Inducing Labor

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I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about how people (me) and things change over time, whether good or bad.  Around this time last year, I was angry and bitter after a failed IVF cycle.  I had SO many feelings.  I cried, I was frustrated, I wanted to be alone, and I distanced myself from the Lord.  The feelings of my heart floated around like endless ripples in the water.  The thoughts in my mind crashed like waves on the shore.  I was in no position to help anyone because I was the one that needed help.  I needed to change my attitude then in order to accept the change I embrace now.  Now, a year later, my life has undergone an irreversible change…being a parent.

Inducing Labor

As the days drew near to our babies’ delivery, I knew the plan was to induce labor.  The doctor wanted me to make it to 39 weeks, if baby didn’t come before then.  With twice/week appointments and NSTs plans seemed to change frequently.  Everything depended on my doctor appointments and exams.  In the meantime, I decided to read up about inducing labor to prepare me for that process.  At 38 weeks, I was dilated to 3 cm and my doctor was hopeful for my scheduled induction.  My uterus was “ripening” well so my doctor recommended pitocin to induce labor.  A week earlier he recommended pitocin and a vaginal tablet.  Sorry, can’t recall the name of that medication right now.  The tablet is inserted vaginally and used to help the uterus soften to prepare for delivery.  But, since my uterus was “ripening” I didn’t need the tablet.  Lucky me.

Week 39 arrived – my scheduled induction.  My husband and I had a leisure morning, ate lunch at Zippy’s, and then headed to Queens with all our stuff.  When I say stuff, I mean baby’s car seat & 1 bag – full of clothes for both of us, clothes to dress the baby upon discharge, snacks, toothbrushes/paste, and whatever else we felt was necessary.  I had been warned to eat a good lunch because I wouldn’t be eating anything until after the baby came out.  (I would’ve been fine except being induced took WAY more time and energy than I ever expected.)

Anyways, so once we got there, we got our room, got hooked up to baby monitors, IV, and pitocin…the inducing started.  My husband and I pretty much just cruised in the delivery room until it was time to sleep.  We watched TV, looked at our phones, texted family members with updates, and stared at each other.  Lol.  Actually, it’s REALLY hard to do anything in the hospital.  A nurse or 2 would come in every hour to check the monitors, medications, ask questions, do a vaginal exam, etc.  My doctor came in the evening (and was in consultation with the nurses and doctor on shift) to check on me.  He reminded me that inducing labor is a really slow process.

About 14 hours into the process (3am) I decided to have an epidural.  I was really hesitant about having an epidural because then I would be bed bound and reliant on a catheter to use the bathroom.  I asked the nurses and residents about the specific process.  I was SO tired but I couldn’t sleep because I was uncomfortable.  It’s funny because every time there’s a new shift a new nurse would come in and ask me what my level of pain was.  For me it was low (2-3) because of the excess fluid made it almost impossible to feel any contractions.  You’d think that since I didn’t feel any contractions, I didn’t need an epidural.  But, I agreed to have an epidural.  Apparently Queen’s was really busy that night and I had to wait about 15 minutes.  It wasn’t long to wait.  I suppose if I was farther along in the process, 15 minutes would feel much longer.  Lol.

The anesthesiologist came in and explained the process of an epidural and what to expect afterwards – possible side effects.  At 3am my husband was already sleeping but was awoken by the bright lights that needed to be on.  The anesthesiologist talked me through every thing, step by step.  She was really good, I hardly felt anything.  To me, if I can barely feel the needle – you’re good.  I’ve had blood drawn that’s hurt more than getting an epidural, honestly.  The anesthesiologist also explained the button…an additional boost of medication that should only be pushed as needed.  Once you push the button, you’d have to wait at least 10 minutes before pushing it again, if you needed to.  Well, you could keep pressing the button but it wouldn’t release any medicine.

The epidural was nice!  I was definitely able to feel comfortable and get minimal rest.  I didn’t feel the contractions before I got it and sure didn’t feel them after either.  Lol.  After that things were pretty mellow until the morning.  Mellow as far as progress for the baby.  The nurses and residents continuously come in and check on you…but at least at night they use the low light so you can a little rest, or none if it bothers you.  Lol.

In the morning, around 7am, now 18 hours into my scheduled inducing, my doctor came to check on me.  He, along with a couple of nurses, pricked my water bag so it would slowly drip out.  He made a few holes using a very thin needle.  I happily didn’t feel anything because of the epidural.  My doctor noted progress – I was dilated to 6 cm.  This was great news to me because I thought we were nearing the birth of our baby.  Technically I was in active labor but couldn’t feel it.

In the early evening my doctor came to see me again and I was still dilated to 6 cm.  I had so much fluid and the baby was still now dropping so the doctor decided to let out a little flow of fluid to help guide the baby down and help me dilate more.  He made a few more pokes to let more fluid drain out.  The nurses changed the padding under me as needed.

