Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bump update: 35-37 Weeks and Delivery options

So I sat down to write the bump update for this week thinking I had already done posts for the last 2 weeks but apparently I never did!  Things have been pretty busy these last few weeks with final preparations to get ready for our girl.

You know those women who say how much they love being pregnant and could be pregnant forever because they feel so great...yeah, I'm not one of them.  Physically, I've hit a wall.    The last month of pregnancy is hard y'all.  I'm tired, having a lot of back pain, and overall, just really uncomfortable.  But I've also never been so happy and felt so blessed, so as much as I want to moan and groan, I can't complain because I know all my aches, pains, and exhaustion are so worth it.

How far along: Today starts week 38.

Trimester: Third...I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Gender:  Can't wait to meet our little GIRL! 

Size of baby:  At our 36 week growth ultrasound, she measured exactly 6 pounds which is perfectly average (45th percentile).  

Sleep:  While I don't want to complain, this is one area I am struggling.  I am exhausted.  Sleep is pretty lousy.  It takes me a couple hours to get comfortable enough to fall asleep, then when I do fall asleep, it doesn't last long because I wake up to go to the bathroom and then the process starts all over.  The hours between 3 AM- 6 AM are usually especially difficult.  Its frustrating being exhausted but not being able to sleep.  I guess I'm just getting prepared to have a newborn! 

Best Moments:  Finishing the nursery!  My mom painted the custom closet shelving that my awesome husband built in the double closets and I bought some storage baskets so I was finally able to get things organized like I wanted to.  Little things like having diapers on the changing table and a sheet on the crib make it feel very real.  We do still have to hang a couple pictures but everything else is finally done! 

Miss Anything: Being comfortable and being able to move about and do things without feeling like I'm in an olympic event!  Funny story about my week 36 picture...Its hard to tell but I am wearing boots. We were about to go out to eat with some friends and I was ready to break out the fall boots for the first time.  Well being pregnant in the warm, summer months, I've just slipped my feet into flip flops and sandals all summer.  I went to put on socks and realized after performing some contortionist moves and quickly getting out of breath that this was not an easy task or a possibility.  I had to get Harrison to put my socks on my feet.  He thought it was hilarious.  

Symptoms:  I had an appointment on Monday for my scheduled Non Stress Test.  I wasn't scheduled to see the doctor or anything because I had another appointment for and office visit, NST, and fluid check that was supposed to be today.  During the non stress test, I am hooked up to a monitor to track her heart rate and a contraction monitor.  They like to see her heart rate be "reactive"...meaning it will be variable and increase with her movements.  About 15 minutes in, her heart rate was just staying put around 130 and she wasn't moving much so they tried to use a little buzzer to wake up her up.  Well apparently she's like her mama and doesn't like to be woken up so she wouldn't cooperate.  Because of the non-reactive result, they wanted to take a peak at her on ultrasound.  I also was having contractions through the non stress test so that bought me a doctor's visit to be checked for my progress.  Long story short, she looked great and active on ultrasound.  They even saw hair!  When the doctor checked me, I am thin and dilated to 1 cm.  So my body is trying to do something apparently!  

Looking forward to:  My second baby shower thrown by my mother's friends is on Sunday and of course, the day when our girl decides to make her debut!

Speaking of her debut, I am really conflicted about how she will make her debut.  While there is no obstetrical reason for me to have a schedule c-section, it has been something I've been thinking and praying about for months because of my neck and back.  I, as well as Harrison, my family, and my pain doctor, are all pretty concerned about the delivery and the possibility of pushing for a long time. Because of my surgeries and hardware, I physically would probably not be able to push for much more than an hour.  If I had to push for 2 or 3 hours, I would be in agony and could even cause more damage to my neck.  I am planning on getting an epidural for sure, but pain wise for my neck and upper back, we've talked to an anesthesiologist and unfortunately there isn't anything they could give me during labor and delivery for my neck pain.  He actually suggested a c-section and my pain doctor thinks that would probably be better as well.  My OB understands my concerns and has agreed to do a scheduled c-section if thats what we want to do.  There really is no way to know how long my labor and delivery would be obviously, but from most people I've talked to, it seems that induction deliveries are harder on your body and you tend to push longer.  So as of right now, I think the plan is to set a c-section date for maybe Monday, October 6 ( I would be 39 weeks 4 days).  If I go into labor on my own before then, I will probably try a vaginal birth and just pray that it is quick and that I can physically handle pushing.  This is a really hard decision and predicament to be in.  I want to do whats best for her obviously, but I am also terrified of doing damage to my neck that would cause me more pain short and long term.  I have worked so, so hard to make the progress I have with my pain and to get to the quality of life I have now.  Thinking of starting off my role as a mom being in extreme pain, back on a lot of medication, etc., is a heartbreaking thought.  Please, please be praying for us (myself, Harrison, our daughter, and my family) as we make the final decision and for the delivery, no matter what method it ends up being.

