Category Archives: health

Breastfeeding sucks

Breastfeeding sucks

When my baby girl was born premature, I didn't think twice. I grabbed the hospital-provided pumping supplies and proceeded to pump like a fiend. Well, actually, my husband had to grab them and nudge me awake every 2-3 hours to pump. I was trying to recover from a c-section and was properly drugged up. Once we got home, the duties fell to me. It was hard, but I did it. I pumped 8-10 times a day, while also visiting my daughter at least twice a day. It was no easy feat, but I happily did it. Hell, I produced so much milk, I had a surplus. A nice stash I proudly flaunted on Facebook.

That damn stash haunted me in June after Imogen came home.

No one really gave us any real advice about how to switch to mostly breastfeeding after we got home. I called the lactation consultants at the hospital and they told me that I needed to stop pumping. So, for 4 days, that's what I did. WORST. ADVICE. EVER. I almost completely lost my supply. I went from an oversupply, to almost losing it. For the next couple weeks, I struggled with trying to breastfeed Immi, and then supplement with a bottle from my frozen stash. When the stash ran out at the end of June (woohoo! I had a month's worth. Yay me!), We had to go to formula. We started with Similac Neosure.

After a week or so of being home from the hospital, Immi started getting super fussy. All. day. long. She would sleep well at night though, so it could definitely have been worse. But if she was awake, she was fussy. You could clearly tell she was in pain, and that was why she was fussy. She would scrunch up her whole body while screaming, then let loose a machine-gun torrent of poots or an explosive boom of poo, and she would settle for a few minutes until the cycle started over. It was really hard to see her go through that. In one of her diapers we found this long stringy bit of blood, and her poo was really mucous-y. Come to find out both of those things can indicate an allergy of some sort. The most common of the allergies is milk protein (not lactose). Neosure had milk in it. So, at the advice of the pediatrician's nurse, we switched to Similac Isomil (Soy). After a little over a week, it wasn't getting better. I had cut dairy out of my diet, cuz milk proteins that I eat make their way into the breast milk. I had researched milk allergies, and something like 30% of kiddos with milk protein allergies will also have problems with soy. Lovely. We talked to the nurse again, described things, and she recommended Similac Alimentum. The most expensive damn formula on the planet. Some insurance companies cover such things, lucky us, ours doesn't. The first day on that formula she was a completely different creature. She could actually sit in her swing or lambie chair and just be happy to be looking around. No screaming, no crying, no scrunching. My baby is allergic to milk protein and soy. And I thought my gluten-free lifestyle was a pain.

Back to my supply issues... Mike finally got frustrated enough, and I couldn't bring myself to do it, so he called a lactation consultant. We went to visit her. She was very pro-attachment parenting. We are not. So, that was kinda odd. She told us things like, "a crib is for nighttime sleeping only. you wear your baby during the day." Or my fave, in response to our desire to be able to bottle-feed a couple of times a day so I can have a break to do things or to just have a break, "nonono, you can leave the house, just don't go beyond a 10 mile radius so you can come back quickly to feed the baby". I paraphrase, but that's the gist. But the clincher, the pièce de résistance was her math skills, or lack thereof. She said that we needed to feed the baby two times her weight in ounces. So, the way she figured it was -- Immi was 9 lbs 12 ounces at the time. To her, that was 9.12 (in the real world, that's really 9.75). So, she should eat 18.3 ounces. We kinda look at her funny, and question her about that, but she waves our concerns off. We weighed Immi before and after feeding and she was only getting 1 ounce from me after 40 minutes on the boob. She could eat 3 ounces in a bottle at that time. But, the LC tells us we need to feed the baby every 2 hours for the next 3 days, and only supplement with 1 oz in a bottle according to her math. Everything we'd read said that you multiply the babies weight times 2.5 to determine ounces. But, we figure she's certified, she has to know what she's talking about right?

Wrong. That bitch was flippin' nuts. For almost 2 days, I starved my child because of that whack job. We thought she was fussy with milk/soy? You ain't seen nothing til you underfeed a child. We finally call the pediatrician to find out what we should be feeding her. We should be feeding her 25.5 ounces. Ahhh. Mike talks to the LC and even confronts her about her awful math, and she still won't admit that anything was wrong. To her, 9.12 is a bigger number than 9.2 (9 lbs 2 oz). Yeah.

A few days later we find another LC that is actually more in line with how we want to tackle the issue. I want to feed my child, and tackle my supply problem. I didn't necessarily want to use her to do it. So, I would pump vigorously and feed my child. We'd meet again when the two got closer. She also knew how to do math, and that it was 2.5 times not 2. I got an herbal supplement, a prescription drug, and finally had some hope that this might just work out. I finally felt good again after over a month of misery. My child is finally home from the hospital! I should not have been that damn miserable!

Well, we are now at a month past then. My supply is definitely up. So you get a sense of the numbers... I was pumping about 20 ounces a day when Immi was in the NICU. When I stopped pumping due to the first bad LC advice, my supply went down to about 3 ounces a day. When I went to see the second LC, my supply was at about 5-6 ounces a day. I'm now up to about 12-15 ounces a day, but my daughter drinks around 26-30 ounces a day. I can't manage to pump the requisite 8-10 pumps a day. I'm looking after a baby, a fussy baby. I can usually get in 7 if I work really hard at it. So, I can continue to struggle with this mess, worrying if my milk is still making her fussy, having to constantly supplement breastfeeding with a bottle which makes each feeding time take 1.5 hours usually, or just stop. Stop feeling the guilt. The shame. The judgment. I can stop all that and take all that extra time and just enjoy my flippin' girl. Play with her, love her, and show her the world. Instead of feeling like I'm chained to the damn pump, and thus house bound at all times. The thought of leaving my house frightens me! This should not be how it is!

