Here comes the 2nd trimester…and the stomach bug :(

Even though I watch my belly daily for signs of growth: poking and prodding it, hoping that the baby will show some sign of life in between these now – very distant – ultrasound visits;

Even though I open the Bump and Baby Center apps weekly: eager to see what new feat my baby has conquered since the prior week, and how many precious milimeters and fractions-of-an-ounce little one has added on over the last few precious days;

Even though work and life have kept us as busy as ever….

the 2nd trimester has actually kind of snuck up on me. I can’t believe I’m 1/3 of the way through this pregnancy: especially since I don’t feel pregnant at all half of the time.

I imagines what I would look and feel like at 14 weeks, and I wasn’t envisioning fat, tired, and still pretty nauseous.

Of course, acquiring the stomach bug this week wasn’t a huge help with that. My sister and her kids had it about 3 weeks ago, and we thought they were all clear when they came to visit last weekend, as they’d been asymptomatic for weeks, and feeling pretty healthy overall.

I saw them Friday, Saturday, and on Superbowl Sunday and by Monday afternoon both my wife and I were feeling a little under-the-weather. She felt worse than I with a fever and chills, but we both felt pretty nauseous.

[I should probably add here that I have a pretty severe case of emetophobia – or an intense fear of vomiting – and I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. I can’t stand vomiting, or seeing/hearing others vomit…which has made for a few pretty interesting plane flights earlier this year. Seeing/hearing others get sick makes me shake and sometimes cry and it’s something I’ve really been working on tackling over the last few years. Yes, I know kids vomit. Yes, I know my kid will vomit. No, I don’t know what I’m going to do about that yet. Here’s to hoping I can work my way up from spit up. Anyway, I haven’t thrown up in about 20 years – aside from maybe 2-3 times when I was drinking heavily and don’t really remember the act of getting sick – so everytime I get any kind of stomach bug, I lay down and breath deeply until the feeling passes.]

Thank goodness our home has two bathrooms, because around 7pm the virus took both of us down. No amount of deep breathing was stopping anything. And just as soon as it started, it passed…and left a low grade fever and very sore stomach in its wake.

In a way, the experience was actually kind of nice – hear me out – as I have had this intense fear for 3 decades now, and it’s been YEARS since I’ve experienced the act of throwing up. I think this experience helped me to feel a TINY bit less fearful, and more compassionate toward others who get sick (the fear is so intense that in addition to being shaky and completely upset, I get angry at the offender – as if they could control it. I know – it’s crazy), and I was kind of glad that if we both had to be taken down by something that severe: that we could have the experience BEFORE kids came along.

We both took as good of care of each other as we could, and it helped us both to hone in on our motherly instincts.

I mean, if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger…right?

This experience also helped me to realize that my pregnancy nausea isn’t nearly as bad as it could be, although now every time I feel nauseous I’m terrified that the virus is making an ugly return, so I just kind of want to experience this 2nd trimester relief that I’ve heard so much about.

So far, my belly just looks fat: I’m eager to see it round out more so that my coworkers and strangers stop looking at me like I can’t control myself around donuts (I mean, I can’t but…) and I’ve gained 8 pounds, which is really making me get upset with myself, but I keep trying to remember that this will all be worth it. In the meantime, I just bought a stationary bike from a local yard sale and am going to try to get more active on a daily basis: I think it will be good for me and for baby.

We are beginning to toss around nursery ideas (leaning toward a grey/white theme, or navy/gold…any suggestions one way or the other? We want something gender neutral as we won’t find out the sex until baby gets here…)

I am also eagerly waiting to feel some movement. I swore I felt a kick earlier this week, but nothing since which leads me to believe that it may have been a muscle spasm or gas.

There are still moments when I have to stop and remind myself that this is all real, and pray that it won’t be yanked away. I envy women who get excited at every milestone. I am always fearful that the next will never come.

But then I think: we made it this far…why NOT us?! And I keep hoping and praying that a healthy little nugget is still growing inside me: kicking away, and that one day soon I will feel them.

Love and hugs to everyone for healthy continued pregnancies, sticky embryos, successful stimming, and good news all around.

Jenn

 

It’s been a while!

All I do is work, work, work, no matter what…

Today I am packing and preparing for yet another work trip: another four days and four nights away from my wife, puppy, and comfy, familiar bed.

