Two Weeks To Go

Yesterday we had our last growth scan, and Little Brother is currently weighing in at 6 pounds and 7 ounces (the 53%, and already a full pound bigger than Gus was when he was born).

I have four NSTs to go.

39 injections left, which sounds like a lot, but I take three a day.

All the baby clothes are washed. My hospital bag is packed. I finally bought a few packs of diapers.

We finally got a 3D sneak peak of his face that doesn’t look like a deformed Halloween mask, and he’s got chubby little cheeks and his dad’s nose.

I was fully prepared to suffer through carpal tunnel and De Quervain syndrome again, and miraculously (a theme for this pregnancy in general!) it never became an issue.

The trade off though, seems to be horrendous pelvic pain, that I can only compare to, like, riding a bike with an old metal seat for eight hours a day, EVERY day.

So that’s been pleasant.

Overall, I’m feeling good, and I’m ready to have this baby.

Tiny complication? In two days my mom is flying halfway around the world for 10 days. She gets home about 60 hours before my scheduled delivery.

She’s convinced my water will break as soon as her plane takes off.

So if you need me, I’ll be sitting here (on an ice pack) with my legs and my fingers crossed, for the next two weeks.

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This is Easier/Harder Than Last Time

Having a normal sized baby, after having a teeny tiny one, is much easier than I was prepared for. 

It’s easier to go to the doctor, get NSTs and BPPs, there’s a lot less monitoring and blood work, and none of the medical professionals I see throughout the week come at me with a doom-and-gloom attitude.

My NSTs are over, passed with flying colors, in record time. My BPPs are literally just fluid checks — no dopplers, no practice breaths counts, no constant talk of growth scans. 

I’m not laying awake at night frantically reading about IUGR causes and complications. 

Doctors say things like, “this is all a testament to how well you’re managing your gestational diabetes!” as I stare blankly over their shoulders, thinking about plates of French fries and bowls of ice cream. 

It’s also harder though, physically.

While it’s only the matter of a few extra pounds, I’m feeling the difference between carrying a baby in the 10th percentile versus one in the 50th. 

My belly button is gone, and I’m horrified, and I can’t even look at it (which is difficult since I have to give myself multiple abdominal injections a day). Oh god I hope it goes back to normal. 

And then there are all the regular third trimester wonders like heartburn, and round ligament pain, aching back and ribs, and (new for me this time!) Braxton Hicks, all of which seem intensified this time, but that could just be my pregnancy amnesia talking. 

But of course, like any lucky former infertile (a former infertile with a miracle unicorn accidental pregnancy no less), I’m trying not to complain. 

Six Weeks to Go

Yesterday I started my twice-weekly NSTs and BPPs for Little Brother, and despite my clotting issues, gestational diabetes, a history of gestation hypertension AND a previous IUGR diagnosis — this baby is perfect.

He’s almost 4.5 pounds, and has measured anywhere from the 40th to the 60th percentile depending on the day we have a growth scan. Gus, at this point, was already hovering around the 10th percentile, so the idea of having a giant normal sized baby is blowing my mind right now.

And, I don’t know if it’s because this time the baby is bigger, or if it’s my anterior placenta, or if it’s just because it’s my second (well, sixth, but who’s counting?) pregnancy, but I feel ENORMOUS. My belly button is almost gone, and it’s threatening to pop out, and I can’t even look at it, and Gus thinks it’s fascinating and wants to poke it (GAHH.)

If everything continues to chug along as it has been, and I don’t go into labor on my own, I’m rolling up to the hospital in six weeks to have this baby (and my second October baby will, in fact, be a September baby).

Anyone else still shocked this is happening? Because I am, 100%.

I’m all for going into labor naturally. That’s what happened with Gus, a few days before my scheduled induction. I’m NOT a huge fan of contractions, and labor pains though, because HOLY MOLY, so part of me is thrilled to just show up and have another c-section.

Complicating matters this time (because of course!) my mom is scheduled to be out of the country up until three days before my scheduled delivery, so fingers and knees crossed he stays put while she’s gone.

