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Kellan’s Birth Story

I kind of can’t believe I haven’t written down Kellan’s birth story until now. Given that it’s been 5 months, I’m 100% certain that I no longer recall all of the details, but I finally feel like I have a minute to sit down and write it so here we go …

I think I’ll start my story on February 2, 2019. It was a Saturday, and my siblings threw me a “sprinkle” to celebrate the imminent arrival of baby #2. We had chosen not to find out what sort of genitals the baby had. They had a “Baby Bookie” going at the party – of all respondents, exactly 1 person guessed that it would be a girl – my sister’s roommate who I have met all of 2 times (including that day). Anyway, she won. The party was lovely. This is the last picture I have of Kellan on the inside/our last photo as a family of 3.

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That night, I started having contractions, but they were fairly irregular. They were painful enough that they kept me up, and I timed them at every 5 minutes, lasting about a minute for a half hour or so, but then they slowed down and I was able to get some sleep. These on/off contractions kept up for a few days. I assumed they were Braxton Hicks, but I would definitely not call them painless. They were mildly-moderately uncomfortable. That Wednesday, 2/6, I had an ultrasound scheduled, and that Friday, 2/8, I had a non-stress test scheduled. Kellan was due on 2/17.

On Tuesday 2/5, I went to work as normal, had a normal day (with contractions on and off, but very irregular and never picking up steam), and then picked up Riley from daycare as normal. In retrospect, multiple colleagues told me that I looked uncomfortable and encouraged me to consider not coming in the following day (I had a ton to do though so I laughed them off). I am a Buy Nothing junkie (do y’all have Buy Nothing groups where you live? Sort of a free-cycle type situation that is neighborhood-based), and I had arranged to pick up some Freemie cups from someone’s porch that evening after daycare pick up (was looking forward to trying them out with my new Spectra once the baby was here. For whatever it’s worth, I have not yet taken them out of the box). I parked outside the house, left the car on with Riley in it, and started to jog up to the porch to grab the bag that had been left out for me. Now, this was evening time (say 5:30ish) in February in Boston, so it was pitch black out. My toe snagged on an uneven part of sidewalk and I had no hope of catching myself (what with the 10 pounds of baby hanging off my front). I went down pretty hard and fast. I caught myself with my hands and knees and then just kept going. I ended up flat on my stomach with my knees, palms, and face all scraped up. Of course, I immediately went into panic mode about the baby. I hadn’t landed directly on my belly with the full force of the fall, but I certainly ended up sprawled out prone on the sidewalk with my weight on my belly. I honestly didn’t have much time to panic though because Riley was in the car and Em wasn’t home from work yet. I know you’re wondering – I did grab the bag off the porch before going back to the car.

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A very flattering photo of my banged up face post-fall. My nose was super swollen! I did end up with a bit of a black eye the next day.

At this point, I was 38 weeks 2 days pregnant, so was certainly at term (albeit early term) should baby decide to show up post-fall. I immediately called Emily and apparently very calmly told her that I fell and that I was going to call the doctor but just wanted to let her know. Quick aside – 2/5 was the day of the Patriots Super Bowl parade in Boston, so Em’s commuter train was super delayed and everything travel-wise from downtown (where she works) was unpredictable. She’s usually home at 6:00 on the dot. This night, she didn’t get home until 6:30ish. Anyway, I called my OB and they told me that they wanted me to go to Labor and Delivery to be monitored for at least 4 hours, and that it was protocol to do so after any fall at that stage of pregnancy. At this point I now think that I was having a full blown panic attack, but I had to keep it together because Riley was sitting there waiting for me to get her evening routine going. Em and I called our good friend Brittany to come stay with Riley until we could get home from the monitoring. I was feeling very short of breath and I kept trying to sit still and wait to feel the baby move, needing that reassurance, but the baby wasn’t doing any somersaults and I was too keyed up to be able to feel the small movements. Of course, that just made me more anxious. I decided that I didn’t want to wait the additional 20 minutes for our friend to arrive, so I drove myself to the hospital alone as soon as Em got home, and we planned for her to drive herself there as soon as Britt came and she got Riley and Britt settled with a plan.

