Jul 26, 2012

Quick Update

We had an appointment with the doctor yesterday at 8w6d and wanted to update y'all. 

Both babies look great!  Baby A (on the bottom left) was hiding behind Baby B and hard to see, but measured great at 2.31cm (9w0d) and was wriggling around and moving for us.  Sadly, because of Baby As position, their wasn't much resemblance to a baby.  On the other hand, Baby B (the baby on the top right) was stationed front and center, posing for pictures, and hamming it up on camera.  Lots of movement! On the big screens at the office it was obvious you were looking at a little human.  Baby B measured 2.46cm (9w1d). At our next RE appointment at 10w


There is still free fluid in my abdomen and my ovaries are still huge and have ginormous cysts inside of them.  The OHSS hasn't left yet.  Darn.

The hematoma is still there.  They didn't give a comparison to last weeks size, just said it was big. The SCH hasn't left yet. Darn.

For both of these things, I am still on modified bed rest.  (Key word modified, thank goodness! I'm not very good at bed rest and full bed rest would really be a struggle for me.)

BUT we got permission to travel. 

SO I'll be on modified "beach chair rest." 



It sounds so much more relaxing that way!  I was told I should be okay to walk a bit on the beach, certainly to walk to a lounge chair, and to enjoy the trip as long as I was careful not to overdo it or let my core temperature elevate.  Their solution for core temperature? Go in the water!  This might actually be good for the SCH since it will take the pressure off of my body.  It will also be good for OHSS because I need to be getting enough movement to limit my risk of blood clots.

I don't know if I'll be posting much from Florida.  I might throw a few photos up!  We'll see. 

Jul 24, 2012

Still Broken

I spend a lot of time each week telling Casey just how much I appreciate him. He has stepped up and taken over so much in our house and done an amazing job! He is working full time, doing all of the grocery shopping, keeping the house semi-clean, helping with laundry, etc. I need him to know what an amazing job he is doing and how lucky I am to be married to him. I need him to know what an incredible dad he is already being to Pip and Pop.

Partly, I need him to know this for his own sake. I can see how tired he is. I can see how stressed he is. I can see that all of this is taking a toll on him.

Partly, I need him to know this to assuage some of my own guilt. I am sitting at home everyday. I don't have an income. I'm not working on my dissertation. I'm not moving closer to graduation and someday having a job. I'm not taking care of our home. I'm not cooking dinner, at all. I'm not sharing the burden with Casey at all.

He tries to make me feel better by saying I am doing the most important job of all by keeping Pip and Pop safe.

This doesn't make me feel better.

In fact, it makes me feel worse.

My body didn't work as designed and I couldn't get pregnant naturally. My body made that process a long and tortuous road for us.

My body isn't working as designed again. Instead of providing a safe "home" and good "womb service" to these babies, my uterus is bleeding and potentially endangering them. Once again, my body is failing us. Once again, I am failing. I am supposed to be nurturing these babies and providing them with the best possible environment to grow and thrive.

With every cramp and every spotting episode, I have further proof that I'm not doing that. There is nothing that can be done to speed the healing from OHSS. The swelling and cysts will go away eventually, but until then I need to restrict movement, drink lots of Gatorade, eat protein, etc. Other than that, I can't do anything. There is nothing to be done to heal the hematoma (SCH). I can stay on bed rest to help it reabsorb and slow the cramping down. I know that bed rest does help. The days I cheat or over exert myself I feel much worse, the spotting increases and the cramping is worse.

Until we get a positive report from the doctor, I am inconveniencing everyone around me. From Casey who is doing both of our jobs, to my Mom who had to pick me up and drive me to my doctor appt last week. I feel helpless. I feel guilty. I feel like a failure.

I trust in God the Father who has an ultimate plan for us. I trust that He loves me, loves us. I trust that His timing is perfect. I trust in Him.

But that doesn't change the constant fear. The constant nerves. And the constant guilt.

Apparently I am not putting enough of my faith and trust in Him.

And that just makes me feel even worse.


Week 9

Marination Time:
8w5d - I'm a bit slow to post this week so week 9 is almost over!

I've received a few questions about why I am 8w pregnant during week 9 so here is the reason:
The first day of AF a woman in 0w1d pregnant (weird isn't is!) and that is considered week 1. Ovulation occurs somewhere around cycle day 14 and on that day a woman is 2w0d pregnant, meaning implantation will occur during week 3, etc.


