Amazed by #1, and considerations for IVF # 2

Anybody out there?

This might be more like a private journal entry, but if anyone is still reading, *please feel to comment!

Our little girl’s 1st birthday is fast approaching (5/23), and we just can’t believe our eyes.  She’s at the stage where she is a knowledge sponge, you can just see it in everything she does.  Everything we say and do she is absorbing and understanding, mimicking.  Any word we have her practice she sits and thinks about, processes, and then incredibly will produce the first consonant, or the right vowel sound.  She can identify (point to) so many household objects. It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.

She’s been on the move for sometime now.  She started taking steps at 10 months, and now she is a real walker, and a fast one at that.  Everything in our house, even things I wouldn’t even consider, are suddenly a dangerous weapon that she can pull onto herself, or fall on, or slam her fingers with.  I’m realizing we really should try to “child-proof” the place.  Starting with all the stairs…..Yikes. 

A lot of people who I was pregnant with in real life, or overlapped with somehow are already starting to try, or are pregnant, and that is something I’m not ready for. (Although, lucky them, they just have to have sex, don’t have to pay 10k and stab themselves with dozens of needles.  I digress…)   I have this sweet and bright child, but (duh!) parenting her is the single-hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.  I have a tendency to be a little ADD, easily tuning out my husband without even realizing it, easily becoming distracted, and so having to have laser-like focus on this VERY fast, almost-toddler is not easy. 

Because of this difficulty, getting out of the house with her is a new venture, I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit.  I work MWF, so on Tuesdays and Thursdays we pretty much stay home.  I do housework, and chase her and the dog around.  Maybe I’m scared, or I don’t give her or myself enough credit, but we don’t get out much without the help of Daddy.  Now that she’s mobile and the weather is finally warming up that is changing.  We started a Music Together class this month.  The 1st class was hysterical, and made me realize that I had in fact been correct: I have a very busy, very strong-willed child, when compared to her peers.  She was the ONLY baby in the class who never stopped walking around the room (ever), approaching all the other toddlers and younger babies, trying to pull the Ipod off the table, climbing on to the instructors lap, dampening her guitar playing by grabbing the neck and strings.  Nope, all the other kids sat on their mommy’s laps, did what they were supposed to do, while mine put on a show.  My best friend and her very calm, late-walking 18 month old daughter were witness to it, and it made me happy she could finally see what I’m up against.  My 11 month old, established walker, coming in at a whopping 27+ lbs, is just stronger, heavier, and much more active than most.  I’m incredibly lucky I know, but DAMN I’ve got my hands full with this one. 

Which brings me to my big question. How many kids do we want?  How many could I really handle, and feel like I’m doing a decent job?  When we do decide to pursue another round of IVF, should we transfer 2 embryos again?  I’ve been saying since the beginning that I really only want 2 kids total.  Now that I have this one, I KNOW this to be true: 2 is all I need and feel I could handle. Maybe there is a slight, remote chance I could change my mind in the future, but that’s where I’m at right now. (My husband is another story- he will want to try until he gets his boy.)  Besides that, obviously financially 2 would be easier, and we only have a 3-bedroom home which we just moved into.  I don’t want to outgrow it yet.  This could be our forever home, but that’s only if we have 2 children. 

I still need to do my research on eSET vs. 2 embryo transfer.  Approximately 30% of IVF pregnancies result in multiples.  Granted, our 1st IVF only yielded a couple decent embryos, and only 1 implanted to give us our daughter.  My husband likes those odds. In fact, when I brought up eSET to him he straight up said no, he doesn’t think it’s a good idea.  But I’m starting to get a little nervous.  I don’t even plan to do another round of IVF until possibly next summer, when the baby will be 2.  Maybe she will be much easier by then (ha!), and the notion of multiples won’t be as daunting.  I’m sure we will consult with our doctors again to discuss our options before we start the process, so hopefully that will give us some clarity, and better information. 

I’m just curious what any of you think or know about elective single embryo transfer, if you have done it yourself, etc. I’ve read that it’s gaining a lot of popularity; in fact one article I read said it’s commonplace in Canada.  I don’t want to hurt our chances of success, however. Thoughts? Has anyone done eSET?  Know anyone who has?  I’d appreciate some input. 

And happy almost 1st birthday to our perfectly busy baby, C.  We love you so much. 

 

Happy New Year!