Driving myself to the hospital in the state I was in was probably not my brightest idea, but my sole focus at that point was getting there as quickly as possible to make sure the baby was okay. The hospital is about a 17 minute drive from our home. As soon as I got in the car I started shaking and shivering uncontrollably. It was an unseasonably warm day – I had had the air conditioning on in my car just an hour earlier on my way home from work. I think it was about 60 degrees out (in February in Boston!). Despite this, I was FREEZING all of a sudden, and had to crank up the heat and turn my seat warmer on high. Even with all of that, I was shivering uncontrollably. I’m pretty sure I was experiencing some mild shock symptoms. I called my mom to tell her what was going on and how I was feeling and she so kindly and calmly suggested that perhaps I should pull over and call an ambulance instead. I think my response was, “no it’s fine, I’m only 14 minutes away.” Anyway, I did eventually make it to the hospital. The nurse on the phone had told me to park by the ER and go in that way, and that there would be valet parking available. None of that was true/a good idea. It turned out that the valet parking had stopped at 6pm (it was about 7pm by this point), so I had to park in the ER garage and walk in. When I got in there, despite being clearly all the way pregnant, bleeding from my face, and shaking, no one seemed keen to help me find labor and delivery. I eventually got someone to give me directions … to walk to a whole other building! It was not close to the ER at all.

So I finally got to L&D and got all checked in … only to sit waiting alone in a waiting room outside triage for 20 minutes. By the time they finally came to take me back and monitor me, Emily had arrived from home. I could have just waited and had her drive me. Oh well. My anxiety finally started to subside when they got the baby hooked up to the monitors and we could see that (s)he was doing okay. My blood pressure was high though, and the baby’s heart rate was high (probably in response to my anxiety and high blood pressure). We had a really lovely nurse in triage who was so calming and reassuring. Anyway, the monitors showed that the baby’s heart rate, while high, was trending downward. My contractions, on the other hand, were not. See, as soon as I fell those on/off, irregular contractions that I had been having were on again, and hadn’t slowed down since. The monitors showed me having contractions every 1-2 minutes. The on-call OB came by (thankfully I knew her, though it was not my doctor) and reassured me that the contractions were likely my uterus responding to the trauma. The plan was to get some IV fluids in me, let me calm down, and see how things trended (all the while monitoring the baby of course). She explained that, after a fall like I had, they really just want to watch over time to make sure that baby stays stable and doesn’t show any signs that the placenta may have started to detach, which is apparently a concern with any trauma while pregnant. Everyone expected that the contractions would slow down after some fluids and rest. In addition, they ordered an ultrasound while I was there to double check the placenta and the baby and also to get a size estimate (just because I had been scheduled for the following morning for a sizing ultrasound). She said that they would monitor for 4 hours but may consider keeping me overnight. One kind of funny aside is that when I packed a quick duffel for the hospital (this dummy hadn’t packed her real hospital bag yet), I only packed Girl Scout cookies, my toiletries, and work clothes for the following day. I wore comfy clothes so at least I had that going for me.

Anyway, long story short, those contractions never did slow down. They were staying steady at every 1-2 minutes at about the 2 hour mark, when they were finally able to take me down to ultrasound. The ultrasound guy was a total weirdo (I guess that should be expected for someone who works the night shift as an ultrasound tech? But he kept telling kind of weird jokes, including joking about telling us the baby’s sex which was odd and a little annoying), but seemed thorough. He didn’t see any issues with the placenta or any obvious issues with the baby. He did estimate size at 9lbs 8oz (he turned out to be amazingly accurate), and noted that I had mild polyhydraminos, which is probably why it was so hard to find/get the baby’s heart rate on the monitor. They didn’t really give me an explanation for the excess fluid, though I had passed my glucose test by only 1 point and there was some speculation that I may have developed gestational diabetes later in the pregnancy (which would account for the polyhydraminos as well as the baby’s larger size).

One thing to note about the ultrasound and the plan as it progressed from here – I had been scheduled for an ultrasound the very next morning to look at baby’s size. My first was a c-section due to size (she was 10lbs 4oz, I am glad I had a c-section, we are both healthy because of it). This baby was measuring big starting around 32 weeks. I had a sizing ultrasound then (I can’t recall if it was at 32 or 34 weeks? Probably 34), and baby was already measuring pretty big at that point but they didn’t want to make the c-section recommendation yet. So basically the team’s thought was that I would likely do a c-section for size, but the ultrasound the following morning was going to confirm that/be the impetus for scheduling a date, etc.