Evening went fine, well maybe fine isn’t the right word for it.  I was hungry, tired, and confined to the bed.  We watched TV, talked and cruised in the room.  We got a visit from my sister-in-law and 2 nieces, who brought dinner (for my husband of course).  My sweet husband ate outside the room so I wouldn’t have to smell any of it.  We chatted and then they went to visit someone on another floor.

Everything was pretty calm…until about 1 in the morning.  (I had been at the hospital for 36 hours now.)  My husband was sleeping on a fold up bed near me.  I started to shake and shiver as if I was cold.  I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t.  After 10-15 minutes, I decided to call the nurse.  Unfortunately, the remote had fallen to the left of the bed and it was hanging down that side.  I tried to reach for it a couple times and almost got it.  I felt the shaking getting stronger and out of control.  I called my husband a few times but he didn’t hear me.  I reached one more time for the remote and got it.  Oh, I forgot to mention that besides having the IV on my right hand, the epidural tube came up my right shoulder, I had an oxygen mask on, a blood pressure cuff on my left arm, AND I couldn’t feel from the waist down.  The blood pressure cuff went off every 20-30 minutes.  SO, reaching for the remote to call the nurse was much more difficult than it sounds.  Lol.

I finally called for the nurse.  When she came in, I told her how I felt and she told me to try and relax.  She asked if I wanted some medicine for nausea.  I agreed to take it – via IV.  But before she could give it to me, I threw up on myself and the gown I had on.  My husband awoke to me throwing up and helped the nurse clean me up.  I got a new gown and a warm blanket, literally.  When the nurse left to get the nausea medication, I asked my husband to give me a blessing.  I didn’t know what was going on with me.  I was shaking and shaking.  I couldn’t stop myself.  My husband gave me a blessing before the nurse came in with my nausea medicine.  My regular nurse for the evening came in and checked my temperature.  The thermometer read that I was fine but the nurse didn’t believe it and quickly obtained another thermometer, which showed I had a fever.  I took deep breaths to help calm me but that didn’t always help.  I got the nausea medicine and my shivering slowed down.

It was 2:15am…My contractions plateaued and I was over it.  I wanted the baby out.  I still had a fever and shakes (intermittently).  The nurse called my doctor and a c-section was in the works.

Next post: Cesarean Delivery


Low Risk to More Risk

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Hi everyone!  I know, it’s been a while since my last post.  I think it’s obvious the baby is here, leaving me less time to write.  Lol.

Everything was going smoothly with all my appointments.  I was going every other week on Saturdays so I wouldn’t have to take time off from work.  That was my preference because I wanted to save my leave.  Well at 33 weeks, the nurse scheduled me for additional appointment the following week.  I thought it was weird because I previously scheduled all my appointments to the end – 40 weeks.  I agreed to come in for the appointment even though I was thinking they were mixed up on what week I was on.

Prior to that, my husband had been trying to get me to attend a co-worker’s new store open house.  I kept insisting that I didn’t think it was necessary to go to the open house.  I didn’t want to drive to town when I didn’t have an appointment.  So, when I got an additional appointment, which happened to be the day of the open house, I reluctantly agreed to go.  A few days before the open house, I began to question my husband about this “open house”.  I didn’t feel like he was telling me everything.  He told me to stop asking him about it, so I did.  But I kept thinking about it.  I thought his co-workers were going to have a baby shower at the “open house” but even I wasn’t convinced that was it.  I knew there was something going on but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

A few days before my appointment and the “open house” I thought about calling the doctor to verify that I was on week 34 and not 35.  Well, that didn’t happen.  I figured I’d just clarify with the doctor at that appointment and not worry about it.

The day of my appointment arrived.  At week 35, I was scheduled for an exam and ultrasound.  So, when I clarified it with the doctor, he agreed they made a mistake and I was 34 weeks.  But since I was there and undressed from the waist down, he decided to do an ultrasound.  During the ultrasound he noticed my amniotic fluid was high and was concerned about it.  He asked if we could go to Queen’s Labor and Delivery to complete a NST (Non Stress Test).  I looked at my husband because he wanted to go to the “open house”.  I was thinking we could skip the “open house” and do the NST.  My husband told the doctor we had something so we scheduled an appointment for the afternoon.

We left the doctor and headed toward the “open house”.  He told me it was at Manoa Marketplace.  As we were driving there I told him, “I know it’s been a long time since I’ve been to Manoa Marketplace but it’s it that way?”  I was pointing to the right as we were going left.  My husband shushed me and told me the “open house” was at Waioli Tea Room.  At this point I was super confused but I knew something was up.  We walked up to the front and were greeted by a woman who asked if we were here for a bridal shower or baby shower.  I looked at my husband and he had a big grin on his face.  We both laughed as he turned me to walk toward my group of friends.  SURPRISE!  It was definitely a surprise and a very enjoyable brunch.

