14 weeks – Christmas Meme

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Several of you lovely folks out there have posted the Christmas Meme and I have loved it.  I thought I would use it for today.  I hope you are having a good day with those you love the most, because really that’s all that ever matters.  The sun is shining through my window, the color is so radiant and golden and warm.  Today I am at 14 weeks -- 2nd Trimester. I love you my monsters.

milk_32oz_eggnog_UHT_02 1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?
OK, hot chocolate is for sureseys absolutely wonderful…BUT…during the holidays, I wants me some eggnog.  I can get hot chocolate any time, I can make a fabulous hot chocolate, but there is no way my lazy ass is going to make eggnog.  When the season comes around, I buy my favorite brand too.  Organic Valley.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.  I always require a dash of fresh nutmeg grind and except for this year (being up the duff and all) I alternate between bourbon and dark rum for a little warm boozy goodness.

2. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
I like wrapping paper because there’s a little more suspense and no peeking!  I don’t like the waste of paper and would some day like to figure out a way to make wrapping from pre-sewn cloth squares and velcro strips/drawstrings.

3. Real tree or artificial?
I love real trees, but MrBeep doesn’t.  He makes a good point by how much mess they make when the needles fall all over the place and they are a fire hazard.  I did splurge and get a decent artificial tree when it was on 75% off mega sale last year.  It’s pretty and very convenient and I can leave it up until after New Years which is nice…but I’d still rather have a real tree.

4. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
I like colored lights, but was on bed rest during decorating season, so we have no lights outside this year. :-(

5. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
I have these little red glass hearts in matte and shiny, with copper colored beads that wrap around and a copper shiny skirt.  I have these pinecone clusters arranged in various places on the tree and the rest is decorated with all different kinds of ornaments.  We have dragons and penguins playing hockey, a panda bear taking a ride on a zeppelin, a skiing frog, the grinch, Seattle space needle bulbs, a pharaoh’s head and we always get a couple of bags of lindor chocolates that have the shiny wrapping, we put those on the tree like ornaments too.

6. Do you hang mistletoe?
No, but now that you mention it, that would be cool.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
No.

8. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Ehhhhhh…I always mean to do it and then life gets in the way.  I do manage a few New Years cards.

9. What is your favorite holiday dish?
All.  Bring it on, I’m not picky.

10. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
I always liked going out to pick out the Christmas tree.  We generally didn’t have one or decorate the house when I was a kid because we always went somewhere else on Christmas Eve and Day, but every now and then we got a tree and when we did, I was pretty happy.

11. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
We had put out milk and cookies for Santa one year when I was 7 or so.  I wrote Santa a letter thanking him for coming to the house and telling him that I hope he liked the cookies I baked.  The next day, Santa wrote on the back of the note thanking me for the cookies and that they were delicious…it was in my Dad’s handwriting. 

12. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
No, but I have no problem if someone wanted to.  We are generally at home alone relaxing on Christmas Eve.

13. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Are you kidding?!?  I love snow.  I’m from LA and never had a “White Christmas” growing up.  Now that I live in Seattle, the possibility is there, but we never get enough to be terribly inconvenient.

14. Have you ever recycled a gift?
Rarely.  I’m fairly allergic to things like scented candles, lotions with perfume and the like.  A few times when I have received a very nice quality gift like that I have added it in with the gift I’ve already purchased as a bonus.  Why let it go to waste?  Most people aren’t sensitive to it like I am.

15. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Just being with family and friends.  Having a time of year when everyone takes a few extra moments to wish you cheer and joy in your heart.  I like that.

16. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Apple pie or Pear Tart with Cinnamon ice cream.  I made an eggnog bread pudding last year that was really fabulous.  I’m not a huge chocolate dessert fan.

17. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Cooking dinner for my loved ones and then sitting around the table to enjoy it together.  Love that.

18. What tops your tree?
A shiny silver ornament that looks like a miniature spiral galaxy.

19. Favorite Christmas Show?
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, with Boris Karloff narrating and singing.  MrBeep sometimes calls me Cindy Lou Whoo.

20. Saddest Christmas Song?
Grandma got run over by a reindeer, it’s so sad what happend to that old lady.  Brings a tear to my eye every time.

21. What is your favorite Christmas Holiday Song?
Hard to pick.  I like “A Christmas Song” sung by Nat King Cole, “White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby, “Silver and Gold” sung by Burl Ives and of course “Christmas Is” sung by Lou Rawls

An early Christmas gift

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I received an early Christmas gift today, no not a Red Ryder BB Gun.

Last week I posted “Houston, we have nasal bones” with details on my NT ultrasound and first trimester screening test. The genetic counselor from my maternal-fetal medical specialist gave me a call.  The results are in!  We received good news that the results are normal and show a decreased chance of trisomy 13/18/21.

I understand that these are screening tests and not diagnostic tests, but they do allow me to breathe easier for the next month or so before we will get amnio test and results.   

Here’s what we’ve got.  The genetic counselor started with Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome).  Given my age, the normal statistics for a child with Down syndrome is 1 in 62, or a 1.61% chance.  After the screening results, that number is now 1 in 627 for Baby A (.15%) and 1 in 660 for Baby B (.15%).  Going from roughly a one-and-a-half-percent chance to one-tenth-of-a-percent chance is very heartening indeed.  I was pretty happy about that.

For trisomy 13 and trisomy 18 she said the normal listed risk at my age was 1 in 109 or .9% to 1 in 2161 (.04%) for both Baby A and B.  Again this is very good news. 

I feel right now like one of my very favorite Christmas songs…

I am merry, my heart is light.  Big hugs and much love –- Traci.

I am NOT a Drama Queen

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Well, I am officially off of bed rest for now and I’ve made it to 13 weeks and that is another reason to say “so far, so good.”  Thank you all for your well wishes.  I have had no other spotting or bleeding since the first incident and am taking it very easy from now on.  I went to my ObDoc for a routine appointment on Thursday.  I was weighed (hard to accept that gaining a pound in a couple of week is a “good thing”), we got culture samples and my ObDoc checked my uterus. We were able to hear two separate heartbeats at 149 and 155 bpm on the doppler gizmo so that gave me a little bit of breathing room.

Before I get to the next part of my tale, I just wanted to state this for the record.

BabyJane002

I am NOT a drama queen.

I hate drama, I don’t want drama.  Keeping drama to the movies I watch is the only place I want that shit in my life.  I don’t thrive on it.  I am not an attention hog.  I want to be normal and boring and typical when it comes to this stuff.  I’m not a person who goes out of their way to create tension or strife.  Hell, I’m even a happy drunk…BTW…“I love you man.”  I like zany, I like snarky, I like laughing ‘til my face hurts.  I like good food and drink, fun conversation and a night of playing board games. 

Imagine my face then when three days ago my ObDoc’s office calls and lets me know that after my big bleed episode of the prior week (I had 12 vials of blood taken for various tests) it seems that I was tested and have come back positive for a blood clotting disorder, specifically for compound heterozygous MTHFR. 

MoTHerFuckeR.

BabyJane003 Here is an awesome blog I found that has a good tutorial.  Here is a good page on Thombophilias from the March of Dimes website.  The ObDoc’s office immediately put me on a prescription for FOLGARD taken twice daily.  Each pill is a mega-dose of folic acid 2.2mg, B-6 25mg, and B-12 1mg.  I have also been put on low-dose aspirin.  Hopefully these things will help.  If you have a MTHFR mutation your body does not absorb folate properly and you are also at greater risk for blood clots affecting you and baby.  MTHFR mutation complications and risks (some mutations are more serious than others) published in scientific papers in peer reviewed journals have been linked to multiple miscarriages (including early 1st, late 1st and 2nd term loss), implantation problems, congenital heart defects, preeclampsia, and clots that affect baby’s placenta, causing growth problems and pre-natal death. 

Great.  Think at 41 you make it to 13 weeks with kiddos looking fine you can perhaps maybe breathe just a little bit easier.  F-You IF Optimist, what do you think?

<Sigh>

BabyJane001

I am NOT a drama queen.

