Full Circle

The past three weeks have been a blur to say the least; but they certainly complete the circle of this long journey for us.  On March 21, 2014, I gave birth to our son, Hudson.  What I remember the most was when they placed him skin-to-skin on my belly.  He cried a little and then contently lay awake and alert.  I watched him crawl up my body and feed for the first time.  We spent over an hour skin-to-skin and we had our own little bubble of calm in the chaos that was going on in the rest of the room.  Those moments and those emotions I felt made me feel like it was just myself and him.

When I look back at our IVF procedure and then I look at this perfect little person, all of the injections, appointments, blood work and ultrasounds were worth it.  We know how incredibly lucky we were to have a positive result with the first cycle.  Out of 16 eggs, then 9 embryos, and then 2 transfered blastocysts and the knowledge that we had nothing to freeze for future cycles – we were blessed with a healthy pregnancy and a perfect baby boy.  Sadly, our results are not typical and there are countless couples who have suffered emotional and financial heartbreak too many times.

So, would we do IVF again?  Together as a couple, Nick and I have decided that we will not do IVF again.  It’s emotionally draining for both couples.  It’s also expensive.  We would not have been able to do IVF if we did not ask for help (which was a tough thing to do).  If we magically conceive naturally then that’s incredible and amazing, however if we don’t then we are perfectly happy with our sweet baby boy 🙂

Just yesterday we found out that the province of Ontario announced that they will publicly fund the cost of one cycle of IVF for all forms of infertility.  They will be doing single embryo transfers to reduce multiple birth rates and high-risk pregnancies.  This is amazing and a step in the right direction.

A few days ago I received a FB message and friend request from a friend of a friend.  She said that her and her husband just found out that they need to do IVF and she asked if she could ask me some questions of she needed to since she didn’t know anyone else who had gone through the procedure before.  I told her that I would be thrilled to be part of her support circle and that it was so important to at least be able to talk to someone who has gone through it.  Even though our overall experiences and reasons behind the infertility might be different, I hope to help her feel as normal as possible through her journey to parenthood.

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Loose ends and 5 mores weeks to go ~ 34 weeks, 6 days

I’ll be 35 weeks tomorrow.  Thirty-five weeks.  Wow.  That’s kind of insane.

So far I have had a pretty normal/textbook preganacy (minus the IVF conception part).  Low risk, measuring good, weight gain good (up almost 30 pounds), no GD, BP is good, no massive swelling or preclampsia.  For this I am thankful.  We are going to install the car seat this weekend, start to pack our hospital bags, and the nursery is 95% complete.  We are half-way through our prenatal classes too, and my maternity leave starts at the end of next week.  I’m doing kick-counts as well (1-2 times a day being relaxed and counting 10 kicks in 2 hours) and trying my best not to freak out when he’s quiet most of the day.

I am 2 weeks away from being considered full-term and then basically in the next 5 weeks it could be anytime (according to our prenatal instructor babies can arrive normally between 37-42 weeks).  To say that we are a bit apprehensive about the next 5-7 weeks would be correct, and perhaps a bit of an understatement.  Our hospital tour is next week and I’m sure once we do that we will definitely feel like “omg this IS happening”.

I think the best way we are feeling “prepared” is through getting proper information through our OB and prenatal professionals, and then discussing it between ourselves.  I do still use google, but I google responsibly now!  Our birth plan is almost complete and it goes through revisions every so often when we learn new things and decide on what is the best for us.  It seems like we’re ready, but we probably won’t ever be!  We are just ready to enjoy the last 5 weeks (or so) and then finally welcome our son into our family!  We’ve waited a long, long time for this!

One of the blogs I follow posted this article.  I read it and laughed and could totally relate.  While I have come to realize how normal fertility treatments are, this list puts things into perspective!

The Meaning of New Year’s ~ 29 weeks, 3 days

New Year’s Eve is tomorrow, and then we will venture into the biggest year of our lives.  It’s very exciting and quite honestly a bit scary!

I remember last year at this time.  It was THE New Year’s that made me believe in New Year’s and all the hoopla surrounding it.  You see, we’re not big New Year’s people.  We don’t go out to a fancy club or restaurant dinner party, or take a trip for the countdown.  We are the type of people who usually just sit and watch the countdown on TV and spend time with our friends.  It’s not a huge deal to us – it’s just another year, right?

Well as I mentioned briefly somewhere in this blog, 2012 was definitely a rough year for us.  A lot of things happened and unfortunately it was mostly pretty dark.  There were a few very, very bright spots in 2012, but for the most part it was a pretty shitty year for us.  So, that year as New Year’s approached we knew that we just wanted to do something – get out and say ‘Good riddance!’ to the darkness and ring in 2013 in a different way.

We made plans to hang out with some friends at their house, and then as midnight crept closer we decided to hit the casino with some other friends.  It was lively and different and cheerful; definitely the place we wanted to be to say hello to the new year!  We were starving so we went to the food court, ordered and waited.  I think we were still waiting for our food to arrive when the clock struck twelve.  There were party horns and hats and cheers and smiles and hugs all around!

I distinctly remember the tears that prickled my eyes just seconds after midnight.  It wasn’t something that I could hide or even wanted to.  They weren’t out of sadness, but out of happiness.  Nick felt the same way as I did.  It was just relief that all of the hardship of 2012 was actually behind us.  It was a new year, with a new outlook on life and new experiences to be had.  It was truly the first time that I have ever felt the symbolism of New Year’s!  It was a tangible feeling for me, and us as a couple too.  We knew that 2013 was going to be a better year for us – even if we had no idea of what was in store.

