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Just scared this time Monday, 19 March 2007

Posted by thalya in Pregnancy #3, The doctors.

Copious brown discharge this morning. Absolutely petrified. Although I know it’s ridiculous I’m worried it’s because I pushed too hard with the probe when I was trying to find the heartbeat with the doppler this weekend. Found it, a lovely 150bpm, but what happens if by finding it I’ve killed off the poor fetus? Never, never again.

I’m off for a scan now, gd bless new doc. Please keep everything crossed for us.

As you suggested on the last post, I will move to mostly posting at http://www.thalia.typepad.com, the old site.

Happy/Worried/Excited/Scared Thursday, 15 March 2007

Posted by thalya in Pregnancy #3.

I have a confession to make. I bought a pair of maternity trousers. I am 12 weeks today (by my ovulation date, which seems to make sense given how the fetus measures on a scan), so it’s not totally out of order, but I bought them 10 days ago. I really bought them almost by accident. I was doing the pregnant after infertility thing and not wanting to commit to anything called maternity, but my trousers were becoming uncomfortable enough that I needed to do something. I’ve got to show up at work every day and look professional, don’t you know? So I went online and decided to order a couple of pairs of trousers in one size larger than I usually buy. However, given the seasons are changing their stock was a bit low, so I ended up looking at ones in my usual size. A pair of maternity trousers popped up. What the hell, I thought.

When the order arrived I tried on all four pairs of trousers I’d ordered. Well, one pair was way too ugly to even try, so I put them straight back. One pair of the size up was already too tight (oh the humiliation) but one pair fitted ok. Just ok. They were a bit tight at the waist, but bagged in the bum. Then I tried on the fourth pair. Oh, so comfortable, and not nearly as ugly. When I took them off I was surprised to see they were in my usual size. I looked more closely. Yes, they were the maternity trousers. My body was ready but my mind was weak. I’ve worn them three times since last week. They are actually a little big, so I have to keep hitching at them, but oh so much better than crying out for air as my waistband pinches at me. I have also purchased a waistband expander (absolutely useless, as your zip still needs to do up), and a belly band, which I put on over the waist of the too-big trousers and it helped them not fall down, but sadly also made me look REALLY pregnant, as it’s much tighter than my usual tops, so I couldn’t face it and took it off again. Give me a few weeks (oh please give me a few weeks) and I might feel a bit more confident about the whole clothing thing.

You’d think after my fabulous scan experience, that I’d be in good shape, right? And today I’m at 12 weeks which is past a specific danger zone, right? But no. Of course not. Yesterday morning I didn’t gag when I brushed my teeth. And yesterday evening when I took my bra off, my breasts didn’t hurt. I utterly freaked out. H was out, so my response was to get on line straight way and order a doppler, which so far I’d resisted. It should arrive tomorrow. Let’s see just how insane it can make me (do you think I can get more insane?).

Finally, I’m tempted to combine my blogs again. Either by directing people from the old blog to here, or by stopping writing here and going back there. There are some people who check the old site who don’t leave email addresses, so despite trying, I can’t get them over here, plus it’s googleable and so people find it when they are looking for info on specific topics so I’d rather leave it up in public service mode. I am much more attached to that site than this, so my preference would be to return, although I also don’t want to lose this part of the story. Partly because I just much prefer the Typepad interface, and goodness knows the wordpress people are a little paranoid (hence no sexy stuff in the toolbars etc.), partly because the old blog was the scene of so many painful moments that it’s hard to let it go. What would you do? There are two things stopping me from announcing the existence of this blog on the old one. First, I don’t want the old docs (much as they don’t seem to be reading it any more) to get wound up by the realisation that I kept blogging about them. Second, what happens if I want to treat again at that clinic, or if I get outed at that blog again? I’d have to start a third blog, which would really be silly.

Am I mad to let go of this safer space? I’d love your thoughts.

PS I put a ticker type thing on the old blog, right down in the bottom right hand corner. Much as I have always despised them, this one kind of spoke to me. But don’t scan down the right hand side if it’s likely to be a bad thing for you.