After the brunch we headed to Queen’s Labor and Delivery for my first NST.  The NST was for the baby, not me.  If you’ve never had a NST, they do the same thing when you’re admitted.  Let me explain.  Due to the excess fluid, the doctor wanted to make sure my baby was doing well and he was not under stress.  Hence, the NST…Non Stress Test.  In Labor and Delivery, I sat up on the bed and lifted my shirt just to expose my belly.  The nurse placed 2 monitors on my stomach, 1 to monitor contractions and the other to monitor the baby’s heart beat & rate.  The nurse used wide elastic bands to obtain the right placement of the monitors.  It’s like a wrist watch.  The face of the contraction monitor is placed at the center of your belly and then they tighten the band.  The monitor for baby’s heart beat & rate is wherever baby is.  For me he was faced down so the monitor was below the contraction monitor.  Since my baby moved around A LOT, the nurse would often have to adjust the monitor.  My NST lasted about an hour and then I was free to go, not without scheduling my next one.

My first NST was quite painless.  One of the first things the nurse asked me is if I knew why I was there.  Lol.  I sure hope so.  I know there’s a technical name for excess amniotic fluid but I didn’t know it. (It’s call polyhydramnios.)  The nurse gave me water and the remote for the TV.  Ooh, I forgot!  Along with the 2 monitors the nurse gave me a button to press every time I felt the baby move.  The button reminds me of Wheel of Fortune where they are referred as “buzzers”.  It’s easy to grasp and great for pushing frequently.  Lol.

It was then that I realized my pregnancy was no longer “low risk”.  I had to do NSTs weekly until the doctor ordered otherwise.  Another thing to note about the NST, it varies in time.  For example, the first time I went it took an hour.  The next time I went it was longer.  The shortest time for me was half an hour.  The reason for the variation is because the nursing staff needed to contact my doctor to review the monitors and give the “ok” for me to leave.

Well, 34 weeks was just the start of what I call “pregnancy excitement” aka stress.  In upcoming weeks I experienced much more than I ever thought I would.  Twice a week appointments, twice a week NSTs, 2 more ultrasounds, and weekly vaginal exams.  The twice a week appointments, NSTs, and ultrasounds is how the doctor monitor my polyhydramnios.  I got quite use to it, although now that I think about it, it was pretty draining.  Having 2 more full fetal ultrasounds was nothing I expected but I was grateful for them.  Not only was I able to get more pictures, but I was able to see my baby more.  The ultrasounds looked at the fluid and the baby’s growth, including the heart.  One of the main concerns my doctor had about the excess fluid is the umbilical cord.  If my water broke the cord could come down before the baby which would result in an emergency c-section.  I was lucky to have the reviewing doctor present at each ultrasound.  He asked questions and watched the ultrasound technician take measurement.  Through discussion with us he determined that they did not know why there was excess fluid.  He noted that gestational diabetes was one common cause for excess fluid, which I did not have.  I never knew why I had so much fluid but I knew my fluid was about equal to the size of they baby.  I remember at 35 weeks the ultrasound gauged that the baby was 6 lbs 10 oz.  I thought, yikes!  Then at 37 weeks the ultrasound said 8 lbs 6 oz.  That created another concern for my doctor.  Of course the ultrasound has a range – room for error.

So, although my pregnancy began with little risk as time went on risk increased and the doctor induced labor.

Just as a side note….The only thing I will say about vaginal exams as a pregnant lady, is that’s they’re painful.  It’s nothing like a pap smear…at all.

Next post:  Inducing Labor


Invoice

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A few weeks after attending the Baby Expo, I received an invoice in the mail.  It wasn’t something I was expecting but I knew why I received it and had forgotten about it.  It was an invoice from Fertility Institute of Hawaii regarding our 5 embryos.

No, I had not informed Fertility Institute of Hawaii that I was pregnant.  No one called to follow up with me and I didn’t feel the need to tell them I was pregnant.  It’s not a big deal to me, that’s just how it happened.

Anyways!  The invoice was to preserve the 5 frozen embryos for a year.  This cost $628.27 ($600 + 4.712% tax) to be exact.  Seems like a lot of money for something that can’t be see with the naked eye.  Lol.  Well, that’s how much it costs and here are our options:

1.  Pay the $600+ to preserve our embryos

2.  Not pay the invoice and choose to discard or donate our embryos

Oddly enough, this decision was much harder than we thought.  My initial thought was that we would discard the embryos.  Paying the more than $600 was not appealing to me and it wasn’t a decision I really wanted to make while I was pregnant.

It’s not any easy decision to make but it had to be done.  In discussion with my husband, we talked about the pros and cons of both options available to us.  It took us 2-3 weeks during various times, to finally make a choice.  In the end, we decided on option #1 and paid to preserve our embryos for a year.  That will take us to May 2014 and we would go from there.  I know there’s no guarantee that we would have an easy time becoming pregnant again.  I suppose the best option for us at this time is to keep our options open, thus preserving our embryos.

I understand that this option is not available to everyone nor does it mean that anything will come of this decision.  We may be able to conceive on our own again or we may need to rely on assistance through IVF.  But since we paid the invoice to preserve our embryos, we have the option available to us.  We will have to see how it goes.

Next post: Low to High Risk


Pregnancy Class & Baby Expo 2013

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Hello All!