 

 

Sixteen Going on Seventeen

This year was not my best. It was stressful, and disappointing, and scary and heartbreaking from time to time. But we laughed a lot, and had a lot of fun too (when I wasn’t sobbing).

It sort of reminds me of these photos, which are some of my favorites from this year. They look good, but really, each one was taken in the midst of a disaster.

In the first one, our trip to the train museum was a makeup trip from the week before when Gus threw up on everything (and everyone) in our car.

The second one was taken in the middle of a full-on meltdown/refusal to participate in a class I’d already paid for, and that – up until that very second – he used to love.

The third was taken after I spent the morning packing a cooler, and a beach bag, and slathering lotion on everyone, and hauling 25 pounds of stuff down to the beach, and 15 minutes later he was like, let’s go to the pool, I hate it here.

So I try to remember that sometimes annoying things happen, and you’ll be stressed and frustrated and tired, but something good can still come out of it. (At least as long as you’re willing to let your toddler wander fairly far away from you, and you happen to be holding a camera).

I hope that everyone has a happy(ier) and healthy(ier) 2017

Recovering

I’ve been out of the hospital for just over a week now, and I’m slowly getting better.

Somewhat ironically, the best way to describe how I feel now would be to compare it to morning (mourning, now, more like it) sickness.

I can’t eat much. When I do eat, nothing sounds very appealing. After I eat, I occasionally regret it.

It’s not pain, so much as never-ending queasiness.

But I lied, because there’s also pain. One of my doctors explained it best, I think, when she compared pancreatitis to having your body fill up with leaking battery acid. My back aches most of the day, so I stay glued to a bottle of Advil and a heating pad, and there a small area along my abdomen that feels numb, tingly, and sort of dead.

And I haven’t figured out why, or how, but every night, between 4-6 a.m., I wake up totally nauseous and unable to fall back asleep.

It’s a real pretty picture, isn’t it?

I miss just feeling normal. Not even good — just normal. Just going to bed and waking up in the morning. Or grabbing any food and eating it without being terrified of how my body will react.

So, I’m nowhere near 100% yet, but I’m so much better than I was a week, and two weeks ago, it’s insane.

Emotionally, I’m a dumpster fire.

The initial relief of finding out I’m not allowed to do any more rounds of IVF has been replaced by heart wrenching grief that we’ll never have another child. And then I feel guilty, because I have Gus, and he’s perfect, and I shouldn’t be greedy. And then Gus wraps himself around me and tells me how much he loves me, and oh boy, here come the waterworks again.

And then people tell me they’d carry a baby for me, and I think ok yes! but also, how in the world can you ask someone to do such a huge favor? And I pepper my friends with adopted brothers and sisters with overly personal questions. And then I wonder if I can try again, without estrogen? Is that even a thing? And then I get exhausted, and cry some more, and can’t think about it anymore.

See? Dumpster fire.

Silver lining? Between my two hospitalizations in November, and the limited recovery diet/forced starvation treatment for pancreatitis, I’ve lost almost 25 pounds, and counting.

So it’s not all bad.

A Sudden and Unexpected End of an Era

I just came home from another 10 days in the hospital. Collectively, I spent nearly half of November in a hospital bed.

I missed Thanksgiving.
I missed Gus’ first trip to the dentist.
I missed my cousin-in-law’s entire trip out for Thanksgiving weekend.

I got out of the hospital (my 1st trip) after three days, feeling like my old self, just taking the occasional tylenol and ready to get on with our planned embryo transfer, which was pushed back a few days to give me time to heal.

And I did heal, and we had our transfer, and I was feeling really optimistic and got a few positive pregnancy tests starting six days after transfer. A little darker on day 7. I never got to test on day 8 — the hospital took over at that point.

A week after my embryo transfer, and 16 days after my first hospital stay, my body exploded from the inside, and I genuinely believed I was dying.

Dying in the car on the way to the emergency room. Almost fainting from pain, until someone caught me in a wheelchair (so cliché!).