Another side topic... I am not the type of person to whip out my boob in public to feed my baby either. I have enormous boobs. They are GINORMOUS with milk, I am not even about to try to whip these puppies out "discreetly" in public. Not gonna do it. More power to the ladies that do it, and I feel like they should have the freedom to. It's just not for me. I'm a closeted breastfeeder. Also, I never felt that awesome bonding thing you hear about. Probably because the whole thing is so damn stressful to me. I'm constantly thinking about this problem. When can I pump? Is she going to be too fussy for me to pump? Am I going to pump enough? Is my supply increasing yet? How long is breastfeeding suppose to take, cuz I really need to go pump so I can make my next target of pumping in 2 hours. On top of all this it's getting to where I can't sleep. I only get two 3-hour intervals to sleep at night usually. And for the first hour or two of that, my mind is racing with all those previous questions. It's driving me mad! You get the awful picture.

So, just a couple of hours ago. I finally made the decision. I'm going to stop. I was surprised at how emotional I got once I made the decision. But the second I did it, my fussy baby stopped being fussy and looked up at her dad and me and gave us the greatest series of smiles. If I ever doubted it was the right thing to do, I do not doubt anymore. I gave her my milk when she needed it the most -- when she was so tiny and needed every possible chance. I will always be proud of that. Now it's time to give her ME. The fun me, the less stressed me, the mom I've been waiting to be.

ETA 8/4/12: Immi has been on frozen breast milk exclusively for the past 3 days. Her allergy symptoms have returned -- congestion, more spitting up, explosive mucousy poos. That was milk from me being completely soy and dairy free. So, this is even more proof for me that I've done the right thing. I really don't want to expose her to something else she's allergic to and cause her more issues down the line. I'm going to investigate donating the rest of the frozen stash to the Milk Bank of Austin.

Brrrrrr.... Birth

Brrrrrr.... Birth

So, let's rewind a sec. I'm gonna talk about the birth. Nothing gross or anything. Just what all went down. Okay, maybe a little gross stuff. But on my scale of grossness, it's really nothing.

So, the doctor came in and was like... Bam! C-Section. Let's do this. But, yanno, more doctor-y.

The nurses put me in a wheel chair while I'm having a contraction, I hear Mike is on the phone with someone. I remember something he said like "Oh, this is happening fast. Gotta go."

They wheel me into the operating room. I see a couple surgical techs/nurses prepping away. They tell me to get on the table. Then the anesthesiologist tells me what he's gonna do. I'm seriously only thinking about my contractions. They hurt. How the hell is he gonna manage to do this while they are happening. Good luck to you my man. At some point about here, I look at him and said something like "You're Dr. Miller?". He says yes. And I kinda laugh and said "Elizabeth K. said you'd be on call tonight, and that you're good. I hope she's right." We have a slight conversation about how I know Elizabeth K. We chuckle. Small world and all that. I do my back like he wants, and bam. That's pretty much that. I lay down on the table and then I start to feel nothing.

andrea-or

Well, I exaggerate. I feel cold. Damn cold. Right as he's telling me that shivering/feeling cold is a common side effect, I start shivering. He puts some warm blankets on me, then he puts this blow up plastic thing with a warm air hose attached to it. While it does feel nice, I never stop shivering.

I'm so concentrated on the shivering I really have no idea when my OB - Dr. Stephanie McNelis - came in. I remember the occasional comment from her, but truly my strongest memory is just being cold. The kind of shivering that is just exhausting. I do remember falling asleep from time to time and my snoring would wake me up. I remember the doctor saying something about my intestines... (that turned out to be cuz my intestines were very oddly positioned around my uterus. The doc had never seen it before.)... She said something about the baby's head being really funny shaped but that's what hats are for.

I remember Mike sitting next to my head. I remember wanting to scratch my nose a lot. And I remember shivering.

Once the baby was here, I guess I was out again. Mike tells the story of a 10 minute long wait of not knowing whether she was ok. I just remember him saying she was ok, and him asking me if it was ok for him to leave me to go with her. Weirdo. Of course you go with the baby to the NICU! I'm sure this won't be the last time he has to pick between the two of us. Poor boy.

According to Mike, I was in the OR for quite a while afterwards. I remember them moving me from the OR table to a bed, and the clock in there showed 7:40am. The baby was born at 6:16am. Interesting.

Also, when they moved me, someone ripped out my IV from my upper right arm. I look at it and ask to no one in particular "Won't I be needing that?"

They wheel me into recovery and some other new dude is working on putting another IV in me. This one is in my right hand and it's really annoying. No worries, this turns out to not be my last one. It gets infiltrated in a couple days and I have to get another one put in anyway. The guy who put in my final IV had scrubs on that said Austin Anesthesiology Group, so I ask him if he knows Elizabeth K. He kinda chuckles and says yes, and asks me how I know her. Before I mention her name he was kinda cold and disinterested. Not mean by any stretch, just focused maybe. Maybe even annoyed at being asked to do an IV (I'm not the easiest stick, so I always warn the nurses). I tell him how I know her, and he tells me about a party they had the weekend before. He just said she's pretty wild, with a big smile. That loosens him up, and he tells me about his family and his almost experience with the NICU.

