Saturday, August 29, 2009

Introducing Les Twinkies

With all the swirling drama, I forgot that I made Dr. Dreamy position the ultrasound machine so that I could capture this first shot of Les Twinkies.  


Do you see the little darlings there?  Sharing so nicely?  I'm actually kind of impressed with the quality of this photo considering it was taken in a dark room with a camera phone.  

My IF friends, you know what was going on while I got this shot. I was laying there, you know, wand and all.  Lovely.  

Of course I wanted to share it with you and give you a short update.  After some back and forth, I was finally "cleared" to schedule my appointment with the maternal fetal medicine specialist.  (Hereafter referred to as the MFM).  The scheduling nurse said that they would not see me next week but between 9-10 weeks.  

WHAT.  

This did not make me happy since I trust Dr. D and he said he wanted them to see me NEXT WEEK.  So despite being a pleaser by nature, I pushed back.  

Me: "Why are you having me wait?"  

Nurse: "Well, we want to make sure the pregnancy is even viable.  We want to be sure we see heartbeats."

Me: "We already saw heartbeats. Yesterday.  At 6w3d.  That's why I'm being referred to you."

Nurse: "Oh.  Really?  Wow.  Well we would not have expected to see them so early. Okay, how about we have you come in at eight weeks."

Me: "Okay.  Great." (But in my mind I was thinking, eight weeks is not NEXT week but take what you can get.)

Tell me, should I have insisted on being seen next week?  The reason I didn't push more is because I know that if there is a membrane (please God let there be another one) it will most likely be visible later rather than sooner.  

So I'll go in on September 10th for a level II ultrasound and a consult with the MFM. The time's going to fly, right?  

I said, right?  


Thursday, August 27, 2009

The news.

I'm sorry I kept you waiting all afternoon.  I was still processing.  

I am still processing.  

I won't regale you with a play-by-play or tell you about what the Dreamster was wearing (though the tie was mint green and very snappy).  I'll just get right to the point.

Today I am 6w3d according to Dr. Dreamy (but my ticker is one day behind).  

Today we heard a heartbeat (105 beats per minute) and saw one Piglet measuring 6w1d (perfect) in one gestational sac.

Then we saw another Piglet measuring 6w0d (also great) and heard another heartbeat, also 105 beats per minute.  

I got to experience a very moving and thrilling moment in an infertile's life.  

My most infertile of ground sprouted something living and breathing. 

Wait.

My most infertile of ground sprouted someTHINGS living and breathing.  

It is enough to make you weep with joy and disbelief.

The catch?  

Because there's always a catch, right? 

They are both in the same gestational sac.  

They are identical twins.  

Sharing one sac. 

Such bittersweet news.  

It's all very worrisome.  Dr. Dreamy says he has only ever seen a handful of such cases.  He's sending me to a maternal fetal specialist for an ultrasound next week. I'll call to schedule it tomorrow.  

I've been researching this as much as Piglet will allow.  From what I gather, if they are Monochorionic Monoamniotic (MoMo) this is the worst case scenario because they share everything.  If they are Monochorionic Diamniotic (MoDi) that's better because they at least have their own membranes within the gestational sac.  Actually, I must give credit to my dear friend Liz who found this information for me before I could get my act together.  

I would post links about MoMo vs MoDi, but honestly, this has been one emotionally taxing day and I am just spent.  But I will post more information soon.  Promise.

Thanks for all your love and support and please keep cheering on and praying for BabIES Deux.  Will keep you posted about my upcoming appointment.  

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another way to avoid sand...





...use your dad as a mule.  

Again. 


Wish you were here

We've been away at the beach for the past five days.  We've been busy running around with fellow pint-sized cousins, avoiding sand at all costs (Piglet is ABHORS it..and we are at the beach...nice), eating lots of tasty food and soaking in the beautiful weather.  I have had about ten blog entries sloshing around in my noggin, but none have come to fruition.  I'm sorry.  I think it's because the ocean waves and my recent propensity towards large meals are like a pregnant woman's A.mbien.  ALL I WANT TO DO IS TAKE LONG, LUXURIOUS NAPS!

For now, Piglet and I leave you with this image of us enjoying our beach blanket and sand toys, sans sand. Only Piglet.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Gin-gee


Remember how I told you Piglet can now say our killer Kujo-like labradoodle dog's name?  Here he is saying it loud and clear.  And I must say I love the squishy-face he makes in between saying "Gin-gee!"  Piglet is so expressive and funny these days.  I will have to capture and share his new and sometimes very emphatic "noooo!" It is truly hilarious. Enjoy and stay tuned for upcoming posts from my temporary, remote, super secret location.  

