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


Weight Gain!

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Hi everyone!!  Hope you’re all doing great.  I have so many thoughts but not enough time to express them all.  So, I’ll have to spread them out through a few posts.

In recent weeks, my baby bump has grown to the point where it can no longer be hidden.  I’m not trying to hide it, but I have noticed I get asked the same questions by different people.  Here are the 2 questions I’ve been bombarded with:

  • How are you feeling?
  • Do you know what you’re having yet?

I typically answer that I’m fine and/or good.  I tell people we’re having a boy and that’s about it.  The questions don’t bother me, I think I’m just surprised at the number of times I repeat myself.

Anyways!  When I saw the doctor after my screening tests were complete, he explained the results and that I was low risk, not no risk.  I don’t know why, but that stuck with me.  It made total sense to me.  I was very grateful to be low risk because prior to being pregnant, I assumed I would be high risk.  With all the things my husband & I went through to try to become pregnant, I figured being pregnant would be difficult for me, especially with my thyroid.  I recognize that anything can happen during pregnancy.  Everyone I know desires for their baby to be healthy.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.  During this pregnancy I have tried to keep my excitement realistic and somewhat controlled.  Yes, I’m excited and taking it day by day.

Weight Gain

As promised, I’m going to tackle the topic of weight gain.  Well, I’ll do what I can.  Lol.  When my husband & I first met with the doctor, we were informed about A LOT of stuff.  One of those things was weight gain.  Based on my height and pre-pregnancy weight, the doctor told us that he would expect me to gain 25-30 lbs during pregnancy.  Seriously?

My initial reaction was, “he can’t be serious!”  Of course, I didn’t express that out loud, just to myself.  I kindly nodded in agreement but in fact, it was quite crazy to me.  I knew the weight gain was for a good purpose but the number seemed so absurd.  I quickly added it in my head and yikes!  I’ve never weighed that much, ever!  To top it off, I would weigh more than my husband toward the end.  At the time, I just couldn’t imagine that.  Oh dear!

I was almost 3 months when first saw the doctor.  He explained the break down of the weight gain.  I was to see him monthly for the 1st & 2nd trimesters, bimonthly in the 3rd trimester, and weekly for the last month.  So, with that, he went through the expected weight gain at each trimester.  In the 2nd trimester, he recommended I gain 2-4 lb every month or 1/2 lb – 1 lb per week.  In the 3rd trimester, he recommended I gain 1 lb per week.  It was all so overwhelming at the time.  Now, not so much.

1st trimester – I gained 5 lb (ended in January)
2nd trimester – I’ve gained 9 lb so far. (ends soon)  I gained 3 pounds in March and 6 pounds in April.  At my last appointment, when I got on the scale, the nurse said, “Wow, you gained a lot this month.”  As you can imagine, that just made me feel so great!  Lol.  I restrained myself from saying something, like shut up.  When we met with the doctor, he said, “just because you’re hungry doesn’t mean the baby is hungry.”  OK, I get it!  I understood that to be his way of telling me that I gained too much this month.  He added how it could change my overall weight gain and that I would still be in the 25-30lb range.  I suppose that made me feel a little better.  But really, it was quite the downer.  I knew I was stewing over it because I kept bringing it up to my husband.  I decided no more M&M ice cream sandwiches and more water at work instead of a snack.  Lol.  So far, it’s been good.

Just as a side note, my husband & I have been married for 8 years.  We’ve never owned a scale until now!  Lol.  Now I can keep track of my weight gain as often as I want…which is not that often.  Lol.

I think that’s it for weight gain right now.  I’m sure I can talk about it again in the next few months.

In my next posts, I have a few different topics I’d like to talk about…gestational diabetes testing, birthing class, & breast pump.

Next post: Gestational Diabetes Testing


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


Yikes!

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After accepting the job, it wasn’t long before I realized the scope of everything that occurred.  At the time, I was experiencing some pregnancy symptoms and wasn’t sure how I was going to work outside my home.  No, I didn’t have morning sickness, instead, I was super exhausted and peeing quite frequently throughout the day.  I felt like I was urinating so much during the day, it was ridiculous!  Lol.

