Wednesday, May 24, 2017

We have a heartbeat!

Sorry to have left you all hanging!  I spent the day, the fabulous day, with friends and I didn't get back until 1am!  What a difference waking up this morning was compared to yesterday! Knowing the day had only two outcomes...and I got the best outcome yesterday...a whole year later...all that work, and money, and effort, and pain, and tears, and praying...we have one heartbeat.  

I arrived to Dr. B around 10, but because the ultrasound tech wasn't there, he was responsible for doing the scanning and meeting with everyone-so I had to wait until almost 11:30 for my ultrasound.  Finally, he comes in and asks, "what brings you here today?" 
"I'm feeling mentally unstable." I think I got a smirk...he asked me if I was ready, and said, "yup," and I laid down.  I could not see the screen, and I chose to focus on the assistant's face rather than his because of the scary "scanning face." What seemed like eternity, but was probably only one or two seconds, the assistant made eye contact with me, smiled, and nodded.  I will never, in my life, forget her face.  
We have one heartbeat. 

The ultrasound took some time, as he did several different measurements, and I even got to hear the heartbeat from the internal ultrasound, thanks to his fancy new machine.

The baby is measuring four days behind-but with a strong heartbeat of 128, he wasn't worried and said it was probably because it was frozen, and they take time to catch up.  But what is so incredible, is that he said had I gone for the ultrasound last week-when he originally wanted me to, because it's behind, there probably wouldn't have been a heartbeat.  He acknowledged my instinct, and told me it was good I followed it, that I made the right decision.   

I have more blood work to monitor the estrogen and progesterone since I'm still supplementing those, and then on June 7th I go back for my follow up scan. 

As a funny aside, because we all love Dr. B stories-I was originally going to go on Wednesday, but in the end needed to change it to Thursday.  But, Monday afternoon I got an e-mail that he wouldn't be in the office then and I needed to reschedule. Fridays are difficult, and I was really looking forward to seeing friends, so I opted to go on Tuesday.  But, after the scan, he said that he thought Thursday was the upcoming holiday of Shavuous-which is why he told his staff he wouldn't be in, and he cancelled his patients!  But, once he realized he was off by a week, he started putting patients back on the schedule-but no one called me!  I had left it open ended with them when I would come!  So, we decided that G-d just really had mercy on me, and saw how much I was suffering and decided to provide me with information, knowledge, peace and clarity...I am so thankful.  

He was also able to see a small subchorionic hemorrhage-which most likely explains my bleeding.  He said that if I do see more bleeding, to ignore it-unless of course it's obvious it's dangerous, but minor bleeding is totally fine.  

I was given the clear to lift upper body weights. really really limit lower body weights, and to eat green leafy vegetables and limit my carbs...laughing out loud!  

People have been asking me how I feel about the news that it's only one and not two.  I really had no intuition on what the end result would be.  I acknowledged a couple weeks ago I would definitely be ok with one. As the last couple of weeks progressed, it became so obvious to me how traumatized I am, and how anxious I am, so I am relieved that this is not a challenge I have to faithfully face presently.  There's always next time ;) 

I told him he's probably ready to see me move on, and he said, "nah, you have frozen embryos, you'll be back!" 

Having been through the losses, and the struggles of the past 16 months-I have a different perspective on this pregnancy.  I'll talk about it more, and the truth is I don't know how much I have to say right now, as this is all brand new, but I'm definitely not as connected, I'm afraid to connect, but I am beyond grateful at the gift that is just today.  If this should end, to make it past the point of last year's trauma, I am forever grateful.  

Monday, May 22, 2017

Blood Draw #6 and a change in plans

Today was probably the most aggravating of blood draw days. Typically, results are back within about three hours.  One time they were back in two, and one time they were back in four.  Today, it was about five and a half hours!  But not only that, progesterone and estrogen came back about half an hour before the hcg.  But in the midst of all this, I get an e-mail saying that my doctor won't be in for my scheduled appointment on Thursday, so I need to call and reschedule.  Let's just say that was enough to push me over the edge!  
Finally my hcg came back at 52,672-when it reaches such a high number, the doubling time slows down. I panicked when I realized even over four days it didn't totally double, and I texted my doctor asking if it was ok.  
His response: Absolutely ;) 
I called his office, and ultimately decided that my ultrasound will be tomorrow.  

