Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Pregnancy and I had a Love/Hate Relationship

Okay, so we found out we were pregnant (this was October 2009) and we were really happy.  We called Mr. Right's sister and my sister right away (they were really the only people who knew we were even trying).  Then we had to figure out when and how to tell the rest of our family.

I scheduled my prenatal orientation (basically I met with a nurse who told me to take prenatal vitamins, what I shouldn't eat, don't lift heavy things, etc) and also scheduled my first ultrasound.  My father-in-law's birthday is at the end of September, but we didn't have a party for him until mid October.  PERFECT!  So, we bought him a card that said "Grandpa" on the front (that didn't give it away because they already had 3 grandchildren with another that was due to arrive in about a month) and when he opened up the card it read "Love, Mr. Right, Donna and Baby!"  He looked at us, then looked back at the card and then asked us if we were for real and Mr. Right said, yes, read it out loud.  There was a ton of excitement and hugging and jumping up and down.  And that was just my mother-in-law!  So, we had told Mr. Right's family, but we still had to tell mine.

My sister already knew and it was driving her crazy that she couldn't tell my parents!  She kept asking me when we were going to tell them.  How we were going to tell them.  Well, we were hoping to plan a surprise visit at the end of October (which I didn't want to tell my sister, because the visit was also going to be a surprise for her birthday).  I should probably mention that my family lives like 450 miles away from where Mr. Right and I live.  Mr. Right's family lives in the same area in which we live. We weren't exactly sure how we were going to tell them, but we knew we were going to do it in person.  Then this little thing that you may have heard of entered my life - morning sickness.

I find that "morning sickness" is not an accurate description - at all.  It was more like 24 hour a day/ 7 days a week sickness.  I spent almost a week in bed before I came to the conclusion that this was not normal and I should call my OB and see if there is anything to do to help it.  I mean, it took a lot of mental preparation to get out of bed just to use the bathroom.  It was bad.  And there was NO WAY that I was going to be able to handle a 7 our car trip to my parents' house.  No matter how bad I wanted to make it work.

Plan B - buy a web cam.  My sister (who was a freshman in college) already had one so she could keep up with some of her friends who were at different schools.  She went home for the weekend and took her web cam with her and we got one and set it up and had a nice little video chat with my parents and told them that we wanted to get a web cam so that we could talk with them over the computer.  It would be especially nice because then they would be able to see their grandchild more often.  Yes, they heard us correctly. We were having a baby!  This would be the first grandchild for my parents.  They were so excited and my sister was so relieved to finally be able to tell them that she had known for a couple weeks.

November 3, 2009 - I had my first ultrasound.  The pregnancy was confirmed, there was only one baby and I was about 7 1/2 weeks along.  The best part was seeing that beautiful little flutter of my baby's heart.  After the U/S I met with on of the Nurse Practitioners (that would be the last time I didn't actually meet with my OB).  The NP was kinda gruff and told me I should be eating more protein.  I told her that I was doing my best, but that The more I ate protein the more I threw up.  Also, I was having trouble with my prenatal for similar reasons.  She told me to try to eat more cheese and to try taking 2 children's chewable vitamins a day (that would give a similar amount of stuff that was in my prenatal, but I could take them at two different times, which seemed to help my tummy a little).  But she was really pushing the protein.  I left there feeling like I was failing my baby.

When I went back for my 12 wk appointment I met with my actual OB and she told me not to worry about it.  The baby wasn't very big yet, and there was no point to forcing my self to eat protein that I was just turning around and throwing right back up.  I wasn't getting any nutrients from it at that point anyway.

Throughout my whole pregnancy everything with the baby went well.  I was healthy, just really sick almost the whole time.  Finally around 20ish weeks I was able to get away with only taking 2 zofran (anti-nausea meds - yeah...I was that sick!) a day and I was starting to feel a little better.  That is also around the time that we found out that we were having a BOY!  We decided that we wanted to know the sex of our baby because it was important to us to be able to call our baby by his or her name.  I think that it helped both of us feel even more connected to our child before he arrived.

