Monday, June 29, 2009
I had my first maternity shopping excursion this weekend with my pg friend, and I'm a little embarrassed to say that in a few hours, I racked up about $600 in clothes from Pea in the Pod, Motherhood, Gap, and a designer consignment shop. But that's not all.... I've also ordered at least another $400+ online from Old Navy, JC Penny and Pea in the Pod (again). I was hoping to keep my maternity clothing purchases under $1000 for the entire pregnancy, but clearly that won't happen!!
Now, to be fair, there were some things that were unavoidable and shouldn't "count". I needed new bras and panties - I bought them on sale and there's nothing fancy about them, so I don't really count that. I needed the "mama spanx" shorts to wear under dresses and skirts because my thighs now rub together. Lovely. That definitely doesn't count. And I also bought a body pillow to help me lie on my side all night. That's not even clothing. So maybe I'm about $100 less when I take out the things that "don't count".
But still, I spent a lot. Now, I'm a very good bargain shopper, so I think I made some great purchases for the money I spent. And I think the real problem is - I not only need casual clothes, but I also need "business casual" and "business formal". So I need many different wardrobes. Perhaps $1000 was never a realistic goal?
Now, the sales ladies said that the clothes are designed these days to last the whole pregnancy. I'm not sure I see how that can be! Yeah, they have stretch, but I don't want to look like a sausage at the end!! We'll just have to see how this progresses. If all the weight goes to my tummy, I might be OK, but if my butt and thighs start seeing some action, all bets are off!
Luckily, with my bday coming up, my mom wants to take me into NYC next month to buy one or two really nice work outfits. That will be a big help (and a lot of fun, too!). I think, for moms, maternity clothes shopping is a little like shopping with your daughter for her wedding dress. And since I eloped in Hawaii, and bought my dress myself, I kind of stole that one from her... I'll let her make it up with maternity clothes!
Right now, I'm still fitting into a lot of my normal clothes, which is good because I haven't told people at work yet. I spent over 6 hours this weekend going through my closet. I came up with about 10 big garbage bags of clothes for Good Will and about 4 garment racks of clothes that don't fit me now (the size 4's, 6's and even some slim-cut 8's of my pre-IVF days) that I will store in the basement. So everything in my closet now fits me, looks good, and is organized. That makes me feel so happy! And after I lose the baby fat, I can go "shopping" in my basement for clothes that begin to fit me again.
I will say - I do like the maternity clothing look. I must be a freak, but I think it's adorable! I can't wait to have more of a bump! Right now, I could look pregnant or fat - it could go either way. The scale hasn't changed at all, but my body is definitely changing.
OK.... so how convincing does all of that sound? All of that happy pregnancy giddiness? I'm trying to feel like that, I really am, but here it is, a week since my last appointment, and I'm starting to freak. I don't see the doc for 3 more weeks, and it feels like forever. I don't understand how I'm just supposed to assume everything's OK???
And just when I think I'm over the first trimester uncertainty, and into the "safe" second trimester, two things happen:
1) DH and I were at the car dealership on Friday. The lease was up on his fun, sporty, yellow Xterra, so we traded it in for a more family-friendly Pathfinder (and I guess we'll need to do the same for my convertible, soon!!). We've worked with the sales guy before (nice guy, believe it or not), and he mentions his wife is pregnant. Turns out, she's 2 weeks behind me. We get to talking about difficulties getting pregnant, turns out she's had 3 miscarriages. Two were before 8 weeks, but one of them was at 17-18 weeks!!! No warning, no bleeding, just... no more heartbeat. Just what I need to hear.
2) I realize that I've been feeling this strange sensation... When I've been sitting for a while (at work, watching TV, whatever), and then I get up, I feel a heavy pressure by my pubic bone. Doesn't really "hurt" but very uncomfortable. Goes away after about 5 minutes of walking and standing. I emailed the nurse, she said it's normal, just the muscles readjusting, but Mr. Google says it could be a sign of incompetent cervix. The exact thing I'm now afraid of.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Here's the deal - the screening only detects 90% of the issues, and can also give a 3-5% false positive. So it's not a diagnostic test, just a screening. With that in mind:
My odds for Downs, based purely on age, was 1/64. After the test, the odds are now 1/1261
My odds for Trisomy 13/18 based on age was 1/116. After the test, the odds are now 1/1742
The genetic counselor was very enthusiastic - she said these are really good screening results. I'm thrilled, too, but now I have the dilemma - do I get the amnio or not? I asked the counselor and she said that women who have results this good mostly do not get the amnio, but it's a very personal decision.
