Monday, February 28, 2011

Sore Butt Cheeks!

There are many exciting things I am looking forward to when it comes to the second trimester. First and foremost, I am excited to breathe a little easier. I know my anxiety will (should) go down a bit at that point.

On the much more trivial end, the second trimester means the end of the progesterone shot! Yay!!

I've been doing these shots for about 2 months now, and today I realized... only 18 days left! That is so exciting. :)

I will be forever grateful for this miracle medicine. I call it my "baby glue". I'll also be happy when these sore butt cheeks get a rest! ;) 18 days and counting...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Perinatologist Visit

Yesterday, we had our first visit to the perinatologist's office. The office left much to be desired, but our ultrasound tech was really nice and it went well. This was the first ultrasound we had this pregnancy that was 100% good news (that we know of). With all the uncertainty of Andie, our ultrasounds were always half celebration / half anxiety and sadness.

This time, we were able to concentrate on Beanie and he/she is doing great! From what we can tell, everything looks right on target. Strong, regular heartbeat (163) and measuring perfectly on schedule.

Andie's sack is noticeably smaller and seems to be disappearing without incident, which is great news. I have had no spotting and hardly any cramping.

That is what we know for now. I will know more after our next appointment with Dr M on Thursday. He will look at the pictures and interpret them for us. Hopefully, all is well.

I promised myself if everything looked good at this appointment, I would try to relax and really enjoy the pregnancy. I am so unbelievably grateful for this blessing; there are NO words. Constant thanks and gratitude fills most thoughts and every prayer through out my day.

I have a definite appreciation for how fragile life is, and I fear the moment I relax and fully take this in is the pregnancy things will go wrong. I am working on letting that go and living in the moment.

So without further delay... Beanie at 9 weeks!

You can see Andie's small little sack fading away to the right of Beanie's.

Beanie's heartbeat:

Getting my ultrasound:

On another note, I have been overwhelmed with text messages, emails, facebook messages and comments of congratulations. It has been difficult to keep up, but I have received every one and I wanted to say how much they are appreciated. Thank you.

Friday, February 25, 2011


That is the scary word.

Apparently, a perinatologist is "an obstetrical subspecialist concerned with the care of the mother and fetus at higher-than-normal risk for complications".

I have an appointment with a perinatologist today to take a closer look at Beanie and make sure everything looks okay. I am nervous and I'm so grateful Ryan will be with me.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

First Trip to the OB

Friday was very emotional. There were a lot of good things, but some hard parts as well.

I chose Dr. M to be my OB because a friend recommended him, and happened to mention he had gone through infertility. Once I heard that, I was SOLD! I wanted a doctor who was empathetic to pregnancy after infertility, which I am learning is much different than a regular pregnancy.

Ryan didn't come with me to this appointment. He had worked the night before and, since there was no ultrasound planned and I wouldn't even meet the doctor this time, I told him to stay home and sleep.

I showed up at Dr. M's office and filled out all the preliminary paperwork. My first appointment at that office was mostly a consultation with his nurse practitioner, Nurse G. She was very nice... calm, laid back, motherly. After several minutes of chatting, she asked to confirm I was a twin pregnancy. I told her I wasn't sure; I didn't know. Last I had seen, Beanie looked great, but Andie was too small.

Nurse G immediately said she'd find a room and we'd do an ultrasound. She said there was no way she would let me wait another two weeks (when I was supposed to have my next appointment) to know what's going on. She tried to use the abdominal ultrasound, but couldn't see clearly enough. She mentioned we would have to do a vaginal ultrasound instead and left the room so I could get undressed.