Anyway, I digress. So, I'm in recovery with a new IV that sucks. I'm shivering. I think I'm even shivering harder than in the OR. The nurses there say something about getting an order for demerol, but in the meantime they start covering me in warm blankets and then another one of those plastic suits with warm air hoses. They did get an OK for demerol, apparently it heats you up from the inside. Yes! I'll take it!

These two nurses in recovery are funny. They clean me up, get me some underwear and some pads. And they have to start to massaging my uterus. The first couple times was cool cuz I still had the spinal meds going through. They keep commenting on how hard my ab muscles are and they have a difficult time massaging my uterus cuz of them. My hard abs. That's what I'm known for, yo. No, seriously, it's kinda funny. I guess it gets written on some chart somewhere, so every nurse that goes to massage my lady junk says something like "I hear you have hard abs to get past... Oh wow, you do." Hard abs under all this flab. Hell yeah. The recovery nurses keep telling me how much they like me and how fun I am. I do not remember why they have this opinion. Maybe my awesome wit and stuff was showing.

Mike came to visit me a couple times in recovery, I think I just kept falling asleep... snoring.. waking myself up. His sister, Jane, came in and visited once too. After 2 hours of being in there, and me gaining the ability to move my legs myself, they moved me to my post-partum room. I call it a room, but really, it was like a closet. So small! I have too much stuff from my Labor & Delivery Suite. Mike has to take a lot of stuff home.

Someone tells me I have 12 hours of bed rest before I can get up. That means I have at least 12 hours before I can see my baby girl. My baby girl. MY. BABY. GIRL. So surreal.

To Be Continued...

Our New Addition

Our New Addition

So, this is gonna be a bit long. I'm gonna try to glance over some stuff, but it's still gonna be long. I'm just warning ya. In fact, it will probably take a couple posts.

On March 21, 2012, I went to my Maternal Fetal Medicine appointment first thing in the morning. This was just a normal appointment. Check out the baby, see all is well, see me in another 4 weeks. However, this appointment did not go that way. They did a cervical check on me and told me my cervix was thinning and that I was being checked into the hospital for the "duration of the pregancy". 'Scuse me, wuh? You do know that's 3 months away, right? Yup. I'll go home and get clothes. Um, nope. Check in now. Okay.

So, Mike and I go across the street to check in to Labor & Delivery at St. David's North Austin Women's Center. These people are not playing. I immediately am told to strip, get comfy, and an IV is started. Not long after that, I'm given a catheter. Ugh. I thought that was bad. No, it got worse. I was given magnesium sulfate to make sure I did not get any contractions. That stuff is awful. I was given it for 24 hours. Some women are given it for 48 hours. I can't imagine. I was also given steroids for the baby. In case she did come early, they wanted to get her lungs as prepped as possible. They said "this is gonna burn", I just nod like "yah, ok", cuz when does it really burn that bad? Um, this time. It surprised me so much I said something like "Oh, shit!" Got that shot again in 24 hours. Sucked the 2nd time too.

So, after about 5 days of grossness, I was finally able to shower. This made me a completely new person. Even nurses that had seen me before would come in and be like "Wow, you look awesome!". Yah, it's amazing what being clean can do for a person.

Let's fast forward about 11 more days. I feel like I have a bladder infection or some nonsense. The pain is crazy. I test positive for a UTI. I get some antibiotics.

On Friday, April 6th around 6am, I wake up. I sit there for about 20-30 seconds contemplating getting my butt up to go pee. Before I can even move a muscle, I feel liquid let loose. My original thought was "Wow, that's quite an infection to just lose control of my bladder." I stand up next to the bed and the liquid keeps coming. Hunh. That's not my bladder. I yell at Mike to call the nurse, I go the bathroom. I did still need to pee. So I did that, but I'm still leaking.

They get me all situated, they get me an ultrasound. I've gone from 11cm of fluid to 7cm or fluid. Nothing awful, but yes the bag is broken. They tell me women can go weeks like this. Baby is doing well. No big thang.

They hook me up to the monitors for fetal heart rate and contractions. They see I'm having contractions. I don't feel them. That's good. A couple hours later, I start feeling them. Then I really start feeling them. They give me some meds to dull them and maybe slow them. Time for bed, they give me Ambien to help me get some rest.

imogen1

They wake me up around 5:30am, and tell me my contractions are maybe stressing the baby. They put me on oxygen, that doesn't help. My doctor is luckily the one on call, and I guess she had a feeling about me, so she stuck around. She comes in and tells me, she's gonna check my cervix. My cervix is a very popular topic of discussion in the hospital. I'm only 1cm, so that means contractions are just gonna get worse. She says it's time to get the baby. C-section. Wow.

Imogen Marie Olivier was born at 6:16am on Friday, April 7th. She was 30 weeks, 2 days. NICU will be her home for the next several weeks.

Mr. Blue

Mr. Blue

I re-read my last post and it makes me sick. Well, the last line does...

"Things could definitely be worse..."

