January 19, 2010

And They Lived Happily Ever After

Thank you to everyone who has commented, supported me, cheered me up after bad news, given me a reality check, made me laugh at myself, made me laugh at the hysterical things that can happen when you mix hormonal women, sharp needles, dildocams and floundering but well-intentioned husbands/partners/REs. Thank you to everyone who has listened, who has held onto hope for me, who sat next to me on the roller coaster, who cried with me and even those who sent me virtual *hugs*, whatever they're supposed to be. Thank you especially to everyone who shared their own journey with me, the heart wrenching and raw pain, the unstoppable tears, the emptiness, the anger and unfairness, the nervous joy and trepidation, the hopefulness, the power of a heart's desire, the joy and jubilation. Thanks for your insights, your kindness, honesty, wit, humor and snark; your often beautiful writing, your open hearts, and all the other incredible, amazing parts of who you are and where you've been and what you've seen. Thank you, and fare thee well.

The end.

December 14, 2009

Feelin Lucky

Gosh, you guys sure are nice to want to hear about the little family. I honestly haven't been withholding anything, there's just not much to share. I will continue to focus mainly on infertility here and naturally there isn't much new in that department with a 10 week old at home. But I do think its important to include the children, the happy outcome of successful cycles, in the whole infertility story. Even when I had no hope whatsoever for myself, it was important to me to read about others' successes and know that somewhere out there, someone was going to get lucky.

It's been a busy 10 weeks! First there was the mad scramble to finish Piper's halloween costume. She wanted to be a cupcake and I couldn't find one I liked anywhere so I decided to get crafty (i.e. crazy). It came out pretty cute but weighed a TON so she couldn't keep it on for long...

Then there was the mad dash to get ready for Piper's birthday party. I can't believe I have a two year old! The best part about her party was that it required a trial run on the birthday cake, just to be sure it was edible of course. When I asked Piper if she wanted a cake she said "brown!"

Then the four of us went to San Diego to visit my sister. There were some great moments but it was a rough trip because we all passed around a nasty stomach flu which basically meant far less time with my sister and her family than I had hoped for. Here are Piper and Isla chillin in the hotel room while we tried to recover:

She bounced back just fine though. At the end of our trip we checked into a swanky place for a few days. When we got there Piper cozied up into a cushy chair overlooking the ocean and said: "Nice, Mom. I comfortable!"

Isla is, like Piper, a very easy baby. She's a great sleeper and nursing has been easy. I thought it was easy the first time but this is really a piece of cake by comparison (is it just me or does this post have a dessert theme?). My milk came in much faster which meant no pumping, which in turn meant a much better supply from the start. She's gained weight much better than Piper did too, doubling her birthweight from 5 pounds to 10 by two months. Both girls were born at the 3rd percentile 3 weeks early, but while Piper jumped to the 20th and stayed there, Isla is on track to hang around the 40th percentile. So she's still a tiny little thing. She's now in the smiley stage which is just the greatest thing ever, melting the hearts of everyone who holds her with a coo and a huge grin.

Piper at two is....well they say easy babies are often tough toddlers. I guess we all pay our parenting dues eventually! She's doing her job of staking out her independence and gaining confidence from all the new things she's learning. She counts things and knows her colors, can draw a smiley face and hop on one foot. At her two year check-up she was off the charts on all the developmental questions, especially language. Her best friends are both almost two and a half so I think she picks up on things a bit early by following their lead. I'm glad she has that because you often hear that is the case with second siblings, so it's nice to feel like she's getting her own dose of it too. It helps a lot with her to have activities too; in warmer weather she had a great time with her adorable Lil Kickers "soccer" class, and now she absolutely LOVES gymnastics.

