Monday, December 20, 2010

CCRM Cycle #2 - Day 3 Transfer

I am happy to report that we transferred three beautiful embryos this morning!

9-cell, grade 4-
8-cell, grade 4-
8-cell, grade 4-

And according to Dr. Gustofsen these embryos are the same or better quality than the BEST embryo we put in to get Dru!

The better news is that the remaining 6 embryos had the following ratings:
6-cell, grade 3+
6-cell, grade 3+
5-cell, grade 3+
4-cell, grade 3+
4-cell, grade 3+
4-cell, grade 3+

So although they aren't great, they are MUCH better than last cycle. Last cycle we transferred a 6-cell grade 3+ as one of our best embryos. And the remainder of the embryos were 2 and 4 cell with 50% fragmentation (those listed above have 15%).

The embryologist told us that all 6 are in contention for surviving to day 5 or 6 for freeze. She said she's seen 4 cell embryos make it. Last time, more than 1/2 of the ones we didn't transfer had arrested by day 3, then the rest by day 4.

I'm go grateful for such great results.

I'll tell our transfer day story in another post.

Thank you for all your prayers and support,

Saturday, December 18, 2010

CCRM Cycle #2 - Fertilization Report

I am happy to report that yesterday Dr. Gustofson retrieved 19 eggs! I had 7+ measurable follies at AFC, and no more than 15 on trigger day, they were happily surprised to find 19 eggs in there. My E2 level on trigger day was 2600, when in the last cycle it was 3100, so I'm not entirely surprised with the following fert report.

Today's fertilization report is nearly in line with our last cycle:
10 mature
9 fertilized with ICSI

They will call us on Monday to let us know if we're doing a day 3 or a day 5 transfer - I'm thinking it'll be day 3. The embryologist, Kim, told me that they'd need 4-5 well maturing embryos on day 3 to push to day 5.

The recovery this time is SO EASY. For the most part my biggest complaint is light headedness (very mild) so can I even complain about that? I have had no bleeding/spotting and very minimal cramping.

Stay tuned for Monday ...

Monday, December 13, 2010

CCRM Cycle #2 - Update

On Saturday CCRM gave us the free pass for appointments on Sunday, so my MIL, FIL, and DH took off for the slopes. Dru and I had a relaxing day back at the homestead - it was nice. Turns out Cop.per Moun.tain was 28 degrees at the base and who knows what ungodly temperature at the top ... so I am SO grateful that my bovaries prohibited me from skiing.

I got a chance to visit my dear bloggy friend and her two miracles - I have to pinch myself that we have children. She too has elevated FSH prior to 40, but both of her pregnancies were done without medical intervention - true miracles! While we were there Dru, for the first time, told me what sound cow's make ... he didn't get the "oooh", part but he gave the "mmmmm" sound ... pretty stinkin' cute. And he's really stacking blocks now, like multiple blocks on top of each other - he has quite an attention span for it. He's run into a few new play toys here - including a wind up toy that has him enamored and a handful of larger push cars - he's even making a vroom sound! He's perfecting his ball playing skilz as he passes different balls back and forth to Nana. He is adorable.

We went in for our ultrasound and bloodwork this morning and saw about 9-14 follies developing between the two ovaries, with the largest being 20.5mm. I still don't have my Lupron trigger (as I trigger with HCG+Lupron) so I asked about getting that. Also, I had enough meds to get me through today (Monday) and I figured that would be fine - except that if I need more Menopur tomorrow, I'll need to buy that from CCRM because if Free.dom Phar.macy shipped it tonight, it wouldn't arrive until noon on Tuesday - too late for my shot timing.

When my nurse called today (who, by the way, just got back from a week in Bar.bados! Rough life!) she gave me my E2 levels and suggested that there is a chance they might push to trigger on Wednesday, leaving the ER for Friday. She said that if they do that, that might leave too much room for my E2 to rise - so they might give me a Lupron only trigger (to help avoid OHSS) or they might give me Lupron plus a 1/2 an HCG trigger, or ... she warned me that we might need to do a freeze all. She indicated that the criteria was an E2 in the 4500-5500 range. Given that I'm at 1600 today, I think I'll be ok. She also had me take my Cetrotide at 4P (rather than at 9:15P like I usually do) and she asked that I take another Cetrotide tomorrow morning before my 7:30A appointment. She indicated that it will give me an additional suppression shot while we wait to see what the trigger timing will be ... all in an effort to extend the time I'm stimming, hoping my blood levels don't go too high.

We'll see. More to come tomorrow ...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Enjoying Denver

Yes, that's a big rib bone he's gnawing on :-)

We're all in Denver now - me, Berilac, Dru, MIL and FIL. We again are staying at the same great place we stayed last cycle. We have some generous friends and for that we are so grateful. Last night, when everyone finally arrived, we went out to dinner at TG.I Fr.iday's and Dru had his first baby back rib - I guess it's confirmed, our egg and sperm were not swapped out last April in the lab ... yep, he's ours!

This trip has been generally unremarkable. We've spent the majority of our time working remotely and watching Dru push all sorts of fun toys around. Though today at the Den.ver Chil.dren's museum he took 3 steps - he's well on his way to walking! I think he'll be walking before his first birthday next week and before we return home.

