Monday, March 26, 2012

Breeched Whale

Sorry I’ve been such a bad blogger lately…  I’ve had lots going on but for some reason I haven’t had any compulsion to put it into words.

First off things are good, Andre is still cooking away and we’re just 2 days away from 33 weeks! He is still breech and so the OB has scheduled our C-section for May 8th (unless he makes an effort to show up early.)

I’ve been starting to get pretty uncomfortable, including a numb left leg because he sits on my femoral nerve, I went to the chiropractor last week to see if she could adjust me to get some feeling back in my leg.  It worked for about an hour. 

Then my breeched whale started trying to turn…

Off an on for 10 hours he tried to turn head down but would get stuck about the time he made it to transverse.  I felt like Bella from, like he was ripping my uterus open.  Every time he tried to turn it would drop my blood pressure so I would see stars and have horrible hot flashes and it was all I could do to breathe through the pain.

Luckily my chiro warned me that he would try and turn so I knew what was going on and decided not to go to OB triage.  I got about 2 hours of sleep (in 10 minute intervals).  My OB was able to fit me in first thing in the morning and confirmed that what I was feeling was normal, he’s breech, huge and just plain doesn’t have room to turn.  She said that the mix of the adjustment and hormonal changes going on are going to make him keep trying to turn for the next 2 weeks or so.  She gave me a prescription for Amb.ien (sleeping pill) and told me to go home and spend the rest of the day and night asleep. 

I felt bad taking the sleeping pill, incase it might hurt him, but she assured me that its OK this late in pregnancy and that it will be worse for him if I don’t sleep.  The pills worked like a dream, I had the best night sleep of my entire pregnancy!

It’s been a week now and he’s only tried to turn a few more times and they were quick.  I think he’s smart and realized early that it’s not going to work.

In further news I had to re-take my gestational diabetes test (since he’s so big) and I just barely failed (cut off is 140 and I tested 143).  On Friday I did the full 3 hour test and now I’m just sitting here waiting on the results… I really just want to know and get it over with!

I’ll leave you with a picture of the super cute diaper bag that my sister made for me!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

31 Weeks: Andre is giant but he isn't a giant

Just to start off, yesterday’s appointment went well!  Andre and I had no ill effects from the fall and he looks very large and healthy!

I guess I should explain why we even went to the perinatologist in the first place… I’ve mentioned before that my sister is a genetic counselor, she works with cancer genetics but was also trained in prenatal genetics.  When she was going through school there was a new buzz about the slightly higher risk of imprinting defects (chromosomal abnormalities passed down from your parents) in IVF babies.

One of the common conditions caused by an imprinting defect is called Beckwith Wiedemann syndrome, it is a form of gigantism (yes that’s a real word!)  Two of the common features associated with BW are macrosomia (birth weight and length >90th percentile) and macroglossia (enlarged tongue.)

When my sister heard that Andre was so big she remembered what she’d learned in school and started getting nervous so she called a friend who is also a GC for some literature.  In true small town fashion the GC talked to the perinatologist she works for who is good friends with my OB.  The peri just happened to mention it to my OB in passing, so my OB called me to make sure I wasn’t worried.  I wasn’t worried.  My sister never said anything to me about it…

My OB and I talked and decided I should get an US with the peri just to make sure Andre’s tongue wasn’t sticking out and that everything else looked good.

We found out he is very big, 97th percentile head, 90th percentile body and 75th percentile legs (short just like his dad’s).  His overall size is around 90th percentile, which the US tech said was a little over 2 weeks ahead.  We got a good picture of his face, and noted that his tongue was not showing!  According to the GC who we met with after she thinks his risk of BW is very very low, somewhere around 1/4000.

He is still positioned like he always has been, head, arms, and feet all up in the upper right side of my belly under my ribs.  The peri said he is very happy there and it is very unlikely that he’ll ever flip head down, which means a C section for me (which I’m OK with considering his gargantuan head!)  They also estimated his current weight at 4 pounds 6 ounces.

Precious little face and his foot up by his forehead, flexible baby!

The only negative to come out of the appointment was that his bowels appeared slightly dilated.  They were quick to tell me that it could just mean he needs to take a poop.  There are a few other things that it could also be a soft marker for, most notably cystic fibrosis.  We’ll go back for another US with the peri in 3 weeks to check and make sure everything looks good, and sometime between now and then Blue and I need to decide if we want CF carrier testing done.

