33 Weeks

Well I’d love to say my pregnancy got easier as it went along but unfortunately it didn’t. It was pretty much stressful from 5 weeks until the end which was 33 weeks. I’m only now feeling good enough to write about it (probably with the help of the anti-depressants I’m on!).

So I had gestational diabetes (which is where I think my last post ended?) that didn’t worry me too much, I wound up on insulin, then at 28 weeks my blood sugar started to drop dramatically (which is an indicator of placental breakdown) my OB was not too concerned though as I was being closely monitored with weekly scans so I dropped the insulin and just did my finger prick testing 4 times per day, my cervix held well so there came a point where we moved back to fortnightly scans, then my OB went on leave for three weeks and I noticed my blood pressure creeping up slightly… once he was back from leave it was pretty much stage one hyper tension and at my 30 week scan I was informed baby was very small (like 1.2kgs at 30) so we were looking at IGUR placental deficiency given the baby had perfect measurements everywhere except for the stomach which meant she was not getting the nutrients she needed from me and that the placenta was beginning to fail. At 31 weeks my blood pressure was pretty crazy and I was hospitalised for a couple of nights because despite being on medication it would stabilise for a couple of days then creep up again. I was ordered to finish work (which was super stressful trying to tie up loose ends in 3 days when I’d planned on doing it over 3 weeks!) I came home to a toddler with gastro and promptly got it myself (nothing like being pregnant with a baby rolling around in your stomach when you’ve got the stomach flu urgh) recovered from that and blood pressure continued to go up… more medication. My OB’s plan was to try to get me to 34 weeks as that is when the baby is pretty much a ‘term’ baby but just needs fattening up.  I saw my OB on the 17th of August and I was feeling ok – tired but ok. The meds were making me so tired … at 8pm that night I felt a bit off and went to bed, woke at 3am with a splitting headache, took my blood pressure which was 194/120 so ridiculously high, I was so sick I couldn’t do anything. I was downstairs, everyone else was upstairs at 7am my husband came down and I promptly threw up, told him to get our daughter to daycare and called my OB who told me to come in and that we’d likely deliver that day.

I was in the hospital by 9.30 am – and protein was found in my urine so it was pre-eclampsia again. Bloods were taken, they put me on a magnesium drip and my blood pressure just plummeted, they lost the babies heartbeat, I had a midwife on my sitting on the bed  with me trying to get a trace on the ctg as they raced me to theatre … my normally cool high risk OB was looking worried, my husband looked terrified. We got there had that 5 second ‘chat’ with the anesthesiologist that costs you $300 and is called a ‘consult’ – they were waiting on my platelet blood test results to see if I would need a spinal or general anesthetic, the lab lost my platelet results, my OB was livid, we had a theatre full of people waiting…  finally they phoned back… platelets were low so it was going to be a general…. very fast kiss with my really worried husband and then bang I was out.

I woke in recovery being told I was being transported to another hospital down the road. I was so groggy I didn’t even question it… my husband was telling me the baby was doing well, small but good… she was in special care but he had to go and get our daughter from daycare as they would be closing soon.  I was going to ICU as my blood pressure was still way too high. I got transported in the ambulance to the other hospital, in a soulless room with a dynamic catheter in my arm with showed on a loud beeping monitor above my head, if my blood pressure went over 160 /95 an alarm would go off (so stressful) I was on a magnesium drip that was keeping my blood pressure low if they stopped it, I’d go into eclampsia and have a stroke or seizure… they had to slowly lower the magnesium and make sure my body was lowering my blood pressure until they could stop it completely, it was a balancing act really. I asked the head ICU doctor how long it could take… 24 hours to 3 weeks was the response I got. I was so upset… I hadn’t even seen my baby she was over in the other building, my poor husband was running all over town looking after the toddler, visiting me and then visiting the baby. I was there for 3 days in the end and I’ve never been so happy to get out of somewhere in my life… the staff were great, but I just wanted to see my baby.