Well, that was an understatement. Things got a lot worse. This is what we posted on FB -

Our son, Jeremy Blue Olivier was born on Friday, June 17, 2011 3:53pm. He passed away shortly after his birth. There were complications with the pregnancy. We had him for such a short time, but he has forever changed our lives.

I'm not going to get into the details or anything, but I feel like I need to post something about him and what we went through. I guess I feel like I couldn't post anything else on my blog until I did this post. But, what do you say? I'm heartbroken beyond words... that's kind of a given.

Everyone was so great to us. A lot of compassion out there, even from places I least expected.

I also found that some people just didn't even get it. I did not miscarry. Not to say that miscarriages are something that are easier, but in a way they can be. I was 21-weeks pregnant. I gave birth. I had an epidural and went through the whole shebang. He was 7 inches, 9.5 ounces. I held my dead baby boy... kissed his cold head... touched his little sharp finger nails. He had my nose! And he had Mike's long fingers, and his chin, too!

And yet, I still got comments like.. "Well, if it was meant to be..."

Yah... I'm not friends with the people that said shit like that to me anymore.

So, this is probably not as monumental as maybe it should be. But I felt like I had to write something. Acknowledge our little boy Jeremy Blue, my Mister Blue... before I can get to a healthier place in life, or on this blog. It could not go unsaid.

I will miss my first born boy forevermore.

...And Even More WAITING!

...And Even More WAITING!

Started "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part I"

Continued in "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part II"

Continued in "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part III"

Continued from "Now... the WAITING"

 

It took me 30 minutes to get a hold of Miguel. I had literally just gotten off the phone with him when the nurse called me back, and I could not get him on the phone or on text or anything. So flipping frustrating. I had a friend that was doing IVF at the same time as me texting me, and my mom texting and calling me, and another friend texting me. But I wasn't saying a peep until I got to talk to my man. That seemed only fair, except he wasn't really cooperating. Finally, I think on one of my many call attempts, he answers. I don't even remember what I said. I wonder if he remembers. Hmmm. So, somehow I relay the information. He is ecstatic! He wants the OK to tell one of his buddies up there with him so he can truly experience it and not alone. I tell him he can tell that ONE person. I then proceed to tell three :D Actually, no, four. TEEHEE. A few days later my four becomes five. But that's it, that was my max. I think in the end, Miguel told four people.

Just when I thought the most horrible waiting period was over, I get a good knock of reality right upside the head. On Monday February 21, 2011, I went and got my blood drawn again. Didn't really stress too much about it, just waited til the end of the day when I got my results. My HCG levels were higher, but not as high as they should have been. Apparently, HCG levels should close to double every couple days. My first HCG level was 57, this new level was 87. They said it should be 95. Now I start to worry. I also started getting a pretty wicked cold that day. Oh, and all-day nausea started the previous day. Oy vey.

I get another blood draw on Wednesday, it was better. I got another one the following Monday, February 28, 2011. Much better. Had our first sonogram on March 2, 2011. At this point I'm considered 5 weeks 4 days. From this point forward, I think we have sonograms every week for a few weeks with the exception of Spring Break week (aka SXSW). This was good and bad.

See, Dr Silverberg is a super upbeat and positive guy. I've walked into his office feeling like the world would end and I walk out without a care in the world. I'd heard stories about some of the other doctors, and some (like the one that told us the bad news) just don't have that great non-stop positive attitude. So, it was quite odd to see a different side of Dr Silverberg -- oddly cautious. We would have our sonogram appointments and he would say something like "it's not as big as I would like". But then he would end with "everything looks fine". Some other gems were "we're not out of the woods yet" and "that heartbeat is slower than I'd like". He would mostly end with "everything looks fine, see you in a week" or whatever. This caused me so much flippin' worry. I would take whatever line of the week and just dwell on it. Thank goodness Mike would just focus on the "everything looks fine" portion. Cuz he would have to talk me down some weeks. By the time the next sonogram would roll around I was a wreck. It wasn't until I was about 8 weeks 4 days that I got a big boost of confidence.

We'd been hearing or seeing the heartbeat since 6 weeks 4 days. But at the 8 week mark it was like hearing a freight train. It was a whopping 170 beats per minute and it was just truckin'. That made me feel so confident. I wanted to say screw our 12 week rule of when to tell people and announce it to the world! But, it's glad one of us can manage to stay sane at any given point, cuz Mike insisted we keep our deal of 12 weeks. Dr Silverberg was still concerned about the size of our critter, but we saw him one more time at 9 weeks 4 days, and the critter had almost completely caught up with growth. So, he released me to see my OB finally. He also told me to make sure I send them a picture once the baby was born, but the nurses kept telling me I better bring the baby up there. I'm sure they really like seeing the end result of all their work. I don't blame them at all.

We see my OB -- Dr Stephanie McNelis (love her!) -- at 10 weeks 4 days. It was weird cuz her sonogram machine is a bit inferior to TFC's. It felt like we were going quite a ways back. She couldn't even pick up the heartbeat and made it seem like it's rare when she can. Madness! I'm spoiled over here, give me everything or give me nothing! I kid :D Everything looked kosher, they gave me bunches and bunches of samples of prescription pre-natal vitamins and a couple bags worth of swag, told me to get blood drawn and said come back in a month. A month!??!?! I have gotten sonograms weekly dangit, what is this month thing?!?