I seem to be pregnant. And it seems to be alive and kicking. Friday, 9 March 2007

Posted by thalya in Infertility, Pregnancy #3, The doctors.

Nothing like telling you the answer in the title, huh? It was a great afternoon. I like the new doc a lot. He was utterly sympathetic to my neuroses, and told me I could come in and see him every week if I wanted to. He gave me a lot of insight into the drugs I’m taking, why I’m taking them and whether I should continue to take them. I will write more of the knowledgey goodness in another post, because I am dog tired and also I am currently on a conference call and should be paying attention.

But the goodness of him came through particularly in that he got the early pregnancy unit to stay late and give me a scan after my appointment with him. He walked me over to the centre, and went to see the doctor there. The doctor was on the phone so my new doc just left my file with him and told me all would be ok. I waited about 10 minutes for the scan doctor to show up. When he did he asked me what my new doc wanted him to do, how pregnant was I, did I need a nuchal scan? I nearly said yes but then remembered that one of you, I think Betty(?), had had a nuchal too early and it had caused endless worry, so I fessed up that I was 11 weeks and very neurotic and just wanted to know the baby was alive. He said no problem, went to find his keys so he could unlock the scan room, turned on the machine to warm up and left me to lie down. Luckily I remembered that he probably wasn’t going to wand me, so I just undid my trousers and lay down. When he came back he went through the whole gel smearing experience, then started to probe and press buttons. Of course I couldn’t see the damn screen so I was swearing and freaking out, albeit inwardly. Then he pressed one more button and the sound of the heartbeat filled the room.

It was like magic.

Then he showed me the screen. There was something which looked like a baby. It had a head and arms and legs, and when he pushed down a bit it wriggled like a mad thing. “Everything looks great,” he said, softly. We both looked a bit more and he turned the sound of the heartbeat on and off, showed me where it was beating in the fetus’s chest (it has a chest!). He showed me the developing placenta (couldn’t really see it), and asked me about my fibroids. These are quite big but are outside the uterus and apparently therefore will not affect the fetus’s development, although they may affect delivery (let’s cross that bridge when we come to it).

He wiped off the gel for me and I thanked him profusely. “That’s fine,” he said. “I specialise in difficult pregnancies, trisomies and such, so it’s great to see everything looking so good.” I’m of course not reading too much into this, but it was a nice thing for him to say, nonetheless. The fetus now measures a few days ahead.

I got seven pictures as a going home present, including a picture of the heartbeat. I think scan doctor really got what I needed. I’m very grateful there are people like him and my new doctor in the world. And I’m unbelievably, inexpressibly grateful that I have a fetus that is currently thriving in my uterus. It’s just like magic.

Distraction activities Sunday, 4 March 2007

Posted by thalya in Pregnancy #3.

I’m happily ensconced on the sofa, watching American Idol. I am supposed to be baking for a meeting tomorrow, but the bloomin dough is still not at room temperature (it’s been out of the fridge since 3pm – what’s the problem?). It’s the first time in my life I’ve made a yeast dough, so I am a little concerned that I refrigerated it at the wrong point (post creating the dough and kneading for five minutes, but before allowing it to double in size). Well, I’ll bake them this evening and just see how they turn out.

It’s been quite a heavy baking day as my brother and his son came to brunch. So we produced a spinach, chard, roasted red pepper and chedder frittata, some cheese scones, cranberry and orange muffins, ginger biscuits and sausages. Well, I didn’t bake the sausages but they were an essential contribution from my husband. I was knackered by the time our guests showed up, and my nephew didn’t alleviate the exhaustion. He is a great kid but he is going through what I would describe as an ‘oppositional’ phase – everything is ‘no’ and he is cheeky almost to the point of rudeness. I can see how hard my brother is working to keep calm as he deals with the various points of unhelpfulnesss. I was glad to be able to help for a few hours.

I appear to still be pregnant.  I still have relatively few symptoms. Most reliable is the urgent hunger, but everything else is subject to change. Weird ones are that I’m prone to seemingly pulling a muscle in my abdomen when I sneeze. I sneezed while lying down yesterday and was in pain for several minutes afterwards. Dunno about that one.