In between the shots, the work, chasing the wee-one, Berilac and I are trying to sneak away at each opportunity we get - to enjoy each other and enjoy being a couple. This process is so draining - we need to pour into our relationship. The best thing we can do while waiting for a child is to build a strong family to bring him/her into. And I'll say that now that a child has entered the picture - nurturing the relationship has become something we need to purposefully care for.

While we're here, I'm hoping to spend some time with IRL friends and a lovely bloggy friend I have in the area - and I can't wait! I also plan on taking Dru to Mon.key buz.iness while the rest of the family hits the slopes.

This evening, we were able to have dinner with some relatives ... but because there were 5 of us squeezed into the car on the way there, Dru didn't take his 2nd nap of the day (which he usually does at home in the crib, but when out, he'll sleep in his carseat no problem!) Well, today we learned that he won't nap with a couple of too-fun people crowding his back seat! When we got to our aunt and uncle's house Dru hadn't slept for 5 hours - something he NEVER does so he was screaming (again, something he NEVER does) so poor Berilac took him out in the car/carseat in order to give him the break he needed to settle down for a quick nap - he was able to catch 45 mins of zzzz's to resume the evening with the family. Though, coming home after 8P wasn't much better - I was hoping that he'd fall asleep quickly because it was so dark and he was so tired from a full day of fun ... but no such luck. He FINALLY fell asleep 2 minutes prior to arriving home. But our star sleeper did fall right back to sleep when we took him in and put him immediately down. Note to self - take 2 cars next time!

As far as the cycle goes, it seems to be tracking just a bit behind the last cycle ... in terms of follie sizes/counts and hormone levels. At least it did after the first appointment here on Thursday. Then I had Friday off from intimate ultrasounds. Today's appointment revealed a pretty good count - maybe 4 equal size follies on the left, plus more smaller ones that likely won't catch up, and 6-7 equal size follies on the right, plus more smaller ones there too. When they called to give me my cycle instructions they told me to maintain my meds: 150iu Menopur in the morning, 300iu Follistim at night, I started Cetrotide on Thursday night ... 2 nights earlier than the protocol anticipated - which is exactly like last time. If everything stays on par with last cycle (or there abouts) I guess we'll be doing the retrieval on Thursday. We'll see ...

There are many thoughts going around inside my head about this cycle. I swing from being just completely grateful for Dru and feeling content about whatever the outcome. To being worried that Dru might not have a sibling. To being stressed out that we took all this time - away from work, from our parents, from the folks we're staying with - and all this money (need I identify just how much an IVF cycle is at CCRM? Think - the cost of a car! ... and not a sedan!) only to feel like it was a big waste. What I do know is that there's nothing I can do to make this cycle successful or not. I am not in control. So I'm trying to get prepared to just accept the outcome -whatever it may be.

Life is flying by so quickly that Berilac and I keep asking each other - can you believe we are in Denver, cycling again? It seems unreal.

I hope all this time, effort, energy, money ... isn't spent in vein. Lord we humbly continue to ask for the blessing of children.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

IVF #2 in full force

I remember waiting to conceive Dru ... and I remember seeing fellow infertiles "lap" me by starting their second round of treatments after they've already had their first child ... and I sat with empty arms ... my heart was broken. First I want to say that if that is you, and you are reading this, know that if I could reach through the screen and give you a big hug I would. The pain of infertility and loss is incredible and for that I am so sorry.

But here we are, almost 12 months after having Dru and neck deep in our second CCRM cycle (the first one was successful in 4/09, resulting in our son in 12/09). I started my period on 12/1 and went in for a local monitoring appointment on CD2 (12/2) to learn that my endometrial lining is thick 8mm (likely due to the estrogen priming piece of the protocol - though this didn't happen last time - if you review my posts back in 4/09 you'd see). So Dr. Schoolcraft asked that I wait until CD4 to start stims.

As far as protocol goes, mine is: EPP/Antagonist, same as last time. I watched for LH surge with OPK's, then 10 days later started Estrodial pills 2mg/twice daily, 11 days after surge I started .25mg Cetrotide (as there's a national shortage for Ganirelix!), I only took 2 doses (when I supposed to take 3) because AF arrived a day earlier than expected (and I took Endometrin twice daily starting 3 days post ovulation - but obviously that didn't help).

I started 2 75iu amps of Menopur in the morning and 300iu/Follistim at night, starting on Saturday 12/4. Today will be my fourth day of stims and my first local monitoring appointment. My lining was 9mm and triple stripe. My right ovary was showing 5 follies at about 8mm and my left ovary was showing 2 follies at about 10. There were a few more on either one, but the RE did not measure them. I feel like last time I had 15 follies and this time I have 7 ... but I'm trying not to get ahead of myself and get disappointed ... easier said than done.

If you think to pray for us, please do. We would really love a sibling for our precious Dru. We fly to Denver tonight -Dru, me, and my MIL. Berilac will be joining us on Thursday night.

Here we go again!

Please do keep us in your prayers,

Sunday, November 21, 2010

And I thought the first smile was heart melting ...

I remember early on impatiently anticipating Dru's first smile. It came at seven weeks and I was beside myself with a serious level of giddy!

The first, "Mama," came at eight months and was also heart warming - amazingly so.

