Friday, December 31, 2010

Ian Speaks - 21+ months

Ian's speech has really taken off and he talks ALL the time now.  It's FANTASTIC.  I find it so much easier to take care of him now because we are really communicating.  He can say "Ian momma lap" instead of just pulling my arm and whining.  And he gives me a big smiley "Hi momma!" in the morning when he wakes up.  He's also repeating everything we say now including things like "poop everywhere" and so we're going to have to watch our swears around him now.  Here's a short video that I put together that showcases some of his new words.  My favorite is "Bye Bye Momma Purple Toe" which is his first 4-word sentence."  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cancun - Review and Pictures

It's hard traveling with an almost 2-year old, but overall, we had a really good time in Cancun.  We stayed at the Now Jade Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa in Puerto Morelos, Mexico.  It is an all-inclusive resort and it was nice not to have to carry around a wallet (although the staff definitely appreciated tips).   I would give the resort 4 out of 5 stars.  I really only have 4 complaints:  (1) The temperature in the shower fluctuated so badly that bathing was pure misery.  It went from freezing cold to scalding hot in just a couple of seconds.  (2)  The service at the restaurants was extremely slow, which isn't so great when having to entertain a toddler.  Thus, we often chose to eat at the buffet.  (3)  The cleaning crew never came when we asked them to come and a couple of times we were left with no clean towels or we had to wait 30 minutes in the hallway while they finished cleaning at a very inconvenient time.  (4)  The pools were absolutely frigid.  They don't heat the pools there (apparently because it never gets all that cold there).  But Ian needed his little wetsuit to enjoy himself without turning blue and shivering and almost no adults went into the pool.

The positive were many:  (1)  Our room totally rocked.  We had an ocean view that was stunning and a huge jacuzzi on an outdoor balcony overlooking the ocean.  (2)  We booked a preferred suite, which allowed us to put Ian down for naps or bedtime and still enjoy ourselves on the other side of the suite or the balcony.  (3)  There was really no noise in the hotel.  I don't know what they did for sound insulation, but I couldn't even hear my extremely loud brother-in-law or nephews in the adjoining room.  I went to bed at night listening to the ocean waves crash against the beach.  (4)  Everyone working at the resort was extraordinarily friendly, pleasant and helpful.  (5)  The beach had lounge chairs under huts and so we could relax outside while getting some shade.  (6)  Despite the fact that we had to eat at the buffet often, the food was pretty darn good.  Breakfast was my favorite meal.  (7)  We had a bidet in our room.  'Nuff said.  (8)  It didn't seem very crowded and we never had to wait in line at the bar to get a drink.

With took over 400 pictures on our trip.  Here are the few that I think capture our trip nicely.

The ocean view from our balcony

Sunrise at 6:15 am

Daddy and Ian in the Jacuzzi on our balcony

Beach Fun

Mommy and Ian

Hoopie and Ian Preparing for a Wave

Basketball is a very serious event

The boy who HAD to carry two basketballs

Pool fun

Happy Pool Boy

The boy who stole a Japanese girl's Hello Kitty Float

Daddy and Ian Braving the Frigid Pool

Pool Toss


Ian, The Truck Book and the Ocean

Dinner on our Last Night

Airplanes and Trucks!  A Happy Boy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


We've now been in Cancun for 3 full days and we're having a blast.  Ian is a fearless little kid.  He ran into the ocean the first day, got knocked over by a wave and came up sputtering, but laughing.  He's having fun digging in the sand with his grandpa and getting to know all of his older cousins.  Right before vacation, I bought Ian a little book called "My first truck book".  We use it at every meal so that he'll sit still for longer and it works like a charm.  He LOVES that book and will read it over and over and over.  He recognizes the snow plow ("no plow!"), the tractor and fire truck.  

My parents are extremely impressed that Ian knows all of his letters.  He loves being quizzed and is so proud of himself when he says the correct letter.  His vocabulary and speech are getting better and better.  He actually said "Elmo" a couple of times so far instead of "Melmo."  And he's putting more and more words together.  He spoke his first 4 word sentence on this trip:  "Bye-bye Mama purple toe."  I'm not sure why he said "Bye-bye" but he was commenting on the fact that I have purple polish on my toe nails.  

I'm looking forward to the next 3 days of this vacation.  It's great fun to spend time with my family.  The all inclusive resort we're staying at is very nice.  We have an amazing room overlooking the ocean.  And we paid extra to have a suite so that we didn't have to tip-toe and whisper around Ian during naptime or after he went to bed at night.  And the weather has been fantastic - sunny and about 80 degrees every day.  I wish I felt a bit better physically - my feet and lower back are aching - but it's all good.  I'm happy to have made it to 19 weeks and I feel Shortie very low in my belly every day.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fetal Survey - 18+ weeks

We had our fetal survey this past Wednesday at 18 weeks, 3 days.  While we were waiting for the doctor to come in, the baby was moving around quite a bit and so my husband put his hand on my belly.  I thought it was too early for him to feel her, but then she gave a whopper of a kick and he felt her!  Pretty cool.  The baby measured right on track and the ultrasound doctor didn't see anything amiss.  He spent a while trying to get the right angle to see all 4 chambers of the heart and was really digging into me with the ultrasound sensor.  My belly was all red and splotchy afterwards.  But eventually he was able to see everything.  And he confirmed that yes, we are having a girl.  Here is a profile picture:

The other good news is that the subchorionic hematoma that caused me to bleed at 15 weeks was gone (or at least it was no longer big enough to be picked up by ultrasound).  So hopefully, I will not have any more bleeding over the next 20 weeks.  This appointment also confirmed that I have a low lying placenta, but when my OB reviewed the ultrasound results, she said that the placenta was not covering the cervical opening.  So it's very likely that it will continue to move away from the cervix as the baby grows and my uterus expands.  I am no longer under any restrictions and can lift Ian when I want to now.  Hooray!

And with all of that good news, I am excited to be leaving for Cancun, Mexico tomorrow! I took yesterday and today as vacation days in order to shop, organize and pack.  Since we're traveling internationally, I wanted to be prepared for all contingencies.  So I have immodium for me and pedialyte/probiotics for Ian.  We are bringing books, paper/crayons, Sesame Street videos and other toys to keep Ian occupied on the plane.  And I think I might have packed enough snacks to feed a toddler army.  But I want to make sure we have enough snacks to keep Ian happy on the return flight too!  I can't wait to play with Ian in the pool and ocean.  Hooray!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Break

I think I may take a break from or entirely stop reading infertility blogs. It seems that so many women are looking for support but then they say "don't bother with platitudes" or "please don't tell me it only takes one". Or they regale us with stories of this or that insensitive-but-trying-to-be-helpful comment. I don't know what to say anymore or what is the right or wrong thing to say, to the point that I feel nervous talking to my real life friend who is most likely going to miscarry. I'm not worried about hurting anyone's feelings here because these are the same women who proclaim that they cannot handle reading pregnancy blogs. So they're clearly not reading my blog.  Fine. It is entirely their right to decide what to read or not to read. I guess it's just getting under my skin.  It seems incredibly selfish to me.  I read a lot of blogs as saying, "Thank you for all of your support while YOU were trying to get knocked up, but now that you are knocked up, screw you and your offers of support, which are never right."  What also upsets me is that not all pregnancies are full of fun and joy.  When I bled at 6 weeks and 15 weeks, I was really scared.  There was a lot of bright red blood pouring out of me.  But the infertile community offered me no support (other than you Baby Baker!!).

