Steady Reassurance

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Wednesday I had the first appointment with my OB (who I randomly picked after googling and trying to find a doctor who delivered at the hospital I wish to use). She had some mixed reviews online, so I wasn’t sure what to think but too late now, at this point it would be tricky for me to be referred elsewhere. That’s the thing with public healthcare, you can’t always be super choosy. I’m lucky I got to pick at all, but the doctor that did my 2nd beta (from a walk in clinic) asked me if I had any preference.

From the dealings I’ve had with the OBs office leading up to this appointment I knew it was a very busy practice (there are 5 doctors in total, and each one has their own receptionist). When I first checked in with my doctors receptionist she pointed to a jar with little pieces of paper in it, asked me to take one, and pee on the little boxes to check for protein in my urine. So I had to show her after, and then turf it. It looks as though I’ll be doing this every time, as several other ladies were doing the same.

They were running behind, which I had read was a peeve of people who complained online. To me, that’s par for the course at most any doctors office, so I wasn’t all that bothered (plus I had a day off so didn’t have to worry about getting to work). J came with me, and I think they time delay bothered him (he’s a stickler for punctuality), plus he did have to go to work after so he missed almost a half day. We were taken back by a nurse who asked several questions about my family medical history and my own, took my weight and my blood pressure. From there we were taken to an exam room and told the doctor would see us soon, but in the interim a medical student would come in and ask me some questions.

The medical student came in and asked me about medications I was taking, and a bit more medical history. It is noted on my file that I am an IVF pregnancy, and he asked us how long it took to conceive. I don’t like to think about it too hard, but I swallowed and told him near 2 1/2 years. He congratulated us, and gave me the rundown of some of the do’s and don’ts (most of which were obvious, or already known to me). I asked him if we would get to hear the heartbeat at this appointment, and he told me usually they don’t check with a doppler earlier than 12 or 13 weeks because it’s not always possible to hear. But he seemed excited at the opportunity, and had a little doppler machine in his pocket so he said he’d give it a try. I laid back on the table and he started moving the probe across my stomach. He wasn’t having any luck but there were some swooshing noises and he said there was definitely something moving around in there (perhaps my breakfast…). He was quite high up on my stomach (I didn’t even have to un-do my jeans) but what do I know about where the heartbeat would be? He didn’t have any luck but I wasn’t overly bothered as I knew it might not have been possible anyways.

After a bit more discussion about prenatals, proper nutrition and exercise he left to get our OB. They came back a short time later, and Dr. A introduced herself to J and I with a firm, hearty handshake. She offered her congratulations as well, and asked a bit more about our history. She asked if there was any determination for our infertility, or whether we were unexplained. I’ve seen my chart at the fertility clinic, and technically we are listed as “unexplained”. I suppose because our motility and morphology were not as such that it should have prevented us from getting pregnant, after all the time we tried naturally plus IUIs they consider us unexplained. I would still say MFI, but I suppose it’s neither here nor there now.

She gave us a bit of a run down similar to her med student, and he mentioned to her that he had tried to find the heartbeat earlier but couldn’t. She had me lie back again for her to give it a go. This time she had me undo my jeans, and fold them down a bit so she could put the transducer just above my pelvic bone. She said normally this early in pregnancy she wouldn’t even offer to try but because I am thin, it could be possible. It took her all of about 6 seconds before we heard the steady whooshing thrum of the heartbeat. It sounded slower than last time, but I suppose back at 7 weeks the rudimentary heart could pump pretty quickly seeing as it would be pushing blood in a much smaller volume. It was fantastic to hear it again, just as a reassurance that there is still something living in there. I think the med student was a bit shy and didn’t really want to have me undo my pants for him (if he’s going into obstetrics pretty sure he’s going to have to get more comfortable).

Dr. A told us she does all of her own day deliveries (the hospital is literally right across the street from her office) so occasionally she has to rush out on her daily appointments to deliver someone’s baby. For night deliveries, her and the other 4 doctors share a rotation, which from what I gather is pretty standard so I am trying not to get completely attached to the idea of our doctor doing the delivery (or even think that far ahead).

She asked me on two separate occasions whether I had any questions and I tried, I really racked my brain before we went as to what I could ask her but I really couldn’t think of anything pressing. I’m still trying to take things slow, and not get ahead of myself so I didn’t want to get into questions about delivery, ect. She told me the timeline in which I’ll see her; every 4 weeks until 28 weeks, and then every two weeks, until I am closer to delivery then it will be once a week. She congratulated us again before she left, and that was it.