But this, this takes the cake.

Dru is now leaning into my arms, clinging to me, and resting his head on my shoulder while sucking his thumb with one hand and twisting my hair with the other - he's giving me a hug and a cuddle - and I am entirely a puddle on the floor. (The above picture was the best we could get - but doesn't nearly capture the sweetness.)

It happened for the first time tonight during our bedtime routine. I'll admit that I extended out the process to steal as much cuddle as I could get - I hear this phase doesn't last nearly long enough - so I'm going to bask.

We are so incredibly fortunate.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

More updates - Dru and CCRM

I cannot believe how quickly the time is flying by. I feel like I'm on the autobahn compared to how slowly life drudged on when we were in the midst of struggling with infertility.

Just a couple of updates ...

He is NON STOP. I put him down and he's crawling over here, climbing up that, cruising faster than I can keep up. He loves his push toy and walking with mama and dada's help.

Thanks to months and months of baby signs, Dru can use a couple of signs pretty well. His favorite sign to give is "milk" (though I think he really wants water when he gives this sign ... but we've shown him the sign for water but he must like the milk one better??), his first sign was "all done" and he says "duh" when he gives this sign, I enjoy when he gives that sign when not eating ... but instead when he's been on the changing table too long ... "all done mama!" ... I don't think so dirty buns! And we think he's starting the "more" sign though he doesn't get his finger tips to touch and he looks more like he's prepping to cross his hands ... starting to pray early, I guess? So pious ;-)

And he seems to have a couple of words, his favorites are "dat" which after mommy and daddy translation means "what's that?" ... as he's pointing at something like a light fixture, a mirror, pots and pans - he's really starting to become aware of his surroundings. His other word is "Pa" which is his attempt at "up" (the pa is mimicing the p sound in up!) this word is usually used while desperately clinging to mommy's leg while she's trying to cook dinner and poor thing, he's grabbing onto the *back* of mommy's legs, so it's hard to pick him up. Each time I try to turn around, he continues to cling to my pants and follows my legs as I turn - entirely behind me and completely out of range of being picked up ... ever so increasing the instructions for "pa, pa, pa!" ... it's pretty stinkin' cute! And he's almost saying ball and bottle using "ba" for both.

We have started using sippy cups, though Dru isn't the biggest fan. Because he knows how to drink out of a cup I think we're going to keep him on bottles while he learns to serve himself a drink out of a cup. Hopefully by 18 months he'll be able to drink from a cup unassisted and he can use sippy's when we're trying to protect the floors and furniture around us.

He's wearing 12-18 month clothes and he's grown out of his 6-12 mo Rob.eez. We just finished up his size 3 diapers - and in just the knick of time, that boy is getting big! When we're done with our case of size 4 diapers I think we'll move to cloth diapers and hopefully start trying to potty train (early I guess?) We'll see.

So, it's been 10 months. I can hardly believe it.

When do most moms start getting asked when they are going to start trying for a sibling?

The questions are just now starting and I'm not sure if it's early, late, or what? Given our history, these types of questions still sting a bit. And sometimes I tell people the honest truth - I would be very happy with just one child, though for Dru's sake, I'd really like to have another. We started trying as soon as we were cleared for business, way back in January at my 6 wk PP appointment. I was breastfeeding and pumping like a maniac until late June and AF resumed in late August. We've been trying for a few months now with no success.

Two weeks ago I flew to Denver for my one day work-up at CCRM. It was good to see Schooly again. He was, of course, charming as ever ;-) We ran through all the tests again and found these results:

FSH: 7.1
E2: normal!
AFC: 14
AMH: 1.9

We asked Dr. Schoolcraft if we could hold off on cycling for another 6-12 months, for family reasons, but he cautioned against waiting longer than 3 months. So we're inches away from starting a December cycle. I can't believe we're going to do IVF again, get back up on that horse. It was a nice break while it lasted.

I think Berilac and I are on the same page, and that is ... if this cycle doesn't work, we're not sure we'll go through another IVF. It just requires so much. I'm not sure what we'd do, but repeated IVF in Colorado just doesn't sound appealing ... when did it ever?

I'm expected to start AF in a few days, then I wait for my LH surge and sound the alarm. We may just be getting a white Christmas this year ;-)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More Milestones

Just a quick update, for posterity really.

Drudoc is non-stop active. I was just telling some folks how he's flipping over on the changing table every chance he gets - and he's heavy too, so it's no easy task to flip that puppy back over! We tell him "no" but he's not too excited about this limitation.

He is, however, finally understanding our firm "no's" around playing with the fireplace (don't worry, it's never lit!) the other day he crawled right up to it, looked over at me, I said "No, Dru" and he crawled away ... success!

Dru is almost 9 months - just a few more days now - and right after he turned 8 months he started saying: "Mamamamama ..." Now, it's not associated to me, or anyone for that matter. Matter of fact it's easily interchangeable with "Babababa ..." (though I think he uses that when he's looking down the barrel of his bottle) and a couple of "Gagaga's" thrown in there. I've been working on Mama for 8 months and he's finally said it! On the other hand Berilac has not been working with Dru on "Dadada" but what do you know? ... Two days after uttering "Mama" ... he starts in with "Dada" ... TWO DAYS!