By the time I was about 30 weeks along I was able to take only 1 zofran a day (which I would do for the remainder of my pregnancy) and I was able to eat like a normal person again!  Except for the fact that my poor organs were running out of room because my giant baby was taking over my entire abdomen (and then some!).

Early on in the pregnancy we had decided that we wanted to have a natural childbirth.  I still wanted to be in the hospital, but I wanted to take all measures to ensure that the environment was conducive to a natural, drug-free birth.  I will write a separate post on how/why we chose this path.

Around 30ish weeks is when we started our birthing class (which was AWESOME) and decided to hire a doula (who was amazing and I wouldn't have been able to accomplish all that I did without her help and support - both for me and Mr. Right).  The class was wonderful and we learned a ton.  Mostly I learned to trust in my body and to embrace that God created my body to do this and that I was fully capable of doing this.

I was sore and tired and ready to meet my little man.  I was thankful that he decided to make his appearance a little early because at 39 weeks I wasn't looking forward to the possibility of 3 more weeks of pregnancy - especially because it was June, and this is Virginia and the weather was making more and more uncomfortable.

Later I'll post about our decision to have a natural birth as well as the story of my Budduh Boo's birth.

PCOS...What's Next?

Okay, so I left off my last post with my diagnosis of PCOS.  Like I mentioned before, I wasn't totally freaked out, but I was a little worried about what was going to come next.

I had been seeing one of the Nurse Practitioners at my OB's office (up until now, I was only going in for routine stuff, so I was more than happy to be able to get an appointment that fit my schedule with a wonderfully kind NP).  After the blood work came back and she called and told me about the PCOS, she said that I should make an appointment to come in and meet with the actual OB, because at this point we were a little beyond the scope of what the NP was prepared to deal with.  Okay, no problem.  I had never actually met with my OB before (like I said, only ever in for routine stuff), so I made and appointment and Mr. Right and I went in to meet Dr. P.

The meeting went much better than expected.  As soon as I was told PCOS, I went and joined a couple PCOS boards on babycenter.  It was encouraging to see people who had successfully conceived with PCOS, but there were others who were much worse off than I was who had doctors that said, "well you haven't tried for a year yet, so I can't do anything to help you out."  Stating that it wasn't infertility if it hadn't been more than a year of actively trying.  Thankfully Dr. P didn't see it that way.  It was clear from my blood work that I wasn't ovulating.  Okay, just incase you need a quick reminder of the basic building blocks to human life: the woman's ovary releases an egg and, if conditions are right, the egg will be fertilized by the sperm and BAM human life! Well, since I was clearly missing a piece of the puzzle, a crucial piece, one of two pieces that were most definitely needed, Dr. P. didn't see why Mr. Right and I should have to try for a year (and deal with all the emotions that negative test after negative test would bring) and told us that we could choose between two different medications that often help women with PCOS to conceive and let her know when we had made our decision and she would get us which ever one we had chosen.

One of our options was Metformin.  Metformin is actually a drug that is often taken by diabetics to help control insulin levels.  The thought behind giving this drug to women with PCOS is that often times, when there is an excess of estrogen (which is one of the signs of PCOS), the body turns it into something similar to insulin.  The Metformin is thought to help to control insulin levels and once they are controlled, often times the body will begin to ovulate again.  Our other options was Clomid.  Clomid is a synthetic from of FSH (folical stimulating hormone) which is the hormone that is responsible for maturing the ovum (egg).  If your body is not producing this (or enough of it) then again, no egg, no baby.  Clomid is often chosen by women who aren't quite ready to take the step to IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) which typically involves stronger drugs and has a high chance of multiples (but not as high as Invitro).  You do have a slightly higher chacne of conceiving twins on Clomid, and there is also a risk for OOS (or OHS) Ovarian Overstimulation (Hyperstimulation) Syndrome - which can cause huge, painful cysts on your ovaries, but they will go away and as long as they are diagnosed right away, they can be controlled and monitored until they resolve themselves.

Okay, so which one do we choose?