As always, thank you for your support!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What a Difference a Year Makes...

One year.  365 days.  It some aspects it seems like a long time, but it many other aspects, it feels like it was just yesterday.  This time of year, and this week in particular brings up a lot of emotions for me.   For those that know me, you know that on September 13 of last year, my sister had her first child, a little girl, Ingrid.  This was such an exciting, special day for our family.  I have a beautiful step-niece whom I love and adore who is almost 8 and has been in our lives since she was 2, but Ingrid was our family's first baby.  I must have taken over 400 pictures that day at the hospital.  I was enamored by her beauty and I immediately fell in love with her.  But as happy as I was, my heart was also breaking.

In August, after the failure of our 9th fertility assisted cycle and our 6th IUI, we decided that before moving onto IVF we wanted to do another laproscopic surgery and hysteroscopy to check to see if there was any obvious reason that things weren't working.  It had been 3 years since my last laproscopy, which found a significant amount of scar tissue, adhesions, and cervical stenosis.  We were hoping to find something that would possibly explain our infertility and that could have been an easy fix, but we were told by my doctor that unless he saw something that really blew him away, his recommendation would be to pursue IVF in Nashville.

The morning of September 16, 2013, I was being prepped for surgery on the first floor of the hospital while 2 floors above me, my sister was being discharged and taking her newborn baby girl home.  It was a crazy day for my family as my mom and dad were literally riding the elevators between the floors switching off roles and trying to be there for both of us.  I awoke in recovery and looked at Harrison and I knew the results.  My doctor came to talk to us and said while he did find some endometriosis and scar tissue, overall he was not "impressed" and did not think it was enough to warrant trying anything else.

The next few days were some of the lowest I had during our whole journey.  I was devastated.  During all the other treatments, I did not allow myself to grieve each negative result.  I just kept going and kept cycling.  I finally did grieve some after our December cycle when I had my gallbladder fiasco and we took a 6 month break, but I still don't think that I fully let myself feel everything I needed to feel because I would always just focus on our next attempt and counting the days on the calendar.  I just never thought we would need IVF.  The thought of IVF was terrifying to me at this point.  It seemed so huge, daunting, and the end all be all.  I guess knowing it was the final option was what made it so terrifying for me.  Physically, emotionally, and financially it just seemed so extreme. When we were first on clomid,  I knew there was always the option of IUI.  When we started IUIs, there was always the option of injectables. On injectables and IUI, there was always the thought that "well, if this doesn't work, we always have IVF."  Now, here I was, staring down our final option.

The day after my surgery was my mom's birthday. She was staying with my sister since she had had a c-section, so we all went over there for dinner.  I watched my sister and brother in law with their newborn daughter as well as my parents and I saw their joy and love for this new, tiny little person, and I was completely broken.  I remember sitting around the dinner table that night trying so hard to hold it all together telling everyone I was "fine." Of course, no one bought it and after a lot of encouragement to talk about what I was feeling, I broke down.  I remember specifically saying that maybe I just needed to come to terms with the fact that children may not be our future and that I may never get to experience what my sister currently was.  My mind was automatically taking me to the darkest of places.  I started to tell myself that IVF wasn't going to be an option because I thought the doctors would look at my medical history and pain issues and tell us they wouldn't do it. I argued that we couldn't adopt for the same reason.  In those days and weeks before our IVF consultation, I honestly was preparing myself to come to terms with idea of a life without children.  I cried and grieved more during these weeks that I had in the previous 2 1/2 years.

One year later...I am just a few short weeks away from meeting our daughter, our miracle.  I still can't believe it.  Nine months later and I am still completely blown away by the success of our first IVF cycle: 11 embryos, 1 transferred, 10 frozen.  Our beautiful transferred embryo implanted and has grown the last 37 weeks into the currently six pound baby girl that is kicking me in the ribs, pressing on my bladder, keeping me awake at night, and generally just making me quite uncomfortable...but I wouldn't have it any other way.

