Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers

Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The best Christmas ever.

For the past 8 or so years, hubby and I have been at Christmas Eve Mass and said, "Maybe next year we will be here with a baby."

I don't remember anything about the Mass this year, except that two fussy babies that fell asleep in our arms before Communion. It was wonderful.

The next morning we gave them their first Christmas presents:

(This looks suspiciously like an ad...but it's not....)

A and J: Christmas morning, before the spit up!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Here I come again...

Ahh, hello everyone (anyone) who may still be out there and checking my blog.

I keep meaning to update/post/put down my thoughts, and I never seem to get around to it. Sorry about that. This blog has been a great outlet for me!

One of the problems is that my (wonderful) Mother in Law is living with us and helping us take care of the babies. She is our live in nanny, which is wonderful, wonderful, except that we live in a one bedroom apt. The kids sleep in a crib in our room, while she sleeps in the den. Where our computer is. Needless to say, it is kind of hard writing down your inner-most feelings when someone else is sitting in an armchair 5 feet from you watching TV.

Anywho, I have been trying to remember to take my laptop home from work, so I can at least blog on the couch. It is still only about 5 feet from my MIL, but at least it is in a different room. :)

So, to the lovely Wiseguy who kindly asked if everything is OK, yep, I'm still here. All is well. Still having my struggles. Still trying to check up on you all (I've become a *gasp* lurker!).

Hopefully, the holidays will give me more time to sit down and pull out this tangled web of thoughts in my head and lay them out before you like so much spaghetti. You must be thrilled, I'm sure ;)

'Till we meet again,


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Coming up for air

Hi Y'all.

Um, so it's been a while, eh?

So it's been 14 weeks since the boys arrived, and I THINK we may have a routine down now. Sort of. At least the boys go down at 6-7pm and stay down (usually) until 11pm-1am or so. That is a gianormous improvement from, well, since they were born.

I have about a thousand blog posts in me. I have been thinking about how having children has affected the way I think about my infertility (not too much has changed), about the egg donor, about being a mother of children conceived by egg donation and about being a mom in general. But, even though I finally have some time to post today, I think I am going to take a little more time to sleep or spend time with my husband.

I do have some pics of the boys. :)

Gator fans

J and A: 3 months

J and A: why it takes a thousand pictures to get one good one....

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Quick update

Josh is home. Boys are hungy ALL the time. Trying to BF, but supplementing them both. Aaron has TERRIBLE gas..The smell will really knock the wind out of your would be funnier if it didn't cause him such consternation. After he eats (about 1.5 hours later) he wakes up and just cries and cries...It breaks my heart...except when it happens at 1:30am, then again at 4:30am, and again at 7:30 am, and again at... You get the picture.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Aaron Robert (6lbs 7oz) and Joshua Benjamin (6lbs 6oz) born July 12 at 12:57 am and 12:55 am, respectively. (Aaron is on the left and Josh is on the right).

I will fill you in on more of the details when I have caught up on more sleep. Right now, we are all home except for Josh, who has 'apnea of prematurity.' Which basically means he has apnea episodes that causes his heart rate to slow down. His case is mild, but he has to remain in the NICU indefinitely until he outgrows this problem. He needs 5 days without an episode to come home. He just had another one today, so the clock resets with day one tomorrow.

I can't wait to catch up with all of you and see where you are all at in your journey. Know that even in my sleep-deprived state, I am thinking of you all.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

side bloggin''s been a while, eh?

I've been trying to finish up stuff at work and get things ready at home....not too successful on either front, but hubby and I will do what we can.

A couple of weeks ago the boys were weighing an estimated 6 lbs each. (Give or take a pound in either direction). I am also carrying a lot of amniotic fluid, so my belly is big, big, big.

Since everything was going so well, I decided to work this week and then take off next week (that would give me 1 week and a day 'till the C-section). I had a non-stress test (where they basically measure the babies' heartbeats and see if when they move the heartbeat goes up and then comes back down to baseline) on Monday. The babies passed with flying colors! Me? Not so much. It turns out I was having mild contractions every 2-4 minutes....uh, what?

I was instructed to see the nurse in the office (my OB is out of town). After checking my blood pressure, which was high for me , I was sent to the Labor and Delivery triage unit. (I'm so tired of that place).

After bloodwork and multiple tests, the docs thought that I may have pre-eclampsia. Oh, joy! I was admitted to the hospital, given an IV and the contractions slowed down.

I had to stay over night and through 'till Tuesday evening so that they could monitor me, my blood pressure and my urine.

Turns out I don't have pre-elampsia....yet. But I'm just below the mark on a lot of tests,'s bedrest for me. I cannot complain, however, 2 weeks of bedrest is a lot less than many people predicted that I would have. However, that means that I have to try to get a crap-load of stuff accomplished via the internet and phone. Laying on one's side and trying to type is a lot harder than it would seem.

I've been trying to keep up with your blogs as well. Perhaps, now that I have more time on my hands, I'll be better about commenting...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This one goes to 11...

Well, actually, these two almost go to 11. But that sounds less cool. Last ultrasound estimated the babies were 5 lbs 8 ounces and 5 lbs 1 ounce. That is the 99th and 97th percentile. That means BIG BABIES. Like, attack of the BIG BABIES. And they have a little over 5 weeks left to grow. Any guess as to how big they are going to be? I'm guessing around 7 lbs each. I just can't imagine they can keep up this kind of growth given they are being constricted by an increasing lack of space.

And, I am embarrassed to admit, I am ready to throw in the 32 weeks. I wondered if this would happen; if I would turn from "I am just so happy to be pregnant" to "Dear Lord, give me my body back." I know that this is the "normal" way things should happen....everyone I know IRL has described that near the end you just want to not be pregnant anymore. I just wondered if that happened to those of us who have had such a hard time getting pregnant. It's not that I thought that I would want to always be pregnant...I do actually want to be a parent. But some people relish their pregnancies through the delivery day. I thought I might be one of those people. I am not. I feel rather wimpy and ungrateful now.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


So I am fast losing my patience with being a patient.

