this time things are different

With my last pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage, I never really felt good about things. I wanted to put my heart in it because worrying is such a waste of time, but something made me be guarded. I knew deep down this wasn’t it.

During the two week wait with the triplets, I had a similar optimism as I did this cycle. I had never been pregnant before and had been trying for over a year, but it felt like it was time and I wasn’t too surprised when I got that positive test. After I found out there were three babies I think I went into a state of shock….one that may never truly go away. I still find myself in disbelief that I carried three babies at once for 20 weeks…and then that I lost them so quickly.

I hope the positive feelings I’ve had this time around continue. I definitely feel better about this pregnancy than the last…one hurdle at a time…

PS: beta #1 at 13dp5dt was 1,174. Holy crap that is high.

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hopeless

Well it’s official folks, I no longer expect that IVF is going to work for us. Call me dramatic. Call me negative. Call me bitter, but it’s true. I went into the process certain we would get results. Especially once we saw how many high quality blastocysts we had. We still have 22 frozen. That’s a lot, and I totally realize how lucky that makes us, but it doesn’t matter much when I really don’t think I can handle the risk of transferring more than 1 at a time. We will give up long before those are used (we are going to donate what remains).

My husband says he would be stunned if one of the next two cycles doesn’t work. That is how long we are giving this (tentatively). My doctor wants to change the protocol slightly this time, increase the Prednisone so I take it all the way through until my beta. She also strongly recommends transferring two. I honestly don’t think I can do that. It scares the crap out of me, and frankly the last thing I need right now is more anxiety.

We have a backup plan, but it’s an expensive one (as are all backup plans when you have had this many failed cycles). We are prepared and have already started considering and researching using a gestational surrogate. We are incredibly blessed because my cousin volunteered to do this for us. Unfortunately the insurance costs associated with this are insane since most companies will not cover a surrogate pregnancy. I hope my negative attitude doesn’t offend those worse off than us fertility wise, and I know we are lucky to have a strong chance at having a biological child, whether I carry it or not, I’m just not in the greatest place at the moment.

I’m going into embryo transfer three with a very blah attitude and low expectations. I feel like I’m going through the motions at this point, I really thought October was our month…

happy birthday babies

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This is the lake (looking pretty murky at the moment) where we spread the ashes of our babies exactly one year ago. It was the first day I had been back to the spot since that horrible time, I am afraid to say. I just could never muster up the strength to visit this year. Luckily my mom loves visiting the spot and marked it by writing the babies’ initials on a tree stump and this angel wing rock she found. She hid the rock near the shore last fall and found it buried a bit into the ground but still intact. The picture below is her holding the wing.

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I was definitely nervous about how this week would feel and how emotional it would be. As the day approached I felt surprisingly fine and only shed tears very briefly. Turns out I must have been suppressing some serious emotions though.

Starting with last Thursday or Friday (I can’t remember which) I work up with pretty bad chest pain. It felt a little like when you fall asleep in a twisted position and stay that way for too long so I figured I just slept wrong and it would go away soon. It did not go away, and it kept getting worse. I tried taking an antacid, but knew that it wasn’t how heartburn normally felt for me. It did nothing. I took various painkillers…nothing. I was starting to worry it was asthma (this runs in my family) because I noticed it was much worse while breathing in. Then my mother in law and future sister in law told me they once had something that sounded very similar called pleurisy and it just took a good antibiotic to resolve.

The day we honored the triplets, we went to church, visited the lake with our immediate family, and then gathered for a lunch at my parent’s house. We also planted a small oak tree that was given to us by my husband’s coworkers after we lost the triplets last year. It was a wonderful day and emotionally I was actually very much at peace. I felt like I was to the point where I could be thankful for the time I had with the babies and was so happy to be spending time with my family on such a nice day. My chest did hurt though..a lot.