I am so not ready for this. 
I wasn't expecting to have to sit down and compose my thoughts tonight-and of course I had to do some baking for the office tomorrow, but let me just put this out there: most people don't walk into their first ultrasound thinking there's a possibility they're not actually pregnant.  Who thinks they'll walk into an ultrasound, after several blood tests, to not see their baby?  To be told there's nothing there?  Well, I do.  Well, I don't-but because it's happened to me, I know that's a possibility.  It's also hitting me very hard that this is the exact same time period, to the week, that I had the first miscarriage.  To think that a year later, the exact same scenario could play out the exact same way is so upsetting.  I don't feel it's related to the miscarriage per say, but rather those moments of reflection catch me off guard.  I find myself going back and reading old blog posts from this exact time-not only calendar date, but also the same point in pregnancy-so it's a double whammy, thinking that I might relive this exact same nightmare again.  

But, the time has come.  
Tomorrow we'll know for certain. 

I'm not the type to ask for prayers, or well wishes, but today, I did, I am.
I'm not sure how I'm going to face tomorrow.
But I will.   

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Friday, May 19, 2017

The 5th blood draw

And it just keeps on going folk...Monday will be blood draw #6, so stay tuned!
Thankfully this blood draw was standard protocol, so I wasn't nearly as nervous as the 4th blood draw.  But, that thought still creeps back in as it gets closer to the time I'll be finding out my results. Thankfully the numbers more than doubled, coming in at 27,150.  

The ultrasound was moved from Wednesday to Thursday, so six days left of waiting.  
I'll write more about it later, but I'll just say I am so not ready to face this, but I know I don't have a choice. 

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

It's finally Fri-YAY! What plans do you have this weekend?:

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

An Emergency 4th Blood Draw

All is well that ends well...but I wasn't sure that would be the case.  
Over the weekend, I had a somewhat scary episode of bleeding.  
I was alone for almost the entire weekend-minus, oh about six hours of the weekend-no joke!  I know I have a lot of anxiety-some of it within reason, a lot of it not, but that's neither here nor there.  For some reason, Friday night, I just had a feeling something was going to happen, and I would be alone.  Sure enough, we were at new friends for lunch, when I felt something funny, and lo and behold, I was graced with bright red blood with clots.  #tmi #sorrynotsorry 

I took a deep breath and did a mental assessment of what I was feeling: no cramps.  
Put on a happy face, as best as I could, although I'm positive there was no way I was entirely convincing.  I went back to check on the bleeding-still there, not quite as bad: no cramps.  I really had a fear I was just going to start bleeding, miscarriage style, while wearing a pantie liner-on their upholstered chairs. #notwinning 
I felt terrible, but I quickly excused myself, and as I was trying to gather my kids, my host so graciously offered to keep my boys, who were enjoying the nice weather playing with friends.  I told her why I was rushing out, and she insisted I keep the boys with her.  Hannah and I made it home in about 15 minutes: no cramps. Bleeding had started to slow down, now it was pink, no more clots.  

I spent the rest of the day in bed or the couch.  Hannah and I did lots of cuddling.  By the time the evening rolled around, the bleeding was now a light pink: no cramps.  
By Sunday morning, it was just brown: no cramps.  

I was pretty sure it was ok-but who ever really knows.  So, instead of doing blood as planned on Tuesday, I went ahead and texted Dr. B that I had had some bleeding, was thoroughly freaked out, and would be doing blood on Monday.  When I text him, I don't expect him to call me back, it's just an efficient way for me to keep him in the loop, and this isn't my first rodeo-I'm not that needy that I need him to call and reassure me.  But bless his heart, he called me a few minutes later.  He asked me how much blood there was and told me it could be implantation, or placental development.  He reassured me that, "all bleeding in pregnancy is scary," and that with such good numbers from Thursday, I wouldn't start bleeding from a miscarriage two days later.  I felt pretty relieved that he didn't think it was so concerning.  