When she came back, Dr M was with her. He sat down in the chair, looked me in the eyes and said,

"In January, my wife and I had a baby. This baby was the result of IVF with Dr. S (my RE). When my wife first got pregnant, we had an ultrasound and saw 2 babies. At first I was thinking, 'Oh my gosh, we're going to have twins!' and I freaked out a little. Then, over the next couple weeks, I fell in love with both babies and became very excited. At our next ultrasound, we saw that one of the twins had left us. So please believe me when I say I *know* how rough it is to lose a twin. I *know* the strange mix of emotions and everything that accompanies it. (His eyes misted up.)Having said all that, let's take a look."

I laid back and we began the ultrasound. We saw Beanie with a beautiful strong heartbeat. Pretty quickly after that we saw what was left of Andie... smaller sack, tiny embryo, no heartbeat. Dr. M confirmed that this twin was gone. Tears began rolling down my cheeks and immediately Nurse G was there by my side, blotting my tears and handing me a tissue.

I sat up and Dr. M began to describe what happens now... He said I need to recognize the loss. It's okay to cry and be sad; that doesn't mean I'm not grateful for the other thriving baby. He said I may cramp and spot. He said my chance of total miscarriage does increase slightly and asked what I would do if I lost both babies, because it's always good to have a Plan B, just in case (I think I'd try again, BTW). He said that, although the chance of miscarriage goes up, it is much more likely Beanie will be born healthy and just fine, so I need to rely on that for comfort.

Dr. M said Andie wouldn't have felt any pain. Her heart just slowed down, and eventually stopped. She wouldn't have felt fear or anything like that. Even though I knew these things, they were comforting to hear.

I asked if Beanie looked good, to which Dr. M replied, "Yep! But let's look again!" I laid back down and he focused in on Beanie this time. Beanie had grown so much, even in just a few days. He or she even has a little 'baby' profile now, which was so wonderful to see.

I am still considered "high risk", which means extra screening and ultrasounds. This coming week, I'll have a more in-depth ultrasound at an imaging center. Next week, we'll meet with Dr. M again and go over those in-depth ultrasound results.

When Dr. M left the room, he told me to take my time... I was welcome to stay there as long as I wanted, or to call my husband from there in the office if I wished. He also offered to get me a glass of water or anything I needed. He then said if I told anyone he got teary eyed when he was talking to me, he'd deny it. He has a reputation to keep! ;)

It all seems touch-and-go right now, but I try to have faith. We have had 3 ultrasounds and in all of them Beanie has been growing and thriving. I have to believe that will continue. To lose one twin is heartbreaking, to lose both would be devastating.

I am SO very grateful I found Dr. M. In the limited amount of time I spent with him (and Nurse G), I felt heard. He validated every one of my feelings and concerns. If I had to go through that experience, I am glad it was with a doctor who was so empathetic and caring.

Dear Andie,

Some people probably think I am weird for writing you a little letter, but I don't care. I am writing this for you, but I think it's mostly for me.

I just wanted to say that I was so excited when I found out I was expecting twins. From the beginning, it looked as though you might not make it, but I always felt comfort that it would all turn out alright. I thought that meant you'd be joining us in September, but now I know it was just my Heavenly Father offering comfort to get me through the hard times to come.

When I saw that you had left us, I felt so many different emotions... guilt that maybe I had done something wrong, sadness at your loss, fear for Beanie. I mourned you. I never thought of you as simply a "vanishing twin". I saw your heart beat. I know you were a person.

"A person's a person no matter how small."

I have not and will not forget you. When people act like you didn't exist, I correct them, or at least acknowledge you in my thoughts. Some day when Beanie is born, I will think about you, and how you were almost a part of our family on earth too.

I don't know how it all works, whether I will get a chance to be a mommy to you and little appleseed someday, but I wanted to say I enjoyed being your mommy while I had that blessing and I love you very much.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Quick Update

Just wanted to post that Andie didn't make it. :( Beanie is still hanging in there.

Thanks to everyone who kept us in your prayers. I'll update more later. It's been kind-of an emotional day!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Twins Until Proven Otherwise

I have decided that I am not giving up on Andie.