While I sometimes enjoy traveling, it just isn’t the same when you share the giant king size hotel bed alone. Somehow I can never position the overstuffed pillows the way my own rests under my head, and the other side of the bed is cold and flat, instead of warm and curved under the weight of my wife’s curled up, sleeping body.

It’s going to be the first of what is looking like four trips over the next three months.

dont-make-me-go

…but, as I told my wife yesterday when we got into a small argument about all of this traveling I’ve had to do (she HATES staying alone), we have to take the good with the bad when it comes to my job. I work in sales training for a fairly large company, and these trips are to help facilitate training sessions for our new hires.

The problem is, this is somewhat of an “add-on” to my everyday job (I also manage a group of anywhere between 10-14 people…at least, this year) and I have to leave that team to help with these training sessions, and I never saw a pay or title increase when I took on this added responsibility last year. So she wants me to push for more, and while I agree and plan to address the topic with my boss when I see her in person next week, I also feel like I am losing a bargaining chip when I announce my pregnancy, as I will be unable to commit to travel in the later part of this year, and will also need time away from my regular group (and I am the only person available to supervise and train them).

Any strong negotiators or badass lady bosses following this blog who have any advice, here?

Speaking of the pregnancy….

I’m 10 weeks, six days today. We’ve met some milestones since my last post. Last week, we officially graduated from our fertility clinic (a bittersweet moment, and I only cried a little…) and were FINALLY able to stop the progesterone shots, 2x/daily estrogen, and baby asprin.

I told my wife, I still sometimes put off brushing my teeth at night, because I sometimes forget that I don’t have to take a shot immediately afterward anymore. It’s been kind of glorious.

We are two weeks from being out of the risky first trimester and being able to tell our friends and extended family about the pregnancy. I have to admit, though: every day until then will continue to be a struggle.

I never considered how hard the first trimester may be. Not just because it is typically when most women experience the worst symptoms (though I’ve been quite lucky and have just been mildly nauseous and ridiculously tired); rather, you can’t yet feel the baby, hear a heartbeat, or have any inkling that they are alive other than ultrasounds. You don’t really FEEL pregnant (and sometimes I forget there is a tiny person living inside me). We were very fortunate and super spoiled to have had ultrasounds weekly throughout most of the first trimester. When we had our first OB visit yesterday, they were incredibly warm and welcoming and put me at ease right away, but they explained that neither a fetal heart scan, nor an ultrasound would be part of our first appointment, and I began to freak out a little since I’m headed across the country without my wife for the next few days and just want to know that I’m traveling with a living tiny travel buddy. They were so kind and understanding and squeezed us in for an ultrasound at a local radiology(?) facility, and I had my first trans-abdominal ultrasound (visualize a light shining down from the heavens and a chorus singing “ahhhhhhh!”), during which we saw baby moving around and his/her heart beating furiously at 155 BPM. The picture was not quite as clear as our prior trans-vaginal ultrasounds, so I am attaching the photo from last week (during which baby’s hand was at his/her mouth as the Doctor suggested…or perhaps they actually look like one of the Whoville Who’s from Dr. Seuss’ books…time will tell).

LO

I want to soak up every moment of this experience, but I’d also like to fast forward by a few weeks and feel some kicks, or SOME sign of a healthy, growing baby on a regular basis.

So…bring on the next ultrasound at week 12! We’ll hopefully hear the heartbeat and see another image of this sweet baby, and hopefully be able to put our first trimester fears behind us.

Love and baby dust to all. ❤

7 Weeks.

I’ve gotten significantly less fancy with my titles. I think the exhaustion of the last few weeks (and excitement of the holidays) is zapping my creativity.

On Christmas Eve, I was exactly 7 weeks pregnant: or 33 weeks from my August 12th due date. I think when I wrote last, we were awaiting our heartbeat ultrasound – which we have now done three times, and all three times little one was measuring on schedule and displaying a strong heartbeat (though due to the machinery in the doctor’s office, we couldn’t hear it or have it officially “measured”).

I have still been bleeding (spotting) sporadically (which is terrifying each time), and at one point it stopped altogether and then started again a few days later (right before the holiday) causing me to panic and think that it was unrelated to the first time. Fortunately, the compassionate nurses at my clinic encouraged me to come in for an extra ultrasound right before Christmas during which the ultrasonagrapher assured me that little one’s heartbeat looked clear on the screen and they were measuring exactly 6 weeks, five days (which is exactly what I was at that point, which made me feel so relieved).

