Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Heartburn is not my Friend.

Well, the time has come for my pregnancy to no longer be a piece of cake, easy as pie or whatever other appropriate dessert reference you would like to insert. For the last 4 days, I have not slept much. I keep tossing and turning in order to get comfortable (especially to relieve the numbness in my arms). And in the past 3 days, I have developed what appears to be some nasty heartburn. I'm used to having reflux, which is fairly nasty but at least causes no pain. But the heartburn is new. I hope it doesn't continue for the next 11 weeks, but my educated guess says that it will.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

29 weeks

I'm now at 29 weeks and 162.0 pounds. This means that I've gained 19.5 pounds thus far. I think that my weight readings last week must have been off (perhaps I was retaining water?) because it did seem like I gained a lot of weight all at once and I don't think I actually "lost" weight this week.

The baby has been kicking a lot lately. He doesn't seem to be too active after 11 pm and although I'm not sleeping well, I'm pretty sure he isn't kicking at night. It seems like it takes him a while to wake up too. I start feeling him a lot around lunchtime. He is still kicking me on the right side only. I guess he is head-down but not quite vertical and his feet must be pointed towards my right. That's my only explanation for it.

Today, we bought a Sealy mattress for the crib and picked up my glider rocker at the BabysRUs. We also went to Jordans furniture and bought a 7 drawer dresser, which will also serve as a changing table. Here is a link to what it look like:

I think it's so cute - each of the faces of the drawer can be customized with slide-out panels. The dresser comes with red, blue, green and wood colored panels, but we might paint the green panel the colors that we are painting the walls so that it matches nicely.

We also ordered bedding for the baby's crib: I ordered a bunch of the accessories too (I'm such a sucker!). I especially like the turtle throw pillow. I got an additional set of sheets and another window valance in order to fit our larger window.

In addition, we signed up for childbirth classes, which we're taking over one weekend - January 10-11, 2009. I feel a lot better now that a lot of this is out of the way.

My husband is going to start painting the baby's room this week while he's working from home and I'm at the office. I can't wait to see how it all turns out!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

28 weeks, 3 days

I am 28 weeks, 2 days pregnant now. I guess I'm officially in my 3rd trimester and seeing the midwife/doctor every 2 weeks instead of every 4 weeks. I had my appointment today. The baby's heartbeat sounded great, around 140 beats per minute. I now weigh 163 pounds, which puts me at a 20.5 pound weight gain. I thought I was doing just fine on the weight gain, but the new midwife that I saw today says that the new thinking is that a woman should gain between 20 and 25 pounds during her pregnancy. I had thought 25-35 pounds was normal. Oh well. It appears that I'm going to gain more than 25 pounds given that this is only 4.5 pounds away and I still have 12 weeks to go! Then the midwife told me not to worry about it, which makes me wonder why she brought it up in the first place?

I'm not sleeping well these days. I toss and turn and have to change positions about once an hour. I guess I knew this was coming. I just hoped it would come later. It's not that I can't get comfortable to start. I just end up uncomfortable later on. When I lie on my side, my shoulder and arm end up going numb and so then I flip over to the other side (which is not necessarily an easy process). And I'm not making sleep easy for my poor husband either, who is waking up with my tosses and turns. It may be time for me to sleep in the guest bedroom.

I was in Florida on vacation last week, visiting with my parents and sister. Man, the weather was awesome. I went swimming in the outdoor pool 5 times and was really proud of myself. When I first started, I could barely swim 10 laps of freestyle straight. By the end of the week, I was swimming 40 laps (1000 yards) straight through. Each swim, I did 60 laps, which isn't bad for a 7 month pregnancy woman. I just wish I could keep up the exercise back here in Boston.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gestational Diabetes? NOPE!

Today, I had my monthly check-up appointment with my midwife. Before I saw her, I went to the lab where I had to drink about 6 ounces of this utterly disgusting sweet orange liquid. It was about 10x sweeter than orange Gatorade. After 1 hour, they drew my blood to check the glucose levels. I will hopefully find out later today whether or not I passed. Hopefully, I did pass or I'll have to do the 3 hour test (and I'd rather not have gestational diabetes).

The checkup went well. My blood pressure was 105/70. The baby's heart beat was strong and he was moving around while the midwife was examining me. She said that the baby is still neurologically immature and there really isn't a pattern to his movements yet. She says that starting around 28-32 weeks, I should notice more regularity to his movements.

UPDATE: I passed! Apparently, my blood glucose level was 109 and anything below 139 is a pass. I also found out that I'm not anemic (which seemed to surprise the midwife since she said "and you're not even anemic!") So I'm very happy that I (and the baby) are super healthy!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

26 Weeks!

I am now in my 26th week: Cumulative weight gain 15.5 pounds, Total weight is 158.0 pounds. I'm still feeling good, but I must say, I AM TOTALLY SICK OF PEOPLE ASKING ME HOW I AM FEELING. I can't get mad at them because they are just being nice, but I get the question at least 3-4 times a day. And what do they expect as an answer? I say "Just fine" or "good!" But sometimes I want to say, "Well, I had really bad gas last night and so that sucked my proverbial left nut" or "the baby didn't move all that much in the last 2 days and I'm worried he's dead" or "I feel like a total fat ass!" But I'm trying, using all will power, not to snap at these people. One person didn't ask me how I felt. She just said, "You look beautiful." I need more of those!

It's snowing today for the first time in this 2008/2009 winter. It's also the first snow since we moved to Needham. I think it's beautiful and I'm glad my mom isn't here to say "Look at that white shit falling out of the sky." I'm glad she's happy in sunny and warm Florida. New England rocks!