I hope this year is as good to us as 2013 was.  I feel so lucky to be where I am.  We are moving from our cute little old city house to a cute little old suburb house.  We are going to be living in such a fantastic neighborhood, the houses are all full of character, and in a great school district.  When we moved into our current house, having children and the concept of school districts for our potential children wasn’t a real concern.  Five years later, it matters.  So off we go.  In the process of moving, everything’s been packed for a month or so, especially books, and C’s baby book.  So I thought I’d post a little update here, before I delete the note by accident.

(Baby C is 7 months old as of December 23rd.  Here’s a loose list of milestones I’ve been keeping track of on my phone for the last couple months)

October- starts rolling really well  (5 months)

November 10th- officially a supported sitter, and 1st real tooth on bottom left

November 23rd- 1st real bite of banana chunk (not pureed)

Also November 23rd-ish- As of her 6 month checkup, we began CIO.  After 2 months of exasperation at bedtime- literally nothing we tried would consistently get her down, the doctor said it was time, and we were finally on board. (We had tried at 4 months and it failed miserably, I wasn’t ready and neither was the baby.)  I put her on a real feeding (bottle and food) schedule for myself and my sitter to follow everyday, and it made such a huge difference.  Even over a month later, she still cries about 75% of the time she goes down, but it doesn’t last, and we finally have some consistency in our lives.  Also, at her 6 month checkup she was 22 lbs and 27 inches long!  Off the charts for weight, and 90%ile for height.  No joke, she is a huge baby.  She’s as big (or bigger) than most of my friends kids who are a little over 1 year old, and she’s the youngest by far. Oh boy.  I also stop nursing around this time completely and stick with bottles. 

December 4th- sitting up totally independently.  Can lean over on 1 arm and maneuver well.  Also, her 2nd bottom right tooth coming through. She loves pears, sweet potatoes, bananas, and apples.  Still no consonant sounds being produced with any consistency.  Around December 7th, speech begins to sound more conversational, with more prosody and less simple high pitched squeals.  Occasional consonant sounds emerge, “hi” is heard.

December 11th- Very efficient hands only “Lieutenant Dan” crawl.  And she pulled herself up from sitting to standing at a big armchair all by herself- in the same day!  Truly amazing.

December 14th- Pulls herself to standing in the crib while holding the railing- trouble!

December 16th- real crawling, arms and legs moving.  That didn’t take long for her to figure out.

December 23rd (7 months old)- observe that she’s making lip smacking sounds and chewing motion, really moving the jaw up and down.  So we introduce “Puffs” to her.  At first she chokes a little bit but within a couple days she’s mashing them with her 2 little bottom teeth no problem.  I start to give her small banana chunks more often too, in addition to her stage 2 purees and cereal.

Christmas-  Tries real mashed up hash browns at Christmas brunch! She loves to climb. She climbs on me and my husband.  Climbs on the coffee and side tables all day long.  She let’s go fearlessly and plops to her butt.  She also stands on the outside of her bouncer and plays with the toys.  Talk about a great abdominal workout!  She’s really building up those stabilizer muscles.

January 1st- Lets go and stands unsupported for about 5 seconds before plopping to her butt!  Also, as we were standing at her bouncer she looked at me and said “OhYeahh”.  Ha!  My husband and I freaked. Does that count as her first word?!

And that’s what we have witnessed so far…  We are still eagerly awaiting those “mama dada’s”, but for now we can’t believe our eyes.  We got together with my husband’s friends a few days ago, and of the 6 guys, there’s 8 babies between the ages of 6 months and 2.  And our little lady seems really advanced for her age.  She’s doing the things our friend’s 15 month old is still working on.  It’s unreal.  I feel so lucky.  We joked that she’s superior because she’s a genetically-modified, high-tech IVF baby.  😉

Happy New Year everyone!

 

 

 

4 months old

Is anybody still out there?  I haven’t blogged in ages but I’ve been lurking, still popping on every once in awhile to read and catch up on everyone’s lives. 

We’re in the 5th month with our wonderful IVF baby and so far, so good.  There have definitely been some difficulties and adjustments, but we’re learning as we go. 

Baby C is about 4.5 months old, and just about 19 lbs, comfortably wearing 9 month clothes.  She’s off the charts in weight and head circumference and at 95th percentile for height.  Needless to say she loves to eat.  I’m still nursing when I’m home, pumping when I’m at work, and she does get mostly formula on the 3 days a week I go to work.  She hated it at first, and it’s still not her favorite, but she’ll take it. 