So this New Year’s Eve, even though we plan on our usual hang out at someone’s house – it will feel different for us.  And each and every year that passes forward, we will look back and remember how we learned the meaning of New Year’s and be thankful.  We will be thankful for the rough year and the hardships and all of the tears; all of these experiences taught us something about how to handle the next rough patch and to appreciate the good times and happiness when we finally found ourselves upon such a wonderous thing.  I know all of this sounds so sappy and hallelujah-like, but it is what it is.

Happy New Year everyone.

And the doctor says…

I’m fine! She re-measured me and I’m the “correct” size – 26cm.

The only issue is I’m technically anemic since my RBC count and such was out of range. But I’m on an iron supplement now and things are good! I actually notice more energy – which is nice! And I’m making the effort to eat more beef since I’ve eaten mostly chicken since the beginning.

And by special request from many sources: I promise to not be a crazy worry-wart from now on. I’ll only be my regular amount of crazy 😉

A Non-Worried Update

A quick update:

As per the tech, he says everything looks fine! 🙂  It’s just really hard not to worry when they surprise you with an ultrasound.

Also, I’m pretty sure I’ve made up for any “small belly” issues with the doctor because from week 24 to week 25 I put on a whopping 4 pounds!  I’m guessing and hoping that I’m just retaining water a bit 😉  Anyways, the follow up doctor’s appointment is for Wednesday, so we’ll see if there really is any issue.  My guess, probably not 🙂

Progress…kind of ~ 24 weeks, 5 days

I think you would all be proud of me.  Well, hopefully anyways.  I know I am at least.  I am learning to be better at controlling my worry.  It’s not a complete 180 or anything, but it’s improving and that’s something to be proud of at least a little.

So last week we went for our standard 24 week check up.  Our regular doctor is on holidays so there is a sub filling in for her.  She does all of the usual things: weight, heartbeat check and belly measurement.  It takes her a little longer for the belly measurement.  She measures a few times.  Then she mentions that I’m a bit smaller than I should be at this point, however she says that our 20 week anatomy scan was perfect for measurements.  She suggests coming in again in 2 weeks to get measured again.  No problem.  She might have measured wrong or something.  I make the appointment and I’m also given the requistion for the glucose screeening too.  La dee da.

Yesterday I go for my glucose screening.  No problems.  It was pretty boring sitting and waiting for 2 hours – not to mention getting stabbed 3 times.  Later in the evening I check to see if the results are availble online.  They are and I’ve passed!  Yippee!  BUT…. yes, but.. I notice that I’m a little low with my red blood cell count.  It’s been flagged on the report since it’s out of range by 0.6 or something.  I mention this to Nick, and he starts reprimanding me for over-analyzing things.  I let him know firmly that I’m not that concerned or worried, and that if there’s a problem then the doctor will say something.  He’s impressed and satisfied by this statement from me, and quite frankly so am I! 🙂

So, everything’s good right?  Haha… My actual “Official Worry Test” came in about an hour later when the doctor’s office called me.  DUN DUN DUNNNN…..

{phone rings}
“Hello?”
“Hi, this is the doctor’s office calling with your ultrasound appointment for next Monday.”
{Confused silence for a moment.  Did she really just say what I think she said?}
“Oh, I get another one…?  What is this for?”
“The doctor requested it.  She just wants to check to see the growth of the baby.”
“Oh.. okay…”
{she gives me the details and we hang up}

I tell Nick what is going on, etc.  I’m okay for about 15 minutes…and then I have a full on freak out.  Crying, blubbering and worry-wart to the max.  C’mon, did you honestly think that I wouldn’t?

A third ultrasound???!!  Really?  That must mean there’s something seriously wrong!  Usually you only get 2 here in Canada, unless you pay for another one from a private clinic or if you are high risk.  I immediately think of all of the horrible things that could go wrong – bad move, especially with my creatively irrational thought processing.

Enter Husband of the Year.  He lets me cry.  He lets me freak out.  He doesn’t tell me to stop crying.  He calmly tells me that it’s probably nothing and that when the doctor measured me she said that I’m only a tiny bit smaller than I should be – and that she didn’t seem too concerned about it.  AND THEN… he googles it for me because he knows full-well that I will do it anyways and then spiral out of control.  He reads from google that it is quite common for women to measure either a week behind or ahead and it just might mean that we have a smaller baby instead of a ten-pounder.

“The doctors are just going by the ranges that they have in a book that say normal.  And really, what does ‘normal’ mean anyways?  Nothing.  It means nothing.

This might be something that they routinely do.  It just means we might just have a jockey instead of a basketball player.  It’s irrational for you to worry yourself like this.  It’s not healthy for you or the baby to stress out.”

He tells me that there is nothing to worry about until we are told something.  He then runs me a bath to calm me (and my round ligament pains) down.  I calm down.  I relax.  I stay relaxed until the morning when I spill a few worried tears in the car on the way to work.  He calms me down in a few minutes, and remarkably I manage to stay that way.

It’s progress.  Baby-steps, yes.  But it’s still progress.

Letting it Go ~ 23 weeks

-two weeks ago-

I reach for the anatomy results for the fourth time that day and read them again.  Two short pages, with just as few words on them.

“Stop.  Just stop it”, he says angrily.  “You keep looking for something wrong.  And there isn’t, so just stop it.”

He’s right.  So I stop.

-one week ago-

I see photos of my friend’s IVF baby online.  I see how perfect she looks and is.  I know my friend’s history and past; I know my own as well.

I feel the kicks of our son.  I see the ultrasound photo.  I smile.

—–

I shouldn’t live with others’ worries.  They are not my own, they have no meaning for me.  I have true feelings of sympathy for others’ worries, troubles and losses that I read about on their own IVF blogs, but that does not mean that I have to feel their worry myself.