When we got back upstairs to L&D after the ultrasound, it was time for a shift change and we had to say goodbye to the super kind nurse that we had been working with (I wish I could remember her name!). In addition, the doctor had decided at that point that they wanted to monitor me overnight, so they moved me from the triage room recliner into a room with a bed (still in triage, so I don’t think I was officially admitted to L&D at this point?). Our new nurse was well intentioned but mostly just strange and a little abrupt in her demeanor. The OB came in and I had my first experience being “checked.” Riley was a scheduled c-section, so I had never had the pleasure. Jesus that shit is painful! I remember her saying “you’re going to want to crawl up the bed. Just hang in there and it’ll be over soon.” So accurate. Anyway, I was apparently dilated about 2cm at that point, still with contractions every 1-2 minutes. At this point I would definitely classify them as painful. Anyway, after the OB left the nurse tried to hook me back up to the monitors for fetal heart rate and contractions. I am not even exaggerating when I say that she spent the next 45 minutes attempting to find the baby’s heart beat with the damn monitor. She could not get it at all! Luckily at this point I was feeling the baby move consistently, so I wasn’t worried at all, just annoyed. While she was doing this, Em and I were having a conversation about whether Em should go home or not. At this point it was about 11pm. The OB had said she wanted to come back and check me again in about 2 hours. (She explained to us that she was attempting to ascertain whether I was actually in labor. That labor = contractions + cervical change, so she needed to see if my cervix was changing over time or whether I was just having contractions because of the trauma). Em wanted to go home to sleep (fair enough – no one can sleep in those stupid hospital chairs). In the end, we decided that she would wait with me until after the 1am cervix check, and that if there was no change she would go home. All of this became moot though, because around 12:10am my water broke. While the nurse was still moving the monitor around trying to get me hooked up. We heard a big “boom” on the monitor and she goes “did you hear that? The baby just kicked!” and I said “uhhhh I think my water just broke. Or maybe I peed?” and then within about 10 seconds it was very clear that it was definitely not pee.

Once my water broke, everything moved really quickly. The OB came back, surgical nurses rushed in, and we started prepping for a c-section right away. Given that I was likely headed for a scheduled section due to size AND the fact that I was there due to a trauma and we were watching for placenta issues, a c-section was the plan and everyone (me included) was on board. Anyway, the contractions had been getting more and more painful, and after my water broke they were DEFINITELY painful and happening like every 2 minutes, so I was ready for that spinal to happen. Once all of the consents were signed and the OBs and anesthesiologist had been in, it was time to go. I remember walking down the hall and apologizing for my water leaking with every step! The spinal was kind of no big deal, especially since I knew what to expect from my first c-section. I am not sure if the anesthesia cocktail was different or if I maybe just reacted to it slightly differently this time, but my face was EXTREMELY itchy right away (so during the procedure), whereas with Riley I was a little itchy then but then got progressively itchier over the course of a few hours and it didn’t go away for probably a day and a half. I had also vomited after my c-section with Riley, so they gave me a little scopolamine patch behind my ear to try to combat the nausea. I kept rubbing and scratching my face, including, apparently, the patch behind my ear. This becomes notable later.

The surgery itself was very similar to my c-section with Riley. I did notice that I could feel a bit more this time around (I was really worried that the anesthesia was wearing off and that I would be in a lot of pain very quickly, but that didn’t happen). Even though my water had broken in a gush (and then kept trickling with mini gushes), they said that there was enough fluid in there to gush out at them as they were cutting. Kellan came out and cried right away, and Em and I were both shocked to find out that she had a vulva rather than a penis (not that it matters at all).

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Kellan came into the world at 9lbs 8oz and 20.5 inches at 38 weeks 3 days. Kellan ended up having some “transitional breathing” issues that had her O2 sats a LITTLE low. Unfortunately, that meant she was off to the special care nursery for monitoring for a little while. Her first blood sugar reading was low as well. I think she was there for 12-16 hours? I wasn’t able to go up to see her until a few hours after she was born. We got to meet each other for a bit but they took her up before I was in the recovery room. They didn’t have to do any intervention up there – just monitoring, and her breathing and sugars improved quickly.

While I was waiting to be reunited with my baby, the doctors noticed that one of my pupils was much larger than the other (actually, I noticed and asked about it). They were initially worried about a brain/neuro issue of some type and called for a neuro consult, though it was quickly determined that I did it to myself by basically rubbing scopolamine into my eye (which is known to cause pupil dilation). If the damn morphine didn’t make me so itchy I wouldn’t have done it! (Part of the neuro concern was the fact that I had fallen. Nope – just clumsy!)