- First, I don't have to make up my mind right away, I have several upcoming screens scheduled. I easily have until week 20 to decide (7 more weeks), and I can even wait until week 22, but that could be pushing it.
- July 9 - sequential screen. This is a blood test that will further refine the odds, going up to about 93% accuracy for downs, and also screens for spina bifida (80% accuracy). She said this probably won't change my odds much, since my first screen shows such small odds
- Aug 6 - genetic ultrasound. This is a very long and detailed ultrasound that I'm really just doing so I get another ultrasound! The accuracy is less than the other 2 screens, so it won't tell me anything more, but will help to confirm the results using another method.
- Chance of miscarriage from amnio - 0.3% to 0.5%
- Chance of downs/tri based on new odds - less than 0.1%
- Would I terminate the pregnancy if I knew the baby had downs or trisomy? yes
- Could I live with myself if an amnio caused a miscarriage and the baby was fine? no
So my happiness is tempered a bit by having to decide how I'm going to roll the dice. Do I eliminate the chance of miscarriage, but risk downs/trisomy? Or do I know for sure about downs/trisomy and risk miscarriage? If I skip the amnio, will I be worried all pregnancy? What would I do if I gave birth to a baby with downs?
At my age (will be 41 at delivery), I was fully expecting to be at a higher risk level and going ahead with the test. But now, the risk of a chromosomal problem is significantly less than the risk of miscarriage. I'm a numbers girl, so my gut is telling me not to do it, but I'm very interested to hear any other experiences, opinions, or thoughts!
PS - had my 2nd OB appointment yesterday. Very quick (except for the 45 minute late doctor!). Couldn't find the heartbeat on the doppler, but found it right away on the ultrasound (giving me yet another picture!). The funny thing is - I wasn't nervous when she couldn't find it on the doppler - I think I'm feeling more confident!
Monday, June 22, 2009
We ended up having 22 people over, and unfortunately, it rained. In order to accommodate my uncle who lives quite a distance away, and always hits a lot of traffic on the holidays, we had our BBQ on Saturday, when it rained all day, instead of Sunday, when it was high 70s and overcast - a perfect day for an outdoor BBQ. I was cranky all morning, not relishing the idea of entertaining 22 people INSIDE, when we have a gorgeous back yard with a large deck, patio area, pool, and more seating than ever needed.
But it all turned out fine, there was actually plenty of room and no one felt crowded. My niece and a few in-laws actually went in the pool even though it was drizzling, and the younger crowd had a blast down in DH's "man cave" playing xbox, Rock Band and all that stuff.
But the best part was telling the relatives that we were pregnant. Especially my grandparents. They had tears in their eyes when I showed them my ultrasound pics. Everyone was truly happy for me, and I knew there was no one that could be secretly going through infertility issues and feeling that pain that we all know when an announcement like this is made. All of my aunts/uncles have children and are in their 50/60's, and I am about 14 years older than all my siblings/nieces/nephews, and none of them are married.
My grandmother was funny - she said she had a big feeling there would be an announcement this weekend. How the heck did she know?? She said I was "cranky" when we got together for Hanukah (December) and Passover (March), and then when I sent the email invite for Father's Day in early June, and invited everyone (which I always do), my email sounded so happy, that she thought I was pregnant!?!?!? I tell you, Jewish grandmothers know everything!!!
It really was a fun day, and great to hear everyone's happiness and support for us. And I'm starting to feel more confident that everything will continue to go well (knock on wood!). My girlfriend and I are going maternity clothes shopping this Sat, while the DH's play golf, then meeting back for BBQ and pool time, and we're starting to look at nursery designs. It's really starting to feel real, like this will really lead to a baby for us!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
They told me that based on age alone, my odds are 1/42. I asked her about the 1/75 I had heard about, but she said that's once I'm in the second trimester. Since I'm still in the first, it's 1/42, since many instances of downs will cause you miscarry before second tri. I'm also going to take a week 15 blood test to further refine the odds (but it will still be less than 95% accurate). She told me that I'll get those results a week later, and then they would be able to get me in for an amnio in a few days if I wanted to go forward with it. We'll just have to see. I don't want to be worried the whole pregnancy, but I so hate the idea of going ahead with something that has a 0.5% chance of miscarriage. The doc also said something about seeing the nasal bone (?) which is also a good sign that things are going well.