Apparently, "because of my age", and because of the IVF thing, I'm considered High Risk, so that is actually going to afford me more ultrasounds than your normal pregnancy. Some at my normal OB and some at a high risk place that has higher resolution ultrasounds! At first I was offended at being "high risk", but if the only downside to that is getting more peeks at the critter, than I'll wear that label proudly!

Just after Miguel got back from a wedding in Venezuela, we started telling everyone about the little critter. I probably rode on that high for 3-4 days. It was great getting it out in the open. Probably didn't help that because of IVF we knew WAY earlier than most folks do. It was just so much WAITING.

So, now we're pretty current on things. I'm 14 weeks as of the moment of writing this. I get my next ultrasound (on the belly this time!) in 4 days. Then I think we'll be scheduling the ultrasound for determining gender with the high risk place soon after that. Really exciting times for us.

This is the end of this portion of the story, but I imagine I'll be pretty darn chatty about all this, so hopefully I'll write more as we go. I don't want to be one of those batty ladies that talks about her pregnancy or kids all the time to people. I've been on the other end of that, and trust me -- the non-parent types really can't stand it. So, I'll use my little blog here to get most of that out, hopefully. I can't promise anything, but I'll say that I'll try my best :D

Now... the WAITING...

Now... the WAITING...

Started in "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part I"

Continued in "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part II"

...Continued from "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part III"

 

We'll rewind just a tad here. On Monday, February 7, 2011, Miguel got horrible news. He was told that a close friend of his committed suicide. They had known each other for so long -- Probably 20 years. To say this was a surprise was an understatement.

So, when we get our awesome 3-day fertilization report on February 8, 2011, he was beyond relieved or happy or whatever. You combine the death of his friend with what happened on our previous 3-day fertilization report, and this boy just wanted to hear something good. So, when I say I can't describe the look on his face, I mean it. There was so much emotion tied into that one look, that it is just impossible to put into words.

Miguel left for Dallas for the memorial for his friend on Thursday, February 17, 2011. He would be there until Sunday. However, the extra bummer to this is my blood test to see if I was pregnant was scheduled for Saturday, February 19. He would not be there with me when I found out. In the scheme of things, this is probably not that important.

But when you consider the HOT MESS that I became between Thursday and Saturday, you might think differently. I was pretty OK until after he left. Then the worry set in. By Friday, I was just trying to sleep whenever I could so I would avoid the worrying and how awful it was making me feel. As an added bonus to all this, I was experiencing extreme constipation because of all the hormones I had been on, and was still having to take. I could take nothing for it, so physically and emotionally I was just a mess. I woke up from one of my naps around Friday/Saturday at midnight. This is when my wheels started churning. How early was too early to get my blood drawn? The place I had to go was a 24-hour lab. So, I watched stuff on Netflix for as long as I could manage, but then finally caved.

I ended up heading to the hospital lab at 4am. Due to some seriously stupid people, I almost got checked into the ER when I was just asking for directions to the lab. All that mess took me an hour! So, when I finally found the lab at 5am, I was just confused and frazzled. The lady there was really helpful, and made sure I wasn't going to have to pay for an ER visit, and yelled at some people on the phone for putting me through all that. Then she took my blood. Best blood draw ever. So smooth. And with IVF, you become a bit of a critic of all the phlebotomists. You have to get blood taken almost as often as they stick stuff up your lady junk. So, yes, best blood draw ever.

So, I head home, eat some breakfast and then proceed to crash from about 6:30am until 11am-ish. I am supposed to receive a call by no later than 1:30pm. The sheet I have specifically states that if I have not heard by that time, to page out the nurse. Well, 1:30pm comes and goes, and by 1:32pm I'm paging out. I get a call back around 2pm, and I apologize for being a dork for paging out, but she says I did the right thing. I could hear her shuffling papers around, and I was starting to get nervous and she says something like "OH! Good news!" and I think she said something else, but I could seriously have passed out by this point. I regain my composure while she tells me what my next orders are and all that. I have to get my blood drawn again on Monday.. keep taking my progesterone... yadda yadda yadda. Holy shit. I'm pregnant!?

TO BE CONTINUED in "...And Even More WAITING!"

The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part III

The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part III

Started in "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part I"

... Continued from "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part II"

 

Dr Silverberg loves what all our gender bits are looking like and all that, so it's time to start IVF cycle #2. I started Birth Control Pills (BCP) on December 22, 2010. I started the first hormone Lupron on January 11, 2010. Then I started Gonal-F on January 19, 2011.

An interesting fact here is that during the 1st cycle, I gave myself almost all the shots. I ended up having bruises everywhere. I even had one on my stomach that lasted 3 months. I was not looking forward to more bruises. However, Mike did every single shot during the 2nd IVF cycle and I had a couple tiny quick bruises, but for the most part nothing. He's got magic hands or something. Or, I stressed like a mofo when I was having to give myself the shots. Go figure.

Back to the current IVF... I was told to do the Ovidrel (ovulation trigger) shot at 8pm on February 3, 2011. That set me up for a 6:45am arrival on February 5, 2011 at the surgery center. Since the previous retrieval sent me into the hospital and allowed me to experience my first morphine shot ever, I can't say I was particularly looking forward to this experience. However, I did make sure that I had some pain meds long before the day of surgery. Ok, it was like 2 days prior, but still. I had those puppies in hand. I did use the pills for about a day, but after that didn't really need to. Much different experience.

