infertility

All posts tagged infertility

Missing our angel baby 

Published October 15, 2016 by Jennie

Today is pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day. My heart goes out to all the mommies and daddies out there who are parents to babies no longer on this earth and/or babies they never got to meet. 

It has been a year and a half since I miscarried our first baby. When I look back at that  post it still makes me feel sick to my stomach. 

I am so thankful for the children we now have but they do not replace the one we lost. I still miss him. The day I found out I was pregnant with him was the best day of my life. Up until then we had tried to get pregnant for five years with no success. I am so very thankful for the joy I experienced from that pregnancy even though it only lasted 13 weeks. It was the only time I enjoyed being pregnant. 

I wish I had not allowed my fear of another loss prevent me from experiencing any joy from my second pregnancy. 

While I still struggle with the implications from infertility and pregnancy loss, I thankful for the connections I have formed with other bloggers. Sometimes I feel like you guys understand me more than some of the people I see in my day to day life. Thank you so much for all your support and encouragement. It means everything to me. – Jennie 

Back To The Hospital

Published September 16, 2016 by Jennie

We have had a lot going on this week. I am glad I have this blog so in addition to connecting with other bloggers, I have a way to keep friends and family up to date with what is going on.

Last weekend Lauren had a fever. I took her to urgent care. They sent us right to the ER. At the ER they did all kinds of tests. The kept us in the room with her for everything except the lumbar puncture (also known as a spinal tap). It was really hard for my husband and me to stay in the waiting room while they did this.

Once they were done, the doctor came and got us. She looked upset. Apparently they could not get what they needed from the spinal tap. They decided to call in another doctor to try it. While I was not happy that they had to do it again, I understand that sometimes things do not work as planned and I am glad they were honest with us.

We had to leave the room again for the second attempt. It felt like it took longer. Luckily it worked that time. They then took a bunch of blood, put in an IV, and admitted us to the hospital.

The first night was rough. She obviously did not feel good and made sure everyone knew that. The next day my mom called me to let me know Luke (her twin) now had a fever. I knew the drill. She took him to the ER. While there, I got a nurse to watch Lauren and went down to take care of Luke while he was in the ER.

They did all the same stuff to Luke that they did to Lauren. Luckily, they only had to do one spinal tap as it worked the first time. This doctor did not make me leave the room. I am glad. While a spinal tap is no fun, it was worse in my mind.

The hardest part about his time in the ER was when they had to put in his catheter for a urine sample. While they did it, he looked right at me. I have never seen him in so much pain and it broke my heart. I would have done anything to make the pain go away. It was really hard not to fall apart.

Unfortunately they could not get what they needed from his catheter. Before they did it again they went ahead and got his blood drawn and IV put in. The second time they did it, I held his hand and put my face on his cheek so neither one of us would have to see what they were doing.

After they finished all the tests, they admitted him. He had to stay in a different room than his sister but luckily they were able to stay in rooms next to each other. Having them both there was still difficult. They were both supposed to have an adult in their room at all times. Unfortunately I have not yet figured out how to be in two places at once. Thankfully my parents were there to help.

While in the hospital, I found out that while doctors and nurses are great, you really have to advocate for your kid(s). For example, one night Luke was screaming his head off and obviously felt like crap. He is normally a very quiet baby and I could tell he was miserable. They did not want to give him Tylenol because they do not like to give it for fevers under 102.1. His was 101.8.

If they knew him like I did they could see he needed it. I decided to open his door and keep it open so everyone could hear him scream. Within a few minutes they decided to make an exception and he got some Tylenol, which did help him feel better.

I also found out that hospitals like to assume worst case scenario for pretty much everything. One day a doctor listened to Luke’s heart and heard a murmur. Prior to this I have not worried about their hearts. When I was pregnant I had a very detailed fetal echo on both (they do that for all IVF pregnancies) and all was normal. Also, as far as I know, he has not shown any other symptoms of heart issues, although I acknowledge I am not a medical doctor so I may not know what I am looking for.