His manual dexterity took a leap earlier this week with not only waving, but pointing! I love when he waves at random people getting into their car (across the street, where ever) when we are outside on a walk or hanging out. He's so salutational.

And yesterday our wonderful nanny texted me this image:

Dru is eating a ton of foods, all in solid form. He enjoys: cheese, chicken, avocado, kefir, sweet potato, plums, peaches, pears, nectarines, carrots, apples, bell peppers, zucchini, banana, squash, kiwi, melons - of all kinds, green beans (ok, he doesn't like those), and a slew of other things. He's eating four 8 ounce bottles a day and 4 meals. Thrown in one of the formula bottles is 6 oz. of breastmilk, stuff we put in the deep freeze during the 6 months we were breast feeding.

Can you guess what he's eating for the first time in the picture above? It's beets! Is eating beets for the first time considered a milestone? If you ask my husband, who's never had beets ( ... ok, never have wanted to have beets) then the answer is yes.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Three weeks ago Dru started crawling backwards, last weekend, we captured this on camera ....

... and now the bugger has become more coordinated and is into everything! But his new favorite thing to do is cruise and walk around holding onto our hands - an exhausting labor of love. Watch out world - here comes Dru!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

At least it makes a great story

Of course I was intimidated taking the little one camping for the first time - who wouldn't be? In light of that I reserved a campsite only about 45 minutes from home (effectively, an emergency eject button) .

Berilac and I are notoriously bad at planning vacations in advance, but he and I were backpackers back in the day and I knew I wanted to at least go car camping with Dru (an ever so gentle warm up to rugged backpacking - this should be easy). Back in May we booked a drive-in campsite in early August with a 7 month old. - we thought, a warm, summer camping trip ... seems reasonable, doesn't it?

We planned to leave our house around noon last Friday, but I knew it would end up being more like 2P. On our way to the campsite, we needed to stop by our friends house to pick up from them the Kel.ty baby backpack we'd purchased from them. Yes we were going car camping, so we didn't really need the pack for this trip ... but what better way to break it in? A little after 5PM we finally found ourselves pulling out of the driveway, only to return 5 minutes later as Berilac had forgotten our temp.ur.pedic pillows (yes, we're snobs) and our hot cocoa. (I need to mention here that we all had our packing responsibilities: Berilac - camping gear, Polly - food/clothes, Nanny - Dru's supplies ... trust me, it's relevant.) Because we had to stop to pick up the backpack (which, as we didn't know, was out of the way) we found ourselves winding down the last road to the campsite when Berilac lets out a gasp! .... 'You're not going to believe this - I forgot the sleeping bags!'

I was a little shocked and disturbed, my immediate thought was 'turn this puppy around!' (after all we were 30 mins to Dru's bedtime and he hadn't had his last bottle, his dinner, nor had we set up shelter. But when we discussed making due with our 18 inch air mattress (to keep us off the cold hard ground,) our snobby pillows, the two blankets we'd packed, and of course the clever trick of wearing all our clothes in a layered fashion ... I was more convinced we might survive a 40 degree overnight low and I begrudgingly cooperated.

The night exploded when we arrived. I had to pee, but I couldn't because Dru was STARVING, as I was trying to feed Dru his bottle and solids ... carefully ... in the back of our newer ... in his brand new convertible Ra.dian carseast Berilac was wrestling, on the hard ground, with our new tent and air mattress. He brought an extension cord and an AC/DC converter in order to plug it into the idling car, but the mattress only inflated for 2 seconds before something POPPED (either the power converter fuse or the mattress motor - not the actual mattress, luckily) ... the sound was loud, we were disoriented - what was going on? At this point, I still had to pee, Dru was finished messily eating and was starting to squeal in excitement as he'd never been up this late ... I was ready to call it a day and pack it in ... after all, that's why I booked a site so close to home, right? But Berilac wanted to keep on keepin' on. He suggested we sleep on the hard ground, with only two blankets for us to share ... and of course, our pillows ... which upon further investigation ... were not in the car ... turned out we forgot those too ... yes, even after returning to our house once because we realized we had forgotten them the first time. Ouch. In spite of my better judgement, being without mattress/ground-cushion, a warm sleeping bag, or pillows ... I caved ... but not without a fight.

Our power source for our mattress wasn't working, light was fading, and Berilac was starting to manually blow up a Costco-sized air mattress ... chivalrous but not practical. While he was getting dizzy, I hoisted my ornery little boy high on my hip and tried to look as young and dumb as possible (not so difficult, I'll admit) I quickly approached the next campsite and asked if anyone could loan us one of those portable battery operated mattress pumps, the lady responded with 'sure, for $100' ... luckily, she was just kidding. The pitiful young mom bit paid off, I was soon walking back to our campsite with our solution to a tolerable night's sleep.

