Sunday, June 27, 2010

10 weeks, last PIO and dreams

10 weeks today! I feel quite well, still tired though and getting very emotional at anything I watch on the telly.
The major thing is that tonight we are going to do the last PIO injection!! I actually don't mind them too much, we have developed a technique that works well for me, but's a major achievement. We never made it to the end of any meds after a positive pregnancy test and this is BIG. Two more weeks and I'll stop all the meds and I'll only be taking normal prenatal vitamins.

In the new spirit of enjoying this pregnancy to the fullest, yesterday I went to buy some clothes. Nothing special and certainly not "look I'm pregnant!" type of clothes, but a few items just a bit more comfortable. In all truth my jeans don't close anymore and I can't find here those elastic bands that would stretch my current clothes a bit further.
Have I jinxed myself? I hope not and I hope Elvis is growing nicely in my belly. I have to stay positive or I'm ruining these time and I know I will regret it, no matter what.

And then this morning after getting up for my second visit to the loo, I fell back asleep and I had the worse nightmare. I had miscarried and the details were so realistic it was shocking. Not everything matched, like I was having twins and still thinking the other one could be ok. Plus it was a mix of settings, between Italy and Ireland. Anyway, I never had any dreams for this pregnancy (remember those that would give me an indication on whether I was pregnant or not?) and I dreamt I was spotting at some point but it didn't happen. When it happened at 8 weeks I had no warning feelings/dreams. So I'm hoping this is just one of those common fears.
Also, you wouldn't believe this, but I never watched Grey's Anatomy and just started a major marathon from the first series and I totally love it! So yesterday, the last episode I watched before going to bed was the one where the quins were born and one dies. Maybe that played a bit of a role...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Elvis has graduated with flying colours!

Breathe innnnn and out......

All was super this morning! I can't deny I was nervous. With all that has been happening to my cyber friends lately I was trying to prepare myself if the news was bad. But it wasn't.
The Favourite Doctor did the scan and while she was there the Top Doctor came in too! They said they were fighting over who would have scanned me this morning! How sweet!

So in goes the wand and we see immediately a bigger Elvis, Fav Doc was all awwhs and ohhws and how cute the baby was. And there's the heartbeat! Relief. On with the measurements and Elvis is right on track at 9w3d (I'm officially 9w4d today! I got the Fav Doc to recheck the dates!) with a very strong heartbeat of 176bpm. My mantra today was "a strong heartbeat of 173bpm!" so even better than my expectations. She was pointing at the hands and feet, of course they are still only little buds but I saw a hand moving! Here are two pics, I think you may guess Elvis's shape a bit but it's probably still just a guess!

Given that my sister is coming over for a few days we decided to book a final scan at the clinic for the 6th of July so that she can be there too. That will be the last time at the clinic as a patient for now and I am thinking of getting some presents. I certainly will get something special for the Favourite Doctor, she's just been amazing and so so supportive, and then the lab staff and all the nurses and even the admin gilrs.

As always thanks so much for your support and good wishes, we won't be saying anything officially until the July scan, but I'm trying now to relax and enjoy the pregnancy.

And I will post the part 2 of MIL story very soon! Delighted you enjoyed it!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Do they make them like this anymore? Part 1

While waiting for my scan tomorrow I'm trying to distract myself reading and commenting on other blogs, but there is one story I would like to share with you and is that of my mother-in-law. I'll break the story in parts so not to have a very long single post, but this is a woman who has gone through a lot and I never heard her complaining.

Yes, we are very different people, different upbringing and certainly different ideas on many aspects of life. But when it come to face difficulties this woman is truly inspiring.