The ultrasonagrapher said that I am likely one of a few “lucky” women who will experience periodic spotting throughout the first trimester. I also think it could be related to the ultrasound wands, as each time I have an ultrasound (still transvaginal) I tend to bleed a little the following day. Now that I’ve had 4 internals, I’m noticing a pattern. We’ll see what tomorrow brings since I just had one today, but as long as little one is looking strong on the screen, I’ll manage the bleeding just fine.

Today, we “saw” the brain hemispheres and heart chambers forming on the ultrasound (“saw” as in the ultrasonagrapher pointed them out in the grainy black and white image on the screen and I nodded like I understood what she was talking about…) and she said that in the next few weeks we should see images that more closely resemble the profile of a baby (opposed to our current absolutely adorable blob).

We told our immediate families about little one on Christmas Eve….we knew it was early, but they also knew about our miscarriage, and it was getting harder and harder to hide especially with all of the alcohol flowing around the holidays, so it was a great relief (and a lot of fun) to let them in on our little secret.

We ordered todder t-shirts for our three nieces that say “Cousins Make the Best Friends” and wrapped them up in this prank gift box:

 

toddlertamersFirst, we told my wife’s family on Christmas Eve. My sister-in-law blew right past the joke, and tore into the box. She spent a minute holding up the t-shirt and staring at it, before spinning it around for the rest of the family to see, and my wife’s brother screamed, “OH MY GODDDDDDD!!!!” and my mother-in-law started crying before my father-in-law shouted “holy shit!”

There were a ton of hugs exchanged, and everyone kept telling us how thrilled they were and asking questions about the pregnancy so far. No one guessed that we were keeping the secret, which made us feel super stealthy – especially since I work with my brother-in-law and see him everyday.

Then we told my family the following day. My sister opened the box on behalf of my nieces and stared at the box for a few minutes, asking if it was real and what she was supposed to do with the “toddler tamers”. After she got past the joke, she opened the box and pulled out the shirts (and other goodies we’d stuffed into each of the boxes) and looked at the shirts for a few minutes, puzzled. “But…they’re sisters, not cousins,” she speculated about my nieces. Her husband stared at her and said, “I think Jenn’s trying to tell you something,” and my mom added in “They’ll be cousins with her kids.” I softly added a “surprise” and my sister started hysterically crying and everyone got up to hug my wife and I. My dad had wandered out of the room momentarily (trying to open gifts with my family is akin to herding cats….) and when he came back, I showed him the shirts and he looked at me with a blank stare. I said, “Dad, the girls are going to have a new cousin in 2018…” and he got a big smile and walked over to hug my sister. She stopped him and said, “NO DAD, NOT A SIBLING…” and my dad looked confused again. I said, “Dad, we’re having a baby.” to which he responded, “Well why didn’t you just say that in the first place?!?” No trying to be cute with my dad…he’s far too practical.

Anyway, both announcements went really well, and we’re now just waiting until week 12 to let the rest of the world in on our secret.

I’ve felt pretty good for the most part. A little nauseous here and there (nothing even close to vomiting so far), but overall my biggest “problem” is not knowing what I want to eat. A lot of things that I usually enjoy just don’t seem appealing (such as Mexican food, which I LOVE). I have wanted a lot of soup and carbs (which I swore I wouldn’t do when I eventually got pregnant…I said I’d be the healthiest veggie and protein eater, and a lot of times its just tough to get some of those things down). I’m trying to incorporate in as many veggies as possible.

It feels so strange to say that “I’m pregnant”. I felt so strange today to hear the descriptions of the embryo growing from the ultrasonagrapher. When she talked about the heart chambers and the brain, it just became so real that there is a person living inside me: like, unless something bad happens – there is no turning back. We’re linked for the next 8 months. I feel confident that this “weird” feeling with eventually change, but it just felt so strange today.

Also, after I told my young cousin (who is part of my immediate family) she started kissing and rubbing my belly which also kind of freaked me out. I’m normally fine with hugs and things like that (and she’s a kid so she doesn’t mean anything by it), but I was thinking….”NO. My belly.” I don’t know if I’ll feel differently when I have a visible bump, but I just wanted to push her away. It felt so…odd.

