Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Still REALLY Pregnant

Unrelated happy picture!

Yesterday was my follow up blood test to ensure I am still pregnant and my hormone levels are progressing normally. I quickly stopped by the lab for another poke on my way to work. I realized there was a possibility the test could show bad news, but I felt pretty confident. Later that morning I noted some light spotting. Not until then did I get a little nervous. I've heard this can be normal but it did put a glimmer of doubt in my mind while waiting for the result to come back.

Abe texted me mid-morning to let me know that the test was 4042! I had read that the test should double every 48-72 hours so this seemed crazy high from 662. I was a little worried what this might mean. "How many are in there?!?" (My staff keeps teasing me about triplets.) But I was also relieved I am still pregnant.

I called the nurse to report the spotting and she didn't seem concerned unless I have increased bleeding or single sided abdominal pain. (Nope.) She reported the blood test results to me and stated that the target at four days is 1900. 

So I figure I am REALLY pregnant, not just kind of pregnant. And maybe being about double the target makes sense for two babies?

I think we are both happy and excited after more good news. It is hard to believe we are on our way to that baby bump!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Benefits of Oversharing

I'd say I'm a pretty open person. I'm a talker. I'm an oversharer. I'm the one that leaves parties embarrassed for dominating conversations or for saying something that could be described as "TMI." This is probably why I gradually opened up online more and more in my infertility journey. I felt nervous, especially in the beginning, but I felt compelled to share despite feeling this topic was a bit taboo (why should it be?!!).

More recently, what came pretty easily for me took me by surprise when I found it took a little more courage to keep writing. I wanted to present my journey in real time, without the sugar coating or judgement of hindsight. But the contemporary nature of the postings made it more raw for me, too. It didn't help that I understood I don't always know who is reading or how what I am saying is being received. But I decided to continue despite what felt like my better judgement.

And I am so glad I did.

I have been overwhelmed by the love and support I have received along the way during this round of treatment. Honestly, I felt a little silly writing posts each day when I usually didn't feel I had much of anything to say. It seemed like a pointless little ritual I had to complete since I committed to do so and sometimes I even felt a little embarrassed about it. Maybe that is why I am so surprised how many people have been following along, many even thanking me for my words and encouraging me to continue.

Every Facebook wall post, private message, blog comment, card, or text was so appreciated. I wish I could personally thank each person who took time to write something so kind but it would take all day and begin to seem trite. So thank you, everyone! Please know that your kindness made an unmeasurable difference. Thank you old friends, new friends, good friends, mere acquaintances, and even strangers and blog stalkers. I keep finding myself in tears thinking of the kind words, of people crying and cheering along with me, prayers said on our behalf, and people sharing their own stories of infertility, loss, or encouragement with me. It made a difference. You made a difference.

And there is no way that all of those prayers did not help. God heard you and I am so grateful.

Even Abe who is a pretty private person and who may have originally preferred I not shout out across the internet rooftops each detail of this process (for example, while I am telling everyone the day we found out, he calmly went about his work day without telling a soul) said today that he thought that being so open was actually a really good thing. He said perhaps it really gave us the opportunity to follow the gospel principle of "rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who mourn." I was glad he felt that way as this has been his story, too, and he an often unvoiced observer of the most private parts of our life together being made very public.

Along the way I have heard so many stories of loneliness and isolation from others on this journey. I have seen countless anonymous posts and comments of people afraid to share and the burdens they bear alone. I really hope that others in this situation can gain courage to open up.

There shouldn't be shame.
There shouldn't be so much loneliness.
There shouldn't be so much isolation
There shouldn't be so much embarrassment.

There are other women (and men) out there suffering through this. People who understand, who can offer love and support and even advice if needed.

And there are others in your circle who don't understand or can't understand. But I've learned overwhelmingly they still care. They may not know what to say or they may even say the wrong thing (I've posted about this before). But I think I have learned through this that as we share and open up, we can find love and understanding and comfort in each other.

Thank you for all who know the pain of infertility, who have shared their stories both of heartache and success with me. Thank you for helping me know I wasn't the only one and that I could do this.

And thank you to all who haven't had this trial, who have been so wonderful in trying to understand and to be sensitive and kind. For crying those tears of sadness with me and finally for crying again those tears of joy when you didn't have to!

Thank you everyone for making a very discouraging, isolating, frustrating, scary, lonely, sad (and so many many more feelings) process one that has brought me so much comfort, kindness, support, friendship, and love.

