Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My MFM appointment (with pics and video!)

Yesterday was my first MFM appointment. And coincidentally enough, he is actually located in the exact same building and even on the same floor as the first RE we saw when our infertility journey had just begun. I'll be honest, I was a bit emotional riding up the elevator on "the other side" with two other ladies who I was pretty sure were headed for the RE. I tried to hide my belly with my purse and my paperwork because I know how much that must have sucked for them. And sure enough, as suspected, they exited the elevator and walked through the RE's doors as I walked into the MFM's. I'll never forget the pain of infertility and I'll continue to pray for those still struggling each and every night.

I got to the MFM and was really nervous. I have no idea why, really, because up until this point, the OB has said Sammy is perfect. The appointment started off with a full blown anatomy scan. And sure enough, Sammy is still perfect in every way. She is 54 percentile, weighs approximately 2lb1oz, and is growing perfectly. We got a bunch of really great pictures and videos that I'll share. Don't worry, the clips are just a few seconds long.

Sammy's profile and she blows us a kiss at the end!

Stretch, baby girl, stretttttttch!

And of course, Sammy's trademark legs crossed at the ankles complete with her cute little tooshie!

After the scan, I met the MFM doctor who will be managing my care with my OB. He was very nice and told me my gestational diabetes was "not that bad" which was a huge relief! I suppose I thought I'd go in there and he'd tell me I was a train wreck beyond all hope LOL. It turns out, I'll only need a low dose of oral meds to manage my diabetes at this point. And I'm happy to report that I took my first dose of it last night and it did exactly what it was supposed to! My numbers looked great.  So far, so good. Just keep in mind that gestational diabetes can worsen as pregnancy progresses and the placenta grows so there's a good chance I'll need more meds later on, or even insulin. But my MFM doesn't think I'll need insulin at all. Fingers crossed.

We talked about the cause of gestational diabetes, and how the placenta causes it by running the hormone show in my body. Managing it is just a matter of chasing my pancreas to produce enough insulin to counteract the sugars being produced in my body. We also talked a bit about my risk for pre-eclampsia because apparently those using donor egg/embryo have a higher incidence of it. They think that pre-e is an autoimmune response to foreign DNA that sometimes the mother's body decides to reject. And in a naturally conceived genetic pregnancy, you already have 50% of the DNA not belonging to the mother. In donor embryo/egg, 100% does not belong to the mother so there is a higher incidence. Add a multiples pregnancy in there and the risk goes higher and higher. Interesting. So far my blood pressure has been textbook perfect so I'm hoping it stays that way.

Having worked through the first few miserable days of force feeding myself and throwing up, I'm finally able to eat a good amount of food again which means I'm feeling a lot better physically. There is no doubt that the gestational diabetes was kicking my butt while it was uncontrolled causing most of my awful symptoms. I'm grateful this was caught early and I've been able to manage it so quickly. And I'm also grateful to be seen by an MFM who is keeping a close eye on me and Sammy. It turns out that we are going to be seen every other week by either the MFM or the OB, and beginning at 32 weeks, every single week. And at EVERY appointment, we will get an ultrasound. I feel so spoiled! :)

Here are some parting photos of our beloved baby girl:

Sammy facing the camera and saying hello!

Profile shot. Look at those cheeks and lips! We are so in love.

Friday, April 25, 2014

25w bump and and some tasty spam

Here's a bump shot from this morning at 25w1d. So happy to be the mama of this little snowflake girl!

And last, just quick Friday Funny. I got this ridiculous spam message yesterday through this blog that I had to share. I read it aloud to Kevin at dinner last night and we were cracking up. The lengths that these spammers go to, my goodness. For all of your spell casting needs...

My partner and I have been trying for a baby for over two years now, We were going to a fertility clinic for about 5 months before somebody told us to contact this spell caster who is so powerful, We contacted him at this (email address) for him to help us, then we told him our problem, he told us that she we either conceive in January 2013 or February 2013,but after two years of trying we were at a point where we were willing to try anything. And I'm glad we came to Dr.BABA Because he predictions put us at ease, and I honestly believe him, and his gods really helped us as well, I am thankful for all he has done. contact him via email:(email address) if you are trying to get a baby or want your lover back. he has powers to do it, he has done mine. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Looks like I have a birth plan after all

I am 25 weeks today. Sorry, no bump picture. I was way too busy visiting the OB for an unplanned visit today. Long story short, I've been progressively been getting dizzier and dizzier and feeling all around crappy without any correlation to my blood sugar numbers. I called the OB nurse yesterday late afternoon to see if I could drink meal replacement shakes for supplementation because I'm learning that at times I am having an incredibly hard time eating solid food. That clearly presents a problem for someone with gestational diabetes who must be eating at regular intervals to maintain sugar levels. But I'm finding myself gagging and nearly vomiting with every bite. Anyway, I figured the nurse would just give me some quick advice and send me on my merry way. But instead, she said that because they want to take extra good care of me and make sure nothing serious is going on, she wanted me to come in and get a "once over" by the OB. So I saw him this morning hoping for no bad news and nothing but reassurance. And that is precisely what I got.

