Tuesday, October 14, 2014

20-21 Weeks

I just saw my PCM today after my ultrasound on Friday. Baby is doing great. My uterus is the size it's supposed to be for 21 weeks and everything sounds good with baby.

At 20 weeks and 3 days he was approximately 12 oz and 10 inches long. He's measuring about 4 days ahead of schedule but he has a really tall family so I'm not surprised at all there.

During the ultrasound, they noticed my cervix is shorter than they like it to be but still in their "okay" range. They want it to be no shorter than 2.5 but prefer it to be greater than 3 and I'm at a 2.6. I go back in on Friday to make sure it's not getting shorter because if it is shortening already that could cause some issues. It is one of the signs of preterm labor. The doctor was explaining to me today that if it is getting shorter, I'll have to go on bed rest and/or eventually have my cervix sewn shut to prevent preterm labor before baby is ready. Of course the one ultrasound is just a snap shot but the follow up on Friday should reveal whether or not I'm at risk. I'm curious if all of this is due to the stress I've been under plus all the traveling I've done the past month.

On the plus side, Parker is still doing great. He heart rate was strong today and I'm gaining weight instead of losing finally! I'm still one pound under what my pre-pregnancy weight was but doctor didn't seem concerned at all.


20 Weeks and going strong!







Until Next Time!






Sunday, August 17, 2014

12 down, 28 to go!

This week I hit 12 weeks into the pregnancy. The chance of miscarriage drops greatly after this week, which is a huge relief. Baby's heartbeat is going strong and I even got a peek at baby at my OB appointment during week 11! 

Nausea is still hanging around but it's not too terrible. It's mostly just random spouts of dry heaving. It's not fun but much more tolerable than actually getting sick.

During my OB visit, my OB and I discussed a few things. One of those things is my Medullary Sponge Kidney and how it might affect this pregnancy. Of course, this is something I've had all my life but we recently found out about in the past two years. Since she wasn't sure if it would or wouldn't affect me, she put me in for a consult with Antepartum Diagnosis Center to be sure. Next, we discussed if she felt comfortable with my decision to VBA2C. While I do plan on having a home birth, I need to go into this journey knowing I have back ups if something falls through. If I become to nervous or anxious to birth at home, I want to know that I'm not signing consent to surgery just because I walk into the hospital. She seemed uncomfortable and that's mostly because she's NOT an OB/GYN. She's a family physician that delivers babies. She said she would discuss this with some high risk OBs and see if she can get someone to back her up so that I can TOLAC (Trial of labor after cesarean) and if anything goes wrong, there are surgeons and other emergent medical staff there to assist where my physician can not. I completely understand that. It makes absolute sense to me.

I saw the Antepartum OB this passed Friday and I had a WONDERFUL conversation with him. While walking to his office, he told me he is resident high risk OB. I immediately decided I would bring my plans to VBA2C. Of course we first discussed how my diagnosis could affect my pregnancy, he doesn't believe it will. He suggests that we go forward with this pregnancy just like any other normal healthy pregnancy and if something comes up at my 20 week anatomy scan then we will go from there. Then I told him about my plans to VBAC and asked what I should do since my physician seemed a little nervous about the idea. We discussed my previous births and why I had cesareans. When that was covered, he said I sound like an excellent candidate for TOLAC and that my physician will be completely backed up by OB since they're the ones on call. He even said he'd write her a note stating such. He really made me feel like I could do this! Which I was sooo happy to hear. He was such a great doctor who didn't try to scare me. He did go over the risks of a VBAC but he ALSO went over the risks of a third cesarean! He said as long as I know the risks of my choice, he and the OB clinic would support my decision. Such a wonderful and relieving visit.

To some this might sound silly that I'm so excited about this visit to see my doctors but having someone supportive means the WORLD. There was such a weight on my shoulders that I was worrying myself over how things would go if I didn't have a supportive hospital to back me up if I chickened out of the home birth. I like safety nets.

Now to move forward with my plans and prepare as much as possible before this little monkey arrives! 

