Thursday, December 29, 2011

The absurd things that melt my heart

"Don't stab our baby in the face."

Yep, that made me swoon.

Would you like some background? Of course you would!

My nighttime routine is asinine. It makes me dread going to sleep.

Right now, it consists of:

  1. Topping off my glass of ice water
  2. Taking out my contacts
  3. Brushing my teeth
  4. Washing my face
  5. Popping in a progesterone supp
  6. Putting on a panty-liner
  7. Getting my Lovenox syringe & alcohol swab out and setting them beside the bed
  8. Plugging the charger into my cell phone
  9. Getting my Boo-Boo Buddy out of the freezer and setting it on my bedside table
  10. Adjusting and turning on my heating pad
  11. Once in bed, applying Boo-Boo Buddy to whichever side of my stomach I'm going to be jabbing
  12. Playing Words with Friends while I wait for my stomach to numb
  13. Once numb, cleaning the area with the alcohol pad
  14. Fanning the area dry
  15. Opening the Lovenox syringe, removing the lid
  16. Squeezing together a fold of fat to jab
  17. Hoping that it doesn't hurt 
  18. If the jab seems like it will hurt, choosing another numbed spot
  19. Sloooowwwwly inserting the Lovenox, as to prevent stinging. If it starts to sting, I stop and wait
  20. Dispose of syringe and garbage
  21. Reapply Boo-Boo Buddy to prevent any bleeding or bruising
  22. Getting a prenatal vitamin out of the blister pack and taking it
  23. Taking two fish oil softgels
  24. Getting out one each of Estradiol and Dexamethasone, and taking them
  25. Taking one last drink of water to wash away the "ugh" of pill taking
  26. Throw Boo-Boo Buddy on the floor and hope Kelsey doesn't eat it (I can't put it on my nightstand after all! It's cold and wet!)
  27. Read my Kindle for 5 minutes until I realize I'm too sleepy to read
  28. Take off my glasses, turn off the light
  29. Sleep
Well, last night, as I was getting ready to start step #16, Buster pops his head in the bedroom to say goodnight to me. He sees me getting ready to jab myself, and says:

"Don't stab our baby in the face."

Buster doesn't really talk too much about the baby. I know he's really excited and happy, but he's not a very emotional guy. And honestly, I'm not sure how much this has really sunk in with him yet.

So him bringing up the baby and being worried about me hurting the little bugger made me happy.

I know that sounds really bizarre. What can I say? I'm hormonal and pregnant. I'm really surprised I didn't cry!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

8 week ultrasound

I have lots of catching up to do, I know! Our Vegas trip, our new house, the holidays...

But today all I have time for is an update on our ultrasound appointment yesterday. It was a pretty quick appointment, but that doesn't mean that all kinds of great stuff wasn't packed into that short time!

Maurice was not my ultrasound tech this time. Instead, it was a sweet young woman. She talked more than Maurice had, and explained some things to me.

Right away I noticed that out little baby had grown considerably since last week! Baby was almost shaped like a baby. Last week it was more like a blur.

The heartbeat was also noticeably different this week. Last week, it was muffled and kind of static-y sounding. This week, it was loud and clear. Like a drum. It was such a beautiful sound.

157 bpm this week, versus 130 last week. I take that as a good sign!

(click to make bigger!)

I have a 9 week ultrasound scheduled for Monday. After that one, I should be released from my clinic in NYC.

This still doesn't feel real.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The first ultrasound; or the most amazing experience of my life

As you, my faithful readers, know oh so well, I've had a million ultrasounds. Follicle checks, CD3 ultrasounds, even that rare ultrasound after the IUI to see the sperm placement. Many of these ultrasounds were unpleasant, either due to a gut full of follicles making the presence of a wand unbearable, or because of the complete stupidity of the doctor-in-training controlling said wand.

All of those now cease to exist in my mind.

There is no longer any room in my brain for those lackluster ultrasounds.

Buster and I arrive at my appointment on time. This is the office that force me to coin the phrase "preggo parade" because, well, every woman in the waiting room is noticeably pregnant. And back when I was going frequently due to my LEEP procedure, it was pure hell. And that's an understatement.

Well, I still had some weird, residual baby-bump envy, but it was nothing like it used to be. I'm just excited to someday have a bump!

I went back first for the medical history/weight/blood pressure portion of my appointment. The nurse asked if I had been drinking lots of water for my ultrasound. Um, no! No one told me I needed to do that! She told me not to worry and brought me a tall glass of ice water. Lovely!

The nurse (who was my age or a few years younger) was incredibly sweet, and I told her that we had been trying for over 4 years. She asked if we did IVF around here, and I explained to her that although we had gone to the one RE in town for quite awhile, I left unsatisfied and unhappy. I told her that we were accepted into a clinical trial in NYC, and that the cost of treatment was free. She seemed more interested than in just a writing-it-on-my-chart kind of way.

After a few more minutes, she came clean that she had been to my same RE for a year, and left unhappy. She is looking in to IVF, but the cost is just so overwhelming. I spent a good 15 minutes talking up my clinic and the clinical trial. I gave her my email address in case she had any questions.