At her 4 month checkup a couple weeks ago the doctor suggested we try rice cereal.  That’s been interesting.  The spoon makes her gag, she makes a lot of faces, and she might swallow about 1/10th of a baby spoon’s worth in the whole process.  It still doesn’t seem like she’s quite interested yet, so we aren’t pushing it.  Maybe we’ll try it again in a couple weeks.

The biggest crisis we’ve had in the last month has been with bedtime.  At just about 4 months old, she was still going to bed when we did, around 11, nursing, and being put in her rock n play sleeper in our room.  Then suddenly, she decided not to sleep anymore.  After a few nights of her staying up and crying until 2 am, we were getting pretty desperate.  Then at her 4 month checkup, the doctor said she should really be in her own room by this age, and her bassinet wasn’t working anymore, so we thought we’d give the crib a shot. 

We tried a bedtime routine: take a bath, nurse, go down in the crib.  The doc gave us an article with some guidelines, basically saying the baby should be put down to bed while drowsy, but not totally asleep.  We decided to try this new routine the night of her appointment.  What a rookie mistake.  She’d received her 4 month shots that day, and while she seemed fine during the day, it was not the best time to introduce something totally foreign.  We let her cry it out for about 30 minutes, going in every 5 minutes to soothe her.  She was getting increasingly sweaty and upset (and so was I).  Finally she made herself spit up, I heard her gagging, and I ran in there to pick her up.  We took her temperature and she had a fever of 103!  Called the doctor, talked to an on-call nurse who said to give her some baby Tylenol, and monitor it.  Fortunately she was knocked out, the fever subsided, and we let her sleep in our room that night. I still haven’t recovered from the guilt.  Her first fever and we let her cry! WTF. 

A couple more unsuccessful nights of letting her kinda cry it out, and I had had it.  Several of my friends swear by the method, but my baby appeared traumatized, and so was I.  I’m sure a few nights of letting her cry for 30 minutes to an hour didn’t cause any long-term psychological damage (hopefully), but it was awful, and it did not work for us.

So, we’ve switched to a more gentle way of doing things.  Starting at 9:30, I take her to my bed to nurse, like she’s used to.  She usually falls asleep, and once she’s out, I carry her to her room and plop her in her crib.  Sometimes she wakes up and cries, and wants a few more minutes with the boobs, but now she’ll even fall asleep in the crib even if she wakes up.  She stares longingly at her baby Einstein aquarium, I rub her belly, and she drifts off to sleep, for the most part.  We also bought a D’ohm white noise machine at Buy Buy Baby, which has been amazing.  This baby loves her white noise. 

As far as her demeanor and personality, she is a delight.  She is all smiles and happy babbles from the minute she wakes up, until she goes to sleep.  She is so aware and alert; her head is on a swivel.   She isn’t rolling over, which she should be by this point, but she’s close.  The doc said she might just be too big.  She practically does sit-ups on her own, and her legs are so strong.  This week, she discovered her feet at her changing table, and has successfully gotten them into her mouth.  Everything goes in the mouth.  She grasps with both hands and in it goes.  I’m also losing hair in chunks, which can all be found in her sticky little hands.  She’s had some big belly laughs this week, and starting sticking out her tongue in imitation of her weird parents.  She’s amazing. 

That’s all for now.  I’ll try not to disappear for such long stretches. XOXO. 

 

Appreciation for my new life

I’m feeling very appreciative this morning.  

I just read a couple articles and blogs that I was linked to through PAIL bloggers, about the effect of infertility on men when MFI is a factor.  It brought me back to the dark emotions that took over my life in February 2012.  I still remember the voicemail from my RE when he said not to start taking my Femara prescription, as my husband’s sperm was a factor, and “actually quite poor”.  We were in such disbelief.  Everything changed. 

But here I am now, only 16 months later, staring at my baby girl in her lamby Fisher-Price swing.  She is perfect.  I can’t even believe how lucky we are to have a baby, let alone a healthy baby, let alone a gorgeous baby.  It’s hard to believe the despair I was feeling just last year at this time.  Not knowing if we’d ever get to experience this.  

