Wednesday, March 27, 2013

7w4d first ultrasound!

I had my first prenatal appointment today, and -- hold your breath -- there was nothing to be worried about!  There was a little niblet in a sac, with a beating heart, and what looked to be a few other sacs as well but turned out to be blood vessles, said the doctor.  Based on when I usually ovulate (18th day of my cycle), I had me at 7w4d, but based on when my hubs and I did the deed around then, we could have been at either 7w6d or 7w3d.  The doctor measured it once, and got 7w1d, then he tried again and got 7w3d.  If it had been up to me I would have had him try a third time, but it wasn't up to me.  That's OK because for the first time ever, everything seems to be going forward positively.  It's an absolutely new experience for me, and I'm grateful.

Blood vessels and one little niblet in a sac!

My appointment was fast at first, then got slower and slowerI arrived early to fill out the hefty stack of informational pages they needed from me.  I had told my husband to come a little after the start time of the meeting, as he wasn't going to have much of a break and I had assumed there'd be some extra time at first -- doctors are always running behind, and you end up sitting in the room, waiting, half naked and feeling vulnerable under a plastic blanket.  But noooo.  I hadn't even gotten that plastic blanket on my lap when he knock-knocked and came right on in!  Oh well, it didn't matter, he was about to know all about my body in mere moments.   

Sadly, my husband hadn't even left work yet, he was just about to leave.  We were texting madly and I told him not to bother at that point, since the doctor was grabbing the ultrasound machine and the wand and then voila! it was happening.  But it was all happening a little too fast.  Deano wasn't with me, and the doctor (an older man whose first language wasn't English, and whose demeanor wasn't warm and inviting) whooshed in and I saw what looked like 2 sacs.  "There's two?" I said, and he said "No!".  He focused the image over the baby and measured once, with a measurement of 7w1d, then he repositioned it and measured again at 7w3d, but I wasn't sure if it was the same sac, so I said, "Is that a second baby?" and he said "No!  There's just one!"  Then he says, "there's the heartbeat", which I caught for about 3 seconds total before he moved the wand out and started cleaning up.  I said, "Are you going to measure the heart rate?" and he looked at me like I was crazy.  "No, it's fine. Didn't you see it?"  "Barely," I said.   I gotta be honest, I was disappointed.  I didn't get to see how fast it was flickering, and one of my miscarriages had a slow heartbeat.  I am not positive that this heart was fast enough, so I just have to trust that since the doctor was OK with it, there should be nothing to worry about.  He told me to get dressed and to come to his office next door.  Immediately I decided I would be switching doctors.

When I walked in, I asked him, "Can I get a copy of the ultrasound photos?" and he handed me the photo saying, "Yes, this is yours.Now, if I were the doctor, I would have told the patient that she'd be getting a copy after I'd printed them out in the exam room.  This guy just had no bedside manner.  He told me that based on my last period, that I was at 8 weeks.  I explained that my ovulatory phase is 4 days longer than most womens', so really I was at 7w4d or thereabouts.  He said that this is how they do it, based on first day of last period, and announced that my due date is now 11/6/13 (I have it at 11/9/13, and that is wayyy more in line with the measurement today) 

~~~more thoughts of switching doctors!!~~~

It wasn't until the very end of the meeting with him that he finally smiled, sticking out his hand and saying, "Congratulations!"   I can see that he's a fine doctor who simply has some cultural differences from myself, and I would probably be in good hands were I to stay with him.  But, quite frankly, I want someone I can relate to more, with whom I can joke, who smiles easily and is concerned for my feelings and well being.

I had a longer meeting with the prenatal consultant, who discussed with me what was ahead, and arranged for my next meeting in 2 weeks to be with a nurse midwife  (not this same doctor).  She also explained that due to my age and my 3 previous miscarriages, that I will probably be seen by the high-risk obstetricians in a different location going forward, and that there is a woman doctor amongst them so I can switch doctors at that time.  We talked about genetics testing, and I told her I would like to talk to a consultant, so she said she'd arrange that.  She was sweet and easy to talk to, so I left the office in a better mood.

Then my day dragged on as I went to give blood, only to find that I had to do a one-hour glucose test.  So I drank the orange drink and waited an hour before giving my 6 vials of blood.  Finally, 3 hours later, I left the medical facility.  

