Posts Tagged ‘Fertility Clinic’

Vaginal Rest

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

This was the order given to me by the doctor on Friday afternoon. I’m supposed to let my vagina rest… apparently. I told Shelton not to disturb us.

So, I’m being funny, but this week has been far from it. All because of the bleeding. “Brandi, give us one verb to describe your pregnancy.” “Bleeding.” Ugh! It’s so incredibly frustrating. Why? Because there is no reason for it. None whatsoever!

Last Monday, I went to the doctor for my monthly visit. We talked at length about the bleeding and he asked me every conceivable question you ask a person on the subject. At one point asking if I was positive I knew where it was coming from. I posted here about that doctor’s appointment, mentioning the bleeding. “M” at our fertility clinic read said post and mentioned this to Dr. T, our IVF doctor. He called us. It was out of the blue and completely unexpected and so completely welcome. He kind of made me realize I wasn’t taking this as seriously as I should and kind of woke me out of my apathetic fog I’d let myself drift in to. Hello! Remember the IVF with the needles and the crying and the money? I let him know there was a sonogram scheduled for the following week, but he insisted it be done sooner, even offering to let us go by the clinic if need be. So my regular doctor’s office was able to move up the appointment and get me in the next day, this past Wednesday.

So we went to the sonogram. And ooohed and ahhed over the excruciating cuteness factor of the little baby girl residing in my womb who could very well have my nose and maybe Angelina Jolie’s lips. We knew it would probably be the next day before our OB, Dr. W, received the radiology report and could let us know what they found. So we asked radiology to burn us a disc of all the sono images, plus we took the cute print outs, and headed over to see “M” and Dr. T, hoping to settle our nerves and both continue the conversation with two people who have expressed genuine concern and interest in our well-being. So we had a long chat and Dr. T didn’t seem alarmed by anything, just “paranoia” about the continued bleeding. He urged me to “take it easy” and reminded me of how far we’ve come. I think I needed that. Not that I need to be on tip toes and egg shells until she arrives, but this is not a normal pregnancy and shouldn’t be treated as such. He also advised that if I experienced any changes – in the blood, cramping, etc. – that I should immediately go to the hospital to be checked out.

The next afternoon, Thursday, Dr. W’s nurse called with the radiology report and let me know that no one sees anything wrong. Nothing stands out. There are no clots, there are no pools of blood. There’s nothing. We’ve ruled out every possible problem. Yet, the bleeding continues.

And yesterday morning, Friday, the bleeding continued. Only there was a change. It was heavy, very, very heavy. And my heart just stopped. But I rationalized – don’t freak out! I was like, we’ll give it an hour or so and see what happens. Thirty minutes later I had to use the restroom again, of course, and it was worse than before. And although Shelton had just gone to work late after driving to the opposite side of town through the snow, I called him and asked to come home and take me to the hospital. And he did. During the wait I called Dr. W’s office and was told to go to our delivery hospital. I also packed a change of clothes/overnight bag because, well, who knows.

It was our first trip to this hospital and our first trip up to labor and delivery. If nothing else, the practice run we probably needed. I first want to say the staff in that perinatal unit was amazing. The nurse was barely done filling out forms when the doctor pushed her way in and got to work. Meaning, within minutes. Every single person was smiling, polite and in no particular hurry. It was very relieving, very comforting and vastly different from any ER experience… ever. I gave a urine sample, was hooked up to an external fetal monitor and began sitting. I felt totally fine, but was completely unnerved by the change in events. The doctor reached out to Dr. W to let him know I was there while her resident took a very thorough history. Then, they did a pelvic exam. She said she could see blood, but didn’t seem concerned by it.

Let me just say now, that at 27 weeks, stir-ups can take a damn hike. By 40 weeks, no chance in hell you’re folding me up in those things.

They took blood and then we waited. Lunch time during a snow storm probably wasn’t an ideal time to be sending things to the lab for results, but that’s what we did. We spent four hours at the hospital, only to have the doctor come in and tell us what we already knew. “The baby is perfect.” Perfect, healthy, strong, growing… all things any parent-to-be wants to hear, especially us. As for me, “no explanation.” Whattya know. My labs were clean, the exam inconclusive. There’s absolutely nothing wrong… that they can see. As “M” put it, people should stop calling this normal, because it’s not normal. It might be the norm for me, but that doesn’t make it a normal part of any pregnancy.