I’m hoping very hard that Friday brings good news, particularly since H can’t make the appointment we got, but concerned that we won’t even get a scan. I might have to call and ask. I was having enough of a freakout on Friday that H suggested we go in to the clinic for another scan in the meantime, but I really feel that I’ve abused the fertility clinic’s hospitality enough at this stage.

That reminds me, I forgot a Dr Candid funny from our last visit. I told him that Dr Gorgeous, who has done both of our recent scans, told me at the last one that I really needed to relax a little more and enjoy the pregnancy (H chimed in and agreed with her!). Dr Candid laughed and asked if I’d decked her. I have to say it hadn’t even occurred to me. She’s been lovely at both scans, even if she’s a tad speedy to withdraw the wand before I’ve had a good look at our passenger. She meant it in the nicest possible way, so it was a long way from the ‘just relaxes’ of yore. But it amused me that Dr Candid’s immediate response was to (humorously) assume it was an annoying remark. Perhaps they’re all learning something. I do think he gets just how hard it is to stay calm throughout a pregnancy once you’ve been through infertility and loss. Even though his referral to our new OB delivering two of his children indicates that fertility hasn’t precisely been his issue…

I really have to find something new to write about. This is dull. Any suggestions?

Really discharged this time Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Posted by thalya in Pregnancy #3, The doctors.

We had a lovely visit with Dr Candid on Friday. The first thing he said was how great I looked. The second was to ask if we’d had a recent scan. H had brought the photo with him so we were able to whip it out and tell him it was from the previous day. He exclaimed at how fast the embryos develop at this stage, the fact we can discern the head and the limb buds (it’s not a great photo, but I may scan it at some point anyway. If I can find a scanner). He then launched into a discussion of our pre-natal care options. He first went through the two NHS choices of midwife-led or consultant-led. He then started discussing private care. When one of the first things he said was: “so one of the advantages will be that you can call anytime and be pretty much guaranteed a consultation with your doctor within 24 hours,” H laughed and said: “why did you bother telling us about the other ones then?” Dr Candid laughed, too, and agreed he’d been wasting our time. It turns out that our clinic is attached to one of the best fetal medicine units in the UK so it is a no-brainer to be referred to one of the consultants there. Dr Candid remarked that all the gynaes he knows have their children privately but in an NHS hospital so that you get the nice room, the good food, the consistent doctoring, but that if something goes wrong, all the right equipment, the NICU etc. are right there. The private hospital where many of my colleagues have delivered has the problem that if something goes wrong, you’re in an ambulance to the nearest NHS hospital.

He gave us two names, then went to check which one of the two would be better suited to us given dates. He came back saying he had the right answer as one of the two specialises in treating women with MTHFR, and as Dr Candid had asked him about me the first thing he’d said was “tell me she’s on extra folic acid!” and Dr Candid had been able to reassure him. So we have an appointment with the OB for the 9th March, when I will be 11 weeks bang on. Sadly H won’t be able to come but I decided to go ahead anyway, I think waiting any longer will make me very nervous. The additional upside? This guy delivered two of Dr Candid’s children, and all the children of one of the other consultants at our clinic. A pretty good recommendation, no?

I described my continued nervousness, and Dr Candid reassured us that our chances of this working out at this point are the same as anyone else’s – we are past the point where we had the previous losses, and it all looks good, and this is not an ART pregnancy so the risks are lower. Dr Candid finished the appointment by introducing us to the women who run the antenatal clinic, and made us promise to stay in touch and to send him photos of the baby. Photos???

Despite the wonderful scan, I continue to not really feel pregnant. We saw that fetus (it’s a fetus now!) wriggling away on the ultrasound, but it felt almost as if they were scanning someone else’s stomach. How can all that be happening inside me and I don’t even feel it? From reading other PIF blogs I’m guessing it doesn’t ever become really real. I continue to get ravenous at short notice, at which point the urge to eat becomes overwhelming. Barely any nausea and even the boobs have calmed down somewhat. But I think I am now more worried about the nuchal scan finding a problem than I am about the fetus dying. I know that it can, but I also know the chances of that are now low. And my knowing is starting to have some effect on my emotions. Not much, but some. Long may it continue.

