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!
video

Dance Little Pookie - by Sandra Boynton
video

Animal Sounds
video

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.