Saturday, November 15, 2014

Baby, Baby: 10 Week Bumpdate

The Kidlets

How Far Along? 
I am 10 weeks today!  

Don't know yet... can't wait, though!!  To be perfectly honest, I'm really hoping for one of each!  (And before anyone jumps down my throat that it doesn't matter, as long as they're healthy... that's obviously my top priority for the next 6ish months... but that doesn't mean I can't ALSO have gender preferences!)

How Big are They? 
According to various sources, each baby is the size of a kumquat, prune, or baby carrot.  I'm going with baby carrots, because I have no frame of reference for a kumquat, and the thought of prunes is turning my stomach ;-)

Changing Momma

Have You Started to Show Yet?  
Yes!!  Just a tiny bit, but it's definitely a bump!  I'm so proud! <3

Weight Gain?
I haven't gained any weight in the last four weeks!  Before that, I was up about 5 pounds from my pre-IVF weight, but I'm not sure if that came before or after I was officially pregnant :-)  I can tell I'm losing weight in my arms (always a beefier area on me) and thighs, so that must be how I'm bumping without gaining....
Maternity Clothes?
I have some, but I'm not wearing them most of the time.  Except my maternity yoga pants from Old Navy, but I've been wearing those for months ;-)  They're just so comfy!  Everything is stretch or drawstring, but it's still pre-pregnancy clothes. 

Stretch Marks? 
No new ones :-)

Belly Button In or Out?
Still in.

Momma's Feeling

Mexican, mostly.  I've had other, brief cravings, but they don't last once I've eaten whatever I was craving.  I thought the craziest had been Chili Cheese Fritos dipped in cream cheese, but a bunch of friends convinced me that it actually sounded good to non-pregnant people, too :-)

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick?  
This has been a ROUGH week for morning sickness.  All kinds of smells, foods, and just breathing have made me nauseated.  I've had serious aversions to eggs (of all sorts) and cold cheese for weeks... melted cheese is fine.  Unless I saw it cold first. ;-)

Happy or Moody Most of the Time?   
I'm really mellow and introspective lately, for the most part.  But if I get ticked off, I have to fight the urge to go OFF.  Only happened like once this week, and I managed to behave myself. ;-)

Not that I can feel, but it was fun to watch them wiggle and swim on our ultrasound this week!

What's that?  Between my bladder and my blood sugar, it's been hard to come by.  Most nights, I'm only getting 1.5 - 2 hours at a time. 

What I miss:
Hot baths and my heating pad!  And maybe the sleep... ;-) 

Other Symptoms: 
Some stretchy feelings, backaches are starting, I'm SUPER-tired, and my blood sugars are pretty much hanging out in the basement. 

Highlights and Coming Soon

Best Moment of the Week?  
Seeing both babies on the ultrasound, the perfect sizes, perfect heart beats, and wiggling and swimming around.  We are SO in love!  2nd place was finally finding one heartbeat on our Doppler... we couldn't get an accurate count, couldn't figure out which baby it was (or if it was a combo or something - twins are notoriously tough to peg on Dopplers.) Honorable mention goes to getting the bulk of our registry done the other night!  It was a busy, great week!

Looking Forward To:  
First official OB appointment with my high-risk doc next week... another ultrasound during week 12. My LAST progesterone-in-oil shot TONIGHT!!
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Saturday, October 18, 2014

BarBABYdos, Part 2: SUCCESS!

Ethan and I are elated to announce that not only am I pregnant...

I'm pregnant with TWINS!!  

We found out we were expecting about 2 weeks ago, and told our family and some of our closest friends in the following several days.  I baked these positive pregnancy test due date cookies for Ethan to take to his coworkers...

We got to see our babies for the first time yesterday... we saw both tiny heartbeats flickering away.  Unbelievable, beautiful, exciting!!  Baby A is a little smaller than Baby B, and the heartbeat is a little bit slower, so we would appreciate prayers that both babies keep developing and growing!