Miraculous Thursday, 22 February 2007

Posted by thalya in Pregnancy #3, The doctors.

Measures 9w1d (ish, she didn’t give me the measurements)

Heart still thumping away

Amniotic sac clearly visible

And it moved! Little limb buds wriggling.

I’m in awe of what is going on inside me without me noticing.

Bastard symptoms Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Posted by thalya in Infertility, Pregnancy #3.

I’m hoping this is because I’m (i) travelling, so my body clock is messed up, and (ii) because I’ve been snacking a lot on dried fruit etc whenever I get hungry, but I’ve had no nausea for 2 days now. It’s really making me cross. Breasts still hurt a bit, and I did gag last night on toothbrushing, so all symptoms are not gone, but it’s still very scary.

 A recently published article on miscarriage is an interesting read. It’s a big population based study, looking at social and demographic factors largely. Notably caffeine consumption and eating red meat, soya and other foods considered by the Zita Wests of this world to be bad for you, had no effect on miscarriage. The authors of the study managed to work this out by excluding the effect of nausea on caffeine consumption – women with nausea are less likely to have a miscarriage, but also less likely to drink caffeine as they don’t like the taste of it. So if you disassociate the effect of nausea, it turns out women who drink caffeine have no higher a rate of miscarriage than the rest of the group. (and of course I noticed that women with nausea have a lower rate of miscarriage. I have to have something to fuel the fires of my paranioia, right?)

A bunch of factors I had not expected were linked to increased risk of miscarriage, including paternal age over 45 years, and changing partners between pregnancies. Unsurprising but annoying risk factors include high level of stress whether innate or caused by your job or a single very stressful event (presumably a death in the family etc.). I’m trying very hard not to let my job stress me out, but it’s very easy to get stressed about not being stressed! Infertility is a risk factor, as is ART. So given my age etc., I’d say I end up in a fairly high risk category, although not top of the line given I don’t drink, there are no paternal risk factors, I am not underweight and have never had a termination. Actually, doing the count, I have 6 out of 16 risk factors, but also have 7 out of 11 postive indicators, so not too bad.

Anyway, the stats are just interesting, they don’t determine the outcome of any specific pregnancy. Right now I want to stay optimistic but am terrified. I booked the scan tomorrow in the middle of the day, since that was the most convenient slot to fit in all my other commitments. Now I’m terrified that I’m going to have to go and be on top form after bad news. Do you think the level of insanity increases with distance from the last scan, or with the inverse of time to the next scan?

Distributing drugs Sunday, 18 February 2007

Posted by thalya in Infertility, The doctors.

Marie-Baguette has some drugs she’d like to dispatch to a good home. She’s in NYC, so if you are somewhere close, this is the best bet. Please go and visit her if this would work for you. Also, she’s just been through a selective reduction of her quadruplet pregnancy, removing her identical triplets to leave the singleton behind, so I’m sure she’d love a few extra visitors.

I don’t even have the excuse that I’m vomiting when I blog Sunday, 18 February 2007

Posted by thalya in Pregnancy #3.

8w2d and who knows what the embryo is doing in there. I went to the clinic yesterday. And didn’t get a scan. It nearly killed me. The reason I had to go on a Saturday without even the hit of a scan was that Dr Candid kindly wrote me a repeat prescription for the drugs I’m on, and H very kindly went to pick it up and fill it on Friday. Sadly neither Dr Candid nor H recognised that I’m actually on cyclogest suppositories this time, rather than the gestone I was on for our last few IVF cycles. I’m really not about to start injecting myself in the butt again, so we had to go and get a new prescription from Dr Gorgeous yesterday morning, and try to return the gestone (despite it still being in sealed packets, and having been dispensed just 15 hours before they will only destroy it, it turns out. What a waste). I nearly asked Dr Gorgeous for a scan, but she didn’t offer and I felt as if I was being weak in even asking for one, so I didn’t. I then agonised to H about it for a good 30 minutes as we sat in the pharmacy, but somehow managed to leave the area of the clinic with the right drugs and without the scan. The fact we have an appointment for this Thursday for a nearly-nine-weeks scan already set up made me feel somewhat better. This is in preparation for seeing Dr Candid on Friday for a discussion of our antenatal care. Hah! The man is a real optimist. But my lack of optimism means I decided to have a scan before the appointment so that we were sure we were talking about the real issues when we met.

