The Fundamental Things Apply / As Time Goes By

We had our 20 week anatomy scan this morning. That’s the big one where they check all of the organs and can tell you the sex, if you want to know. We did want to know, even though it doesn’t make much of a difference. The things we want for our child (kindness, empathy, bravery, sense of humor) aren’t sex or gender specific.

When I was younger, I was adamant that I wanted a girl. “I don’t know anything about boys!” I’d wail. But my mistake there was to assume, despite my Women & Gender Studies degree, that females have innate traits that I would have an automatic connection with, and that males have innate traits I would not understand. Such silliness. I would like a child that I can snuggle with, and read books with, and cook with. Tammy would like a child that will play outside with her, go camping with her, and swim in the ocean with her. But you know what? A child of any sex or gender combination will not guarantee us a child that enjoys any or all of those things. Our first lesson in parenting is to accept our child for who they are, regardless of what is between their legs and in their heart. What we ultimately want is for our child(ren) to find what brings them joy.

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At the perinatal clinic (with the high res ultrasound machines), I asked the receptionist if I need a full or empty bladder for my 20 week anatomy scan. She assured me it didn’t matter, so I went to relieve myself, glad I wouldn’t have to spend an uncomfortable hour being prodded in the (full) bladder. When I came out of the bathroom, an Asian gentleman with a heavy accent started scolding me (that much was clear from his tone) but I had no freaking clue what he was trying to say. Tammy read my blank look, and interpreted that I shouldn’t have gone pee, that he needed my bladder full to check my cervix. I told the ultrasound tech that the receptionist told me it was OK (I’m such a tattle-tale) and he stormed off to scold her.

Unfortunately, his accent did not improve while he did the scan. He muttered to himself, ignoring us most of the time when we asked questions, occasionally including “good, good, look fine, eveyting look fine”. My first clue that there might be a problem was when we were measuring the “alus” (“the what?” “the alus…you know…baby poo poo” “oh, the aNus. Gotcha”) and I saw these dark circles in the lower abdomen.

“What are those dark circles?” I asked, three times. He finally responded, “I take picture, review after.” But then he told us the sex, and I sort of forgot about those circles.

It’s a girl. Whatever that means, in all its glory.

After he finished taking his pictures, he told us he was going to go review and would be back in later. We waited around 20 minutes and then a doctor came in. She told us that the tech had trouble getting one or two shots of the brain that she would try to get (she did successfully), but also that she wanted to review one of the pictures he did get of the abdomen. All of a sudden, I remembered those dark circles and got nervous.

It turns out that either the baby has enlarged bowels or cysts on her ovaries. Apparently it’s difficult to tell at this point of fetal development exactly what these fluid filled spaces are. We need to come back in two weeks to see if the spots have gotten bigger or smaller. It’s entirely possible that, whatever the issue is, it will resolve itself. If the spots are not gone, the perinatologist will refer us to have an MRI, which will give us an even more detailed look than the high-resolution scan at the perinatology center (and those scans are crazy detailed).

From my googling this morning, I’ve determined that fetal ovarian cysts are often a result of the large amounts of hormones circulating in MY body. Which makes me feel insanely guilty, and does inject the worry that I’ve harmed our daughters future fertility, should she want to have kids at some point. Most fetal ovarian cysts resolve themselves before birth or shortly after.

Enlarged bowels can be a sign of blockages in the intestines. AKA, my baby is already full of shit (if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry. Work with me here). I ALSO feel guilty about this, like I’ve given my daughter my own screwed up bowels (chronic constipation, etc). Again, these often work themselves out before birth or shortly after.

Worst case for both scenarios would mean regular ultrasounds leading up to the birth, possible induction, and ultrasounds for the baby after birth. Worst WORST case scenario would mean surgery shortly after the baby is born to either remove the cysts or blockages.

Obviously, I wish the scan had gone perfectly and shown no problems. But I’m surprised at how well I’m taking the news. I’m trying to be fair and reasonable when describing this to my parents (“the doctor wasn’t what I would call ‘concerned’, but she does want to monitor it”) and not wallow in melodrama, as is so often my want. I’ve done a little bit of googling, but I’ve tried to skim-without-really-reading the posts where women say “my baby had this and it meant X number of surgeries” or “my baby had this and it was a sign of cystic fibrosis” or “my baby had this and we had to remove her ovaries” or “my baby had this and then she died”. Wow, guess I read more of those than I thought, huh?

Aaaaaaaaanyway, I’m doing reasonably well, for me. I’m trying to focus on her sweet arms and legs kicking me, and my happy laugh as I got to see visual evidence of what I’ve been feeling for weeks (side note to my daughter: no wonder my bladder hurts every time I stand up. You’re doing a straight up goal scoring kick into it!) with regard to movement. I got to see Tammy’s face as we looked at our daughter’s profile, her yawning mouth, and her little fingers giving us the “here’s looking at you, kid.” Maybe we should name her Ingrid?

Here's Looking at You, Kid 3

Here’s looking at you, kid. We are in awe of how marvelous you are.