*If you are going through something similar, try opening up to someone. That is the only way I made it through this experience with any sanity or happiness. You can start small with even just one person. And if you need that person to be, I'm here.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Result

Of course I had to tell Abe the result before anyone else.

That last post was probably a dirty trick to keep you all hanging -- maybe it helped you gain a little empathy!

At 9:05 the nurse called, much earlier than I have heard back in the past.

"Congratulations!" She said.

I wasn't quite sure if I fully understood what that meant. But she continued with the good news.

HCG level 662

She almost laughed about this and said there was "still a chance for a singleton" -- meaning this high number most likely means twins!

Progesterone 17.3 (should be between 15-60)

I also got instructions on my medications (I can discontinue my shots at the end of April) and some of my other pills in about a month.

In the meantime, I will have an additional blood test Monday to verify my hormone levels are increasing and an ultrasound mid-March to verify implantation and how many babies.

After we hung up I got down on my knees and thanked God it finally worked.

Abe finally called me about 30 minutes after I texted him to let him know I had the result. I started crying when I told him it was positive. He said he didn't think I would be crying if it was positive but I was feeling quite emotional. He seemed surprised and very calm. I think in Abe speak that means happy!

So how am I feeling now?

I am in disbelief.
I can't believe it.
I feel relieved.
I feel grateful.

Our first baby picture!

I know it is a little unconventional to announce it the day you find out but I wanted this to be real. I also realized I kind of backed myself into the corner with this blog series and how could I not tell the results (and still keep friends?).  There is a common sentiment that women shouldn't announce a pregnancy until the second trimester. The only reasoning I have heard is "in case something goes wrong."

I know there is a chance that things can still go wrong. I know that it is a little strange to announce so early. But I am going off faith that things will work out. I know I have benefited from my openness so much. The kind words from old and new friends and the number of prayers we have received has been overwhelming. I have no doubt God heard those prayers of the many and that it made a difference. Being quiet would have meant not receiving any of that support or those heavenly requests on our behalf.

There is a higher chance of miscarriage in patients with PCOS. If that happens then I guess it may make you feel awkward or sad to find out.  And if it sadly does, I will continue to appreciate the support I know I will continue to get from all of you. Any continued prayers for a safe and healthy pregnancy and baby(ies) will of course be appreciated.

So, for once some positive news. And maybe our wait is finally actually really on the end to being over.

*This post feels really jumbled to me. At some point I would have wanted to do a cutesy pregnancy announcement. Something clever and fun and would take days to plan. At this point I just don't have it in me. It seems like there should be something so much more profound or interesting to say but I am really at a loss for words.

The Wait Is Over

6:15 -- I woke up with Abe's alarm. I felt nice and calm as I tried to go back to sleep. But after tossing and turning I looked at my alarm that said 6:15. After unsuccessfully falling back asleep I decided to get out of bed about 6:30 and take my morning pills. Since I don't have to go to work this morning I was hoping to sleep in a little bit (to pass some time) and go in to my lab appointment a little later than 7:00 am. Now I guess I will probably just bundle up and get in there on time. Right now I have a little pit in my stomach and feel a bit like I am going to vomit.

6:45 -- I feel a little better after eating a few crackers. I'm not always an easy needle stick so I am trying to get some extra fluid in to make it easier on the lab tech (and myself!). I'm dreading going out in the sub zero temperatures and piles of snow but I guess it is time to bite the bullet and bundle up.

7:10 -- After checking in at the clinic I head to the lab. Thankfully after only one practically painless poke, it's done. I head back to my car and home. I feel surprisingly calm. I know that Abe is in the OR this morning. So, even if I hear back I will have to wait until he is between cases to reach him with the result.

I decided to read my scriptures to pass the time and hopefully hold on to that calm feeling. These scriptures spoke to me, for obvious reasons.

Isaiah 54: 1 -- Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into signing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord.
vs. 7 -- For a small moment I have forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
vs. 8 -- In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, said the Lord thy Redeemer.

8:10 -- It's been an hour. I'm feeling surprisingly good. I feel like whatever happens today will be ok. I will surely be emotional about either result but I feel like it is in God's hands. Maybe I can take a little nap now that I'm not so worried.

9:05 -- I never fell asleep but I got the call from the nurse with the result. That was less of a wait than I expected. So grateful they put me out of my misery relatively quickly.