Time is quickly passing and I need to catch up on few things.  So I’m going to combine a couple things into 1 post.

First, since we plan to have our baby at Queen’s Medical Center (QMC) in Honolulu, we decided to check out the classes and other information they offer.  That’s how we signed up for the “Understanding Birth and Babies Intensive” class.  It was 9am – 5pm and $80/couple.  You could bring your own lunch, which we did, or you can purchase something in the cafeteria.  The provided some snacks too.

At first, I wasn’t concerned about the class and thought it would be helpful for us to do something prior to the birth of our son.  I definitely wasn’t sold on participating in a particular thing like lamaze classes.  I sought information pertaining to labor and delivery, breast feeding, and any other information that would help.

So, I knew going into the class that I would be bombarded with information.  Interestingly enough, the class kept my attention and I learned a lot.  I watched more birthing videos at that class than I’ve ever watched in my life.  Lol.  The class covered an overview of all the medications available during labor, breast feeding including different positions for the baby, changing diapers and swaddling.  We also practiced various breathing methods for contractions.  I’m not sure how successful I was with that.  The women held a bag of ice in their hands while the instructor timed the “contractions”.  By the end of the exercise my bag of ice was melted.  Lol.  During one of the breathing exercises, the spouses or partners were coached by the instructor to assist the women with a “contraction”.  When I looked at my husband for the breathing, he smiled at me and didn’t say anything.  I shook my head and we just laughed.  Obviously we weren’t taking it too seriously.  Lol.  It’s something we’d have to work on.

We also received a few magazines, a lot of handouts, and a booklet.  The booklet we got was “Understanding Birth”.  I believe you can check it out at seewhatyouread.com.  There was a booklet about installing a car seat, a pamphlet about birth certificates, a pre-registration form for admissions, and general information about maternity services.  All helpful information, of course.  That was not everything we received.  Prior to attending the class, we received an email with ALL the handouts and powerpoint presentations that would be discussed in the class.  We didn’t print them all out but we looked through all of them before attending the class.

The class ended with a maternity tour.  We saw the individual rooms complete with a bathroom, shower, tv, and pull out bed.  It was good to see what things will look like rather than just show up when you’re in labor.  Overall, I thought the class was good and helpful.  It didn’t necessarily calm any of me fears, but it helped me to understand more and be aware and hopefully more prepared.  I’m glad we went.

Baby Expo 2013

I wish I could say the same about the Baby Expo 2013.  I should’ve known better but we still went.  To attend, it was $6 for parking and $5.50 per person.  There was a $1 off coupon for admission making it $4.50 per person.  So, just to get the 2 of us in the door…it was $15.  Typing that makes it seem even more ridiculous that we went.  Anyways!

Upon entry we were given all these ads and papers.  There was supposed to be a free gift for the first 100 people.  We were one of the first people in line because I had an early appointment.  Believe me, we were not there early to stand in line for a free gift.  Besides, you know what the free gift was??  Drum roll….$10 off coupon for “Banz”.  Seriously?  I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining about a free gift, but that’s pretty much what I’m doing.  I thought a little goodie bag would have been more helpful.  Well, that’s just what I think.

I soon realized that the Baby Expo wasn’t going to be helpful to me as an expecting mother. I felt like I was a target for companies.  Everywhere we went, vendors were trying to get us to sign up for a drawing for some kind of baby item or 1st birthday party.  A first birthday, really?  The baby’s not even here!!  I thought that was a bit ridiculous.  Yes, I know I like to be organized and plan things far in advance but entering a drawing for a 1st birthday party was a bit much for me.  Needless to say, I didn’t enter too many of those.

Unfortunately, I was not about to leave after paying $15 to enter.  There were a lot of food booths around and a lot of other meaningless vendors.  Check this out, for example, there were at least 2-3 solar companies there.  Tell me, what do solar companies have to do with me having a baby?  I don’t know who goes to a baby expo looking to install solar panels!  Lol.  That was obviously one vender that was not helpful for me.  It could have been helpful for someone else looking to lower their energy costs with all the laundry they’ll do with a baby.

Of the 100+ booths set up, I think there were only a handful that were meaningful to me.  The Queen’s Medical Center booth was the one I found most beneficial and pertinent to my needs.  Since I would be delivering there, it made sense to stop there.  There was a lactation specialist present and she provided some helpful information about breastfeeding.  I was a little caught off guard by the way she talked about breasts.  I suppose I was not expecting such straight-forward talk.  Lol.  My husband reminded me that it’s her line of work/career.  Made sense.  At that booth they also handed out magnetic picture frames.

We got a lot of handouts – some helpful, some not.  We also attended a class or workshop on how to keep your baby safe.  There were 4 couples total in the class and it was free.  The class touched on how to keep your baby safe in a crib/play pen.  The instructor had a crib set up and we, the participants had to tell her 7 things that were wrong with it.  So, pretty much the baby should lay on their back with nothing else in the crib – no bumpers, blankets, nothing.  She explained risks for SIDS, answered our questions, invited us to receive free texts about caring for baby, and that was it.