Pre-IVF, I cut doctor's offices a lot of slack. "You forgot to call me back? No problem, you were probably really busy." "You didn't order x, y, or z for me? That's OK. I'm sure a couple of days behind schedule is perfectly OK."

Now? My patience grows thin. Even when some of the problem is my fault. Let me demonstrate.

With this latest bladder infection, I paged the doctor-on-call after hours, and she was kind enough to call in a prescription for me without waiting for a urine sample. She did call back a few minutes after I spoke with her and said that after discussing it with her superior, they really did need a urine sample to confirm that the antibiotic was going to work on the infection that I had. That seemed fair enough. She said I could come by the next day (May 22nd, a Friday) if that was more convenient.

Indeed it was more convenient. I planned to go in Friday afternoon. However, I was sidelined by the fact that I got very nauseous at work. I won't go into details, but let's just say that I didn't quite make it to the bathroom receptacle and maintenance needed to be called. I needed to go home and shower. It was not pretty. So, the bottom line was that I didn't have a urine specimen taken. I thought that the antibiotic would probably do the trick, so no harm, no foul.

Yeah....By Tuesday, May 26th, when I had taken more than half of the antibiotics and I still felt crappy (and via an over the counter UTI testing kit still had loads of white blood cells in my urine), I thought I should call the doctor's office again. The nurse insisted that I come in for a urine sample. Yes, I thought, fair enough. My bad. If I have to suffer with this thing longer because I didn't follow the rules, then I got what was coming to me.

So off I went, pawning a duty at work onto a generous co-worker, and took the bus across town to give them my pee. I returned to work confident in the knowledge that I had done my part, albeit late. And, according to the nurse, I should hear back from the office the next day regarding my results.

So the next day came and went. I had a poster session that took up most of my day, so I didn't have a chance to call the office. Thursday came and went as well. So on Friday, I called and asked if there was any news on my urinalysis. I had been starting to feel better by that time, but I wanted to be sure that this wasn't a temporary fix, only to have any residual bacteria in my bladder start to take over again. I didn't get a hold of a nurse right away, so I opted for leaving a message. The office called me back 30 minutes before they closed to inform me that there was a problem with my sample and that the microbiology lab needed another one. I should go to the triage unit, since it would be after hours.

Excuse me?

Now, the rational side of my brain says, mistakes happen. Perhaps I didn't give them enough pee or something and so I need to give them more. The I'm-so-sick-of-all-this-BS part of my brain was all, "hell no! You waited until I called you before you told me that I needed to give another sample. Just like you waited until I came into the office for an appointment before you could finally dig up the results on the amniocentesis on both the babies, or give me the results of my glucose tolerance test! Or that I saw the nurse write down the wrong weight on my chart." And then, because I was all ratcheted up by this time, I immediately started pulling my IVF doctors' "failings" into my mind. "Oh, just like the IVF doc to failed to mention that he deliberately left one of the fibroids in after the surgery. Thus prompting the transfer doctor (during the only IVF cycle to go to retrieval with my own eggs) to accuse me of not giving her all the facts that I had a fibroid near my ovaries, which would make retrieval difficult. Yes, let's bring THAT up when I'm nervous, in stirrups and naked from the waist down. Or when I couldn't get a hold of the doctor for multiple weeks who mentioned I shouldn't carry twins after we found out we were pregnant with twins." Yes, my sanity and my patience. Gone. Gone. Gone.

I then started to work myself up into a bigger snit. My OB's office was all snarky about the urgent care medical facility that I went to when I had my last bladder infection. They told me that for anything related to my health care while I was pregnant I should see them, because the urgent care center I went to was (in so many words) incompetent. They made this assessment based on at least two facts: the urgent care center didn't send my urine results off for culture so when I came back and pulled my let's-vomit-in-the-urgent-care-center trick, they immediately sent me to the hospital where my OB's office is located because the urgent care facility didn't have the resources to get my blood tested that same day. The OB triage units' doctors were both snarky to the urgent care facility (I overheard them on the phone) and kind of snarky to me about it, acting like their practice was so far superior.

What made me laugh after I was released from the hospital that long and fateful day, is that they gave me the SAME D@MN antibiotic that the urgent care facility had given me, just prescribed for one day longer. They KNEW what the urgent care facility had prescribed for me, because I told them no less than 3 times and even brought the empty pill bottle with me and showed to everyone who asked. Pardon me, but yes, that does seem like sound reasoning. And did they send my culture out? I will never know, because they never called me back to tell me.

So when the OB's office said I needed to drive downtown, through traffic on a Friday night and go to their triage unit to give them another urine sample, I walked my butt right across the road to the urgent care center. I told them what happened and asked for them to check my urine; which they did. The answer? Trace white blood cells in my urine. I need to call Sunday or Monday to see if they could culture any bacteria out of it.

Why I felt like I was "sticking it to the man" I'm not sure. But somehow it felt good.....

Yes, I know, I am losing my mind...

Darn it, why does it always seem like we are the only ones who are taking care of us in the health system. Rationally I know this is not true, but I think of all the people who don't know that they need to be an advocate for their own health and they just slip through the cracks. It makes me very happy to know that my Grandparents still have eachother to act as advocates for eachother and that my hubby's Grandmother has her two sons and a daughter-in-law to make sure all the calls that are needed are made....

Thursday, May 28, 2009


So last Monday I went to the OB.  I just had an ultrasound and the estimated fetal weights of the boys were about 3.5 pounds each--in the low to mid 90s in terms of percentiles.  BIG babies!  I got the  results of my glucose tolerance test (all fine), my blood pressure (a respectable 118/70) and my protein in the urine test (all fine).  So the doctor announces to me, "Wow. You aren't having any of the problems we look for in women carrying twins.  You were made to carry twins."

I almost fell off of the exam table.  Only 4 months ago 2 of the 4 doctors I spoke with, including one in my OB's practice, was suggesting a fetal reduction.   

Not that any of us could have predicted the future.  But wow.  

I can only hope that things keep going well, although my stress is decreasing with regard as to whether the babies will survive to "what the heck do I know about raising children."

Also, my perception of pregnancy is changing.  I am shifting from "oh, thank you, thank you I am still pregnant" to "OK, how many weeks until the C-section?"  