I still needed to pee but Dru was getting nearly unbearable (I think it was nearing 8:30, 1 1/2 hours past his strict bedtime.) It was time to make progress toward putting Dru to bed, we started layer our clothes when we realized that I didn't bring a sweatshirt for Berilac to wear (whoopsy!) ... did I mention a 40 degree overnight low and NO sleeping bags? Nice. So we layered on what clothes we had, set up the blankets, tried balancing the motor to pump the mattress quietly while Dru would attempt to fall asleep in the tent, you know - white noise and all. Now, Dru took to the outdoors, but he didn't take to being left alone in a strange tent in the middle of who knows where ... the minute I laid him down in his PNP he.started.screaming. So we couldn't proceed with that tactic. I wasn't sure what to do because he goes to sleep so easily at all his naps and bedtimes at home ... I was revisiting my thought of 'what the heck are we still doing here?' when I got the brilliant idea to give him a 1/2 bottle of milk and lay him on his back in his PNP to feed himself (he loves this) ... I slipped out of the tent and Dru was on his way to dreamland.

As we were SILENTLY preparing our dinner ... enter: the loud campsite neighbor who we'd borrowed the mattress pump from ... who LOUDLY asked us if he could have his pump back - we hurried him away from the tent and told him we weren't done with it yet, he was a little anxious as he still hadn't filled his own mattress yet. When he left Berilac and I listened for the pump ... but we couldn't hear a thing. Oh crap. We ran this guy's battery out, he still needs it, there's not a replacement battery for miles, and he's going to want $100 to replace it ... and he might even get belligerent without a cushion under him on this hard ground. I was really stressing out at this point ... and yes, still needing to go pee.

After gaining our courage, we sent Berilac into the tent to retrieve the pump and the wallet ... we learned that the motor had turned itself off and still had battery ... WHEW!!! (No $100 ransom and potential ruckus with the generous neighbor pump guy). But even that didn't cushion the blow of the next few minutes ... the mattress was completely EMPTY. Just like I needed my bladder to be. (I won't go into the details, but it was late and seemingly dangerous to be wandering the park on my own and thus I urinated in our campsite - classy.) It was at this point that DH tried to encourage me 'honey, try not to get too frustrated, I promise you this will make a great story later'

Berilac unremarkably returned the pump and we were able to climb into the tent, onto our cold, hard bed, in hopes that if we spent more time in the vertical position the more sleep we might actually get - sheesh - wishful thinking. We cuddled up with one blanket below us, one above us, and a receiving blanket each to use as makeshift pillows ... where's Mac.Guyver when we need him?

And after:
  • ENDLESSLY tossing and turning in order to re invoke the blood flow to my shoulders and hips
  • 12AM: inserting hand warmers into my socks (forgot I had these in the diaper bag - for battling Mastitis - go figure!)
  • 1 AM: placing towels over Dru's PNP to keep out the COLDER than 40 degree weather!
  • 2 AM: stealing all of my son's clean diapers to stack under my "ground blanket" in hopes of providing a bit of cushion (hey, at least the Nanny held up her end of the deal - the only one of us who didn't forget to pack SOMETHING!)
  • 3 AM: being painfully aware of the overnight low temperature and worrying about DS.
  • 4 AM: a near confrontation with what we think were some frightening R.O.U.S's

... somewhere I squeezed in 1 1/2 hours of sleep and was singing the Lord's praises come 6AM when Dru started stirring. Now at home, I would let DS fiddle-faddle away in his crib until 7AM (the timing of his breakfast bottle) or sooner if he started crying, but I tell you at that first sign of movement - I swooped!
I announced that I could handle this no more and needed to head home to get back to my temp.ur.pedic bed (and missing pillows). But of course, not before we woke the ENTIRE campgrounds with DS's portable SIDS monitor alarming because I had dislodged it while excitedly pulling him from his PNP for his morning bottle ... as if the screeching and crescendo-ing siren wasn't enough a screaming baby had to jolt nearby sleepers from their deep (and likely air mattress cushioned) sleep. But I'm not bitter.

... we squeezed in a cup of warm soup and a walk before we headed out. And no, we didn't get to use the Kel.ty that perpetuated our late arrival ... but we didn't head out of there empty handed, heck, we now we have this lovely story to recant.

So yes it might not have been the best idea to take a 7 month old on a camping trip (people told me at this age, crawling in the dirt is NO fun!) ... but not because he didn't behave, sleep, or nap well ... it was because there is a reason for the "camping supply" isles at stores ... it's because SUPPLIES ARE NEEDED FOR THIS SORT OF THING!

And now a couple more pictures for enduring that long (but mildly entertaining) story:

*Special thanks to Jeny for suggesting we bring a warm fleece hat for little one for the cold mornings, or in our case - the cold ALL.NIGHT.LONG's!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Infertility still hurts

It's 2:30 in the morning and I'm not asleep ... insomnia, not the baby. He sleeps like ... well, a baby.

I've been going through my google reader and just catching up on some blogs. And I run into friends that have struggled with infertility for years, still brokenhearted ... gaping holes in their hearts, palpable pain. They are no longer on FF or are no longer blogging, many have turned their blogs private and I'm unsure if asking to be invited only pains them more.

I miss these women. My heart aches for these women.

Although we've won the battle. The shrapnel of infertility is still buried deep. I feel like I've left my fellow soldiers in the trenches and it pains me deeply.

Can anybody relate?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

6th month pictures

It's easy to see why I'm so in love with this kid ...

He gets these cheeks from his daddy :)

The family photo:

I still pinch myself.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Operation "DINNER OUT"

Ok, I have to post SOMETHING.

I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Things are going great and I thought I should at least share that.