There's more to my day (I spoke with and set up appointments for genentics counseling and a CVS), but I'm quite tired now so I'll save that for next time.   For now, me and the niblet are going to get some sleep!



Monday, March 25, 2013

how far along are you?

I started this blog because I was visiting other ladies' early-pregnancy blog, and I realized that being the blogger myself might just help me as I go through the hurry-up-and-wait part of my pregnancy.  So I realize that most of the folks who have visited the site are also chicas in early pregnancy.  So tell me, how far along are you?  Post in the comments, please!

7w2d - distracting weekend

It's almost here!  Just 2 more days until the ultrasound, when I can find out if what feels like a healthy pregnancy (thank you painful boobs) truly is.  I don't like to wish time away, but the wait has been verging on excruciating.

My weekend was busy, though, with highs and one very scary low.  Nothing to do with the pregnancy, but it had to do with my (furry) kids, my dogs.  We have a 6-foot fence in our front yard, black metal bars about 4 inches apart, with spikes on top, and a magnet holds the gate shut.  My pups have never known that it just takes a shove to open the gate.  The dogs, a sweet Queensland Heeler and a Corgi-Chihuahua mix who is all love for humans, have become increasingly more intolerant of any dogs who pass by our house, their territory.  This started when the little one came into our life a year ago, and has gotten worse as time has gone on.  He's taught my sweet Heeler some very bad habits.

From the get-go, they've especially hated a sweet Springer Spaniel who is walked by our house twice every day.  The owner is an older man who has taken it fairly well, but has become a little tongue in cheek and occasionally jokingly barks back at them, which can't help, but I perceive it as him making the best of it.  

On Saturday, after some lunch with some dear friends who were passing through town, I was home with the doors open and the gate shut.  The dogs, with their super-hearing, went racing out the front screen door and down the stairs to bark madly at the incoming Spaniel, all normal activity.  But then I heard the man yelling, and I went racing to the door, to see that the gate was suddenly ajar -- I realized that my dogs had pushed it open.  My dogs were in the street, attacking the Spaniel, and the poor man was doing his best to fend them off.  I raced down there, yelling at my dogs, grabbed the little one and tried to get my bigger one, but he was fast and not interested in leaving the Spaniel alone.  I kept at it, dropping my little one once, picking him up again, which allowed my Heeler more access to the Spaniel.  I finally got hold of my Heeler, got them in the house, and went racing back to the man.  His glasses, earphones and other items were scattered about in the street, and he, the dog and I were all shaking.  We did a quick check on the dog and he seemed to be OK, as far as we could tell, no blood anywhere.  I sat on the curb with the man, gave him my contact info and told him to please call if there was any damage to him or the dog, and that of course we'd pay for any vet or medical bills needed.  We all tried to calm down, and I told him that we will do whatever's necessary to ensure his and his dog's safety from now on, since we had no idea my dogs would ever do something like that -- and in fact, my husband installed a latch on our gate that afternoon so that the dogs will never be able to escape.  I felt so terrible, but he was sweet and said that the fact that I sat with him and offered to help (and take responsibility) made a big difference.  He finally felt well enough to continue the walk,  so they moved on.

After he left, I was a shaky mess, my heart was racing and I knew my blood pressure was through the roof.  I tried to lie down and relax, but I couldn't.  I didn't want to even look at my dogs, I was so disappointed in them, and not sure how we can alter their behavior, aside from doing everything we can to keep passers-by safe.  Then I started to wonder if the stress I was feeling might affect the embryo.  I Googled it but couldn't find any instances of emotional trauma (maybe that's a little strong) affecting a pregnancy, though I'm sure there have been cases. 

It took about 4 hours before I felt better, I had to go to the Apple Store to fix my computer and that change of pace helped.  Thankfully, I've had no after-effects other than steady cramping, which I think is just normal uterus-stretching.

We had a much better Sunday; I went to a cheese festival in Marin County and then took the dogs to a beautiful green, grassy, wide-open dog park where they got along fine with every other dog that came their way.  I guess it was neutral territory.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

6w4d waiting, waiting, waiting

One week to go until the ultrasound, which still a long way away but it's better than 2 weeks! And I'm still encouraged because some symptoms are strongly present, including painfully tender breasts, lower back pain, and as of today some significant exhaustion. I've also been really cold and had a hard time getting warm, which could be the lingering effects of the cold I had -- the advice nurse said it could take an extra long time to get over the cold due to my body's priority of baby-building right now.

