infertility

All posts tagged infertility

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

 

 

 

Update

Published March 5, 2016 by Jennie

It has been exactly 6 months since I have logged in. So much has happened since then! On Tuesday I defended my dissertation (yay!) so now I finally have some free time to do other things. I miss reading other people’s blogs and look forward to doing that again. I am also still incredibly grateful for the support I received during our last pregnancy. I miss you guys!

The rest of this post may be a trigger for some. Believe me I have been there and I understand!

After our first miscarriage I had no desire to continue trying. I could not imaging ever having to ever go through that again. As time went on, we got to the point where we were ready to give it another try (I wrote about that here). Unfortunately, our transfer was cancelled due to thin lining. My RE figured it was from my D&E since my lining was very good at my first transfer. We waited a few months and tried again. This time things looked better.

I was not really sure what to expect. My first beta was in the 4,000s (I never got the exact number). When I got my first BFP I was ecstatic. This time the first thing I felt was fear. Pregnancy after a miscarriage is terrifying. My second beta was 10,000 and I still felt scared (I am not sure if that feeling ever goes away).

At 5w6d I was teaching my undergraduates. I felt a gush and put up a problem for my students and went to the bathroom. My heart sank. I called my RE and they told me to come in. I cried the whole way there. Everything actually looked good and they could not even find a reason for the bleeding. We went back a week and a half later and heard the heartbeats.

At 10w we went to the obgyn for the first time. This was really hard. Last time we were there, we saw our little boy who looked perfect but had lost his heartbeat. I miss him so much and think about him all the time.

At 17w4d we had another scare. I thought I was possibly leaking amniotic fluid. A ph test and ultrasound confirmed that was not the case but it was really scary.

At 18w1 we had our anatomy scan. It felt like the longest 45 minutes of my life. They took about 80 images. They also measured my cervix. Everything looked great. We still are going to go to MFM every 4 weeks due to being high risk.

Well here they are. This is from our MFM appointment at 13w1d.

I also found out that both placentas are anterior, which is why I have not felt a thing! This is what an anterior placenta looks like.

anterior-placenta-picture

This has been an exciting but difficult process. I am so lucky to have support from my friends and family. My husband has also been incredible. Despite an insane work schedule with lots of travel, he has made every appointment and is a constant source of support. I do not know what the future holds but whatever happens, I do not have to face it alone.

I really look forward to seeing how everyone is doing and possibly find some new stories to follow. XOXOXOXO – Jennie

 

My Miscarriage

Published August 29, 2015 by Jennie

I never thought I would ever be writing about this. I am sorry if I ramble on or don’t make sense.

First of all, I am forever grateful for the love and support I have received from my friends and family IRL as well as in my blogging community. I know it may not look like it. I still have a plethora of emails, calls, texts, etc. that I have yet to reply to. It’s still really hard to deal with things and I am doing the best I can to get through each day.

I am now ready to answer some questions people have asked me. I know when people ask me questions about what happened, it comes from a place of caring. I think it is good for me to try to answer these questions. Here it goes…

What happened?
On Monday, May 11th, I went to the restroom and noticed I had a tiny bit of brown spotting. It did not continue throughout the day or get heavy in any way. Normally, that would not be an issue. That actually happened around week 9 or 10 and my doctor said it was ok. I did not have any of the normal miscarriage signs. Also, we had just started my second trimester which is when risks are supposed to go down. Even so, I had a bad feeling. I was scheduled to fly out of town that week and I wanted to check on things before I left. I called my doctor and he fit me in that day (he is the best doctor I could ever ask for). I emailed my husband and let him know about my appointment. He decided to come with me.

At the appointment, my doctor gave me an ultrasound. He did not say anything at first but I immediately knew something was very wrong just by the look on his face. I looked over at my husband and I could tell that he knew something was wrong too. After about 30 seconds (which felt like forever), my doctor said that he was very sorry but things did not look good. I looked at the ultrasound screen and saw my baby. He looked perfect but did not have a heartbeat. I got light headed and things went black for a second. My husband started to cry and I felt sick. It was the worst moment of my life, next to the time my parents called me to tell me that my brother died.

My doctor told me that I was too far along to miscarry naturally. I am also Rh negative, which is not bad but can complicate a miscarriage if not managed. We scheduled a D&E, which is similar to a D&C, for that Thursday.

I sat on the couch and barely ate or slept for 3 days. It was awful.

My regular doctor preformed my D&E. I am thankful that he did it and not some other doctor that I do not know.

What caused the miscarriage?
We do not know for sure. I had low papp-a, but that usually causes issues in the third trimester (if it causes any issues at all) and has a low predictive validity. The MFM specialist officially classified the miscarriage as a result of my CVS since it happened shortly after I had the procedure. Even so, I had a long talk with him and he does not think the CVS did it. I did not have any of the signs of a miscarriage caused by a CVS. Also, their rate of miscarriage from a CVS is about 1/300.