I have a kid and another one on the way. Perhaps it's just time to remove myself entirely from the infertile blogging community.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Feeling Sad

All is well in my world, but I'm feeling extraordinarily sad for a friend I know IRL.  I first met this woman when we attended the same childbirth education course.  And then I re-met her and we became friends in a mommy group after we both had our babies and were on maternity leave.  And now our sons are in the same class at daycare and are best buds.  She has been trying to get pregnant with her second child for over 1 year now.  She got pregnant after trying for 4 months, but quickly miscarried after her BFP.  And she just canceled an appointment with a fertility doctor (actually the same one I used) because she was finally pregnant again!  But she called me in a panic earlier this week because she had some colored discharge.  I tried to reassure her that she was okay as long as she wasn't experiencing bright red bleeding and she wasn't having pain or cramping.  And she felt better.  But then she went for an ultrasound the next day and although she should have been 6+ weeks, they only saw an empty gestational sac measuring at 5 weeks.  And while her beta on December 1 was 7,000, her beta on December 7 was only 16,000.  That is not doubling in 48 hours.  That's not even doubling in 72 hours.  So her doctors are telling her that she's in a gray area, but personally, I think they're giving her false hope.  I think this pregnancy is doomed and I am so so so unbelievably sad for her. 

And after reading so many blogs where women complain about all of the awfully insensitive things people say, including platitudes, I'm totally nervous about saying the wrong thing to her.  I want to comfort her and be as good a friend as I can be, but I don't know what to say.  And to make it worse, her husband had to leave this morning on a business trip.  I invited her and her son to our house for dinner, but she politely declined, saying she'd prefer to lay low at home.  Ugh.  I just wish the outcome was going to be different.  It's so unfair and it's going to be SO miserable for her because so many of the women in the original mommy group are now pregnant with baby #2.  I guess I'll just keep offering her an ear if she wants to talk and I will NOT talk about my pregnancy or baby names or anything insensitive like that.  Does anyone who has been through a miscarriage have any suggestions on how I can better help her?

*Update - December 10*

My friend's beta was only 19,000 yesterday.  So it only went from 16,000 to 19,000 in 48 hours.  Her doctor sent her an email with the news and didn't even call her!  That would have made me SO angry.  But they're stringing her along and told her that she should schedule an ultrasound for next Tuesday.  I'm guessing that ultrasound isn't going to reveal much in the way of good news.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!

Happy Hanukkah!  We have been lighting the candles for Hanukkah, but think that Ian (20+ months) is still too young to receive presents.  We have SO many hand-me-down toys from my sister and it would be kind of ridiculous to buy more.

But we had a really fun evening last night at a friend's Hanukkah party and Ian had a BLAST.  It's amazing how independent and fearless he is.  He didn't care that there were people in the room that he had never met.  He brought a book right over to a 6'6" man and asked this stranger to read the book.  Stranger anxiety?  That concept has never even entered Ian's life.  He loved all the attention and adult interaction.

Here are some of the good pictures.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Just Breathe

I had my regularly scheduled visit with my OB/GYN today.  We talked about the small (3.4 x .6 x 3.6 cm) subchorionic hematoma that is sitting behind my placenta.  She told me that I shouldn't be doing any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise (especially not bouncy exercise) and should avoid sex for a while (ha!  like I was having sex anyway!)  She said something like, "Well, I would only worry if one of my bleeding patients told me that she was traveling to South America..." And I said, "Ummm...I'm supposed to go to Mexico in 3 weeks."  And she said, "Oh." 

But we discussed it at length and we both agreed at the end of the discussion that I should go on this trip.  Obviously, if I start bleeding again in the next 3 weeks, we'll reassess the situation.  But I have to live my life.  She also said that while it would be awful to have something go wrong on vacation, even the best medical care couldn't save the baby at 18-19 weeks.  And while I want to have as healthy a pregnancy as possible, I like the logic of that.  Even if I canceled my trip and had all of the best Boston hospitals at my fingertips, they could do nothing to save this baby if I went into pre-term labor.  So I'm going to cross my fingers and go!  As my OB/GYN recommended, I should "Just Breathe" and take it step-by-step.

I am also going to have my fetal survey (hooray for another detailed ultrasound) on December 15 and so that will also give us some more information prior to my trip.  Hopefully, that scan will show that the hematoma is not any bigger.  We'll also need to see if my low-lying placenta has moved up at all.

Overall, it was a good appointment and I was, as always, very happy to hear the baby's heart beating away at 153 bpm.  16 weeks and counting!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Results of Serial Sequential Screening

I was surprised to get an e-mail from my midwife this morning telling me that the results of my serial sequential testing were normal.  After all, it was Sunday morning!  I assumed that I would just discuss the results with the doctor during this week's appointment.  But I was happy to have the good news early:

Risk of Down's Syndrome:  1 in 2,300
Risk of Trisomy 18:  < 1 in 10,000
Risk of Open Neural Tube Defects:  1 in 4,500

These results aren't quite as good as our SST results with Ian (see here), but I think I'm comfortable enough with them not to risk doing an amniocentesis.  After all, although I'm 36 years old now, this baby was created with a 34 year old egg and is Ian's fraternal twin.  And even an amniocentesis doesn't rule out things like autism or cerebral palsy.

To round it out, here are pictures of my baby girl from last Wednesday's ultrasound (15 weeks, 3 days).  Look at that little nose!

This next shot is a picture of the baby's face and a little harder to figure out.  But she is looking straight at the camera.  The top of her head is pointed towards the 10 on a clock and her chin is pointed towards the 4 on a clock.  You can see the dark circles that are her eyes,  the bright white bone surrounding her nose and the bright white bone that is her jaw.

I'm still a bit worried about this pregnancy and I've tried very hard not to get too emotionally attached.  But there's no turning back now.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


It turns out that my doctor's office is not licensed to do ultrasounds after 12 weeks.  So I had to go to the specialty ultrasound place (Boston Ultrasound) to understand why I gushed blood this morning.  They didn't have any appointment openings, but they said they would squeeze us in.  Thank god!  The waiting room was actually empty when we got there and we were taken within 5 minutes. 

The doctor immediately found a strong heartbeat (hooray!) and started scanning around to figure out the cause of the bleed.  After about 1 minute, she told me that my full bladder was inhibiting her scan and made me go to the bathroom.  (I didn't know if I needed a full bladder and I figured it was easier/faster to empty than to fill.)  When I came back, she started scanning again and told me that she thought I may have placenta previa (where the placenta covers the cervix) and that may be the reason for the bleed.  But she was unsure of this diagnosis and called in another doctor who didn't agree.  They think that they just couldn't get a good picture near my cervix because the lower half of my uterus hasn't yet expanded.  Together, they decided that it probably wasn't placenta previa (but we should double-check at our Level 2 ultrasound in 3 weeks).  So why the bleeding?

She kept scanning and actually found a NEW subchorionic hematoma (SCH) behind the placenta.  The old SCH (the one that caused me to bleed at 6 weeks) was actually nowhere to be found.  It shrank and disappeared over time just like we hoped and expected it would.  This new SCH was 3 cm long, but not very wide at all.  In the SCH world, my hematoma is actually considered small.  But it is the most likely source of my fresh bleeding.  So I'm supposed to "take it easy" again although I don't need to be on strict bed rest.  I shouldn't pick up my toddler, do heavy loads of laundry, cook or shop.  It's all good - I can handle that.  Hopefully, this new SCH won't get any bigger and will shrink over time just like the last one did. 

What I don't understand is why I have the new SCH (or whether I'm prone to develop even more).  I'm nervous about the increased risk of pre-term labor, but I guess I have to just focus on the positive right now.  And there is a LOT of positive!  The baby was doing GREAT.  The sonographer measured the head, stomach, femur and radius and all measurements showed that the baby had grown appropriately and measured on track.  There were 4 chambers of the heart, 2 halves of the brain, and all of the organs were present.  And we know the kidneys were functioning properly because there was fluid in the bladder.  And...and...and...and...IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!!

I knew it wasn't critically necessary to know the baby's sex, but I figured that once we knew the baby was okay, it couldn't hurt to know the sex.  :-)  I knew it.  I felt it.  And when I told my mom, she exclaimed in her typical high-pitched excited voice, "I KNEW IT!!!"  She attributes my skin woes to the fact that I'm having a girl.  So I'm truly excited.  I would have been totally excited to have another boy, but it sure will be nice to have one of each!  I have to buy a whole new baby girl wardrobe now.  What fun!  So my fingers are crossed that all will be well, that there won't be any more bleeding and that the doctor will give me the okay to go on my Cancun vacation with my extended family next month.