Until next time! 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Be Still My Heart

After over a week of trying and searching for the baby's heart beat, I finally broke down and called Crystal to find out what exactly I'm looking for! I've read about it until I thought I knew what I was looking for but evidently I was wrong. I thought I was looking for a fast heart beat of about 150 to 170 bpm but I found out that it can vary depending on the age of the fetus and that as low as 90 bpm to 110 bpm is normal for weeks 7 - 8 but during week 8 it starts to pick up and by weeks 9 - 10  it should be up to 140 to 170 bpm. Of course we are no doctors and we may have even missed a few beats but I had Jay time himself and count the beats for a whole minute and it came out around 91-95 bpm and when we check my pulse to ensure we weren't accidentally listening to my heart beat, mine was about high 70's to low 80's.

Once we were pretty sure we had found the heart beat, we sat and listened for a while. I was the one holding onto the fetal doppler and the probe that locates the heart beat. I found a good spot and just let it sit there. While listening, I didn't move the probe at all and the heart beat started fading in and out and getting stronger and lighter. We were pretty sure by that point that it was baby and not one of my veins or arteries because they wouldn't move around like that. Jay was pretty excited.

For those that don't know, Jay and I have had two boys together but each time I found out I was pregnant Jay was on his way to Iraq. He's missed both pregnancies and births of our first two children and he has no idea what this is like at all. So last night, was his first time hearing one of his babies' heart beats from in the womb.  As we enter the time of midwife appointments, ultrasounds, and OB appointments, Jay will start to see some of the stuff I went through with both previous pregnancies. So far this first trimester has been a little of both my previous ones. With Jayson, I wouldn't have known I was pregnant besides the exhaustion. With Eli, I was sick as a dog most of the time and by the time the 2nd trimester came, I had lost a little bit of weight because of how nauseous I was. This pregnancy has had a little nausea here and there but sometimes I can't tell I'm pregnant except for I KNOW I saw the two lines and I haven't had my cycle since May! lol

I was supposed to have an appointment with the OB yesterday but they called and rescheduled it for August 5th since they want me to be past 10 weeks and I'm not yet. Today marks 8 weeks and 4 days so I will be 11 weeks on the day of my OB appointment. I also have a Midwife appointment on August 2nd and I have already scheduled our 3D/4D ultrasound (we didn't do this with the first two) to find out the gender at 15 weeks. Hopefully we'll be able to find out then, they said they can tell as early as 13 weeks but that seems way too early to me. I'm tempted to change our appointment so it's after I'm 16 weeks but I'm just too anxious to wait! When would you do it? After 16 weeks or after 18 weeks or just wait for the normal 20 week ultrasound?

Let me hear what you have to say!


Sunday, July 6, 2014

The First Trimester Fears

I am now a little bit over the half way mark in my first trimester. The nausea has been off and on for about two or three weeks now. Yesterday was the first time I wasn't able to keep down my meal which wasn't fun at all. The heartburn has been pretty vicious but I have chronic acid reflux anyway so I can't tell if it's from the pregnancy or just my everyday life. I've been trying to not take Nexium as much since it blocks the absorption of iron and my prenatal labs came back borderline anemic. Other than the nausea, heartburn and mood swings, I can hardly tell I'm pregnant! LOL Oh and the random hits of extreme exhaustion. Those all seem like very easily remedied things. There are times when I seriously wonder if this is all real. If this is the baby I've been fighting for this past year. Not that I don't believe that I'm pregnant, it's just so hard to wrap my head around after such a long time of trying for this. There is no heartbeat to listen to (that can really be found yet), our insurance only covers ONE ultrasound and that's to check to make sure growth and size are appropriate around 20 weeks. I can't feel the baby yet, that won't happen for at least eight to ten week, if I'm lucky. I just feel like I'm in limbo until something shows me that everything is progressing the right way in there. It's quite scary after reading blogs, forums and groups of women going through the same thing and lots of them end up in miscarriage. The internet can be valuable to research but also, ignorance is bliss. Not knowing what could happen is so much nicer than knowing the odds of something going wrong.