About 3 weeks after the miscarriage, we got the results from the microarray. This is the most comprehensive test available for genetic issues. Everything came back normal. Our results did come back 3 weeks late. It usually takes cells about 10 days to grow in the lab for microarray testing. Mine took over 3 weeks. My MFM specialist has never seen that before and has been in practice for over 20 years. Even so, we really do not know why they grew so slow. Also, growth and development always looked good on our weekly ultrasounds.

My RE, on the other hand, is more suspect of the CVS. He thinks that something about it might have caused issues and we just do not know exactly how. I think that MFM and my RE might both be right. There may be an endogenous relationship between my CVS and miscarriage. In other words, the CVS may have ultimately caused it but something was not right and it would have happened anyway. If things were ok, I would not have needed the CVS and if I had it, it would not have ended a normal pregnancy. Even so, I still feel a tremendous amount of guilt. When we were offered the CVS, I said yes and my husband said no. They gave us time to talk about it and together we decided to do it.  I made a choice to do something that could have harmed my baby.

How are we doing?
Things are slowly getting better. I have accepted that 2015 as well as age 32 are years that are going to come and go with no baby (as with the 5 years that preceded them). Also, I plan to defend my dissertation in March or April. When I started my PhD program 3 years ago, we were already well into our infertility struggle. It is hard to accept that I will graduate in the same place I started baby wise.

I also still have many triggers, which can quickly turn an ok day into a bad day. I have never been an emotional person and sometimes I just do not know how to handle how I feel. It is still the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I go to sleep.

What are our plans for the future?
The question we get the most is if we are going to do IVF again. For the first few months after the miscarriage, my answer was a definite no. I figured it would be crazy to do anything that could put me in this position again. I also got angry when people asked this question. I felt like they did not understand how hard this is and it is not easy to jump into a new cycle. I talked to one of my friends about it. He told me that people ask because they know we have been through a lot and they want to see things work for us. I get that now. I also understand that my anger is sometimes misdirected. I am mad at the situation and not the people who are trying to help us get through things.

About a month ago, we did decide to consider giving it another shot. We went to my RE and I found out I have some complications from the D&E. This is relatively rare. The question now is if these complications are permanent or temporary. My RE is pretty sure they will go away. Even so, at this point I have learned not to expect anything. They told me to wait two cycles for my body to continue to recover. I have no idea what will happen at that point or if I will be able to talk about what we decide to do.

If there is one good thing to come out of my miscarriage, it is that it made me realize how lucky I am to have my husband in my life. We have been together 15 years and I may have started taking our relationship for granted. All of this has been hard on him too but he continues to do what he can to support me. In June, we went out to celebrate our 8-year wedding anniversary. I attached a picture we took that night. It was very special to me because it was the first night I felt a bit of peace and happiness since we lost our baby.

dinner

Well there you have it. Again, I am so thankful for everyone’s support. I am still working on getting to a place where I can get back to following other people’s blogs and their pregnancies. I am not there yet but hope to be soon. xoxoxo – Jennie

I’m Speechless

Published March 9, 2015 by Jennie

This morning I had my first beta draw from our first transfer. I did not expect good news. I have had absolutely zero symptoms. I waited for what felt like forever (even though it was only a few hours) for my RE to call me. When she told me I was pregnant, I immediately started crying. I hope she does not think I am crazy. I am not an emotional person and did not expect to have that reaction. I did not ask my specific beta number but she said it was really high. I have to go back on the 11th for another draw (they always do that).

I know there is a chance that this will not stick. Even so, I am thrilled to know that I can at least get pregnant. We have been trying for 5 years and I have never gotten to this point. We also still have zero explanations as to the cause of my infertility.

Part of me feels guilty writing this. I know that pregnancy announcements can be difficult to read when struggling with infertility. I do want everyone to know that I am so thankful for the encouragement and support I have gotten from other bloggers along this journey. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. You guys are my lifesavers. – Jennie

10dp5dt

Published March 7, 2015 by Jennie

Today marks day 10 since my first transfer. This is the day my RE normally draws a beta but I get to wait until Monday since they are not open on the weekend. Right now I am not feeling very optimistic. As of now, I have had absolutely zero symptoms. Some people say they have had no symptoms minus a few things but I have really had none. I figured that even if I am not pregnant, I would get symptoms from the progesterone. That makes me wonder if my body is even absorbing the progesterone.

I asked my RE what we would do if it did not work. He said I should go right into another FET with the same protocol. On paper, this looks like perfect transfer. I had a grade A genetically tested blastocyst and excellent lining. I am also 32 and have zero identified health issues (relating to or not relating to infertility). I want to look into seeing a reproductive immunologist but my RE does not seem to think that is necessary. Has anyone done this? I feel that since everything else looks so great that this really may be my issue. On the other hand, from what I can see, it also looks like people seek out a reproductive immunologist after multiple miscarriages. I have never been pregnant. While I would never wish for a miscarriage, sometimes I wish I could see what pregnancy feels like, even if it did not last.

I know I may be getting ahead of myself but I like to have a plan set up if I get bad news on Monday.