In terms of recovery, I had a little more pain at the incision site this time. They used staples this time and I did not love it. With Riley I had been stitched up and it didn’t bother me at all.

My mom flew in as soon as I texted that my water had broken. She canceled other travel plans which was really nice and I felt a little guilty about. On Kellan’s second day of life, my mom brought Riley to the hospital to meet her sister. My heart felt so full and right having them together for the first time.

Kellan’s birth was basically a series of unexpected and surprising events, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It suits her.

*note: I wrote most of this in 2019 and just found it in my drafts 2 years later. I wanted to publish it for posterity!*

Riley at 2.5

If I’m going to get back in the swing of writing, I’d really like to be documenting my big kid’s life more. Don’t get me wrong – her life is WELL documented from a photographic standpoint. But I find that I stopped writing things down when the “baby book” phase ended and she turned 1. (Side note: we didn’t have a true baby book, but had a calendar that encouraged documenting a few things each month along with all of the classic “firsts”).

So without further ado, Riley at 2 and a half is …

  • The sweetest, happiest little person I’ve ever met.
  • Insanely demanding, whiny, and unreasonable.
  • She loves: books, music, dancing, coloring with markers, “cooking” in her kitchen (usually sushi, pancakes, and pizza), playing in her sand table, playing on the playground, talking about her friends
  • She hates: trying new foods, eating full meals, being told “no,” naps
  • Some funny (or just fun) things she has said recently:
    • Momma, I help you blow the lawn?
    • Don’t put lotion on my haircut! (referring to her painted toenails)
    • This is you birthmark? We go to the store, you buy me a birthmark?
    • That’s so silly. That’s silly buying birthmarks at the store. We buy grapes at the store! Grapes and avocado at the store.
    • *pointing to my brother’s mustache that he has had her entire life* What’s this? This? It’s my mustache You mustache? Yeah *touching her lip* I no have a mustache. I only have eyebrows.
    • She calls Lucky Charms “yucky charms”
  • Her favorite foods are: Lucky Charms, chili, and Wegmans’ peach applesauce pouches.
  • She had a growth spurt in the last few months. Now she wears 3T clothing and size 5 shoes.
  • Her favorite color is pink (go figure)
  • She potty trained in 1 weekend and has had a grand total of 4 accidents in her life (it’s been just over a month). She stays dry at nap time and almost always overnight, though we still do pull ups overnight because she won’t poop on the potty and just waits for her pull up.
  • She is sick all. the. time. I am fairly certain she had fewer than 10 truly healthy days between November and May. We just recently got a week or two of healthy and now we’re right back in another cold/cough. Whenever she has a cold she goes on a preventative/steroid inhaler that makes her impulsive and a little angry. I can’t wait for her to have longer healthy stretches so we don’t have to worry about whether she’s going to impulsively smack us in the face all day.
  • She is so sweet to her baby sister. She reads her books, strokes her face, and hugs her at any opportunity.
  • When Kellan was born, Riley went through about an 8 week phase of being, for lack of a better word, bad. She was clearly reeling from the sudden decrease in attention. I’m glad she took it out on us rather than the baby but it was a tough season! She would throw food at every meal and say no to literally every request, but then she came out of it and was back to her laid back, happy, generally compliant self. Thank God.
  • She wants so badly to be independent, but still needs help with things like dressing and going to the bathroom. That’s hard for her but she gets more independent every day!
  • In April (2 years 5 months), she learned how to go down stairs by herself, and she has been gaining independence at a rapid pace since then.

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She’s here! 4 months later …

WELL I am obviously getting progressively worse at documenting these things with age. So though this is about 4 months late … it’s a girl!!

Kellan was born on February 6, 2019. She came via C-section and her birth story is something. I think I’ll put it up as a separate post for posterity. She’s a joy. Her sister is in love (for the most part). I can’t believe she is already 4 months old!

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Kellan is a happy little chunk. Like her big sister, she really struggled to get the hang of breastfeeding. She also took 3 weeks to get back to her birth weight despite eating well and getting supplementation the whole time. I guess my kids just take 3 weeks to bounce back. I suspect they both took on a lot of water weight during the lead up to my C-sections, so I think that inflated the weight loss quite a bit. As you can see, she’s not wasting away.