I've been trying very hard to not live in a perpetual state of worry and stress. Most of the time I'm not, but sometimes that desire to know what's going on is just very overwhelming. I purchased a fetal doppler but of course I'm not far enough along to be able to hear the heartbeat on my own yet. I hear the earliest is about 9 weeks and I'm 6 weeks 5 days. According to the hospital, which goes by the LMP, I'm about week later at 7 weeks 4 days.  The conception date or ovulation date is more accurate but hospitals don't typically expect a woman to know when she ovulated so they don't even ask for that. I plan on informing them once I see an actually doctor or midwife instead of an in-take nurse.

In preparation for our HBA2C, Jay and I have been watching documentaries out the wahzoo! We've watched Business of Being Born, More Business of Being Born and Pregnant in America. They're all very informative and inspiring! I am probably as close to the hospital as I could be in this area so I have no concerns there. And as of right now, the hospital it self (represented by the few nurses I've spoke to in person and over the phone) seems very VBAC friendly but I'm just waiting on that good ol' "bait and switch"! I fully expect the doctor to be supportive but express concerns or restrictions on me to VBAC. Then as time progresses the doctor will slowly seem less and less supportive of my desire to labor naturally and eventually try to talk me into scheduling either a repeat c-section or an induction of labor. Both of which are wildly outside of what I feel comfortable with and what I have learned to be the correct route towards a natural birth. Inductions actually increase the risk of c-section by 67%! That's insane! One wrong decision and you're more than 50% likely to end in an surgery! So no inductions for me! JUST SAY NO TO DRUGS! Where did all of THAT education go?! I'm starting to go off on a tangent. My point is natural birth is what is supposed to happen! Yes, complications do arise and the medical interventions are wonderful to have in those RARE cases but these medical interventions are becoming heavily relied on to make the life easier, not on the mother, not on the baby or family but on the doctors! They get to have a nice and tidy 30 minute to an hour c-section and then they are on their merry way to their next patient or home for the night. Look at the statistics! Even my own mother is a statistic! Doctors induce labor during the week to avoid having to come into the hospital over the weekend, especially holiday or long weekends! My mother was induced to avoid labor and birth over Labor day. The doctors wanted their three or four day weekend to be uninterrupted, so what did they do? They induced my mother so she would have her baby earlier. Thankfully nothing went wrong but the risks were there. Were those risks fully explained to the patient before consent was given? Probably not, so many of the risks of induction and c-section are down played due to the doctor/surgeon feeling confident of their methods. But why are they so much more confident in artificial labor and surgical operations than natural labor?! What has happened in the past thirty years that have caused this spike in inductions and c-sections? Medical technology? Maybe, but I think it's more of the doctors relying on this technology rather than them trusting in nature. Pregnant in America really showed how backwards our medical system has become when it comes to births. I'm sure there are amazing interventions out there for things we had never dreamed of fighting but birth isn't an illness to be fought or cured.

I wish I had been this educated before I walked into Madigan Army Medical Center in labor with Jayson. I would have known to say no to the epidural, especially as early as 4-5 cm! I would have known it could stall my labor, which it did and I would have known that the pitocin used to start up my stalled labor could send the baby into distress, which it did. So yes my "emergency c-section" was probably necessary, but it was only necessary to save my baby and myself from the interventions that shouldn't have been used on me.


So here I am, almost 8 years later, pregnant with my third child and terrified of what might happen all over again. This time I am educated and supported. I am stronger and wiser. But at the end of the day, I can't predict how this will all go down, no matter how educated and prepared I am. I'm just hoping that my body does what it is supposed to do and I have a HBA2C that goes smoothly and without a hitch.  I have hired a midwife, who just in one meeting hit it off well with me and I can see us having a very special bond that I really just can't explain. I have a dear friend that has already stepped up and said she'll come out and be my labor support (aka doula). She isn't a doula but she is a wonderful friend who has given birth to 5 beautiful children, two of which were home births. As of right now, besides my midwife, her assistant and my husband, I plan on having my friend Crystal and my mother there with me. I am beyond terrified of my support system failing and breaking my spirit in a moment of weakness but this is a fear that I have due to past experiences. I can't let the past haunt the future. I have to have faith that everyone will hold strong for me and that I can draw that strength in my greatest time of need.

But for now, I just wonder if little one in there is doing alright and I can't wait to hear and see them!  I'm still torn on whether or not I want to know the sex but Jay wants to know so I feel bad if I withhold that from him. I found out on the last two and he was in Iraq so I feel almost obligated to give him this small part of the pregnancy.