I have been battling a recurrent bladder infection.  Unfortunately, I don't have all the classical symptoms of a bladder infection (i.e. that burning sensation).  My typical bladder infection involves nausea, frequent urges to pee, generally feeling poorly and being really, really worn out.  Not too unlike being pregnant. So I'm not sure how long I've actually had this bladder infection.  I am thinking for at least 2 or so weeks.  Not that delivering the babies will prevent me from getting a bladder infection, but I think that maybe I will recognize it sooner.  Kindly, a call to the OB's office led to a prescription for an antibiotic without having to go in that night for a urine sample.  I did have to go in later though, as they just MUST have my pee.

In other symptoms (complaints), I am having trouble sleeping, although I am so exhausted.  I also have alarming heartburn. Heartburn to the point that the acidic taste can actually make me throw up.  Thank goodness that Zan.tac was invented.  Otherwise, I would have to just eat chalk all day or something similar.  

Well, that's all the complaining that I have on tap for today.  I have some other things that I will hopefully get around to sharing with ya'll when I next post.  Nothing too spectacular; just what's happening in my little world.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Warning: egregious pictures

Well, it's official. I'm starting to become more optomistic about the pregnancy. See--it only took about 28 weeks! I still don't want to tempt the fates and get too cocky. But, perhaps I will bait the fates a little. As I think I mentioned before, I had an ultrasound done on the 28th or so of April. Just before the 27 week mark. I tried to figure out how I could link the pictures to somewhere else, in case you wanted to skip the pictures. But it turns out that I'm just not that smart, so if you are ready for them, scroll down at your own risk.

Bot front view (my DH thinks he looks like the Joker...)

Bot's foot!

Bit's profile; the u/s tech said it looked like he was sticking his tongue out!

Bot's face view

Of course I'm biased, but I think they look rather cute. Although, I didn't think about how cute they were last night when my husband tried to kiss me goodnight and I had abruptly excuse myself to run to the bathroom to relieve myself of my after dinner snack. And my face certainly doesn't look cute today, as the expulsion of my food seemed to prompt a number of blood vessels in my face to explode. Yes, I have had raspberries and spider veins on my face today. Luckily, I have freckles (what nearly 36 year old woman STILL has freckles???) and they can hide a lot of sins. I never thought I would be grateful for freckles.....

Monday, May 4, 2009

Back from Florida!

Actually, we got back right at the end of April, but I have been too tired/lazy to post.

The baby shower was really nice; I didn't freak out or qualify everything I said with "if these babies make it."  Which, you know, would be kind of a bummer to everyone around me.

We purposely didn't register for any blue things on some advice I got from a co-worker.  He said that when people found out he was having a girl, EVERYONE bought him pink things unless they specifically got it off he and his wife's baby registry.  DH and I?  Blue out the wazoo.  And two of everything clothing-wise.  

I had a good time, got to see some of my high school friends and some aunts that I haven't seen in a few years.  

The rest of the trip, it seemed like DH and I were running around trying to see everyone.  Oh, and it was his Dad's birthday and our 11 year (wow) anniversary.  

I got reacquainted with sweet tea (ahhh, I LOVE sweet tea). But found out that I couldn't drink it; it either didn't agree with me, or I drank it too fast and then lost my dinner/lunch/whatever.  I'm sure that was for the best anyway, as caffeine is supposed to be at a minimum.  I just got DH to order some and I would take a few sips from his glass. 

In other news, I had an u/s last Wednesday and the boys seem to be doing well.  Both are in the 95% for weight: aprox 2.5 pounds each! [which reminds me, if you don't follow Mermaid's blog, go over there and give her some bloggy love.  Her twins were born just under 28 weeks due to a failure to thrive.  They seem to be holding their own, but I cannot even imagine what a stressful experience this must be for her and her DH.]

News like this makes me even more grateful for how well this pregnancy seems to be going.

I have been having a lot of practice contractions.  In fact, I am at home from work today because I just wanted to monitor how things were going.  I have to call the Dr's office if I get more than 4 contractions an hour.  Last night before I went to bed I was up to 3 an hour.  I drank a HUGE glass of water and went to bed. And then proceeded to get up every hour to pee.  When I got up this morning, I was having contractions again, so I decided to monitor and see if they got more frequent.  They seem to have settled down now.  I think I only had one or two in the past few hours.  I think I miss most of them because they are really so mild.  The ones last night were nothing to be trifled with.  They made me rather nauseous.  

So, I'm hoping for the best and trying to take it easy today.  I think all will be OK, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I may have to take off time from work earlier than I want to in order to keep contractions at bay.  That wouldn't be so bad if we won the lottery....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The difficulty of posting

I know I haven't been around much. It's not that I haven't been thinking of you or checking your blogs.

It's more that I feel guilty posting. Guilty because now I am pregnant, and I see some of my best internet friends continuing to struggle.

And I remember: I remember what it was like to feel so happy that someone else was pregnant, but feeling that aching hole of sadness inside of me. Wondering if I would ever get my "turn." Or, would I be forced to watch others go down the path that I so desperately wanted to go down myself.

I know some of you might say, "this is your blog, you can post whatever you like." And while true, what I am facing in my own life is this barrage of uncertainty. Thinking that we are so close to being parents, and yet still so far.

I count my blessings every night, but I still hold back a small piece of myself in reserve wondering if we are going to lose these babies. I feel a little better now that we have reached the point of "viability"--24 weeks. But I know that 24 weeks means only that there is a chance that they will survive. A chance, but not much more than that.

And there is no guarantee that things will proceed smoothly. Reading Mermaid's posts reminds me daily that a seemingly uneventful pregnancy can take a scary turn.

We've taken a big leap of faith recently. We are going down to Florida next week to visit both sides of our family, and they want to throw us a baby shower. [I should comment on the irony of WHO is throwing me a baby shower in another post.] So, this weekend we registered. For baby things. And I'll be honest. I was uncomfortable the whole time. Not just because I can no longer see my feet when I walk, but because I worry that I will have a room full of baby things...and no babies.

People ask me: what is the theme of your babies' room?