Baby Size:

Over the course of week 9 the babies will almost reach an inch in size!  According to The Bump Pip and Pop are about the size of a green olive while BabyCenter compares them to a grape.  We don't have week 9 measurements yet.  Our next appointment is tomorrow so we'll know more then!

Baby Milestones:
This week Pip and Pop reached a huge milestone: they graduated from embryos to fetuses!  They are also developing distinct facial features and starting to look more and more like little people.  They are developing eyes (although the eyelids stay fused shut for a few more months!) and nasal bones and all of the things that will make Pip look like Pip and Pop look like Pop. They have also begun having hiccups and can exhibit a startled response and movement (although they are still far too small for me to feel it).


Weight Gain:
I think this category is leaving the weekly updates.  The OHSS weight just isn't going away and I'm tired of seeing how sad the number is.


Symptoms:
EXHAUSTED. Bloody noses. Sore boobs.  Lightheaded/Dizzy. Aching stomach. Sharp pains in left ovary region. Queasiness. Nausea is mostly gone though!

The nausea and queasiness went away at the end of last week (about 7w6d actually). At first this was so exciting!  I could eat!  I could keep down food!  Then, I started getting nervous.  The days the queasiness came back I was so excited because it was assurance I am still pregnant.  I went 3 days in a row with no nausea or queasiness (8w0d, 8w1d, and 8w2d).  On Sunday (8w3d) on the way to church I commented to Casey that the lack of nausea was starting to make me nervous.  I'm not sure if God answers prayers or if karma kicked me in the butt, but about an hour later the nausea returned during the middle of the sermon at church! Teaches me to speak to soon.  Overall, the queasiness I can handle, but I never need 5-6 bouts of nausea a day again!


How I'm Changing:
Although most websites say it is too early, I'm able to see and feel the hardness of my uterus sticking out.  I think I am able to do this so early because my ovaries are still so enlarged and are pushing my uterus further out.  The first day Casey noticed my shape had changed and the pooch was firmer and rounder, he commented that I was looking pregnant not just big.  I got excited and said it was my uterus.He got really uncomfortable! Apparently, he doesn't like the word uterus and wants to just refer to it as "the babies home."

What I'm Eating:
Gatorade. Gatorade. More Gatorade. Peanut butter. Almonds. Chocolate covered almonds.  Milk. Cheese. Guacamole.  I still can't stomach the smell or sight of chicken which makes meal planning a lot harder!

Annoyances:
Bed rest. Cramping. Fear. Nerves. OHSS. SCH. Drinking Gatorade. Boredom.

Sleep:
Exhausted!
I sleep a lot.  I am sleeping 11-12 hours at night and then taking a 2-3 hour nap each day.  I am also spending 99% of my time in bed, so I find myself occasionally nodding off while reading or watching TV.


Missing:
Energy.
Errands.
Confidence.
Sushi.

Belly Button Watch:
Innie.

What I'm most excited about:
We have our next appointment tomorrow and I am so hopeful that the SCH will have shrunk and the OHSS will continue to be better (meaning small ovaries).  Both need to happen for me to get off bed rest.  If both of these things happen, we can go to Florida with the rest of my family.  If not, I'll be stuck at home in bed.  As sad as I will be if I can't go, Florida will still be there next year and I have to do everything I can to keep these babies safe.



Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6

Jul 19, 2012

My Ears

Today has been quite the day. I woke up this morning with an ear ache a very low grade fever. I decided that even though the fever wasn't bad, I have enough medical issues (ohss and sch) and I needed to see someone, if nothing else for my own peace of mind.

But, finding someone who would see me was much more difficult!

I tried my primary care doctor, but his practice does not prescribe medications to pregnant women. They basically told me they'd see me in nine months.

I tried my reproductive endocrinologist, but they aren't equipped to deal with general health issues. They don't have ear probes and other necessary tools.

I tried my OB/GYN, but they originally told me no because I wasn't an existing pregnant patient. I've been seeing the same doc since I was 18, I'm not exactly a new patient! I eventually convinced the nurse at my OB/GYN that I had no other options and they squeezed me in with a nurse practitioner.