I keep delaying posting because I feel like I have to catch up ... well, with working full time, being a mom, a wife, keeping the house clean, keeping up on dishes, laundry, bills, trying to eat right, get sleep, exercise, still have time for friends, family, and my relationship with the Lord ... let's just say: it's a bit overwhelming ;-)

I can't believe Drudoc is nearly 6 months old.

The short of it:

  • We are still exclusively breastfeeding.

  • He's sleeping through the night 7P to 7A.

  • He's taking 3 naps a day.

  • We did Babywise and are very happy with it.

  • He's in the 90% for height (Berilac is 6'3")

  • He's in the 75% for weight

  • He's got a normal size noggin.

  • He can still squeeze into his 6 month attire but according to his size he should be wearing 9-12 month clothes.

  • He's in size 3 diapers.

  • He's nearly grown out of his infant carrier car seat ... we NEED NEED NEED to get those convertible car seats!

  • We haven't started solids with him yet and won't until he's showing signs that he's ready.

  • He eats about 40 oz. a day, over 5 feeds. (1 breastfeeding session, 4 bottles of expressed breast milk)

  • We are going to wean early to TTC#2, because we knew about this we pumped and stashed breast milk since day one. Right now we have over 1,000 oz. of breast milk in the deep freezer.

  • I returned back to work at the beginning of May when he was 4+ months old.

  • He's in a top notch daycare facility, but we have been looking for a nanny for months.

  • He started rolling over from front to back at 4 months, he started rolling over from back to front at 5 months.

  • He started sitting up assisted at 5 months, he started sitting up unassisted at 5 1/2 months.

  • He's been coo'ing and "talking" since 3 months. He started squealing like a pterodactyl since 4 months.

  • He smiles & laughs ALL.THE.TIME

  • He's starting to lift his arms up to signal that he wants to be held.

  • He's always trying to sit up out of his bouncy, exersaucer, swing, car seat, etc.

  • He cut his first gum (bottom right) two days ago!

  • DH and I have been going out on dates without him since 3 weeks - not regularly because we don't have family in the area, but we try to keep the marriage fresh ;-)

  • Some of Drudoc's favorites are: kicking his feet, assisted bouncing on his legs, and practicing standing; the songs "I know an old lady who swallowed a fly" & "five little monkeys jumping on the bed", the book "On the night you were born", his melissa and doug wooden key ring set, his lamaze butterfly, those darn plastic interlocking rings, an empty disposable tin casserole dish he can bang.

He is the light of my life.

I'll leave you with a picture of us having dinner the other night (hence the name of the post!). This was our first family dinner out. It was a few weeks ago, we walked downtown to a nice Thai restaurant and had dinner sitting outside. You can see that little one is nearly ready to take breast milk or water out of a regular cup! Sometimes he tries to drink the bathwater with the plastic cup I give as a toy ... you gotta keep your eye on this one.

And yes ... he looks just like his mama.

Friday, February 19, 2010

RSV and our NICU stay

I am so happy to report that our little one is doing fine, but we did have a stay in the NICU this week.

Last Thursday I noticed Drudoc coughed when I picked him up out of his crib. I didn't think much of it until the coughs kept coming. By Friday afternoon we found ourselves in the Pediatric urgent care. The attending doctor said that he did not have whooping cough nor pneumonia but just a cold. She indicated that it should last 7 days with it peaking its worst by day 3 or 4. She said we could take him up north for the weekend and that she wasn't going to give us a nebulizer, she thought he'd be just fine.

Saturday morning came and we were supposed to head to Sonoma County, but just as I was loading him into his car seat he vomited all over himself, me, and the carseat. I decided that this little boy needed to be home to have the best chance of overcoming this cold. So Berilac went ahead without us.

Saturday evening I called Berilac and asked him to drive home (an hour and a half drive) because poor little Drudoc had been coughing without stopping for nearly 30 minutes. I couldn't find a comfortable position for him ... he was starting to vomit up every other meal and coughing is what was triggering that. I needed to help him stay upright in order NOT to gag and vomit his food ... but he's so heavy, I couldn't see myself holding him upright all night long.

Sunday things seemed to stay the same, along with Monday during the day.

But by Monday late night/early morning I noticed that Drudoc was laboring to breath. His respiratory rate was 65-75. The on-call nurse asked us to bring him in immediately. We took him to Pediatric urgent care, when we arrived they took his oxygen levels and his sat level was between low 80's to low 90's. The attending Pediatrician told us that they would need to admit him to the NICU. They took a nose swab because NICU was not currently taking flu infected infants. We waited in an observation room with poor little Drudoc getting oxygen and trying to breath through his incredible congestion. My heart was breaking as I'd never seen Drudoc cry so much ... he really didn't like the cannula or the oxygen monitor at all. When the swab results came back negative (for RSV or flu) they sent an ambulance to transport us to the hospital.

We arrived to the NICU on Tuesday morning before noon. Nurse Lilly encouraged us to get some lunch while she took samples for some tests they needed to take - a couple of blood tests and a few swabs, as well as an X-Ray. Berilac and I went down to the hospital cafeteria and I sobbed through my turkey burger. The nurses and Berilac were trying to encourage me that I didn't do anything to cause this, but I wasn't concerned about being a bad mom or doing something wrong - I am very confident in how much precaution I take with the safety of my son - rather, I was crying because I was scared I was going to lose my son. When you've lost 4 babies ... you more easily find the possibility of losing another.

