Thursday, December 7, 2017

Meet Me Halfway

19 weeks!
Technically, I won't be 20 weeks until next Monday, but for me 19 weeks marks halfway through this pregnancy as my high-risk OB informed me at our mid-pregnancy anatomy scan that she wants to schedule a c-section for sometime between 37 and 38 weeks.  So there you have it, friends.  Fingers and legs (and toes and everything else) crossed, we'll meet this baby, boy or girl, in mid-April.

Suddenly, this pregnancy feels very real.  Somewhere around week 18 I popped and now it is quite tricky to hide the bump.  I finally told the head fo my new law firm and while I haven't told my other co-workers, I'm no longer avoiding maternity clothes and fitted tops at work.  The best thing is that I am feeling this baby move!  Despite having an anterior placenta, which makes it more difficult to detect movement, I'm definitely feeling it, especially when I lay down at night to read.  I'm excited for a few weeks from now when the movements are strong enough that R and B will be able to feel them as well.

Telling my boss was interesting and went about as well as I could expect.  Keep in mind that I have only been at this job for 6 weeks, so obviously I was pregnant when I accepted and started.  I decided to be direct: "I'm pregnant.  I wanted to tell you when I joined (which is true), but this is actually my fifth pregnancy and given the fact that pregnancy has often not ended well for us, I wasn't ready to tell you or anyone else when I accepted the job."  It went something like that.  He was wonderful about it -- he has five (!) daughters and was just so happy that we were having another kid and was just great about it.  The whole conversation was a huge relief and I felt so much better about everything at work afterward.

Oh, and our mid-pregnancy anatomy scan looked great.  Baby was moving around like crazy, everything was measuring on track, and he or she has all of the organs you'd expect to see.  We breathed a big sigh of relief.

This little girl's happiness related to all things Christmas is infectious

And here we are in December.  The tricky thing is that everything about this pregnancy reminds me of being pregnant with Q (Baby L - it's confusing, her name starts with Q, but L, which stands for Lemon, was her nickname throughout my pregnancy).  Q was due in early April.  She died on December 30th.  And going into the holidays, I felt great... until I didn't.  Christmas of that year was awful, including a Christmas Eve phone call to the emergency line at my doctor's office, no sleep, and being so uncomfortable I couldn't even walk a hundred yards.  Whenever I think about that Christmas, I get furious at myself for not trusting my instincts, knowing something was wrong, and driving myself to the ER.  So even though I am being closely monitored and I'm taking tons of Lovenox so getting a blood clot is virtually impossible, I'm just anxious about letting my guard down and letting myself get excited -- even know I rationally know this a different pregnancy.   Don't get me wrong - I am just thrilled about this baby and I have moments of being incredibly optimistic and imagining Rob putting this baby in my arms in April and telling me whether it is a boy or girl... but those moments are always tempered by thoughts of cord accidents and blood clots and unexplained late term losses.  Every time a pregnant woman tells me she feels great now that she is 26 weeks along and the baby will be fine no matter what, I have to bite my tongue not to tell them that isn't true.   I know these feelings are exacerbated because we are fast-approaching B's 3rd birthday, which is followed 2 days later by the anniversary of Q's death.  She would be 4.  FOUR.  How is that possible?  What would she be like?  I so desperately wish that I knew.

What is keeping me from a downward spiral of sadness and introspection on this topic is the fact that B is giddy about Christmas and her impending birthday.  Each morning we go downstairs and check the advent calendar for a little treat for her.  We've talked about the cupcakes she'll take to school for her birthday and I mailed invitations to her (very small) party yesterday.  Her joy for this season is contagious and I'm trying to stay present in that feeling instead of the others, although I will make space for the sadness this month, too. I always do.

I'm thinking of all of you who have lost babies this month and sending lots of love.  And I'm giving B extra snuggles and kisses and love because I am able to --- and how lucky am I for that?