When I posted about my last ultrasound, I wrote the things they told me at the doctor's office: Andie will not make it through the pregnancy, Andie will not catch up, Andie's heart will stop beating. Yes, I heard and I understand all those things.

I was afraid to admit that my hope for Andie never went away, even after hearing everything they had to say. I was afraid people would think I was in "denial" or not being "realistic".

I saw for myself Andie was too small, but I also saw the heartbeat. A heartbeat means there is still life, and as long as that heart is beating, I am pregnant with TWO babies, not one. And I am going to enjoy that as long as it lasts.

I understand Andie could leave us tomorrow, next week, or three weeks from now. But until that time I am not giving up!

I love both my babies!

It’s a Scary World Out There

Tuesday was our last visit to the RE. It was a surreal experience. After Nurse H performed the ultrasound, she looked at me and said, “Well, that’s it!” She gave me a big hug, copied some of my files for my new OB and off we went. As we left, the nurses in the front offered us congratulations and asked us to keep them updated.

And just like that, it was over.

It has been nearly seven years since I first walked through those doors. Even Ryan was shocked to hear that number. How quickly those years added up. We had a lot of detours on the way.

In 2004, I had my first consultation with Dr. S. We had been trying to start our family for almost a year at that point. All the infertility testing was completed and everything looked perfect. Even so, Dr. S cautioned us that statistically we only had a 1% chance of conceiving on our own. “What does he know?” I thought, and I headed back out those doors to ‘relax’ some more and try to get pregnant.

Two years later, I was back. Fine, okay, I give! I’ll take the Clomid. Four rocky cycles later we weren’t any closer than we started. Unable to afford the next level of treatment, we considered laparoscopic surgery, thinking endometriosis might be our issue.

Well, thousands of dollars later we realized... it wasn’t! We spent the next year paying off that surgery and the two years after that completely stagnant. What a miserable time that was.

Finally, it was 2010 and we were back. We now had the means to take the next step. Ryan was getting more involved this time around, which was great. We were a team. We started treatments again with injectable medications this time. We said we would do 5 cycles, and were shocked when we were pregnant after cycle #2. Then came the miscarriage.

Back on the horse, it was the 5th and final cycle that finally put us here today.

During that roller coaster, it was the same awesome nurses that were there the whole way through.

Nurse H did nearly all of my IUIs. We spent most of our time at that office with her. I loved her cute personality and attitude. She was the one who had to tell me in September that we had lost the baby. She let me sit and cry on the phone, offering comforting words that I don’t remember. She was also the one who played my baby’s heartbeat for the first time, an experience I’ll always remember. I never thought another woman would be in the room when I conceived a child, but if someone had to be, I’m glad it was her.

The other nurses were wonderful too. Nurse M did a few of my IUIs. She awesome. Nurse K was the one who called out as we left after the last IUI, “This is the one, Michelle. I can feel it! You’ve waited long enough; it’s your turn!” All of the nurses up front were just great, answering my paranoid questions and being as accommodating as possible, despite the busyness of the practice.

We only saw Dr. S during 2 consultations (2004 and 2010) and for my surgery (2007), which was fine with me. Not seeing Dr. S meant we hadn’t reached the IVF level and, although we would have gone there if need be, I am grateful it wasn’t necessary (fingers crossed).

With all that history, it was weird waving good-bye yesterday and walking out of the office.

Tomorrow is my first appointment with the OB. How am I going to handle that? Sitting in a room with a bunch of bellies? I am like them in physical condition only. Other than that, I couldn’t feel more different.

I have no idea what it’s like to stop birth control, have sex for a while, pee on a stick and head to the OB.

They have no idea what it’s like to have 7 years of heartache, countless negative tests, injections, surgery, and medical procedures.

This next phase is going to be interesting. It’s a scary world out there, but one I am willing to try. ;)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Andie and Beanie

Okay, just for the record, these are MY nicknames and not Ryan's. He thinks I'm a dork, and he's right.