When we were back from lunch the blood results had come back and they were all normal. Drudoc was hydrated and didn't need an IV, nor did he have an infection - so he didn't need antibiotics. The swabs came back negative for flu A and flu B as well as for the H1N1 ... but it came back positive for RSV. Evidently, the original swab was not as specific as the NICU swab. Now the staff knew that their role in our case was just to support him as he recovered from the virus ... "time is the tincture" was their saying. They really only needed to suction his mucus (nearly every other hour) and provide him a low level of oxygen. They told us that compared to the many cases they see in their level 1 NICU, Drudoc's was a mild case. Severe enough to be hospitalized, but mild compared to most they've seen.

Berilac and I spent the evening there - we left around 12:30A that night. We went home and tried to get some rest. The staff kept encouraging us to take advantage of this time, with our son being under some amazing care.

The next morning, I thought I felt a sore throat upon waking up. I headed down to the hospital to breastfeed Drudoc, while I was there, I mentioned my possible sore throat and the staff asked me not to come back if I think it was a real sore throat (and not just a dry throat from sleeping with my mouth open). I went home and took a nap. To be safe, Berilac headed to the hospital without me that evening after work to care for and feed our little one (all the while I was pumping and providing my breastmilk for Drudoc to consume) ... my heart was breaking as I sat at home missing my boys.

This morning, both Berilac and I woke up with sore throats! We called the NICU and they asked us to bring down the milk, but to avoid spending time with Drudoc, so I pumped and headed down. When I arrived I was fortunate enough to catch the doctor after her rounds. She indicated that Drudoc had gone nearly 24 hours without oxygen support and he hadn't needed to be suctioned since last night. She told me I could take home my little one that afternoon.

Even though it was a short stay, and things weren't as dangerous as they could have been, I was so grateful; I went out and bought supplies to make a thank you gift basket for the staff. They took such good care of our little boy, and he's doing so much better thanks to God's healing and their gentle care.

I'm so happy to report that Drudoc arrived home late this afternoon and is now sleeping peacefully in his room. We are sequestering him there until his well baby visit on 2/24. No visitors, lots of handwashing, and lots more prayers.

I'd like to thank all of my friends and family who prayed for us over these past couple of days - we are so grateful for your love and support. And thank you Lord for keeping our little boy safe.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Birth Story

We were scheduled for an induction on Friday, December 18th. I arrived being 2 1/2 centimeters dilated, 50% effaced, -1 station, and bag of waters bulging. We so thought that I would go into labor naturally prior to being induced, but I guess that wasn't how our story would unfold ...

Friday, December 18th, 6:00AM
The plan was for us to call in to Labor and Delivery at 6AM and have them tell us what time to come in. We were originally scheduled to arrive at 7:30AM. We called in at 6AM and they had us call back at 8AM, we called at 8 and they wanted us to call back at 10 ... the morning kept on like this as we tried to take cat naps in between calls to see if we should come in. You see, the night before the scheduled induction I had a very hard time sleeping and was lucky if I got 4 hours of sleep ... so each time we were postponed, I tried to take the opportunity for a nap. Many calls and many naps later - we finally checked into L&D at 2PM. We were given room number 1, which was tucked all the way back, against an outside wall ... so we wouldn't have to worry about screams coming in from every side! Directly across the hall from the room was the L&D waiting room.

December 18th, 2:00PM
The first order of business was to sanitize the ENTIRE place. The doula, my mother-in-law (MIL) and Berilac all grabbed wipes and got to cleaning ... it was something to keep us busy for 2 hours while we waited for them to start the Pitocin.

December 18th, 4:00PM
Around 4PM they took blood work and started the Pit drip. I was lucky to be at hospital that induces slowly. My doula told me that if she HAD to be induced at any hospital on the Peninsula then THIS hospital would be the ONLY place she'd get induced.

December 18th, 8:00PM
At about 8PM I started really feeling the contractions. I was planning on having a pain-med free birth (or at least I was trying to) so it was at about this time that I started breathing through the contractions as they came - they were about 90 seconds apart at this point.

December 18th, 10:00PM
It was only a few hours later (with the Pit turned up to help labor along) that the contractions really started to get unbearable. On a trip to the restroom I felt a gush before I could make it to the toilet and it turned out that my bag of waters had broken.

Only 3 people were allowed with me in the labor and delivery room. The two people I definitely wanted in there were my hubby and my doula. I've always dreamed that my mother and my mother in law could also share these moments with us, but given that the hospital only allowed 3 people in the room, and given that family had to travel into the area to be with us ... we decided that only Berilac and the doula would be in the room for delivery and we'd play labor by ear. Well, during this stage of labor my MIL was with us (as she was staying with us from out of state) so she stayed with us ... all the way through the hard stuff.