I've had bleeding in all of my IVF pregnancies, but never this early.  With Moshe I had bleeding at 16 weeks, which wasn't so concerning in the moment because I knew what I was seeing, at 16 weeks, wasn't a miscarriage. An ultrasound later revealed a subchorionic hemorrhage.  With Dovy, I had bleeding at 8 weeks, and while that was definitely scarier,I was far enough along to run to the OB for an emergency scan-after we demanded the NYPD move their cop car from blocking our car #smdh Anyway, the point is-there was nothing to do at this point but wait for blood on Monday.  I couldn't run to the ER for an emergency scan-there isn't much to see at 5w3d, and I'm sure it would take just as long to get my blood results back as if I just waited until Monday. 
So, Monday came and I went early for blood.  

My friend asked me what my intuition was, since I have pretty strong intuitions-and I told her I think it's fine, but one never knows, so I was of course, an anxious mess.  My husband is on an evening shift this week, so he wouldn't be at work until 5pm, and he had trouble recently logging onto the patient portal, so I wasn't sure I'd be getting my results back before 5pm!  Don't worry, I told him there was no way I was waiting that long and he would probably have to make a trip earlier in the day to check my labs.  So I was rather surprised that when I just randomly asked him to make sure the system was accessible from home, he texted back: beta hcg 13,321
Thank God.  
I don't know if I've ever known to be so thankful in a particular moment. 

Which leads me to another place of emotion-anger. I have never been so angry at my infertility, until this past weekend.  The bleeding is not specifically related to infertility, although there is a higher incidence of bleeding in IVF pregnancies, but it was the first time I got angry at God.  Why? Why did I have to have this bleeding?  Good or bad outcome-why? To test my faith? Two miscarriages wasn't enough? Five transfers wasn't enough? To test my gratitude?  After 16 months of fertility treatments, with miscarriages and failed cycles-I wasn't grateful? 
Give the bleeding to someone else, someone who didn't have to think twice about begging God for another baby, but don't give it to me. 
And then, my very special friend, said to me, this gives us the chance to pray, to be grateful. And I thought about that, and I realized she was right.  I hadn't been angry before- I was complacent with my hand; I was satisfied with the status quo, which meant I didn't have anything to talk to God about.  I was ok with what He deemed my journey.  
Until then...and I shut off my music and I prayed to God, for the first time in a long time...
Please let this be a healthy pregnancy.  Whatever Your will is, but I want a healthy pregnancy. 
Gentle reminders are always appreciated.  

Dr. B called me that afternoon, told me my numbers were fine, repeat blood on Thursday, and we scheduled my ultrasound for 5/24/17.  

All is well that ends well.      

Monday, May 15, 2017

Monday Munchies...

Today I'm sharing with you an easy, and awesome way to amp up your average brownie-from a box of course ;) 

An impromptu BBQ took place yesterday, and these brownies immediately popped into my mind.  They've been a staple for so long, I had to go find the magazine I oroginally found the recipe in-so you know they're a real winner! The recipe is called Chunky Path Brownies and was from the magazine Ultimate Cookies in 2009.  Of course, their brownie recipe calls for brownies made from scratch, but who doesn't love Duncan Hines?!?  You can make the brownies however you wish-cake like or fudge like, but I will say the fudge like brownies were extremely rich, so you have to like that! 

Chunky Path Brownies : simplified by me
1 box of Duncan Hines brownies and the recommended ingredients 
3 cups mini marshmallows
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 
1/2 cup whipping cream 
1/4 cup butter (I used margarine) 

Bake your brownies according to the instructions.  Once they come out of the oven, while still hot-cover with mini marshmallows.  You want the top to be completely covered in one layer.  

Over a low flame, melt the chocolate chips, whipped cream and butter (margarine) until smooth.  Drizzle over the brownie/marshmallow.  Let cool until chocolate is set.  
*This left me with a lot of left over chocolate, feel free to use as little or as much as you would like! It looks prettier if less is used to create the drizzle effect, but if you like chocolate like me-you might as well just cover the entire top in chocolate! 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Third Blood Draw

Thankfully I had less nerves yesterday as I waited for my blood results, however it quickly waned as time went on.  I usually have my results back by 11:40.  When I had my second blood draw, they were inundated with patients and a new computer system, so I expected it to take longer.  But yesterday, I didn't find out my results until 2pm! 