At 4 months old, Kellan …

  • Is very smiley, especially when looking at faces up close. She laughs when you bring her toes up to her cheeks or when you do a gasping laugh.
  • Is SO chill. She only cries when there’s something wrong (over tired, over hungry, needs a diaper change, or is trying to work out a poop). She’s happy to be in her car seat (unlike her sister at that age) and generally doesn’t complain.
  • Loves her playmat just like Riley did! She can hang out on her back on the playmat for a good chunk of time, talking to, grabbing, and eating her animal friends. She seems partial to the zebra. I get it.
  • Eating: When she is with me, she exclusively breastfeeds. She is super predictable and eats every 3 hours during the day. We just weaned off of the nipple shield a week ago, and she suddenly got 50% faster/more efficient (cue the anxiety that something was wrong – but my boobs are emptying and she is satisfied so she must just be better at nursing now). She has had 4 colds already (ugh daycare germs) and really struggles to nurse when she’s congested. She does NOT like bottles and tends to hold out to nurse. She gets 3 bottles at daycare – yesterday they were 3oz, 3oz, and 2oz. Last week she took 4 oz bottles which was amazing. Prior to that, she was taking a max of 10oz while away from me for 10+ hours. She tends to eat twice over night – around 10:30 and then anywhere between 2 and 5. Sometimes she skips the early morning feed and will go straight from 10:30-6:30 or so.
  • Sleep: Kellan sleeps like a champ at night, in a bassinet in our room. We put her down sometime between 6:30 and 8pm (depending on her rest-of-the-day schedule), and she falls asleep on her own with minimal fussing. She naps 3 times a day, and will fall asleep on her own then too (in the Merlin suit). I nurse her to sleep at night but she isn’t reliant on it which is great. Here’s hoping we keep that up. She never took a binky, and recently found her hand to suck on. Jury’s out on whether she’ll turn into a finger/thumb sucker to self soothe. Either way, she’s able to self soothe to sleep when she has the suit on.
  • Play/communication: Kellan loves to coo and babble with people and with her hanging animal friends. She is obsessed with watching whatever her sister is doing, and tends to find her hilarious. She is very mellow and will just chill with her hanging toys and watch what’s happening around her.
  • Motor: Kellan likes tummy time if she’s propped up on a pillow (like putting the boppy under her arms). She’s not such a fan if she’s directly on the floor. She doesn’t really push up with her arms at all, but holds her head up well/has good neck strength. She is able to grasp hanging toys and bring them to her mouth, brings her hands together at midline, and can get her hand in her mouth to suck on pretty well.
  • Health: Kellan started out life with super sensitive skin like her sister. We were pretty worried she would end up with significant eczema and probably food allergies (Riley has a laundry list of severe/anaphylactic food allergies). I had to cut out dairy and soy as her poop tested positive for blood around 2 months. At this point, I’ve added back soy with no problem but am still avoiding dairy. We recently had her tested via blood test for all of Riley’s allergies (milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, and fish) plus soy. And they all came back negative! Her skin has been relatively clear (she tends to get a little rashy with colds) – no cradle cap (knock on wood), yeast infections, or widespread eczema like her sister. She has, however, had at least 3 colds and seems to be starting in on her 4th. Riley was healthy for the first 6 months of her life, though I suppose that is because she didn’t go to daycare until 6 months. Kellan was home for almost 4 months, but Riley was obviously bringing the daycare germs home with her. Here’s hoping the summer season brings with it fewer germs and healthier kids.

Kellan looked SO much like Riley when she was born – they have the same giant cheeks, tiny mouth, and button nose. But it turns out that their eyes are very different! Kellan’s look a lot like mine. They’re blue for now but seem a little darker than her sister’s, and I wonder if they’ll change. She’s such a chunky, happy baby. She’s just starting to get some stranger anxiety.

Just a few weeks ago we started cloth diapering Kellan. We used disposables with Riley and with Kellan for the first few months, but I have been curious about cloth and had the opportunity to buy a used lot of diapers for a really good price so I went for it. It’s been easier than I expected! I don’t have any misconceptions about the fact that cloth and disposable actually have an almost equal environmental impact, just in different ways … but it does feel nice to be generating less waste. Also they’re cute.

I’ll be back with her birth story soon!

11 weeks-16 weeks

I’ve been meaning to write this for 4 weeks, but … toddler.

Anyway, things are still going well. The 12 week scan was a giant relief, especially after a miscarriage and then dicey start to this pregnancy.