Update: I went swimming today (64 laps) and did a bit better than I did last week. It is very strange to swim with this big belly. I am still able to do my flip turns, but I wonder how long that is going to last. I wish I could get more exercise, but sadly, there's just not enough time in the day and I'm too lazy/tired to get out of bed early in the morning. But at least I have my walk to and from the train. Round trip, I walk just over 2 miles and so at least it's something.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

25 weeks and 14.5 pounds

Today, I am 25 weeks. And I don't seem to have gained any weight between last week and this week because I held steady at 157.0 pounds, a total of a 14.5 pound weight gain. The large T-shirts that I wear on the weekends no longer hide the fact that I'm pregnant and when I hug my husband, my belly is starting to get in the way. The belly is especially noticeable when I lie flat on my back because it just sticks way up. The books that I've been reading say that my uterus is now the size of a basketball and it looks like I'm carrying a basketball! My friend Lynn saw me on Thursday and she says that when she looks at me from behind, she cannot tell that I'm pregnant. All the extra weight seems to be in my belly.

I went swimming yesterday for the first time in a while. I was still able to do flip turns, but my speed has slowed considerably. I did 60 laps, alternating 10 free and then 10 breast-back. I took me 33 minutes overall. I didn't want to push it. Towards the end of the swim, my right shoulder starting hurting but I ignored it and kept swimming. Last night, it was killing me. It is still hurting today, but I think it's on the mend. I must have just tweaked it because I don't think I can re-start my tendinitis so quickly. I think it probably just wasn't used to the swimming.

I've had a nice relaxing Thanksgiving weekend so far. We went to my in-laws for the turkey dinner and I tried not to over-eat. Lately, eating has been problematic because I get so bloated and uncomfortable afterwards. I eat only when I'm hungry and no more because I can't stand the bloated feeling. Today, I've done laundry, vacuumed and I'm in the process of making turkey soup from the turkey carcass leftover from Thanksgiving. It already smells so yummy!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

So much for slow weight gain!

I'm at 24 weeks now and so much for slow weight gain! Today, I was 157.5 pounds, which is a 14.5 pound total weight gain. That means I gained 2.5 pounds this week! Crazy. I guess this little guy is growing like mad. I don't remember eating a ton this week (with the exception of the gnocchi with bolognese sauce at Silvertone and cheesecake at Finale for Wendy's birthday). I guess it just adds up.

The baby didn't move for a while this week, which started getting me pretty anxious. I wanted to give him just a little bit more time before calling the doctor and it was a good thing I did because he started kicking and moving like mad again. I think he was rolling around good last night. Z felt him moving and you could see my belly rolling with his punches.

Soon, I'll be at the point where the baby could survive outside the womb. I would certainly like him to cook longer (and I'm sure he will), but it's comforting to know that he's almost viable!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lopsided Belly and Kicking

I'm 23 weeks now and at 154.5 pounds, I have gained 12 pounds. I guess I'm one of those women who won't gain a ton of weight. My sister-in-law gained roughly 60 pounds with each of her pregnancies and I can't imagine, at this point, my body allowing me to gain that kind of weight. I guess each woman handle's pregnancy differently. I have tried to eat as well as I can (without eating vegetables which make me too bloated). I've been eating a lot more red meat since I got pregnant and enjoying it more too. I wonder if that will stick around after I give birth.

This baby boy of mine is still loving the right side of my body. He never strays to the left. So far, I think that all of the movements I have felt have been on the right side. Sometimes, he is so far over to the right, my belly is lopsided and skewed to the right! Last night, the baby was kicking up a storm and my husband SAW the kick. You can now see my belly move with the baby's movements. I feel like this baby is strong. He better be if he is going to have us as parents!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

22 weeks and 11.5 pound gain

I had my 22 week appointment today with the midwife. When I first lay down on the table, you could see that the baby was all the way over on the right (where he has been from the very beginning) so much so that my belly was lopsided! The midwife saw him kick and even said that she could tell that I was having a uterine contraction based on the way my uterus rose and fell. I was like, "huh, and here I thought I was just breathing." So the second the midwife put the Doppler on my tummy, I could immediately hear the baby's heartbeat. There was no searching, it was just...BLAM...right there. It hovered around 145-148, which the midwife called "perfect." So the baby appears to be very very healthy. And my blood pressure was great - 95/65 - which is on the low side for me.

I asked the questions I wanted to ask:

Why haven't I been able to sleep through the night? Answer - that's normal. It's due to the hormones in your body, including the cortisol in your brain.

When is the next ultrasound? Answer - not until week 34 when they check to make sure the baby is head down. That was kind of a bummer answer because I would love to see the baby sooner than that, but given that this is a "normal" pregnancy, I don't want to be a pain in the ass. And now that I'm feeling the baby move, I don't get nearly as anxious in between my 4-week appointments.

How should I pick a pediatrician? Answer - find someone who is not more than 10-15 minutes from your house. The midwife preferred a practice that was all-inclusive...had a large pediatric practice, pharmacy, lab and covered parking close to the building. So I think I'll try the Wellesley Harvard Vanguard. I went there for one IVF treatment and it seemed very convenient to home and a nice facility. I feel that I've been treated very well by Harvard Vanguard and so perhaps I'll continue that trend with the baby.

In other news, my husband was able to feel the baby kick last week for the first time...just before the start of week 22. I think he was really happy to feel included and it was really nice to see the reaction on his face when he felt the baby. Last night, he said, "I think the baby just high fived me!" Now the baby is kicking all the time. I feel like he is doing somersaults in me! Yesterday, on the train home from work I started laughing out loud because the movements felt so funny.