And I want to send out a sincere apology to all of those people with actual appointments who were sitting in the incredibly full waiting room of Boston Ultrasound this morning when we finally left.  Sorry!!!

I'm scared...

I'm 15 weeks, 2 days pregnant today.  After almost 10 weeks of no bleeding, I soaked my underwear through with bright red blood again this morning.  I was sitting at the kitchen table and felt the wetness and thought, oh maybe I just didn't empty my bladder all the way.  So I peeked into my underwear and my husband looked over at the same time wondering what I was doing and we both said "Oh Shit" at the same time.  Objectively, I don't think it was a huge amount of blood.  But subjectively, it seemed like a lot.  I mean, it was dripping out of me.  The bleeding seems to have stopped for now.  This is EXACTLY the same pattern I had when I was bled for those 2 mornings at 5.5 weeks - a big gush of blood in the morning after waking up with no more bleeding after that.

I called my doctor's office and my own OB just happened to be on call.  Since the bleeding isn't ongoing and I don't have accompanying pain and cramps, she doesn't believe that I am miscarrying.  But she thought it would be good for me to come into the office today to hear the baby's heartbeat and get an ultrasound.  I pushed for the ultrasound because I want to see how large this hematoma is.  So now I'm just waiting for it to be 8 am so that I can call the office when it opens and see when I can come in.  Unfortunately, my OB said that when a patient bleeds in the second trimester, it means that there is a greater risk of pre-term labor and a higher risk pregnancy.  I'm scared.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ian - 20 month update

Ian is 20 months old now.  I can't believe how fast he's growing.  Just this morning, I watched him climb into his chair at the kitchen table and sit down and I said to my husband, "Look how big he is!"  His vocabulary is getting better and better and he's started putting some words together (like "read book" (bee buh), "hi kitty" and "bye bye kitty").  He understands so much of what we say and can express choices if asked yes or no questions.  He has learned to say all of the colors except for orange and it's pretty funny to hear him say "red" because he can't say the "r" sound.  At first his favorite color to say was blue, but now he's excited to say yellow.  He's also babbling more than he's ever done in a way like he's pretending to speak in full sentences.  It's very cute.  I think that because his communication skills are improving, he's whining SO much less.  That's a nice change for everyone.  His teachers at daycare also noticed the improvement.

In other news, Ian decided that he would, in fact, tolerate wearing feetie pajamas.  The last time we tried to put him in feetie pajamas, he freaked out screaming and kept raising his feet to try to get them off of him.  So once he accepted the feetie pajamas, I asked him to pose for me and got this picture.  What a little imp!

The other exciting thing is that Ian is once again sitting in the bathtub.  For the last 6 month, he has refused to sit and would only stand in the bathtub.  Of course, I worried that he was going to fall and bash his face on the faucet and watched him like a hawk.  But he decided that it was okay to sit again and during our last bath, not only did he sit, but he turned onto his stomach and blew bubbles in the water.  And he also lay flat on his back so that water covered his ears and he was okay with that too!  Wow.  It's amazing how much can change overnight.

I'll leave you with this picture of Ian sleeping.  Before I go to bed every night, I go into his room to check on him and when I found him sleeping like this, I couldn't resist taking a picture.  He's such a sweetheart.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Halloween 2010

I'm late on this post.  But better late than never, right?  For Halloween this year, we went over to a friend's house for a party and a little bit of trick or treating.  I met this friend at a mommy group when I was on maternity leave with Ian and the party was so much fun because all the kids are roughly the same age.  Ian didn't actually do any trick or treating.  He was super happy riding in the wagon with his friend and playing with a glow stick.  He was such a cute little dinosaur/T Rex!  He made me proud when he didn't rip off the hood of his costume.

Monday, November 15, 2010

14 Weeks

I'm 14 weeks pregnant today.  I started telling people at work late last week and have given my mother the go-ahead to start yacking as of tomorrow.  It looks like my boobs are making grandiose efforts now to make up for the lack of activity early on.  They are getting bigger (enough that I had to change bra sizes) and sadly, they are getting pretty sore.  Sleeping on my stomach is getting difficult because of the soreness and yowzers, watch out if Ian kicks me in the chest when I'm trying to change his diaper.  I'm still wearing my regular clothes at work (but only because I had slacks custom-made with an adjustable waist-band), but I don't think I can keep that up for much longer.  The button-down shirts that I wear with these slacks are starting to gap in the chest.  I'm sort of dreading switching to maternity clothes (which may be a sign that I need to buy some new clothes, since I'm SO sick of the ones I wore during my pregnancy with Ian).

We're moving ahead with our basement remodeling project.  Now that child #2 is on the way, we won't have a guest room for my parents anymore.  So we're refinishing an unfinished room in the basement to create a new guest room.  In the process, and at my parent's request and expense, we're also adding a shower to the basement half-bathroom.  I guess they think a shower downstairs will be much more convenient for them and I'm not going to refuse as long as they're paying the bill.  It will actually be nice that they don't have to shower in the current guest bathroom, which will really be the kids' bathroom.  This way, we won't have to move all of the toys out of the way and I won't have to worry about my mom or dad falling when trying to step over the very high wall of the tub. 

We're also going to have to think about getting another car.  I'll be able to carry 2 kids in my sedan, but my husband has a Mazda 3 and the rear-facing car seat only fits in the middle of the backseat, which means he doesn't have room for 2 kids.  So we're going to need to replace his car.  I didn't want to think about the basement remodeling project or the new car until this pregnancy got a little further along.  But given that I'm at 14 weeks and nothing seems amiss, we should probably press forward. 

It's crazy but I do really think that I'm feeling this baby move already.  It probably helps that the placenta is posterior versus anterior and it probably helps that this is a second pregnancy so I know the feeling of the baby moving.  But I'm still surprised at how early is happened this time around.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Eastern Standard Time 0: Mommy 1!!!

My son usually sleeps from about 7:30 pm to 6:00 am.  So I've been DREADING pushing the clocks back because it would mean that Ian would be up at 5:00 am.  All week, we've been pushing his bedtime later and later with the hopes that he would be adjusted by the time we had to roll back the clocks.  I'm not sure it worked because all week, he kept waking up at his normal time, but took longer afternoon naps at daycare.  Anyway, this morning, he woke at 5:20 am and we brought him into bed with us hoping he would go back to sleep.  And he did...until 7 am!!!  We were totally psyched.  It was so nice to "sleep in" on a weekend again.

There isn't much else going on, which is why I've been quiet on the blog.  I've been super duper busy at work and pretty drained when I get home at night.  I think the first trimester symptoms are almost all gone.  I don't have that awful feeling in my stomach when I'm too hungry.  I'm just back to being hungry in the regular way.  And I haven't been as tired at night.  I got on the scale this morning and it looks like I'm up 4.5 pounds in roughly 13 weeks.  The hives continue as always...and I'm living on Zyrtec.  It looks like the prenatal vitamin wasn't the culprit (surprise, surprise) because after 1 week of taking only folic acid instead of the prenatal vitamin, the hives remain.  I think it's going to be a full 40 weeks of blotchy red skin and itchy hives.  I've lost hope that it will go away during my pregnancy.  Now I only hope that it goes away after delivery!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nuchal Screen - 11 weeks, 2 days

Today, I can breathe a BIG sigh of relief.  I had my nuchal translucency screen at 11 weeks, 2 days and the baby was doing GREAT!  The heartbeat was strong, there were 2 arms and 2 legs, a closed stomach and a developing brain.  The nuchal measurement was 1.6 mm, which is exactly the same as Ian's measurement.  Anything less than 3.0 is considered "normal" and a lower risk for a chromosomal disorder.  The subchorionic hematoma was still there but MUCH smaller.  You can actually see just a bit of it in the first picture, at the very top of the gestational sac directly above the baby's nose/chin.

The doctor doing the ultrasound said that we had 3 positive things in our favor to indicate that there was no chromosomal disorder:  (1) the nuchal measurement was less than 3 mm; (2) the baby was measuring on track (he/she actually measured 1 day ahead); and (3) the doctor could see the nasal bone (which is apparently slow to develop in babies with chromosomal disorders).