I was sent home with instructions for “vaginal rest,” and basically told that I’m sitting just this side of bed rest and that I must “take it easy.” Shelton had called “M” and Dr. T when we arrived at the hospital, primarily because we wanted someone with my history to know where we were and what was going on. Dr. W spends Fridays in surgery so it wasn’t possible for me to let him know, he was my first call. Dr. T called to check on us just as we were pulling in the driveway. I assured him he hadn’t planted any seeds of hysteria or hypchondriac-ness. He agreed with our decision to go to the hospital and said if the same thing happened again to go right back. I thanked him profusely for taking the time to reach out. Seriously people… best. doctor. ever.

So today, I’m doing that, taking it easy. Which is incomprehensible to a busy body like me and I’m just stewing with all the things I could/should/would be doing, places I’d be going. We canceled dinner plans that we were hosting tonight, probably a good call. Otherwise we’ve been busy with the doing nothing, taking it easy and vaginal resting.

You know, if sitting here like a lump gets me through at the very least the next seven weeks and able to bring home this perfect, healthy baby girl, then clearly I’ll do it. But a month of bleeding with zero explanation is worrisome to say the least, so I’m hoping that all of this sitting and attempt at reducing stress somehow stops the bleeding or keeps anything else from happening.

Week 27 Sonogram

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Whew! What a week! I’m already completely drained and we’ve got four days to go before the next one starts.

I mentioned in my week 27 OB update that we’d be having a sonogram next week. Well, that moved, to yesterday.

It seems I haven’t exactly been the best advocate for myself and fortunately for me/us, someone else was watching over our shoulder. Dr. T, our fertility doctor, caught word via “M,” our IVF nurse/sanity manager, that my bleeding had continued… was continuing. Remember, we dealt with this for the first six or eight weeks of the pregnancy with him. Tuesday evening I received a call from him wanting to know what was going on and expressing his concern. He encouraged me to move up the sonogram.

So yesterday I called radiology and they obliged, moving me from a Monday appointment to an afternoon appointment yesterday. No doubt I was thrilled to be able to peek inside and see how much this baby had grown in the eight weeks since our last sonogram; more so, I just want to know what is going on.

As of now we have not yet heard back on the radiology report. However, what Shelton and I saw yesterday was the most perfect, healthy baby with her mama’s nose! Every picture showed a strong, healthy baby. And the ripples that waved across my stomach and the fact that the sono tech had to basically chase her down showed us that she’s very active and very much spending every single day growing. She’s currently at two pounds five ounces and all of her measurements hit the 50 percentile dead-on. Her size matched her gestational age to the date. In other words, she’s perfect. She’s textbook.

Today I’m just waiting to hear back from Dr. W, my OB, to make sure this bleeding/spotting/whatever really is just some bizarre anomaly that none of us can account for.

I did take my sono pics over to Dr. T yesterday afternoon. In no way at all trying to undermine or step on the toes of Dr. W, but I felt like if I had a second doctor this interested in helping us, two minds can surely be more helpful than one, right? It’s like going to a salon and suddenly asking a different stylist to do your hair instead of the one who did it before. Awk-Ward.

It was such a treat to steal some of Dr. T and “M’s” very valuable time and not only talk about the health of our pregnancy, but kind of catch-up in general. Dr. T strongly urged me to take the next five weeks seriously in regards to our pregnancy and just focus on relaxing, not stressing and keep this baby inside. He reminded that every day she’s inside buys us more weight, more health.

I was also encouraged that if anything changes – cramping, bleeding, etc. – that I need to be checked out immediately. So the hypochondriac in me is trying to stay in hiding; reasonably, I need to just listen to my body and recognize when something isn’t quite right.

I’ll of course update once I hear back on the sono report.

In the meantime, go ahead and swoon over this adorably squishy-cute baby face! That’s her nose, lips and chin.

The Scare

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

So I’ve been keeping a secret from you lovely people. While this is just the sort of thing I’d typically air on this site to ease my own stress, it was something I couldn’t say out loud for fear of what might actually happen.

We’re going to back up, four whole weeks, for me to tell this story. I will also warn that it’s going to be a bit “graphic” in the “gynecological” department – so if you and I share DNA or you simply don’t want to hear it, then we look forward to having you back here soon!

We had gone to our very first sonogram, August 31, the start of week six. The ultrasounds I received at the clinic were all done vaginally, and at the end of this one I bled on the table. It caught Dr. T off guard, as well as Shelton and I, but it wasn’t too concerning as I’d had mild spotting since the embryo transfer. I went home, and by mid-afternoon I was full-on bleeding. Scared to death of course, I called “M” and she advised not to use any tampons and to return the next morning for a follow-up.