Turns out they got a whopping 25 eggs this time. This time out of those, 19 were mature enough to fertilize. Of those, 17 fertilized successfully. These numbers were looking really good. However, we wouldn't know how well they were doing until February 8, 2011. I would find out early that morning whether we would transfer that day or wait until February 10, 2011. (Transfer is what they call putting the fertilized eggs back). February 5-February 8 was a difficult time for us to wait. The last time our 3-day report was not good.

So, I'm at home on February 8, 2011, and I'm taking a shower when the call comes in about our eggs. Mike runs into the bathroom and is just staring at me while I'm getting the call. Turns out we will have to wait until February 10th to do our transfer. The reasons are entirely different this time around though. We just have so many eggs doing so well, that they don't want to pick now. They want to wait until Day 5 (Feb 10) to see which ones are excelling the best. I cannot describe to you the relief that both of us experienced. We were waiting for and dreading this particular moment again, because this is where it started to fall apart last time.

I have a scheduled time to arrive at the surgery center at 11:30 on February 10, 2011. They show us pictures of the 2 blastocysts that were doing the best. Now, a little side note here. When we started this fertility stuff, I was 34. I was already getting the "because of your age" spiel back then. If you really want to feel old, go through fertility issues around this time. You will constantly be bombarded with reminders that you are old as dirt. After a few appointments, I told one of the nurses "Can you just mark in my chart there that I get it. I'm old as shit, let's move on." She found it humorous. I was being quite serious.

Anyway, back to the wonderful blastocysts. So, because of my age, they let us choose whether 1 or 2 of those eggs were put back. We threw the dice and said let's do 'em both! Then they wheeled me into the procedure room, and Mike followed me in. He was seated to my left, where we could both see the TV screen. This would allow us to see them take out those 2 eggs from the dish they were in before they walked into the room with them. The embryologist handed them in a tube-y thing to the doctor, and he did what he does... squirted them up there. They then take the tube back to the microscope, check that everything is gone and no eggs got sucked back into the tube. All clear! I then get taken back to my room where I have to rest and relax for 30 minutes. For the next couple days, I have to be on bed rest.

Now, you might be wondering what happened to all the other eggs? Well, at this point we had 15 left that were still doing really well. So, they wait one more day, and see which ones are viable for freezing. I don't know how many that ended up being, but we got 6, yes 6! that survived the freezing process. We went from nothing to having 6 spares?!?!? We couldn't have asked for better results, seriously...

TO BE CONTINUED in "Now... the WAITING..."

 

The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part II

The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part II

... Continued from "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part I"

Side note: From the polyp-removal surgery, I actually have pictures of my internal bits. I have real photos of my ovaries, my uterus, some intestine shots, and I even have a picture of the big ol' polyp. If you ever have this chance, tell them you really don't need to see them, cuz there is no way these types of pictures can be pretty. Yech!!! :D Just be glad I didn't scan them in for these blog posts! HA!

I'll give you a run down of an IVF cycle, or at least what mine was like. They started me on birth control pills (BCP) the month before the actual IVF cycle. So for end of April/first of May I was on BCP. On May 13, 2010, I started the hormone shots, beginning with Lupron. This overlaps with BCP for a few days. Then, on May 22, 2010, I add in Gonal-F. This hormone is a follicle stimulator. This is gonna hopefully get me a bunch of eggs ready to go. The thing I disliked most about this part of the cycle is having to get something stuck up my junk every other day while they watch my eggs. I mean, you get used to it, and at the same time you don't. But that's just me. When the eggs are at the desired size, I am then scheduled to take an Ovidrel shot. This has to be timed very well because 36 hours after you take this shot you will ovulate. So, the surgery for removing my eggs from the follicles on my ovaries is scheduled precisely 36 hours after I take this shot. That was June 6, 2010. Thank gawd I was out for this, but the gist of it is, they insert a really long needle through my vaginal wall up to my ovaries and suck out all the follicles they find. I ended up with 20 eggs.

After this egg retrieval procedure, things got a little interesting. I wasn't given any pain meds for after the surgery. We kept telling people, but we never ended up going home with any. Most people just told us it wouldn't be a big deal. Their default prescription for this is Vicodin, and I'm allergic to that. So, this just caused a bit of a mess. We get home, and about an hour after we get there, I'm really starting to feel it. About 10 minutes after that, I'm screaming my bloody head off. And this is coming from someone that has quite the high tolerance for pain. Mike pages out Dr. Silverberg and asks if it's okay to take some Darvocet I had leftover from my polyp surgery. Doctor says go for it. I take that, it helps for maybe 20 minutes (turns out Darvocet was just taken off the market cuz it's WEAK SHIT!). I'm back to screaming again. Poor Mikey. He was probably freaking out, but he was a champ. He pages the doctor back out and the doctor tells us to go to the ER where he has privileges. It's not our closest, but it's 2nd closest. So we head over to North Austin Medical Center. Apparently he called ahead cuz they were ready for us. Plopped me in a wheelchair and rushed me into the back. They examine me and stuff, and pretty quickly pump in some morphine into my IV. It felt nice & woozy & fun, but did absolutely nothing to my pain. I think they eventually found something that would work to quiet me down.