I almost can't fathom that this will work out -- the only examples of pregnancy I've lived through are ones that haven't worked out. But these darn symptoms have given me a lot more hope than I've ever dared to have before, and it leads me to entertain thoughts of farther down the line -- 7 months from now when I'm fully pregnant.... My husband and I were asked to officiate our friends' wedding in Lake Tahoe (haven't figured out exactly how that'll work with 2 officiants...). I'll be 3 weeks shy of my due date then. Are pregnant people allowed to go to 6000 altitude when they are that far along? I joked with my husband that we might have the baby in Truckee, which actually would be pretty cool, we love that area -- we were married next to Lake Tahoe.

Then I think about actually having the baby in our lives, in our house, with our incredibly loud dogs barking all the time.... and what the baby's room might look like, and how we'll make it work. It's still so early, I think I'll try to put those thoughts on hold for now.

Is anyone else at around the same point in their pregnancy? Or have you lived through this or something similar? I'm eager to hear your experiences too.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


I've made it to 6 weeks!  Calloo callay!  Though, this marker has never been a difficult one to get to.  It's from here that things get unpredictable.   There is a difference this time, however, and that is that I am experiencing symptoms.  Tedious, lovely symptoms that remind me than I'm pregnant. I did not have these in the last 3 pregnancies.  My breasts are increasingly sore every day, which seems impossible since they are already oh-so sore up to my armpits.  I'm constipated and bloated (which reminds me I need to buy some Metamucil), and of course, I'm tired (but that's nothing new for me).  No morning sickness, but neither my mom nor my sister ever experienced that in their combined 5 pregnancies.  I've felt slightly queasy occasionally, but that's it.  I'll take it that way, I don't need to be barfing to feel better.

I'm choosing to take those symptoms as signs that things are going well.  I know that their presence proves nothing, but it's my choice to be positive.  I still have a week and a half until my ultrasound, and waiting is just soooo hard.  In the other pregnancies, we always had the first ultrasounds at about 6 weeks or so, because I was working with the fertility clinic and they'd do that to verify the pregnancy.  Something was always wrong with embryo or sac on those first u/s' and I would be scheduled to come back a week later, around 7 weeks or so, only to find that something even more horrible had gone wrong, and that there was no hope.  This time, I got pregnant on my (our) own, with no help from medicine nor doctors nor offices.  And when I called the appointment line at Kaiser to make a prenatal appointment, there was no mention of my "advanced maternal age" or high-riskiness from either me or the nurse.  I was given a standard appointment as though I were 27 years old.  I'm being treated like I'm not in some dangerous category, and I kind of like that.  I don't feel old, or dangerous, or risky.

But waiting to know if everything is going OK is really hard.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


I'm still here!  Which isn't unusual for the last few pregnancies I've had.  Next week will be the real test.  Though for the last 3 days I've had some tan spotting.  I have no idea what that means.  But it's caused some dreams of miscarriage.  One of the few times that I'm happy to wake up.  I'll write more later, gotta run to work now.

OK I'm back for a blip, taking a break from a full day class at work on project management. I'm so tired its embarrassing. I know the instructor can see that I'm practically falling asleep. I did so well choosing my lunch strategically so that I wouldn't fall asleep, but then I succumbed to the lure of a scrumptious piece of cake. Even though I ate less than half, it was enough to get the blood sugar surging and then crashing back down over the last hour. Soooo sleepy. Or is it the cold?? Or is it the pregnancy?? I am having a hard time deciphering some of my symptoms because of this cold. Good news on the cold, I was told I can take Robitussin DM, Benadryl, Claritin or Zyrtec. So I feel a little better.

I forgot to post that I made my ultrasound appointment for 7w4d, on March 27. It's still over 2 weeks away. I am wondering if I'll make it there. The last miscarriage started on 7w0d.   It's so hard to wait, but I don't have a choice.  The difference between this pregnancy and the last 3 is that my boobs are supersore this time around.  I think with one of them they were a little sore, then they weren't sore, then I miscarried.  With the other two they were never sore, I didn't really feel pregnant.  So the sore, sore boobs and the twinging ovaries/uterus feelings are a comfort this time around. 