I also got my blood drawn at my doctor's office for the first series of blood tests in the serial sequential testing.  Apparently, the results will be back within 5 days and no news is good news.  They will only call if the blood tests indicate something abnormal (in which case I will choose to do an amniocentesis).

I also saw my doctor today (mostly so I could ask about the ongoing hives).  Unfortunately, she had no answers for me.  She pulled out some literature that said 20% of the population suffer from hives at some point in their lives and that it might be coincidental that my first experience occurred during pregnancy.  Personally, I think that's bullshit.  I was fine.  Then 7 days after my 3dt (right around the time the embryo implants), I started getting hives.  And the hives have continued unabated since that time.  Based on the literature, I have chronic uticaria.  Unlike acute uticaria which goes away quickly after it appears and is most likely due to an allergy, chronic uticaria is more likely an immune system issue.  I think that this pregnancy triggered something in my body and the hives are the result.  I'm guessing that I will have them for the rest of the pregnancy and I'm hoping they'll go away after I give birth.

The one thing the doctor mentioned that I will try is to take folic acid only instead of the full prenatal vitamin.  The prenatal vitamin has a ton of stuff in it and I may be reacting to something in that pill.  The doctor said the only true important thing in the vitamin is the folic acid.  I think it's unlikely that the prenatal vitamin is the culprit since I have been taking the same brand of vitamin for 3+ years now, but I'll give anything a shot.  If I still have hives after 1 week of no prenatal vitamin, then I know it's not that either.

I am just so thankful that the baby is doing well.  And the doctor reassured me that the hives would not have an adverse effect on the baby.  So as long as that Zyrtec keeps doing the trick to treat my symptoms, I'm golden!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Love Autumn

Ian and I had a lot of fun in the leaves yesterday.  I adore autumn!!!  The new picture on my blog is from today.  We went to Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury, MA and had a great time picking out pumpkins and finding some lonely apples in the orchard.  And we filled our bellies with warm cider donuts, a specialty of the farm.  Yum!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Progesterone - Friend or Foe?

When my doctor last checked my progesterone level at 9 weeks, it was only 17.  This disappointed me because I watched it drop from 19 to 18 to 17 over the course of 3 weeks when it should have been increasing!  We were hoping it would be over 20 so that the doctor could take me off progesterone early.  But nope.  I had to take the progesterone for the full 10 weeks anyway (despite the fact that we thought I may be having an allergic reaction to it).  But this past Monday, I inserted what I hope is my very last progesterone suppository.

I was a little worried about stopping the supplementation given that my progesterone levels were dropping. But the doctor told me the placenta should be fully functioning (and producing whatever progesterone it needed) by 10 weeks and that she was comfortable stopping the supplementation because my level was over 15.  I have to say that I don't really get the logic.  I can stop at 10 weeks because my progesterone level is over 15, but at 9 weeks, I couldn't stop because the levels weren't over 20?  Whatever.  It is what it is.  This RE has gotten me pregnant twice, so who am I to doubt her.

So I sit here on Saturday morning after 4 full days of being progesterone-free.  And yup, I still have hives and dermatographic skin.  Sigh.  It looks like I wasn't allergic to the progesterone after all.  So now I have NO IDEA what is causing this problem.  It's clearly an allergic reaction because the Zyrtec that I takes helps tremendously.  I don't know what I would do without the Zyrtec.  The fact that it works for me is a true blessing.  But the minute that Zyrtec wears off, WHAMMO!  I am again covered in full body hives.

I am scheduled to see my OB/GYN on Wednesday.  I will ask her at that appointment what my next steps should be.  Personally, I think I'm having a reaction to the pregnancy itself (since all of this started 7 days after a 3dt) and that there is nothing I can do to stop it.  At this point, my new hope is that it will resolve after I have this baby.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ian - 19 months old

Here are 3 recent videos of Ian, who is now 19 months old.

Laundry Races - Ready Set Go!

Dance Little Pookie - by Sandra Boynton

Animal Sounds

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Appointment with Midwife - 9 weeks 2 days

I had my first appointment with the midwife today.  It was a long appointment, as she did an internal exam (to feel my uterus and pelvic bones) and we went over my history and screening/diagnostic options.  After some frighteningly long minutes, she finally found the baby's heartbeat and for about 10 seconds, we heard the heartbeat before the baby moved away again.  It measured in the mid-150s. 

My husband and I are choosing to do serial sequential testing (SST) again to screen for Down Syndrome and Trisomy 18.  This involves a specialized ultrasound (nuchal translucency screen) and blood tests between 11-13 weeks and more blood tests between 15-21 weeks.  If the initial ultrasound/blood tests reveal that something bad is going on, we would then opt to do more invasive diagnostics (like CVS or an amniocentesis) for confirmation or to rule out a false positive.  Amazingly, we have that specialized ultrasound scheduled for the morning of October 27th, which is only 2 weeks away!  Crazy.  Hopefully, we'll get good news at that appointment.  Lucky for us, the embryo we used for this FET was produced from my 34 year old egg (now being carried by my 36 year old uterus).

I took my last estrogen pills this morning (HOORAY!!!) and hopefully, Friday's blood test will reveal that my progesterone levels are high enough to stop supplementing with the suppositories.  I can't wait to stop taking the progesterone for many reasons - but mainly I want to know if it's the progesterone that is causing my hives. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

I graduated

This past Friday, I had my last appointment with my RE (and hopefully, my last appointment EVER with an RE).  If we get a healthy baby out of this pregnancy, we are done done done.  Two kids is fantastic.  I couldn't ask for anything more and will not be going through this process again.

The ultrasound showed that the fetus grew appropriately.  I was 8 weeks, 4 days at the appointment and the fetus measured 8 weeks, 5 days.  This made me extremely happy since the fetus was measuring behind before this appointment.  The heart rate was 176, which is way higher than Ian's heart beat ever was.  So my mom is taking this as a huge sign that I'm carrying a girl.  And the subchorionic hematoma was smaller.  Not only did it subjectively look smaller next to the growing gestational sac, but it objectively measured smaller too.  So the RE was very pleased with that and was happy to see me "going the right way."  Given all of this, she said that I didn't need to be monitored so closely anymore and she was going to pass me off to the care of the regular OB/GYN.  Hooray!!!  

In the meantime, I'm weaning off the estrogen.  I'll be completely finished with that after Wednesday.  Unfortunately, my progesterone levels on Friday were still on the low side (18.3) and so the RE wants me to take Crinone 1x daily (down from 2x daily) and she'll recheck my levels at the end of this week.

I'm 9 weeks today.  My stomach is starting to feel a bit better.  I was able to eat cereal this morning without getting crippling gas cramps afterwards.  Unfortunately, I'm still suffering from really nasty hives.  When the Zyrtec wears off, I'm so unbelievably itchy.  Last night, at 4:30 am, I had to take another Zyrtec but while I was waiting for it to kick in, I was scratching the hell out of my legs and they were throbbing.  I still have my fingers crossed that this symptom will disappear once I'm able to stop the progesterone supplementation completely.  If I stop the Crinone and the hives continue, then I'll probably have to see a specialist to figure out what is going on.  So I'm still crossing my fingers that I'm having an allergic reaction to the external progesterone.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Little Vacation Time

It's 4 pm on a Thursday and instead of trying to finish up the last of my work, I'm reading blogs and writing this blog entry.  In roughly 2 hours, I'm going to leave work and head to the airport to pick up my parents.  They are flying up from Florida and will be visiting through Tuesday.  I'm taking Friday and Monday off from work to spend more time with them and I can't wait for the little mini-vacation.  And they can't wait to spend some quality time with their grandson.

