Thursday, August 23, 2012

First Trimester Screening

Yesterday was an emotionally draining day, it's amazing how sometimes highs and lows can coincide and occur simultaneously, it's hard to process everything at one time.  First and foremost, we had our first trimester screening yesterday.  We were referred to a popular MFM practice that many ob/gyn's refer to in the DC metro area.  I had the bloodwork portion of the test done last week, so that the results would be in yesterday, and we could discuss them with a genetic counselor.  We arrived for our 10:15am appointment at 10:00am, and weren't taken back until 10:45.  I had been drinking water all morning to make sure my bladder would be full for the ultrasound, so by the time we were taken back I thought my bladder was going to burst.  I asked if we could do the ultrasound first, because otherwise the genetic counselor was going to have a puddle all over her floor before long.  Luckily they were able to accommodate us and make that happen.  I was taken to a room and we got started pretty quickly.  I was holding my breath while the sonographer found the baby, and said a little prayer that that heart was still beating...and sure enough, the heart was beating beautifully, and the baby was moving around like a champ.  She started taking measurements quickly, knowing that my bladder was super full, and showed us how well the baby is developing.  The nuchal fold was measured, and it was a great measurement for the size of the baby, which enabled R and I to breathe a sigh of relief.  We got to see the blood flow in the spinal chord, which was so amazing, and we learned that the baby is measuring 5 days ahead of schedule.  We were feeling great.

We sat down with the genetic counselor and she told us that the screening was very positive.  Just the fact that the age of the egg was 28 vs my age of 36, brought the risk for major chromosomal abnormalities down drastically.  The results of the bloodwork and ultrasound were consistent with the statistics, everything is looking great.  We left the office feeling so hopeful and lucky, we decided that were going to begin sharing the news with our extended families and friends.  Of course, we had to tell our beautiful Smiley that she's going to be a big sister :)

The rest of the day was a bit of a blur, both of us went our separate ways back to work, I started sharing the news with some of my co-workers, everyone was so excited and supportive.  My boss most of all, she has exceeded all of my expectations in so many ways.  Sharing the news with friends has been amazing, we decided we would tell our close friends about using a donor egg, but limit it to that, and ask that they keep that detail to themselves.  The people that are closest to us know our history, have shared our journey with us, and are our biggest cheerleaders, even if they don't understand everything there is to know about using a donor egg, they know that it's a wonderful option in building a family.  One thing we do want to avoid, is someone in our lives who may not completely understand, opening their mouth later on and making a comment around our child about him/her being a donor egg for now, the closest of the close will know, and others, don't need to know.

So the wonderful news about the first trimester screening should have been enough for the day, but unfortunately, as things have tended to go for us, there has to bee some bad with the good.  My dad has been unhappy in his job for quite awhile, I knew that his boss was having some financial issues and couldn't afford to have my dad work a full week, but I learned yesterday that things for my dad are worse than I thought.  He himself, is having financial troubles (which is not a new thing for him) and he is asking for us to give him some money that we were holding for him (very long story that involves him avoiding debt collectors from his previous business failings).  He e mailed R asking for the money yesterday morning, and R sent him an e mail back letting him know how much he'd have remaining, and that we would not be able to lend him any money beyond that amount, given the expenses we are going to have ahead of us.  My dad was hurt, and sent me an e mail saying he was glad that R "warned him" - this all took place before the screening! Did I need that??  I completely understood where R was coming from.  When my dad's business was failing several years ago, my dad borrowed a lot of money from us, and we did not see any of it back.  We were lucky that we were able to help him a the time, but we swore that we would never do that again, especially since now we have our own family to support.  My dad understands that, and he holds onto a lot of guilt for having put us through that...but it doesn't change the fact that it did happen.