The OB thinks my problems may or may not be related to blood sugar, but he hears of dizziness and major food aversions from plenty of his patients and isn't worried about it one bit. All of my recent blood work looks good and I am not anemic. They also listened to Sammy's heartbeat while I was there which was right on target and reassured me I had nothing to worry about. I had my first fundal height measurement and while I know it can be inaccurate this early, she is measuring a week ahead according to it.

That's all wonderful news and helped calm the nagging worry that IF and loss has created!

And onto a separate but related topic, at my appointment last week, my OB asked me if I had put any thought into birth plan preferences. I laughed and told him I have a blog and had just posted about this exact topic. I told him I trusted him and will go with whatever he recommends. He recommends a scheduled C-section. I know many of may be gasping right now, and that's fine. Without going into a lot of detail (because I'm not planning to debate with anyone about this topic) he recommends this for us for a whole variety of reasons. I have had some time to research it, discuss with Kevin, and put some serious thought into it and I understand the implications and risks/benefits. It's something we've decided to go ahead and do. We are planning our delivery for July 29th which will be 38w5d. Unless, of course, she decides to come earlier than that on her own. Let's hope she keeps on cookin' in there!

Anyway that is our decided-upon plan. So guess what, friends? We will be meeting this little girl in just 96 days. THREE MONTHS, FIVE DAYS FROM TODAY!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My new diabetic reality

Yesterday was a really, really rough day physically. And now with the gestational diabetes diagnosis, it finally answers some of my questions as to why I've been feeling the way I have been. I felt extremely weak, shaky, nauseated, dizzy, and just all around crappy.

Yesterday I had my nutritional consult to go over gestational diabetes management. It was weird having the nutritional consult in the actual hospital where I'll be delivering. As the nurse and I walked the halls of the hospital to the consult room, I was surprised to be blindsided with an emotional reality check and fought back some overwhelming tears. No....not because I was going in to have a GD consultation, but instead because I realized these are the walls inside which Kevin and I will be meeting miss Sammy in just a few short months. That caught me off guard and it was a happy moment!

Anyway, in the actual consult I learned I'll be checking my blood sugar four times a day and will be eating three meals and three snacks throughout the day in the hopes that it will level out my blood sugar. I will be eating so much more than I am used to. I also learned that I will be seeing an MFM in addition to my regular OB because this diagnosis makes me officially "High Risk." Ugh, I really hate that title, but it is what it is. The news that I was being referred to an MFM was well received, but of course since it's me we are talking about, it also came with a sprinkle of panic. On one hand, I like that an MFM is highly skilled and will be taking super close care of me with additional monitoring and is well versed in my GD diagnosis. But then on the other hand, the irrational part of me isn't thrilled because actually seeing an MFM is the wake up call that I am considered High Risk. It took me back to the days as we uncovered our infertility and finally wound up going to an RE. Finally seeing an RE was the best thing we could have ever done. But at the time, something about making that appointment felt like the admittance that something serious could be wrong. And that definitely turned out to be very true. This kind of feels the same, but I know that's irrational and I'll be much better off being co-managed this way.

I've been testing my blood glucose, and let me tell you, it's way out of whack. Today begins the new eating plan and regular finger pricks. I hope that this gets under control quickly with these changes alone, but if not, I'm prepared to go on medication or insulin. I'll do anything for this little girl.

Bleeding fingers crossed...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I knew I'd end up with a complication

Things have been going so well, despite some interesting symptoms in the past few months. I've been feeling lightheaded, almost-fainting, nauseated, weak, etc. I just figured it was dehydration or just some strange pregnancy quirk.

Actually, turns out it's gestational diabetes.

I got the official diagnosis yesterday. I always wondered if this would be something I'd contend with if I'd ever be so lucky to become pregnant because I have a family history of diabetes as well as an insulin resistant diagnosis from years ago. And that has now become my reality. I am not surprised, but I'm definitely not thrilled about it.

I have a nutrition consult at the hospital this morning and will be changing my diet. And funny enough, it sounds like I'm going to actually need to eat MORE because I'm not eating nearly as much or as often I should be. That will be the main challenge, but I will definitely manage. I really don't like sweets or soda, and I know so much about diabetes because of my dad's health that the knowledge part should be easy. I will do anything for this little girl!

