16 Months later: Christmas Baby Birth Story plus Drama I Never Expected

I started this post well over a year ago, but my life flipped upside down and inside out right after the baby was born so I never finished it. Don’t worry, the little guy is happy and blooming with health. I do still want to document the details I can remember, so here’s what’s been sitting undone for 14+ months:

Well, the miracle of all miracles is here. We had a baby boy on Christmas day! What a Christmas present, I mean c’mon! Originally I wasn’t thrilled knowing his birthday would be mixed in with the busiest holiday season of the year, but after laboring all day on 12/25, by the end of the day I was thinking I’m not going thru all this only to have this kid come 10 or 20 minutes into 12/26. How anti-climactic would that be?

So my water broke right as I was drifting off to sleep on Christmas eve. It was 9:30pm. Right as it began, I opened my eyes and felt it happening. I felt something open up and immediately held my legs together and yelled for the husband to come running with towels…which he did. No sooner than he got them to me did so much warm water come rushing out of me. He helped me stuff them all between my legs and make my way to the bathroom to sit on the toilet. As this clear fluid was pouring out of me, and I mean pouring, I was sitting there thinking is this really happening? Am I in labor? I think this has to be the real deal.

The water kept gushing out for nearly an hour or more on and off. We started making phone calls and anytime I would laugh, here it came. Luckily my best friend had sent supplies in with my mom including the cotton pads with plastic backing that you can lay on a bed (like what’s at OB’s office)…so our mattress was spared! Of course when this all began, they were downstairs in my trunk so hubby had to rush outside for them :).

I called the doula who eased my mind but said to contact my doctor’s office since my water had broken. The on call OB said they needed to see me in the hospital no later than 12 hours after my water broke, so by 9:30am on Christmas unless we chose to come earlier or saw bright red blood or were having regular contractions. She did say it would be ok to labor at home until then if we were comfortable with that. Between the birth class and all the reading I had done, this felt reasonable as everyone advises once you are admitted to the hospital, they more or less have control and you have much less freedom to do what feels good…including move about or eat. I know how true that is now.

As it was Christmas Eve, and we had just a bit of excitement going on, the husband was saying let’s open presents! I wasn’t interested in getting out of bed and I knew we would need our rest, not that we’d be getting much sleep. If I recall he brought one up to the bedroom to open which was sweet.

My contractions started about 3am and I remember thinking okayyyyy, here it is. A contraction bc I’m in labor bc I’m pregnant and there’s a baby in there. They were pretty scattered and all over the place, but I did eventually start timing them and also took a shower bc they were starting to become uncomfortable. The hot water helped. I ate a banana to get something in my stomach. I did close my eyes but I don’t recall sleeping much as my brain was very awake, although I think I was relatively calm about it all…thankfully.

My mom was in town and rented a little place down the street. She came and met us at the house Christmas morning to caravan to the hospital about 20 minutes from our house. It was surreal. We had talked about that trip, where to go, where to park, and now it was happening. We finished up our bags, kissed the babydog goodbye and headed out. Everyone was watching me closely and helping me with everything.

Nothing like a woman in labor.

We got to the hospital and walked into the labor and delivery entrance. I had to stop and read the sign. After 5 years, I was finally there to get my baby. They buzzed us through the doors and we went to the nurse’s station. The young woman asked us why we were checking in that day. Ummmmm…LOOK AT ME! To have a baby, I replied.

Ordinarily they take you in for an exam to confirm you are in labor. In my case, however, once I described my water breaking and how much fluid I released they said c’mon you’re in labor…No exam needed. Shortly after we were were walked to our room. I walked very slowly. Walking into that room was pure magic. I saw the bed, center stage, just as it had been when we toured the hospital. But this time it was real and it would be me in the bed.

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Here’s where I’m trying to finish the story 16 months later.

I labored all day and finally got an epidural around 3pm if I remember correctly. It sure made all the difference in the world. I loved the idea of an all natural labor, but I was exhausted and in a lot of pain and needed relief.

Even with the epidural it was so much effing work and by 7pm I was 10cm dilated and ready to push. By this point things and people started changing in my room. They prepped the area for the baby and modified the bed I was in for all the pushing and coming mess!