Anyway, they decided he needed an echo cardiogram. This was scary. The tech took forever. When I asked her if it looked okay, she told me that she couldn’t say anything and that the pediatric cardiologist would look at the test and come talk to me that day. I worried about it all day but the cardiologist never came. That evening I asked one of the nurses about it. She pulled up the record and said that the cardiologist noted that everything was normal. I do not know why they never told me.

Today we finally all got to go home. It has been a long week. I hope we never have to go back. Here is a picture of them before all of this happened. It’s nice to see at least one of them smiling, especially since I watched them be miserable for the last week. I am still trying to get a picture of both of them smiling at the same time (hopefully that will happen soon). Today they are 12 weeks (6 adjusted) and were about 10 weeks ( 4 adjusted) in the picture.

luke-and-lauren

Some people who saw pictures from my last post actually emailed me to ask if he has been evaluated for torticollis. He has and does have it. It’s likely from being breech. We are working on treating it and it should get better. He also may end up with a cranial cap. We were supposed to get that checked out this week but rescheduled it for next week.

I hope everyone had a less stressful week! Hopefully things will calm down for us and we can get back into our routine. – Jennie

 

Twin Photo Shoot

Published August 25, 2016 by Jennie

Today the twins are 9 weeks (3 weeks adjusted). The last 9 weeks have been a blur but we have tried to take some pictures. I do not have any other form of social media so this is my first time sharing any pictures.

People have asked how we are doing with all of this. It has been really hard. The thing I struggle with the most is accepting that they are preemies and right now are not going to act their age (they are acting like 3 week olds as opposed to 2 month olds). I constantly worry that due to being preemies they will struggle meeting their milestones. They had their two month checkup and the doctor said they are good for being 3 weeks adjusted but I still worry.

They are gaining weight well, especially the boy (he gained 40 oz in 3 weeks). Our little girl has really bad acid reflux (we even had to do a barium swallow study) but even with that she is also gaining well (about an ounce a day).

Here are some pictures we have taken along the way.

This is them at about 3 weeks

I don’t remember how old they were here but the shirts are just too cute!

This is the girl on the way to her first doctor appointment. I can’t believe how much she has grown. This is the last time we tried to put socks on her. She hates anything on her feet and kicks them off almost immediately. When we went to do her swallow study they put an id tag on her foot, which she kicked off. I got yelled at by the radiology department for bringing her back there without id. Oops.

p3

As I mentioned, she has really bad acid reflux and is a fussy baby in general (that might be an understatement). We found this onesie that fits her perfectly.p13

Taking them out in public is a crazy endeavor. Even a quick walk is an event. It seems like everyone we pass stops us as asks a million questions.  I had no idea that twins were so interesting. Here is a picture of the first time I took them out together.

p12stroller

Our fabulous photographer, Claudia, did a newborn shoot (she also did our maternity pictures). She has the patience of a saint and even came to our house because I was too nervous to take them out to her studio. She also has a great facebook page and webpage. These were taken at about 5 weeks.

We also had some pretty cute bloopers. We tried to get a good picture of her with a tutu on but she was not having it. I should have known better. On the left is what I was going for (original image here). She is on the right.

Also when we put them together she seems to like to attack him. Poor guy.

Sometimes though they seem to be ok. This is a picture I took of them while we were hanging out and binge watching random shows on Hulu. Sometimes it seems like she NEVER sleeps so this is photo proof to remind me that it does sometimes happen.

Until next time. – Jennie

Our Birth Story

Published June 26, 2016 by Jennie

Thank you so much for all the well wishes! It has meant a lot to me. I thought I would share our birth story. It was definitely a whirlwind and some parts are hard to remember.

On Friday the 24th, I woke up at about 4AM to my water breaking at 34w1d. I woke up my husband and we drove to the hospital. We were both surprisingly calm given the situation. I think we were both in shock.

When I got to triage the nurse told me that since I was not in labor they would try to hold it off since I was early. The original plan was to admit me and try to push back delivery as long as possible. I then spoke to the doctor on call. He said sometimes the risks of prolonging the pregnancy would outweigh the benefits. The longer we waited, the higher the risk of infection (the risk of infection increases after you rupture your membranes). He said 34 weeks is usually the point where the will not try to prolong the pregnancy anymore.