We've tried explaining to Charley that he will have two more people to love on soon...

...but he just seems overwhelmed with how much we have to learn :-)

Thank you all for the encouragement and prayers through our infertility and IVF journey.  We appreciate you all so much!  Please stick around as we transition from a family of three into a family of five!
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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Embryo Transfer Day!

It's a little overwhelming to sit down to write this... so many details that I want to get just right, both for information purposes, and so we'll always remember :-)

On Tuesday (Day 3), we got a call from Natalia at the lab, telling us that we still had 10 growing embryos.  Two of the three that had been behind the day before had caught up, and one of the others was surging ahead. (Ethan and I were really excited about that, but Dr. Skinner told us today that fast, early growth is not as good a sign as it sounded like.)  We each got a massage, then spent a lot of the afternoon on the balcony of our hotel room, talking about baby names and making lists of some names we like.  It's obviously SUPER-early, but it's a lot of fun to dream about! 

Yesterday (Wednesday, Day 4), Natalia called again to tell us that our transfer would be at 1:45 today.  I asked how our embryos were doing, and she explained that there is a lot of changing going on on Day 4, so they don't check on them... leave them alone, let them do their thang :-) We had our favorite cab driver, RC, drive us out to Bathsheba beach.  He gave us a great tour of the island along the way, and we got to see quite a bit that we hadn't managed to see last cycle.  Then we spent a couple of hours on the beach... I hunted sea glass, and actually found quite a bit!  Found my first pieces ever... I'm absolutely hooked on it!  There was this one really pretty piece of white/clear glass, I saw it, and heard a wave rolling in. I reached for it like a flash, just as the wave crashed into my back and washed out the spot where the glass had been.  But it was already safe and sound in my hand... it was such a rush!!  I love it!!!   Finding sea glass gives me an extra little kick of optimism for this cycle, since I have grown attached to the metaphor of the little treasures to our struggle

We went to bed fairly late last night, and were just starting to wake up this morning when Natalia called again.  They had already chosen our embryos, and as soon as they have chosen, they like to get them into their mother as quickly as possible, so they moved my transfer up to 11AM!  We called RC and asked him to pick us up earlier, and got ready quickly.  We got to the clinic at about 9:40, and I had 45 minutes of acupuncture to get the blood flowing to my uterus and to relax me.  And y'all... I was relaxed. Walking straight lines was kind of tough. 

We met with Dr. Skinner in her office, and she showed us our official fertilization reports.  We were THRILLED to see that we had two gorgeous embryos - grades 3AA and 3AB.  These were the two they had decided to transfer :-)  Sadly, four of our embryos had "arrested" or stopped growing.  Apparently, when there is a lot of early growth, that is not uncommon.  The remaining four embryos were a little behind, but they are giving them another day to catch up.  If any of them get to the blastocyst stage tomorrow, they will be frozen for a future transfer.  Ethan and I understood this part differently... he thought she said those four are likely to make it, I thought she said it was unlikely.  I guess we'll find out tomorrow!  

Ethan found this great explanation from Oregon Reproductive Medicine of what happens between Days 3 and 5, and why Day 5 transfers are so preferable.  As sad as we are to have lost our four arrested embryos, we know that these are the ones that would have never matured to the point in me to have even started to implant.  By culturing them out to Day 5, we gave them their best chance, and us the best chance of having a living child or two.  

From there, Dr. Skinner walked with us back to the operating theatre, where we met with Emma - the nurse who took care of me before and after my retrieval.  She instructed us to put on awesome blue booties and hats, and had me put on a hospital gown.  When I was done, we all walked back to the little operating room... I got into the usual position and Ethan sat on a stool near my head. The whole actual transfer took just a couple of minutes... we got to watch via ultrasound as Dr. Skinner slipped a catheter into my uterine cavity, measured it, and chose her spot.  Then the lab handed her our embryos through a little window, and we got to see the little "blip" on the screen as the droplet containing our two precious babies landed in my uterus.  Emma printed the picture right at the point, and circled the drop for us :-)  Then, of course, the historian and blogger had to take pics for the baby book ;-)  

I chilled out on my back while Emma went over my post-transfer meds and instructions, then I got up gingerly - so aware of who I was carrying! - and went upstairs for my post-transfer acupuncture.  As we left the clinic, and hugged everyone for the last time for (hopefully) a few years, I had an overwhelming sense of peace and optimism.  I'm really amazed at how calm I am!  It all just feels very right, and very good. 