I pushed and pushed and pushed and pushed. I was beyond exhausted and the pain surpassed the epidural. I swore it quit working…By around 9:30 the doctor could see I had no energy so she said let’s stop and rest for 30 minutes. I was grateful for the reprieve and fell asleep immediately while sitting up. Around 10pm I started pushing again…before it was all over I tried every position and every tool but I just wasn’t moving the baby. When you’re exerting energy like that and not getting any positive momentum, it’s very discouraging. Whispers of possible cesarean started and by 11pm with no progress I said I can’t go anymore. I was crying and couldn’t handle it any longer and I told the doctor to please get the baby out. They quickly prepped me, I think they had already been prepping behind the scenes…within minutes I was rolled into the operating room.

The operating room was so cold and I remember the anesthesia was a new experience. Sometimes I couldn’t lift my arms and was scared I wouldn’t be able to breathe. It felt like a long time but it really wasn’t and all of a sudden doctor said “Congratulations, it’s a boy!” I cried and was relieved and confused.

I got a brief glimpse of the baby and was like, huh? Is he really mine? I didn’t see him again until I was in recovery. The nurses had me attempt to breastfeed when I didn’t even have control of my body yet from the anesthesia. It felt nuts. We dealt with some jaundice that kept me and the baby in the hospital a little longer than expected but overall he’s a beautiful little specimen.

What I didn’t know would happen is that about 5 weeks after his birth that I would become a single mama.

WHAT!!!

Yes, it’s true. But I’ll leave that for another post.

Xoxo to all those still trucking to get their miracle baby. It’s worth every heartbreak and then some.

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Infertility + Pregnancy = A Far Away Land

I started this post about 13 weeks ago and never finished it. It’s been strange, the thought of blogging on an infertility blog after becoming pregnant. I haven’t been sure what to do or say, so I backed away from it…along with many blogs I’ve followed for years now. I wasn’t sure how to connect.

Here’s where I was back in late August:

Even though we are currently 24 weeks along and the pregnancy has been relatively low key I continue to remain well connected to infertility and the struggle that brought us to the place we are now…this beautiful place.

We have had a successful 20 week scan followed by a successful 24 wk fetal echocardiogram although I was stressed during the process. Baby continues to be “normal” and “on track” which has been a hard to accept breath of fresh air after the last 4.5 yrs.

One thing that I remain extremely sensitive and uncomfortable with is information about this baby or this pregnancy on social media. I am on the polar opposite end from the husband, who would post much more if it weren’t for me. He begged me for weeks to “announce” on Facebook and I finally agreed when the nursery was starting to come together. He posted a photo of it and told the Internet we were getting a roommate in December.

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Fast forward to today, I’m more than 37 weeks along with a full-term baby that could come anytime…even though I won’t officially hit the due date until 12/23. A stranger asked me recently if I was having twins, nope just one! We don’t know baby’s gender. After all of the madness of IVF and then Donor Egg IVF, we wanted something old-fashioned so we decided to wait for the surprise of a lifetime.

Daily life is getting slower bc it’s harder for me to do things. Please don’t mistake that for a complaint, more just the reality. I’m hoping for as natural a birth as possible, but I’m certainly not creating any hard and fast rules. It will be exactly what it needs to be. We have a doula and will possibly have a midwife at the birth depending on who’s on call. My practice includes OB’s and midwives on staff which I have enjoyed…although it was an adjustment after being in the world of infertility where we are monitored at such high levels.

This little baby is already so precious, and feeling him or her move day after day has been a treasure and nothing short of a miracle. Although I will meet the little thing very soon, it’s still hard to believe that there will actually be a baby in my arms…possibly before the end of 2017. Here’s to a safe journey here little one. We are waiting for you with open arms. You already have everything a baby could possibly need and more.

Wishing a peaceful holiday season for all of us…and wherever you are in your journey, I hope you can come to a place of calm. Whatever it is, you got this. Xoxo

Moving Past the Fear

It’s been a while. I haven’t found myself able to write as I’ve been so overwhelmed with emotion and wanting to keep this miracle pregnancy a secret so I wouldn’t jinx it…not a total secret, some people know. But the thought of “announcing” completely stresses me out. And I know how painful it can be to on the receiving end of the announcement. I feel like, this experience isn’t for everyone else anyway. I don’t know, it sounds selfish. But I guess it’s hard not to be selfish after the past 4 years and how my life has been so drastically affected. 

Okay.

So things are going well.  Like hard to believe well. My second to last appointment with my RE, he said I’m not going to let you make anything about this negative. He could tell I was fishing…OK surely something isn’t as it should be, Doc. No!