Other good news - my cervix is 3.3 long. Under 2.5 is considered short, and could mean you have a weak cervix (risk of 2nd tri miscarriage), but I'm looking good. Plus the placenta is not covering the cervix so far (placenta previa), which would mean most certainly a c-section. The only not-so-great thing is that my fibroid is now 5cm (grown from 3cm before pregnancy). Growth is normal during pregnancy, but you don't want it to interfere with the fetal growth by pushing into the uterus. So far it's not. You also don't want the placenta to be on top of the fibroid, and it's not. And finally you don't want the fibroid to block the birth canal, which it's not now, but it's kind of close. If that happens, it could mean a c-section. It just depends on which direction it's growing.
So all-in-all, I'm excited! The doc said everything is looking really good. LO was moving around a lot, it was really fun to see. They had to keep poking LO and asking me to cough to get the right angle. At one point, LO was sitting cross-legged, it was real cute! And I have 2 strips of pictures which are much more detailed than before.
I go back on Tues for a regular OB appt - I'm sure I won't get an ultrasound, but hopefully we can listen to the heartbeat with a doppler. We're going to tell extended family over the next week, and then I'll tell my boss once I'm at the end of 13 weeks (about 2 weeks from now). I had always thought the first trimester ended at 12 weeks, but my doc said it's the end of the 13th week. More waiting!
I think I'm starting to show a little, although it's hard to distinguish from my 17 extra IVF pounds! I haven't gained any weight on the scale, but everything is shifting. I bought a bella band, and these pant extenders with different color "shields" that slip over the extender and match your pants. But I think I'll need to break down and hit the maternity clothes pretty soon. Let's hope anyway!
Mostly, I'm going to try really hard to not let myself freak out as much anymore. Easier said than done, I know this is my post-appointment "high" talking, but I really have every reason to by confident, I think...
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I've been a wreck this past week. I've been busy with work for most of it, thankfully, but my fears have always been at the back of thoughts. I really have very minimal symptoms. No sickness or nausea AT ALL. Much less tired, no weight gain (altho plenty of bloating). Oh, and here's a sad (not REALLY sad, but sad for me) story...
My bras have been pretty tight, so I went to Victoria Secret this weekend. I've always been a 36 barely-B, and I have all of these big-time push up bras that make my almost nothing look like something. But I know I've grown, so I wanted to get fitted properly for a bra, with no padding and no under wire (not supposed to be good for milk duct development?). Now, first of all - I've never been measured before, so I felt a little funny about asking, but I've always pictured the "bra measurers" to be granny-like women. Well, all the employees in Victoria Secret are in their 20's. I actually felt embarrassed to ask!
I found the maturest looking employee and asked her to measure me. We go into the dressing room and she measures me over my clothes. I'm now a 38C!! Whoo hoo! I'm pretty excited! Now, the 36-to-38 growth is most likely because of the 17 fertility drug pounds I've gained (and the new back fat I've seemed to develop - lovely), but the B-to-C action - excellent! So I try one on, it fits (surprise surprise!), and I'm on my way, all excited that I'm now a C-cup while my belly is still pretty normal.
That was on Saturday... a few days later, I'm wearing one of my new bras, and I'm sitting back, and noticing that there's no way I'm filling up this thing!! My little boobies are swimming in this massive C-cup!! When I stood up straight, it was a little better, but I'm still feeling like it's wishful thinking. And I remember that she measured me with my clothes on. Including my big-time push up bra that adds a cup size. Hmmm.
So all this is making me think that I've really only gone from a barely-B to a B, and that I should just be buying 38B's to accommodate for the new back fat. One symptom I THOUGHT I had, crossed of the list. Darn!
And then today, a weird thing happened. I was sitting in my car, sneezed, and felt a real sharp pain in my abdomen. It lasted a little while, then faded. I can still feel something if I push on it. That's never happened before!