It turns out my eustachian tube and lymph nodes are both inflamed and swollen, causing my pain. I am now taking an antibiotic to fight the infection and using ice packs to help with the inflammation and pain. The CNP also wanted to put me on a decongestant but due to my elevated blood pressure that isn't an option.

My poor body is really working overtime right now! I'm making two placentas, supporting two babies, attempting to clear the remaining fluid from my abdomen, trying to shrink my ovarian cysts, working to reabsorbs the subcutaneous hemorrhage in my uterus, and fighting an infection in my ear. Wowsers! No wonder I'm so tired!



Jul 17, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

This afternoon we had another appointment with our RE (well actually, with one of his wonderful nurses who we adore).

The Good: Pip and Pop both measured 8w0d, which is slightly ahead of schedule (we are 7w5d) and were 1.59cm and 1.60cm. They have shifted positions and are a bit more side by side instead of one above the other. They looked great! Once again, we could see their little heartbeats flickering away. It is so amazing to see heartbeats - I can only imagine all of the emotions of hearing the heartbeats for the first time in a few weeks. We could also see black voids in the middle of their heads which are their little brains forming! We saw our babies brains!




The Bad: The cyst on my left ovary is still HUGE. For perspective, in the image above each baby is 1.6cm and takes up that tiny portion of the sonogram image. When looking at this particular cyst, it takes up the entire sonogram monitor! Their are several smaller cysts also on the left and at least four large cysts on the right. The nurse commented that most women would be complaining of pain on the right side due to the size of the cysts, but all I can feel are the sharp pains on the left side! While my ovaries are still very enlarged and filled with these fluid-filled cysts, their is very little free fluid still in my abdomen! So that's progress at least. The OHSS is going away.

The Ugly: Last week, they found a small bleed inside of my uterus and recommended I stay off of my feet and hope it reabsorbs. At today's appointment, we learned the bleed has grown! I am so frustrated! Their is nothing medically that can be done to help the bleeding. All that I (or modern medicine) can do is keep me off my feet. Casey spent 10+ minutes asking questions at the appointment trying to understand exactly what I can a cannot do and what warning signs we should look for. He also spent the evening reassuring me that it will all be okay! (He is truly an amazing husband!) I think we both feel pretty powerless right now. We already love Pip and Pop so much and it is really hard to be told to just wait it out. We both want to do something to make this better, but their is nothing to be done but pray and know God is watching over them. Luckily, we had dinner plans with a sweet couple from our church tonight and it was a great distraction seeing them and their delightful kids instead of focusing on our fears.

Jul 12, 2012

My Heart Right Now

My prayer list right now is really long and while I won't walk you through all them, I wanted to draw y'alls attention to a few:

  • The Childress/Gilstrap family is in need of prayers for their premature twins, Drake and Kennedy. They were born 25w6d and are both little fighters. Kennedy is doing well but Drake is certainly being propped up by God's own hand and our prayers. Please check out www.drakeandkennedy.blogspot.com and consider being prayer warriors for these adorable babies.

  • My BFF Liz gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on Tuesday night.  I can't wait to meet Royce Grindle Brown and just squeeze him! Isn't he just the cutest!



  • My brother and sister-in-law are going through some hard times with her parents right now.  It isn't my tale to share but please keep their family in your prayers.

  • A sweet friend is going through a divorce.  I truly love her and admire her and cannot believe the strength she is showing through this process.  Her and her soon-to-be-ex are currently keeping this civil and both working on the best solution for their children.  Hopefully they have the strength to keep it that way.

  • An amazing guy who is truly a Christian role model to so many of the kids at our church is leaving for medical school in two weeks.  We are so excited for him, but he is really going to be missed.

  • My husband's uncle passed away a few weeks ago.  It is truly a hard thing to lose a close family member so continued prayers for my Mark's wife and son, his mother, and his brothers, including my father-in-law.


Also Posted Today:
1) Bed Rest for OHSS and SCH - an update on my medical issues
2) Week 8 Update including our latest sonogram

Week 8

Marination Time:
7w0d

Baby Size:
The Bump says that over the course of week 8 the babies will grow to be raspberries while BabyCenter compares the size to a lentil.  At our measurement on 6w6d both babies measured right on track! They completed the week 7 milestone of blueberries like little champs.




