First OB Appointment

Yesterday was my first OB appointment. Luckily, Huzzy was able to come with me (it is never guaranteed that he can). With him next to me, I was able to not have a panic attack like I did when I walked in to make the appointments several weeks ago. There were huge pregnant bellies everywhere and extremely unruly kids running around unchecked.

The appointment was a two-part appointment. The first was with a nurse and my husband wasn’t allowed to go to, which made both of us think that it was an appointment where they ask if there is abuse, etc in the home. But it wasn’t. It was just my medical history and they gave me a great pregnancy week-by-week book and handouts. There was NO reason for him not to be there if I wanted him to be there.

The book I received from my OB's office.

The book I received from my OB’s office.

The second appointment was with the OB. While I’ve been with this clinic for GYN stuff for more than four years, I decided to switch providers because my original one is a bit abrupt and I’m not sure she’d be as compassionate about my concerns as I need her to be. My new OB was all I hoped she’d be… kind, caring, compassionate and willing to listen to anything I had to say and talk to me about it. She also “got” it that this pregnancy, while “normal” in the fact that it was a spontaneous conception… isn’t normal. There’s no guarantee that we can ever get pregnant again, especially without medication. She was amazed that we were pregnant spontaneously after a failed IVF and just before lap surgery for endo. I really, really like her and am so glad I have someone I immediately connected to.

During this appointment, I had a full physical, along with testing to see if I had any STD’s (they do for every pregnant woman) and testing to see if I had any other infections that may harm the baby. We also listened for Squish’s heartbeat via doppler and I about had a heart attack.

The first doppler didn’t find anything except my stomach noises. The doctor said it was an old machine (more than 20 years old) and she had a new one on order because it didn’t always work. So she went to get another one. Cue deep breaths and calming thoughts to keep me from freaking out. The second doppler didn’t pick up ANY sound… because there were no batteries in it. Finally, the third doppler picked up the heartbeat right away… Squish’s heart was beating away at about 160bpm.

Next week we’ll get to see Squish again as we have our NT (nuchal translucency) ultrasound scan, which will assess baby’s risk for Down’s Syndrome, other chromosomal abnormalities, and major congenital heart problems. I’ll also be getting the integrated blood test, which will will screen for many of the same things. While neither test can tell with 100% accuracy, if either show a possibility, my doctor said she believes my insurance will then pay for the Mat21 or other similar test, which costs about $2,000 and is 99% accurate.

My mom disagreed with my decision, but even though I wouldn’t abort for DS or something similar, I believe it’s a good idea to know up front. The hospital I will be delivering at does not have a NICU, nor does it have the specialty doctors that may be needed in the case of DS, a chromosomal abnormality or heart defect. I think it’d be best to know ahead of time so I could have the proper specialists on hand and also get to the right hospital that can handle it rather than being surprised, have the baby emergency airlifted to a different hospital and be separated from him/her until I was released. Huzzy disagreed at first, but understood my reasoning and said he was ok with knowing.

We’ll have another just-listening appointment around 16 weeks and then the anatomy scan around 20 weeks.

So… so far so good. I believe we will be announcing our pregnancy this weekend on Facebook as I enter the second trimester either tomorrow or in a week and a half, depending on which method is used to calculate trimesters. One of my bestest friends, Poe at Many Waters is going to take a few photos for us for the announcement.

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East Coast Visit and Pregnancy Update

Last week, I flew to the east coast for a week of active duty. Normally, my duty includes being the officer-in-charge of a team of 3-5. This time, it was just me and my chief… who only worked 1/2 days due to his other job. This meant I had to make up for not only the half day the chief wasn’t there, but also the missing 1-3 team members. 

I may have been born and raised in Michigan, but I still do NOT deal with heat and humidity well (yes, Michigan has both… in spades). Apparently the week I was in Virginia was one of the most humid of the summer. Yay. Pregnancy has my core body temperature running high and adding on to the fact that I’m no longer used to the heat and humidity and… I was a mess. 

I was supposed to spend two days aboard the ship as it is being constructed (it won’t be commissioned until 2016), but I soon found out that if you are pregnant, you aren’t allowed to step foot on the ship. Which saddened me because I have wanted to be on this ship since it was announced years ago. But it’s ok because I have something better on the horizon and a good reason to not be there. 