So of course I would pick the dorkiest names for my little tadpoles.

I couldn’t take “Twin A and Twin B” or “Baby A and Baby B” anymore. It all sounds so medical; so sterile.

I call my babies, Andie and Beanie.

For some reason, I smile every time I say those words. Every time I think them, really. Look... I’m smiling right now!

Please rest assured, these names are in-utero only. I may be a dork, but I’m not crazy!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bittersweet Day...

but much more sweet than bitter...

Our little Twin A has a beating heart, but has not grown at all. Twin A will not make it through the pregnancy. Over the next couple weeks, the heart will likely stop beating. :( While there is always hope, we are trying to begin adjusting to the idea that we will not get to meet our little fighter in person.

Twin B is still measuring perfectly and has grown so much in one week. He or she looks like a little frog, with visible arms and legs already. The heartbeat was strong and we even got to hear it (which was a huge surprise - I didn't think that happens until later). It was the most beautiful sound I've ever heard. I was so happy Ryan was there to experience it with me.

Today was a mix of emotions... anxiety, sadness, and overwhelming joy. We are about 8 weeks into the pregnancy with a due date of October 2nd. It will have taken us 8 years of heartache and enormous spiritual growth to finally become parents. I am overcome with gratitude that we will get that chance.

To those of you who fasted with us in January, I want you to know that we felt it. And God heard it. The week of the fast we went in for our last IUI and, well, here we are. We will never forget your love and support.

And the journey towards parenthood continues...


The last 8 weeks have certainly been a roller coaster. To read all about the pregnancy click here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Two beating hearts?

It’s Valentine’s Day. The day of love. And what better symbol for love than a heart? I love hearts. Probably because I am not artistic in the least and a heart is something I can actually draw or cut out. Plus they’re pretty and feminine. And I just love them.

Today, I have had hearts on the brain. Specifically, two tiny hearts. My babies’ hearts. One I saw beating away while the other seemed still. Here I am one week later, hoping to see *two* flashing dots on the screen this time. Life times two.

It took some time to process what happened after last ultrasound. You hope to see one healthy baby. You fear seeing your baby without a heartbeat. But I was unprepared to see both possibilities.

Immediately, I felt I should be grateful for Twin B and that beautiful, beating heart. And I am SO very grateful. But when I looked at Twin A, all I wished is for his/her heart to beat too. Seeing both babies, those teeny tiny grains of rice, I loved them both immediately. And I so want both of them to be a part of our life.

Tomorrow we see if that is to be.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I don’t belong here…

I joined one of those mommy-to-be message boards. I needed an outlet during all these weeks of “secrecy”. Although it has been helpful hearing other people’s experiences and learning what I am feeling physically is “normal”, I have come to realize I just don’t belong.

The women on the board are very sweet. In their defense, if I didn’t spend years giving blood, sweat and tears for this pregnancy, I could imagine myself saying some of the same things they do. Maybe…

But I just can’t help feeling like a few of them will never, ever fully comprehend the beautiful gift they have been given. Many of them received this gift without any effort on their part. Some of them received the gift without even desiring it.

I think it’s true... Infertility changes who you are forever. It never goes away.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Morning Sickness

Yep, I have it. It's come in a few phases.

1. Phase 1 began before I even had a positive HPT. It was those "waves of nausea" I described in a previous blog. At the time, I thought if this was going to be my morning sickness, I was one lucky gal. It lightly reminded me that the pregnancy was there, but didn't really impact my life.

2. A couple weeks later, that feeling of nausea faded away. It was a bit concerning because I was afraid the disappearance of the nausea was an indication of the pregnancy ending. Two days later, it was back, and it was different. This time it was stronger. Very few foods sounded appealing, although I would be satisfied when I ate those certain things. This lasted about a week.