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The Pirate has Commandeered the Mother…Ship

The transfer went well yesterday. The appointment was set for 9:15, but we had to be there at 8:45. Due to the general suckitude of the traffic, we decided to stay in a hotel 1/2 a mile from the clinic, and that was an AWESOME decision.

Tammy has to travel for work more often than we’d like, but the upside of this is that she has hotel points. Cashing in those suckers was SUCH a good idea. We didn’t have to pay for the room (which is good, because we have no mas money after paying for all this IVF shit), got to sleep in, had an awesome breakfast at the hotel, didn’t have to sit in traffic, and got to the clinic in literally 3 minutes.

When we got to the clinic, I was told to put on booties (AGAIN WITH THE BOOTIES) but didn’t have to change into anything else. Except take my pants off. (Isn’t that a given?)

booties

They made Tammy put on booties as well. On one hand, I don’t really understand WHY we had to put on the booties, but it made it seem more sanitary (I guess? Like are they worried they’re going to drop the blast on my dirty foot?).

I got another ID wrist band.

wrist ID

And then the doctor came in and ran us through the stats:

23 eggs retrieved
18 mature enough for ICSI
15 fertilized normally (I found out an additional one fertilized abnormally – WTF is that? I didn’t even know that was a THING)
Day 1: 14 in the 2-4 cell range (GOOD) 1 at 7 cells (BAD)
Day 2: 14 still growing at the appropriate pace
Day 3: Down to 12 – 2 have slowed down and don’t have as many cells as they should
Day 4: No update, they just leave ’em in the incubator (MY BABIES ARE ALL ALLOOONNNEEE)
Day 5: 5 at the transfer/freeze stage (blastocysts), 5 more just one step behind that they’re going to watch until Thursday and potentially freeze.

The doctor strongly (STRONGLY) recommended that we transfer 1. Tammy and I had discussed this ad nauseum, and were still somewhat divided. (HA! Get it?! I made a cell division joke! Divided?! Cell division?! Nevermind…) We decided to wait and hear the doctor’s recommendation to help make our final decision. My waffling decision making on this issue looked something like this:
Transferring 1
-Same pregnancy success rate at my clinic as transferring 2 (60%)
-Would be easier on my body to carry 1
-Would be nice to be able to focus on one baby at a time
Transferring 2
-Would get the whole “having babies” thing out of the way in one go – only have to go through this (emotionally, physically, financially) once
-It would be fun for our kids to have a friend to grow up with that was their age.
-The “luck” factor. If my chances are roughly 60% with this IVF, what if we transfer 1 and it wasn’t THE one? What if it was the unlucky embryo? Wouldn’t transferring 2 give us more of a shot?

But like I said, the doctor STRONGLY recommended that we transfer 1. And Tammy was STRONGLY leaning in that direction also. The doctor got me to agree by telling me how much higher the miscarriage rates are for twins than a singleton. Now, I know as much as the next person that miscarriages can happen regardless of how many are in there. But having experienced one, I’m fairly desperate not to go through that again (my heart goes out to all you RPL ladies. You are so strong and it is so unfair. I’m so sorry).

So one it was. And it was a beautiful one.

Perfect Blast

Internet, meet Captain Jack Sparrow. It is currently chilling (hopefully NOT chilling – get to WORK young man*. We’ve got IMPLANTATION to do) in my uterus. They put a picture of it on a TV screen while the embryologist brought it in. Tammy’s first comment was “look how big it is!” Mine was “look how tiny!”

Speaking of wee, you must have a “moderately full” bladder for the transfer. And by “moderately full”, they mean HOLY GOD YOU ARE ABOUT TO PEE ON THE DOCTOR LOOK OUT. I actually asked the doctor if anyone had ever peed on her during transfer and she said only once, but the woman was under sedation for the transfer and didn’t have control over her bladder. Then she told me she used to be in obstetrics so a little pee and a little poo don’t faze her. “Now VOMIT on the other hand, I don’t do so well with,” she said. (Duly noted. I will aim my vomit on the nurse.) I only had a FEW panicky moments when the damn nurse pressed on my stomach with the ultrasound wand, but I was distracted by the small flash of light in my uterus, which was the moment the doctor ejected Captain Jack into my uterus. You can’t actually see the blast, of course, but the flash is the fluid surrounding it.

After 5 minutes of laying still, and about 5 minutes of blissful peeing, I went home and I climbed into bed to do my 24 hours of bed rest. Normally I enjoy nothing more than some downtime to laze around and read or watch movies. But yesterday I was bored as hell. Apparently sometimes I can be a wee bit stubborn and contrary. Just a teeny tiny bit.

The next two weeks are going to be agonizing.

*We both for some odd reason think it’s a future boy. NO idea why. But IF this sticks, and IF it’s a girl, well, Captain Jack Sparrow is still a badass name.

More Updates and I’m a Hot Mess

I’ve had daily ultrasounds and blood work for the past week including my damn birthday on Sunday (Happy Birthday! POKE. Happy Birthday! STAB). My follicles have been growing nicely, and my lining has thickened up beautifully – I’ve never seen it this big, actually.

