Monday, March 26, 2012

She's here :)

I am happy to announce that as I write this post I am sitting here with a perfect healthy little baby girl in my lap.  Born 7 lb 1 oz, 20.5 inches long on 3/18 - it was the most incredible moment of my life and continues to provide a daily joy like nothing else I have ever felt.

Labor and delivery went better than it had any business going and she did end up coming out the normal route without complications.  We've had some minor issues postpartum but nothing huge.  I apologize that it took a week to post but this is literally the first time I have had a chance to sit at a computer, but thats just because I have been so busy falling in love with this little one.

I will post the full story later when I have another moment - right now I get to go feed her again :)  I am so lucky.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Retrospect - ICSI

There are some decisions we made in the infertility process that I have been thinking about in retrospect and since vision is always 20/20 after the tincture of time I thought I would start to comment on them over a few posts. (Plus I needed something to distract me from my current nausea and vomiting.)

None of this is meant to be medical advice (remember I am not an infertility specialist) - just the decisions we made in our journey and how I feel about that now.

ICSI - this is the biggest one I have been thinking about lately.  Husband has great sperm - I was very lucky for that.  We were dealing with so many issues on the female side it was nice to actually have his stuff working.  So ICSI was initially completely optional for us.  We got lots of eggs retrieved and we probably would have had more than enough with normal insemination and the ICSI.   We really wanted this to be as minimally invasive to the embryo as possible (a crazy thought in retrospect) so we initially were not going to do it. . .  EXCEPT that we found the presence of anti-sperm antibodies.  So we decided to just pay the extra to do ICSI.

Boy was that a good decision.   It was piece of mind that we were giving every egg the best chance for fertilization but the thing I didn't appreciate at the time was the possible increase in number of embryos.  Now I will be the first to admit we had an incredible amount of luck in getting all the embryos we did but ICSI most likely played a role in that.   There is nothing that has made me feel better about this infertility process thank to think about the next pregnancy knowing that a) my children are frozen with the downs risk of a 34 year old b) that I (likely) will never have to stimulate these ovaries again.  Also, on the financial side - the money we will save by getting pregnant through frozen cycle(s) in the future far exceeds the cost of the ICSI

We always had the goal to keep things as "natural" as possible.  We are both believers in science but we are also believers in 'if it ain't broke don't fix it".  While science can approximate a natural process, there are limitations and long term unknowns.  Still because of the above reasons I am happy we chose to do ICSI.  Its also funny now that people ask me if I am planning a "natural birth" -I figure there has been nothing natural about the way she got in the uterus - I don't care about how natural it is when she comes out.  Poke me with needles, give me meds, cut me open if needed - healthy is all I am going for.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

the length of a pregnancy

My husband made an funny observation the other day.  He stated that this pregnancy just seems to be taking a really long time.  When other people get pregnant they usually tell you after their first trimester and you see them a couple of times - watch their belly grow and the next thing you know - theres a baby.  When you are knee deep in it - especially since we have hit quite a few speed bumps on our journey - it seems to take much longer than the requisite 40 weeks.

But when I look at it closer it is beyond just seeming longer than normal - it HAS been longer than normal.  I cleaned out an old purse the other day I hadn't used in a few years and I discovered my 2010 calendar (before I had an i phone) and amongst all the work commitments and listings of birthdays there was a symbol in each corner.  Red letters to indicate how heavy my period was that day, positive and negatives (actually just really negatives) for the LH testing, little smily faces every other day mid cycle and sad faces at the end of each cycle to indicate the negative pregnancy tests.  Then it got more intense with the dieting (seriously calculating every calorie I consumed), the records of workouts and the development of little symbols for different meds from progesterone to clomid to injectables.  All ending the same with punctuation by a series of unhappy faces.

If I had gotten pregnant when I started trying I would already be working on a second baby.  This is like a two and a half year gestation - thats longer than an elephant.  And the other side of it is that I have been painfully contracting for so long I am really ready for them actually to get worse so they will eventually stop.

So anyway - I am ready.  More ready than most.  I'm not nervous about labor or delivery.  I don't worry about how much it will hurt or if I will need a c-section.  I just really need her out.  Yes I want to feel better than I do now, but I really want her out so I know she is ok.  It all sounds so completely stupid but  the only thing I am anxious about is her.

Not that the worries will go away once she is an infant but I think I am ready to close the book on this chapter of my life.  Don't get me wrong - being pregnant has been a little slice of wonderful - and I still consider myself lucky that it only took a couple years to get to this point.  For me though, this has always been about having a family to me - not so much the journey getting there or the time being pregnant.

The road has been long and I can see the finish line and with every step closer I am obsessing about tripping.  I am trying to have patience but I just find myself hoping that she will come sooner than later - partially from anxiety and partially just from pure excitement.  Maybe after all of this I am just overly ready to be a mom.

Friday, March 9, 2012


I'm TERM!!!!!!!

So to celebrate the end to my bedrest I decided to go to target.  After 3 weeks of being on house/couch arrest you would have thought I would have come up with something more creative but I had a few things I needed to pick up so off I went.

I had a list of about 5 things I needed - I successfully got one.  I got so tired and winded walking around target I finally just dragged my rear through the checkout and waddled back to my car to sit and pant.  Its amazing how little exercise tolerance I have at this point.  The only muscle in my body that seems to be in good tone is my uterus although I have no idea how I am going to actually push out a baby when I can't handle getting across a store.