MIL got married some 45 years ago in Ireland. A year later, right on track she was pregnant. My SIL was born and they were a very happy family. But MIL kept having a very high blood pressure even months after SIL was born, and when eventually she was checked out, she was diagnosed with severe kidney failure. I think probably at that time she had something like 30% of her kidney functionality. She was told she will have to be on dialysis and put on a transplant list but meanwhile to make sure she didn't get pregnant as she would not have survived childbirth. Note that in Ireland contraception was illegal at the time, and I didn't really ask how they went about it. MIL suggested to adopt another child, it was very popular and quite easy at the time, but FIL was not on board. So she was resigned to a family of three and went on with her life.

Five years went by and one day she realises she is pregnant. It's a death sentence as far as she knows. But what can she do? She has no option, or she doesn't want the option. Being very religious I'm sure she believed that this was her path and she would have taken whatever was coming. Can you imagine being pregnant and knowing your life is going to end possibly without you ever seeing the baby? To be honest I don't know how she coped. She told me she only bought one small outfit for the baby, she wouldn't have been the one to see him growing up, better leave it to whoever would have looked after him. I'm sure she had things organised, she wouldn't just leave it to her husband to sort it out afterwords. When she thinks of that time she tears up every time. But she also tells the story as a very matter of fact, not to have you feel sorry for her or anything. The time comes and she comes to Dublin to deliver the baby. Hospitals here are not super nowadays, I can't even imagine what they were 37 years ago and rural Ireland was definitely not the place to give birth when complications (ie maternal death) were expected. Mike was born and MIL didn't die. She had her kidney rechecked and amazingly no further damage from the second pregnancy was caused.
Mike grew up with his mom in and out of hospitals. Sometimes it was for just a few days, some others for much longer. She suffered a massive internal haemorrhage at one point due to poorly managed blood thinning agents and Mike recalls being in the hospital with the priest by her bed for the final rights.
Eventually after years of dialysis she gets the call that a kidney had become available for her. She was so lucky to find a perfect match and the kidney was only six years old. This happened about 20 years go and she was given a new life.

To be continued.

Monday, June 21, 2010

ICLW June 2010

Welcome new and old friends. I had skipped the last ICLW round as I was on holidays so I'm very happy to be back on the radar!

So you can read my short step-by-step story on the left bar. We have been through a lot like many of you, if there is anything you think I can help you with fell free to email me, I'll only be delighted to give back some of the support I have received since I started blogging a year ago.

After 3 fresh ICSI, 6 total ETs, 2 ectopic pregnancies, surgeries to remove the tubes, endless tests and even more tears we are currently pregnant and dare I say in the right spot! For me this is close to a miracle. We named the little penguin (our single left over frozen blast, in case you wonder if we do have a real penguin as a pet) Elvis. We had our viability scan at 7w4d and it all looked good. Then at 8w1d I started spotting and totally panicked, but a trip to the ER showed our Elvis still doing well. I find it next to impossible not to worry about this pregnancy, what if I lose it? What if at the next scan there is no heartbeat? And then I kick myself for not enjoying to the fullest this blessing we have have been given, this real possibility to have a family. So here I am, waiting for Thursday and my next and probably final scan at the fertility clinic before moving on to the OB and the real pregnancy World.

Today I'm 9w1d. It just seems impossible that it's actually me saying this.

I'd love for you to stick around and I can't wait to get to know you too.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Nine weeks today!

And nine! Hoping all is well with Elvis of course, and I'm trying to stay positive.

I feel well most of the time, I do have a bit of nausea mostly in the afternoon and evening and my stomach swells after I eat something. Boobs are definitely very big and quite sore, I am also very hungry and I've put on a bit of weight. I do think I have a bit of a bump too but maybe it's my imagination.

Unfortunately another sad news in the blog World hit me on friday. My friend Adele saw no heartbeat at her scan and they think it may be chromosomal again. Please stop by to give her support. It is also so frightening to see how temporary pregnancies can be...

On a different note, the weather in Ireland at the moment is something else! Sunshine and very warm, even the cats can't stay in sun for too long now! This week is going to be an important one, I have my scan on Thursday (please please please... Elvis be bigger and healthy) and my third student is defending her PhD thesis on Friday. All going well, next weekend we'll have plenty to celebrate!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Adoption news!