Apparently, from now until week 32, the kicking will feel the strongest because the baby has a lot of room to move around. After week 32, the movements will feel more like waves because the baby doesn't have the room to punch me in the gut!

And so now I wait another 4 weeks for my next appointment at which point I'll be doing the sugar test to make sure I am not developing gestational diabetes. And then I see the midwife/doctor every 2 weeks after that since apparently after 28 weeks, they see you every 2 2 weeks instead of every 4 weeks.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Scuba Diving Bubbles

I have been trying to come up with a better way to describe how the baby feels when he moves. My mom says it should feel like a "wave," but I don't think that's an accurate description. Lately, I've been describing the movements as soft thumps or as bubbles. When I told this to my husband, he said, is it kind of like the way bubbles feel when they hit you while you're swimming over another scuba diver? And I said, "Yes! But from the inside." So I think that's the most accurate way of describing the feeling at this point.

On November 4, Barack Obama was elected as the next President of the United States. I'm excited that my baby will be born in an America that has accepted a black President. I'm also excited that my baby will never have to feel the embarrassment of having George W. Bush as his President.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Is the baby moving?

So I think that I felt the baby move this week, which means I felt it around 20.5 weeks. The first time I felt it, it was like a "wave." It also felt like the sound that a stick makes when smacked against the vertical parts of a wood or metal fence. But lately, it just feels like thumps near my belly button. It doesn't seem like a feeling that gas would make. And it doesn't feel crampy. So I think it's for real. But of course, I'm not sure.

My husband and I bought a stethoscope today. I really wanted to use it to hear the baby's heart beat. But, we weren't able to find the heartbeat, even after 10 minutes of searching and listening. Oh well. My next appointment with the midwife is on November 11 and so hopefully, I'll hear that reassuring sound on that hand-held Doppler machine. Until then, I will wait patiently to feel the baby move.

I'm up to 153.0 pounds, which puts me at a 10.5 pound gain at 21 weeks.

In other news, Halloween was this past Friday night and we had hoards of children come to our door. My husband was so cute. He dressed up in a pirate costume and clumped down the stairs to answer the door. The kids were intrigued with his sword! Anyway, the 50+ children that came to my door reaffirmed for me that this neighborhood rocks. I'm so glad we moved here. I also met the people who recently moved in 2 doors down from us. Both the husband and the wife are pediatricians. Of course, I'm not the type to just knock on people's doors asking for help, but in an emergency, I'm sure glad to know there are doctors right around the corner.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halfway Through

I'm halfway through the pregnancy this week. Part of me feels recently pregnant and part of me feels like I've been pregnant forever. My belly is growing and I am most certainly looking pregnant these days. I am finding it difficult just to bend down to put on my socks or tie my shoes. My belly doesn't bend the way it used to!

I'm still waiting anxiously to feel the baby move (although I MUST be feeling him move and I'm just not sure what to make of those feelings). I wish there was some way to know for sure whether or not I'm feeling the baby move. Of course, I worry that something is wrong and that things are not going as they should. And I would love to have another ultrasound to confirm that all is okay. But I'm just going to try to relax and go with the flow. I'm not bleeding or having sharp pains and my belly is growing, so I'm sure things are just fine. My husband will most likely buy a stethoscope so that we can listen to the baby's heart beat when we want to do so. I will look forward to that!

As of yesterday, I was 152.0 pounds. That puts me at a 9.5 pound weight gain thus far. I think I'm still on track for gaining a healthy amount of weight.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Yawn...times 3!

I thought that I was supposed to get my energy back in the 2nd trimester. In fact, for a little bit, I thought I was indeed feeling more energetic. But I can't keep it together lately. I'm falling asleep at work. I babble incoherently when I talk to clients. And today, I yawned three times while talking to a client (who noticed and commented on it)! I wonder sometimes how I'm supposed to get through the next 21 weeks.

Is there anyone else out there reading this that is in their second trimester and still ridiculously exhausted?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

19 weeks and Fun with Bloating

I'm 19 weeks today and I was 150.5 pounds on the scale (a gain of 8 pounds). I've been feeling pretty good except for some ridiculous bloating that has made eating not very fun. I talked to the nurse about it and she said to follow the following rules:

1. Chew very slowly and relax while eating

2. Avoid sugary foods (but ice cream is okay because it has cream and protein!)

3. Avoid fried foods (which I do anyway because they always hurt my tummy)

4. Eat 6 meals a day instead of 3 males with regular portion sizes. I think this is mostly where I've gone wrong so far.

5. Avoid cabbage and broccoli and other gas-producing veggies (This must be why I've been avoiding salad already)

So I will try and follow her advice, rather than taking an OTC gas medication. I'm not sure it is working though. Today, as of 6 pm, I've had a bowl of cereal with strawberries, a toasted bagel with fake butter and one egg, some cheese and an apple and yep, I'm bloated. And I definitely didn't eat too much.

I still don't think I've felt the baby kick yet. I hope it happens in the next week or two.

I found out today that a high school acquaintance, someone that I swam with, is also pregnant with her first child and is also 19 weeks. Turns out that her official due date is 2 days before mine! How funny is that?!

The husband and I are busy getting prepared for Halloween. We have skull lights lining our front walkway, cobwebs on our bushes and are prepared to carve two pumpkins tomorrow. We also have schloads of candy because we are expecting schloads of kids. In fact, I think I'll stay home from work on the 31st so that I can see all of the trick-or-treaters, including the ones that come by early, when it is still kind of light outside. Man, I love Halloween. I love Thanksgiving more though. ;-)

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's a boy!