I got a pretty good vibe from her, she’s very different from my GP (whom I dislike). She doesn’t seem super polished, she has a brash raspy voice and talks quite loudly (we could hear her through the wall when she was in with another patient), but she seemed kind, and caring, even if a bit rushed. I felt comfortable, and I guess that’s what matters.

In other news, I stopped all fertility meds (progesterone, estrogen and ASA) last week and it was awesome. No more wearing panty liners, getting up early, and staying up late to take meds (7am, 3pm, 11pm, that was my schedule). I finished my pack of progesterone, and then…nothing bad happened. I was a bit freaked out to stop, but I’m sure they keep you on it longer than necessary just to be safe.

Baby is officially a fetus now, past 10 weeks (11w2d today). I still have some mild nausea but I find eating breakfast as soon as I get up helps. I get tired really easily, and I’m generally hungry near all the time. I baked a cake the other night just because I really wanted a piece of cake. Most of the time I am really into fruit, I went to the grocery store just to get oranges, apples, grapes and kiwis. I guess it’s good that they’re healthy options but of course everything I want is out of season and twice as expensive right now. My weird dreams have subsided somewhat, my skin is still awful and sleeping is so so. I really don’t have to pee any more than I used to, and I don’t get up in the night. That could be because I have a hard time staying hydrated, and because I am mostly off caffeine which is a diuretic which would have me running to the bathroom often.

We have our nuchal translucency testing next week, and the following weekend we plan to tell the parents. I’m nervous, and sort of just want to keep it a big secret forever and not make a big deal. I mean I know it is a big deal to us, and our families but being pregnant just makes me feel so awkward, with all of the unncessary attention that will be paid to me (though I do enjoy that hubby is waiting on me hand and foot). I still can’t bring myself to even step foot into a Babies’R’Us or look up any baby items I might want/need. My best friend has offered up any of her left over baby items (she has two boys, 2 and a half, and 8 months).

J and I went into the spare bedroom last night to discuss nursery organization but it was a brief, very theoretical conversation. It’s starting to feel real, but still hard to wrap my brain around. J has been adorable with everything, he gets the same baby centre updates that I do, so he’ll say to be “did you know that such and such is happening with the baby this week?”. I love that he is following along, and he has really stepped up around the house; making dinners, cleaning and taking care of the dogs when I am feeling tired or unwell.

The last, and one of the most exciting things to me right now is that we submitted my bloodwork for early gender testing. I am sooo impatient and to many people who have been through IVF I know they want to keep the gender a surprise because so much mystery has been taken out of the whole process. We should have it back somewhere around Feb. 23 and it is somewhere in the neighborhood of 95% accuracy. They test the maternal blood for the presence of Y chromosomes, indicating a male, if none are found, they assume female by process of elimination. It’s not something covered by provincial healthcare, so I did have to shell out a good chunk of money for it, but to me it’s worth not having to wait.

Slowing we are building confidence with every step of the way, but the fear of being blindsided is still there. I think the weight of pregnancy is going to become more solid in the coming weeks, looking forward to it all.

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Reappearing Through the Fog

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First off let me apologize for becoming one of those bloggers who gets pregnant and disappears off the face of the earth, so not my intent. Quite the opposite in fact, I have so much on my mind I’ve been waiting for a good time to get it all out, instead of just posting a rushed update (which in hindsight, I probably should have thrown something out there for those who remembered my first ultrasound was this past Friday). We finished our vacation in Hawaii and flew home last Tuesday, J had caught a cold early on in the trip but I managed not to catch it from him…until about 4 days before we came home. So by the time we did fly home, I was a snotty, congested mess. I called off sick for what would have been my first two days back at work, but by Friday I knew I would have to get up for my ultrasound appointment and just suck it up and go to work after.

The morning of our ultrasound, I still wasn’t feeling great but the extreme pressure in my ears had finally popped. I got in the shower but started to feel a bit off, turns out Poppet (this is our baby’s nickname, I’ll explain later) decided the day of the ultrasound was as good as any for me to start experiencing morning sickness. I was trying to drink water to fill my bladder for the ultrasound, but couldn’t keep it down, so I desperately drank piping hot mint tea on the way to the appointment in hopes of quelling my nausea and that my tiny bladder would fill quickly.