3. Last Saturday, I awoke to Phase 3 of morning sickness. I have the nausea almost constantly now. Nothing I do makes it much better. I still haven't actually thrown up yet, but I've dry heaved a few times. Certain foods sound good in my head, but when I actually eat them, they do not satisfy. I never fully realized how much I love food! Now it offers no joy or comfort. It's a weird paradox for me.

Will there be a Phase 4 of this morning sickness roller coaster? Will I join those poor women who spend their time hanging over a toilet? Stay tuned... ;)

And, of course it goes without saying, no matter what lies ahead, it is all sooooo worth it! I wouldn't trade it for anything!

1st Ultrasound

Today was our first ultrasound. We were ecstatic to see what we already believed would be there... TWINS!

During the last few weeks, we both had strong feelings that we were pregnant with twins. We would catch ourselves referring to the baby as "the babies". We would be unbelievably grateful and over the moon with one baby, but we couldn't shake the feeling there would be two.

Sure enough, we learned quite quickly there were 2 sacks with two embryos inside.

When we focused in on Baby A, we noticed he/she was a little small. The measurements (6w1d) were 2 days behind where they should have been (6w3d). Additionally, we were unable to see a heartbeat. This was disappointing to say the least.

Next we looked at Baby B. This baby was measuring right on schedule (6w3d) and had a nice strong heartbeat of about 135.

So now we wait for a week and go back. The babies will be bigger, and the heartbeats clearer. It is then we'll see if Baby A has grown and if his/her heart is beating. I love both our babies already and am hopeful they'll both be a part of our family here on earth.

Here are babies' first photos:


Baby A: Our Fighter

Baby B: Right on Schedule

Because of this recent development, we are waiting another week to tell people. We want to have more definite news. Until then, the secret continues...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ultrasound Jitters

We’ve just about made it… tomorrow is the big day! Our ultrasound is at 9am. Please, PLEASE let there be a healthy, growing baby with a strong heartbeat tucked away in there. That is my constant prayer…

If nausea is any indication, I don’t think that baby’s gone anywhere! ;)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I Hope You Dance

This song was released right around the time I was married. I don’t typically listen to country, so I don’t know how I first heard it. It probably ‘crossed over’.

Anyway, when I first heard it, I immediately focused on the lyrics (as I typically do). Without skipping a beat, I thought of my future daughter. These were all the things I would want to tell her someday. This song was written for little Katelyn. I fell in love with it immediately.

A couple years later, we decided to start our family. I would listen to this song and dream about my little girl.

As time rolled on, the song slowly changed. Instead of evoking hopes and dreams, I just felt pain. I stopped listening to it. Completely. And then forgot about it.

This week I randomly found out George Strait was coming to town for a concert. My husband (despite not being much of a country fan either) has loved him since childhood. Randomly, on a whim, we bought last-minute cheap seats and went to the concert.

The opening act was Leann Womack. She sang a few songs before I heard a familiar musical introduction. It was THE song. The song I hadn’t heard for years. The song whose once hopeful chords had dissolved me into a hopeless sobbing mess the last time I heard it.

And now I was hearing it again. Live.

Only this time, I was pregnant.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat
But always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed

I hope you still feel small
When you stand by the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they're worth taking
Lovin' might be a mistake
But it's worth making

Don't let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance

Hearing those words again, I cried. Ryan held my hand. Life was good.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Beta #4

Today was my last beta blood test.

The doctor's office wanted my number to be over 10,000. I had much higher expectations.

My number last week was 7058, so even if I was slightly over 10,000, I don't feel like that would be a good number as it wouldn't be rising very quickly. I wanted a number around 50,000 because that would mean it was still doubling at a pretty good rate. (I know it slows down at some point, but I believe it should be rising this week.)

I called the office and they told me my number was 48,805. I was happy with that, and the nurse said it was a very good number.

This means the blood tests to determine hCG are over. Next comes the ultrasound in just a few more days. Please let there be a beautiful baby growing in there with a nice, strong heartbeat!!