So baby Ruby was doing incredibly well, no issues at all aside from needing to fatten up – I was finally in the maternity hospital and in a room next to special care so I could just toddle across and sit with her. All up she was in there for 3.5 weeks and has been home for almost 3 weeks now – so crazy she’s only due to be born next week but will be 7 weeks by then. She’s doing really well (still a micro baby at 2.4kgs!) at home and putting on weight – I battled with exclusively pumping for her and have decided to wean early – breastfeeding just wasn’t happening and I was going further and further down a hole trying to keep up with it (and also got nipple dermatitis on both boobs which was excruciating)  and feeding her so I decided to cut myself a break and wean her as soon as her first vaccinations are done. I’m feeling much more mentally stable for making that decision.  So all in all I we are doing well and I think this is where my donor journey ends after 6 years of IVF and donor cycles. It seems fitting to finish this blog on the same day as I was choosing my donor last year!

To anyone wondering if they should take the plunge with an overseas cycle – I’d say yes, research, look at forums and talk to women who have taken the path before hand, I wish you all the best and hope that you get the family you’re longing for.

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Em x

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22 Weeks

Probably time for an update hey? Well I was right and I do have gestational diabetes, so I’ve been on insulin since around 10 weeks. It’s fine, it doesn’t worry me because at the end of the day it is for the health of the baby and what’s one more needle in this whole process (it’s only a pen needle too) the way some women carry on about taking insulin you’d think they had to inject clexane daily or something (now that’s a painful needle!).  We are also having another girl which is fine by me! E is very excited about becoming a big sister but doesn’t fully grasp the concept really – she’s insisting there’s a baby in her tummy not mine.

My cervix has held fast… it did get down to 2.1 cms which is pretty short but since then it’s rallied and is back up to 2.6 – 2.7  cms (anything under 2.5cms is classified as high risk) so I was getting a bit nervous there for a while but am feeling better about it all at the moment. I just want to make it to at least 26 weeks when the baby will be classed as ‘viable’ and the hospital would fight to save the baby. 29 weeks would make me feel MUCH better, but beggars can’t be choosers sometimes.

The OB also found ‘amniotic sludge’ in one of my fortnightly scans – which is apparently the official term (how nice) which is a marker for pre-term birth. No one can tell me how pre-term that’s likely to be but I should be prepared that things might happen sooner than 38 weeks. I had course of antibiotics to combat the sludge (which indicates inflammation/infection) and it seems to have cleared up since, it also common in pregnancies with a short cervix.  So it’s just another thing to worry about I guess. I’m wondering if I should be packing my hospital bag sooner rather than later.

In other news, we have also bought a new house which is pretty exciting. It’s the opposite side of town which will be a big change for both my husband and I … it’s pretty much suburbia and that’s fine by me. It’s on the cusp of the country suburbs – my going out at night days are over, and driving to meet friends doesn’t phase me – I want peace and quiet, a bigger space and a nice garden… this house also needs basically no renovating so that’s a big win in my book as well. I’m sure my full time work at home husband will be very happy to get out of the corner of our dining room and into his own office. We move in about 3 weeks and it can’t come soon enough after a 3 month settlement period.

So that’s where we’re up to. This pregnancy is not without its stressors – I’m on edge a lot of the time and taking it very easy with the physical side of my work that’s for sure. I’m in bed at around 7pm just watching tv once E goes to sleep – keeping my feet up and relaxing. I do feel much better this pregnancy though (losing 30kgs has to make some difference!) and am still in mostly size 14 clothes… I have no idea where my weight will end up though and it’s freaking me out a bit. I’ve put on 7kgs so far so who knows and my restriction is not as tight as it used to be with my sleeve weightloss surgery, I guess I’ll reassess a month or so after having the baby and follow up with my weight loss surgeon.