Until next time,

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

It's HAPPENING!

My dreams of a natural birth are coming true! I met and hired my midwife today. I knew while in the office that she was the one and that I didn't need to shop around at all. I felt at ease, excited and confident while speaking with her. She spoke to me as a peer and not as an uneducated child who needed to be managed by her superior education, which I loved! She answered ALL of my questions and told me how the whole process would go. I absolutely adored her and we have only met once so far.

I really feel that this is the right path. I've never felt so confident in my body before today! I just finished the intake paperwork on their website and schedule my first appointment to see her. Today was just an interview/consultation. Not only is she a midwife but she is a Naturopathic Doctor also, which is very refreshing. I plan on keeping her on as baby's pediatrician for the first year so I don't have to hear all the lectures about a delayed immunization plan. She was very accepting of the idea and I loved how laid back and go with the flow she was. Never once did I feel judged for my decisions but instead I felt supported and encouraged to follow my intuition.

Now to ensure I have a healthy diet, exercise plan and positive mood surrounding this pregnancy to prepare me for labor. It will have been eight years since I've experienced labor by the time I have this baby. I think this time I will prepare better for labor pain management. Feel free to share the methods or classes you took to prepare yourself for labor. I didn't do anything before Jayson and I managed the pain fairly well up until I was "coerced" into an early epidural. I honestly believe that my sheer stubbornness and will to do this naturally COULD pull me through this but I'd prefer to be as prepared as possible instead of believing my body will tell me what to do when I get there.


I am approximately 4 weeks along, which is very early and the risk of miscarriage is still high. The risk should drop as I near and go past 12 weeks. Even with being fairly early, the exhaustion, heart burn and slight nausea have kicked in. So far it hasn't been unbearable but I feel like it will become difficult as I approach 12 weeks.


I'm feeling excited, relaxed and very sure about the path I have chosen for my birth. Even if we end up in the hospital, at least I KNOW I did all that I could to avoid unnecessary medical interventions. My midwife seems very sure about when and why we would want to do a hospital transfer and with everything we discussed today, I feel confident in following her guidance. Jay also seemed very at ease with everything too which gave me even more clarity about the path we have chosen.

Until next time,




Sunday, June 15, 2014

Shit Just Got Real

We're pregnant! It's been a very long stressful year and after everything we've been through I wanted a short and simple way to tell everyone. I am truly sorry if you were upset or hurt by me not personally telling you. It wasn't about any one individual. I just didn't want to deal with the stress of calling everyone to tell them.

Anyway, we're excited and can't wait! We have 9 months to prepare and start thinking of names. Who wants to guess the sex of the baby?? I'm still torn on finding out or not.





Friday, May 23, 2014

From Arizona to Hawaii and Everything in between!

The move went smoothly, comparatively to how it could have gone. Our stuff made it with minimal damage. We went to Disney World during our PCS leave and it was AWESOME! Until the night before we were supposed to leave, well for me anyway. I started having some strange pains in my abdomen and by two in the morning, was in so much pain I could barely sleep. I went to the ER and found out that my appendix was blocked and needed removed. I had an emergency appendectomy at about 4pm the day we were supposed to fly out. We got our flights changed and managed to fly out the following day. The travels from Orlando to San Diego are blurry. I was 1 day post-op, drugged up on pain meds, being shuttled around in a wheel chair. I remember sleeping a lot and that's about it. We made it to Hawaii and have been enjoying it a lot!

We moved into our house a week ago and it's gorgeous! I love it and I can't wait until it's completely decorated the way I want. We're slowly getting it into shape. I've posted lots of pictures on facebook and plan on posting more as it gets unpacked and situated.

On May 14th, I began cycle 12 since starting this journey to become pregnant. I'm 9 days in and we decided that since we have our house, we should start trying again. It's been a long break with some stress in there but it's nice to be trying again. We tried a little since my last update but with no luck and mostly not actively trying and not actively preventing. Hopefully if we don't get pregnant in the next couple of months, we can discuss our options with our doctors to see what our next plan of action is here in Hawaii. I saw my doctor two weeks ago and she said that the IVF wait list is about a year and half long. That's a long time to wait but I am starting to think maybe we should get on the list now and see if we can get pregnant on our own in the mean time. Maybe it's time to speak with my doctor again.