Now, if only Abe would finish his OR case so I can tell him the result.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Two Week Wait Day 9

So how am I feeling today?

Today was my weekly day off. I stayed busy running errands throughout the day. It was nice not to focus on the wait by keeping busy and doing some of the things I've been wanting to do.

While out I ran into a friend who found out today that she is successfully pregnant from her recent IVF, confirmed on ultrasound. What a relief and I was so happy for her. I am hoping that I will have some of my own good news TOMORROW.

So yes, tomorrow is the big day. I am feeling surprisingly calm (at least I was until I started writing this and thinking about it!), but I am dreading the blood test. I've been waiting and waiting and waiting, but now that it is almost upon us, I am scared to find out anything. Up to this point the news has only been negative. It is hard to actually truly believe it will come out positive even though I am feeling good.

I know that the wait tomorrow will be excruciating. I know I will be talking myself down, trying to convince myself it didn't work until I get the phone call with the result. I am hoping to find out quickly afterward (they usually don't call for hours).

I am grateful we cancelled my work day tomorrow due to a big snow storm. I will be grateful to have some alone time (away from work and patient care) to process the results, whatever they will be.

Okay, I take it back. I'm feeling pretty nervous now!

Nine days down. One to go!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Two Week Wait Day 8

So how am I feeling today?

My initial thought is, "Not much." Maybe that is why I've procrastinated until after bedtime to even start writing this post today. When I think about it now, my thoughts feel a little jumbled. I guess I wont worry too much about making any sense or saying anything amazing because the point of these posts is really just expression --jumbled or not!

I think I am attempting to not think or feel too much at this stage in the game. The test day is getting close enough that it is a little hard not to stress over it. But I am also getting a little used to the wait. I think I am really just trying not to worry!

I wondered again today if I should I do a home pregnancy test. It should be close enough that maybe something would show up! But I am a little too afraid so I am pretty sure I will avoid it. I don't know how I will react to ANY news at this point.

Another friend had a negative blood test today showing her IVF cycle was unsuccessful. I was really hoping to both have happy news this week! It seems at first I only heard the success stories, the "Hang in there, it will all work out like it did for me" stories. I have started to hear more stories of those continuing in their journeys and those with unimaginable heartaches when it seems like hope is actually running out for them.

I have been waiting so long for MY turn. Now I wish they could just have theirs.

I might be feeling a little bit of survivor's guilt (assuming my treatment does work at some point). I don't want to leave them behind. I don't want them to feel like I don't understand or I am no longer there for them. I don't want them to see me as just another mom who doesn't get it. I feel sad and worried to move on without them because I know what it is to feel like the only one without a turn.

Here is something I wrote a few months ago about that feeling:
Sometimes it feels like I am in a wicked game of Uno. You know, the one where you thought things were going pretty good only to suddenly you realize you drew a ridiculously horrible hand? At first it doesn't seem so bad --drawing a card here or there; but before you know it, you get skip after skip. You begin to wonder, "When is it going to be my turn?" Everyone plays on happily while you continue to draw two more months, four more months, even the occasional reverse where others seem to get multiple chances to play while you watch in frustration. All while you wait for even just one chance to play. You start to change your game plan. No longer worried about winning, you merely hope and pray you get a play or two in before the game ends and you are stuck with that hand full of wild cards.

Love and prayers we will all have our little miracles when the time is right.

Eight days down.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Two Week Wait Day 7

So how am I feeling today?

Funny how emotions change so much from day today. Today was fine. In fact, today was even good. I kept busy at work but not overwhelmingly so. I felt more energized than I have in awhile. And I am feeling positive.

I think all of your kind words and encouragement helped a lot. And I am grateful to those who reminded me that it is okay to hope and be positive. I do think there is power in positive thinking, positive energy, good juju. I even did some meal planning for the week and am trying a new recipe even tonight! That's the first time in months I've felt up to cooking, especially something from a recipe.

I feel like my symptoms are slightly different this time (finally, the promised chest tenderness everyone has been warning me about and no signs yet of a new cycle rearing its ugly head*). They say that you can experience pregnancy symptoms from the hormones alone, regardless of whether you are pregnant or not. So, the fact I feel different seems like a good sign as I've done the hormone thing multiple times already.

Seven days down.

*Sorry if that seems like TMI. I debated over and over again whether I should include those symptoms here. I did for the sake of full disclosure. Because I know I have been wondering and searching for clues from others so maybe it can help someone else figure it out, too!