I decided I was flushing the toilet way too much, so I would wait until I peed 3-4 times before I would flush the toilet. I know, some of you may consider that disgusting, but I don’t really care.  I do wash my hands after using the restroom.  Although, now that I think about it, I don’t have to justify flushing the toilet.  Lol.

Anyways!  I was worried about starting a new job and being pregnant.  I couldn’t even stay awake for 8 straight hours, how was I going to stay up at work?  I wasn’t worried I couldn’t do the work, I was worried that I would fall asleep at work.  It would definitely be an adjustment for me (& my husband).  I knew I would have at least a month before I started.  I hoped and prayed to gain some energy by then! 🙂

Being tired made me feel lazy, although I was not.  I accomplished tasks throughout the day, but at a much slower pace than I was comfortable with.  I wanted to do more, I just could not.  I would require a nap or 2 during the day, seriously.  By lunch time, I would need to rest and then again after lunch.  As I think about it now, it seems so crazy.  That’s how exhausted I was.

On a weekly basis I would drive to Waianae to help my mom clean and de-clutter.  At times I felt bad because I felt like I wasn’t really helping.  I think I needed more breaks than she did.  Nevertheless, we did what needed to be done.

I took things a day at a time.

1st Prenatal visit

I skipped ahead a little.  After confirming that I was in deed pregnant, I called the OB department and scheduled my first prenatal appointment.  (It actually occurred before I was offered the job.)  It was 3 days after found out.  My husband accompanied me and we spend A LOT of time waiting.  I mean, A LOT, way longer than I expected and beyond my patience limit.  We waited and hour and a half, which I deemed to be ridiculous.  I was quite annoyed but remained cordial with the staff.

So, what happened at the appointment?  Well, a group of about 5 couples sat in a room and viewed a ppt (power point presentation) given by a NP (Nurse Practitioner).  It was basically an overview of pregnancy.  Honestly, it was lame, especially after waiting all that time.  Then, we met with the NP to go over a questionnaire I completed while waiting.  Following that, I had a list of blood tests to complete.  We did that and then my next appointment was scheduled for the end of Dec for an ultrasound. (A about a month later).  That was it!

Next post: Our First Ultrasound


Something Different

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I hope you’ve enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a great New Year! 🙂

It’s nearing the start of a New Year, a time I’ve had to wait for in order to move forward with another IVF cycle.  What will the New Year bring?  I don’t know, is it important for me to know?  No, it’s important for me to have faith in Jesus Christ.

In November, after seeing Dr. Frattarelli – the OB/GYN, I knew something had to change.  Despite having to anticipate my January menses and experience IVF again, I honestly didn’t want to do IVF again.  Of course, with the 5 embryos that we have, I figured that was our only option.  However, I didn’t want that option.  I wanted us to become pregnant without assistance from technology.

I came up with an idea and proposed it to my husband.  He agreed so we went forward with our plan.  The plan was fairly simple…we would fast and pray for a baby, a miracle.  Realistically, the plan was not that easy to execute.  Just as a reminder, I saw Dr. F (ob/gyn) on Nov. 1, which was a Thursday.  Fast Sunday at church is the first Sunday of the month, which means that our plan was formed and solidified in 3 days.  On November 4th, Fast Sunday, we needed to move forward with our plan.  We fasted and prayed for a miracle.

A miracle wasn’t the only thing we fasted about.  We also fasted about a job – for me.  I hadn’t heard back from a place I applied.  I was hoping that during the month, sometime, I would be called for an interview.  We would see.

