Friday, November 30, 2007

This baby is finally becoming real...tangible...

I wanted to post these yesterday... but, the NT scan the appointment took a LONG time, then I had to go shopping for a birthday present for a party tomorrow, and then my IL's and I took Chris to the Turtle Back Zoo to see their Holiday Lights Show.

The next u/s went very well - baby's heartbeat is still around 150 bpm, he/she is moving around and measuring right on for where I am. Phew!!

I won't know results from the NT Scan (risk of Downs, trisomy 13 and 18) until the b/w comes back next week and that is compared with the scan. From there, we decide if we need to do an amnio. We met with the genetic counselor prior to the u/s and we basically decided that if my risk of chromosome issues is low (say 1/900, etc), I won't do the amnio. But, if my odds are higher than the m/c rate of the amnio (which is 1/300), then we will do it. So, that is for next week and will be continued then.

Meanwhile, the MFM clinic is checking my homocysteine levels (Dr. D didn't think it was necessary, but the clinic wants it done). I am scheduled for a Level II u/s on 1/10/08 at 18 weeks (they will check cervix then due to induction of Chris and the d&e/d&c history) and after that, I will go back to them for about 2 more u/s's to check fetal growth due to thyroid issues. All the while, still going to Dr. D for normal prenatal checks.

One of the best parts is that according the the MFM clinic scale, I weight 2 pounds less than I did at Dr. D's office 2 weeks ago! YEAH! I am getting worried about my weight (not because of how much I lost, but because I am eating SO MUCH, SO OFTEN!). So, we will see what Dr. D's scale says in 2 weeks!

Here are the u/s pics from yesterday:

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I am still so, so guarded about this pregnancy - always scared of the next u/s, the next doppler check, etc. Thinking the rug is ready to be ripped out from under me... That I am going to find out this baby is going to leave us too.

It has been so hard for me to think be enjoy this time. I want to. And, I am trying. I want to enjoy when Hubby talks to the baby, whispering how much he loves him/her already. I want to be happy when Chris pats my tummy, saying hello to his younger sibling. I want to glow when people start to notice I am growing into maternity clothes.

But, I think it is finally starting to sink in now that this PG may very well work. I am closing the door to the first trimester now - and, it has been very uneventful. I think we are looking at bringing a baby home in June...finally, a sibling for Chris to love and protect.

I want so much to believe...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A bittersweet Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving Day...a rather mixed bag for 2007.

As we celebrate the beginning of the holidays with both sets of families, we get to announce today the new, unexpected addition to the clan.

But, as we break the news to the family that doesn't know, we are also remembering that two years ago today, we lost Angel #2.

It will be a different experience, getting to tell the bulk of the family at 11+ weeks pregnant, since I was able to hide this pregnancy (for the most part). The lack of the mega-nausea has been nice.

But, while I am very happy to finally share the news, I still miss, very much, my second Angel. Life changed so much for us - for me - two years ago. This loss brought me way down emotionally to a point I never thought I could reach. Losing this baby was my first major fall, followed in March 2006 with the fall even further of losing Angel #3. It has taken me so, so long to recover from losing these babies...

Although I am still having a hard time feeling comfortable with the idea of this baby staying with us, and making it to June, I am beginning to feel hope and faith that my body will do its job. I haven't felt this way since my pregnancy with Chris. It feels's been a while.

I am so very thankful today - for so many things: My Chris, my marriage, this new blessing, my family and friends...and the chance to learn from, remember, honor and cherish always my angels, who I know are watching over us.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. May this holiday season bless everyone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Prayer request for a friend's son

My friend, C's, son is having surgery tomorrow on the artery on his trachea.

James has been in and out of the hospital since birth - for so many things, including serious, recurring sinus infections. He is such a fighter. And a great little boy (although, because of C living in Florida, we have never met him).

I ask that all of you say a little prayer for him for his surgery tomorrow... He could really use could his family.

Thanks. :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Beautiful things

In my Women Who Do Too Much calender today, I received this:
"To be surrounded by beautiful things has much influence on the human creature; to make beautiful things has more."
- Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Well...I am making something beautiful...

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And, it is amazing.

My EDD is now changed (by one day) to June 10th - I am measuring perfectly from the u/s done on 10/24: 10 weeks, 1 day. I am also getting kicked and punched like a massive soccer ball...might have to talk to this baby about it when I start feeling the movement in the weeks to come. Heart rate is about 150 bmp.

And, I gained no weight from the last appointment three weeks ago - very good, since I am eating like a cow right now!

Everything looks so right.