The waiting room was empty, (as opposed to the first time I was there, making the appointment, when it was full of pregnant women) on account of our very early appointment. We didn’t wait long and we were called back by the ultrasound tech. She had me hop up on the table, and there was a seat for J behind me. She asked me my LMP, and I told her I thought it was Nov. 27, but that it didn’t really matter because I am an IVF pregnancy (which she then noted on my info up on the screen). So she asked my due date instead, which my clinic gave me as Sept. 2. She got down to business straight away and squeezed the jelly onto my stomach. It felt strange to have an abdominal ultrasound, rather than vaginal. The only other time I’ve had an external (as opposed to internal) ultrasound was when they did my embryo transfer so it was an interesting deja vu.

As soon as she placed the ultrasound tool on my stomach she noted that my bladder was not full at all. I apologized and told her I’d been sick that morning and had a hard time drinking the recommended amount of water. She told me she would have to do a vaginal ultrasound, and asked me if I was familiar with them. I had to laugh, and told her I was extremely familiar, which she noted, of course I would be. She left the room to get the “probe” and let me get into a state of undress. When she came back in, she prepped the wand and then handed it to me under the sheet and asked me to insert it…This was very odd and I even gave her a startled, “Me?”. She told me, I would know best what was comfortable better than her. Well ok, fair enough. She was also very tactful and kept the sheet covering me the entire time. A lot different from my experiences with probings of an infertility nature.

As she moved the wand around, I could immediately see my uterus (a fair bit bigger than before!) and in it a little blob, and before she could even point it out, I could see a little flashing in the centre of the blob. There was the heartbeat I’d been desperate for. After wanding around a little bit longer, she focused on the heartbeat for a moment, pointed it out, and for a few short seconds a sound filled the room. The most amazing thing I had ever heard, our baby’s heartbeat, strong and fast at 163 BPM. The tears flowed freely and slid into my hairline, since I was laying on my back.

After taking several pictures, and measurements, pointing out the head and the rump (which was all sort of indistinguishable as it was curled up into a tiny ball) the tech left the room to let me redressed. When she came back she put some pictures on our USB (that we were told to bring) and printed us a single photo. J and I hugged, and kissed, basking in the surreal-ness of the whole experience. There was actually something in there, something with a heartbeat.

The whole time since our positive and rising betas, and especially since my episode of bleeding in Hawaii, I’ve had a hard time really believing or wrapping my head around the fact that there truly was a living thing in my uterus. None of it was tangible enough for me, I need visual proof to allow me to believe. Plus I was terrified of something going wrong, and finding out at the ultrasound like, feeling like some sort of fool for believing things were actually progressing how they should. I’d been behaving like a pregnant person, but I still felt like a fraud until that little flashing blip came into view on the screen.

Since then, I’ve had one person ask me if I was planning on having kids (an acquaintances mother, whom I hadn’t seen in a while), and I gave the same answer I always do, “eventually”. I had to cancel the appointment I had to get my wisdom teeth removed. I made it knowing full well (and hoping) that I may be pregnant, but I didn’t want to put off making the appointment just in case I jinxed myself by counting on getting pregnant. When I called they asked if I’d like to reschedule, which I declined, and told the receptionist that I was pregnant so wouldn’t be able to reschedule for a while. A girl I went to high school with had a baby recently (unplanned pregnancy with someone she ended the relationship with before she even knew she was pregnant), and it still rubbed me the wrong way. I see pregnancy announcements on Facebook, and pregnant people in real life and I still cringe. It’s a built-in reflex that will probably take a while to fade out.

As terrible as it may sound, I waited to start filling out my pregnancy journal until the day we had our ultrasound. I didn’t want to have that ripped from my hands before we had really any gotten anywhere concrete. I am still cautious about what’s around every corner, but the ultrasound did good things to my scarred soul.

The symptoms that I so desperately wished for while in Hawaii, still wondering about the contents of my uterus have made themselves known. I’ve had a few episodes of vomiting, and I don’t feel the greatest in the morning. I am tired a lot, and breast tenderness shows up with a vengeance around bed time. I have a few food aversions, but mostly I just crave fresh things, lots of fruits, and vegetables. Apples are my favourite. My cravings lend to a healthy diet, though sometimes at lunch when I don’t know what I want I come back to work with a random bag of groceries because I just couldn’t decide. My forehead is as angry as ever, flaring up in full on acne, the one consistent since about a week after the transfer. But I am happy, elated, scared and hesitant. One step at a time, and 8 weeks tomorrow. Thank you all for the love and support. I’m here, I’m back, and I’m not planning on disappearing anytime soon.