Two Years and Counting

7 weeks
March 28, 2009, 10:01 am
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I have to say, I don’t know how people ever just relax and enjoy their pregnancy. That hasn’t happened to me yet. It’s not so much that I’m constantly worried or anxious…there’s just a sense that this could all go away so quickly, and I think that’s keeping me from being truly excited and really enjoying the fact that I’m pregnant for the very first time. Any time the nurse says any tiny thing that’s not overly positive or gushy, I wonder why she’s being hesitant, even if she’s not meaning to be that way. My first two ultrasounds were perfect. Then at the one this week (at 6 weeks 6 days), she said the baby was measuring 6 weeks 4 days, which is great, and that the gestational sac (I think that’s what it’s called) is measuring 1 week behind at 5 weeks 4 days. She said they consider anything within 1 week to be normal, so mine is normal (although it looks to me like it’s barely normal). And she said they like to see the baby looking proportional to the sac, not the baby taking up most of the room in the sac, which mine wasn’t. So she said it’s nothing to worry about. But of course, it enters my mind from time to time and I think about it. I’m not freaking out about it, because I know there’s nothing I can do, but it still doesn’t totally go away. Maybe part of it is that I’m just so used to things not working out, and I’m half expecting this pregnancy to not work out…or maybe concerns like this are common to all pregnant women.

Then the other thing is that the nurse left me a message late Thursday saying they saw a small amount of protein in my urine, which makes them wonder about a UTI. I’ve had no symptoms at all, and in the message she said if there are no symptoms, they may not need to treat it (that it can be something other than a UTI) and for me to call her on Friday. I called and she never called back! I was pretty disappointed. They always call back, and I figured especially for something like this where we needed to determine if I need to be treated for something, they’d call me back. I’m telling myself she must have not thought it was worrisome enough to do something before the weekend. I know untreated UTIs can cause miscarriages, so I’m just hanging on til Monday.

That’s about it. I’m just praying for some peace, that I can enjoy this ride, whatever happens. It’s just hard to do that when it feels like everything is so shaky and fragile.


Ultrasound and prenatals
March 19, 2009, 9:08 am
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We had our first ultrasound this morning and saw the heartbeat! It was a tiny little flicker, but it was strong. She said the baby is about the size of the head of a pin. It’s hard to believe we can see its heart beating this early. The nurse said it was exactly where they want it to be in my uterus and that the yolk sac looked great and the heartbeat was strong. This is such a relief. After feeling pretty blah the last few days, I just wanted to know everything was still ok!

I’ve been thinking a lot about prenatals the last few days. All they’ve said about it at the clinic over the last several months is, “Make sure you’re taking your prenatal.” No specific brand or anything. I’ve switched around here and there, and finally a few months ago settled on taking the Publix brand of prenatals, and I added in an extra folic acid supplement. I decided on the Publix brand because I read online that you need to make sure your vitamin says “USP” on it, which means it meets the United States Pharmacopeia standards for purity, consistancy, etc. Basically, it’ll guarantee that your vitamin contains what it says it contains. The publix prenatal has 800 mcg of folic acid and it has the USP marking. I had been taking a regular One-A-Day multivitamin before I started the prenatals, and I noticed that the One-A-Day didn’t have the USP marking on it while the Publix one did. I was fine with those, but the last couple of days, I’ve had two different friends tell me how their prenatal made them nauseated or constipated, and my publix one doesn’t do either. Now that could be a good thing, but it also made me wonder if maybe mine weren’t as good or as potent as theirs. And of course I got nervous.

Anyway, today I asked the nurse if I need to be taking a specific prenatal, and she said I need to be on a prescription one and that she could give me some samples to see which one I liked. The one she gave me (Prenexa) has 1 mg of folic acid (a good bit more than I’ve been taking) and DHA. And a stool softener in case it causes problems! This is good, but now of course I’m wondering if I was really getting enough folic acid in these first 5 weeks. I know the very first few weeks are when crucial things happen that can cause or prevent defects, so I sure hope I’ve gotten what I need. It kind of makes me wish they had told me earlier that I need to be taking the full 1 mg of folic acid and the other stuff this prescription vitamin has. I’ve been pregnant for almost 6 weeks (according to them) and I’ll just now be starting to take the full amount of folic acid. There’s nothing I can do about it now, except hope this does the trick.

I’m headed out of town today to visit my family and show off the ultrasound photos! Hope you all have a good weekend.

6 weeks, but it hasn’t really been 6 weeks!
March 16, 2009, 1:41 pm
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Thanks for all your good wishes! It still feels very surreal and strange. It’s like everything has changed, but at the same time nothing has really changed. I’m still going about my normal routines as normal, but when I stop to think about it, it’s like–wait, you mean I’m actually having a baby?!

Just a quick update. I’ve been feeling strange twinges in my stomach now and then, and have been really achy and feverish the last couple of nights, although my temperature was only 99. I also have a painful ache way down low to the right of my tailbone. I asked Janet about all of this today. She said my progesterone levels are “astronomical” which may account for the achiness, and my estrogen levels indicate probably cysts on my ovaries, which she says is fine and that they’re due to your ovaries producing extra estrogen, but that might explain the odd twinges and cramps here and there–even way up high, under my rib cage. I told her I feel like I’m having pains and symptoms that are more common much later in pregnancy, not this early at 3 weeks. That’s when she told me I’m actually at 6 weeks! The way they calculate weeks and due dates never makes much sense to me, since they go by your last period…even though no one is pregnant those first couple of weeks (prior to ovulation) and those of us who’ve done IVF know fairly exactly when we got pregnant… or at least within a couple of days. But even still, they go by that LMP, so according to that I’m 6 weeks. They’re going to check my progesterone again on Thursday when we go in for the ultrasound and if we hear a heartbeat, I may be able to go off the PIO injections, praise the Lord. I’m ready to stop those!