Here is what I am.  I AM a bit ticked off that no one found this out earlier so I could have taken better precautions, I mean I was tested for just about everything under the sun between my RE and my myomectomy ObDoc.  I AM grateful for my current ObDoc, a fine and intelligent lady.  I AM happy that even though I have this, it isn’t the most dangerous form of the mutation and can be managed by doctors.  I AM concerned because I have read of ladies losing their babies in the late part of their pregnancies because of clots in the placenta or umbilical cord.  I AM relieved to know that most of those who had tragic losses were untreated for their MTHFR and once they were aware, properly monitored and treated, went on to have healthy babies.  I AM worried because remember me having to take off to Florida to take care of my brother?  That was because of deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in the leg) leading to a pulmonary embolism.  I AM glad that although my brother had this serious condition, he was a two-pack a day smoker while I have never smoked (he has since quit smoking).  I AM glad that although they found the MTHFR mutation, currently my homocystine levels were normal.  I AM extremely happy that I have made it this far in the pregnancy.  I AM also very glad that the NT scan looked good, so I hope I am doing OK for folate absorption. 

As I said earlier, I found out about MTHFR on Tuesday so both MrBeep and I were spending a lot of time on Dr. Google, NIH and PubMed to find out more, make sure we understand the dangers, etc.  I didn’t want to post until I had a much clearer understanding of my current situation.  I did come up with a list of questions for my ObDoc.  I now have a little red moleskin notebook that I will take notes and write questions so I don’t forget for my doctor’s appointments.  After our routine exam was completed, here were the questions I asked her:

Q:  My brother was just hospitalized for 6 days due to a deep vein thrombosis and subsequent pulmonary embolism. He is 1.5 years older than I am.  He is also 80 lbs overweight and a 2 pack a day smoker.  While my homocystine levels tested normal, does this put me at greater risk? 

A:  (At this information her face dropped a little and her tone became more serious) I want you to call the MFM specialist, get an appointment and let him know this.  I think we are good with the extra Folgard and the baby aspirin, but he may want to put you on lovenox.

Q:  I am curious to know what prompted to you test me for MTHFR?  Was it the big bleeding episode?

A:  Actually, it was because of your chemical pregnancy back in June.  We also tested you for other common clotting disorders including Factor V, Protein C, Protein S, Lupus, etc.  You tested negative for all other clotting factors which is a very good thing.

Q:  Do you think that my big bleeding episode last week was caused by the Total Previa or the MTHFR issue?

A:  Previa.  MTHFR doesn’t normally cause that type of bleeding, even with the clots you had.  Also it is a common thing with a total previa, even in early pregnancy.

Q:  My homocystine levels were normal.  How often will this be tested to make sure there is no increase?  Also, I was not fasting when the blood was taken, are you concerned about this?

A:  We’ve found that these levels rarely change this far into pregnancy.  I’m not concerned about the fasting, studies show no difference.

Q:  I have been reading about people with this condition getting Lovenox.  When is this prescribed versus just extra Folgard and baby aspirin.

A:  Typically it is prescribed if you have had several losses, have had  known clot or thrombosis yourself, or if you have more than one clotting disorder. 

So, my friends.  That was my week.  I have a call into the Maternal-Fetal medical specialists who will consider whether or not I should also receive injections of Lovenox in addition to my current vitamins.  While I don’t like having additional factors to worry about, I am actually really glad we caught this early.  I am very very happy that I found a good team of doctors who are proactive and on the ball.  I get to decorate the house for Christmas tonight with MrBeep, my MIL and FIL.  My ObDoc (I promise to write more about her later) has been able to put me at ease with her great personality, superb knowledge and professionalism.  She did say this to me, “well won’t it be great to have these two kiddos out for Christmas next year?”  I was so happy at that thought I could cry.  I just said, “I hope so.  That would be really wonderful.” 

Houston, we have nasal bones

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I celebrated my birthday on the couch with great news!  So far so good.  While we won’t get the official screening results for the first trimester combined screening for about 10 days, we do have many things that indicate improved results.

  1. We have easily recognizable nasal bones
  2. Crown-rump length is good for their gestational age
  3. Neural tube measurement is 1mm on each behbey
  4. NT measurement/Crown-rump length is excellent

BabyA At the Maternal-Fetal Medicine office, they actually do a full anatomy scan when they do the nuchal translucency (NT) measurement.  I don’t know if this is standard everywhere or not.  I had not read that this was a normal part of a NT scan on any WTF2Expect web sites.  Our lovely ultrasound technician started by checking each twin’s crown-rump length.  They are growing right on time to a little big, that is good news they are measuring 12w1d for Baby B and 12w3d for Baby A.  I was officially at 12w0d.  She looked at the BabyBplacentas and seemed to think that the previa was  partial and not complete, but I don’t know.  Then she checked the NT measurement after waiting for Baby A to move into a better position.  It was moving, but never in the right way.  She kept saying, “Come on little one, just a little more” and finally took the ultrasound tranducer that was on my belly and gently bounced it up and down, saying “here we go.  Move a little.”  AND IT WAS SOOOOOO AMAZING because we watched on the monitor while both wiggled and moved TwinMonstersa bit after the bouncing of the tummy.  MrBeep and I  laughed and I was getting teary-eyed.  Finally they were in good places and she measured separately each one’s NT neck area and they were at 1mm.  Then she checked the heart rate, they were good and strong, around 155 for Baby A and 145 for Baby B.  Then she started at the top of their heads and looked at the following things, brain, each arm, each hand, each leg, each foot.  She also located and pointed out the bladder and then the stomach.  She explained that since she could see the bladder and stomach clearly that the babies are making urine and swallowing, so they will be able to make amniotic fluid.  That was another good indicator.  WHEW!!!  The anatomy scan took about 30 minutes and we got to watch those kiddos move.  It was the best birthday present ever, especially after my scare.  Things are looking up.

wallace-gromit-complete-blu-boxThanks so very much for all of your kind wishes and offers to join me for a couch party.  I would have loved to enjoy a nice cup of…eh…chocolate milk with my bloggidy pals.  I did get a very nice present from my MIL and FIL:

WALLACE & GROMIT
The Complete Collection on Blu-Ray!!!

It’s got four short films:
A Matter of Loaf and Death
A Grand Day Out
The Wrong Trousers
A Close Shave

IMG_0198

I was so glad to get some encouraging news for my birthday.  MrBeep was grinning and kept saying, “A great birthday sweetie, are you happy?”  I’d smile back and say, “Yes. Very, very happy indeed.”

The birthday dessert was…<drumroll>…eggnog gelato!  It was super yummy and MrBeep put in as many candles as he could without it melting right away. 

I closed my eyes and made a big wish for everyone.  I won’t tell you my secret, but know this…I was thinking of me, monsters and all of you.  May all our wishes come true.

Make a wish

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Today is my birthday.  I am 41 years old.  I have been on bed rest for over 4 days.  I’ve had no new bouts of bleeding.  Spotting happened on day 1, but was all brown and left over from the scare.  I had absolutely nothing for almost two days now.  If nothing happens today I will be allowed to be gentle and careful, but able to move around the house.  Thanks for all of your kind wishes and good thoughts.  It really helped and I spent a lot of time reading over JJ’s bout with bleeding and previa.

Today I also leave in 1 hour for my NT scan, twins consultation and genetic counselor appointment at the Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist in our area.  Will I get good news or bad news for my birthday?  I realize that these tests are screening tests and not diagnostic tests, but golly I’d sure like some good news.  I’ll update if I find out more tonight.

Universe?

Pretty please?

I will have candles on my cake or pie or dessert today.  I will keep 3 for myself and the rest I will make special wishes for you who are in the amid of cycles, awaiting transfers, watching embryos grow, keeping little ones snug as a bug in your personal rugs, tucking in to beds and most of all those planning next steps, considering where you will be in one year. 

I am so glad to be here, even with the scares and the fears.  Last year I hit 40 and found out a couple of weeks earlier my first IUI was unsuccessful.  I escaped with MrBeep to London for a week and it was fabulous and magic.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I’m very happy to be here celebrating a monsterous birthday on my couch.  If I had a sci-fi transporter, I’d beam you all over for a couch party.  Wouldn’t that be extra-specialicious-awesomepants?