Since I was not in labor, he decided to give me a steroid shot to speed up lung development. That takes a day to work so we were going to deliver on Saturday. Even so, he said that the research on giving steroids at 34 weeks is mixed. At that point it probably does not help much but since it only takes a day to work it was worth a shot. Basically he was ok with trying to prolong the pregnancy for one more day but nothing more than that.

We scheduled a C section on Saturday. About 10 minutes after the doctor left I went into labor. It happened super fast. I went from no contractions to significant contractions very quickly. The doctors were surprised by how fast it happened. Luckily I had an amazing nurse who got the ball rolling so I could deliver.

The C section went smoothly. I originally struggled with having a C section versus a vaginal birth but once it came time to do it, I was just glad we had a way for me to deliver them safely. One I delivered, we got to see them and hold them for a few minutes and then they went to the NICU.

That evening I started feeling pretty bad. We found out I had a severe allergic reaction to the tape used on my incisions. The doctor actually told me she had never seen a reaction like that before. In the grand scheme of things it is not my biggest concern. It is frustrating though because it makes it harder to get around and the medicine used to treat it makes me pretty loopy.

I have attempted to pump and so far it is an epic failure. I pump every 2 hours using a hospital grade pump and have yet to get even a single drop. Not even one. I hate it.

I do plan on writing a post about our NICU experience. For now I will say it is the best and worst place I have ever been to. I am so thankful that our babies are getting such good care and the staff in the NICU are nothing short of angels.

Here are a few pictures.

 

We are also incredibly fortunate that both babies are doing remarkably well. They have breathed on their own the whole time (that is a big deal for preemies) and are eating. Yesterday they had all their IVs removed. Today they were removed from their incubators and are in regular beds. I know they need a little more TLC but I am so ready for them to come home! – Jennie

We are closer than we thought

Published June 23, 2016 by Jennie

Today I am 34 weeks. Holy cow! Yesterday we had at non stress test (NST) at our OB/GYN’s office. It took a while for the test to differentiate the babies. Apparently they like to be active and calm at the same time. Ultimately though they got a good reading and they both passed, yay! We will be doing these tests weekly until I deliver (although we may not have many more weeks to go).

Last week we had a biophysical profile (BPP) at MFM. We go there every four weeks. During our BPP the babies did not want to wake up so the doctor had to buzz them. That was the weirdest feeling ever! I thought they were going to jump out of my stomach. They passed this test as well as a growth scan and placenta assessment.

The doctor then checked my cervix and immediately said I will not make it to term, which is 38 weeks for twins. It measured at 1.7 cm and has been over 3 cm for all my other checks. He estimated I will deliver around 35 to 36 weeks but of course can not tell for sure.

Even though I can not control when I deliver, the fact that they will likely be premature is difficult to accept. I have done everything I can think of to have a healthy pregnancy and I am still not going to be able to carry them to term. Part of me feels like this is my first mommy failure. Logically I know this is not the case but it is still hard.

My doctor did help me feel a bit better about things. He told me that the average gestation for twins is 35 weeks. Also, they both look healthy. We are delivering at a hospital with a level IV NICU so if there are issues they will be best equipped to handle them. The thought of spending time in the NICU is scary but I am going to try not to think about it until it is necessary. Lastly, I know that there are different levels of prematurity and it could be much worse.

For now I am laying low at home reading every baby book I can find and trying my best to get everything ready for the babies. Even so, the more I do the more unprepared I feel. We will have help when the babies get here but I am worried I am not going to know what to do.

I am also trying to figure out how to make this as easy on my dogs as possible. I know this might sound like a silly concern but they have been our babies for 10 years and are used to being the center of attention. Here is a picture of them. Aren’t they adorable!

dogs

I know our priorities will change but I do not want them to feel completely neglected. Does anyone have any good advice on how to do this?

Right now I am super nervous but also really excited to meet our little ones! We have been waiting for over 6 years and we are now down to a few weeks (or maybe less). I am also thankful for all the support from my blogging family. It is nice to know that there are other people out there going though similar things. You guys are awesome! – Jennie

We did a photo shoot!

