Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Celebration for my Butt!

After nearly 9 weeks (72 days) of some sort of injection or another, I am finally done with shots!! Yay!!!

The Lupron from way back when was actually the most "enjoyable" of the group as it was the smallest needle, the least amount of medication, and the most accessible area for shots. The Progesterone shots in the rear proved to be the most ruthless as they were in my muscles, caused bruising, and were something I couldn't do on my own. I guess DJ and I will have to find a new after dinner ritual that doesn't include him poking my butt cheeks and asking "what about here? does this hurt?" and then stabbing me.
As mentioned in an earlier post, there was the option of taking the Progesterone vaginally but, of course, since it is more comfortable it is also more expensive. Unlike the injections, insurance chose not to cover this medication and it would have been over $300 a series. With 4 weeks down, whats another 28 days?

In hindsight (get it! hehehe) I guess it could have been worse.  I'm fortunate to have an excellent husband with a strong stomach and a steady hand!

I would also like to send two special Thank Yous:
1.  to No-Eyes, Woof Woof, and Sleeping Baby - three of my childhood stuffed animals that allowed me to more or less strangle them each night as I prepared for the shots :)
2. to the wonderful staff at IRMS Clark/Livingston who welcomed me every visit, who let me look away during blood draws, who gave me pictures of developing Petrie, who answered all my questions, and who got me this far along in my pregnancy!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ode to Morning Sickness

Whoever named this crap is full of just lies
because it comes on all day,
not just at sunrise

It starts in the stomach, icky and sour
and the feeling progresses
hour by hour.

Foods you once liked are now appalling
and at mealtimes
you find yourself stalling

since nothing looks good, nothing will settle
and since your current state's tolerable,
you'd rather not meddle. 

You focus on ginger - root, chews, and ale
because at the site of chicken
your face just turns pale.

Saltines are a staple. Anything bland.
Plain oatmeal, plain Cheerios,
hell - you'd even take sand. 

Your husband's supportive as he chows on pork
while you poke it and prod it
with the tongs of your fork. 

If you're me, you don't puke. It's just the feeling
that any aroma
sends your stomach reeling. 

How many dates 'til the trimester ends?
And then meat, yogurt, and I
can start being friends.

A little scare

Yesterday morning Petire gave us a little scare. I woke up at 7:15 to pee and noticed blood on the toilet paper. It wasn't a lot and I wasn't in pain, but of course I went directly into panic mode. I have no personal experiences with miscarriages but from what I have learned in the movies (The Help and Revolutionary Road), blood is never a good sign.

In a voice somewhere between panic, hysterics, and assertiveness I woke up my husband and we sprung into action. Again the staff at IRMS came through in a pinch and put me in contact with the on call nurse. Although her voice had concern, she was 100% calmer than I was and told me we could head on over and meet with the doctor. Phew!

By 8:00 we were at St. Barnabas and by 8:20 I was perched on the paper laden table waiting to be seen. I don't remember the doctor's name, but it was the same woman that did my retrieval. Super nice, kind, and the beared of good news.

"Things look great in there!" she said as she played Petrie's heart beat.
"162 beats per minute" she told the nurse. "Very strong"

She wasn't exactly sure what caused the bleeding but the ultrasound showed no need for concern. She asked how I was doing on my medication and how the injections were coming. I guess they were coming along as well as nightly shots in the butt could go and I was delighted to learn this may be the last week of them. She told me to reduce the dose from 1 CC to 1/2 CC and I  have to go back Tuesday morning for a follow up.

At 8 weeks webbed fingers and toes are poking out from Petrie's hands and feet, his/her eyelids practically cover his eyes, breathing tubes extend from his/her throat to the branches of his/her developing lungs, and his/her "tail" is just about gone. In Petrie's brain, nerve cells are branching out to connect with one another, forming primitive neural pathways.

On my end, I am exhausted and nap to a point of embarrassment. I pee and need a nap. I go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and need a nap. I eat dinner and need a nap. Its a little pathetic. I am also starting to feel heavy and bloated. I'm having a hard time embracing that since I've always been someone who works to maintain her weight and be healthy that I am working very hard to get my head around enjoying weight gain.

After this week I move on from the wonderful ladies at IRMS to my new gyno. He came recommended by my regular gyno since she doesn't deliver babies although I would love if she made an exception. Like I said, at first I was hesitant to have doctors check things out up there, but after the HSG, my legs are an open book :) (medically speaking).


Monday, March 19, 2012

A grand adventure is about to begin - Winne the Pooh

I have a little catching up to do. I went in to my appointment thinking Petrie was 5 weeks along but I learned I am actually 7 weeks pregnant as far as my due date is concerned. The reason for this you are actually "pregnant" before you are pregnant.

The Last Menstrual Period Method or LMP is the standard method. You add 28 days to day one of your last menstruation. If you remember from an earlier post, this was January 28th when I was in Boston and totally unprepared for a period. The 28th was also two weeks before my transfer, catching me up from 5 weeks to 7 weeks.  For most women this measure is not as exact but I guess in my case since everything from preparation to conception was so scheduled, I'm on target.