And I think, "I don't care as long as they come home safe."

What type of bottles do you want? I have no idea. I don't even want to research that.

The list goes on and on.

Sorry for the self-pitying rant. Hopefully, I'll get into the swing of things soon.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Long time no hear...

Wow, I cannot believe how long it has been since I posted. 

I wish I had some profound reason for my absence, but, alas, no.  Mostly I've just been tired and sick.  It seems that the only position I can be in for any length of time without me becoming lightheaded is horizontal. 

I have still been trying to go to work, but I think I spend as much time with my head down on my desk or laying down on the couch in one of the conference rooms as I do working.

Although I do have a "fun" trip to tell you about.  Last week I was feeling so, so poorly and was having what felt like menstrual cramps.  Plus, I had been charting my weight and had noticed that I have not gained any weight for 4 weeks now.  I placed call to the OB's office and they said that things were probably OK.  I was worried that I was having preterm labor contractions, given that some of the doctors that provided my earlier care were concerned that I would have problems with this.  

A friend suggested that I may have a bladder infection.  My bladder infections, as a rule, do not have the horrible burning sensation that I have heard from other women.  Instead, I feel completely run down and have a lot of bladder spasms....that can feel like menstrual cramps. Aha!  

So, that night I head down to the urgent care center near me.  Sure enough, diagnosis: bladder infection.  I'm given antibiotics and go home.  

A few days after finishing the antibiotics I notice that my symptoms are returning...along with more nausea and dizziness.  Great. 

I head back to urgent care (it's a Sunday).  I tell my husband to stay home, b/c I'm just going to get another prescription for antibiotics.  

But no, that would be too simple.  Instead, in the waiting room I start having one of my dizzy/nausea spells.  I ask someone if there is someplace I could lie down.  She says she will try to find something...then I take off like a bat on fire to find the bathroom and relieve myself of my Sunday breakfast.  Well, it seems that you get placed at the front of the line with that kind of behavior.  

I was placed in a wheelchair and taken back to a room immediately where the nurse says she is worried that my bladder infection may have spread to my kidneys.  I should go to the hospital.  

OK.  But she won't let me drive.  Instead, some strapping young EMTs load me into an ambulance and drive me to the hospital.  At least they didn't have the lights on :)  

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get a hold of my husband to tell him that I'm going to the hospital.  Oh, and the car is still parked at urgent care.  Only I cannot get a hold of him.  Great.  

So..I call a neighbor to run down to the apartment and tell him to call me.  Luckily, since I told my friend that I was OK, just to have him call, he wasn't freaked out.  He was more interested in whether they were using the sirens in the ambulance!  :)

Poor hubby had to take the subway, find the car and then drive to the hospital where I was now in the labor and delivery triage unit.  Still having horrible dizzy spells and with ORANGE urine.  Really, I have never seen urine that color before.  The babies seem to be fine, however, so I'm relieved.

Long story short: hubby finds me.  Brings me snacks (he's so sweet).  We await the test results of urinalysis and blood work.  Still having dizzy spells.  While we are waiting they send me down for an ultrasound of my legs to determine if I have any blood clots which could be contributing to my dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath.  

6.5 hours I'm discharged with the diagnosis of a "raging" bladder infection and no apparent reason for the dizziness and nausea.  Perhaps the bladder infection.

A few days later (yesterday) I have my scheduled appt with my OB.  I bring up the nausea and dizziness.  The culprit he says: low blood pressure.  What?  

I have always had blood pressure just slightly lower than the norm.  Usually 115/70.  Nothing to worry about.  Interestingly, a woman's blood pressure drops during the first half of pregnancy and then by about 24 weeks starts to pick back up again.  My blood pressure at the time of my OB appt: 108/60.  So all the dizzy spells: lack of blood to the brain.  No blood to the brain brings on nausea.  Oh.  

The solution.  Drink lots more water.  This I had been trying to do.  However, I was doing it wrong, if you can believe that.  Since I work in a lab, I cannot bring food or drinks inside.  So every few hours, I go to another room and chug a glass of water.....which makes my stomach expand to fast....which makes me nauseous.....which makes me throw up.  I am now mandated to sip water continuously.  Hard to do, but it does seem to help.  I just have to take a lot more breaks from work.

Luckily, the doctor says that my blood pressure should start to increase soon and I won't be having so many dizzy spells.  

The lack of weight gain does not concern him at all.  He even told me that all the advice in the baby books about gaining weight is a leftover from before they had such good ultrasounds and could estimate the babies weights.  As long as the babies are growing OK, very slow weight gain for the Mom seems to be OK, at least in his eyes.  I swear, you ask a hundred people and you will get a hundred answers.  Barbara Luke, who has written a book about having multiples (and was involved in running a multiples clinic), swears up, down, left, right and center that packing on the pounds is the key to having healthy multiples.  Oh well, since she is not my doctor, I guess I go with his advice.  

Sorry for the long post, I'll try to keep posting more often.  Probably whilst sipping my water :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Boy, oh boy!

So we had the level II ultrasound yesterday AND got the amnio results (they may have been lost somewhere in the system, but our doctor's assistant was able to dig them up).

The results:

Two healthy babies: all chromosomes accounted for, no extra ones. And, both babies are BOYS :)

Hubby and I had secretly been hoping for one girl and one boy, but really, we are just grateful and overjoyed that I'm actually pregnant and that this pregnancy seems to be going well.

Both babies are kicking in a way that I can feel them and I am so excited by that! However, the other day I had a graduate student ask me if I could feel them kicking and what it felt like. When I replied, she responded that having something move in you was "gross."

After wanting to slap her upside of her head, I replied that if you knew you had a child in you, you wouldn't think it was gross. This has been something I had been hoping to feel for years, and I was reminded about how so many people take their fertility for granted.

So, no more Dr's appts for me for the next 4 weeks! I'll just keep praying that things keep moving in a positive direction :)

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The unexpected 2WW

Thanks for all the good vibes for the results of the amnio. However, some people had suggested to me that only waiting a week for the results seemed like a short amount of time.