(Yes, I had to be told not to use a tampon. How was I supposed to know? The doctor’s sticking things in there, what’s wrong w/ stopping stuff from coming out?! I haven’t used a pad since my senior year of high school because I honestly can’t think of anything more disgusting and foul. If you use them, more power to you. So I didn’t even have one in the house, much less that at the forefront of my mind. Shuddderrrrr!)

So I returned the next morning for a second sonogram and what the doctor found made my insides turn as cold as ice, instantly. On the screen, next to my teeny tiny baby, was a big daunting clot. There was a blood clot in my uterus measuring about 4.5 cm by 2.5 cm, roughly. He couldn’t explain it, said I wasn’t the first to have one, and said that we’d need to just wait this out. There was far more risk involved with going after it than playing the waiting game. He also said the two words that render Shelton and I paralyzed: Threatened Miscarriage. I’ve never before experienced a feeling where all the air had been knocked out of my body, and yet I suddenly had more space to fill within my chest cavity than ever before. I literally had one of those slow-motion movie moments where the scene holds still but you drift out of it and watch everything get smaller.

What in the hell is a threatened miscarriage and why are you saying it to me?!

It basically meant that my body was, as the name implies, threatening to miscarry. He explained that the uterus naturally doesn’t like having visitors and it was kind of building up its defenses.

Dr. T explained that best-case scenario I’d have to basically let the clot drain, it would go away on its own, and we’d forget all about this. Worst-case scenario was that I’d pass the clot and as it exited the uterus it may shave off the side of the placenta and well, that would be that.

Shelton wasn’t able to be at this appointment so I’m trying to absorb every word Dr. T is saying so that I can regurgitate all of this to him. I looked Dr. T in the eyes and asked if he thought I should be worried, and he said not now. And that was good enough for me. Call it my new-found motherly instincts or who knows what, but I used that to keep my head for the past four weeks. (Yes, this story goes for four weeks.) If he wasn’t worried, I didn’t have to be.

I went to Shelton’s office, gave him the news, and watched him turn white. And Shelton’s a pasty, translucent red-head, so watching him turn white means he was invisible. I spent five minutes trying to remember the “threatened miscarriage” term and when I finally remembered I just spit it out like those words wouldn’t have any affect on him. Oh, the look on his face. As fast as an auctioneer I was sputtering be calm, and don’t worry, and Dr. T said it’s OK, and anything else I could do to prevent him from passing out on the sidewalk.

The bleeding continued, I tried to remain positive, and we returned for a follow-up six days later. No change. Clot was in the same spot, the same size. The good news was that the baby seemed unfazed.

I would go on to have five sonograms over the course of weeks 6, 7 and 8. And in the final sonogram, in which we were released from the fertility clinic, we finally saw a change. The clot had shrunk to about half its size, the baby still seemed completely unaffected by its neighbor, and all of this was good enough for Dr. T to tell us it would resolve itself and send us on our way.

This started week six, and we’re now in week ten, and the spotting at this point has become incredibly faint, I would almost dare say completely gone. As reported at my first OB appointment, the baby’s heart is up to a raging 176bpm – and that sounds like we’re coming out on the other side of this thing with a growing, healthy baby!

Nothing has ever rocked me to my core harder and faster than the news of that clot. I didn’t put myself on bed rest, nor did the doctor, but I did take it very, very easy these past four weeks. We canceled trips out of town, bypassed evening walks, avoided errands I didn’t have to take, didn’t lift anything larger than a milk jug. If my doctor’s reading this, he’s probably laughing because I probably took it to the extreme like he told me I didn’t have to; but I just couldn’t have on my shoulders that I REALLY wanted to carry those groceries to the car, and well, now I’ve realized my worst nightmare.

My OB (Dr. W) didn’t appear concerned at all with the news of the clot and the bleeding, and as everything has pretty much stopped, I’m taking that as a good sign.

I once heard a terrible “man joke” that you shouldn’t trust anything that bleeds for seven days and doesn’t die. Well, I’m telling you that I did for more than a month, and not only did I not die, but I could have kicked some ass during that time with all the adrenaline and stress surging through my body.

I’m rounding out the end of my first trimester and I will never be so glad to get to the second and get out of these uncertain woods.

Pregnancy Week 8

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Well, if I didn’t feel pregnant before, week eight brought all the symptoms with it like a bad Kansas storm. I’m flat out miserable.