Well after prayerful consideration, a little research and asking the opinion of women on the PCOS boards who have been there before, we decided to try the Clomid.  We knew there were risks associated with it, but as for the OOS (OHS), I would be starting on a the lowest dose, so unless it took a while, I didn't need to worry about it so much.  As for the twins, well, if God decided to bless us with twins then that would be wonderful.  (Although, I'm sure I would have been totally freaked out at first!)  So we called Dr. P up and said that we had decided on the Clomid.  She called in a prescription for us (as well as for the meds that would start my period b/c that still wasn't happening on its own - obviously) and gave us the instructions about when to take the pills and when I needed to come in to have blood work done to see if I had ovulated.

At the same time, I had been reading though Taking Charge of Your Fertility and figuring out how to go about knowing if I was ovulating and what not.  So, I started taking my temperature every morning as soon as I woke up and all the other fun stuff involved with that method (if you are interested in knowing more about it then you should totally read the book; I found it fascinating).  I also decided I was going to use ovulations test (like pregnancy tests, but they tell you when you are ovulating).  And, of course, "doing the dance" at the appropriate time.  I am saying "I" a lot, but Mr. Right was just as involved (and I don't just mean for the fun stuff)!  He did everything that he could to support me - especially emotionally.  He was (and continues to be) absolutely wonderful.  I'm sure all of this is not how he pictured making a baby, but he went with the flow and helped me to navigate the bumps that had been put in our path. 

So, the time came to go and get the blood work done and I knew I hadn't yet ovulated, but that morning was the first time that it looked like the ovulation tests were starting to change.  And honestly, I wasn't totally surprised.  I had gone on a job interview early on in my cycle and didn't end up getting the job which caused a lot of stress.  Stress can delay ovulation (even when taking fertility drugs).  So, I knew that it was not time to worry or be upset just yet.  So, they called and confirmed that I hadn't yet ovulated and said that I should come in again in a couple days and they would repeat the test.  By that time I knew that I had ovulated.  My temperature had spiked and the ovulation tests had given me the same info.  They called me back after the second round of blood work and confirmed that I had, indeed, ovulated and that if I didn't get my period by the end of the week that I should take a pregnancy test.

Now the wait...oh the wait.  I felt like crap.  I was nervous.  A little scared.  And by the end of the week I was bloated and constipated...ugh...wait a minute...

Bloated?! Constipated?!  I believe those are two symptoms of pregnancy!  I mean, bloating happens around the time of my period sometimes, too, but this felt different.  So, it's the end of the week and I wanted to wait until Saturday morning to take a pregnancy test.  Mr. Right and I were trying to take a nap after school that day (he teaches physics and I was subbing at that point).  I couldn't sleep even though I desperately wanted to!  So Mr. Right finally convinced me to go and take a pregnancy test.


So, time is up and Mr. Right and I walk into the bathroom together to take a look.  TWO LINES TWO LINES TWO LINES!!!!!!!! There we were staring at two beautiful, pink and clearly there lines!  No trying to figure out if it was a line or was there, they both were.  Holy Crap!  We were gonna have a baby.  I mean, I know this is what we were trying for, but now it was real.

There was a little life growing inside me!

 Praise God!

Oh, God!

What did we get ourselves into?!  I have never been so happy and terrified all at once! But happy, no, overjoyed.  I was, WE were overjoyed.  WE WERE HAVING A BABY!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Where to Begin?...

Okay, so I tried this whole blog thing once before and I kind of lost interest pretty quickly, but I'm hoping that this time will be different.  It seems like everybody is blogging, and maybe I'm just feeling a little left out, or maybe I finally feel like I have a little more to say than I did several years ago, but either way, here goes!

I guess I'm mostly looking to post about various different things that deal with my experiences being a mama (and wife, and sister, and sister-in-law, and daughter and daughter-in-law, and auntie etc... )and how being a mama effects all my different roles in life.