Indeed, it is. One of the doctors in the room told me that we could expect an early result in one day and the definitive result in a week. Noooo.......not really. After about a week (this past Tuesday) I called the office and asked about my results. The nice nurse on the phone told me that she did have the early test results, but the final results would take, yes, at least two weeks. So that doctor was obviously not a research scientist; I am, however, and I feel that I should have figured something was up. Nevermind that I work with yeast and not humans....

Anywho, the results of the early test were very encouraging. Both babies have the normal # of chromosomes at first glance (yay for 46 chromosomes). [Just to show you how non-human-centric I am: I had to look that up. at first I was going to write 16 (# of chromsomes in budding yeast) and my next guess was 3 (number of chromosomes in fission yeast) and worse than that, these numbers are for hapliod yeast--double sigh.] Next week we should get the final results on the actual human babies I am carrying and not on what I stare at every day.

In other mind-blowing news, my mind is blown. I swear I can actually FEEL my brain cells withering up and dying. Sometimes getting an intellegent sentence out of my mouth is more effort than it is worth. I am considering communicating strictly through grunting now.

This comes at a bad time, as I have quite a lot on my plate work-wise. It seems that this miracle of a pregnancy will come to an end (I hope) right about at the time that my fellowship runs out at work. This fellowship I have pays for my salary (and my health insurance). I am very fortunate to have it. But when it ends, there is no guarantee of a job. The funding in my lab is quite tight right now, and I have had to have a few uncomfortable conversations with my boss. The conversations go along the line of : " Um, yeah, so my fellowship will be running out at the end of August. I was wondering if you were in a position to keep me on for a while afterwards." Well, I guess that is just my side of the conversation. The answer from my boss is that he just doesn't know right now. We may have a better idea in mid-March when we will meet with a funding agency to see if they think we have made enough progress on our current reasearch to apply for a larger grant which can fund a salary.

To be honest, it is time for me to move on in my career. My post-doc (what you do after grad school when there are no jobs available) will be at the 4 year mark in August (rather typical for a life science post-doc). However, now is not the best time to be searching for a job, what with my scattered brain and this lovey economy. This morning at breakfast, hubby and I had a talk about different options if I cannot stay in my current lab after the babies are born. He brought up getting a job in a bank or mall. I was pretty fabbergasted, I have to say. Not that I have a problem with the work; I've just spent, um, the last 18 (OHMYGOSH) years of my life persuing a career as a research scientist (college + lab tech + grad school +post doc). Well, we'll just have to see what happens in the next few weeks/months....

Sunday, February 22, 2009

And here we are

Nothing too much to report here.

I had the amnio last Tuesday, the 17th, not the most painful thing I had been through, but still I wouldn't do it on a whim. I have also decided that I am not a "piercer." I have heard that some people get a real thrill from having piercings or tattoos. I have had more than my fair share of injections and needle pokes to know that I most certainly do not get a thrill from being pierced or poked.

We did have one humorous moment during the amino. I had two doctors in the room with me:one male and one female. The female was guiding the ultrasound to a place where the baby was not, while the male doctor was doing the poking. After the amnio for baby one, I mentioned that I was not surprised by the needle stick, but by the cramping that occured when the needle when into my uterus. The male doctor said that baby one was low in my uterus and that there tended to be more "feeling" there and it could be more painful. The female doctor turned to look straight at me and said, "I have had a few of these, and I don't care where you put the needle, it still cramps." I don't know why I thought that was so funny, but I had to supress my laughter.

No word yet on the results (we are specifically interested in baby 2 as s/he was on the upper end of normal of the nuchal lucency test (sp?). The same male doctor told us that we should have some results the next day. Again, we haven't heard anything yet. So now I refer to the the unborn as "our mutant babies" to my husband. So hopefully we have resuts soon....

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Still here

...and still getting over this monster of a cold. This nasty thing has been going around the lab where I one is safe!

But I am getting better and my appetite is increasing, so that is good. In fact, after I finish typing this up, it's time for a snack!

Next week, actually next Tues I go in for the amnio. Am I nervous? Kind of. At this point I'm actually settling into the idea that I'm REALLY pregnant with two babies (and not just getting fat and irritable).

To let you know what leap this is for me, I'll let you know a little secret. I've actually given nicknames to the babies: bit and bot. Not that original, but that is just what keeps coming up in my mind. "Naming" them is a scary proposition for me. Up until this point in my life, I would have always told you I was an optimist. And I am: FOR YOU. Everything WILL work out well for you. Just not for me. Dang, that sounds harsh....

I guess I am still waiting for the proverbial "other shoe to drop." I was hoping that this would cease when I actually got pregnant. Then when I reached the 3 month milestone. Now, I am not sure that it ever will, but I am doing my best not to dwell on it. But I still realize that I keep a "healthy(??)"distance from the pregnancy.
In fact, some baby update-thingy suggested that at 15 weeks you should start talking to the baby to help strengthen the bond between the two of you. I almost passed out. I have only just gotten the courage to give them nicknames, let alone have a conversation with them.

I've always been a late bloomer, perhaps we'll start our "conversations" at little bit later :)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Colds suck

So I've been home for the past two days with a nasty cold. I hardly ever come down with a cold and when I do, its not usually so bad. This one sucks giant donkey ba.lls. Seriously.

I made my first "I'm a silly pregnant woman and don't know what meds I can take" call to the new high risk OB that I went to on Monday. The nurse who took my call gave me some idea of the meds I can take and then pointed me to the packet of info that they gave me at my visit. I almost started laughing when she told me there was ACTUAL information in that packet.

See, I've gotten 3 packets already in this journey of pregnancy. The first one was from the IVF clinic after my positive pregnancy test. The second came from my first OB at the local practice. I was very diligent and read them as soon as I could. Put them in a safe place should I need to refer to them later. This one, not so much. I put it in my backpack (I KNOW, I'm 35 I should not still be wearing a backpack, but with my computer in it, it is just too heavy to carry on one shoulder.) I told myself that I would read it when I had some time. Unfortunately, I left it at work when I came home with the sickness and haven't been back to work to pick it up.