P.S. Lest I forget to mention Baby Deux, we are t-minus six days until ultrasound. (Insert high pitched, happy but anxiety-filled squeal that can possibly be heard only by canines.)


video

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Someone stop me.


+
=

And all consumed less than an hour before bed.  Oh the SHAME.

Oh well. 

Last night it was a H.ershey bar and ginger ale.

P.S. I have to tell you all that yesterday Piglet and I went to play at my sister's house. My brother in-law asked my sister how I was and her response was "I fed her from the minute she walked in until the minute she left."  What she left out is that I was there for three hours.  :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Evolution of a smile

Piglet turned 19 months last week. I still need to write the update, but let's be honest. You're only in it for the pictures. I don't blame you. I'm the same. Sure, the list of words he can say and sign is completely scintillating, but that chubby cheeked grin still wins! For the record, my favorite new word he learned to say is "Ginger" (our killer labradoodle dog's name).

So until I can manage to string two words together that don't involve the words "beta" and "ultrasound" I'll leave you with this brand new series of snaps I took of my ever-growing Piglet. And by brand new I mean taken about five hours ago. Do I deliver, or what?




Monday, August 17, 2009

Limbo, the new staycation.

I went in for my second beta last Friday.  I had a feeling that maybe it wasn't going to be perfect.  Don't ask me how I knew, I just did.  When Dr. Dreamy called me (on his lunch hour, no less!) all he said was "Hi M. this is Dr. Dreamy, how are you?"  And I replied "I can tell you have bad news.  Just tell me."  

So.  My second beta did not double.  In fact, it didn't really even come close.  

241.  

A rise of 67.5.  

Dr. D. told me not to read too much into it, "could mean nothing at all" he said.  He told me he wanted to do another beta on Monday (today) and that he would want to see a number in the 500s by then.  

Of course I started freaking out, drowning my sorrows by buying Thomas the Tank Engine for Piglet and thinking of all the worst case scenarios.  I would not say I was devastated, because there was certainly still hope, but I was shaken to the core.  Just one more reason infertility is so frustrating. If I were a normal person, I would simply pee on a stick, see two lines, call my OB and make an appointment for when I was six weeks or so. There would be no knowledge of rising betas or doubling times.  

Knowledge is power, but it can also be a cruel instrument.  

Once I digested the news, I called in the troops, asking my closest friends and family to pray, send positive thoughts and cross every possible thing for me.  Everyone rallied around us and I am so grateful.  Their support and love made me able to continue functioning and try to keep hope floating despite the sinking feeling in my belly.

For the last 2.5 days I have been stewing.  Literally worried sick that my beta would decline instead of rise come Monday.  I put all the happiness and elation from previous two days on hold. I paid Limbo another visit.  Let me tell you, I have been there before, so often in fact, that they very nearly crowned me their queen.  

Today I brought my good luck charm, Piglet, with me for the third beta.  Despite waiting for over 30 minutes in the front and then a few more for my blood draw, he was an angel baby.  So charming and friendly to all the nurses, blowing kisses and roaring like a lion for them. :)  It made me hopeful that the rest of the day would continue going well for us.

And it has.  

Piglet set the tone and at 1:30 today I got the call.  

It rose. 

It more than doubled!!! 

To 623.

THANK GOD!!!!!!!  I swear that my sigh of relief could be heard across the globe.    

We still have a ways to go but we are out of the woods for now.  Ultrasound is August 27th, which will be a huge day for our family.  

P.S. - If you're wondering what Limbo looks like, just imagine a place that is filled with clocks, all telling a different time and none of them being the time you want it to be. Then make sure that all your food tastes the same and none of it very good.  Oh and add in insomnia every night and a foggy head all day long and you've found your way there.  


Thursday, August 13, 2009

If you can't find it, that's because I ate it.


If you set down something tasty on my countertop between the hours of 11 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. and leave for a few minutes, chances are you will come back to an empty plate.  Before and after that, you're safe. 

I don't know what the deal is this time because early in my pregnancy with Piglet, food was a very strange thing for me.  I didn't want to eat anything, I knew I needed to eat, but nothing sounded appealing.  Nothing sounded particularly horrible, but nothing was appetizing either.  If I had had my druthers, I would've skipped food altogether, except then the waves of nausea would come here and there, reminding me I needed to eat. When I was about 11 or 12 weeks, I started eat a lot of nectarines, peaches and Honey Nut Cheerios.  That I remember very clearly! 