Interestingly enough, that Sunday in church many people bore testimony of miracles and faith through personal experiences.  This continued through the rest of church and for a few Sundays afterwards.  It made me wonder if miracles still happen.  I knew the answer to my wondering, yes, miracles still happen.  I didn’t know if my faith was strong enough to believe the Lord would grant unto us, a miracle.  Around this same time, my husband and I were concluding our reading of the Book of Mormon.  It was very intriguing to me that in Ether and Moroni (the last 2 books in the Book of Mormon) there are a lot of references to miracles.  Here are some of the scriptures:

Ether 12:12 states: “For if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them; wherefore, he showed not himself until after their faith.”

Moroni 7: 29, 33, 37 explains, “And because he hath done this, my brethren, have miracles ceased?  Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.

33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me.

37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.”

These are not the only references to miracles in the Book of Mormon, just the ones that stood out to me at the time.  I did read more to ponder about and listened to friends share experiences.

I knew that although our plan was fairly simple, it would require a lot from us.  For me, I think faith was a critical element to our fasting and praying.  Faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ requires work.  I can’t just sit around and say I have faith.  Faith expresses trust and love, it requires humility and expands our understanding.

I knew the Lord would hear our prayers.  I didn’t know whether He would bless us with a miracle.  I trusted Him and knew that whatever was right, would happen.  I have learned that I don’t just tell the Lord what I want, I share my desires and wait upon the Lord.  I know the Lord knows what is best for me.

Next post:  Thanksgiving


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


Follow Up

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Hi everyone!  Hope you are doing great on this Aloha Friday! 🙂

Before I review the follow up treatment I received, I want to share something that was shared with me!  About 2 weeks ago, I was helping in the kitchen at a funeral.  I spoke with a friend who just did a cycle of clomid.  She and her husband have been trying to start a family, which has been a challenge for them.  She shared something I hadn’t heard before.  The doctor treated her husband’s low sperm count with…(drumroll)…clomid!  I was surprised.  Since we didn’t experience that, I found it really interesting.  SO, if you know someone whose spouse has low sperm count, tell them to talk with their doctor about clomid…it may be an option to inquire about and pursue.  Not that low sperm count is a popular topic but if you know a couple that is trying, talking with their doctor doesn’t hurt.

Ok, back to my follow up.  So, at home after my surgery wasn’t too eventful.  I rested.  I did have a little pain – cramping – but I refused to take a pill for it.  It was bearable.  Instead, I used my white flower oil to easy the cramping.  The pain dissipated and I was comfortable.  My doTerra oils had not arrived yet, so I used what I had available.

The next day, I received a call from the surgicenter checking on me.  The woman on the phone asked me if I took any medication for pain.  I proudly told her no.  Lol.  She asked me a few more questions related to my current status.  I explained to her that I felt fine.

I received my doTerra oils in the mail that day, which was great…little did I know I would need them.  I looked through my post-op paperwork, which showed some of the things I may experience after surgery.  The only thing applicable to me (besides the cramping)…constipation.  I’ve been on birth control since May so constipation after the surgery reminded me of endometriosis and the pain I felt when I got my mense.  However, I didn’t have my menses, so that was one less factor.  Anyways!  It was painful to use the bathroom so I decided to use my doTerra oil…DigestZen, which is a blend of 7 oils.  The directions state to put 1 drop in 4 oz (1/2 cup) of water.  I quickly drank it and then laid down to rest.  My lip burned for a few minutes because of the peppermint oil contained in the blend.  Obviously the oil touched my lip.  Lol.  The burn was nothing.  The oil helped relieve my constipation.  I’m glad I used it.

Well, I had a little less than 2 weeks before my post-op appointment with my Ob/Gyn and scan with Dr. Frattarelli.  During that time, I received my bill in the mail.  Yup, the bill for my surgery.  I was worried about how much it would cost so I looked at my coverage plan and got an answer.  I already knew that the surgery would cost me $15.  It was a relief.  So, when I saw the bill I was quite surprised!  I saw on paper…$5,115.40  Yikes!  Lol.  The bill listed all the things that were used, including the OR, recovery room, anesthesia, etc.  Man, some of those things are expensive!  I’m glad I pay for cobra, even though that seems expensive too.  I still only had to pay $15 but it showed the breakdown, which I found interesting.