I hope she goes for it. It was honestly the best thing that ever happened to Buster and I, and I would love to help other women battling infertility to achieve their dreams.

But back to the appointment. After the extensive medical history portion, I head back out to the waiting room to wait for the u/s tech to call us back. And after 15 minutes, he does.

And he looks just like Belle's father (Maurice) from Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Identical. Not quite what I pictured for the u/s tech, but ok!

As we head back to the fancy new ultrasound room, I realize that I'm acutely aware of my lack of apparent emotion. I expected to be a big bundle of nerves and worry. I wasn't. But I also wasn't overly excited either, because I just wasn't sure what this scan would show. I was just there.

We head into the room with Maurice. It's a huge room. The u/s machine and table is facing the wall. There is a small loveseat beside the table. On the wall we are facing is a huge flat screen TV.

I didn't know what to do. I expected to be having a vaginal ultrasound. I mean, I'm just barely 7 weeks along. Admittedly, I did not research at what stage they can do the ultrasound on the belly (no idea what this is called, by the way).

I am just standing there, looking at Maurice. Buster has taken a seat on the loveseat. Maurice finally turns around and tells me to hop up on the table. He tells me to lie back, lift up my shirt and unbutton my pants and fold them down a bit. Well aren't you forward, you little scatterbrained inventor, you?!

I reach for Buster's hand as Maurice squirts that warm gel on my stomach (get your head out of the gutter!). I glance over at Buster out of the corner of my eye, and he's trying not to laugh. I am too, but probably not for the same reason as Buster. If I laugh, I'm pretty sure I'm going to pee.

Maurice starts looking for baby. I anxiously watch the screen. Remember how I was feeling a lack of emotion walking into the room? All of the sudden I'm flooded with panic and fear. I see my giant bladder. Then, I see my uterus. With something in it!

He zooms in and centers my uterus on the screen. Then he zooms in again and does some measurements. I'm still not even sure what I'm seeing. I know there's something there, but the only thing that is really catching my eye is a big round empty thing, and I don't think that can be good news!

Maurice doesn't speak during this time. He's concentrating, and I let him. He does another zoom-in, and I see the fluttering of what I can now assume is my baby's heart.

Tears start streaming down my face.

Our baby has a heart, and it's beating!

Maurice pauses the shot, then pushes some button and the sound of our baby's heartbeat fills the room.

Amazing.

I try stealing a glance over at Buster. I think his eyes are watery, but I didn't look at him too long. It was very difficult taking my eyes off of that screen for a split-second!

But Buster is squeezing my hand, and I know that means he is happy and excited.

Maurice tells me that I am measuring 6w5d, which is a couple days shy of where I had myself. He mentions that it's perfectly normal to have a little variance. We finish up, and Maurice hands me some photos of our little peanut.

Baby's second photo!

It was an amazing experience. And it's one that I never really pictured myself having. Buster and I are on top of the world.

___________________________

We moved this past weekend. It was an exhausting couple of days. I'd rather never move again. And we are trying to get ready for Vegas as well. We leave tomorrow morning, and we have so much to do before then. I'm so ready for a few days of relaxation. And I am more than ready to deliver Christmas to a family that deserves it!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Some updates, and Beta #4 results

I apologize for being MIA. As I mentioned in my last blog post, this December is the busiest one on record for Buster and I!

This past Monday, I had my fourth beta. This was 24dp6dt, or 6w1d. In order to fall within the normal doubling time of 72-96 hours for hcg > 1200, my beta needed to be a minimum of 5500.

Well, it was 11,517! That's a doubling time of 55ish hours, which I'm thrilled about! My E2 was 468 and my progesterone was >20, and my clinic was very happy with all of my numbers.

My first ultrasound is scheduled for this Monday, the 19th. My clinic also wants me to go in for two more ultrasounds on the following weeks. So, I will have an ultrasound at 7 weeks, 8 weeks and 9 weeks. I can't wait to see my baby!

In other updates, I have been absolutely swamped at work. It definitely makes my days fly by, but it's also giving me cause to worry a bit. I will be happy to finalize a couple of the projects and get them out of my life!

We leave for Las Vegas on Wednesday, and we are beyond excited! Plans have changed a bit, and Buster and I are the only people going! I'm completely fine with this, and am really looking forward to spending time with baby Jasmine's family!


Also, we've moved a couple things into our new place, but plan to do the bulk this weekend. Our poor undecorated Christmas tree has been living alone in the new house for almost a week now! I'm ready to get over there and decorate. Wish I could snap my fingers and all the moving and unpacking would be done...

I will update on Monday after our appointment! I hope to have wonderful news to share.

4 days until our first ultrasound!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Busy December (in all ways but one)

When I first typed the title to this blog post, I typed, "Busty December!". Apparently my mind is in the gutter.

I'm sure it has absolutely nothing to do with my 24-day dry spell... Yes, it's been that long since we have done "it". Poor Buster. And poor me!