So anyway - you can see I'm literally driving myself crazy here! My appointment can't be soon enough - 1pm for the genetic screening, and 2:30 for the u/s. I feel like this is a huge milestone, and I will be sooo thankful if everything is OK.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Well, the nurse said that once they release a patient to the OB after 8 weeks, they don't see them after that. :( She asked if anything was physically wrong? No. She asked if my TSH was down? Yes, plus I told her my Prog was up again. She asked if they were doing the first trimester screening? Yes. She said she completely understands my nervousness, but all indications are good, and I should try not worry (although of course, unlike other nurses, she gets why I do!).
I thought abut calling my OB, but they don't have the early morning hours, and they're about 20 minutes from the office. Plus, I'm only working a half day tomorrow before heading down the shore, then going to Chicago from Sunday to Tuesday. So that only leaves Wednesday which is just one day before my appointment on Thursday. And that makes no sense.
I'm glad I tried, but in a way, I'm glad they couldn't accommodate me. I really want to just be "normal" with this pregnancy - the less drama the better. And special, unscheduled ultrasounds for no medical reason - definitely drama.
I'm kind of happy this option of going to the RE is off the table. I have my first tri screen next week at 12w, then the regular OB appt at 13w, and I think they do amnio at 15w or 16w. Then back to OB at 17w. So I do have a bunch of appointments coming up, I just need to get through this long stretch right now...
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Sigh. I hope I'm just being dramatic.
I had the weirdest dream last night. I dreamt I was at my next docs appointment which is supposed to be genetic counseling followed by the ultrasound. I get there, and they send me right to the ultrasound. They find a heartbeat, but the doc says that my lining is too thin, and it could mean I'll lose the baby, and he prescribes progesterone. (Which is very odd, since my lining has always been plenty thick during IVF treatments). I'm too upset and shocked to ask all the questions I would normally ask, so I don't know any of the details.
Then when we go back to the receptionist, she tells me that now it's too late for the genetic counseling, that I missed that appointment. I tell her that they are the ones who sent me to ultrasound and now they have to give me the genetic appointment. She says sorry, you missed it. I proceed to throw a loud, obnoxious fit in front of all the other patients, much to DH's dismay. They give in and send us back for the genetic appointment. Which turns out to be a group appointment with other couples and "contests" you have to do, kind of like game night with friends. Very bizarre.
I think this is my fear and restlessness creating these "nightmares". To counteract that bad feeling waking up from a dream like that, I went online to order a bunch of "grandfather" books for Father's Day gifts. We're announcing (hopefully) to our extended family at our Father's Day bbq, so I bought some "spoiling your grandkids" books and grandfather "journals", where my and DH's dad can answer questions about their lives, add pictures, etc., so our new baby can learn about their grandpas. I even got one for my grandfather, who will become a first time great-grandfather (and in very good health, too - pretty amazing since I'm already 40)!
Luckily, I'm pretty busy from Friday until next Tues, so that will help me take my mind off everything. I hope!
Monday, June 8, 2009
My step-father's family tends to be very competitive and always compares the children / cousins, which is very petty and annoying. I am a few years older than my female step-cousin, and my younger brother is a few years younger than the male step-cousin. Every question is a combination of some concern, but mostly information gathering so they can compare it with their own children. Who got better SAT scores, who went to better colleges, who has the better jobs, better houses, etc. It's really not fun. But in case you're wondering, my brother "won" the in the SAT score category (perfect score, way to go, bro!), I "won" in the best job category, and the two cousins both "won" in the better colleges category. But my female cousin, well, she married "very well", has a ridiculously expensive house and two lovely daughters they had absolutely no problem conceiving. She no longer works, despite her ivy-league education, has a nanny, a decorator, a maid, and who knows what else. So I guess ultimately, in their eyes, she is "the winner". However, her husband travels to Europe every week, so he's never home, and is completely uninvolved in his daughters' lives (or even my cousin's, it seems to me, but I'm not around them all that much). Not something I envy in the least, but I guess everyone has a different dream...