This time though, oh my goodness, I can't face food too early, but come lunch time, I am ravenous.  I can and will eat you under the table.  Then the rest of the day it's nibbling here and there - fruit leather, cheese, toast, yogurt, strudel, a banana - it's an all afternoon munch fest.  I take a little break around 3:00 but by 6:00 I want start making out with the fridge again.  

It's very clear.  If I want to eat, I *really* want to eat.  If I don't, I definitely don't. They say that every pregnancy is different and I must say, I agree.  Now you'll have to excuse me as Mr. K brought me an eclair and it is in fact, not quite 9:00 yet.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

173.5

That's right.  173.5!  A rockstar first beta (11dp3dt)!  And I stand corrected, my first beta two days early with Piglet was a mere 43.7, but I got another beta the next day because I tested early (so Mr. K could be around to get the news too, he was going out of town the next day).  The beta the next day was 98.  The one after that was 223.  

In the scheme of things my beta is a super solid, awesome first beta number.  As it relates to me personally, it's on the high side.  We won't know if it means anything until our first ultrasound at the end of August.  

Suffice to say we are SO SO SO excited!!!  We feel extremely blessed to have another opportunity to be parents and to give Piglet a sibling (to harass like we did our siblings). A red letter day in the VK household for sure.  

I can't say it enough - THANK YOU for all your outstanding cheering, love and support.  

Much love to you all. 

Miss MVK

Beta day!

Well today's the day.  We find out exactly how much HCG the pregnancy tests have been detecting.  My first beta (which was two days early) with Piglet was 98.  I'm thinking this time my beta will be in the mid to upper 100s.  

I'm so excited I feel like I might barf. 

Speaking of pregnancy symptoms, so far, mine are as follows:
  • hunger, a lot of it or none of it
  • insomnia coupled with bouts of sleeping like I'm in a coma
  • extreme klutziness, it's sad really, like watching a newborn filly
  • forgetfulness, I keep forgetting to pay our poor, deserving nanny
  • protruding belly, yes I know I am only 4w along, but couple that with it being my second and the lovely IVF weight and well, you do the math
  • smell aversions, strong coffee slays me (though it didn't last time and I generally love the smell of java)
Okay, off to get my 101,228 blood draw of the year.  Hoping it's the one that counts!  

Monday, August 10, 2009

He's either...


...cute or Kim J.ong-Il.  

The polls are now open. 

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Confession

I hate to be surprised.  I really really don't like it.  I am one of those terrible people who reads half of the book and then reads the end.  I do go back and read the rest of the book though, so that's something, right?  I just do much better when I know what to expect. Good or bad, if I have anything to say about it, I want to know, not be told.  

Infertiles have differing opinions about whether or not to take home pregnancy tests before their beta/blood tests.  

Given what I told you in the first paragraph you can guess which camp I'm in.  

GO TEAM POAS (Pee On A Stick)!!! 

Knowledge is power, people.  

So the question is, what new knowledge do I have? 

Two lines.

One word.

PREGNANT.  

I am pregnant with Baby Deux!!!!!!!!

...and I could not be more overwhelming grateful, hopeful and elated.  

Thank you for all the support, prayers, good thoughts and vibes.  They worked!

And now for the confession portion of the program - I started taking pregnancy tests on Thursday morning and all came back positive.  They started out faint, but have steadily gotten darker.  Today's test was definitive!

Stay tuned for beta numbers on Wednesday.  

xoxo 

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Say it like you mean it


Piglet learned the sign for "cold" a few weeks ago and now when he touches something cold, he makes the sign and purses his lips.  It's so funny! Sometimes he feels more strongly about it than others.  I'd say he feels pretty strongly about it in the video below. :)  


video

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Love letter


Hat tip to my friend Eileen for this idea.  I cried when I read her letter written a few days ago and I thought it was time to send a little message to my own embabies as well.  

Dear Embryos,

Today is the fourth day that you have been inside me.  According to the chart I'm following, today is the day you will hatch out of your shell(s) and find a nice cozy place to nest for hopefully the next nine months.  Hopefully.  I watched a Nova episode online yesterday that showed all the amazing steps you will need to take and challenges you will need to overcome (like being attacked by white blood cells) in order to accomplish the not-so-simple task of implantation.  I'm praying that you are strong and healthy enough to do this.  Please, please try your very hardest!

Because I would really like to be your mother.  