So, here we are... Trying to conceive again. Hopefully I don't get spun up in the stress again. I haven't been temping or using my OvaCue, which has helped keep the stress down but we're just beginning so we'll see how well that works out.


Until next time,

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cycle #5, Month 7

My blood test (or Betas) came back negative at 1.2. My cycle started 3 days later than normal which of course was torture. The whole last cycle on medication was torture. I thought about doing a second medicated cycle but I just couldn't bring myself to voluntarily put myself and family through that again. 

With the move coming up quickly and needing to get so much done and ready for the children and animals before we go, I just can't let trying to conceive dominate my thoughts and cripple my motivation. So there might not be many updates between now and when we get to Hawaii. We won't be trying as actively as we have been in the past but we also won't be preventing. This has been a very rough road for me and I think having something else to focus on will do good things for us. I was in such a better place when Jay was away for school so I think the move might be a similar type of break for me. 

It is hard to deal with a failed cycle, let alone a failed medicated-paid-for-IUI cycle. Hopefully the stress diverted towards the move will be just what my body needs to let things happen. I've heard on many occasions to just stop stressing it and it'll happen but that's so incredibly hard when I know so much about all the complications that can happen to block our efforts especially with having the reversal thrown in there.

If there is one piece of advice and wisdom I've gained out of all of this, it's don't ever have surgery to prevent pregnancy. No vasectomy, no tubes tied because you never know what the future holds. Use temporary prevention if you have to but just don't make any permenant surgical decisions that you might (and probably will) regret later. 

Until next time, 
Traci

Monday, January 13, 2014

Testing time!!

So I have been testing out the trigger (the ovidrel shot) and finally it disappeared around 8-9 days past the trigger. Here's a pic of my trigger progression. 
Of course yesterday was my last Wondfo (cheap internet home pregnancy test brand) so my progression stopped there. 

Since the IUI was on Dec 31st, my blood test is on the 14th! Tomorrow!! So I'll find out for certain if I'm pregnant or not tomorrow. 

On the 7th, I went in to have my progesterone checked. It came back low at 7.37 so I started progesterone supplements last week. It's supposed to help but so far it's caused a lot of pregnancy symptoms! 

Hopefully tomorrow brings good news! 

Until then,

Traci


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Renewed Hope

Whew! This holiday season has been the BUSIEST EVER! So Christmas Eve, I thought I was ovulating but then I got sick over Christmas which is known to delay ovulation. I started feeling better over the weekend and on Sunday, I got another "Peak" reading on my Clear Blue Digital Ovulation predictor test kit. So Monday morning I called the RE and we went in for an ultrasound that afternoon. The nurse practitioner said that I had not ovulated and gave me a prescription for Ovidrel 250 µg to do that afternoon. We went immediately to Safeway and got the medication. The pharmacist informed me that if I was not going to be taking the shot immediately that it needed to be refrigerated. AHHH! We were an hour and half away from home!! How were we going to refrigerate it?! Well, I had Jay give me the injection in the parking lot of Safeway and off we went with our day. The kids got to spend some time (and lots of money, Thank you Grandpa Orzeck!!) at Toys R Us! Then I started feeling sick so we went home.

The next morning, we got up early and made the drive back out to Tucson to do the IUI. It was uncomfortable but not horrible. The sample Jay gave was not the greatest but we went on with the IUI and hopefully we'll know in a few weeks if it worked or not. The IUI was with a post-wash sample of 3.5 million with 99% motility. It's not what I was expecting so I was rather disappointed yesterday but today I feel as though my hope is renewed and that we have as good a chance this month as we have any other time we successfully got pregnant. Now the wait begins but after the last few weeks I've had, I'm thankful to be in the "sit and wait" time frame. It's relaxing and less stressful. The only thing I feel like I'm missing is a beach with a warm summer day! LOL

FYI, if this cycle is successful, I'll be due September 23rd (ish)

WOOO!

Until next time,