I’m very stupid and keep reading terrible stories of embryos looking great at 7 or 8 weeks and subsequently dying. I know it’s unusual, but we all also know it happens. Despite this I’m generally feeling in balance – not terribly pessimistic, not utterly optimistic. I am pregnant for now. I have felt organised and optimistic enough to book the nuchal scan already. I’m going to the same clinic that Katty went to – with the man who basically invented the quad test, so I feel that we will be in good hands. Because he only scans on Wednesdays, and they think the test is best done between 12 and 13 weeks, we’re having the scan on the 21st March, when I will be 12w5d if we get that far. Still a long long way to go. But essential to book it now as you can imagine how booked up he gets.

I continue to feel that the universe has it all wrong in how it hands out pregnancy symptoms. First it gives people like poor Beth HG, and makes her pregnancy nearly unbearable. Then it hands out a list of symptoms as long as your arm to your average pregnant woman. Pick up any pregnancy book, even the sensible ones like Lesley Regan’s, and you get a long list of things you may be feeling – tired, sick, food aversions, veins standing out on your breasts, breasts growing, areolas darkening, breast sensitivity, etc etc. But the average pregnant woman isn’t terribly worried about her pregnancy. She just wants to get on with life. Why is she feeling exhausted and sick, and why are so many of us infertiles given nothing to go on – Leggy, Katty and others have all commented how they’ve had nothing much in the way of syptoms. Shouldn’t there be some kind of allocation system that hands these things out to those of us who need them? But silly me, if that was true, none of us would have been infertile in the first place.

H keeps pointing out that despite my moaning about lack of symptoms, I do actually have a reasonable number of indicators, to whit:

  1. Boobs are sore. No longer just the nipples, the whole area. To the extent that H made me yelp yesterday afternoon when he gave me a big hug. They hurt a lot less in the morning after a night of not wearing a bra, so I’m guessing that even though I don’t seem to have gone up a size, my current bras may be not fitting properly and so increasing the soreness.
  2. I have vague feelings of nausea, usually in the early evening but also at other times if I get hungry. It’s very counter-intuitive to eat when you feel nauseated, but yesterday at 5pm for example, after a stint at the hairdresser, I was feeling quite sick, so I went into a bakery and bought an olive fougasse. After eating about half of it I realised it wasn’t really doing it for me, so I went searching for some cheese. I’m not really a big cheese fan but I’ve realised that I should be eating more calcium, so I thought it was a reasonable bet. I spent ages in Tesco Express looking for some cheese clearly labelled as pasteurised. Have you tried this? There’s not much. I ended up with some Leerdammer light slices. After three of these I felt much better and was in good shape for my leg waxing appointment. I didn’t feel sick again til about 1945 just before my mother dished up dinner, so I think it’s becoming a reasoanbly safe bet to say that the nausea is related to me being hungry, and it’s not how I usually feel.
  3. I have a few food aversions – or rather, food that makes me feel sick. Both times we’ve had curry since I got pregnant I’ve felt sick immediately it showed up, and struggled to get it down, despite sticking to healthier dishes like spinach, chick peas and baked chicken tikka. I could only eat any of the curry this Friday night by eating tiny mouthfuls very slowly, which is very unlike me. The other food aversion is soggy broccoli. Never my favourite – I like the stalks but not the florets so much – it’s become so horrible to me that H had to pick it out of the pasta he made for dinner on Thursday. I can only eat it if it’s basically only had 2 minutes steaming. Any more than that and I think it’s horrible. Still, I’m trying to eat it occasionally as it’s so terribly good for me.
  4. Brushing my teeth makes me gag pretty much every time.
  5. I am tired. But then I’m always tired so it’s hard to figure out if I’m any more tired than usual.
  6. I have on a few occasions had to pee in the middle of the night. I have a bladder of steel so this is not like me.