Because of course they come all at once!

You may remember that we got our waiting list number on the 19th of May. Also we were told that probably sometime early next year we would have been called for the prep course so that we had to organise our FET and consider the possibility of another cycle to be finished at least six months prior to the prep course (here they are quite strict about not overlapping the two paths).

So you can imagine my surprise when I got a voice-mail on my mobile AND in my office answering machine by Linda from the Adoption Board asking to call back asap. So I did. She said they have gone through a lot of people lately and were trying to find out who was still available for prep courses, it would have been fairly short notice but they were having difficulties in filling the courses. I asked what time-frame were we talking about and she said the next group will start this July! Can you believe it?? She remembered of course we still wanted to have fertility treatment and wondered where we were with that...thankfully I had prepared for such a question and said we were waiting to see how our frozen cycle had gone. I just didn't feel ready to tell we were pregnant. It's still so so early. She wished me luck and said to let her know that we could be on the course starting in September if we wanted to. Wow. I really hope Elvis will continue to grow and will stick around for the next 32 weeks and we may go on the prep course next year as we had originally planned for our second addition to the family.

A blog sister got a terrible news yesterday, her baby had stopped growing, please if you have time stop by and give your love to Alex. We were practically at the same stage of pregnancy and my heart is in pieces for her loss.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A trip to the ER in the end

All was fine yesterday until Mike came home. I had no spotting, I had rested in bed and then on the couch, I had a bit to eat and watched the match.

Then I went to the loo again and the spotting was back. A good bit more, not dripping, but definitely a lot in the paper. And the colour was definitely off. Not brown and not red, kind of purple. And the consistency. I was sure it was over.
Me: "Mike, I'm bleeding now, I want to go to the hospital, I need to know if Elvis is still alive"
Mike: "Maybe we can wait until tomorrow and go to the clinic" (Men!)
Me: "I don't think I'll be able to sleep at all"
Mike: "Let's go then"

The ER of the maternity hospital was empty, I got checked in and the midwife took my vitals. I got to use the loo again to give a urine sample. No more blood. The midwife was lovely and reassuring, the fact that I had no pain or cramps was a good sign. The doctor on call was busy with a C-section but she was going to be with me in minutes. I was so tired at that point that I think I actually slept for a few minutes.
Dr. Z. came down and she brought me to the u/s room straight away. She was going to do an external u/s which took me by surprise, I didn't think you could see much at 8 weeks, but she was confident we would. And we did. The gestational sac was immediately visible and to our eyes much bigger than last Thursday. And Elvis was there too, also bigger than last Thursday. But I couldn't make out if there was a heartbeat at all. And then Dr. Z. pointed it out to us "There it is!" Oh my God, thank you so much. I actually hugged her sobbing. What a relief. She didn't take any measurements, this was just to reassure us that we still had a viable pregnancy. I couldn't see any sign of obvious bleeding around the sac so I asked her where could I be bleeding from. She said they still don't know for sure what the cause of bleeding around 8 weeks may be, but that all the research points towards the fact that it may be caused by the placenta embedding in the uterus. That made perfect sense. She said everything looked as it should be, and that unless the bleeding worsen or I start cramping there is no reason for concern at the moment. I had no more bleeding. Thinking about it now, it was very very little in any case, but I'm glad I went.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Just a little bit of spotting to ease my mind

This morning I found the waxy progesterone a bit tinted. No cramping, no pain of any kind. But still... Can I have a damn break here please? It was totally minor, barely a pale hint of light brown and I know it's because I'm obsessively looking that I saw it. But I did. Nothing since.

So I've just turned 8 weeks, it could be it. My symptoms are all there and getting stronger so that's somewhat reassuring. I'm debating whether to call the clinic and get in a quick scan or sit tight. Mike thinks it wasn't really much at all and we should wait and see.