Christmas with a two year old is awesome. This is the first year she's kind of getting it. Decorating the tree was so fun; every ornament I pulled out of the box was met with "WOWWWWW Mom, soooo prettttty!" The first snow was a delight, although there was an unexpected disappointment. When she woke up in the morning she was at first excited to see the snow out her window, but then very sad when we came downstairs. It took me a minute to figure out what was wrong when she said "No toys?" with the saddest look ever on her face. She thought that Christmas had come with the snow but Santa hadn't brought her anything (probably because of all the "Santa is watching!" threats she hears). Excited as she is to get presents, she is completely unwilling to sit on Santa's lap. When I ask if she wants to tell Santa what to bring her for Christmas she says "Sure mom, no lap!" She'd prefer to just shout her list to him from across the velvet rope I guess. Really makes me regret not sticking her on his lap when she was a baby for the classic Christmas Cry photo. But I did get a nice one of her crying when I tried to make her pose with "snowface":

Despite the typical two-year-old frustrations, this is definitely the most wonderful Christmas I've had. Funny how it feels like just the other day and a million years ago all at once that I struggled through this time of year. It was the Christmas season that finally lit the fire under us to go ahead with IVF after a long road of disagreement and uncertainty about how to deal with infertility. My heart is with my friends whose homes still feel empty. Warm holiday wishes to all of you, to all your different forms of family, to the children I've "met" through your blogs, to the mothers to be and all the mothers at heart. May 2010 be a wonderful year for you!

November 18, 2009

Lesson Learned

Well I'm officially a terrible blogger. I'm smug and obnoxious if I post about how life as a family of four is just grand and I'm a drama queen if I only post to tell you about the minor catastrophes. This one, though, seems worth telling because I learned something that could help someone else, and that I found very little info about online.

It happened in Target. I'd gotten my Starbucks, chatted with a friend in the holiday aisle, and was well on my way to finishing my errands for Piper's second birthday party. I could feel the clot come out. And then the gush. I hoped the jumbo pad was enough while I headed to check out. I realized pretty quickly it wouldn't be and while I waited behind the woman whose card was declined five times, I tried to disctretely check that at least the leak was small and well hidden. It became clear it wouldn't be as I grew faint and queasy. The baby was crying in her carseat so I picked her up with her blanket draped down in front of me to help cover up. I managed to pay and push my cart to the car with her in that position but by now I noticed people noticing. No one offered to help the crazy bloody woman with the crying infant.

At my car I saw that the leak had expanded to roughly the size of a red diaper over my khaki cords. I got us all in the car and returned a call to my sister. She lives in another time zone so as I felt fainter I hung up and called my husband and told him to stay on the phone with me while I drove home and to meet me there. In my garage I stayed in the driver's seat to avoid passing out while I pulled the still crying baby up front to nurse her and called my OB. There is a lot of multitasking with a newborn.

My OB said I should have a sono to check for retained products of conception. I remembered that the placenta hadn't delivered naturally and the OB had to reach in and yank it out. J was home in minutes and with the baby fed, we left her and Piper with the sitter and went to wait in the ER for 12 hours. My heart rate was very high when we got there because of the amount of blood I'd lost and had been losing for weeks. They put me on IV fluids and I fought to keep from passing out.

Eventually I had the ultrasound in the same room where I'd had so many during my hospital bed rest. It revealed a rather large peice of placenta still in place. When we realized they would keep me there until they could remove it, J went home and got my pump. Pumping in triage wasn't exactly the sort of "me time" I'd been dreaming of. About 9 hours in they got us ready to head to the OR. On the way in for the D&C a nurse asked if I had kids and their ages. When I said five weeks I could tell she thought I was confused about the baby she assumed I'd lost and felt sorry for me. I figured they don't have many post-partum D&Cs and after fretting all day about having to leave the infant I was still nursing every few hours, I counted my lucky stars knowing my baby was safe at home.

There is a lesson here. I should have known. I should have called my doctor weeks before. When your doctor tells you to call if your bleeding continues heavily for several weeks, do it. If you pass a softball-sized clot after leaving the hospital, call. If you're going through 5-6 pads a day a month after delivery, this is not normal. Be particularly suspicious if there was anything abnormal about delivery of the placenta. It's true that postpartum cramping is much more intense with subsequent pregnancies, but this doesn't mean you should have excessive bleeding. You may feel perfectly fine, but If you continue to have large clots for several weeks, just call. Maybe it's nothing but at least ask. Don't be the crazy bloody lady with the crying baby in Target. Lesson learned.

October 20, 2009


Oh my, I sure didn't mean to go 20 days without updating but the time has flown by! After 17 days of hospital bedrest, baby Isla was born at 7:29am on October 1st, weighing 5 pounds and measuring 18 3/4 inches.