In my defense (ha) we weren't "allowed" to after the embryo transfer. And since then, I've been a) worried that it would mess something up, and b) distracted beyond measure. I'm sure someday we may be intimate again...

______________________

In other news, Buster and I closed on our first home last weekend. It's a pretty small house (1,500ish SF), but it's bigger than the apartment we currently live in! It's not somewhere I'd like to live forever, but it's definitely a start!

Buster and my FIL have been painting over there every day since the closing. We are hoping to start moving stuff in this weekend. This will definitely keep us busy!

______________________

As if buying a house and moving before Christmas isn't enough to do... Buster and I leave for Las Vegas in two weeks!

And this is a pretty amazing story. 

As many of you who have been reading my blog for at least a couple months are well aware, I have a friend whose 6-month-old daughter was in desperate need of a heart transplant. Baby Jasmine was diagnosed with Dialated Cardiomyopathy, and was admitted to Loma Linda University Children's Hospital back in August. While her family lives in Las Vegas, Jasmine and her mother, Naycee, stayed in California for 92 days awaiting a new heart.

On November 28, 2011, Jasmine received that heart. And she is positively flourishing. 

It's only been a week and a half, but the doctors are shocked and impressed with her progress. She continues to amaze everyone. Jasmine is an inspiration. And so beautiful!

Jasmine post-surgery, looking healthier by the minute!
Back before Jasmine received her precious gift, I was posting her story a lot on my Facebook page. The more people I could get to "like" her page, the more supporters she had, and the more likely it would be for her story to get out.

A friend of mine saw my posting on Facebook. She actually works at the corporate office of my company (I'm a contractor, so I work on-site at the government lab). She brought Jasmine's story to the attention of the upper management and owner of the company we both work for. And here is where it gets pretty amazing.

My company decided to "sponsor" Jasmine's family for the holidays. They typically adopt a local family and provide Christmas for the family. And when I say "providing Christmas", they go ALL OUT. Jasmine's story touched them, and they decided that regardless of where the family is located, they could stand to not have to worry about affording Christmas. And that Jasmine's older brother and sister (15 and 8) shouldn't have to have a meager Christmas.

Obviously I was beyond thrilled with this development. I excitedly relayed the news to Naycee, and she was just shocked that people she didn't know could be so compassionate. 

A couple days later, my friend at the corporate office called me again. The point of this phone call was to inform me that the owner of my company wanted to hand-deliver the gifts to Jasmine's family. And she wanted Buster and I to accompany her.

I instantly started crying. What an amazing offer. Not only will I get to participate in bringing so much joy to a family, but I get to meet my friend Naycee in person! She has been such a wonderful friend to me, supporting me through all of my hard times. And I like to think I've done the same for her. And finally, we will get to meet.

When I called Buster to tell him the news of this generous offer, he cried. Our airfare and hotel room (at a BIG casino on the strip!) are covered. I will also be getting paid my normal wages, since the trip takes place during the week. We are also going to see a couple basketball games, as our home team is in a tournament there during this time.

We come home on Christmas Eve. I could not be MORE excited for this trip.

______________________

And one final update. I have another beta scheduled for Monday the 12th. I have also scheduled my first ultrasound! It is on Monday the 19th. I will be 7wk1d pregnant. We'll be leaving for Vegas on the 21st. 

This is shaping up to be the best Christmas ever.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Beta #3: 17dp6dt, or 5 weeks 1 day

My beta from today is:

1574!

A doubling time of 46.26 hours. That's increased since last beta, but I'm ok with that, as it's still within normal range (last beta doubling time was 29ish hours).

My progesterone is greater than 20, and my E2 is 451. My clinic seemed pleased with those numbers.

As am I!

My clinic wants me to go back in for a FOURTH beta in a week from today. Just when I thought I was done with blood work...

I was hoping they would let me schedule my first ultrasound appointment, but alas, nothing of that sort was said in the message. I have since sent an email asking if I can schedule this appointment. Hopefully they will humor me.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Full-circle: "Just Relax!"

Just Relax.

That's all I want to do.

During all my years of TTC, I scoffed at the advice to "Just Relax". Never once did I seriously consider relaxing. You fight for what you want, after all, right? And fight I did. Tooth and nail.

After so many years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds of stressing, worrying, trying, researching, and fighting, I think that's all I know how to do.

And I don't want to anymore. I don't want to stress. I don't want to research. I don't want to worry.

I want to enjoy my incredibly new pregnancy. My first pregnancy, ever. I want to take comfort in the fact that my test line is beating the control line. That I'm still peeing more frequently than before. That I am still having little bouts of nausea. That I'm not spotting, nor having any AF-like symptoms.

But the truth is I'm worried sick.

And I know I shouldn't be. Or maybe I should be. Who knows?

It's quite the conundrum, honestly. I know how I want be feeling and acting, but I can't force myself to get there. I can't let go of my fears and worries and doubts.

Because of all of my past disappointment in this realm, I'm expecting something to go wrong.

Am I an awful person because of that?

Will it get easier to accept that this is happening to me?

My third beta is on Monday. I'm on pins and needles, and already wishing away my weekend.
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