While I was there, I managed not to gain any weight (which is good, because now I’m perfectly on track for where I am in this pregnancy). This, of course, was in spite of the fact that I was enjoying food I don’t normally see on the west coast… namely, Cracker Barrel (yes, I stopped there twice). I also tried Chick-fil-A for a third time in my life. Once again, I was not impressed. It was ok, but not fantastic–though I do have to admit the milkshake was super yummy!

Tomorrow, I have my first OB appointment. I can’t wait to hear the heartbeat for the first time. I haven’t had a doctor’s appointment for nearly a month and that feels like too long. I would be lying if I said I’m not terrified that there won’t be a heartbeat. I have no reason to think this because I’m still having symptoms and my belly is obviously growing. It will just make me feel a little better that we will have made it through the first trimester (I’ll be 12 weeks on Thursday and according to the developmental timeline, that’s second trimester… the gestation timeline says it’s not until September 7–a week and a half later). 

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Unplanned Ultrasound

Last Friday (yes, it took me a week to blog this because… yeah, I have no good excuse), I finally called the RE to let them know about the light brown bleeding I had (with some small clots). I wasn’t concerned (much) because it wasn’t red and wasn’t heavy. But… since I hadn’t had a SPOT of blood the entire time, it was different. They told me to come in for an ultrasound so I didn’t worry over the weekend.

They did an exam first and found what they assumed was the cause of my bleeding… the skin near my cervix was irritated. Apparently this can happen easily for some women during pregnancy. But they did an ultrasound to make sure there was no other cause for bleeding, to check the fluid, and make sure I didn’t have any clots or anything near Squish (that’s my unoriginal name for baby for at least this pregnancy).

Everything was fine. Squish was, at 8w1d, measuring 8w3d, which means s/he grew 6 days of growth in 7 days. Early ultrasounds can be off, so I’m not worried one bit that there wasn’t 7 days of growth. The hearbeat had gone up to a perfect 176bpm. I considered re-naming the newly-named Squish “The Gymnast” because baby had decided that while the ultrasound was going, s/he was going to do L shaped crunches while standing on his/her head. While hilarious… I’m slightly concerned that this is neither my husband’s nor my baby because the love of crunches does not come from either of us. Or even either side of our families.

In fact, everything was so fine that they canceled my ultrasound that was supposed to be today, and instead released me to my OBGYN.

After fighting with TriCare (surprise surprise), I decided to switch to TriCare Standard and see the OBGYN I’ve seen for the past four years (since they would let me if I wasn’t pregnant, but if I was pregnant, I MUST go to the military hospital… don’t understand that one). Standard lets me choose my doctors, so that’s good. It just means we’ll pay more out of pocket. Whatever. It’s worth it to have my doctors and at a place I trust more.

Downside to having an earlier ultrasound is that it’s going to be even longer before I see Squish again. I have an appointment at 11w5d with my OBGYN, but they’ve already said it will not be an ultrasound. So my next one may not be until 20ish weeks. That seems a bit odd to me since it seems I’ve seen most of my infertility friends have ultrasounds the first time they see their OBGYN and then the 20ish week scan. The end of October just seems so far away to have the next ultrasound. But, it is what it is. We’ll see what the OBGYN says when I see her.

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When is Compassion Warranted- a Replay

So now that the secret is out of the bag, I want to talk about my experience announcing my pregnancy on Twitter. I knew that the spontaneous pregnancy would make some people’s hearts hurt. I knew I might be unfollowed. And in my announcement post, I acknowledged both and said those feelings were completely understandable. I totally understood… I’ve been hurt by them before as well. I wasn’t expecting everyone to throw me support because some people aren’t in that part of their journey where they could. But I also wasn’t expecting to be UNSUPPORTED, either (ambivalence, I expected and that is fine, too).  And I most certainly wasn’t expecting a few downright rude and hurtful comments, especially since it is my first pregnancy (and hopefully first child). [note: for some reason, it's more accepted in the infertility community and you are more supported with your first pregnancy/take-home baby than you are with subsequent ones]. Also in the infertility community, I’ve noticed that people seem to be more supportive of pregnancies the more you’ve “suffered” and the more procedures you’ve gone through… those who needed some help with Clomid tend to receive less excited responses than those who have gone through IVF.