March 13, 2009, 11:46 am
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So, wow. After an unbelievably hard weekend, especially Sunday, we heard the news that neither of us expected. I still can’t really believe it when I think about it. My first beta was 89.6 with estrogen around 1000 and progesterone over 410 (410 is the highest they measure and I was above that.) But, I didn’t find out the numbers until around 3pm on Monday. All the message said on Sunday was Congratulations, the test was positive, call us on Monday. (I had the test Friday, but they knew I wasn’t listening to the message until Sunday.)

The nurse finally called me back Monday afternoon to give me the details. Also, she called in a prescription for Lovenox, which I started Monday, and it’ll be a daily injection until they tell me to stop–could be a majority of the pregnancy, or we may be able to stop early. (That’s for an elevated level of anti cardio lipin, which can indicate a blood clotting issue, although I’m at the low end of positive. If you want more info on that, ask me.)

I’m still on the PIO shots, but am hopeful that those won’t last too much longer, especially since my prog. levels are way higher than they’d be with the PIO shots alone, which means my body is producing it on its own, which is nice to hear. I had the second beta yesterday and it was 1,018, and my estrogen shot up to around 2600. She said that’s great, and that my ovaries are probably still enlarged since they’re producing so much, even though I don’t feel the bloating and tenderness that I did last week. So, I still need to be somewhat careful with my activity. I felt much better after the second beta, knowing it had grown the appropriate amount. All we had to go on before was the initial beta number and didn’t know what (if anything) was happening during the week.

It’s all pretty surreal, actually. We go back next week for our first ultrasound, and she said there’s a chance we could hear a heartbeat, but not to freak out if we can’t hear it because it’s still really early. If there’s anything good about having to go to a fertility clinic and go through all this, it’s that you get very early ultrasounds and basically get to do things and hear things way earlier than “regular” people who get pregnant.

I’m still taking it all in. I think that’ll be a process. Part of my prayer time Sunday morning was trying to get to a place where I was ok with a negative answer, that I’d still see God as faithful and trustworthy even if we didn’t get the news we wanted. I believed that either a positive or a negative would have been a blessing, each in it’s own way, although we wouldn’t have understood the blessing of a negative, of course. I was reminded of Elisabeth Eliot saying that some of God’s biggest mercies are his refusals. I went through all that Sunday morning prior to finding out. But I’m thanking God that he decided to show his grace and mercy in this way. If it had been negative, he still would have been gracious and merciful in his plan, but I’m just glad this is the way he blessed us.

This is hard
March 6, 2009, 10:23 am
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I had my beta this morning, but we won’t find out until Sunday. (For those couple of you who know me in real life, please don’t mention this to anyone else–we’re not telling many people exactly when the test is.) M just left to go out of town, and we want to hear the news together when he gets home. I left clear instructions to everyone at the office to NOT call me, but to leave a message on my patient voice mail instead.

It’s so hard to be the girl in this. Aside from being the one who has to do basically everything, you’re also the one who has the joy of feeling the cramping associated with it. The cramps I feel are exactly like the cramps I feel before I start my period. It’s really hard to keep reminding myself that they say cramps are normal and don’t necessarily mean anything. I’m hard wired to be aware of those little things because they always come several days before my period, and it’s difficult to ignore them. I’ve read a lot about girls who feel like their periods are coming, then they end up with a positive pg test, but there’s an equal amount I’m sure who felt like that and got a negative. This is by far the hardest part of IVF. The not knowing, and knowing that the things I’m feeling have a 50/50 shot of being symptoms of pregnancy or symptoms of a coming period.

March 3, 2009, 1:21 pm
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So, the waiting is harder than I thought it’d be. I expected this sense of calm that I’ve felt throughout this whole process to follow me into this week of waiting, and I still feel some of it. But I’m finding myself battling a lot of “What if”s. I’ve felt twinges of cramps, which typically precede my period coming, so that’s making me nervous. I know they say to ignore cramps and symptoms because it’s most likely just the progesterone, but it’s hard to ignore it when every month for two years, I’ve gotten cramps a week before my period starts. Of course, I feel them and think, “Well, that’s it, I’m not pregnant.” I’m trying hard to silence those thoughts and focus on what is true right now, today.

I’ve started flipping through this book called “Calm My Anxious Heart.” I got it a couple weeks ago when I was still feeling calm and peaceful about it all, but now I’m glad I have it. This morning I was reading through it, and read this…
“God grant me the serenity to except the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference, living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next.”

Who know that the serenity prayer was longer than that often-quoted first line? The part I’m trying to take to heart is “living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time.” If I continue to worry this week, I’ll have spent 6 or 7 days making myself miserable instead of enjoying these beautiful days God has given me.  Psalm 112:7 says, “He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”

I’m asking God to do immeasurably more than all M and I can ask or imagine…however He chooses that to look. I know that He may not intend for me to be pregnant now, or ever. That thought makes me want to cry, but instead, I remind myself that He is able to do so much more than I can possibly imagine, and I’m asking him to do so.