cycle in October, or hold out until November. Either way I'm stopping these stupid pills. The only reason I have the question hanging is because I have to wait and see if we have the money saved up. I think we should be okay, but I don't like to tempt the universe with a feeling of certainty. There's already been enough financial catastrophes this year.

I've been indulging a lot more lately in the kitchen. I have been working out more too though, so hopefully that evens it out. I actually started doing the 30 Day Shred workouts on Youtube.... WHEW. First week was killer, I can see how it would be effective. I feel puffy and bloated though because of my diet. I need to get my act together. This two week period isn't helping matter, but I can hardly blame my overindulgence on that alone.


Since I have a moment, how about an update on our newly adopted dog, Henry? He's settled into our house great, although not without issue. The top photo is the day we brought him home, and the bottom one is from tonight . My goodness, it's been quite a month.

He had a respiratory infection, round worm, plus he was extremely malnourished which caused his fur to fall out (the worms didn't help), he had trust issues, and wasn't leash trained. The first few weeks were really rough, as we tried to figure out what he's been through and what he needed. He had to learn we could be trusted, that when he had an accident he wouldn't be punished (he would get so scared he wouldn't eat), and that we were going to listen when he told us something.

I'm happy to say that he's doing great now. He's gained weight; his back bones and ribs aren't showing anymore. Such a porker though, oh my goodness, I'm trying to find the right balance in his feedings because he's starting to gain too much weight. His fur is growing back in nicely, as he's gotten rid of his worms and the cough. After he got over the cough (it was extremely contagious) we were able to get him in, so he's now up to date on his shots and he's been neutered. Whew! He will walk on the leash sometimes (with the harness), and he no longer tries to nip us when we put his collar on him either.

He plays, he snuggles, he even tolerates V... sometimes they even play together! I love those moments, it's so cute. He really has claimed us as his own, he barks when anyone visits, he gets jealous of me snuggling V (something we need to work on), and when he got neutered he wouldn't let the vet techs take him out of his cage- A had to go back and do it. For only being with us a short time, he's formed a really strong connection! I get angry thinking about how his life must have been before he found us... but I'm glad he's here now, and I know he's going to have a good life. He seems happy, and he's so much healthier.

I think I'll end the post on that happier note!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The memories we keep- my SCH experience

I've found myself posting about my SCH on the forums a lot, relating my experience to others and reminding them that while it's terrifying most SCHs resolve with no issues. Not a guarantee, but some hope. I never know how much I should tell them though. I might tell them I bled until around 15 weeks, or I might tell them I literally poured blood while passing sludge and clots for weeks. I never relate the horror though. I wrote about it here, but I still didn't go in depth.

I want to share what happened. I think I'm finally ready to relate the horror in it's entirety; not just the PC version, or the short hand, but all of it. If you're squeamish, this is your exit.

I was happy, because two days prior we had confirmed that he was still alive. With arm buds (!) and leg buds (!). It had been an amazing experience hearing his heart beat and knowing we'd made it that far. I hadn't bled in awhile too, and I was starting to feel good about things- like this might be the one.

It started while eating dinner. I'd made enchiladas, and we were sitting at the couch watching "Doctor Who." As the episode unfolded, I begin to feel pressure building, until sitting became uncomfortable. I wasn't sure what was going on, I tried to ignore it, but I knew something was wrong. I finally grimaced, set my plate aside and got up, then limped to the stairs. Walking up the stairs was difficult, and the pressure kept building. When I got to the bathroom I sat down, and saw to my horror that I was covered in vibrant red blood, I threw my underwear straight in the trash and called out to A. I shook, I screamed and cried, "Not again!"

I didn't go to the ER because I thought that they could save him, I knew there was nothing they could do. I don't think the staff there ever grasped that. I needed them to check my hemoglobin (because of the Lovenox) and then...since I assumed the worst, having been here enough times, I wanted them to collect him for testing. It feels clinical to type that, but while we knew we would never try again, I still wanted answers damn it. I needed to know if it was me, or it was him, that went wrong. Well, we know now that it's me. It's always been me. I never really had any doubt, but I needed confirmation. I needed closure.