Friday, November 17, 2017

16 Weeks


Earlier this week, I had a quick heartbeat check with my OB.  Baby's heartbeat was beating away at 143 bpm and today I'm 16 weeks and three days along.  Last week I went in for a blood draw and the sonographer, who is a friend and the sweetest lady, saw me in the hall and asked if I wanted to take a peek at baby.  Umm, yes please!  I never turn down an opportunity to see him or her wiggling around.

All looked good in the ultrasound and we checked out the brain and the spine, looked for fingers and toes, and just watched baby move around a bit. I'm anxious to feel those first movements.  Sometimes I think I've felt something, but it is just too early to be sure and I have an anterior placenta again, which makes movements even more subtle at this early stage.

I've been feeling quite calm thus far, but this week I've had thoughts creeping in about all of the issues that can arise in the remainder of this pregnancy. I know this isn't healthy and I try to push them out of my mind, but as I creep closer to the time when we lost Baby L, I am reminded of what can happen.  The urge to relax and enjoy the pregnancy is there, but so is the underlying knowledge of how quickly everything can go awry.

Otherwise, I'm feeling good, sleeping well, and really just still feeling utterly exhausted but otherwise fine.  I swam for the first time in months earlier this week and it felt incredible. I need to get back into a swimming routine, especially as I get bigger.  The Lovenox is going well.  We check my AntiXA level once each month and so far it has been right in range and I've avoided bumping up (at this point in my pregnancy with Baby B I had already bumped up a dose).  I'm so used to giving myself shots twice each day that I give it relatively little thought at this point.

I'm wrapping up my third week of work at my new job. So far, it is as promised and I've been working from home two days each week and arriving into the office at 9:30 AM and departing by 3:45 or 4 PM the other three days.  It's been manageable and, frankly, enjoyable and I feel like it strikes the right balance between engaging and still allowing me to have time at home, with B and R, etc.  I still haven't told them that I'm pregnant - I've been wearing regular clothes and if something is fitted at the waist, I just wear a vest over it (the office is cold anyway) and I don't think you can tell.  I have another appointment after Thanksgiving and plan to tell them if all goes well.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  This may be the most boring update I've ever written.  I'll close by noting that I have a lot to be thankful for this year.


Friday, October 27, 2017

The Second Trimester

I'm just days away... I'll be 14 weeks at the beginning of next week, which means the arrival of the second trimester.  If it means that I'll stop feeling so fatigued, I'll take it -- my new job starts on Monday and I could use some extra energy.

Our MaterniT21 test results came back this week and everything looks good.  This combined with our 12-week ultrasound makes me feel slightly reassured, although I am still weighing the pros and cons of an amnio in the back of my head (I have a few weeks to decide).  We agreed to be surprised about the gender and I'm feeling really excited about waiting.  It's fun to ponder whether B will have a sister or a brother.  Driving home from school the other day she was telling me about her classmates who have babies (younger siblings).  She mentioned a few and then said "We should get a baby at the story."  This was completely unprompted by me.  I asked whether she wanted a sister or a brother and she answered "a brother."  When I asked what his name should be, she suggested we ask Forest (our cat).  Obviously he has all of the answers.  B will have a baby brother named "Meow".

According to "The Bump", this baby is a lemon this week, which makes me nostalgic for my pregnancy with Baby L / Quinn.  We called her "Lemon" throughout my pregnancy (we called Baby B "meatball").  Somehow that fruit just stuck and since our last name begins with "L", it had nice alliteration.  I remember how joyful R and I were just to be pregnant and how much fun I had reading about the baby's development each week.  I wonder if we'll ever get to a place in this pregnancy where we feel that way -- I know I could get there, but I think I need R to lead the way and I just don't see that happening.

I was just thinking that, like Lemon and Meatball, this baby needs a nickname, but I realized B already took care of that - Meow!