Besides all the coughing, sneezing, stuffy nose, etc. that has been going on, I have to say I like my new OB. (I really liked my other OB, but this guy specializes in premature births, women with multiples, and difficult cesarean sections.) After doing an initial workup with a nurse and her asst., I met with the Dr. He was exceptionally non-plussed at my medical history. In fact, he wondered why the IVF doctor would recommend a reduction when, in his words, "I have had patients that have had their uterus dismantled and completely reconstructed and they didn't have a problem with pregnancy." Nice to hear. Sorry that someone had to go through that, though.

I next meet with him after our amnio on the 17th. Hubby will be there to meet him as well.

Ugh, I would write more, but in that last paragraph, I sneezed 10 times (I counted)! I'm going to bury my head under some pillows now.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

what the doctors said (pt 2)

So, as I mentioned, like, a year ago. We were able to meet with our RE, but the surgeon was running late. So we decided to contact him later. My hubby then began communications with him via email.

This is an excerpt of my hubby's email to the surgeon:

...And while the situation did seem delicate to us, the truth is that we were
given information that was taken completely out of context. We knew it was your
recommendation to only carry one child to term. I also knew that it would
be your opinion that, if we had the option, reducing Brenda to bearing only
one child to term would be the greatest reduction of risk. However, our RE's
nurse presented your recommendation to Brenda as if it was the end all, be all,
final word on the matter and that something terrible was definitely going to
happen if she didn't reduce. Your letter, while factual, was presented to us as
something that was without option, hence...we freaked out.

While we don't consider this a "simple" matter of miscommunication, we do
not hold you responsible for that miscommunication. If anything, you are the
only one (besides our RE) in all of this that, when asked, gave us a learned
opinion on how to proceed.

And the reply from the surgeon:

You are very nice to convey your thoughts on the matter in this way. And I
must say that your interpretation is absolutely correct. When I was asked to
give my opinion on the matter (i.e. when I wrote the note last week) I made the
wrong assumption that all options were open and I felt compelled to recommend
the safest one for Brenda. You also must know that SINCE writing the note I
have polled several colleagues and they all feel that my concerns are extreme
because there is no data showing a prohibitively high risk of rupture in Brenda's

In any case: I will be in Boston in ten days and will be happy to meet
with you.

We felt better. So our next appt was with the maternal fetal specialist this past Wednesday (the 21st). We had the nuchal translucency at the base of the babies' necks examined at our (nearly 12 week) ultrasound. One was well within the limits at 1.0mm. The other was just on the upper end of normal at 2.5 mm. Given that our donor was only 29 at the time of donation, the doctor is as confident as he can be that this is not an indication of a genetic abnormality.

But then......

My hubby and I had a long talk with the specialist. We went over all of my risk factors:

  1. Two invasive uterine surgeries
  2. A frozen pelvis (basically this means that I have so many endometiral adhesions that most of my internal organs are glued together). Thankfully, however, down near the base of my uterus where the doctor would perform a C section, there are few, and only "milky" adhesions--thus making surgery there much easier. The bad thing about all of these adhesions, is that IF something goes awry during the pregnancy (a uterine rupture) and it occurs in a place where all the adhesions would be difficult for the doctors to get in there and make lose the babies and/or my uterus.
  3. I still have 2 relatively large fibroids near my cervix. These were fibroids that the surgeon didn't want to touch, in order (I think), to maintain the structural integrity of my cervix.
The specialist said that because of all these risk factors that there was a greater chance than normal of a uterine rupture. However, he also mentioned that of all medical practices, OB has the fewest randomized trials in terms of studying outcomes of women with different risk factors (he noted that most women don't wan to be in the group not given the "tested" treatment"). Therefore, he had no statistics, no studies, just a gut feeling. His gut feeling? He "tilts" twords a reduction.

Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but this is becoming a common theme. "If all things were equal, we, the doctors, would feel more comfortable if you were only carrying one child."

However, in my hubby's and my world, all things are not created equal. There is no guarantee that we will be able to carry one child without complications, and there is no guarantee that we cannot carry two with few complications. I mean, when I think about it, my uterus has produced one 12cm fibroid that weighed over a pound and a second one that was 6+ cm, I think. I currently have two, 4.5 cm fibroids near my cervix (although they may have grown in the past 4 was difficult to tell from the U/S report). I am beginning to think I have the most amazing uterus EVER. All I ask is that it stay put and just do it's job, instead it has to be an overachiever and add extra, rather large adornments on the outside. That sounds like incredible plasticity to me! :)

After meeting with the specialist, I initally agreed to have a CVS done on the fetus with the upper limit nuchal translucency. After reading more about it, I have changed my mind. Given that we know the donor's genetic makeup (we paid to find it out!), we are not at risk for a number of inherited chromosomal disorders. Thus, the only think that the test would be able to determine is if the child has Down's syndrome, Trisomy 18, or Trisomy 13. Both Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13 are "mostly" incompatable with life--depending on the severity.

Instead, I think we are going to opt for and amniocentesis at 15 weeks. That's a little late in the game, but we can also tell other things from the amnio that will give us more information. At this point, we are only willing to reduce if one of the children has an abnormality that is incompatable with life or will cause them to suffer needlessly.

So, although we are still in a little bit of limbo. We have made our decision and are happy with it. Don't get me wrong, I am scared to death that something is going to happen at say, 6 or 7 months and we are going to lose the babies. Sometimes this fear grips me so hard, that I just sit in the bedroom crying.

But, we're moving forward. We have an appointment (dear Lord, all the appointments) with a high risk OB who specializes in women who are in need of complicated C-sections.

I actually went out and bought some maternity pants today. Squeezing into my regular jeans, although still possible, was increasingly less and less comfortable. In fact, when I put on the maternity pants they felt so good I almost starting crying. Then again, I am crying at just about everything these days. Either that or gagging. I'll be glad when that settles down, because, sheesh, my stomach muscles need a rest.

So here we are, wherever this is. The land of cautious optimism. The land of moving forward.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Rays of sunshine (or what the doctors said-pt 1)

Again, I want to thank you all for you kind words that you have left over the last week. This has been really nerve-wracking and exhausting.