So, when I started having problems conceiving (score for their side!), you can bet I didn't tell my step-family. I really just told the close friends and family that I trusted and knew would be pulling for me. Well, when my brother's wife died unexpectedly, her funeral fell on the day of my second IVF's egg retrieval. I hated it, but I couldn't go to her funeral (of course my brother and family understood, but I felt terrible). It was such a tragedy and so difficult for everyone, so I didn't want to add to the stress and ask my mom to lie when people asked her why I wasn't there. So I told her she could tell people if they asked, which they obviously did.
My step-aunt right away wanted all the details. Then she asked if she could call me in a few weeks to see how I was doing (now - we've never had a phone relationship - purely family get-togethers). I told her that I would really appreciate it if she does NOT call to ask if the IVF was successful. If it wasn't, I would be devastated and would not want to talk to people about it. If it was positive, she would hear about it in due time.
Well, of course she called a week or so later, AND ASKED. It was a day or two before my beta, so I told her we didn't know yet. I reminded her that I really didn't want people asking me how it went. But then, she calls again about a week later! I had already gotten the BFN, but I had no intention of discussing it with her. We made small talk for a long time and I simply didn't bring it up. It was such a phony conversation. I think she chickened out because she didn't ask me, but then promptly got on the phone with my mom/step-dad who told her the bad news. I haven't heard from her since. The whole thing really irritated me.
Fast forward, when I found out I was pregnant, I asked my parents not to tell them (and other extended family) until I get past the first tri. So she keeps asking my mom how we are, etc. Mom just says we're doing great and then changes the subject, even though she wants more. Well, they are going to visit my aunt this week, and so my mom asked what I want her to say because she knows there will be a lot more in-depth probing: are they trying again? when? what are they trying?, IVF, egg donor, etc. etc. etc. It's a lot easier to dodge all the questions on the phone - more difficult when you're their house guest for a week!
So I told her just to look straight at her and say "I appreciate your concern, but [my name] prefers not to discuss this" and leave it at that. If more questions come up, just keep repeating that phrase. My mom is fine with that, but I hate that my reproductive status has become a part of this competitive family's gossip, and that it puts my mom in an awkward situation.
Friday, June 5, 2009
But I really am going to try not to break down and call the doc for an u/s before my next appointment on June 18. I want to try to be "normal". It's hard, though, to be so in the dark about what's going on. And it's easy to let my fears take over. I figure, though, it's really just the next week I need to get through. After that, my girlfriend is visiting us at our shore house next Friday to Sunday, then I leave for Chicago on business from Sunday to Tuesday. I'll be exhausted from travelling and trying to catch up back at the office on Wednesday, and then my appointment is Thursday (afternoon). So if I can make it one more week, I'll be in the home stretch!
Meanwhile, I think I actually have to visit the maternity store this weekend... I've always been fairly small chested (barely-B cup), and I wouldn't be surprised if I've jumped up a cup size. My cute little Victoria Secret bras are not cutting it anymore! Not to mention that at night, when I take off my bra to sleep, they are very sore. I think I might need a sleeping bra or something, plus a few that actually fit me during the day.
And even though I haven't gained any weight on the scale, I'm definitely bloated. And with the 17 pounds I gained from the year and a half of fertility drugs, I was pushing the seams on my clothes as it was. Now it's on the brink of unmanageable. So much for being able to squeeze into the extra room in my regular clothes for a while!
I'm debating if I should just go buy a few things in the next regular size, or take the plunge into maternity. Maternity at 10/11 weeks, though, that seems way too soon for a first child. It also feels a little like tempting fate... Plus, I'm wondering if it might be a pretty safe bet that I won't lose all my pregnancy weight in the 6 weeks before I'll need to return to work (ya think???), and be happy to have a few larger, non-maternity sizes in my closet.
It's good to have to think about these dilemmas!
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
So I asked the OB to include it in the bloodwork I had done last Wed. She agreed, although she warned me that it might come in lower and that I SHOULD NOT WORRY if it does. (Who me? worry???)
Well, I just heard back from my OB's nurse today (they are nowhere near as quick as the clinic, that's for sure!) and my new progesterone level is 27.8!
I like that number a lot!
For me, being so "logical", I would always try to justify why is wasn't "right" that they got pregnant and we couldn't yet, when really, there's no logic in it at all. The only part of infertility that seems logical to me is that if you do what I do, and wait until you're 39 to try to have a baby, you just might have a hard time!