I think we spent more money on parking, entrance, and food than anything else!  Of course there were vendors selling items such as hooded towels, blankets, clothes, etc.  None of those things appealed to me because if I made the time, I could make them myself.  Lol.

Well, I probably won’t be going to another Baby Expo but it’s ok.  I’m sure it can be helpful for someone else! 🙂

Next post: Invoice


Gestational Diabetes Testing

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Hi everyone!  I didn’t realize it’s been over a month since my last post.  I’ve been thinking about writing for a couple weeks and am only now sitting down to write.  I’m pretty sure you’re not dying to read my posts and if you are, I apologize for the delay!  Lol.

Well, between 24-28 weeks, the doctor ordered a blood test for me, specifically to test for gestational diabetes.  I wasn’t worried about how the test would go because a few of my co-workers explained the process to me.  I was a little worried about the results because I have diabetes in my family history.

At 25 weeks, which was mid-April, I went in for the test.  I knew I had to be there for an hour, which is not the most exciting thing to do, but it had to be done.  Prior to my blood test, I was instructed not to take my thyroid medicine and that I had to be fasting at least 8 hours.  So, I did.  The phlebotomist gave me 5 oz of a sugary drink of my choice – lemon, lime, or orange.  With no particular preference, I went with orange.  She told me I had 5 minutes to finish it but instead I drank it as fast as I could.  I felt so disgusted afterward.  It was as though I drank pure syrup.  It was so concentrated, it reminded me of the Malolo or Hawaiian Sun syrups.  Yuck!  Upon finishing the drink, I was informed that I was allowed to take sips of water while I waited an hour.  I was also instructed to remind the phlebotomist 5 minutes before my hour so she could be ready to draw my blood at the exact hour mark.

While waiting, I took sips of water here and there.  My poor baby was active.  I felt so gross from the drink and so sad for my baby.  I also went for a walk to distract myself from feeling so gross.  The walk and sips of water helped ease my discomfort and calmed my active baby.  When it was time, I notified the phlebotomist, she drew my blood, and I left.  Luckily, I had taken the day off so I didn’t have to rush anywhere.

The next morning, early into my work day, the nurse called me about my test results.  She told me the results came back high so my doctor wanted me to do the 3 hour test.  I hesitantly agreed.  At the time, she didn’t tell me what the actual value was and I didn’t ask because I was too overcome with worry that I might have gestational diabetes.  I told her I would do the 3 hour test the next day.  I adjusted things at work so I could take half day.  I later found out that my blood glucose was 165, which was high.  The range was 70-140 mg/dL.

I looked up information on gestational diabetes to get more educated about it.  Then my husband and I went on a walk to talk about gestational diabetes, how it would affect our baby, what it would require of me, and all the risks involved.  I was so overwhelmed with information it was if I assumed I had it.  I was definitely worried, in fact, it was my first pregnancy scare.  I decided that night that I would take my thyroid medication in the morning before the test.  I also made sure to fast for at least 8 hours.

So, the next morning I went early to start the 3 hour test, 7am to be exact.  This test was a little different from the first test I did 2 days prior.  The phlebotomist took my blood before giving me the glucose drink.  I again went with orange flavor and then I was given 10 oz, the entire bottle, to drink.  Yuck!  After I finished drinking I came back 3 more times (every hour for the next 3 hours) and got my blood drawn.  In the meantime, I sipped water and walked.  The phlebotomist alternated arms and in the end, I received 4 pokes.  My poor arms.  I left with both arms wrapped in colored stretchy tape.  I was anxious about the results but hoped it would come back normal.  I knew I wouldn’t hear back until the next day so I tried not to think about it too much.

The next day, I expected to hear back about the results so I waited a few hours before calling the doctor’s office.  I spoke with the nurse, who confirmed that the results came back normal.  I asked her for the specific values and wrote them down.  I knew I would receive the results in a day or 2 via mail but I wanted to know the break down.  Here are the values she gave me: 74, 134, 124, and 116 mg/dL.  The 74 was the baseline value, no glucose drink.  134 mg/dL = after 1 hour, 124 mg/dL = after 2 hours, and 116 mg/dL = after 3 hours.  Phew!  It was such a relief and I was really grateful not to have to worry about that anymore.

I think I now truly understand why pregnant women do not look forward to the gestational diabetes testing.  Although I was impressed by the choices of glucose drinks, I was not a bit excited to drink it, twice.

This experience, although briefly stressful, helped me remember that this pregnancy is a gift.  It helped remind me to take things slowly and enjoy the experience of being pregnant.  Not that I haven’t enjoyed it, but this experience was just a little reminder for me.  It was also a reminder to me to exercise more to prepare my body and mind for labor.

My husband found a short video on You Tube for me – on stretching.  This meant that I would have to wake up 10-15 minutes earlier each day.  Not what I desired to do, but knew that it was important.  My husband offered to stretch with me, which helped, until he got sick.  Then I needed motivation to stretch on my own.  And now, he’s not sick, but I’m still stretching every morning on my own.  I tease him that it was a trick.  Lol.  There have been a few instances when I’ve stretched right after returning home from work, especially if I’ve been sitting a lot and my back is sore.  The video has helped me.  Just as a side note, it’s about 10 minutes, only instrumental, and calm.