We would have an amazing life together, all of us.  We would go on adventures great and small, eating tasty treats along the way and holding hands before we crossed the street.  I would read you books and comb your hair and kiss you until your cheeks are pink from my lipgloss. I would look at you and marvel at how very lucky I am to have such a wondrous child.  And I would tell you a thousand times a day how much I love you.  

How do I know all this?  I know because I am your mother and you have a big brother and I do the very same for him each and every day.  There is nothing I want more in the world than for you to join us as we live our happy, contented life together.  Only your arrival can complete our family.

So please, Sweet Embabies.  Get comfy, nestle in.  I promise that I will be the best parent I know how to be if you do.  

Love,
Mom

Monday, August 3, 2009

Rediscovered favorite past time


I started taking a knitting class back in the spring of 2006.  I was hooked from the very beginning.  I wouldn't say I was naturally great at it, but I really worked at it.  I also had a great teacher with a wicked sense of humor who nicknamed me "big stitch." I wish I was kidding.  For a time, I was obsessed with yarn and needles, buying both in quantity.  I remember asking my best friend if she thought I could live by a certain budget and her response was "It depends if you're going to keep knitting."  Seriously. Obsessed.

After I got pregnant, I found that I didn't have that much time or energy to knit anymore. Poor Piglet had only a measly three hats and one sweater knit by me when he was born.  There's a blanket I've been working on for him since he was conceived. I'm hoping to finish it before he leaves for college.  Even then, no promises.  

The day before our transfer, I took the time to pull out my favorite knitting books along with some of my favorite skeins of yarn.  I wasn't sure what I was going to knit but I knew I wanted to start a new project.  

Last week the receptionist at my clinic did me a huge service by recognizing how important it was to me that Dr. Dreamy do my procedure and it was she that really started the whole ball rolling to correct the situation.  I felt so grateful to her, I've been brainstorming a way to show her my gratitude.  She is expecting her first baby, a little girl, at the end of August.  I thought I might get her a cute outfit at J.anie and Jack or a giftcard to Babies R Us.  

Then I remembered I have the best pattern for the perfect baby hat.  I usually finish it just with a pom pon at the top, but since I have time on my hands, thought I'd try to knit a little flower embellishment.  

Turned out pretty cute, didn't it?  :)  It's not perfect (especially the flowers) so don't look too closely!  It took me less than a day from start to finish and I put it down several times to you know, eat and sleep.  I hope she likes it.  I loved knitting this as a way to show my true gratitude to Chelsea for her help and kindness last week.  

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A pain in the...

One of the loveliest parts of IVF and possibly the most notorious are the "butt shots." Also known as intramuscular shots or IMs to infertiles, they are horrendous.  The needles are at a minimum 1.5 inches long and you have to plunge them deep into your tissue.  No amount of icing or Orajel (I have personlly never tried Orajel) is going to take away the sensation of that sharp object being jammed in a "dart-like motion" into your bum.  Tonight Mr. K gave me my fourth butt shot of PIO (progesterone in oil) and it sucked as much as the first one. I literally dread it all day long.  If the effects were short-lasting, that would be okay, but the injection site stays really sore, like a new bruise for many days. 

I already begged Dr. Dreamy to let me use the suppositories instead but he gave me a twinkly blue-eyed smile and said "make it to your beta and then we'll see how things are going." That is ELEVEN DAYS AWAY.  Sigh.

By the way, it should not go unnoticed that I just typed the words "let me" and "suppositories" in one sentence.  IVF makes even the oddest things seem commonplace.  

Other than the shots, I am doing fine.  Lots of twinges and cramps, but they could very well be left over from my egg retrieval or a side effect of the PIO shots.  I'm already jonesing to take an HPT even though I know it is completely ludicrous.  I won't do it yet, but will certainly take one before my beta test.  I like to be prepared, no matter what the news!  

Tomorrow or the next day I should hear how my remaining two embryos are doing or if they arrested. If one or both survived, there's a chance one of the embryos we transferred is doing equally well.  Fingers crossed.  

For my nerdy friends and readers, here is a day-by-day account of what happens to a day three embryo after transfer. "Dpt" means days post transfer.  Today I am two days post transfer.  :)  

1dpt ..embryo is growing and developing
2dpt... Embryo is now a blastocyst
3dpt....Blastocyst hatches out of shell on this day
4dpt.. Blastocyst attaches to a site on the uterine lining
5dpt.. Implantation begins,as the blastocyst begins to bury in the lining
6dpt.. Implantation process continues and morula buries deeper in the lining
7dpt.. Morula is completely inmplanted in the lining and has placenta cells & fetal cells
8dpt...Placenta cells begin to secret HCG in the blood
9dpt...More HCG is produced as fetus develops
10dpt...More HCG is produced as fetus develops
11dpt...HCG levels are now high enough to be immediately detected on HPT


Of course I have the urge to add little boxes next to each of these milestones and tick them off with each passing day.  Just because I am on bedrest does not mean I am less OCD!  