She has been nearly identical to Piper in every way I can think of from the delivery to her size to eating and sleeping (which is pretty much all that's happened so far). As with Piper I had to supplement feedings with formula in the first week or so just to help her gain weight but she is nursing fine now. My milk did come in much easier the second time. The recovery has been about the same although the cramping was much worse which my OB said tends to happen with successive pregnancies. It still catches me off guard some days so I have learned to keep ibuprofen in my bag. I am really tired of wearing pads but I think the end of that stage is near. Thank GAWD.

J has been working from home and we're all just hanging out enjoying the new baby phase. Piper maybe slightly less so. She can be very sweet with the baby and seems excited about being the big sister but after having mommy in the hospital for so long it's hard to finally have me home but still not fully accessible. She mostly behaves like an overtired child, breaking down easily over fairly small things that would normally roll off her back. She is testing the limits too, and will occasionally pop the baby on the head or squeeze her too hard. We definitely have to watch her closely and I feel like I'm walking a very fine line between over- and under-reacting. There needs to be zero tolerance for anything that could hurt the baby but I also don't want to blow the adjustment period out of proportion because I think we'll all settle into our new family roles and rules soon enough.

It's been busy, with family and visitors and all the little things I want to do before I'm working again. But J does a ton around the house and with both kids and Piper's nanny still comes to play with her for a few hours four days a week. I have all the help I could need and only feel stressed by all the things I want to do with my freedom now that I'm out of the hospital and before work sucks me back in. I do have to remember to take it easy - it's easy to underestimate what bedrest takes out of you. My sister came to visit and it was too short and our time and attention was too divided but it was great to see her and now I can't wait to go back to San Diego to see them again.

So with the visits over, now we begin to get back to some sort of routine. J is going to try to continue working from home but we'll see how that unfolds. I work from home anyway and will be easing my way back in over the new few weeks. I'm really glad we got Piper into her routine with our awesome nanny a few months in advance, so she's already used to me disappearing into my office for the few hours before her nap while she plays. It was a little hard sometimes to hear her having so much fun with the nanny when I was stuck in the office but now I'm grateful she has that time to herself, not shared with the baby, while the baby sleeps or nurses in my office.

In a lot of ways I think we're in the honeymoon period and the more difficult days lie ahead (when work gets crazy, when the baby realizes she's been born and starts waking up, when I have a crawler and a toddler...), but for now I'm enjoying it! Of course I feel grateful every day that we made it this far. It's so hard to believe we're a family of four. A few years ago I really expected to end up childless and divorced, torn apart by infertility. I definitely feel like I hit the lottery somehow; that I just can't even believe my good luck. If this is all just a dream, please don't wake me up.

September 30, 2009

Birth Day Eve

Or eve eve. After two weeks in the hospital and a very bad blood pressure day yesterday they've started me on Cervidil to get things going. I'm not dilated at all and cervix is still very long so cervidil stays in for 12 hours and Pitocin starts at 11pm tonight. If this is like my induction with Piper, I can expect a baby about 22 hours later, or sometime Thursday night. It wasn't a super long labor last time, just took a long time to get labor started, so this being the second time around won't necessarily go any faster as you so often hear about successive labors. Whatever happens we're on our way and she'll get here when she gets here.

Which presents a small dilemma: we have no idea what to name this girl! I seriously need help, throw everything you've got at me. I want another spunky, spirited name like Piper, but that doesn't sound new or made up. For example the old fashioned Sadie sounds just right to me but my husband hates it. Piper's middle name is Harlow, which means from the hilltown, chosen because J and I met when we were neighbors on Capitol Hill. For this baby we're considering the middle name Eve, a reference to the place where we married (called evelynton). We think Eve as a first name sounds weird with our last name. Anyway, that's what I've got for you to go on. Some of you will understandably not be in a place were thinking about baby names is even a remotely pleasant idea, but for those who are please send any and all suggestions my way! And a deep thank you to everyone who has been so supportive all this time, thank you so much.

September 24, 2009

Day 250: One Week In

I've been living in L&D room 19 for a week now. It's gone by surprisingly fast, which is not to say it's been easy. Yesterday was a bad day. I'd had some problems overnight after sort of falling through the cracks between the nurses shifts, and then when I finally got a nurse around 10am, she said "So the plan is still to keep you here until 37 weeks?" I burst into tears. It wasn't particularly shocking information but no one had specifically said that before and in that moment, the idea of being away from Piper for another week and a half after 6 days away already hit me hard. My nurse was upset about having upset me and became very defensive. I tried to swallow the tears but they kept sneaking out over the next few hours.