Here’s the video!  Check it out if you want.

Next post: Free Breast Pump


Screening Tests!

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I realized after I completed my last post, I didn’t tell you my due date!  Well, here it is: July 30.  The ultrasound revealed that I was pregnant with 1 baby.

Alright, moving on to screening tests.  Oh ya, I forgot to mention that on January 1st, my insurance changed making it necessary for me to find an OB/GYN.  I searched and got information from family and friends.  I wanted someone nearby but that option was not available.  I didn’t prefer having to drive to town but it was better than the doctor that was only available every Tuesdays.  Plus, starting a job, I didn’t have time to take off nor did I want to take unpaid leave.  I was looking for a doctor that was available on the weekends as well.  So, we decided to see on of my sister-in-laws OB in town.

At my first appointment, the nurse asked me a lot of questions and I filled out some questionnaire as well.  When I met with the doctor, we went over all the information and he asked if I wanted to participate in a screening.  I told him that it didn’t matter because either way, we would be keeping the baby.  The choice was up to me.  So, I agreed to complete the screening.  I thought it was only one but as we talked about it more, I understood that it was 2 screenings.  He gave me the time frames for when they’re completed and then said he would send a requisition to Queens Medical Center (QMC) because they do the screenings.  I agreed and that was it.  I left and had lunch with my husband.  While we were eating I got a call from QMC to schedule my 1st screening.  I was really surprised at the  prompt response, very impressive.  I scheduled my first screening.

First Screening

I really wish I could remember the names of the screenings but I can’t.  All I know is the first screening was an ultrasound and blood work for down syndrome.  I completed it at 11 weeks, almost 12 weeks.  I thought everything went well.  It was pretty cool that I had my own bathroom, adjustable lighting, and a curtain for privacy.  Also, the jelly they use for the ultrasound was in a warmer.  Lol.  It was thoughtful, rather than it be cold.  I liked the fact that the technician gave me a USB to put all the ultrasound pictures on.  She reminded me to bring the USB to the second screening as well.  Having the USB is really cool and quite up-to-speed with the technology available now.  I’m grateful to have that, in addition to the 8 pictures the technician put on it.  Also, the technician printed out all the pictures she placed on the USB and gave them to me before I left.  I remember her telling me that now I will have the pictures forever and I can put them on facebook or wherever.  I told her her I was happy to have them but probably won’t be placing it on facebook.  Lol.

A week or 2 after my first screening, my OB/GYN called and shared the results of the first screening.  He explained that I was low risk.  Phew, that was a relief.  After all we experienced trying to become pregnant, I figured I wouldn’t get too much relief when I actually got pregnant.  So, hearing the doctor tell me the results showed I was low risk, was awesome.  I was so relieved and at the same time, still not convinced that my pregnancy would be smooth sailing.  Nevertheless, I was grateful.

Second Screening

At my second screening, my husband came with me.  It was around week 18-19.  I knew this screening would be looking at the physical development of our baby.  For instance, a cleft lip.  Also, the screening looked at kidney function, blood flow through the heart, the blood flow from the umbilical cord to the baby, etc.  I gave the technician my USB and she loaded the pictures on it.  It was so interesting to me to watch the things she looked for.  One of the coolest things I saw was my baby’s nose and lips.  I know you may be wondering why I think that’s so cool, but I find it neat.  I knew she was looking for any physical concerns like a cleft lip.  This was the 3rd ultrasound I’ve had during my pregnancy and it was neat to see the growth.  But seeing my baby’s nose and lips was cool because at that point I knew our baby was still very small but the technician could zoom in for a closer look, something that would not have been as successful in previous ultrasounds, for obvious reasons.  Of course, there are a lot of cool things to see during an ultrasound.  I remember while my ultrasound was going on that the lab technician came in and drew my blood.  Either she was really good or I was too focused on the ultrasound to feel anything.  Lol.  I think she was good because she drew my blood from a different arm and found my vein right away.

Towards the end of the ultrasound, the technician asked if we wanted to know the gender of our baby.  I told her we did and then she proceeded to move the probe all over my stomach.  She did mention that she would try her best.  I knew that meant cooperation from the baby would be necessary.  Lol.  As we looked at the screen, it didn’t take long for her to scan our baby’s gender.  The technician said, “Well that’s pretty obvious, no questions there.”  I tried not to bust out laughing, instead I let out a little chuckle.  I immediately turned and looked at my husband.  We smiled and then I looked back at the screen.  We’re having a BOY!!

At the end of our ultrasound, the technician wanted to try the 3D probe.  We agreed.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with the 3D probe, it’s a little more rounded with something that looks like a ping pong ball at the tip.  Not sure if that helps.  The 3D probe was quite entertaining for us.  The technician tried so hard to get a good picture but our baby didn’t make it easy for her.  Each time she got a good view, he would move his hand and block his face.  We just laughed.  She printed pictures for us, 11 pictures to be exact.  Soon after, we left.