I’m still not sure how I feel about the carrier testing since even if we both carry the recessive gene he still only has a 25% chance of having CF which means we still won’t know anything until he’s born.  Normally I’m a knowledge is power kind of girl and like to be prepared but it sounds like this might just unnecessarily worry me… 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Handicapped Parking

When you’re not pregnant and you fall down in a public place you quickly get up, look around and hope no one saw you.  When you are pregnant you slowly get up, look around and hope no one saw you and then call your OB

I’ve been feeling a little guilty lately because my work assigned me a pretty cushy handicapped parking space.  In Alaska, since there is so much ice, walking to work can be treacherous, even for non-pregnant people.  My work very sweetly offered me this parking spot and I was excited until I realized that the guy next to me is in a wheel chair and legitimately deserves his parking spot...  I felt guilty every day until yesterday when I rolled my ankle and fell on my face on dry pavement walking to my handicapped parking space.

I quickly triaged myself and realized the only thing wrong besides being super wet (did I mention I fell into a puddle?) was a scraped knee.  Then I waddled the rest of the way to my parking spot and called my OB. 

I ended up talking to the on-call doctor who asked me all kinds of silly questions like “did you jar yourself when you fell or was it more graceful?”  I resisted the urge to reply with “have you ever seen a pregnant woman?  We’re not exactly graceful!”  The truth was I had no idea how I fell, I didn’t even know if my belly hit the ground, it happened fast and then it was over.  Luckily I was able to tell her that I have an appointment for and ultrasound with a perinatologist today so she agreed that as long as I didn’t start bleeding I didn’t have to go to the hospital.

I’ve had no problems since the fall except a slightly more swollen than usual ankle.  Little man / Andre is still moving and shakin’ like normal, but the moral of the story is I no longer feel guilty about my handicapped parking space because clearly the shorter distance I have to walk the better!

Also, I’ll write more on this later but our appointment with the peri today is to make sure that the baby is just big and not too big, which may indicate a genetic problem.  We feel confident that he’s just well fed but I’m still a little anxious.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Just how infertile is infertile?

I’d like to pose a question to all of you that has been weighing hard on my heart:

How long does someone have to try to have a baby before they can be part of our club?  How far do they have to go to be considered one of us?

I think it’s an inevitable part of human nature to look for ways that you’re “better” than others, but I also think it’s the worst part of human nature.  In my opinion it’s the root of prejudice, racism, sexism and many of the atrocities that have plagued human societies since the very beginning of time. 

My biggest fear in parenting is that I won’t be able to teach my children not to judge others, that they aren’t better than anyone else, they’re just themselves and that is what makes them wonderful (even if I think they poop rainbows.)

I’m really scared that this is starting to happen in the infertile community… I promise this will be the last time I mention it, but the in the comment section of the blog post I wrote about yesterday regarding P.A.I.L. there were several comments made about the woman who started the blogroll and how she didn’t even deserve to be a part of our community because she hadn’t struggled hard or long enough before she got pregnant.

At what point is our pain enough to be a part of this club?  Should we wear our number of years or months struggling as a badge of honor instead of grieving them?  Does moving on to a higher level of ART mean you’re “more infertile” than the girl next door?  Does having more than one miscarriage make you more deserving of sympathy?

I think we’re all guilty of occasionally thinking we’ve had things harder than others, at least I know I am.  When I’m depressed and wallowing in self pity it is hard to remember that I’m not the only one hurting but a sad and amazing thing happened the other day that made me realize that none of the things I mentioned above matter, every single person needs and deserves support.

A friend of mine in real life told me that she had just started her period after her third month trying to get pregnant.  She was tipsy (as most of us are the day the BFN shows).  She apologized multiple times for complaining to me, because she knew how hard of a time we’d had.  She was sweet and honest and was so frustrated about things not being easy like they are for everyone else.    She told me how they had planned and waited for the “perfect” time to start trying, how she’d given up caffeine months before and done everything she could to be ready.

…She was telling me my own story…

Listening to her brought me back to the first few months we tried, I think I cried more those 6 months than I did in the next 2 years.  I had forgotten how hard those months were.  They were the months where I wasn’t yet infertile, I just wasn’t normal.  They were the months where I had to come to grips with the fact that even the best laid plans don’t always work out.  They were the months where I didn’t belong to either group, fertile or infertile.  I couldn’t even talk to my doctor about a potential problem because I hadn’t tried long enough.  Those were the months where I felt the most brushed off and un-heard.  They were the months I felt the most alone.  They were awful months.