Did anyone else feel strange at first when they were pregnant? Or am I totally freaking out for no reason?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m THRILLED (we both are). I’m thrilled to become a mom, to carry this baby, to FINALLY, FINALLY be pregnant (I felt like I’ve wished for this for so long), but it all just felt the tiniest bit strange after we told everyone.

Anyway, you may or may not have noticed my name drop above. I never sign my entries, but I have realized that as I try to explain each of your stories to my wife, it is so much easier when I have a name or at least an easily distinguishable blog name to share, and since many of you have become like family, I thought I owed you more than just “Mommysquared.” So, hi. I’m Jenn 🙂

 

Stay the course.

So, we had a bit of an up-and-down week.

Outside of the baby making process, we spent two days last week babysitting two of our three nieces (my sister has two girls: one who is two-years-old, the other 8 months), and my wife’s brother and his wife have a little girl who is 18 months). My sister and her husband are fortunate to have jobs that enable them to be home a lot of the time to care for their girls (they work opposite schedules) but every so often they have a day or two that is “uncovered” and they can generally get a family member to take the shift. My wife and I have a ton of time left to take off since this year was so busy, so we agreed to come down for two days to watch them.

First of all: I have a ton of respect for stay-at-home parents. It was literally 9am, and I turned around and it was 4:30pm, my sister was on her way home, and I was trying to convince the two-year-old to keep her clothes on and throw something together for dinner before my sister made it home for the night.

Don’t get me wrong: every woman (and man) in my family is a working parent, and I 1000% believe they are warriors for working so hard, having to leave their kiddos in someone else’s care, and do everything they can to provide a good life for their kids, but staying at home all day isn’t just watching soap operas and enjoying treats while you lay on the couch. It’s hard work.

Anyway, it was so wonderful to spend time with them because they live about two hours from us, and we really got to have some candid conversations about how we want to raise our kids (how to discipline, whether or not to sleep train, what to feed them, etc.). You don’t think of all of the nuances involved in raising a child (or how much the child’s personality can quickly change your plans), but seeing our siblings do it (the good and the bad) is giving us a good foundation. Its also helping my wife learn how to change diapers 🙂

On Saturday, my sister traveled closer to us to spend the weekend at my mom’s for my niece’s birthday. We went to a winter light show with the girls, and it was a blast seeing my niece tear into her birthday gifts. Last year, she was still so little, and now – at two – she has a ton of personality, so she really seemed to enjoy it all.

I got her a doctor set that was based on the television show Doc McStuffins (my niece doesn’t watch it yet, but is already beginning to show interest in role play, and I figured she’d love the little case that all of the pieces fit into, as she loves purses). It came with an adorable doll in a little ladybug outfit, and the doll happened to be black. My niece liked the doll (but was far more interested in the doctor kit), but my mom saw it and asked why we couldn’t find a nice blonde doll that looked like my niece, and my sister and I gently explained to her that my niece already has plenty of blonde dolls already [and could honestly probably stand to have a dump truck or tool kit or two in her toybox], and my sister went on to say how she wanted to begin to expose my niece to the beauty of black skin  in an effort to help my niece to be more respectful and appreciative of everyone from a young age.

My sister and I never had dolls that weren’t blonde haired and blue eyed. We lived in a homogeneous neighborhood, went to a homogeneous elementary school, and didn’t learn about other cultures until we moved in high school. Our minds were further pried open in college, and I know I still have a lot to learn, but I want my kids’ experiences to be different. I want them to know about the evil in this world and want to do better. I want them to see color, appreciate it, and love people. period.  I want them to taste food from many cultures, experience art made by people of all backgrounds, and learn from everyone they meet. I want them to be better than I was as a child.

No pressure, right?

I mean, I’m kind of kidding – there really is no pressure. We just want to do things from an early age to expose our kids to many different people and things in an effort to cultivate appreciation and respect.

Anyway – we wrapped up the weekend baking cookies with our third niece (which was the cutest thing ever) so it was a pretty perfect week.

On Saturday, we put in an impromptu bid on a home that is one block from a home we missed out on earlier this summer in our dream neighborhood. It was a little small, and needed some work, but it was right within our price range and in the most ideal location we could dream up.

We went through about 3 hours worth of work reviewing the contract to place an offer, only to find out on Sunday that our offer was rejected because the seller didn’t like that we needed to first sell our home in order to buy.