It's a boy! How exciting!

The sonographer said, "It's a boy! Wait, now I'm not sure. Oh man, I don't know what the heck it is." Five minutes later, the sonographer said, "It's a boy! Oh...well...I'm still not sure." But finally, after another 10 minutes, he said he was 95% sure it was a boy! My husband kept asking, "What's that between his legs?" Answer, "that's his feet." 5 minutes passes, "What's that between his legs?" Answer, "that's the umbilical cord."

This baby was not being cooperative. He was all curled up and facing my back. He appeared completely uninterested in giving us a nice profile shot. At one point he looked right up at us and blinked and that was both cool and slightly scary! He still looks quite like a skeleton.

But we saw 4 chambers of the heart, the cerebellum, 2 kidneys, the liver, measured the length of the femur and humerus, and saw 10 fingers and 10 toes. The sonographer said that the baby, at this stage, was "perfect." The head is measuring a little bit on the big side compared to the rest of his body. As if I didn't fear childbirth enough!!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I can't wait!!!

Tomorrow morning, we are having the level 2 ultrasound. I cannot WAIT to find out the sex of this baby. My husband still thinks boy (for no reason whatsoever). I used to think very strongly that it was a boy, but now I have no idea whatsoever! My sister is hoping for a boy so that she can give me more boy hand-me-downs. My mom thinks girl (because of 150 heart rate). My friend Lynn thinks boy (because of 150 heart rate). My secretary thinks it's a girl. My in-laws say they will love it no matter what. I just want to know. We already have such a wonderful name picked out for a girl. But if it's a boy, we'll just have to think harder!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Meet the Midwives

Tonight, my husband and I went to Brigham and Women's Hospital to "Meet the Midwives" of the Harvard Vanguard practice. It was really useful and I feel even more strongly that I will pick a midwife to attend my labor and delivery rather than a doctor. I am happy that the doctors will be right there in the hospital if I need them. But I like the statistic that only 10% of the midwives' cases need a C-section, but 33% of cases hospital-wide get C-sections. And I found out that 70% of the midwives' patients choose to use epidurals and so I'm not forced into a natural birth just to use a midwife. All of the midwives seemed so knowledgeable and kind and I think I will be in very good hands.

Now I need to decide whether to have my mother in the labor and delivery room in addition to my husband. If she isn't there with me, she can't otherwise "visit" as visiting hours are only from 1 pm to 8 pm. But I'm not sure if her presence will be helpful or not. I'll have to think about this one.

Results of Serial Sequential Screening!

Yeah! I am very excited to report good news from my serial sequential screening. Based on the nuchal fold translucency ultrasound and 2 different blood tests at different times, we saw the following change in statistics:

Risk of Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21) went from 1:330 to 1:4,600.

Risk of Trisomy 18 went from 1:3300 to less than 1:10,000

Risk of neural tube defects went from 1:900 to less than 1:10,000.

So these are great results and there is no way I'm risking a miscarriage to have an amniocentesis at this point. Today, I will be excited to hear the baby's heartbeat during my appointment with the midwife and I'm still super excited about Friday's Level 2 Ultrasound.

Monday, October 6, 2008

17 weeks

I am just over 17 weeks pregnant now and I can tell that I'm really starting to look pregnant. It's pretty exciting stuff! I was 150.5 pounds on the scale this morning (up 8.5 pounds) and so clearly something is growing in there! I am getting very very very excited for our Level 2 ultrasound this Friday. We will be able to find out whether this little alien is a boy or a girl. A bunch of people now think I'm having a girl. I was pretty sure it was a boy before, but now I'm starting to doubt that conviction. Soon we will know!

I mowed the lawn again this past weekend. The mowing part is quite easy (given that we have a self-propelled mower). But I'm glad that winter is coming because I'm really having a hard time now bending down to lift the mower and clean out the gross ickiness that is clogging the blade. And picking up the piles of wet grass and hauling the garbage bags around really exhausts me. My hips and ankles are starting to bother me. I guess that comes with having looser joints.

So far, this pregnancy has been fairly ideal. The only thing that has caused me concern recently is waking up at 4 am three nights ago with horrendous cramps. The cramps made me so uncomfortable that I actually went to the bathroom to look to see if I was bleeding. But nothing was happening and the cramps subsided after about 15 minutes. I will ask my midwife about this when I see her this Thursday. I'm hoping it's "normal" but my mother doesn't remember feeling cramps like that.

I *think* I may have felt the baby last night when having dinner at my in-laws. But it didn't really feel how people have explained the feeling. It actually felt more crampy to me than movement. But I didn't have gas and I do I don't know how else to explain the feeling. It was fairly low down and right above my pelvic area. It will be nice to eventually be able to say, "I'm sure that was the baby kicking!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

149 pounds at 15.5 weeks.

My pre-pregnancy weight was 142 pounds. This morning, when I weighed myself, I was 149 pounds. After not having gained too much weight in my first trimester (perhaps about 4 pounds), I think I gained about 2.5 pounds this week alone! Perhaps its the result of the enormous quantities of stuffed shells that I'm eating. Perhaps I'm just making up for no real weight gain before. Who knows. All I know is that even these size 10 pants won't be useful for that much longer. Thank god my parents are visiting this weekend and bringing up a ton of maternity clothes from my sister-in-law.