Other pregnancy calculators at the Basal Body Temperature and Lutenizing Hormone (LH) measurement which checks on your basal body temperature or the surge of LH. It indicates the occurrence of ovulation, the time of intercourse, and the date of fertilization. If you are sure of your fertilization date, then you simply have to add 266 days to get your due date. I'm not exactly sure what this means but you are still adding in two weeks of wiggle room.
Further proof, of course, is my weekly ultrasound. This morning I heard Petrie's heart beat and saw a glimpse of his/her developing spine. Most of the growth is concentrated in the head as new brain cells are generated at the rate of 100 per minute. Petrie's mouth and tongue are forming as arm and leg buds sprout, and those little kidneys are getting ready to do their job. Here is a little cartoon picture of what Petrie looks like - http://3dpregnancy.parentsconnect.com/calendar/7-weeks-pregnant.html. I think it looks like a lizard of sorts.

According to all my pregnant or once pregnant friends, I should be experiencing morning sickness, food aversion, cravings, breast tenderness, etc. but for the most part I am still very much the same. I did sleep 60% of Sunday (which was awesome and pathetic at the same time) but other than being tired, I feel good. If I wasn't being told I was pregnant every Monday, I would just think I wasn't sleeping well at night.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Heart Beat!

This morning I went in for my weekly blood work and ultrasound. As we start Week 5 of pregnancy, Petrie has a heart beat. Using "doppler radar", the nurse showed me how it can detect movement in the uterus and highlighted the heart so I could see it flashing. It was super neat.

This is the week most women discover they are pregnant - whether it be a missed period, the earliest of pregnancy symptoms, or a positive pregnancy test. For me, it was coming home with Petrie's third picture.

Here is what's going on inside: At 4 weeks pregnant, the blastocyst (or ball of cells that will become your baby) is working furiously to implant itself in the uterine lining. This will ensure a safe home for your little one over the next nine months. The amniotic cavity and placenta are also forming during pregnancy week four. Fetal development by and large is still in the earliest stages at this point.

Your baby is incredibly miniscule, about .014 to .04 inches long (somewhere between the size of a poppy seed and an organge seed). Over the next few weeks, your baby will slowly start resembling a small tadpole with eyes, rather than an egg. This early stage of pregnancy is often noted as the beginning of the embryonic period.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Today Petrie (so named because he/she was "conceived" in a petri dish and also as homage to "The Land Before Time" character) is three weeks old. This morning we went for our weekly blood work and ultrasound and I saw Petrie as a gestational sac.

The gestational sac is a structure that surrounds an embryo, which is a baby in the very early stages of development. It encloses not only the embryo, but also the amniotic fluid, which helps to nourish and protect the developing baby. A lot of good things came from seeing Petrie at this stage: 1) I am, in fact, pregnant and I was able to take home a second picture to add to my collection, 2) I did not have a very early miscarriage or "chemical pregnancy" meaning a miscarriage occurred at a point where the biochemical tests, such as an hCG blood test, were the only evidence that I was pregnant and the miscarriage happened before an ultrasound could have shown a gestational sac, and 3) I do not have an ectopic pregnancy.

For some reason I had it in my head that I would have 25 days of progesterone shots after the transfer. If this was the case, tomorrow would be my last day. However I misinformed myself and the shots continue for the first 8 weeks! Obviously I have more to celebrate than to be frustrated with, but these are literally becoming a pain in the ass. I have some bruising where the shots go and silly things we taking for granted - like sitting - can be uncomfortable and annoying. The other night I found myself sitting on a heating pad just to calm things down a little back there. I did learn today that there is a possibility I can switch to progesterone that is taken as a suppository. 

  • Progesterone suppositories are made-to-order by a pharmacist based on the dose of progesterone and frequency of use as prescribed by your IVF specialist.

  • Progesterone gel is placed in your vagina once a day for progesterone supplementation or twice a day for progesterone replacement using a special applicator.

  • Although equally unsexy, it would be 100 times for comfortable, travel-friendly, and something I can do/would do on my own.

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    Identity Crisis

    So I guess the stress got to me and I accidentally confused my Saints through out this blog. Back in December I introduced you to St. Gerard, the patron saint of expectant mothers and fertility. Last night my mom called to tell me I had accidentally switched my saint names and began referring to Gerard as Jerome. Ironically St. Jerome is the "Doctor of the Church". The articles were a little confusing so I'm not exactly sure what kind of doctor he was, but for argument sake we can say these two men worked together in making me pregnant.

    Originally I was going to end this post on that thought, but then I started thinking that I may be in the midst of an identity crisis myself. I am not going by any other names, but the early months - where pregnancy is still a secret - I find myself going back and forth between the old me and the new me. For example, the other day I had to stay late at work and the team was going to order Italian food. I was told to stay away from "soft cheeses" and wasn't sure if mozzarella counted so when I was looking over the menu, I found myself pretty limited. Similarly, tonight I was eating at Applebees and the bar tender offered me a drink, on the house. Normally I would dive at the chance for anything free, but I had to decline. Since I will never see her again, I told her I was pregnant but in another situation - where I am with friends out of "the know", it might be weird. I had used the "I'm on antibiotics" gig in the past but I can only be on meds for so long.

    Anyway, I just found it kind of odd bouncing back and forth between the two versions of myself.