We don't think insulin is necessary at this stage of the game and the OB thinks I'll easily be managed with diet and monitoring only. And the good news is that Sammy is growing normally and was in the 48th percentile last appointment with no problems with additional amniotic fluid, which we might see as abnormal with a GD diagnosis.

Anyway, I know I've got this and am committed to managing it! I'm looking forward to hopefully feeling a little better too.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It's here! V-day!

Today is V-day! I'm 24 weeks! I am so happy I could cry. With two babies in heaven, today just seems surreal. We had an appointment this morning and everything looks good. We got a glimpse at Sammy, but she kept her hands up by her face. And no matter what the tech did, we couldn't get a clear shot. And although we didn't get a picture of it, she had her little legs crossed again at the ankles. It's hilarious because she did this at our 20w appointment too. Such a little Southern Belle. We also learned that she's flipped head down from her previous position of being breech. Way to go, Sammy!

Below is a bump picture and the best shot we could get of her face this morning with the little she decided to cooperate. She is a strong-willed little snowflake and we just love her to pieces!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My I-don't-have-a-plan birth plan

Today I wanted to share my birth plan. Or should I say, my lack of a birth plan.

I don't have one. And that's intentional.

Had you asked me before infertility, I would have given a far different answer. I am the kind of planner and organizer who would have probably had a three page birth plan typed up and handed to the hospital at the time of delivery. But infertility and loss changed all of that. I learned that planning can sometimes set up unrealistic expectations for myself. And it taught me that it doesn't matter how I get to the finish line, it just matters to me that I do. It's certainly taught be to be flexible. So on the topic of how Sammy makes it into this world, I don't want a plan. I want to go with whatever happens and be okay with whatever unfolds. I trust my doctor 110% and I know he has me and Sammy as a top priority. I told him the only request I have is to please let both of us live through it. So if keeping me and Sammy alive is my birth plan, I guess we can call it that.

For ladies who became pregnant after infertility or loss, did your experience with infertility/loss change your expectations for birth?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Baby shower plans and crazy pregnancy dreams

I had always heard about the wacky dreams that women can have during pregnancy, but I'm learning about it first hand now-a-days! No doubt that the underlying themes to my dreams are probably fears of loss manifesting themselves through my subconscious. For example, a couple of nights ago I had a dream that I met Sammy at a mall in New York City and was feeding her, but the twist was that she was only about two inches long. Then she dissolved! What?! Gone in an instant! And in last night's dream, I found her as a full-grown baby sleeping on a shelf with some liquid pouring off of her face. It turned out she had a gruesome eye infection. Um, disturbing! Anyway, I was able to hold her in my arms as she gave a sweet yawn. I was just completely in love. I remember that she wore a cute little rainbow jumper. All of the sudden the freaky ghost lady from "The Grudge" movie came flying down and tried to try to take her away. I yelled at her and said YOU CAN'T HAVE HER! These dreams are so over the top ridiculous though that when I wake up, I have to laugh. Sheesh. Figured I'd share.

Meanwhile, back to reality in my waking moments....

Sammy is kicking SO much! She actually woke me up from my freaky dreams last night with a baby dance party. I was glad to have her rescue me! It's always a very reassuring feeling. V-day is exactly one week from today. I know nothing magical will happen precisely next Thursday, but it's such an important milestone for us to get to. Knowing if something terrible were to happen and if I were to go into labor, thinking she has a fighting chance is such an amazing difference from reality of now. Until then, her perfect little body wouldn't have any chance to survive. So keep on growing, my baby girl!

And in happy news, my friend Candace is throwing me a baby shower and just booked her tickets to come visit the end of June! I haven't seen her since she and her family moved from Texas to Maryland in 2011. It's going to be so fun to have her visit. I still can't believe I'm having a baby shower. I am going to confess to you all that I kind of wondered if I would never have one. I always figured that even if I were so lucky to become pregnant, I couldn't figure out who would come or who would offer to host it. Obviously my mom has passed away. But I lost a lot of my friends when I distanced myself during the pain of infertility and loss. My "in real life" friends became more and more sparse as I chose not to go out to girls-nights, parties, and family barbecues. I hated being trapped in limbo where I couldn't identify with the friends-with-kids crowd, and I also could no longer identify with the young-without-a-care-in-the-world crowd either. Most of the friends I became closest to I had met online through infertility support groups. When I became pregnant and started thinking about a shower, it was a sad realization to see what infertility (and my choices, I'll own it) had done to my relationships in real life. For the friends who stuck it out with me through the good times and the bad, you have no idea how grateful I am. Thank you. I love each of you so much.