I mean, I guess there are lots of first time homebuyers out there, but the home wasn’t really being sold at a first-time-homebuyer-kind-of price. We’re not bitter. I promise.

how-rude

ANYWAY – I got that news during a morning during which I had some spotting that was making me a little nervous. Between the spotting, and the bad news about the house, I was in a pretty terrible mood, and laid down to take a nap. When I woke up and went to the bathroom, I noticed about a tablespoon of blood in the toilet when I stood up and called my wife in. Her face looked so incredibly defeated, and I started to cry. I called my doctor’s office, and they weren’t very concerned, but I thought that amount of blood in the toilet was above-and-beyond normal spotting, and began plotting next steps and preparing my heart for the worst news.

I had an appointment the next morning to have my blood drawn and HCG levels tested, and asked the nurse to please take pity and call me early with the results: good or bad. She rang around noon and left me a voicemail since I was in a meeting, and started out with, “I do have your results back, and trying to give you a call as soon as I can. Everything looks great, your HCG went up to 7600″… I almost fell out of my chair and couldn’t even listen to the rest of the message right away. We’d anticipated that based on a rate of doubling every two days since my last appointment, it should have been right around 3000, so 7600 blew our expectations out of the water. The following day, we had our first ultrasound and the ultrasonagrapher advised us that we could expect to see a gestational sack, but that it would likely be too early to see anything else. We were stunned to see the gestational sack clearly situated in the center of my uterus, and a tiny yolk sack inside as well. She told us that she saw more than she was hoping to and that it looked “perfect”. We have an appointment a week from now to *hopefully* see the first heartbeat. Fingers crossed for continued good news.

She said that the blood could have been due to the embryo burrowing, and that sometimes they hit blood vessels and she advised that in those cases – the blood has to go somewhere, and it typically drains out.

Later that night, our doctor called us and congratulated us again, and told us how eager he was to see us at our next appointment (we haven’t seen him in FOREVER since he bounces between offices and we usually have appointments with the nurses). I was really happy that he called.

So…things are well, but we’re still too early to be celebrating. Our plan is to tell our families on Christmas (which will be 7 weeks and 1 day….early, but we would just love that support, and can’t wait to tell people).

Still no symptoms aside from exhaustion which kicked in this week. I’ve been peeing a lot, but that’s been pretty consistent since I started the Progesterone shots.

Speaking of, I also had my first progesterone-in-ethyl-oleate shot last night and it went surprisingly well. I don’t seem to have had any reaction and am hopeful that it will work as well as the sesame oil. Fingers crossed.

Hope everyone else is experiencing good news and enjoying the holiday season. I know that this can be a rough time of year for some: if that’s you, hang in there (and hugs!). If you’re a holiday nut like me, enjoy 🙂

 

cbe

The results are in.

So I made it. I somehow made it the entire nine days since my transfer without going insane.

A work trip mid-week really helped to keep my mind occupied, but I still went to sleep and woke up fixated on whether or not our procedure worked.

As I mentioned in my last post: my symptoms have been…well, nonexistent. After our last transfer (when we miscarried an empty sack at 8 weeks) I felt light cramping (similar to period cramping except it was VERY light and not-very-painful), my boobs felt sore, and I was EXHAUSTED. All. The. Time.

This time, I’ve been tired (but that pretty much started the day I stopped drinking coffee about 3 days before the procedure), but not overly exhausted. No soreness. No cramps. I have felt a slight feeling of discomfort primarily on the left side of my lower abdomen (where I suspect my left ovary is) but am not sure why or what it means, or if it’s even related to the transfer.

So I was away for three days for the work trip, and the first day happened to be 5DPT (days past transfer) for me, which is when we got a faint positive the last time. I made a promise to my wife that I wouldn’t take a pregnancy test while I was away, but was so overwhelmed by the feeling that it didn’t work that I felt like the test would help to put my mind at ease one way or the other. I tested first thing in the morning (when I woke up at 5am) and climbed back in bed with the test. After my phone timer started buzzing, I reached over and turned on the bedside lamp, and looked at the test to see a single, lonely pink line. At that point, I began to feel pretty confident that it didn’t take. I had no symptoms, and I took the test around day 5 with not even a faint line. I just knew that was it.

After wallowing in sadness for the day – in between work meetings – I disclosed to my wife that I took the test and basked in her – seemingly undeserved – comfort, even though I broke my promise to not test while I was away. I then started to feel better and think about our next steps and we decided that we hoped to be able to transfer again as soon as possible and jump right back on the horse.