Eventually my OB came by to talk to me about the u/s I'd had the day before and a plan. I'm mainly here for low fluid and over the past week it is holding pretty steady. My mfm still feels the pregnancy is basically just done and wants me here monitored until delivery. My OB made a case with him for sending me to bedrest at home with bi-weekly monitoring but the mfm didn't go for it. I knew he wouldn't, he told me when I left his office last week that I would not be going home pregnant. I had accepted that, and set my sights on making it to 36 weeks in this miserable little room. That's two days from now. The idea of tacking another week on that was unbearable.

Both the OB and mfm had previously mentioned their comfort level with delivering at 36 weeks which was what put that number in my head. While 37 weeks is considered full term, babies' lungs are typically developed at some point between 35-37 weeks and it just varies by the individual baby. It's very encouraging that we've seen practice breathing on u/s for over six weeks now. Basically the expectation is that the baby would be fine if I had to be delivered today, but could face some significant NICU time based on it's lung development, weight (ability to maintain body temperature), and suck reflex (ability to feed itself whether bottle or breast), which is the last thing to develop. The longer we wait, the less likely NICU would be necessary, and as my OB said, the longer you stay stable and everything looks good, the greedier we get about wanting to give this more time.

So when my OB said we could plan an induction for his next hospital on-call day a week away (next Wednesday 9/30) I felt relieved. That's 36w4days, just a few days before full term. But a week away felt manageable too, having just made it through one week already. So it seemed like a reasonable balance of caution and expedience. I may be plotting my escape after a few more days, but right now it's just great to have an end point.

September 19, 2009

Greetings from Hospital Bedrest

Two weeks ago everything looked so good at the mfm. The next day at the ob I had my first major bp spike: 150/102. It came down and I got to go home but readings at home have been high ever since. I knew the mfm wasn't going to like the bp but I didn't expect to be sentenced to immediate hospital bedrest, where I have been since Thursday. Apparently when gestational hypertension causes deterioration of the placenta, things can begin to go downhill quickly. So while the cautious OBs continue to try to get to 36-37 weeks, they are on board with the mfm who wants me here, monitored, and ready for an induction at the first indication.

In addition to the high bp, growth dropped from 32nd percentile to 16th in two weeks, the placenta which was so healthy last time has rapidly matured, and the fluid is low. Low fluid is the main reason my OB is keeping me here. Apparently that can also be a rapidly worsening situation. A nurse told me about a woman who came in the day before me with low fluid at 34 weeks and by the time she got here the baby had died. So I'm okay, maybe this is the best place for me to be but it's still pretty miserable being stuck here.

It was just such a shock at first. The mfm practically pushed me out the door and across the street to the hospital saying it was time to get the baby out. This happened several times last time and each time all monitoring came back normal and the OBs sent me home until I was within a few days of 37 weeks. I was so sure I'd be here for just a couple hours Thursday, especially as they gave me all the lab results, all normal. But the low fluid was the kicker. Thursday night I was on heavy IV fluids to see if we could increase the fluid level, which would have bought me a ticket home. No dice; they told me when that amount of IV fluid doesn't help, you're not just dehydrated, it's a sign that things are not functioning properly.

So at any time they could decide it's time to induce, but for now I'm just living on a hospital bed, in my fancy gown, strapped to two monitors, a bp cuff, and an IV. Although I can't image another week in this bed, I'm still hoping we get another week in before baby (I'm 35 weeks today). The hardest part might be being away from Piper all this time. I left for my appt during her nap and expected to be home before she even woke up. She's been to visit each day but it's hard for her to be here and I think might make it even worse than missing me at home. I had all these things I had in mind that I was looking forward to enjoying with her in our last few weeks of her being my one and only. I'm done being sad about that now, it's clear I am not going to get to go home for even just the day or two I was hoping for. I've accepted it and moved on to being sick of being stuck on a hot vinyl bed, not getting any sleep, monitors that fall off and beep constantly causing me to feel like I can't move, so I'm constantly sore and uncomfortable. And I'm only a day and a half in! How will I ever make it another week?