The following week my appointments started up again!  On one day I was scheduled to see Dr. Frattarelli and the next day I was scheduled to see my Ob/Gyn.  So, on Monday, August 13, I went in for my appointment with Dr. Frattarelli.  I was still taking the birth control and the lining of my uterus was thick, which I expected.  My Ob/gyn followed up with Dr. Frattarelli, which is good.  Good news…we’re on track for the FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer).  Phew!  What a relief!  Of course, it’s temporary because things can change.  I find it necessary to be grateful after each appointment.

So, that day I started taking 1 mg of Estrace (Estrogen) 2x/day and one 81mg aspirin 1/day.  The Estrace is a small blue pill.  It’s 2mg so I cut it in half to get the 1mg.  I didn’t have my pill cutter so I just used a knife.  Good thing the pill has an indention, it’s too small to break in half with your fingers.  I tried.

In case you’re curious, here is a picture of what Estrace looks like.  It’s about a 1/4″ in diameter, so it’s really small.  The picture shows both sides of the pill.  On the left is the letter “m” and on the right, you see an “e” and the number 5.

On Tuesday, August 14th, I went to see my Ob/Gyn.  He also asked me how I felt and reviewed symptoms.  My Ob/Gyn showed me a visual of the female reproductive system.  He drew a picture for me showing me where the polyps were located.  The only question I had was about the results.  I knew my Ob/Gyn sent my polyps to the lab to be tested.  I didn’t get the results.  I wasn’t worried because I figured he would have called if it was bad news.  Well, I was right.  My Ob/Gyn apologized and confirmed that my polyps were benign.  Yeah!  I will never forget what he said.  He was surprised that Dr. Frattarelli was able to find a polyp using ultrasound.  I am definitely grateful that Dr. Frattarelli found a polyp and that my Ob/Gyn removed 3.  When my Ob/Gyn explained that, I felt so comforted.  I thought, yup I pray for my doctors!!  By the way, the lab results for the polyps cost me around $20.

So, after those 2 appointments I knew that my surgery was successful and that we were moving forward with the FET.  I had this thought…could I now become pregnant without ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology)?  I don’t know.  I’m not going to try to find that out now.  I’ve come this far, I’m going to follow through with the FET.  Would be interesting though.  I think I still have endometriosis, so probably not.  Lol.

Anyways!  According to my newest calendar I was instructed & responsible for taking birth control through August 17th.  I have to admit…I like not having a period.  I haven’t had a period since May.  It’s nice not having cramps and pain.  🙂  The rest of my calendar depended on the first day of my menses.  I had tentative dates scheduled but I wouldn’t know for sure until I got my menses.  So, it was time to wait…

Next post: Day 1


My Surgery Date!

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Getting a surgery date was much harder than I expected.  When I called to talk with my OB/GYN, I was informed that he was on vacation for 2 weeks.  I just shook my head in disbelief.  Seriously?  I thought, “What are the odds of that?”  Lol.  The only option I had at that point was to schedule a phone call appointment with my OB/GYN upon his return.  I inquired about having another doctor do the surgery but when I talked to the nurse, that didn’t seem to be an option.  I couldn’t do anything about it…I just had to wait.  For the next couple of days, I was annoyed…just because.  I estimated that the earliest date for my surgery would be at the end of July or maybe early August.  Then I gauged that my ET would probably be pushed back to late August or September.  I wouldn’t be able to confirm that until after my phone call appointment on July 16th @ 4:30pm.

While I waited, I confirmed with my IVF coordinator, via email, that there was only 1 polyp.  She checked with Dr. Frattarelli and confirmed it – only 1 polyp.  I also spent my time researching polyps.  At that point I wasn’t sure how big or small the polyp was but I knew I would be ok.  A uterine polyp is pretty much a growth on the lining of the uterus.  It can look like a bump or hang like a tear drop and can range in size.  I know that sounds quite gross but that’s the only way I can explain it right now.  Lol.