After lunch was served and the tree planted, the husband and I went to urgent care to get this taken care of. After doing some investigating, the doctor was quite convinced it was anxiety. I have had issues with anxiety in the past. It has been several years since I had a panic attack and they felt a lot different than this. Usually I got a tightness in my chest, but the biggest symptom was the sensation that my throat was closing up. These also only last an hour or so, tops. A lot different from what I was experiencing. I left with a prescription for Xanax and honestly was not convinced it would do anything.

As directed by my doctor, I took one pill immediately. There was no improvement. She suggested I may need two because she wasn’t sure what to use for the dose so when I woke up the next day I took two and called in sick for work (2 of those suckers made me feel super woozy). This was the charm. My pain was almost entirely resolved. I have continued taking them as needed this week. The pain improves every day, and it feels really good to have a medical issue that was diagnosed and basically “resolved” in such a short amount of time. Very unusual for me.

I put “resolved” in quotes because although I am much better, I still have some pain if I don’t take a Xanax. I obviously cannot continue to take this drug regularly because it makes it difficult to function. I am trying to figure out whether this is just something because of the babies’ birthdays, or if I need a more permanent solution now. I definite want to be at peace during this FET…

3dpo

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Well I am three days in and things are going decently so far. Luckily I have a really busy weekend to distract me coming up! Also next Thursday we are leaving for a trip out to Portland for a long weekend. I have never been out there, but my husband was working out there a lot when we first started dating and has been wanting to take me ever since. I’m really excited about what he has told me about the amazing restaurants there!

This means that we will be out of town when I test. This also happened when I found out I was pregnant with the triplets. We were in Fort Myers…my husband was there for work and I tagged along because I used to live in Naples and still have a lot of friends in the area.

I am planning to take the test on the same day I did with the triplets, June 1. That will be 12dpo. With the triplets the test turned positive before I even got the chance to set it down. It was actually pretty funny because my husband was working all through the night that night and wouldn’t be back until 10am. I wanted to take the test with my first morning urine obviously, but woke up at 4:30am really having to go so I took the test without him (he wanted me to wait until he got back). So he got a blubbery phone call from me yelling out “I’m pregnant!”. Then, since I have no self control, I called my parents at 3:30am central time to tell them the news.

At least if we get a positive next week in Portland, the time zones will be working in favor for my parents. ūüôā

Anyways, not much new here. I no longer evaluate any symptoms because I finally realized how pointless that is so I’ll have to come up with something else to talk about for the next week.

weigh in

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So before this infertility journey started I weighed between 112 and 117 lbs (I am 5’4″) for pretty much my entire life. I have always led a pretty healthy lifestyle as far as diet and exercise go, so although I didn’t have to work super crazy hard to be that weight, it wasn’t as though I have some incredible metabolism that was keeping me thin.

Then I started fertility treatments. Almost immediately after I began Clomid I noticed that I was putting on some extra weight. Unfortunately that continued until I reached 130 lbs after a few months on the medication. This weight WOULD NOT budge. No matter what dietary changes or exercise I did. This did not put me in the category of “overweight” but none of my clothes fit any more and it was frustrating to be gaining wait and also not be getting pregnant. Eventually I gave up on trying to lose the weight and just continued eating and exercising the same way I always did.

When I got pregnant with the triplets, I knew I had to gain a lot of weight. The book I was reading stated that the earlier you start gaining weight the better since it was so likely they would be premature. In the end, I gained another 30 lbs during those 20 weeks. After I delivered, I was instantly 10 lbs lighter. Losing the rest of the weight was a HUGE battle involving vegetable juices, running, yoga, and very carefully watching my diet in general. Once I felt up to it (around 6 weeks post partum) I started working out for a minimum of 2 and a half hours every morning.

The results were frustrating to say the least. It took forever for the scale to budge. My weight would stay the same for a month at a time, then I would suddenly be a few pounds lighter, then get stuck there for another four weeks, and it would just repeat. Finally after 5 months I was back to 130 lbs. Unfortunately this coincided exactly with starting up fertility treatments again. Now I am yet again stuck at 130 lbs no matter what I do and have been there since February.