A Monster-sized Heart

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Monday was a very very hard day.  It didn’t start that way.  It started happy, sending MrBeep off to work, grabbing my laptop and working on a writing project I promised for a friend.  In the early afternoon I was nodding off in my chair and decided that a nap in bed would work better, so I meandered upstairs, flopped down and happily dreamed for an hour or so.  I woke to a wet feeling and put my hand down.  It was covered in blood.  I got up and ran to the bathroom where the horror show began.  I lost a lot of blood and passed big clots, then after a minute it stopped. I felt no cramping and no pain at all.  I started shaking.  I grabbed a towel and ran to the phone to call my husband.  As soon as I heard his voice, I started crying and begging him to come home.  “I think I lost one sweetie, maybe worse.  I need you please please come home.”  He asked me some quick questions and made sure I didn’t need to call 911, but it seemed that after the initial large loss that I wasn’t bleeding much more.  I told him I was going to call the doctor after we got off the phone. He told me he was on his way.  I got into an empty bathtub and closed the drain.  I knew they would want me to save whatever material I could for analysis.

I had my cordless phone and knew my RE’s number by heart, so I called them for advice.  The receptionist put me on hold and immediately ran to get a nurse.  Nurse Sarah got on the phone, I told her in a shaky and crying voice what had happened and that I didn’t know what to do.  She made sure that my symptoms didn’t seem to require calling 911 and then told me we need to call my ObDoc’s office.  She asked if I knew the number, but I didn’t.  She told me she would look it up and get it for me.  She gave me the number and told me she would call me back in a few minutes to make sure I got through and they were able to see me.  I hung up and got hold of my ObDoc’s office.  I explained what happened and they immediately transferred me to Carolyn, my ObDoc’s nurse.  She found out my current condition, confirmed I had someone who could drive me to their office.  She told me to go to their ultrasound suite and I would be the next person helped and we would see how things were.  I hung up with her and called my mom and dad’s house.  My dad answered the phone.

“Daddy,” I said, “where’s Momma? I need Momma.  I think I’m losing the babies, there’s blood everywhere.”  He started to cry and told me he would get her.  They stayed on the phone with me, made sure that MrBeep was on his way and comforted me.  I thought of all my bloggidy friends who are having a hard time, thought of my own situation and asked, “Why Momma?  Why can’t we catch a break?”

After a few minutes Sarah, the nurse from my RE’s office called back to check on me.  She said the whole office was very upset and were all praying and sending good thoughts my way.  When she told DocO he said, “Tell her that if the Ob can’t see her for an ultrasound, we’ll help her in any way we can.”  I let them know that as soon as MrBeep arrived and drove me to the clinic/hospital (a 7-8 minute drive), we were going to be helped right away.  I let Sarah know I was on the other line with my mom.  She wished me well, told me to hang in there and that she would check on me tomorrow.

After about 10 minutes on the phone with my parents, MrBeep came home.  I was sitting in the empty bathtub and asked him to stay back and not to look but to get me a plastic container.  He came anyway and kissed and comforted me.  He made sure I wasn’t in any immediate danger and then went to get a container and a paper bag to conceal it so we could bring everything to the ObDoc’s office.  I rinsed off, dressed and we headed out. 

Arriving at the Ob’s office, we were luckily in the reception area alone.  The ultrasound tech was currently with a patient, but we were the very next to be helped after waiting about 5 minutes.  I used the restroom, got my paper gown and we used a wand to see what was going on.  She zoomed in and there was a little baby, lying on his back.  “There’s one” she said and then pointed to his heartbeat, “heartbeat looks nice and strong, we’ll measure it in a sec.”  Then she swung the wand around a bit and another little kiddo showed up, “here’s baby B and…there’s the heartbeat.  Also looks very good.”  She looked at me and smiled.  Now let’s take some measurements and we’ll check the sacs and the placentas. 

I was overcome with surprise and absolute wonder.  While she was measuring, I was still scared and softly crying.  MrBeep came up and kissed my forehead and said, “Be happy for now sweet girl.  Look at that little guy.”  He pointed to the TV where the ultrasound was displayed in duplicate for patients to have a clear view.  Twin A was being mellow, just chillaxing, waving and twitching a little.  Twin B was like, “Hey, don’t worry.  Look what I can do.  He wiggled and did a 360 spin on his back and then twirled around and faced us.  Then he just looked straight out of the screen and sat there, seemingly staring right at MrBeep.  “That little monster is mad dogging you,” I giggled, wiping away tears.  My monsters.  There they were, alive and with me.  3 monster hearts.  Baby A, Baby B and the monster-sized one I grew right then.

She measured the babes and they were right on track.  11w5d for Baby A and 11w3d for Baby B.  She closely examined the sacs and then said, “it appears that the gestational sacs are completely intact.  That’s a good thing.”  Then she scrutinized the placentas, and measured the heartbeat rates.  We got a strong 140 on Baby A and every time she tried to get Baby B (the acrobat) kept wiggling out of the way.  He would slide left, she would try to measure then he would slide right.  We all chuckled a little bit and boy that kiddo sure cheered me up.  I needed it.  We eventually got Baby B too and he was also right about 140 so that was great.  At the end of the scan she told me that everything that she could see looked good, but I had a total placenta previa.  The placenta of Baby A is sitting right on top of my cervix and this can cause serious bleeding.  “I want you to get dressed and head over to see your ObDoc.  I’ll give her the sample you brought us.  You didn’t overreact, this is a lot of material and you were absolutely correct to call.  You ObDoc will explain more about the total previa and she’ll give you instructions for your care.”  I went into the room to get dressed, washed my face and came back into the ultrasound room for MrBeep.  The ultrasound tech looked at me and said, “oh honey, you look like you need a hug.”  I did, I was still so nervous and shakey.  She was so nice and gave me a great big hug. 

I headed across the hall to my ObDoc’s office where I met her nurse in the hall.  She smiled and told me I needed to the other suite for the ultrasound.  I let her know that I just came from there and was told to come here now.  She looked concerned. 

“How are we doing?” she asked. 

“Well, the babies are wiggling with good strong heartbeats, and what appears on ultrasound to be intact sacs, but she says I have a total previa,” I responded.

“Oh thank heavens,” said the nurse, “that we can handle.  Come on back and we’ll take care of you.”

And they did.  They explained my condition, what could have caused the big bleed, made me understand the severity and told me that I was required to be on complete bed rest from now until the two days after any type of spotting.  Lying down. Bathroom breaks and that’s it. “You need to be absolutely clear of any spotting for two whole days.  One smidge of red or brown counts and resets the clock.  Absolutely clear?”

I was absolutely clear.  I have been given an enormous gift from the universe on this one.  I wasn’t going to screw it up.  I have been in bed/lying on the couch since Monday night.  Yesterday I got permission to sit up in bed, which is soooooo awesomepuss I can’t hardly express it…well other than to use the word awesomepuss.  I’ve been trying my best to keep up on your blogs and now that I can sit up, I will get back to commenting.  I had written half of a light-hearted post on prenatal vitamins, but I will delay that.  Next, I will write more about placenta previa using my ObDoc’s excellent demonstration and will post links to useful medical sites. We are not totally out of the woods, there is still much to fear, but hopefully with care and luck, we’ll make it to the other side.

I wanted to say that even in my darkest hour I thought of you all, my friends, who have been so supportive and have shown such kindness, both to me and wherever I read any comments throughout the ALI community.  It genuinely restores my faith in humankind.  I was so scared, I was so worried, but at no time did I ever feel alone.  Thank you from all of the places in my monster-sized heart. 

Award for best slacker? Over the Top!

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OverthetopawardBack in November I was greatly honored with a wonderful award by the witty and vivacious Sprogblogger.  To repay her generosity, I have been, eh, in deep philosophical meditation on her award.  Yeah, that’s it.  It’s not as if I would have been delaying or procrastinating, because well…that would just be wrong!  Believe me?  No?  <sigh>  OK.  I’ve been a slacker.

Drat.  That’s that I get for having so many intelligent and clever bloggidy friends.  What you should really do instead of reading my dull ass list is go and visit Dirk’s hilarious tale regarding the dangers of arachnids

Here are the rules for the award:

1. You can only use one word!  Ed. note: Yeah, right…how in the hell can someone do that?  I’ll try.
2. Pass this along to 6 of your favorite bloggers.  Ed. note:  Nah, I’m a rebel. You can’t tell me what to do!!!!! (walks out in huff, slams door)
3. Alert them that you have given them this award!  Ed. note:  You’ve got it!
4. Have Fun!  Wooooo hoooo!  I am abuzz with possibilities and anticipation.