I woke up the next morning and decided to take one last test to confirm the results, and was surprised to see a faint pink line. I texted my wife a photo of the test with a message that said, “Um…maybe don’t count us out yet,” and got an immediate response of a surprised face emoji. We decided that we were excited, but very cautious. After all: we had a positive test the last time (4 to be precise) and ended up with a beta of approximately 20 (I can’t remember what it was exactly, now…its a few posts back if anyone wants to read it) and that led to our miscarriage. We decided that we wouldn’t get excited at all until we got a call with a solid beta number.

So today, we went in at 9:30 for my blood draw appointment – which ended up being pretty quick and painless other than a nasty bruise left where the needle went in.

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Afterward, we went to the mall for some shopping (which was literally the BEST as my wife hates shopping) and we picked up a few small Christmas gifts. As we were getting ready to leave the mall, I looked at my phone and noticed a missed call (with NO voicemail!) from the clinic, and we tried to call them back and remembered that they don’t take active calls over the weekend – they route them to an emergency call service. So we were left for another two hours panicking about our results, and kept going back and forth about whether the missed voicemail was good or bad.

Finally: we got a call from the nurse at the clinic who let us know that my HCG level was…..139!!!!

I immediately began tearing up and all I could think to say was “thank you”, to which she responded that the rest of my stats (progesterone and estrogen) also looked good and that I should continue my regimen of PIO shots, baby asprin, and estrogen pills. The nurse let us know that our regular nurse was in the office and was shouting “congratulations” in the background, and that the missed call was from the doctor himself who was calling to congratulate us. It was so incredibly overwhelming, and a place I never thought we’d get to (not even four days prior!).

You guys: we are pregnant. And my guarded heart knows that it isn’t time to celebrate yet: that we aren’t really out of the woods until we hear a heartbeat, then cross the 12 week threshold, then eventually hold a baby in our arms: and even then you aren’t ever fully certain how long you will have your baby. But we made it over hurdle number one. We made it with flying colors.

So on the way home, we stopped at one more store and picked up something small to celebrate this momentous day because we are living our dream right now. ❤

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It’s still so hard for me to write this, as I know so many people who aren’t there yet and we continue to pray with you, cheer for you, and send our positive thoughts and wishes that your miracles come quickly.

And please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as well. We made it over hurdle number one, but we have many more to go.

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It’s a date.

Pros and Cons

So we have a date for our second (frozen) embryo transfer. We have been so torn about this cycle over the past few weeks: we debated waiting until the new year – after all of the hectiness of the holidays was over – and weighed so many different pros and cons of proceeding now versus in January – a few of which are below (I’m chart obsessed if I didn’t tell you that before. Tables=my life).

Procon

I know that some of the pros and cons are silly – but I wanted to map out everything that has been floating through our heads recently so I could figure out what made the most sense. Of course: the first and most important detail is whether or not this try would be less successful by moving ahead now, versus waiting for a full second period to pass. After a conversation with our doctor, however,  who said that he thinks that my “natural” period, plus my second period that was the result of two weeks of birth control is enough to proceed, and he feels confident that all of my stats – coupled with my recent successful hysteroscopy – make me a good candidate for a frozen November transfer.

The Hysteroscopy

The hysteroscopy was on Monday – it was my first, even though most women have one before their first transfer. My clinic does theirs at a surgical center (which has limited availability and schedules months in advance, so if you recall from a few posts back: my doctor elected to forgo the hysterscopy the last time since I had a successful HSG, and then he did some sort of saline test with my mock transfer in his office and said I was safe to move forward at the time). He said this time they wanted me to have the hysterscopy because of our loss: to ensure that there was no scar tissue, or other problems resulting from the miscarriage that would prevent this next try from being successful. The test – which lasted about 3 minutes – was honestly no big deal overall. That is a LOT coming from me after my HSG ordeal. They prepared me mentally for a lot of cramping and discomfort, and I had a white knuckle grip on the exam table when the doctor inserted the speculum and then the tiny catheter camera that was subsequently pushed through my cervix to examine the inside of my uterus. They gave me the option of watching the procedure on a television screen, but I wanted to deep breathe and prepare myself for the ensuing pain when I saw the first flash of shiny, pink, inner body camera footage – but about 20 seconds and a few medical descriptions of what was on the screen later – it was over. No severe cramping.