I've always known that I wanted to get married and have a children.  So, when I met Mr. Right and he proposed (in a very beautiful, romantic and heart-felt way that I will always remember) I of course said YES!!!!  We got married about 8 months later and decided that we were going to enjoy married life as just husband and wife for a few years (I believe the actual number that was discussed was 5 years).  Well, about a little over a year into our marriage we started talking about perhaps not waiting quite as long as we had originally thought. (Okay, I started talking about not waiting 5 years.)  So after some discussion we thought maybe 3 years was a little more realistic.

In the mean time I had been trying to lose some weight and it seemed that no matter how much I worked out or watched what I ate I was still gaining.  Ugh.  So after a conversation with my mom, I decided to go to the doctor and have them check my thyroid levels.  My mom has hypothyroidism and, typically, if mom has it, daughter will probably end up with it eventually.  So, I went and talked to the doctor, discussed with them what I was doing to try to lose weight and it seemed that all I was doing was getting heavier.  Add in the fact that my mom was about my age when she was first diagnosed with and under-active thyroid and the doctor agreed that we should definitely check my thyroid levels.  They also suggested trying WeightWatchers (the nurse that worked with that doctor had a lot of success with WW and they both agreed that it was effective and a healthy option).  So I started WW (kind of) and my thyroid was, indeed, a bit sluggish.

While all of this was going on I also decided that I should make an appointment with my OB/GYN because most of my weight gain started when I started on birth control in college.  (Not that I need to justify my choice, but I went on birth control for period/ major cramp management, not for other reasons.)  I decided that I wanted to try switching to a different kind and see if that helped things in the weight department as well. So, after talking my weight issue (and thyroid issue) over with the OB/GYN, I decided to switch to YAZ.  Well, I finally started to lose weight!  I was so excited!  I was loosing weight at a healthy pace and really starting to be happier about the way my body looked and how I felt in clothes.  Unfortunately, I wasn't loving the YAZ.  My cramps started to come back, and boy did they come back with a vengeance.  I was also having wonky periods and I was just not loving the way I felt.  The whole reason I was taking the stupid stuff was to give me a regular period and make my cramps less painful/non-existent.  Neither of those things were happening.  But at this point, between the thyroid meds, birth control, WW and exercising I was down about 20 lbs, even with Thanksgiving and Christmas being thrown in there!  Right around New Years (2008 into 2009) we went on a big family vacation.  While there, I started to feel, weird.  I started getting some heartburn (which I never get) and all of a sudden I was super sensitive to certain smells.  (There were making chili when I walked into the kitchen and I almost threw up!)  So I told Mr. Right about how I was feeling, and that it was right around the time that I should start my period (but it wasn't yet late).  The prospect of being pregnant both excited and utterly terrified me.  I wasn't sure that I was ready, but I knew that everything is in God's timing and if this is the time that He wanted us to have a baby, then I knew it would all work out.  We were leaving for home the next day, so we decided to stop and get a pregnancy test and I would take it when we got home.  Longest 3 minutes of my life.  One line.  Not pregnant.  To be totally honest, I was a little relieved.  But that's when Mr. Right and I decided that I would finish up with the last month of birth control pills and then I wouldn't get a refill and we would just let things happen if they were going to happen.  So that's what I did.  Bye by birth control.

So, we weren't really actively trying to get pregnant at this point, but we weren't not trying (if that makes sense).  Well, it came time for my period to show up, and I waited another week or so and still nothing.  So, after going through about 15 pregnancy test, I decided to call the OB/GYN and make an appointment.  I went in and they did a pregnancy test and it was negative.  So, they gave me something to start my period and then said that if it doesn't work to call back.  Well, it worked and then this time we decided we would be a little more deliberate with our trying.  But I wasn't really getting my hopes up.  Two months later, no period and not pregnant, I returned to my OB and they decided to run a bunch of labs and see what was going on and in the meantime they gave me something to start my period again.  So about a week later I get a call back from the OB (well, actually I had been seeing one of the Nurse Practitioners) and she told me what all my labs said and that everything was a little off and gave me the diagnosis of Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  She had mentioned this possibility to me before doing the lab work so I had done a little reading up on the topic.  I wasn't totally devastated, but I wanted to know what was next...

Okay, so that was a lot...I'll finish this story in another post.