The day of my phone appointment arrived, July 16th.  When 4:30pm rolled around, I expected my phone to ring.  I tried to keep my phone nearby so I would’t miss the call.  I had all day to think about what the doctor might say.  Time seemed to tick away and still no call.  4:35pm, 4:40pm, 4:45pm.  Still no call.  I wondered if my OB/GYN would call or not.  I thought, “I really don’t want to call tomorrow wondering why no one called me.”  4:50pm, 4:55pm, my patience was being tested.  Then a little after 5:00pm, my phone rang…it was my OB/GYN.  Phew!

As I explained the purpose of the appointment, my OB/GYN noted that he had not received any information from Dr. Frattarelli.  He noted that he briefly check his mail but hadn’t seen anything, but he still had more to look through.  I was quite surprised that after 2 weeks, my OB/GYN hadn’t received information about my polyp.  So, I briefly updated my OB/GYN.  He said he would follow up with Dr. Frattarelli.

I waited as he looked for an open date for the operation room.  My OB/GYN quickly scheduled my surgery for July 31st and said he would have his nurse call me the next day.  I agreed, of course!  Wouldn’t you?  I just wanted it to be done with so I took the earliest date I was offered.  The phone appointment took about 20-25 minutes total.  I realized after we hung up that I knew the date, but not the time.  Oops!  But it was ok because I knew the nurse was going to call me the next day.  This is one way I feel that being laid off has been a blessing.  I didn’t need to take the day off or call in sick or anything like that.  Much less stress.

The following day, the nurse called me.  She scheduled a pre-op appointment for July 27th & reviewed some of the things I needed to prepare for.  I asked her about the time of the surgery and she told me 10:00am.  Then she explained that at my pre-op appointment, she would review more information with me and I would most likely have to do blood work.  That was fine with me!

It was such a relief to have my surgery date.  I assumed it would be similar to my egg retrieval.  I didn’t worry about it.

The date for my pre-op appointment came quickly.  I checked in and sat on a chair waiting to be called.  I saw a note on the board that said my OB/GYN was running 45 minutes to an hour late.  Oh dear, I thought.  I geared up for a long wait.  To my surprise, my name was called about 10 minutes later.  I’m grateful I didn’t wait too long.

The nurse took my height, weight, and vitals – blood pressure, temperature, and pulse.  She asked me a few questions related to family history and date of the first day of my last menses.  You know, the same basic questions.  She escorted me to the exam room where she asked me to remove my clothing from the waist down.  The nurse gave me a disposable sheet and then told me the doctor would be in soon.

A few minutes later, my OB/GYN knocked on the door and came in with the nurse.  He briefly checked my uterus and breathing.  It was a really quick appointment, maybe 5 minutes.  Then, as instructed I changed & met with the doctor in his office.

He explained, with a visual aid what a polyp looks like in the uterus.  He continued with talking me through the procedure.  I listened attentively and learned that the doctor would be using a camera to look into my uterus.  Apparently, using a camera is much more accurate than the ultrasound when it comes to locating polyps.  So cool.  We discussed some of the side effects and that I should expect some spotting for a few days.  The doctor also explained that the polyp would be cut off with a scissors.  I’m sure it’s a special kind of scissors.  Pretty interesting to me!

My OB/GYN also told me what time I needed to arrive at the hospital.  Since my surgery was scheduled for 10:00am I needed to be there 2 hours prior – 8am.  I was also instructed (just like my egg retrieval) not to eat anything after midnight the night before my procedure.  The day of the surgery, I was instructed to take my thyroid medicine with a sip of water.  That was it, nothing else.  Since I was having an outpatient surgery and would be receiving light sedation, I needed to arrange to be picked up.  I would not be allowed to drive home nor would I be released without an adult.  Lol.  That sounds funny but they’re quite adement about someone being with you.  We reviewed the pre-op instructions, which I just explained, and then signed.  We also reviewed a consent which stated the purpose of the procedure, anesthesia, and medical treatment.  The doctor & I signed that form.  He asked if I had any questions.  At the time I only had one question.

