False Starts and Good (Bad) Omens

We started our FET protocol a few weeks ago and we’re getting ready for an embryo transfer later next week. 

And now I find myself unexpectedly admitted to the hospital — after days of debilitating stomach pains and multiple doctor visits — with a diagnosis of pancreatitis. 

Monday I got my flu shot, and we spent the night trick-or-treating with friends. 

Tuesday morning I felt a little off, but figured it was from the flu shot. 

By Tuesday night I had terrible stomach pains, and extreme bloating. I was convinced there was some sort of IVF-related complication. 

Sleep was impossible. On more than one occasion I almost got up, got dressed and took myself to the ER but then got lazy or repositioned, etc. 

I called my RE first thing Wednesday morning and walked them through all my symptoms. They felt like it was probably a GI issue and asked me to call my GP. 

Went to see her in the afternoon and her exam indicated it was a uterine or ovarian issue, and to call my RE back and ask for an ultrasound. 

Sleep Wednesday night was even worse than Tuesday, but my doctor assured me it wasn’t appendicitis or anything and I figured I should just wait it out until I could get to the RE. 

My RE saw us early this morning and confirmed that my uterus was perfect, and my ovaries looked just fine. But they felt pretty strongly that it was my appendix, so we headed to the hospital. 

Abdominal exams, CT scans, and sonograms later, I have pancreatitis. The usual causes? Are gall stones (I have none) or alcoholism (not me) so they’re a little stumped as to why, but we can worry about that some other time I guess. 

Twelve hours later, I’m still here, admitted to my own room, hooked up to IV fluids and getting pain meds every few hours. 

Nothing to eat or drink until tomorrow, since anything in your stomach basically lights your pancreas on fire. 

I’m feeling better, and glad to finally have a diagnosis. They tell me I should be able to proceed with my FET if I feel up to it, which is still to be determined. 

The last time I was in this hospital though, I was also in the ER following a terrible car accident — a mere three days into my FET cycle that brought us Gus. 

So I can’t help but look at a trip to the same hospital, the same ER, a few days before another transfer as a good omen, regardless of the circumstances. 

Fingers crossed!

Happy Halloween!




Today I noticed one of our pumpkins was getting squishy, and on my way to dumping it in the forest, I dropped it and it exploded five feet in front of my door. #wompwomp 

Tonight we trick-or-treated with neighborhood friends, and the kids (all 2-3ish) were the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.

Gus/Mr. Incredible held hands with all the girls, tripped over a hose and face planted, but quickly recovered when promised more candy.

Dear Gus: Three

Dear Gus,

The details are starting to get a little bit fuzzy, but here’s what I remember about the day you were born: the drive to the hospital was excruciating, the nurses were lovely, the anesthesiologist was eating a sandwich while I was demanding some drugs, and then the next thing I knew it was 3:57 AM and you were here — and we were parents.

You looked like this:

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Now, you look like this:

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In the last year, you have changed so much. You use the potty, like a big boy. You can walk up and down the stairs (all by yourself!) giving me a small heart-attack every time. You can sort of swim. You can do somersaults, and walk on a balance beam, and bounce all the way down a trampoline. You can run, and you jump on EVERYTHING.

You go to school now, and you LOVE it. You have friends from your classes, and in our neighborhood, and you ask to play with them all the time. You love your cousins, and you talk about them all time.

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You’d still rather play than eat (a choice I’ll never understand) but when you do want some food, you prefer pretzels, French fries, more pretzels, and cheese.

You never. stop. talking. You are so imaginative, and hilarious — the things that come out of your mouth are unbelievable, including:

“Mom? What happens if the moon pops?”

“Surprise! I’m in your birthday cake!”

“We have an emergency! I saw an ant!”

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And let’s get this out of the way: The Terrible Twos have a well deserved reputation, for being, well — terrible. And you sir, can be terrible with the best (worst?) of them. Usually, it was because you were sick, or teething (molars are the devil’s teeth) or we had just spent large sums of money on fertility treatments trying to make you a sibling, and God just has a sense of humor. Thankfully, those moments were few and far between, because when all those unfortunate things aren’t happening, you’re really a pleasure to be around.

Your counting skills, which used to include the occasional letter and color, are legit now, and you know your fair share of letters too. You also know your full name, and our names (this year you went through a “what’s your name?” phase, in which you asked everyone their names, including total strangers at the grocery store.)

You have names for all of your grandparents now: Nan, and Pop, and Grandma & Pacha. We have no idea what Pacha means, or how you came up with it, but it suits him.

You still LOVE Curious George, and now we can add The Incredibles, the Lion Guard, the PJ Masks, Daniel Tiger & Co., and the Paw Patrol pups to that list. You love to build planes, and towers, and animals with our blocks and duplos, and you love to sit at your train table and play with trains and cranes and cars.

You still adore all animals, and our nighttime routine now consists of pretending to be dogs, or sharks, or gorillas, or tigers, or elephants, or various members of the Lion Guard. If we’re not animals, than we’re race cars and a tow truck, or a train, or we practice gymnastics.

You’re still sleeping in your own room (thank you baby Jesus) unless you’re super sick, only now your menagerie of animals has grown to include: George, Duck, Mickey, Little Appa (the elephant), Cornelius the crocodile, Cow, and Big Appa (another elephant) — not to mention whatever little toy you ask to bring upstairs every night.

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You are not shy, at all. You talk to anyone and everyone, and the second anyone sets foot in our house, to ask them if they want to see your room, or play with your trains. You continue to charm older ladies whenever you get the opportunity to do so.