I’ve got somewhere between 15 and 20 follicles (the number seems to vary, depending on who’s doing the ultrasound), of which, probably around 15 will be mature at retrieval. This morning most of them measured in the 17mm – 20mm range. My estrogen has been going up nicely. Yesterday’s results were 2,254. Trigger will most likely be tonight, for a retrieval on Thursday morning.

And a note on the trigger – my doctor is switching me from an hCG trigger to a Lupron trigger. Has anyone ever done this? She says she’s not worried about OHSS for me, but that she thinks I can produce enough LH on my own, so I don’t need the hCG shot.

The two main things I’ve extrapolated from the Lupron v. hCG decisions is that with Lupron I a) do not need to test out the trigger – if I get a BFP it’s a real BFP; and b) Lupron is sub-cutaneous, and hCG is intra-muscular. Would MUCH prefer the sub-q.

cookieOn the emotional front, I’m a hot mess. I’m working reallyreally hard to lock.it.up. with varying results. I’m sore, and bloated, and uncomfortable, and exhausted. I fell like a pincushion. I’ve been poked and prodded and dildoed (what are they DOING in there?! It feels like you’re vacuuming in my vagina for God’s sake) within an inch of my life.

On Saturday, Tammy ran a 5k with her company to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. I dropped her off before the race and ran (haha! Don’t be ridiculous, I drove) over to my vagina check. I got back to the race in time to see her cross the finish line. I have absolutely no idea why, but I burst into hysterical tears when she rounded the bend. In my defense, the song playing over the loudspeakers was this, and HOLY SHIT. Commence ugly cry. Her company should SERIOUSLY know better than to play emotionally charged music when there are women hopped up on hormones watching their beloved cross the finish line!

And then last night the pharmacy was late delivering meds I needed for the morning (damn right they deliver. I’m paying out-of-pocket for all of this so I’m taking the perks where I can). I was extremely agitated waiting up for it. What if they didn’t show up?! That’s my anti-ovulation/antagonist med! What if I don’t get my meds in time and I ovulate and lose all my eggs? What if this has all been for nothing?! When the delivery FINALLY showed up (10:15pm!!!!) I nearly ripped the box out of his hands. I tried to politely smile at him, but it probably came out more like a snarl.

mandrill-snarl_2110219i

So now we wait. So much hurry up and wait! Hurry up and get to your daily 7:30AM appointment. Wait for results. Hurry home and inject yourself! Wait for more meds. Now I’m waiting on blood work results and final word if I’m triggering tonight.

I want this to be over. I want this to work. I want. I want. I want. Pleaseletthiswork. Pleaseletthiswork. It’s my mantra, chanted over and over to myself as I lay there, dildo shoved halfway to heaven, counting the little dark circles of hope on the ultrasound screen.

Friends with Babies

ME: you back at work?

Friend With Baby: Yep

ME: welcome back!

FWB: thanks

And they upgraded my operating system so I can actually get into my gmail again

as you can see

ME: yes, very nice

how are you doing?

other than being so-so on going back to work

FWB: i’m doing ok. tired.

you?

ME: tired and sore

had a lot of early morning appointments this week so i can still get to work on time

FWB: sore?

ME: injections

for IVF

FWB: oh gotcha

ME: plus bloated from all the follicles

FWB: follicles are a bunch of assholes

ME: indeed they are

and i’m hysterically emotional. am a joy to be around, obviously

FWB: we should hang out then

ME: you up for me bursting into tears at random moments, and jumping into hulk like rage at others?

FWB: well…

ME: ha

FWB: that does sound a little terrifying

an emotional rollercoaster

ME: it is

poor tammy

she was away all week on business

good timing

FWB: well…it’s almost time for me to go pump. see what you have to look forward to? also my old uniform shirts don’t fit cause apparently i have huge boobs now (first world problems)

ME: child having problems

cannot relate

FWB: you’ll have one (probably triplets or something)

ME: i kind of doubt it

but we’ll see

FWB: i got all my fingers and toes crossed for you and your triplets

better have three boy and girl names picked out just in case

ME: far too jinxy

cannot even discuss one

the jinx gods are listening

FWB: Jinx gods are a bag of dicks.

ME: they can suck my dick, that’s for sure

FWB: (I’m trying to draw them off of you)

ME: well thanks

we’ll see what happens

go pump

FWB: ok…be back in a bit

ME: enjoy your romantic time with a mini plastic sombrero

Second Scan of the First IVF

I had my second scan and blood work this morning, after 5 days of stims. I just heard from the nurse with my results.

My estrogen is 478.

Lining looked “good”, but I forgot to ask the ultrasound tech what the measurement was.

I had 19 follicles, 6 of which were measurable (at my clinic, this means larger than 10). The two biggest were 11.3

I continue with the same dosage tonight (187.5 IU of Bravelle, 75 IU of Menopur) and come back tomorrow morning for another check.

Things are movin’ and groovin’.