I know that there's nothing we can do anyway if things have turned for the worse. So much for my positive attitude of yesterday and enjoying the pregnancy... at least I haven't put up a ticker yet (although yesterday I was looking at a few...). Sure I know it's very common to spot in the first trimester, somehow I hoped it wouldn't happen. I'll keep you posted.

***Update*** I called the clinic eventually, spoke with one of the best nurses, she confirmed that it is very normal (90% IVF pregnancies bleed), can be the progesterone irritating the cervix after such a long use, it can be a tiny blood vessel in the uterus bursting as it gets bigger, the fact that I have no cramps and pain and that it seems to have been a once off episode doesn't worry her at all. Of course if it reoccurs, worsen or changes to call again. She also rechecked my dates and I am 8w1d today! Right so, try to relax now, I had no more spotting and I have used the loo plenty, only 10 days until the next ultrasound!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

8 weeks...or is it next Wednesday?

Ah well, I don't know, I go that it's 8 weeks today anyway! What a milestone, is it really me writing this? It seems so!

Yesterday I had one of those "let's freak out a bit more" day so I started searching the internet for "small gestational sac, normal foetus" and oh my, did I get myself frightened? Finally, I found a board somewhere where the girls were showing some pics of their scan where they were told the sac was small, and it was really small, like no black area at all around the baby, but eventually, it caught up and everything went well (of course this is not always the case). They said drinking plenty of water helped. So I'm drinking like a camel at the moment and peeing almost every hour. Then I found a medical presentation according to which the sac should be at least 5mm bigger than the baby and I think then mine is ok...isn't it? The doc didn't say how big it measured, only that it wasn't accurate.

The other big achievement is that I found an OB to go to. In Ireland the business of finding an OB is like a quest. They get booked up pretty much as soon as you find out you are pregnant. First you have to select the hospital you want to go to for the delivery, then you find an OB that works there and hope he/she will take you on. I had a couple of names suggested and as I called, the secretary asked me the due date (January 25th) and she almost laughed! "No love, Dr. S is booked until the beginning of February!" I mean really? Someone must have called her as the HPT was still developing! They were very nice though and suggested other doctors. I checked them out, I tried another one, same story. Eventually I called the OB recommended by my colleague who also went through IVF 2 years ago. The conversation with the secretary started with the same "Sorry, Dr. L is very full at the moment, he's not taking on other patients" "Oh...right, can you suggest someone? I had a really tough time getting pregnant, I'm and IF patient since 2008 with Dr. W, I had two ectopic pregnancies following IVF and several failed transfers before getting to this stage, so I need someone who will look after me very well as I am a bit nervous...." and she said "In that case....we'll take you on" WOW!! So I have my first appointment and scan booked with Dr. L for the 14th of July at 12 weeks!! We are going private, what the hell...with all we have been through we need some pampering! Then I called the clinic to have them writing a referral letter to Dr. L and to book a scan in between now and the 14th of July, so I'm going in on the 24th of June and I think I will then be officially released from the clinic.

Let's hope everything will be well, Misfit Mrs. wrote a fantastic post the other day which was really illuminating for me (and I know for others too) and I am committed to enjoy this pregnancy to the fullest and to think it will go well until the end, and if it doesn't I will deal with that then.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Elvis's heart beats

I was extremely nervous this morning...
To try and calm myself down I kept repeating in my head "There is a strong heartbeat at 163bpm" not sure where I picked the number but it sounded good.

We went to the clinic and the Top Doctor did the scan himself. First he reviewed my history and said he was very pleased with this result and that now it was a matter of viability.