Let’s talk about unicorns. Apparently, when you have a spontaneous pregnancy when you have gone though infertility the term is a unicorn… that mythical, beautiful creature that everyone wants to see. Apparently there has been a bunch of “unicorns” lately in the social media world. Relatively soon after I announced (maybe I was the straw that broke the camels back, maybe it was coincidence), there started a DELUGE of comments about unicorns. Some saying they hope they are the next unicorn… and some saying they hate unicorns… some making fun of unicorns… and some just talking about why they’ll never be a unicorn and that it must be nice to be one. It was a lot of talking and, in my opinion, a lot of thinly veiled negativity with a bit of snarkiness thrown in (again, not from everyone and not all the time). It wasn’t one specific comment or social media post, one specific conversation, or even one specific person. It was that it was EVERYWHERE.

In what should have been one of the happiest days of my life, I was feeling guilty and ostracized for being someone who was exceptionally lucky in circumstance. But I knew people were hurting and I knew I had contributed to that hurt… even though it wasn’t my fault and I shouldn’t feel bad about it. Someone told me that me getting pregnant did not and COULD NOT take away a pregnancy from someone else. And that made me feel a bit better and decide to just ride it out. I’ve felt horrible after other Twitter people had made announcements (though I NEVER would EVER say negative things about them or “their kind”) and knew the range of emotions.

That is, until someone slung an arrow at me.  **Editing this**  Apparently, I misquoted the person, or so I’ve been told since this person is showing screenshots to people. I no longer have a screenshot of this, so I can’t be sure who is right.  So, I’ll edit it to say this:   One of the most HURTFUL comments said to me privately that made be bawl and leave Twitter (I had decided to take a break, but this made me stay away for much longer than originally planned)  for a while was someone who let me know that she’d never heard of anyone who had endo or suspected endo and didn’t miscarry at least their first child before bringing one home. Really? Is that something I needed to be told? To be told that most likely I’ll miscarry. This wasn’t the only comment I received, but was certainly the worst.  **End Edit**

So let’s go back to my post I made more than a year ago entitled,When is Compassion Warranted?

If I had gotten pregnant as a result of last November’s IVF, it may have hurt some (“why did it only take her ONE try?”) but I think most people would have been thrilled for me. But that’s totally different when it’s a spontaneous pregnancy. It’s not ok in the infertility community to have thinly veiled negativity or snarkiness toward those who get pregnant via IVF (though I have seen it with less invasive infertility treatments) and if it happens, the community would rally around the newly pregnant person, but somehow… it is ok  for that to happen when it’s a spontaneous one, apparently even if the person has gone up to and through IVF, which failed, and then had things happen so their odds of IVF working a second time got even WORSE. So, pregnancy via IVF = good… spontaneous pregnancy, even after a failed IVF = bad. I don’t get it.

Again, I never expect people to support me, because, again, not everyone is in a place in their journey where they can expend that emotion and energy. But I never expected to feel purposely, blatently, unsupported, either. And never in a million years would I have expected specific, private comments that were hurtful, either.

This is my blog, and such as it is, it’s a journey of my life. It first started out simply as a blog of someone with a spouse who was deployed frequently. It took a turn and become a military spouse dealing with infertility. And now, it’s a military spouse (whose husband will be going back to sea next year), who has struggled with infertility and is now tentatively wading through pregnancy.

I have no idea where this blog will go from here… hopefully it’ll add on being a mom, but there’s no guarantee. What is guaranteed is that this blog will follow my life’s journey–whatever that may be. I will also guarantee that I always remember and try to remain sensitive to those who are in all different parts of their infertility journeys and I will continue to support–as I always have–those throughout their journeys, no matter where they are in their journeys. For example, I’m not sharing our first ultrasound for two reasons: 1. People probably weren’t expecting this post and it gives those a chance to choose if they want to continue to follow my blog without seeing a photo like that in the first place. 2. There’s really nothing amazing to show (I mean, the fact that I’m pregnant is beyond amazing)… you can see some newly formed arms and legs sticking up. My brother said baby looks like a seahorse. I rather agree. A cute seahorse, but a seahorse nonetheless.

I understand some may need to unfollow this blog, and I understand. I hope you don’t have to, but I get it, I really do.

 

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A different side of the luck equation

For so long, we’ve been on the wrong side of luck.

- 1 in 8 people experience infertility– CHECK

- 10% of those experiencing infertility are considered unexplained — CHECK

- 40-50% chance of IVF working out– Yeah… not check

- Varicocele surgery fixes the majority of men — Yeah… not check

- Suspected endometriosis– CHECK

After multiple failed cycles, including many medicated and one failed IVF last fall, Huzzy had varicocele surgery in February with both positive and terrifying results. While his morphology improved drastically, his overall numbers plummeted. Our RE even took away our chance at injectables because of the numbers. Getting pregnant without drugs/IVF was pretty much a 1% chance I was told. I am  happy to say that we FINALLY are on the right side of luck, because… we are pregnant. We landed in the 1%.

