2011 – What a GREAT year!

 

I love “Year in Review” posts. Don’t you? Let’s give it a go.

What a full year it has been. Seriously! I’d have to say that there have been some incredible highs (and yes, a few low lows) this year but all in all, it may have been the best year of my life.

The Highlights

  • Who could forget the biggest milestone? On January 11, 2011 I married the love of my life. He is truly the most incredible man I have ever known. The Knight has shown me that a man can be a strong and protective while also being warm, sweet, caring, sensitive, funny and loving. He is a manly man who hunts, flies planes, builds things, and makes a darn good fire, but also gets a ton of happiness out of rubbing my feet and making me breakfast every morning. I am one lucky girl!

 

Wedded Bliss

 

  • Technically, I got pregnant three times, though I don’t really count the first time. That is pretty great! Even when you’re filled with fear, finding out that you’re pregnant when you really want to be is totally wonderful.
  • Through everything that has happened this year, I have felt more love and support from my amazing friends than I ever could have imagined. I am so happy that I opened up about my struggles and reached out for support. I have the greatest friends I have ever had and I am so truly grateful.
  • We bought a beautiful home and have enjoyed many wonderful times there. In some ways the home buying process was much like the fertility process roller coaster. Eventually, though, things turned out just fine.
Our New House
  • PR’ed. I met my goal of completing a sub 4:30 marathon at the Shamrock Marathon in March. Let’s not talk about the training, or lack thereof.  

The Final Stretch

  • I became a stepmom! I don’t think either of my stepkids refer to me as a “stepmonster” 🙂
 
  • We took an awesome vacation. Ahhh, the two-week transatlantic cruise?

  

Our Fabulous Disney Cruise

  
 
 
 
 The Numbers

As you may know by now, I love numbers. I did some calculating and here are some approximate numbers for 2011:

300+ prenatal vitamins

166 injections

82 blog posts

68 new recipes tried

52 visits to Shady Grove Fertility for monitoring or other testing

23 vials of blood drawn for testing

15 days of sick leave due to fertility treatments and surgery

4 embryos transferred

3 doses of general anesthesia

3 packs of birth control pills

1 pregnancy which is going to last and bring us the wonderful baby we are wishing for!

I have high hopes that 2012 will be an even greater year! Thank you to all of my friends and family for helping to make life so wonderful.  I wish you all the best for a very happy and healthy new year!

We had some fun nights out

We had a blast cheering at the Marine Corps Marathon
We’ve got spirit, yes we do! (Musselman 2011)
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Good Needles and Week 8 update

Happy Holidays, my fine readers! I was going to do a Merry Christmas post but, really, I decided that the cheese factor would just be intolerable. I was feeling so happy, fortunate, and blessed that I was even annoying myself with all of my sappiness. I decided to spare you. You’re welcome.

We’re officially at Week 8! Hooray! The baby is now the size of a raspberry.

Needless to say, things are going well. I haven’t had any medical visits since my last report but I can say with certainty that I am definitely still pregnant. The symptoms are going full force so I’d tried something new:

Acupuncture

My friend J read my post about the nausea and emailed me her recommendation. She told me to see the acupuncturist that she saw when she was pregnant at this time last year. I figured it was worth a try. Tuesday morning I had my first ever acupuncture visit and I am here to say: I’m a believer.

After talking about my medical history and current symptoms, Dr. Bill Reddy (he’s an M.D.) placed just four tiny needles on me: one above my knee, one in my wrist, one near my belly and one on my head. I barely felt them at all. Then I listened to relaxing music for 20 minutes while I “baked.” That was it.

I didn’t notice a huge difference immediately, but as the day went on I realized how dramatically different I felt. That day my appetite for salad and fruit was back and I felt like myself again. The Knight commented that I was like a new person. We both realized how much I’ve been dragging the past few weeks.

So yeah, my first acupuncture session was a huge success for me. Unfortunately, a different issue has intensified: insomnia. It is a blood sugar/hypoglycemia issue. I been waking up hungry in the middle of the night.

This may or may not be related to the acupuncture or the return of my appetite. It has been tough. Before you think I’m not eating enough, I will say that is definitely not the problem. Trust me. I have been eating very well (maybe too well) lately.

I actually feel better while I’m eating and immediately afterwards. So, I have been eating. Lots of carbs. Actually, I initially I thought the problem was eating too much before bedtime, but I’ve tried adjusting my diet but I haven’t found the right mix yet. I’ll keep experimenting. I have another acupuncture appointment scheduled for Saturday morning so hopefully we can fix this up. It is worth a try.

The Weight Challenge

Notice I didn’t say weight LOSS challenge. Nope. This isn’t a weight GAIN challenge either. Well, actually, it is kind of both.