I want everyone to feel welcome in this community.  I want everyone in my real life to know how our son was conceived so that they feel like they can talk to me if they’re struggling.  I want to always remember that my hurt is no more important than anyone else’s.

So I ask that you try to be understanding of everyone you meet because every person has hurt that they’re carrying and it really isn’t our place to judge who is hurting more. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm sorry

I just want to start this out by saying I’m sorry if I offended anyone with my exuberance over the creation of P.A.I.L.  I have so many incredible friends that I’ve found through this journey and NONE of you have made me feel left out or guilty for being pregnant and I’m petrified that I may have made you feel that way.

I have struggled with survivor’s guilt and also with sadness over not feeling comfortable posting about how I’m feeling because it might offend someone still in the trenches, what I haven’t acknowledged is that it is ALL self imposed.  It is my perception from reading other infertility blogs that there are certain things that might be offensive and so I try to avoid them, my followers here have been steadfast and incredible in supporting me regardless of what I post.

A recent debate has started up in the ALI community over the creation of P.A.I.L. and I refuse to even link to the post because I was so horrified by some of the comments.  The comments that were left on that post are the exact ones that have made me feel like I cannot post about pregnancy after IF, good or bad.  They were posted by women who are hurting and are lashing out and I think all of us were there at some point in our journeys. 

For the record I will still be a part of P.A.I.L.  I don’t think the blogroll was created out of malice and I think it serves a great purpose, to help link together people in a common, tough place.  Because even if you don’t realize it yet, pregnancy after infertility isn’t always the happily ever after we’ve all dreamed of, its real and scary and sometimes its as tough as IF was.

IF is a hard road but until you take the pregnancy after IF fork you don’t realize that the hurt from IF never actually goes away.  The only way it goes away is if you forget your past, if you do what most bloggers do and leave this community behind.  I REFUSE to do that!  IF has shaped my life, it has changed me in a million ways (both good and bad) but I am who I am because of it. 

I will continue to blog here about me and my life, sometimes it will be about how ever present IF is even after pregnancy, but sometimes it will be about pregnancy in general or my dorky obsession with spreadsheets.  I hope that anyone will feel welcome here to read and comment, I hope to touch people in all stages of IF and beyond.

The truth is that the people who are hurting and who lash out are going to do that no matter what I write.  My loyal and fabulous followers don’t deserve to have me put that on them.  You all have always shown me respect and love, and if you were in a tough place you’ve always respected my space regardless.

So I guess the point of this post is to say thank you to my wonderful friends.  You are all incredible and have been my source of hope and support for so long, I just want you to know how much I appreciate you and I truly hope I didn’t hurt any of your feelings by posting about P.A.I.L.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Andre the Giant

I used to think of baby boy as “little man”.  The last month or so, when I think of him as that it makes me laugh, it makes me laugh because there is nothing little about him, he’s a giant…

The following graph is testament to the fact that I’m a class A nerd.  It is a plot of gestation age in weeks vs. fundal height (the measurement from pubic bone to top of the uterus).  The blue points are a normal 50th percentile baby.  The pink dots belong to “little man”.  The curve shown is the exponential trendline that fits my fundal height measurements and projects how huge he will be in the end compared with an average baby. 

Incase you’re not a super math geek like me and the graph above means nothing to you, please reference the written version of our baby’s exponential growth extrapolation that follows...

At 20 weeks my fundal height was a week ahead.  At my 20 week ultrasound he measured 1 week ahead of the average 20 week baby.  No big deal, we just joked that he was going to be a strapping lad.

At my 26 week appointment my fundal height was 2 weeks ahead.  My OB was a little worried that I had too much amniotic fluid so she sent us in for another ultrasound.  At our 27 week ultrasound “little man” was measuring right on track for a 29 week fetus (92nd percentile).  This is when the giant jokes started.  Our OB said not to worry, he is just going to be a big boy.

Today I had my 29 week appointment.  My fundal height was 5 weeks ahead…  I won’t know for another week and a half just how huge he has gotten, but given the fact that he’s always matched the fundal height measurements so far, I’m a little nervous.

Enter, Andre the Giant, formerly known as Little Man.

According to my OB most uteri can’t handle a fundal height of greater than 42-44 cm.  According to my ridiculously nerdy graph, Andre will be there somewhere between 33 and 35 weeks.  My OB is stopping all my meds to prevent contractions at 34 weeks and we’ll all be surprised if he stays inside much longer than that…