What I'm truly excited about is that I have my next ultrasound appointment tomorrow morning.  And I've asked my mom to come with me.  Normally my husband goes with me for support, but given that my mom was going to be in town, I thought she would enjoy it.  Even though she had 3 children, she never got to see an ultrasound of her pregnancies because the technology didn't exist back then.  And although my sister has 2 children, she needed a surrogate to carry the babies.  So my mom couldn't have attended any ultrasounds from my sister.  And I won't get started on my mom's relationship with my sister-in-law.  So I think my mom's incredibly excited for the opportunity to sit there with me and see the ultrasound go down in real time.  I just hope hope hope! that the news we receive is good and that all of my fears (e.g., the hematoma grew or there is no longer a heartbeat) are dismissed.

I'm also excited that the weather is going to be beautiful this weekend.  After two straight weeks of rain, it will be nice to see that sun shine again.  It will be great fun for my dad to take Ian to the park.  I think I might also ask my dad to weed our mulch beds.  Weeding is something that I usually do myself, but haven't been able to because the doctor told me to take it easy because of the hematoma.  My dad is constantly looking for stuff to do/projects so I'm sure he will be happy to oblige.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ian Update - 18.5 months

Ian is now 18.5 months old and has an ever-increasing repertoire of words that he says.  And it's amazing how much more he understands but cannot say yet.  Here is a list of all the words he can say:

1.  Momma
2.  Daddy
3.  Hello
4.  Hi
5.  Bye bye
6.  Night night
7.  Kitty
8.  Shoes ("dooos")
9.  Socks ("docks")
10.  Hat
11.  "Hoo hoo" when asked what an owl says
12. "Moooo" when asked what a cow says
13.  "Baaaa" when asked what a sheep says
14.  "eeeeoooow" when asked what a kitty says
15.  "naaaaaaay" when asked what a horse says
16.  Tree
17.  House ("how")
16.  Water ("waawa")
17.  Milk ("mil")
18.  Cereal ("yah-yal")
19.  More ("maw")
20.  Elmo ("Melmo")
21.  Big Bird ("Buh Bir")
22.  Oscar ("Da-Dah")
23.  Bird ("Bir")
24.  Count ("Nouw")
25.  Mine
26.  No (He says this one very clearly and very often)
27.  Ian ("Iaaah")
28.  Book ("Buuh")
29.  Banana ("Nana")
30.  Ball ("bah")
31.  Baby
32.  Hot
33.  Truck ("duh")
34.  Car
35.  Bus
36.  Moon
37.  Thank you
38.  The end
39.  Teeth
40.  Door
41.  Uh Oh
42.  Spoon ("poo")

I'm totally impressed with how many words Ian has.  I had guessed that he could say about 20 words, but when we actually counted it out, it was double that!

We had Ian's 18 month well-baby visit this past week.  Here are his stats:

Height:  34.75 inches, which puts him in greater than the 95th percentile.  We don't believe it though because Mr. Ian was a squirmy writhing screaming worm on the table when they were trying to measure him.  At home, we measure him at 33 inches, which puts him in the 60th percentile and makes much more sense (given that both my husband and I are only just above average height ourselves).

Weight:  27 pounds, 2.5 ounces.  This puts him in the 60th percentile.

Head circumference:  49.5 cm, which is the 90th percentile.

I'm very happy and grateful that Ian continues to be healthy and strong little boy.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

7 weeks, 3 days

I had another ultrasound and appointment with my RE this morning.  Based on last week's conversation with the RE, I thought I was 7 weeks, 0 days today.  She told me that I'm 7 weeks, 3 days today.  Sigh.  Somehow the 3 days that went missing last week came back today.  My RE says its all very confusing and the dating depends on whatever "wheel" they are using.  I think it depends on whether they consider me 2 weeks pregnant on the day we transferred a 3-day embryo or 2 weeks, 3 days pregnant on the day we transferred a 3-day embryo.  She also revised my due date to be May 16.

The good news is that the pregnancy is still looking good.  The fetus measured in at 7 weeks, 1 day and the heart rate was 153.

The bad news is that the subchorionic hematoma is still there and has gotten longer (although not wider).  It is a sliver of blood that separates roughly 35% of the gestational sac from the uterus.  That means that 65% of the gestation sac still has a tight hold on the uterus.  Right now, my RE still considers the hematoma to be "small" and given that I haven't seen bright red blood in over a week, she thinks the situation is stable.  But she's still not comfortable releasing me to the regular OB/GYN yet.  She wants to see me again in 1 week so that she can assess the hematoma again.  And while she didn't put me back on bed rest, she re-asserted that I should really be taking it easy.  We *really* don't want this SCH to grow.  I'm currently cautiously optimistic that everything will work out fine.

In other news, my work pants no longer fit me.  I guess it's true that you start showing earlier after your first pregnancy.  I thought I would last longer than 7 weeks, but nope.  I have some pants with an adjustable waist and I'll be wearing only those from now on (until I'm big enough for maternity pants).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Q&A Chain Letter

VV, one of my blogging buddies who can be found here, tagged me for a Q&A chain letter.  I wish I knew her real name because I'd rather not refer to her as "Venting Vagina"!  But she's remaining anonymous on her blog (which I totally respect).  This is the first time that I've ever been tagged for anything and so it's exciting - a new foray in the blogosphere!!  So here goes:

(1) What is your dream occupation?

When I was little, I always thought that I would be a veterinarian.  I loved animals, but my mom told me that we couldn't have any pets because she suffered from bad allergies.  I graduated from college with a biology major and afterwards, kept trying to decide on the right profession.  I still thought about becoming a veterinarian and even took some prerequisite courses at a local college.  I volunteered at the local animal shelter and began fostering cats.  I ended up fostering a momma kitty and her litter of 5 kittens.  Because I had so many cats at once, I didn't really get attached to any of them.  But then it came time to return the kittens to be spayed or neutered and adopted out.  One of the five kittens - the runt of the litter - was still too small to be spayed.  So I ended up re-fostering just her and of course, got totally and completely attached.  So I ended up adopting her and now, at almost 13 years of age, she remains my one pet.  To get back to the point of this answer...I realized pretty quickly after adopting my cat that I didn't want to be a veterinarian.  I just wanted a pet!  So now, I'm a lawyer.  Go figure.

(2) What is the best dish that you can cook?

I make a pretty yummy jewish version of chicken lo mein.  I also make a mean Mandel bread.  Both are recipes that I stole from my mother.

(3) Have you ever been mentioned in the newspaper? What for?

I swam competitively from age 5 through 18.  I was often mentioned in the local newspaper with respect to swim team events.

(4) What’s the worst and/or most memorable job you’ve ever had?

And now we're back to the animal theme.  Because I wanted to be a veterinarian growing up, when I was in high school, I got a job as a kennel worker at the local vet.  My responsibilities included cleaning cages, taking dogs out to go to the bathroom, pooping scoop from the yard, vacuuming and mopping.  It was one of the most physically demanding jobs I have ever had and I remember my feet aching so badly I almost cried.  This job is extraordinarily memorable for the following reasons:  (a) It was the first job I ever had; (b) I got fired from the job (which is a whole other story!); (c) I cried while overhearing a man saying goodbye to his golden retriever, who was being euthanized, and then cried again in frustration when I had to put the very large dog into a body bag; and (d) I got to play with a pet squirrel, which lived at the vet permanently.

(5) When you were a teenager, at what age did you envision yourself getting married? How old were you in reality when you got married?

I can't remember when I thought I would be married.  But I think I figured I would meet someone in college and marry them right after college.  That didn't happen.  My college sweetheart, who I dated for 3 years and lived with for 1 year, broke my heart and dumped me just months after we graduated.  After many many MANY years of being single (and going on many many MANY horrendous dates), I met my husband when I was 30.  We got married when I was 33.

This isn't part of the question but I thought I would write it anyway.  I was single for so many years and spent so many lonely hours alone.  After college, I didn't live close to my family and I didn't have many friends (because I was living where I didn't grow up or go to school).  And I found it difficult to make new friends. I was LONELY.  When I was going through my IVF, I remember thinking that it would suck to never be able to have a biological child with my husband. But I also remember thinking that it would have sucked even worse to never have met my husband. I will NEVER take it for granted that my husband is in my life. 

(6) What’s your most hated household chore? what’s your favorite?