I told the receptionist that I couldn't sit in the waiting room chairs because I'd already bled through my pad during the car ride. She ignored me, I was just another miscarrying waste of time since there was nothing they could do, so I stood outside triage and waited. I had rushed from my house in my desperation for answers; I didn't have any pads at home anyway, just tampons. I didn't have any cash to go into the bathroom to buy an emergency pad, and she didn't offer me any help. She huffed and came over with a wheel chair and told me to sit, like I was an idiot.

I was whisked through triage, asked over and over why I was on Lovenox, what clotting disorders I had, why I was there. When I got to the room I was told to disrobe and sit down, that's where things got scary. I took off my underwear and blood literally gushed down my legs. I'll never forget how hot it was. The way it burned running down my legs. The way it splattered on the floor, dripping a path to the hospital bed. I think that's when the nurses realized I wasn't just "bleeding."

They finally brought me a bed pad, and helped settle me in. I had an IV, and they ran tests to make sure I didn't need a transfusion. When the doctor did the internal exam they removed a lodged piece of something near my cervix; I don't know if it was tissue or leftover Crionone buildup, but when he removed it the pressure went with it. Blood poured out, rushing onto the floor, and covering it. The doctor rolled his chair back quickly, avoiding the splash. He collected the blob for testing, and set it on the table next to me. I looked at the floor and saw a huge puddle of blood. By this point, we had all given up hope.

I was bawling my eyes out, and I remember telling A over and over, "I am never doing this again. Never. Never. Never. I can't do this again." I held his hand, and I shook with both the emotional grief and the physical pain from the cramps. They added some morphine to my IV for the pain.

We were wheeled down to the ultrasound room, where they did an abdominal scan (not wanting to do an internal with the bleeding). And there he was... heart beating fiercely, moving ever so slightly. I went between relief and horror. Relief because, my god he was still alive. Horror because I didn't know for how long.

How could anything survive this?

So the bed rest began. I saw Dr. J the next morning, and V was still alive. She tried to tell me that she's seen worse, that SCHs are not uncommon, that I am at higher risk, that it happens.

A week went by, and I continued to bleed, although not to that same extent. We came back, and he was still  alive. Three days later, I was in bed watching "Labyrinth," eating dinner. Why always at dinner? Ugh. I felt some pressure, and started bleeding heavier. Within 30 minutes I had filled up my heavy overnight pad, then in another 30 minutes the same. I felt dizzy and faint, nauseous, and A demanded we go back to the ER. I did not want to go.

At the ER I passed huge clots, and bled more. I was shaky. The cramps were intense, and my uterus felt on fire. I was in so much pain that time. My hemoglobin was fine though and V was still alive, somehow. They sent me home with pain killers. The next morning I saw Dr. J, and I was in a lot of pain. I had trouble sitting, moving, my uterus felt shredded, like a knife had twisted in it and ripped it apart. V was still alive, and the tear in my lining had doubled in size so that it was bigger than V.

The next few weeks I bled more off and on, but it was mostly brown sludge with little clots. I was told over and over that it was good, it meant that the clot was breaking down, that it was healing. It took about 6 weeks from the last episode before I finally stopped bleeding. I didn't get off bed rest until 18wks, and pelvic rest until 21wks.

I feel like, and I'm sure other people think, that I should be over this. The outcome was positive, I endured and V survived. What more could I want?

But... there's always that but. That experience was  more horrifying in some ways than my miscarriages were. My miscarriages were bad, and the outcome has left marks on my heart that will never leave me, but the physical experience itself? I'm not sure which was worse- my second miscarriage or V's pregnancy. I still look back in horror. I still remember the sensations, the feel of the blood on my skin. How did anything survive that? I don't understand. I never will.

When people say they're pregnant and bleeding, I want to console them. I want to tell them that anything is possible. I do believe it is, but at the same time I had bleeding with all four of my pregnancies and only one survived. The one I bled the most with. The one that went on and on. The one where I had issue after issue. Still, statistically what are the odds? Reality and hope don't always offer the same comfort. I don't believe in offering false hope, but I know now that stranger things have happened. Who am I to deny that improbability is often mislabeled as impossibility?

SCHs can cause miscarriages, but they often don't. I know women who have lost to them. I've seen women who've made it through. I've seen lingering ones that last until delivery, causing issues until the very end. Mine was one of the worst cases I've seen, but not the worst by far. For something so relatively common, I find it mind numbing at times how wide the variation in severity.