Published June 13, 2016 by Jennie

So anyone who has ever met me may be surprised by this. Normally this kind of thing is not my style. I do not think there is anything wrong with maternity photos at all (in fact I always enjoy looking at ones that people post). I am just not a picture person. In fact, I mentioned in my last post that up until this point, I had only taken one picture since we did my transfer, and that was at graduation.

Several people have told me that in the future I would regret not having any pictures of my pregnancy. They are right. Even so, I did have to get over some vanity issues. I feel like I look awful. I have experienced a TON of swelling (I can only wear flip flops and crocs that are a few sizes too big). I have also gained almost 40 pounds (yikes!!!). This is actually within a normal range for a twin pregnancy at this point (I am 32w4d) but I feel huge!

It also recently occurred to me that we started our first IVF cycle almost 2 years ago. That means with the exception of a few months after my D&E, I have spent the last 2 years either pregnant or on crazy IVF meds. It has been a while since I have felt like myself!

I did not expect to enjoy this photo shot but I ended up having a great time! Part of that was due to our fabulous photographer, Claudia. She really put us at ease and made us feel comfortable. She is also very talented. You can see some of her other work on her website and facebook page.

Another thing I really liked about our photo shoot is it showed me that my husband sees right past all my petty vanity issues (either that or he is a really good actor).

Well here are some of the pictures. They were taken at 32 weeks pregnant with our twins.

Claudia also wrote a really cool post on her own blog where she talks about our story and shares a few more pictures.

Some people may notice we have some baby names in the pictures! I had mentioned in an earlier post that I decided to let my husband name the babies and I did not want to know the names until they got here. Well he still named them but I decided to go ahead and find out what he picked. One challenge with this pregnancy is having it feel real. I think this is primarily due to our history. Knowing their names has helped with this. I also really like the ones he picked (if  I didn’t I would have told him and he would have picked something else).

If anyone is curious, the boy is named after my husband’s favorite football player. The girl is a little trickier. He won’t admit it, but I think he got the girl name from the most recent season of the Bachelor. I watch every episode (please don’t judge my guilty pleasure) and sometimes he watches with me (although he says he only watches it to comment on how dumb it is). I think he liked that season’s winner.

I guess that means that I have these people to thank for our baby names! I am good with that 🙂

Hope everyone is doing well! – Jennie

 

Things are starting to get real!

Published May 26, 2016 by Jennie

Today marks 30 weeks! I  can’t believe I just typed that. Everything still feels surreal. We have been on this journey so long and it’s crazy to think we are just a few months away from meeting our babies.

Not much is going on right now but I feel like this is the calm before the storm. While waiting for the coveted title of mom I did obtain another title a few weeks ago….Dr! I was originally not going to go to graduation but my husband talked me into it. I am glad he did. It is cool to think that my babies were with me when I got my PhD. Here is a picture of graduation 🙂

grad

This is actually the only picture of me that has been taken since we did our transfer in November. I am really weird about stuff like that.

People keep asking me how I am feeling. Sometimes it is hard for me to answer that. We have been through so much to get pregnant and it does not feel right to complain. Even so pregnancy (and in my case a twin pregnancy) is challenging and I think it is okay to talk about those challenges. With everything going on, I am still thankful for every day this pregnancy continues and my number one goal is to keep them cooking for the next eight weeks.

Symptoms

Carpel Tunnel – My worst symptom right now by far is carpel tunnel syndrome. I never knew this could be a pregnancy thing before I experienced it. My hands hurt all the time and my left hand is worse than my right (I am left handed). It makes everything from brushing my hair to lifting things to grocery shopping a challenge. I have started doing a lot of things (like typing this post) with my right hand but even that takes a while. This has been frustrating because I have a lot of stuff I need to do and its hard to get things done. I do wear a splint but it does not seem to help much.

Swelling – OMG the swelling is crazy! It doesn’t help that I live in the South and it is summer. It has gotten a lot worse the last few weeks despite me drinking water like it is going out of style. For example, at 28 weeks I had gained 28 pounds, which is exactly what I was shooting for (research shows that 28 lbs by 28 weeks greatly reduces the likelihood of preterm labor for twin pregnancies). After that, I cut back on calories but kept up protein. Even so, I gained almost 7 pounds between weeks 28 and 30. My dr said this is almost all due to swelling. My concern is that this can be a sign of preeclampsia especially if it is paired with other symptoms. My dr is watching things closely and I am taking my blood pressure twice a day. So far so good.

