It’s June!!!

How it can be June, I have no idea. May took three years to pass I swear. Our state, Iowa, is starting to open back up, but we are still staying put for the most part. We have been out once really, for Eric’s birthday to dinner which was last week. It felt very weird to be out, almost wrong. And the girls were kind of wild, but of course, can you blame them after being stuck at home for months?? After Eric’s birthday dinner he enjoyed a homemade chocolate cake at home. Super yummy!

I feel like I have lots of updates… probably because I haven’t written in quite sometime, but also because I feel like all the things put on hold due to COVID-19 as slowing coming off hold status.


The occupational therapy clinic FINALLY called and Nadia’s appointment is next Monday morning. I’m nervous, and I so wish Eric could come too, but they only want the patient and one parent due to COVID. More to come on this!


And… the IVF clinic called to make an appointment to start the gestational carrier process from their end. I have no idea what to expect, I guess we will find out. They suggested some appointment dates in July, but Eric is on-call those days, so I’m waiting for them to call me back so we can figure something out! Stay-tuned!


Alright, back to cleaning the kitchen and laundry, which I’ve been putting off forever. Seems the more time I have, the less I accomplish with poor motivation. I’ll leave you with a few more of my favorite photos currently on my phone.

Eric comes home today!

It’s been a long week with Eric away. I keep thinking I’ll get better at this parenting alone thing. Who knows. I did get a ton of laundry done yesterday, but of course there are more piles today. It’s like the most unforgiving task ever, the gift that keeps on giving, usually in the form of poop streaks compliments of Nora. I’m treating myself with a very pretty mocha at my favorite downtown cafe before I pick up groceries.

I’m working on MOMS Club stuff, like the agenda for our next business meeting, planning our next board meeting, and finding committee leaders for holiday gatherings. I like this part of my role as president, the managing, organizing, leading part. With almost 50 members though, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of everyone’s demands wishes.

A friend of mine is getting ready to have her fourth baby. And I seriously can’t imagine. I’m still finding two a challenge, ever single day! One minute I’m thinking, I have these two perfect little ladies who complete our family. And then the next I think of our tiny embryo… just waiting for its chance to grow. Can I handle three? What if it splits and we get twins, as this is more common with IVF transfers? I can’t handle four alone so much… I’d have to hire help at home, which would completely change our family dynamic. So the question, how does one know when they are finished having children? My case isn’t typical though. I probably shouldn’t carry our embryo, as we know my chances of carrying to term are extremely small. A gestational carrier is a completely different ballgame. One we can afford financially, but what about emotionally? I was just reading about how traumatic experiences change our brain structure, possible forever. This could explain my anxiety and heightened depression since birthing two preemies. Will I ever find calm again? (Am I getting too deep for a Friday?)

A mom friend posted on Facebook how the day her babies were born were the happiest of her life. That is a completely foreign idea to me. Those days, and the weeks that followed each of my girl’s births were not happy or special. They were sad and terrifying and stressful, full of tears and longing to hold my alien-like babies. I was sent away from Nora’s NICU suite on an almost daily basis so they could gather more spinal fluid to see if her meningitis was improving. I left the hospital every night to sleep, waking to pump every three hours. Hardly exciting, happy times. It’s still hard for me to see new moms with their babies… Is that why I want another? Another chance at all the things I feel I missed out on with Nora and Nadia? The baby shower pictures with the big belly, the kicks, the visitors in the hospital…

Or am I just dreaming any of this is possible?

I’m not a crier 

I’m usually not a crier. But I was watching a recorded episode of Nashville last night, and a particular scene really got to me…

Now I know I didn’t purposely do anything to cause Nora and Nadia’s premature births and ongoing related issues… But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel quite guilty. I mean, my God, Nora had bacterial meningitis and sepsis as a preemie, two separate episodes. When they told us they said, I’m so sorry, as if she was already dead! I’m honestly shocked she’s doing so well. We still have many follow-up appointments, which reminds me, we need another hearing test for her, as she’s at-risk for hearing loss for several more years yet, I think until she’s five maybe. And Nadia, every time I look at her and will her to crawl or make a babbling noise I’m reminded of her brain bleed.

There is the rational side of it all… But then there is the side who wishes she could go back. To beg for the cerclage, or do more research on my own, or rest more during both my pregnancies. I don’t know, anything to change a 29 and 30 week delivery. And then I think of our frozen embryo. How do we give that little boy or girl a chance? Is it irresponsible for me to attempt another pregnancy? What if I delivered at 24 weeks next time? How would I live with the guilt of raising a possible special-needs child knowing my body was the cause?

I think back to the month we started our first round of IVF, how scared I was of the process… And here now, with two beautiful girls… The situation may be different, but the fear remains.

October 12, 2015 – 30 Weeks (19 Weeks Corrected)

So much to say, so little time! First though, 30 week picture, and of course, more smiles!

30 weeks

Nora isn’t sitting alone yet but she’s doing a lot better with a little help.  And she has started pulling her knees up during tummy time.  I feel like she might be crawling before she is sitting.  Next Thursday is her next high-risk appointment at the University.  I’m anxious to see if they think she’s on track developmentally.  Next Thursday we also meet with her immunology team and I have several questions for them.  I want to know more about Synagis, an injection for high risk children which aims to prevent RSV.  For some reason though, I think it’s live and therefore isn’t something she can have just yet due to her compromised immune system.  I’m so anxious for her doctors to clear her for live vaccines, as she still isn’t allowed the MMR vaccine either.  And damn those people who choose not to vaccinate their children.  Do they have any idea what I would give to make sure Nora never contracts such an illness??  Her immune team will also give Nora her second dose of the flu shot on Thursday, so at least she’ll have some protection this winter.

I was looking back at Nora’s pictures, some of the first ones taken shortly after her birth in March.  I’m still in aw of how far she has come.  I weighted Nora a few days ago and she was up to 12 lbs. 9 oz.  Crazy that she has gained 10 lbs. since she was born!  I feel so truly blessed to have such a happy, healthy daughter.

I feel like life is finally settling down, Cedar Falls is starting to feel like our home.  I have five different girls that I trust to watch Nora and they come here and there throughout the week so I can get out and feel like I have a life.  We’re trying to start limiting Nora’s time in public with it getting colder and flu season approaching.  We are taking her to a family wedding this weekend… I so hope we don’t regret it.  I’m still attending MOPs on Thursday morning and very much enjoying getting to know the other moms.  I can definitely picture a few of them becoming quite good friends.

Eric has asked me twice now when we are having another little Nora.  Shocking isn’t it, since he was the one who originally thought we had years and years before we needing to start thinking about kids!  He is so stinking cute with Nora though, it’s no wonder he wants another already!  We have one frozen embryo, but honestly, I’m fearful of transferring that one, scared that it won’t implant and thus we’ll be back to square one.  A huge part of me would rather do another egg retrieval first, as the quality of the eggs are influenced by the age of the woman at the time they are retrieved.  So basically the sooner the better, even if they aren’t transferred for several years yet.  The thought of starting all over is very overwhelming though.  And adding to that the worry the thought of having another premature baby.  My OB/GYN is 90% sure I’d deliver early again based on my history and the reason for Nora’s early birth.  I don’t know what precautions they would take this time, if any.  Maybe bed rest, although it’s not proven to work…  How would I survive bed rest with Nora?  How do families handle it with a baby in the NICU and others at home?  I can’t even imagine.  And maybe I’m getting completely ahead of myself.  I just know I want more children.  But how…  We have considered seeking out a gestational carrier, but that process seems more overwhelming than another round of IVF.  And probably even more expensive.

Alright, off to pick up some items for this weekend out-of-town.  Side note, I keep complaining to Eric that my car is too small being Nora’s stroller fills the trunk.  Maybe this weekend he will finally realize we do need a larger vehicle!

 

A year ago today

A year ago today my beautiful, precious, amazing Nora was conceived, as she was one of 12 eggs retrieved.  My post from a year ago, A Dozen, and some thoughts and feelings from a year ago tomorrow, Feeling Better.

It’s a bit surreal to me to read these two posts, to remember back to a year ago.  My life is so different now.  I’m so different.  I can hardly even remember back to the days before Nora, before I was pregnant, before I stopped working to spend my days in the NICU with Nora…  I used to think a year was an eternity, but now I know better.  Nora is almost 6 months old already, and while I wished away our NICU days, I’m trying to remind myself to cherish each day now, to relax, not rush so much, to enjoy the journey.

Looking back, the hardest part of IVF was the not knowing.  If I’d just had more faith in the process, if I’d just believed it could work for us, oh how much happier I could have been a year ago.  But as they say, hindsight is 20/20, live and learn…

35w2d – Day of Life 44

  • Weight: 4 lbs 13 oz
  • Tube Feedings: 12 cc every 4 hours, which is only 2.4 oz every 24 hours.  She is still acting really hungry between feedings so hopefully we can continue to increase to get her back in the correct range for her weight and age.
  • Breastfeeding: Obviously on hold for who knows how long 🙁
  • Antibiotics:  Down to just one antibiotic which will continue until at least May 13th.
  • Respiratory: Down to a nasal cannula with just a little pressure!  She’s so much happier!

Overall, today was a good day.  We made some progress with the oxygen and increased feeds and Nora is definitely happier today, back to smiling in her sleep and sucking almost non-stop on her pacifier.  The infectious disease team stopped by to check on her, although didn’t really offer any answers.  They still suspect that Nora acquired the first e coli infection from my placenta, and this second infection, well, they aren’t sure.  They did say she was diagnosed on day 29 of life, and day 28 is the average for late onset strep in babies.  A repeat brain MRI is ordered to check for any swelling or bleeding from the infection.  I pray they find none.

Nora’s immunology workup is still in progress.  So far no answers, but they are waiting until Tuesday to redraw blood for more labs.  More to come on this I guess.  We should have answers before her antibiotics are complete, so at least until then I don’t have to worry about her getting sick again.  Too bad she can’t live on antibiotics!

In all seriousness though, how am I ever going to relax and not be terrified of her getting sick again?  I know this is not the same, but I can’t imagine how a cancer patient must feel, worrying the cancer might come back…  How does one live with that constant worry?  And of course I keep googling… which is awful I know.  Today I was convinced Nora has leukemia, as it’s twice as likely in IVF children and fits a lot of her symptoms.  Eric assures me there would be clear signs of this though…

Stress has exhausted me once again so to bed I go.  I pray Nora continues to improve and thrive.

28 Week Checkup and Turning 35

Today is slightly bitter-sweet.  I have so much happiest in my life, a wonderful family, supportive husband, cherished friendships, my health, a baby girl on the way, plans to start a new venture in July when Eric completes residency, and so much more.  But then why does the idea of turning 35 depress me?  Perhaps because I love life and look forward to so much yet to come.  The very thought of that time becoming shorter, or time with loved ones decreasing, is well, scary.  The reality of life as I know it ending is not something I’m at all prepared for anytime soon.  Maybe it’s the new life I’m creating that is teaching me how precious our time here together is…

Yes, so, today is my 35th birthday.  I remember when I thought only my parents could ever reach 35, that 35 was old…  HA, little did I know!  I’m going to try my darndest to embrace my mid to late 30s, accepting these coming years as the greatest of my life thus far!

I am working today, but celebrating with lunch out with a few close friends, and then hopefully dinner out later tonight with Eric, if he can sneak out of work before my bedtime.  Eric wanted me to pick out a glider/rocker for the baby’s room as my birthday gift, but I haven’t been able to decide on one just yet.  I was thinking maybe this weekend we’d venture out-of-town to actually try out a few in person before ordering.  We’ll see.

My 28 week check-up was all good news yesterday.  Well, I think.  I was called back to an exam room almost immediately after checking-in.  The nurse was all ready to weigh me (awesome), check my blood pressure, which was great at 115/73, and then provide me the ever coveted glucose beverage.  It was shockingly orange in color, but surprising refreshing, no sweeter than a regular Mt. Dew in my opinion.  I honestly didn’t mind it at all.  The nurse also mentioned that I was due for a Tdap booster which they like to give around this week of pregnancy, something about it protecting baby girl once she’s born.  Funny how I used to dread anything involving a needle.  IVF surely changes that!  My arm is a little sore today, but completely worth it for baby.

I met with my doctor next, we chatted a bit, I asked how to go about choosing a pediatrician and she questioned me about birth control after my delivery.  I’m a bit against going back on the pill, now knowing the hassle and time it took to actually get pregnant, but my OB stressed at least going on a progesterone-only pill since I want to breastfeed.  We also talked a little about our frozen embryo, how I’m afraid to transfer it without first retrieving more eggs as backups.  My doctor reassured me I’m not old and shouldn’t try to rush a second baby, that waiting a full year after baby girl is born before getting pregnant again would be best.  So odd to already be thinking about another!  I’m not sure how many children I see in our future, maybe I should leave that to God, but I’m hoping for at least two, preferably three or four.  Maybe ask me again though after baby girl is a few months old, maybe my ideas will have changed!

Baby girl’s heart rate was around 135 BPM, a little faster than normal, but she was on a sugar high!  My OB thinks her head is still up, but couldn’t be certain.  And finally, my belly was measured!  No ultrasound, so time to start checking growth in this manner I guess!  My belly measured 29 cm, just perfect she said for 28 weeks.

After I finished with the doctor I was sent to the lab for my glucose draw, and now I also see they rechecked my Rh factor, even though it was checked twice before I think…  I’m negative, so no injection required.  A complete blood count (CBC) was also done, but I’m not sure I understand the results, as I see a few, pictured below, are outside of the normal range.  Anyone know if the ‘normal’ range is different during pregnancy?

CBCAnd then finally my glucose results, below, which I just saw posted this morning.  I’m not sure I understand these either though…  Does the note below my result of 137 mean I’d be considered to have gestational diabetes if my result was greater than 140?  Um, I’m kind of close to that!

GlucoseMy next doctor’s appointment isn’t for a full month, when I’ll be 32 weeks.  I hope baby girl is cozy and not thinking of exiting just yet!

:(

6 weeks tomorrow and already none of my bras or pants fit. And that belly band idea is not gonna work as it’s more my ass and thighs that are too big for my pants. What am I going to do?? And why am I gaining so much weight already???

5w1d

I’ve made it to 5w1d pregnant! I’d been saving one last pregnancy test, waiting until I thought it might display 3+ weeks, and lo and behold, it did this morning! I assume I’m on track as I believe those calculate from weeks since ovulation, but regardless, seeing 3+ made me smile this morning 🙂

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