Little One Bottom Left
Little One Top Right
Size
0.98cm (7w0d)
1.00cm (7w1d)
Heartbeat
Yes!
Yes!


Baby Milestones:
This week the babies are developing little webbed fingers and toes and moving their arms and legs around like crazy.  They will also lose their "tails" this week.  The lungs will begin to develop, as well as the neural pathways. 


Weight Gain:
Weight Journey Depicted Mathematically:
happy weight + 24lbs from IF + 21 lbs from OHSS - 8 from OHSS getting better + 9.5lbs from OHSS getting worse again


Symptoms:
Sore boobs. Constantly queasy. Nausea 5-6 times a day. Lightheaded/Dizzy. Aching stomach. Sharp pains in left ovary region. Exhausted.


How I'm Changing:
No changes from last week.

What I'm Eating:
Still guzzling the Gatorade. Seriously Gatorade.  Constantly. I am really liking avocados.  Especially Casey's guacamole (which he is being a real trooper about and making me lots of!).  I am supposed ot be eating heavy protein so my diet consists of peanut butter toast, guacamole, and fish.  I can't handle the smell of chicken.

Annoyances:
OHSS. Drinking Gatorade.  Feeling like a wuss (but my doctor and his nurses made me feel better - love that office!)


Sleep:
Exhausted! 
I sleep from 10-4:30 and then from 6:30-9:00 and normally nap at some point during the day (some of this might be because of bed rest though).


Missing...
Energy.  I miss being able to work out and do errands and run around.  I am on bed rest and just so exhausted!

Belly Button Watch:
Innie.

What I'm most excited about:
We saw two heart beats yesterday!  Our risk of Vanishing Twin Syndrome drops dramatically after seeing both heartbeats (although with twins not ever actually out of the woods).  We also saw the babies again! 



Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 7
Week 6

Also Posted Today:
1) Bed Rest for OHSS and SCH - an update on my medical issues
2) My Heart Right Now: my current prayer list and things on my heart

Back on Bed Rest: OHSS and SCH

I know I haven't posted at all this week, but their has been a lot on my heart and mind. i am going to split this into three posts:
1) This one - an update on my medical issues (doctors appointment on Tuesday and a few notes from my Wednesday appointment)
2) My Heart Right Now: my current prayer list and things on my heart
3) Week 8 Update including our latest sonogram

Starting with an update on me:

I spent most of the weekend in bed feeling really awful. By Monday morning, I felt like a real wuss. Millions of women before me have survived pregnancy, morning sickness, and the discomfort of pregnancy but I was feeling so bad I could barely walk to get out of bed. Over the weekend I gained 9.5lbs, giving me back all of the fluid weight I had lost the weekend before. My stomach was really large and I felt awful.

At this point I was in tears from the frustration! I had been dreaming of being pregnant and having a baby for years. I finally am and I can't enjoy it all because I feel so sick.

On Monday, my Mom and Casey both convinced me that I needed to contact the doctor. I was too chicken to call because I just didn't know if I could emotionally handle being told that I have OHSS and to drink more Gatorade and wait it out, so I sent an email. I got a call back and I was told to go on bed rest for the rest of the day and come in the next morning for labs and to check my progress.

On Tuesday, I went in and they drew blood. My hematocrit (a measure of blood volume) level is at the very high end of acceptable, just below the level where they are concerned and hospitalize. Yay! I also was able to speak with the nurse and doctor for a while about my symptoms and how I am feeling.

They reassured me A LOT!

People keep telling me their own personal morning sickness cures and and such and it feels so frustrating because none of them are helping. It was explained to me that I don't have morning sickness. I am nauseous from the OHSS and the pressure and fluid in my abdomen. The doctor told me I need to stop looking at "normal" pregnancies as a comparison because OHSS is a serious medical condition with side effects far beyond what most pregnancies experience. He made me feel like less of a wuss for how I was feeling!

He also reassured me that if I am keeping one protein rich meal down a day, the babies and I are all getting enough nutrients. Between the sodium and electrolytes in my proscribed 100-150oz of Gatorade and the peanut butter on my toast in the mornings, I'm doing okay. Another huge relief!