We finally found a place that can give you a decent haircut, without any screaming, or thrashing, or crying. I think the 1) prettyΒ ladies who work there, and 2) lollipops and toy cars they give you help tremendously.

You are super affectionate. You hug all of your friends and cousins goodbye. You smother us with body slam-esque hugs, and huge sloppy kisses. Sometimes you’ll just take a break from jumping on the sofa, to hug us and say I love you, or lay with us to watch something.

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I swear we just planned your second birthday party, like three months ago. Time is flying, and I’m sure it’s only going to get worse.

You’re so sweet, and so funny, and so smart. You’ve learned so much in the past year, and we’re so proud of you.

Love, Mom and Dad

Back in the Saddle.

As we get ready to start another FET cycle, I’m trying to get as healthy as possible.

And along with that comes (or goes?) all the usual suspects.

Caffeine.
Sugar.
Artificial sweeteners.
Alcohol.
Refined Grains.
Good ole’ gluten.

Goodbye old friends. We had a good run, didn’t we?

And, unfortunately for me, since our last loss I have just been eating my feelings (they taste like pizza and ice cream!) for months. Then, that rolled into vacation eating.

And so all that had to stop.

And then I did something unthinkable.

I started going to the gym again. On purpose! Repeatedly! It’s not as often as I’d like, and I can’t work out as hard as I used to (who remembers when I was thin?!) but it’s better than never, ever going to the gym, which is what I’ve been doing for, ohhhhhhhh, six years?

And after all these years of infertility treatments, and pregnancies, and breastfeeding, and going dairy-free, and then eating ALL THE DAIRY, I honestly cannot tell you what my pre-pregnancy weight was.

The good news is, I’m not focused on being a certain weight, or a certain size. This body of mine will never be perfect, but it gave me Gus, and that’s a body worth celebrating as far as I’m concerned, even if it doesn’t look perfect in a bathing suit. But leggings and tunics seem like they’re here to stay awhile, so amen and hallelujah for stretchy pants!

My goal is to lose as much weight as I can (healthily) between now and our FET, while getting stronger and eating these things called “vegetables” I’ve been hearing so much about.

So far, so good.

First Day of Preschool

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His shark bag is all packed, and my baby is off to preschool!

Classes technically started before Labor Day, but today was his first time going solo, the entire time, and with the whole class. He loved it.

Other kids cry when their moms drop them off — mine runs into class without so much as a glance over his shoulder in my direction, and sobs uncontrollably when I show up two hours later to take him home.

And I went *TO THE GYM*Β (what?! I know!) for the first time in, ummm, what year is it? At least five years? Holy crap, maybe longer. It felt good to get back on an elliptical and listen to bad pop music for an hour. I’m looking forward to doing it more regularly.

After our last loss, I’ve been eating my feelings — because they taste like pizza and ice cream. I’ve been trying to get back on track the last few weeks so I can get as healthy as possible before our next FET in a few weeks.

I’m so happy and relieved that Gus is enjoying school. And I’m excited to have a few hours to myself every week. And now THIRD birthday planning is in full effect!

A Vacation From Our Vacation

We’ve had a series of unfortunate vacation-y events over the last few years.

One year Mike dislocated his shoulder in the ocean, which ultimately required surgery to completely repair.

The next year our basement flooded the night before we were supposed to leave.

A few years later, Gus was a baby, and still nursing around the clock, and we were still co-sleeping, and the bed was awful, and I was miserable. The year after that, Gus got bronchitis, and we had to head home early.

So this year when we made it to and from the beach without any major disasters, I was pretty excited about it. And as Gus gets older and more independent, vacation becomes minimally more like an actual vacation year-by-year.

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Turns out though, we did NOT escape vacation unscathed. A week after we got home, Gus’ runny nose turned into coughing and wheezing, and before you could say “nebulizer,” he had pneumonia!

Another week later, and he’s finally back to his old self, and we have one whole year to relax before our next vacation.

PGS Results

We had 10 remaining embryos on ice, and after our last loss, we decided to have them all PGS tested.*

Before our embryos could be tested, they’d need to be thawed, biopsied, and re-frozen. We also needed to participate in a consultation with the lab that would be doing the testing.

We were told since we (me, really) were both 31 when our embryos were made, we could expect around 60% of them to be normal, and the rest, obviously, abnormal. I knew that all my embryos had made it to Day 5 before they were frozen, but I’d never known what they were graded.

They were ALL 5AA.

If you’re blessed in the fertility department — this is practically unheard of. If you’re currently undergoing IVF — I don’t need to tell you how amazing that is.

So, two weeks ago, all ten were thawed and biopsied. Nine out of the 10 survived the process and were re-frozen.

Yesterday we got the call from my nurse, and EIGHT of the nine are chromosomally normal!

I know that a PGS diagnosis of “normal” is no guarantee, but I’m very optimistic about moving forward with a frozen cycle this fall. I also can’t help but wonder if we really DID hit the 60% mark:

1st transfer — Chemical Pregnancy, one embryo
2nd transfer — early loss, one embryo
3rd transfer — healthy baby, two embryos
4th transfer — early loss, one embryo

So we’ve used 5 of the original 15. Assuming the ones we lost or didn’t take were abnormal, plus the test results we have now, that means 9/15 (60%) were/are normal.

We’re on schedule to try again in October. Now if only I could stop eating and drinking like I’m still on vacation. 

*Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) is a powerful genetic test that may be performed on embryos during IVF treatment to screen for numerical chromosomal abnormalities. PGS is performed on a small embryo biopsy prior to transfer and identifies which embryos are chromosomally normal.