Meet my friend Joe. Joe and I work together. Joe is the Ironman who initially bamboozled me into signing up for my first tri. Let’s just say Joe hasn’t been following an athlete’s training regimen or diet for a while now, but he’s trying to be better.

When he told me that was considering signing up for our agency’s weight loss challenge I jokingly said I’d do it too. And then I suggested that we have an opposite challenge. For every pound I gain, he has to lose at least one pound himself. He liked it.

I think it will be fun for us to document our progress, so here’s our starting picture. Thanks to Joe for being a good sport and agreeing to let me blog about this.

20111229-181608.jpg

20111229-181637.jpg

What’s next?

My next ultrasound (and final appointment with Shady Grove – wow!) is Tuesday morning. I’m more excited than nervous – yay! We’re just confirming that the baby is doing well and checking the size/heartbeat. I will then be officially “released” from SG’s care. As it turns out, later than morning I have my first OB appointment. It is starting to seem just a little more real.

We’re still holding our breath, but just a little less intensely right now. Just four weeks left in the first trimester, which is when I’ve decided that it is okay to get excited. Keep those fingers crossed, people!!!

Whew!!! 7 week update

Yes, we are breathing a sigh of relief this morning. Today’s ultrasound went pretty much perfectly. The Knight and I both noticed the big size difference in the baby between this week and last. The little bambino is measuring just right, and has a nice strong heartbeat (125 bpm).

The bleeding. Well, my friends S & B called it. I have a “Subchorionic hematoma/hemorrhage.” The way I understand it, it is a like a little blood blister on the uterus. That’s not at all correct, but that is what I’m envisioning. The nutshell version: It happens. It is probably fine. We’ll watch it. Here’s a good article that explains it way better than I have.

 Here’s an obligatory pregnancy picture. No I don’t expect you to understand what you’re seeing unless you’re a mom (or dad) yourself. Just trust me, this is the little baby at 7 weeks:

A picture of the week 7 sonogram picture

  So, right now we’re about the size of a blueberry.  

Source: Creature Gorgeous

I’m still pretty queasy. After three near misses yesterday, it is just a matter of time before I puke in public.  I should probably start carrying a barf bag. It’s all good though. I will gladly take the pregnancy symptoms if it means I’m still pregnant  🙂

OMG, look what I just found at morningsicknesshelp.com. They’re called Morning Chicness Bags. Ha! More Christmas gift ideas:

Thank you all for all of the well wishes, good thoughts, and prayers. We’re not out of the woods yet, so keep it coming. Still one month until we finish up the first trimester.

Belated 6 Week Update

As of today we are at 6 weeks and 5 days. Here are a couple of pictures we took on Friday before the ultrasound (6w1d). I’m just a few pounds up from my pre-pregnancy/pre-IVF weight. I’ve actually lost around two pounds in the past few weeks. [No, I have not been trying; I should be gaining weight now!] Go figure. Maybe the lack of sweets cravings I mentioned last week has something to do with that. Or it could be muscle loss since I’ve stopped P90x and lifting.

Week 6 pregnancy pics
The Latest:

The bleeding/spotting is still happening. Grrr. Do we not get a break from this nonsense during the nine lovely months of pregnancy? Apparently not. Fortunately, I’ve heard from a couple of friends who had healthy pregnancies who also experienced this joy, so I am comforted by that.

On the plus side, yesterday afternoon major queasiness set in. Unlike many pregnant women, I am not going to complain about this. I am going to cherish it.

I know I am going to get email about this, but I’ll admit it anyhow. Last night’s dinner consisted of a large bowl of white rice. That’s it. It is all that sounded good to me. I even have an emergency stash of Stouffer’s Mac and Cheese in the freezer, but not even it sounded good. Hopefully this is just the start of some good and entertaining pregnancy symptoms.

What’s Next?

Ultrasound # 2 is scheduled for Thursday morning. It can’t come fast enough. I really wish I had a friend who is a sonographer. They sell home fetal doppler machines that you can use to listen to the baby’s heartbeat, but I think it is too early for that. It might be a good Christmas gift though…

My Sunday Morning Scare

Let’s put this post in the category of a public service announcement. Because, despite the books I have read, I had no idea that you could go through what I am going through and it could be fine.

This morning I woke up having what I am guessing is not an uncommon pregnant woman’s nightmare. I was dreaming I was losing the baby. When I woke up I realized that my pajamas were wet so I figured I was having a bit of discharge or something.

I got out of bed and went to the bathroom and panicked when I saw blood – and quite a bit of it – in the toilet. The Knight had already left to go to the team ride. I called the Shady Grove emergency line and was promised a call back.

I reached the Knight and couldn’t help but sob uncontrollably as I told him I thought I was miscarrying. (He came straight home.)

I finally heard from a nurse at SG. She asked me a bunch of questions. Since I was not soaking a pad per hour or cramping, she seemed unconcerned. Well, not unconcerned, but not alarmed. She told me that 30% of women bleed in the first trimester.