To be honest, surviving a pregnancy takes a lot of strength.  For me, finding it within myself to just be in the moment and trust what's right in front of me, is not easy.  It was much easier to face a failure, or even the miscarriages-because although it lingers in it's own way, there's no lasting fear.  It's over.  Before hand there would be a peak, and I would come crashing down, hard, but then it stabilizes, life goes on.  Dealing with all my anxieties surrounding pregnancy, and I'm only five weeks into this, is much, much harder for me.  It's a constant series of peaks and dips, falls even, sometimes many over the course of a day even! When the results finally do come in, it's a relief and exhaustion washes over me.  
This is hard.  
Facing a pregnancy after loss is hard.

I am aware that my anxiety is extreme, and I know that it doesn't help.  I know that statistically and based on how things have progressed, things will be fine.  However, I want to remind anyone who thinks this might be an over reaction-to me, or if you have someone else in your life who has a similar issue.  This is not out of left field.  How can I possibly, naively, believe that my blood test results will be fine?  When one time, my blood tests weren't fine?!? I had to live through that phone call, where we discussed a dropped beta.  So even though I have strong numbers thus far, in the back of my mind, I think about the possibility of getting the news that my numbers didn't rise like they should.  

You know what else is looming on my mind?  The ultrasound.  My doctor likes to do first ultrasounds two weeks after the first positive blood test, which means my ultrasound should be May 18.  However, because I want to avoid a week of limbo-if that's what's deemed to happen, I want to push off the ultrasound to seven weeks.  My doctor agreed, and we are going to figure out a date the following week to do the ultrasound.  While I don't specifically have a fear of there not being a heartbeat like I did that time, it is something on my mind.  Good numbers now, don't mean the ultrasound will be good-I had great numbers last time, and I didn't get a happy ending.  

Yesterday's numbers were 3712-more than doubling in 3 days.  

Today, I'm still pregnant.    

Keep working through it.:

Monday, May 8, 2017

2nd Blood Draw

Today I had my second blood draw to check my hcg levels.  Hcg is the pregnancy hormone and in a healthy pregnancy, the hcg will double every 2-3 days.  It has been four days since the original blood draw of 230, so by Sunday, it had to have been 560.  I'm not sure how to account for that extra day since it wouldn't have had to double again, so we were aiming for somewhere reasonable above 560.  

It became obvious to me on my drive to the lab, how traumatic the past year has been for me.  Memories come flooding back to me when I least expect it.  My second miscarriage was a chemical pregnancy that wasn't expected to last from the first blood draw.  When I received a text from my husband with my results, "beta is 0 :(" it wasn't a surprise.  Sad, sure, but expected.  Previous to this, I had never had an issue with properly doubling betas. And given that 230 was incredibly solid, I really had no reason to suspect anything other than awesome numbers today.  But, surprisingly, memories of that text, the punch in the gut feeling, came flooding back and I found myself hysterically crying for most of the drive, as I pictured a repetition of that this afternoon.  It didn't help that I waited an hour, as the lab was switched to a new computer system that morning and they were inundated with patients, which meant my blood results would be back later than normal.  

Every 30 minutes, beginning around 11 I texted my husband asking him to check my chart.  
Not back yet
Last time it took three hours, it'll be after 1pm.

There was nothing I could do to shake that feeling that I was going to relive a nightmare.  I reminded myself, as surprising as it was to me, that this was a milestone I needed to get past in order to feel secure in this pregnancy.  My last pregnancy ended at this point, and I need to make it past this.  

At 1pm I met with my trainer-I debated back and forth about canceling, but decided to tell him to take it easy on me and continue with the session, so I knew when I got back to my phone at 2pm I'd have results.  

Your beta is 1511 the text read.  
A doubling time of less than two days.  
More than I could have ever hoped for. 
This was the first time I've ever gotten teary eyed from a moment of pure thanksgiving.  

Hcg is to be repeated on Thursday. 
Ultrasound pending.
Today, I am 5 weeks 0 day. 
Oh how I'll love Mondays. 

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