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Your hair? In flower barrettes
3. Your mother? Fabulous
4. Your father? Giving
5. Your favorite food?  Yummy
6. Your dream last night? Nightmarish
7. Your favorite drink? Tea
8. Your dream/goal?  Motherhood
9. What room are you in? Living
10. Your hobby?  Photography/Film
11. Your fear? Failure
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years?  Mom+Filmmaker
13. Where were you last night?  Dinner-w/friends
14. Something that you aren’t?  Uptight
15. Muffins? CanIHazMuffins?
16. Wish list item?  http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/300490-USA/Nikon_2147_17_55mm_f_2_8G_ED_IF_AF_S.html#features
17. Where did you grow up? California
18. Last thing you did? When?
19. What are you wearing? Red
20. Your TV?  Tivo-ruled
21. Your pets? None :-(
22. Friends?  LotsOGeeksLikeMe
23. Your life? Full of happy possibilities
24. Your mood? Antsy
25. Missing someone? Nope
26. Vehicle? SUBARU!!!!!!
27. Something you’re not wearing? Shoes
28. Your favorite store? Amazon.com
29. Your favorite color? Forest Green
30. When was the last time you laughed?  2:00 pm (MrBeep called me)
31. Last time you cried? Sunday
32. Your best friend? MrBeep
33. One place that I go to over and over? Saint Edward State Park
34. One person who e-mails me regularly? Varies
35. Favorite place to eat? Home (amid friends)

Sending this out to:  Honestly, whoever wants it can have it. It was going around a month ago, so I don’t recall who has already done the award and who hasn’t so consider yourself tagged if you like! 

The end of the bird

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Thanksgiving was, as always, a huge hit in the IF Optimist household.  I love to cook and it took me two days to complete all of the prep and the dinner.  We had 8 people for dinner and a menu that included:

Herb-butter rubbed fresh organic turkey
Mashed potatoes a la MaBeep (made by my MIL)
Wild mushroom gravy with a dash of port
French bread stuffing with spicy maple sausage, apples, pecans and dried cranberries
Gramma Webster’s Corn Puddin’ (made by friend Mike)
Sauteed green beans with lemon zest and almonds
Brussels Sprouts (MrBeep’s favorite veggie)

for dessert I made a Turtle Pumpkin Pie – thank you to the lovely One Who Understands for the link.  I changed the recipe slightly since I like to do things the hard way.  I made the graham cracker crust and added roasted pecans to the food processor instead of a pre-made crust.  I also made a batch of fresh caramel sauce and added a touch of cognac – oh my gawd eat it with a spoon delicious.  I roasted some additional pecans and tossed them in cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg before coating them in caramel.  I also don’t like cool whip, so I made my own whipped cream and added a little gelatin for extra stability.  The pie turned out fan-freaking-tastic.  Here’s a photo:

IMG_0126

Now much of the remaining of the turkey and fixin’s were gobbled up the next day with my gaming friends, but we still had some left (I roasted a 22lb bird this year).  The carcass and veggies are in the pressure cooker simmering away and making stock.  On the menu for tonight is Turkey and Dumplings. 

I’ll write about my first OB appointment next week, but I wanted to take a second to express how am thankful I am for all of the obvious things this year, for monsters on board who helped make dinner with me and added a special secret joy to my day.  For MrBeep would rub my belly and tell them how much he was looking forward to the dinner they were making. I am also so thankful to have great friends in real life and through the bloggidy world.  It felt good to read and catch up with you all this Sunday.  There was bad news and some good news but through everything, you all wrote so many amazing stories of courage and grace and joy.  Giving thanks to you all and I hope that the rest of the holiday season is one of hope and love.

Words of wisdom - #1

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Pregnant women and cabbage don’t mix.

------------------------------------------------

Off to my first official OB/GYN appointment tomorrow morning…

this
is
gonna
be
weird

My friend Lindsay called to inquire about the results of the ultrasound, she knew how nervous I was that everything was gone.  This is what she said…

“So…Scotch or Ginger Ale?” 

“Ginger ale” I answered, and she squealed with joy. 

Thank you so much for all who have put up with my fears and my ups and my downs and my sideways.  It ain’t over, but it is sure nice to breathe again.  So far, so good.

Whose got two thumbs and monsters on board?

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<Pointing at herself with thumbs up>  THIS GAL!

We got to see DocO today and he was grinning from ear to ear when he saw us in the lobby and gave me two thumbs up.  When he arrived in the ultrasound room, he asked me how I was doing and I explained I was nervous due to my loss of symptoms.  He looked a little concerned and gently said, “You don’t have to be miserable in order to be pregnant.  Let’s have a look.”  The date with Wanda had begun.  First thing he zoomed in on one and pointed and said “there’s the heartbeat” then he immediately swung around the wand to find the other one and point out the heartbeat, “and that looks good too.”  I love that he did that for me.  He allayed my fears first thing and then went to do his meticulous measuring.  DocO is a very compassionate man and I am so lucky to have been taken care of by him and all the other wonderful people at the practice.  The measurements were spot on, these little guys tripled in size in 2 weeks (Wow!).  The heartbeats were at 178 and 180 bpm.  I am so very happy about all of these good indicators.  Go little monsters! 

Their duck monster and frog monster likeness has morphed into more shrimp-like beings that look the same.  You could see their little arms and feet waving, which was really cool.  I got a CD with the images and videos that are fun to watch.  There are much monster gesturing and wild party dancing moves going on in there.  I think the conversation in the womb must have been something like this…

Most importantly MrBeep was laughing while he watched and was smiling at me and squeezing my hand.  I got lots and lots of hugs and kisses for a job well done.  I’m so excited, I can’t believe I have to get an OB/GYN now.  I have “graduated” from the RE office.  Yikes. I’m off to make a bunch of phone calls. 

So far so good.  Mommy loves you very much and keep waving and monster mashing.

Saturday’s super update

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Everything went great! MrBeep talked to his folks before we left and asked them not to inquire about what is going on in front of others.  They totally understood and were fabulous.  We got some special smiles and hugs when we arrived, but were otherwise fine.  The other folks were so busy talking about their new jobs and asking me about the ordeal with my brother (he's doing fine) that my ladyparts were totally off the radar.

w00t!

We ate some yummy reuben sandwiches, pickles and slaw.  I drank a ginger ale and ate many delicious homemade cookies. Then we watched the game.  Our team didn't win, but we did enjoy watching the game.  At one point I almost got sick.  I held my hand over my mouth, breathed deeply and told MrBeep to step aside, but the wave passed.  Yay for almost barfing!

Later this evening when MrBeep had his glass of wine, I was sitting next to him getting a hug and suddenly the smell of the wine was soooooo strong and soooooo gross I couldn’t take it and had to leave the room.  I asked him if it had spoiled, but he said it tasted just fine.

Wow.  I’m grinning from ear to ear.  C’mon monsters…make mommy miserable.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr <sigh> Pass the nachos.

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Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I tried.  Really I did.  The advice on when to get my ultrasound basically fell into two categories:

  1. Call RE and schedule ultrasound for Friday, get it off my mind, hopefully MrBeep can make it.
  2. Hang out until Sunday afternoon, MrBeep guaranteed to be there, get answer.

Easy ‘nuff said, right?  MrBeep checked his schedule and could make a Friday afternoon appointment if there was one free.  I called on Thursday and they were very apologetic, but said they didn’t have any available openings on Friday afternoon at all.  Saturday after 11 am was an option for them, but not for me.  So Sunday afternoon it would be right?  Nope.  A RE Nurse called on Friday afternoon and explained that my Sunday appointment would have to be cancelled because DrKAwesome would be busy with procedures all day.  Now this may seem odd, but my RE’s office is a smaller practice and the patients who need egg retrievals and transfers done that precise day take precedence over a non-time critical OB ultrasound.  This was explained to me before the Sunday appointment was made.  I am so happy for those other patients who have gotten to the point of retrieval/transfer that I totally understand.  I want them to be really busy with good news, it means they are doing a great job for their patients.  I want that success for everyone. 

<sigh>

So where does that leave me?  I have an appointment on Monday at 11:00 am with DocO for my OB ultrasound, this weekday appointment won’t be cancelled.  MrBeep will be there with me and we’ll know for sure what is going on. And here’s the crazy part.  I am totally OK with it.  I am fine.  One day later is one day further along and hopefully we will get good news.  The later you see good results the better your chances.  My symptoms continue to be minor but steady, so hopefully that is good news and not just progesterone. I skipped out on helping my friend pack and move (she’ll understand when I explain sometime in the future), I will enjoy my time out tonight with wonderful family, great food and fun football (Wolverines vs. Buckeyes…GO WOLVERINES!!!!) 