I asked my mom if she had stretch marks from her pregnancies. She said, "Not really." That made me very happy because the all knowing internet says that you cannot control whether or not you get stretch marks and the most critical factor in determining whether you will get them or not is whether your mom had them. So far, I have had a very easy pregnancy, just like my mom's pregnancy. No morning sickness. Hopefully, I can carry small babies just like her! She had 3 babies and of all of us, the biggest, my brother, was only 6.0 pounds. But, my husband was a fairly large kid, so my plans may not work out...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

13 weeks today!

I am officially out of my first trimester today and starting my 13th week of pregnancy. I have noticed that I am feeling much less tired at night and I seem to have some increased energy. I told people about the pregnancy at work this week. Everyone was really happy for me (although one partner at the law firm seemed dismayed once he realized that his one mid-year associate would be out for 6 months on maternity leave next year). I was blessed with an easy first trimester - no nausea or morning sickness at all. I have found that the most difficult symptom I have is that I'm thirsty all the time. This baby must like to drink!

I still feel like this baby is a boy, and have been thinking about him as a boy. But we won't know for sure for 6 more weeks. I definitely want to find out the sex of the child. The whole pregnancy (and getting pregnant process) was so technical and scientific, so I feel like I might as well continue that trend and find out the sex. Then we can pick out a name and clothes more easily. I will be surprised if this child is a girl, but I will have plenty of time to get used to that idea too.

It is a rainy day Saturday today and so I think I will head to the mall. I have been needing new bras for SO long now. I am most definitely no longer a 36C. It's probably more likely that I'm a 36D now. While I'm there, I think I will stop in at some maternity stores and see what they have. I'm definitely not ready for maternity clothes yet, but I'm sure I will be soon! My little bump is starting to become noticeable. I was 147 pounds on the scale today, which is the heaviest I have EVER been in my entire life. I'm up about 4.5 pounds from when I started the IVF process (at 142.5).

I'm keeping my fingers crossed from my friend Lynn, who has her egg retrieval in 1 hour. I hope she has at least 3 good eggs (and that they didn't lose the big one as over-mature) and maybe one of her smaller follicles will sneak in to give her 4 or 5 eggs. This is her third IVF (and the last one went really badly) and so I'm really hoping for good news for her!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Nuchal Translucency Screen at 11 weeks, 6 days

Wow. This kid really looks human now! We went to Boston Ultrasound for the nuchal translucency screening test (the first part of the serial sequential screening). In this ultrasound, they measure the clear (translucent) space in the tissue at the back of the baby's neck. We were told that anything less than 3.0 is "normal" and our baby measured at 1.6. So that makes us very happy. There is a much lower chance of the baby having Down Syndrome. The baby also measured a few days ahead of schedule as far as growth. The sonographer was very friendly and thorough and looked at lots of different organs. We saw 2 arms and 2 legs. We saw the stomach, which she said showed that the baby was properly swallowing amniotic fluid. We saw the two halves of the brain and we saw the septum dividing the heart. So we walked away with "nothing abnormal" from the ultrasound, which was divine news.

The baby was quite active during the ultrasound. At first, he (I think it's a he for no good reason other than 2 recent dreams) was lying peacefully on his side and giving us a nice profile view. But then he started flipping around and showing us the top of his head and his tushie. At one point you could see that he was literally pushing off my uterus to do a somersault. It was really quite amazing. My husband asked me if I could feel any of this movement and of course I couldn't. The sonographer said that the baby was only 2 inches long and weighed only 1 ounce. So tiny!!!
It was so nice to have reassurance that I was still pregnant and that things were progressing along nicely. Without many symptoms, I sometimes wonder in between doctor's appointments if everything is okay. It's irrational, but I think that way anyway.
I'm proud of myself for not gaining too much weight during this first trimester. I've eaten when I'm hungry, but I'm trying to eat healthy too (although I did eat a 6 piece chicken mcnugget at south station while waiting for a late train one night). Right now, I'm 145.0 and I think I started this pregnancy at 141.5 or 142.0.
I can't wait for the next appointment to hear this guy's heart beat again!

Friday, August 15, 2008

It kind of looked like a baby...

Yesterday I had my first ultrasound since the last one at 6 weeks, 2 days. It was very exciting. At 9 weeks, 5 days, this little thing growing inside of me is actually starting to look human (instead of like a grain of rice or a peanut). We saw a big head (about 80% of the entire body!) and two little sticks for legs. And we think we see at least one arm (and hopefully the other one is lurking in there somewhere!) And my husband finally got to hear the heart beat that I was able to hear last week. It's unbelievable.

We talked to the doctor about genetic testing and to her amazement, I asked for the entire Jewish panel of blood tests. She was very surprised to hear that my insurance company paid for the tests, but I assured her that it was covered for those of Ashkenzi Jewish descent. I think she was annoyed by all of the paperwork/consent forms that she would have to fill out.

Then we talked about the other testing choices. We opted to do the serial sequential screening, which is an ultrasound and blood tests in 2 weeks, followed by more bloods tests in the beginning of the second trimester. Together, these tests yield a 95% accuracy on whether our child will have Down Syndrome or other trisomy disorders. We decided that the 1/300 risk of miscarriage with an amniocentesis (or possibly higher with CVS) wasn't worth it to get to 99% accuracy. And what makes me feel better is that if something abnormal shows up from the serial sequential screening, I can still do the amnio. So I have my next ultrasound in 2 weeks. I hope the baby looks even more human then!