But, I have good news! It seems that the doctors may have been a bit overly-enthusiastic about the reduction. Once they found I that I didn't WANT one, than they said. Oh, well there is no real need to get one.

Yeah. I am not really sure what to think about that. I will try to lay out how all of this happened over next couple of days, however, I succumbed to more nausea and work has been it may take a while.

I will start with what I was read over the phone on (this is paraphrasing, as I realize that I left the paperwork at my work).

Due to these extreme circumstances, it is with much sadness that I recommend
that Brenda have a fe.tal red.uction.

Then freaking out ensued.

Here is a copy (with names changed), that was the response to that phone call. The email was sent to our RE, the surgeon and the doctor who performed the embryo transfer.

"Good morning, This email is on behalf of Hubby and Brenda. We
recently went through a successful embryo transfer using donor eggs and have
two, healthy babies growing. We are terribly thankful for this.

There was a concern prior to the transfer as to how many embryos should be
transferred. Brenda has undergone two myomectomies for the removal of uterine
fibroids prior to the transfer. Dr. Surgeon had mentioned after the second
surgery that Brenda would likely need to give birth via c-section and that he
did not think that she should carry twins or more. Prior to the transfer, I
recalled this conversation and specifically called Our RE's nurse to
confirm if this was still Dr. Surgeon's recommendation and if there was any
record of this for Brenda. I was assured by Our RE's Nurse that all
relevant information regarding Brenda's health would be available to the
transferring doctor on the morning of the transfer and that this information
would considered in full before the procedure.

On the morning of the transfer (11/16/08), Dr. On the Day of Transfer
(OTDOT) indicated that they recommend transferring two embryos. I again
brought up the conversation that Dr. Surgeon had with me regarding carrying
more than one child to term. Dr. OTDOT replied that while the c-section
recommendation was in Brenda's file, there was no record that carrying twins or
more should be avoided. She also felt that if this was a major concern, the
information would be in Brenda's file. Dr. OTDOT did ultimately leave the choice
to us. Since the doctor recommended transferring two embryos and we had no
record to indicate otherwise, we agreed to transferring two embryos.

The procedure was a success and Brenda now has two healthy, growing
fetuses. On Dec. 23, we had a routine ultrasound and visit with Our RE. I again
mentioned the conversation that Dr. Surgeon had with us regarding carrying
more than one child to term. Our RE immediately called and emailed to confirm
Dr. Surgeon's recommendation. Dr. Surgeon was unavailable at the time. On
Monday, Jan. 5, [ed. note: Hubby got the day wrong] my wife received a
call from Our RE's nurse. She began reading a written recommendation from
Dr. Surgeon that carrying more than child to term would be very risky for
Brenda and should be avoided. In short, it is now recommended that Brenda go
through fetal reduction. I can not reiterate the actual recommendation as my
call to Our RE's nurse on Monday requesting this information has not yet been

This is the very information we had requested prior to the transfer. We
requested this information because it would have directly affected the number of
embryos we would agree to transfer. Brenda and I are morally opposed to fetal
reduction. We are also in a position to decide shortly whether to undergo the
reduction as Brenda is entering her 10th week or pregnancy.

Brenda and I feel that if carrying more than one child to term would be
such a dire risk to her that this information would have been available
throughout this procedure. If the information was available, then we feel that
it should have been taken into consideration by Dr. OTDOT on the morning of the
transfer. We would like a copy of this recommendation to review and to also
provide to the specialist who will now be advising us through the remainder of
Brenda's pregnancy. We feel that this information should have been available
prior to the transfer and would like to know when it was written. We are deeply
distressed to now be in this position and feel that it could have been
reasonably avoided.

Kind regards,
My Hubby

Nice, huh?

The response was swift, and we set up a meeting with them on Wednesday, Jan 14th.

Let me just say, that I love our RE. She has been so responsive throughout the last three years. She did not let us down this time as well.

We met with our RE while my surgeon finished a surgery on someone else. He wanted to join us as soon as he was finished. Our RE told us that this had caused a big stir at the practice. She wanted the conversation with us to take two tracks: one, what was the recommendation for me, and two, where the lines of communication broke down.

That sounded good to us, as that was our plan as well.

Our RE reviewed our history, spoken with some high-risk OB's and determined that it would not be her recommendation to have a red.uction. Indeed, in very scientific terms, she said that our increased risk of a catastrophic failure (uterine rupture in the absence of contractions), was about 0.25% higher than others. Yes, there IS a decimal place there. However, the risk of losing the other twin when having a fe.tal red.uction is 0.5%.

In turns of where the lines of communication failed, our RE pointed out 3 places: 1st when we called our RE's nurse to inquire about Dr. Surgeon's recommendation prior to transfer. That should have been routed to either our RE or to Dr. Surgeon. Second, on the day of transfer. Perhaps Dr. OTDOT should have called Dr. Surgeon to confirm, as this was not a "normal" conversation that would happen at the time of transfer. Third, when someone reads a recommendation of such dire news, it should not be done over the phone by someone other than the person recommending it.

These were the exact points that hubby and I wanted to bring up as well, so we felt comfortable knowing that there was someone who took this as seriously as we did. Our RE said that there was already a meeting being set up to discuss this incident and how to address these issues in the future. And, intriguingly, they are talking about having a discussion with the patients prior to transfer about the possibility of a red.uction and whether that information should come into play when deciding how many embryos to transfer.

Call me flabbergasted at this last statement. Am I the only one who might have a problem with reduction? Does everyone accept this possibility so easily? I think not; but, I'm not sure why this has not come up before.....

In the end, we were quite happy with our meeting. But we didn't get a chance to speak to Dr. Surgeon, as his surgery was running hours late.

We did speak to him via email over the next few days, I will update on that soon.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Attempting to return to the land of the living..

Thank you everyone who has left such kind messages for me. It is really comforting to know that there is a group of people pulling for our family. This is the kind of thing you can't share with many people....

I think a lot has happened, and yet nothing has happened. I went home after meeting with our new OB, I was unable to keep anything down. I had a hard time keeping anything down the next day as well. This bout of worry and sadness has seemed to kick up the "all day sickness" that seemingly started to subside.