I am smart enough to skirt uncomfortable questions, right?  Here I am practicing:

How are things with the cycle?  Good.

What’s going on?  Y’know. Working on it. Doing all we can. (eyes watching football)

Your friend M had her kid (blah blah details, etc.)  That’s great, tell her I said congrats. (eyes watching football)

Do you want a beer?  No thanks. 

C’mon, its a special brew.  Sounds yummy but I’m taking medicine that says no alcohol.  I brought delicious Vernor’s ginger ale.  Do you want one?

How about a cup of coffee?  No thanks.  It will keep me up and I’m totally stuffed full.

More digging questions of various uncomfortable kinds.  SHUT THE HELL UP!  Watch the dang football game.  Pass the nachos.

I’m ready.  ;-)

Hiding out

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Symptom watch:  generally feeling great – tiny bit of breast tenderness and sensitive nips, very minor occasional queasiness, heavy feeling in uterus, slight fatigue.  All of these symptoms can be caused by pregnancy or progesterone.  A little bit of good news?  No spotting whatsoever.  I called my mom who said she didn’t really have morning sickness, and never vomited.  Maybe a slight upset tummy once and a while but never anything else.  I also never get motion sickness in cars, roller coasters, etc.  Generally the bigger, faster and spinnier a carnival ride the better for me, so maybe I am just not very susceptible (studies seem to indicate this).  However, I am still very edgy since it is the LOSS of symptoms I had in weeks 5-8 rather than their total absence that makes me nervous.  The always wonderful MeKate provided an excellent link in one of her comments that did calm my panic.  You should absolutely check it out.

Truth is, I’m hiding out.  I’m doing everything I can to avoid people I know in real life because I am dreading the question of how things are going with the IVF/How are you feeling *hint, hint*/Any news *wink, wink*.  Thanks to the vivid dreams lately, I’ve actually been having nightmares about it.  Oh and those vivid dreams can be caused by…ready for it…pregnancy OR progesterone.  So does that symptom help me know whether I’m still knocked up or not?  No.  Gah!

I have a friend hinting to a group of us how she needs help packing for their move to a new home.  Normally this is the type of thing that I am right on, but I don’t want to talk about my current status while I am alone with my friend.  Oh and did I mention their 10 month old that I would help to babysit during that time?  Oh yeah, there’s that too.  So the talk would be 100% baby baby baby. Plus, I shouldn’t lift anything heavy, I can’t drink (I know they’ll offer) and they have two cats and I don’t know how much stuff I want to touch.  What if they want me to help pack their laundry room where the litter box is located?  I know…not likely but would YOU want to do it? 

I am supposed to go to a dinner/football thing on Saturday evening.  MrBeep’s parents (who we told I was pregnant at 5w4d--that’s another story) will be there and I don’t want to endure any positive hopeful looks while I am feeling like all is lost.  MrBeep promised to talk to them about keeping it on the down low.  I really want to attend and eat and watch the game, I just wish I could do it undercover.  Anyone got some dark sunglasses?

My friend M, who I have mentioned in a 4 part series, should be giving birth at any minute, if she hasn’t already done so.  She travelled to a country in Latin America to deliver and I don’t know any news.  Honestly, I don’t really want to.  The problem is I will see a mutual friend who knows everything at the football thing and will be sure to update me. I can’t stand the idea hearing how one person had their baby while I am thinking I lost mine. I know…I am a total shitty friend.

Also I don’t want be around anyone because I just don’t know what I can say.  Yes?  No?  Maybe?  I don’t want to break into tears.  I don’t know how to gracefully skirt the question.  I just want a couple more weeks to get farther along.  I want a little more time to feel confident.  I’ll feel much better if there is good news at the Sunday ultrasound (well, duh…of course I’ll feel a bajillion times better).  But if that is positive news, then I will get a fetal doppler and give it to MrBeep.  He can regulate its use on a freakout/need to know ratio. 

A huge part of me thinks I should push for an ultrasound on Friday afternoon, that way I can skip all interaction on the weekend if it is bad news or enjoy the weekend if it is good news.  An interesting idea, but I don’t know if MrBeep could be there or if they have any open appointments.  I don’t want to get bad news without him there to be with me.  Maybe I should just say I’m PUPO, push back these worries and enjoy my Saturday.  What would you do?

Subterfuge, dreams and decisions

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First and most importantly, thank you all so much for your information and encouragement.  It was a relief to find out that many others have had the *POP* vanishing act of pregnancy symptoms and are still doing OK.  I have calmed down a little.  I would still prefer to be sick as a dog at this point because hey, that’s what all the storybooks tell you it is supposed to be like.  I know that I am unusual.  I know that I have always been the bizarre girl standing outside the pack but y’know sometimes I just wanna whine, “I WANT TO BE LIKE ALL THE POPULAR GIRLS!”  Well…not really, I do prefer being the geeky oddball surrounded by my own kind.  They get my jokes.

I tried a tad bit of personal subterfuge yesterday to trick myself into being queasy or sick.  I’ll admit my one slice of toast with PB&J did give me more indigestion than would be normal, so that made me happy.  But I thought I could erase all doubt by going out to dinner for a really fancy meal.  I figured Murphy’s Law would dictate that after an excellent pricey meal, I would have to hornk it up, right? WRONG.  But it sure was gooooooooood. In the month of November we have a tradition in Seattle called “Din.e.Around.Se.attle” where 30 super fancy excellent restaurants have fix-prix menus.  For $30 (Sun-Thurs) you get an appetizer, main course and dessert.  If you are a local and are drooling, you can read about it here

 barkingfrog
We went out to a restaurant called “The Bark.ing F.rog”.  It is a lovely place with warm colors, a tantalizing wine selection, and superb food.  MrBeep and I got different courses for appetizer and dessert, (I had toasty warm pureed chestnut and apple soup-Mmmmmm) but we both ordered the same main course (don’t freak – the glass is sparkling apple juice).   

IMG_0123 
Lamb Shank & Pappardelle Pasta, Cipollini Onions, Butter Braised Carrots,
Confit Chanterelle Mushrooms, Demi Butter Sauce

Oh, the sauce.  THE SAUCE was sooooo unctuous and rich and grab-that-last-piece-of-bread-and-sop-it-all-up-goodness. I was sure it would put me over the edge, but alas, I had to just enjoy my dinner with only the mildest tang of upset tummy afterward.  Oh well.  Hopefully the monsters just love me too much and are giving me a break, or maybe it is because they’ll want nothing but expensive gourmet chow (take these cheerio’s away Plebian!)

On other good symptoms I was ridiculously tired at 11:30 pm despite sleeping 10 hours the day before.  The nips have been mighty tender and the b00bs are, well on again/off again sore.  Not as much as right before the symptoms vanished, but not comfortable or normal either.  In fact, last night I woke up 4 times to pee (another good sign) and at one point, while lying on my stomach my b00bs hurt sooooooo much that I woke and needed to turn and sleep on my left side.  Anyway that is what I THINK happened.  I also think that I could have dreamed it.  I’m not 100% sure.  I’m having these really vivid dreams lately.  Also there has still been no spotting whatsoever.

Finally, I made a decision to not call the RE office today to discuss the symptoms disappearing on Friday since maybe they really are waxing and waning.  Frankly, there is nothing that they can do to change the outcome at this early stage.  I have decided to wait for my next scheduled ultrasound on Sunday afternoon. I will be with MrBeep all day and don’t have to face any people afterwards if the news is bad.  And isn’t learning to be patient an excellent lesson for a mom?  Maybe I will be lucky.  Getting positive news at a later stage (9w2d) is a good sign and maybe I should just try to be myself, IF Optimist, and choose to keep my heart in a place of hope.

On a much better and lighter note, Maddy wins the prize for most clever person in the universe with a post to get you ready for the holidays, The 12 Days of IUI.  Dang, that is some funny shite.

I woke up this morning and…

29 comments

At 8 weeks and 1 day, all of my pregnancy symptoms have vanished.  VANISHED.  The boobs feel normal, no queasiness, no headaches, supernose is gone and I went a whole 7 hours through the night without having to get up to pee.  My symptoms were slightly lessened yesterday and now today they have disappeared and am I completely freaked out.  I woke up MrBeep this morning and told him I thought I wasn’t pregnant anymore and cried and cried and cried.  He held me and tried to comfort me, reminded me that we don’t know for sure.  We called the RE office, but they were closed.  I guess they didn’t have any big procedures today.  I will call Monday, maybe by then I will feel better or worse.  I just can’t imagine my symptoms disappearing with twins, I thought I would be getting worse by now.  I’d much rather have my head in the toilet than feel absolutely fine.

