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I spent another 7 hours at the ER on Saturday due to bleeding.  The good news is that both babies measured on target, had solid heartbeats, and were moving all around in there.  You could even see the tiny bones in their spine – they looked like little halloween skeletons on the screen!  The bad news is – the bleed is still there and hasn’t been reabsorbed.  They called it a subplacental bleed this time and said it was focused on Baby A.

Yesterday, I had my monthly OB appointment and came prepared with my husband and a list of questions a mile long.  (You’ll love this one: when I got my OB card back that tracks everything my OB had left the sticky note in there that the nurse had written that said “Has lots of questions”…I might start getting a reputation at this practice!)  This was my meeting of the 3rd OB other than my main one and I absolutely LOVED her. She sat right down and allowed me to pepper her with my questions (and even my husband slid a few in there).  Basically, she didn’t have the actual prints of the u/s from Saturday but had the report and she thinks it’s the same bleed and not another one – but doesn’t know for sure. Apparently, perigestational bleeds / subplacental bleeds / and SCHs are essentially the same thing.  Who knew?  It is about 3cm at it’s longest length and it’s kind of an oblong shape (which makes me think it’s the same since that is how the original one was).  She repeated what I assumed and that there is absolutely nothing that can be done, nothing can be taken or stopped as far as medicines, vitamins, and supplements go, no amount of bed rest would help, and it’s a wait and see game.  I don’t like waiting and seeing – I just want it to stop already and for everything to be okay.  I’m not asking much, I don’t think.

Essentially, the placentas are generating new cells all the way through Week 14 (I’m currently 12w1d).  As the new cells generate, they dig into the uterine wall.  This is what can sometimes create these bleeds as they continue to dig and implant. She said that the bleeding should stop on or about Week 14 as that is when the cells stop generating and the placenta just increases in size at that point.  She said by Week 12, you’re miscarriage rate is less than 1% – without bleeding.  Since I was diagnosed with bleeding at Week 9, my miscarriage rate was at 50% (TOTALLY didn’t know that one…) but that with each week that goes by, it drops.  So I’m probably around the 40% mark now – but there’s no black and white formula for it.  That is a scary number that I don’t like – but what we’re holding onto is that both babies have been thriving so far and don’t appear to be affected by all the bleeding.  Our new target is 14 weeks – 2 weeks from yesterday. And with that, we likely will hold off announcing the pregnancy more broadly until then.  As I’ve said, it’s always an exciting thing to announce – but telling the story of a loss is much, much harder.  I’m being a little extra cautious about it – but I think I have to at this point.  Although, my intent to not buy maternity clothes yet may have to be waived as I’m running out of yoga pants…and none of my jeans fit.  I did the rubberband trick last night with a pair of jeans so I could go out to dinner.  Oy.  And to think I’ve actually LOST 2 lbs. since my first OB visit?!  Must be from stress as I’m eating and my pants DO NOT fit. 

In more positive news, we got to hear the heartbeats for the first time yesterday!!  That was totally awesome and I’m so glad my husband got to hear that before he leaves for his six weeks of training.  Baby B was the first one and you could hear him / her moving, too – not shocking as that baby never stops moving I’m convinced.  Baby A’s was a little slower – but we’ve already coined him / her with being lazy, so not surprising there. She also checked my cervix as the hospital indicated I did not have a mucus plug (something I thought was essential, but apparently it isn’t) and everything is sealed up nice and tight.

So – we are status quo right now.  No heavy lifting, complete “pelvic rest”, and just try and lie low.  If the red blood returns or the flow increases, I have to go back.  Last night, the flow was probably the heaviest it has been – but I just don’t think it makes sense to call today since I was just seen yesterday and I have my first trimester scan on Thursday, so I’ll get to see them again (with my lovely SIL who has agreed to come along!) and hopefully they’ll still be looking good.  If you read this and are the praying type, please keep the peanuts in your prayers.  We all need them right now!