But would I have done anything differently? Do I wish I had a baby at 18? No. Do I wish I had a baby at any point when I was single? No. Do I wish I had a baby with my first husband? Definitely no. So there's no second guessing, it just is what it is - a situation where the odds were against me going in.
Anyway... back to the change in perspective. Not long after I started going to the first IVF clinic, when I was still so hopeful with those first IUIs, I ran into someone I knew. I had started my new job only about 6 months ago, and here was the finance guy walking out of the clinic as I was in the waiting room. We both kind of looked at each other and nodded, and that was it.
Back at work, he has to run some monthly reports for me, so we continued our normal working relationship without ever making reference to seeing each other. I was very nervous because it's always way "worse" for a woman in business to have a baby vs. a man, and I didn't want anyone to know what I was trying to do, especially so soon after taking this new job. And let's face it - I'm sure he was fairly embarrassed, too. We all know when we see a man walking out of the back of an IVF clinic by himself what he was probably just doing a few minutes ago... But I didn't ask him if it was a "good batch", he didn't make any mention of my intentions, we both kept it very discreet and professional.
Fast forward about a year or so, and here I am yesterday, working away, when I get the office-wide email announcing the birth of a new baby. Never a welcome email for an infertile, but guess whose it was? Yup, the finance guy. Now, if this was 3 months ago, before I became pregnant, but after 3 filed IUIs and 2 failed IVFs, it would have just about killed me.
But with my new perspective, I was truly happy for him!
Monday, June 1, 2009
1) First, I have been very delinquent. My two followers - Best When Used By and Sandra D have both nominated me for the sisterhood award. How awesome! I'm so glad people enjoy reading my blog and it's so nice when they tell you that. So thank you both! And I will be posting my nominees soon...
2) Need to acknowledge my DH... Just this weekend, I saw that he picked up a book about bonding with your baby. He told me that he knows it's early, but he wants to read as much as he can before the baby is born. And the other night, he came upstairs specifically to tell me that he wanted to make sure that sooner, rather than later, we discussed exactly what we'll do, and all the contingencies, when I'm going into labor (who to call, what to bring, what if I'm at work? etc.) so that he'll be sure to be prepared. He's so awesome!
3) IF (if, if, if, if...) everything continues to go well, we are planning on "announcing" our situation to extended family at our Father's Day bbq. We'll be 12.5w along at that point, and will have seen the heartbeat again at the 1st tri screening just a few days before. I think that's a pretty cool time to make this announcement!
4) I need to travel to Chicago for a 2 day trip, right before the 1st tri screening. I don't know why, but I really don't like the idea of flying while I'm pregnant. I did a one day trip to Boston not too long ago, and that was fine (except for the 3 hour delay getting home...). I'm going to need to talk to my doc and find out when I can reasonably tell my boss no more flying. First, though, I'll have to tell my boss that I'm pregnant, I guess! That won't be fun. We're in different offices, and never see each other, so I'm not worried about him spotting it, but once the first tri is over, I feel I'm obligated to tell to give the most notice possible.
5) My hunger is not as bad as it was at the beginning (uh-oh, is that a bad sign???), but my tiredness is still going strong. And still, not a drop of nausea. I think I'm very lucky in that area - my girlfriend who is 1.5 weeks ahead of me has been throwing up multiple times a day for the past 4-5 weeks. Poor thing!
6) Speaking of being tired... DH and I played golf at one of my favorite courses yesterday. I like this course because it's an "executive course", meaning par 60 instead of par 72, so even though there are 18 holes, they are shorter and easier. Well, it was the perfect day, not too hot, nice breeze, no one ahead of us slowing us down... and I was exhausted by the 15th hole, I couldn't even finish. Mind you, we were riding the cart, not walking the course! I'm really not used to being this tired all the time!!
7) 17 days and counting before I get an ultrasound. I'm really trying to be calm, but every blog or chat board I read seems to mention a miscarriage at 10+ weeks. I think I need to stop reading to keep sane. I am going to try my best to tough it out and not beg for a quickie before then, since there's NOTHING I CAN DO if there's a problem.
I think that about wraps it up for today!