That’s it. It’s not a lot, and each on its own might not be convincing, so it takes H to remind me that it’s not normal to feel sick every evening before dinner, gag every time I brush my teeth, or jump when he hugs me. I’m taking his word for it.

What I’m finding hardest to deal with is everyone else’s unbridled optimism. My mother in particular is feeling that this pregnancy is more likely to succeed because it was spontaneous. H feels similarly. My mother-in-law and the rest of H’s family is already counting towards the birth. My sister-in-law on H’s side, who I love, did say to me: “Try not to be too negative,” when I was trying to explain to her why I couldn’t jump up and down about the pregnancy just yet. She didn’t mean it, but it made me feel as if it would be all my fault if something went wrong. I wonder if that’s how they’ve felt previously? Thank goodness they’ve never said anything like that before.

So all in all I am fine, just normally paranoid for this time in a pregnancy after infertility. I am very busy at work, hence lack of posting. I am also now travelling again – it was becoming unprofessional not to do so – but I have been reassured by everyone that drinking plenty of water on the plane, moving around as much as possible, and sleeping plenty will mean that this is not a big deal. So that’s what I’m choosing to believe. Long may that continue.

Happy yet? Sunday, 11 February 2007

Posted by thalya in BGC, Pregnancy #3, The doctors.

Thank you so much for all the good wishes. Friday was indeed a great day, I think the first time I’ve felt confident in this pregnancy. Some of you wondered if I could be happy now, and I can confirm that certainly on Friday I was happy. Happy and confident, a good combination. Of course I felt like an idiot when I went to the loo just before bed on Friday and found that I was spotting again. Well, not so much spotting as there was some brownish gunk in there that needed to come out. It looked like some of the residual pessary material, mixed with a bit of old blood. It didn’t totally freak me out, just enough to go back downstairs to get H to confirm that it was nothing to worry about. And there’s been nothing since, so I’m not worrying about it. Much.

The lack of symptoms continues to bug me, although I do realise that I’m incredibly lucky to not be throwing up all the time. Boobs remain sore, although not very, and I’ll just hang onto that for now. My abdomen has been doing a lot of aching, although sufficiently un-crampy that it doesn’t worry me, but reassures me that something is happening. I was feeling secure enough that I did dig up a pregnancy book and see what I should and shouldn’t be eating. I already resent lack of sushi and unpasteurised cheese, but the deprivation is also quite satisfying in a way. We’ll see how long that lasts. I’ve tried to up calcium intake since I don’t eat much, and virtuously added some steamed broccoli to our takeout lamb burger and salad last night. Well, the burger was not virtuous, but I hope the broccoli was. Calcium plus lots of antioxidants, don’t you know.

Friday was enhanced by a lovely email from Dr Candid congratulating us and offering (i) a scan anytime and (ii) a consultation with him to discuss antenatal care. Scary but encouraging. He signed it “fingers and toes crossed” which I thought was nice and un-doctorly. We are lucky to have that clinical team pulling for us.

Over the last week I’ve been exchanging voicemails with BGC who say they have the immune tests back, and that I should give them a call. I’m guessing they are going to tell me I need IgG since they’ve been quite persisitent, but given how well this embryo is going, I’m not sure I’m ready to succumb to that particular neurosis. We’ll see what happens when we finally get the results.

Of course, the glow of that great ultrasound has dissipated somewhat. Not enough to put the pregnancy books away, but enough that I’m not grinning like a lunatic and summed up enough tension to have a screaming row with H this morning over nothing. Well, I screamed and he mostly looked bemused. It didn’t make me feel any better. I’ll hang on to the 95% chance of a normal healthy baby that we’ve been given as long as I can. I know it’s not any where near a dead cert, but it’s so much better than we’ve ever managed before.


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