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I’m afraid to say there “isn’t much to report” because when I did that last week I started bleeding again.  But, here I am in my 11th week and we’re hanging in there!  I’ve been dealing with awful, terrible old Crinone discharge earlier in the week but now that seems to be gone but I’m still spotting a dark brown discharge (blood).  It’s seriously the grossest thing ever.  The Crinone stuff was almost black and gross and just YUCK.  I would typically be nervous since there was a lot of it and it was black and yucky but I assume it’s just old build-up since it’s been over a week since I stopped the Crinone.  I have been really uneasy the last few days, though, because I’m still sort of bleeding.  It’s only when I wipe and it’s not red and no cramping so I’m trying to keep it all in perspective.  Of course Googling “SCH” or “perigestational bleed” and reading some of the negative stories doesn’t help – but there are a lot of positive ones, too.  It was funny to find my own blog come up in one of the searches!

Less than a week and I get to see the babies again – my NT first trimester scan is scheduled for Thursday and I’m looking forward to it.  I think if everything looks good on Thursday we’ll may go “public” with our news.  I was planning on it but with the bleeding still going on, I’m now unsure.  My SIL is coming with me – I thought it would be nice to ask her to come along and I didn’t really want to go to yet another u/s alone.  I also have my monthly OB appointment on Monday – not sure what they do other than weigh me, take my vitals, and ask how things are going?  Maybe they have a doppler in that office and they’ll check for HBs?  No clue. 

Chris leaves for training for 6 weeks on Tuesday afternoon.  I am scared and nervous and even a bit looking forward to it if we’re being honest. 😉  I know after like 2 weeks I’ll be dying for him to come back, but I am mostly looking forward to my house remaining clean and not struggling to fall asleep next to a snoring mess.  His dad is going down for the first few days with him, which is nice since I couldn’t make it.  It’s going to be tough down there for him – class 6 days a week, learning a whole new company, new SOPs, new flying regulations (FAR Part 121 if you were curious), PLUS a new plane.  We still don’t know what he will be assigned to – either the Airbus 320 or the Embraer 190.  We have been receiving packages of information from JetBlue and it really seems like we made the right decision for our future.  The pay cut and reserve schedule will BLOW for a few years, but we’ll adjust and we’ll survive. 

One thing we’re trying to decide on is if we stop the COBRA coverage we’re currently paying $900.00 a month for to maintain the fertility coverage.  It’s like a safety blanket if, god forbid, something happens with this pregnancy – but it’s a LOT of money to be putting out, especially considering the pay cut.  The benefits with JetBlue are really good – they just don’t have fertility coverage.  So, if something did happen, we’d be paying all out of pocket for subsequent treatments.  Then again, once I’m into my 13th week or so and officially in my second trimester, that risk goes so far down.  I don’t know – I’m torn and really unsure of what the right decision is.  We have 30 days after his hire date to make a decision – that will bring us to November 19th and we’re paid up on COBRA through the end of November.  I’ll be 16 weeks as of the 14th.  I guess we’ll wait and see.

Still having a pretty low symptom pregnancy – pure exhaustion and peeing a lot.  The sore boobs that I thought were induced by the Crinone (and probably were to some extent) are still here so we’ll add that in the mix.  I started having some crazy, vivid dreams which I heard is also a symptom.  Still no sickness – not even once!  If it wasn’t for the perigestational bleed, I would say I am a pretty good pregnant gal – just took some modern technology to get me here.  I’ve been good about what I’m eating – I actually think other than some fertility treatment weight gain (which happened prior to my positive test where I couldn’t work out), I’m maintaining a 1 lb. gain.  I can totally see everything shifting, though – and Chris said my B belly is getting bigger on the top (I’ve always had a pooch in my lower abdominal region – even when I was skinny!) and I can see it, too.  I think it will be merging soon and will become a D belly.  Until then – no belly shots! 🙂

Remember yesterday when we were celebrating how awesome it was that I made it over a week without an incident?  Ya me too…fast forward to this morning when I woke up and was bleeding…again.  I called my OB’s office immediately and they got me in for an u/s and appointment at 1:30pm.  So, I did a little work to distract myself and headed into the office.