I do think the fact that I took three advil this time – exactly 45 minutes before the procedure – helped a lot. Plus I have had so many internal exams – including my transfer – since the HSG test, that perhaps my body is becoming used to that “pain”. Either way: I was super grateful.

About 5 hours after the procedure, I developed some pretty intense stomach pain. My abdomen felt sore and tender to the touch – kind of the way your stomach feels after you’ve been dry heaving or maybe doing sit ups for a few hours. That pain lasted through the next day, and finally dissipated about a day and a half after the exam: still unsure if the two were related, but even with that pain the procedure wasn’t terrible. The good news is: both the doctor who did my procedure as well as our regular doctor both said that everything looked fantastic, and that I have the green light for a late November transfer if we want it (which I labeled as December above – same thing).

So…here we are. I had my baseline visit at the doctor’s yesterday and my ultrasound and bloodwork looked great (forgot to document the stats, this time). I told them I’d call them today with a definitive answer on whether or not we’d want to take advantage of this cycle for a transfer, and after a lot of deliberation, we decided to go ahead. We transfer in exactly two weeks! I started estrogen and baby asprin last night, and I will incorporate the PIO shots again next Sunday.

How many embryos?

We have decided to transfer one embryo at this time. If this try is unsuccessful, we will seriously consider two next time. We’ve actually read quite a few stories about couple’s highest quality embryo being a dud, and people having success as they worked their way down the line, so we are hopeful that what we experienced last time is a fluke, and that we’ll have success with the next try. Fingers crossed. Prayers up. Good vibes out to the world. “This could be good, this could be good…

So this is it…

We are equally thrilled, terrified, and I also have this weird feeling that I can’t entirely articulate. I feel like we haven’t waited long enough since that heartbreaking failure, or like maybe for some reason we don’t quite deserve this. Maybe its a protective mechanism so I don’t get my hopes up too much. I honestly don’t know and can’t shake it. I just keep telling myself that this is what it is and if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, but the truth is: if it doesn’t work, we are officially $3k in the hole, as our next transfer won’t be covered by the initial plan we purchased, and we will be getting closer to that “WTF do we do” point as we will have gone through 2 embryos without success. But….WE HAVEN’T EVEN TRIED AGAIN, YET. I’m getting ahead of myself. We aren’t there yet. This could be great. We just need to breathe.

In the meantime, we are now fully immersed in my absolute favorite time of year. I have already started the Christmas music, the air finally has a crispness to it, I have a TON of time off coming up (thanks to a really busy year and inability to use much of my vacay time), and I am getting ready to decorate. I am trying to maintain a sense of peace among all of this craziness and soak up this time of year that I love SO SO much.

Hope everyone else is in a good place as well. ❤

I won’t give up.

I won’t give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I’m giving you all my love
I’m still looking up

JJ-175

Since the last time I posted, I left the window open and the light has continued to creep back in, casting a warm glow on everything in our lives again.

We have been laughing more, smiling often, spending time with friends and family, and we even took a trip recently. Not a true vacation – my wife joined me for a trip I had to make for work, but we got to explore a new city, eat some good food, and enjoy each other for a few days. Our trip started and ended a little hectically with a big storm delaying our trip by several hours and the airline misplacing our luggage temporarily on the way home, but we had a lot of fun and made some incredible memories (including getting to see an MLB playoff game!) so it worth the hassle.

We are still planning a year-end trip, and haven’t yet decided where/when to go, but with only a few weeks left in the year (um…can you seriously believe that?!?) we will have to decide, soon.

On the babymaking front, after what felt like the longest month of my life, I finally got my period. While we were away last week, I noticed blood after going to the bathroom and excitedly ran out of the room with my pants down (TMI? Eh…it’s a blog about our fertility story…I guess nothing is really TMI anymore) and my wife grinned ear to ear when I told her.

The next morning, the blood was gone and my heart sank as I began to worry that perhaps I hadn’t gotten my period and was expelling some kind of residual blood from the miscarriage. I’ve been terrified of experiencing problems from the procedure, so I have been watching closely for any symptoms of  potential problems.

The next day, I had dark blood, followed by periodic bright blood, but I only had a drop here and there – nothing major. Finally, about three days after that started, I began to bleed slightly heavier (which was still nowhere NEAR the volume of a normal period for me) at which point I called my doctor to tell them that I thought I was starting my “full flow” period. They brought me in for bloodwork and ultrasound, and the nurse who did my ultrasound informed me that my uterine lining was still pretty thick and that she thought I’d be experiencing heavier bleeding soon, and that the bloodwork would reveal if this bleeding was – in fact – my period, or some kind of random abnormal bleeding.