I realize it could be a lot worse, but it is so frustrating to battle my weight and my fertility at the same time! It also makes me scared that I may never be able to get below 130 lbs again. I have all of these clothes that I love that I cannot fit into and haven’t worn for almost two years, plus I just feel less confident about myself with these extra pounds.

So as a last ditch effort to lose those last few pounds I am going to do some hard core low carbing. I don’t usually eat too many carbs because I am somewhat sensitive to gluten, but I have been trying to restrict my intake the last few weeks. There hasn’t been a change in my weight (although I can’t help but wonder if the lower carbs helped me have better results with my cycle last month), so I decided to really get serious and strictly limit my carbs to 20 grams per day. If this doesn’t work I will officially give up on losing my “fertility treatment weight” for now because I seriously do not know what else I could do.

Anyone have some pointers?

dreams

I have really vivid dreams Рand I think the hormones for infertility and pregnancy make them even worse for me.  Sometimes it takes a while for me to even figure out whether something really happened to me or I just dreamt it.  When I was taking Clomid last year before the triplets were born I used to constantly dream about negative pregnancy tests.  Then the week I found out I was pregnant I dreamt about a positive test finally.  The night before we found out it was triplets I had a dream that there were three babies, and the week I went into pre-term labor I also had a dream about that.  Needless to say there is now a little bit of anxiety over my dreams when it comes to the subject of getting pregnant this time around.

Last month during our first cycle since losing the triplets, I had a lot of fitfull nights.¬† The dreams did not have anything to do with babies or pregnancy (for some reason ever since I delivered the babies those completely stopped), they were just weird and usually disturbing.¬† The two week wait was the worst (of course)…I kept waking up in the middle of the night with horrible nausea.¬† I would be so drowsy while this happened¬†that the next morning I would always question whether I was really feeling sick or if it was a part of¬†the dreams.¬† I later found out I was nauseous because of the hormones from a large ovarian cyst I still had.

The last two nights the pregnancy/baby dreams returned for the first time in 7 months.¬† Two nights ago I had a dream that I got a positive pregnancy test.¬† Last night was not so good though.¬† I kept having the same dream (actually nightmare) over and over, and it was that I was pregnant again but I was 25 weeks along and I went into preterm labor again.¬† It was so real that each time I would wake up from the dream I could swear it felt like I really was having contractions – this is just insane!¬† Nights like this make me really nervous for what it’s going to be like when I finally get pregnant again.¬† It is pretty scary to think that in the grand scheme of things, the infertility treatments are most likely going to be the less stressful part of this process for me.

Does anyone else get these crazy hormone-rage dreams?  Maybe if I start meditating more it will help my brain process things better while I am awake and keep these negative things out of my dreams each night.

our story…so far PART IV

If you have read my previous posts about our story, you will know that during this pregnancy I had dreams that seemed to tell me something that was about to happen.¬† I was determined to prove this wrong and hold on to my other two babies.¬† I was being monitored fairly frequently to get my vitals and check for signs of infection.¬† They would also try to listen to the babies’ heartbeats.¬† This was very difficult for them to do because the other two babies kept changing positions and moving around in their new found space.¬† They were kicking so much the nurses had a very hard time finding the heartbeats – so usually they would just eventually switch and try looking at them through ultrasound.¬† Babies B and C appeared to be doing well and I was hopeful that I would be in that hospital room for a long time.

Later that night my in-laws came to see us.  While we were with them I started to notice some contractions again, but they were fairly far apart.  The nurses thought it might be for the placenta for Baby A since I had not delivered that yet.  They did warn me that they were not 100% sure of this and wanted to avoid a manual exam due to the risk of infection.  Once the contractions were closer together I was moved to labor and delivery again.  The doctor on call there did a manual exam and confirmed it was not the placenta, but another baby.  I was horrified.  Baby B took a few more pushes to deliver but it was all a blur.  She was born still, they said she most likely passed away from the stress of being in the birth canal.  I was still having a lot of contractions after she was born so they told me to just continue pushing.  A few minutes later, our baby boy was delivered.  I remember being so uncomfortable РI felt battered, exhausted, and devastated.  The nurses had me hold the babies for a little bit but I quickly gave them to my husband because I was shaking so badly I thought I might drop them.