**********

On a completely separate note, this article in the NY Times this week was fascinating.  For those of you with POF/POI and/or low AMH, I recommend reading it.  Essentially, the article concludes that "AMH doesn't dictate a woman's reproductive potential," although it is one marker used to assess overall fertility.  What this study concludes is that "Among women attempting to conceive naturally, diminished ovarian reserve was not associated with infertility; women should be cautioned against using AMH levels to assess their current fertility."  These findings are certainly in line with my experience, which is that while I've been pregnant five times, I do have an issue with egg quality (hence two miscarriages) and I don't always ovulate regularly.  Plus, a friend who endured numerous IVF cycles while living abroad in various places mentioned to me that doctors outside the United States place a much lower value on AMH as a predictor for getting pregnant than they do on follicle count and FSH.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

12 Weeks

Today was the 12-week ultrasound where nuchal translucency, etc. is checked and I had blood drawn for the MaterniT21 test.  The ultrasound looked great - baby was moving around, putting its hands/fingers in its mouth, etc.  R came with me and this was the first thorough u/s he has attended, which was fun.  My OB sends patients to the high-risk OB at 12 weeks and 20 weeks (and I go to have clotting monitored) so today we met with the high-risk OB who talked us through options for prenatal genetic testing.  We'll start with the MaterniT21 and go from there, but of course my history of POF, infertility, and miscarriage, I want to know everything that we can, but I do not want to take any unnecessary risks (e.g., amnio).  When they say that, statistically, it is very safe, I know that is true rationally.  But I've been at the wrong end of very good odds several times, so I no longer am comforted by slim chances.

Here's a little shot of our little one.  R and I are considering being surprised this time.  Thoughts? Have any of you waited?


Anyone up for a little bathroom talk?  B used the toilet (unprompted) numerous times over the weekend and woke up Monday morning and told me she wasn't wearing a pull up to school.  We went with it and she was accident free all day and pooped on the toilet three times (good lord).  I guess if you wait long enough, your child will potty train herself?  I know there will still be accidents, but she does seem to be doing really well, particularly at school.  I'm sure it helps that her classroom is children ages 2.5 through 3.5 so she is at the younger end and most are toilet trained and thus set a good example for her.

I'm still in a state of disbelief about things. I haven't told my parents and I've told only a few close friends.  My slightly protruding belly is going to start giving things away in a few weeks, though, and I have no idea how I will broach this topic at work.

Friday, October 13, 2017

First Snow

We had our first snowfall of the winter season earlier this week (it was gone the same evening) and it was magical to see Blythe really enjoy snow for the first time.  We missed winter last year and the year prior she was a little too young to really enjoy it although we certainly subjected her to sledding and playing around in it.  Seeing her so excited to play in the snow, to eat it, to scoop it up into bowls, etc. is making me look forward to winter this year.  Fingers crossed for some big snowfalls that allow us to do all the fun snow activities.

Cheesy snow face!
B is absolutely loving school and really seems to be thriving.  She is fully potty trained at school (I wish I could say the same for home - we are still scarred from our first attempt and thus have been putting it off), talks about how much she enjoys her teachers and classmates, and regularly says she isn't ready to leave when we arrive to pick her up at the end of the day.  Neither one of us is working yet, so we've been enjoying leisurely mornings at home where we make breakfast together, play for a bit, and slowly make our way to school, often by bike if the weather is nice.  

I'm starting a new job on the 30th!  I've made a tough decision to return to a law firm, but it's a completely different model and one that I hope will be the perfect fit for me. It's a boutique corporate firm (I am a transactional / corporate lawyer) with only 3 other attorneys that focuses on start-up and small company work.  The best part is that there is no pressure to bill a certain amount.  I told the head of the firm that I wanted to work 25 hours a week (of billable time) and that my ideal scheduled would be 1-2 days / week at home and on the days I'm at the office, I'd be there from 9:30 to 3:45.  He said that was fine.  I felt I couldn't say "no" to the opportunity.  After being in-house, I'm anxious about returning to law firm life, but flexibility is my priority right now so I'm going with it.

And we had an ultrasound last week and the baby was measuring 11 weeks and 3 days and looking good.  We have our 12-week ultrasound next Tuesday at the perinatologist's office.  I'm definitely nervous - I'll also have the MaterniT21 test done.  I'm still experiencing disbelief that this pregnancy might actually be real and might actually turn out well.  I have told almost no one.   That said, I'm definitely looking rounder in the belly area and I won't get away with silence on the topic much longer.  And no, I didn't tell my future employer.  I'm not ready and, legally, I don't have to.  I wish I felt comfortable enough to do so, but I don't.

