Friday, March 25, 2016

For I am involved in mankind

I’ve let more time pass than I intended.  I know the people who still read this understand.  So, to catch up!  I am now 19 weeks pregnant!

January was rough.  Max got a cold, which turned into an ear infection, which turned into a ruptured ear drum.  The literal next day, a pipe burst a few floors up and caused a massive flood in Max’s room.  Max had to sleep on a pack n play in our room.  That night he woke up at 4am, coughing…. Except he wasn’t coughing, he was puking.  Yep, gastroenteritis on top of the ear infection/rupture.  After he got over that, Rajeev caught it, and so did our nanny.  Meanwhile, I caught the cold, but couldn’t take anything for it because pregnancy.  I got so sick, I was convinced I had strep throat, but after a waste-of-time visit to an urgent care, I learned it was just a virus.  Get plenty of rest!  Yeah, right.  Why do they even bother saying this to the mom of a sick toddler?  My in-laws insisted on coming to “help” one day, but Max was so clingy with me that there wasn’t much for them to do… other than catch Rajeev’s gastroenteritis, which is just what they did.  It was horrendous.

Thankfully, February got easier.  First off, we got the results of our Mat.erniT21 test – no anomalies, and we’re having another boy.  I sort of assumed from day one that we would have another boy, so this was not a big surprise, and I was so happy and relieved that he appears to be healthy.  But I’m not gonna lie – I did have 30 minutes or so of mourning the loss of a mother/daughter relationship.  My sister asked me if I was sad about the outcome and I said, “No, I’m not sad at all that I’m having another boy.”  This doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t have been nice to have a girl, but I’m honestly okay. 

 We went for a nuchal translucency as well and the little cookie was moving around like a little firecracker.  The tech actually struggled to get the measure of the nuchal fold because the kid just didn’t feel like cooperating. 

 I talked with my OB about whether I should do an initial anatomy scan this time.  Last time, that's the scan where the doctor thought maybe Max had club feet and made up some statistic about how there was a 35% chance that he had it and we freaked out for a month.  Dr. R understood my concerns and said the main reason to get a scan now is that they can almost always catch major brain or heart defects at 16-18 weeks, but that it is totally fine to wait till the full anatomy scan at 20-22 weeks because we would still have time to deal with any major issues. 
All that being said, Jeeves and I agreed we would rather know sooner than later.  So I went for the initial anatomy scan and everything went perfect.  Perfect, perfect - could not have gone better.  Our tech struggled a tiny bit with getting a shot of his spine, but ultimately did manage.  In another couple of weeks I'll go back for the full scan and hopefully everything will continue to look good.
Pregnancy has been pretty boring.  I had severe fatigue during the first trimester, in some ways worse than the first time because now I’ve got Max to chase after.  But I had no food aversions, no bloating, nausea, etc.  And now that I’m in the second trimester, the fatigue is gone.  My belly finally popped out and I have to wear maternity clothes or bigger shirts and elastic waist stuff.  And now I can't sleep on my tummy or back, so just yesterday I pulled out the old body pillow.  It's taking some getting used to.  But it sure is cool to feel a baby moving around in there again. 

Anyway, I’ve been worrying lately about handling two small children and how hard things are going to be.  I’m definitely anxious.  And although I feel insanely lucky that we got pregnant with the first IUI this time, part of me wondered if we could have waited.  That thought was replaced after I finally received my medical records from our RE.  My AMH this go around was a 1.89, which given my age (almost 38) is actually pretty good.  And because I knew my AMH, I never bothered asking what my day 4 bloods were - figured it didn't matter.  When I was flipping through my records, I saw that my FSH was something like an 11.5.  That's a good deal higher than it was 3 years ago when I was doing this.  And I realize that one FSH level doesn't necessarily mean anything, that  combined with my declining antral follicle count definitely made me realize that we made the right decision to go for a second child when we did instead of waiting another year or more.  I'm not young in terms of childbearing and my body was slowing down.  We got very lucky.
That's what life has been like here.  No complaints.  I've been feeling a little depressed about the level of political discourse across the board.  Yesterday John McCain wrote an op-ed piece in the NY Times that made tear up at work.  It's his tribute to Delmer Berg, who was the last living member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (Americans who fought against the fascists in the Spanish Civil War).  Berg was a Communist.  Obviously John McCain is not.  But McCain clearly has a lot of respect for what Berg did, and notes that after he returned from the war, he went on to start a business and spent his free time working for causes he believed in.  It's not very long, and worth a read.  To that end, I have been musing on the quotes that McCain included from Hemingway and John Donne, so I'm including the latter here, the themes of which I am trying to carry in my heart to teach my own kids, even when it's so different from what I'm hearing everywhere else.
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.



Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Known and Unknown

I apologize for not updating sooner.  Everything falling around the holidays made blogging tough.  So, where I last left off, we were going in for a very early ultrasound, where I was 5w5d (or 5w4d?  I’ve never really gotten the hang of counting this stuff).  When we went in that morning, I logically knew that all we could really hope to see was a gestational sac and a yolk sac, but I was still hoping maybe there would be more.  Dr. P told me that all she wanted to see was a sac in my uterus and that it was too early to see much else. 

Sure enough, all we saw was a sac.  It was 13mm, which my doctor was very pleased with.  She said sometimes we can see a yolk sac and sometimes we can’t.  We didn’t see one.  Of course later when I went home I read some stuff online indicating that it was a bad sign if you didn’t see a yolk sac when the gestational sac was 12mm or greater and I proceeded to spiral.

We were instructed to come back in 11 days, at which point the doctor would want to see a heartbeat.  We celebrated Christmas, and went on a little vacation with Kate and her family for New Year’s.  I, of course, couldn’t drink and was limited in my food options.  All of which would be fine, except as the day of the ultrasound crept closer, I felt more and more negative about it.  I started mapping out in my head whether they would want me to have a D&C right away, and if so, what day would actually work for that.  Morbid stuff, I know.  The fact that we didn’t see a yolk sac seemed ominous to me and the idea that there could actually be something alive where there had just been an empty sac 11 days before seemed absurd. 

This little cookie, as we had taken to calling it, turned into Shrodinger’s cat for me – simultaneously alive and dead until we saw it on the ultrasound.  Not helping matters – I caught Max’s terrible cold, but had to act with the data that was known – I was technically pregnant and therefore could not take any cold medicine. 

 The night before the second ultrasound, I texted with Adi, whom some of you may know from the bloggy world.  She asked how I was feeling about it and I explained about how I felt very negative.  She asked why and I said, “I just feel like there’s no way this could work out.  Like I’m not allowed to be that lucky.”  And kind Adi responded, “I think if other people get pregnant their first try you’re allowed to have a second baby on your first IUI.”  She added, “Max is pretty awesome, but I promise you that you haven’t used up all your happiness.”  Her saying that meant a lot to me as it really hit the heart of the matter – we are so happy and I feel so lucky to have Max that it feels like I am asking too much if I ask for more of it.  As if happiness in your family is finite. 

I think I’ve mentioned on here before that I’m in a small private Facebook group of other (mostly) infertile moms who had babies at the same time I had Max.  I reached out to them too the night before the ultrasound and they wrapped me up in their positive words.  The morning of the ultrasound one of them posted: “Remember we are all in there with you.”  All this love alleviated some of my fear, and I felt as though, maybe, no matter what, I would be okay.

 There is rarely a wait at this RE’s office, but perhaps because it was the Monday after the holidays, they seemed swamped.  I didn’t get called back till 20 minutes later and was freaking out a bit because our nanny who was home with Max had to leave at a specific time.  But we finally got called back and Dr. P came in quickly.  She told me that according to them, my EDD is August 21st and without further ado, let’s see what’s happening.  As soon as the probe was in, I could see that there was stuff in the sac now, though I did not immediately see the heartbeat.  But within a second, we could see a good, strong heartbeat, and Dr. P turned on the sound so we could hear it too.  There was a fetal pole measuring right on time and this time I could clearly see the yolk sac.  I let out a huge sigh of relief.  And with that, and a hug, Dr. P released me to my OB.

I’m currently 8w3d, still very early.  I saw my OB last week, got another peak at the cookie who was looking perfectly fine.  I go back in two weeks to get blood drawn for the cell free DNA test.  Fatigue has hit hard.  I get queasy if I’m not diligent about eating frequent small meals.  I’m still exercising.  Still doing progesterone suppositories (blech) until I hit 10 weeks.  But otherwise there’s not much to report.  Neither my RE nor my OB think I’m a good candidate for VBAC, and I wasn’t especially interested in doing that anyway, so a c-section would be scheduled for my 39th week.  If everything works out, we could have another baby by mid-August.  It is surreal for both Jeeves and me to think that less than two months ago we went into the RE’s office for the first time in three years, and now here I am, 8+ weeks pregnant. 

Thanks for the kind comments – I really appreciate it.