So far, this pregnancy has been quite easy for me. Other than being pretty tired after 9:30 pm, I have had no nauseousness or food aversions. Of course, I wanted to eat only eggs on a toasted bagel on Thursday night, but so be it. I guess you could consider that my first craving, but I don't feel like it was strong enough to be a craving. But it's what I wanted to eat. But as payback for the lack of other pregnancy symptoms (metallic taste in mouth, excessive saliva, puking, etc.), I had amazingly horrendous cramps last night. They lasted for 15 minutes and all I could do was moan out loud and put a heating pad on my midsection. I was on the verge of tears when they finally stopped and I was able to go to sleep. If I had any bleeding last night, I would have been sure that I was having a miscarriage. Those cramps hurt. They never let up. They were constant for the full 15 minutes. I'm very happy that they haven't appeared again today (knock on wood).

And last but not least, today was the LAST DAY OF MY PROGESTERONE SHOTS! I'm done. I can finally shed the infertility patient needles and be a normal pregnant woman. Life is good.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Heartbeat (again)!

I saw the midwife today. We discussed my options for genetic tests. Then she did the fun breast and pelvic exam. Finally, she decided to try and hear the baby's heartbeat (because my uterus felt nice and big to her). So after some cold lube on my belly and about 2 minutes of searching, she found it! The heartbeat sounded nice and strong and fast and it was amazing to hear. I'm so glad that she did find the heartbeat. She told me there was only about a 5% chance of hearing it this early and so I shouldn't worry if we didn't hear it. But then, there it was! Too bad my husband wasn't there with me.

After the appointment, I spent 1 hour on the phone with the insurance company to determine what is and isn't covered. The invasive tests (amnio and CVS) definitely aren't covered unless I'll be 35 or older at the time of delivery (which I won't be) or if the other non-invasive tests show an abnormality. So I think I will be able to settle for the serial/sequential testing, which involves a nuchal transulency screening (by ultrasound) and maternal serum analysis in the first trimester, followed by the quad screen in the second trimester. That will give me results with 95% accuracy. If something abnormal shows up, then I can do the amniocentesis and it will be covered. But I have a good feeling about this baby. It is strong and healthy.

I meet with the doctor 1 week from today. At that time, I will ask for the serial/sequential testing and I will also ask to be tested for all of the other Jewish diseases. I've already been tested (and am negative) for Tay Sachs, Canavans and Cystic Fibrosis. But there is a multitude of other genetic disorders for which I want to be tested. And insurance covers it!

Monday, August 4, 2008

8 weeks, 2 days

I am now 8 weeks, 2 days pregnant. I keep waiting for the morning sickness or nausea to strike, but so far so good. I guess I will be one of those lucky women who don't get sick in their first trimester. I think if it was going to hit, it would have hit already. I'm exhausted at work today though. I've already fallen asleep at my desk once (leaving a mark on my forehead and a little bit of drool on my paperwork). Hopefully, I'll be able to get through the day. I'm also wearing one of the bella bands that I bought. My pants still fit me, but they're getting tight and uncomfortable (especially when sitting!) and so I thought I would try it out. It works pretty well! It's nice to be able to walk around with my pants unbuttoned and unzipped without anyone knowing. I actually didn't expect to have this problem for another 1 month. Before getting pregnant, I figured that since you don't start "showing" until after the 3rd month, there would be no problem with wearing regular clothing until that point. But I was wrong! My body has definitely changed and my belly is definitely bigger than it was before I was pregnant. I'm up 2.5 pounds to 144.5 and my waist has most definitely expanded. I'll look forward to the time when I'm not in this in-between, unannounced phase and I can proudly wear maternity clothing and be happy about my growing belly.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Dreaded UTIs

I went to see a urogynecologist this morning because I wanted to see a specialist about the recurring UTIs that I get after having sex. He told me that this has nothing to do with my husband and that some women, for unknown reasons, have defects in their immune systems. That means that when bacteria get forced into the urethra during sex and then up into the bladder, the immune system doesn't take care of it and a UTI ensues. He told me that I am already doing the best things I can, including taking the prophylactic antibiotic after sex. It is much better to take that as preventative medicine than to treat an infection later. He recommended that when I'm no longer pregnant, I come back for a cystoscopy (taking a look at my urinary tract and bladder) and ultrasound of my urinary system to make sure there is nothing actually wrong with me. He suspects that these tests will come back normal. So I got what I needed, which was confirmation that I would most likely be mixing antibiotics and sex for the rest of my life and that there didn't seem to be any safety issue with that approach.

I found out today, unfortunately, that my regular OB/GYN is not really available to help me with my pregnancy. Not only is she part-time (which makes seeing her quite difficult), but she is pregnant with her second child, which means that she is definitely not going to be available when I go into labor. So I'm going to see the other female doctor in her practice, who I have seen before, and who I like well enough. I'd rather not have to think about switching doctors because this doctor's office is so close to work and makes it very convenient. In addition, this practice is affiliated with Brigham and Women's and that's where they do all their deliveries. It is an excellent hospital and so I should be happy to be going there.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I had my ultrasound this morning. The pregnancy is confirmed in the uterus and we saw the gestational sac and yolk sac. The fetal pole measured 6 weeks, 2 days, which is right on track. And we saw the heartbeat! It was measured at 122 (nice and healthy). It was pretty damn cool to see and I'm so glad my husband was there with me. The doctor gave me a due date of March 15, 2009 and told me that I am no longer a fertility patient. I should make an appointment now with my regular OB/GYN. So cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I'm at work, totally unmotivated and sleepy. I went to bed last night at close to midnight and then surprised myself this morning by waking up, on my own, at 5:58 am. Since I woke up on my own, and without alarm clock assistance, I figured I was ready to get up and went for my 3 mile walk around the neighborhood. I did this walk in 46 minutes 30 seconds, with an average heart rate of 122 and a max of 157 (when I climbed that last big hill).