I get a CT of my abdomen area and there is definitely some bleeding going on in there. They admit me to the hospital, and I'm doped up for the next 24 hours. Mike has to force me to stand when I need to pee. The pain then was so excruciating, sometimes I would be crying. But, he would never let me sit back down when I was on my way to standing. Sometimes this whole process of peeing would take 10-15 minutes. I had to pee often too, cuz they were pumping fluids in me. Ugh. Not fond memories. But, if I ever doubted it (which I never have), Mikey takes wicked awesome good care of me. After all that mess, I finally get the OK to leave, so we leave the afternoon after we entered.

Now, back to those 20 eggs. Of those 20 eggs, only 14 were mature enough to attempt fertilization. Apparently this wasn't a great percentage. Of those 14, only 9 successfully fertilized. Of those 9, none of them grew enough to be viable. June 11, 2010 was not a happy day for us. We were somewhat warned of this on June 9, 2010, but it really didn't hit home until we went back in for what was supposed to be my transfer. (Transfer is what they call putting the fertilized eggs back). No viable eggs meant nothing to put back. It was a very sad day. My normal doctor was on vacation, and the other doctor there giving us the news was really bad at it. You could tell she's either young or new or both. Not so great in the bedside manner, where my normal doctor excels. However, the embryologist there was really great. He seemed to think there was still hope. He explained to us that it appeared to him to be both a sperm & egg quality issue, and he was pretty sure one or both of these issues could be dealt with. I really appreciate that the embryologist was there. He was a hope-saver.

And hope we needed... because my doctor was on vacation, we had to wait a whole 11 days to talk to him. It was a seriously difficult time. Absolutely mind warping. When we were finally able to meet up with him on June 22, 2011, he told us he could change how much of the hormones I got next time, and that could solve the quality of the egg issue. Miguel needed to go see his man-bits doctor so they could deal with the quality on his side.

Miguel went to a doc that the fertility doc recommended. He had Mike start taking some drugs and a vitamin drink mix twice a day, and we were on a minimum of a 3-month wait-and-see creeper. Miguel had his followup appointment and things were definitely looking up. I think we ended up waiting another 3-month for more results, and those looked even better. So, we met up with Dr. Silverberg again on December 13, 2010...

TO BE CONTINUED in "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part III"...

The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part I

The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part I

Most of the people I know, have already heard about the fact that I'm currently 13 weeks pregnant. But, do you know the whole story? Cuz whooooo-boy, there's a story.

It all began in October 2005. Our house burned down. Yes, this started then. I don't know if it was the fact that we seriously could have lost each other or all our kitties or what. But, it definitely ramped me up in the wanting a baby department. I never really felt that overwhelming need to have one, but suddenly, I at least wanted to try. Mike seemed quite game. So, I saw my OB, she checked me out, said I was good to go, and to see her in about a year if nothing came to be.

Well, a year passed, and nothing came to be. So, I went back to her. She told me to take my temperatures everyday for 6 months to a year, so we could establish if I ovulated regularly. Really? This should take this long? Turns out I had a crap OB, cuz this shouldn't take this long really. I will also admit to going in and out of motivation on this particular topic. Even after a year of trying, sex becomes very boring and very much driven by that one thing. Getting ME knocked up. But, I soldier on, and end up taking my temperature for a year. Like clockwork, my cycles are perfectly 26 days, and I ovulate on day 14. No wonder it seemed like my periods are just right around the corner. Cuz they are. Annoying factoid about moi.

Well, that was settled, everything appeared to be functioning. After the 2nd year of this, I was really losing interest. It felt like I was driving all of it, and I wanted to feel like Miguel was truly wanting this too. So, I sort of stopped at this point. If he really wanted to do this, I wanted him to drive it a little more.

I think it was at the 2 year mark that Miguel finally goes to get himself checked out. Come to find out he had some issues that could only be truly helped with surgery. Miguel had his first surgery on September 12, 2007. We keep going, and keep getting Miguel looked at. Turns out about a year later, his doctor says the problem has returned. He will need to see a specialist in Houston at the Baylor School of Medicine. Miguel goes there at least once a month for quite a while, until they decide he needs another surgery. So, on October 30, 2008, he has his second surgery in Houston.

On August 5, 2009, I finally go see Dr. Silverberg at Texas Fertility Center (TFC). He has me go get a dye test, but then I never go back for follow-up. My interest is really waning, and I'm still not feeling Mike's 100% buy-in. Yes, I know the boy has had a couple surgeries, but still. I later found out his seeming disinterest was really more frustration that it wasn't happening very easy for us. That's certainly understandable. So, I don't go back to TFC until February 9, 2010. This is when we find out that I have a big ol' polyp in my lady junk and couldn't have a kid no matter how much we tried. I have a natural IUD hanging out in there. If I had a decent OB before, she would have done this after a year of nothing happening. C'est la vie.

So, March 4, 2010, just a week before SXSW, I get the polyps removed and while the doctor was in there he zaps some endometriosis he finds. I'm all good. My lady bits are in fine working shape now. TFC starts working on what our plan will be for In vitro fertilization (IVF). We have a vacation planned for the beginning of May, so we can't really start until after we get back...

TO BE CONTINUED in "The Art & Science of Making Our Critter, Part II"...

'Sup, 'Slices!?

'Sup, 'Slices!?