  • How far along: 16 weeks 2 days
  • My due date has changed a couple of times, just due to different calculations. When I calculated it online, I thought it was February 15th. When my RE calculated it with her IVF calculator, it was February 16th. My OB has me at February 17th (maybe based on the date of my LMP? Who even knows). We seem to have settled on February 17th, which makes the most sense given that I have consistently measured a few days behind.
  • Back at 12 weeks 1 day, I had my 12 week ultrasound. Everything looked good, and the heart rate was 170 bps. Seeing the baby in there, moving around and everything, was such a relief I can’t even describe. The baby was measuring at 11 weeks 6 days, so 2 days behind (at our 8 week ultrasound, the little bean was 3 days behind, but that was using the 2/16 due date, so it’s really still the same amount behind). Given the consistent growth, at this point my OB team is not concerned about it.
  • I also had a visit to my OB sometime around 14 weeks. My actual OB (who I was with during my first pregnancy) has injured her foot … again. She had a broken foot at the end of my last pregnancy, which lead to her not being able to do my C-section (I’m totally happy with the section and really liked the on-call doctor who did it, so no harm no foul). Anyway, I haven’t been able to see her yet this pregnancy. I saw an OB who I have met though, and got to hear the heartbeat again (this time in the high 150s/low 160s apparently). I’m seeing another OB, whom I’ve never met, in a couple of weeks.
  • Food things: The smell of literally all food cooking made me super nauseous from somewhere in the 10/11 week range until maybe a week ago. 11 weeks-13 weeks were the peak (which seems odd and late, but whatever). I’m finally starting to be able to let my poor wife cook us dinner … and even eat it!
  • Other symptoms: Nausea really kicked in around 11 weeks, and didn’t start to get better until 13 weeks (and is maybe gone now? but likes to show up randomly … I vomited while eating lunch yesterday so there’s that). I have only gotten sick 1-2 times, which is far less than with Riley, but I have overall felt worse. The exhaustion is also starting to subside finally! Look at me – it’s already almost 9 pm and I’m happily typing away! Here’s a weird new symptom though … since about 10/11 weeks, my hair has been shedding at an alarming rate. I’m talking at a 4 months postpartum kind of rate. WHY?! The very opposite happened when I was pregnant with Riley and I was really looking forward to the luscious locks … I asked the OB (worried about a thyroid issue or something hormonally off), who said that it’s actually not uncommon. Apparently the hormone changes/surges caused my follicles to all hop on the same shed cycle. She said it’ll randomize itself again, and is a similar function to what happens postpartum. It is starting to slow but definitely is still on the normal or just above side (as opposed to WAY below normal when I was pregnant with Riley), so that’s a bummer. Here’s hoping I don’t develop a noticeably receding hairline …
  • Who knows?: We told our families around 8 weeks. I ended up telling work soon after the 12 week mark so that I could get my schedule sorted out. We had professional photos taken of our family when we were at Family Week in PTown (shout out queer families – totally go if you can ever make it! Such a blast), and had Riley wear a “big sister” shirt so that we could do a little announcement. We aren’t really the type to do a formal announcement with professional photos, but the timing worked out so we used our photo shoot for multiple purposes – why not? We put that out around 15 weeks, so now the word is officially out there! We did tell Riley – she knows that the baby is growing inside Mommy but not Momma or Riley, and that when the baby is big enough and read to come out, (s)he will come home and live with us. She will basically recite that script and I’m confident she has no flipping idea what any of it means.
  • Body and clothes things: I am now wearing maternity clothes. I feel like a full month ahead of myself in terms of my body growing and showing, and I’m not a super fan of it (no one likes the “I just look fatter and not pregnant” stage). I just did an Old Navy maternity splurge today. Mostly I just need maternity pants because anything else feels restrictive or falls down.
  • What’s next?: OB appointment coming up in about 2.5 weeks, with my fetal survey ultrasound about a week later!

Pictures!

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Look at that little bean. They have a head and a body and everything. Yeesh.

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Would you lookit this big sister, contemplating her big adventure? Photo cred: TDM Photography

 

 

Bumpdate: 9w4d

Alright folks. My posts are going to take a very pregnant turn from here on out I think. Feel free to not read or unfollow, I really get that.