My dad has been sinking into a depression the last couple of months, he revealed to me tonight that things have been going on in his office that he hasn't shared with us, and he's spent many days unable to get out of bed.  It's so painful knowing that my dad is suffering, he's had such a terrible time since my mother died.  He's not in great physical health to begin with, but to be so depressed is not going to help matters at all.  He needs to find another job...but he's paralyzed.  He's convinced he's too old, and has no real skills that an upstanding organization would find useful.  My dad used to be a successful, confident business man, and to see him deteriorate these last 10 years has been heartbreaking.  He said that he made an appointment with a therapist, that is a HUGE step for him, given that he's shared in the past that he didn't believe in therapy.  I guess he realizes that he has to do something, or he's going to be in real trouble. 

I am trying to not allow my dad's issues to spill over into my life like they used to, but it's easier said than done.  I guess his issues and our issues need to coexist right now, but I know that I need to focus on my own health, and making sure the baby is getting what he/she needs.

The best part of our day, yesterday, was telling Smiley that she's going to be a big sister.  We picked her up from school, and as we were driving in the car, we told her.  She started laughing and clapping, and repeating, "I'm going to be a big sister!"  She has a couple of friends with baby siblings in the infant class at her school, so she has some concept of "baby sister and baby brother" but we don't think she really gets it...yet :) 

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Things have been pretty status quo since my Ob appointment last week, I continue to navigate through the nausea by eating constantly, it usually does the trick, but sometimes it backfires and I end up feeling worse than I did before I ate.  I'm just trying to go with the flow and do what I need to do to get through it all.  I find that the toughest times for me are when I am with people for a lengthy amount of time and I have to figure out my meal and snack situation.  Last night I attended a focus group hosted by my health system's marketing team, we sat through 2 focus groups from 6 - 10pm, observing people answer questions about where they'd go for cardiac care, and their reactions to our advertising campaigns.  The market research company that held the focus groups fed us pretty well, and if anyone from my team was watching, they would have noticed me eating throughout most of the evening.

Monday I received a call from one of the nurses from my Ob practice, she said the results from my urine culture came back, and I have a UTI.  She said it's nothing to worry about, it's very common, and they were going to put me on amoxycillin for a week.  I was not surprised to learn of the infection, I had been having minor symptoms for awhile, but I just chalked it up to pregnancy and all of the things going on in that vicinity.  I'm a bit nervous, however, because in the past, regular amoxycillin has not gotten rid of my uti's, I've needed to move to macrobid to knock them out.  I am hoping things go differently this time, I will be back there in a couple of weeks for an appointment, and they will be able to re-check me.

I have my 1st trimester screening next Wednesday, I was able to go to the MFM's office (where I will have the screening done) to do the blood work portion of the test.  The results will be in by our appointment, so we'll meet with the genetic counselor first, then have the ultrasound.  I vacillate between being really anxious about the test, and thinking everything will be fine.  I guess I will just have to cross my fingers just take it as it comes.  Not as easy as it sounds, but I will just have to do it.  Luckily, we have a nice distraction coming up, we are headed out this afternoon to Long Beach Island, NJ.  R's best friend and his wife and daughter rented a house for 2 weeks, and invited us to join them for part of their trip.  We made these plans months ago, before we had even undergone the IVF.  It turns out they are pregnant with their second child, so when R's friend told him the news, R told him about our news too.  I was fine with it, I knew that it would be too stressful trying to hide it for 4 days, this way if I have issues with nausea, it won't be a big deal.  I'm a bit nervous about the car ride, it's going to be a good 4-5 hours, depending on traffic, and I told R that given my UTI, I will definitely need to stop to pee multiple times during the ride.  Hopefully Smiley will cooperate and nap/watch DVD's the whole trip, and will not get too antsy.

I am looking forward to getting away and being distracted from my nerves of the upcoming screening.  It will be nice to spend some time on the beach, and to visit with our friends whom we haven't seen in awhile, they live in New York and we're lucky if we see them once or twice a year.  Their daughter is about a year younger than Smiley, I'm sure they will have a lot of fun together.  My bathing suit situation is pretty ugly, I barely fit into 2 of my suits, I refuse to put on my maternity bathing suits, it's too soon, and they would be too big anyway. When I wore them during my pregnancy with Smiley, I was much farther along than I am now.  I will just make them work, and when all else fails, keep the cover up on :)