Well, I’m back – and I still have two babies growing strong!  Both were measuring right on target and had HBs of 173bpm and 171bpm.  Baby B was his / her normal active self – doing flips most of the time, moving all around.  I only got one picture since he / she was being a gymnast.  Baby A was in his / her normal lazy position lying on his / her belly.  Of course I said this out loud to the tech and all of a sudden Baby A starting jumping – literally jumping with its legs – and we both burst out laughing.  Guess he / she heard me! 😉  And the perigestational bleed – is still fucking there.  Doesn’t appear to have grown but it hasn’t absorbed either.  I’m on pelvic rest, still – she said no sex and I started snickering.  I don’t think she understood the humor but there hasn’t been any nookie since before my ER.  It is what it is!  The bleeding has already slowed down to more or less spotting – which continues to be a good sign.  We’ll look for it again at my NT scan on the 20th and hope it’s been absorbed by then (doubt it but we’ll see).  I feel better knowing my little peanuts are doing so well in there – that damn bleed better just do what it needs to do and then get the hell out and leave us alone!

Oh and before I close – you deserve new pics:

Baby A

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Baby B

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
EDIT PS – I just looked at the Dashboard for my website and one of the most common search terms that has lead people to this blog is “is there PCOS in snails?”  Ummm, really?  LOL.

I can proudly say we made it from Week 9 to Week 10 without any sort of run to the ER or OB incident, so that’s a success right?  But of course on Monday I had some major black/dark brown Crinone (progesterone suppository) discharge and did kind of freak out for a second.  I did some clearing out Tuesday morning (I know, wicked fucking gross but, alas, this is my pregnancy…) and it was much less throughout the day on Tuesday and Wednesday (just little flecks which is quasi-normal for me and Crinone) and today I did some more “cleaning” and it seems to be all jammed up in there.  It’s so damn gross and it was just so weird that it was so dark and so much with the Crinone but I am proud of myself for not freaking out and not running to my OB demanding an u/s. No cramping and everything else relatively normal so I have to think I shouldn’t be concerned.  It’s probably just some old blood from the perigestational bleed – at least that is what I keep telling myself.  I just want to see the babies on the 20th at my first trimester (NT) scan and know all is okay – I sure hope it is…

My damn MIL asked Chris yesterday when we were going public. There is a family event this Sunday (that I can’t attend due to a charity dinner I’ve committed to) and I think she wanted to tell everyone!!! At first I was pissed that SHE wants to tell OUR news, but then I calmed down enough to be happy that at least she asked. That, of course, doesn’t mean that with a few Pinot Grigios in her she won’t spill the beans anyway but here’s to hoping. People just don’t understand that it’s TOO SOON. I will be comfortable going public once I see them again and if everything is okay. And, it’s our story to tell. UGH.

I just can’t believe how low symptom this pregnancy has been and it makes me super nervous for the scan on the 20th.  I feel like they’re going to find something wrong or everything won’t all be okay…  *sigh*  Damn infertility has made me completely unable to relax into this pregnancy.  I have to keep telling myself that I am literally sitting in the 95% of bringing home at least one, if not two, babies.  Those are pretty good odds.  If only I could buy myself an u/s machine…  I am going to borrow my cousin’s fetal doppler and I plan on using that to check in on them.  I don’t think you can hear their HBs yet, though, since I’m only 10w3d.  But ya, the only symptoms are pure exhaustion and peeing often.  Everyone keeps telling me how lucky I am that I haven’t puked once – but sometimes I wish I was so that I’d know things were still okay.  Crazy, I know.