I don't like cleaning the toilets.  Wiping my husband's urine and pubic hairs off the toilet totally grosses me out (and now I'm sure I've grossed you all out!)  I like vacuuming.  Everything looks so much cleaner after vacuuming.

(7) What’s your earliest memory?

I have the memory of a flea.  I can't remember shit.  There are YEARS missing from my life.  But, I do remember playing with the desk that was in my room.  The table top lifted up and you could put things inside.  I was probably 5 years old.

This was fun!  Good trip down memory lane.  :-)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Good News

I had another ultrasound today and received some good news.  The fetus is growing and measured at 6 weeks, 1 day.  (As an aside, I'm TOTALLY confused as to how far along I am in this pregnancy.  I thought I was 6 weeks, 4 days based on being 2 weeks, 3 days pregnant on the day of transfer, but my doctor told me that I'm only 6 weeks, 1 day today.)  The heartbeat measured at 117 bpm (up from the 108 bpm measured 3 days ago). 

The hematoma is still there, but it has gotten smaller over the past 3 days.  Given this, and the fact that I haven't seen any bleeding in 48 hours, my doctor told me that I no longer needed to be on bed rest.  She told me to take it easy, but I can carry on with every day activities and can go back to work on Monday.  Hooray!  I am crossing my fingers that I don't have to go on bed rest again because man, I'm just not cut out for it.  I'm so happy that I'll be able to play with my son again.  18 month old boys do not want to hang out on the couch with their lame mothers (unless, of course, Elmo is on TV).

The doctor also mentioned that she hopes to get me off the progesterone supplementation as soon as possible.  She has never seen an allergic reaction this bad.  Usually, switching a patient from the shots to the suppositories relieves the symptoms/hypersensitivity reaction.  I hope that when I stop all progesterone supplementation, the hives will go away.  If they don't, then I've got bigger issues and will have to go back to the allergist to determine what I might be allergic to.  My RE still isn't convinced that I'm allergic to progesterone itself, but time will tell.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Still bleeding

After lying around all day yesterday, I didn't have any additional bleeding - not even brown spotting.  So I felt good about that.  Unfortunately, this morning, when I woke up and went to the bathroom, I discovered bright red blood (about 1 cc) in my underwear.  I also saw a small clot in the toilet (sorry if that is TMI).  I've also been slightly crampy.  Because my doctor told me that I needed to notify her whenever I saw red blood, I called and left a message this morning.  I'm still waiting for a call back.  I'm not sure what she is going to want to do.  There isn't much she can do.  I suppose she can do another ultrasound, but it's not going to change any outcome I have (and frankly, I don't want to find out that the subchorionic hematoma (SCH) grew).  I fear that this will turn into a miscarriage.  I fear that I won't miscarry now, but will miscarry later on in the pregnancy.  I fear that I will have pre-term labor before the fetus is viable (since pre-term labor is more often associated with subchorionic hematomas).  I fear that I'm going to be on bed rest for a long period of time with nothing to show for it in the end.  This sucks.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bleeding at 6 weeks, 1 day

I woke up this morning and my panties were soaked with blood.  I wiped and could see bright red blood on the toilet paper.  Damn.  It seems to have stopped for the moment, but I'm very very scared.  I know that many women bleed during early pregnancy and do not miscarry.  But I also know that bleeding can be a sign of miscarriage.  I'm trying not to jump to the worst conclusion, but I'm terrified I will miscarry.  I'm hoping that this is just a result of the ultrasound I had on Friday or maybe I stuck the progesterone suppository up too far last night and irritated my cervix?  Sigh.  I will call the doctor this morning once the office opens and see what they want to do.


I went to work this morning and left a message for my RE's nurse to call me back because I was bleeding.  I was at work for all of 30 minutes this morning when the nurse called me back and told me to come into the office to be examined ASAP.  So I drove the 40 miles back to the RE's office, which is close to my house.  Thankfully, they took me right away without any waiting.  The good news is that the pregnancy is still viable.  And at 6 weeks, 1 day, we saw a little heartbeat (measuring at 108 bpm) and a fetal pole.  The bad news is that I have a subchorionic hemorrhage, which explains the bleeding.  Because my RE thinks this pregnancy is viable, she wants me on bed rest for the remainder of the week and she put me back on the IM progesterone shots for extra support.  The progesterone suppositories won't work well if there is vaginal bleeding.  If there are no other bleeding episodes, I can go back to work on Monday.  If I see bright red blood at any time, I'm supposed to call my RE and be monitored again.

Between the hives (which continue unabated) and the bleeding, I've had a rough start to this pregnancy.  Hopefully, it is not a sign of things to come.  For now, I will focus on the positives.  So cool to see that little heartbeat this morning!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

5.5 weeks

Shorty - September 17, 2010 - 5.5 weeks
I had my first ultrasound yesterday, at 5.5 weeks.  There isn't that much to see this early on, but they confirmed that the pregnancy is in the uterus (and not ectopic).  We were also able to see the gestational sac, and most importantly, the yolk sac (labeled "YS" in the second picture).  I return for a second ultrasound on the 30th, at which point we should see the fetal pole and heart beat.  I'm starting to breathe a little bit easier, but I'm still nervous that something will go wrong.  My RE told me that my due date is May 18, which will be a really nice time of year in New England.

I am continuing to suffer from hives all over my body.  I took some Benadryl last night with the hope of getting some better rest.  And I upped the ante this morning and took a Zyrtec instead of a Claritin with the hopes that it will offer better relief.  All 3 anti-histamines are class B drugs and my RE told me they were safe to take.  

My RE disagrees with the allergist I saw.  She does not believe that I'm allergic to progesterone.  She thinks that I'm having a reaction to the IM progesterone shots (in ethyl oleate) and will feel better once that leaves my system (roughly 2 weeks after the last shot).  She switched me to the Crinone suppository and told me that this is the least-reactive form of progesterone.  So I'm crossing my fingers that my RE is right and my allergist is wrong.  If my RE is right, I should start feeling a bit better sometime mid-next week.  If the hives don't go away in the next 10 days or so, we'll know the allergist was right.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Good News (Beta #3) and Bad News

What do you want to read first?  Good news or bad news?  Good news?  Okay - here goes.

My beta went from 328 on 17 dpo to 2740 on 21 dpo.  Hooray!  My progesterone levels remained consistent and high at 56.  Hooray!  And after 3 days of taking an increased dosage of Estrace, my estrogen went up from 80 to 173.  Hooray! (although the RE still wants to see it up near 250).

But now, here's the bad news.  I saw the allergist this afternoon to try and understand why I have been experiencing full body hives for the past 12 days.  And based on everything (including increased eosinophil levels), he is 99% convinced that I'm allergic to the external progesterone that I'm receiving in order to support this pregnancy.  Seriously?!?!?  Awesome.  I'm allergic to the one major drug that I need to take in order to avoid miscarriage.  He said that it doesn't matter if I take the progesterone via shots or by suppository.  It's not the way the progesterone is being delivered, it's the progesterone itself.

So of course I asked him why I didn't have this problem when I was pregnant with Ian or during the last failed FET or, for that matter, during the first 10 days after starting the PIO shots for this FET.  He said that allergies often develop after multiple exposures and so the fact that I didn't have reactions before doesn't mean I'm not having a reaction now.  This makes a lot of sense to me.  I took a full course of the antibiotic Bactrum twice and when taking it a third time, I had an immediate allergic reaction.

He ruled out food allergy and cat allergy because my symptoms are not consistent with those types of allergies.  He said he could do a test to determine if I am allergic to progesterone (after ordering a special kit), but there are quite a few problems with this.  First, I could easily have a false positive to the test because my skin is so hyper-reactive at the moment.  Second, even if the test showed that I did, in fact, have an allergy to progesterone, it's not like I can stop taking the drug!