And here's the thing: I'm at high risk of this happening again. I knowingly am opening myself to this possibility again. Dr. J, and Dr. M, they tell me it's probably inevitable. But that hopefully next time it'll be less severe. Hopefully... that's the best we can do.

SCHs are more common in patients who undergo fertility treatments. Check.
Women who suffer recurrent miscarriages. Check.
Who have clotting disorders. Check.
Who use Lovenox. Check.
Who've suffered them before... well, Check.

That's assuming we can even get me pregnant, right? One thing at a time. There is a chance I might get lucky, I might not have any issues. It's possible... not probable, but I'm not going to worry over the semantics of all that. It'll either happen, or it won't. Just like I'll either get pregnant, or I won't. It's all in the luck of the draw.

If you've made it this far, thank you. I never told our families what really happened, I never posted the dirty truth of it on the forums, not the whole story here, and besides A... I just needed to put it out there. Maybe it'll help someone. Maybe it'll shed some clarity on the drama within me. I don't know.

But thank you just the same.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Crunch time-

From here on out, I have plans every weekend until the end of September. Deep breaths! My friend's wedding is at the end, and before that we have lots of wedding stuff to prepare and celebrate, and A's birthday (going to make him a Star Trek cake, if things come together), plus some nephew's birthdays, and... yeah. We're going to be busy around here!

I'm still trying really hard to get this money tucked away for this cycle. We might have to push it back until November. I really really really don't want to do that though. If push comes to shove, I'll probably allow myself a natural cycle while we wait. No hopes there, but at least I'd have a break from the evil BCPs. I don't know. I'm still hoping we'll have all the money together by then. I feel way more confident about injects... I got pregnant on 2 out of 3 ovulatory cycles on them, so they have a better track record for me.

I have a hard time believing that it's almost September. I think that hits me every year, the moment where you go, "Holy moly, it's almost fall!"

I feel like there's so much left to do this year, and so little time. All the stuff in September, then Halloween (almost finished my costume, still gotta work on A and V's though!), then the possible cycle, Thanksgiving, V's party (think we're doing it a couple weeks before Christmas this year, we got snowed out last year!), then Christmas, and then V's actual birthday... I am not at all prepared for the marathon that is the tail end of 2013! At least it'll keep me busy? Ha!

I'll let you in on the costumes. You remember that I said we would all be going "Doctor Who" themed? Okay. I'm rather proud of myself so far, for an amateur seamstress. I turned this out (keep in mind it's NOT done yet- this is just the base) ->

Now, if you don't know what this is supposed to be, that's alright! It's the base for my Dalek costume though. The gold is a bit darker in real life, and I still need sensor balls (trying to figure out the logistics), and then I want to make a headpiece to match. The fabric was on clearance for realy cheap (squee!) and the pattern was only $1 at Wa.l.mart. Super happy with the results! I did a pretty shoddy job, but it's a costume- it just needs to look the part, not be perfect.

A is planning on being the 4th Doctor (Tom Baker) since that's his favorite. I got him this scarf for his birthday (while it was on sale- it's $20 off a lot, just have to keep an eye on it), and I let him go ahead and open it. He tried it on and played with it for awhile, so I think he likes it hahaha. So it's a neat present, and can be used for his costume. We just need to get serious about our thrift store hunting for the rest of his costume.

V is going to be the 10th Doctor (David Tennant). I hope! He plays with his hair a lot, and gets it stuck up just like the Doctor's, then we proceed to chuckle about his crazy hair and... it just works! I need to find him a cheap little suit, and some Converse sneakers.

So that's the plan! V also has a tiger costume my mom picked up, in case we want him to wear that to other things (like the zoo's Halloween thing), but I like the family themed thing. We never did that as a kid, and I think it's neat. I'll admit, Neil Patrick Harris' family and their themes get me every Halloween now- right in the feels! And I love dressing up, even if we're just sitting on the porch passing out candy I need to have a costume!

I'm really trying to pace myself and make the most of this season. We had a cold snap, but it's gotten warm again, so most days I hang laundry then chill with V in his inflatable pool for a bit. Just trying to soak in the last of summer! I feel a little silly lounging in his blow up pool, but who cares? We have a good time out there! He's come a long way since we first got him a pool, he was scared of it but now he runs right to it and tries to get in- properly clothed or not! We've very lucky that we can have that moment too. It's nice to be able to just relax and enjoy the peace.