We fly home in the morning... we can't wait to love on our furry firstborn, hug his grandparents, and settle into our home and routine to wait out the twelve days until I'm allowed to "POAS" (pee on a stick - crude, but effective infertile shorthand, haha)!!

Thank you all so much for the love and support!  Now, as Dr. Skinner said... "It's all up to them."  I hope these little darlings stick around... we're so in love with them already!! 
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Very Important Announcement About Announcing!

Ethan and I have given a lot of thought to the questions of how and when we are going to announce a pregnancy, and we've come up with a plan we wanted to share now, ahead of transfer.

To our reckoning, this cycle can end one of three ways: 
  1. We can't transfer for some bizarre, unforeseen reason.
  2. We transfer and the embryos don't "stick." Also known in fertility blogging world as a "BFN" - a big fat negative pregnancy test. 
  3. I get pregnant. (That's fun to type!)
In the case of the first outcome, we would want to share right away, so we can document whatever new plans we make and those decision-making processes. In the case of the second outcome, we would be prone to telling people earlier than in the case of a baby on the way, for the support and again, to be able to document our next steps. If I am pregnant, we would want to wait until I was 6-8 weeks along before putting anything on the blog or other social media, so we could share the news with our close friends and family first. 

But this leaves a conundrum for those who've chosen (and been lucky enough) to share a journey like this with so many people. If my two-week-wait has come and gone, and we haven't said anything, the automatic assumption would be that we are expecting, and being coy about it :-) If someone asks before we're ready to tell, and we say something to brush it off or put it off, it would be the same assumption. 

So our plan is to announce outcome 1 if it happens, as soon as it happens, which would be Thursday. We are not anticipating this at ALL, but we also weren't expecting to not transfer last time, either! For outcomes 2 and 3, we will announce on social media on October 18, when I will hopefully be 6 weeks pregnant, after we've called and visited the people we want to know first. 

Making these plans might make me sound a little full of myself - like the world is waiting with baited breath to hear about the occupant/s of my uterus, I know. But I have my reasons! I'm hoping that having a set announcement date will help us handle the questions we'll probably get, but I also want to give fair warning to any infertility friends who may follow me here, on Facebook, or on Instagram. I know ALL TOO WELL how a pregnancy announcement - even one you're sort of expecting - can feel when you're waiting to make a announcement of your own. This way, anyone who wants to guard against a possible "trigger" can follow up through the end of our trip, and have a couple of weeks to do what they need to do to protect your heart. You won't have to worry about a surprise before that day, and you can avoid my social media presence if you're having a "down" day... pop over when you're feeling strong, I'll still be here! 

Thank you all for all of the prayers for our successful trip, and for loving Ethan, me, and our future kids so much! 

BarBABYdos, Part 2: Fertilization Report

We have exciting news on the baby-making front! We asked to only have half of my eggs thawed and fertilized (taking a conservative approach to avoid left over embryos), so on Saturday, 12 eggs were warmed and injected with sperm (intracytoplasmic sperm injection - ICSI).

Yesterday morning, we got a fertilization report for the embryologist, Natalia, at Barbados Fertility Centre, and she told us that ten of those eggs fertilized. This puts us in really good position to have two viable 5-day embryos to transfer, and hopefully have a few more to freeze for later!! We're very encouraged by this number! :-) 

I'm writing this with the Blogger app from the Cincinnati airport. It's the first time I've used this app, so if it looks funny, I apologize - I'll clean it up when I have WiFi again :-)