So given that I have to continue the progesterone shots, he suggested that I take Claritin every day since I told him that it alleviated 80% of the symptoms.  Claritin is a class B drug and there have even been some small clinical studies in pregnant women showing that it is safe when taken during the first trimester.  I HATE that I have to take a drug during my first trimester.  But I don't see any other choice.  I cannot live without taking an anti-histamine.  I didn't sleep last night due to itching.  And I hardly got any work done today because of the hives.  It's really unbelievably awful.

I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping and praying that when we stop the progesterone shots, the hives will go away.  I'm sure my RE won't want to take me off the progesterone, but I sent her an e-mail anyway just to ask if there is any other approach that can be taken.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Worrying Never Stops

Even though I have been through one very healthy pregnancy and even though I have one very healthy child, I worry about this pregnancy.  It's very hard not to.  The hives threw me for a loop.  I worry about the effect the allergic reaction had on the fetus.  And I hate that I had to take benadryl and claritin during the pregnancy (despite the fact that my doctor said it was safe to do so).  The good news is that the hives seemed to have calmed down.  I have been anti-histamine free for roughly 12 hours now and so far so good.  My skin is still sensitive and if I scratch, I turn BRIGHT red and have some autographism, but the hives don't show up.  Given that it's about 1 week since I last took the Endometrin, it could very well be that I had an allergic reaction to that drug.  My RE said that it could take up to 10 days for the hives to go away as the drug clears out of my system.

The bad news is that my doctor also tested my estrogen levels this past Thursday and I got a random call from the nurse yesterday telling me that my estrogen levels are very low (80) and should be much higher at this point in the game.  She seemed worried.  So now I'm taking 2 mg Estrace 3x daily (instead of 2x daily).  But what does it mean to have low estrogen post FET-transfer and post-BFP?  What effect does that have on the pregnancy?  I can't find anything on the internet about this because REs do not seem to test estrogen and progesterone levels post-transfer.  The nurse didn't offer any information about why my estrogen levels could be low or what effect that could have on the fetus/pregnancy.  Sigh.

My 3rd beta is Monday and they'll be retesting my estrogen and progesterone levels then too.  And then we have the first ultrasound next Friday!  

I had a dream last night about the ultrasound.  The news in the dream wasn't good.  They said that the fetus was measuring behind and that the whole sac and yolk pole looked compressed and blunted on the ends.  I have no idea if that's even something that can happen, but obviously my unconscious brain thinks it can happen!  Anyway, when I woke up, I was very relieved that it was just a bad dream.  I am going to try my best to shut my worries off and just enjoy the BFP moments that I'm having now.  What will be will be.

About 10 minutes after I posted this blog, the hives came back in full force on my back, legs, hands, and ears.  I'm back on claritin.  Darnit!  I'm SO itchy and uncomfortable.  I guess I'll really need that allergist appointment on Monday.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Beta #2: Sigh of Relief

My beta went from 147 to 328 in 48 hours.  Phew. 

The doctor also checked my progesterone level (because I was having a tiny amount of brown spotting) and it was almost 56, which is perfect.  The next step is a third (and hopefully last) beta on Monday to show that my number is >1000.  Then we get to move on to an ultrasound to see if the yolk sac and fetal pole are present (and hopefully to see a heartbeat)!

Go Shortie!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Diagnosis: Hives

I spent 2 hours last night at urgent care.  I had to wait a bit because the doctor was running late and then I had to wait for the results of blood work.  My CBC and liver enzyme tests came back normal, but I had high levels of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell.  High levels of eosinophils are indicative of an allergic reaction.  So I am, in fact, having hives on my skin from an allergic reaction.  The doctor told me that claritin and benadryl are both safe to take during pregnancy and so I've been using those to alleviate symptoms.  But when the drugs wear off, the hives come back.

I don't know how long these hives are going to last.  I think I may be allergic to Endometrin (the progesterone suppositories) because I started them last Tuesday night and the hives started on Thursday morning.  But I stopped taking the suppositories on Saturday morning and switched back to the progesterone shots.  So why am I still having an allergic reaction?!  I would have thought that the hives would have subsided by now if they were due to an allergic reaction to the Endometrin.  So I'm still trying to get some answers from the doctor I saw at urgent care.  Is it reasonable to think that I'm still having a reaction to the Endometrin even though I stopped taking it on Saturday?  If so, how long can I expect to have this reaction?  And if the hives continue, then what?  Then it means it's not the Endometrin and I have an allergy to something else in my environment.  So do I need to see an allergist or pregnancy specialist?

I'm really worried that something is wrong with this pregnancy.  I have the irrational fear that I'm allergic to this baby and my body is rejecting it.  I hope that is not the case.  I'm having my second beta tomorrow and I'm crossing my fingers that the number increases appropriately.  My doctor is also going to test my estrogen and progesterone levels because I'm having some brown spotting.  The RE says this is not normal (despite me reading many many blogs of women who have brown spotting (or even bleeding!) and go on to have normal pregnancies).  I'm nervous.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Beta Results Are In

I got my 15 dpo beta done today and it was 147!  Woo-hoo!  My 16 dpo beta with my son was 164 and and so I'm feeling very positive about my current number.

Unfortunately, I'm still suffering terribly from hives. I have them on my scalp, neck and arms at the moment.  My RE said that it cannot be from pregnancy (despite what the Internet said) and she recommended that I be evaluated by an internist.  So I have an appointment at 5:30 pm today to see someone about the hives.  If it is from taking the Endometrin suppositories, apparently it might take 10 days to clear out of my system.  Who knows if I'll ever have an explanation as to why I have the hives.  I just want them gone!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Itchy but Happy

This picture is courtesy of my husband.  I have such a hard time taking pictures of these pee sticks.  I took about 20 pictures and most were crap.  They're usually blurry or have odd shadows.  My husband took 1 picture and this is it.  He manages to do most things better than me (which is always a bit frustrating).  :-)

It looks like I'm still on the right track.  The lines are getting just a little bit darker/more focused each day.  My beta is tomorrow and I look forward to hearing good news!

In the meantime, I'm popping benadryl every 3-4 hours to try and keep these hives under control.  It is not a pregnancy symptom I truly understand, but I will take it any day over nausea or a BFN.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hives. I got 'em.

I'm itchy.  And red.  And bumpy. The picture of my leg says it all.  According to Dr. Google, hives are not uncommon in early pregnancy due to changing hormones.  Hrm.  I didn't get them with my first pregnancy.  But then again, my boobs aren't sore at the moment and they were KILLING me when I was pregnant with Ian.  So I guess each pregnancy is different.  I'm so happy to be pregnant that I'll take this symptom with a smile on my face.  But I'm also planning to smear on some anti-histamine lotion with an even bigger smile.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

9dp3dt (12 dpo)

Phew.  My test is still positive.  This time I was able to wait until 3:30 am to POAS.  I was not only hoping to see another BFP this morning, but I was also hoping that the line would be a bit darker.  I think that it is darker (although subtly).  I will be very happy when my beta HCG confirms these results on Tuesday.

All of my extra luck goes out to R who is still waiting for her BFP.  I hope this is IT for you!

Friday, September 3, 2010

HOLY SHIT BFP!!!!!! (11dpo)

Holy moly.  I couldn't sleep.  It's 2:15 am.  I had to POAS.  I couldn't wait anymore.  Did the heart palpitations that started Sunday (6dpo) and the uterine twinges that started Wednesday (9dpo) mean something?  Did I just imagine yesterday (10 dpo) that my hunger pains were mixed with slight nausea?  Was I really hungry for lunch at 10 am or just making that up?  Oh my god - all real real real!  The + line on my FRER test came up quickly.  It's faint, but it is definitely there.

I guess that 6AF embryos are our good luck charm.  Ian was a 6AF and now we have a BFP from a 6AF embryo.  I CANNOT believe it worked.  I guess this means you can get pregnant without having sore boobs.  Mine were so unbelievably sore when I was pregnant with Ian and so I just assumed that without that incredibly powerful symptom, I wasn't pregnant.  But of course, since then, I've had 1 baby and breast fed for 1 year so my sisters probably changed a lot.  I'm SO SO SO glad to be proved wrong.