My question was this….since he was removing the polyp, could he also remove the ovarian cysts?  I figured since I was going to be under anesthesia, why not?  Lol.  Well, the answer was no.  But it was ok.  The doctor explained that ovarian cysts are removed through the belly button, not vaginally.  I thought that was interesting and it made sense.  It seemed so obvious after he explained it.

After leaving his office I walked a short distance to the nurses desk.  She briefly reviewed the pre-op paper and the consent.  She put the originals in an envelop labeled for the O.R. with my name on it.  She instructed me to bring that envelop with me on the day of my surgery and hand it to the receptionist at the O.R.  Then she gave me my copies of the two forms and I was off to the lab.

At the lab, I did a urine test and blood work.  First the urine test, which I always seems weird to me, and then I waited to be called for blood work.  There were a handful of people waiting so I knew I had a few minutes before I would be called.  It wasn’t long before it was my turn.  I went in and requested the wrap instead of the tape.  I make it a point to ask for the wrap because the tape is horrible.  It rips the hairs off my skin and leaves a residue that has to be scraped off.  Not fun.  Plus, I think going to Dr. Frattarelli’s has spoiled me.  They always use the wrap, which is great.  The phlebotomist found my vein easily so I was out of there fast.  My entire pre-op appointment, including lab work, was about an hour.

All done!  Now, all I had to do was wait a few more days until the surgery.  In the meantime, I emailed my IVF coordinator and she sent me an updated calendar.  With all the postponing and changes that arose, this was my 3rd and hopefully last calendar.

I was ready! 🙂

Next post: My Surgery – Polyp Removal


My SIS

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We have some new subscribers!!  Yay!  Thank you for joining in on the journey! 🙂

Almost immediately after I published my last post, I said out loud, “Oops!”  I realized that I forgot to mention something, something big.  I don’t know how it slipped my mind!  So, before I talk about my SIS, I’m going to rewind a little.

Ok, here it is.  A week and a half after beginning the birth control pills again (early June) I was informed by my employer that they would be restructuring.  I was not alone in this, at all.  2 weeks and then I would be out of a job.  Words can’t adequately express the many emotions I felt at that time.  I felt SO many different emotions.  I felt angry, worthless, disposable, protective (of others), distraught, etc.  For the first few days after receiving this news, I was furious.  I did not like the way the lay off was done.  I went in one day and cleaned out everything!  I made the decision to use some of my leave and not return.  I think I went in one more day but that was it.

The lay off brought much more dynamics to what I already felt was a complicated task – IVF.  At that point I felt such a burden.  I wondered what would come of our efforts to try to start a family.  I contemplated whether or not to search for work.  I had so many more questions than I had answers for.  I knew what I had to do, I just didn’t want to do it.  There were 2 things I knew for sure…1 I had to file for unemployment, and 2, I had to pay COBRA.

In order to maintain my medical coverage and continue with IVF, I had to pay for COBRA.  During open enrollment, my husband changed insurance companies so at the time of the lay off, we had different medical coverages.  Unfortunately, in the state of Hawaii, when you do IVF and something comes up, if you don’t continue coverage, you forfeit the only opportunity you’ll have.  I was not about to give that up.  Technically, insurance only covers one chance.  It felt like such a huge sacrifice because now I had to pay the full coverage for medical insurance.  But, it was necessary and temporary.  I can switch to my husband’s insurance once the IVF cycle is completed.

Filing for unemployment was another frustrating process.  Even with the handbook, powerpoint, and instructions, the process proved to be a daunting one.  I’m glad I didn’t go through it alone.  Once you get through the first few steps, it gets easier.  I think that’s all I’m going to say about that.  If you need assistance, let me know.  I’ll help you!!

Through all of those emotions (and this experience), I still felt relieved.  It might seem to be kind of weird but I was glad to leave.  My philosophy and thoughts on the lay off simply come down to this – a company that doesn’t value me doesn’t deserve me.  I decided not to let the lay off bother me and moved on to more important things.  The lay off has been a blessing.