I’ll consider getting some sort of Bumpdate format going like I did with my daughter, but for now I’ll just free ball it:

  • How far along: 9 weeks 4 days
  • I had my first OB appointment today, with a midwife at the practice (my practice does a combo program for everyone – I get to choose who to deliver with though).
  • I got to hear baby’s heartbeat! It didn’t even take that long to find. I have been sooooo so anxious about this and I remember it taking a minute or two with my first pregnancy so that was a major relief. The little one’s heart is beating at a respectable 177bps today.
  • I got a bunch of bloodwork and tried to give a urine sample but failed. I got like a half centimeter’s worth of liquid in the damn cup so we’ll see if it’s enough. Talk about embarrassing first impressions (new midwife …)
  • Food things: The smell of food makes me nauseous. But also I want to eat all the carbs. I’m starting most days with some kiefer and a sausage/egg/cheese sandwich. That’s been working pretty well (I do get nauseous before that sandwich gets in my belly).
  • Other symptoms: My nausea exists and comes in waves – usually a wave before breakfast, a wave or two at some point during the day, and any time I’m a passenger in a car. I’m also exhausted. I fall asleep most nights between 8 and 9 in my chair, then head to bed at like 10:30 for the night.
  • Who knows?: We told our families around 8 weeks. 3 of my coworkers/friends have known all of the treatment details so they knew right away. I just told 2 of my closest friends this past weekend. I’m going to have to tell work soon because my patient schedule is getting really close (I’m booked through late January at this point). I’m thinking that’s a convo for next week. Sigh.
  • Of note, we have not told Riley yet. Mainly because she’s a blabbermouth/parrot. We’ll tell her when we’re ready to tell everyone.
  • What’s next?: I will get a call in the morning to schedule my 2 ultrasounds (1 at 12 weeks, 1 around 20 weeks), and then will see my OB in about 4 weeks.
  • Right this second, just after hearing the heartbeat, I’m feeling excited and relieved and I’m thinking about the future. I’m sure as time passes I’ll slip back into anxiety mode, but I’m enjoying this for now.
  • Y’all

    I meant to update Thursday after my ultrasound but life has been a whirlwind. We headed out on a road trip for a weekend 4th of July family reunion/party, and have been surrounded by extended family every second since.

    But y’all, there’s a baby in there. With a heartbeat. The ultrasound was uneventful and super fast. I was sooooo relieved when I immediately saw the fetal pole and the ultrasound tech found the heartbeat immediately. I don’t think I can describe the relief but I bet some/all of you can imagine.

    The details: On Thursday, I was officially 7 weeks 5 days based on my transfer (per the RE). The pregnancy was measuring at 7 weeks 2 days. At my previous ultrasound, the sac and structures were measuring 5 weeks 2 or 3 days (at what should have been 5 weeks 6 days), so we’re trucking along at a typical pace and most likely just had delayed implantation or a slow start. The heartbeat was 155 beats/minute. My RE is not changing my due date at this point, but is going to be conservative with weaning off the estrogen and progesterone to give me a couple of extra days.

    My RE is having me come back for blood work to look at my hormone levels on Tuesday, and then will start weaning me. I’m officially 8 weeks pregnant today. When I asked what my miscarriage risk looked like at this point, she said that anyone coming in with that heartbeat would have a 5% chance of miscarriage. Given that I’m a few days behind, she wanted to be a little more conservative than that, but she was really positive about how it’s going.

    This ultrasound pic is kind of awful but I don’t even care. After I get the word on weaning, I’ll be making my first OB appointment and putting IVF and my RE behind me for now. I can’t wait. I am still feeling cautions optimism but I’m so amazed to even be posting this and I’m riding that high. Baby #2 is due February 16, 2019. Here’s hoping things keep going well.

    50/50

    Well, my RE gave us a 50/50 chance of this being a viable pregnancy. I am fairly certain those odds were totally made up, so there’s that.

    Having done this initial ultrasound now twice before, I kind of knew what to look for. We were in with the ultrasound tech (who I’ve had for almost all of my ultrasounds since we started fertility treatments in 2014) first, and then saw my RE. Right off the bat I was relieved because I could tell that the sac was in the uterus. They also saw a yolk sac, but no fetal pole yet. My RE said that the sac size and structures look like a normal pregnancy at about “5 and a half weeks.” According to my calculations, I thought I was 6 weeks today, though my RE had me at 5 weeks 6 days. There was no heartbeat (which I guess makes sense with no fetal pole).

    My RE said that it’s possible that the embryo took a couple of days before implanting, which would account for the lower HCG numbers as well as today’s ultrasound results. Or, this is another nonviable embryo. She said they want to have me back in 11-14 days and if at that point there is no heartbeat or it’s fallen even further behind, we’ll stop meds and assumedly talk about ending the pregnancy.

    I’m trying to stay hopeful. It seems totally feasible that the frozen embryo just took it’s time implanting. It’s going to be a very long 2 weeks. I’m scheduled to go back for another ultrasound on July 5.