I have woke up the last few mornings feeling kind of crappy – like I’m coming down with a cold.  I’m trying not to freak out but I wonder if I should be checking my temperature and at what point is a cold / flu / strep risky to the babies?  God, I know NOTHING about this stuff!  I don’t even mind suffering through the cold but I just want to be sure everything remains okay with the babies.  In the meantime, I’m eating soup and drinking lots of fluids and trying to just lay low…

I am surprisingly still fitting in most of my clothes – I’m not saying they look all that great, but I am still fitting.  I am reading Belly Laughs by Jenny MacCarthy and it is so true – I’m at the stage where it looks like I’m fat and not pregnant.  Annoying!  I refuse to buy maternity clothes until after my first trimester (NT) scan on the 20th – once I know everything looks good, then I think I’ll be able to settle into my second trimester and embrace some of this stuff.  In the meantime, I laughed my tuckus off when I was looking through these wicked funny maternity shirts.  You know I’ll be buying a few of these!!!

EDIT:  Got a call back from Nurse Karen (oh how I miss her!) and I can stop the Crinone now!!  Yay, no more grossness!  She said they usually stop it around 7-8 weeks – which would have been nice to know when they graduated me…  But, I don’t think it can do any harm to the babies since some women are on it through 12 weeks.  I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like without gunk coming out of my vagina!!!  I’ll be a whole new woman!

Clearly you guys know me by now and nothing can ever be fucking smooth sailing as far as this IF journey and pregnancy journey goes.  Remember the 8w2d u/s and how happy and giddy we all were?  Ya, well, fast forward to Sunday morning and we fell off of the Happy and Giddy Train and right into Holy Shit Am I About to Lose This Pregnancy-ville.

I woke up early in the morning on Sunday and I had mild to moderate bleeding.  I immediately called the OB’s office who paged the nurse on duty and she called me back quickly.  I explained the situation and she said that since there wasn’t cramping and it was mild to moderate, I should try and get some sleep and if it was still there or worse in the morning, to go to the ER.  Ya right – how could I sleep knowing there could be something wrong?  So, I got dressed (a.k.a put on a bra) and headed out to the ER and spent from 2:00am-11:00am there.

As luck would have it, the Doogie Houser, MD that was assigned to me was hot as hell.  Like, McSteamy hot.  And here he was looking at my vagina.  LOVELY.  The exam didn’t indicate “active” bleeding, but Doogie couldn’t say for sure it wasn’t something indicative of a problem or a miscarriage so I demanded an u/s.  And by “demanded” I mean I literally laid it all out on the line for him basically saying it has taken me two years to get here and I’m not leaving this goddamn hospital without an u/s.  So, he reconsidered (a.k.a. was scared of the crazy preggo) and said that if I waited until 8:00am when the u/s tech comes in, he would order it.  Since that was 3 hours away and I didn’t have anything better to do, I agreed.  See, Doogie – we can come to terms here.

So, I waited.  I dozed off a few times (oh because of course Chris was away at work and I went by myself) and was spooked awake each time a nurse came in to check my blood pressure.  No wonder it was high each time…  At around 8:15am, they came to wheel me down for the u/s.  The tech was super nice and even let me watch and see the babies.  Baby B even did a bit of a somersault while he / she was being measured.  I had to then wait over an hour for someone to read the results and give them to the new ER doc who was older and not nearly as handsome as Doogie. 

Come to find out, it’s a perigestational bleed – basically a bleed in the uterus between the gestational sacs. New ER doc said it should not negatively affect the babies and they looked good, measuring on target and their heartbeats were 175bpm.  It was very scary – I am happy that the bleeding has seemed to have stopped and the NP at my OB’s office met with me and Chris this afternoon and said it’s fairly common with pregnancies and all should be okay.  I’m just hoping we start to have some uneventful weeks ahead of us as I feel like I spend my life in doctor’s offices…  But, we’ve made it to 9 weeks.  They’re officially “fetuses” (or is it “feti?”) and they’re starting to look more and more like babies and less like gummy bears or shrimp.  As long as everything goes well (LORD WILLING!), I’ll see them again at my first trimester screening appointment on October 20th.  A little more than 3 weeks away…