It is so amazing right now. But, it still feels so, so unreal - two years ago this Thanksgiving Day, I had my d&e for my second m/c. This Thanksgiving, we will be sharing very different - very good - news at just a few days shy of 12 weeks pregnant. It is hard to wrap my head around that. I am having a hard time, still, feeling happy. I am - I am elated! But, I have - and probably always will until this baby is born - that cautious voice in the back of my head. I am trying hard to ignore it...but, knowing how bad things can go now, it is rather hard to ignore it.

I am taking it day by day... And praying day by day...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

My IF and RPL Story

From when I was a very young child, my dream was always to be happily married, financially well off just enough that the bills were paid without worry, and to be a stay-at-home mom to several children. As I grew older, most of that dream remained...although the details of it became a little hazy with going to college, getting a degree, starting a job, marrying later than I had hoped to, and starting a family later than I had ever planned on. The attempt to start a family later is when my dream began to really fall apart...and so did my heart. No one ever expects Infertility. No one ever expects Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. Why was this delivered to OUR doorstep? What did we do wrong in our lives to deserve this? Why did I have to become a part of that 12.5% of the population experiencing infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss...which, statistically, ranks right up there with so many other medical "epidemics."

I have gone to three ob/gyn's in my lifetime - but, only Dr. D (my third and current ob/gyn) was ever concerned about my long, erratic cycles I had lived with all of my life - by Jove! Someone was finally concerned! He did some preliminary testing, but could not really find anything wrong that would be causing them. So, we just waited a bit with the caveat that 1) when we were ready to TTC, that I call him and let him know when we were going to start trying so he could re-run the testing he had done and 2) that whenever we started getting frustrated if things were not happening, that I call him (even if it was under the 12 month TTC wait for someone under the age of 35 years old) so he can really start running the full IF testing. We started TTC in January 2002 - by November 2002, nothing was happening and I had probably 4 cycles in that time period. So, we called and scheduled the TTC consult that month...and testing began immediately. By June 2003, all testing was complete - problem was ovulation, as in I wasn't at ovulating at all and was told that if I did finally ovulate in a very long cycle, that the chances of the pregnancy being viable would be slim to none since the uterine lining would be too old to support a healthy PG, making miscarriage inevitable. Hearing that the chances of me ever conceiving naturally just broke my heart. For someone whose dream was essentially to be a mommy, it was the worse news you could receive. After that, we started our first Clomid/IUI cycle in July 2003 with Dr. D - and, so thankfully, it worked and Christopher was born in May 2004.

Dr. D, after Chris was born, had told us that when we were ready to TTC #2, to let him know immediately - since I have the erratic cycle history and documented ovulation issues, that I would not have to TTC for 12 months before he could intervene. So, we contacted him in June 2005 to start TTC - and my dreams began to crumble when even what worked to conceive Chris didn't work now. Our first cycle in July 2005 of 50 mg Clomid never even produced an ovulation. Our second cycle in September 2005 of 100 mg Clomid finally produced an ovulation - but, so poorly and without warning even on u/s, we scrapped the IUI. But, I ended up getting PG, only to start bleeding a week after my BFP... Three weeks later, a blighted ovum was finally confirmed 100% and a d&e was done on 11/22/05. The Thanksgiving weekend was the worst in history...facing the family was horrible. I couldn't escape the pity in their eyes...and the total lack of mentioning what had happened, for fear I would break down at the beautifully decorated table. In an attempt to "recover" from the loss, we pushed forward into the next cycle in January 2006 - yet again, 100 mg Clomid and IUI. But I never made it to the IUI because I couldn't recover from the stomach virus DS had gifted to me. The IUI was canceled. When I finally felt better, I found I did ovulate (checking OPKs and temping) - Hubby and I made due, and DTD. Two weeks later, I got the BFP. This time, I felt PG - so, although very guarded, we went into the first u/s with joy and laughter...only to be swatted down again when no heartbeat was discovered and the baby was measuring more than a week behind. I had a missed m/c...although I still had all of the symptoms. Of course, my doc did another u/s a few days later to confirm...and I asked for the d&c right away. I was just devastated... This was now my third loss total. How could that be, after having a perfectly normal, successful PG with my DS? I ended up spiraling into anxiety for more than a year...and only with counseling and medication did I finally begin to learn how to deal with it all and accept where my life was going.