The next second things started moving very fast.  Apparently they wanted my placentas out right away so they inserted 5 pills to increase contractions (which I was still having on my own) vaginally.  This was incredibly painful. Then a nurse was pushing on my belly (I had no idea what was going on at the time) and kept telling me that I need to stop flexing my abdominal muscles.  Then another nurse came in and put an IV of pitocin on me.  At this point I was in an extraordinary amount of pain and wanted those placentas out immediately.  I finally delivered all three placentas (they were fused together so it was much more difficult to deliver).

So far I have focused only on what happened to me and the babies and I need to make sure I mention how amazing my entire family was during this horrible experience.  My husband could not have been more perfect.  He always knew exactly what I wanted, even when I was in too much pain or anguish to talk.  Our parents were so supportive and knew that the most important thing for us was that they were there with us.  Also, the doctors and nurses we worked with were so amazing.  They answered all of our questions and were so incredibly kind the entire time.

Once we were discharged and had some time to grieve, we decided we would start fertility treatments again in the spring.  Dr. MFM thinks that incompetent cervix may have been the reason I went into preterm labor so she said that it is very important that I only get pregnant with one baby and that once I am pregnant I will get a cerclage to stitch my cervix closed.

our story…so far PART III

Once we found out that all three babies were looking healthy (with the exception that Baby C had a clubfoot, but that was nothing major) and that my cervix was so long we were so relieved and thought that the worst was behind us.  I did have a fair amount of anxiety still, but it became more and more about how much we had to do before we brought home three babies and how we would handle our daily activities with them.  Due to the economy, we are stuck living in a small three level condo.  The location is amazing, but three small levels is not ideal for three babies.  I knew we were not going to be able to change our living situation anytime soon, so I tried to make up for it by organizing things to make more room for the babies.

The days between 19 and 20 weeks were pretty much the same as all days in my pregnancy.  I did notice a small increase in cramping, but I had been experiencing these cramps throughout the entire pregnancy due to how fast I was growing.  I definitely looked like a woman in her third trimester by this time, and there were visible differences in the size of my belly each week.  I started to wonder if the increase in cramping were braxton hicks contractions, and made a mental note to ask about them at my next appointment, which was scheduled for 20 weeks 3 days.  One night during this week I had a dream that I went into labor and delivered the triplets.  In my dream I was horrified because I knew they would not survive at 20 weeks.

Early the morning of September 25, 2012 I woke up to use the bathroom (at this point I was going about 4-5 times each night).¬† I noticed that something felt different, and “full” in my lower pelvis area and figured it was some constipation.¬† I went downstairs to eat a granola bar and walk around a bit to see if that made things feel a little better.¬† I tried going to the bathroom again and the discomfort seemed to be getting worse.¬† I started to realize that the pain I was feeling seemed to be coming 5 minutes apart.¬† I was pretty groggy since it was the middle of the night but this was enough to make me very nervous.¬† I manually checked¬†the area with my fingers and felt a bulging of something soft very low in my pelvis.¬† The first (irrational) thought I had was “oh my good that is a babies foot and it is almost out of my body”.¬†¬† I started screaming and my husband ran downstairs to help.