Often I feel somewhat removed from the pain of infertility.  I am so grateful to have her, but now I’m just like any new mom: overwhelmed, overtired, wondering if I’ll ever have a social life again, wondering how I’m going to shower that day.  I don’t think about the lengths we went to get here.  I’m just living minute to minute, trying to keep her fed, healthy, and happy.  

Then there are times like today when I am reminded of the pain.  And my eyes well up with happy and sad tears, and I’m extra grateful.  And I hope I always remember.  It makes the sleepless nights a little easier, it makes me stare at her a little longer, and give her a few extra dozen kisses a day.  Our road to this wasn’t an easy one.  

I dread having to go through IVF again.  I dread the needles, and the anxiety, and the fear. But I’m lucky in that I know it can work.  I know that I just as easily could have been someone who had to endure round after round of IVF, or a miscarriage, or something worse.  

And when I look at her sweet little face, I know I can go through it again.  And I’ll be okay.  

Our delivery story

My due date of May 21st came and went, and still no baby.  I’d been dilated to 3 and effaced to 90% for about 3 weeks, with no sign of change.  I’d had 2 weeks off from work already, and was starting to lose it.  I was taking long walks, eating lots of pineapple, having more sex than any 9 months pregnant woman wants to, and still nada.

I had an appointment on my due date, and I asked about postdate induction.  I was willing to go over my due date by a week or so since I know it’s just an estimation, and I really did want to go into labor on my own.  But my family had a lot of conflicts, and I wanted them to be there.  So my doctor scheduled an induction for 40 weeks and 3 days.

I kept taking walks, and doing lot of yoga squats.  I was so apprehensive about the induction, worrying that I was pushing things just a little too fast.  I was hoping and praying that I’d somehow go into labor on my own at 40 weeks 2 days.  I had one day for it to happen naturally before being induced.

At 4 AM at 40 weeks 2 days I was up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep.  I was obsessively googling “elective induction 40 weeks 3 days”, to get a bunch of strangers opinions that didn’t really matter.  I stood up to go to the bathroom after about 20 minutes, and noticed something wet.  Once I got to the bathroom I saw that I was leaking pink fluid. My water had broken!!!

It kept coming in occasional little gushes; it wasn’t anything a pad couldn’t handle.  I was so relieved it was pink; had it been clear/yellowish I might have just thought I was leaking urine.

After 3 calls to my OB’s answering service, the on-call OB finally got back to me.  He told me to come on in to the hospital.  This was happening!

We got to the hospital around 8:30, and were in a room a little bit after 9.  By 10 o’clock I was hooked up to monitors for my contractions, as well as the baby’s heartbeat.  The pitocin went in around 10.  I didn’t realize they’d start me on pit right away, but since I wasn’t having many contractions and my water had broken, I guess that’s my OB’s protocol.  I felt tethered to that bed.  Getting up to go to the bathroom was a project.

I listened to music, ate several red popsicles, and my contractions picked up from mild at 11, to somewhat unbearable by 2, when I was begging for an epidural.

While the anesthesiologist was putting in my epi, I was having horrible contractions, and it was so hard to sit still.  As he placed the needle he asked me if it felt more to the left, middle, or right.  I said left.  Within 15 minutes, sure enough, my epidural was working, ONLY on the left side.  I was so mad I cried.  The nurse got me 2 more boluses of epidural, and had my lay on my right side, in hopes that it would work it’s way down.  It did eventually, but it wasn’t nearly as strong on my right.

Here’s something I never realized: having an epidural doesn’t take away the HORRIBLE pressure of contractions.  I’m not sure if this is everyone’s experience, but from about 4pm (5 cm dilated and up) on, it felt like a tree was trying to come out of my butt every 2-3 minutes, and I just had to lie there and hold it in.

They checked me at 6, and I was dilated to 9.5 cm.  They turned the epi off, and let me regain some sensation.  By 7, the nurse told me with each contraction I could gently push; I needed to relax, and not resist the pressure.  It was soo uncomfortable.  My mom and husband were in the room for all of this, and I remember a lot of swearing on my part, and insisting to the nurses that I was going to poo all over the table.

By about 7:20 PM the OB was there, the nurses were getting all set up for me and the baby, and I started to push.  I probably only pushed through about 5 or so contractions, with about 3 good pushes per contraction.  At this point my OB and resident realized that her head was coming out sideways, facing left.  I kept pushing harder and harder, doing what I was told to do, and it did feel like a relief to push.  Finally, her head came out, and I continued to push.  The doctors then realized that her shoulder was stuck.