December 19th, 1:00AM
As I mentioned earlier, when I went in for my 39 week appointment, just 4 days prior to induction, I was 2 1/2 cm dilated, 50% effaced, with bulging waters. When I went into L&D, they didn't check me until I was well into labor ... so I have no idea what my actual stats were when I came in. At 1AM, they finally checked me and I was 6 cm dilated, 80% effaced, and still -1 station - I was so excited to have made that much progress!December 19th, 3:00AM
It was amazing experiencing the contractions ... as they went from tolerable to completely unbearable. With each stage of intensifying pain, I tried to figure out a way to "stay in control" and "stay on top of them" ... and I did SO WELL for about 9 hours. I started by breathing through the contractions, then moved to praying through them, then I switched to thoughts of knowing that my body knew what it was doing and to work with it, from there it morphed into making a sound that kind of sounded like "open" as I tried to envision my cervix opening ... then those mean nurses turned that Pitocin up again ... and all I could do was moan and writhe in inescapable pain. I spent two hours in what my doula thought was transition. I was having very strong back and abdomen contractions that were lasting 90 seconds with 30 second breaks in between. I was sweating, I was shaking, and sadly I was gagging from my pregnancy induced acid reflux ... so those 30 seconds of break I had weren't really too helpful. It was at this point that my doula suggested we take a look and see how far I'd progressed. The doctor came for the internal ... and I was still 6cm dilated and now more than 80% effaced ... but not by much.

I.WAS.DEVISTATED ... I thought for SURE all that work I had done had gotten me somewhere ... but it hadn't.

December 19th, 4:00AM
The doctor offered to break the water in hopes that things would really take off. We decided that I needed to get upright in order to help the dilation process ... the nurses, at the same time, upped the Pitocin and all hell broke loose. The pain was so incredible I wasn't sure how I could survive. Prior to coming into L&D, my plan was to be in the shower during this time to "take the edge off" ... however, the telemetry equipment wasn't working in my room and in being on the Pit, they wouldn't allow me to not be monitored ... and so, I couldn't get into the shower. I labored like this for 45 more minutes, bouncing on the ball, making noises I didn't even know I could make, requiring that MIL hold a fan in my face, while hubby held my hand tightly as the doula provided counterpressure on my back ... our little team was amazing - I can't begin to describe how intense we worked, all trying to get through this labor thing together ... after 45 minutes I asked to be checked again.

Still ... no progress.

December 19th, 5:00AM
So in all of that time, no progress and a ton of unbearable, back-to-back contractions. This is when I demanded to talk with the anesthesiologist. God showed favor that day. We didn't have to wait for the doctor to get out of a 3 hour emergency surgery, nor did we even have to wait 30 minutes for him to get onto the department floor ... no, it was as if that man was waiting outside my door. He came in, explained everything then asked me what I wanted to do ... well, I didn't ask you in here to make a new friend ... let's get this thing going! I requested a "light" epidural, as I wanted to be able to feel the sensation of pushing and to be able to work with it. He agreed. Between contractions he worked quickly to give me the drugs I needed. Within minutes my right side was in complete relief. The doctor asked how it felt and I told him that it was only working on one side, but that I didn't care ... one side of pain was NOTHING compared to what I'd been going through for hours :-) we laid me on my side and the numbness spread through my entire trunk and both legs ... ahh ... relief! I really liked that doctor. He explained everything to me and addressed all my concerns with answers and respect. It was only later that I learned that he didn't give me a "light" epidural, but rather a spinal/epidural combination ... which, as I understand it, is heavier than a plain epidural!!

So there I was 5AM ... epidural administered, instructed by my doula to rest up for delivery ... and all I could do was sit in the dark for 3 hours and worry about getting an amniotic embolism. (If you are not familiar with this and you're pregnant or intending to become pregnant, don't look it up ... just don't ... ignorance is bliss).

December 19th, 8:00AM
We learned that, a few hours after getting the epidural, I had progressed to 9 cm with a lip of my cervix still in place. And we continued to wait and rest ...

December 19th, 10:00AM
The nurse checked us again and we were finally completely dilated, and at +1 station!

... we continued to wait the extra hours while the baby descended from zero station to negative 2.

December 19th, 12:00PM
It wasn't until nearly noon on Saturday that we were ready to push.

December 19th, 1:35PM
One hour and 45 minutes later, at 1:35PM, little Drudoc was born. As I mentioned before, he wasn't a small baby: weighing in at 8 pounds 11 ounces and 21 inches long. He was large enough to cause a second degree tear that required sufficient stitches, but I did not hemorrhage and the placental delivery was unremarkable.

I remember pushing him out and the doctor saying ... well keep pushing! (evidently I thought I could stop when I got the head out!) the room went quiet as Berilac announced: "It's a boy, honey, here's our son" ... and he and the doctors placed him on my chest. I wish I could say that I cried ... like I had so many times watching "A Stor.y" and wishing beyond hope that someday I could experience the utter bliss these people were fortunate enough to experience ... but instead my response was: "it's a baby, it's really a baby, and it's alive" ... I'm sure the staff thought I was a nut case. But seriously, I could hardly believe that we were fortunate enough to experience this amazing joy. Then the baby (healthy as could be) started wailing in cries and I responded with ... "what do I do with him?" .... ah yes, a typical new parent.

Berilac cut the cord, the nurses washed him up and we started breastfeeding right away. The three of us spent some time together in the L&D room before Berilac went out to the waiting room to announce that we had had a baby boy.