Thursday we went in for my final sonogram and thrilled to see the baby doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing. The doctor said the baby is “textbook normal.” It looks like a gummy bear! After about six sonograms, we brought home our first baby-like picture. It definitely looks like a gummy bear with an odd-shaped head and four tiny but distinguishable limbs. (It has four limbs!!) We also saw the umbilical cord for the first time and, don’t ask me why, but that kind of made me feel pregnant like nothing else has. Heartbeat was raging and the little booger is about 2 cm.

Other than that, I have nothing positive to say about this week. We were released from our fertility clinic (cry!). And I’ve been sick.

Everything stinks. Smells, no matter how truly unoffensive, turn my stomach. I’m so nauseous all the time, and most of the time eating something is the one thing that will fix it. But it’s getting past the mental block of that looks gross, smells gross, sounds gross that is the biggest problem. Shelton made a plain ‘ole turkey sandwich for me and when he handed the plate over I wanted to throw up. It just looked horrendous. Very few things sound good to me and the only things that I can really stomach seems to be an ever-shortening list. What I’m about to share with you I’m not proud of. If you’ve read this site for any length of time you’ll know that I’m very proud of the way we eat. All very balanced, whole foods. We eat very little processed, boxed, canned junk. What I’m finding though is all of that stuff turns my stomach and all I can truly stomach are things I haven’t eaten in years. Stuff that is NOT good for me – but at least I’m eating??
> Pizza. I could eat this three meals a day and I’m making Papa Johns very happy this month.
> Doritos. Nacho cheese only please. Any time of day will do.
> Mac N Cheese. Not my usual homemade gooey goodness, but straight from the box with all its factory toxicity.
> Whole Grain Goldfish. Those crackers are saving my life one at a time.
> Baked potatoes.
> Powerade.
> Milk. I’ve never in my life drank milk except to accompany cereal or a baked good. Now, I’ll just get a glass and suck it down.
> PB and crackers.
> Apples.
> Chicken strips.
> Toast.

Those are all things that I can pretty much stomach any time of day without any complaints. The common denominator? Starch. I know it’s different for everyone, but starches seem to be what’s keeping me satisfied. And half of that ends up coming right back up anyway.

My doctor did prescribe Zofran for nausea. I got the generic, which was $120 out of pocket after insurance. ($600 without insurance!! OMG!!) I really can’t say if it’s helping or not yet. I spent all day on a day trip to OKC that was not my best idea. Being in that car for six hours only made things worse, and while I’m glad we got to be there for our niece’s first birthday, I was sick as a dog all day. Today I’ve been in bed all day sleeping on/off. For what we paid though we’ll pretend that it’s working miracles.

I’m also totally falling for my husband all over again. (I know, gag!) I love that we’re FINALLY having this baby together and the way we exchange these long glances that I don’t know that we ever have before. He’s been positively amazing this week in spite of trying not to lose his mind playing the pregnant whim dance. “I’m hungry.” “OK what do you want.” “I don’t know.” “What sounds good?” “Nothing.” “How about X?” “Gross!” And so on. He’s just amazingly supportive and kind and – he’s everything he is every other day of the week and maybe I’m just being more appreciative.

Finally, we ended our IVF this week. We were released from the clinic, and last night I took my LAST SHOT!!!! NO MORE NEEDLES!!!! That alone will make me feel so much better.

So here we go in to week 9.

A Bittersweet Farewell

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

I knew going in to the clinic this morning for my sonogram that it would likely be my last. Not my last sonogram, but my last trip to the clinic. Today was my last scheduled appointment and I couldn’t imagine any reason they’d keep me after this. And that’s exactly what happened.

Dr. T came in to do my exam and upon finding that everything is “textbook normal” and saying we have every reason to believe this is going to go the way we want it to, he said he couldn’t see a reason for us to come back. Not in a bad way, just that we’d accomplished the goal. I’m pregnant, and it’s time to go to my OB.

It might sound stupid but I’ve been preparing myself for this release back in to the wild for a few weeks now. I cannot express how much I love this practice, my doctor, the nurses, the staff. I’ve never in my life worked with a better medical practice and the thought of leaving them breaks (broke) my heart.

So Dr. T turned to Shelton and shook his hand, gave him a hearty congratulations, and then turned to me and where there would usually be a handshake, there was a hug. And I’ve wanted to hug this man for so long and tell him that there are no words to express how eternally grateful I am for 3.5 years of care and attention… and let’s not forget helping me get pregnant!