I was relieved, not because we’re having a boy, but because we were able to find out the gender of our baby. For my husband and I, we didn’t have a preference.  You know, when you wait so long (or what feels like so long) you take what the Lord gives you/trusts you with.  I was also relieved to be able to refer to my baby with a gender.  I read that it’s important to talk to your baby early in pregnancy and all this time, I’ve referred to the baby as it or baby.  Now I could say he!  Lol.  It seems so minor but it was definitely a relief for me. 🙂

Next post: Weight Gain


More to Come

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Hi everyone!  I know it’s been a while since I posted anything.  I’ve been busy, just like the rest of you.  I can’t believe that by the end of the week, it’ll be February!

In November when we received the news of our pregnancy, we were ecstatic and overwhelmed.  We decided to keep quiet until we designated an appropriate time.  Well, the following day, I told my mom.  She was the only person, other than my husband & I, that knew.  I asked her not to say anything…and she didn’t.  I know my mom, she’s a trustworthy person.  She’s always been like that.  I wasn’t at all worried that she would tell anyone.  I LOVE my mom, she’s the best! 🙂

When I told my husband, he teased me for at least a few days.  It didn’t bother me, we just laughed about it.  Thinking back, that was one of the best decisions I made in this pregnancy process.  My mom would check on me and I would ask her different things.  It was great.

Some of you may be wondering why I didn’t have her tell my dad or why we didn’t share the news sooner.  When you wait for something for what feels like forever, wouldn’t you want to tell everyone??  For us, no.  We were more concerned about the chances of miscarriage than who to tell.  So, we kept quiet.

Keeping quite was very easy.  Since I posted about doing IVF in January or February, I knew people wouldn’t be asking questions because they knew we were taking a break.  Plus, the holidays were upon us, being with family was the priority.  My husband & I don’t prefer being the life of a party, we’re not gonna get up on stage and make an announcement.  That’s just not us.  Lol.

Well, as if finding out we were pregnant wasn’t surprising enough, about a week later, I was offered a job.  I was just leaving the Public Library with a couple of pregnancy books when my phone rang.  I was very surprised, not that I would be offered a position, but that it had only been a couple weeks since my interview.  I thought it would take longer.  After accepting the position, I immediately called my husband.  I remember telling him, “More blessings for us.”  He agreed.  I was still in the library parking lot.  My mind and heart were racing.  I felt extremely grateful and very blessed.  When I got home, I cried because I felt so blessed.  I prayed and thanked the Lord.  I wrote in my journal and called my mom to let her know.

It didn’t take long before things started to settle in.

Next post: Yikes!


Endometriosis Diet

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Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I still can’t believe it’s December.  It seems as though time is quickly floating by.  Soon it will be Christmas and then we’ll welcome a New Year!  Wow!

I’ve contemplated my purpose in writing about the “Endometriosis Diet” and am still unsure.  But, hopefully it will help someone or provide information to help someone else.  I’m thinking this is going to be a short post.  Hmm…think of it as a brief commercial break from the show.  Lol.

I got this book during the summer and thought it would be a resource and help for me.  I find it entertaining that endometriosis is referred to as a “disabling disease” in the book.  For me, I’ve never thought of endometriosis as being disabling.  I suppose for some it can be.  For me, it’s uncomfortable, painful, and not a fun experience.

Anyways!  The book pretty much has 2 chapters.  1 is an introduction that reviews all the foods to avoid and healthier alternatives.  The 2nd chapter contains all the recipes, although the recipes are divided up by meals.  When I first looked through it and read the suggested foods, it reminded me of my first acupuncture session.  It seemed so restrictive, I didn’t know whether I would be willing to give it a try.  So, I didn’t.  I know, that sounds bad.  But I needed to consider how much this would cost as well.  Many of the recipes included making things from scratch and then using that in a dish.  It was also time consuming.  At the time, I wasn’t willing to make that change.  Some of the recipes are appealing and I may give those a try, but I’m not going to only eat what the endometriosis diet recommends.  That may sound defiant but oh well, that’s the choice I made.  If you or anyone you know wants to borrow my book, let me know! 🙂

Personally, I felt that just changing my diet was not the only answer to controlling my endometriosis.  In previous posts, I’ve mentioned oils as a method for healing and helping.  So, I looked up the information and found that these oils are good for endometriosis: geranium, cypress, and clary sage.  I just recently got those oils and am looking forward to giving them a try.  Wish me luck!

FYI: The book is “Recipes for the Endometriosis Diet” by Carolyn Levett

Next post: In the Meantime


Day 10

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Sorry, I’ve been slacking on my posts!  This time of year tends to be like that.  Well, thank you for your patience!