To those who are still struggling with the heartbreak of infertility,  I write all this to give you hope, to encourage you not to give up on your dream, even if you are feeling that you are at your lowest point and are questioning how much more you can take.  Your miracle could be only a few weeks or months away and it is truly amazing the difference only one year, 365 days, can make.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bump Update: Weeks 31-34

I seriously can't believe we are only about a month away from meeting our baby girl.  I don't know whether it's because of the summer or what but the weeks are flying by.  I will be 35 weeks tomorrow. Here are the bump pictures from the last few weeks...

How far Along: Going into my 35th week

Trimester: Third

Gender:  Sweet baby girl

Size of the baby: As of week 34, the websites say she is the size of a cantaloupe and about 4 3/4 pounds.  We will find out her exact weight at our growth ultrasound next week.  

Maternity clothes: Absolutely!

Stretch marks: A few small ones have come up on my hips.  Applying Bio Oil and Palmers cream a couple times a day!  Who knows if it does any good.

Sleep:  I don't know if my body is just preparing me for having a newborn but several nights a week, I wake up at around 3:30 to go to the bathroom and can't fall back asleep till 5:30 or 6.  It is so frustrating to toss and turn and then I start thinking about what I have left to do and making lists in my head.  Again, maybe my body is preparing itself for being up for 3 AM feedings!

Best Moments:  I had my first baby shower on August 10 and it was wonderful.  It was so surreal and I actually cried during it because I never thought I would get to have one.  I felt so blessed.  I will try to do a blog post soon with some pictures!

Miss Anything: Being able to see my feet when I look down and being able to bend over and move easily!  I feel huge and the belly definitely gets in the way!

Symptoms:  A LOT of contractions.  I went in for a standard non stress test at 32 weeks and was contracting the whole time which caused some concern. Baby girl was active and kept her heart rate up throughout all the contractions which was great to know.  I was checked to see if I was dilated and luckily I wasn't but my cervix was thin.  They ran a Fetal Fibronectin test which if positive tells you that you are at high likelihood to deliver in the next 2 weeks.  Again, fortunately I was negative so they did not put me on bed rest but did tell me I needed to start taking it easy and really monitoring how many contractions I was having.  Because of their concern, I am going twice a week now for non stress tests to monitor her and make sure she continues to handle the contractions well and I get my amniotic fluid level checked once a week so I get to see her quickly on ultrasound each week.

Cravings: Still on my ice kick.  After a few weeks of trial and error, I have pretty much learned how my body responds to certain foods and have been able to manage the Gestational Diabetes pretty well.  I have learned that I can eat small portions of bread and pasta.  Having GD has actually made me much more self aware of everything I am eating and how much.  Because I have to write down everything I eat for the nutritionist, I am much more aware of making sure I am getting enough calories and protein, eating snacks, not missing meals, and eating enough fruits and vegetables.   I feel like I am eating a much more balanced, healthy diet so in the long run, it hasn't been as bad as I thought.

Looking forward to:  Seeing her on ultrasound this week for my fluid check and finding out how big she is at our growth ultrasound next week!

As far as preparation goes, I feel like we are getting close to being ready.  The nursery is painted and all set up.  Harrison is adding some new shelving in the closets so I haven't been able to organize her clothes or closet but once he gets that finished up in the next week, I will be able to hang up all her cute little outfits.  I did my first load of her laundry over the weekend and it was heavenly. I actually started to tear up folding her tiny things and smelling the sweet smell of baby detergent.  Its just so surreal and I still can't believe it is happening to me!!

As far as my pain goes, carrying the extra weight is definitely affecting my neck and spine but I am doing everything I can to manage it without medication and am only taking medication on rare occasions.  I am uncomfortable and in pain most all the time, but it's not unbearable for the most part.  I see my chiropractor and massage therapist once a week and will probably start going twice a week in these final weeks.  I sleep with a heating pad, take tylenol, and rest a lot.   My doctors are very, very pleased and impressed and are hopeful that our sweet girl will be born perfectly healthy.  Please pray for me these final 5 weeks that I can continue to manage my pain without medication without being miserable.  I knew going into the pregnancy that the last 4-6 weeks would be the hardest and  most challenging pain wise so I've been preparing mentally but it is still very difficult emotionally and physically on the bad days when I feel bad, so please pray that these days are few and far between.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers.