Time Got Away From Me!

Seriously people, time got away from me.  I don’t even remember the last time I wrote…  But I’m back, to Iowa, back to my normal life, and thus, an update!  But where to start!

Materniti21 Results – Let’s start with the exciting stuff!  Last Thursday my doctor’s office called with my Materniti21 results.  And it was all good news!  Results were negative for any chromosome abnormalities, and…. it’s a girl!  I’d be thrilled with either a boy or girl, but I think two girls so close in age will be fun!  We had an ultrasound way back when my blood was drawn for that test, which I don’t think I ever posted.  A profile picture, and then a little foot, which was 1cm long at 12 weeks.

baby us        foot

Belly Pictures – I guess I need to start these again.  I personally hate them, but I kind of like looking back and comparing, so I guess I’ll do them again…  This was taken this morning, so a bit over 13 weeks.  Yes, I cut my head off on purpose 😉  And I think my behind is actually larger than my baby bump…  I better cut back on my McDonald’s runs.  I’m in maternity jeans but regular shirts still.

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Nora’s IgG Results – Finally got these back!  Last check was only 107, and it’s now 211, which is hugely encouraging.  I mean, it’s still a far cry from normal, which is around 650, but we’re getting closer.  And really, it’s just good to know it’s increasing.  They still want to check it every 4-6 weeks until it’s in the normal range.  Ugh.  But it could be worse.

Las Vegas – I got back last night from Las Vegas, a trip Eric purchased for my birthday, for just my mom and me.  I was seriously scared to leave Nora, but I have to say, Eric really impressed me.  Even if his parents were there to help.  My mom and I had a wonderful time, eating, shopping, sightseeing, etc.  It was just nice to get away, and get an actual night’s sleep, without peaking at the monitor every hour!  We stayed at the Venetian and even had a limo from and back to the airport!  I’m still exhausted today though, as I think we walked over 17 miles!  I took some random pictures, if you’re interested, click here.

Otherwise, I’m not sure what is new…  I lead a really boring life you know!  Nora was really cute this morning when she saw me…  Huge smile!  And she was super sweet all morning, didn’t seem to be as clingy as last week.  She played on the floor without needing me right there.  She even attempted to lay on Kona, and Kona’s bed, which is currently in the middle of our living room.  And, she took a two-hour morning nap!  That never happens!  So I was actually able to shower and relax!

Alright, until next time, I hope you’re all well!

Where from here…

I’ve been struggling on where to take this blog…  It started as a way for me to get my feelings out regarding our IVF journey.  Well clearly we are past that.  Then our NICU days, and more recently the life of a stay-at-home mom.  I’m not sure many of my posts have been all that entertaining!  Although I guess I don’t really write for all of you, but more for me, and for the advice all of you wonderful ladies, (and men?) offer me.  All that said, do all of you really care to follow as I document my life?  I mean really, I’m not all that exciting!  Honest yes, and I LOVE everyone I’ve met through writing, but entertaining I am not.

So the password protected posts…  If you haven’t already guessed, those were to conceal my pregnancy.  Yes, I’m pregnant, again, on our own.  (If you remember back to October when we got pregnant on our own but lost it very early.)  This pregnancy I was the annoying lady who kept bothering her doctor to do something.  So not to rehash too much, for those of you who know all this…  I’ve been on progesterone suppositories, 200 mg each, twice a day, since we found out we were pregnant.  I hate them, but ya know, what we do for the sake of our children!

Side note, I decided to write openly on here, as we are now into our 11th week of pregnancy and have heard the heartbeat twice already.  I know it’s still early, and thus we haven’t announced anything more publicly, so if you know us in real life, please keep this private for now.

So do you all really want to go through another pregnancy with me, reading the details that are really, probably, only important to me?  For now, I guess that is what I’ll be writing about.  Unless I can dream up something far more interesting!

For those of you reading the password protected posts, I’m sorry I didn’t update sooner with details from my appointment last Wednesday with my OB in Iowa City.  I meant to, but time got away from me.  Or rather, I was lazy and tired and laid around all weekend.

So last Wednesday.  I was scared to talk to my OB in Iowa City, as I had a lot of questions, mainly centering around how to keep this baby in past 29 weeks.  Side note, I decided to stick with my doctor in Iowa City, as she knows my history, and any doctor here would send me to Iowa City at the first sign of a shortening cervix.  So I figured skip all the hassle here and make the drive for my appointments.

Appointment last Wednesday was good.  I’ll try to summarize…

  • My doctor found the heart beat with the doppler, it was in the 160s which she said is fantastic.
  • Because I’m over 35, we scheduled an ultrasound for next week (11 weeks) to check the nuchal fold, then I’ll meet with a genetics counselor to review, and then I’ll have my blood drawn for the Materniti21 test.  Should have results in roughly three weeks.  Per their website “The MaterniT21 PLUS test is a noninvasive prenatal test (or NIPT) that detects fetal chromosomal abnormalities; from common (trisomies 21, 18 and 13) to the more rare (fetal sex aneuploidies, trisomies 16 and 22, and select microdeletions), all of the information reported is clinically relevant.”  This test will also disclose the gender.  I’m pretty sure they check the nuchal fold at this appointment because the blood test does not address related issues.
  • We scheduled an ultrasound for 16 weeks to check my cervical length and at that appointment I’ll also have a blood draw related to the nuchal fold, I forgot the name of that test…
  • At 16 weeks or as soon as my insurance approves our request I’ll start Makena injections.  My understanding of these are they are meant only for women who have already delivered a pre-term baby.  Supposedly they are a long-acting type of progesterone, given in weekly injections.  I should be able to do them at home, pending insurance approval.  I assume we will do them either if they deny our request, but apparently they are $1,500 a shot.  Ouch!  Lots of interesting data about these….  If I remember correctly, 12% of women delivered before 32 weeks on the injections, compared to 20% on the control.  So they clearly don’t help everyone.  And there are risks, with 2% of women on the shots delivering stillbirth, compared to 1% on the control.
  • We scheduled my 20 week anatomy scan which will also be an ultrasound to check my cervical length.  Depending on the measurements from 16 and 20 weeks we will discuss placement of a cervical cerclage.  The stitch would need to be placed before viability, so at the latest 22 weeks according to my doctor.  We did not yet discuss the benefits and risks, although she did mention the risk of breaking your water during the procedure.
  • Ultimately my doctor expects this baby to be born early.  But how early, who knows…

Honestly, that’s all I really know for now.  I’m so sick of feeling sick.  And so exhausted, but I know it’s a good sign and comes with the territory.  And above all, I know some reading this would give an arm or leg to be pregnant.  I do remember that feeling.  And I know I am blessed to be pregnant again, and on our own this time.

I had a few other topics I wanted to touch on, but out of time as I only have a sitter until 5 today.  I’ll try to write more later in the week 🙂

I might freak out soon

Still no call from the doctor with my MaterniT21 results.  When my blood was drawn on Thursday, November 13th I was told the test was taking about a week for results and that as soon as my doctor received the fax, I’d be called at the phone number of my choosing.  I’ve been staring at my cell phone for days now.  It was a week last Thursday.  It’s almost been two weeks now.

This morning around 10am I broke down and called my doctor.  The nurse I spoke with told me she would call the lab (an outside company performs the test) and call me right back.  That was three hours ago.  She’d also said others who had their blood drawn the same day as mine received results yesterday, so mine must be ready today.

I might freak out soon.  I’m of, course, assuming the worst.  I mean, if the results were fine, they’d just call and tell me, right?  If the results aren’t fine, they are probably looking for a doctor or genetic counselor to call me…  Which obviously takes longer.

Oh the waiting…

**** Update ****

I called the nurse back around 3:30pm. She promised results tomorrow…

12w4d – And another main floor draft revision

I think we have the main level design finished!  Well, for the most part.  Might still move a few doors and such, and details like windows aren’t complete, but the floor plan itself is pretty solid for both the main and upper level.  We moved around the pantry, mud room, and laundry room, taking a bit of space from the garage.  I like it a lot better now, much more assessable.  If you notice anything you think should still be moved around, do tell!  We debated whether to finish the basement when the house is built or wait, and I think we’re going to do it all at once.  Everyone tells me if we wait, we may never finish it, and that it can create quite a mess of dust in the house by waiting as well.  So I guess onto designing the lower level now!

Main LevelIn other exciting news, the 4moms playard arrived yesterday!  Initial thoughts are this:

  • It’s heavy, really heavy, like 40 lbs.  I think it will be great for travel, but Eric will definitely be carrying this item!
  • Being it’s heavy, it feels very solid, great construction, and extremely sturdy.
  • There is a very good reason it’s got ‘breeze’ in the name, as it really is a breeze to set up and tear down.  I’ve struggled with several Graco pack an plays in my day, but this was super easy, only one hand required!
  • I love the bassinet attachment for smaller babies, I can see this as very useful as a changing table and sleeping area for baby in the first few weeks, possibly months as I believe it recommends usage with babies up to 25 lbs.
  • Granted, I haven’t actually used this with a baby yet, but so far, I highly recommend!

And since I was so impressed with the playard, I ordered another 4moms item this morning, as BuyBuy Baby was nice enough to send me yet another 20% off coupon.  Again, I looked through my registry for something higher priced, since I had a coupon, and settled on the 4moms mamaroo infant seat.  They make a rockaroo also, but the mamaroo has a few more features for not a ton more money.  You know me, the thrifty shopper.  HA!  As soon as I get it, I’ll let you know my thoughts, but feel free to click the link to read more about it!

I’m still not sleeping the best at night, but I may have realized why.  But tell me this, I’m only 12 weeks, is there really that much ‘baby stuff’ there yet?  I’m a stomach sleeper, and already I just feel like something is there…  Hard to explain.  Like someone put a tennis ball under my stomach in bed.  So odd!  I did purchase a body pillow, but just a cheap one at Target, and I’ve been trying to train myself to sleep on my left side with that.  We shall see.

Tomorrow is my side of the family’s Thanksgiving celebration, which will include Eric and me, my older sister, her husband, and their two children, and my mom and step-father.  We are having a late lunch tomorrow at my mom’s home about 20 minutes from my own home, a traditional Thanksgiving spread of foods.  My mom is making pretty much everything, but I always try to bring a side or two.  So far I’m making one of my favorites, Gruner Salad.  It’s cabbage with an oriental-type dressing and crunchy toppings.  Very good.  I alter the recipe a little though, as I double the topping, half the dressing, and use two bags of shredded cabbage.  It’s fairly easy to make and always tends to go fast at holiday gatherings.  Aside from that, I’m going to make a cheese dip too.  I have a dip mix at home I purchased at a craft fair awhile back.  I think it’s just mixed with cream cheese and sour cream and then baked and enjoyed with corn chips.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, there is actually a story about our plans this year…  But I’ll save that for another post…

I was really hoping I’d hear from my doctor with the results of my MaterniT21 test today, as it was a week yesterday.  Maybe yet this afternoon!

11 Week Ultrasound

Thank you so much for all the well-wishes today!

I am so relieved!  Our ultrasound was great!  The tech said baby looks perfect so far!

Eric arrived just in time to check-in with me and then, get this, we were sent to waiting room 1.  I’ve finally graduated to the normal pregnant people waiting room!!!

First we met with a genetic counselor who explained in-depth what the MaterniT21 blood draw tests, giving details about chromosomes and such.  I could tell Eric was very bored, but he played along.  The counselor reviewed our own genetic test results, from way back when we started this IVF journey, and then also questioned us regarding our family and if any close or even extended relatives were born with chromosome abnormalities.  Thankfully there is no such history on either side.

Next, the ultrasound.  And another milestone, a normal, on my belly ultrasound.  No undressing!  I was thrilled!  And even more thrilled when I saw the first picture of baby!  I was in aw, it looks so much like a baby already, at only 80 days old.  Arms, legs, moving all over the place.  Crazy, right.  I mean, truly a miracle!  The tech had a bit of a difficult time measuring the nuchal translucency, the collection of fluid behind the neck, since baby was moving around like crazy.  (I have a small confession to make.  I was craving a Coke or Pepsi today, so I might have had a little, regular, with caffeine, a few hours earlier.)  I’m not sure the average measurement, but I could see the max on the screen was 1.63mm.  They like the measurement to be less than 2.5mm, so the ultrasound confirms there is not an increased risk for down syndrome.  Baby measured one day ahead at 11w4d, so growing well, and heart rate was 155 bpm, great as well!

After the ultrasound was complete a nurse had me sign a consent form for the MaterniT21 test, she confirmed my identity, and then drew two vials of blood.  The results should be available in about a week.

I’m extremely relieved that everything looked great on the ultrasound, but still nervous for the genetic results of the blood test.  For the time being though, I’m going to focus on the positive and look forward to the gender reveal.  Oh, and continue praying this morning sickness period is almost complete!

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11w3d – Nervous

My ultrasound and MaterniT21 blood draw are in less than two hours.  And I’m nervous.  I feel like I’ve come so far this time, but still so scared this can all still be taken away.  And the last thing I want to do is start all over.

Will I always fear ultrasounds, always have flashbacks to June 5th when the ultrasound tech said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t see a heartbeat.”  The chances are in my favor that this baby is healthy, right?

Eric’s last case today started later than expected this morning, so to add to my anxiety is him missing this appointment.  Please God…

If you have any prayers to spare, I’d surely appreciate a few.  I’ll update later tonight after my appointment.

Genetics Screening Scheduled

Good news!  My pregnancy is considered high risk due to my age at deliver, 35 or older, and the fact we conceived through IVF.  Therefore I qualify for the MaterniT21 screening.  Okay, wait, probably not the best news, but good in regards to having the luxury of my insurance paying for a genetics screening that is 99% accurate, far better than the standard screening.

I initially thought this was just a blood test, but the Maternal Fetal Genetics department at the University likes to first perform an ultrasound to check the neural tube, and then if that looks okay, they will draw my blood and send it away for results.  My appointment for both the ultrasound and blood draw is next Thursday, November 13th.  Results take 7-10 days, which means we’ll know if baby is healthy (and it’s gender) before Thanksgiving!

I’m trying to tell myself chances are favorable our baby is healthy…  But everyone assumes that, right?  I’ll pray…

10 Week OB Visit

My 10 week OB appointment this afternoon went well, a little uneventful, but maybe that’s what we strive for at this stage.  I’d assumed all my appointments would be at the hospital, as all my IVF appointments had been, but it seems the doctor I picked, Dr. Merryman (the only physician with new patient availability) only sees patients at an offsite location.  This didn’t particularly matter to me, but did add additional time to my afternoon to account for driving and such.  I’m not going to complain though, as it got me out of work earlier!  (How pathetic am I?)

I met with a nurse first for an hour visit.  I personally felt this portion of the appointment was pointless.  I guess I can see where it would have been essential if this was my first ever baby related appointment, but I’ve been seen almost weekly, sometimes daily, for the past year, and they clearly have all of my medical history, and then some!  The nurse was polite though, reviewing each area of my record, conforming medications and so forth.  I was given a packet of information, most of which I’ve already received, and told more would be discussed once I met with the doctor.  Toward the end of my nurse visit, long after my weight and blood pressure had been checked, I was handed the ever famous pee cup and sent to a nearby restroom.  I never did ask what they were testing for… I assume lots of good stuff.

The nurse ushered me to another room, almost identical to the first, and asked me to wait as Dr. Merryman was just finishing with another patient.  A few moments later in walked a girl who I’m fairly certain is younger than me.  Okay, I don’t actually know that, but she looked young.  Very pretty, professional, slightly soft-spoken, petite, and very polite were my first impressions.  I instantly liked her as she reviewed my medical history in-between chatting about our shared hatred of dog hair.  She has a golden retriever, which must be worse on shedding than my lab!  She’s new to the University this year, but not new to practicing medicine.

Dr. Merryman asked me if I’ve given any thought to how much testing Eric and I are interested in, pointing out that some couples want everything, others choose none.  I’d done some research on my own, and the packet the nurse handed me included lots of information as well.  I was given two main options, either the standard Iowa Integrated Screen or the more advanced MaterniT21, a blood test which tests with 99% certainty.  Eric and I had talked a bit and felt the more advanced was better, given it’s non-invasive and more accurate.  Only problem, my doctor thought it’s only covered if the mother is 35 when she conceives, whereas I won’t be 35 until I deliver.  So, I’ll be checking with my insurance company tomorrow and then hopefully getting it ordered ASAP.  I’m not really all that concerned about whether or not my insurance will pay for it, more just curious what the out-of-pocket cost to me will be so I can prepare.

We chatted a bit longer, she asked about our IVF experience, our miscarriage, family medical history and such, and then stepped out while I changed into the ever popular and sexy gown.  (A man must have designed them, right??)  I wasn’t due for a pap, but she did want to check my cervix, and also felt my uterus and such, letting me know everything was normal.  She did a quick breast exam and then finally it was time to hear the heartbeat.  As she was placing a bit of jelly on my belly she wanted me to know that it was still really early in my pregnancy and we might not find the heartbeat just yet…  I was thinking, oh, you should be able to find it here if we can find it at home, but I didn’t share that little tidbit…  And yes, of course she found it.  She didn’t measure it, but said it sounded strong and fast, which was perfect 🙂

I dressed while my doctor put in several orders for labs and I was on my way.  At checkout I made an appointment for my 12 week ultrasound, which is roughly two weeks from now, and then I stopped at the lab and donated 4 vials of blood.  Thankfully I’m no longer scared of needles!

All in all, a very good day 🙂