Movement – I have mentioned in previous posts that movement has been an issue. It is getting better but nowhere where I would like. If I followed kick count guidelines I would be calling the nurse on call everyday. Even so, they are always active during every ultrasound and are growing on target. At 29 weeks baby A was 2 lbs 9 oz and baby B was 2 lbs 14 oz. I freaked out a bit because they were different but MFM said that is normal and they will have growth spurts at different times. As long as the difference does not exceed 20% we are good!

I did find out that the babies respond to loud noises. At a recent appointment my doctor’s office was testing the fire alarm. The babies went nuts. It was awesome! Everyone else in the waiting room looked annoyed and I probably looked like a crazy person sitting there with a big smile on my face. I also recently went to a baseball game where they had fireworks and they responded to that as well.

Hope my readers in the US all have a fabulous Memorial Day weekend and everyone is doing well! – Jennie

 

Hanging in there!

Published April 1, 2016 by Jennie

Happy April to everyone! Today is one of those days I am glad that I do not have Facebook anymore. I do not have to deal with April Fools pregnancy announcements. I know that people who post them do not intend to be hurtful or understand how it may affect someone dealing with infertility or pregnancy loss. Even so, they are still awful to see. I hope that people have not had to deal with too many of them this year.

Today marks 22w1d with my twin pregnancy. At 21w3d I woke up feeling like someone had stabbed me in the abdomen. I really thought my appendix had burst (the pain was in the lower right side of my abdomen). Turns out it is round ligament pain. I have heard of it before but did not know it could be that intense. I am learning things to do to keep the pain at bay but if anyone has some tips or suggestions, I greatly appreciate it!

At 22w we had a growth scan at MFM. Appointments still make me crazy nervous. Both babies measured at 15 ounces. I did find out my cervix shortened a bit from 4.1 cm at 18w1d to 3.4 cm at 22w (cue the anxiety attack) but my doctor said that is still okay. I am very thankful that they are monitoring things so closely so that if it does get too short, they can intervene and hopefully keep things going.

I am really starting to show and it amazes me how often complete strangers ask me about my pregnancy. I am not offended or anything, just surprised. I have also found out that people tend to be fascinated with twins. The first question I often get is whether I am having a boy or a girl. When I tell them I am having one of each, I almost always get at least 1 (if not more) of the following questions.

1. Do twins run in your family?

This appears to be a polite way of trying to figure out if I had IVF. People seem to also be very curious about that. I am not embarrassed at all about doing IVF. In fact, I am proud of it! We have gone though so much to get where we are and could have given up a long time ago.

2. Are they natural?

This is another less polite way of trying to figure out if I had IVF. I have pretty thick skin so it doesn’t offend me (I know people do not intend to be insensitive). Even so, I am tempted to reply with a sarcastic answer. For example, I could say that they are not natural but are robots or androids (something to show people that this is kind of a silly question!).

3. Are they identical?

The first time someone asked me this, I thought they were messing with me. Boy/girl twins can not be identical. Even so, I get this question ALL the time. Even my MFM specialist warned me that people might ask me this. One lady actually told me that my babies are not ‘real’ twins because they are not identical. Seriously, WTF? My husband suggested that when people ask me this, I should just say yes. Maybe once they are born, I will get them something like this:

yes-were-twins-not-identical-boy-girl-twins-funny

4. Do you feel twice the movement?

The answer to this is no. In fact, I feel very little movement. Both placentas are anterior, which makes it harder to feel stuff. It gets frustrating because lots of people want to tell me how much movement they felt at 22 weeks with their own pregnancies (often singletons) and then I worry that I am not feeling enough. My doctor assured me that everything is okay though. They were both moving like crazy at our last ultrasound (especially baby B). He had his legs over his head, which I thought was pretty cute!

a and b 22 weeks

In addition to these questions, everyone seems to know someone that had some terrifying twin experience and feels the need to share this story with me. This happens all the time. I know that people mean well but I promise that I am already nervous enough as it is!

Thanks for reading and I hope everyone else is doing well!  – Jennie