Between our unsuccessful FET and now, I’ve been able to take a step back and relax.  Which is good, right?  Of course.  Ooh, before I forget, the FET completed our first IVF cycle…even though we started in May and got postponed until September.  Not sure if I mentioned this before.  Sorry if I have and you’re reading this again.  Lol

Alright, Day 10.  When I scheduled my exam with my IVF coordinator, I knew Dr. F would not be there.  Instead, I would be seen be his wife, also Dr. F and an OB/GYN.  It would be my first time meeting her.

On Day 10 I went in for my exam.  As I waited in the exam room I wondered how the appointment would go.  I hoped the lining of my uterus looked good enough so we could gain further insight on the best treatment for the next cycle – of whatever we decided.  Remember our 3 options?

After a brief waiting time, the female Dr. F came in.  She did the ultrasound and appeared to be enthralled at the lining of my uterus.  This both intrigued and worried me.  She did note that my uterus was a little different, but that it did appear to have its own trilateral pattern.  I didn’t know how to interpret what she said.  I was kind of at a loss for words.  I felt she was honest with me and I appreciated it.  I had so many questions in head.  I wondered if that meant I would be able to carry a baby or not.  As my exam continued and she looked at my ovaries closer, she recognized my endometriosis.  That explained the difference in the look of uterus.  Hopefully that makes sense.  Well, she took screen shots for Dr F to review and that was it.  After she left, I spoke with my IVF coordinator about our plans.

I was under the impression that we had 3 options.  As we talked, I realized that our options were limited to 2…FET or IVF cycles.  I thought that the fresh cycle with a little medication was a separate option.  But, it’s not.  It’s a fresh IVF cycle.  Lol.  I felt so dumb for not getting it before.  I did get a good laugh though.  Although our options were lessened, it doesn’t change the fact that we still have options…which is good.

Anyways!  In my discussion with my IVF coordinator, she requested that I give her 3 months notice before we start anything.  In previous conversations and emails, I told her that we wouldn’t be starting anything until January, at the earliest.  We laughed about how I would have to tell her now because in 3 months it will be the beginning of February.  We left it at that because we both were unsure of what Dr. F would recommend.  We decided to wait until Dr. F could review the images and then my IVF coordinator would contact me.

Within a week, my IVF coordinator called.  Since we plan to wait until January/February we have time to consider our options.  She instructed me to call her in January on Day 1 of my menses.  Dr. F has requested to do another SIS.  Fine with me, as long as it helps and allows Dr. F to continue to provide the best treatment for me.

Another factor in the process is that we will be switching medical insurance effective January 1st.  This is definitely a change but it also opens the option to a second IVF cycle, covered by insurance.  (I’ll talk about this again in a later post.)  In January, we will confirm our decision and take the necessary steps.  In the meantime, we wait… and read.

Next post: Endometriosis Diet


Considering the Options

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Well, understanding and considering all the options available to us takes a lot of time.  I don’t know if I can adequately express or explain the amount of time and thoughts involved in this process.  In my last post, I explained the options and costs:

1.  FET

2. IVF

3. Natural Cycle with meds

You know, my husband & I have spent many hours discussing the options…the costs, the time, the what ifs, etc.  You name it, we’ve talked about it.  Of course, this also includes the consequences of each option as well as reality.  One of the realities of each option is that it may not be successful.  It’s not being pessimistic, it’s being thorough.  Being thorough is necessary because if you can’t deal with an unsuccessful pregnancy, FET, or IVF cycle…it makes it more difficult to cope with.  It’s already hard as it is, you don’t need more pain to deal with.  You need to talk about the possibility of things not going the way you plan or desire.  Here’s the thing about being thorough, you need to consider all the options, whether you want to or not.  Of course, you always hope that everything works out good but that is not always the case…believe me, I know…just read my last few posts.

I never thought I would experience all 3 of the options available to us.  Honestly, considering these options with experience in mind, was just a tad bit easier.  Having had experience helped because I knew the processes and what to expect.  Two of the important factors for me were cost and pain.  Lol.  I truly had to wonder if I wanted to do injections again and actually, I was ok with it.  Most people cringe when I explain the injections to them, but in reality, it’s 10-12 consecutive days at the most.  In the big picture, I feel like it’s doable.  You may think I’m crazy but it’s really not that bad.

The prices for all the options was a hard decision for us.  Spending $4K is quite an expense, considering it’s not covered by insurance.  Plus it’s only a little bit more than a fresh IVF cycle (covered by insurance).  The other thing we considered is that a FET can be done whenever you want…with at least 2 months notice.  The embryos are frozen, you can thaw them anytime you want.  We have the option of thawing them for an FET cycle years from now.  I hope that makes sense.  The option is good, the price is ok – meaning affordable, and long term – it’s a good option because the embryos are still the age of retrieval.  So, for example, if I was 35 when they are retrieved, then they will be 35 five years later when if we decide to do an FET then.  Of course, I’m not that age, hence it’s an example.

With all that said, we knew and still know all the options for us.  It’s a matter of waiting for when we’re ready to do it.  It also matters what Dr. F recommends.  So, this means I will call on Day 1 and schedule a Day 10 exam.  Based on that exam, we’ll go from there!

Next post:  Day 10