So I am really in the home stretch of my 1st trimester, it's hard to believe.  On July 2nd when I received my beta results, I could not imagine that I would make it this far.  I sometimes beat myself up for looking farther ahead, thinking about baby furniture and accessories...bringing out the high chair again and activity mat, do I buy a breast pump or rent one again? I think that I am jinxing myself and need to keep those thoughts at bay.  I realize that sometimes it's o.k. to let those thoughts in, it would be unnatural if I didn't, and in reality, thoughts don't "jinx" people.  This is all out of our control, whatever will be will be.  I can only continue to be cautiously optimistic, and before long, we will have a clearer picture (literally!) of what will likely be. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Moving Right Along

The last couple of weeks went by faster than I expected they would.  I really believe that the energy healing work that I've been doing has helped keep me more balanced and calm.  I still have had some freak out moments, but for the most part, I'm just taking things one day at a time.  The nausea is still there in full force, but I'm managing it as best as I can, mainly by eating. Constantly.  And by eating I don't mean having a few crackers, I mean meals. I am someone who is normally very health conscious.  I typically watch my calories and exercise regularly.  I learned when I was pregnant with Smiley that I am very different as a pregnant woman, the nausea creates a whole different person.  I find myself pulling into McDonald's for an Egg McMuffin, because I must have it.  And oddly enough, it calms the nausea...for about an hour and a half.  Then I'm trying to figure out what I can eat next that won't make me ill and will calm the nausea simultaneously.  It's a balancing act, when I'm meeting with physicians and co-workers every day.  Thursday I have a dinner meeting with a Neurosurgeon we are trying to recruit, I am hoping and praying I can keep myself together for the evening.

Today we had our first appointment with our new OB practice.  I went in early yesterday morning for an ultrasound, as they didn't have two appointments together in one day.  I actually enjoyed going in early, I had time with the sonographer to ask some questions about the practice, and learn a bit about how they work.  She was so sweet, I got great vibes right off the bat.  And of course, it was wonderful to be able to see that little heart beat, and see him/her moving around! Today we met with one of the OB's, we really liked him a lot.  We went through our crazy history with him, discussed his opinion on a VBAC vs. scheduled C-section - he looked at me and said, "you've been through a lot.  Let's not risk anything, I recommend a planned C-section"  O.k. that's set then!  We discussed the first trimester screening, I was able to get an appointment in 2 weeks, so I'm glad to have that on the calendar.  We also talked about having BRCA gene testing, given my mother's passing from breast cancer.  It's something I've thought a lot about, and I do plan on having that done, but I feel like I can only handle one thing at a time right now.  I am nowhere prepared to make decisions about radical mastectomies or hysterectomies while I'm trying to nurture a life.  I have pretty much come to terms with the fact that I likely carry the gene, given that my mother was of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, and was diagnosed so young (two big risk factors for me), but I have been told by a breast surgeon that I still have time, and I've been very proactive in my screenings so far, so let's just get through this pregnancy, G_d willing.

R and I came away from the appointment feeling like we made the right decision about switching practices.  Forget the fact that they have an office right around the corner from our home (although our appointment was at the other office about 15 minutes away, but still much better than 45 minutes away, which is what we were doing before!) but we got the sense that they are going to take good care of us.  The nurse that worked with us today, treated me like I was her only patient of the day.  She's young and sweet, she told me that if I ever feel anxiety between appointments, I can call her any time and come in to hear the heart beat.  I wanted to hug her.  She also mentioned that her brother is a coach with the new Penn State coaching staff.  Again, wanted to hug her...told her I am a PSU alum, it warmed my heart to hear that her brother loves the coaching staff and that the team is so happy with the support they have.  The icing on the cake was my doctor telling me that I get to come back a week after my first trimester screening, so really I have to just get through the next 2 weeks until that, and then I get to be seen again, a week later.  That will get me into (knock on wood) my 13th week.  But like I find myself saying 50 times a day, I must take things one step at a time.

Time to go have my evening snack and crawl into bed, if I'm lucky I'll make it part way through a DVR'd show!