Dying in the emergency room, when there were no beds and I willingly, joyfully laid down on the waiting room floor, and enthusiastically emptied my stomach into charming little plastic bins.

Dying in a small room, begging for drugs, or for someone to just Looney Toons-style knock my ass out with a frying pan to the head. Anything.

“It’s pancreatitis!” I shouted at everyone. “I need an IV! And morphine! And another CT scan! And I’m pretty sure I’m pregnant!”

They all agreed, and they tried to help me. They did help me, but nothing was helping.

I just kept comparing it to last time. Last time, I felt better by now. Last time morphine worked quickly and consistently.

This time the pain was 1,000 times worse, and nothing was managing it for the first four days. The first moment of relief I felt was several days later — After feeling like something exploded in my chest, when I couldn’t breathe, screaming at Mike that I love him, make sure Gus knows how much I love him if something happens to me, while a rapid response team doubled my meds and rushed me sobbing to a CT scan.

So, what happened?

Apparently labs came back after the first hospitalization, that showed I had elevated triglycerides. This means nothing to me, but a doctor assures me they shouldn’t be higher than 200, and mine were more than 800. That was what they were when I left the hospital the first time, but since I’d been discharged already, no one gave us the results. (I have strong opinions about this as a policy)

Do you know what can make triglycerides really high?

Estrogen.

Guess what I was taking a crapload of, for even longer than originally planned?

Want to guess what my triglycerides were when they tested them the day I went back to the ER?

More than 5,000.

Also, I was pregnant.

But you can’t take estrogen and lower triglycerides at the same time, so all my meds stopped immediately. I was also insanely dehydrated, and wasn’t allowed to eat or drink for 90 hours, so none of us were surprised when on top of everything else I started bleeding.

What happens now?

Literally right this second all I can do is sip clear fluids, and eat a few teaspoons of food a day and hope it stays in my body and that they didn’t send me home too early.

I feel horrendous, and am trying to remind myself that recovery is going to be more severe, because this time my illness was much more so as well.

I’ve been advised by multiple doctors that I should never, ever, undergo another round of fertility treatment again. That if I take any estrogen therapies in the future, it could kill me.

And so just like that, I’ll never get pregnant again. I’ll never give birth to my own child again. And, maybe it’s because I don’t have a say in the matter, but it’s a bit of a relief to step away from all the needles, and the anxiety and the worry and the fear that comes along with trying again.

I have seven healthy embryos left. Maybe someone will show up at my door and offer to grow one of them for me (I’ll name them after you!). Maybe I’ll win the lottery, and I can pay for a gestational carrier. Maybe we’ll adopt. Maybe we’ll do all those things.

Mike and his parents, and his cousin, and my parents have been so amazing, taking care of Gus and of me. I’ve gotten so many texts and calls and emails, and I literally can’t talk about it without getting winded — I’m not ignoring you, I literally can’t talk, or stop crying, but thank you, and I love you all.

I’ve been home for a day, and we’re all settling into our new temporary normal. I can’t wait to feel normal again. I miss normal.

Mike told me tonight, after the 15th time I was crying on his shoulder, to think about karma. I asked him if I was being punished, and he told me that something wonderful would happen soon.

Maybe he was talking about the painkillers? Only time will tell I guess.

What a Difference a Week Makes

A week ago I was just getting out of the hospital, terrified of eating, and still a little sore.

I was also pretty confident we’d be celebrating our first female president on Wednesday.

Shit happens – usually when you least expect it.

While I’m not at all excited about the outcome of the election (I’m sad, and scared for families that don’t look like mine) I am taking comfort in every spiteful Joe Biden meme I see, and proudly wearing my safety pin.



One little bright spot, at least for me, was the news that my sudden bout of pancreatitis did NOT mean that my frozen cycle needed to be cancelled. My RE suggested pushing everything back five days to give me time to recover.

A week later, transfer day is fast approaching, and I finally feel like my old self again.

Fingers crossed.