R is away this weekend, so B and I are having a ladies weekend full of fall activities, and I'm so excited to pick pumpkins and generally just spend time with her without any obligations or scheduled activities.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Homeland

We've finally settled into our home enough to find time in the evening to watch a show and Homeland Season 6 is the show of choice.  Peter Quinn returns in this season as a central character and it made me think about how I can trace so much of what has happened in the past 4 years to which seasons of Homeland we were watching (I know, it is ridiculous).

We were watching Season 1 while I was pregnant with Q and it's where we first heard the name Quinn, which ultimately became our first daughter's name.  It's a character's last name, but we fell in love with it and thought it would be perfect for our little girl, which it is.  After Quinn died, we returned home in a cloud of grief and I recall binge watching Seasons 2 and 3 when it was easier to lose myself in a TV show than to allow myself to obsess over everything going terribly wrong in our life.  We watched Season 4 in the weeks leading up to B's birth and in her first days at home (I was so worried about watching it while she slept on my chest because it's so violent - I'm pretty sure she couldn't even make out my face at that point).

I am, miraculously, still pregnant and here we are watching Season 6.  It's a wonderful distraction from obsessing over miscarriage rates (I have visited this site more times than I'd like to admit), possible chromosomal abnormalities, blood clots, and the myriad ways in which a pregnancy can go awry.  I haven't allowed myself to worry too much thus far, mostly because I've been trying to pretend this isn't happening in an effort to protect myself.  We all know that never works.  I'm hugely invested in this pregnancy and the swell of joy I feel at each ultrasound when I see those little arms and legs moving and listen to the baby's heartbeat is truly incredible.  Today was no exception.  I am officially a patient of my regular OB now instead of my RE and today I got to see this tiny person bopping around in my belly and measuring 10 weeks with a heartbeat of 170 bpm.


R and I have literally exchanged 10 words on the topic and he hasn't been to an appointment yet (I felt superstitious and wanted to go alone), but he'll join me next week (my regular OB wants to see me weekly through the first trimester).  I've been feeling okay - definitely strong aversions to certain foods, some nausea, and exhaustion.  I caught strep throat last week, which hit me like a ton of bricks.  Thankfully, you can take penicillin when pregnant and I'm already feeling much better.

I'm also likely to commit to a new job this week and since I feel so uncertain about this pregnancy, I'm trying to not let myself ponder what it would mean to start a new job at 12 weeks pregnant.  Instead, I'm focusing on making B's Halloween costume, enjoying this luxurious period where I have childcare and no job, seeing friends, and relaxing.... and trying to take this all one day at a time.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

First Ultrasound


I had my first ultrasound last week at what I thought would be 7 weeks from ovulation.  It wasn't until 1 PM so the day was dominated by me feeling intensely anxious.  By the time I was waiting in the doctor's office, my heart was beating out of my chest and my blood pressure was really high.  Thankfully, this ultrasound was with my RE's office and pretty much every woman having an ultrasound there is terrified so she didn't waste any time.

I first saw the heartbeat, which made me breath a sigh of relief.  Baby measured 7 weeks and 2 days with a heartbeat of 148 bpm.  My RE said everything looked "great" and we'll check again at 9 weeks, at which point I would be related to my high-risk OB.

Disbelief is definitely a leading emotion I'm feeling and of course I'm hesitated to feel excited.  I'm allowing some room for hope but remaining cautious.  My college roommate is visiting this weekend and we were supposed to run a trail 1/2 marathon in the mountains, which I bowed out of at my doctor's orders.  I have felt utterly exhausted and nauseated, which I take as good signs.  K and I stayed the night in Salida, Colorado before our race.  It was my first night away from R&B since we left on our trip and it was actually incredibly relaxing and just what I needed.  Plus, the leaves are starting to change in the mountains and I was reminded of why I love living in Colorado so much.



So... that's the news for now.  Next u/s is September 28th.  Fingers (and legs) crossed.

 
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