Ok, now that you’re all caught up with that, I can talk about my SIS.

So, like I mentioned in my last post, my IVF coordinator emailed me my new calendar and scheduled my next appointment.  My new calendar revealed that my ET (embryo transfer) would now be scheduled for July 30th.  It was pushed back because of the delay in my thyroid test results.  So my once July 25th ET was now 5 days later.  I sarcastically told my husband, “I’ve been waiting forever already, what’s 5 more days.”  Lol.  Things can always be worse, but why dwell on that…it doesn’t help.  Honestly, you really have to be able to laugh, put things in perspective, and at times search for joy in the little successes.  It’s not always easy to do but it has its rewards.

I went in on July 2 for my SIS, in preparation for my ET on July 30th.  Prior to this, I’d never heard of a SIS.  Saline Infusion Sonogram (SIS), also called a sonohysterography, is a test that looks at the shape of the uterus.  The saline solution is like the dye of HSG test, it acts as a contrast to help the doctor look at the uterus, using ultrasound.  The SIS is similar to the HSG test, I’ve mentioned previously.  Minor cramping can occur.  It took less than 5 minutes.

On the day of my appointment, I forgot about the SIS and I didn’t do my research.  I guess I was distracted with the lay off that I didn’t read up about it.  Maybe that was a good thing, maybe not.  The doctor was behind schedule so I had time to talk with my IVF coordinator.  She reviewed with me the calendar and the medicines I would be starting that evening.  I didn’t have my blood taken just my vitals – blood pressure, pulse, and temperature.  The doctor came in and did the SIS.  He put the speculum in, catheter and then the solution.  I felt a bit of cramping but it was bearable.  The doctor pushed the monitor toward me so I could see.  I saw a little oval.  The doctor took a picture of it and then zoomed in closer for a better view.

With a closer view, I saw bigger oval with a white line through most of it.  Dr. Frattarelli explained that the oval shape was a polyp, which would hinder our embryos from attaching to the lining of the uterus.  Therefore, it needed to be removed surgically…before proceeding any further.  I was absolutely speechless and it felt as though things were going in slow motion.  I was overcome with disbelief and then reality set it.  Yet another postponing of the ET.

When I began this journey I compared it to a roller coaster ride, this was definitely one of those rides.  I cried the whole drive home (about 30 minutes).  It felt like deja vu.  I questioned my pursuit of becoming pregnant.  I felt like there was so much adversity, it was too much to bear.  I felt so sensitive that day, I needed time to myself.  But having too much time to think about things isn’t always helpful either.

That evening, my sister-in-law called inviting us over to play “Dance Central 2” on xbox 360.  I was so emotional I thought it would be better to stay home.  I reluctantly agree to go.  I knew my parents were there and I was apprehensive because I knew the moment I saw any member of my family, I would immediately start crying.  I  wasn’t ready for that, so I thought.  As I made the less than 5 minute drive over, my eyes watered in anticipation.  What was I going to do?

I wiped the tears from my face, took a few deep breaths, told myself it would be ok, and went in.  I was met with so much love and kindness, I was surprised I kept my composure.  I wanted to cry but I felt that was selfish.  I needed to forget myself – my heartache, pain, and sorrow – and enjoy the moment.  In other words, I had to suck it up and leave my personal feelings outside.  It was more than just about me.

I tried my best.  As I’ve reflected on that night, I had such a fun evening with my family.  I don’t think they will ever know how much they helped me that night.  As I made the short drive home, I felt such relief.  I was so proud of myself…I didn’t cry.

I was responsible for contacting my regular OB/GYN to schedule surgery.  I knew the surgery date was not up to me.  I could gage when the surgery might be but I wouldn’t know until I called my OB/GYN.  Dr. Frattarelli requested that I give my OB/GYN a day before calling, that way he had time to send the appropriate notes/information to my OB/GYN.  So, I called my OB/GYN the next day.

Little did I know, I would have to endure a little more…

Next post: My Surgery Date!