I was supposed to have a lap surgery to check for and remove endometriosis on July 18, in preparation for our second and final IVF in October. On July 2, I was starting to wonder where AF was (because I didn’t want it during surgery). She had been crazy since the last IVF… my LP went to 13-16 days (from a normal 11 before) and every month I started spotting around 6dpo and didn’t stop until AF (I never spotted before)… who visited hard and heavy for 10 days (which was the same length I had before IVF). So when July 2 came along at 13dpo and I didn’t have AF yet, it wasn’t extremely strange because this is the way it had been for the previous six months after IVF… but I didn’t have any spotting, which I had had since then.

I hesitated to take an HPT because I didn’t want to see what I knew would be another BFN. So I waited a day. I really needed AF to get here and knew the best way to do that was to take a test… because she invariably comes hours after I take one. So I took it and went to go do other things. Less than five minutes later, I came back to throw it away and there it was… the test line SUPER dark–darker than even the control line.

I took a deep breath and stared at it. Then realized I needed to tell my husband. So I went to a special drawer where I had stashed a Harley-Davidson Father’s Day Card (that I bought two years ago expecting to use it) and gave it to him. He looked at it and asked if this meant I had something to tell him. I nodded and grabbed his hand and took him to the bathroom to show him.

That morning, I called the RE to see if I could get a beta. But since it was Thursday, July 3, the clinic was closed for a four day holiday weekend. So I waited until Monday the 7th (18dpo) to call. And my beta was crazy high at 2,487. My beta 48 hours later was even crazier… 5,689. That was a doubling time of 39 hours. My PCM and I were slightly worried about a molar pregnancy. Friday we had our first ultrasound at 7w1d. We saw one perfect baby measuring three days ahead with a perfect heartbeat of 154. I finally could breathe a sigh of relief. I know it’s early, but after seeing the heartbeat, the chance of miscarriage drops significantly.

I want to say that this blog is going to chronicle my journey… wherever that leads. I understand that some people may need to unfollow. I understand. I’ve been there. I will, however, promise to be sensitive and always remember those still in the infertility trenches. As I said on Twitter, I still feel as though I’m in the trenches… I’ve just been able to grab onto the side and am trying to claw my way out.

If you know me on Facebook… PLEASE don’t say anything as I am not “out” yet and won’t be for a while. 

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Knowing the Type of Zombie

I have a lap scheduled two weeks from tomorrow. It’s supposed to tell me if I have endometriosis, which one of my doctors is thinking is pretty definite.

Unexplained infertility is a tough beast to deal with. While I don’t want endometriosis, it would be nice to know what’s wrong with me. I actually had a conversation with someone on Twitter the other day where I said, “It’s like dealing with zombies… it’d be nice to know what kind you are dealing with.”  I mean, you would deal with a runner zombie differently than a swimming or “regular” zombie. Or so I’m told…. Huzzy is the one who likes zombie stuff and I only saw a part of a movie once.

Regardless, it would be nice to find out what’s wrong with me so we can be armed and fight that rather than just shrugging shoulders and using shotgun blast.

 

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Looking for IVF/Adoption Peeps Who Want an Easy Fundraiser

Ok, so I mentioned a while ago that I am now an independent consultant for Jamberry, which will help me save for IVF.

So many fun colors... and we even have Jamberry Juniors for little fingers and toes!

So many fun colors… and we even have Jamberry Juniors for little fingers and toes!

But I want to give back to those within my infertility community… how would you like to earn a minimum of 10% and up to 25% of sales that go toward your IVF or adoption fund? Jamberry does an awesome job with fundraisers and offers 10%, but I’m willing to offer up additional money from my own commission to get your fundraiser earn up to 25% of sales.

Jamberry is SO EASY to sell that you could potentially earn a lot of $$ to help you with your journey. Here are some reasons I love Jamberry (and have before I even became a consultant):

  • Made in the USA (awesome, for this military spouse and Navy reservist)
  • Can be used on artificial nails
  • Last up to two weeks on fingers
  • Last up to six weeks on toes
  • No dry time
  • No chips
  • No harmful chemicals
  • Non-toxic
  • Formaldehyde free
  • Latex free
  • Never animal tested
  • More than 300 designs

So, please let me know if you want to fundraise for your infertility journey… I want to help us ALL bring home baby!

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