Luckily we live only 5 miles from our hospital so we quickly drove to the ER.¬† I was so confused when I got there – the guards looked and me and said “are you in labor?”¬† I had no idea what to say….I was supposed to start my birthing classes the next week and just felt like this couldn’t be happening.¬† I finally replied “I think so – its triplets and I’m only 20 weeks though”.¬† They rushed me upstairs and I was quickly put into a hospital gown and in a bed.¬† A nurse came in right away to get my information and as she was talking to me a felt a huge gush of liquid.¬† She confirmed it was my water breaking.¬† This sent me into a complete panic.¬† The doctor on call came in and he was amazing.¬† He was very calm, which was exactly what I needed¬†at the time¬†because I was freaking out.¬† He said that I will be delivering the baby but I can take as long as I want to – it would just require one push probably.¬† At this point the contractions were really strong and right on top of each other.¬† Coupled with my emotional anguish I decided it was time to just get it over with.¬† He asked if I wanted to hold the baby after I delivered and I said “I don’t know”.¬† He said very gently, “I think you should, but you don’t have to” so I decided I would.¬† He was right it just took one push and our sweet baby girl was born.¬† My parents arrived shortly after, and by some miracle our baby girl stayed alive for 45 minutes after she was born.¬† Long enough for all of us to hold her and watch her breathe and move.

The doctor thought there was a small chance I could avoid labor and delivery of the other two, but he said it is not likely we would be able to avoid it until it was safe for them (babies must be born at 24 weeks or later to have a chance at survival outside the womb).  They also said that if I show any signs of infection they would need to induce me to get the other babies out immediately.  I was put on a clear liquids diet and strict bedrest (not even allowed to sit up) and eventually moved up to the family care part of the hospital.

our story…so far PART II

So after our first ultrasound after starting treatment with Dr. RE we learned that it might be necessary for me to take very high doses of medications to grow mature follicles.¬† This meant my cycles typically were a little longer, but at least we knew it was possible to get me to ovulate at all! After three cycles (two of which I ovulated¬†on), we found out I was pregnant!¬† I took a First Response Early Result pregnancy test a few days before my period was expected and it was positive before I even had the chance to set the test down on the counter.¬† We were beyond excited, but a little nervous about the potential for multiples because I most likely ovulated¬†several eggs.¬† We had an ultrasound at 7 weeks for a “headcount”.¬† The night before the ultrasound I had a dream it was triplets – which made me slightly more nervous because the night before I took my pregnancy test I had also had a dream the test came back positive.¬† We had accepted that we had a good chance of coming out of this with twins, but more than that really did not cross our minds.¬† We were stunned when we found out at the ultrasound that we were in fact expecting triplets!¬† Dr. RE was not thrilled with this and did mention selective reduction, but we were 100% not interested.¬† I knew a couple families who had triplets, and although it was difficult, they managed everything fine and I knew they would be able to help me through the process.

I began seeing a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist (Dr. MFM) at 10 weeks and had follow up appointments every two weeks on average.  Unfortunately we were in for a bumpy ride with all of the monitoring that went on due to the high risk nature of the pregnancy.  Dr. MFM said that I should plan to leave work sometime around 20 weeks and that I should not leave the city we live in after 12 weeks or so.

Baby C was the triplet that caused the most anxiety while I was pregnant.¬† Around 12 weeks Dr. MFM¬†saw that he had a pretty severe looking cystic hygroma.¬† From what we understand, a cystic hygroma¬†is basically fluid under the baby’s skin.¬† Dr. MFM¬†said this can happen due to a genetic problem or it can just happen randomly, but that either way with as bad as it looked on Baby C she suspected that I would lose him by 20 weeks.¬† We were really surprised when we came back two weeks later to see that the cystic hygroma¬†was completely gone, so we decided to not do any genetic testing (the Dr. had suggested we could get an amnio¬†if we wanted to know whether there was a probleme¬†genetically) due to the small risk of the procedure.¬† Unfortunately at the next appointment, around 16 weeks, Baby C appeared to have a club foot.¬† This put back the fear of a genetic problem, so we ended up doing an amnio¬†at the last minute.¬† It was a little tough to get to Baby C with the needle due to his position, and it was more painful than I anticipated but once we got the results that everything was perfect we were hugely relieved.¬† We also found out Baby C was a boy because of the amnio! Around 17 weeks we got our first cervical length measurement and Dr. MFM was happy to see that I was 6 cm long, which was really great for a triplet pregnancy!¬† She said that since things looked so good we could wait three weeks to come in for our next appointment.¬† Unfortunately we never got to that appointment…