Fortunately, she called early in the afternoon to let me know that my blood work looked “perfect” and that my period had arrived. I was still a little nervous as I had NO cramps, and the bleeding was very light, but she insisted that it looked good and I included my stats below in case they help anyone else (and so I don’t forget in case I need them later):

Estrogen – 34

Progesterone – 1.3

FSH – 9.8

LH – 5.2

I have a hysteroscopy scheduled for two weeks from now (during which they will insert a scope through my cervix to examine my uterus and ensure that there is no residual content or scarring from the miscarriage) and as long as everything looks okay, I will stop my birth control (which I started this week) and they will begin my cycle of medication (exactly what I forgot to ask, but I am assuming will include estrogen, baby asprin, and injected progesterone again) in order to prepare me for a frozen embryo transfer….almost exactly one month from now!!

We are trying to keep our excitement at bay in case we get any bad news during the hysteroscopy (or in case anything else unexpected happens) but we were thrilled to have a date to look forward to (and one that is so close!).

I had to advocate for us again, as the nurse wasn’t prepared for any kind of date for the next potential cycle start, and simply told me to call with the next period after my hysteroscopy to begin discussions about dates, but I reminded her that my other nurse told me that a medicated 2nd cycle (using birth control) was possible to speed things along, and she consulted with the doctor who was in strong agreement based on how everything looked so far – as long as the exam doesn’t reveal anything unexpected. I was really glad that I pressed her on that, otherwise we likely wouldn’t have transferred until January as our clinic is closed in late December and they stop accepting new cycles for transfer after the first week of December. I did ask her several times if doing things this way (with medication, and also…so soon) would in anyway impede our success, and she felt very strongly that it would not, and that this was a great plan based on our circumstances.

So now… we wait two weeks, and pray that everything goes as hoped during the hysteroscopy.

In the meantime, my cramps commenced as my body began filling pads with blood that is roughly the volume of Lake Michigan, and since I’m still wary of using tampons or a silicone cup (my preference) I feel like a vacuum cleaner is pulling out my internal organs every time I stand up. Fortunately, I think I’m just about finished and definitely feel better knowing that this is a true period and reflects my normal monthly experience. I’d much rather feel normal than comfortable when it comes to this entire process.

My wife and I have been discussing the remote possibility of transferring two embryos. Our clinic has a policy of only transferring one (I think I may have mentioned this a while back – they believe it to be irresponsible to transfer two as they said that it only increases the overall odds of pregnancy by a negligible amount, but that it dramatically increases the potential for twins, which they discourage due to all of the problems with premature births and risks to the mother), but our fear is having another “bad” embryo (since that is what we now believe to have been the problem with the last pregnancy – all of our research led us to believe that what we experienced is “blighted ovum” which generally results from a chromosomal abnormality with the embryo). We fear that due to my wife’s PCOS that we could have more poor quality embryos (even though our doctor said that he does not believe that to be the case), and we just wonder whether transferring two embryos might increase our odds of success – especially since this is the last transfer that is covered by the package we paid for, and any additional transfers would cost us roughly $3K/ea.

We really don’t want twins, but we really DO want success, and if we do proceed – we would likely have to beg our doctor to do it (and I don’t know how firm they are on the policy, so it may not be a possibility anyway). Has anyone been provided research or stats that are any different than what our doctor provided? Anyone’s doctor feel as strongly as ours did about double embryo transfer? Has anyone’s doctor RECOMMENDED transferring two? We would love to hear about it, if so.

We still have a month to think all of this over, and have elected to do something a little differently this time around: we do not plan on telling ANYONE about this transfer. We had each looped one friend into our last cycle early-on and shared most of the details with each of them. After we were fairly certain of the impending miscarriage, we told our immediate families and a couple of close friends (which helped a LOT!), but we want this next cycle to be just the two of us…and of course: anyone who reads this blog. I am literally the worst secret keeper ever as I get so excited about everything, so if we didn’t document it here I think I’d burst from anticipation.

So…here we are. One month out. Hope time doesn’t pass TOO slowly (although with Thanksgiving coming up, I also hope it doesn’t fly) and here is to hope and good news.

Cheers!