A lot has happened. We are 15 weeks today, officially in the 2nd trimester. We have graduated from the fertility clinic, are off all meds except prenatal vitamins, and have moved on to the OB. Mine also has midwives…quite the opposite of the fertility world. Their mantra is as little unnecessary intervention as possible, which includes ultrasounds. I have an appointment next Thursday. I’m not sure what will happen but there won’t be an ultrasound. We will get to hear the heartbeat though.

I was on the fence, but we were gifted a fetal doppler and it turns out we really love having it. There’s something comforting about listening and hearing baby’s heartbeat thumping away. 

My fatigue has let up but my headaches are still happening regularly. I have tried to avoid meds and use a lot of ice packs but every once in a while I break down and take Tylenol if the headaches go on too long. I did develop a UTI earlier on but luckily I didn’t really have symptoms and antibiotics cleared it right up.

Husband is still too freaked out to be intimate even though our RE told us repeatedly sex is perfectly fine and safe. I don’t think I ever shared on this blog that the one time I became pregnant naturally, the day I started spotting (which eventually led to a loss) was the first time we were intimate. Needless to say he’s still traumatized from that experience even though he knows better. I understand though. It’s all so difficult on the brain…this entire process.

We’ve decided to wait until baby is here to learn the gender. After years of labs and egg counts and sperm counts we just want something simple and old fashioned. So we’re slowly putting together a gender neutral nursery and I’m enjoying colors and animals in there, just trickling in.

Good friends recently gifted us with a huge lot of used baby items from their son which was such a lovely thing. There are a few items I definitely want new, but so much baby gear is used for such a short time so I love reusing when possible.

We’ve been doing a lot of emptying out and reorganization, which was needed anyway. I love putting rooms together and all things home so this is a dream come true for me in that way, too. 

I am (and always will be) very sensitive to those on the other side of infertility. The thought of a social media announcement is painful bc I know how it feels to be on the receiving end so very well. I have been off FB for years now due to this struggle, it became too much. The husband wants to post something eventually, but not until I’m ready. I don’t know if I’ll ever get there!

Thinking of the entire community of the strongest women I know, and hoping for peace for those still fighting the good fight. 

xoxo.

Donor Egg IVF: Beta Results, Anxiety and a Scare

So I’m afraid to say this out loud much less write it down…our beta test was last Saturday. By Friday I was basically beside myself with anxiety about the coming results. So anxious in fact that I had diarrhea (TMI) several mornings in a row…I never tested early with any of my past transfers, but I had a half day at work last Friday as it was Good Friday. I knew I would be home alone for a few hours to process whatever the results showed…and I also knew there was a Family Dollar on my direct path home. 

I zipped in, shaking, and bought two tests…one digital and the other that shows the pink lines. I got home quickly and went straight upstairs to the bathroom. I had felt like I was having mild “symptoms” but we all know how cruel the side effects of estrogen and progesterone can be…so my hopes were realistic at best.

Pretty quickly, the test showed positive. As soon as I read that word (I took the digital test), I got up from the toilet, shed some tears and collapsed on the bed staring at it for several minutes in pure shock. I called the husband, asked him to come home for lunch and picked up his favorites from Chick-fil-A. I tucked the test in the bag of food (Yes! I put a stick I peed on near his food, ha!) and that’s where he found it. 

It was a great moment and we felt happy and oh so grateful. I think deep down inside kinda knew. This 2WW had been different somehow, but I can’t really put my finger on it.

The very next day at 9dp5dt, I went for my beta test and the results came in…242! The nurse said that was a great number 🙂 so we were again grateful. The husband and my mom were immediately saying this is it! I was and am no where near that statement. I was to return to retest Monday morning at 11dp5dt. Monday it felt like we waited around all day for the results, but finally…573. Hallelujah. They wanted the number to double, and it more than doubled. Again, beyond grateful.

At that time we were told to continue meds: estradiol 3x daily, Crinone 2x daily, Progesterone vaginal suppository at bedtime. And return for 3rd beta on Monday, 04/24, which is finally right around the corner.

Since the last beta, I have been a ball of nerves. I have had more diarrhea, but I think it’s finally settling. I have felt pinches and twinges here and there in the lower abdominal area…I’m assuming in my uterus. I’ve also had intermittent breast tenderness. These things come and go…and when they go, I’ve allowed panic and PTSD to settle in against my better judgment.

I don’t really believe any of this could actually be real.