Septemeber is PCOS awareness month and I feel it is my duty to dedicate a blog entry to the very reason this blog exists.  I will discuss a little more detail about PCOS and then tell my story.  As always, you can find out more about PCOS and Infertility on my website:  https://projectpcosbaby.wordpress.com/about-pcos-and-infertility/

About PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects up to 1 in 10 women in this world.  It is an endocrine disorder, not an ovary function disorder, and is represented by an imbalance in a female’s sex hormones including estrogen, progesterone, and androgens.  There are many symptoms, however the difficulty with PCOS is that it doesn’t present itself the same in every woman and can present itself in different ways.  To be thorough, though, I want to include some of the symptoms PCOS’ers may find and I’ve highlighted and added notes to the ones I have:

Changes in the menstrual cycle including:

  • Absent periods, usually with a history of having one or more normal menstrual periods during puberty   (If I am not on BCPs, I go months without a period)
  • Irregular menstrual periods, which may be more or less frequent, and may range from very light to very heavy 

Development of male sex characteristics:

  • Decreased breast size  (HAHA – those that know me know this is absolutely not the case here)
  • Deepening of the voice
  • Enlargement of the clitoris
  • Increased body hair on the chest, abdomen, and face, as well as around the nipples
  • Thinning of the hair on the head, called male-pattern baldness

Other skin changes:

  • Acne that gets worse  (This was the second most notable sign after going off of BCPs)
  • Dark or thick skin markings and creases around the armpits, groin, neck, and breasts due to insulin sensitivity

Other common symptoms include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Weight gain  (Another struggle that became worse after going of BCPs)
  • Obesity

There are no “tests” for PCOS that conclude you have it.  Instead, a battery of testing and procedures are done to put together a story that would indicate that PCOS is the diagnosis.  Often, your OB/GYN can assist with the diagnosis, however it is my personal opinion that you are better off being seen by a Reproductive Endrocrinologist even if you’re not actively TTC in order to have them conduct the testing and review the results.  REs are typically more educated in endocrine disorders than OB/GYNs and are able to offer treatment suggestions that fit in line with your lab results.

My Story

In 1999 I was a sophomore in college and had stopped using BCPs as I wasn’t sexually involved with anyone at the time.  About three months had passed and I finally realized I hadn’t had a period, which I thought was weird but wasn’t concerned about since I wasn’t having sex.  I made an appointment for the next time I was home to visit my OB/GYN and find out what was going on.

The appointment with the OB/GYN was quick – we discussed what had happened and she basically told me that my ovaries were “farting”.  When I laughed and asked her REALLY what was happening she said that if she told me the real thing it wouldn’t make sense so that was essentially what was going on.  Okay, I thought – and she prescribed BCPs and I was sent on my merry way…for over 10 years.

I always questioned whether I would have a difficult time getting pregnant, but not because of my ovaries and their apparent gas issue.  It was more because of my mother’s history with cervical cancer and endometriosis that had me concerned.  About a year or so after I got married, so in 2008ish, I went to my PCP to have a physical and to talk about this weight gain I seem to be struggling with.  I never really had weight issues growing up and even into my 20s, but it seemed to happen quickly.  She did a blood panel on me and told me my thyroid function was fine and that it was probably “marriage” weight I was gaining.  Yep – basically I needed to get my lazy married ass up and get back to working out!  Well, okay then…

I went off of BCPs in mid-July 2009 to give my body the 90 day cleanse it needed before we could start actively TTC.  I essentially ran out of excuses to give Chris for not TTC, so August was his last and final date and I agreed and there we go.  Except – no period.  For three months.  In the meantime, I started breaking out in terrible acne on my chest, back, and along my jawline.  I went to my dermotologist and she asked if I had been diagnosed with PCOS?  So yes, it was my dermotologist of all people that first suggested PCOS to me!  I told her no but that we were TTC and so she prescribed me topical solutions and sent me on my merry way. 