They called for help and about 10 nurses/doctors ran in.  Several people gathered around me and started pushing hard on my stomach.  I realized something very bad was happening, and I needed to push as hard as I possibly could.  After about 10-15 seconds (that felt like much longer than that), her shoulder and body came out, and everyone’s faces lit up with relief.  I remember looking at my husband whose eyes were filled with tears; he had been absolutely terrified.

She didn’t start crying until they got her to the warming table, so they didn’t bring her up to my chest for skin to skin.  Instead she was cleaned and assessed by nurses, and an orthopedic doc came down to look at her shoulder.  This whole time I’m practically yelling, “Why can’t I see her?! Bring her over here!  What happened? Was her cord wrapped around her neck?!”  The nurses must have thought I was crazy.

After about 5-10 minutes, and finally understanding what had happened, they brought her over to me and my husband.  My mom had been snapping away pictures at the warming table, proclaiming how gorgeous she was, but my husband stayed right by my side so we’d meet her at the same time.

They brought her over to lay on my chest.  She was 8 lbs 2.5 oz, 20 inches long, and pure perfection, minus her tiny broken collarbone.  She is and was the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen.

It’s impossible to put into words how much we love her.

38 Weeks, 6 days

I’m bored.  This is the first full week of maternity leave and I’m starting to lose it a little.  I know I haven’t even reached my due date yet but I am just so ready for her to be here. 

Hearing that I was already dilating and effaced at 36 weeks really messed me up, since at each appointment thereafter, there’s been NO change.  I went from thinking an early spontaneous labor was a serious possibility, to now resigning myself to the fact that I’ll probably be like so many of my FTM friends, who go 7-14 days past their due dates, requiring inductions, and I really don’t want that.

I also feel a bit of a time crunch, as 10 days after my due date is my sister’s commissioning into the army as she graduates as an ROTC officer, and has her college graduation that weekend, about 4 hours away from me.  My mother doesn’t want to miss it: she said she can only see this once, whereas she can meet the baby “anytime”.  She’d rather see that than the birth of her first grandchild.  I told her how upset it makes me, since ideally I want her in the delivery room with me, and my sister doesn’t even care if both of my parents are there.  She suggested our dad go see the graduation, and mom come here for the birth, but my mom is being a weirdo about it.  I’m trying to focus on the hope that we won’t even end up in that situation, as we still have time– 17 days, for this chick to make her appearance.   

So now I just sit here and try to keep busy.  I’ve been cleaning the house on a daily basis, I’ve already gone to the grocery store this morning, and my 39.1 week appointment isn’t until Wednesday.  I know it’ll be so different once the baby is here to keep my busy, but I already can tell it’s a good thing I’m going back to work, even on a part-time basis.  I just have to get out of the house!

I’ll keep you posted….

36 Weeks Updates

We are 36 weeks and 1 day today.  My ‘What to Expect’ app says the baby is the size of a watermelon.  I believe it.

I had my second internal exam yesterday, and my 2nd of weekly appointments.  Last week at 35 weeks one of the young adorable female OBs did a quick internal just to get a baseline.  She said I was a fingertip dilated and slightly thinned, which surprised me.  I was expecting her to say it was long and closed.  At yesterday’s appointment one of the older, cute little old man OBs said I’m now 2.5 cm dilated and 80% effaced!  I said, “Shut up!”  Then I apologized, ha.  It seems like a lot of progress!  He said to be ready for a potentially early labor, no guarantees of course.  He said, “You know what to do if that water breaks.”  I thought to myself, ummm actually I’m not sure that I do.  I guess I’ll just call them if anything happens.  

As for my symptoms, I’m having continued minor cervical pains and pressure, and increasing BH contractions.  The more the better!

After yesterday’s appointment and with the recommendation of my doctor, I’ve decided I’m going to stop working 2 weeks prior to my due date.  May 7th is it for me!  I called my boss and the girls who are going to be covering my facilities, and put the wheels into motion.  It feels good to have a plan, since before yesterday I was just going to wing it.  Now that it feels like labor could actually occur in the next few weeks, it seems like a good idea to have a concrete plan in place. 

Last night I got all my laundry done that I’ll be packing in my hospital bag, and tonight I ran out to Target for last minute things, travel-size toiletries, warm socks, etc.  I just gotta pack it all in the bag!

It’s officially feeling real.