Now onto the scare. Today at work I went to the restroom, where all the horror stories start! I’ve been wearing panty liners 24/7 due to all the vaginal meds I’ve been on. At any rate I quickly noticed what looked like dark reddish brownish flecks on the liner and the tissue. It made my heart skip a beat but when I took a closer look and accepted that this was not normal spotting at all, I was able to breathe. And whatever it was, there wasn’t too much of it. 

As soon as I returned to my office I quietly closed the door and called the nurse. I left a voice mail which she returned within 5 minutes. Thank you God for her speed. She explained that the Crinone which is inserted with an applicator can cause vaginal irritation and can evidently aggravate your cervix, too. I won’t go into quite the level of detail here, but she knew exactly what I meant by the flecks I saw. She explained that she wasn’t worried at all, but to increase my water intake as it could also be a sign of dehydration. She said she didn’t expect to hear back from me this weekend. She was so very reassuring. Bless her.

I hung up and immediately called the husband to give him the news. We are both okay but also both on high alert. I’m in that fun phase where I feel the need to check my underwear every 20 minutes…God.

I mostly feel like things are okay, but the fear creeps in. And it’s still so very early. I will feel briefly reassured if Monday’s beta test is good. I’m told they want to see the numbers over 1000. Has anyone else had this sort of experience with Crinone? I feel like I’m having a bit of very mild burning down there too…not when I urinate, but right now while I’m lying in bed. This happened one evening earlier in the week but then it passed by the morning. I was worried about a potential UTI, but I read that burning can be another side effect of this med as well. God only knows…

So that’s where we are. I don’t know when or how to believe any of this. But we will continue to pray like nobody’s business for all of us walking through I-Want-A-Baby-Land.

xoxo.

Donor Egg IVF: Transfer Day :)

I wasn’t sure we would get to this day…it’s been more than 6 long months since we made the decision to use a donor egg. It was a roller coaster experience…like most parts of an infertility journey. Even up to days before the donor’s egg retrieval I was fearful she might back out. She always had that choice. 

Hallelujah, she stuck with it.

After all the heartache and praying, today we transferred one fresh 5 day blastocyst.

Now comes the short but ever so long 9 day wait for the blood test. Today, I’m taking it easy. I may or may not have had ice cream and popcorn in bed! Hence the above photo with a blanket backdrop ;).

We learned this morning that as of today, three embryos had made it to the blastocyst stage…so one went in me and two were frozen…vitrified to be exact.

There are evidently a couple more that look close, but either way they have 2 more days to grow so we will get an update tomorrow and Saturday. It feels good to know already that we have 2 backups. It really has taken the stress levels way down from our previous cycles where we only had one. I found a neat little video that shows how embryos develop, see below.

I took today and tomorrow off of work for a relaxing 4 day weekend. No current plans other than acupuncture on Saturday to hopefully aid in implantation. I saw her yesterday and she sent me off with taped needles in my hands and legs as well as small seeds taped to my ears. We had to apply pressure to all of these areas immediately after the procedure today.

So right now I have a teeny, tiny microscopic baby in there. I hope it latches on quickly and decides to stick around for a while. Please, please, please. ❤

Happy Thursday.

xoxo.

Donor Egg IVF: Egg Retrieval & Fertilization

We got 25 Easter Eggs from our donor yesterday!

And the update from the lab today is they injected sperm (via ICSI) into 23 and 18 have fertilized 😊!

Next update is Tuesday, day 3. 

Transfer is tentatively scheduled for Thursday morning. It will be our first fresh transfer.

We have been praying and lighting candles.

I will try and stay relaxed between now and Tuesday. 

Enjoy your Sunday.

xoxo

Donor Egg IVF: Trigger Shot Tonight!

Knockout roses for you. Because we all need to stop and smell them.

So yes, tonight our donor triggers for a Saturday morning egg retrieval. Husband has to report there at 8:15am for his contribution. He’s excited. I’m excited that tomorrow is my last Lupron injection. After that it’s back to the Estradiol, Crinone, Progesterone transfer prep combination. Hard to believe we will be back in this place we’ve been before.

Sunday we will get the fertilization rate. It’s going to be a stressful 5 days. Right now they are tentatively preparing for a Thursday transfer. I don’t even know. It’s all so scary. Putting our hearts on the chopping block. Again.

I will try to remain calm and at peace. It’s weird that I don’t have to go through the retrieval this time. I just hang out and wait. 

As usual.

And I’ll pray. Sleep tight!

xoxo.