So, it's like summer or something. And I felt I needed a new theme on the page. I put one on *reveals like Vanna White*, but I'm not in love with it. I'll find something soon, I'm sure. But until then, it may be a little schizo up in dis here page. I don't really have much to add. I don't know why... cuz it's not like I'm not a talkative sort. But, whatever. I shall ramble or something.

So, I got a major hair cut. I literally decided to do it on my way to my stylist. I thought I would have to scream & cry the next day, but oh-no! I adore it! I even have to "style" it, and I still love it. WHAT?!?! I know, it's so crazy.

I'm not sure you can tell from my post so far, but I'm still in a pretty good headspace since the last time I mentioned being, yanno, happy and shit. Still am ... LOOK! Goofy grin. But a grin.

Going camping/cabin'ing this weekend with my bud Sarah and her fam, and Mike of course. Hopefully I will remember to actually take pictures. I doubt it. But I do have my iPhone now.

Oh yah.. I have my iPhone now. So, I promise you won't hear me bitching about not having one. Heh.

Got a Kindle 2 for my bday. I honestly think we're in love. Well... I love it. I call it "Hamlet" and my iPhone is "zazzle". Just go with it, I do.

So, here's another hair pic, cuz I know you were just DYING for another. TADA. This one is from when my stylist did it. See, cuz she knows how to do such things. I am not quite as fortunate, YET.

Hmmm... I feel like I need to write more. Mainly cuz the design aesthetic of my post will be all screwy unless I put enough text to go around this last image. Is this enough yet? Nope.

Dangit.

OH! How could I forget the eventful weekend I just had?!?!?! So, last Thursday afternoon I started to get a headache. It wasn't too big a deal, but it just had this feeling. I knew it was gonna turn into a migraine, but boy I had no clue really. So, later Thursday night it turns into a migraine. Shocking, I know. I kinda get rid of it. Well... tamed enough to work the 2nd half of Friday. But then by the time work was done. Yeow. Back to migraine. Then on Saturday, I pretty much couldn't get rid of it. I had an ice pack on the back of my head pretty much the entire day/night of Saturday. It was the ONLY thing that would do anything for me. I really hate taking my migraine med - Imitrex - cuz it tends to make me feel twice as bad before it makes me feel better. But I did end up taking it Thursday night and then Saturday at some point. GAW. I hate that stuff. By Sunday early evening, I was actually starting to feel quite a bit better. I chilled out and took a bath, read a little. That might have been a mistake. You know.. the whole using of the eyes thing. I dunno... but whatever it was... SLAM! Migraine came at me faster than a speeding jackhammer and I was in tears. I go back to my trusty ice packs, but even then, I can barely breathe the pain is so bad. At about 10:30pm, I finally ask Mike to take me to the ER.

We get to the ER, and they see me pretty quick. I fill out my paper, sign it, as Mike is coming in from parking the car, they have me back there starting with stats and whatnot. From there they put me in my little curtained area. AND the nurse was so incredibly thoughtful because she left the lights off in my area. Another nurse was telling Mike to turn on the lights, and she corrected him real quick. I strip the upper body, but on my nice hospital nightie and a few minutes later the doctor comes in. Young-ish guy that had a bit of a military-ness to him. But I'm simply speculating. And I was half nuts by this point. So, it could have been a female for all I know. He tells me what he's going to do. He's gonna give me 3 meds and some fluids. YahYahYah... just STICK ME already. First comes the fluids... ooh nice and cool, I likey. Then comes the Benadryl (in case I'm allergic to anything they give me)... oooh, trippy. Then they piggybacked that with Toradol and Compazine. After about 15 or so minutes, I go from my nice trippy la-la state to OMGOMGOMG I must move, I can't sit still. But since I'm hooked up to an IV, my only option is to rock back and forth. I kid you not. I finally let Mike go find someone cuz it's getting bad. I start pulling on my toes while I'm rocking back and forth. It's just nuts. The nurse comes, he calls the doc, the docs says he'll come back soon. Like what seemed like forever to me, 30-45 minutes, the doctor finally comes back and says "So, how's the headache?" (headache? douchebag, it's a migraine, it's so very different). I tell him, what headache? No ache in the head at all. Now, what about this weird antsy anxiety thing I got going on. Him - "Yah, looks like we traded one problem for another. But at least the pain is gone." ha ha NO. He tells me they will give me some Ativan and it might help, but I should just keep taking Benadryl every 6 hours, cuz it's all basically an allergic reaction to Compazine. And off ya go... BuhBye.

I think the Ativan helped, cuz I don't really remember the drive home, and the next thing I do remember is waking up like EONS later it seemed. All in all, we were at the ER for 2-2.5 hours. I was pretty impressed by that. I come from an Army brat background and if you aren't in an ER for at least 8 hours, you just had a lengthy doctor's appointment.

So, next day I take my Benadryl every six hours (I added some Valium in there too, same crap as Ativan), and slept all damn day. If I didn't sleep I would have gone nuts with the constant need to be moving. By Tuesday evening, I was finally feeling this || short of normal. For me, anyway.

Wow, look at that. I didn't have trouble filling up that space after all. Toodles. It's late now. I have a really early laser hair removal appointment (the whole shabang baby! :D) in the morning and then off to the campin'.

I hope everyone has a great, fun, safe, Independence Day weekend!