    Beta 6

    Who gets 6 betas?!?!

    Well, today was my 6th. And … drumroll … my hcg is 1914. Per all of the internet beta calculators, that’s a 38 hour doubling time. Which is very much faster than 65 hours or whatever my last one was. I know I’m not out of the woods (are you ever out of the woods? Do you ever get the “out of the woods” feeling after infertility and miscarriage?), but that number is really reassuring. I guess I’ll see if it means anything tomorrow morning bright and early at my first ultrasound. Tomorrow I’ll be exactly 6 weeks. Fingers crossed …

    After tomorrow’s ultrasound we are piling in the car to go to NYC. I’m excited to see Mary Page Marlowe and mostly excited to see Tatiana Maslany (any other Orphan Black super fans out there??) and hopefully get to meet her at the stage door. Ahh! I hope we head into that car ride with good news.

    Here’s a beta hcg recap (for the very last time I truly hope):

    • 11dp5dt (16dpo) – 78
    • 13dp5dt (18dpo) – 134
    • 15dp5dt (5 weeks/20dpo) – 239
    • 17dp5dt (5 weeks 2 days) – 471
    • 19dp5dt (5 weeks 4 days) – 800
    • 21dp5dt (5 weeks 6 days) – 1914

    Beta 5

    Another very quick update just for numbers. I had blood drawn today not only for my HCG but also other labs (not even sure what the other labs are, but the nurse had said just to make sure I’m doing okay otherwise – I think there was a complete blood count in there?). Per the nurse’s report today, my “other labs” numbers are all normal. My HCG still had an appropriate rise but is still lower than they would typically see at this stage. Why is that even a thing? If the HCG has been within the normal range (albeit low) from the start, and has risen within an appropriate time period, why is the number looking so abnormal? Anyway my HCG was 800 today. I’m supposedly 5 weeks 4 days pregnant at this point. Last cycle, the pregnancy I miscarried, my HCG was 1200 at 5 weeks 3 days, which was the day I miscarried. Even then I knew that THAT number was much lower than they wanted to see. This most recent test gives me a doubling rate of 62 hours, so it slowed down a bit again.

    I’m wishing there was a little more clarity here. This is a bummer of a place to be in. They’re having me come back for another blood draw on Thursday morning. I believe the reason for that is that they like to test your HCG until it is at 1000. I have an ultrasound scheduled for first thing Friday morning. Whatever happens, we are going to see Tatiana Maslany in a show off Broadway on Friday night and I’m really pumped about that. We’re bringing Riley with us into the city and got a hotel suite for the night. My cousin is going to hang with Riley and put her down (hence the suite – she’ll be able to stay up and read or watch TV or whatever while Riley sleeps in the other room) while we have dinner and go to the show. I’m looking forward to it.

    Anyway, here’s a recap for anyone keeping track at home.

    • 11dp5dt (16dpo) – 78
    • 13dp5dt (18dpo) – 134
    • 15dp5dt (5 weeks) – 239
    • 17dp5dt (5 weeks 2 days) – 471
    • 19dp5dt (5 weeks 4 days) – 800

    Betas 3 and 4

    I haven’t had much time to write. Thursday night we ended up in the ER (then admitted) because Riley had some trouble breathing (breathing fast, neck and sternum retracting, grunting on the exhale, a little wheezing) in the setting of a virus. She’s doing much better and we were discharged after less than 24 hours, which is awesome. But we’ve been a little under water over here.

    Anyway, quick update re my ever perplexing betas.

    Recap/update:

    • 11dp5dt (16dpo) – 78
    • 13dp5dt (18dpo) – 134
    • 15dp5dt (20dpo) – 239
    • 17dp5dt (22dpo) – 471

    Those doubling times are slowish, but all technically within normal limits (less than 72 hrs), and have increased slightly each time (went from 61.5 hrs to 57.5 hrs to 50 hrs). That said, they’re all totally lower than what is normally expected.

    Today, my nurse said that everything is still within normal but that they’re a little concerned about the lower numbers. The plan is for another blood test Tuesday, then ultrasound on Thursday or Friday.

    My only “symptoms” thus far are sore boobs (obvi because progesterone to the max) and a decreased appetite. The appetite thing is significant enough to feel like a real symptom. I’ll keep updating here as the week progresses. For now, I’m going to play Mr. Potato Head with my kid. Happy Sunday 🙂

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