Shortie, I truly hope that you stick.  You almost didn't make it to freeze because you were only a 5AF, but then you divided at the last minute.  I see that you'll be a determined one.  :-)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Here I am, still not feeling it.  Most of my days are spent knowing with 99% certainty that I'm not pregnant.  The rest of the time, I think, "Was that a twinge in my uterus?" or "Do all of these heart palpitations, which I had during my first pregnancy, mean something?" or "Am I this bloated because I'm pregnant or is that just from the burrito I ate at lunch?"  Sigh.  I HATE this.  At least I'll POAS on Friday and know one way or the other, except I'll even second-guess that because hey, a BFN a 11 dpo doesn't necessarily mean I won't have a BFP at 12 dpo, right?  Have I mentioned that I HATE this?

I would LOVE to be proved wrong and actually have a BFP at the end of this FET #2.  But I've already planned the next steps for when I get that BFN.  I told my doctor that I don't want to bother with the one remaining frozen embryo and that I'd like to do a fresh cycle.  And I asked if I could start the suppression phase when I got my period at the end of this FET #2 and she said yes, which is awesome news.  I love not having down-time in between cycles.  So the next step includes my husband giving a sperm sample on Friday so that my RE can submit for IVF insurance approval on the day I get my negative beta.  They can't submit for approval before that negative beta so let's hope that we get the approval before my stimulation phase.  Apparently, it could take 2-3 weeks to get the approval.  And I already have my IVF pre-op appointment scheduled for September 21.  So I've got all of my ducks lined up in a row, which will make the BFN that much easier to swallow.

In the meantime, I've had to switch from doing 2 cc progesterone shots 1x per night to using vaginal suppositories 3x a day.  My butt was getting quite numb from the shots.  In addition, my skin was turning a bit red and is actually still quite painful to touch.  It hurts where my pants/shorts touch my skin and it even hurts to lean back in my chair.  The oddest part of all of this is that the skin sensitivity isn't where I got my shots.  It's closer to my hip bones and spine.  Weird, right? 

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I'm totally not feeling it.  I mean, it know it's early - only 3dp3dt or 6dpo, but yeah, not feeling it.  I have no symptoms and I have been feeling myself up quite frequently.  My husband gets a kick out of watching me press on my boobs every now and then.  They don't hurt at all.  Then again, they are just different she-beasts than they were pre-Ian and so maybe things will be different with #2.  Who knows.  I just won't be shocked and won't even cry when I get that BFN.  The only "symptoms" that I have (other than numb/sore ass from the PIO shots) are heart palpitations.  But I had those when I went off birth control too.  I'm not crampy at all this time around, like I was with FET #1.  Oh well.  There is a tiny glimmer of hope buried deep, but it's pretty darn tiny.

Yesterday, I had my semi-annual depression day.  I know this sounds really odd.  But roughly twice a year, I get depressed for 24 hours.  For anyone who knows me IRL, I'm totally not a depressed person.  I don't even trend that way at all.  But for some reason, I woke up feeling "off".  I had almost no energy and felt like I just couldn't care about anything.  This had absolutely nothing to do with infertility or feeling like FET #2 failed.  It just happens.  It's so odd and I can't come up with any explanation.  But it was over when I woke up this morning and I'm happy to be back to my energetic and happy self.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

FET #2 Transfer Successful!

Our transfer was tentatively scheduled for 11 am this morning.  I got the go/no go call this morning at 8:40 am and it was a go!  So I knew that at least one of our embryos survived the thaw.  But they asked if we could come early, for a 10:40 am transfer.  No problem!  I've had problems in the past having an overly full bladder and so I didn't drink too much before we left and I drank nothing during our 20 minute car ride.  When we arrived at 9:40 am, I took the valium and started drinking just a little bit (but not too much because I knew we had another hour before the transfer).  Around 10:10 am they asked how I was doing and I told them that my bladder was starting to feel full.  They said "Good!" because the woman who was scheduled to have a transfer before me didn't have a full bladder and they wanted to switch me with her.  So off we went and although I wasn't sure that my bladder was full enough, it was apparently PERFECT.  Yeah!  I guess the 3rd time is the charm (since I had an overly full bladder for my IVF and FET #1).

They ended up needing to thaw only one of our two frozen embryos.  Just like FET #1, the embryo thawed perfectly and lost no cells.  So this morning, we transferred one 6-celled day 3 embryo.  It was graded as a 6AF, which is the same grade of embryo that produced our son Ian.  For details on what this embryo grading means, read towards the bottom of this earlier post.

And now I'm just relaxing on the couch, watching baby stories on TLC.  :-)  The valium makes me very sleepy and sluggish.  I told my husband that he's officially on call with our son for the next 3 days.  I'm going to try very hard not to pick him up or carry him around.  He's over 26 pounds now!  I'm super happy that everything seemed to go well.  The embryo thawed perfectly and the transfer went smoothly.  I'm hopeful, but I'm going to try very hard not to get my hopes up too much.  After all, the embryo thawed well and the transfer went smoothly for FET #1 and that resulted in a BFN.  And now, I just have to pass the time during the dreaded 2ww (although I'm probably going to POAS in 8 days, which would be 11 dpo).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ian Speaks - 17.5 months

I hope you enjoy this video!  I definitely enjoyed filming, editing and learning more about how to use iMovie.

Ian Update - 17.5 months

Ian is 17.5 months old now and I wanted to provide an update on his development.  I think he is super smart, but this should be tempered by the fact that (a) I'm his mother and (b) I have no other experience with little ones for comparison purposes.  So what is he up to these days?

His vocabulary is growing and growing.  He now knows where his head, nose, eyes, mouth, ears, feet and toes are and can point to them when we ask him to do so.

He LOVES books and will bring us books and sit in our laps on the floor while we read to him.  He especially loves Elmo and has been getting more and more into the Sesame Street characters.  He points out Big Bird (buh bur) and gets really excited to see The Count (he says "Noooooooo!" but means "The Count").  When he says and means "no" for real, it's said with more of a whine/growl and much less happy excitement.

If he's in a sweet (and undistracted mood), he will give me a hug when I ask for it.  It melts my heart.  He puts his head down on my shoulder and squeezes ever so gently.

He has learned to look at books the right way (i.e., not upside down) and will turn the book around when it is upside down.

He has a shoe addiction and loves to point to shoes (doos!) and bring mommy her shoes and daddy his shoes.

He always wants to carry his own lunch bag out the door in the morning.  And when I try to take it away from him so that I can more easily strap him into the car seat, he freaks.  So I've been doing a dance every morning trying to get him into the car seat while he holds his lunch bag.  He will only give up the lunch bag to the teacher at daycare (and not to his mommy).

He says thank you when you give him something he wants (although he says "dit doo").

He is still unbelievably amazing about going to sleep at night.  We put him down anytime between 7:15 and 7:30 pm and he grabs his lovey, rolls over and goes right to bed without any fuss.  He has been waking up later and later each morning, which is very nice for us (although it is making me get to work later and later).  Today, he just woke up at 7 am, which is why I was able to do this post!

My transfer for FET #2 is tomorrow.  Hopefully it will result in baby #2 who will be just as awesome as Ian.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Happy ICLW!

Thanks for stopping by!  My infertility story is fairly simple.  My husband suffers from poor sperm morphology and we immediately qualified as IVF/ICSI candidates in 2008.  We're lucky to live in Massachusetts, which has mandatory IVF coverage.  Since we felt strongly about not having multiples, and since we didn't have to pay for IVF out of our own pockets, we chose to do a single day 3 embryo transfer after our first round of IVF and it worked!!!  We were able to freeze 3 additional embryos from that IVF round and have since embarked on a journey to have a second child.  FET #1 this past June resulted in a BFN and the transfer for FET #2 is scheduled for this coming Thursday.  I am hopeful that FET #2 will work, but understand that we got super lucky with our IVF and that the statistics are not pulling in our favor.  I am writing this blog to memorialize my experiences (good and bad) and help me remember all of the amazing things about raising my child.  I read blogs to lend support to others who have not been as fortunate as me and to remind me every single day of how lucky I am.  Good luck girls!!