But now, this afternoon, I'm completely dragging and can't get anything done. I will probably call it a day early and go home and take a nap. I would like to start getting into more of an exercise routine. Before we moved to the 'burbs, I was so good at getting up in the morning and exercising. But my commute was a lot shorter then. But I feel bloated and fat at 142.5 pounds and I would like to get more in shape. I know I can't diet or go nuts with exercise at this point (5 weeks pregnant), but I would like to try and at least do moderate exercise more often.

Monday, July 14, 2008

It More Than Doubled AGAIN!

I had blood drawn this morning at 8:30 am. Around 2 pm, I started getting anxious for the results (as usually). I finally got the call that my beta HCG level was 2933. That means it is doubling in less than 48 hours. The nurse said it was extraordinarily encouraging and a very good sign that this is a healthy pregnancy. So I'm extremely happy. The next step is an ultrasound next Monday.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It MORE than doubled!

My beta HCG this morning was 538! It more than doubled since Monday's 164 level. The nurse left a fantastically positive voicemail for me and said that these results are very "encouraging." I go in for bloodwork again on Monday and once they confirm my beta HCG level is over 1000, they will schedule an ultrasound for me.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Bloodwork Confirmation!

I got blood drawn this morning and this afternoon I got a call from a nurse in the fertility lab. My 16 dpo beta HCG level is 164! The absolute number isn't critical, but the number should double every 48-72 hours. So on Thursday, I'm getting tested again. I'm crossing my fingers!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Final Test

This is the final test. I'm having blood work done on Monday to confirm.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Still Positive!

I know. I'm a freak for taking pictures of the postive pregnancy sticks. But my friend Lynn really wanted to see and analyze for herself.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

It's DEFINITELY Positive!

Yahoo! Now my mother can see the line!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

IVF Cycle

Here is the summary of my IVF cycle:

May 8, 2008: Started period

May 10: Began taking birth control pills

May 24: Began injecting 10 units of Lupron

June 2: First full day of next period

June 2: Suppression check

  • Estrogen was 21
  • There were 12+ and 18+ follicles

June 2 - June 6: Injected 5 units of Lupron

June 6 - June 9: 5 units Lupron, 150 units Gonal-F

June 10: First ultrasound

  • Estrogen was 407
  • All follicles under 10

June 10 - June 11: 5 units Lupron, 75 units Gonal-F

June 12: Second ultrasound

  • Estrogen was 402
  • Left Ovary: 10
  • Right Ovary: 10, 10, 11

June 12 - June 13: 5 units Lupron, 75 units Gonal-F, 75 units Luveris

June 14: Third ultrasound

  • Estrogen was 350 (ruh roh!)
  • Left Ovary: 11, 10, 10, 10
  • Right Ovary: 15, 11, 10.5, 10

June 14 - June 15: 5 units Lupron, 150 units Gonal-F, 75 units Luveris

June 16: Fourth ultrasound

  • Estrogen was 575
  • Left Ovary: 13, 12.5, 12.5, 11, 10.5
  • Right Ovary: 19.5, 12.5, 12.5, 10.5

June 16-June 17: 5 units Lupron, 150 units Gonal-F, 75 units Luveris

June 18: Fifth Ultrasound

  • Estrogen was 1205
  • Left Ovary: 17.5, 17, 15, 13.5, 11.5, 11.5
  • Right Ovary: 22.6, 16.5, 11, 10.5
June 18: 5 units Lupron, 150 units Gonal-F, 75 units Luveris

June 19: Sixth Ultrasound
  • Estrogen was 1536
  • Left Ovary: 20, 19.5, 17, 11.5
  • Right Ovary: 24.5, 16.5, 11.5
June 19: 8:30 pm trigger with Ovidrel

June 20: Blissful drug-free day

June 21: 8:30 am retrieval and 8 eggs retrieved

June 21: Began Medrol, tetracycline and 1 cc (50 mg) of Progesterone

June 22: No news. Medrol, tetracycline and 1 cc (50 mg) of Progesterone

June 23: Found out after 4 pm that we had 4 embryos. No news about quality. Medrol, tetracycline and 1 cc (50 mg) of Progesterone.

June 24: 1:40 pm transfer. We found out we had good quality embryos!
  • Of the 8 eggs, only 4 were mature. Thus all 4 mature eggs fertilized with ICSI.
  • We elected to do a single embryo transfer and the lab chose the 6AF to be transferred back into me. When I saw the picture of the embryo, I immediately called it George.
  • We ended up freezing the other 3 embryos (6BF, 5AF, 8BF)
  • We found out later that the 5AF made it to 6 cells and was frozen with others
    • As a guide, the number at the front is the number of cells of the embryos. For a day 3 transfer, they look for 6-8 cells. Thus, the one with 5 cells was a little bit slow.
    • The next letter indicates the level of fragmentation. A is the best with less than 5% fragmentation. B is the next level with less than 25% fragmentation. They doctors look for A or B. They chose the 6AF to put back into me instead of the 8BF because the level of fragmentation was less in the 6AF.
    • The last letter indicates symmetry of the cells. All of ours were "fair." The best rating is "good." We weren't too worried about not having any "good" because even the doctors admit they don't know what role symmetry plays in the quality of an embryo.
June 24: Medrol, tetracycline and 1 cc (50 mg) of Progesterone