Last update for today, we registered for four hospital classes booked all throughout in June. So between those and the June baby shower, it seems that June will be a busy month. To think all of this is happening the month after next is just a huge reality check that again, this is REALLY HAPPENING. Still seems surreal.

I'll leave you with my latest bump photo. I hope to start doing this every week as I hit the new weekly milestone. Here is today, now at 23weeks majorly cheesing it up. Clearly I'm very happy to be sporting a baby bump!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Exciting daddy news

It's so much fun learning about Sammy's little personality while she is still in my tummy. I've now learned that she has an opinion about electronic music, especially that with a pulsing bass. For a few weeks now, she seems to get really active whenever I listen to house music, dub step, or any other dance music with a fast, loud bass line. I *think* that means she likes it, but perhaps she actually hates it and is protesting. Who knows? But it's funny to me that now I can count on her dancing around in there when I turn on a little Skrillex, ha!

That leads me to the update that I am so thrilled to share....

Yesterday, Kevin felt Sammy kick from the outside!

I didn't expect this to happen for quite a few more weeks. It happened while we were curled up on the couch watching the movie Pi (totally weird movie, by the way.) There is an electronica soundtrack with a heavy, pulsating bass. So in true Sammy fashion, she was bouncing around to her own little party in there, enjoying the movie in her own baby-ways. Since the movement was so constant, I had Kevin put his hand over the area she was kicking most, then BAM -  he got one swift kick! Just one, but one is enough!!! Until now, Kevin has only been able to hear me talk about it.  I am thrilled to be able to share this with him and I'm sure it will only get better as she grows. He loves his little girl so much!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ten things I didn't expect about expecting

I'm 22w2d today. Lucky twos!

Yesterday I spent some time reading through my blog from my very first blog post back in 2012 through the middle part of last year. I found myself thinking about all of the incredible things that pregnancy has brought me, much of which has surpassed my dreams. It was emotional going through some of the very dark posts, but doing so makes these wonderful moments today that much sweeter. It got me reflecting about some of the things I expected to happen and feel when I was pregnant, and how the reality turned out to be different in some cases. This isn't a bad thing, just an observation about how I had no idea how the pregnant-me would feel in a lot of ways. Some of these are lighthearted, some are not. But NONE on this list are complaints - just reflections about how the reality of pregnancy isn't what I had pictured it would be while dealing with infertility.

1 - I expected to live every day in fear. I really can't believe this, but I'm not fearful. Sure, I have moments where I worry about Sammy surviving or that we might get some heartbreaking news. But it's not gnawing away at me during every moment of every day like I pictured it would. I think that part of this is because I'm intentionally shoving any scary thoughts to the side and purposefully focusing on what we have today. I don't live in the "what IFs", I live in the "what AREs." I'm only drifting my thoughts to the future if it's in a positive way. I am grateful to God because my mental state is such a polar opposite compared to when I was trying to become pregnant.

2 - I expected I'd have lots of pregnancy-related complications by now. Before getting pregnant I had elevated blood pressure and insulin resistance. I am gluten intolerant and have MTHFR mutation. Heck, I even have a fairly rare infertility diagnosis and suffered two devastating miscarriages. I figured I'd always draw the unlucky card, even if I was lucky enough to get pregnant. Even believing that, I didn't care and was willing to do whatever it took to bring a baby home. But to my surprise, I've had been blessed to have a very easy pregnancy. I know it's not easy for everyone, and I acknowledge how hard it must be to have complications. I also know I'm not out of the woods yet. But I'm beyond grateful I've made it this far with nothing serious.

3 - I expected pregnancy to be full of cravings. I was sure I'd be chowing down rocky road ice cream, German chocolate cake, and would be sending Kevin to the store at 2 am for some calorie-ridden craving. I did not expect to have such a tumultuous relationship with food. Sure, I figured first trimester to be rough followed by insatiable, weird cravings in second and third trimesters. But overall, I just hate food even to this day. I really don't have any cravings to speak of. Well, maybe chocolate milk but that's about it. Everything else pretty much sounds like sawdust to me. I love to eat normally, so this surprises me.

4 - I expected to gain a bunch of weight from the above mentioned expected cravings. But in fact, I've actually lost a pound. I have a good explanation to this one, aside from the fact I hate food. I had some extra padding to begin with! Women with my BMI tend to gain less during than other women who are thinner. For what it's worth, My OB isn't worried whatsoever because I am making a point to get nutritious (usually liquid) calories down whenever I can. I'm surprised to learn that this is pretty common!