DrGoogle is all over the place.  Some folks have had the loss of symptoms and then miscarried, others have had all symptoms disappear and then come back a few days later much worse, some have had them disappear and never return but all worked out just fine.  I can’t decide if I should relax or freak.  Statistics are all over the place, but some things seem to indicate a 20-25% chance of miscarriage after seeing a heartbeat when you are 40 years and older.  There has been no blood, no spotting and no cramping.  Part of me thinks that I just can’t be that lucky, to get to the other side, to have hope.  The other part of me wonders how they can both die in just a matter of days after the ultrasound.  I know both are possible.

Now that I have been up for a few hours my symptoms are (good/bad): 

  • mostly normal boobs with slightly sore nips/soreness could be from me mashing them to check and see if they have changed every 10 minutes
  • feeling really exhausted, needed nap/this could be from so much crying this morning
  • slightly upset stomach/feels upset more due to stress and nervousness

Somebody please tell me that I’m crazy and I need to calm down.  Somebody please tell me how your symptoms disappeared and the story turned out with a happy ending.  Somebody get me a fricking crystal ball.

Guess who’s coming for dinner?

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QueasyFud 

That’s right.  Ginger ale and saltines.  I was out shopping for stuff to make spaghetti dinner yesterday.  I walked to the back of the store near the butcher counter, they were cooking something that smelled so strong and vile it make me super ill.  It was extra super fab to enjoy that smell combined with the perfume of raw meat. Not necessary run-for-the-hills grab-a-paper-bag queasy but “seasick with a touch of too many jalapeƱos” kind of queasy.  Luckily I was able to high tail it to the front of the supermarket, where I was able to purchase some ginger ale (Vernor’s is the best!) and some plain crackers.  I may keep a ziplock of crackers in my purse for such emergencies.  Gah.

Two days earlier I was in a different supermarket and they had a huge display of apples for sale.  All different types.  Galas, fujis, honeycrisp, cameo, macintosh, tart green apples, etc.  They were gorgeous and looked like the best of fall, but my nose?  I could swear I smelled some of the bad apples in the crop.  Totally bizarre.  Most of my morning sickness reaction is just a fairly constant upset tummy, heartburn and hiccups from time to time.  If I eat little meals, or drink milk I am usually OK but even now it feels like I need an alka seltzer.

I told MrBeep about my queasefest and he was very sad and worried.  I laughed and tried to tell him that it’s a really good thing.  Bring it on!  But he just looked at me with those big blue eyes and crumpled up his mouth in sad concern.  Husbands are wacky sometimes, but we sure love ‘em.

What the ultrasound saw…

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I won’t tease you, I haven’t really been holding out.  My ultrasound appointment was on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. pacific time. 

After we went to the RE for the ultrasound, we went for a little grocery shopping and then out to dinner.  I had delicious salmon with spicy zesty soba noodles.  When we came home, we watched a terrific movie and I went to sleep early because, whew, I am sure tired lately.

I fall asleep sitting in a chair like an 80 year old man.

Can’t imagine why.

And my b00bs are really weighty and sore.

Ain’t that unusual?

Oh and I get a little queasy from time to time.

Guess I need some pepto.

Or…

Maybe….

It’s because of what the ultrasound saw.

AnimationMonsterUS1 

That’s right.  I’ve got two monsters in here (I photoshopped a little animated GIF to better illustrate what the ultrasound really saw).  “A” (who looks like a duck, am I right?) measured fine and had a heartbeat of 150.  “B” (totally a little frog) also measured fine (estimated a few days older) and had a heartbeat of 144.  DrKAwesome was my RE on Sunday and she also checked out my ovaries and said they were the right size and doing a great job making progesterone. 

So wow.  Two.  We checked them out on 7w2d and are due back for our next ultrasound two weeks from now (Golly, another two week wait?  Who woulda thunk it possible?) that will put us at 9w2d and if all is well I will “graduate” to a real OB/GYN.  MrBeep has been patting my tummy and grinning at me.  I had a perma-grin on Sunday and kept getting all teary-eyed.  We keep saying “so far so good”. 

Lots of love and good wishes and prayers from people near and far have brought me a long way and have been a comfort to me in difficult and nervous times.  It still seems a little unreal, but today I am bursting, full of hope and promises and wishes that may finally come true. 

24 and 48 and 72

17 comments

In 24 hours I will officially be 7 weeks.  In 24 hours I will finally finally be home and alone with MrBeep.  Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that I was able to be there for my brother.  He is doing much better and will now just need to do things to improve his health.  He has stopped smoking and is now taking walks with the kids in the evening.  It has been nice to see my SIL, niece and nephews.  It has been great spending a few days with my grandparents and parents.  It will be a treat tonight to see one of my best friend’s from 7th grade through high school.  But really folks, I want to be home.  I want to smell the damp earth and listen to the rain.  I want to be with my wonderful MrBeep who calls me every day and texts me and makes me so happy but he is far away and it makes me crazy.  I miss smiling until my face hurts, I miss laughing so much my sides ache.  MrBeep took the day off and will pick me up from the airport.  Yay! 

In 48 hours I will be settled in at home, with all my travels washed away.  I will have snuggled and snoozed with MrBeep.  I will have walked in the last remnants of fall colors. I will have caught up on some film work and web stuff.  I will have enjoyed a game night with my pals.  I will have been able to cook a dinner in my own kitchen with my own things.  My life will once again begin to return and surround me.  My mind can begin to return to a place of peace from all this chaos.

In 72 hours I will have some news.  I will have seen what is going on first hand.  I will have some information.  I am scheduled for an ultrasound at the RE office on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.  They say I can call on Saturday to see if they have any openings so perhaps I can find out sooner if possible.  I hope to get an appointment on Saturday, but Sunday will do.  It feels like it taking so long to find out, even though it will have only been an extra week.  I am getting terrified of disappointment.  I am so close to starting a new path on my journey to a family of my own.  I am curious and nervous and scared and excited.  I hope it is good news.  In less than 72 hours I will know. 

Happily Halfway Home

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I flew back from Florida with my brother very early on Friday morning. I managed to get a H1N1 flu shot from the county health dept folks (who were so nice to appreciate my situation and offer to help). I received the shot on Tues afternoon so I felt much better flying on Friday. I was still extra careful in washing my hands and using sanitizer. My brother is doing much better and is able to walk around on his own. He had to take a break while walking from one terminal area to the other at the Houston airport, but otherwise made the trip without problems. His wife and kids were really happy to see him returned safely. He wore compression stockings during the flight, got up and walked around and also did leg exercises. I managed on the last day and during the flights home to get him hooked on Heroes Season 1. I also got a nephew hooked.

I feel out of touch as blogger was blocked by the hospital wifi and I have spent the last 2 days in the wifi void at my grandparents house. I am currently typing this entry on my Palm Pre cell phone, so please forgive any blatant errors. I plan to fly home to Seattle on Friday. I will ask for an appointment with DocO first thing since I had to cancel my first ultrasound that was supposed to be today. :-( I am sooooo curious and anxious to find out what is happening and whether or not I am still pregnant. I think I am. Here's the symptom list:

* Occasionally very sore boobs
* Slightly darker hue/sensitive nipples
* Weighty full feeling in uterus
* Crazy tired falling asleep in a chair even after 8 hours sleep

I've had no spotting or total loss of symptoms. Part of me would feel better if I had some nausea spells, and I have felt a little queasy from time to time but it has always been after I ate way too much or made a bad combination choice. So I dunno. However I am only 6w3d. I hope to soon regret ever typing my barf envy -- but I don't mean YOU Invitro Veritas. All kidding aside, I hope you are feeling better sweetie. I hope I will be able to catch up very soon. Sending love and IF Optimist vibes of support and hope to all on the four winds.

Many improvements

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My brother is getting much better.  He is young and strong and recovering quickly.  He has been able in the last few days to get up and walk around the pulmonary ward.  We are waiting for his blood work to come up to the levels that the doctors would prefer before being released, so he is still in the hospital.  He was able to shower and shave today and was taken off of supplementary oxygen all day long.  We hope he will be released on Tuesday and we will try to fly back some time on Friday, taking things in short 2-3 hour trips with a 2 hour layover in between.