Saturday, August 1, 2009

And now we wait.

I want to begin by saying thank you to all of you for all your support over the past few days and especially today - transfer day.  If this works, it will be a triumph for all of us and if it doesn't, I'll know it was not for lack of love and affection from you all, my peeps.  Merci beaucoup!!!

I couldn't sleep at all last night, logging only 2.5 hours between 4-6:30 a.m.  Oddly, I am not that tired. I think all the adrenaline is still pulsing through my veins.  

Mr. K and I arrived at the clinic right on time and my friend and acupuncturist met us there.  While I was having my acupuncture treatment, the embryologist came in to give us the update.  

We had one eight cell, one five cell and three four cell embryos.  They were still growing and dividing. She rated them excellent, fair and the last three, as not great. So she wanted to know how many we wanted to transfer.  With Piglet we transferred four eight cell embryos and we had one baby so she wondered if we might want to transfer the same amount again this time.  

Mr. K and I had agreed to transfer three embryos awhile ago.  But when the embryologist suggested we transfer four again and even my acupuncturist who is normally conservative about this chimed in and agreed, we weren't sure what to do.  

We have always talked about multiples in an abstract way, as in "Oh my gawd, can you I-M-A-G-I-N-E."  

NOT "If we got pregnant with multiples would we reduce, what would we do, how strongly do we each feel about this?"  

As much as the idea of twins puts a lump in my throat, I am a strong believer in whatever will be will be.  I am fortunate that being a mother comes very naturally to me.  It's like breathing.  I was just born to do it.  I love it, live for it.  So while I know that there would be enormous challenges and I worry about how Piglet would be affected, I feel like I'm equal to the challenge if it arises.

What I didn't realize is how strongly Mr. K felt about NOT having multiples, even twins. So of course a debate ensued.  I was in favor of sticking to our original plan of transferring three.  Mr. K was entertaining the idea of waiting until day five and transferring two blasts.  Keep in mind, my embies are picky, they prefer to be with their mother and the last time we tried to go for day five it ended in one poor quality morula and one pre-morula.  Suffice to say, that cycle was not successful.  

I swear the poor embryologist was looking at us like - 

You guys, get your shizzle together already.  I've got your babies growing in a dish for pete's sake.  

Enter Dr. Dreamy.  Part reproductive demi-god and part marriage counselor.  He laid out all the stats for us, told us that yes, twins are definitely a possibility but in order for us to be successful at all, we will need to take a risk with transferring more.  I could tell he was wanting us to transfer three too.  Now we just needed to get Mr. K there as well.  After a few more minutes of discussion, Mr. K got on the "transfer three" wagon too.  The relief in the room was palpable.  When I refused asked nicely if I could please skip the V.alium, Dr. D. suggest we give it to Mr. K instead.  ;)

My poor turtle-like husband, he just needs time to get there, but he eventually does, in his own time.  

Here are our little darlings.  
Nice looking embies, don't you think?


Dr. D. wheeled me into the surgery area and we talked a little about what I was going to do while on bedrest (be awesome, read books, watch Flight of the Conchords - which just happens to be Dr. D's favorite show, we are so BFFs).  Then while we were talking I see the embryologist peek through the window and say to Dr. D. "they are all compacting!" 

It seems that our children already take after their father.  Need a little time to get there, but they eventually do.  

So in the end we transferred three embryos - one ten cell and two six cells, they had grown in the just thirty minutes we took to deliberate. The other two left were still growing and compacting.  I will find out about them in a few days.  

For now, for today, I am delirious with happiness that we got to go through this amazing process to complete our family.  Yes, it is emotional and painful, not to mention incredibly expensive.  But, on the upside, I am healthy, Mr. K is healthy, we are relatively youngish, we already have one darling child as a result of IVF and today, we were lucky enough to complete another cycle which will hopefully bring us one (two?) more.  

So many things can go wrong in an IVF cycle, as you already know.  Cysts pop up, hormone levels are too low, eggs don't mature.  A lot has to go right and very little wrong in order for you to even *get* to the point of transferring embryos.  But, we made it.  Just barely,  But we did.  

There is so much to be grateful for.  So very much.  

P.S. - This post would have been done much sooner but I was busy stuffing my craw with pineapple in between guzzling grape juice.