Due to the deterioration of my condition, I was put on (very relaxed) bed rest. Basically they want me in bed most of the time. no strenuous activity. No elevating my heart rate at all. No lifting. No fast movements (like I could). But I'm not on complete bed rest because I need to walk some to keep up my circulation. Blood clots are a complication of OHSS so I need to move around enough to keep the blood flowing.

At this appointment they offered to go ahead and do my ultrasound and see the babies instead of waiting until Wednesday. As a candidate for wife of the year, I declined because I knew Casey was excited about heart beats and wanted to be there (seriously, how great is my husband that he wants to be at all of the ultrasounds every week!).

The next day, we went back to see the babies (more on that here) and they also checked out my ovaries. At my last appointment, I thought they said my ovaries were 11cm which is still HUGE (a normal ovary is the size of a walnut) but smaller than they had been. I knew the OHSS wasn't gone, but it had been getting better and so 11cm seemed believable. I heard wrong. The cysts inside my ovaries (I have at least four of them) are measuring about 11cm. They didn't measure the size of the ovary, but it took up almost the entire sonogram screen!

The ultrasound also revealed a "bloody mass" inside my uterus. This is called a subchronic hematoma or SCH and can be pretty common in early pregnancy.  I was hoping to post a picture of it, but none of the photos they gave us show this well (probably a good thing - why remember the bad parts). So far, the bleeding is all internal (thank goodness - I'd be an emotional disaster if it was coming out!) so we can pray that it just reabsorbs into the uterine lining. The nurse doing the ultrasound remarked that it was just one more reason to be on bed rest this week. Bleeding can be very serious, but I'm hoping that a week at home will protect my babies!

So until I go back to the doctor on Tuesday, you can find me hanging out at home drinking 100-150oz of Gatorade a day, eating protein, and enjoying my DVR!



Jul 5, 2012

Week 7

Marination Time:
6w0d

Baby Size:
The Bump and BabyCenter both agree that the babies are about the size of a blueberry (.5 inch). We'll see on Wednesday how close they are to that!

Baby Milestones:
The babies development this week will focus on the brain and the heart.  They will generate about 100 new brain cells a minute over this week!  They will also continue to develop a heart and cardiac system (which we will hopefully see on Wednesday!) They will also develop kidneys and joints in their arms and legs this week.


Weight Gain:
Weight Journey: On day of retrieval I was up 24lbs from my "happy weight" as a result of all of the infertility medications and treatments over the previous months. At the height of OHSS I was up 21lbs from my retrieval weight. I am now down 8 from that crazy heavy number. Depicted mathematically: happy weight + 24lbs from IF + 21 lbs from OHSS - 8 = WAY TOO BIG. But I should just get used to it. The number on the scale is only going to get bigger.


Symptoms:
Same as last week: Sore boobs. Constantly queasy. Nausea 3-5 times a day.
Add: Lightheaded/Dizzy


How I'm Changing:
No changes from last week.


What I'm Eating:
Still guzzling the Gatorade. Still think I'm hungry only to not actually eat when I see food. I've started having smell aversions to food. Thank goodness Casey is going out with a client tonight - I can just eat a bowl of cereal and not have to smell cooking food!


Annoyances:
OHSS. Drinking Gatorade. Round Ligament Pain.
Round ligament pain is the stretching of the uterus to make space so the babies can grow. Every twinge and cramp makes me think something must be wrong.

I just still can't wrap my infertility affected brain around the idea that I am pregnant, especially with two. I keep hearing our first RE refuse to do IVF for us unless we used donor eggs and giving us a less than 5% chance of success. This voice in my head is giving me so many doubts that I will be able to carry these babies to term. I really hate that I have allowed him to affect me so much! I don't want him to have that amount of power over me.



Sleep:
Exhausted! I could easily stay in bed all day! I could nap on and off, read a book, watch a movie, and be perfectly content. I am so so tired! Growing people is exhausting. I tried explaining this to Casey yesterday:
Me: I'm so tired. I really can't believe how tired I am. But its. pretty cool that I grow people.
Casey: They aren't people. They're babies.

Missing...
Nothing yet. Although I do really enjoy smelling Casey's wine glass.

Belly Button Watch:
Innie. Not worried about this happening yet - this should stay innie for a while!

What I'm most excited about:
This week we will (hopefully) get to hear our babies heartbeats! I am planning to bring tissues to the appointment.

Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 6

Jul 3, 2012

Week 6

Marination Time:
5w5d
I might have waited until THE very end of my fifth week of pregnancy to decide I was going to jump on the weekly preggo update train. But, I made it in under the wire!

Baby Size:
The Bump says baby is the size of a Sweet Pea and approximately .25 inches. BabyCenter puts the size about that of a lentil. I guess I can't keep calling the baby Poppy (last week they both said poppy seed). One other reason I can't keep calling the baby Poppy: we have 2wins! At our first ultrasound today, our babies measured .15 inches. The doctor said that 3.5 and 3.7mm ages both babies at 6w0d so I'm not really sure what they are talking about with their .25 inch measurement for week 6.


Baby Milestones:
This week the babies are going to grow. A lot. They will also start circulating blood, so we will hopefully have detectable heart beats in both babies at this weeks ultrasound. This week they will stop looking like tadpoles and develop a nose, eyes, ears, chin, and even some (paddle-like) hands and feet.


Weight Gain:
I was up 21 lbs from OHSS, but have since started losing some of the OHSS weight. I am currently up 15 lbs. Still WAY to much weight. But I guess it's water weight. So maybe not as bad. Except I still look huge.

Symptoms:
Sore boobs. Constantly queasy. Nausea 3-5 times a day.

How I'm Changing:
Boobs are already getting bigger. I have a bump (see picture here), but it is from OHSS not from baby.

What I'm Eating:
No cravings at all. So nauseous and queasy. I feel hungry all the time. I think I am going to eat A TON. And then I eat a few bites. And I feel queasy. And I'm done. I've been thinking about spicy foods and sweet foods. No interest in meat at all. I also drink a minimum of 100oz of Gatorade a day. I don't like Gatorade. I've never been a Gatorade drinker. But now I force myself to drink it. I think the forced drinking is part of why I'm not eating - my stomach can only hold so much!

Annoyances:
OHSS. Seriously - it is miserable. I hope none of you reading this ever experience this.

Sleep:
The OHSS is starting to resolve (yay!) but this means that I am starting to (TMI alert) pee in amounts commiserate with my drinking. I'm up every 2-2.5 hours going to the restroom. I'm not sleeping well at all and I am exhausted! I can take a three hour nap in the afternoon and then still go to bed at 9 and stay in bed until 8.

Missing...
Right now I am just so excited about our babies (OMG I said babies) that I can't even think about missing anything. I'm sure at some point I'll miss margaritas and wine and lunch meat, but for right now I am just too grateful to miss anything!

Belly Button Watch:
I am really grossed out by outie belly buttons so I'm really hoping I stay an innie! With two babies growing inside of me, I doubt it!

What I'm most excited about:
This week (today actually) we found out we are having twins! I don't know that it is possible to be more excited than that! I'm looking forward to next weeks ultrasound where we MIGHT be able to hear heartbeats.

Something I've done to prepare for baby:
I am taking a prenatal vitamin, extra folic acid, progesterone, estrogen, vitamin D, and baby aspirin (all under doctors care) helping make my body the perfect little home for the little ones for the next 8 months. They are all snuggled in, so it seems to be working so far!

We're Not Having a Baby....We're Having Two!

We previously we announced that we were expanding by two feet.

Well, we aren't so good at math, because we just learned:



Yep it's 2wins!


Today we had our first ultrasound and found out that we have two little ones growing in there!  At the ultrasound we could see two gestational sacs and two yolk sacs.  One of the little ones had an obvious heartbeat (at this point it is too early to hear a heartbeat, but you could see him/her flickering).  The other might have had one, but he/she was hiding on the edge of the gestational sac and harder to see.  They are both measuring right on track.  We go back next week for another round of ultrasounds and should be able to see a bit more.

A Summary:

Little One Left
Little One Right
Gestational Sac
13.2mm (5w1d)
14.5mm (5w2d)
Yolk Sac
3.7mm (6w0d)
3.5mm (6w0d)
Heartbeat
Flicker
Maybe

Our babies second photoshoot (recall the first is here):





We also learned at the appointment that my Gatorade consumption is going to stay high. My ovaries are still really enlarged. In fact, they are HUGE. Silly OHSS! I thought it was going away...