June 25 - June 30: Waiting game. 1 cc (50 mg) of Progesterone

July 1: HPT negative (10 days post ovulation)

July 2: HPT POSITIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! with an extraordinarily faint line 11 dpo. My mother, who just happened to be visiting, couldn't even see the line.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Meeting with Fertility Doctor

On April 2, my husband and I met with our fertility doctor. Thank god my OB/GYN pulled some strings to get us the appointment. Otherwise, we would have waited until June for the appointment! The fertility doctor thought we would make good IVF candidates but explained that insurance would only cover the procedure if (a) we had been trying to get pregnant naturally for 1 year or (b) there was some other factor that would qualify us for IVF. It turns out that having one blocked fallopian tube is not enough to qualify for IVF right away. In addition, we would have to do 3 IUIs (intrauterine insemination) before the insurance company would allows us to do IVF.

The fertility doctor also asked for my husband to re-do the sperm analysis in her lab. Apparently, the IVF lab uses much stricter criteria when analyzing sperm (called the Kruger criteria). Under this criteria, a normal male has 14% good morphology and if a man has less than 4% normal morphology, that would allow insurance to approve IVF. So my husband took his first test and the results came back that he had only 1% normal morphology. I think we were both shocked. Given my sister's history, I had spent so much time and energy thinking that I was the sole cause of our infertility. We had never even contemplated that my husband would have any issues! So we took the news in stride and my husband once again took pride in the fact that he still had a VERY high sperm count and excellent motility.

The doctor explained to us that the sperm analysis had to be done twice, with at least a 2 week break in between. So we went on our planned cruise in the Caribbean (and did one cycle on clomid in the meantime) and waited for time to pass. To make the long story short, the clomid cycle failed and my husband's second test revealed again that he only had 1% normal morphology. The doctor explained to us that this would immediately qualify us for IVF and that we would be allowed to bypass the mandatory IUIs. I was sad that we had to use IVF to create a baby, but I felt very fortunate to have technology on our side.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Quantity Over Quality?!?

So my husband went to his regular primary care doctor and asked for a sperm analysis. The results came back and showed he had a fantastic sperm count, excellent motility, but abnormal morphology. Morphology? No one hears about morphology. What does that even mean?! Apparently, the shape of the sperm can affect how well the sperm can fertilize an egg. But we didn't worry that much because the test showed that he had 54% normal morphology and the average normal male has 60% normal morphology. Close enough, right?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I have all my Organs!

I went in for an ultrasound to make sure that (a) I had all the organs I should have and (b) that my uterus was the correct size and shape. I was particularly nervous for this exam because of my sister's history of unicornuate uterus (in addition to missing a fallopian tube and a kidney). I had to have a full bladder for the exam and they said drink 24 ounces one hour before the exam. Not having been through this before, I followed their instructions and downed 24 ounces of water 1 hour before the exam was scheduled (which actually made me slightly nauseous). My husband drove me to the appointment and in about 45 minutes, I was DYING. I had to go to the bathroom really really really badly! Luckily, the sonographer took me 5 minutes early and I found out that I had both kidneys (yeah!) and that I had all of my organs.

I was then allowed to go empty my bladder, which was a very pleasurable experience and more relieving than finding out that I had all my organs. After that, they used a vaginal probe to examine my ovaries and uterus. It turns out I had a very slight heart-shaped uterus and my ovaries had a TON of small follicles. The term PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) came up and I started freaking out a bit because I know that women with PCOS have a very difficult time getting pregnant. I was also confused because I didn't have any other symptoms of PCOS. I was ovulating and getting my period on a somewhat regular basis (30-34 day cycles), I wasn't overweight and my hormone levels were where they should be.

The next step was meeting with the fertility doctor. Fun fun.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Trying to Get Pregnant

My husband and I tried to get pregnant for 3 months naturally (December 2007, January and February 2008) and it wasn't working. The ovulation indicators that I was using showed that I was ovulating and we were timing our "fun" appropriately, so I went to the OB/GYN. Luckily, after informing my doctor about my sister's history of infertility (and unicornuate uterus), she didn't tell me to relax or try harder or poke fun of the fact that we had only tried for 3 months. She took me seriously and began doing blood tests.

On March 8, 2008, I took my day 3 blood panel, which revealed that my FSH level was 6.4 and my LH level was 6.0. This was very good news indeed, as a fertile woman should have an FSH level below 10 and the ratio of FSH to LH should be as close to 1:1 as possible (to rule out hormone disorders like PCOS).

On March 19, 2008, I had a Hysterosalpingogram or HSG to determine if my fallopian tubes were clear or blocked. This is where they shoot dye into your uterus and see if it can make its way up the fallopian tubes and pour into the ovaries. My OB/GYN did the procedure and said it would hurt, but it was the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. I found out that my right fallopian tube had a blockage and that explained why the pain I felt was worse than expected. My doctor was quite surprised to see that her 34 year old patient with no history of infections had a blocked fallopian tube. I would have been shocked if not for the severe pain and blood that was pouring out of me. Apparently, they had to clamp open my cervix to do the procedure and that was what caused all the bleeding. I had originally thought that I would go back to work after the procedure, but all I did was crawl back to work to get my belongings and head home. They gave me extra strength motrin which made me feel better in about 30 minutes, but the cramps were still pretty bad.

While we were adjusting to the news that I had a blocked right side (and thus, we could never get pregnant when I ovulated on the right side), my OB/GYN had me make an appointment with a fertility doctor and I asked my dear husband (more than once) to go get his sperm analyzed.