Wand went in and I could see immediately things were much more advanced than the last time. I said "Something has grown in there..." And then he said the most beautiful words "And there's the heartbeat". I felt a tear coming down my cheek but I tried to stay focused. He measured the heartbeat at 154bpm which he said was excellent (anything above 120bpm he would have been happy with), the gestational sac measures a little small (I have to drink more water!) but he said that was not accurate and it didn't really matter. The yolk-sac measured perfect at 5mm (apparently it should never be bigger than 6mm) and finally little Elvis measured 7w1d which according to my doc it's the exact gestational age I'm at. I thought I was 7w4d today but I remember my friend Wishi had her doc saying the same thing to her! And in any case +/- 3 days is within experimental error. So we are on the proverbial cloud nine... Mike also had red eyes after the scan, so so sweet. Without further ado, meet our little Elvis!

Then the doc went on about finding an OB and gave us some suggestions, I haven't really thought about it at all, it'll be my next step.

On a final note, it seems that anything related to this pregnancy has a cat story associated with it, so to keep the tradition on, we had to bring Patches to the Ultimate Vet Hero. We had stopped all the meds on sunday and sure enough, he had watery eyes and wasn't eating by wednesday evening. I gave him a quarter of my prednisolone pills last night and within two hours he was back the usual Patches, playing and eating! So the plan now is to keep him on low dose steroids for much longer and see how he gets on. A part from that, he's going to get neutered next week! It'll remain a micro-cat apparently!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The scan is booked

This morning with shaking hands I called the clinic to book the scan.

Thursday the 10th at 8.40 am.

Please, please, please...let it be good news for Elvis.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

And seven!

7 weeks today! This is definitely a milestone. Of course at this stage it simply means I had no surgery and I'm assuming Elvis is doing well, but who knows!

Our flight was uneventful and we arrived on time to collect the cats and do all my injections. Patches and The Dude are doing really well, a part from Patches hissing like a snake any time The Dude goes near him! I think the problem is that The Dude completely ignores the warning sings and just wants to play with him. I'm sure it'll all settle in a day or so.
The night didn't go too well, we slept very little, it was too warm for the duvet we had on the bed and the cats were meowing for attention, so this morning I have a mighty headache... I'm trying to drink a lot of water in case I'm a bit dehydrated from the flight but it doesn't seem to help much yet.

We are going shopping now, as you can imagine we have nothing in the house!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Going home tomorrow

Today is the last day in Italy. We've already checked-in for the flight tomorrow (on-line check-in is great) and we are now thinking about how to organise the pick-up of the cats! I so look forward to seeing them again! I hope they'll settle back in the house no problem.

And to terminate my holiday well, I decided to get a blood test to see if I'm positve for toxoplasmosis (I've linked a website if you want to know more) as we know Patches is definitely not a carrier but we don't know about The Dude. Also, in Italy they test regularly for this while in Ireland nobody ever mentioned it (and it costed me a fraction in any case!). I'll get my results next friday, my sister will collect it for me.

Now...of course I about I get my hcg tested again, just so that I can freak out when the value won't be too I did it in the same private lab. The results were ready at 4pm today and it read 12.464 mU/mL. Looking at my previous data is in line, not very high but within the expected doubling time for 6w5d. But I had to freak out nonetheless. The range given by this lab has values for 6-7 weeks from the LMP starting at 10500. I checked everything online and every range I found gives for 6-7 weeks of pregnancy values starting between 1000 and 3000! So what the hell was wrong with this lab??
Eventually I noticed that the values they give for 4-5 weeks from the LMP start at 1500!!! No way someone has those values unless they have multiplets! Also they give less than 4 for a negative which is normal, so what week is someone in if she has values between 4 and 1500? I called the lab of course, but by the time I had realised that their table should have stated "from ovulation" rather than "LMP" the doc was gone. Ah well. Mum is determined to call them on monday in any case. I found a girl who posted on a local board who had a BFP after 15dpIUI, went to the same lab and she had a value of 289 and couldn't tell i she was pregnant from that damn table! Criminal, in my opinion!

Ah well, the only important thing will be the viability scan anyway. I admit I'm worried the dream will end once again. But I suppose this is the path we all have to walk.