The most amazing thing - and I know I am in a very small the minority for this - is our insurance coverage came through with flying colors during all of our experiences of heartbreak and joy. I am a State Employee in NJ - and the medical benefits makes working full time so worth it. The ONLY things not covered by my insurance were OPK's and HPT's. All of my IF testing (loads of b/w, HSG, pelvic/trasnvaginal u/s's, etc.) with the exception of the prerequisite co-pays ($5 in 2002 - $15 now); the IUI cycle that resulted in my PG with Chris, including the semen wash/semen analysis and the monitoring u/s's; all of the prenatal checks and birth expenses of Christopher, again with the prerequisite co-pays and with the exception of the additional cost of the private room I wanted; both the d&e in 11/05 and the d&c in 3/06, along with the genetic testing of the fetal remains removed; all of the recurrent pregnancy loss testing (viles after viles of b/w and other tests); and, finally, all of the care (so far) of this very surprising, high-risk pregnancy - ALL of it was covered. I cannot even fathom how much money all of these tests, procedures, medications and care would have cost me out of pocket. My insurance covered it all, except for the simple co-pays. I don't think DH and I could have come this far without the coverage - coverage that, quite frankly, if mandated correctly by the States of this country, should be available to all of us. I was able to get IF testing done earlier because of coverage - so, it did not take me nearly as long as some women TTC to get PG because the resources and money were there. I was able to get RPL testing done much earlier with my coverage - saving us from longer-term disappointments and heartache, not to mention, allowing me to be TREATED for the medical conditions I have that will affect me later in life. Our coverage, in the end, not only saved us financially...but also gave us peace of mind that we didn't need to worry about the expense of it all during our journey. Less worry = less stress.

It is heartbreaking - and unfathomable - that couples in the US have to risk it all to have a child. Having a child is a natural part of life - or should be made as natural as humanly possible with the appropriate resources and coverage. But, with a statistic of 12.5% of the population experiencing infertility and recurrent pregnancy coverage needs to step up and start helping people become families. IF and pregnancy loss is not only a physical condition - but, eventually, they become emotional conditions as well resulting in lost hours with family and at work. The coverage I have - which includes 4 IVF cycles lifetime (which I wish I could gift to someone who could really use it) - should be the model for all States to copy from.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Helping out a fellow Stirrup Queen

Mel over at Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters sent out the following call for assistance.

Go on over and give Mel a huge assist with this! It is for a good cause we all, unfortunately, share in.

So you're receiving this because you are a stirrup queen and I am a stirrup queen and I need your help. I was nominated for an award and at first, I was just touched and it was really nice. Then, Flicka wrote her post this week (
and it gave me an idea. Do I want to win? Hell yeah. But do I see a larger thing we could do with this? Yes.

This award thing will probably get press and I've certainly seen a rise in hits this week since it was announced. Flicka wrote about drafting a letter that people could use. I'd like to win this and use the glance that the general population will give to the winner to draw attention to the IF/pg loss blogosphere. To our issues (especially in an election year). To the reality of IF. Not a letter about how hard it is, but the reality of what it is like to have to pay thousands simply for a chance to get to the parenting starting line. What we need in terms of mandated coverage or job leave. The facts of IF (in numbers and statistics) laid bare.

And then post this letter if I win. Post it even if I don't win, but the winner will be announced at the end of the week/this weekend (I think) and we would need it ready to go up when the most people would be looking. With the blogroll list highlighted (take a look at 1000 stories if you need faces on the issue).

So the help from you--if you can give it this week--is two-fold. Flicka, if you can spearhead this, can you organize anyone who wants to participate (hit reply to this email and I'll compile the list of email addresses and pass them along to Flicka) and get multiple people to do research at once. And start writing this (I'll help you). We just need to finish it by Thursday-ish.

The other thing I need you to do is to ask you to use your blog to get other people to vote. It's three clicks (click on the link, click on Stirrup Queens, and click off the site) and you can vote once every 24 hours. The link to the voting site is Voting goes until November 8th. I'm posting this letter regardless, but if we want to take advantage of the general population's attention, I have to actually win.

So, um...begging for your help since I feel like my blog is a community space regardless. It is, after all, your virtual living room/bar...minus the pee bucket. If you know of other people who
would want to participate and you're not sure if they got this note (sorry, did a BCC because I'm squeamish about privacy and don't like sending out other people's email addresses unless they say it's okay), pass it along. We just need to move quickly.

Wow...I feel like an activist. Just in time for National Infertility Awareness Week!


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween 2007

Figured I would have some fun today (since I am half-asleep at my desk...and I can't seem to concentrate on my work anyway...) and post some Halloween 2007 pics.


The first pic in full costume.
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Ahoy, matey!
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Arrrr! Check out my hook!
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Uh, ma? Do you think this is big enough for all the candy?
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Christopher's class party:
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Trick or Treating:
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Visiting the Great Pumpkin:
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Chris and Angelina:
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Chris kissing Angelina:
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All right, ma! Enough of the kissing Angelina pictures!
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Hubby's Cuban uncle as a Sumo Wrestler:
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The "rear view". Smashing, no?
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Sumo with Angelina:
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