I’m glad to be here supporting my brother, but I would really love to be home, where it is fall and the leaves are orange and red and yellow.   I asked my brother today, “Why couldn’t you get sick in late November or February when I am fed up with all of the rain and the short days?  Why did you have to do it during my favorite part of fall?  I insist that you don’t do this again.”  He agreed.  We’ve been having fun playing cards and watching TV and movies.

I got the seasonal flu vaccine on Sunday and have arranged to get the H1N1 some time on Tuesday.  The local health department was very understanding of my situation.

I miss MrBeep very much.  He checks on me and the monsters, he sends me texts and emails and photos.  Today I got this one with the message “lovely clouds for a lovely girl”. 

MBeepCloudsr 

The water is Puget Sound.  How I miss the smell of wet mossy earth, I miss my MrBeep. 

Family & flights & Florida & flushots and…Fluck

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Things with me and the monsters are so far so good from what I can tell.  No spotting, no major symptoms other than very sore breasts and nipples and sometimes feeling a tugging or tightness or “muscle pull” from mah ladybizness when I turn over in bed in a weird way or twist my body around in an unusual manner.  Today is 5w1d.  1 week and three days until the official first-look ultrasound, but oh wait…didn’t I tell you about my insane horrible week?

The week was going along relatively fine, the film production was crazy but pretty stable.  Some fires being put out on a daily basis, but no majorly “out of control, evacuate the area” scenarios.  We achieved a pretty nice balance between me and the Associate Producer to make things easier on this “newly pregnant woman” when I got a phone message first thing Thursday morning from my SIL.  My brother had complained of shortness of breath while on a business trip in Florida, he was being rushed to the local emergency room.  By the time I picked up the message and talked to my mom, dad and sister-in-law the doctors diagnosed what happened.  He had a pulmonary embolism.  Due to a very long time sitting at the airport and on the plane, a blood clot formed in his leg.  A couple of days later, while he was out on a business trip in Florida, the clots dislodged and traveled through his heart and into both lungs.  It has bruised his heart and caused so much obstruction in his lungs he can barely breathe.  I found out the details of his condition at 11:15 am. 

My brother is married and has 4 kids ranging in age from 8 to 15.  His wife, while she wanted to come out to be with him, needs to be home and take care of the kids.  My mom is on kidney dialysis and can't travel, my dad just had an operation on his elbow and also has to take care of my mom.  It's just me and my brother.  We don’t have any other siblings.

I discussed options with MrBeep, who is very nervous about me travelling across the country, going through airports, hanging out in hospitals, etc. while being pregnant during flu season.  We weighed the pros and cons and discussed how my brother would require an escort to return to LA.  In the end we decided that I would go and try to be as careful as I possible.  I was on the plane from Seattle to Miami at 1:15 pm.  I arrived that evening 10:00 pm EST, grabbed a rental car and drove another couple of hours out her where I currently type.  Naples, FL. 

My brother is awake and mentally perfect.  My brother (MrBeep calls him “The Bro-ham”) is typically very healthy and as strong as a horse, now he can barely walk from his hospital bed to the bathroom and back without almost passing out due to lack of oxygen.  He is really scared and before I got here was totally alone in a place where we have no friends or family.  I am so glad that I was able to come out and give him some companionship and comfort.  The doctors are doing everything they can, but it is very frightening that you could be fine one minute and in a dire situation the next.

While I am here I am checking into getting both the seasonal and the H1N1 flu shots, but can’t find the H1N1 in the county so far.  The  local “help” line isn’t very helpful at all, the operator bordered on moronic.  I explained I was from far away, didn’t have a doctor or clinic and asked how I would find out who had the vaccine. She suggest that I visit a website that I explained I had already read and it gave no locations.  She suggested that I listen to the radio, but had no idea what station, etc., then she gave me a number for the county health department that was so old, it had a number change recording.  I will try to talk to my brother’s doctor tomorrow, but from what one of the floor nurses said, it sounds like even the staff at the hospital has not yet received vaccination for H1N1.  In another week I’m going to have to travel through 3 additional airports before heading back to Seattle.  I would really prefer to be vaccinated well before I have to travel again.

I have so much more to say, but I am so very tired…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. *snort* WHA? Eh fluck, I’m off to sleep.  More on H1N1 and pregnancy tomorrow.  G’night.

2nd beta – may I have a drumroll please

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bbbrrrbbbbrrrrbbbbrrrrrbbrrrrbbbrrrr (this is my written version of the sound a drumroll makes, pretty good eh?  Can you hear it in your head?  You’re welcome.)

Nurse Sarah called a little while ago and was being a smidge teasingly evasive, I said “Hey, girlfriend pony up the number” and then she said, “well, we are typically looking a beta number to double, your previous was 565 and your number today is…

2014.9 – Yay Monsters!

and that, dear Traci is what we call ‘Robust’.  You should have been here at the office when we got your results on Saturday. There was a huge WOOP in the reception area that went all around the office.  Those who weren’t in on Saturday immediately logged in on Monday asking, if Traci was pregnant.”  She asked me if MrBeep told me the story of how she told him of the positive on Saturday.

“No, he didn’t, but he is a guy.”

“True enough” said Sarah “when I called on Saturday afternoon I asked for you and he said, ‘I’m sorry but she’s taking a nap right now.’  I said, we’ll that makes sense because that’s what pregnant women do. Then there was a beat and he said, ‘Really?’ and I told him the good news of the 1st beta number.”  She also asked me if I wanted to know what the number meant and I said, “Twins?” and she said it’s very likely.  Whew.  We’ll find out when I have my first ultrasound.  It is scheduled for the afternoon of Nov. 2nd. That day will officially be considered 6w3d.

I told MrBeep who was grinning over the phone and so very happy about the news.  I’m over the moon and relieved and hopeful and how many days away is Nov. 2nd?  Oh yeah, it’s a 2WW.  Why does that seem so familiar?

Monsters a go-go

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It’s official.

Monster 1, or 2 or 3 or some combo snuggled in.

Purple Yellow  Pink

Beta #1 today (10dp5dt) was…

565!

 

The RE office says that they usually look for that number to be in the above a hundred range.  This is so far very good news.  It could mean that they snuggled in right away.  That is a good thing too.  I can’t believe the first thing on my checklist to have a family, after 5 long years, is finally done.

Step 1:  Get Pregnant.  CHECK.

I know it’s just the beginning and there are a million things that can go wrong or cause worry, but today I am just going to be happy.  Love love love to all monsters out there both great and small.

Magic and miracles

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From the bottom of my heart, and the top of my head, and the deepest reaches of my soul…

Thank you

Thank you so much for the good thoughts and prayers from yesterday.  I think they worked magic and miracles.  No matter what happens today, your comments and support helped set my mind at ease, my panicked self was calmed.

I woke up at 8:15 a.m. checked the *ahem* and no more pink.  I only got a little bit after a couple of checks last night after The Freakout that turned from a hint of pink to a hint of brown.  Maybe the prometrium tablet irritated my insides?  I was just heading off to the set and found the pink and I lost it.  It was just a little too perfect for the timing, y’know?  Yesterday was the first day AF was due to arrive and I am NEVER late.  I was getting those strange crampy symptoms right before the bitch comes for her visit.  All the tenderness in my breasts had suddenly disappeared.  It was all too much a coincidence, hence the freakout. I knew it wasn’t implantation bleeding since that can happen roughly 2-5 days after transfer.  Friday was 9dp5dt.

I had my awesome assistant Mike take over production/location management yesterday (he knows what is going on with me and gave me a big hug and told me to go home and take care of myself).  It was a very good idea because the gaffer and grip team showed up 2 hours late (just as I was leaving).  I had gotten into a minor argument with the Director of Photography and the 1st AD the day before about their scheduling.

Me: Why is the lighting team scheduled on the call sheets at the same time as everyone else?  They are often late and take the longest to set up.  I understand that they are pros and set up in a very reasonable amount of time given the complexity of what they do, but dangit.  Many times we are waiting on them and don’t start shooting ‘til 3-4 hours after call time.  Why aren’t they scheduled an hour earlier?  The actors who are getting here on time are pissed (justifiably so).

Their answer:  No they aren’t late and never hold up production.  You don’t know what you’re talking about.