5 - I expected baby kicks to feel like butterflies fluttering or popcorn popping. They don't feel that way to me at all. I have had GI issues most of my life and have had my share of intestinal spasms. And hands down, to me baby kicks feel like intestinal spasms. They are so similar that they are nearly indiscernible from them, but I know that's not what they are. It doesn't change the fact that I find them just incredible!

6 -  I never expected to have a recognizable baby bump. I expected to just look fat, not pregnant. As mentioned above, I'm not a tiny chick with a tiny body. I'm 5'11" and have some padding. I expected I'd go through pregnancy with everyone wondering if I just ate too many cupcakes or burritos. That didn't bother me too much, but I secretly coveted the ladies who had obvious baby bumps. I figured that would never be my reality. But I'm shocked and elated how much this belly has rounded out and is obviously full of baby. I've even had a couple of strangers approach me in public and ask me when my due date was! I'm proud of my body for finally being kind to me in an unexpected way.

7 - I expected my parents to be involved. Before infertility, I always pictured my mom and dad being involved and excited about my pregnancy. Then weeks after being diagnosed with DOR in 2011, my mom died of cancer. I didn't expect that and it sent a ripple through my world. After years of treatments and now I'm finally expecting I hoped at least my dad would be involved. Sadly, this one isn't true. For reasons too long to list here, my dad is distanced. This is a sad realization for me and not what I expected.

8 - I expected to still have difficulty with others who had children the "easy way." No doubt infertility has forever changed me. But I have genuinely embraced all things baby, regardless of how they came to be. I thought a future-me would perhaps be capable of that someday, but I had no idea how quickly. This makes me proud of myself because it scared me thinking I'd hold onto some difficult feelings for so long. I'm so glad to finally feel somewhat normal again. I never EVER thought I'd feel 99% normal during pregnancy.

9 - I expected to be an advocate for embryo adoption. But I had no idea how passionate I'd become. Becoming pregnant has lit a fire in me that is impossible to put out. I shout about EA from the rooftops whenever I can. I am working on ways to get the word out on it whenever possible. I give the elevator speech at any opportunity. I want to help others who want to know more. This is to a degree I never imagined and I feel fulfilled to a degree I never would have imagined either.

And the one that will certainly make me cry. Yup, here come the tears, I feel them....

10 -  I expected to love my baby, but I had absolutely no idea how much. I love her so much more than I ever thought was possible. I imagine every day what it will be like to hold her in my arms, to enjoy those gleeful moments on Christmas morning, and to have the soapy mohawks in the tub. I knew I would be in love, but my brain couldn't comprehend it would be this much. And I'm sure I still have no idea to the degree I can ultimately love this little girl until I meet her and watch her grow.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

An uneventful update

Is this really me? Am I really typing this?
I'm 22 weeks today! Really? REALLY! I'm just two weeks away from one of my most anticipated milestones - Viability Day! I am counting down the days, the hours, the minutes! I don't really have any big updates to give, so today will be a potpourri of a little bit of everything.

Other than dealing with the vomiting and nausea, I'm doing pretty good. Things are uneventful - just the way I like them to be. For the vomiting and nausea, I'm eating lots of small meals, taking my pills in the morning, and praying that I can keep my food down at night. Kevin is so sweet and actually cuts up the pieces of meat for me into tiny pieces which strangely enough makes them far more appetizing. Something about a large hunk of meat just makes my tummy turn!

Let's see, what else to share?

Sammy is on a schedule these days. She's sleeping and inactive much of the day, but starts kicking and wiggling in early afternoons and again when I go to bed at night. Her movement has become less of a swooshing sensation and much more thumps and thuds. Her sweet little baby arms, legs, and head must be bopping all around. I can't believe how lucky I am. It's a feeling I thought I'd NEVER get to experience. And in my darkest, darkest days, these feelings were the ones I felt I'd grieve the most when I thought I'd never get to be here. Yet here I am feeling them now as I type this. I couldn't be more thankful.

Oh! As you may know, I read to Sammy every morning. But sometimes I wonder if I'm really only reading to Oscar, our dog. :) I see him watching and listening intently! But while I know Sammy technically can hear, is she listening to my voice? How much can she actually hear? I'm obviously not wondering if she's comprehending what I'm reading. Duh, she's not. But I do wonder if I'm a nut for reading to her at all if she's not listening. I still do it because I like it, and Oscar does too.

Well, I got the answer to my question. The  other day Kevin's alarm clock went off and Sammy JOLTED. She's listening! It made me laugh and it gave me confidence that she really must hear my voice if she was startled by an alarm clock across the room.

I'll leave you with a belly picture from this morning.