A-Ok

First OB appointment yesterday and I have to say I’m so relieved in more than one way… first off the scan went well and baby was still kicking (my symptoms disappeared for a couple of days and freaked me out) so when I arrived to the new OB he asked if anything was worrying me and I admitted I was concerned I’d had a missed miscarriage so he scanned me straight up before we got into any background info so that I could relax. HB at 165 and all measuring bang on 9w5days – so then we got into my very elaborate medical history and discussed his approach to my issues. First up I have to do the Glucose Tolerance Test this week (boo!) as I had GD in my last pregnancy, I guess I’d rather know earlier rather than later and I highly suspect I’ll have it as my fasting BGL’s are a ALWAYS high or borderline, even when not pregnant… so I’ve resigned myself to having to do insulin… it’s inevitable. Secondly he told me that I am more likely to get pre-eclampsia again after having it once (my old OB told me I wasn’t more likely) all research I’ve done suggests new OB is right… so he will be monitoring my blood pressure and protein levels closely and if my platelet count from my blood tests is ok (I have ITP) I’ll be put on low dose aspirin to help avoid it.  My short cervix .. we are checking the length at my 13 week scan and if it’s still short or showing signs of getting worse he’s offered to do the cerclage stitch for me as a preventative measure (I can’t tell you how relieved that makes me feel).

So this week it’s GTT time for me (I was going to do it this morning but the kid woke up at 5.30am and there’s no way I could make it to 8.30am with no coffee waking up at that time! So I’ll do it tomorrow on my annual leave day. Next week it’s NIPT time and we’ll find out the Gender then a couple of weeks after that it will be time for my 13 w scan and follow up OB appointment.

My arse is absolutely killing me now from the gestone shots, I have a tennis ball sized lump on one side and a golf ball sized one on the other… I’m switching over to Crinone for a few days to give my bum a rest and stop meds completely in a couple of weeks as they run out.

So everything is looking good – in amongst all of this we are trying to sell our farm and find a bigger house in the city (once the farm sells) so lots of stress around that with people putting in offers then reneging , we are trying to take it one step at a time but we do kind of have the deadline of a baby coming now so it makes it a bit more time sensitive.

Short People…

Sorry for the drop off!  Things got a bit crazy around here and my 4th beta was a bit wonky and on the low side so I of course panicked and thought the worst.  I wasn’t very confident going into my scan but the baby was seen at 6+3 with a heartbeat of 117 bpms, and bang on track. My worry free time was cut short at the end of the meeting with the sonographer when she gave me my written report and said, ‘now I’ve put here that your cervix is at 2.5 cms which is short, but I didn’t want you to see that and worry’…You know what lady? I have no idea what length my cervix should be and if you hadn’t pointed it out I would have been oblivious until perhaps my meeting with my OB… but now of course I get home and google it… and reams of info come up on people having second trimester miscarriage due to incompetent cervix and needing cervical stitches etc., babies falling out in the toilet and all other horrific stories.  If you measure under 2.5 you’re considered high risk … brilliant, and I’m only 6 weeks at this stage. So I dig through my files and find my ultrasound report from when I had my first scan with E and I was 2.9 cms for that pregnancy at the same time… my measurement just before leaving for Cape Town this trip was 2.5cms… so I think the D&C might have contributed.

I had booked in with the same OB I saw last time, so when I found this out I had no idea if I should be doing anything differently.. ie seeing him earlier, bedrest etc. so rang for advice. He got his secretary to call me back and tell me he wasn’t worried and that nothing could be done until the second trimester anyway.  And I just lay in bed that night and thought, ok this is the way it’s going to be the whole way through with this pregnancy with this OB – he’s very low intervention, low fuss and if he can’t be bothered actually talking to me about my fears over the phone already, I don’t think he’s the guy for me in this pregnancy. I had pre-eclampsia last pregnancy and it was only picked up when I was at a random GP appointment and I was made to feel like a freak for wanting an elective C section- I just don’t think I could deal with it again. I want to be monitored, micro-managed  and confident I can be as neurotic about this pregnancy as I like and not be fobbed off.  So I switched to a high risk OB who a couple of friends have used and have been really happy with and they by no means had ‘easy pregnancies’ or  ‘easy past pregnancies’ – this guy is also a MFM specialist and had headed up the Obstetrics team at the major women’s hospital  here in Melb. I’ve also joined a group on Facebook for Aus ladies with incompetent cervix, just to get info and to have some idea what I’m dealing with – he comes highly recommended from those in the group who have used him in there and he has experience in doing cervical stitches / cervical abdominal stitches which not many do.

So I am sleeping easier at night as a result of making this change… my first appointment with him is on the 8th which is seeming like an eternity away – and I’m hoping the bean is still hanging in there at that point which will be 9 weeks.  Symptoms wise, it’s pretty mild… super sore boobs, complete exhaustion (but that could just be life with a toddler) and on and off nausea but nothing a maxalon won’t fix.  My arse is bruised and lumpy as I’m still on PIO shots… most stop them and move on to crinone at 6 weeks but because I had a drop in progesterone early on and also because I’ve read that progesterone can help with keeping the cervix length stable I’m powering on until 11 weeks on the injections.

 

 

Waiting…

for scan day… I’m booked in on the 13th which is actually pretty early, but still seems a long time away.

I’ve had a few blood tests just to check things are rising and that my progesterone is ok…

Beta#1 @ 13.5 DPO – 163 / Progesterone 190

Beta#2 @ 15.5 DPO – 438 / Progesterone 70

Beta#3 @ 19 DPO – 2195 / Progesterone 97

I’m due for another beta on Thurs and then my scan will be at 6+1 weeks on the 13th. Holding onto my hat until then.

Duffed

Yep it worked! I didn’t want to bog you all down with my neuroses during the two week wait… so I spared you the pee stick shots etc.  Needless to say I was peeing on sticks as soon as I got home, at first I thought it was a chemical because the line was so faint (at 10dpo mind you – the tww does insane things to your reasoning skills)… but first beta came in at 163 and yesterdays was 438 so rising really well. I bit the bullet and booked in with my old OB so I could secure a spot with him as they book out crazy early here.  My first scan is on the 13th so fingers crossed that all goes well. When I see a heartbeat I start to relax a bit more and get a bit more excited … until then I’m quietly happy! I did have a bit of a bleed the other night (nothing is ever smooth sailing) so have upped my progesterone to 1 x PIO and one Crinone daily now in attempt to get the levels up. Hoping they stay nice and high but am being monitored with twice weekly blood tests thankfully. I have to say, my Marie Claire fertility specialist has been such a dream to work with this time around and her team – all my questions are answered and I don’t have to repeat my story a thousand times with going overseas to do the cycle. It makes it so much easier!

It Doesn’t Get Better Than This…

That’s what my doctor said to me at our appointment just before transfer yesterday. This has been a phenomenal cycle, the kind I’ve only ever read about before from others… never for me, so I’m a bit in awe that it’s actually happening.

Of our 20 embryos, 15 were of freezable quality – two were hatching and graded 5AA – we opted to transfer one of the hatching 5AA  blasts and to freeze the next top 10 embryos and discard the rest. I realise that sounds harsh but we had to consider what the point of freezing them would be when realistically I am only prepared to come back for one more cycle and even that is questionable right now, I’m pretty over all of this and want to get on with our lives. Even 10 being frozen seems excessive, but you never know what can happen and I want to assure we have at least one top quality one if we come back or we might do PGD on them if we have to come back one more time, it just gives us options really.

So the bottom right embryo was transferred yesterday and I’m feeling very positive and hopeful that this might just be the sibling we’ve been chasing.

I went for acupuncture with a lovely lady named Sarah Hewland who fitted me in on short notice and I’ll see her again on Friday for a second session.

I have two more days in Cape Town – most of it will be spent bumming around, I’m going to head up to the movies in a bit and see Passenger in 3D, eat some popcorn and might even head to another session in the afternoon and see Sing! I never get to go to the movies at home so it’s a bit of a treat and two in one day is unheard of! Tomorrow I’m having a facial in the morning, acupuncture,  then going to pick up some Wonki Ware homewares I purchased the other day (the lovely lady is packing it for travel for me) and buying a few gifts for family.  I’ll then have dinner in the top end restaurant downstairs here at the hotel and try to get a good nights rest before the flight home on Saturday. It’s been a nice trip, I’m missing the family of course but it’s been relatively stress free and enjoyable – I feel relaxed and happy that we’ve done everything we can this cycle. The rest is up to the embryo.