Me in my brain yesterday: (2.5 hours after call time while the grip team is barely unloading) HA!  Suck it gentlemen!  Enjoy your late night, a-holes. I’m audi 5000.

I dropped off some legal paperwork, got a little footage for the behind the scenes the documentary, and was on my way. 

I came home and relaxed with MrBeep who calmed me and reassured me and made me feel a ton better.  He told me “don’t give up” and “stay positive for the monsters” and “you don’t know just yet” combined with his smile and his eyes and my heart was soothed.  How do they do that?  Love is so many things and I am lucky to know it…and MrBeep.

Today is a very very rainy day (even for Seattle).  I hydroplaned drove to the RE’s office this morning and gave my blood.  In that tiny vial it is my Answer.  Our Answer. 

Dammit

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I just got pink on the tissue after my bathroom break.  AF is technically due any day.  Tomorrow is the blood test to be sure, but this can’t be good.  I have to go to the set and I really don’t want to be around any of these people.  I’m talking to someone and bailing for tonight, I’m sick of babysitting these idiots.  I just want to be in a dark room.  I just want to be alone with MrBeep.  Fuck. 

Feeling nervous and vulnerable

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I’m going crazy.  I finally got a morning off from the madness of the film shooting and production problem solving and I lost it.  I woke up this morning so nervous about the results.  My symptoms are few.  Breasts are only slightly tender, with the feeling of heavyness and pressure – but that may be the prometrium.  Nipples are alternately completely normal and then sticking out like gumdrops, sensitive like crazy. 

What. The. Hell.

After you have had a couple of uterine surgeries your mind can hone in on the feeling of your uterus inside your body and mine seems different, weighty, achy, more crampy on 2dp5dt and 3dp5dt and a little wiggly and crampy afterward…but hell that could be the prometrium, PMS, bad craft services food chowed down at 2am while you wait the next camera/lighting setup.  Whothehellknows.

Filming is exciting, frustrating, chaotic, maddening.  In addition to being the producer, I am also the assistant editor, so I have been capturing the daily footage onto my quad-core mac.  It looks great.  The direction is awesome, the lighting and camera superb, the actors sublime.  You can get updates and become a fan on face.book.  Send me an email ifoptimist-at-gmail and I can give you the link.  I think you’ll be able to figure out which one of the fans is me.  There are other aspects of being a first-time producer that are too stressful and these creative types along some flakiness and poor communication skills are driving me crazy.  These people are not like IT computer geeks.  There is too much that feels like herding cats.  Am I complaining?  Are you ready to bitch-slap me?  I should shut the hell up.

I have had some good questions on comments I’d like to address here. 

How old are you? 
I am 40.  I will be 41 in December.  It is a shitty and scary place to be for IF’ers.  Kind of the last chance saloon before the statistics really beat you emotionally into a bloody pulp.

When is beta day? 
It was going to be Friday, but I pushed it to Saturday.  We have no filming that day and I want to be alone with MrBeep no matter what the news.

Are you going to POAS? 
I was going to do it today and then dug around my cupboards and had no peesticks.  I thought about buying one to know early for sure, but we decided to just wait for the bloodtest.  It is more sensitive and I can’t play that hope/no hope game.

Did any others make it to freeze?
I actually don’t know this.  I have been playing phone tag with the RE nurse for days (my fault).  I suspect it is bad news since they didn’t just leave a message with the number, but who knows what their standard operating procedure is for these things.

While I have every reason to be hopeful, I still think I am due for a long road of heartache.  I just can’t believe I will be one of the lucky ones.  I don’t know if it is a coping mechanism or what.  The Ache and The Empty overpowered me today and I had to talk to MrBeep.  I am so nervous and vulnerable.  I don’t want to give up on hope.  I want to have a happy ending.  I want my share of magic too.  I’ve got 3 more days to go.  I need to calm down.  I can make it.  Thanks for your support.  I love you all.  BIG BREATH.  **Whew**

It all started with a snuggle…

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Wednesday was scheduled for my day 5 embryo transfer.  I made it and was soooooo happy that morning.  I started in my favorite way…with a snuggle.  This time I decided this time to skip the pre-transfer acupuncture session and traded that time for extra hugs and calm assurances.  MrBeep is a snugglebug and this makes me a very very happy girl indeed.

I brought all the magic juju I could think of.  Naturally I had on my wedding ring, but on my other hand I wore my great-grandmother’s ruby cluster ring.  On my neck I wore my grandmother’s locket she gave me to wear on my wedding day.  My grandpa gave it to her when they were dating, over sixty years ago.  I also wore a jade and gold necklace my mom gave me.  I picked it out for her on a visit to San Francisco when I was about 7 years old.  I always loved that necklace and she gave it to me as a wedding gift.  I wore her mother’s earring in one ear and JJ’s earring in the other ear.  Counting my wedding ring, it was 4 generations of luck on one side of the family and three generations on the other.  I even wore my favorite nifty socks.  ;-)  After morning prep, ensuring full bladder uncomfortability stage and popping a happy pill, I was whisked off headed to the RE’s office. 

We arrived and were greeted by the staff with many wishes of good luck   I slipped into a sexy hospital gown number and was covered with warm blankets.  I love the warm blankets.  MrBeep got to wear pretty blue scrubs.  FYI - Many aspects were similar to last time in terms of how an embryo transfer is performed, the prep and procedure.  If you are curious, you can read about it in my prior post, “Showin’ and Tellin’ about my little monsters.”

We relaxed in the room a while when DrKAwesome stopped by to give us the embryologist’s report.  All six embryos were still alive at day 5 and they had 3 who were in the best shape and a little farther along in development.  They had successfully reached the early blastocyst stage.  As a review, we got 18 eggs, out of those 14 were mature and 10 fertilized normally using ICSI.  At day 3 6 looked pretty good, so they decided to go for a day 5 transfer, my RE office generally only does this if 5 or more are looking good. You may ask, why is keeping track of how embryos are doing is important?  There have been very specific studies at Stanford University that look the likelyhood of getting pregnant on an IVF cycle.

The researchers found that four factors—total number of embryos, number of eight-cell embryos, percentage of embryos that stopped dividing and would die, and the woman’s follicle-stimulating hormone level, a measurement that estimates ovarian function—were most important in determining a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant. The four together were 70 percent accurate in predicting whether the current IVF cycle would result in a pregnancy.

The researchers also found that these four factors were more predictive than any single measure of the actual transferred embryo(s). An individual embryo could meet all the criteria for a transfer, but if the IVF cycle produced a small number of embryos, few eight-cell embryos and a high percentage of embryos that stopped dividing, the woman’s chance of getting pregnant could actually be quite low.

“If you talk with IVF patients or doctors, they wouldn’t be surprised” to hear that the quality of all embryos in a cycle—not just the transferred one—matters, Yao said. “But it’s important to go beyond intuition and to prove it scientifically, in order to move the field forward.”

You can find the full article here.  http://med.stanford.edu/news_releases/2008/july/IVF.html.  I know this is not 100% sure, but it does a lot to put my mind and heart at ease during the 2WW.  Many of my ladies already know this, but after 40 this becomes an even scarier notion.  It is a big indicator of whether you will be refused/discouraged to use your own eggs and move on to donor.  I have no problem with donor.  I think the idea is fabulous and I am so happy it is an option for my friends and maybe some day for me down the road, but I wanted at least one good cycle.  At least one good try before giving up on my own DNA. I would have made me very sad to have lost the race the minute after I stepped out of the gate.  It also made me feel a lot better to know that even if this doesn’t work, we have a protocol that works well for my body.  I didn’t want to be out of options there either. 

We discussed a few issues with DrKAwesome and then decided (due to my age) to transfer….

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.

(wait for it)

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(can you feel the tension?)

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♥♥♥ 3 ♥♥♥

 

That’s right my wonderful bloggidy friends.  I’ve got 3 lil’ blasty monsters baking away in here.  After the transfer, we went home.  I rested in bed and got more happy warm snuggles.  Later in the evening MrBeep treated me to one of my favorite restaurants.  I had, as a tribute to my day with soo many people being up in my ladybusiness, spaghetti alla puttanesca. “How is the whore’s crotch?” MrBeep would ask me.  “Simply Divine” I would answer and we laughed and laughed. 

So c’mon my little monsters.  I know your journey has been long and hard. 

Snuggle in.

 

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