I read someone else's blog yesterday and she was talking about staying positive.  I'm attempting that....  for example I'm not doing betas this time. I would have if the doctors told me to, but when I made the appointment they didn't mention it.  I didn't need a blood test since I knew I was pregnant thanks to 2 home pregnancy tests, so I decided not to ask for beta checks either in an effort to have less to worry about.  I've not had good luck with betas. 

It's very easy to doubt, as the only paths I've been down have led to disappointment.  But the thing is, I don't think it's impossible for me to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.  I think it is possible.  I am an older mom, but I bet I still have some good eggs left.  We stopped with the fertility clinic, I stopped charting, I stopped using ovulation testing kits.  Yet I'm pregnant.  This can happen. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

4w6d and stuffy

Today is a beautiful day in Sacramento.  The sun is shining and birds are chirping, my dogs are resting in patches of sunshine on the floor.  The weather's been very March-like, lioning and lambing all in one week.  70 degrees and sunny one day, 36 degrees and storming the next night.  Annoyingly and predictably, this has led me to catch a cold, which started 3 days ago, walloped me on Wednesday, eased up enough yesterday that I went to work, and then came raging back at me last night and this morning.  

Colds are always horrid, but when you're pregnant they're even worse because there's not much you can take for it.  When I catch colds, I usually covet a couple packs of Dayquil/Nyquil or AlkaSelzer plus Cold, as I've found they erase my symptoms delightfully.  But they are a no-no when you are PG.  So I've just been suffering and hoping it goes away ASAP.  I am wondering if perhaps it's my body's way of forcing me to take it easy right now, or if it's just what happens in March.   Fortunately the prenatal vitamins I've been taking for the last 4 years have kept a lot of colds at bay.  If anyone knows for sure that there is some sort of safe cold-symptom erasers for a pregnant person to take, please let me know in the comments area.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

4w5d and hiya!

Here I am again, pregnant for the 4th time in 4 years, and still no baby to show for it. Getting older by the minute (duh), and scared to place my trust in this process again.  I think I have a few things going for me this time that I didn't the last times -- actually just one thing.  My husband is sober now, and had been for 3 1/2 months at the time of conception, so I'm pretty sure we had sober sperm.  I'm hoping that makes the difference we need for a healthy baby.  Though I know (believe me, I've reminded myself too many times) that usually at my age it's the woman's egg that's the problem, not the sperm.  But he loved his alcohol so I'm hoping that by letting his body return to a more normal state of being, that can help.  Just hoping and a-hopin'!  (Full confession: I didn't stop drinking at that time but my consumption has never been like his.)

So to give you some background, I am now 43, and have been pregnant once a year since getting married at 40.  (And since learning I am pregnant 6 days ago, I did stop drinking.  Thank you, thank you.)

In 2010 I got pregnant naturally.  But after low betas and the embryo measuring maxing out in size at 6 weeks, I had a missed miscarriage at 9 weeks.  I used medicine to get my body to purge that one.  NEVER AGAIN.  Ow is a massive understatement.  More like OHMYGODI'MGOINGTOPUKEFAINTANDBLOWITOUTMYASSALATONCE  because the pain was so massive.  And that's pretty much what happened.  With blood clots to boot!  Gross, I know.  

In 2011 with the help of Clomid, I went 8w5d.  We saw the little bugger 3 times.  Each time measuring smaller than it should, smaller and smaller.  The second time there was a heartbeat, but it measured a week behind, and for a 7 week embryo the hearbeat was only 80bpm, which for those of you who don't know, is slow.  The following week there was no growth and no heartbeat.  That time I had a D&C, which I highly recommend in that scenario.

Then last year, more Clomid and another pregnancy.  At 5w5d there was a pink spot.  At 6w4d it measured 6w1d.  At 6w6d more spotting.  7w1d we saw a collapsing sac, and on that same day my body took over with painful cramps and the usual rigmarole.  That was May 4th of last year.  

On March 1st of this year after giving up on medical help, I peed on a stick to find two lines.  Yay!!