Although I would much rather have it this way than going for daily NICU visits!  I am amazingly happy and relieved even though I am really out of shape.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


The hubby and I were doing the taxes last night in anticipation of not really having any time as it gets closer to tax day.  We got to the category marked medical expenses and we pulled out the file of receipts that I had been saving.

Holy smokes Batman!  Lets say I was a little anal in keeping every clinic, acupuncture and pharmacy receipt.  We ended up with quite a bulky file.

While the added amount of what we accumulated in out of pocket infertility costs is a little disturbing we had a good laugh about it.  I'm not done with the tally yet but my non-infertility medical costs were about $300 for teeth cleaning, glasses, contacts and a couple acne gels, my husband spent a whopping $189.  Kiddo took over 20K just to get her there (and that was just 6 months of 2011 not counting the 2010 cycles.)

We laughed at the pile of receipts from each ultrasound visit and the fact that as we were inputting the dates into a spreadsheet that often they would only be a day or two apart.  We laughed at the mail-order pharmacy receipts for each shipment of follistim and laughed harder when we found the $5 copay for the pre-cycle birth control pills (which was the one drug my insurance covered).

It feels good to laugh about it now because we certainly weren't then.  We were both working extra shifts to try to make up for a fraction of it, but it was a bit of a tight time with no end in sight and certainly no guarantee of results.

I am the type of person who clips coupons and doesn't buy things unless I need them.  I bought most of my maternity clothes at garage sales and I have sewn quite a bit of things for the baby because I see something that costs more than I can make it for.  All of these things I do save pennies compared to what we spent on infertility but I can't say that I regret it at all.

Sure I regret that we had to go through it, but I regret the pain it caused, the tears we shed and the stress it inflicted.  They say that money can't buy happiness, but this may be an example of where it actually can and did, although I also know how lucky we are.

Monday, March 5, 2012

a touch of irony

So yesterday and again this morning I felt better than I had in at least a month.  I didn't want to jinx it by saying anything but I was actually contracting only about once an hour and not too bad at that.

It was a great day, a restful night and a great morning to start.

A couple weeks ago when I was in the hospital I had a few little slightly concerning findings on the monitored strip and so I ended up going to antenatal testing twice a week.

Irony #1: as much as I have been worried this pregnancy - I am not usually worried about her and how she is doing in there.  One thing we are taught in medical school is that a baby who is moving is generally getting enough oxygen... and this baby moves like crazy.  (I love it)  So I have never really needed to worry a lot about her - all it takes is a little nudge and she's off kicking.

So today she had a bit of a problem with a contraction in antenatal testing.  I got sent to labor and delivery where they watched her for a bit of time - and again a little bit of an issue tolerating contractions.  Now through all of this the was doing little jumping jacks in between contractions so I knew she was fine, but this bought me a contraction stress test.  Basically a pitocin infusion until you contract 3 times in 10 minutes while watching her on the monitor to see if she tolerates it.

Main point and source of relief - She did great.  (insert maternal soccer mom pride - its like she just scored a winning goal - I'm still beaming)

But enter Irony #2: for the first time in a while my contractions were actually pretty minimal.  If I had contracted like I do at night I wouldn't have necessarily needed pitocin, but again I was feeling a bit rock-star this morning.  So not only did they need pitocin to get going but it seems to have reset my uterus back my baseline and I'm once again breathing through several per hour.

Anyway I am happy she's happy and thankful she is ok.  Just an interesting day.  And with that I am going to go lie down. :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bun still in the oven - officially par-baked!

Made it to 36 weeks - at this point I am asking for nothing from fate when it comes to this pregnancy except for #1 healthy baby and #2 the ability to have an epidural.

I am kind of in shock that I am still pregnant.  The other night after several hours of regular painful contractions I finally fell asleep when they slowed down.  I probably should have gone in but I was so exhausted that I just passed out.  When I woke up my belly was smaller again.  Her previous kicks in the ribs are now slightly above my belly button again.  (Poor little head must be so squished cuz I know my bladder is.)

I am now so in tune with my uterus, I've realized that I have 4 different levels of contractions.  (although really I sometimes wish I was one of those people that had them and didn't feel them . . .  but I digress)

Level 1: ooohh thats a bit tight, maybe I should pee.
Level 2: uuumph that hurts (but still able to talk), will go pee.
Level 3: ahhh, I can't breathe, must pee now
Level 4: can't talk but somehow explicatives exiting my mouth, who cares about peeing
And . . . I am sure there is a 5th level that I just haven't gotten to yet :)

Anyway - this is just further fuel for the fire that my reproductive system is somewhat broken - my husband has witnessed enough of these runs to be as shocked as I that baby is still inside.  I'm in antenatal testing because of some previous minor issues and the nurses just stare at the runs of contractions and the breathing and wincing and ask me if maybe I need to go to labor and delivery.  (My response is that I am better than my baseline and since they know me they let it go!)  Maybe I am just the largest wimp on the planet but when I had my big belly surgery I took no pain medications for the first 24 hours so I am not sure that is the case.

So defying all common sense of the teachings of obstetrics - I remain pregnant and thankful.  Now just waiting for something to happen and ready for it when it comes.  Next week I am going to actually start to go on my walks again and I have been cleared for "other activity".  My OB said she would laugh if I had to be induced post-dates and as much as I can see the irony - I don't know that I can see the humor in it yet.

So - I will leave this up to the baby - she has dominated my life before she was even conceived and will continue to do so for the next 18 years or more likely the rest of my life.  I have surrendered control - but in waiving the white flag I am still excited beyond words.