In October 2009, I finally went to my OB/GYN to discuss this lack of period thing and beginning to TTC and that is when she suggested that I likely have PCOS.  She wrote it down for me on a piece of paper and told me to look it up online, but that I need to TTC naturally for about a year before a referral would be made.  She prescribed Provera for me and told me to take a HPT every 35 days and if it’s negative, use the Provera for 5 days to bring down a period.  She suggested I pick up some OPKs and track my ovulation and time the intercourse appropriately.  So, me being by the book, this is exactly what I did for a year.  And during that year I peed on a stick every day of every month (and spent TONS of money) and never got a smiley face.  I took them with me on business trips, I didn’t miss a beat.  Never once got a positive.  In the meantime, Chris had an SA done and got a glowing report card so we knew that all of this was on yours truly…

In November 2010, Chris and I both went back to my OB/GYN for a meeting.  As I am telling her about my lack of smiley faced on the OPK, I burst into tears as I think it was right then that I realized this was serious.  She immediately gave me the referral to an RE and handed me information on three different fertility centers in our area.

I went home crushed.  And with a lot of work to do.  I immediately began researching the various centers and making calls to get personal references – eventually ending up at Boston IVF with Dr. Zimon.  And the blog takes over from there…

I wanted to tell my story not only to support the awareness of PCOS, but to summarize my journey and my learnings along the way.  Things I would do differently if I knew then what I know now:

  • When I was first told about the ovary “farts”, I should have inquired more about what it was and what it could lead to so I could educate myself further and get control of it as soon as possible
  • I shouldn’t have waited over 2 years after getting married to TTC
  • After 6 months of no ovulation, I should have went back to my OB/GYN and demanded a referral to the RE

Hindsight is always 20/20 and I feel that things do, in fact, happen for a reason.  But I will be honest and say, just because you get pregnant does not mean the stress and worry goes way.  If anything, it increases.  I am very lucky that after about 6 months of being treated by an RE I find myself 8w4d pregnant, but the pain and struggle of PCOS and IF won’t go away until I hold a beautiful baby (or two!) in my hands.  Then, I believe, I will come to peace with the process and know that it was all worth it.  For now, I walk around in constant fear that I will lose what I worked so hard to get. 

In the end, I will come out of this process with an in depth knowledge of my body, of PCOS, and what I need to do to fight it for the rest of my life.  Because, it doesn’t go away and will never go away.  But I can fight it through efforts to better my health – and we can all fight it through awareness.

Much better news yesterday!!!  I went for the follow-up “viability” u/s and it was such a great experience!  The technician was awesome and you can watch everything that she did on a screen in front of you (unlike with Boston IVF where you couldn’t see what they were doing).  She explained everything, from checking each heart rate and doing the measurements.  She was absolutely amazing – it was great!  Their heart rates were 165bpm and 162bpm which is perfect.  They are now measuring a little ahead (and it appears a lot of growth has occurred since Friday!) as they are measuring at 8w3d and 8w4d now.  There was no issue with the yolk sac on either one and the technician said that now that we’re into the 8th week they are using the placenta more than the yolk sac so we are just fine.
 
I feel like a million bucks – OH OH and the best part!  While she was checking out Baby B something moved and I was like “wait, what was that?!” and she said, “it’s your lucky day – this is a bonus.  That wasn’t me – that was the baby moving!  They don’t usually move a lot at 8 weeks so that is a real treat you got to see that.”  He / she basically turned and faced the screen.  I about died – how unbelieveable!    She pointed out their little arm and leg buds – it’s just simply unreal. 
 
I got cleared to travel, which is good.  Just have to move around a lot on the plane and keep well hydrated.  I also was cleared to return to the gym to do cardio and pilates and yoga, so once I can muster the energy to renew my membership, we’ll be back at that.  I’m hoping next week. 
 
I’ll end my much happier note by including three pics – I swear I won’t send out u/s pics as our Christmas card but I do like to share these with everyone.  There is one of Baby A (lying on his/her belly), one of Baby B (sitting up), and one of both.

Baby A

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baby B

 

 

 

Still Twins!