FYI: I’m going to be launching another website soon…www.madebykainui.com!  I’m excited!! 🙂


Carrying On…

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I have to apologize for not writing anything for you to read!!  I’ve been spending a lot of time on Pinterest and Etsy!! 🙂  I still have lots to catch you up on!

Ok!  In my last post I talked about the hope and possibilities with 4 eggs.  When that was not successful, don’t get me wrong, I was definitely disappointed.  As I think about it now, I am so thankful for that experience AND that the Lord didn’t answer my prayers in the way I desired.  So many times I hear people blame God when things go wrong in their life or when they are not given what they desire.  In my experience, I know the Lord knows and loves me because none of the 4 eggs resulted in pregnancy.  You may think I sound crazy because the goal was and is to become pregnant, but I know that there is NO way I would be able to handle that…physically and mentally.  As earnest and sincere as my prayers were, they did not override the Lord’s knowledge and understanding of what I need.  I’m not going to lie, it took time to come to that understanding.  For me it was an important lesson to learn.  I feel extremely blessed that I didn’t have to choose embryos to abort.

Ooh, I don’t think I explained the HCG injection in the last post.  I told you about it but not the purpose of it!  The HCG injection is given to make you ovulate.  Ok, now back to the journey!

After feeling devastated that none of the eggs were successful, I went in for my day 3 scan.  By this time it was August 2011.  The doctor started me on the injections again…I was happy.  Happy for another opportunity to try to become pregnant, not happy about the actual injections.  Lol.  When I went in for my next scan, after doing the injections for about 5 days, I was puzzled when the doctor told me to stop the injections and wait for the next cycle.  I was like, what?  I believe the lining of my uterus had grown too thick in a short amount of time, which was not good.  So, we stopped the injections for that cycle and waited for the next cycle.  Of course, I was bummed.  I also thought about the timing of my approval and how much time I had remaining on my referral.  We were half way through my 6 month approval.  I wondered if I would get another chance to do the shots before the 6 months was over.

Since we waited out the cycle, I went back to the doctor in September 2011 for my day 3 scan.  I was hopeful about the opportunity but unsure what the doctor would say.  When I heard “provera” again, my heart sank.  I knew why…it was the lining of my uterus and the endometriosis.  In my head I knew that would set us back at least another month.  Ugh.  I wasn’t looking forward to it but what was I gonna do, complain?  Complaining or getting mad wasn’t going to change the facts of the scan.  Who would I complain to, my body?  Would I get angry at my uterus?  That would be just be lame and absurd!  Lol!  So, I took the same amount of provera as the first time, for 10 days and I got my menses in October.

October 2011 was the next time I went in for a day 3 scan.  I periodically got blood work done at the office and this was one of those times.  I soon found out that my thyroid needed attention.  I took a deep breath and sighed.  I really felt like things weren’t going very well.  So, we took a little pause from the shots to address my thyroid.  In the meantime, I was nearing the expiration date of my approval.  My husband and I thought we might be able to have one more chance with the injections before we ran out of time.  Well, that didn’t happen.

I was curious about what would happen when November came.  I made some calls to my OB/GYN’s nurse and talked with the PA and doctor.  They all agreed that it would be ok to continue and an extension would filed.  I would then have to wait for another approval letter which would indicate how much more time we would have.  I don’t think there was ever a doubt or question that I wouldn’t be approved.  I didn’t know for how long.  Also during this time, I felt we didn’t have much success or opportunity with the injections because of the endometriosis, thyroid and other stuff.  We had done 1 cycle of injections in a 5 month period.  That didn’t seem like very good odds to me.  I was ready to move on to IVF.

My husband and I met with the PA and we discussed our options.  We decided to do one more cycle of the injections and if that was not successful, we would pursue IVF.  I received a letter in November 2011 that we were approved for one more cycle and we had until May 2012 to complete this one cycle.  We opted for the next cycle to do the injections, if the uterus and lining looked good.

Next post: Our Last Cycle