Part of it is probably the intimate nature of what we’re working on here. I mean, this is a fertility doctor. And I’ve never had to see a doctor for anything much more than a cough, cold or annual exam. This is the person who had to help me start a family. So maybe some shrink will tell you that that’s part of it. But I will tell you that it’s because I’ve never had the pleasure of working with a better doctor. He’s kind and professional, never speaks down to you yet speaks in a way that helps you understand these complex medical procedures, is reassuring and honest, and in general makes me trust him like no other doctor.  If you’re in a room with him, you’ll never feel like there is a single other patient, task, surgery or appointment waiting on him. It’s you and him, and you’ll feel like you have all the time in the world. I don’t know if it’s this way for other patients, but he’s the only doctor I ever worked with there. He’s amazing – and if I had to pay $20,000 for IVF, and have him as my doctor, then I’ll say a good chunk of it was worth it.

Before we left the exam room Dr. T invited me back when I’ve got a big ‘ole buddha belly and check-in with everyone. They can count on it!

I then went in to the hall and “B” the office manager, another stellar member of their staff, asked if I were going to see them again and I pouted and told her no. And she said something about me being a baby bird flying from the nest, and I was all, but I like the nest. Please keep me! We also had a hug and goodbye with “M” and that one was equally as hard as Dr. T. I saw her and spoke to her more in the last five months than I did the doctor. And again, a truly top-notch person and hands-down the best nurse I’ve ever had. I think I can say that aside from Shelton, I couldn’t have done this without her. For one, she knows her stuff and even my most inane questions were thoroughly, carefully answered. She always had, or at least made, time for me. And let’s not overlook the fact that she’s genuinely like talking to a girlfriend.

We bid farewell to everyone and left and I cried a little when we got outside. Shelton laughed and said he felt like we were at my college graduation.

I just wish I could stay with them until the baby gets here. But that’s not what they do. And I’m leaving feeling completely confident that they did what they do very, very well.

So thanks to the entire staff at our clinic for making one of the most difficult trials of our life so much easier, more comfortable, manageable, and let’s not forget successful!

My One and Only

Monday, August 31st, 2009

This morning was our first ultrasound and I can tell you with all certainty that Shelton and I were far more nervous and anxious about this appointment than we were the pregnancy test. I didn’t even want to talk this morning; and Shelton kept doing it! I was just a ball of nerves and when they called our name to go back I thought I was going to lose my breakfast right there in the waiting room.

I was taken back and weighed – 138 pounds. This is up about six from when we started the IVF two months ago. We did my blood pressure and made witty small talk about how last night I told Shelton that if he didn’t come home with a chocolate chip cookie he shouldn’t come home at all. (He slept here last night!) Then I was left to undress from the waist down and prepare for my ultrasound. (This is vaginally – not goop all over the belly.)

The doctor came in and asked how I’ve been feeling. I told him and he said welcome to pregnancy! Had a nice ring to it. Then we started the ultrasound and within seconds he pointed on the screen to my uterus and the one “pregnancy sack” on the screen. Our baby!!! Just the one. No twins. Or octo-babies. A single baby measuring 5mm (.19″), with the tiniest little heartbeat fluttering so fast a hummingbird would feel inadequate. We heard the heartbeat and saw the little flicker at 105 beats/minute. Pretty amazing!

Everyone talks about this emotional moment the first time you hear the heartbeat. But neither of us had it. Are we broken? I don’t think so. Honestly, there was so much anxiety going in to this appointment, I think we both were completely confident we were going to hear “twins,” and then we didn’t and that’s pretty much all we could focus on. So while I was completely impressed with the fact that this minute being had a heartbeat and thought it was beautiful to hear it, my head was elsewhere.

Dr. T said our pregnancy is on track so far and looks healthy and viable. YAY!!!

We scheduled a follow-up sonogram for two weeks from now and left with a few tiny sonogram pics.

Shelton and I had a little embrace outside and assured one another we were OK. I dropped him off at work and as soon as I put the car in reverse I started sobbing. I felt like I’d lost something I’d never had. And the harder I cried over not having a second baby, the more I’d cry for feeling guilty that I wasn’t acting grateful for the one I do have. What a friggin’ mess! It was just this adrenaline crash and overwhelming bittersweet feeling. We’re disappointed. And thrilled. All at the same time. Part of me feels like I’d feel like this if I’d heard twins, too.

I’m over the moon that we have a healthy baby, and a healthy pregnancy. This baby is going to make us parents and change our lives in ways we can’t even see yet.