We have an appointment to speak with a specialist in maternal fetal medicine dealing with multiples on Jan 21st. First, we have an ultrasound, then we meet the doctor. I'll be a day shy of 12 weeks by then. Sigh.

In addition, we have set up a meeting with the REs at the baby-making factory to discuss why we were given the option to transfer two embryos when the surgeon (and fellow RE) in the practice would be so opposed to me carrying twins. And also why the doctor doing the transfer said the "only thing in my chart was that I should deliver at 36 weeks".

What is probably the scariest part about this whole thing, is that IF my uterus was to really rip in half when carrying twins, I would have been blindly unaware of this impending danger. Since my husband was the only one who remembered the surgeon saying I shouldn't carry twins AND since we insisted on calling the clinic multiple times after we found out we had twins AND waiting for weeks for an answer....that is the only reason (our dogged determination), I repeat the ONLY reason, I was given such information.

Not before the transfer. Not after the 1st ultrasound. Not after the second ultrasound. Not even at our "graduation day" from the RE. Only on the phone from the nurse after "a long meeting" with the surgeon more than 2 weeks after we inquired.

If I feel up to it, I'll post the email my husband sent to the RE practice in the next few days. It is very well written, very clear, very respectful, but pointed.

I'm not sure what we are going to "get" out of this meeting on Wednesday. Hubby wants an apology, but more than that, I think he wants more is to speak with the surgeon about his recommendation. He also wants to make sure that this information is directed to the specialist. My hubby is hopeful that the actual written recommendation by the surgeon is not as dire as I made it sound. As for myself, I am not expecting much out of the conversation. I feel pretty beaten down right now, both physically and emotionally.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Not the best day

Thanks everyone for you kind words :)

I did eventually hear from the surgeon yesterday...just as I was sitting in the waiting room for the appt. Not the news I wanted to hear: Dr. Surgeon says no way on the twins. Actually, it was said much more professionally, to the tune of : given the mutilayered surgeries that were needed, it not recommended that the patient carry twins. In this unfortunate situation, it would be best to take the extreme measure of fe.tal red.uction.

I'll just let that sink in a moment.

You can imagine how upsetting that was for me. Tears were streaming down my face and the poor OB that I met for the 1st time yesterday met me and immediately asked me what was wrong. When I told her about the news, she seemed very positive that all would be OK. She kept telling me that with proper attention everything would be fine. Sorry, I don't jump so quickly on that train any longer.

She did have an hour and a half consultation with me. I'm sure she missed her lunch. I know I missed mine, and I paid for it dearly. At least there wasn't anything to come back up.

She also set me up with a maternal fetal specialist at the hospital that we did our IVF procedure. The specialist wants to wait until the end of January for an ultrasound, and then my hubby and I will have a consultation.

I left work early yesterday and called in sick today. I spent all last night either in long conversations with my husband, or crying. I tossed and turned all night. And if you wondered if that helped morning sickness, the answer is no. I barfed in the middle of the night and have barely kept my food down today.

I haven't cried today, although I am a little teary-eyed now.

I cannot even tell you all the things that are going around in my head: from "why wasn't this info in our medical records so that we would only transfer one embryo" to " why did I convince my husband to transfer two" to "what happens if I have to make a choice that I swore I would never make" to " what will happen to my job and our second source of income if I am incompacitated for many months......"

I am a spiritual person; I want to give this to G0d. Really, I do. But my poor, poor mind cannot help but jump from one possibility to another......

Monday, January 5, 2009

ramblin' man (or woman) have you been? Me? Sleepy. And hungry.

Things have been happening in fits and starts, not unlike the buildup to an IVF cycle.

Eat well. The babies are growing. Try to relax. NOW GO TO MULTIPLE DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENTS. Now try to relax and eat well.

I did hit a few personal milestones. I will be 10 wks pregnant on Thursday, so that's a first. Actually, just being pregnant is a first, so everyday is a milestone. Also, I bought a pregnancy book. It took me 3 trips to different bookstores before I had enough courage to actually buy it. Not that I'm superstitious or anything.....

While things seem to be moving, um, undetectably, I continue to pretend that I'm probably still pregnant. I could use an ultrasound every week. Yes, that would be helpful.

In terms of who knows that I am pregnant, that is spreading a little faster than I had anticipated. One of my high school friends emailed me congratulations the other day. I had forgotten that her parents and my grandparents have morning coffee in the same place. My parents are back in my (tiny) hometown and they have run into two more of my former high school friends. My parents said that my former classmates wished me congratulations. I guess I didn't make it clear to my parents or my grandparents that although I told THEM that I was pregnant, that I wasn't ready to make announcements to distant friends yet.

I have never been in this situation before, so I don't know when I will really be ready to tell everyone. I know 3 months is the usual marker. So I am guessing I will mention it at the beginning of February. That will be almost 14 weeks.

In other baby-related news, I meet with an OB tomorrow. I want to have a very frank discussion about all of my uterine issues and pregnancy. I think if I can feel that the OB is on top of everything I'll relax a little more. Unfortunately, I STILL haven't heard back from the surgeon who declared that I "shouldn't carry twins." I understand that he should have a vacation, but this is a rather important issue. My RE (who is in the same practice as him) left him a voicemail and an email on the 23rd of December and we have not heard a peep. I contacted the nurse and she says that the surgeon has not contacted her or replied to the email. Nice.

Finally, as I ramble untill everyone quits reading, I have a message for Beth, who kindly left me a comment, like, 50 years ago. She asked if I did anything special for our donor cycle. The answer is "not really." Mostly I tried to keep myself calm and distracted as best I could. I didn't eat/not eat certain foods. Nor, did I go to an acupuncturist or massage therapist. I feel like I have enough doctors appointments as it is, so I didn't want to add more. I do, however, regularly (2x/month) a mental health therapist as I have a panic/anxiety disorder. She also has patients who are undergoing IVF, so I was encouraged to talk about that freely. That was quite helpful.

Well, that has been my 2 weeks in a nutshell. Oh, yeah, I gave my husband "Rock Band" for Christmas. I am getting really, really tired of electric guitar solos......