Really?!? Could someone have told me about this? How did I not know about this phenomenon?

No wonder there are women who don’t know they are pregnant. This bleeding, which is still happening, is as heavy as any normal period. If I hadn’t just seen the heartbeat on Friday I don’t think I would believe I am really pregnant.

So, here’s what I think may have caused it. The nurse listed a bunch of possible causes and one kind of rang a bell. When she said [cough] long distance walking [cough] I suspected that we might have identified the culprit.

Ummm, yesterday was the day of the Team in Training Lousy Medal Virtual 5k. Run Faster Mommy had this clever fundraising idea where you donated to TnT and promised to run (or walk) a 5k on 12/17. And then they send you a medal. Sounds good, right? You know I love medals.

I woke up yesterday exhausted and debated for over an hour about whether I should stay in bed or get up and go walk in the cold. I finally decided that I would feel better mentally and physically if I just did it.

So I got out there and walked at a very leisurely pace. The first 30 minutes or so were good. It felt great to be alive and I was enjoying being out and about. But then, at about the 2 mile mark, I felt like I was at the end of a 20 mile run. I was just totally exhausted. I made it home and quit at 2.91 miles (in 51 minutes). I walked in the door and laid down on the floor.

No need to say I told you so. I learned my lesson. While I will never consider 3 miles to be a long distance, it was obviously more than I should have done. I am hoping that I have correctly identified the cause and that the pregnancy will go smoothly from this point forward.

The lessons we learned today:

1) bleeding in the first trimester, which isn’t accompanied by passing tissue or cramping, does not necessarily mean miscarriage (but please call your doctor anyhow);

2) if your body tells you for over and hour that it doesn’t want to do something, and you’re pregnant, listen to it;

3) pregnancy is scary.

I vow to take it even easier from this point forward. In fact, I am going to chill the rest of the day and let the Knight cater to me. I need some bon bons..

Ultrasound #1

See that title? #1  Do you know what that means? Yes, there will be a #2!

I’m delighted that today there was a little flicker on the screen and it was a nice, strong heartbeat. What an awesome relief !

And that’s not all. I am officially 6w1d (6 weeks, 1 day) into my pregnancy, but the little bambino measured at 6w3d. Small difference, but to me, the fact that the baby is bigger than it needs to be is HUGE!

The doc’s comments were along the lines of ‘things look perfect’ and he has a really good feeling about this one. Yay!

He told us we should come back in two weeks for the next ultrasound and then he’d release us to our OB. Last time they had us come in every week. I don’t know if it is because things looked iffy or because it is a different doctor. I felt kind of uneasy at the thought of waiting that long. I gently mentioned that last time we came in every week and the doc very nicely offered that if I would feel better I could come in next week for another ultrasound. How nice is that!?! I told him that yes, given our history, that would make me feel a lot better and so that’s the plan.

Now look where I can park (in our defense, this was the only spot left in the lot and we were only there for a few minutes)

Oh, one more tidbit of information to share. Our due date is August 10th. (That’s 238 days, or 34 weeks from now. Approximately.)  

Thursday Thirteen

  1. I’m progressing through all of the lovely stages of a cold. It is really mild as colds go, but it is still unpleasant.
  2. I am ready to be healthy again…I have things I want to do! Like visit my friends and their new baby.
  3. I am pretty much ready for Christmas. I keep a spreadsheet called “gifts” year-round. Whenever something comes up in conversation or I think of a good gift idea, I write it down (or email myself to add it to the sheet). When it is holiday or birthday time I don’t have to struggle to come up with ideas.
  4. I think I just need to let go of the idea of doing holiday cards. Or do them in October.
  5. Apparently I need to clarify something…I am NOT overdoing it, or really even doing it at all. The past 9 days have included one easy yoga session (no twisting) and 20 minutes on the elliptical (during which I didn’t even break a sweat). I haven’t run since before the transfer, and then it was only about 3 easy miles once/week.
  6. I promise that I am prioritizing my incubation duties over all else.
  7. I really appreciate everyone’s genuine concern. Thank you!
  8. I got a real kick out of tricking my Facebook friends into thinking my sister had a baby (I posted “I am an Aunt”). It appears that she found a lost kitty and is giving it a temporary home (but I think she’ll keep it). That’s my sis!
  9. It’s good to see you all are paying attention.
  10. I am so ready for 2012 that I keep wrongly writing the date as 12/–/12. I usually have the opposite problem.
  11. Today is National Cupcake Day and I have a confession. I think I’m over the cupcake thing. Shocking!
  12. For that matter, lately I have not been interested in sweets. I wonder if it is a pregnancy thing.
  13. I’m really excited for tomorrow’s ultrasound. Think good, healthly, strong heartbeat thoughts for us please.

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